By Richard Sellers
Nothing seemed to diminish my excitement for this new season. Not my slightly waning approval of the first, or the turbulence that the show seemed to go through in between seasons was going to deter me from getting as giddy as a school girl for this whenever I think about this series. I have high hopes for this season and just maybe that is exactly why this premier felt so flat and stale.
Much like our intrepid survivors this episode got stuck in the middle of a deserted high-way and found every reason not to move on. An inordinate amount of time was spent reestablishing the characters motivations and barely adding anything new to their story. I would understand this if the first thirty minutes(or so) of this lengthy ninety minute entry were devoted to that, but to constantly be reminded that Shane is a dick, Rick is doing his best and Andrea is still grieving just grew tiresome. Almost nothing was added to the characters that, so far, have been the driving force of this show. In the end it just felt way too long and lacking any real substance. I’m not advocating a zombie gore-fest, but the group’s internal conflicts were more like petty teenage squabbles than the dynamic power struggles we saw last season.
The deviations from the source material grew even wider than I suspected it would, but I do look forward see some characters meet that never did originally. The last few seconds of this episode almost made up for the almost boredom I felt and I can’t wait to see what happens. I almost feel as if we were lolled into a state of boredom just to last scene would be that much more powerful.
Besides some brief wonky looking CGI (the convoy leaving Atlanta), the production value remains just as good as the last season and although the script needed a few tweaks, the acting was very solid. Jon Bernthal as Shane remains one of the best semi-villains on television and I predict Jeffery Demunn just might get an Emmy if the series lasts.
Although, for the most part, I was disappointed with this episode (especially as a premier) I still can’t wait until the next episode. I’m going to chalk this one up as a bump in what I hope will be a very long road.
As Always, Richard