The Walking Dead Episode Review: A New Beginning

Synopsis: Eighteen months after defeating the Saviors, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is working to create a peaceful relationship between the Hilltop, Alexandria and the Sanctuary. However, ongoing resentment from the war, his decision to keep Neegan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) alive and the Sanctuary not able to grow crops on its own threaten to undermine his efforts.

Review: While I haven't reached a point where I have completely given up on this series, I have, admittedly, grown less interested in it over the past couple of seasons. However,  with the war with the Saviors now over and two of the stars (Lincoln and Lauren Cohan) reportedly on the way out, I am attempting to approach this season with a little more enthusiasm.

This included making a "date" with my wife to watch the season premiere last night. However, I have to say the premiere put a bit of a damper on that enthusiasm.

The opening scenes, which involved Rick and his crew collecting artifacts (which they wanted to reverse engineer) from a museum, were kind of cool. Though, to be honest, I'm not 100 percent sure why they needed the covered wagon that nearly caused Ezekiel (Khary Payton) his life and ultimately indirectly lead to the death of one of their group (AJ Achinger).

After that, however, the show kind of fell into the same format I've grown used to seeing. A lot of action to start, then a whole lot of talking afterwards. And, I'm sorry, I know its probably something really important, but I don't tune in to watch a show about the zombie apocalypse because I want to watch people debating things like charters, bridge building (both literal and figurative) and hurt feelings. Could they at least have those debates while fending off a hoard of the undead?

I think the thing that bugged me most about this episode is, even though the two people this show has largely centered around, Rick and Maggie (Cohan) are on their way out, there was no effort to move someone else into the spotlight. Yes, I understand this is just the first episode and that may happen later in the season. But, why not embrace the change from the start?

If, for example, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is going to become the de facto leader, and I REALLY hope that isn't the case (I still see him as more of a sidekick and, lately, he's been kind of whiny), then have the series centered around him. Rick and Maggie can still have the screen time necessary for them to end their sagas. I just want the writers to make me believe their replacement (especially if it is Daryl) can fill those big shoes before I wind up wasting my time on yet another average season.

Final Opinion: The episode started out with a bang but predictably started petering out shortly after. I just hope that's not how I'll be describing Rick and Maggie's last season.

My Grade: C


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