The episode worked to set up the season, but lacked something in the story department.
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of all the best shows coming back on TV! Also probably zombies, since The Walking Dead returned to AMC last night. The episode was mostly focused on Rick, Carl and Michonne, who, by the way, are now reunited in one mini-team. Insert obligatory spoiler warning here.
The “team” part didn’t really apply though, since Carl was faced with the decision of killing his maybe-infected father, or possibly becoming his first meal. And while we’ve seen him tough it out and actually shoot another parent in the head, he broke down and just couldn’t do it to Rick. So we know who Carl’s favorite parent is. Beyond that, he spent most of the episode crying and/or almost getting killed, but we’ll let that one slide, since he is just a teenager. Going through puberty and a zombie apocalypse at the same time must be tough.
Last season we saw Carl handle the situation better than most, but it's finally getting to him in this episode.
Michonne, meanwhile, was met with the prospect of killing a zombie, which the series creators had apparently intended to look a bit like her – translation: African-American, had dreads – and she broke down. Michonne could also be forgiven for the moment of, you know, being human, given that she’s generally the toughest, most zombie-killingest of the bunch. The only problem was that as far as emotional depth goes, we still don’t know what was going through that dreadlocked head of hers. Maybe the zombie was meant to be a relative of hers. A friend. A hallucination of herself zombified. The evidence is inconclusive and Michonne remains as unknowable as ever.
What on earth is going through Michonne's head? We may never know.
As for the rest of the episode, for the most part, it was a lot of walking. That’s not a problem, now that our heroes have left the relatively cushy prison, every step out in the open is more thrilling than most of last season, but still – the writers could have done more with the characters’ newly vulnerable position out in the open. As for a reunion with the rest of the survivors, it seems like the writers are set on making us wait quite a while.