‘The Walking Dead’ Midseason Finale Review – The Haves and The Have-Nots

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Chandler Riggs in The Walking Dead Made to Suffer The Walking Dead Midseason Finale Review   The Haves and The Have Nots

When The Walking Dead first introduces the audience to Tyreese (Chad Coleman), we see a man who is forced to make a very difficult decision in a split second. Faced with the prospect of a group member who has been bitten, Tyreese chooses to keep her among the living, so that when the time comes, his people will be safe, and her loved ones are better prepared to deal with the woman’s impending, horrific and inevitable transformation.

It’s a decision that’s been made on this program many times before, but one that hasn’t been seen so much during the first half of season 3. It’s a difficult decision because it prolongs the suffering of the afflicted, but still manages to show compassion in a world seemingly devoid of the stuff. It is a decision that would have been made by the Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) of old.

And with that, a whole new group of characters are introduced to The Walking Dead just before it shuffles off for a brief hiatus. This could be troublesome for the series; more people means more opinions, which means more arguing – something that’s previously ground the plot to halt. But thankfully, ‘Made to Suffer’ isn’t looking to put the audience through that again. This is a tight, well-paced episode that manages to keep the primary focus of the season in its sights for the duration of the hour.

The group in question is small and capable, but clearly running on fumes by the time they reach the prison – entering what they believe to be something of a safe haven. By the time Carl (Chandler Riggs) stumbles upon the group battling a group of walkers, they look as if they might be overrun. It’s another split-second decision, but this time Carl, who has seen his father take a completely different route when it comes to strangers in his territory, is the one to make it.

Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead Made to Suffer The Walking Dead Midseason Finale Review   The Haves and The Have Nots

Both incidents provide a little insight into the change that’s occurred in Rick since the tumultuous end of season 2. Time has hardened him in a way that has seemingly not yet touched Tyreese, and has surprisingly not completely reached his son, who, moments before stumbling upon the gatecrashers, was steeling himself and Beth (Emily Kinney) for the likelihood that the party headed to Woodbury would not be heard from again. Carl is smart enough to keep the strangers at a safe distance, but still, he reacted with compassion in a moment that experience suggests should have gone another way. It’s an emotion that’s led Rick into territory so dangerous, he’s all but abandoned the notion of the needs of others. And considering the suffering the former lawman has gone through these first eight episodes, the fact that he’s even straying from the prison to help those who may already be dead is something of a revelation.

One would like to thing that the party Rick leads to Woodbury in search of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is based on compassion, that it shows the level of commitment Rick has to those who put their trust in him – but there’s something about Rick this season that suggests he’s headed to Woodbury to put the hurt on whoever took what’s his. Make no mistake about it: Glenn and Maggie are his people.

So now, we essentially have Rick’s two sides presented by wildly different characters. On one hand there is Tyreese, who is (for now, anyway) compassionate, intelligent and, most importantly, level headed – choosing to see temporary imprisonment as a welcome respite from the outside world, rather than waste his breath yelling at a kid in a sheriff’s hat. On the other hand, there’s the Governor (David Morrissey), who is so hell-bent on protecting what’s his, he’ll send a small platoon of men to wipe out any interlopers – even if they’re holed-up miles away in a prison thought to be overrun with the undead. Perhaps when Rick returns, Tyreese can offer him some kind of security and help to get the once-compassionate man back to a place where trusting strangers isn’t thought of as a possible death sentence.

Danai Gurira in The Walking Dead Made to Suffer The Walking Dead Midseason Finale Review   The Haves and The Have Nots

Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) find themselves on the edge of Woodbury’s walls having been led there by a stranger with little more than a sword and an attitude problem. Once again, Rick’s forced to trust an interloper, but there’s something he wants on the other end of that leap of faith that makes it worthwhile. And so, from a small, unassuming group with a lot of automatic weapons, Woodbury finds itself under attack for the first time in a long time. The citizens are rattled, and the Governor, faced with what may be a colossal failure, turns the fear his people have at being targeted for possessing what others do not to his advantage. Woodbury’s populace is given to craven madness, summarily calling for the execution of someone they know, without being presented any real evidence. Now the Governor doesn’t have to hide his true intentions for the group at the prison; his followers will practically beg him to send a hit squad to wipe them out. The people have seen what strangers are capable of, and as far as they’re concerned, there’s only one way to deal with such a threat.

In a way, Michonne (Danai Gurira) has more in common with the Governor and the people of Woodbury than she’d like to admit. Going out of her way to sneak into Phillip’s apartment and wait for him, only to wind up skewering his zombie-daughter and half-blinding him with a shard of glass, is not the decision of a sane person – but rather one fueled by fear, anger and a thirst for vengeance.

Which is something The Walking Dead fans will be if Daryl doesn’t make it through the impromptu reunion with his brother Merle (Michael Rooker). At any rate, after this action-packed midseason finale, we’ll have to wait until February to find out what fate awaits the Dixon brothers.

Laurie Holden in The Walking Dead Made to Suffer The Walking Dead Midseason Finale Review   The Haves and The Have Nots

Various other items:

  • Carol (Melissa McBride) telling Axel (Lew Temple) that now is not the time to be thinking about repopulating the earth was a nice way to broach the subject, considering how gross and inappropriate Axel was being.
  • Right now, Axel seems like a bit of (perverted) comic relief – which makes one wonder if the character will stay close to his comic book roots or deviate drastically.
  • Farewell, Oscar.
  • That was awfully cool of a bearded Jon Bernthal to make a hallucinatory appearance in the episode.

The Walking Dead will return in February. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. Ok epi with some tense moments, but the ending was no kickass enough. I can wait for February.

  2. I actually like how they are fleshing out the Governor character. In the comics, he was just crazy… here, they show that he’s gone through loss to make him what he is (which isn’t far off from Rick) and now, he going to go off the deep end and become the Governor us comic readers know.

    I enjoy how they are telling the story on the show, it’s like a Walking Dead alternate universe where some of the characters and story is similar, but there are different ways to go. Daryl is one of my favorite characters and he’s not even in the comics.

    At first I was irritated by how they don’t follow the comics (like the whole Atlanta CDC storyline was ridiculous to me) but I’ve grown to appreciate the nuances it adds (and keeps me from knowing the exact outcome).

  3. I forgot my props and slops:

    Prop: Carl is pretty good with the silenced pistol… better than Andrea… which brings me to…

    Slop: How can Andrea miss any of her shots? It’s not like the smoke screen only acts one way where Rick and crew can shoot everyone but everyone else can’t shoot them.

    • That’s called “TV Magic”. Employed whenever the writers can’t come up with something better. Just like the old knock to the head they gave that guy. Need him quite for a little while? Just knock him in the head. Never mind you probably just gave him brain damage. Might as well kill him.

      • Like the old time movies where someone would get knocked over the head then later get up, rub their head a little and it was all better. Never needed medical attention…Then go out and shoot your six shooter you loaded that morning….Shoot it all day long without ever having to reload it…..Hollywood magic

  4. I’m a huge fan of this show, but I felt empty after this episode. Alot unnecessary stuff going on.

    I thought the shootout was very cheezball. They have these automatic weapons and they can’t even kill anyone, but they have amazing accuracy while shooting the walkers with a regular gun. LAME.

    I guess I’m just getting tires of the characters and the lame fighting scenes with the walkers.


  5. Loved It…AMC rocks!! It was soo good to see Shane if just for a minute he looks HOT!! Michone did her thang…kill that living dead child plzzzz…and daryl and merle unite and take them out plzzz…Andrea is still in a dream state following the Governor’s orders but now he is full blown crazy and Rick kicked butt…not crazy about the new guy yet…take one out so another one comes in…Axel is a mischief…watching him. The governor healed up pretty quickly from the puncture wound to the eye…You wanted your brother now you got em…Loved It!! I never read the comics but koodoos to the writers of them because this show is the sheesh. #1fan

  6. Good episode, the focus of human on human violence this season plays into the whole fear the living ad campaign. The one thing that is bugging me is how Andrea has become the insufferable female replacement for Lori. Seriously why is this character so weak and flighty ?

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They spoiled the cliffhanger in the preview for the next season. A certain someone is running in the woods….

    • Hehe and the cloud of white smoke in the arena… Guess Rick used their last smoke bomb to save them…

  8. Axel ew. Hallucination Shane loved (he looked like wolverine, or was that just me?), the gun fight was okay and why did it have to be Daryl? also, i wanted to slap andrea for not being like “WTF? are those zombie heads?” and the same to Michonne, how hard would it have been to tell andrea “the governor is kidnapping people and killing them, also i’m here with other survivors here to save them.” I can not wait till Feb.

  9. Loved the episode. It wasn’t perfect by any means but the good WAY outpaced the bad.

    As should always been understood, this was never a show about humans vs zombies, but humans vs humans with a zombie backdrop. The zombies are there to add flavor to the show.

    So we will now have not one but TWO groups wanting to take out Rick and his band of merry people.

    I have to say though the biggest twist for me was the Governor outing Merle and bringing out his bro Daryl for a reunion. I thought for sure Andrea was going to be fed to the wolves but I guess the Governor is too attached to her.

    • I agree. Take Days of Our Lives, put it in to an apocalyptic setting, sprinkle some zombies in there an poof! You’ve got the Walking Dead. It’s just further proof that everything goes better with zombies! Even the most lame ass, pointless storyline every told, such as The Walking Dead!

  10. did they really have to kill Oscar? i mean come on, only one black guy is allowed to be affiliated with Rick’s group?

    • He was the biggest person there…..Wider and taller….A much easier target then the skinny people he was helping across the fence…..On the other hand with all the automatic fire aimed their way they all should have been hit

  11. I’m getting really tired of all this racial whining… how many white trash scum bags have died? You don’t hear people coming on here complaining about how the Dixon brothers are an offensive stereotype. I don’t hear any Asian people complaining that there is only one Glenn. GET OVER IT ALREADY. Oscar was a plot device… his soul purpose was to aid the group for a few episodes and give the Governor hard evidence to show the towns people that there is dangerous convicts at the prison. I didn’t hear many Mexicans complaining about Rick’s machete head kill… just stop it already. God forbid they have more black cast members… they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t cause the more members means more possible deaths. Could you imagine the backlash they’d deal with if they had too choose to kill too many of them? There is no race in the zombie Apocalypse… only the living and the living dead.

    • What about the children? They keep killing the children!

      No little people, no GLBTs (even though Axel though Carol was one because of her haircut)… it’s NOT FAIR… it’s zombieism!

      • I was just thinking he same thing….no gays, no handicap until the prison….No native Americans….And since they’re wondering in the south east there should be some Irish descendants….where’s that apocalyptic Rainbow Coalition?

        • Well, the lack of handicap makes sense in such an enviroment. I have to wear hard contacts due to an astigmatism. Glasses do not fix it, so in a ZA, I would become one of the walkers at some point, would just be too blind to notice danger at some point.

      • There are the two gay guys in the comics, but they won’t come until season 4-6 if at all. Just be patient, everything will be represented I’m sure.


    • Hate to admit it foshizle but Travis has a point and as an African American fan of the Walking Dead I have to say it has one of the most racially diverse cast I’ve seen on tv,so your argument does’nt really hold up at all in my opinion.

    • Your argument is not only flawed, but its baseless. The reason people are complaining and not “whining” is because there is a serious problem. Sure white scumbags die all the time, but so does the ONLY black male, main character or not. Asians arent complainfg because Glenn is still alive genius !!!!! Everyone sees this giant flaw, just because you bury your head doent make this issue non existant. If color doesnt exist, then explain this…t dog & Jacqui…..Jacqui dies……5 inmates show up, 3 blk, 1 latin, 1 white…., everyone dies except the white guy Axel and Oscar. EVERYONE knew the min Oscar became part of the group, t dog was dead, and then, he died, yet Axel is alive. Tyreese shows up, everyone again forsaw Oscar dying since a new black man showed up. what happened ? Oscar died. Now ask yourself, how is color not a factor when the only rotating position is that of the black male lead, which has a limit of 1. Thats normal for everyday tv in a normal city, but not in a city where more than half of the population is black ? would be like them creating a show in New mexico, but having 1 latin cast member at a time.

      So, NO, no one is going to just “get over it”, no one has a master here, so we dont have to get over anything child. The dixon brothers, Meryle uses the N word, and your talking about HIM being offensive to white stereotypes !?!. dont SPEAK about stereotypes. It amazes me how some people view “equality”, its absolutely pathetic.

  12. The woman’s impending, horrific and inevitable transformation.

  13. I have never seen the word “interloper” used so much as it is within these Boardwalk and Walking Dead reviews.

  14. I thought this season has been pretty incredible so far. I’m still hoping for a slower pace with more suspense, but I’m thinking that will be season 4 (post-prison), but we will have to wait and see.