The Walking Dead is no stranger to peaks and valleys when it comes to quality. Through 10 seasons, maintaining quality of its best moments has proved to be impossible. The majority of the series has been satisfying for viewers but some of those low points have turned audiences off of the long-running zombie drama. Unfortunately for those fans who jumped ship during the All Out War story which followed the slaughter of Glenn, the series is hitting aa peak right now as Season 10 is only building on the tremendous work set in place by a character-driven Season 9.
One of the biggest issues to plague The Walking Dead throughout its run has been its pacing. In the early days, the Governor storyline was one of the most interesting plots proposed to viewers as a clear cut villain emerged for the first time since Shane lost his mind. The story ended up being drawn out across a couple of seasons, often delivering hit episodes along the way, but bogging down the pace in favor of preserving the storyline and characters. This same drawn out feeling would be especially strong in the each of the first halves of Season 7 and Season 8. Now, new showrunner Angela Kang seems to have her finger on the pulse of pacing, as Rick's farewell run was only follow by interesting beats surrounding a conflict with the Whisperers.
Each episode seems to serve a purpose in moving the narrative forward and, for the most part, that narrative includes many of the main characters each week. Despite only having Danai Gurira on set for less than half of Season 10's production, the fan-favorite Michonne's presence being sparsely shared across a few episodes throughout the season has not left any tremendous negative impact on the episodes where she is absent. Instead, Samantha Morton, Ross Marquand, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are being given opportunities which none are squandering. Growth of characters has been at the forefront of the most recent seasons and The Walking Dead is benefiting from it
As the characters are growing, their relationships are also becoming more interesting. For better or worse, the fans are tearing each other up online in regards to potential romances between characters such as Carol, Daryl, Connie, and Ezekiel -- a sign of investment from those dedicated to the series. Then, there's the dynamic between Aaron and Negan, one which doesn't have much of a shared history on screen together but is rooted in the effects each has had on the other despite not spending time together. Marquand and Morgan have together crafted some of the most compelling moments and no characters had to die to do so.
Of course, as the pace keeps the series moving, the tensions are rising while Morton's Whisperer leader Alpha looms in the background. Not having any overbearing screen time, the audiences of constantly reminded of Alpha's through subtle cuts to her group and camp, each of which proves that this villainous group and their barbaric ways make for interesting, fresh stories. Human to human conflict feels different and unique this time around, possibly due to the animalistic nature of these villains.
The character threads are all very interesting. Whether it's Daryl and Carol's shared history and the questions of whether or not they will continue to spend time together or it's the newcomers like Magna and Yumiko having issues of their own, Kang and the writers have struck a tremendous balance across the board. Meanwhile, Greg Nicotero and his team seem to be having as much fun as ever with the scares and gags. The series has gone back its roots within the horror genre, often calling for violent moments and moments of tension built by the imagination and environment.
One of the smaller moments which specifically stands out came in Sunday night's Episode 10x04. The show's former villain continued this path of redemption the series is carefully crafting when he rescued former Whisperer Lydia from a brutal attack within the walls of the Alexandria community. After accidentally killing one of the attackers, Negan was on the hot seat as a prisoner in the community, and a truly interesting and engaging story came out of it.
Ultimately, for those who have been with The Walking Dead for this long, it just feels good to say the The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television again. By now, it's safe to say, too. It's no struck of luck or quick string of episodes. Four episodes have aired and I've already seen the the fifth. Kang's run hasn't come with any total duds. As Fear the Walking Dead trends in the wrong direction and a third series gets ready to launch, The Walking Dead is hitting another peak to justify the brand's existence this many years deep.0comments
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.