I think we can all agree that this week's episode of Walking Dead was a triumph. How can television's best post-apocalyptic adventure build on that fantastic hour of television — and avoid sliding back into second-season territory?
There are just four episodes left to this season, and so much we're hoping to see. Here are six things from the Walking Dead comic that we'd like to see the show use, to end its season with a bang. Warning: comics spoilers and possible TV spoilers ahead...
1) A More Badass Andrea
Lately, this character is becoming TWD's answer to King Joffrey — the character everybody wants to see die in the bloodiest manner possible. We cannot stand to listen to one more minute of this character's excuse-making prattle. But we'd like to see more of the badass bitch from the comics. Remember her? The woman that described her shooting skills as insanely good? Laurie Holden certainly has great knife skills, and it's fun to watch her disassemble a Walker in front of the innocents of Woodbury. So why not more of that? Let's bring back Andrea the badass and spend time with that person, not the person who stands naked in front of a window at all hours of the day.
2) More Morgans
Yes. This. This is the crazy we want. No more chasing waify white dresses in the grass, Rick. This is how you play crazy. Morgan doesn't want to be saved, he doesn't want to be around other people. He's ashamed and angry that the "weak" (himself) are all that's left in this horrible new world. So he's going to do the only thing he can: Kill everything in his path. Clear the world. Let's meet more people that are actually scary and yet have sympathetic emotional responses to the end of the world. Walking Dead prides itself on its gritty realism in this fantasy world, so there should be a whole lotta mental Morgans running around, and we want to meet them all. Where's Dr. Eugene Porter at?
3) Show the Point of the Prison
In the comics, the prison is a safe haven. It takes some time to secure and even more time to settle in, but the slow transformation of the prison from creepy disciplinary center to home/fortress was (dare I say it) fun. It was pretty riveting to watch the clever group of survivors utilize whatever they had to turn their new digs into a pretty killer post-apocalyptic pad. Bodies were cleaned (and burned) out of a gym area, some folks made clothes out of the prison jumpsuits, they found a library, people slowly started to feel comfortable in their cells, and Hershel even planted crops in the yard! But right now on television, the prison looks like a piss-smelling hell hole that isn't even remotely safe. Walkers are still roaming parts of the "tombs," and they never really plugged up the problems from the last leak. Why do the survivors want to defend this place? Why does the audience care if Rick's people lose it? Right now it looks like a flimsy bit of fencing that can't even defend its inhabitants from one man with a gun. We want to spend time in the prison, do the whole post-apocalypse dinner night where people let their guard down for a second and you see that maybe this place is worth the fight. That's probably not going to happen right away, because the Walking Dead has four more episodes of dragging out this final battle to do, but it seems like the series is hinting at humanizing this nightmare space. The singing helped, let's do more of that.
4) More Slow Decline of Humanity
How brilliant was the hitchhiker bit? It's easy to recreate the zombie gladiator ring, and sexy. Who doesn't want to watch an episode where humans duke it out surrounded by walkers for sport? That's an easy sell. But it's also so ridiculously Mad Max and far-fetched, it doesn't seem real. Ignoring the backpacker is real; hell, some people do it every day on the train. This was a chill-inducing little scene that not only demonstrated Rick, Carl and Michonne's slow slip away from basic human kindness into the brutal mindset of the kill-or-be-killed world. Ignoring this hitcher is the smart thing to do, but it gets harder every time he pops up, until eventually he's dead. And then they steal his backpack for supplies. Notice they didn't steal his backpack while he was still alive (something they easily could have done). This was the first time we really got to see how much this world has changed the personal relationships with strangers, without making it a panic-filled situation. This was just a guy on the side of the road — he wasn't being chased by walkers or other humans, so this was just the slow decline into self-preservation. We'd love to see more decisions just like this, without looking down the barrel of a gun. This way, when Rick and the gang hold down a local cannibal and begin to carve into them searching for their own version of justice, we may even root for them. Spare us the warning signs made out of body parts, this is way better.
5) Let Tyreese Be Tyreese
Remember how excited we all were when Chad Coleman was cast as Tyreese? That was a GREAT day. A fantastic actor getting put in a fantastic part? We did somersaults all over our living room, upon hearing the announcement. But then Tyreese showed up and was promptly locked away in some terrible "we'll deal with this later" writer's cupboard. This is Rick's bestie! This is the muscle and heart of the comic (for a time, anyway). Why hasn't Tyreese been allowed to be Tyreese? He was kicked out of the prison almost as quickly as he was locked away in it. There's mountains of drama just waiting to be uncorked from this man. Plus, he was the only person able to give Rick's tribe hope. Something we've already touched on as a severely lacking part of this group. Nobody wants to cheer on a corpse. And if Maggie is going to sit in her cell and not talk to Glenn all day (understandable, but arguably boring television) then we're kind of out of any sort of new emotional character growth to explore. Hell we've already circled the Carol-and-Daryl dance 1,000 times over. And Merle and Daryl had their showdown in the woods. Rick has been (hopefully) shocked out of his catatonic state by Morgan... we need something!
6) Unleash the Governor
Are you afraid of the Governor? I mean, really? Merle was the one who mercilessly beat the ever-loving piss out of Glenn. Merle was the one who seemed to get off on it. So far the only truly disturbing stuff the Governor has done is shoot a bunch of defenseless men, stare at some heads in an aquarium, and hover over a naked Maggie. The sexual assault was by far and away the most terrifying, and the heads probably would have been pretty creepy, had Andrea not shrugged it off and hopped back into bed with "Phillip." David Morrissey is an amazing actor — so lets let him off the leash! The comic book Governor is infinitely more intimidating, and not just because he cuts off Rick's hand. But let's not forget the guy CUTS OFF RICK'S HAND very early into their first meeting, clearly indicating he was mental — so let's do it. Right now we're more afraid that Rick will spend the rest of the season chasing Ghost Lori than of anything the Governor could inflict. Oooh, he shot that convict no one was emotionally attached to in the head from yards away, gasp! Who cares? Kill or maim someone who matters, or step back and let a real villain in.