“The Walking Dead” Season 5, Episode 9 Is “Gore-ious”

Tyler Jungbauer, Reporter


Will they make it to Washington, D.C., or will they succumb to the jaws of the undead?

This is the question continuously asked during the continuation of The Walking Dead, season 5, episode 9—the newest adjunct to a show that has lasted five years and surely will at least another two or three.  The ninth episode having aired this previous Sunday evening at 7:00 PM, viewers are most definitely wondering what will become of the remaining band of weaning survivors following Rick Grimes, the protagonist of the series, who is beginning to fall into the doubt and mindlessness that your average post-apocalyptic hero experiences.

For those not familiar with the series, The Walking Dead is a TV adaptation of writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore’s comic book series, produced under the same name and directed by Greg Nicotero.  It follows the previously-mentioned Rick Grimes, once a sheriff’s deputy from Kentucky who manages to pick up growing numbers of other survivors, alongside of his wife and son, who thereby fall into multiple calamities as time dwindles.  As seasons pass, characters are introduced as well as killed off, the plot line shifts from fairly simple to more and more complex, sub-plots and new villains aside from your average zombie are included more pervasively, and backstories are incorporated to help lengthen and clarify the story itself.

This season finds Rick and his fellow survivors escaping from an old train station known by the name of “Terminus” (owned by rather inhospitable people with certain unmentionable secrets, who hide behind both a literal and figurative façade), encountering the questionable “authorities” of a lost world, as well as a number of other things sprinkled here or there (like the kidnapping of a minor character, other minor characters revealing that they may not be whom they portray themselves as, and even old rusty firetrucks), eventually ending in the group meeting a man by the name of “Noah.” (Because of the various literary qualities of the show, this very well may be an allusion to the Bible, just as the opening scene of this ninth episode is the still-image of a framed picture of a cabin, blood dribbling onto its frame until the pictured cabin is drowned out in red as the opening credits end.)  It is because of Noah that various events—like old homes refound by their previous inhabitants amid neighborhoods scattered with corpses (possibly of their family), people once more separated because of zombies, and strange death-driven epiphanies—occur during the newest ninth episode of the show, following the climactic ending of the mid-season finale this previous fall.  (The reader can watch this episode for his or herself to learn of the further details of the aforementioned events.  Just see the last line below.)

Despite the violent, “gore-ific,” gut-wrenching qualities of the show that all horror revolves around (and not always the good kind, either), The Walking Dead is capable of balancing true horror and this additional cruor that adds to the show’s “personality.” The characters are well-developed, the story lines (for the most part) are believable, and the special effects are beyond amazing.  This newest ninth addition to the fifth season does not fall any shorter of these expectations, either, owning up to them all—if not bypassing them. (Including a rather terrifying scene with a closed door; a moment similar to the Room 217–scene in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and just as frightening, too.)

However, there are also aspects of the show that deflate its attention-drawing storyline.  One of these aspects is the occasional repetitiveness that The Walking Dead seems to draw operation from: survivors meet new companions along the road, a “safe” hideout is located, the main characters manage to find some peace and quiet—then, zombies.  Cue death and characters you like being peeled away from the story, replaced with new ones, as the old ones—like Rick, or his son, Carl—persist.  Thankfully, though, this beginning episode of the second half of the fifth season is far from clichéd, rebooting the entire show for open possibility—equipped with an excellent title if nothing else: “It’s Better Now.” (Which, in accordance to the latter passage about the name Noah, is another excellent example of the show’s literary aspects that help define its themes—dark as they are.)

Or, to discuss another cliché that the show tends to draw upon at times, the show can become almost unbelievable during other sections of time.  There are certain occurrences where a “glitch” in the plot may allow somebody to happen to draw a knife or find a revolver by chance, or a character who should undoubtedly die because of the circumstances does not.  During one scene of this episode, this may be the case, depending on opinion, when a main character is (of course) hindered by a zombie and forced to take drastic choices to defeat it—a scene that is rather drawn out, making it seem slightly unrealistic and defeating its true purpose.

But, aside from this, the show is able to maintain a pulse-speeding, nerve-grappling, relentless terror that will grip the viewer like a glove and not let up until the end credits appear—when the viewer will only want more.  This episode is no different, revving up like a starting engine and prepared to make the viewer run for his or her life as the terror just mounts and mounts.

As Tyreese—a fellow survivor to Rick—says, the viewer will be “Paying the high price for living” as he or she watches the undead undress the suits of flesh the characters wear, especially during this particular inclusion of The Walking Dead.

You can watch this season and others of The Walking Dead on AMC or on their website.