This just might have been one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead of this entire season. From top to bottom, front to back, in all aspects, this was probably the best constructed episode since the first season, maybe the best since the pilot itself. Part of this is the return of a long-awaited character, and part of this is simply because the show turns back in on itself and revisits the locations from the original pilot. What could easily be a bad idea - reminding us of the show at its highest point - turns out to be one of the better ideas The Walking Dead has come up with during its run.
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Low on guns, low on ammo, low on food, and low on ideas, Rick decided to go on a supply run and thought that it might be nice to pay a visit to his old home town, where there's a gun locker with his name on it. However, revisiting the olden days is rarely a good idea, and when significant blocks of downtown have been turned into barricades, booby traps, and various other manglers with spray-painted words of warning on them, all of which imply bad things for those too stupid to turn back, well... Rick has to proceed anyway, while Carl and Michonne get a little bonding time.
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With Glen Mazzara stepping down at the end of the season, I've been worried about the show. Mazzara has nearly turned the show completely around from a very disappointing second season (and started the turn near the end of season two when he took on the role officially), and has done some great work with plotting and structure as the show runner. However, his replacement is going to be Scott Gimple, the guy who wrote tonight's brilliant episode. Given the way Gimple effectively split up the already-small group, gave all four characters plenty of time to breathe, and resisted the urge to do any check-ins back at the prison or Woodbury, it gives me hope that the show's future might be more focused.
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