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The Walking Dead #402 - Infected

3

A new threat is spreading and more and more zombies are pressing against the fence. Rick and everyone else just can't catch a break, can they?

*WARNING! Contains spoilers!*

As implied by the title, "Infected" dives right into the mystery presented in last week's cliffhanger. The group is able to figure out what this new threat does -- and explains so in delightfully graphic detail -- but the how will clearly serve as one of this season's biggest storylines and, as of right now, is a fairly interesting mystery.

For a moment, I was concerned this season would spend too much time on farmer Rick and really stretch out his new path. Thankfully, that wasn't the case and we get just enough spotlight on the character and his son before matters return back to "normal." His actions and his treatment of Carl are totally understandable given what went down in the previous season, but to drag that out another episode or so would have become really tiresome. Instead, we're treated to just the right amount of drama and it makes the conclusion feel organic and satisfying instead of overdue.

For a lack of better words, the handling of Michonne was a double-edged sword here. What happens to her outside seemed to go against everything we've seen from her. She's been a badass time and time again and endured some horrific scenarios. Yet here her actions are -- just like she said -- really, really stupid. We all slip up from time to time, but seeing her in trouble there didn't rub me the right way. It definitely seemed like a scenario she would have handled better. On the flip side, the result produces the potential for some more character depth and that's always appreciated. We've seen her as the strong and relatively silent type for so long, so having her more emotionally open is welcome.

This was an incredibly graphic episode. From the horror cliche of having blood trails to all kinds of kills (seriously, there's stomping, stabbing, throat bites, etc.), the gore was most certainly not on short supply this time around. It was clear not every new character from last season's cliffhanger would be treated to some development and, at this pace, it seems like 95% of them are just there to serve as fodder. Don't get me wrong, chaos is always entertaining, but it's odd feeling more compelled by a pig's death than an actual person's.

Just like the premiere, "Infected" also teases a brand new mystery. Seeing as this issue went full speed ahead with last week's tease, I can only imagine next week will provide even more hints as well. With all that's going on, having an additional internal problem could develop into a potentially solid element. Not to mention it's also subject to some great discussions an debate. Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be some character we barely even know.

Man, Tyreese is such a great character in Robert Kirkman's comic. Here? Not so much. Maybe the latest developments will allow him to take center stage, but at the moment, there's just nothing engrossing about the scenes focused around him. Just like the last episode's death in the store, there was no real pull with this one despite them clearly trying to accomplish otherwise with that early scene. If anything, this now deceased character's existence was just to further the mystery and hopefully turn Tyreese into a character worth watching.

On one hand, it's clear Carol's focus on preparing kids for this world is driven from what occurred with Sophia. It's nice to see that course of events have a positive impact on her instead of dragging her down. But on the other hand, it felt like the scenes with her were trying too hard to pull on my heartstrings and the emotional connection just wasn't there. These instances left me waiting for the next scene instead of making feel engrossed in the drama. It's not like I'm cold-hearted, either -- Morgan's sniper scene and Merle's end had the feels on overdrive.

"Infected" amuses with an excessive amount of violence and gives some nice character driven moments to Michonne, Carol and Rick. However, a fair amount of the drama and emotional aspects weren't gripping and the horror tropes didn't have me on the edge of my seat. Overall, it was a mixed episode yet still pretty enjoyable. Here's to hoping Michonne and Tyreese steal our attention in the coming episodes!

Viners, what did you think of "Infected?" Speak your mind below!