The Walking Dead Just Showed It Doesnt Need To Kill …

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I spent a great deal of reviewer capital hyping up last nights episode of The Walking Dead, Scars. While I have some people saying I went too far, the general reaction to the episode is that yes, it is one of the all-time greats. Stacked up against the top ten episodes in series history on IMDB, Scars is already coming in at around #8 with a 9.3 rating, the highest any episode has been rated there since season 5. I told you it was good.

Yesterdays episode was unique because it did not contain the shocking death of a major character to try and provoke a reaction from fans, a common tactic of The Walking Dead as a series. It was almost entirely a flashback episode, meaning that we know every major character survives because they all have in present day. Rather, it was about figuring out what happened to Michonne and Daryl to scar them both physically and psychologically.

All season long, this question has bothered me. What could the show possibly come up with to explain why Michonne is so angry and distrustful now that doesnt have to do with Ricks death? How could it be a secret between her and Daryl, as Norman Reedus said it was? How could it be that important if no one we know of died because of it?

Last nights episode answered all of those questions flawlessly. Michonne let in an injured woman to Alexandria who turned out to be one of her best friends from college. The woman was hurt and desperately needed to make it back to her community, she said, and when Michonne led a group there she found that her friend had been taking care of a huge collection of orphaned children.

Its the perfect set-up because how could you A) not trust someone you used to be best friends with and B) not feel the need to take in a collection of orphans during the apocalypse?

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Of course, there was a general sense of foreboding during all of this because we knew that something bad was going to happen, and something bad does. One night, Michonnes friend executes her plan, one that she apparently has performed many, many times before. The children rise up and kill people guarding the food and supplies, they steal everything, including some of the children of the community, and escape through the sewers.

This all culminates in an absolutely stunning sequence where Michonne and Daryl go to find the children and Jocelyn in an abandoned school (perfect), but are captured and branded. They escape, Michonne murders Jocelyn, her former friend, and then is forced to square off against teens and literal children as they both are about to go execute Judith and the other community children, and keep trying to stab at her pregnant belly.

So, Michonne kills them all. Juxtaposed against a scene in present day where Michonne is slashing through walkers also to get to Judith, Michonne kills all the murderous children to save her own. Daryl, emerging with bloody knives from the school, appears to have done the same. And thats the secret they share.

Its a powerful, stunning episode, anchored by Danai Guriras award-worthy performance. The show is really going to miss her when she leaves next year. And the episode did all of this without needing to kill anyone. And honestly, I think The Walking Deads major deaths almost always feel like they do more harm than good:

The list goes on and on. Id argue that there have only been a few, truly well-handled deaths in the series history. Sophia, Tyreese, Mika and Lizzie, and Jesus introducing the Whisperers all come to mind. But the point is usually when The Walking Dead tries to extract emotion from its fanbase with these big deaths, it often feels forced and pointless and like its doing more harm than good. This episode showed that you can have a powerful episode without needing to kill any major characters if you set it up correctly, which is exactly what we saw with Scars.

Maybe I overhyped it for you, or maybe you agree that its an all-time great. Im not changing my tune, and I truly believe its a top three episode in series history.

Follow meon Twitter,FacebookandInstagram.Read my new sci-fi thriller novelHerokiller, available now in print and online. I also wroteThe Earthborn Trilogy.

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The Walking Dead Just Showed It Doesnt Need To Kill ...

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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