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'Walking Dead' coming back to life in new season?

By Maurilio Amorim
On February 16, 2014

"The Walking Dead" has been somewhat inconsistent in its last two seasons. Its overall quality has declined, and most episodes are unnecessary. Character development has been inconsistent. In the first half of the fourth season, we saw a few great episodes with poorly written ones in between. It was a strange rollercoaster ride of quality, but it built up to an unforgettable and intense climax that paid off.
Based on the mid-season premiere, it is clear this trend will continue. The episode did not even attempt to answer all the questions we were left with in the aftermath of last season's epic firefight. Instead we see the journey of three characters afterwards trying to survive. While Michone is on an emotional journey, Rick and Carl are stuck in an annoying father-son conflict. Carl wants to be a man, but Rick continues to treat him like a child. The problem is, Rick is severely wounded and Carl needs to take care of them.
The conflict makes sense, and I suppose it is as well written as it can be, but Carl was poorly cast four seasons ago. As much as I can understand his character and the struggle it must be to come of age in the wake of the apocalypse, the actor's presence comes off like a whiny girl on MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" whose parents bought her the wrong luxury car. It's clear from the producer's 20-year plan for the show that it will inevitably end with Carl taking over his father's leadership roles, but I truly believe the actor to be the reason I, and the fan base as a whole, cannot stand him.
Although its pace set up another slow season intent on filling a ridiculous and unnecessary amount of episodes, the mid-season premiere was certainly a better episode. I cannot criticize the writing or development, as it is some of the best we have seen in a while, but the actor playing Carl is really what brings the whole episode down from great to just good. I suppose eventually I will have to accept him and his character, and perhaps as he gets older and the character matures, my feelings will change. It's too early to tell if this season will continue on the high notes it's been hitting or if it will go downhill like last season, but I suppose time will tell. As far as I'm concerned for now, "The Walking Dead" is somewhat coming back to the life it once had.

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