Posted by David on October 17th, 2011
Sadly, Breaking Bad‘s finale was last week, and while I maintain that it was the single finest hour of television ever broadcast, it has left a gaping meth-shaped hole in my Sunday evening
addiction routine. Fortunately, AMC has crammed a horde of zombies into that meth hole, and I didn’t even have to dole out handjobs in a truck stop bathroom to get it!
Keeping spoilers to a minimum, the season premiere dives directly into what The Walking Dead does best, which is make you want to crap your pants with tension as very little actually happens. Straight away, our survivors are on the road again, and need to scavenge from a cluster of cars for gas and more supplies. This leads to a tense standoff when a horde of Walkers wander through the area, leaving the group hiding beneath cars as the corpses shuffle by. Add that to a startling and amazingly violent confrontation that ends with Andrea shanking a zombie repeatedly. In the eye. With a screwdriver.
As early as Season One Episode One, The Walking Dead got it right. Rick awakens to this fresh hell of a world and winds up caught in a pitch-black hospital stairwell, with only a book of matches to light his way. I can’t recall ever feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin due to cinematic tension more than each time a match extinguished, plunging Rick back into darkness, and me into needing a clean pair of shorts. Naturally, this was all with the existing knowledge that nothing could happen to Rick, but I’ll be goddamned if I wasn’t concerned for his safety and my own sanity when he finally cracked the door of the exit to reveal piles of rotting corpses and abandoned military vehicles. This kind of tension is addictive, and the slow burn that they’ve managed to achieve with punctuations of good ol’ fashioned zombified ultra-violence has me fiending for more every week.
Unlike Breaking Bad, though, I’m afraid to get too addicted to The Walking Dead. Frank Darabont, the man who brought the comic to television, was ousted as show-runner roughly halfway through Season Two’s production, and I’m worried that suddenly this pure, uncut, Columbian-grade tension I’ve come to love will be watered down with cheap scares.
Whatever the case, we’ve got at least a half season of solid, zombie-infested greatness to go, and hopefully the moving parts that are left intact are enough to keep The Walking Dead‘s quality sustained. If not, we’ll be the first ones to jump on the lazy reporting bandwagon and pepper an entire article with crappy zombie puns.