Posted by: pop-break | November 4, 2012

Reviewing the Dead: “Killer Within”

luke kalamar is trying to find his jaw…

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Plot: In a matter of seconds, Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group is thrown down a path of disarray that changes their lives. The security of the Prison is compromised from within and the entire group separates with each team having their own problems. Meanwhile, Andrea (Laurie Holden) provides some information to Merle (Michael Rooker) that might help him find his brother. Michonne (Danai Gurira) is getting restless as well and wants to leave Woodbury, to the displeasure of both Andrea and The Governor (David Morrissey).

I’m honestly still trying to pick my jaw up following this episode. The events that took place in “Killer Within” make this one of the most intense episodes of the entire series. I’m not talking about intense action either. Yes, tension never died down from start to finish, which was amazing, but that’s not what made this episode. What makes this episode stand out are what happened near the end, and the characters that were lost.

Before this episode aired, it became public knowledge that two characters would bite the dust. My mind began reeling about who these characters would be once I heard this news. Like any good fan, I looked at certain characters and made my own predictions based on how they were portrayed recently and how important I viewed them to the story. I was reasonably convinced my predictions were spot on. Well, turns out I was way off, and I’m surprisingly disappointed with one of the actual choices: T-Dog (IronE Singleton).

My frustration with this decision stems from the fact that T-Dog actually started to get some character as of late. A running joke throughout the series is how useless T-Dog has been within the group. He only had one or two lines per episode, at best, and was never really used for anything. His past was never explored and he never stood out as a worthwhile character. This changed during this season as he started to do more within the group. He became a reliable zombie killer for Rick and was much more vocal. “Killer Within” even had T-Dog stand up to Rick regarding his actions toward the convicts. It showed T-Dog as being that one, genuinely good-natured character that hasn’t let this new world change him. I loved this new depth and was looking forward to learning even more about him. To have him killed in this episode made this focus feel like a tease and a bit worthless. I can’t help but feel that he only received more attention so the viewer would care more about his death. Season 3 T-Dog was great, and I’m actually upset that he was thrown away so quickly.

The real stand out moment of this episode was the ending. It was easily the most emotional, and also messed up, of the entire series. The Walking Dead as a whole is known for pushing boundaries, but this goes to a whole new level. I pegged the death of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a type of Season or Mid-Season Finale type of deal, but I can see the benefits of it happening this early too. Now this season can have a focus on the collapsing of Rick’s mental state and the sudden psychological growth of Carl (Chandler Riggs). It’s definitely not something I saw coming so soon, but I’m not against it happening now. Plus, if this happened in the fourth episode, can you imagine how INSANE the rest of the season must be? Fans complained how nothing happened in Season 2. Now, everything is happening at a rapid pace with Season 3, and it’s amazing.

There wasn’t much focus on Woodbury with this episode, but that makes sense too. It was a lot like the season premiere with most of the viewer attention being on the Prison and some side focus on Michonne and Andrea. I still have some issue with the apparent rift between Michonne and Andrea, but I didn’t expect that to be fixed so soon. Merle’s desire to search for Daryl (Norman Reedus) feels perfectly natural too. There is a solid chance his search will lead him to the Prison, which will obviously lead to the fateful meeting of Rick and The Governor. Everyone knows this meeting will happen, but how it does is still a mystery. Merle wanting to know about his brother opens that door wide open.

“Killer Within” is easily one of the most memorable of the entire series. I expect a lot of fans will talk about this episode for quite some time. It definitely raised the bar for the remainder of the season and I look forward to seeing how the writers will top what happened. Considering how great this season has been so far, I am confident the following episodes will live up to their now even higher expectations.

Rating: 9.5/10

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