The Walking Dead ‘Dead or Alive Or’ Review

“Dead or alive… or some kinda shit in between.” 

The Walking Dead’s main problem, for me, has always been how easy it is to hate certain characters. Take this episode for example, and the conflict between Tara and Dwight. Tara has every right to want to kill Dwight; he shot her girlfriend in the head right in front of her! If anything, the show should’ve had a problem making the audience relate to Dwight. Maybe it’s Tara being an original character (while Dwight is a comic book favourite) or maybe it’s just because I’m reading these reactions from the right-wing, misogyny of Reddit, but the fans seem to have taken sides and Tara is out. Good thing then that she came around to supporting Dwight by the end of the episode or I think what little support she had would have completely evaporated.

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The main bulk of this episode is the Dwight/Daryl/Tara/Rosita stuff in the swamp. Still fleeing the recent destruction of Alexandria, the gang have to clear out a swamp so they can carry on outrunning the Saviours. It’s certainly The Walking Dead at it’s most paint-by-numbers but it’s still good stuff. The swamp walkers are very cool and are a nice reminder that The Walking Dead still does fantastic practical effects work. It’s a shame that Dwight had to once again go back to the Saviours to buy the trust of Tara but it looks like it might work. Austin Amelio is often overlooked on the show but his understated and powerful performance as the turncoat-saviour Dwight is brilliant. Alanna Masterson is still great as Tara, although I do find it strange at how quickly she fails to believe Dwight has swapped sides – did she forget she did the exact same thing after the fall of The Governor?

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The rest of the episode sees the unlikely team-up of Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Doc Carson no.2 (R. Keith Harris). It’s a strange storyline, one that has a resoundingly bleak and frustrating payoff, but it weirdly works. Gabriel’s faith needed to be tested a bit I reckon, and hopefully, this will make him come back even more badass. I didn’t even mind the so-called ‘butthole vision’, the technique used to show Gabriel’s increasing blindness. It communicated the point of his limited vision and also managed to look like a cluster of burst blood-vessels, just like what was happening to Gabe. Shame then that it also, unfortunately, looked like a butt hole. I’m not sure what Gabe currently being with Eugene is setting up. I’m sure Eugene will eventually have a change of heart about being on team-Negan but it probably won’t be for a few episodes (rumours are it will involve his bullet production line). How Gabe will play into it is anyone’s guess but hopefully, he won’t bite the big one…

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Another great episode of The Walking Dead this week. Nothing spectacular but a fun hour of television none-the-less. The more I see of Dwight the more I like him, although it was a shame to see him forced to go back to the Saviours. Gabriel’s arc was a bleak one too, ending in a worse place than where it began. It might leave some viewers asking ‘what was the point?’ But I think these sort of episodes are needed once in a while to show how life in the apocalypse is still completely terrible. Although next week’s Rick/Negan confrontation seems like it will mix things up a bit. I wouldn’t expect a happy outcome though…

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