Whereas last week’s episode, Still, focussed solely on Darryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney), Alone splits its time between two separate groups of survivors. Half of the time sees Darryl and Beth again the focal point, whilst the rest of the episode catches us up with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.).
As Alone opens, we get to see a look back at some of Bob’s story, picking up with him wandering alone until he comes across Darryl and Glenn (Steven Yeun). Despite Bob having been around for a little while now, this is the first real glimpse that we’ve had at his backstory, although not too much is revealed here bar the fact that he’s killed a few walkers and that he’s killed a person at their own request. Much like last week’s episode made Beth infinitely more interesting, the same can be said about Bob this time around, and the character feels hugely refreshed as a result of the episode. That said, maybe it's just us, but something still doesn't completely sit right with the Bob character, and we fear there may be a darker side to the character that we've yet to see.
The common theme running through this episode is, as the title suggests, the idea of being alone. We find that Bob simply doesn’t want to be alone, and he’s grinning like a Cheshire cat at the fact that he now has some company in this post-prison-attack world. Whilst Bob is happy as a pig in shit, Maggie is still wanting to find Glenn, although Sasha is conflicted. When the group see a sign that encourages survivors to head to the apparent safe-haven dubbed Terminus, Maggie believes that Glenn would head there, hence she wants to do the same. Sasha is sceptical, although it appears that her main worry about heading to Terminus is that her worst fears will be confirmed upon getting there, and that’s that brother Tyreese (Chad Coleman) won’t be there, causing her to further believe that he’s dead.
Away from this trio, with Darryl starting to open up more to Beth, the pair come across a well-kept funeral home. Seemingly empty but without a single drop of dust, the two take a minute to enjoy the fruits of the well-stocked cupboards, pigging out on diet cola and peanut butter. As the two share suggestive glances, the house suddenly becomes a target for a whole bunch of walkers, catching the pair unawares. What follows is one of the most exciting walker attacks that we’ve seen in a long while, with Darryl boxed into a corner with an insurmountable amount of walkers bearing down on him.
Given that last week’s episode was purely for the sake of character development, parts of Alone, mostly attributed to Bob, are used to serve the same purpose. Whereas Still was all character development and no action, this week’s outing mixes it up a little. It’s also nice, in a show where the walker attacks have become a little played out and clichéd, for us to get to see some exciting, genuinely threatening moments from the undead/reanimated menace. As well as Darryl’s tear-up, there’s a great moment early on for the Maggie, Sasha and Bob group when they’re faced with walkers coming at them through heavy fog. As a big fan of John Carpenter and of The Fog, this definitely brought a smile to this writer’s face.
More action than last week but with some much-needed characterisation for Bob, Alone is another good episode for The Walking Dead. At this time, the show is in a tricky place. It’s positioned itself so that the once large group is now splintered into several smaller groups, meaning that these current episodes are the ones where we have to get up to speed with the survivors, although they all seem to be heading to the same place, which seems like it will play a pivotal role as Season 4 heads to its finale.
Alone leaves viewers with plenty of questions, and the preview of next week’s show promises to further amp things up on the action front. One other thing that makes The Walking Dead compelling viewing right now is that we’re surely due the death of another major character by now, right? It’s been standard practice throughout the show’s run that somebody of relative significance is offed every 3 or 4 episodes. We sense something big coming.
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