The Walking Dead: 608 “Start to Finish” Review
Reviewed by Owen Bush.
The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead was sure to land feet-first into a squelching agicmagmmirage of action, dread and tension after the chaotic conclusion the previous episode left us dwindling-our-thumbs in anticipation for resolution. Glenn brutally back in a (not so) shocking return, stranded away from his bad-ass beloved with only miserably intriguing Enid to help. It seemed things were destined for failure as Alexandria welcomed its arms to jaws ready for a feast, yes, it’s finally time to put that festering herd to exciting use. Whilst not the best mid-season finale we’ve had, and feeling like part of a much bigger conundrum, finally we some good-old adventurous thrills, it’s not perfect, and certainly not ambitious, but it seems as if TWD is beginning rekindle the spark we began with in Season 6. Let’s start a fire now.
An unusual perspective this episode, especially shrouded in such a spectacle, but we got a deeper, more complex look at Sam – and how, like many of the children on this show (naturally considering they’re growing up in a horror story), he’s not the most sane of all. Now, I don’t mean this in a negative way, because as just mentioned, any child or teenager for that matter, will struggle growing up anyway in the crazy mess society is now, add a few million zombies, eating your primary school friends, and casually, I’m sure you’re going to be a little bewildered. Whilst this has been explored, through our dear friend Lizzie (sorry, you probably had forgotten about her), Sam added a new dimension to the traumas of the realistic approach to the world as a child, and I’m sure he’s going to become a lot bigger in the plot if the end scene is anything to gauge upon.
No more fooling around, diving straight into the tears caused by deaths, exceptional enjoyment and the thrill of pretending to be a walker. Rick is back in control, for more than any episode. I think this episode highlighted his true leadership role: his lack of neglect in leaving anyone behind, his frantic ambition in making sure everyone is in safety, making the crucial, cruel and sometimes careless decisions is what electrifies his intent as a leader. Rick is the best character in TWD, and every time we see him shine, like here in Start To Finish, it pulls the whole show closer together.
It’s refreshing to see the main threat of the show, that being the Walkers – in case you thought I meant the creepy children – actually bringing a sense of terror and claustrophobia. There were moments in this episode I regathered the chills of doubt seeing the flesh-eating creatures being so personal and up-close to our friendly fighters, almost as-if it was me having to slice their throats, whilst watching in agony as I could do nothing but cover myself in dead-human insides… This episode reminded me of the close proximity of terror, and with deaths foreboding and looming around each corner, here, TWD uses death for more than a simple shock-factor.
Ahh Deanna, we all had such high hopes for your future. Yes, she was the next to be ticked off TWD’s kill list, although, it did feel like the right time, and by gosh, she went out with some true venom in her bones. Her death felt like a return to realism within TWD’s approach to killing-characters-off, Deanna has been on a journey, and with Alexandria’s walls supposedly crumbling into ashes, a new era of the group has begun, one where Rick must be the sole leader. And yes, whilst I had wished it was Jessie leaving the show, Deanna’s death was impactful and truthful to her character’s development.
Probably the biggest segment of all was that of Carol and Morgan’s brawl, whilst I know both of them have had their fair share of confrontations, it was unusual to see two characters within the same group being so personally intimidating towards each other. Although I’ve said many times of this argument of pacifism being a little repetitive and beginning to get slightly tedious, but you can’t deny this face-off was one for the history books, especially considering they both stumbled in victory, it’s an interesting plot line, albeit a little repetitive, but I’m intrigued to see where this will lead.
For me, whilst one of the better episodes of this season so far, Start to Finish did feel like half-a-story, with a muddled mess of situations that the episode posed not being managed. I get that we’ve still got another half a season, but it almost felt incomplete, ending abruptly and lacking on tying the episode’s plots and themes together. And for such a walloping bonus-scene, I just want this season to start picking up the speed a little, let’s meet Negan.
Start to Finish feels action-packed, entertaining and reliable as a mid-season finale, but the story this season still feels painfully sluggish. The never-ending teasing of better things isn’t paying off just yet, and whilst this may have been one of the slightly better episodes of the season so far, it still feels like TWD could be giving us more.