In which Daryl gets shafted
THE ONE WHERE Daryl gets hurt looking for Sophia, Andrea learns how to shoot, and Glenn discovers what’s in Hershel’s barn.
VERDICT When Daryl fell off his horse and tumbled into the river, my heart immediately sank. “Oh god,” I thought, “They’re not going to spend four episodes looking for him now, are they?” Fortunately not.
Still, for all my whinging about the ongoing search-for-Sophia subplot, this week it does actually prove to be serving a purpose, by widening the philosophical chasm between Shane’s fatalism and Rick’s idealism – their argument in the woods is a very powerful two-hander.
It also allows for the return of Merle – or at least, a vision of Merle, voicing Daryl’s subconscious insecurities. It’s great to see Michael Rooker back, in whatever form. For fans of the comic, who are accustomed to see traumatised characters holding conversations with dead loved ones, it’s a device that’s a perfect fit with this universe.
Meanwhile, Dale gets some great one-liners; the opening flashback (the best yet) may be pointless, but has an impressive sense of scale (ooh, helicopters!); and the final revelation is a doozy. Even if you can’t help wondering how none of Rick’s lot heard all those zombies groaning before...
DON’T YOU HATE IT WHEN… They flash the name of the returning guest star up over the opening scene? It would have been so much more exciting if the return of Michael Rooker had been kept a surprise.
BEST LINE Maggie to Glenn: “You see 11 condoms, I see 11 minutes of my life I’m never getting back.”
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The Walking Dead airs in the UK on FX, on Friday nights at 10.00pm. Gawd bless 'em.