The Walking Dead season 4 episode 10 review: Inmates

Review Ron Hogan 17 Feb 2014 - 07:05

Walking Dead is at its best when the characters are on the move. Here's Ron's review of Inmates...

This review contains spoilers.

4.10 Inmates

Are you ready for an episode of The Walking Dead in which we see a whole lot of completely unknown people who supposedly escaped from the prison die in horrible ways? Or to find out that they've died in horrible ways, while our major characters continue on undisturbed? If so, then do I have an episode of The Walking Dead for you! The prison is still burning, somewhere Carl is eating a giant can of pudding and whistling the theme to The Andy Griffith Show, and lots and lots of familiar faces begin straggling out of the prison and heading towards, well... that remains to be seen.

Last week's episode was focused squarely on the show's core relationship and its second-most-popular character (that'd be Michonne). This week's episode focuses on the show's only semi-functional romantic relationship (Glenn and Maggie) and its break-out star (Daryl). Much like last week's episode, the B story involving Maggie and Glenn - though not together, they're very much connected as they're looking for one another - is more satisfying than the A plot, in this case Daryl and Beth with a bit of Tyreese and his three children.

Certainly, it seems like writers Matthew Negrete and Channing Powell have a better handle on the Glenn and Maggie-related scenes, rather than the opening with Beth and Daryl. The show still doesn't know what to do with Beth, but they're pushing her on us anyway. She narrates most of the first quarter of the episode in voice-over, relentlessly hectoring Daryl to go off and search for survivors when they could really stand to, I don't know, make tracks away from the zombie-infested prison where all their friends and family might have already died. Beth's narration is apparently entries from her diary, closer to the beginning of the third season than the end of the fourth, and her hopeful nature and urge to keep on going is admirable, but I also have nothing invested in her character at all. She likes Tom Waits, but aside from that, she's like white girl T-Dog (RIP, #neverforget), but not as much fun.

Director Tricia Brock presents this episode in a pretty clear, straightforward manner, rather than cluttering things up with being too showy. Sure, there are the requisite exploding heads and a bus full of zombies who tumble out of the emergency exit like clowns out of a circus car, all of which are practically required on The Walking Dead these days. There is a lot of tension, especially when Tyreese leaves his charges behind to go and help two random guys who may or may not have been from the prison group, and there's a brief moment where I had flashbacks to one of the more “A Very Special Episode Of” story lines on M.A.S.H, but aside from those bits, Brock mostly films this episode straight, letting the actors do their thing and letting the script do the lifting. The notable exception is the back half of the episode, where we cut from Maggie to Glenn.

From the moment he wakes up at his guard post, presumably knocked unconscious during the firefight with the late Governor's people, to the end of the episode, he's the person who gets the most attention. There are several cool tight close-ups of Glenn's face, or his hand holding the assault rifle, but the coolest shot is a great shot from Glenn's point-of-view as he throws himself into a crowd of zombies and very slowly wades through the grabbing, snarling hordes. It's pretty harrowing, and the way the camera shakes within the helmet as we see exactly what Glenn would be seeing is a very effective piece of shooting (and a clever idea that the show hasn't gone to before, as far as I remember).

Robert Kirkman has promised that a lot of the danging plot threads from the prison, specifically that of the person feeding rats to zombies, would be resolved in the second half of the season, and teasing that one of the emotionally-damaged zombie-naming girls might actually take a human life on camera is a really awesome choice to make, even if the show chickens out before having a ten-year-old commit murder. Pieces are still being moved, but as Tricia Brock makes clear with her establishing shots, the prison survivors are all basically within shouting distance of one another. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like they're going to draw things out beyond the next couple of episodes, while introducing some new wrinkles into the show in the form of some sort of promised sanctuary on up the railroad tracks.

I hope they don't find it any time soon. The Walking Dead works really well when the characters are on the move, and not so well as when they have some farmhouse to hunker down into. The prison worked better than the farm, so perhaps the show is learning how to put characters into a relatively stable location—thereby saving money—without sucking the life and drama out of the situation. It would just be too sudden to have them lose sanctuary, then immediately find it again. Maybe the best course of action would be to keep the groups on the road, possibly running into Unfriendly Forces, while saving Terminus for the season finale. It's different for the show to end on a high than on a low note, but maybe it's time to shake things up?

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, After, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan was kind of hoping they'd find a bunch of dead children somewhere along the way, possibly murdered by Carl the sociopath. . Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Disqus - noscript

Great episode! But, I'm not sure about the convenient and tacky GI Joe and military babe appearance at the end.

great episode, how was carols return skimmed over ? i thought it was great

That sounds interesting..though unfortunately they even remove the bits from youtube so that none of us TWD fans here can watch it anytime soon! that's pathetic. any idea how and where to find s4e10?

Abraham, Rosita and Eugene are a trio who've walked straight off the comic book page. I guess they really wanted to signpost that, Eugene was even grasping his walkie talkie.

I think we might get a priest along shortly as well.

Can't wait to see where they go with these 3. I know it'll follow the comics, but only somewhat.

I didn't want to spoil it.

"great episode" you say? hmmmm. what exactly was great about it? the great expanses of boring camera shots of people's faces while they ham it up for an oscar? the great expanses of same-old dialog? the great expanses of nothing happening? Even Hershell was in it AGAIN (kind of), and he died two episodes ago ffs.

Just finished it. Terrible episode. I've been defending the show... previously it has always been amazing... AMAZING. Thought the acting in the episode was 'Hallmark' at best. Some of the action was 'Days of our Lives'. Just brewed a cup of tea. About to watch True Detective. Until Game of Thrones starts... there is no other TV show for me now!

terrible episode. Glen would never survived that ridiculous stunt, we've already been shown that walker scratches are fatal and there is plenty of space on that suit. Since when did fire attract walkers? Stupid character decisions all the way. Also bus scene was badly directed, awful camera.

I was really happy to see them!

So..... Terminus..... Cannibal camp or Douglas' Town (I forget it's name!)

Alexandria? I think that's it. They only mentioned it a few times. Terminus does sound... Terminal. I am leaning toward bad. It will be bad.

Not to mention the sharp intake of breathe I experienced when we panned to Tyrese carrying Judith. I felt that was really well done.

How could it spoil it when this is a post episode, spoiler warned review?

Er... actually no... when have we been shown such a thing? The "scratches" thing was a theory they had in Season 1 and 2 and then proved wrong later on. It's only the bites, or dying with your brain intact.

Douglas' town is just called The Community isn't it?

Judith is really starting to look a bit like the kid from The Sixth Sense. Just saying...

Other than that, I really enjoyed the episode. It was obviously setting up, but then so was last week's, and we can't expect them to devote each episode to a different couple of people like they did last week... if they did that we'd run out of episodes.

And Carol's back, woo!

Pretty sure TWC is right and it's Alexandria.

Glenn once again proves himself to be one of my favorite, smartest and most resourceful characters. Not only does he grab a bag full of useful items from the Prison but he is still good-hearted enough to help out the most stand out character from Woodbury V2.

My mistake

As much as I did think that this was a good episode overall (but they do need to start either bringing the groups together next week or thinning them down, otherwise we're in danger of having no real narrative development), I would agree with the sentiment expressed in the review that this was very much an episode characterised by lots of unknown characters (if you'd even go so far as to call them that) dying while the main characters get on with their lives. The bus scene in particular would have been a lot more harrowing if, rather than just wondering if one character we did know was on there, we felt sympathy for even a moment with those who were. Just saying "they were all good people" in passing, without even so much as giving them names, doesn't make us feel any closer to these supposed survivors (who we've never met previously) than any other walkers. Far more effective were the scenes with the two girls and the baby, which had some real emotional tension, as did the question of Glenn's survival. That for me is why having a slightly separate narrative from the books is one of the best things that this show has done - no matter what has or hasn't happened to any particular character in the books, you never know what will happen to them in the show. Just look at Carol, her character in the show now shares little bar her name and basic background with her character in the books, and that means that you can enjoy both and still be surprised.

Oh, Walking Dead. How you task me! Each season starts off strong and pulls me back in until it inevitably soils its own bed each time in the final stretch (IMHO).
I have a real love/hate relationship with this show. For every great moment there's a bunch of dumb stuff. I know it can deliver the goods - I'd just like some consistency!
But, yes, I'll still be watching. 2 eps in and I thoroughly enjoyed them both.
Shame on me! Lol.
On a related note, cannot wait for the second seasons of both In the Flesh and The Returned. If you guys haven't checked these zombie shows out yet then please do so - you can thank me later!

The show I can't stop watching but disappoints 90% of the time.
Are they ever going to explore the reason of the outbreak?
Are they ever going to explore how you can only get effected/triggered when bitten and not by a scratch or a drop of blood in the mouth, eye or open wound.
The arrival of Michael Kudlitz in the form of the mustached survivalist is hopeful though. And if anyone can prove if the bad acting is mostly due to bad writing it is him.

I really like this show, wouldn't miss an episode in the world but I'm going to have to give into my critical side and express my disappointment. I've earned the right since I'm an avid fan =p I feel like the directors are ripping us off with subtracting action, movement and swiftness by dragging out redundant and hyper emotionalized scenes. This season has been very drab until the governor came back. I was hoping the show would pick up it's intensity that we saw in the 1st and 2nd seasons. The brilliance of this show is not so much the climate but the characterization but I believe we've seen enough of that and we are pretty well acquainted with the characters tendencies...we do not need more emphasis. It's pretty wasteful for such a promising show. Let's see some hardcore acting from this terrific cast of characters.

I guess some stuff we have to just let go and not think too deeply about, it being a horror/fantasy type deal...why didnt they freeze up in winter? Why so many herds of un-decomposed walkers that look barely nibbled on? I know what you mean about it disappointing often, but I love it for Nicotero's fantastic zombies more than anything else, some of them are truly works of art. I doubt we are going to get much science beyond what we had in season ones CDC episode....still maybe the spin-off will tackle it.

Absolutely loved both In The Flesh and The Returned. Both come at the genre from an entirely different, original angle and both worked brilliantly. Any idea when these new seasons arrive?

True Detective is magnificent, I'm kind of sad there's only 3 left and no chance of another season of Hart and Cohle, but part of me knows that's exactly how it should be. I cant think of any other show where I absolutely have to know how it pans out....I dont even have a pet theory.

That was comfortably the worst episode of the Walking Dead ever. With the best actors/characters in the series either now dead or widely dispersed, the whole thing had the feel of a cheap spin-off. It seems the show struggles to cope without its leading lights.

Psycho girl Lizzie isn't particularly interesting, her sister ditto, and the actresses playing her and Beth simply can't act. Daryl looked bewildered, and contributed little, while Tyreese was saddled with looking after the show's weakest characters - and Judith.

With no Rick, Michonne or the sadly deceased Hershel to hold the supporting players together, there were palpable cracks. Glenn is a guy to root for, as is Daryl, but beyond them and the show's other main stars everyone else really just makes up the numbers.

I didn't feel any trepidation when the gang of probable "inmates" arrived on the scene, either. We've had the Bad Guys thing enough, and who could top the Governor, anyway?

It was a real nothing episode, without much to recommend it at all. Not one I'll be watching again.

SPOILER
Ummm did that psycho girl just murdered two bunnies for fun?

Hey, matey. I know In the Flesh started filming again last October, yet Google has not revealed an air date. The original ran in March, so I guess around the same time again on BBC Three. We get six eps this time!
As for The Returned, Channel 4 have bought it to show later this year.
Wish I knew more!

Good episode.. watched it thrice

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Watch The Walking Dead S04xE10 RECAP ► http://bit(.)ly/TheWalkingDead-S04xE10

Just a hint for the writing, nobody cares about your observations regarding camera shots

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