Rick Grimes. I wonder if any of the gang call him Grimey? With each season of The Walking Dead Rick’s group of survivors get filthier and filthier. For the start of this season Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has reached borderline tramp levels of filth. An unkempt beard, lank hair, dirt and blood all over his face and clothes that look not so much worn, as worn to breaking point.
The reason to labour on about the sartorial appearance of the group is, simply put, you can use how they look as a barometer of how worn down they are, how much trouble they’re in, and indeed, how desperate and determined they’ve become.
A large chunk of the previous season focused on the group’s desire to reach Terminus. Hoping against hope that it was a safe haven for survivors. This being Robert Kirkman, of course we knew this wouldn’t be the case. In fact, it was about as far from a safe place as you can imagine and was more akin (spoiler!) to some sort of Eli Roth wet dream.
Some might say the last season – or least the latter half of the last season – was fairly low key. Following events at the prison the group had become divided and were all gradually making their way – albeit unknowingly – to the same destination. I actually enjoyed this change of pace and tone. Prior to this, so much screen time had been devoted to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the prison that, as a viewer, it felt refreshing to see the group out and about. Despite the fact that it was a concern that they had become divided. Will they reunite or get slowly picked off? It was a worry.
This is testament to the fact that they’re a great group of characters. Well written and well played. We care deeply about their fate. So much so that the makers of the show hit us square in the face with an incredibly tense opening sequence (and episode) which sees Grimey and the gang face certain death. Much like Game of Thrones this show isn’t afraid to kill off big names, so you genuinely fear for them.
I don’t want to say how it plays out, but it’s an impressive opener. So that we’re not entirely put through the emotional wringer there is some respite towards the end, with various characters being reunited for the first time in a long time. And so, as viewers, we’re fairly satisfied – and somewhat relieved.
Continuing from last season there’s still a running storyline where some of the group are trying to get a scientist to a place where he can release a cure to the zombie problem. Whether or not the group make it there in this season or more manner of horrors are thrown in their path remains to be seen.
Whatever the case it’s heartening (in a gory sort of way) to have the show back and for Grimey and the gang to (mostly) be back together again. If the opening episode is setting the tone for this season then we’ll be in for a belter.