The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 8: “Made To Suffer”
Written by Robert Kirkman
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC
With The Walking Dead taking a mid season break, there was no surprise that “Made to Suffer” would be busy in plot. But I never guessed it would have been this explosive in action. “Suffer” breathes new life into an already impressive third season, delivering scares, excitement and a long-awaited character introduction. “Suffer” might just be the best episode of the season, so far.
Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Oscar head out on a deadly mission to save Glenn and Maggie, while newbie Tyreese (Chad Coleman) leads his group to the prison, a prison now guarded by a one legged veterinarian, a suspected lesbian, a pedophile and a twelve year old boy named Carl.
It’s only fitting that episode eight was written by the comic-book’s creator Robert Kirkman, given it introduces us to Tyreese. Some reports about Tyreese predicted he’d be introduced as a Woodbury resident, but thankfully Kirkman found a far more interesting way to welcome him to the show – With him, comes a new group of survivors and his trademark hammer (his weapon of choice), which he uses to discharge the walkers. Sadly, things didn’t go so well for Oscar. As I mentioned on last week’s podcast, the series has a habit of killing off their current black, male character once a new black, male character is introduced. Oscar barely had any screen-time, leaving me to refer to him as T-Dogg 2.0. Is there some sort of “African American” quota we should know about? At least we don’t have to worry about Tyreese becoming the latest reincarnation of T-Dogg, since he’s a popular personality from the original source material, and won’t be killed off anytime soon.
Speaking of prison convicts, we also get a creepy exchange between Axel and Beth, and an even more shudder-some sequence with him and Carol. Season three of the Walking Dead is doing many things right, but it’s biggest problem lies in how it develops newcomers to the proceedings. There isn’t much of a surprise anymore. If a new character isn’t given more than one line each week, he or she, will either be a physical threat to Rick’s group, or eventually be sacrificed to fulfill the show’s expected death-toll. What would be so wrong with them crossing paths with another group, without any dramatic or deadly undertakings? Remember back to the very first episode of season one. There was a man and his son who saved Rick and took him in for a few days. We never witnessed their death. Those two characters are still somewhere out there, and honestly, every time I watch the Walking Dead, I think about them. These two minor characters, who only appeared in only one episode, are far more interesting than dozens of others who’ve popped in and out since. It doesn’t matter if we never see them again, because just knowing they’re out there, and that they could possibly return, is interesting enough.
The Woodbury raid brings the biggest action set-piece the show has ever attempted. It’s intense and exciting, and confirms (as I’ve discussed on the podcast), just how much Rick and his group have become true soldiers. If last week’s episode evoked the old school vibe of John Carpenter classics like Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape From New York, tonight’s episode harkens back to Rio Bravo – of which Carpenter based his films around. The Woodybury scenes had a surprisingly measured pace, its set pieces were superbly choreographed against the frantic nature of Rick’s quest. The ensuing escape was electrifying with guns blazing and a lone samurai determined to exact revenge. But the shootout wasn’t nearly as intense as the brutal confrontation between Michonne and the Governor – a scene reminiscent of the infamous, motel-room assault on Patricia Arquette’s Alabama in True Romance. From her mercilessly stabbing of Penny – to the Governor smashing her head through the aquarium – to the shard of glass lodged into his right eye – the sequence can easily be placed in the pantheon of the show’s best moments. You’d figure this would be an eye opener for Andrea, but instead the show’s “Wonder Woman” continues to turn a blind eye.
“Made to Suffer” concludes with the reunion of the Dixon brothers. It’s hard to believe that this is their first onscreen moment together in the entire series (excluding the hallucinations in season two). It will be interesting to see how they will escape both Woodbury and the angry mob. But it will be far more interesting to see how they”ll eventually part ways. Merle can never be part of Rick’s group, and I don’t see Darryl leaving his side. There are two possibilities of how it can end: Either Merle dies or Daryl leaves the group to join his side. Let’s hope for the former.
Rick hasn’t overcome his hallucinations. Anyone worried his sudden switch, back to sanity was implausible, can now feel at ease.
Don’t forget to tune into our latest podcast, in which we will further discuss tonight’s episode.
– Ricky D