Reviewing the Dead: “Made to Suffer” (Mid-Season Finale)

luke kalamar stabs a dude in the neck with a zombie bone…

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*****SPOILERS AHEAD******

Holy crap I want it to continue right now.

Plot: The apparent peace of Woodbury has now been shattered. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Oscar (Vincent Ward), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) have arrived to rescue their captured comrades. Their assault throws the citizens of Woodbury into complete chaos. The Governor (David Morrissey) and Merle (Michael Rooker) do whatever they can to defend their safe haven and to keep Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) from leaving. Meanwhile, a small group lead by a man named Tyreese (Chad Coleman) has found The Prison. Their screams alert Carl (Chandler Riggs) of their presence, and he sets out to protect his group.

Photo credit: Tina Rowden/AMC
Photo credit: Tina Rowden/AMC

Just like every other season, the Mid-Season Finale of The Walking Dead has come too soon. It almost feels like Season 3 began last week. While I hate the wait, “Made to Suffer” did an excellent job wrapping up the first half. Woodbury and The Prison are officially in conflict now, and characters are reunited under the most awful of circumstances. The action was literally non-stop as well. With the exception of a specific instance, this episode excelled.

The main focus of this “half finale” was obviously the assault on Woodbury. “When the Dead Come Knocking” ended with Rick and his strike force at the town gate, which meant full on attacking was right around the corner. Quite simply, I was in awe at how incredible these scenes were. Rick and his group using smoke grenades for cover, and their ability to rescue Glenn and Maggie with minimal casualties (RIP Oscar), was truly a sight to see. I also thought Rick’s hallucination of Shane (Jon Bernthal) was a very nice touch and a good connection to his still damaged psyche. It was the perfect amount of action for a finale, and it only made sense for it to happen between Rick’s forces and The Governor’s. This is only Act One though, so prepare for something even more insane next year.

The conflict at The Prison was great too, and did an excellent job introducing a fan favorite from the comics. Clearly I’m talking about Tyreese and his hammer! Tyreese is a character people have been wanting for quite some time. No one knew for sure if he was going to show up though as people felt his role was split between Daryl and T-Dog (IronE Singleton). News only broke a few weeks ago that Chad Coleman, who played Dennis “Cutty” Wise in The Wire, was cast as Tyreese, but many sources still called it a rumor. I’m so glad to see it was true and I welcomed his character with giddy excitement.

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I’d also be foolish not to address how awesome Carl was this episode too. Remember when Rick told Carl last episode that he has to protect The Prison? Well, Carl took that role very seriously. He saves Tyreese’s group from danger and lays down the law in Rick’s absence. His actions were very similar to what Rick would probably have done too. Carl may have been annoying last season, but he totally kicks ass now.

Michonne vs. The Governor was also a huge highlight of this episode. We all know how good Michonne is at fighting, but it was the first time we saw The Governor flex his hand-to-hand skills. Michonne’s discovery of Penny (Kylie Szymanski) was teased last week, and it was one jaw dropping scene. Have you ever seen a zombified girl get stabbed in the head in front of her father? If you watched “Made to Suffer,” you can now cross that off your bucket list. The physical and mental effect the fight and Penny’s death had on The Governor became incredibly apparent at the end, and now we can expect a more outwardly psychotic monster next year

Lastly, the final few minutes of this episode included one of the most anticipated moments of this entire season. Merle and Daryl have finally reunited, but it was done in way no one could have predicted. Merle lying to The Governor about Michonne’s death back in “Hounded” finally came back to bite him in a big way as well. I’m very eager to see what the Dixon brothers are really capable of when they have a common enemy. This will definitely be a huge focus in the next half and I can’t wait.

Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/AMC
Photo Credit: Tina Rowden/AMC

I really wish this episode was perfect, but unfortunately it was held back yet again by Andrea (Laurie Holden) and the events surrounding her. Andrea’s discovery of The Governor’s fish tanks of heads and Penny was unreasonably calm. I mean, you just found your lover in a room filled with severed heads, cradling his captive zombie daughter in his arms. All you’re going to do is ask a few stern questions with an angry undertone? This is a definite full on freak out situation, and yet that is not what happened. At least there wasn’t a lot of focus on her less than aggressive reaction. I really hope her character vastly improves in the next half because right now she is the most unlikable character in my opinion.

All in all, this was an amazing episode and it did a great job ending this first half. Season 3 is so far the best of this entire series, and “Made to Suffer” is no exception. The action was spot on, there were plenty of surprising moments, and my heart was literally pumping from excitement. The 2 month break in the season will feel like a lifetime, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

Rating: 9.8/10

All Photos Credit: AMC

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree that Andrea’s reaction was not just. Then again, her coming face to face with Daryl might change that.
    Although you can say the Michonne vs Governor was definitely different from the comics (at least the vendetta), I did enjoy their fight scene. I am glad they are pulling some of the punches compared to the brutality of the comic. Gives me hope for Judith Grimes.
    I liked Tyreese’s intro, but it felt a little cluttered. Carl stepping up was awesome though. I loved when the prisoner thought Carol was a lesbian. It makes me wonder though, how does she keep her hair so damn short? Hell, Carl looks like he’s never had a hair cut. I would have loved to see a backstory where she used to have longer hair but it got pulled by a walker early on so she cut it short.
    I really don’t get the Governor’s problem with the prison crew. He made it sound like if the guys weren’t there, the walkers would congregate there (as if they can think).