Producer: No, no absolutely not!
Kirkman: Why not?!
Producer: Come on, don’t get foolish now.
Kirkman: What is it going to hurt, really? Will the universe implode?
Producer: Rob, we can’t have more than one African American man on the supporting cast! Absolutely not.
Kirkman: But it’s good writing!
Producer: You’re introducing Tyreese in this episode! That’s enough!
Kirkman: You know in the world there exists more than one African American man in one space! It has happened!
Producer: You introduced Oscar and killed T-Dog! It’s Oscar’s time! Either Oscar dies, or Tyreese dies. You can’t have both!
Kirkman: (sighs) Bye, bye, Oscar…
I mean in reality, Oscar is not even that essential a character, but who saw his death coming from a mile away? I was waiting for it. I mean “Made to Suffer” literally opens the episode with Tyreese and his family fleeing from the walkers. By the episode’s apparently rules, there really can not be more than one principle African American male character. Maybe the writers are just going through the motions to get to Tyreese, or perhaps they just don’t want to handle so many characters at once. The introduction of Tyreese also brings about three other new characters.
In either case, this is a world filled with over six billion people, the tales this show can tell are almost infinite. I mean, The Walking Dead can live on as a brand long after the exploits of Rick Grimes and Atlanta have ended. Kirkman could literally move on to a new series of characters and not miss a beat. In that respect, “Made to Suffer” is mostly about fan service, and fan service providing the hardcore comic book fans what we’ve been asking for, for a long time.
The episode opens on a shot of a walker in the forest walking toward the direction of a series of womanly screams, and it’s then taken down by Tyreese and his trademark hammer. The popular comic book series character Tyreese is played by Chad Coleman of “The Wire,” and he’s the perfect build. Much like Jon Bernthal as Shane, the casting is pitch perfect. I literally cheered “Tyreese!” when he burst on to the scene.
While the prison arc continues and Rick and co. are sneaking to Woodbury, Tyreese and his family are simply trying to stay alive and find themselves at the mercy of a walker siege. I’m glad the episode didn’t just shoe horn Tyreese in to Woodbury and make him in to a hostage who becomes an ally. No, writer Kirkman just transforms him in to another survivor who crosses fates with the Grimes’ as he did in the comics.
After barely escaping the siege, Tyreese and his group look for safety and find the back of the prison. We learned in the early episodes of season three that the prison has a wall down allowing entrance from the outside, and they have found the prison giving them entrance and free reign. The episode belongs to Carl.
And that’s a big declaration considering how many characters in the episode have their huge moments, but Carl once again displays his ability to get the job done and be a valiant soldier. He knows the rules, he knows the tasks, and he is rarely reckless. With only Carol, Beth, Hershel, and Axel in the prison, Carl makes it his duty to find the intruders after hearing them fighting the dead in the corridors. Carl displays incredibly swift resolve taking down walkers and leading the new group to safety in through the prison.
What effect this will have on the survivors? One will only have to find out in February. If you saw “Talking Dead,” you’ll see that this new group assumes only Carl is running the show, and have yet to meet the vicious control of people like Rick Grimes, Michonne, Glenn, or Daryl. It’s going to be like “Detroit Rock City” where Trip tries to beat up a kid for his KISS tickets and turns to see his big brother come over with a posse ready to kick his teeth in.
In other news, Rick and co, have really managed to infiltrate Woodbury easily, and episode writer Kirkman basically provides fans with their comic book turns that define each individual in the story. Rick is insistent on finding Glenn and Maggie, while Glenn and Maggie are preparing to die. The Governor is intent on snuffing them out and the pair know it. When the group burst on the scene the constant question is “When will Daryl and Merle clash?” They keep occupying the same space, but never know they’re in the same room.
The conflict with Michonne and the Governor has been escalating for eight episodes, and it culminates in to a throw down that’s raw, vicious and primal. I don’t know how long that fight took to choreograph, but kudos on it. It was just merciless in its violence, and the pair of enemies seemed anxious to murder the other as soon and as painfully as possible. The Governor has spent all season enjoying the vulnerability of the people in Woodbury and Michonne takes great pleasure in his own vulnerability when she discovers Penny in a cage.
Her extermination leads in to a rather disturbing fist fight between the pair, leading in to the Governor’s eye patch appearance, and the unveiling of his own headquariam. And guess what? Andrea still isn’t disturbed! She walks in pointing her gun at Michonne, they hold their weapons toward one another, Michonne walks away. You figure she’d see the Governor embracing a zombie, with the zombie heads in his display case and turn following Michonne out making disgusted groans.
But no, she stands by him! Oh, Andrea. I hope you pay for your idiocy and soon. “Made to Suffer” is an incredibly volatile and fast paced mid-season finale and one that ends on the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers for this series so far. I can already see where they’re taking this confrontation between the Dixons. I know where they’re going to go with it, but I don’t care too much about the predictable final scene. 99 percent of the episode was too utterly entertaining to write it off.
Adios until February 10th.
This article was first posted on December 3, 2012