I don’t know about you gentle readers, but I have been chomping at the bit for ‘The Walking Dead’ to return from its mid-season break. Last night I curled up on my couch, made some popcorn, dimmed the lights and prepared myself for what I thought was going to be an epic hour of television. When that hour was over however, I was more interested in finding the semi-popped kernels at the bottom of my bowl than the actual episode that had just played out before my very eyes. A deep sigh and slight depression ensued but then I thought to myself, hey, ‘The Walking Dead’ has come back from worse than this,  buck up and remember you have a reason to live! And that reason is, of course, zombies.

The episode picked up right where it left off before the hiatus, the last episode was filled with heart-pounding-OMG moments, so I of course got my little hopes up that the season opener would be as strong (or dare I dream, stronger) than the closer. For those that watched, I think its fair to say that my dreams were shattered, but not destroyed.

To give you all the quick and dirty rundown, here’s your recap for this week’s episode, ‘The Suicide King’.

Lets start with a sweet family reunion of the brothers Dixon. Reunited and it feels so good? Well, not really. They are ordered to battle to the death by The Governor as he’s had it up to HERE with this nonsense and wants to see once and for all if Merle is loyal to the town of Woodbury only.  At first, it seems like Merle is in it to win it, but then reveals to his baby bro that not all is what it seems, and that if he follows his lead, they may get out of there alive. Low and behold their lets-kill-the-zombies-instead-of-each-other worked out pretty well. The citizens were entertained anyway. Death is death so who cares if the brothers live? Well The Governator sure does and he is not a happy camper when 1 – his overly annoying GF Andrea pleads with him to stop this craziness and 2 – when he’s actually unable to stop it. I have to admit his new eye-patch is pretty hard core and defiantly sets a more sinister tone for whats to come for our lovable band of post-apocalyptic misfits. Once  the gang flees Woodbury. they leave the door open for walkers to mosey on through and one citizen meets their untimely demise as The Governor puts a bullet through their head without batting an eye. Cold blooded, but necessary.

Back at the prison, Hershel is getting to know the new kids in town and thinks giving them a chance is a great idea. Unfortunately for Hershel, the friendship-olive-branch is not what’s on some of the minds of these outsiders. They quickly size up the old man with a ponytail and gimp leg, the little boy holding a gun that is bigger than he is, and a quivering-headscarf-wearing woman that is quite possibly afraid of her own shadow and realize that they can be taken down. Easily. Nice guy and leader Tyreese disagrees and shames them with his ‘how dare you!’ death gaze when they suggest such an evil and murderous plot. So for the time being, it seems that the diminished numbers of the Rick Grimes clan has them weak but safe. The brothers Dixon decide that blood is thicker than water and disappear into the woods when Merle receives a less than warm welcome back  from Rick and Co. This is a bold move for both groups as 1 – Daryl has become Rick’s second in command and genuinely cares about the people waiting for them back at base (cough…Carol…lame…) and 2 – going it alone with his hot headed brother puts them both at a much larger risk of being torn apart by walkers out in the wilderness or killing each other over who gets to work the crossbow that day. Its a tricky move for all parties involved so we’ll see how it plays out.

In the meantime, we have Ghost Lori to keep us company. I’m not sure what the point of this is, maybe the show-runners are getting sick of zombies and want to introduce other supernatural elements like ghosts into the story line.  I’m all for the return of the undead in all of its many forms, but this is just plain weird. Its not scary and quite frankly its insulting. Lori wasn’t a favorite of mine but when she died, I will admit I teared up. It was emotional and touching and when Rick finds out at the end of that episode, I cried like a baby who just found out that Santa isn’t real. Well played ‘Walking Dead’! You made an unlikable character disappear and make the audience actually care about it. But SHAME ON YOU for pulling this Ghost Lori crap, stop it! While I’m on a complaining rant, I’d like to go on record saying that if they also got rid of Andrea, especially after her ‘oh captain, my captain’ type speech she gave to the frightened members of the Woodbury community, I don’t think anyone would mind. Just sayin’, bitch has a mouth on her and I honestly don’t know how many more of her I-don’t-know-if-I’m-confused-but-I-know-you-think-I’m-hot-so-I’m-going-to-use-that-to-my-advantage-tee-hee looks. Plus she’s always sweaty and dirty even though she now lives in a town where showering is a very real possibility, but I digress.

Rick continues to be a less a than stellar leader when he predictably says NO to the newcomers when they ask to stay. Hershel pleads with him to reconsider but, alas, to no avail. Andrea puts her big girl pants on and gives a convincing speech that settles the natives of  Woodbury and a way more evil Governor emerges. Ghost Lori makes an unwanted comeback, and Glen makes a touching family connection with Hershel once they return to the prison. The Brothers Dixon are roughing it up in the wilderness (leaving a piney Carol in their dust) and Rick’s bouncing baby girl remains in the care of sudo-teen-mom Claire. Cute.

All in all there weren’t many bad ass moments that I was hoping for and I was left with disappointment as opposed to the blood lust I feel on Sunday nights after watching this program. Seems like this was a filler episode so hopefully the new story lines and ideas will pan out in the remaining 8 episodes of the season. Let us know if you felt this episode was as lack-luster as we did in the below comments section.