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TV That Matters: The Walking Dead, Archer

By Matt Ern Columnist

The Walking Dead- “Welcome to the Tombs”

Grade: B+

The season is over and Woodbury went along with it, although the Governor survived and is still out there somewhere.  What the showrunner is planning on doing with that is anyone’s guess, but personally I would have preferred a more final ending.  After a season of building up the Governor and Woodbury as threats, the end felt a little unsatisfying.  The prison group beats Woodbury’s army pretty easily (admittedly, most of them weren’t soldiers and Rick’s group is fairly hardened by now) and when his people won’t keep fighting, the Governor massacres them.  It’s a chilling scene, but not how I hoped the conflict would end.

But moving past the disappointing final conflict, there’s a lot of great character work in the episode.  Carl has evolved into quite the little monster, gunning down a young soldier fleeing Woodbury’s army and then reprimanding his father for not having a stern enough hand and killing more people.  When Rick returns at the end with the remains of Woodbury, Carl isn’t very happy with him (and neither am I to be honest).  It’s great to see Tyreese joining up with Rick, but I could do without the group taking in everyone.  But that’s what Rick needs to do in order to clear his conscious of all the burdens he’s been working through all season.

The last key part of the episode is Andrea’s death, which was done very well.  The Governor leaves her bound in a room with a dying Milton, who will presumably turn and eat her when he finally dies.  Even though Andrea manages to get free, it’s too late and Milton takes a bite out of her.  When Rick and the others arrive at the end, it’s just in time to watch their friend die.  Andrea has a nice moment with Michonne and then shoots herself in the head.

“The Walking Dead” made a lot of progress this season and reminded everyone that it can be a very good show with some important comments to make about the idea of death- when it wants to be.  Not everything the show tried to do over the course of the last sixteen episodes worked, but enough of it did to give the show its best season to date.  Here’s hoping that the trend continues next year.

 

Archer- “The Papal Chase”

Grade: A-

Because there was no “Community” this past week I’m taking the opportunity to write about “Archer” instead, which is enjoying a pretty solid fourth season.  While some of the earlier episodes were a little shaky, the past few weeks have represented something of a hot streak.  “The Papal Chase” has a lot going for it: the debut of Pam as a field agent, the return of Woodhouse, and the opportunity for some topical, Pope-based humor.

Archer’s entrance chanting hymns in Latin was hilarious as was his insistance on learning Romansh instead of Italian.  Pam is appropriately outrageous in the field, although we’ve gotten a taste of that in past episodes such as last season’s “Drift Problem.”  Lana gets one of the best lines of the episode, “It’s going to be raining dead-ass Popes,” which speaks to how well her character has evolved.  Originally Lana suffered a bit from always having to be the straight man in a great comedic cast, but in the later seasons she’s had some funny moments.

All of this great comedy supports a very Archer-esque plot: ISIS is hired to prevent an assassination attempt on the Pope, utilizing Woodhouse as a decoy.  In the end it turns out to be a set-up and the would-be assassins actually work for the cardinal who hired ISIS in the first place, who believed they would bungle the mission.   It’s the type of plot that the show seems very comfortable with, but it doesn’t get boring or played out because the dialogue is just so damn funny.

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