The Walking Dead is a show which thrives off its drama, but let's be honest, it tends to be really hit or miss in this regard. Once in awhile we're hit with some brilliant character-driven moments, but for the most part, they tend to go by without really reeling you in and ultimately it's the zombies which keep many of us coming back for more. Lucky, "Isolation" nails the drama like a headshot and does a fantastic job pulling us into the latest threat and the toll it's taking on the group.
Usually spoilers are somewhat addressed in these reviews, but seeing as this was such a huge episode and made ginormous developments all the way through (both in the narrative and how characters are coping), it's best to just play it safe and avoid them at all costs in here. Unlike previous seasons, the story is now moving full speed ahead and taking some very logical steps forward. This new breed of danger (in addition to... you know, monsters which want to rip you apart) is putting an extra weight on everyone and it gives all of the characters a moment or two to allow their personalities to shine. There's a twist or two you'll be able to call before they reveal it, but it's still executed well and something they could have really dragged out is thankfully brought front and center before the credits roll.
Just as I was thinking "this episode is awesometastic and they don't even need any action to top it off," the show goes ahead and throws a bloodbath our way. Naturally, what stems is a blast as Michonne and others lay waste to countless zombies; shooting, stabbing and slashing one decaying head after another. It totally wasn't needed, but man, it was greatly appreciated.
Biggest gripe with this episode: references to Robert Kirkman's comic. When two key characters went at it in the series, it was full of emotion and was downright shocking. It kept me on the edge as I read from one panel to the next. Sure, this had some degree of passion behind it, but the moment in the comic had so much weight to it and this came off as a somewhat hollow imitation. Same goes for another homage involving Tyreese and his hammer. Don't get me wrong, it's great they're continuing to draw scenes from the comic, but these weren't nearly as impactful as they could have been.
"Isolation" is definitely the strongest episode Season Four has yet to offer. Not only did it deliver on excellent drama and story progression, but it also managed to implement a good old-fashioned zombie killing spree. The only thing holding this back from 5-stars for me is weak use of some standout moments from the comic.
Viners, what do you think of "Isolation?" Remember to use spoiler tabs!