The Walking Dead – Episode 4: Vatos

It’s about time for Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, to come forward with an episode from his own hand and one that features the least material from the original source. With this episode it is almost as if the series is saying “Yes, this might be The Walking Dead, but it’s not The Walking Dead you are used to.”

It seems that my fears about the series’ slow pace following episode three were baseless – Vatos picks up the pace perfectly, continuing on from Tell It To The Frogs, with our hero Rick (along with his small group of survivors) still in Atlanta trying to retrieve the bag of guns he left behind when he was being chased by zombies in the first episode, only with a minor complication… another group of survivors!

Vatos spends a fair amount of time on character development, but unlike the previous episode it isn’t at the expense of the pacing and the action – showing just how much of a handle Robert Kirkman has on the universe he created, striking a perfect balance between character, story and action in much the same way as the comic. And although Vatos does have a lot of similarities with the original comic in the aforesaid terms, where it does differ is in the introduction of the second group of survivors in Atlanta.It is an interesting idea, and one that may pay off in the future in this television iteration – but for now, in this episode, the new characters and the circumstance that leads from their introduction is definitely used to great effect, showing us just what type of leader Rick Grimes is, and will be.

As the group of heroes deal with the situation in Atlanta, there is another situation building back at base camp as insecurities, instabilities and tensions come to the fore and the survivors begin to crack mentally and emotionally – and as the series goes on I can see this coming to the fore even more, really giving an emotional human core in the television iteration of The Walking Dead.

Although the story in this episode does avert from the comic for the most part, it does not take long for it to come back to the source material for a horrifying and suitably gory denouement that leaves our group of survivors reeling. Suffice to say that in The Walking Dead no one is safe!

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