Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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"Stradivarius" efficiently sets the board for promising developments and provides a welcome spotlight for Daryl Dixon, but some viewers may feel The Walking Dead is sacrificing organic narrative development and stalling for time with contrivances.
"The Walking Dead" has shifted back to auto-pilot, meandering around with very little drive until the November finale. The creative surge the show displayed early on this season is quickly dwindling.
In short -- mostly ho-hum filler in advance of the mid-season finale.
There are always episodes of The Walking Dead that feel a little like the writing team putting the pieces into place for finales, and with the mid-season break coming up after next week's installment, Stradivarius certainly had that whiff about it.
As another fleeting mid-season affair with lightheartedness for The Walking Dead, it holds some agreeable pockets of black comedy.
When The Walking Dead stops playing games, it still knows how to be quietly effective and dramatic television, and that's the reason I signed up to watch back in 2010 in the first place.
Another decent episode that was charitable enough to give us some hint as to what happened to Maggie and Hershel and where they might be, while also preparing us for the eventual reveal of The Whisperers.
Picks up the pace on the various storylines and does an excellent job putting them all together to keep a decent sense of momentum going, something that last week's episode was noticeably lacking.
It's great that the writers want us to see how everyone comes together to solve one problem. We should be used to a slow episode every now and then.
Thankfully, the second time jump has added some depth to Daryl's narrative, and "Stradivarius" shined a bigger light on where the character's headspace is at these days.
The Walking Dead got a much-needed breather this week with "Stradivarius," which also marks Michael Cudlitz's directorial debut on the series. It's not as good as Abraham miraculously rebounding from his untimely death, but we'll take it.
The creepy factor here is through the roof, something The Walking Dead hasn't pulled off in ages. This is supposed to be a scary show, but it hasn't been in quite a while. Now we have real terror again.