Finally! Daryl has returned! In general, season four has had a severe lack of Daryl and while he is barely featured in this episode, the little bit we did get to see was more than welcome! After watching Beth's opening monologue, I actually turned to Jacob, my brother and fellow critic, and said, "That opening monologue was better than the entire previous episode!" While I did not hate "After," for a mid-season premiere, it was less than satisfactory, especially compared to "Inmates." Why wasn't "Inmates" the mid-season opener? It was fast paced, suspenseful, and it had all of the characters that we actually care about! The reason as to why "Inmates" was not the opener is that we, the audience, still had to believe that Judith was dead. Speaking of which, even though I was not surprised she was still alive and that Lizzie saved her, I am mostly indifferent about her surviving. Maybe when Rick and Carl find out, they will not be as mopey and conflicting. Here is a breakdown of the different groups and my thoughts.
Daryl and Beth: Despite being brief, more Daryl is always a good thing! Beth has been one of my favorite characters that has yet to be given enough screen-time, so the team of Beth and Daryl was good to see.
Maggie, Sasha, and Bob: Maggie has always been another personal favorite character of mine, especially that Hershel is gone. Her frantic search for Glenn and killing the Walkers on the bus was a great, for the most part. Her smashing the head of the Walker into the side of the bus was a little odd in how it was filmed and portrayed, but the rest of that scene was great. As usual, it was freaking suspenseful! But more on that next.
Glenn and Stupid Girl: One compliant many viewers have had is that the reveal that Glenn is not dead was spoiled in the previews, which is somewhat of a dumb argument. First off, if you do not want to be spoiled, just do not watch the preview! I never watch the preview for any TV show since I know it will likely spoil something. The only time it is unavoidable is when there is a commercial on TV, but other than that, it is really your fault. As for the reveal itself, it was not surprising in the least because we know Glenn cannot die yet, but that did not prevent me from being on the edge-of-my-seat in suspense and the reveal that Glenn was still at the prison was great and unexpected. What I did not like about his part is that he saved that woman from the Governor's camp. While he had his reasons, she is a character that I wish would just die because she is incredibly annoying!
In general, you could say that the episode was emotionally manipulative and that the creators of the show were just toying with us, and if it was any other show out there, I would be inclined to agree, but The Walking Dead's great suspense relies on the fact that we do care about (most) of these characters, which drives the suspense. No other live-action has put me on the edge-of-my-seat as much as The Walking Dead has, and now that I am watching it week to week without having any inclination of what is going to happen each week, the suspense is raised to even higher levels.
The ending with the brief introduction of Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita from the comic will surely please those that have read it (myself not included... yet).
Overall: 8.8/10- Despite not having quite enough time to devote to each group of characters, "Inmates" was an excellent return to form that reminds us why we all love watching The Walking Dead in the first place, the characters! And it actually answered all of our questions, in one episode!
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