Be warned: a horde of spoilers lurk within this article from the start.

So, the All-Out War™ continues apace, then. But does anyone get the feeling that The Walking Dead is taking that much trumpeted season 7 marketing slogan a little too literally? After last week’s explosively entertaining opener, episode 2 continues in much the same fashion – but it struggles to generate as much tension or interest.

Take those strange montages that bookend the episode, a series of extreme close-ups on our heroes’ faces. What’s the point of them? Are they there to use up some running time in slow motion, Garth Merenghi-style? As a storytelling device, it feels cheap and lazy, like a fan-made Youtube edit, and we worry that this show’s too in thrall to its fanbase to remember how to make dramatic, cinematic TV.

Walking Dead

Still, you couldn’t argue that this season has turned down the tempo. Rick’s alliance between Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom is holding strong for now, and their tactics are – initially, at least – still working in their favour. Those Mad Max-style turret cars are proving effective, and each fragmented team seem to have clear missions. So why does it all feel a little slight?

Aside from Morgan, whose fragile grip on reality is loosening by the day (“I don’t die”), the only character with any significant development is Shiva, Ezekiel’s tiger, who gets a tasty human snack. Jesus encounters a (literally) pissy Saviour; Rick encounters a character from season 1 that nobody remembers; and a minor character whose name is apparently Eric has probably bit the dust, but these character beats are lost amidst the endless, unceasing gunfire.

Walking Dead

After last season, we welcome any attempt to make The Walking Dead more pacy and exciting – but not at the expense of character or story. Let’s hope the All-Out War™ doesn’t go literally all-out.

In summary

Highlight: The Saviour wetting himself to get out of a fight. A bafflingly effective tactic.

Lowlight: Any time there was relentless, repetitive, endless gunfire.

Kill of the week: Rick’s impales a Saviour on the remains of a shelving unit.

Quote of the week: “The damned are upon us!” You can always rely on the King to deliver.

Zombie of the week: The saggy, mouldy walker “befelled” by Jerry.

MVP: Morgan, whose past trauma is manifesting in unpredictable ways.

The big question: Is returning character Morales going to change things up in the relationship between Rick and the Saviours? And more importantly, does anybody actually remember Morales from seven years ago?

The Walking Dead airs on Sundays on AMC in the US and on Mondays on FOX in the UK.

Read Empire’s review of Episode 1.

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