* Warning: This story contains spoilers ...

With its reliance on dull characters, shock tactics and flesh-chomping gore, The Walking Dead (TV2, Mondays, 10.30pm) isn't known as one of the smartest shows on TV.

But even by its own dodgy standards, last night's episode, No Way Out, hit a new low.

Fans of The Walking Dead are used to being treated badly by a show that spent an entire season camped out on a farm. But last night's episode gave new meaning to the term '#hatewatching'.

It started where the mid-season finale left off, as Daryl, Abraham and Sasha faced off against a motorbike gang belonging to Negan, the most vicious baddie from the comic book series the show is based on.


The gang's vicious demands and smart lines - "If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble. Bite, chew, swallow, repeat," one told Abraham after swiping his pistol - made them some of the best baddies the show had introduced in ages.

Until Daryl smoked them all with a rocket launcher.

If that felt like the point the TV show finally gave in and became one with its cartoon roots, worse was to follow.

The episode then cut back to Rick, Michonne, and their forgettable band of boring Alexandria survivors, who - quick recap - had smeared themselves in zombie guts to safely wade through the undead hoardes swamping their village in a bid for freedom.

That didn't happen. Here's how the unfathomable scene unfolded: Day became night; young Sam, stunned by groaning zombies, stopped walking; his mother Jessie and Rick begged him to move; zombies got wind of it and devoured Sam, then Jessie; Rick used his axe to chop Jessie's arm off before she pulled Carl into the melee; spiteful teen Ron then leveled a pistol at Rick, only to find Michonne's machete buried in his chest; finally, the gun went off and shot Carl in the eye.

I'm not making that up. A Walking Dead scriptwriter actually wrote that scene out, it was okayed by showrunner Scott M Gimple, the script was given to actors, and then they filmed it.

Here's how Andrew Lincoln (Rick) responded after reading that scene. "We all read it and laughed. We just went, 'This is an impossible scene, thank you! How are we supposed to do this?'" he told Variety.

He laughed! I did too. Sam is, at best, 10 years old. Don't let him get eaten. Just pick him! Pick him up and run! Don't stand around watching zombies drool on him! What does he weigh? 30 kilos at best? Just pick him up!

Amazingly, the episode wasn't over. As well as crazy Carol being crazy Carol and shooting one of the W creeps, lovable Glenn being lovable Glenn and nearly not dying in a zombie melee, and grizzly Rick being grizzly Rick and beginning a zombie eradication programme using only his axe, something else happened that didn't just add a 'WTF' punctuation point to the episode, it completely turned on the show's mythology.

Six seasons in, and Walking Dead's survivors finally found zombie kryptonite.

Was it a special vaccine designed by scientists? Did they design a unique death trap that killed them instantly? Do zombies fall to their knees and give up their desire to eat humans whenever they hear Cher's Shoop Shoop Song?

Erm, no. It was fire. Turns out, all you need is a lighter and zombies are about as menacing as a used toilet brush.

Armed with his rocket launcher, Daryl saved the day again by filling Alexandria's pond with petrol, then lighting it up. Every zombie in town simply walked into the fire, while Daryl smirked, Abraham smoothed down his 'tache and Glenn drank a protein shake.

Here's an idea, if you're on The Walking Dead and you need a place to live, light some big-ass fires nearby. Then the zombies won't touch you.

Sheesh. Why do I watch this show again?

* An earlier version of this review suggested Jeffrey Dean Morgan appeared in the episode. He didn't. The Herald regrets the error.
* What did you think of the episode? Post your comments below.