Review of The Walking Dead 307 “When The Dead Come Knocking” reviewer: RC Murphy
We’re one episode closer to the dreaded, the unthinkable, the torturous mid-season finale of The Walking Dead season three. Everything so far has been building to the confrontation between Team Prison and Team Woodbury. Which side are you on? Let’s take a look at each team and their actions in episode 307. Maybe that’ll help you make your decision.
Team Prison has gained a very strong ally in Michonne. That is, if Rick decides he can trust her. It honestly looked as though he wanted to leave her standing in the middle of a field of walkers. Not to mention bearing witness to how easily she disposes of the living that prevent her from continuing in her relentless drive to survive the apocalypse. Rick’s distrust of strangers is at an all-time high. That the two prisoners, Oscar and Axel, made it into the “inner sanctum” of the crew’s trust is astounding. So many strangers have attempted to harm the group; Rick has developed serious trust issues. Most of those may actually stem from Lori and Shane working inside the camp to hurt him, even though they thought they were doing it for Rick and the group’s benefit. Look where that got them.
Once Rick watched Michonne work with her sword, he saw potential and stepped in to help her. However, Rick wasn’t the savior of the day.
It was a bullet from Carl’s gun that took out the walker inches from ripping into Michonne. He didn’t hesitate. He lined up a clear shot and took it. Carl has nothing to prove at this point. It was his gun tasked to put his own mother down after her emergency c-section. After, a coldness crept into Carl. He’s been different, slightly distant, but nowhere near as isolated by his grief as his father. Rick took a while to work out his grief, to the point where we didn’t know if he’d come back to the group in one piece. During that time, Carl helped clear the prison of lingering walkers and took care of his newborn sister. Heck, he even named the baby—Judith. At some point, Carl tasked himself with being the man of the family. And you know what? It is a role he fits into well. Carl has done a lot of growing up since season one, back when he wouldn’t still for a haircut and went off with Shane to catch frogs. He’s matured enough to be in charge of the prison while the others are off to Woodbury on a mission to rescue Glenn and Maggie.
Merle, Merle, Merle…you are a tiger, fully incapable of changing your stripes, no matter how hard you try. We are finally seeing the old Merle, the one Rick and the others left handcuffed on the rooftop. He is a master at warping the truth to suit his needs. In his world, he needs to be the perpetual victim. He uses the pity his twisted stories garners to sucker people into trusting him. His attempt to do the same with Glenn fails miserably. Glenn will not give up the location of the others. Why does Merle want to get to Daryl so bad? He doesn’t strike me as a sentimental man. He was the one who left Daryl to fend for himself for most of his childhood. Caring now raises too many questions. Namely, is he trying to recruit Daryl to the Governor’s army? The Governor seems concerned that once Merle sees his brother, he’ll switch sides. Guess we’ll find out soon, huh?
Andrea thinks she has seen the darker side of Woodbury and the Governor, Phillip, after the undead WWE match from before and the scientific endeavors in this episode. She couldn’t be more wrong. He used the experiment with the dying man to keep her out of the way so she wouldn’t find out about Glenn and Maggie. Was it overly important? No. She knew full well what would happen once the subject was reanimated. Any of the other soldiers could have stood by and dispatched the biter just as easily. It is the same thing Phillip has been doing with her all along—keep Andrea distracted and complacent. How will her opinion of him change once Team Prison comes into Woodbury? Will Andrea jump ship and go with Michonne and Rick? She trusted both of them at one point. Throwing her lot in with a guy who lies as well as he breaths is seriously stupid.
The Tough Guy of the Week Award goes to: Glenn. Obviously.
Glenn remained utterly calm in the face of Merle’s storm. Somehow he managed not to die (with a few too many close calls for Team Glenn to be comfortable, to be honest). And despite the condition he was in, he wasn’t the one to break. His faith in Rick kept him rock solid through the interrogation. Hopefully that faith is founded.
Next week is the mid-season finale. What do you hope will happen when Team Prison and Team Woodbury clash at last? Let us know in the comments.
Talk about an action-packed episode. A lot happened in Woodbury and at the prison. To make things easier, I’m going to start with the Woodbury crew.
There is no love lost between Merle and Michonne. This week we’ve seen what happens when they attempt to hunt each other. They are equal in their abilities to fight and think like the purest of predators. Michonne is stealthier, able to use the wilderness to her advantage. She is also a very quick learner, collecting information about the walkers to use to her advantage. Merle isn’t that savvy. He’s all hack-and-slash. Anything that gets in his way ends up with a bullet in their head or that wicked arm-baronet he’s rigged.
Merle also has a very distinct disadvantage—he is a believer. This is a side of him we never saw until the Governor took him in, cleaned his system of drugs, and set him on a path to a specific purpose. Unlike Hershel when we first met him, Merle is not crippled by his belief in God. He knows during the end days, one has to look closer to earth to find someone to follow. His ten commandments came straight from the Governor’s mouth. Merle is happy to be a disciple in this strange cult that’s formed in Woodbury. He will go to any lengths to spread the word, even cutting down unbelievers like Michonne. Despite the fact that she could be one of their strongest allies in the fight to survive.
Andrea doesn’t see the cultish side of Woodbury. She thinks the darkest secret behind those tall walls is the undead MMA match we witnessed in last week’s episode. Oh honey, it gets a lot worse. No matter how much you dig, they’ll keep deflecting your questions; convince you there’s nothing amiss. For all of her time fighting, scraping by during the winter, Andrea is still very naïve. She wants to believe in the good in people—so long as that good goes toward making her life more comfortable. There’s an internal struggle she’s fighting. The need to have a place to call her own that is safe and the thrill of the kill, taking down walkers to earn her keep. The last time we saw Andrea fight this hard to prove herself, Daryl nearly had his head blown off. The Governor keeps a tight leash on his little army. She is too wild, too unpredictable. Will he tame her to suit his purpose?
It seems like he fully plans to tame her through…softer means. We all saw it happening long before it did. But I will admit, seeing both of them let their guard down long enough to have a private moment was surprising. Then again, how low were the Governor’s, I mean Phillip’s, mental walls? If he’s playing a game with Andrea, he is winning. She is utterly clueless and falling for each and every smooth line he feeds her. Someone needs to shake some sense into Andrea before it is too late.
Now let’s see what is going on in the prison with Rick and his crew.
Warning! There may be spoilers below. If you have not watched episode 306 of The Walking Dead, turn around and go watch it.
The sound of grief is different for everyone—a sob escaping as you walk past a spot that triggers memories of the one you lost, the roar of anger at your inability to keep a loved one from harm. It could be the deafening quiet filled with everything left unsaid before they left this world, or the sound of a kiss to remind yourself that you’re still alive.
The sound of grief may even be a phone ringing in an empty room.
Daryl’s way to cope is to jump into action. He can’t sit still and do nothing while the group stews in their grief. The show of emotion makes him uncomfortable. However, he doesn’t run from it, he acknowledges it. Daryl took Carl aside and showed him a glimpse of his past, just enough for Carl to know he has someone he can relate to. He is not alone, despite the loss of his mother. He will survive and grow to be a stronger person. Of all the people for Carl to look up to, Daryl is the first I actually want him to be like. He’s capable, smart (but not book smart), a quick thinker. Daryl also cares on a level no one else is capable of. How else would he be able to know at a glance that it is Carol’s knife in the walker? He does have a breaking point, but it is handled in private. His anger over failing Carol almost cost him the chance to find her again.
You have to look outside of your grief or you’ll be blind to important things.
Rick is beyond blind. He’s put himself into total isolation. That he remembered to clean up and speak complete sentences is a small miracle at this point. His gourd is cracked. No, it isn’t just cracked; he stuck that sucker in a blender and hit frappe. Rick’s behavior is causing some serious concerns. The minute Rick admitted to talking to someone on the phone, the warning bells went off in Hershel’s mind. We saw the thought on his face, “If Rick has snapped, what will happen to us? How will I tell everyone that the man we’ve relied on to keep us alive will no longer be able to help?” To be honest, I don’t think Rick can any more. When one begins to hear the voices of the dead calling, there’s no going back. You’ve passed Go, gone straight to the asylum—forget about the two hundred dollars.
The group will have to deal with a new face at the prison in next week’s episode. This arrival is what ties the two groups of survivors together and brings us one step closer to a face-off with Rick and the Governor. Can Rick handle it, though? His people need him to rally and save the day.
What do you think? Will Rick rise to occasion and help his people? Let us know in the comments below.
Review of The Walking Dead episode 305 “Say the Word”
reviewer: RC Murphy
Be honest, how many of our brave Zombie Survival Crew brigadiers tuned into the newest episode of The Walking Dead and sent up a wish similar to this? “Please don’t kill off anyone I love on the show this week.” Oddly enough, that has been the mantra in the ZSC Command Center since last season. Yet, we keep coming back to see what our favorite group of Zombiepocalypse survivors is doing, no matter how heart breaking it gets.
Does this sort of behavior ring a bell with anyone else?
Speaking of familiar things, who else yelled after seeing captive walkers (or biters) in Woodbury? Yes, that always works so well. Ask Hershel and his family if it is a good idea to pen up a bunch of zombies and feed them like livestock. Oh wait, you can’t ask part of his family because they were eaten. Not by the captive zombies, true, but the sentiment is the same. They are dangerous, even with “modifications”. It hardly surprised me to see what the Governor had planned for the walkers in his care—even though it gave Merle a chance to show off his fighting skills. Who needs two hands to be a hardcore killer? Not that guy! Merle is the star of Woodbury’s twisted professional wrestling company. It fits too well.
The more we see of the Governor, the harder it is to stomach his interactions with Andrea. It took her seeing the seriously extreme lengths he goes to in order to entertain the people in his city for the first real thread of doubt to creep into her mind. She’s forsaken Michonne’s advice, pushed away the only person who really, truly had her back. What are the Governor’s intentions with Andrea? He’s not as obvious as Merle. Nor is he as loyal as Michonne when it comes to watching someone’s back. We can’t believe he wants a romantic relationship with her…can we? Fish tanks, guys. Fish. Tanks. Andrea could very easily end up in the Governor’s screwed-up man cave if she isn’t careful.
Grief is a very, very solitary thing. It stuffs your head with so many emotions; it is like having a brain transplant with a tub of cotton balls. You can’t see past it. You can’t acknowledge the pain others are in from their grief. All you feel is the hole in your chest getting bigger and bigger until it feels as though a truck could drive through it and not touch the sides. That is where Rick is. He can’t comfort his son—the son who was forced to “put down” his mother in order to save her from a more horrific existence than they were already living in. Rick hasn’t even acknowledged his newborn daughter. The only thing separating him from the things he’s killing is a heartbeat and if he keeps going down the path he is on, he will join Lori in the gut of a walker.
While Rick is isolated from the rest of the group—a group he swore he’d lead and protect with everything he had—there are still problems that need addressing. Daryl stepped up to the plate without so much as a second thought. He leapt into action to make sure they had everything they needed to care for the baby, with Maggie helping. Heck, Daryl even killed dinner during their trip out for supplies. How’s that for multitasking?
There’s been talk about who would make a better leader, Daryl or Rick. Rick is a great leader normally. He is a quick thinker. Is trained in paramilitary techniques. His heart is large enough to encompass everyone he deems as part of his crew and once they make it into his heart, he would die to protect them. However, Rick is fragile. He’s been run through the ringer since day one when he woke in the hospital. It was only a matter of time before something happened and he snapped a cog. Daryl, on the other hand, is usually very mellow. He stands back from the problem and assesses it, not with book smarts or anything someone else taught him, but with the skills and knowledge he gathered himself. Daryl was raised to be a survivor. It was the only way to make it through his rough childhood in one piece. His fault lies in the fact that he can’t, he won’t hold your hand and talk through your emotional breakdown. Daryl is a man of action, not emotion. Though, once he’s gotten comfortable around someone, he begins to take care of them in subtle ways, ways that doesn’t look like he cares too much, even if he does.
What about Carol? We never saw her body. A glimmer of hope shines in the darkness covering the group. Hopefully there are some answers next week and this isn’t drawn out like the search for Sophia.
Who would you rather follow into battle with the undead, Rick or Daryl? Let us know in the comments below.
Sometimes—not often, but sometimes—the pacing of a show is slow enough to seem as though nothing really happened in the course of an episode. We love The Walking Dead at the ZSC. Namely, we love to yell at the screen while watching and flail in frustration when we see the characters do things we know are wrong. This week there wasn’t quite as much yelling.
Part of the pacing issue stemmed from Rick and our main crew backtracking to recap what has happened over the last ten months for a group of new characters—who’d been locked inside the cafeteria of the prison the entire time. First off, holy cabin fever, Batman! How were those guys not climbing the walls? Even as prisoners, at least they got to go outside on a regular basis. Second, in their shoes, a lot of people would have bolted for the woods beyond the prison’s fences and never looked back. It doesn’t matter that the prison is possibly one of the safest (though ickiest) places to be holed up if another herd of walkers gets the munchies. They were locked up for various legal reasons and now have the chance to leave as free men with no repercussions.
Then again, how many people are truly free when they spend their days running for their lives?
Rick hasn’t been free since he woke in the hospital. Each day, each decision he makes to keep the group safe, adds a link to the chains binding him. I wondered last week how much longer Rick could continue to push and do the necessary evils inherent in their lives. What he did in this episode easily added four links to the guilt chain, if not more. He was cold, calculating…Rick was Shane. It lasted only a moment, but it was there in the swing of his machete and the haunted look in his eyes after all was said and done. To answer my own question, Rick can’t push himself much longer before he breaks. As strong as T-Dog and Daryl are, they won’t be able to put the pieces of their stressed leader or the group back together if Rick’s mental cookie crumbles.
Caution: There may be spoilers below.
The one thing that would have sent Rick over the edge damn near happened in this episode. With each survivor they lose, bury, or are forced to put down, a little bit of Rick goes with them. The sense of relief on his face when Hershel opened his eyes after the impromptu amputation was so intense, I thought he was going to fall over. Despite the love Hershel’s daughters have for him, their relief was nothing in comparison. Rick needs these people to keep a firm grip on his humanity. One more grave to dig will be his undoing and Hershel isn’t out of the woods yet, health wise. Not to mention Lori and the baby are nearing the danger zone.
Speaking of the baby crisis, it is about time Carol came into her own and became something more than a victim of fate. She has stepped up a lot in this season, taking matters into her own hands. Carol shows a sense of foresight the others are blinded to. They live moment to moment, not really considering too far into the future. Carol looks at what is going on and knows exactly what needs to be done in order to not only take care of the short-term, but the long-term as well. Not to mention she got about five hundred macho points for taking down a walker to practice performing a C-section.
Carl did something useful. Yes, you are as shocked as the rest of us. Though, the potential for Carl to be more than a burden has been under the surface for a while now, he hasn’t really done much more than get in the way. His methods for being helpful are somewhat lacking in caution, but in the end of the day his efforts will seriously help Hershel. And once again, Lori is at a loss on how to parent her own child. He’s mentally growing up to be older than her. Carl doesn’t need her any more and Lori doesn’t know how to deal. Any time she makes an attempt to be a parent, things just get worse—like pouring water on a pile of dirt on your kitchen floor and using nothing but an old sock to clean it up. The intention is clear, but the execution leaves a bigger mess for everyone else to walk around.
Lauren Cohan gave an amazing performance in this episode. So amazing, a sense of utter dread settled over the scene and convinced fans Hershel was going to bite the big one, then take a bite out of her. Lauren, as Maggie, has really made an impression during her time on the show. It is nice to see a woman in the mix, getting her hands dirty alongside the men to do what needs to be done. Unlike Andrea, Maggie doesn’t want a round of applause any time she kills a walker. Though, to be fair, Andrea has grown out of that…but where is she?
Next week’s episode will be huge. We’re catching up with Andrea and Michonne. But they’re not alone for long. At long last we’ll meet the Governor. There may also be another highly anticipated appearance next week. Did anyone else see what I did at the end of the preview clip?
What did you think about episode 302 of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.
October is finally here. For some of you, you won’t understand the huge breath of relief some of us took on Sunday night when we curled up on the couch and tuned into AMC at nine o’clock. Okay, relief may not quite be the right word, given the amount of bloodshed in the season premiere of The Walking Dead, but you get the gist. No more counting down days. No more stalking websites for behind-the-scenes interviews and pictures. The time has come to catch up with Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, Andrea, and the other survivors on the show.
Season three picks up a few months after where season two left off. The opening sequence, with its lack of dialog, spoke volumes about what has happened in their lives since Rick put his boot down and declared the beginning of the Ricktatorship. There was also an amazing pullback shot to unveil the first walker of the season. For all of those who complained there weren’t enough zombies in the last season, your wishes have been granted. There was no way to keep a body count in this episode, not even on the re-watch.
One huge difference in the group dynamic, everyone carries their own weight. Even Carl is given the task of standing guard while the others discuss where to go next on their never-ending quest to find enough supplies to keep them fed and safe. Not only does Carl stand guard, he’s handling a gun and hasn’t managed to shoot his foot or someone who is actually alive. Amazing, considering months earlier he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and the group was nearly torn apart over the fact that he’d been given a gun at all outside of target practice. Yeah, a lot of folks will think, “Sure, put the kid in charge of dangerous things” and laugh. But, hey, at least they’re at a prison. Hopefully the place is big enough; he’ll stay inside like he’s told.
The other huge change in the group, they’re moving and thinking like a paramilitary unit now. Months of constant moving have ground down the rough edges from personalities clashing and created a fluid hive mind, lead by Rick. Daryl stands at Rick’s right hand. Glenn and T-Dog are on the left. And Maggie is seriously holding her own with the men during fight scenes. No one is superfluous…without reason. Quit yelling. We all know there’s one character fans love to hate. We’ll get to her later.
What I’m talking about is the efficiency in how the group moves into the prison. It is almost too easy. Rick got them all worked up, spoon fed them pretty stories to rile them up and get them to keep putting one exhausted foot in front of the other. He turned the prison into an oasis—a goal too good to be true in the eyes of tired and starving travelers. Will they find their oasis in the prison or is the proverbial desert stretching out in front of them with no water in sight?
Since leaving the farm, the group has technically been split. Andrea didn’t make it out in the mad dash to the cars and was left behind to fight her way through the woods. When the end seemed to be coming for her, someone stepped out of the shadows and saved her—Michonne. Michonne is ruthless in the way she kills. She doesn’t waste energy in movement. She does what is needed to ensure she isn’t bit and moves on. There is probably a lot of severed zombie heads left in her wake. Michonne also seriously cares for Andrea. They’ve bonded over the months they’ve been on their own path of survival. Well, Michonne, Andrea, and the pet zombies. There’s a band name for someone to use.
Okay, fine, we’ll discuss the Lori Problem. This is similar to the Shane Problem, but with more hair, an incoming baby, and a lot more crying. Long gone are the days when Lori could bat her eyelashes at Rick and convince him to do her bidding. He’s done buying her snake oil treatments for a better life in the Zombiepocalypse. Rick tried things her way and lost his best friend in the process. But he isn’t dwelling on it. Rick is pushing the group forward. Lori just wants to dig up the pain they left rotting in a field on the farm. Her baby is due any day and it is very apparent that Lori is not mentally prepared for it at all. She is still focused on herself and how others perceive her. Can she change her focus once the baby comes or will she spend all of her time worried over whether or not the kid looks like her husband?
The final scene of the Walking Dead premiere left a lot hanging in the balance, more than I’m comfortable with, actually. Any time this show leaves a cliffhanger, fans end up rather upset or disturbed. Despite the potential for fan-angst, what is to come in the season—the Governor, the prison and everything else—promises to be amazing.
What are you looking forward to during the third season of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.
Their love for each other is matched only by their drive to survive. While both Lori and Carl lack the survival, weapons and hunting training of those around them, they remain locked in a fierce battle against the zombiepocalypse to protect that which matters most—the human family.
Who are Lori and Carl Grimes? They are characters from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have expressed a great deal of love for:
Lori and Carl are the core of a family unit traumatized by the realities of a zombified world, wife and son to a man tasked by circumstance with leading a soul-weary band of survivors through the horrors as safely as he can. Lori is determined to protect her child at any cost, but may not have the kind of constitution to survive a prolonged zombie onslaught, and all the emotional baggage it carries with it. Carl finds himself literally growing up in the zombiepocalypse, traversing his developmental years to the background of flying body parts and weapons instruction.
[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]
Lori and Carl are tasked with protecting humanity’s most valuable asset—the family. While water, food and ammunition are integral to physical survival, the presence of loved ones bound by blood and affection grounds and lifts the spirit. The Grimes family is not the only familial unit in and around the main survivor group, but with Rick Grimes as the survivor band’s leader, the Grimes clan is—whether they like it or not—the “first family” of the zombiepocalypse.
Ever since viewers first met Lori—played by Sarah Wayne Callies—she has been coping with severe emotional trauma and struggling to balance her own needs with what she believes to be right and/or necessary. Lori is not a bad woman. She is a good mother, who loves her child and would, I have no doubt, die to protect him. She is loyal, …yes, loyal, and will stick behind those she loves when she believes them to be right.
But Lori is struggling to manage the consequences of choices she’s made—sometimes she’s wrong for the right reasons, other times she’s right for the wrong ones. I mean, let’s be real here, she believed her husband was dead. Shane helped her and Carl survive, was someone she trusted and could feel safe with in the midst of a world gone mad. Taking a lover when surrounded by nothing but death is a good way to remind yourself that you are indeed alive.
She has been coping with the guilt of her decision to enter a sexual relationship with Shane ever since Rick returned from the dead…and all of the other complications that accompany it. She’s angry and hurt. Yes, Shane may have believed Rick was dead, but he wasn’t…and so Shane (who is just not helping his own case) is the target for all the mixed-up rage, guilt and fear that Lori harbors.
Lori is Rick’s rock, his most vocal defender after Shane. And where Shane, Rick’s best friend, will argue with him to get to a decision that creates more pent-up frustration between the two buddies, Lori is most-often content to back Rick’s decisions even if she doesn’t like them because she know his heart is true. But I do have to wonder if this isn’t part of the reason she was doubting their marriage before the zombiepocalypse hit…just sayin’. Lori is quick to point out to others when they are being selfish or projecting their own emotions onto Rick who—as she rightly points—continues to do for the group what no other would. I just wish she could so readily take stock of her own interactions and self-correct when she is projecting.
Carl—brought to life by Chandler Riggs—is growing up before viewers’ eyes. Between season one and the trauma of season two the young man has evolved from a whimpering, fearful child into an eager, increasingly capable young man. Carl wants to emulate what he sees both Rick and Shane doing to save everyone and make a tangible contribution to the group’s survival. He throws himself with great passion into learning the skill he will need—how to properly catch and clean fish, set up an alarm system around camp…fire a gun.
He is still a child, clinging to the pure hope and innate optimism that most youngsters have, but there is little doubt Carl is determined to become a zombie hunter extraordinaire. ..even if he does not yet truly understand the emotional consequences of such an undertaking.
Both Lori and Carl face serious emotional and physical challenges ahead. Lori is aware of hers, and we see her struggling to find a balance between protecting the family members she has, and adding to the mix with a baby. Carl, despite everything he has seen and experienced, is likely to encounter a crisis of conscience or two as strives to become the man he thinks he should be.
But can they survive? Can they keep the Grimes family unit together and alive? One thing is for sure…they will fight to the death to make it happen.
Any good story is bound to have that one character who is one horse short of being an honest-to-goodness cowboy. I’m not talking about the “shoot ’em up” guys that do it because they have a gun fetish, but the guys that fight to uphold their morals. Morals they learned with a hand on their momma’s apron hem and had drilled into their heads by hard working fathers. Rick Grimes came into existence long after the Cowboy Era, yet he still fits the part. Heck, when he made his first appearance on television they even gave him an actual horse–well until it was eaten by a horde of hungry zombies.
Who is Rick Grimes? He is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:
If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.
Rick is a man of many morals. With a veritable shopping list of good qualities Rick—payed by Andrew Lincoln—will do almost anything to honor, he is a man to be admired. But his decisions often leave something to be desired. He suffers from tunnel vision that can turn ‘doing the right thing’ into foolhardy or dangerous missions—with the potential for truly disastrous results.
[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]
The tie that binds Rick’s principles is the ideal that he must do anything to keep his family safe… or is it? Rick’s dilemma isn’t so much how to keep his family safe, it seems, but more of how will he do it while on a one-man mission to save every stray person they encounter. He spreads himself too thin trying to be there for everyone, often leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. He even went so far as to leave their sides the day after they learned he hadn’t died in the hospital to save, of all people, Merle Dixon– the man that’d nearly gotten them all eaten alive in Atlanta during a supply run. Was the risk to his family worth it to save one man? A lot of the other characters said no. They felt let down, even if his wife understood that he felt obligated to a man he’d just met and had been threatened by.
Rick’s sense of responsibility—and guilt—can be a very real danger to the main survivor group as we saw in the case of the situation with Sophia. Lori was right when she said no one else in the main survivor group jumped to leave their hiding place and race to her aid like Rick did. It was a great moment for Rick and the preservation of humanity in a world gone mad. But what followed…was disaster. Shane was right when he said Rick was leading the group on a search for her long past a timeframe when finding her alive and well was likely. Rick’s persistence nearly cost Daryl Dixon his life. Would Rick show the same determination for any member of the group? Did he push a continued search for Merle? In both cases, Rick was, at least, partially responsible for the predicament…yet, Merle’s fate remains unknown.
Rick felt obligated to Hershel for the use of his land as a safe haven for his crew of survivors and for the medical help–without which they’d have lost both Carl, T-Dog and Daryl. Hershel is a strict man, runs his house with an iron fist, and expects to be obeyed. Rick’s approach is honorable, it’s the cowboy way…but there has to be a limit somewhere. I’m going to argue a barn full of zombies qualifies. Rick’s response had me nearly in tears—I began to think he was as deluded as Herschel. Did he truly believe, for even a second, that those zombies were anything less than a deadly and immediate threat?
And then Rick pulled the trigger.
I’d bet the farm that the closing scene of season two’s mid-season finale gave us more answers than most viewers were able to see through the shock and horror. When Shane ripped open the barn to force the group to deal with the zombies within (think closet. think skeletons.) Andrea, T-Dog, Glenn and Daryl swallowed bile to step up to the line, …and hold. Rick did not. It was only when a zombified Sophia lurched across the fallen mass of walker remains that Rick raised his weapon.
Many fans have said that this proves Rick can make the hard decisions. I disagree. If Shane had not been there to initiate, Rick would have avoided confrontation and put the group in more danger. Rick, unfortunately, was responsible for Sophia’s demise. Unfortunate because he really was trying to do the right thing. That was his blood to claim. The blood of an innocent child, smeared all over the hands and spirit of a truly righteous man. Rick had to pull the trigger, he had to pay the soul-shattering debt.
That he was willing to step forward and take on that responsibility may simultaneously give him strength—and rip him apart.
He sure has balls for a Chinaman. Oh wait…he’s Korean. Whatever. What he is, is the kind of person I’d like to have at my side when the worst happens. When the horde is gathering and the body parts are flying—no matter what emotions may be racing through his adrenaline-hyped body—he remains practical, strategic, capable…and caring.
Even though Glenn isn’t really real, his innate ability to simultaneously make me smile and feel completely safe makes this young man a keeper on my post-apocalyptic wish list of companions.
If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.
Glenn’s honesty and bravery are consistently challenged in this world gone mad…and every.single.time he rises to the challenge. He remains loving and very humane in the way he interacts. The world has changed, but for Glenn—played by Steven Yeun—this bloody new reality doesn’t change the compassion he has for his fellow man. Dale may be the sage within the main survivor group, but Glenn is the group’s hope personified.
[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]
I’d like to say it’s his youth more than anything else that causes the disparaging remarks Glenn faced early on. Daryl Dixon’s banter around Glenn’s nationality, calling him ‘short round’ and wanting to see how red Glenn’s face would get when he drank alcohol were all pretty non-PC digs that speak to how Caucasians see stereotypes about Asians. But if we’re going to go there, …and the show certainly did, Glenn does have some “common” Asian traits. He’s generally quiet and observant, the kind of guy who assesses a situation before acting. Glenn is practical and good at devising thoughtful strategies to deal with a difficult situation. Yes, he can be a little dorky, a comic geek. But as we’ve moved into the halfway point of season two even Daryl has had to admit—if just by easing up– that Glenn’s Asianness (is that a word?) helps enhance his ability to make vital contributions to the group.
Maggie said that Glenn is a leader but the group doesn’t respect him. I think she’s right, and wrong, on both counts. Whether you ascribe to the Rick or Shane school of leadership, both understand the importance of information and how it can affect group dynamics. Glenn is discreet…and apparently very eager to learn about spark plugs. But he is unable to make a judgment call on information without seeking advice. Glenn’s bravery is unrivalled within the group. Some may ask him to do questionable things that take advantage of his bravery, …but that is not necessarily a sign of disrespect or lack of value. It is a sign of need. Glenn can do these things and remain…Glenn. The longer he survives, the older he gets, the more Glenn will come to be what Maggie already sees in him.
Glenn is the best kind of team player. He’s a caretaker. Glenn values every individual in the group and is willing to use his abilities to help protect not only their physical wellbeing, but also their emotional welfare, without any real thought about what it might cost him. Some might call it naïve—and Glenn himself admitted to falling into the trap of not seeing the zombies for the threat they present—but in a very real way this makes Glenn the heart and soul of the group. Their best hope at staying human.
Glenn sees in Maggie the opportunity to really feel alive again. Later, he admits to Dale exactly that, that he wants to be with her to feel something other than the terror of living day to day in the world of the walkers…when he might be dead tomorrow. But this poses a huge dilemma for Glenn. He makes promises to Maggie that could potentially spell trouble for the people with whom he has been through so much. Glenn is incapable of putting Rick and the others in danger, even at the cost of his personal life. Balancing his wants and needs with that of the group, and what he views as right, is no easy feat. Yet somehow Glenn handles the situation with poise and honor.
When we first met Glenn he was doing what—if we’re all being really honest with ourselves—many would not. His willingness to risk his own life to help a stranger, a dumbass stuck in a tank surrounded by walkers, was a reflection of both youthful bravado and the principles to which Glenn holds dear. Rick asks Glenn why he has taken such a major risk. His response? “Call it foolish, naïve, hope. That if I’m ever that far up shit creek, somebody might do the same for me. Guess I’m an even bigger dumbass than you.”
Hope is the operative word in that exchange…it is Glenn.
The mid-season finale for season 2 of The Walking Dead had a lot riding on it. I’m not talking about character drama, either. This first half of the season needed to live up to audience’s expectations. We were given a grab-you-by-the-throat first season of TWD. With only six episodes to make an impact, the creators and writers drove the plot and us hard, fast, and dirty. The pacing became a huge part of the appeal. With more episodes to play with, the pacing has suffered greatly. And unfortunately, it is turning people away. Episode 7 had to snag viewers attention again before the break. Did it succeed?
They wasted no time jumping into the major issue at hand: the barn. Glenn’s loyalty is seriously tested in his budding relationship with Maggie. He is torn between keeping secrets he’s sworn to by someone he just met, but feels a deep connection with, or manning up and telling the group of people that have helped him survive this long. In the end, I think he chose correctly and I think Maggie understands he did what he had to. She’s beginning to realize Hershel’s way of coping with the changes in the world aren’t the only way to do things. It only took her nearly being turned into a walker at the pharmacy to figure it out, though. Sometimes it takes a close call that rattles your world to see clearly.
The debate between Rick and Hershel about the occupants of the barn brought up a very good question: In a situation like the zombie apocalypse, is it naive to assume that all humans should band together to protect each other? Rick clings on to the hope that despite their differences in opinion, his crew and Hershel’s family can still coexist, all in the name of being safe. But from what we’ve seen, Rick forcing the issue of banding together has caused more issues. Hershel pulls his family and supplies in closer to his chest. He flat-out refuses any help from the other survivors. There’s a line in the sand, or rather a trench that’s filled with the fires of hell. Hershel cannot bring himself to even approach the line and consider the two factions becoming one group. They question his faith, the way he’s done things since even before the walkers came into existence. For someone living on the edge, that is as dangerous as approaching a zombie unarmed. In Hershel’s world it is his way or go away. No one is allowed to question him.
In the face-off between Dale and Shane we see glimpses of the same ruthless attempt to cling to control from both of the men. Unfortunately Dale isn’t a fighter. He will protect. He will give sage advice and be there if you need someone to unload all of your issues on, but he isn’t a trigger man. He tries to stand up for what he believes is the right thing and is cowed by Shane’s overwhelming presence. Does he see logic in the way Shane is handling things? Probably not. Dale isn’t a fool, though. He knows the kind of man Shane is. He also knows he can rely on that cold inner core Shane possesses to get things done, even if it scares the heck out of him.
Someone I thought would always keep that cold core is Daryl. This season has turned my perception of the mighty squirrel hunter on ear. He’s deep. Emotional. Caring. And completely clueless on how to make any sort of relationship with others work. Each time he opens up, he instantly shuts down and reverts to the “old” Daryl. Carol is the only person to consistently see into his heart, but not even she is safe from the out lash of self-loathing Daryl dives in to. He constantly slips back into the mindset likely formed by his lack of a real family unit. Why love yourself when no one else seems to give a damn? Carol cares and makes it very clear he can’t push her away. Will this tentative step towards an actual connection with another person (one not a figment of his imagination) lead to something more?
[Caution: spoilers below. If you have not watched the episode yet, walk away.]
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the final scene of the episode. Everything in the last six episodes came to a boiling point. Shane gave all of that anger, frustration, and lack of forward movement a voice. A very loud voice. I may not be on Team Shane, but he did what he thought he had to do to keep the family he wishes were his safe. Could he have gone about it better? Totally. It still had to be taken care of. How many more walkers would the barn have held? Did Hershel honestly think he could keep going for god knows how long simply shoving the undead away under a metaphorical rug? Eventually the rug gets so lumpy you trip and crack your head open. I think Hershel would have gone on until he himself became infected. He was so set in his idea that the zombies are still living that he couldn’t see the danger staring at him.
Even with Shane being the voice of the turmoil on the farm, it ended up being Rick who took care of the most difficult part of the entire season thus far. My own frustration came to a head when Sophia emerged from the barn. They’ve been searching so hard for so long and she’d been maybe a hundred yards away the whole time. When I sat to think about the episode, I had to wonder if Hershel realized that one of the walkers he’d captured was the little girl they were all looking for. Were his protests to leave the barn alone multifaceted? We know he thought he was keeping his “sick” family safe, but had he been hiding the truth of Sophia’s condition as well?
For as many questions as the mid-season finale (finally) answered, it posed a ton of others. Will Rick move his crew off the farm? Can Hershel look past his faith to see the world for how it really is? What will Maggie and Glenn do? I could go on and on with the questions rattling around my head. Which I probably will considering it is a very long wait until February when the second half of The Walking Dead season 2 kicks off.
This week The Walking Dead seemed to be missing something. They covered a lot of ground as far as addressing each characters plot arc but there was a key something missing. Oh, I know. Action.
Don’t mistake, I do enjoy watching our survivors grow and evolve to adjust to the harsh reality of the zombie apocalypse. That being said, it is a zombie apocalypse. They are fighting every day to survive. We were spoiled by the fast pace of the first season. The writers couldn’t take an entire episode to tie up all of their loose plot strings before the mid-season finale. That’s what they did here, gave us what I refer to as a “catch up” episode to put the ducks in a row in prep for next week, which from the previews promises the action we missed this week and then some. I hope.
We finally get to see Carl back on his feet this week. Right away it is painfully obvious that being shot has affected how he views the world. Carl is beginning to mature faster than we, with our modern sensibilities, think he should. But there is nothing Lori and Rick can do to stop this natural progression. He is old enough to realize their dire situation and wants to help protect the people he loves. Carl probably sees the world with truer eyes than anyone else when he tells his mother about the missing chicken, “Maybe she got eaten. Everything’s food for something else.” That’s the reality they live in. Some of the survivors simply refuse to see it.
That friggen barn is going to give me fits. Hershel’s ideals surrounding the occupants of the barn seem utterly ridiculous when put in contrast to what we’ve seen our band of nomads go through in and around Atlanta. We know these creatures are dead. We know that the synapses, those electric keys to what makes a human a human, aren’t working. All of this was covered for Rick’s crew at the CDC. There is no cure. These people aren’t sick. They are dead. Again, you can see Hershel’s faith coming in to play. He can’t kill the people he knows and loves. The guilt of putting them down would shatter the last marble he’s got rattling around in his stubborn brain. So instead of doing what we deem humane, he keeps zombie pets. To him it is the right thing because the Bible tells him not to kill. But what does the Good Book teach us about survival? Self defense? Turn the other cheek with a zombie and you’ll get a hole in your face.
Turning a blind eye to other situations can land you in the same sort of hot water, only this time the scars are emotional. Lori tries everything she can to avoid telling Rick about her pregnancy. She talks herself in endless circles about the future and what it could hold for her family. Admittedly, what set her off was the near-death of her son, Carl. As a mother I hope to never, ever be in a similar situation. Watching Lori go through it was bad enough. But… are her fears grounded? She says, “Memories are what keep me going”, then goes on to predict her unborn child’s future of nothing but pain and an early death. Life is what you make of it. If they leave the farm, they have months to find a new home base and settle in before the baby comes. There are plenty of areas similar to Hershel’s farm, in close proximity to cities with supplies, which they could move into. One has to wonder if she is worrying about her baby or what will happen if Rick entertains the idea that the baby isn’t his. She’d lose her hero, her husband, and the only one she can actually trust to keep her and Carl safe.
Dragged into the middle of Lori’s crisis is poor Glenn. He is trying, he really is, but still has a long way to go to be the hero he wants to become. The first step? Learn how to lie better. I’d play poker against Glenn any day. That lack of being able to hide the ugly truth is, unfortunately, a key tool of a leader. Sometimes you need to keep things from others to keep them calm and manageable. Rick does this often to give his crew the sense of stability they need while recovering from injuries. What Glenn isn’t lacking, though, is nerve. When the one person he really sees as his to protect is in danger, he went all Rambo. I would like to remind everyone that severing the spine does not kill a walker. Headshots, guys. Glenn nearly forgot, but it did make for an interesting zombie effect. After his hero moment, Maggie finally acknowledges what is inside his heart. She also sees how, in his effort to become more, to rise in the pack structure, Glenn could get himself good and dead.
If you paid attention to this episode, you will notice that there is one character with his nose in everything. The writers have taken Dale’s position as the “wise old man” a tad too far. We already knew that not much escapes his attention. Dale isn’t out in the woods, cut off from the core of the action. No, he stays perched on top on the RV simply watching. But it really bugs me that they felt in order to tie up all of these story lines they needed to use Dale so blatantly. He’s there when Carl expresses his desire to grow up more. Dale is the one to confront Hershel about the barn’s occupants. Heck, he even tries to help Lori about her baby issues. And the topper, Dale goes nose to nose with Shane about his erratic behavior after Otis’s death. There are other, less obvious ways to wrap things up for the mid-season finale. We didn’t need Dale to narrate it for us. He’s far too good a character to use like that.
Next week is the last episode we’ll get in 2011. There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Is Sophia still alive? Will Lori abort the pregnancy after all? Is Shane finally at the end of his rope? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.