Caution:There will be spoilers below. If you have not watched episode 304 of The Walking Dead, bookmark this page and go watch what you’ve missed!
Yes, we’re kicking things off this week with the dreaded spoiler warning. It was not my intention to do it this way. After watching this week’s episode twice and doing a good bit of thinking, there is only one conclusion to be reached—TWD writers hate the fans and want them to weep. A lot. It would not surprise any of your ZSC commanders to learn the producers and writers have stock in Kleenex. Just sayin’.
Let’s ease into things slowly and ask a couple questions many of you may have after the last two episodes—Why is Andrea being so quick to trust the Governor? Can’t she see the crazy in his eyes?
Andrea and Michonne have been alone for eight months. It is very easy to miss human contact outside of the one person you’re tied to in order to survive. However, it does not mean you throw common sense out the window. Listen to the voice in the back of your head, Andrea. It is easy to lose yourself in the fight to survive day to day. Dreams die when you’re forced to live like that. But for heaven’s sake, something is not right with this guy. Seriously so. Ask to see his man cave; you’ll totally rethink your idea of staying in Woodbury a few more days. Better yet, listen to the woman who kept you alive all winter. Michonne knows the Governor is up to nefarious deeds. Eventually she will confront him about it. I don’t know about you guys, but my money is on Michonne and her sword.
What about Merle? Can we trust the new, improved Merle? Probably not. He’s far too ingrained into the Governor’s inner circle…or is he? Something about the way the Governor brushed off Merle’s plan to find Hershel’s farm (and, hopefully, signs that Daryl is still alive) felt off. If he is all about helping Merle rehabilitate physically and mentally, why would he hold Merle back from finding the only family he has left alive in the world? Isolating people from their loved ones is something abusers do. If you cut your victim off, they have no one else to turn to but you. The Governor did the same thing, essentially, when he took Merle and the other men to take care of the National Guard members. With no government protection to rely on, the people of Woodbury are further forced to rely on him.
We can’t dance around it any longer. It is time to address one of two elephants standing in the room…
Since their time at Hershel’s farm, the grim reaper has stalked one character in particular. Lori knew from the day she realized she was pregnant that she wouldn’t survive the birth. Did the looming death sentence make her a better person? No. Lori’s decisions in the last nine months of her life were hard, cruel, unrelenting. They were that way for a reason. She was making sure Rick and Carl would have somewhere safe to live with the baby and the right people around them to keep it that way. In a way, Lori weeded out the bad seeds and used Rick to take care of them. It doesn’t change my opinion of her in the least, however.
Lori’s last breath was spent trying to redeem herself in her child’s eyes. She abandoned Carl the moment Rick showed up at the quarry. Lori realized she hadn’t been finding comfort in the arms of a friend, but sleeping around on her husband. She was a control freak. When life threw her a curveball (Surprise! Your husband wasn’t left to be zombie chow) she fought tooth and nail to regain control of her life—of everyone’s lives. Lori couldn’t allow the universe to rule her or anyone in the group. Because of that, Lori became the catalyst to Rick’s hard decisions. The only chance he got to balance the scale was when he told her to keep the baby that would become the proverbial noose around her neck.
Much respect to Sarah Wayne Callies for her portrayal of Lori Grimes. It is not easy to take a character fans are forced to dislike and play them without buying into the hype. Of all the characters on the show, Lori was possibly one of the truest. Can’t say Lori will be missed, but Sarah’s talent will be.
It’s time to discuss the second elephant…
Over three seasons, we’ve watched T-Dog grow from the quiet, yet useful, man in the background to one of Rick’s trusted crewmembers. In this last season, T-Dog really came into his own. He voiced his opinions and they were taken seriously by the group instead of brushed off—a sign they appreciated everything he’d done for them. We even got to see T-Dog and Rick butt heads a little at the beginning of this episode. It was energizing to see someone speak up against the Ricktatorship. Sadly, while he was right about giving the two prisoners a second chance, it’d take some very extreme measures for them to receive the chance. And he’ll never know it.
T-Dog’s death was accompanied by numerous lamentations from fans worldwide. It was sudden. Shocking. And really, really graphic. But you know what? He went out a hero. It doesn’t stop the pain of losing a beloved character. However, knowing he was given a good ending goes a long way to quelling the tears. Yes, even ZSC commanders cry when they see someone cut down before their prime on TV.
From one ZSC commander to another, IronE, you will be seriously missed on The Walking Dead. It has been amazing watching you grow as T-Dog and we wish you prosperity with all of your future endeavors. Oh and if they ask you to do a flashback on TWD, please do it. The world needs more T-Dog.
This was a rough week for The Walking Dead fans. What was your reaction to this shocking episode? Let us know in the comments below.
This episode in particular had a lot of anticipation built up around it long before it aired. Heck, people were excited back before filming began and producers confirmed what the main story arc of the third season would be. Fans were anxious to meet the Governor and see Woodbury outside of the confines of paper and ink. Not to mention, watch an entire episode devoted to Michonne and Andrea. Oh and there was a certain returning character fans begged and pleaded to have back on The Walking Dead. We’ll get to them later.
For three seasons, we’ve been teased with glimpses of a helicopter. In the apocalypse, something like a helicopter builds hope that somehow, some way people are surviving and thriving. At the very least, survivors begin to think there is still some sort of government force at work to keep them safe. It is a false hope, really. But there we were again, watching a helicopter hover over the earth and wondering, “How on earth did any military personnel survive? They were on the front lines when the walkers rose.” Obviously some would make it as long as Rick and his original crew. Seeing them, though, was a little strange. Any sort of government figure is a foreign concept now. Even Rick dropped his sheriff uniform. What point is there when most of the people you swore to serve and protect are dead?
There was very little time wasted introducing the Governor. On first impression, one looks at the way he leads his men and realizes, this is the sort of leader Rick wishes he could be. Unfortunately, Rick has an overwhelming sense of guilt and morality hanging over his head at all times. The more we saw of the Governor in this episode, it became quickly apparent he had neither of Rick’s downfalls holding him back. Can Andrea and Michonne trust the Governor? The answer is a double-edged sword. He fully believes his efforts alone will be what saves humanity and made it perfectly clear he’d do anything necessary to do so. When you know someone’s game plan, you can trust them to follow through. But to rely on him for their safety when he lies about his intentions in other matters? They’d be foolish.
Michonne is more than ready to leave town and make her own path to survival. She is a woman determined to do things on her own. Trust is a huge issue with her, except when it comes to Andrea. However, trouble could be brewing in their friendship if Andrea insists on staying in Woodbury much longer. Michonne’s spidey-senses are tingling. She’s pacing like a caged tiger waiting for someone to get too close to the bars. Danai Gurira is amazing in this role. Michonne rarely speaks, unless she is alone with Andrea, but her misgivings about Woodbury and the Governor are very, very clear thanks to Danai’s stellar performance.
Caution: There may be spoilers below.
The pets. It was difficult watching Michonne dispatch them in order to keep the walkers from giving away their location. It became even more difficult to let them go after seeing her dodge around the question—the one question that’d give everyone a deeper insight into what makes Michonne tick. Who were the walkers she disfigured and kept by her side at all times? It is easy to assume she found a couple random zombies and fashioned them into her personal pack mules/cloaking device. However, once the question was asked, we knew there was a story there. Maybe one day, we’ll even figure it out.
Woodbury seems too good to be true. It has the same sort of vibe as the prison and Hershel’s farm—if the survivors get too comfortable and settle in too deeply, the place will become their grave. Who on earth would even think of utilizing solar power during the Zombiepocalypse? Yet, there it is. Along with well-manicured flowerbeds, gardens, clean sidewalks, hot water, electricity—the works. What of oneself does it cost to live in Woodbury? For the men, they’re conscripted into the Governor’s private militia. We haven’t met many of the women, yet. They simply seem happy to have a safe place to call home. Because of that, they’re not asking the questions nagging at the back of their mind before they go to sleep each night.
Helpful tip: Don’t ignore the nagging voice when your safety is on the line.
Let’s see…was there anything I forgot? Hey, stop throwing stuff! You know I couldn’t forget good ol’ (rotten ol’) Merle Dixon.
The reintroduction of Merle was perfect. Even without showing him, we knew right away who’d snuck up on Andrea and Michonne. This isn’t the same Merle we saw handcuffed to the roof of a department store. His time in Woodbury has given him a clear head. With the Governor calling the shots, directing Merle’s every move, he has no leeway to dive back into his vices. At least, that’s how it seems so far. Who knows, Merle could flip a gasket and start talking to rocks for all we know.
Lesson number one of The Walking Dead fandom, never attempt to predict what any of the characters will do.
I’ll close this out with one last note:
Fish tanks. Eww.
What do you think about the goings-on in Woodbury? 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.
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.