Well oh golly gee, when did Rick (Andrew Lincoln)'s balls drop?
My main complaint this season is probably going to be that we don't know exactly when they did (given the show skipped over a few months and even more character development), but in an episode much stronger than the premiere, we really came face-to-face with Rick's new style of hands-on -- and axe-on -- leadership.
Picking up right where last week left off, we find Rick and crew trying to move now-one-legged Hershel (Scott Wilson) to safety, while also deciding what to do with the group of inmates they ran into in the prison. It was an interesting confrontation -- the inmates had been locked in the cafeteria for 10 months (which I don't think lines up timelines wise, but oh well) and weren't aware with just how ugly things had gotten on the outside.
The real ugliness, though, was on the inside. It felt like almost every character had a moment that would have been startlingly out of character for them last season, yet we are just supposed to accept it was, "Well, they changed over the winter!" syndrome. Little Carl (Chandler Riggs) gave Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) quite the talking to, Carol (Melissa McBride) is stepping up and killing walkers and trying to learn how to give C-sections now that Hershel might not be able to deliver the baby, and even Beth (Emily Kinney) is actually getting some lines, even if they were just her yelling at Carl for back talking to his mother.
While Glen (Steven Yeun), Carl, and the ladies were back in the cell block keeping an eye on Hershel (and it was touching to see Maggie (Lauren Cohan) say goodbye and let go of her father, although a little too soon), Rick, T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) agreed to help the prisoners clear another cell block in exchange for half the food in the cafeteria.
It was such a drastic shift for Rick: when facing down the other group's leader he didn't buckle or offer to give them a lot of weapons and hold their hand and give them back rubs. No, that was season 1-2 Rick. New Rick and his, wait for it, Rick-tatorship, wasn't going to give an inch, and when he laid that blow on that prisoner's head, SPLAM! It was like you could hear his balls hitting the floor. Rick isn't screwing around anymore, that's for sure.
Even if it was a little on the slow side, the back half of the episode following Rick's dramatic kill was quite good, mostly due to some good pacing and a constant string of tense moments: Big Tiny (Theodus Crane) getting attacked by a pick-axe/bony walker who learned to dislocate his hand and then getting brutally, brutally killed; the aforementioned Rick throw down; Hershel coming to life and almost attacking Lori in a zombie-attack fake out; and Carol trying to cut open a walker (note: apparently yes, walkers still wear underwear) while being watched by somebody (Merle? Michonne? Not sure on this one). Individually they might not have stood out, but stacked up one after another made for a tense hour of television.
The ending was a little odd. Given the show had several good strong moments it could have ended up, instead it chose to close after Rick gave Lori the coldest shoulder possible when she tried, again with these silly women, to talk about their feelings and their failing marriage. She joked that it wasn't like they could hire lawyers and get a divorce -- and sure, Rick laughed at that, but maybe deep down he wished that he could. Lori put it best by saying that despite what could have happened, "Today was a good day." And also a little slower, but very tense and solid week for the show.
Oddly enough we saw no mentioned of either Michonne (Danai Gurira) or Andrea (Laurie Holden), but next week's preview showed the return of that famous chopper (it lives! it lives!) and Andrea and Michonne meeting up with the Governor (David Morrissey) as well as a flash of Merle (Michael Rooker), so I'm not sure if we'll see any of Rick and crew or not or the show is going to alternate weeks for a bit.
What did you this of this week's episode? And who do you think was creeping up on poor Carol? Banter away in the comments below, and I'll pick some of the best ones to feature in next week's review.
Willie isn't always a stickler for details, but when he is, it bothers him. For example, he isn't sure how come Hershel grew a giant beard but Rick seems to keep his stunning 5 o'clock shadow, which at least showed a little growth this week. But has he been hiding a grooming kit this whole time? If these kind of things keep you up at night too, you can use that time to follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" was hit or miss for me. Parts of it dragged on, but the last few episodes were some of the strongest in the show's run, giving us confrontations the show had been waiting a long time for (BOOM! Rick vs. Shane), getting us off the farm (SPLAT! Lots of zombies), and giving us several big series revelations (SHOCK! We're all infected).
Season 3 picked up much slower than I thought it would. We joined up with the group after the winter, and several changes were already quite apparent. Carl (Chandler Riggs) has grown up fast, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is quite pregnant, Hershel (Scott Wilson) is sporting quite the beard, and everyone seemed quite adapted to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) calling the shots and taking complete control of the group.
After the ending of last season's Rick-tatorship monologue, I was a little surprised that the show gave us the end result of him taking over, but skipped showing us how him and the rest of the group got there. The stress seems to have fallen largely on his and Lori's relationship -- Lori kept trying to reach out to talk to Rick only for him to shut her down, but yet his main motivating factor still seemed to be keeping Lori and the baby safe. The rest of the group seems to have fallen completely in check. I just wish we saw more of that instead of zipping right past it.
But apparently we didn't miss much: the winter was spent running in circles and moving house to house, and the group eventually Rick stumbled upon the infamous prison. The time shift in the show is shown off in another way: the group is functioning more and more like a well-armed zombie strike team. As much as there was a lot of zombie killing, sitting safely behind fences and picking them off one by one was kind of a slow build for the show. Let's see some flash and spectacle for the season premiere, people!
The show also has two groups to balance now, and did so very poorly. Screen time heavily leaned toward Rick and his crew, while newcomer Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) got a few (precious few, to be exact) minutes, mostly of Michonne kicking ass with her katana, but also of Andrea appearing to be dying of something. The flu? Exhaustion? It was unclear, and I was surprised we didn't see more of either of them.
The S.S. Rick continued to delve deeper into the prison, leading to a pretty bloody sequence with the group securing a cell block with some good old melee hand-to-hand combat. We even got some zombies in riot gear -- head shots wouldn't work on these guys -- which mixed things up a bit. They secured one cell block, but then went to push even further in, leading to a dark hallway runaround where Hershel literally tripped over a walker that then bit him, and Rick then (yeah, I flinched) amputated his leg in hopes of saving him. That was moments before Daryl turned around and found an on-looking group of other survivors in the prison, ending the premiere on somewhat of a mysterious note.
To me, this just didn't feel like a season premiere. It set a lot of things up: the whole "Lori's baby could come out a zombie" concept, whatever the hell is going on with Andrea, if amputating a leg will really stop the disease from spreading (but come on, peg-leg Hershel could be pretty baller; he already has the pirate beard), but it wasn't as fast and furious and, "Hey, this is the first episode of the season, let's hit the ground running" as it could have been. I'm also not a fan of the time shift: I don't like when writers skip over development and then hint back at it (which is what looks like is going to be the case here). I find it somewhat lazy as a storytelling mechanic, and I feel like I'm lost trying to figure out where everyone is now that I've been out of the loop.
But, enough from me. What did you all think? Were you happy with the premier, or did it just leave you want more? Sound off in the comments below.
Random thought: Daryl (Norman Reddus) and Carol (Melissa McBride)? Is that really going to become a thing? I got uncomfortable just seeing them try to flirt with each other.
Willie isn't always a stickler for details, but when he is, it bothers him. For example, he isn't sure how come Hershel grew a giant beard but Rick seems to keep his stunning 5 o'clock shadow. Has he been hiding a grooming kit this whole time? If these kind of things keep you up at night too, you can use that time to follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Cheers all around: We’ve finally left the freaking farm.
Of course, it took an entire horde of walkers to make it happen. Apparently one gunshot attracted all of them, or the herd followed them from Atlanta, but either way, a giant wave of walkers overran the farm, taking a few characters with them. That one guy who nobody cared about died, Jimmy (James McCune). Pretty unceremoniously too, as he could have just drove the RV a little faster. I’m not sure why we were wasting ammo when we had perfectly good cars to drive over the walkers with, and thank you T-Dog(IronE Singleton) for actually starting to use those wheels. And getting a few lines, finally.
Oh, and then Patricia (Jane McNeill ) died too. Is it bad that I didn’t care? Her death was gruesomely awesome, but honestly, I wasn’t even sure who she was until I checked, as Hershel’s family has very much been in the background and rarely important. The show has had too many characters from the get go, so it's been time for some house cleaning anyways.
It was fitting that it was Rick (Andrew Lincoln) who ultimately had to pull Hershel (Scott Wilson) off the farm, and as much as I was happy for them to finally leave it, seeing it overrun and up in flames was a tad touching. Hershel’s last look back at his home was bittersweet, and it was sad to see the whole place, once a safe zone, literally go up in smoke.
Daryl (Norman Reedue) saved Carol (Melissa McBride), which was also equally fitting, given their whole connection over Sophia(Madison Lintz). Glen (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) escaped together, and the reality of the world started to re-sink in: with no phones nobody knew who made it out and who didn’t. The show didn’t milk that notion for long, or nearly as long as I felt it could have, but I’m shocked they never had an officially agreed upon rendezvous point. Bad planning guys, bad planning.
The group, minus Andrea (Laurie Holden) and the deceased, luckily managed to convene where they started the season before they hightailed it out of there. After running out of gas and demanding that they stop to set up camp, Rick finally revealed the big secret from the CDC: Everybody is infected. Getting bit is no longer an issue, but I was a little let down with how the big reveal was treated. Everybody got mad at Rick for keeping it a secret, but doesn’t this spell game over for life in general? Even people who die of old age will become walkers now, right? That, to say the least, kind of sucks.
Rick then privately admitted to Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) that he killed Shane (Jon Bernthal), and is, in Rick fashion, placing a lot of the blame on himself. I don’t quite see it that way, but I do see how Rick, honesty prone as he is, felt that he needed to tell Lori that he wanted Shane dead. Lori was none too happy, and it was a great scene with her moving further away and retreating from Rick in the background as he confessed everything. Though Lori, it really is your fault for playing them against each other.
After he talked to Lori, Rick then let the cat out of the bag to the whole group. His reveal here, unlike the CDC news, was the best scene in the whole episode, and perhaps the whole season. Rick hasn't been scoring points with me lately, but it redefined who Rick was. He is starting to fall apart, especially given that he had to kill who was his best friend, and he isn't taking shit anymore. He gave the bickering group the option of leaving or staying: but if they stay that they are agreeing to do so under his new, non-democratic, rule. It was nice to see Rick finally grow a pair, even if it he seemed to be cracking.
On Andrea's end, she was, and awesomely so, saved by a hooded figure with two walker prisoners following him/her, which is apparently Michonne (Danai Gurira), setting up season three and the prison, which was the final shot of the episode.
The show did ramp up the buckets of blood for the finale, but it just didn’t have the punch I was hoping for, even with all the reveals and deaths. Everything seems to be heading in a much more exciting, and entertaining direction though, and at least the good moments were spread out through the episode instead of buried at the end. But, it did what a good season finale should do: Leave me anticipating the next season to come.
Another main character dead.A twist in the very development of how people become walkers.A character confrontation that has been building since the very start of the show.
And yet, I can’t get into the episode as a whole.
Perhaps it’s because it stuck pretty close to last week’s formula: Let nothing important happen for the first 30 some-odd-minutes and then have hell break loose. I’m being a little unfair but it felt like a return to the earlier shows this season: Lots of talking and very little actually going on.
It might have been that each scene felt disjointed, like we were getting small snippets of what everyone was up to, yet with the story’s wheels were stuck in the mud and not going anywhere. Several of the scenes were important, Lori(Sarah Wayne Callies), and Shane (Jon Bernthal), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), but everything on the whole felt scattered, like we were just biding our time on the farm waiting for something more exciting to happen. Sure, the wheels led somewhere eventually, but it was a destination we’ve all known was coming for so long it didn’t really need, or get anything for that matter, to move it forward.
Or it’s because I still am not really sure what made Shane break, and what made him finally decide he needed to kill Rick. Was it Lori admitting she didn’t know who the father of the baby was? Was it her coming within a few words of saying she had feelings for him? Lori enjoys manipulating people, but her emotions seemed genuine. But she must have known that setting Shane off like that would cause something to happen. I have no idea what she was trying to accomplish, but I don’t think she’ll like the results.
Whatever finally went off in Shane’s head, he went off and concocted a plan to solve two birds with one stone: Rick and Randall(Michael Zegen). He springs Randall free, but tried to set it up to look like an escape, only to lure Rick into the woods on the hunt alone.
What resulted was a great ending, and a finely crafted scene between Rick and Shane (The moon, the wide angel shots, the grassy plain, oh my!). This, more than anything else, is where the show has been headed for so long, and it might have been the overdue-ness of this confrontation that took away its emotional impact.They’ve fought before, and we all knew deep down inside it wasn’t over. Rick and Shane could not survive together, and Shane, willingly or not, gave Rick the chance to fight for his family and Carl. And no real surprise, but Rick won.
Oddly enough though, I still think I cared more when Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) died. Or perhaps Dale’s death was just more shockingly out of nowhere. Now I’m just glad that the Rick-Shane drama will finally be over, but I am quite curious to see how Rick handles the blood on his hands. He certainly isn’t the good guy anymore.
In an interesting twist, Carl stumbled upon his father and Shane’s dead body, which started to come back to life as a walker. Fittingly, it was Carl who put down walker-Shane, but this proved that anybody who dies in this world will be reborn as a walker, not just those that are bit. An interesting wrench to throw in the works, for sure.Doesn’t explain why it didn’t happen to Dale, though. (Perhaps that echelon of walker can’t dig, who knows).
But, as well executed as the ending was, it just took so long to get there, both in the series as a whole and in this episode. The show pulls off great and intense moments; I just don’t want to keep waiting through mediocre ones to get there.
Oh man. It took right up until the end, but Jesus tap-dancing Christ, everything managed to came full circle and end on such an intense note. Wow. This is why I love “The Walking Dead.”
Carl (Chandler Riggs) first and foremost, was an interesting case. A kid growing up with all this around him is bound to be a little on the fringes so to speak, but we haven’t seen a lot of him lately and all of a sudden now he was all gung ho and snippy. Hormones perhaps?
I really really really wanted to see him shoot something, be it a walker, or the prisoner, and the repeated suspense building with no resolution got old fast. Though, I’m not sure when Carl’s balls dropped, but he had some great moments, particularly with his father and with Carol(Melissa McBride).I’m starting to think his role is only going to grow as he does.
And Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn).Poor, poor Dale. I’ll admit this episode alone made my mind do summersaults over him. I used to be a huge Dale fan; the staunch old grizzly bearded man with a heart of gold. I’ve felt that ship sinking of late, and his moral crusade this episode started to wear me down.
With Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) back, Randall (Michael Zegen) in toe, Dale started a politician touring circuit, trying to change everybody in the group’s mind about killing him. Dale did have some good points; but I wish he didn’t make the argument so unlikable. He may be the remaining moral voice in the group (“Please, let’s just do what’s right”), but I just couldn’t figure out why he was taking this so personally and making such a stand on it.
The more and more he went on though, the more I liked what he was saying and felt bad for him. He wasn’t arguing to save the man’s life, but for his own ever-fading view of the world. He stormed off when the group decided they had no other choice but to kill Randall in fear he would lead his group to the farm, and Dale left a teary eyes and broken man.
In hindsight of what happened, that all hit a little closer to home.
On the whole Randall situation: I don’t know if I would or could have pulled the trigger or not. But that’s what makes the show so interesting to begin with. The morality is so far removed from how any of us can relate. Rick ends up pussing out at the execution when Carl walks in and tells him he should do it. Carl, again, moving and shaking the world.
With only a few minutes left I was utterly disappointed. Carl’s story seemed dead in the water, and Rick has yet again been unable to do what he felt he had to. But, it’s the end that made it all worthwhile.
And that brings us to Dale. Again, poor, poor Dale. Ambushed by the same walker that Carl has been early unable to kill. Ultimately, it wasn’t Rick(who can’t seem to fire a friggin’ gun) but Daryl (Norman Reedus) who pulled the trigger to put Dale out of hismisery. After going back and forth on how I felt about him, it was still a kick to the chest to see his entrails ripped out and him lying there. It reminded me that I did care about Dale after a whole episode had me going back and forth. His death did overshadow the Randall situation, and it just came out of nowhere. But that’s probably what made it work so well. We aren’t in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure.
And just when you think a show can’t shock you, “The Walking Dead” returned with some much needed gusto. The two situations from last week that had run dry really pulled through, creating some down right awesome moments for the show.
Kicking things off, Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) escape from her car crash scene was well worth her stupidity in running off alone. She kicked some major ass, taking down two walkers (for the double kill), one with an amazing hubcap to the face. She’s always the one being protected and hasn’t gotten to do much leg work herself, but she really stepped things up.
The bar scene culmination was also quite well done. Turned out that the people Rick (Andrew Lincoln) shot last week had friends close by, and in proper Wild West tradition Rick and company had to shoot themselves out. Hershel (Scott Wilson)even had to take arms, and had some real character defining moments; most importantly in standing and watching a man he just shot get eaten by walkers. It was gory, but also seemed to have completed Hershel’s transformation: I’m pretty sure this is the first time he’s called them walkers, and the first time he’s been ready to kill one if necessary.
The shootout led to a sharp shooter from the other group trying to jump to safety and landing square on an iron fence post. Rick, still not ready to shed his save-everybody mentality, convinced Hershel to try to amputate instead of leaving the man for dead, but ultimately Rick pulled the newcomer’s leg right out of the iron fence and if that didn’t make you wince, nothing on TV will. Eck.
The show just didn’t keep up the momentum though. The Shane(Jon Bernthal) and Rick baby-daddy’s soap opera hour pretty much dominated the back half, with a few other menial interactions. Glen (Steven Yeun) started to push Maggie (Lauren Cohan) away because he felt he was getting too selfish in his fear of her losing him, Beth (Emily Kinney) is still catatonic but I really don’t care, and Daryl(Norman Reedus) is back to his walker-ear necklace days. Actually, him telling off Carol (Melissa McBride) was very uncomfortably well done; I was a little shocked how far he went, and it will be interesting to see if their close-nit relationship can weather Sophia (Madison Lintz) being gone.
But, the baby daddy drama set up here is what I’m most interesting in. Lori is starting to turn; I mean really turn, Rick against Shane. As if it isn’t bad enough that Shane porked his woman while he was gone, now she fed Rick her fears that Shane would go to any lengths to protect a baby that he is convinced is his. Rick’s coolness with the whole Shane/Lori situation has surprised me(granted there have been more important things going on), but it’s only human to be jealous, and I can’t imagine Rick is going to let Shane move in on Lori much longer. I don’t see a scenario where the baby isn’t Shane’s, but Lori told Rick that either way they were going to act like it wasn’t. Like I said, baby drama, but I think that it is going to be the focal point that the reset of the group circles, or falls apart, around.
Two alpha-dogs like Rick and Shane cannot keep butting heads forever, and while it made for good conflict for a while, someone has to give. Shane, given he has already outlived his comic book character, seems the most likely to head off or be killed. I could see Andrea and Daryl following him, but Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) getting fed up and capping Shane would be oh-too-sweet if you ask me.
Either way, the start of the episode really had some strong and grisly moments, but the rest of it felt like masonry for future episodes. Fort Benning isn’t a heading anymore and Sophia is dead, so the two main driving forces for the group are gone, leaving them without a real sense of direction. Hopefully it’s a direction away from the farm at least.
What did you all think of this week’s episode? We finally got more action, but was it enough or has season two failed to impress so far? Sound off in the comments below.
After the startling midseason finale reveal that Sophia(Madison Lintz)had been a walker all along, this week’s return to “The Walking Dead” dealt with reactions to the bitter end of a failed search and rescue attempt.
It came as no surprise that Hershel (Scott Wilson) demanded our ragtag group of travelers leave the farm after breaking into the barn where he was keeping his now turned walker family, but Sophia’s transformation and death placed a strain on everyone. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) are still alpha-male battling to be the top dog, but Rick was now shaken that his decision to continue the search for Sophia led to naught.
The show managed to give ample glimpses into each character's grieving process and varying stress levels (mostly high), including some character interactions that have been less developed. Shane and Carol (Melissa McBride) shared an interesting scene in particular, and Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) finally confronted Lori(Sarah Wayne Callies) with his belief that Shane killed Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince).
Amidst all the emotional drama, Hershel went missing, and Rick, who still feels the need to be everybody's hero, took Glen (Steven Yeun)and decided to go looking for him. Rick and Glen found Hershel at the town bar, and it was hard to tell if it was the weight of the death of his walker family or the alcohol, but Hershel's transformation was of the more interesting we've seen: His new barfly self now defeated as he admitted to being wrong that the walkers could be cured and spiraled into hopelessness. The moment was soon interrupted by two newcomers, Tony (Aaron Munoz) and Dave (Michael Raymond-James), who were from another traveling group.
It was an uncomfortable and tense scene as each group tried to feel the other out. Dave and Tony were digging for information on the other's safe haven, and the tension culminated with Rick shooting both of them before Greddo, I mean Dave or Tony, could shoot first. I'm just glad they didn't stick around, as the show doesn't need more characters, and they served their purpose of delivering the news that Fort Benning wasn't safe anymore.
More interesting was how they brought to Rick and Hershel the same points that Rick brought to Hershel when he came to the farm, and now Rick was playing Hershel's role of not letting anybody else into the camp. Things came full circle, and Rick wasn’t going to take any chances.
Regardless, the bar scene dragged on far too long: I understand the need to have people from the outside bring the news of Fort Benning, but did we need to spend so long with them? I'm also not sure why Laurie headed off on her own(stupid decision) but her hitting one walker and then pulling a “2 Fast 2 Furious”collision was a little extreme, and also unnecessary. Oh vey.
The strengths of the episode, and of the show, for that matter, was how well it grasped the overall atmosphere amidst everything else going on. The music was spot on this week, and while the episode was a little backheavy and slow, time did need to be given to grieve Sophia. I just hope the grieving process is a shorter than the searching was.