The Walking Dead: Season Two Episodes Three & Four Review
*As usual this article contains spoilers, adult language, & mature content- read on at your own risk.*
Introduction: Last Monday was Halloween. This meant my sister came in from out of town on Sunday with my niece so that she could trick-or-treat with all of her cousins, just like we do every year. Because of this and the ill-timed arrival of a nasty cold, I wasn’t able to finish my review of episode three in time to post it. Now episode four has come and gone and while I know going back isn’t exactly ideal when we’ve only just started going forward…I have so much shit to say that I just can’t not say it, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to people who are not me.
So this is going to be the combined three and four commentary, and while I’ll try to keep it as succinct as possible, I’m known for not being terribly good at that. Sorry.
Is there anything that says to the world “I’m f#%king crazier than a June-bug on crack” quite like randomly shaving one’s head? The chicks in the Manson “family”, Anne Heche right before she had her little incident in Fresno, guys on sports teams who make it to some championship & decide that it’s the best way to show team solidarity yet still think their girlfriends will find them attractive; all examples of varying degrees of insanity. That’s probably why when I saw Shane staring at his newly buzzed self in the mirror at the beginning of episode three my first thought was “Wow- way to make yourself look like a total freaking serial killer.”
I don’t know why exactly but episode three seemed like it contained less in it, even though it ended up showing/telling us a lot more about the characters. When we left them, Shane and Otis were trapped behind the flimsy gate at the high school with all the medical stuff Carl needed so that Hershel could fix his internal bleeding and save him. We pretty much knew that somehow those supplies would get to Carl in time; it was just a matter of the two men managing an escape with lots of scary chase scenes and walker jumping-out-almost-getting-you moments.
Back on the interstate, Daryl can’t sleep and decides to go on a night-time stroll to look for Sophia with Andrea tagging along. She’s still being a bitch to Dale and Carol is crying all the time while the other two- T-Dog and Glenn- went on to meet up with the Grimes’ at the farm.
I think it speaks to how totally badass Daryl is that someone like Andrea- who admits her biggest fear is ending up torn apart by a bunch of “drooling freaks”- will willingly choose to go out at night when she has the worst visibility and they are most active, and stroll around in the woods virtually unarmed where she knows for a fact there are walkers lurking around. That’s how safe she feels with Daryl- like no matter what they come across he can protect her. Carol even says essentially that exact thing to Dale- “don’t worry; she’s with Daryl.” His character has gone from angry, racist wildcard with a killer temper to everybody’s sweaty binky (i.e.: security blanket.) And who could blame them; he’s the only one I’d feel safe with!
I’d also insist that I have him with me every night when I go to bed the way my nephew does with his binky.
There’s a whole lot of intensity at Hershel’s farm where Lori and Rick await the return of Shane and Otis, but here is what I’m thinking: the house has electricity and hot water so clearly some generators somewhere…powered by what when nothing else has electricity? It’s also lit up light a Christmas tree pretty much in the middle of a field that goes up to the tree line of the forest and extends outward to a driveway that leads to a road which then leads to a small town. Now, the forest as we have seen it has had walkers prowling around in it, and buildings like the church have walkers holed up inside so we know they have to be out there; what the Hell is up with this giant farmhouse shining like a beacon with people chilling on the porch and walking around unarmed like nothing is going to happen?! More importantly: why has nothing happened?! There’s no reason why walkers wouldn’t see the light and be drawn to it. So what makes this place such a perfect little safe-haven?
We also see Rick eating a sandwich and drinking milk, so on top of the horses that the farm family has been riding they also have a cow and some chickens stowed safely away? Even if they have a working fridge the supermarkets don’t, which means in order for that milk to be drinkable it has to be fresh & must have come from a very local source. Later in the episode there’s a part where Maggie shows Glenn which people in her family were lost by pointing to their photos.
Soooo you’re telling me Step-Mommy and Step-Brother didn’t make it yet they somehow managed to save Bessie from becoming walker-chow? The cow was better protected than the people? “The walkers are coming- we must save the cow!”? Also, the milk we drink is pasteurized and homogenized, which is pretty important to the tastiness and safety of it. Have any of you seen milk right from a cow and before it’s homogenized? Because I have (I come from a family of farmers in Iowa- its super-sexy) and it’s not something that you’d consider drinking. I suppose you could say that they only drink skim milk, but Rick’s glass didn’t look like skim to me. That bread also looked an awful lot like perfectly sliced packaged bread from a store…which they wouldn’t be able to find since anything left in a supermarket would be stale and/or moldy.
I know, I know: I’m obnoxiously nit-picky. And I have more! Yay!
So after Daryl shares his super-awesome story about his itchy ass with Andrea, they come across a hanging walker. The idea was that he was bitten so he hung himself, but since he didn’t shoot himself in the head he became a walker when he rose. Then he was stuck in the tree on the noose and as Daryl put it “he hung there like a piece of bait” while all the flesh from his feet and legs was stripped off and (presumably) eaten. Which is right about where I get confused.
Who or what ate the flesh off the guy’s legs?
If it was a walker it would have to have been there practically at the same moment the guy offed himself since I doubt he just let it munch on his legs without hopping off the branch, and he most likely wouldn’t be able to get into the tree if it started on him and progressed very far before he got up and into place with his noose. Since walkers have no interest in dead flesh he would’ve had to have been really, really fresh for a walker to come along and strip his legs. Even if the fall didn’t break his neck and he suffocated instead, the time it would take to pick his bones clean is much longer than the time it would take for him to die. But after he died he would eventually rise to become a walker, though we don’t know how long that took for him since it varies from person to person. Jenner said the longest was something like two days? So at most he was “bait” for two days before waking and becoming inedible since walkers don’t eat each other and animals know to stay the Hell away from walkers. But two days in that heat and humidity all hanging and bloated- he would not smell like food to anything but maggots.
So I ask you again; who or what ate the flesh off the guy’s legs?!?
Those were the major bones that I had to pick, no pun intended. I suppose I should focus on what was the main point of the episode, which would be Shane and Otis escaping the high school and getting back to Carl in time.
There were a lot of close-calls and desperate moves, including one where Shane had to drop about 20ft out of a window, landed badly, and hurt his ankle. Otis had to help him gimp along towards their vehicle with a crowd of walkers on their heels. Back at the farm Carl’s internal leakage was becoming such a problem that Rick couldn’t give blood to him fast enough to replenish it and things were looking bad. Lori actually talks about giving up, asking Rick why it’s better for Carl to live when he has no future in this world. Rick talks her down, though, and when time is up they agree to try the surgery with no respirator and pray. That’s when they hear the truck pulling up and as soon as I saw that it was only Shane inside, I knew what he did.
I knew before he started acting all tweaky and pacing with his eyes wide open like a meth-head. I knew before he went to go take his shower and give his own reflection a good stare. Then the episode had come full circle and he was shaving his head while we saw inside of it & what really went down at the school: he murdered Otis to ensure his own survival. Down to their last bullets, he turned and shot the guy before wrestling his backpack full of supplies away from him (during which Otis managed to tear out a clump of his hair which is what prompted the shave.)
The major point of this was that it didn’t have to go down this way. They weren’t in a situation where this was the only way one of them could live- it’s possible the two of them could have made it to the truck together. But Shane wasn’t willing to risk it and the security of an assured escape was worth more to him than a man’s life and a piece of his own soul.
But was the need to save Carl any part of his motive? Or was it purely about saving his own ass and the fact that Carl’s life depended upon his return a notion that resurfaced in his mind afterwards simply as something he could tell himself to feel better?
I want to blame Shane but in the end I can’t. What he did was unforgivable but I know that if it were my niece or nephew in that bed with bullet fragments in their abdomens I wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice the stranger who put them there to ensure I got back with all the supplies they needed.
And how would I sleep at night you ask? Soundly and with all of my hair since Tiny would be my walker dinner-distraction so freaking fast he wouldn’t have time to pull any out.
Rarely is it appropriate in a review to start with something from the end of the episode but I’m afraid in this particular situation it just can not be helped. That’s because I think it’s very important that I say, first and foremost that
I TOTALLY FREAKING CALLED IT!!! WHO CALLED IT?? I CALLED IT!! I CALLED IT WAY BACK AT THE FREAKING SEASON ONE FINALE!! I TOTALLY KNEW THAT LORI WAS PREGNANT!! I KNEW IT!! I KICK SO MUCH ASS!!
*Cough* Sorry about that but I just had to get it out of the way.
I’m calm now and can start the review for real.
Episode four had a lot of strange qualities in my opinion. It has the feeling almost of the eerie calm before a storm because things seem to be going okay. Carl is getting better and awake for periods of time while Dale, Andrea, Carol, and Daryl leave a sign with instructions and some supplies at the highway in case Sophia, who is still missing, finds her way there. Then they take their vehicles and move on to Hershel’s farm with everyone else, but return each day to check if any of the supplies have been touched or if by some miracle the kid is just suddenly back. So the entire group is united again (except Sophia) at the magic farmhouse with Hershel and his people (except Otis) though I feel like I should clarify something: when I say the group is now at the farmhouse. With the exception of Carl who is still in his sick-bed, everyone is really just camping in the yard of the farmhouse. The enormous 2-story farmhouse with beds, clean sheets & clothes, electricity, hot/cold running water, real bathrooms & a real kitchen that has all of four people living inside of it has everyone else camped in it’s front yard in the same RV and tents, building fires and using the well reserved for the cattle. Anyone else think that’s a bit messed up?
The episode starts off with a memorial service for Otis with Hershel doing a lot of talking about God and faith, then Patricia- Otis’ girlfriend- putting Shane on the spot and asking him to tell her about his “final moments” whilst all teary-eyed and pathetic-looking. Shane had to make something up about Otis saying he’d cover his back, blah, blah blah- dramatic irony galore, etc. etc. He seemed convincing enough, only Dale was looking at him sideways a bit. This would be the first time he and the other new arrivals heard about the other man not making it back when Shane did and personally I think Dale looked like he wasn’t quite buying what Shane was selling. Remember that in season one Dale caught Shane looking down the barrel of his rifle at Rick and having that moment where he seriously considered blowing away his best friend, and he was not convinced by Shane’s story that it was nothing but a case of mistaken walker-identity. Dale sees through Shane’s lies and I doubt he finds him truly trustworthy anymore, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the truth about what happened to Otis came back again to bite Shane in the ass just like one of dead in the drooling hoard he fed the guy to.
Something that I found particularly foolish and irritating was that Hershel told Rick- who I guess always speaks for everyone now- that he doesn’t allow guns on his property.
Are you freaking kidding me?? How are this guy and his whole family not dead?! And now he expects people who are “guests on his land” to not carry either just because he doesn’t like it?! Um, the freaking dead are walking around eating people!! You can have my gun when you pry it from my chewed-off arm because that’s the only way I’d be giving it up, especially at night! Yet Rick was like “Oh yes- we’re your guests and we’ll respect your rules…” Not me. Sorry Rick but it wasn’t my kid who got shot so I won’t be sucking up to the old bastard anytime soon and I certainly won’t be risking my life just to adhere to his bullshit rules! What’s he going to do? Call the police? Kick me off his land? Try it old-timer; I’ll break your freaking hip!
But Rick puts down his gun and says he’ll make sure everyone’s is collected and not carried while on the farm except for Dale, who will serve as a look-out. Then Shane just goes along with it! I would’ve liked to see someone try to take Daryl’s gun or crossbow from him, though; it’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone get royally beat-down or threatened to have their feet cut off.
Side note: I thought Rick’s gun was lost because he gave it to Otis to use on the medical supply run? It’s not like Shane could’ve come back with it: “Um, yeah…I couldn’t save him but I managed to save the gun.” I don’t recall him taking anything similar-looking from the armory at the Sheriff’s Station in the first episode when he packed it, but did Rick have another handgun that looked like it in his bag? Or am I way off here? Anyone know?
Originally the idea was that with the maps provided by Hershel and his family a much more organized search for Sophia could be done now. Only Rick and Shane were injured and ill from donating blood and couldn’t go, which somehow translated to only Daryl. So I suppose that I get that Lori wants to stay near Carl, you could say T-Dog was still recovering from his infection, but what about everyone else? Andrea, Glenn, the kid’s own mother- none of them could maybe do a little searching?
Then as he’s heading off to the woods to search solo, Daryl is stopped by Rick so he could tell him flat out that with the maps they don’t have to rely solely on his tracking abilities anymore, saying “You’re off the hook; you don’t owe us anything.” To which Daryl replied “my other plans sort of fell through,” meaning anything he’d planned to do with his brother, something of a dig at Rick who I’m sure he still considers responsible for what happened to Merle.
Personally I think Rick telling that to Daryl was actually very insulting and disrespectful. He was never on the hook; he’s always known he doesn’t owe them anything and that’s not why he does what he does anyway. For Rick to tell him this as though he was only staying and searching for Sophia because he thought he had to for some reason, implying he would cut out as soon as there was someone else to “conduct an organized/proper search” (you know, tomorrow when they feel better and everyone else maybe feels like helping) shows that Rick doesn’t know Daryl at all.
I was thinking that he (Daryl) seems only to be nice to the women, particularly Carol. He’s been going out of his way to be kind and sympathetic to her, this episode in particular. Episode four is named “Cherokee Rose” which is the name of the flower Daryl brings back with him at the end of the day when he returns once again without Sophia. He brought it for Carol and when he gives it to her, he tells her the legend behind it- how it was a sign from The Gods to lend hope and strength to the grieving Cherokee mothers on The Trail of Tears – and then says that he believes that this particular rose bloomed for her and her little girl. It was so sweet it made me wish that I was there…That way I could ask Daryl myself when exactly he turned into a little girl.
But he still acts like his usual hostile self towards all the other men. I thought it was maybe because he didn’t feel threatened by women and so didn’t feel any need to be aggressive or defensive towards them, but now I’m starting to think it’s much simpler than that and that he’s just nice to the people who are nice to him. Andrea and Carol both have a lot of respect for him and more importantly, treat him with respect, so I don’t think it’s coincidental that they’re also the only people he’s opened up to at all. I also think he may have “mommy issues” that drive some of the compassion he shows Carol, who he sees being truly and utterly miserable without her child.
The only real walker action of the episode was the giant bloated one at the bottom of the well. Everything about that was so stupid and all about having disgusting makeup and effects. It had nothing to do with the story and was like a dumb last-minute add-on to remind us that the show is supposed to have zombies in it somewhere.
I mean, the thing was all puffed up from absorbing the well-water and already bleeding in places- the well is freaking contaminated! Even if they had managed to get the thing out I wouldn’t want that water anywhere near me- it had a dead guy in it for God knows how long!! Just because it was moving around doesn’t make it any less of a rotting corpse! Would you want to drink water from a well that someone found a dead body in?? Hell no! Do you know how nasty and disease-ridden that water would be? Or how bad it would smell? And didn’t the chick say that they have five wells on their land? Seriously people; how retarded are you?
Pretty damn retarded since the next plan was to dangle Glenn as bait to lasso the thing and haul it out. Gee, this couldn’t possibly go wrong! Someone should have died. They should not have been able to be this stupid and manage to all live.
Another less-than-vital occurrence that was slightly more important plot-wise and way, way more awesome was the random Drug Store sex between Glenn and Maggie.
Glenn was trying to discreetly hunt for Lori’s pregnancy test- which I knew was what she was asking for, I just didn’t know what the Hell she wrote on that paper that made Glenn as confused as he was. The guy knew what the Clap was but looked at baby shampoo while trying to find “pregnancy test”? I’d say that’s some not-very-slick writing to try and keep the viewer in suspense. Then instead of just saying he grabbed the condoms for Lori (or more accurately for Rick for Lori) he gets all caught up in trying to find an excuse for why he would need them. I thought he was supposed to be quick & think on his feet and all that?
It worked out pretty well for him, though, considering Maggie is awesome and was just like: “Sure I’ll have sex with you. I’ll have sex with you right here and now because I’m lonely and horny too. Plus it’s not like I have a whole lot of selection.”
It’s so flattering to be told by someone they’d do you because there aren’t a lot of other choices and they just really want to have sex. It’s also just like a guy to be completely un-bothered by any of that and only upset when they’re told that it’s not going to happen again. Poor Glenn though; he looked like he had his lil heart broken by the innocent-looking farmer’s daughter. He must have felt so used! She only wanted him for his body and when she was done she just threw him away! It was like all the time they spent together-three conversations and the ride into town- meant nothing to her! How will he go on?!?
So um, they just went at it right in that spot on the bare linoleum? That’s so super-sexy: imagining the last time that floor was mopped and all the people who walked on it since then in the shoes they wear on their farms and around walkers and dead bodies…yeah, baby. With the heat and it being a sealed room that place will probably stink like sex for weeks, plus now stashed somewhere in that pharmacy there’s a nasty used condom, too. Both will be nice surprise treats for whoever has to make the next run to get toothpaste or rubbing alcohol.
Hershel is very clear to Rick that he and the other survivors are not welcome to stay on the farm, and that he expects him to leave once Carl is better and Sophia is found. Rick says he understands and does everything he can to be respectful of Hershel’s dumb-ass rules and be polite to the man, who spends a great deal of time talking about God and faith and trying to convince Rick to see things the way he does when it comes to The Divine. Towards the end of the episode, Rick basically begs Hershel to reconsider making them leave his land and tells him that he has to think of his son. Hershel agrees to think about it as long as Rick can give his word that his rules would be followed, blah, blah, blah. Here is what I think:
Hershel is a big, obnoxious, hypocritical blowhard who has no idea what’s really going on in the world and doesn’t want to know. He won’t shut up about God and his religion but when it comes to actually acting the way a real Christian would and should you find out that he’s all talk. The Bible speaks of charity and helping the needy and Jesus preached about kindness and love for all of your family-meaning the whole of humanity. Nowhere does it say “In times of trouble look out for you and yours and to Hell with everyone else.” If he was any kind of man of God all of the survivors would already be living in the house. I hate people like that and I can’t stand Hershel!
I also think that there’s something darker going on with him and that stupid farm. It’s not the sanctuary that they all think it is and soon things are going to start going very bad. The people in Night of the Living Dead holed up together in a farmhouse and we all know how that shit ended for them! Plus no one has gone into the barn: he could have victim parts in freezers or some creepy, deformed Sloth-like relative kept hidden in the rafters! We don’t know anything about him!
And he keeps going on about “his farm” and “his land” when in reality, no one owns anything like that anymore. What right does he have to refuse safety to people who need it? He gets to decide just because of a piece of paper that is now, for all intents and purposes, completely worthless!? What good is any kind of government document when there is no government to enforce it or when the government behind the document doesn’t exist anymore? Basically you own the things you have on you, around you, and under you- the clothes you’re wearing, the gun in your hand, the tent you sleep in, the car you drive, and the food you found are yours. That’s not to say that it can’t be stolen from you, that’s just what I think should be considered your property and off limits. But a house or building? The woods? A piece of land? A person can’t claim things like that anymore because if someone needs help they should be able to go wherever they need to in order to get it. (This is my personal stance on the matter.) Rick and his people have all the weapons, too. I’d say the land- including the house- is pretty much theirs. Too bad Rick needs the old bastard to keep treating his son and anyone else who may end up injured or sick, otherwise I’d say just have Shane take him on a hunting trip in the woods.
There’s other things worth mentioning, like how Merle was brought up twice which makes me wonder if it’s foreshadowing Captain Hook’s return, or how Rick put away his uniform and badges- in a drawer no less, but I’m running past “long” and into “ridiculously long” and I need to get back to the beginning where I talked about the end. You know what I mean: Lori and how it’s possible she’s now got both a husband and a baby-daddy. She revealed what Glenn’s mystery item was, peed on the stick (quite loudly and definitively thanks to the sound-effects people,) and when a plus sign developed she burst into tears. The End.
This obviously leaves us with a whole lot of questions and a ton of problems, but I don’t like repeating myself if I can avoid it and I go into great detail over the whole situation with Lori and the problems that would come with a pregnancy during a zombie plague in part three of my “Talking The Dead To Death” season one editorial at Comic Related so I’d suggest just going there and reading that. This way I can deal with the new information we’ve been given because those little tidbits are pretty interesting.
For one thing, a woman doesn’t freak out and get a pregnancy test if she’s one day late with her period. Chicks know lots of stuff can make you late that have nothing to do with a fetus (stress, malnutrition, hormonal imbalances, being a retard and not keeping proper count of the days) and any of these could’ve made Lori a few days late. Since she’s a grown-up with one kid already and probably pretty familiar with how all her lady-parts work, she must be late enough to where she’s decided it may not be coming. My point to all this is that just the other day she was telling Rick she was ready to give up- asking him what kind of world Carl is going to have to live in if he makes it through the surgery anyway and what reason there is not to just let him go. While she’s saying all of this she knows she could be pregnant with another child. If she was ready to stop fighting for Carl what are the odds she would fight for the baby she’s carrying? How much of what she was saying was tainted by the depressing thought of having to deal with being pregnant and that child transferred over to Carl?
My other train of thought starts off with Hershel and that it’s highly likely that he’s able to perform abortions since I’ve heard of vets doing that with livestock like horses when the pregnancy risks the mother or when it’s unplanned with an animal meant for breeding. That would be the smartest thing to do in my opinion considering the world they live in and how much something like that would put Lori’s life at risk. She already has a child that she should be thinking of who needs his mother and father and he wont have them if being pregnant ends up getting her killed or trying to keep her safe ends up killing him!
First Lori would have to come to realize and accept this, which would be difficult enough. Then she would have to convince Rick, which I can not see going over well. He’s going to want her to have the baby no matter what and argue that he’ll be able to protect them both. He’ll see it as her lack of faith in him as a husband and her failure as a mother that she could consider terminating her pregnancy. He could even argue that this is the kind of thing they need: to live life and start over. He’s not going to be supportive or practical; he’s going to be stupid and selfish and arrogant.
Then even if she gets Rick to agree I could totally see Hershel being a complete dick and refusing to do it for her. He’ll say it’s against his religion and his own morals and that he’s never supported it as an option for women and that just because times are terrible doesn’t mean something like this becomes justified. He’ll point out that God spared her son and that it was God’s will that she become pregnant, and that Otis died to save the life of a child so how could he dishonor his memory by taking the life of one? During Otis’ memorial Hershel said that children were “now more than ever our most precious resource.”
Yeah, he’s totally going to make her go through with it. Have I mentioned that I really don’t like Hershel?
I guess the lesson here would be whether it’s a 9mm or a condom: always carry protection when you’re in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse.
I’ll see you all next week.
Cherokee Rose Cultivator,