Original Air Date: February 19, 2012

Five Things: [with SPOILERS]

1. Inconsistent behavior from Rick. – Okay, stay with me here.  In Episode 8, we saw Rick make a snap judgement to kill those two men in the bar.  He didn’t have a lot of information to go on, but he basically knew what was up, so BANG BANG they’re dead.  Now, in this episode, when another “bad guy” (more below) is injured, he risks his own group to save the guy.  Huh?  Wha?  Okay… So you could convince me that when Rick killed the two men in the bar that it was heat of the moment, but when faced with the less nerve wracking situation of a shootout and zombies horde his humanity resurfaces.  I guess that makes sense?  But then, the final scene where Rick realizes that, “I must kill Shane!” makes no sense.  So, in ~6 hours he has gone from “icy/gunman/assassin” to “saving the bad guy” to “calculating murderer of his best friend?”

2. So sad that Lori didn’t die. – What a missed opportunity.  If I had written/ directed the episode, the gunfight would have been WAY more exciting, but Rick/Glen/Herschel would have made a harrowing escape and come upon Lori’s car on the highway.  They’d stop to check it out and find Lori dead and zombified– still buckled up into the car and reaching for them.  As they react in shock, they’d see headlights approaching. “C’mon Rick!  We gotta go!  Those guys are following us!”  Blam! Rick shoots her in the head and they flee.  Then he has to tell boring Carl that his Mom is dead and Rick is now the cold-blooded, but effective leader, and hot-headed Shane is marginalized and desperate.   I should totally be plotting this show because it would be better.  Okay, screen-writing fantasy ends here.  But even though the scene with Lori and the zombies was cool (and taught us why zombies are always missing their cheek meat), what was the point of that whole scene?  Also, they need to find a way to kill Lori because of issue #48 of the comics.  You do know they can’t film THAT scene right?

3. Develop the Shane situation faster. – It’s slow and boring to watch Shane storming around muttering about Rick behind his back.  We get it– Shane kept this group safe, dammit!  He’s been masturbating to Lori for YEARS, dammit!  Rick doesn’t have what it takes, dammit!  Each scene like this is just a showcase for bad Southern accents now.  I just don’t understand why you would milk a situation in this world.  I mean, the possibilities for post-apocalypse storytelling are endless so let’s not dwell on anything.

4. Kinda missed with “the other group”. – I don’t know, were they evil?  Neither the two dudes who Rick killed or the ones to come along later and started that gunfight seemed blatantly evil.  In fact, you could chalk the whole thing up to a misunderstanding.  I guess there is something to be said for showing that other groups of survivors can be dangerous without being evil… But we saw that in Season 1 with those guys taking care of that nursing home. So, let’s just make these new guys unabashedly evil!  Just a group of men who are going around stealing things from other survivors, killing for the hell of it and generally doing a modern day Viking impersonation.

5. Generally drab episode. – Ugh! There just wasn’t much to get excited about here.  Carl remains terrible every time he opens his mouth.  I almost wonder if a kid like the comic version of Carl is just unfilmable because when a real  8-year old says those things, it sounds like total BS?  Darryl was also a nasty prick in this episode and not in a good way.  It makes you wonder if the writers understand proper drama. Darryl is supposed to become an integral part of the group until his brother Meryl resurfaces (and Meryl MUST resurface or he’ll join the missing Russian from the Sopranos as all-time loose plot threads).  Even the shootout was boring because it took ~45 minutes.  Watching Glen wet himself was boring… And what guy would push away the hot girlfriend who just wants to help him with his problems?  I’m also sick of all the speculating about Otis.  Would people really talk this seriously about something for which they’d have no proof ever?  I mean, it isn’t like they’re going to pull the security camera footage and see Shane shooting him.  The only salvation there is if a new character (Michonne?) was hiding in the forest and saw they whole thing.

Conclusion: This was kinda a stinker of an episode.  I’ll probably watch this series until it ends even if it goes badly, just so I can be “that guy” who says how much better the comics were, but this series could be so much better.  I honestly question whether the people working on it are that talented as everything about the show from the writers to the actors seems B-list or maybe the writers are just writing all these quiet scenes when they don’t quite have the actors to pull it off?

Grade: C

– Dean Stell

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Conclusion