Original air date: February 26, 2012
1. Those zombies were great! – I’m not one who gets upset that every episode isn’t a full-on zombie attack. I like (or want to like) the human moments too. But, this show does have a knack for these big zombie scenes. The beginning of the episode was cool and intense, and right away it begged questions: Where did the zombies come from? Why didn’t Shane and Rick have their guns? Later, as we watched them fight, I kept waiting for the moment when the zombies would show up. The fact that I knew it was coming actually increased the tension. The episode was also a great illustration on the danger level of zombies. ONE zombie is almost an annoyance: not even worth a bullet. MANY zombies are scary and dangerous. I also loved the scene of Rick shooting those zombies as they piled on top of him, and Shane desperately killing zombies through the door of the bus. The whole scene was well done and tense.
2. Rick & Shane are better when they’re quiet. – This episode had a great contrast of two ways to depict Shane and Rick. The first scene of them talking calmly but intensely, on a lonely stretch of highway was great. The actors just nailed this scene. You really buy that Rick is in command and Shane is a bit of a sniveling but dangerous guy who will happily follow a strong leader, but becomes weird when he isn’t given direction. Then, we have the old standby: Rick and Shane yelling at each other. And that pretty much sucked, and we’ve seen it a bajillion times.
3. Lori sucks. – God she is awful. Feed her to a zombie ASAP. I don’t like her as homemaker-in-chief. I don’t like how she hen-pecks Maggie and Andrea. I don’t like how she looks. And, I don’t believe that she is a woman who Rick and Shane would fight over. I mean, Shane has Andrea who is hotter and less annoying. Let’s hurry up and kill Lori.
4. Coma Girl (a.k.a. Beth) is now a supporting character. – Ha! First everyone was complaining: “Who is this coma-girl? We’ve never seen her before!” Now she has lines of dialog and a minor plot line. It’s not good either way. I didn’t think the actress added much and the plotline was heavy handed. It seemed to come from too many writers speculating about, “What would you do if the zombies took over? Would you just kill yourself? Because that seems way better than just waiting for zombies to eat you!” Ugh… And all the overdone stuff about it being a person’s right as an American to decide to end their life… It’s like a backwards after-school special. Yuck! AND… They are missing a big opportunity. These characters don’t yet know that anyone who dies comes back as a zombie! You don’t have to be bitten. Here’s the rewritten scene of the week: Beth kills herself and unbeknownst to anyone, reanimates. Then she eats Lori who was alone in the kitchen because she annoyed Maggie and Andrea. Rick is upset and can’t be at the farm anymore and the whole gang sets out onto the road.
5. The Randall thing is dragging too long. – Three weeks (including next week). That’s how long it seems to take to decide what to do with Randall. It honestly isn’t that interesting of a plot. And the writers aren’t doing it any favors by being heavy handed. We don’t need all these lines of dialog about, “Is THIS what we’re reduced to now? We’re going to kill a kid just because he MIGHT have bad friends and MIGHT be a threat? If we do that, are we any better than his friends? What is the point of surviving if we lose our humanity? Blah, blah, blah…” I’m not saying that these aren’t good themes for a show like TWD, but we don’t need to hear the characters talk about it. Subtle is better! The audience is smart enough to understand the struggle without the writers leading us about by our nose.
Little stuff – Love the little glimpses of the “past” like when Shane talks briefly about the early news reports and it being 2 weeks until the hospital was overrun. Or seeing the inside of that bus. How can the zombie makeup be so good, yet when they put blood on Rick’s face it is RED… blood quickly turns blackish. It looked like Mercurochrome. How did the zombies not hear Shane try to shoot Randall? Why can’t Rick have a hatchet? For two guys who don’t trust each other, Rick and Shane turn their backs on each other a LOT. Were Darryl, Carol, Herschel, Dale and T-Dog hanging out at “the bar?” Maggie and her sister don’t look alike and don’t have the same accent. Zombie skulls must be soft because it isn’t that easy to stab skulls.
Conclusion: A pretty exciting episode. It wasn’t without its faults, but it soared mostly on the strength of the big zombie scene and had some good quiet moments for Rick and Shane.
– Dean Stell
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