In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*
Here’s Review #2:
Time for episode two! I was a little wary of this episode going in after I saw the title. I know it can’t be all walker killing all the time, but sometimes in the past, it’s felt like there aren’t a lot of zombies on my zombie show at all. Remember when we just hung out and did laundry in a pretty comfy farmhouse for a season? So, if this was just going to turn into an episode about a non-zombie health crisis… But how wrong I was! This was a downright gory episode. Throw in a little animal cruelty and the squeem factor got pretty high.
Is it just me, or is The Walking Dead the darkest show on television? Yes, the content is dark, but visually, I feel like I was squinting at the screen for the first ten minutes of this episode. To their credit though, this show has successfully trained me to the point that I am completely freaked out by flashlights. Especially when that flashlight is pointed at a rat getting its head cut off. For what reason? We don’t have nearly all the puzzle pieces yet, but this scene did immediately prompt me to burst into song. Listen all ya’ll, IT’S SABOTAGE. It’s purely speculation at this point, but this level of sneakiness smacks of the Governor. Just working on how still…
Inside, Tyreese and Karen are canoodling (still in the dark) and honoring Zach. Ok, pause for a second to remember who Zach is, realize we didn’t really care about him that much, and now it’s bed time. Karen turns down Tyreese’s invitation back to his place and instead decides to wander around in the dark by herself with a flickering flashlight.
I take issue with this scene. I know that they all feel complacent behind the prison walls, but I feel like all security protocol shouldn’t be thrown out the window. First of all, how about a buddy system? Even if Karen wasn’t feeling frisky, big burly man singing “I’ve got you” isn’t a bad roommate/bathroom escort to have in Zombieland. Plus, are these guys serious with the shower curtains LITERALLY all over the place? Modesty be damned! I don’t want anything sneaking up on me Psycho-style. And why is nobody locking their jail cells at night? Even if you’re not worried about zombies getting through the fence, what if someone, oh I don’t know, dies of natural causes in the shower and comes back undead? No sympathy for you, random sleeping man. Enjoy your emptied out torso. (How sweet was it when he stood up though, right?)
A moment of philosophical quandary: is Harry Potter zombie still Harry Potter zombie if he lost his glasses? Welp, he’s dead now so I’m not learning his real name. I am kind of curious about him though. HP seems to be moving differently than the other zombies. He’s faster and a little more deliberate. Plus, he spends a long time eating the same person rather than getting distracted and moving on. This might be my imagination, so I’ll leave it for now.
Morning breaks, and Glenn and Maggie are being adorable in the honeymoon suite. Except, how much film does Maggie think is left in the world that she can be throwing away pictures? Polaroid film was impossible to come by even before the apocalypse.
Michonne is also being adorable as she’s getting ready to go out on another run and trading jabs with Carl about comic books and stale M&M’s. This new, less guarded Michonne could potentially be getting a little heavy handed. But I like the idea of characters like Michonne and Daryl going through positive growth, instead of just watching Rick swing through character transformations like a ballistic pendulum. Somebody pointed out to me though, that giving Carl a new mother figure, could lead down the slippery slope of a potential Michonne/Rick hookup. Please God, no! It makes no sense. Plus, I always shipped the subtext between Michonne and Andrea.
(Side note: Are gay people really bad at fighting zombies?! Thinking about Andrea and Michonne made me realize that I can’t come up with a single out character that’s been on this show. I’m gonna pretend it’s because we’re in the South and all the queers are up in Massachusetts rebuilding society.)
Anyway, just as I start verbally begging Michonne not to go, I luck out and everyone starts dying! We hear gunshots and Michonne turns around to come back, but at kind of a leisurely pace. She practically stops to fix her outfit. As punishment, she twists her ankle while flipping a walker onto the pointy fence. In my head, I’m secretly pumped because now she can’t leave me for a while! Maggie saves her and all of a sudden, I realize that I want nothing more in my life than for them to become best friends.
Inside the cell block, things are pretty gruesome. The Trojan Horse zombies have claimed more people and the number of bite victims is increasing exponentially. Rick starts doing a pretty good job of evacuating people, but is crap when it comes to actual zombie killing. He even gives away a gun that someone hands to him. Luckily, Daryl picks up the slack and goes into ultimate fighter mode. He even saves a couple of kids, because obviously Daryl is the post-apocalypse version of a St. Jude cancer researcher.
Carol is right behind him, cementing her place as the secret hero of The Walking Dead. Sure, she’ll run Café Zombé and volunteer for story time. But don’t get it twisted, she will cut your freaking arm off at the drop of a hat if it means saving your life. Unfortunately for the man she tries to save in this battle, amputating neck wounds doesn’t generally work out so well and she realizes he’s a goner. This man’s dying wish is that Carol watch after his two soon to be orphaned daughters, “like they’re [her] own,” which obviously strikes a nerve. Carol accepts the responsibility and immediately starts dropping some knowledge bombs on these girls about life and death decisions and how sometimes that means stabbing daddy in the head. No time for grieving in Zombieland.
What’s really interesting about this scene is the difference between meek, battered Carol from Seasons 1 and 2 interacting with her own daughter and how she speaks to her two new charges. She clearly has no intention of letting these girls meet the same end as her Sophia. As far as I’m concerned, Carol has had the most consistent and delicately handled character transformation of anyone on this show. Hey, writers room for The Walking Dead! More of this, please.
After the last of the bitten residents have died, there’s a very eerie scene that really brings home how messed up this massacre really was. As they prevent all of the infected corpses from coming back as walkers, it has obviously hit everyone that these aren’t anonymous zombies that they ran into in the woods; these are the people of their community. Glenn had to stomp on the skull of a woman that he may have had breakfast plans with that morning. After real life tragedies, people always say, “You never think it will happen to you.” This scene really has that feel to it.
While investigating what actually happened, Rick determines, after approximately 30 seconds of investigation, that some of the sick walkers don’t have any bite marks. But how can this be?! Thank goodness, a doctor that we had no idea existed is here to explain. He uses a lot of biology words, but then pulls the classic sci-fi trick of breaking down terribly complex science to an easy to understand metaphor. This dead guy is a shaken up can of soda that blew his top!
Turns out that the infection is actually an aggressive flu that was around before the zombies came. If I was iffy at all about getting a flu shot this year, I’m officially shelling out the $25 now. Now that we know what our contagion is, the City Council assembles to process the shit storm that has just occurred. They decide that anyone who was in the cell block should be taken out of Gen Pop, and then a conveniently timed cough makes everyone freak the eff out. It’s Karen. Womp, womp. Let this be a lesson, never be too happy at the beginning of an episode of The Walking Dead.
Daryl goes to take care of the dead and even though we literally just talked about how contagious the Death Flu is, he wears the worst possible gloves and mask available to bury them. Also, I’ve got quite a bit of dystopian fiction under my belt, and I’m pretty sure that they should burning those bodies someplace off site instead of burying them next to the food supply. Why isn’t our new doctor friend chiming in on this?! Well, at least Carl has something to do with the crosses that he’s making in creepy, remedial shop class.
The worst funeral ever is interrupted by a mob of zombies that were attracted by all the hubbub and are now joining the effort to take down the already questionable fence. Catching up on your reading and redecorating your jail cell are all well and good, but why has nobody thought about reinforcing that fence in the whole time they’ve been there? Now all our main players are looking supremely boned. Except, it is essentially all of our main players, so of course Rick is gonna get the crazy glimmer in his eye and save the day.
EXCEPT THIS SOLUTION IS NOT OKAY, RICK. For real, this scene makes me the most upset that I have ever been watching this show. He slices those poor little piggies so slowly and then throws them to be killed so terribly and it’s tearing me apart from the inside. I don’t even care that they probably brought Death Flu to the prison. I say the people should have died and the animals should have lived. I would watch a show about adorable pigs frolicking with zombies.
I’m so worked up, I don’t even want to see the cliffhanger of the week. Except it looks kind of interesting and confusing, so I’m back in. Tyreese goes to bring Karen some flowers in the totally unprotected quarantine area, and finds a trail of blood. He obviously follows the blood super duper slowly, because there’s probably nothing to be alarmed about. Just your girlfriend’s smoldering body.
Or is it?! I’m always wary of unrecognizable burn victims when there’s a saboteur on the loose. It’s one of my mottos in life.
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