Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 3: Tell It To The Frogs

This week on The Walking Dead: Merle goes even crazier as he’s left handcuffed to the roof. Rick is finally reunited with his family back at the survivor’s camp, much to his best friend Shane’s dismay. Women’s lib is set back 50 years by the zombie apocalypse. We meet Merle’s brother Daryl, who’s not quite as crazy, but darned close. Rick feels guilty about leaving Merle for dead, plus he wants the big bag o’ guns he dropped back in downtown Atlanta, so he, Glenn, T-Bone and Daryl head back to the city on a rescue/salvage mission.

Another great episode! Long on talk, short on zombies, but it held my attention just the same. Actually the comic is a lot like this episode. The emphasis is usually leans more toward how the survivors deal with one another in the absence of civilization, rather than just running from zombies all the time.

The opening scene of Merle having his breakdown on the roof was disturbing and riveting. Nobody plays crazy better than Michael Rooker.

Rick’s reunion with his family was interesting. It was joyful for him and his son Carl, but pretty darned awkward for Lori and Shane. Lori was written a bit more sympathetically here than last week, as we find out that the reason she hooked up with Shane so quickly was because he told her that Rick was dead. That Shane; what a pal! I’m still not convinced that there wasn’t something going on between them before the Outbreak though...

The writers seem to be putting a lot of thought into how the world would work after a major disaster such as this. The scenes in which the women were complaining about having to do all the chores and “the division of labor” rang very true to me. I hate to say it, ladies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly how things would play out if civilization ever fell.

Merle’s brother Daryl was introduced. He's a little more likable than Merle, and not quite as nuts, but he's a danger nonetheless. He's pretty good with a crossbow too. A crossbow as a weapon of choice is a good idea in a world where gunshots can attract hordes of zombies.

We were also introduce to Carol and her daughter Sophia. They were minor characters in the comic. Carol’s husband Ed was mentioned in the comic, but never shown. We get to see him in the flesh in the series. Ed proves once again that the biggest danger in this world isn’t from zombies, but from butt-hole humans stripped of the thin veneer of society.

Rick’s plan to go back to Atlanta to rescue Merle was just plain crazy, but that’s our Rick. He’s like that in the comic too. Luckily he attached the “retrieving the gun bag and walkie talkie to warn Morgan Jones” riders to the bill to make it seem a little less nutty.

Lori telling Shane to stay away from her family seemed a little over the top, but then I’m not a woman sleeping with my husband’s best friend, so what do I know? I guess she was feeling guilty. It’ll be kind of hard for Shane to stay away from them in a camp of 20 survivors. Shane's reaction was very well done; he couldn’t punch Lori, so he decided to put the beat-down on Ed (not that he didn’t deserve it) in a very brutal scene.

I totally called the ending last week, when I said the next time we saw Merle he’d be a little “short handed.” As soon as Rick first handcuffed him to the pipe I knew what was coming. In a show as violent and gory as this, what other outcome could there have been? Plus they very deliberately mentioned the hacksaw at least twice last week.

Did it seem odd that Rick and his posse waltzed right back into Atlanta and up onto Merle’s roof while only encountering a single zombie? So where’d the hordes of undead go? My prediction: Merle got off the roof somehow and is staggering back to the survivor camp, unaware that he's leading a poop-ton of zombies back like a grisly Pied Piper.

As for Merle’s future, I foresee two different scenarios. One, he will get offed by someone because he’s played by an actor who normally only does films, who probably wouldn’t want to commit to a TV series. Or Two, he’ll disappear for a while and come back in a future season as the TV equivalent of the Governor. In the comic, Rick and the other survivors ran afoul of the crazy nut-case leader of a small town who called himself the Governor. He did a lot of cruel and nasty things to Rick and the others before ultimately meeting his end. The comic book Governor was a little too over the top, and fusing him with Merle would ground the character a bit and give his actions a more realistic motivation. Just some thoughts I had.

Normally I get angry when a comic book movie doesn’t follow the source material to the letter. Somehow it’s not bothering me here. The series is following the comic more or less, but it’s diverging at certain points and throwing in new characters. I kind of like that. That way I have a general idea of what’s to come, but I can still be surprised. I don’t know how they’re altering things without making me hate the changes, but I hope they keep it up.

We’re halfway through the first season already! I wish it would last longer, but then again, maybe AMC has the right idea-- produce a short but very intense season where every episode counts, rather than pump out 24 episodes where half of them are filler.

2 comments:

  1. You sum things up so beatifully :) It did seem weird that they got to the roof so easily this time. Especially after last week's episode. Good call on the hand ;) I agree also that there was something going on with Shane and Lori prior to the zombie invasion. I was rewatching the first episode (hubby missed that one and had to get caught up),and it seemed to me that something plays across Shane's face while he and Rick are talking in the squad car. Also while rewatching I got to see my favorite zombie slitering across the park (nightmares I tell ya!). Loving this series!

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  2. Yeah, in that first episode where Rick and Shane are talking in the car, the way Shane asks "How's Lori doing?" seemed a little suspicious to me.

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