TV: The Walking Dead 2.3
Three scary TV shows are premiering this month: Bedlam (Saturdays on BBC America starting 10/1), American Horror Story (Wednesdays on FX starting 10/5) and season two of The Walking Dead (Sundays on AMC starting 10/16). Every week I’ll post recaps shortly after each new episode airs. They’ll be a little different than my movie posts. I’m assuming anyone who’s reading the recap has already seen the episode or isn’t planning to watch. That is to say, *SPOILERS AHEAD.*
Episode three starts with Shane in the bathroom, taking advantage of Hershel’s generator to take a hot shower and shave his head with a set of electric clippers – the quintessential act of contrition. So we know from the start Shane made it back from his trip to get Carl’s medical supplies, but why is he looking so intently at himself in the mirror?
Back to where we left off last episode, Shane and Otis are running through the school, hotly pursued by a ton of walkers. They split up and try to make it out but they’re running seriously low on ammo. Meanwhile things are getting desperate at the farm, where even Rick’s blood isn’t going to be enough to sustain Carl much longer. Soon Hershel’s gonna have to cut the kid open, with or without the equipment. That would be bad.
Back in the RV, Daryl can’t sleep because Carol won’t stop sobbing (pretty much all she’s good for). He volunteers for a night-time recon mission to look for Sophia, which perks Whiny McDoNothing right up. Andrea goes with him, presumably to get away from Carol as well. They have a nice bit of unforced flirting as Daryl plays it cool, impressing her with his workmanlike unwillingness to give in to despair. They find a guy who hung himself after a bite, but didn’t have the sense to avoid coming back as a walker. Andrea is surprised when Daryl wants to just leave him there but he rightly explains it’s a waste of an arrow to put him down. “He made his choice, opted out. Let him hang.” Andrea gets him to do it anyway. I love Daryl but, hey man, Andrea is Dale’s Kool-Aid. Get your own.
T-Dog (GRRR) and Glenn arrive at the farm but can’t do much but indulge in Hershel’s hospitality. Glenn strikes up a pretty neat conversation with Maggie. In what I’m hoping is foreshadowing for a major storyline from the books, she interrupts his first attempt at prayer and then apologizes, saying, “Sorry, didn’t mean to ruin your first time.” Back inside, we get yet another great line courtesy of the Dixon boys when T-Dog is told the antibiotics Daryl gave him probably saved his life: “Merle Dixon’s clap is the best thing that ever happened to you.” Oh gonorrhea, is there anything you can’t do?
Lori gets all defeatist and I want to smack her when she suggests maybe Carl would be better off if he didn’t wake up. I understand this seems like a natural progression for a character faced with an impossibly horrifying situation, but I’m not buying it. A parent’s job is to keep his or her child alive, period. It’s one thing to want to spare your child suffering, another altogether to wish him dead. Though Rick doesn’t have an answer for her right away (I should think a good shaking would be appropriate) he finds it later when Carl wakes for a moment of lucidity. Instead of recollecting the bullet that’s still inside him or the undead monsters that haunt his dreams, Carl’s first though is of the beauty of the deer he saw. It’s exactly this kind of logic and eloquence that the first season lacked. Everyone questioned the firing of Frank Darabont but if this is the result, maybe we were premature.
Just as Lori comes to her senses and elects to let Hershel operate on Carl without the respirator, effectively choosing the slim chance of a painful existence over the certainly of an easy death for Carl, Shane pulls up with the goods. Otis is nowhere to be found, which is strange since when last we saw them at the school, Otis was very much alive. Turns out that when Shane and Otis were each down to their last bullet, Shane used his to blast Otis’s knee, turning him into walker bait while Shane escaped.
On one level, this is a choice to save Carl instead of Otis, which Otis probably would have done himself if given the chance. But because Shane chose to make that decision (especially considering Otis refused to allow Shane to sacrifice himself earlier) Shane is damned. Shane is now officially a guy who will do evil shit to protect those he loves. Not just hard choices, but actual moral wrongdoing. Previously his failings had been the result of jealousy and frustration. This was different.
All in all, another potent episode, even though there seemed to be much less activity this time. I love that Sophia is out there in the world but they’re in no hurry to explain, just like Merle. I find that patience to be one of the show’s most novel features. I’m not crazy about how they still haven’t explained what CDC guy said to Rick though. When he finally comes clean, he better have a good reason for not spilling earlier.
On-screen Kill Count: at least 10 walkers, 1 human.