TV: The Walking Dead 2.2

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.*

After a solid start we kick of the second episode of season two with a little flashback action, as Lori waits for Carl outside his school. She talks with another mom about how she maybe doesn’t love Rick anymore, but her timing stinks. This is the moment Shane comes speeding down the road to inform her of Rick’s shooting. The two of them have a nice little scene and it’s good to see Shane before he was a skeevy home wrecker.

After that we get back to the action. Rick races across a field carrying Carl. He and Shane are led by big fat hunter Otis (solid character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince), who moments before accidentally shot Carl. They’re headed to Hershel’s farm, who I think would be Otis’s father-in-law. I love that by the time they arrive, Rick can barely carry Carl. A lesser show might have ignored his natural fatigue to focus on the action of the scene.

Hershel (Scott Wilson!) expertly tends to Carl’s very serious wound, collecting blood transfusions from Rick and pulling out a bullet shard with forceps. But there are still a lot of shards left and Carl’s bleeding internally. To fix him up, Hershel needs surgical supplies. Otis, who was an EMT, takes Shane to a nearby school to get the goods from an ad hoc FEMA station.

Carl’s shooting played out just like in the comics, but the FEMA stuff is new. In spite of myself I’m loving how the show is comfortable taking choice bits from the books and inventing the rest. I didn’t like the CDC part last year, but I think sticking to the major plot points from the books while keeping it unpredictable by inventing new stuff inbetween is a good compromise.

Aside from Rick, who bugs the piss outta me, I really respect the casting choices.

Meanwhile, the search for Sophia is still coming up empty. They call off the hunt for the night and head back, while T-Dog and Dale wait at the RV. T-Dog thinks the others are out to get him and Dale because of their respective blackness and/or oldness. Turns out it was just a fever talking, which was brought on by a massive infection T-Dog somehow developed less than 24 hours after cutting his arm. I’m not a very bright person but that strikes me as a pretty rapid onset. Anyway, dude needs some antibiotics STAT.

As the search party heads back to the Dale and T-Dog show, there’s a great moment when Andrea and Daryl are walking in the woods. Andrea is talking long enough you don’t realize Daryl’s not walking alongside her anymore, so when someone pops out from behind a tree next to Andrea it takes a minute to realize it’s actually a walker. I think I actually exclaimed, “Holy shit!” Andrea is taken by surprise too and almost gets killed (again). At the last moment Hershel’s daughter Maggie charges in on horseback, brandishing a baseball bat. She thwacks the offending Walker and convinces Lori to come with her to the farm. Everyone else is invited too.

For some reason this scene had me thinking that most people watching this show probably can’t remember even the main characters’ names yet. That sort of thing usually takes maybe three or four episodes but last season was so short and so many people came and went quickly, it was hard to establish who was who. They need to work on that ASAP or no one’s going to care when they start killing major players.

While searching for antibiotics in the abandoned traffic jam, T-Dog comes across maybe the most disturbing thing I’ve seen so far. He finds a pack of smokes in the glove compartment of one of the cars. Just as he’s starting to smile at his luck he turns his attention to the rear seat. There he sees an empty baby seat, covered in the spattered blood. To me it looked like result of the person in the passenger seat putting a gun in his mouth, but then where did the body go? It’s equally likely it was the baby’s remains, which is just too horrible to think about. Either way, it’s an awful image but it was subtly done. Kudos, you gross bastards.

When the rest of the group returns, Daryl once again comes to T-Dog’s aid, whipping out Merle’s stash of narcotics. Among the various amphetamines and other illicits, there’s a big bottle of antibiotics. “Merle got the clap on occasion.” Daryl is fucking awesome. I’m going to be so insanely pissed if they kill him off. T-Dog is a useless complainer, he has already gotten one guy (presumably) killed, and he has an unconscionably stupid name. TAKE HIM INSTEAD.

All in favor of a new name for T-Dog, say 'aye'.

Back at the farm, Hershel and Rick have a moment to chat. Even though Rick tells him the CDC is gone, Hershel believes wholeheartedly that a cure will be found. He compares it to AIDS, saying, “We get our behinds kicked for a while, then we bounce back.” Around this point, fans of the comics are probably suspecting that another key aspect of life on the farm is about to be revealed. Speaking of the farm, how has this place so remained so safe? There’s only a low barbed wired fence between them and the rest of the world. Just lucky, I guess…

Lori gets to the farm and instead of admonishing Rick for getting their kid shot, she’s surprisingly understanding. Rick gives Carl some more blood and I was particularly tickled to see that even in the apocalypse, you give blood, you get some juice. What, no cookies? Lori grills Hershel about the procedure he’s planning. He says he’s done it before, in a manner of speaking. She asks if he’s actually a doctor and he says sure, “I’m a vet.” Lori suddenly becomes either the stupidest or most optimistic person in this fictional world as she asks, “A veteran? You were a combat medic?” No, dummy, he made a living de-worming puppies.

Lori regains control of her higher functions long enough to ask him, “You’re completely in over your head, aren’t you?” To which Hershel excellently responds, “Ma’am, aren’t we all?” Some real zingers this season. The dialogue is vastly improved over last year.

I'd like an ice cream, please.

When Shane and Otis arrive at the school, they find another hundred or so walkers milling around between them and the medical trailer. They come up with a plan involving flares to distract the walkers and it works well enough to get them into the trailer. Their exit is a little trickier. When they get out, the walkers start following. They’re not exactly running like the 2004 Dawn of the Dead zombies but they’re moving way faster than your standard shamble. Which is to say, Otis is probably fucked. Not just yet though. Shane shoots out not one glass door but two (I guess so Otis can fit?) and manages to pull a metal security gate across the entrance of the school, sealing the two men inside. The last shot of is the bolt holding the gate in place starting to shake loose as the horde attacks.

I love that there was very little actual zombie fighting in this episode. I think it’s a sign of faith in the cast and the human drama, which is certainly well earned. The writers still felt the need to include one big zombie set piece at the end, but it was more about using the undead to build tension rather than create a big action scenario. That comes next.

On-screen kill count: 1 walker, 0 humans. (Now that I’ve seen the awesome wrap-up show, Talking Dead, I realize they do a kill count as well. Last week they counted eight dead walkers but I still say it was seven. Anyway, this week we agree it was just one. Things will get interesting when we start seeing big numbers die at once. Anyway, definitely watch the recap show. It’s like sitting around with your smartest, nerdiest friends and talking about zombies for half an hour. I could watch stuff like that all day.)

3 Responses to “TV: The Walking Dead 2.2”

  1. […] that The Walking Dead has finally been brought to the (small) screen, there isn’t much of the zombie mythos left to […]

  2. […] TV: The Walking Dead 2.2 – Old McHershel had a farm… […]

  3. the walking dead 2×07…

    […]TV: The Walking Dead 2.2 « 31 Flavors of Terror[…]…

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