AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 4: “Cherokee Rose”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by Evan T. Reilly
* For a review of the previous episode, “Save the Last One” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Chupacabra” – click here
“Cherokee Rose” starts with Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Dale Horvath (Jeffrey DeMunn) and the others coming down from the highway to the farm of Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson). Everybody’s concerned about Carl (Chandler Riggs), who is doing much better now thanks to Hershel.
But the two groups couldn’t be more different. Hershel, his daughters Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth (Emily Kinney), Otis’ wife Patricia (Jane McNeill), they all have faith in God. Or at least Hershel does, most of all. They aren’t accustomed to life in the real world having stayed on the farm so long until now. At a funeral for Otis, there’s a moment where Shane thinks back and forth to when he killed the man, giving a sort-of-eulogy, and even though Shane is a bad dude, he is a part of the group with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). They are a different breed. Doing what he did to Otis was terribly wrong, but still, there’s a sense of that group knowing certain things need to be done in this post-zombie apocalypse world.
Plans are laid out. Hershel doesn’t want any guns toted on the property; another point of contention between Rick an Shane, though the latter gives up his arms. They’re all heading out, in various shapes and forms, to continue the search for Sophia. One thing I’m always thinking of while watching The Walking Dead is how life is drastically different, not just the living dead, but life for young people in particular. Growing up is tough enough. Now they’ve got to grow up in a world where work is life. You never really rest up, not truly. There is always a plan, always work to be done and a task assigned.
So Dale is off to fetch water. Rick gave a lot of blood recently, and Hershel suggests he take it easy. Shane wants to drive out to the interstate and look for Sophia, as does Daryl only in the woods. Andrea (Laurie Holden) doesn’t like giving up their guns, but Shane isn’t exactly without weaponry; he shows her how to use one, load one, clean one properly, their bond growing slightly.
The biggest thing so far is that Hershel wants to make it known Rick, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and the rest of their group are not staying permanently.
A brief moment between Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Lori sees her asking for items when he’s out on a run. It’s hush, hush. Private stuff in the “feminine hygiene section“. Tampons, or something more?
T-Dog (Irone Singleton) wants Dale not to mention some of the things they talked about while on the highway. Dale of course agrees. At the same time, he discovers something in the well before any of them drink the water: a bloated, nasty zombie. They all want to deal with it appropriately, as Shane, Maggie, Lori, Andrea and Glenn show up to put their heads together. Shoot it, risk contaminating the water, if it already hasn’t happened. But how to get it out either way?
Seems they need “live bait” and Glenn gets roped down into the well. When a pipe breaks, he falls nearly into the mouth of the walker. Luckily, he is one crafty fellow. After the others pull him out Glenn has lassoed the zombie for their purposes. Glenn is the man.
Hershel: “In all the chaos you found your wife and boy. Then he was shot and he survived. That tells you nothing?”
Rick: “It tells me God‘s got a strange sense of humour”
Out on their own, Glenn and Maggie ride horses into town. Like two gunslingers. He tries his best to impress her, while Maggie is sort of off in her own world. She was fairly traumatized when T-Dog killed the bloated well zombie. No doubt Hershel and their small group have treated things differently. Glenn and Maggie make their way through some stores to find supplies. He makes things look a bit awkward, looking for Lori’s items but fumbling and holding up a box of condoms. “I’ll have sex with you,” Maggie tells him after his bumbled conversation. A hot, passionate moment begins to build, as these two come together physically and emotionally. Hooking up isn’t simply hooking up in the post-zombie world. You have to connect where you can, when you can, because who knows how long anybody has? For now, Glenn and Maggie enjoy one another.
At the ranch things are going on just fine. Except Rick tells Hershel “you need to reconsider… asking us to leave.” They have a tough, intense conversation about the group’s future on the farm. “Some men do not earn the love of their sons,” Hershel tells Rick. “I don‘t see you having that problem.” Staying is a possibility, though, Hershel wants to think it over. Even further, he casts a bit of mystery saying there are things he will not discuss about the farm, how they do things, or what not. But things seem a little shady, even while Hershel is obviously an upstanding, honest, righteous man. There is something he’s not telling us.
When Glenn and Maggie arrive, we get a passing look between him and Lori when he gives her the item she requested. What is it that has him so confused or upset?
For the time being, Daryl brings Carol (Melissa McBride) a rose and tells her a story: “It‘s a Cherokee Rose. The story is that when American soldiers were moving Indians off their land on the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee mothers were grieving and crying so much ‘cause they were losing their little ones along the way from exposure and disease and starvation. A lot of them just disappeared. So the elders, they said a prayer; asked for a sign to uplift the mothers‘ spirits, give them strength and hope. The next day this rose started to grow where the mothers‘ tears fell. I‘m not fool enough to think there‘s any flowers blooming for my brother. But I believe this one bloomed for your little girl.”
Rick apologizes to Carl for lying earlier about Sophia, all simply in hopes he wouldn’t upset his son. We get a tender scene between them, as Carl remarks he’s just like his father after having been shot. This is where Sheriff Rick gives his hat over to the boy, saying he’s “in the club now“. Almost like a passing of the torch. Bit of a masculinity thing, yet I still love that moment here. It’s a rare and beautiful moment that doesn’t often get to come about because the group is constantly on the run, or trying to survive, or grieving. We have to take the tenderness when it comes and this is certainly one of the best of these scenes in the entire series, especially the first couple seasons. It follows on a little with a quiet follow-up scene involving Lori and Rick, where he puts away his Sheriff’s badge, the uniform. She doesn’t want him to put it all away so soon, too quick. She knows the world still requires a man like Sheriff Grimes, at least from time to time.
Outside, Lori goes by herself to a dark spot in the field. She takes out the item Glenn brought her back and puts it to use: a pregnancy test. Is this going to yield a child? Such a devastating thing in this new world. Also, would it be Rick’s baby, or does it belong to Shane? Nevertheless, the test is positive. Almost a death sentence like back in the Victorian Age and before.
Exciting developments here in this episode. Terrifying ones, too.
Can’t wait to rewatch the next episode, “Chupacabra”; a personal favourite of mine. Stay with me for another review.