AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by Nichole Beattie
* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “Seed” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Walk With Me” – click here
This second episode of Season 3 starts with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) trying to save Hershel (Scott Wilson), having cut off his leg at the end of the premiere. Everyone works to get him back to a bed, to safety. Carl (Chandler Riggs) lets them back in, where Beth (Emily Kinney), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carol (Melissa McBride) try their best to help save the old man. Everyone is, rightfully, in a panic.
At the door, Daryl (Norman Reedus) waits for the prisoners to show up. The ones who appeared in the cafeteria. They’re obviously curious about what’s been happening. Further than that they have no idea about the world has become outside. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) helps keep them at bay, for now. Rick tasks Glenn (Steven Yeun) with being by Hershel’s side, in case the worst happens. Meanwhile, Sheriff Grimes heads to tackle the prisoner problem head-on. He wants to resolve things amicably, though, keeps a tough edge. He has to give the grim news of the post-zombie apocalypse world to these guys. They’ve only heard the crazy rumours and stories, locked in the prison for “294 days“.
Rick allows the prisoners outside, but their leader Tomas (Nick Gomez) isn’t being easy to get along with, in the slightest. Others like Axel (Lew Temple) and Big Tiny (Theodus Crane) are more willing to go along to get along. Even with all the news Rick breaks to them Tomas is bent on doing things his way. Except Rick tells them how things are now in the prison: “We took it, set you free; it‘s ours! We spilled blood.” Soon, Tomas bows down. Reluctantly and for now. A deal is struck – guns and ammo for food, they each take their own cell block. Rick further agrees to help clear another block for them.
The chopped stump of Hershel is stable. He’s passed out, resting. Carol and Lori try their best to get one another through everything, even joking candidly with each other. Rick, Daryl and T-Dog try to settle things with the prisoners, to ensure more safety going forward. They get their hands on some of the food the prisoners had stashed away. At the moment, things are going steady and looking clear. Although, Maggie is worried for her father while Beth even starts preparing a new pair of pants for her father, one with a leg sewn up. Hershel isn’t out of the choppy water yet, but he’s alive. That’s the best they can ask for now.
Things with Rick and Lori aren’t exactly on the up and up. He doesn’t feel supported by Lori, after the way she seemed to handle the situation with Shane. But now she tries to assure him that she is on his side. All the same, Rick doesn’t exactly feel confident in any of that. The two of them are on shaky ground. Worst time to be, as she prepares to have a baby some time down the road, not too far away.
Lori: “I thought, maybe, you were coming out here to talk about us. Maybe there‘s nothing to talk about anymore.”
Rick: “We‘re awful grateful for what you did.”
Maggie says her goodbyes to Hershel with him lying sickly in bed, surely near death. “Be peaceful,” she weeps, “if it‘s time to go that‘s okay.” It is so heartbreaking to watch, not knowing whether or not Hershel will pull through.
Simultaneously, we’re back in the darkened tomb-like halls of the prison. This time it’s with Rick, Daryl, T-Dog and the prisoners. Seeing Rick and his group juxtaposed with other groups is always so striking. Because they were once so innocent and didn’t know what they know now. They stand back and watch as the prisoners go hacking and slashing at the zombies, not doing anything Rick suggested, such as go for the head, the brain. Almost funny, really.
Back to the cell block, Carl strolls in with a ton of supplies. He went on a run himself, even “killed two walkers“. The boy is trying to take on a bigger role, to be the man. Instead he gets no praise and only crap from his mother, even Beth who suggests he shouldn’t talk back to Lori the way he does. Sad, even though I get the concern. He’s only trying his best to grow up in a tough world, trying to take care of his people, and above all else his mother. In the other block, Big Tiny gets attacked by zombies, stabbed by one of their broken boned hands and bitten. Things with the prisoners then start to deteriorate by the second. But Rick and Daryl are prepared.
When things go to shit in the laundry room, Tomas almost takes Rick out. A little conversation afterwards turns quickly into murder when Rick plants a machete directly in the skull of Tomas. The other prisoners soon agree to let bygones be bygones, and a further deal is struck. Luckily, it looks as if the big trouble with the prisoners is over after Tomas bit the dust. One super tense scene has Rick locking a prisoner outside after he runs, advising: “You better run.” The screams from him outside are bloodcurdling.
My favourite scene is actually when Maggie and the others think Hershel is dead, after it appears his breath stops. For a second, you star to think Hershel might actually come back as a zombie. A few moments pass, after Lori tries giving CPR. Then he comes back: as himself. Dear ole Hershel managed to make it through to the other side and survived his injuries. Not without scaring Lori, the ladies and Carl – who points his gun shakily – near to death.
Rick and the others arrive back at their cell block, everyone crowded around Hershel. And then his eyes open slowly. He wakes again and the light in the eyes of everybody else returns. A glimmer of hope appears in them all, even a hardened Rick who unlocks handcuffs they put on Hershel, in case he did turn. Hershel reaches out for Rick’s hand saying nothing, but the look on his face saying everything. He is thankful for a man like Rick Grimes, who went to extreme lengths in order to save his life. A fitting moment between the two characters.
Also, Carol realizes with Hershel temporarily out of the game, child birth falls on her. She is responsible to make sure Lori’s baby is delivered, and appropriately. She takes to using walkers as practice, using the Cesarean section. But then someone watches her from afar, out in the woods; we see only their perspective. Who is it lurking? A new enemy, a threat?
And Lori still won’t stop giving Rick a hard time. He keeps trying his best, she continually second guesses him, even after he took charge and protected his family at all costs. They are clearly having troubles. Yet these aren’t the days of sitting on the couch, talking out problems. They aren’t going to just get past their differences, but still, Lori harps on their relationship too hard, at every turn. She can never let Rick be, let him get on with everything. Their strain will become the group’s, at some point. Now or later.
The next episode is titled “Walk With Me” and it really begins to amp things up, as a community of survivors elsewhere emerges, and we get more of Andrea/Michonne.