From Jon Bernthal

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 12: “Better Angels”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 12: “Better Angels”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Glen Mazzara & Evan T. Reilly

* For a review of the previous episode, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” – click here
* For a review of the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire” – click here
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This penultimate Season 2 episode begins with a speech by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). As they bury Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), he talks of honouring him. They will do things “his way” from now on. They will secure their safety and their future. Things are looking up, despite Dale’s death. Shane (Jon Bernthal) is a bit strange, as usual. T-Dog (Irone Singleton), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and the others are all pretty upset by the loss recently, as is Glenn (Steven Yeun), even Hershel (Scott Wilson) understands the sorrow.
Meanwhile, they’re planning on cutting Randall (Michael Zegen) loose, as was the earliest plan. Shane doesn’t want any of it, still causing friction between him and Rick. This only increases with every passing chapter of Season 2. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) gives Shane the evil eye on the side, hoping he’ll eventually quit pining for her. He won’t, though.
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Rick: “Dale could get under your skin. He sure got under mine, because he wasnt afraid to say what he thought, how he felt. That kind of honesty is rare and brave. Whenever Id make a decision, Id look at Dale. Hed be looking back at me with that look he had. Weve all seen it one time or another. I couldnt always read him, but he could read us. He saw people for who they were. He knew things about usthe truth who we really are. In the end, he was talking about losing our humanity. He said this group was broken. The best way to honor him is to unbreak it. Set aside our differences and pull together, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and take control of our livesour safetyour future. Were not broken. Were gonna prove him wrong. From now onwere gonna do it his way. That is how we honour Dale.”


Carl (Chandler Riggs) tells Shane about the walker who killed Dale. That he didn’t shoot it. This is a tender moment, if it weren’t for Shane playing would-be-dad to the young boy. He tries to assure Carl it wasn’t his fault and tries to make him hold onto the gun he took from Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) bike. He doesn’t want it anymore, afraid of his own abilities.
Over in the shed, Randall (Michael Zegen) is still being kept tied up. Everybody else is trying to go about their business. Glenn is shacking up with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), or at least she’s trying to make that happen, even if he’s still a bit leery about the situation. Best of all, Hershel is offering up his home as a home for the whole group. He’s come around to having them as a part of his life and hopefully this will continue to be good, for all of them.
On the side with Shane, we find Lori revealing she doesn’t “even know whose baby this is“. A shocking moment, which we all should’ve seen coming. She seems to flop back and forth between things. Here, she’s falling back into things with Shane. Even if it’s only a brief scene. Still, she isn’t doing any favours. Shane now has more reason to believe there is something left for him and Lori.
At the same time, Daryl and Rick come together closer, as the former says there’s “no reason you should have to do all the heavy lifting“. Then there’s more bravado and angst from Shane, who guilts Rick about talking to Carl and so on. A confrontation, a nasty one, is on the horizon. Those who’ve read the comics already know this, but when will it finally come? And how? Will it be the same as in the comics, or different?
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Rick sits with Carl, strangely under the noose that was once prepared for Randall. They talk about life, “no more kid stuff” Rick says. This is a new life, a new world, an entirely new existence. He tells Carl how everyone will eventually die, they’re all going to shuffle off eventually. Best of all, the tension with Shane, I think, has prompted Rick into making sure his own son grows into a man, in this new and vicious zombie world. I love these small father son moments which come out now and then, and still do on the series. Well written and also the chemistry between Chandler Riggs and Andrew Lincoln works excellently for their relationship as characters.
The darkness in Shane further leaks out. He goes into the shed where Randall is tied. He sits on a chair in front of the young man, quiet, almost going crazy right there. Something deadly is brewing inside Shane, it’s only a matter of time before it escapes and damages everyone and everything around him. This scene is intense, brooding. You never know what might go down next.
Lo and behold – I didn’t see this coming. Shane takes Randall out in the forest. He asks the kid to take him back to his group, he wants out of the one he’s in currently. There is no future for Shane, as he sees it, among Rick and Lori and the others. But then he ends up breaking Randall’s neck. He smashes his own face into a tree, then heads back to the farm with a concocted story. He makes it seem as if Randall is now a huge threat to the farm and everyone on it.


This all leads Daryl, Glenn, T-Dog, Rick and Shane out to look for Randall. Supposedly. What’s the plan here? It’s as if Shane has something up his sleeve, some nefarious deed in mind. With everyone out looking, Rick by his side, Shane might just soon try to craft the group into one with which he wants to stay.
Sly glances pass between Rick and Shane in the dark of the woods. You can see Rick isn’t so sure what happened, but goes on following his former best friend anyways. The suspense here is unbelievable, as they move deeper and deeper into the trees. Daryl is a tracker and notices some suspicious elements to Shane’s story, finding tracks “in tandem“, blood on a tree, a scuffle of feet. Shane isn’t looking so truthful now. But everyone is at risk currently, out in the open, in the dark, with zombies shambling around all over the place. Not to mention Daryl and Glenn come across the dead body of Randall, finding out he wasn’t killed by walkers, or anything else, except a snapped neck.


Off alone together, Shane keeps Rick going further. Away from the group, separating them more by the minute. Eventually, they come to a big clearing. Rick continually questions Shane about what happened, which doesn’t get a whole lot of response. We see Shane slowly grip his gun in his pants. The look on Rick’s face spells everything out, though, he holsters his own gun. “So this is where you plan to do it,” says Rick to his once best friend. Two great actors toe to toe in this scene makes it something special. Incredibly intense. Those who read the comics know how it ends, yet still there is an air of tension you aren’t sure about. Rick walks and talks with a gun on him. “You wont be able to live with this,” Rick tells Shane. “Im a better father than you,” Shane replies not long after.
But once Rick unarms himself, all but begging Shane to give it a try, the situation changes. He talks Shane almost into his arms, giving over his gun. Then Rick stabs him deeply: “You did this to us. This was you, not menot me!”
With Shane bleeding out in the field, Rick is left with what he’s done. Although it wasn’t wrong the act itself had to be tough. They were once the best of friends, for what seemed a lifetime. So much history. All the while, we get cuts to images in the mind of Shane; the zombie virus working its way into the folds of his brain. Then Carl shows up, seeing Rick over the dead body of Shane. He pulls a gun on his father. But not really – he puts a bullet through the undead Shane coming up behind Rick. A heavy act, one that needed doing. Only problem is the gunshots caught the attention of walkers. Lots of them.


The end of this episode is intense, knowing what’s on the verge of stumbling into the farm. Stay tuned with me while I review the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire”.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 11: “Judge, Jury, Executioner”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 11: “Judge, Jury, Executioner”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “18 Miles Out” – click here
* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 finisher, “Better Angels” – click here
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The top of this episode begins with Randall (Michael Zegen) being tortured in the barn by Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). He talks about the group he was with before, the savagery they were involved in; includes a very subtle, passing reference to a brutal rape situation. Randall tells Daryl he isn’t like them. Though, how can anyone be sure? In this new world, nobody is what they seem. Nobody.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) informs everyone they’ll have to kill Randall. Knowing about his large group, their weaponry and vicious nature, now the decision is all but made. Unfortunately, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) doesn’t like it. He believes there must be a method, a process, instead of simply sentencing someone to death, as guilt by association. He pleads with Rick for another twenty four hours, to talk with everyone about what should happen. At sunset the decision will be made.
First, Dale goes to Andrea (Laurie Holden). He wants her to guard Randall for now, in case Shane (Jon Bernthal) decides otherwise. Glad to see there is still humanity left in Dale, not willing to just jump in and kill somebody all of a sudden. He wants to keep their human nature. Others aren’t so sold on being “civilized anymore“. Dale replies: “But keeping our humanity? Thats a choice.” Reluctantly, Andrea agrees to look after the prisoner. But Shane is ready for what’s coming. He isn’t confused in the slightest, nor is he conflicted: murder is his business. Furthermore, his run-in with Carl (Chandler Riggs), who sneaks into the barn and talks to Randall, shows Shane is NEVER going to let go of his time with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). He wants what Rick has; all of it.


Later on, Dale goes to see Daryl (Norman Reedus). The latter has no real problem with what’s about to happen. All the same, Dale tries reaching out. He knows Daryl is a “decent man” and appeals to his better sense, putting in more hints about Otis – Daryl knows Shane killed him, he showed up with the dead man’s gun after all. For his part, Daryl thinks Rick is slightly blind to Shane.
Speaking of Rick, he’s in the barn trying to find a good place for a hanging. Knot tied and everything. He and Lori start looking ahead to the future, the winter specifically. They need to start thinking of warm lodgings and so on. “I know how you feel about the death penalty,” Rick says to Lori, as she wonders if hanging is the best option. She always trust her husband, no matter what. But Rick is still overlooking Shane and the problem of his obsession. It’ll come to a head eventually.
Carol (Melissa McBride) tries comforting Carl about Sophia’s passing, who responds by saying if she believes in Heaven then “youre an idiot“. We also get a closer look at Carol. She feels discarded by the group, treated like a crazy person or a wounded grieving mother who will never get over it. True. She can be a valuable member of the group like anyone else, but they all patronize her mostly. Rick has a talk with Carl about what he said, and they have a bit of a real chat for the first time; his son asks about the hanging, but Rick sticks to him having to apologize to Carol.


But Carl wants to strike out on his own. He lifts a gun from Daryl’s motorcycle bag then heads out to the woods. Down by a small creek, Carl finds a walker standing in the open. It turns slowly and stares at the boy, who starts to run. Then he realizes the walker is stuck in the mud. So a closer look is needed.
Hershel and Glenn (Steven Yeun) have a moment together. The older man shows his pocket watch, given to him by his father; he pawned it after a hard night of drinking, then Maggie’s mother bought it back, giving it to him once he got sober. “No man is good enough for your little girl,” says Hershel, “until one is.” With that he hands the watch over to Glenn, a beautiful and touching scene between these two characters. Their bond will also grow stronger, tougher as the series progresses.
Back with Carl and the walker. He’s still throwing things at it, point his gun. He wants to be a man and wants to evolve in this new world. Only he’s still a boy and has things to learn. The zombie gets loose from the mud grabbing Carl by the ankle, sending the boy running. Thankfully he got away. Could’ve easily turned tragic for another child member of the group.


Sunset has come. Everyone gathers to talk about whether Randall ought to be killed, or not. Dale obviously believes it shouldn’t happen. Others approve; even Glenn drops off Dale’s side saying “hes not one of us“. Not everybody wants to kill him, but nobody except Dale is adamant about saving the young man. Carol doesn’t want to be a part of the vote, no matter what transpires.
Problem is civilization is collapsing, humanity has become lost. Dale is right. Nobody else sees that, but Dale understands they’re losing humanity quite quick. At a wild rate. They’re becoming the people they are afraid of, those monsters out there on the road they assume will come and pillage the camp. “This new world is ugly, its harsh, its survival of the fittest: thats a world I dont wanna live in,” Dale pleads with the group. And the only single person to stand by his side in the end? Andrea. He further tries to shame everyone asking if they’ll all watch the execution and nods to Daryl on his way out of the house: “This group is broken.”
So the execution time has come. Rick has Randall blindfolded, on his knees. With Shane and Daryl by his side, Rick asks if he has any “final words“. In the midst of it all Carl shows up and tells him to “do it“. But Rick can’t get the job done with his son watching, he has Randall taken away and tied up again, putting his gun back in its holster.


When Dale goes off on his own there is one of the most tragic scenes yet on The Walking Dead. Had he not been pushed away, disregarded by his group, Dale might live to see another episode. Sadly, he is blindsided by a walker, as he finds a cow torn open and gutted in the field. Dale gets torn open and now we’ve lost yet another good man. So damn busted up to know we won’t get any more Dale in this series. A great character whose time came far too soon. He wasn’t even bit, just disemboweled. If they had a hospital maybe there’d be options. Not out in a field, on a farm, in the middle of the zombie wasteland.
Rick tries to put Dale out of his misery, but can’t bring himself to do it. Daryl does Dale a solid, saying “Sorry, brother” before putting a bullet in his head. Right before it comes Dale nods in solidarity. A heart wrenching, gut churning (literally) scene that took me by surprise. Still does, even after seeing the series over a few times. Worst of all? Carl sees the walker who attacked Dale is the one he didn’t kill down by the water, stuck in the mud. This will only make him feel responsible, which is brutal for a boy his age.


The next episode, Season 2’s penultimate ender, is titled “Better Angels”. Let’s see how this one turns out after a tragic end here.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 10: “18 Miles Out”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 10: “18 Miles Out”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the previous episode, “Triggerfinger” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” – click here

 


The start of this episode commences with Shane (Jon Bernthal) trapped alone in a bus. Walkers attempt to get inside, clawing and growling. He closes the doors tight, backs against them and tries to hold out. Long as possible.
Cut back to Shane on the road with Rick (Andrew Lincoln). They stop abruptly on an open, desolate stretch. Rick decides they have to chat together. He brings up Otis, the fact Shane believes he can’t protect Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Carl (Chandler Riggs), his unborn child. There’s lots of tension here. Rick tells him “youre not going to be dangerous anymore“. The past between Lori and Shane comes up briefly, but the bigger man – Rick – shows us his strength, as a man, as a human being. He lays claim to his family, as if it had to even be done. Although, there is still something in Shane which won’t let go. Not all the way.
In the trunk they have Randall (Michael Zegen). What are they doing with him?

 


At the ranch, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) chats with Lori about Glenn (Steven Yeun). A bit of enlightening talk comes from Mrs. Grimes, but at the same time she has a bit of a male-female view of the world, at least in this new post-zombie apocalypse. Either way, it’s comforting for Maggie, at least some of their talk.
Trying to find a place to give Randall “a fair shake“, Rick and Shane stop off in a quiet area. Only a scattered walker moves around. Rick is determined to try using their knives more, instead of wasting bullets, as well as causing noise to draw them. He lures one in with his own blood on a fence then stabs it right in the forehead. Good plan, and something which will continue throughout the entire series. They’re slowly learning how to adapt in this savage new world.
Something I have to mention again – amazing practical makeup effects on the part of KNB, specifically Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. There are so many instances of this, including when Rick walks up on a pile of burned walker corpses. Tons more. Each episode you get at least a couple awesome zombies, nasty blood and gore and all.
Also, we briefly see Shane and Rick talk about whether or not a couple bodies were bitten. Rick says they must’ve gotten scratched somehow. For those of us further into the series, we know what’s coming. For the time being Shane and Rick agree – must be a scratch.
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Beth presents as suicidal. She even takes the knife off a plate Lori brings in the room, hoping to maybe end it all. Lori does her part and tries to track down the other Greenes. This is definitely a situation they need to keep under control. Last thing either Maggie or Hershel (Scott Wilson) needs is to lose Beth, too. And to suicide, even worse.
Leaving Randall out on his own, Rick and Shane head off back for the farm. The young guy cries out for help hoping to be saved. He lets slip he “went to school with Maggie“, which shows he knows about the farm anyways. No matter what they do. Now, Shane is worried he might get back to his group and that this might cause something terrible down the road. Immediately, Shane goes for the kill, but Rick stops him.
More breakdown with Shane. He’s gone insane, he can’t follow Rick without having something to say. After a bit of back and forth, Rick throws the first punch and misses. He and Shane end up rolling around on the ground, grunting, throwing more punches, headbutts. Their friendship has officially taken a wrong turn, their problems devolving into violence. The struggle goes on for a while, to the point of Shane almost killing Rick with a massive wrench – this brings on a horde of zombies hiding in the surrounding buildings, only creating further trouble. Good one, Shane. This is what prompts him climbing into the bus where we found him at the episode’s outset.

 


Andrea and Lori are in each others faces. The latter thinks the men don’t need her help out watching the camp, showing us a pretty old school view of things. At the same time, Lori tries to tell her “we are trying to create a life for the living” and I do agree, in a certain sense. But Andrea is a bit stubborn and hard-headed. She thinks Lori sort of glides by and everything is fine for her. They’re at one another’s throats because of Beth. Andrea thinks they don’t need to do anything for her, Lori wants to assure Beth that life is worth living. Is it? Or can it be, somewhere in the future? At least, for all her faults, Lori hasn’t given up on a normal life. Someday.
Finding himself in a tricky situation, Rick uses a walker head almost like a silencer. Out of another jam. He is one hell of a tough bastard. At the ranch, Beth is more determined to go out on her own terms, asking Maggie to go with her into death. Such a contrast between Rick’s groups and the Greenes. They are far apart in thought. But there’s also part of me that doesn’t disagree with Beth, who feels it isn’t worth living if life is being gutted, hauled apart by zombies eventually.
Rick is about to get away from the hordes of walkers nearby. He even has Randall with him. Then, it appears as if he’s about to leave Shane in the bus, trapped with all the zombies outside. Is this where Shane finally gets what’s coming to him?
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Of most concern is Beth. She locks herself in a bathroom and opens up her veins with broken glass. Maggie and Lori get in there to find Beth bleeding everywhere: “Im sorry,” she weeps. At least they found her in time.
At the bus, Shane is saved when Rick comes back. He didn’t plan on leaving his former best friend after all. Rick diverts the walkers so Shane can get out the back of the bus and into their vehicle, Randall at the wheel and duct taped at the neck around his seat. Off they go, the three amigos. Alive and well, out of another terrifying few moments.
Andrea’s optimistic about Beth and her suicide attempt saying “she wants to live“. But nobody is happy with Andrea for leaving the young girl alone, letting her almost kill herself. Likewise, Lori does agree there’s some truth in what Andrea said, that Beth does hope to keep living. It was simply a cry for help.
Headed back to the Greene farm, Rick puts Randall back in the trunk again, hood over his head. No matter what happens, Rick is taking precautions. Still, though, he tells Shane: “If you wanna kill me youre gonna have to do better than a wrench.” He further goes on to say he needs time to think about what they’ll do with Randall, that if murder is on the table it can’t be done in split-second decisions. He also lays claim, once more, to his family. Making Shane realize it’s either fall in line, or fuck off. Or possibly worse. For now Shane has a second chance with Rick.

 


The next episode, nearing closer to the Season 2 finale, is “Judge, Jury, Executioner”. Stay with me and I’ll recap/review another one soon.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 9: “Triggerfinger”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 9: “Triggerfinger”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by David Leslie Johnson

* For a review of the previous episode, “Nebraska” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “18 Miles Out” – click here


The brief opening of this episode sees Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) overturned in her car. Crashed. Pregnant. And worst of all, walkers are trying to get in at her.
Cut back to the bar where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) remain. They decide to leave after the encounter with two men, which left the same men dead at the end of Rick’s gun. Only a vehicle shows up before they can make it out; people exit calling for Dave and Tony, the two now dead corpses on the floor. It’s obvious now they were part of a bigger group, probably trying to find another group to push out of an encampment. The human threat in this new post-zombie apocalypse world is very clear, and getting clearer.
Meanwhile, Lori tries to get herself out of the smashed up car before a walker breaks through the windshield and takes a bit out of her, as well as the unborn baby in her belly. A frightening moment as is, but add to the fact Lori’s pregnant then it becomes even more scary. Luckily, she is a bit of a bad ass and manages to kill the zombie in the window then escape onto the road. Where more walkers find her.
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Back at the ranch, Shane (Jon Bernthal), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and all the rest are sitting down for a meal. When Carol (Melissa McBride) calls for Lori, they all discover she’s nowhere to be found. Andrea (Laurie Holden) mentions seeing her earlier, Carl (Chandler Riggs) can’t remember the last time he saw his mother. Everyone gets fairly worried damn quick. Carol tries enlisting Daryl (Norman Reedus); he’s not having any of it, sick of being the go-to-guy for heading out on the search. Above all else, Shane is adamant on going to find Lori. Even if it’s on his own.
In the bar, Rick finds himself, Glenn and Hershel pressed down on by the group looking for Dave and Tony. Eventually, Rick tells the men outside their friends “drew on us“. It’s evident they had to do what needed to be done, but the guys outside don’t seem keen on just walking away. Soon enough gunfire breaks the air and things are more tense than ever. Guns blazing, Rick, Glenn and Hershel do their best to make it out alive.
The situation changes when one of the men trying to avenge Dave and Tony doesn’t get away with the others. He’s partly impaled on a fence, but Hershel and Rick don’t want to leave the boy. He’s only a young guy and neither of them want to leave the kid to be eaten. Hershel suggests maybe they ought to “put him down“. Instead, they decide to try amputating part of his leg; the only way out. Although, in a sticky situation Rick hauls the leg up and off the fence and gets them back out on the road.


Hershel: “You want me to cover Glenn?”
Rick: “You missed all that gun training. It couldve come in handy now.”
Hershel: “Nah, I can shoot. Just dont like to.”


Shane finds Lori out on the road, bleeding and injured. She wants to find Rick and does not want to go back, so Shane lies telling her they’re all home at the farm again. Uh oh; he’s going to regret that. You’d think he might do anything possible to get her back, or win her over, something. Rather than that Shane’s digging himself more holes.
The tenuous relationship between Carol and Daryl continues on. He’d rather be alone and off on his own. He feels unappreciated and yells at Carol. She’s seen worse than that; her now dead husband was a vicious, brutalizing bastard. The way Daryl lashes out says more about him than anyone else. But in a moment when Carol flinches we can see him shift a little inside, and Daryl perhaps understands he’s overstepping boundaries.
When Lori figures out Shane lied there is more anger, more fighting. In front of everyone, Shane lets out the fact Lori is pregnant, which shocks everybody. Particularly Carl (Chandler Riggs) who feels left out not knowing about his potential new brother or sister. Afterwards, he is happier about knowing of the baby and being included in everything: “Big brother Carl, thats pretty cool, huh?” he remarks.
More than that, we see continually how Shane cannot let her go. He’s going to cause more issues, just wait. He and Lori have more confrontation once everybody leaves the room. She’s tired of his lying, from the first lie he told about Rick, to this one. And so on. The anger in her cannot be overcome now, Shane has nothing to fall back on. “What happened with Otis happened because I love you,” Shane says to Lori. After which she tells him she told Rick about their relationship.
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In other news, Beth (Emily Kinney) is still catatonic. Comatose. Andrea (Laurie Holden) tries to comfort her sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan), whose worry is strong for both Beth and her father Hershel. Everything before the Greenes is falling apart, from the farm to their family, to the world. It is excruciating to see them go from sheltered to worldly, in a matter of a few episodes. They’re slowly becoming more like Rick and the other survivors.
Dale is still worried about Andrea. She can’t see the true nature of Shane, doubting in Rick at the same time. I wish she’d finally understand that Dale is only looking out for her, he isn’t trying to bang her. Sure, I have no doubt he’d have sex with her if she wanted to, but that’s not why he cares. He bonded with her, and her sister. Andrea just feels too scared of this new world, of everyone in it.
Not long after, Rick, Glenn and Hershel arrive back at the farm. They’ve still got the injured young man in tow, Randall (Michael Zegen). This is another source of contention for Rick and Shane, as well as Rick and some of the others. Nobody wants an outsider in their camp. Yet Rick and Hershel want to fix him up and help him out. Others are not so sure. Hershel finally has words with Shane, too. Long time coming.
Maggie and Glenn talk again. He’s afraid because of what their love does to him. He hid in the bar because he thought of her, his love for her. It made him weak. Sadly. Here’s to hoping this won’t tear them apart. The love should lift him up, not make him less strong. Furthermore, Maggie is slightly upset by Hershel leaving, getting drunk, especially considering the state of her sister. Everyone and their relationships are in shambles now, for the current moment.
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The more Rick and Hershel do things their way, the more Shane dissents. He tries to latch onto Andrea saying “I shouldve left with you when I had the chance” and talks about how the situation with Randall may bring on more destruction, war, “something worse“. Is their bond headed anywhere? Or will Andrea soon figure out how vicious and brutal Shane is? I’m not sure she will. At least not until it’s too late.
In their tent, Lori tells Rick that Shane believes he is the father of her child. This is only more stress and tension for Sheriff Rick. Lori tries to tell her husband Shane is “delusional” and scaring others. She also shares her thoughts about what Shane did concerning Otis. This situation is quickly becoming out of control, with Shane transforming into a monster. When Lori puts a thought in Rick’s head, he realizes how dangerous Shane is, and what may have to be done to put an end to that danger.
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Excited for the next episode, “18 Miles Out”. Lots of new developments, lots more tension and wildness to come.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 8: “Nebraska”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 8: “Nebraska”
Directed by Clark Johnson
Written by Evan T. Reilly

* For a review of the previous episode, “Pretty Much Dead Already” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Triggerfinger” – click here
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The shocking finale of “Pretty Much Dead Already” continues.
After Shane (Jon Bernthal) let the walkers in the barn loose and they were all shot down, Hershel (Scott Wilson) has decided to kick everyone off his land. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is bumping up against Shane hard, the latter not wanting to accept anything. Carol (Melissa McBride) is distraught over losing Sophia permanently, as Daryl (Norman Reedus) helps to comfort her. Meanwhile, Beth (Emily Kinney) is traumatized after her dead mother is further smashed in the had by Andrea (Laurie Holden). The Greenes have had to go through some terrifying moments since the survivors showed up, and it couldn’t have been easy. Regardless of how you see the zombies and the apocalypse.
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Glenn (Steven Yeun) talks with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) about moving on. Now that Sophia’s been found/is dead. Although, her death hits everyone hard. Carl (Chandler Riggs) is upset, too. But agrees his dad did the right thing, putting her out of the endless misery of the undead. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) seems completely dumbfounded, probably wondering what happens next for their group. Of course they’ve been cast off the farm, she’s pregnant. I don’t blame her for worrying.
T-Dog (Irone Singleton) and the others decide to start burying the bodies, as well as having a service for Sophia to help Carol. “We bury the ones we love and burn the rest,” says Andrea.
There’s still lots of tension between Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Shane. They have got serious problems and they are not going away anytime soon. Shane asks “What have you done for this group?” and chastises Dale for only fixing vehicles, and so on. Not fair – who would fix the R.V. if it weren’t Dale? Then where would they be, especially after being kicked out? Nowhere. Shane’s simply lashing out in every direction because he’s a cowardly, arrogant piece of shit.
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Carol: “Thats not my little girl. Its some otherthing. My Sophia was lost in the woods. All this time, I thought. But she didnt go hungry. She didnt cry herself to sleep. She didnt try to find her way back. Sophia died a long time ago.”
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There’s trouble brewing with Hershel. He’s in his room, packing a small suitcase. Afterwards, he takes out a flask and lays it there. We know his father was a vicious drunk, perhaps Hershel was at one point, too? I hope this isn’t the road he heads down.
Maggie is worried Glenn might leave when his group does. She wants to figure things out because time is short. Everything is interrupted when Beth collapses in the kitchen. When they take her upstairs, she’s laying in bed as if catatonic. At the same time, Hershel is gone. Nowhere to be found. His flask is still there, but Rick starts wondering if maybe Hershel went out to find a bar. He and Glenn decide to head out and look for the old man.
Carol’s in a bad way. She wanders up to the farm, dirty, in her own world. Shane takes her aside and helps wash all the dirt off, as well as offers his apologies for what happened to Sophia. He says he was “just trying to keep everybody safe” by opening the barn, but what came after was unexpected. All the while, Dale and Lori talk about Shane – the former shares his belief Shane killed Otis while out on that run. Something that disturbs Lori to her core. Shockingly accurate how Dale is about what happened that night. “I knew guys like him,” says Dale, “and sooner or later hes gonna kill somebody else.”


On the road again, at least for now, Rick and Glenn head out to find Hershel. Glenn brings up how Maggie confessed her love, though, he thinks it was heat of the moment stuff. Rick assures him she knows her own feelings. Nice little touching moment between two friends, something we don’t often see in this post-apocalyptic world.
At a bar in town they find Hershel. He’s sitting alone, obviously, having a drink. The three men sit together for a time. Hershel feels responsible for what happened with Sophia, that everyone was waiting around to try and find the girl out there somewhere. They talk of a number of things. Mostly, Rick tries to convince Hershel he did nothing wrong; he was only “holding out for hope“.
But one of the scariest part of this episode? Lori takes it on her own shoulders to head out looking for Rick. They need Hershel back, as soon as possible. And out of nowhere, Lori hits a walker then flies into a ditch, flipping the car. Pregnant, no less.


Hershel: “I didnt want to believe you. You told me there was no cure, that these people were dead, not sick. I chose not to believe it. But when Shane shot Lou in the chest and she just kept coming, thats when I knew what an ass Ive been. That Annette had been dead long ago and I was feeding a rotten corpse! Thats when I knew there was no hope. And when that little girl came out of the barn, the look on your faceI knew you knew it too. Right? There is no hope. And you know it, like I do. Dont you? There is no hope for any of us.”
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In the middle of conversation, Rick, Hershel and Glenn are stumbled upon by two men named Dave (Michael Raymond-James) and Tony (Aaron Munoz). The five of them sit around together, sharing a drink and toasting to “our dead“. Slowly, the situation gets more and more awkward. Or well, confrontational. Tony and Dave are trying to find a place to rest their heads, but do they have people with them? Rick isn’t so sure they’re totally alone. When the two men find out there’s a farm involved, a place where Rick, Glenn and Hershel stay, they hope to find there way in as guests. No such luck. Rick doesn’t want to take any chances, which is smart.
The conversation whittles away until finally a real confrontation emerges – Rick is forced to pull his gun, blasting Dave and Tony to the grave. An impressive, exciting end to this episode. This is the first time Rick has killed a non-walker, a living person – juxtaposed nicely with the burning of the walker corpses back at the ranch. Very telling moment, which signals this is DEFINITELY a new world where they’ll have to adjust even further.


Next episode is titled “Triggerfinger”. Looking forward to seeing more of what Rick and the others get up to, where they’ll head, what’s next.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 7: “Pretty Much Dead Already”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 7: “Pretty Much Dead Already”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Secrets” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Nebraska” – click here
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Beginning at the farm, the seventh episode of The Walking Dead‘s Season 2 gets underway.
Tensions are high. For Glenn (Steven Yeun) there’s the new tension with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), after he spilled the beans about the barn to Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn). Even more than that, Glenn decides he has to tell the whole group. When Daryl (Norman Reedus), Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal) and the rest hear about it, trouble begins.
Instead of going to Hershel (Scott Wilson) they head down to the barn. Inside, naturally, they find a bunch of walkers. Shane wants to leave and get away from the danger. Carol (Melissa McBride) doesn’t want to leave on account of her little girl, neither does Daryl. Rick doesn’t want to leave, but only Dale and Glenn know his motives. An infight is brewing, with Shane already questioning Rick’s leadership before now.
Who will win out? They have to tell Hershel. If not bigger trouble is on the horizon.


Glenn tries talking with Maggie. She’s pissed and does not want to talk much. Their newly founded relationship is on the rocks for now. In other news, Carl (Chandler Riggs) is asking if Sophia’s dead and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) tries her best to keep his spirits up. For his part Carl says “Im not leaving until we find Sophia“, and in general he doesn’t want to leave the farm. His mother isn’t sure how to exactly react. She knows they may not be there much longer.
Daryl’s busy trying to get back out on the road to do more searching, even though he needs to rest up his injury. He and Carol draw closer, though, not in a romantic way. They’re very friendly and are becoming even more so, but it isn’t a sexual relationship. They have a strong friendship budding. Talking together, he misunderstands her concern and calls her a “stupid bitch” momentarily sidetracking their bonding.
Andrea (Laurie Holden) plans on heading out to look for Sophia. She and Dale are still having their own friendship issues. He’s concerned about her and the semi-relationship she has with Shane; he knows more about the man than anyone else right now. “Is that how you wanna belike him?” asks Dale. Andrea thinks she knows the guy, but Shane is a bad, bad dude. After their conversation Dale seems to be planning something with the bag of guns in the R.V., but what exactly?
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At Hershel’s dinner table, Rick comes to have a chat. The older man is a tough, solid man, and also stubborn. Rick tells him about their discovery of the barn. Except it doesn’t lead to much productive talk: “I need you and your group gone by the end of the week,” Hershel says. They have more talk of walkers, what they are, what they were and what they’ve become now. Sheriff Rick tries leveling with Hershel about how the farm is sheltered and hasn’t seen exactly what the world has turned into beyond its grassy fields.
However, the turning point comes when Rick drops the bomb of Lori’s pregnancy on Hershel. Their little rendezvous ends on intense, angry terms.
Wilder still, Rick reveals the pregnancy to Shane whose reaction nearly drops his face to the ground. He congratulates Rick, but there’s something else there, something behind the facade. Has Rick ever considered Shane could be the father? I can guarantee Shane is thinking it right now.
In the kitchen, Maggie doesn’t look very happy about her father deciding to cast Rick, Glenn, Lori and all the others out in the road. He tries to tell Maggie the group will be fine. Although, she warns him things aren’t as he sees them. She is beginning to see all that herself.


A confrontation between Lori and Shane sees more of his animosity. He questions how fit Rick is for this new world. How many times he’s saved her life, Carl’s life. Shane seems to be intent on having a life with her, one way or another. Is he going to eventually try and kill Rick, like the moment he had his gun sighted on him? Shane ends up talking to Carl, too. Agreeing they need to stay and such. But the darkness under Shane is always there, ever present. He’s willing to do whatever they need to in order to keep Lori safe. He is turning coat now because of that, only that. And if he’s got to take charge of the place himself, I believe that’s exactly what Shane will do.
He ends up back at the R.V. looking for the guns. They’re gone. With Dale, we assume. Shane heads out to look for him, veins popping out of him everywhere.
Hershel takes Rick out into the woods to show him something. Down by a little pond, two zombies are stuck in the water. Hershel wants to turn back time, to cure the sick. He has a couple rods for grabbing animals, likely from his vet work. He tells Rick this is how it is if they’re to stay on the farm: no more killing.
Glenn and Maggie finally have a real talk. He tells her “secrets get you killed” and hammers home the point that he cares for her, as well as his people. He’d rather her be alive and hating him. But that’s not the case. She does have feelings, they both do. Seeing them both come together is a beautiful thing I hope will last.


Somewhere in the forest, Dale is hiding the guns. He and Shane have a bit of a rigid conversation. The older of the two obviously wants to protect people from Shane. In his mind, Shane is the saviour of the group. The true leader. He wants to take everything by force, deal with consequences later. Dale points a gun at him, but Shane walks right to the gun barrel, letting it press against his chest. A small speech from Dale makes us realize exactly the type of people they both are, if we didn’t already.
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Shane: “Hell man, if you think about it, in the cold light of day, you’re pretty much dead already.”
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With everybody up at the farm, Shane arrives and puts guns in everybody’s hands. He has decided the rules for himself believing the place to be dangerous. Then, as T-Dog (Irone Singleton) exclaims “Oh shit“, Rick shows up. He and Hershel have the two walkers in tow. Shane, obviously, goes absolutely mental.
This whole preamble leads into one of the most intense, wild sequences of the entire series so far. Only two seasons in, but this show brings it! Shane first fires on one of the walkers they brought back; a couple in the body, finally working up to a bullet in the head. Time slows down. Hershel has clearly had enough and drops to his knees. Shane takes charge then opens up the barn, which lets all hell loose.
Out stumbles walker after walker after walker. Bullets fly, each person with a gun taking down the living dead.
And then the worst of all imaginable happens: from the barn comes one last walker, Sophia Peletier (Madison Lintz). The devastation in Carol is evident, having been there next to the barn all that time, looking for Sophia when she was already dead. Surprisingly, though, it is Rick who owns up and fires the bullet which kills the little girl for good. A brutal, effective moment. Rick does have what it takes, he just thinks more than someone like Shane. Still a very emotionally charged moment, even more so with the way this was filmed. Excellent finish to the episode.

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Next up is “Nebraska”, another exciting chapter in AMC’s Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Stay with me, fellow Deadheads!

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 6: “Secrets”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 6: “Secrets”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “Chupacabra” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Pretty Much Dead Already” – click here


At the start of “Secrets”, we watch Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) together. Simultaneously, Patricia (Jane McNeill) break the legs of a chicken, throw it in a bag, then head down to the barn to feed it to a pack of walkers inside. This is the same barn Glenn (Steven Yeun) discovered at the end of the previous episode, “Chupacabra”. An ominous beginning to this one seeing Patricia with Carl and Lori right before. As if it were another everyday chore.
Now Glenn is also being told to keep quiet about it all by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). She begs him to keep it a secret, even with Glenn begging her not to make him keep it a secret. Around Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) he’s troubled and a bit obvious, but nothing comes of it.
Resting in his tent, Daryl (Norman Reedus) gets an apology from Andrea (Laurie Holden). It’s a respectable moment, as Daryl admits to knowing she was “protecting the group“. He quips that if she shoots him again she “best pray” he dies. Out by the fire, a less friendly conversation happens when Glenn confronts Lori once more. She tells him to back off and he reluctantly agrees. The titular secrets of this episode concern all the little quiet things Glenn is tasked with holding onto.
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Rick (Andre Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) are busy coming up with plans. They only laugh off Glenn and his awkward behaviour. Then there’s Patricia and Beth (Emily Kinney) who want gun training. They tell Rick that Hershel (Scott Wilson) gave them permission, though, I’m sure he’d rather wait to hear it from the man himself.
Speaking of guns, Shane finds Carl carrying one in his pants. Lori is upset about the boy having one. Rick thinks it’s better than him being scared of guns, bullets, after getting shot. Growing up in a world with zombies, isn’t it only natural for a child of appropriate age to have a gun? At the same time, Shane is still being the would-be-father to Carl, offering to give him training and lessons with a gun. Unknowingly, Rick thinks it’s a great idea. Only another way for Shane to worm into Lori’s life.
Glenn goes to Dale about both Lori being pregnant and the walkers in the barn. He blurts it out from nowhere. Not good at keeping secrets is right. Regardless, he shouldn’t have to in a world rife with danger. Secrets should be the last of anybody’s worries. Everybody else is getting lessons with a gun while Glenn is busy trying to hold in the secrets of others. Not even his own.
Meanwhile, Dale goes to see Hershel. He says he “heard the moans” out of the barn and takes it to Hershel as if he were the one to discover the walkers inside it. Hershel is clearly stuck to his notion that zombies are still people, that there is a cure. Dale tries to make it even clearer they have been “cut off from the outside world“. The stakes here are higher: Hershel’s wife and stepson are in there. Most of all, Hershel doesn’t want the others to know because he isn’t sure about the others, aside from Rick. Particularly, you can imagine what Shane would do immediately if he were to find out what’s in the barn. Guns blazing.


Lori is scared about having to leave the farm. Hershel wants them out, soon enough. Trying to get Rick to take care of things, Lori chastises him for knowing about Hershel sending them back out into the world and not telling her, or anybody. Hypocritical? I think so. At the same time, Shane and Andrea have some conflict after he pushes her hard when doing gun training. They form a slight bond over the entire situation.
Most interesting, Dale knows that Lori is pregnant. His wife was pregnant once, though they lost the child later. She was similarly sick. But Glenn already told him, anyways. There’s an emotional scene where Lori talks about being with Shane, something Dale already figured out, too. They discuss a few things and she assures Dale the child belongs to Rick. “Memories are what life used to be,” Lori says near tears. She is extremely scared of the world ahead, she isn’t sure of bringing a child into this new, decrepit world. Dale does his best to reassure her, but it isn’t enough for her. A little later, Lori asks Glenn for help on his next run. She seems to have made decisions about the pregnancy, despite having not told Rick yet.
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Maggie (Lauren Cohan) heads into town on horseback with Glenn once more. But she is pissed. He betrayed confidence and her father is also not pleased with her. Maggie still has a warped notion of how things are, due to her father. She doesn’t see the zombies as dead. Rather they’re still people, like her mom and stepbrother. I suppose it’d be hard at the beginning, though, it may only have to do with their seclusion. The Greenes haven’t yet truly seen and understood what the world has become. They’re still working through it.
In a pharmacy, Maggie is attacked by a walker. Glenn saves her quickly. They both embrace. A bond between them was already evident. Now, it only gets stronger. Furthermore, Maggie is slowly beginning to see the danger of the walkers. They aren’t just mothers and stepbrothers anymore. They’re dangerous creatures out to eat, to kill. A world with them surrounding the living is not a safe one. But back at the ranch, Maggie freaks out. She blames Lori and her “abortion pills“. Not fair. Glenn willingly went out on a run. It isn’t the danger so much as it is Maggie’s worry for the people she loves. “Youre walkerbait,” she tells him. She doesn’t want his group treating him like an expendable body. She’s starting to love him.
Andrea and Shane come across a grim scene while searching through a suburb. In a garage there are a ton of corpses, burned, death everywhere. Out in the streets a bunch of walkers close in on the two of them. They fire, keeping back the dead. When Andrea has trouble reloading Shane lets a walker come for her; only to teach a lesson. Following this moment, Andrea discovers an inner calm. Now she’s able to focus, to shoot, no matter the circumstances. A warrior in the making. Excellent few minutes in this sequence.


Later on, Glenn brings Lori other pills: prenatal vitamins. He also suggests not making her choice alone, to include Rick. It’s only fair. While it is Lori’s body, as the father Rick deserves to hear about it.
At the same time, Shane and Andrea have a heated journey back towards the farm. They stop in the middle of the road after she grabs hold of his crotch. The two of them let loose and let off some steam.
Back to Lori – she swallows a bunch of the pills. Not a second later regret shows up on her face. She runs into the woods and forces herself to vomit. Her choice is now a different one, at least for the present time. Arriving at the farm, Shane and Andrea are certainly both feeling better, except for having to tell Carol (Melissa McBride) there’s no sign of Sophia.
Dale doesn’t like Shane, though. He wants him to leave. The intelligence of Dale always shows, he can read people. He sees them as they are, without pretense. Further than that he says “I know what kind of man you are” and brings up when Shane had Rick locked in his gun’s sights. Leads to an intense, subtle conversation.
In his tent, Rick discovers the Morning After Pill package torn up, the medication gone. Obviously a devastating thing to find. He tracks Lori down and asks her about the pregnancy. He’s naturally upset about not knowing before she decided to try aborting their child. Lori has a few good, rational points about bringing a child into the post-zombie apocalypse world. At the same time, Rick makes a good point about never giving their family a chance. It’s essentially giving up, in a way. Sure, it would be incredibly difficult. But giving up giving life is admitting the world is finished.
The final bomb drops, as Lori tells Rick about her and Shane. He already sort of understood, he comes to terms with it. “The world went to shit and you thought I was dead, right?” says Rick. Not loving it exactly, he doesn’t get angry. It’ll be interesting to watch the dynamics shift now that Rick knows all the secrets.


Next episode coming up is “Pretty Much Dead Already”. Another exciting and bloody chapter in this wonderful AMC adaptation. Stay tuned.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 5: “Chupacabra”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 5: “Chupacabra”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by David Leslie Johnson

* For a review of the previous episode, “Cherokee Rose” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Secrets” – click here
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We cut back to before the zombie apocalypse. Or, right at the beginning.
Shane (Jon Bernthal), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are out on the highway, alongside Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), her family, as well as tons of others. The road is blocked. Nobody knows what’s happening, while Shane tries to figure things out.
Then, out of the sky come explosions. People on the highway come to blows. Overhead, black helicopters fly in the night, headed towards the city. Everybody on the road heads towards the woods just in time to see the helicopters fire on the city, “dropping napalm in the streets” as Shane observes with wide, terrified eyes. These were the starting moments of what was to come – a better look at what the military did at the start of the outbreak can be seen in Season 1 of Fear the Walking Dead.
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Back to the present with the survivors, Lori is still reeling from discovering her pregnancy. Though, it’s clear nobody else knows yet. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) is up, as is Carol who tends to the laundry. Carol also wants to “cook in a real kitchen again” and cook dinner for Hershel and his family. Good idea, after all they’ve done for the group. Carol also thinks it’s best if the idea comes from Lori who is dubbed the “unofficial First Lady” of their little unit. At the same time, everybody’s still planning their search for Sophia. Daryl (Norman Reedus) has plans to take a horse and go out on his own, as usual; the title of the episode comes from a story he told around the fire about squirrel hunting and seeing an actual chupacabra, the mythical dog-like, bloodsucking creature. Amazing little addition, which surely will come into play later in the episode. Somehow.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have a tenuous sexual relationship going. Only Maggie doesn’t seem particularly enthralled with their previous lovemaking, to Glenn’s dismay. “Weve still got eleven condoms,” Glenn tells her. “You see eleven condoms I see eleven minutes of my life Im never gettinback,” replies Maggie.
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Shane and Rick are out in the woods together. Like old chums again. Their “high school love life” comes up, respectively. First, Shane goes on about “banging 30 year olds on the regular” such as their P.E. teacher. Second, Rick’s fairly lax love life back then comes out. After a few minutes, Shane gets morbid saying they ought not be talking about their old stories: “The people in our stories are dead.” But he’s the one who brought it all up. He turns it into a talk with Rick about the people who depend on him. There’s always a duality happening. Shane always wants to turn another conversation, any conversation, into one about Rick. Anything he can do to break down the aura of Sheriff Rick Grimes, resident bad ass. He is jealous of everything: Rick and Lori, Rick being Sheriff in their new group essentially, Rick having Carl as a son. It’s as if Shane thought he was going to walk off with Rick’s life after he left him in the hospital, and Rick coming back was a shock to his system. Sad, and will go to tragic lengths.
In his own neck of the woods, Daryl is adventuring alone. Down by the water he tracks Sophia, a doll resting on a log. But after being thrown off the horse Daryl slides down a rocky cliff and into the river. An arrow sticks through his side, he lays there bleeding until eventually crawling out onto the shore. The survivalist in Daryl sees him do a bit of basic medical patchwork to keep him going. He tries to make it up out of valley, struggling over a hill, arrow still in his side. What will become of him? Soon enough he goes flying back down the hill, back he started. Except worse.
Glenn finally confronts Lori about her pregnancy. She needs to keep it quiet for now, which shocks Glenn knowing Rick hasn’t been told. This is developing into a tricky situation for Lori, as she can’t be totally sure whether or not Shane is the father. Deep down, you know that’s she is thinking. At the same time, Rick is already stressed with Shane questioning his leadership, wondering if he “make the hard decisions“.
Not particularly happy with things, Hershel reminds Rick of a need to control their groups respectively. He wasn’t told about Jimmy, the young boy of his group, heading out with Rick and theirs earlier. Nor was he informed about Daryl taking one of their horses. Hopefully communication improves, as Rick absolutely needs Hershel right now. He might not know it, but he does; a pregnant Lori can’t be out walking the wasteland with a child in her belly. Not to mention when it comes time to deliver.
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Dale: “If I had known the world was ending, Id have brought better books.”


In the wilderness, Daryl is having another hallucination: not a mythical creature this time, instead it’s Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker). The vision of Merle calls his younger brother an “errand boy“, Rick’s “bitch” and so on. He reminds Daryl who is his blood, who is not. The things he tells Daryl aren’t true, they’re simply a darkness in Daryl’s mind speaking aloud in his rough state.
And when Daryl comes to it isn’t Merle over him, but a zombie now. He tries to get a bite of foot. Daryl fights back best he can, smashing the walker’s face in with a big stick. Puling the arrow out of his side, Daryl pushes through the pain and loads it into his crossbow. Just in time to put one through another zombie’s skull. A brutish, savage scene that certainly was, on first watch when it premiered, a scary moment for Dixon fans. Although, you should’ve known a tough son-of-a-bitch like Daryl wasn’t about to go down because of an arrow and blood loss. Afterwards, Daryl chows down on a squirrel, cuts off a few zombie ears to make a necklace, takes Sophia’s doll and heads back on the road, one step at a time. Now and then Merle reappears, cackling and taunting his little brother.


With Andrea on the lookout, she sees a walker on the horizon coming towards the ranch. Only it isn’t the living dead, it is more certainly the living – Daryl moves out of the trees. But with Shane, T-Dog and Rick running to see if it’s a zombie, Andrea is left on top of the R.V. with her rifle. A very tense couple moments pass. When Rick points his gun, then puts it down, a bullet flies past grazing Daryl’s head. She wants so badly to be trusted with the gun yet continually makes people nervous. Fortunately, Daryl is only knocked unconscious. Everyone is still worried, especially considering he’s wearing an ear necklace. But best of all there is a sign of Sophia, giving them a ray of hope in all the darkness. Even more, this situation brings Carol and Daryl closer, which proves to be an awesome, fun, friendly relationship for a long time to come.
A nice dinner is cooked by the women of Rick’s group. Everything is not exactly cheery across the table, everybody quiet and eating with only passing glances to one another. Under the table, Glenn and Maggie pass a note to plan another steamy session; both Hershel and Dale take note, the latter already having warned Glenn about shacking up with their host’s oldest daughter. Definitely going to see a fallout of some kind, even a small one come out of this situation.


Carol: “You need to know something. You did more for my little girl today, than her own daddy did in his whole life.”
Daryl: “I didnt do anything Rick or Shane wouldnt have done.”
Carol: “I know. Youre every bit as good as them. Every bit.”


There’s already fallout. Just not the sort we might’ve expected. Maggie opens the note Glenn gave her at the table and it asks- Ever done it in a hay loft? This prompts a scared look from her.
Cut to Glenn out at the barn. Remember, the one Hershel said Rick out to stay away from? Well as he goes to check the place out, Glenn makes an unsettling, disturbed discovery: the barn is full of walkers locked inside. What is Hershel doing with all them? Will he tell the rest of the group? “You werent supposed to see this,” Maggie says catching up to him.


The following episode, “Secrets”, will certainly drop a few bombs. Looking forward to another viewing. Stay with me and a review will be up soon enough.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 4: “Cherokee Rose”

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
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“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.
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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 Gods 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 reconsiderasking 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 dont 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: “Its 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 muchcause 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 mothersspirits, give them strength and hope. The next day this rose started to grow where the motherstears fell. Im not fool enough to think theres 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.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 3: “Save the Last One”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 3: “Save the Last One”
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Bloodletting” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Cherokee Rose” – click here
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We start on Shane (Jon Bernthal), shirtless in front of the mirror, shaving his head in the sink. He looks dead on the inside. Cut to him and Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) trying to escape the building where last we saw them in “Bloodletting”. Over the top in voice-over, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) tells his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) about the time Shane stole their principal’s car in high school, as they sit with their comatose son Carl (Chandler Riggs). The parents are obviously stressing, worried Carl won’t make it through. But most of all, Loris wants Rick to eat and stay strong for him. For all of them. Also, she doesn’t want to hear him talk about Shane and make her guilt any worse than it already is at the present moment in time.
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In the R.V. out on the highway, Daryl (Norman Reedus) can’t sleep. Between Carol (Melissa McBride) crying in bed and Andrea (Laurie Holden) loading bullet clips, there is no rest. Nobody is exactly tired. With Sophia out there and in who knows what sort of condition everybody is on edge and not quite right. Andrea and Daryl go to look for the girl. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) isn’t too pleased with their plan, but that’s no matter.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) arrive back at the ranch. They meet Maggie (Lauren Cohan) properly on the porch. She brings them inside and Glenn greets with “painkillers and antibiotics“. Things are fairly grim inside with Hershel (Scott Wilson) tending on Carl, as Rick and Lori still sit close with their son. Everybody is aimed at getting the boy better. “Whatever you need,” T-Dog tells them all. Things are tense waiting to see whether or not Shane and Otis get back, and with the proper equipment. Tough decisions may be on the horizon.
Bits of Daryl comes out. His rough childhood and such, through a conversation with Andrea as they search for Sophia. We can tell that Daryl grew up in a typically hillbilly fashion, absentee parents, almost dangerously. It’s nice to get things like that out of characters without a ton of exposition. Just little stories along the way rather than crowding each and every episode with too much character development. The characters grow organically, at the right pace, which is something I’ve enjoyed greatly up to this point now at Season 2’s first beginnings.


Lori and Rick are at odds. She seems to think death may be better than living in a terrible world with the zombies. Rick is never a quitter, under any circumstances. It’s discouraging for Rick, as a father, a parent. She talks about Jacqui, how she “doesnt feel it anymore” and it’s clear that Rick doesn’t “accept that“. More talk of what Jenner told Rick, though, it is subtle and brief. What was it? I know already, but still it intrigues me to see how Rick deals with knowing it the whole time and nobody else does.
Shane is still trying to make his way out of the high school, flooded with the living dead. His ankle in a bad way, backed up against a fence. There’s a feeling of everything falling down on top of him. Groans and grows on every side. Then Otis appears, shooting off a few walkers. Reunited they start making their way to safety. At the ranch, Carl wakes up and things are stable for only a few seconds before he fades off again, seizing savagely.
Maggie and Glenn have a talk together. This is the beginning of a relationship between the two, which starts with him trying to pray, and her interrupting. It’s a nice little talk between the two involving God and the human need to keep on surviving, “no matter what happens“.
Shane does whatever it takes to survive. But in the worst kind of sense.


Hershel decides they have to make a choice on Carl. Shane and Otis don’t arrive on-time, so things have to start going. The I.V is setup, Carl is moved onto a surgical table, and Hershel begins preparations for the surgery. Then Shane appears. He has everything required, all the equipment. No Otis; he died.
Maggie is upset by the death of Otis, as Glenn comforts her. They bond slightly over who they’ve lost and what has happened to each of them since the fall of mankind and society. Her mother is gone, step-brother. Everybody has lost someone and they take comfort in the fact so many of them are going through the same situation. Good news comes as Hershel announces Carl is stable, though, he feels at a loss as to how to break the news to Patricia about Otis. A tragic thing for anyone to have to do.


Shane is getting dark and scary, his eyes showing all the guilt and hate he feels inside; this brings us back to the scene from the opening where Shane shaves his head in the sink. Fitting enough, he is given clothes to wear: they belonged to Otis. I worry about where Shane is headed as a character and exactly what he’s fixing to do, where he is going to go, down which path. He flashes back to the moment where he left Otis, seeing it again. Otis is left behind for the zombies to chew on while Shane takes his opportunity to get away, letting them eat after putting a bullet in Otis’ leg. It is a vicious, cold-blooded moment where the true nature of Shane’s existence shows. He is a bad man who will do whatever serves him best, in that moment. There is nothing he won’t do, as evidenced already by his behaviour with Rick, Lori, and now with what he’s done to Otis. He shaved his head because part of his hair got ripped in the struggle between him and Otis. A disgusting act of cowardice by a twisted man. This is going places.


More and more, the second season of The Walking Dead gets intense. Stay with me and I’ll review the next episode, too: “Cherokee Rose”.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 2: “Bloodletting”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 2: “Bloodletting”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the previous Season 2 premiere, “What Lies Ahead” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Save the Last One” – click here
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This episode takes a step back from Carl (Chandler Riggs) being shot in the woods, right in front of both his father Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal).
Starting out, we’re flashed back to before the fall of humanity. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is at the playground, talking about Rick to her friend. They talk about the troubles of their relationship. Lori says they were “married so young” and perhaps that’s part of their issue. This scene is actually the moment where Shane tells Lori about the shooting; the one which puts Rick in the hospital bed where he’ll lay until the zombie apocalypse comes. Shane tries to takethe blame for the situation, as they look at Carl coming towards them with a smiling face.
Now, we’re back in the present with Rick – this time it’s Carl who took a bullet. Such a tragic parallel. Father runs with his dying son in his arms. The man who accidentally shot him is Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who runs almost dragged by Shane, telling them to “talk to Hershel“. Up at a big ranch house, Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) calls out to her father Hershel (Scott Wilson). He has a bunch of supplies and takes Carl into a bed where he begins trying to treat the boy. Others are working around Hershel – his daughter Maggie, his other daughter Beth (Emily Kinney), Patricia (Jane McNeill). It’s a frantic, bloody scene. But now there’s a new influx of characters for the series. The Walking Dead just got stronger.

 


Rick is rightfully devastated, worrying for his son. Otis feels terrible for what happened. He’d been out hunting and then the worst happened all of a sudden. Meanwhile, the other group is still in the woods. Lori heard the gunshot and worries. Daryl (Norman Reedus) says to keep moving looking for Sophia, which Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) agree with, as well as Carol (Melissa McBride). On they go, sadly. Now there’s two children at terrible risk, possibly on the verge of death. Poor Carl and Sophia. Not a world made for the children, or the weak, the sick. Not for anybody, I suppose.
Back out on the highway, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) is fiddling with car parts while T-Dog (Irone Singleton) seems restless, worrying about everyone still being gone. Likewise, Dale worries about T-Dog; the cut on his arm is pretty rough and giving him trouble. An infection is on the loose, which makes Dale even more concerned.
Bits of gruesome imagery. The highway is just like one long extensive cemetery. Creepy as all hell.
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Dale: “Listen, your veins are very discoloured. You got a hell of an infection there. You could die from blood poisoning.”
TDog: “Oh, man. Wouldnt that be the way? World gone to hell, the dead risen up to eat the living and Theodore Douglas is done in by a cut on his arm.”
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Little Carl soldiers on as Hershel extracts the bullet fragments from his wounded side. Amazing to have someone like Hershel there. The wasteland could be even worse without someone having medical knowledge. Rick donates blood for Carl and also worries that Lori is out there, not knowing a thing about Carl.
But things are bad. Carl needs actual surgery for Hershel to figure everything out. They need a respirator, its equipment, sutures and so on. Otis suggests the high school, where a FEMA shelter had been setup, which probably has supplies. Shane agrees to go out, and Otis wants to tag along; he feels responsible for everything. Otis was a volunteer EMT, so he knows what they’re looking for and Shane takes him out on the road. A dangerous journey, but necessary.
Out of nowhere, Lori and the group are found in the woods. By Maggie. On horseback. Daryl is sceptical, although Maggie takes Lori and rides back to the ranch after telling her what’s happened to her son. Things are tense. Up on the road, Glenn tells Dale about Carl being shot. The group are split up, but only temporarily.
Hershel and Rick have a chat on the porch. The former is a family man just trying to make sure his own survives. Hershel relates the zombie virus to AIDS, but Rick tries to tell him: “This is a whole other thing.” He doesn’t yet realize what’s happening, saying that’s it is simply “nature correcting itself” and that eventually things will set themselves right. So terribly misguided, it seems. But a good man.

 


Out headed towards the high school, Otis and Shane try to keep from drawing attention to themselves. A massive horde of zombies is crowded around the building. A medical trailer sits on the opposite side from where they hide. At the same time, Daryl, Dale and the others on the highway try to decide whether or not they should stay or go, in regards to Sophia. They send Glenn with T-Dog, out to the farm. My favourite part of the episode? Daryl has his brother Merle’s stash of drugs, a massive Ziploc with a ton of bottles in it. Appears “Merle got the clap on occasion“, as well as other things. Amazing little moment in a ton of bad, dark times.
The most interesting part of the episode, though, is definitely when Shane and Otis find themselves in a tough spot. Trying their hardest to get the medicinal supplies Hershel needs to operate on Carl, they’ve put their lives on the line. Tons of zombies are diverted for a little while after they fire off a couple flares from a police cruiser. This gives them time. And they need time, as Carl’s condition gets worse with too much of it passing.
Otis and Shane find the items they need. But going back is a lot more difficult than it was getting in. Trapped in a building’s entrance they both try to figure out some way forward through their insurmountable predicament, facing row after row of zombies.

 


Next episode, after this exciting cliffhanger, is “Save the Last One”. Can’t wait to review and recap that one, after seeing it again. Stay tuned.