A badly injured Rick Grimes revisits the past, wondering if he's done the right thing along his path.
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
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.
Rick: “Dale could get under your skin. He sure got under mine, because he wasn‘t afraid to say what he thought, how he felt. That kind of honesty is rare and brave. Whenever I‘d make a decision, I‘d look at Dale. He‘d be looking back at me with that look he had. We‘ve all seen it one time or another. I couldn‘t always read him, but he could read us. He saw people for who they were. He knew things about us – the 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 lives… our safety… our future. We‘re not broken. We‘re gonna prove him wrong. From now on… we‘re 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?
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 won‘t be able to live with this,” Rick tells Shane. “I‘m 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 me – not 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”.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 10: “18 Miles Out”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara
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 “you‘re 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.
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?
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: “I‘m 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 you‘re 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.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 9: “Triggerfinger”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by David Leslie Johnson
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.
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 could‘ve come in handy now.”
Hershel: “Nah, I can shoot. Just don‘t 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, that‘s 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.
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.
The more Rick and Hershel do things their way, the more Shane dissents. He tries to latch onto Andrea saying “I should‘ve 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.
Excited for the next episode, “18 Miles Out”. Lots of new developments, lots more tension and wildness to come.
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
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.
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.
Carol: “That‘s not my little girl. It‘s some other… thing. My Sophia was lost in the woods. All this time, I thought. But she didn‘t go hungry. She didn‘t cry herself to sleep. She didn‘t try to find her way back. Sophia died a long time ago.”
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 he‘s 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 didn‘t 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, that‘s when I knew what an ass I‘ve been. That Annette had been dead long ago and I was feeding a rotten corpse! That‘s when I knew there was no hope. And when that little girl came out of the barn, the look on your face – I knew you knew it too. Right? There is no hope. And you know it, like I do. Don‘t you? There is no hope for any of us.”
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.
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
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 “I‘m 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 be – like 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?
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.
Shane: “Hell man, if you think about it, in the cold light of day, you’re pretty much dead already.”
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.
Next up is “Nebraska”, another exciting chapter in AMC’s Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Stay with me, fellow Deadheads!
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.