45 min., 2010
Written by Charles H. Eglee/Jack LoGiudice
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
My rating: ★★★★★
Did somebody say croak?
* * *
Sheriff Rick Grimes wakes from a coma and struggles to find his family and any survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world. He attempts to lead his family and survivors to the CDC in search of a cure.
This review is presented by a man who already occupies Chicago, eats fast food, is likely more prepared for the zombie apocolpyse than most, and as he was typing this review, consistently stroked and cooed to the pc it was typed on in the hopes he would be spared if the machines rise before the zombies. Reader discretion is advised.
This show is based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series of the same name. The show takes a lot of cues from the graphic novel as I’ve said before but the deviations are prone to excite you or piss you off. Particularly the additional characters as well as their order of appearance or disappearances.
Here we are back in zombie land with our resident redneck Merle Dixon whom even though we are only seeing him for the 2nd time this season we won’t be seeing again. Still chained on the roof, he is refusing to plead to God for help as zombies begin banging on the firmly chained roof door. After rediscovering the tools dropped by T-dog as the gang made their exit, Merle struggles to reach one to free himself. Before we can see the eventful escape we are taken back to the camp where Glen arrives in a red mustang, alarm still blaring. Andrea’s sister Amy starts grilling Glen about their whereabouts when Rick drives up with everyone else in tow.
This leads to the highly anticipated reunion of the Grimes family. I will give the show this. The reunion wasn’t corny or overly dramatic; it didn’t have wailing women or swelling music. It just had a man and his son. When Karl, played by Chandler Riggs, spots Rick his face lights up in a way that actually makes you forget that this isn’t reality. The overwhelming emotions on Rick’s face, his body language, and the loss for words as he just holds his son really sell the moment for me. Sarah Wayne Callies in her role as Lori actually does some real acting in this moment and lets us know she isn’t going to be a plot vehicle for Rick to obsess over. The disbelief on her face, the fear in her eyes that she may have just cracked is apparent through her reluctance and the subtle inflections of her facial features as he walks over and they finally touch for the first time since she left him for dead. With the look of fear and relief coupled with disbelief and uncertainty as to his place in this newly reformed family, Shane flexes his acting muscles as well.
Everyone at the camp is forgotten temporarily as Rick reassures Karl he is not going anywhere until Ed, who is Carol’s husband, tosses another log on their fire in defiance to the rules. Shane, who had been the sheriff in town at least until Rick came back, walks over to remind him who’s boss and you get a glimpse into the abusive dynamic between Ed and his wife. Carol, being part of the graphic novel series, comes in as very emotionally up and down and you can see that she, like the rest of the cast, has a very expressive face and is very aware of the range her character needs to portray to stay true to the source material. Overall, the show up til this point has been living up to my expectations, unlike the last episode.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, Lori and Rick bunk down together and, after a tender moment of reconciliation, he gets back his wedding ring then they get it on. The look on her face when he is nuzzling her neck is full of nothing but regret for what her and Shane have been doing in Rick’s absence. It’s no surprise here that the next image we see is Shane sitting on Dale’s RV watching their tent looking sick as a dog over what he knows he’s losing.
I neglected to mention earlier that Merle has a brother whom they brought up during the campfire pow-wow who has gone off hunting. However, they have made it clear in no uncertain terms that there will be hell to pay once he gets back. The following morning, Rick wakes up and shortly thereafter is drawn with the rest of the men and his crew by the screams of his son and Carol’s daughter Sofia into a small clearing in the woods. It would seem as though a zombie decided to nom on a deer that Merle’s brother Daryl Dixon had shot for their dinner. Shane breaks the news to him about his brother and after he takes swing at Rick for cuffing Merle up there on the roof, it’s decided, much to Lori’s dismay, that he will be heading back into the city to retrieve Merle, the sack of guns, and his only means of contact with Morgan, the other radio. Shane and Dale end up staying behind while Rick, T-Dog, Glen, and Daryl head back into Atlanta on a rescue mission.
Earlier in this episode, Shane tells Karl he’ll teach him how to catch frogs. So, after this exchange, they end up at the quarry and after a very nice moment of bonding, Lori comes and sends Karl on his way. She doesn’t mince words when she tells Shane to stay away. Looking sullen and pissed, he walks over to find Carol’s husband bossing her around during some female bonding time and beats him near unconscious. This is the first glimpse we get into Shane’s rage. For fans of the actual comic, it’s pretty apparent where this journey is taking Shane. His psycho side through the rest of the season will keep peeking out in measured doses. Having sat through the entire first season, fans of the show and the comic will not be disappointed at any point with Bernthal’s performance.
Summing things up with the rescuers, they do finally return to the mall and make their way to the roof to have the episode end with Merle found… Well actually, they only find part of Merle. The cuffs lay swinging and his hand discarded as his brother wails his way into the credits. I have to say, Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), though he is a character that isn’t part of the original source material, acts his ass off and keeps the surprises coming. Throughout the remainder of the show, you see the multiple dimensions his character has and even more so in Season 2. I realize I am getting ahead of myself so I am going to wrap this up. This show got back to basics after dreadful job done in episode 2 of all the damned padding and character intro crap. This show has consistently brought its A game and this episode is resounding evidence of that.
May all your films bring fright, ladies and gents. And don’t worry, the review of episode 4: “Vatos” will be coming soon.Have You Read...?