Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 004 – Vatos

The Walking Dead - Episode 004 - Vatos 45 min., 2010
Written by Robert Kirkman
Directed by Johan Renck
Language: English
My rating: ★★

This episode sucks, homez!

* * *

Show Premise:

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.

Warning

The following review is rated ABMT (Angry Black Man Talking), it contains several rants that appear at random. The views here do not reflect the thoughts of a completely sane person. They are being presented by a person of African-American descent who has grown up in a rather unseemly portion of town, taken recreational narcotics and has been molested by a clown. Feel free to skip certain paragraphs, if you simply want a recap and continued review of the episode. Hipster, child, feline and vegan discretion is advised.

Review:

Well kiddies, here’s your review as promised with a few tweaks. I will not be doing my normal blow by blow, as this episode blows pretty well all on its own. The episode does however start with a heart to heart between Andrea and her sister Amy on a boat comparing notes on how their father treated them and raised them so differently. I suppose the bonding moment makes more sense toward the end of the episode, so I’m not going to go into any further detail until the end of the review. I’m going to pause here with the actual review portion and get down to brass tacks. This episode contains one camp member going insane, a rescue mission for one tough red neck, Glen getting kidnapped by a group of pissed off gun toting Mexicans, and to top it off an infestation of zombies. You would think that all of these details would make the episode of the year. Instead, this has to be the worst, unnecessary, stereotypical, ham fisted, unending, oversized, Cleveland steamer of an episode thus far!

I don’t know if the guys in the editing room waited until this episode to discover the joys of doing heroin at work, but they had a strong jump off point and completely fucking wasted it. Rick, Darryl, and crew, after finding Merle’s hand follow the blood trail back into the mall to find he had cauterized his stump with a hot piece of metal and taken off. You can sort of see Darryl’s admiration for how tough he thinks Merle is, but when they confirm Merle must still be alive this goes from a rescue mission to a search and rescue mission. Glen, the resident Asian (and also, in this episode we find out, former pizza delivery guy), comes up with a plan to get the bag of guns out of the middle of the zombie infested street. Him and Darryl go down the fire escape and end up in the same alley he guided Rick to the day they first met. T-Dog and Rick end up waiting two blocks away to provide coverage in case the zombies cut him off. Glen successful grabs the guns and Rick’s hat unscathed by zombies just to come back to Darryl who is in the middle of confronting a loud skinny Mexican kid. Two other Mexicans with a car start stomping Darryl, grab Glen and the guns and attempt to take off. Before they can get away, Darryl shoots one of them in the ass with his crossbow and they speed off with Glen in tow leaving the guns behind. Rick and T-Dog arrive too late to save Glen so they take their Mexican hostage back inside to interrogate him.

This good cop / bad cop routine is pathetic at best between Darryl and Rick. The dialogue from this Mexican kid is so laughably stereotypical that it borders on being flat out racist. If they’d had a black guy in that chair when Darryl threated to cut off his feet the dialogue would have been, “Oh lawdy, please don’t hurts me sir. I ain’t be got no weapon.” I could possibly forgive the dialogue from this one character. I mean, Christ, he isn’t even given a name in the credits. But the stereotype keeps getting pushed even after he gives up the location of his homiez and they attempt to trade with El Jeffe himself (some dude named Guermo). For this trade to go down Guermo wants the guns and the guy or Glen gets thrown off a roof. They regroup and go back ready to shoot first and ask for Glen later. They end up pulling their weapons then a group of ten other esses pull their weapons as well until miracles of miracles some sweet old lady walks in disarming every in their hearts.

The use of deus ex machina over and over again is something I have come to expect from this show. However, I can’t seem to stifle the knee jerk reaction I get to slap a writer when it rears its ugly head. I get how a post-apocalyptic story in relation to survivors has to possess an immense amount of luck for the characters involved to survive. Deus ex machina in survivor stories is all about reflecting luck or destiny or divine favor but there is only so many times something magical can happen to save the day before a show or a series gets so predictable that there is no element of surprise or danger. How many times did we as 80‘s or 90’s babies see the Power Rangers or He-Man, or hell even Superman, in dire straits and have to smack our younger sibling or sniveling friend to remind them that our hero always finds a way out. At that point, it stops being about survival and becomes exclusively about adventure. I don’t know about you, but I am not paying to see a zombie adventure film! I want the threat of death around every corner and the fear that there is no safe haven to be constantly looming in the background. Instead, we’ve got Philippe’s grandma going on about needing lemon pledge and asking Misser Rick not to arrest her grandbaby.

Anywhore, as the old lady leads them further back into the building you find out its actually an abandoned nursing home and that these former hardened street thugs have been the only thing standing between these old people, certain death, and other thieves that without their presence would surely run off with their medical supplies. Rick, in another act of kindness or stupidity, decides to give up half his guns so they can keep the rest home safe. They all decide to return to the group knowing Merle, believing himself to be on his own, had to have moved on by now. As a matter of fact, it looks like he took their van to do it.

Meanwhile, back at camp unpleasant, Jim after some weird ass dream he had is spotted by Dale digging what appear to be graves. After hearing the story of how he survived as his family got eaten, he’s tied to a tree so he don’t spook nobody else. His dream actually turned out to be a premonition when zombies storm the camp just as Shane predicted and take out some of the lesser camp members and also knock off Andrea’s sister Amy. Rick comes back just in time to be too late to save them but conveniently in enough time for his crew to kill off the remaining zombies in a blaze of gory with the new guns.

Overall, this whole respect your elders life lesson they could have kept to themselves. They had a strong beginning, killer ending, and a bullshit CBS special in the middle. If I had this to do all over again, trust me, I wouldn’t. I’ll be back with next episode soon. Until then, may all your films bring you fright.

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About Blick Tolkien

About Blick Tolkien: The bastard half brother of Zeb Carter, he grew up in Chicago's urban jungle, forced to be the victim of racial injustice and daily bullying until the day he saw Night of the Living Dead. the immersion into violence on film gave him the tools to externalize his hate and make the world a horror show for all his enemies. A card carrying member of the Black Panther party, he hates whitey and all forms of coonery including any and all Tyler Perry films. You have been warned. About Zeb Carter: The younger brother of Blick Tolkien, he used horror films as a way to open him self up to the social and story telling aspects of cinematic fear as well as his love of the silver screen. After seeing Gremlins at the drive in he was hooked. He also writes short fiction, has 2 daughters and a pack of animals that he is currently serves as the alpha male over. You can read his fiction at forums.drabblecast.org.
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One Response to Blick Tolkien reviews The Walking Dead – Episode 004 – Vatos

  1. John Bruni says:

    All right! The return of ABMT! Here’s an interesting article I think you might enjoy. http://litreactor.com/columns/top-10-ways-to-make-the-walking-dead-less-stupid

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