45 min., 2012
Written by Glen Mazzara
Directed by Ernest Dickerson
My rating: ★★★★
Clean up on Cell Block C.
* * *
Sheriff Rick Grimes, after waking from a coma and finding his family along with a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world, attempts to lead them all to safety. After losing Sophia and finding a farm where they could take shelter, he was forced to kill his best friend for the good of the group and was shortly after, chased from the farm by giant hoard of zombie. After losing Andrea, Rick and the remaining crew, try to carve out a new life at a prison they’ve found in their travels.
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.
Let’s see: We’ve got Andrea with a hooded Black woman that totes around zombies, Rick going all Castro and declaring himself grand dictator over the group (I think it was the beard that did it,) and Carl being so detached from anything resembling a childhood that he may as well grab a bunch of emo music and start writing poetry under the pen name “Raven Tears.” It seems as though this season already starts in the shadow of an irrevocably fucked up situation. But, enough about that. Grit your teeth, spread your cheeks, and let’s go ahead and get into it, shall we?
This season opens with the team moving more like a unit of commandos than the survivors they started out as. Despite all their precision though, food is too scarce for it to do much good. The only thing left in the house they clear out at the beginning of the episode are two cans of dog food and an owl Darryl happened to kill. You could tell by Rick’s reaction that not only will they not be feasting on Alpo this evening, but in the seven or so months they haven’t had much of an opportunity to rest more than a few seconds here or there. It seems as though Lori has gotten over that whole him killing her baby daddy thing, but now Rick’s the one with the chip on his shoulder and dissing her at every turn. In the meantime, Andrea and her new Black friend (everyone can say that have at least one Black friend) are eking out an existence but her health is in severe decline. Rick and company finally happen upon the prison and with his insistence they clear out the straggling zombies in the yard. Without pausing for long enough to talk to his wife, he suggests, unless one would consider anything he says now as an order, that they should start clearing out a cell block right away.
It seems the characters that are here now are replacing the ones that died following the continuity of the graphic novels. Sophia, in the graphic novels, lasted well past the prison but has now been replaced by Hershell’s perky blond haired daughter. Hershell has taken on more of Dale’s appearance with the beard; all he is missing is the hat. Also in Dale’s fashion he has taken to giving advice and being the group’s moral compass somewhat. This becomes evident when Lori comes to him with some concerns about not having felt the baby move as well Rick still giving her the silent treatment. Hershell’s response is shocking in that his fall from grace is more than obvious when he tells her, “You know who doesn’t give a shit about that…this baby. Now let’s make sure everything is alright.” It would seem as though Hershell’s new found atheism and general badassery is being worn all out in the open. This hybridization where singular characters are taking on aspects as well as the roles of other beloved fallen characters is both pleasing and disturbing to watch at the same time. The visuals we are familiar with from the graphic novels get preserved while at the same time the uncertainty of who is next on the chopping block is constantly looming overhead. Getting back on track, the menfolk gear up, including Maggie, to head deeper into the prison. The only male left behind is Carl. For once he doesn’t object to this because he knows his father is serious when he says if things go badly Carl may be the last man standing and must protect the group.
As white people are wanton to do, they go exploring the deepest darkest part of the next cellblock and surprise surprise, trouble ensues. Hershell ends up getting bitten in the process and Rick is forced to amputate his leg to save his life using only a belt and a hatchet. After the chop fest has ended, they find several inmates making them completely aware this prison may not be exclusively theirs as they’d hoped. Don’t you just hate neighbors with rap sheets?
Overall I would have to say they have proven once again that they can keep these characters fresh, vibrant, and interesting with making the formula to the show seem stale, predictable, or routine. Considering when this is publishing, fans of the show should already know that the governor and Merle are both back this season so we’ve got some mighty fine twists and turns ahead. You can get my opinion on those things and more next time. Until then, may all your films bring you fright.Have You Read...?