45 min., 2013
Written by Angela Kang
Directed by Guy Ferland
My rating: ★★★★★
It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
* * *
The following review is rated FM (Fresh Meat) for kickass walker related goodness and strong story lines featuring men with revolvers and crossbows. The views here do not reflect the thoughts of a completely sane person. They are being presented by a person that has grown up in a rather unseemly portion of town, taken recreational narcotics, and has been molested by a clown. Don’t feel compelled to read it all, hell I know I don’t. Albino, Mormon, and Republican reader discretion is advised.
This 4 star episode starts where the last one ended as a young man (Patrick) has died in the showers and turned only to wreak untold havoc on the prisons occupants.
Before we get to the cell block buffet we have a very poignant conversation between father and son outside at the pig pins.
Despite how hard Rick has tried to let Carl fall back into a normal life, he has instead fallen into survival mode and seems unable or unwilling to transition back into the happy-go-lucky kid Rick so desperately wishes him to be.
This is evident by Carl’s request for his gun back and the subsequent look of disappointment on Rick’s face.
Before Rick is allowed to voice his objections, screams from the prison alert them to trouble in paradise. Despite the fences and reinforced walls it seems the inevitability of Walkers making certain no place is safe effectively shatters Rick’s hopes of convincing his son there is more to this life than always keeping his guards up. In the ensuing melee several residents are bitten, turned, or killed before the infected can be contained.
Afterwards, Rick and Daryl do what they do best cleaning up and clearing out what’s left of the infected. However when it rains it pours because several other occupants of the prison have started displaying some flu-like symptoms which may explain what killed Patrick. Then adding insult to injury, the Walkers that have been putting pressure on the gate are threatening to topple it over so what few survivors there are would be swarmed and dead by dawn if it didn’t continue to hold. With some ingenious thinking on Rick’s part, he and Daryl collect the pigs they’ve been raising and drive outside of the gate bleeding them one by one to lead the Walkers away and buy enough time for Maggie, Glenn, and the others to reinforce the gate. While it was a brilliant plan, the symbolism is quite clear that Rick had to give up his prospect for a happy, normal life farming and tending livestock for one of survival.
Without a word spoken between them and his illusions and dreams shattered, Rick turns over Carl’s gun and sets fire to the pig pens watching his dreams go up in smoke. Carl lets his dad know that Carol has apparently been teaching the children how to use knives and other self-defense techniques. While Rick does not agree with her methods or lessons, he isn’t going to stop her. At some point, after the outbreak in the prison, Carol realizes she can’t tend to one of the men’s wounds so she gets his daughters together so they can utter their final goodbyes.
In a twisted turn of events, Carol sees this as a perfect opportunity for the children to get firsthand experience in dispatching zombies by knifing their dad in the head. They chicken out at the last moment so Carol does the deed for them. It’s a good thing too, seeing as they (at their father’s request) are now her surrogate daughters and will be raised by her with shining examples, like this, of her sterling parenting.
This episode as with most takes you on a lot of emotional ups and downs with these characters struggles and personal growth.
The character development on the show has always been top notch but we see early on in this season how the people they are growing into and the very stark differences in their views are making for interesting and in a few cases polar opposite beliefs and interactions.
You have Rick, the hopeful father, trying to hold out hope for redemption and the possibility that even in this post-apocalyptic world peace and safety aren’t too far gone.
You have Carl, the respectful son, turn pragmatist who refuses to put his guard down because he knows danger literally can come from anywhere at any time.
You have Hershel who despite the change in environment is always looking for a silver lining and finds himself back on familiar territory during the farming and reconstruction. I think the biggest changes are in Carol who went from being a quiet battered spouse to a true survivalist that has learned the importance of inner strength and self-reliance.
Lastly, Michonne and Daryl have learned that being lone wolves isn’t going to allow them safety or the kindness and human contact they were previously unaware they had been missing. All these personalities play off of one another in a symphonic and truly intriguing way that you wonder how these people were complete before they met one another until you realize they weren’t.
The elements of survival horror and community are at the crux of what makes this show a hit and guarantees it a spot as a current and future fan favorite.
The next few episodes are all roller coaster rides so…I’ll catch you next time for my review of episode 3: Isolation. But until then, may all your films bring fright.Have You Read...?