TV: ‘The Walking Dead’ S02E04 Recap and Review

Walking Dead

If there is one thing that can be definitively said about “The Walking Dead’s” second season, It is that this season is an attempt to backtrack and re-establish it’s characters. The 6 episode season one was centered around high tension moments and heart pounding action; almost so much that it was hard to get a feel for just who these people were that we were watching survive the apocalypse. That wasn’t to say that the characterization was bad, but it was flimsy. With only 6 episodes to prove it’s worth, it makes sense that the focus would be more on the action than the characters. Overall, it was an excellent season, but the direction they are going in now gives off the impression that the writers really took the criticism they got to heart. Season 2 may have a backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, but it is really about 90% character drama. Whether or not this a good thing is really all based on personal preference. It’s now been four episodes since Sophia got lost, and the group hasn’t given up hope. After meeting up with the doctor and his party, the survivors are offered a place to camp while they look for the girl. Hershel is not to keen on the idea of staying long, nor does he like the prospect of any of them being armed. He has everybody surrender their weapons, and expects them to abide by his rules. This is fair enough, but Andrea’s very aggressive obsession with carrying a gun (that she doesn’t know how to use) makes her initially very angry at this proposal.

Before anyone can move on, Hershel’s party and the survivors all gather together to pay their respects to Otis. This is all understandably awkward for Shane, who actively left Otis for dead to save himself and then lied about it. When he is asked to speak about Otis’s final moments, Shane twists the facts, though it’s fairly easy to tell that he is relatively traumatized over the incident. Shane in his present form isn’t exactly a cold blooded killer capable of ignoring the impact of his actions, though it looks like he may be progressing that way.

Once the funeral is over, the group begins to discuss the game plan for the next few days, with finding Sophia being the first priority. With Shane and Rick in bad shape, Daryl remains the only able bodied person to brave the wilderness to look for her. Though Rick claims that he is “off the hook” now that the group has a base, Daryl isn’t so inclined to leave them now that he has nobody else to depend on. Hopefully Rick will honor his desire to stick around, as he is by far the most useful person we’ve seen on screen so far (and shockingly, one of the wisest and most stable as well)

Walking Dead

This is where the show takes an unexpected turn, in perhaps “The Walking Dead”‘s most lighthearted episode. Yes, that means more than a few seconds of funny or amusing banter in the span of 40 something minutes. Within the general safety of the ranch, the characters are able to go about their day doing things far more tame than staying alive. It is an amusing and welcome change seeing what is normally such a tense show relax. While it’s not all fun and games, this episode does have a more comedic base to it.

With that, the second order of business is is the issue of water, which increased tenfold with the arrival of the survivors. Dale and Theo investigate the properties wells, only to find a bloated, rotting walker trapped in one of them. The general consensus is to get the thing out before it pollutes the water supply, if is hasn’t already. Maybe I don’t know enough about wells, but if I saw a puss dripping zombie thrashing about in one, I wouldn’t drink from it ever again. I don’t remember there being a special 5 second rule with highly contagious disease. Somehow I guess, puss and moderate amounts of blood is less of a problem than lots of blood, so rather than shooting it, they need to get it out alive.

The first attempt, using a ham loaf as bait, ends up being not only a complete failure, but a waste of a good lump of meat. The group then volunteers Glenn as live bait, which nearly results in him getting killed, but gets the job done. Unfortunately, Glenn’s near death experience goes completely to waste when the monster snaps in half and dumps buckets of blood and matter into the well. With that, Maggie takes Glenn to search for supplies in a nearby town.

Before heading out, Lori passes on a list to Glenn, one item of which is a pregnancy test. She demands full confidentiality with the item and sends him on his way.

Walking Dead

Maggie and Glenn get to the town on horseback, and get to know each other in the process. It’s been quite awhile since the show really used Glenn’s character in a way that showcased his personality, so it’s easy to forget how awkward he can be. This goes double for how he interacts with beautiful women. While looking for Lori’s test, Maggie and him share something of a tender moment. Living with a group of people all much older than her, Maggie is quite sexually frustrated, and comes on to Glenn quite strongly. The budding tension that had built up between them was finally realized, and the two have what we assume is a passionate off screen sex scene.

Back at the Ranch, Rick begs Hershel to let his people stay on the property, professing to the dangers of the outside world. Hershel clearly wants nothing to do with this, but being put on the spot, he does agree to consider Rick’s request provided that everybody follows his rules.

Walking Dead

Evening falls and Daryl returns to Carol to once again tell her that his is unable to find her daughter. He does however, bring her back a Cherokee Rose, along with the story of hope attached to it.. Of all of the survivors, he has remained the most intent on finding Sophia. He plays it off like he is a bitter loner, but it seems like more than anybody else, he wants to be accepted. Especially since the beginning of this season, he has been nothing but resourceful and constantly helpful, putting in as much effort as he can for the good of the camp. The way his story has carried on so far, it appears as though his story for this season is to carve a place among these people that is more than just “that really racist guy’s brother”.

Evening turns into night, and a distraught Lori sneaks out of sight to check her pregnancy test. The episode ends with the stick turning out positive.

Reflection notes:

- This seems to be where the series is starting to deviate a bit from the comics, especially in terms of Shane’s character. Is he simply taking a different road to the same place, or is he going to have a remained role? With the addition of Daryl, the show is already establishing itself a bit beyond the comics. Is this positive, or should they try to remain as true as possible?

- I guess the big question is who Lori’s baby belongs to. It wasn’t too long ago that she and Shane were lovers.

- How do you like the direction that the new writing staff is going in? The last 3 episodes have been quite character driven, and maybe not as tense as some in the past. The humor and light hearted nature of a lot of this episode also added something a bit new to the series. Is this shaping up to be better, worse, or just different than the season previous?