After last week’s big pregnancy reveal, this episode naturally focused a lot on Lori and her baby drama. Actually, not really. The best way to sum up 2×5 is this: Daryl Dixon is a badass.
Shane and Rick team up to look for Sophia. Though their casual conversation, you get a small glimpse into the details of their increasingly intense bromance. It fills in the gaps a little bit in terms of why their friendship is so strong, and how their relationships with Lori have complicated things so much for Shane. Since killing Otis, Shane has dramatically changed, and if the cracks weren’t showing in his persona last week, they definitely are this week. Shane has gained a new lease on life to justify his actions which generally revolves around putting survival before empathy. In the context of “The Walking Dead”, he is made out to be a bit of an ass for this, but in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, there is probably a lot to be said for keeping a stone heart. He has more or less given up on Sophia, and thinks that the group would have been better off if they would have moved on.
Then there is Daryl. Idealistic, sweet, dirt caked Daryl. He has put more effort than anyone into finding the girl, but his “I work better alone” motto is finally getting the better of him. By “get the better of him”, I mean that he is thrown off a cliff after falling off his horse and falls on one of his arrows, getting punctured in the process. He is then forced to climb up said cliff with that arrow still in his side. After falling for a second time, he is knocked out, and wakes up with his allegedly dead brother Merle at his side. Being a figment of his imagination doesn’t make him any less of a dick than he was in person. He immediately comes at Daryl with a mixture of “brotherly love” and a rant about how he will never fit in or be loved. Thanks, bro.
The phenomenal things about Daryl is that this is a character who doesn’t interact much with the group, but still manages to make more strides in character development than the rest of them. It’s sometimes hard to tell what Daryl is thinking, but his conversation with his brother seemed to prove that he feels a lot more guilt about Merle than he lets on. This is accompanied by a lot of self loathing, and even more guilt about befriending the people who left his brother to die.
This “tender” brotherly hallucination is interrupted by a pair of walkers. It’s a good thing that already half delirious and morality wounded Daryl Dixon is such a badass. He takes out not one, but both walkers. One with a stick, and the other with the very arrow that had impaled him earlier. Once the walkers are dead, he eats a raw squirrel with his fingers before cutting of the walker’s ears and adding them to his necklace of what appears to be a walker ear collection. Then he climbs up the cliff again. It’s that kind of classiness that i’d like to take home to my parents. An ear necklace, survival instincts, and the appearance of looking as though he is constantly working on a car. This guy has everything.
So let me just reiterate this point. Daryl Dixon is a badass. I’ve said it three times so you know I am serious.
He he hobbles back over to the camp, the group mistakes him for a walker and goes into a frenzy, leading Andrea to disobey orders and shoot him. You know if you can count on Andrea for anything, it’s to completely screw up. Daryl is only grazed by Andrea’s bullet and manages to survive, but his doubts about being accepted by the group resurface.
Hershel is less than pleased with how the group has handled his hospitality, and advises his people to avoid getting attached to them. Dale also offers the same advice to Glenn once he finds out that slept with Maggie. After the incident with Daryl, the Hershel farmstead is becoming increasingly unwelcoming and cold to the survivors. The tension is felt strongly between the two camps between just about everybody besides Maggie and Glenn, who still fully intend to maintain their relationship. Glenn plans on meeting Maggie in the barn, and once inside, he learns a horrible secret about his “Safe” new camp. The Hershel family is keeping dozens of walkers in the barn.
This was “The Walking Dead’s” most focused episode since the second season began. Without the plot jumping around as much as it normally does, we were able to take a good hard look at an already great character and get inside his head. The show has also done a good job giving depth to an original character who had no place in the comics and allowing him to come into his own without dismantling the rest of the story.
It also triggered something a little disturbing in me that I have been trying to avoid mentioning for a long time. As the show drags on, I am starting to realize more and more that this show is no concept of female characters at all. Save Maggie, almost every single one of them has devolved to the point of being insufferable, selfish, immature, or just crazy. The episode this week was fantastic, but the show itself would be much more enjoyable if there was one relatable woman in the main cast that I didn’t want to see eaten. Glenn and Dale’s conversation about the women in the camp was enough to push me over the edge. They really have been all acting crazy. I don’t want to go on a rant about TV and feminism, but “The Walking Dead” can do better. It had the makings of a lot of badass ladies and it shouldn’t waste them.
Now the meat of it? Aside from an increasing dislike of both Lori and Andrea, I really loved this episode. Great stories that come though a TV medium need to take time every so often to dissect a major character in a less than subtle way. The more you beat up on them and break them down to a completely helpless level, the more you can get a sense of introspection from them. American media is often centered around a character that appears average and builds them into someone great. That can be fun, but the really interesting stuff (in my opinion) comes from when you have a strong, tough character, and break him down this way.
As for the rest of the cast, the little we saw of them was entertaining enough. The survivors are in a sort of transition period where not much is happening at their base because they assume that they are safe. It looks like that is all about to change.
– Shane or Rick, who is right, or is there an answer?
– What possible purpose could keeping a small army of zombies in such close proximity to the farmstead serve?
– Have we seen the end of the glorious ear necklace?