Huh. Well. That was...a show. I’m not quite sure what happened in between the bloody (ha ha, pun intended) fantastic pilot and the shrugging meh-ness of the second episode. Maybe Frank Darabont never had time to watch the dailies? I don’t know but I’m not pleased. But before I whinge too much, let’s break it down.
When we last left our whiny heroine and her Creepy Von Doucheington surrogate husband they were stealing kisses in her tent. This time around Shane cranks his assholery up to eleven by stalking her in the woods. Yeah, Lori, he’s a great guy. What a catch. And look, he even knows how to teach your son how to do a pointless knot. Marry him now.
Also hanging around the camp doing, um, campy stuff are high strung mushroom picking teenager Amy, Dale the RV King, Jim the taciturn mechanic, and two unnamed housewives (if you’ve read the comics you can probably guess the name of one of them). None of the campers do much in this episode except get it on and look worryingly at the radio, but at least those scenes were few and far between. They are about as interesting to me as the lightswitch conversation from the previous ep. As in not at all.
On the Atlanta front, Rick, with help from quip-ready Glenn, escapes inevitable death by tank and high tails it back to a boarded up department store. There he meets Andrea, older sister to Amy, and the rest of rainbow connection: Morales, T-Dog, Jacqui, and walking caricature Merle Dixon. And if Jacqui turns out to be a lesbian we’ll have the whole Token Minority collection! Of course the one racist left in the city gets stuck with a feminist, two black people, an Asian man, and a Latino. Good thing we have the last honest cop to suss things out.
And here is where my biggest problem with this episode lies. I don’t care that Dixon wasn’t in the comic; I’m not vehemently canon with this sort of thing. Taking bits and pieces from the comics and shimmying them around is fascinating, like the scene with Glenn and Rick with the zombie body parts. It’s a helluva lot grosser to watch a bunch of people hacking away at a decomposing corpse—and giving the ex-man a eulogy beforehand—than to have two or three panels that cut away the ookiest bits. But what I don’t like is when the new parts are completely unnecessary.
Dixon (Mason-Dixon line...oh you clever writers you, she says sarcastically) served absolutely no function at all except to be an ass. He was a one-note character that I’m sure we’ll see again (at least we better—you don’t waste a great actor like Michael Rooker on a one-time role). It’s one thing to let a jerk like him stay in the camp and it’s a whole ’nother thing to willingly take him out on a life-or-death mission and entrust him with weaponry and the lives of the very people he hates.
Even Shane—who, with his refusal to go help their crew, has now reached epic Ed Hardy proportions—knows better than to send out a guy like Dixon for a job like that. Those of you yelling about lack of character depth were right, but you were wrong about which character that criticism applied to.
Anyhoodle, more words were quipped (by Glenn), words were spoken in a grave and overly moralistic tone (by Rick), words were spoken as if the actors were paid by the decibel (by everyone else), and Mel Gibson was taken down a peg or two (by Dixon). The crew tried to escape by sewer and when that was foiled Rick and Glenn covered themselves in zombie goo—and feet, intestines, and hands—and took a romantic stroll through apocalyptic downtown Atlanta to a nearby construction site.
Glenn got himself the loudest hot rod in town, Rick saved the day, and T-Dog somehow managed to fall in just such a way that a terribly CGI-ed handcuff key could fall down a totally improbably hole in the roof. But at least he also managed to conveniently knock over the tool box in a painfully obvious way. No, I can’t see that coming back to bite him at all.
- “If bad ideas were an Olympic event, this would take the gold.”
- “All I am is a man looking for his wife and son. Anyone gets in the way of that’s gonna lose.”
- “You’re surrounded by walkers. That’s the bad news.” “Is there any good news?” “No.”
- “Ain’t that right, sugar tits?”
- “There’s us, and the dead. We survive this by pulling together, not apart.”
- Man, I love those opening credits. They get better each time I see them.
- These zombies don’t just moan, they roar.
- We get zombies who can run, use tools, and learn (like the one who figured out how to use the ladder after watching Rick and Glenn). They are evolving.
- A real leader knows how to delegate duties, and when to let others get a shot at power.
- Last ep we had the creepy as all get out stairwell and now we have the sewer of doom and death department store (the store that eats!).
- Oh, ho, writers. I get what you’re doing there with Rick and Andrea and juxtaposing them with Shane and Lori. I don’t appreciate it.
- Just a personal nit. As a Rat Queen it always irks me when they make rats squeak so loud they’re practically screaming. No rat is that loud when they’re just trundling around. Wouldn’t be very practical for a prey animal to go around shouting at the top of their lungs when they’re trying to be stealthy and all.
- Yo, Emmys, it’s time for a new category: Best Zombie Shuffle. I nominate every extra on this show. Also, kudos to to the show for giving non-speaking roles actual on-screen credits.
- Nice little bit there, timing the car alarm to the music.
- How much you want to bet Dixon is going to end up at the Governor’s?
Alex Brown is an archivist in training, reference librarian by day, writer by night, and all around geek who watches entirely too much TV. She is prone to collecting out-of-print copies of books by Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, and Douglas Adams, probably knows far too much about pop culture than is healthy, and thinks her rats Hywel and Odd are the cutest things ever to exist in the whole of eternity. You can follow her on Twitter if you dare...