Now With 30% Less Hate! Walking Dead S2 Ep9 Review
When last we saw the world’s most dysfunctional zombie apocalypse survivors, Rick had just blown away two guys from Philly for having the audacity to ask where the group was staying, Lori was suffering from brain damage before she actually suffered head trauma from a car accident, and some blond girl that hardly had any airtime at all before now was catatonic. Is this the week where our prayers our answered and Lori gets eaten, Carl tries to find her and gets eaten, Dale looks for the two of them and gets eaten, and the audience lives happily ever after?
Well, no, not so much. But I do have a confession to make. This episode didn’t make me angry. Not once. I know, right? Crazy. Well, OK, I did get angry once, but that was when they showed the car wreck from last episode, which is still just awful in every way. But other than that, I didn’t hate it. Did it have issues? A couple, but they were minor. Instead, we had a mostly plausible story, maybe for the first time since the first season. So put away your Haterade, pick up a gun, and follow along with our intrepid band of somewhat-less-stupid-than-normal survivors.
The episode starts off with Herschel, Rick, and Glenn looking at each other, trying to see if everyone is OK. None of them have been shot in the face, unlike the two luckless guys from Philly, so they are mostly OK, but scared. Then they hear an engine and guys yelling for their buddies, since one of them heard gunshots. This has the makings of the most awkward meeting ever. Meanwhile, Lori regains consciousness as a zombie gnaws on her windshield. It’s really dark now. We’ll talk about that later. The zombie eventually finds the gaping hole in the windshield. This looks like a fitting end for the most annoying harpy on the show.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (and yes, I’ve always wanted to say that in a literal sense), everybody is sitting down to dinner. Shane’s at the head of the table, looking quite comfortable there. Eventually they realize that Lori is missing. Blabber ensues. After a while they figure out that she’s apparently gone to town to find the people who went to town to find Herschel. Daryl and Stubblepate (seriously, her name eludes me) exchange harsh words, which is one of the running themes of the show. After being married to an abusive asshole for years, though, SP can take whatever it is Daryl can dish out. This eventually earns his respect. I’m not sure what kind of message that sends. Meanwhile, Catatonic Blonde is still laying above the covers on the bed. Girl’s in shock, and not one person thinks, hey, let’s throw a blanket over her. This is not a first-aid-aware group of people.
Rick and the boys are hunkered down in the bar while the Philly crew wanders around and looks for their friends, without actually entering any buildings. Finally, they decide to try the bar, which, if you’re looking for a couple of guys from Philly, is the first place you’d want to look, as one of their group mentions. Glen blocks the door and they know someone is inside. Rick decides to try to explain the situation, that their friends are dead because they drew on the group, which actually isn’t true. They tried to draw, but Deadeye was quicker and gunned them down. For some reason, the other people take exception to this turn of events. Cue gunfight, broken glass, bullets hitting 4 inches from everyone no matter where they go, and chaos.
The zombie after Lori starts pushing its face through the hole in the windshield, which was cool, because zombies don’t care too much about facial laceration. Lori tries to get out, can’t, and finds something that looks like a screwdriver and shoves it in the zombie’s eye. Dead zombie. She gets out and doesn’t look around, instead staring at the non-moving dead guy while another one lurches behind her. It grabs her, she tries to break free, does, then gets ankle-tackled. The zombie has her in its grasp. Curtains for Lori? Luckily for her, the zombies in this world love boots and disdain pants. Despite having ample opportunity to sink its teeth into her skinny calf, the zombie tries to climb up onto her back. She gets away, grabs her gun, shoots the zombie. Yay. Lori is safe. Sigh.
Glenn gets elected to go for the car, because Rick thinks its fun to make Glenn run after things. He eases down the stairs, which creak incredibly loudly, and goes to the back door of the bar. He sees a shadow cross it and the knob begin to turn. It’s a guy from Philly! Glenn shoots the door and starts moving slowly towards it. Rick, hearing the shot, sends Herschel to investigate. Glenn, senses on high alert, is watching the door, and Herschel displays the skills of a ninja by coming down those exact same stairs without making a noise. He sneaks up on the terrified guy holding the shotgun, since he apparently never saw Zombieleand and would have learned from that movie that sneaking up on people in the middle of a zombie apocalypse is a really bad idea when they carry guns. ZOMG Herschel almost gets shot! He doesn’t. Glenn slips out, gets shot at, and Herschel shoots the guy that tried to shoot Glenn. The dude is down and screaming, which was a nice change from the normal one-shot-one-kill gun action in shows and movies. Glenn freezes, Rick comes out and gives him a pep talk. One of the Philly guys is on a roof and shooting at them, like he’s in Tombstone or something. Which was a little weird, but OK. No biggie. The other member of his crew drives up and says they have to leave since zombies are everywhere. The guy on the roof tries to jump down and starts screaming, since apparently he has botched it. The other guy sensibly motors off. These guys are smart survivors. They made it from Philly to Georgia. They know when it’s time to leave someone behind and survive. If they hadn’t run into Rick and his crew, they probably would have done all right for themselves. Instead, it’s a near total wipeout.
Shane, who has gone looking for Lori, finds her car and the dead zombies. Later on, he drives further down the road and finds Lori apparently walking towards town. The place she couldn’t find without a map. On foot. Alone. In the dark. Because she’s a smart, cagey survivor. They exchange words, Lori says they need to get to the people who actually know where they are and how to get back. Shane, quite reasonably, lies and says they are back, to get the idiot into the car and back to safety. Of course, they aren’t back, Lori gets pissy, Shane blurts out about the baby Lori’s carrying, which we all know is Shane’s anyway, Carl hears, everybody acts all awkward for some reason. Like Carl is so sensitive that the fact that no one has told him in the last 2 days (at the most) that his mom is pregnant.
So Rick and the crew get ready to bug out. The one dude Herschel shot is all torn to hell by zombies, and the other guy is screaming. Rick, ever the gentleman except when he decides to shoot people in the face, goes to him. The kid’s leg has been impaled through the calf on a barbed fence. Now, it would have taken one hell of a weird circumstance to get that barbed iron point to go through his leg at that angle. You’d think that it would have been more likely that the lower leg would have been pushed upwards by the point rather than passing all the way through his leg, but that’s a minor nitpick. They debate about what to do. Herschel wants to put him down as a mercy, Rick wants to amputate the kid’s leg while they are getting attacked by zombies. Rick gets weird notions sometimes. Herschel agrees to try, but it’s hard to sever a leg with a small knife in under a minute. They stand around for a few seconds, then Rick just reached out and rips the kid’s leg up and over the spike. Again, no way he can do that realistically, but it was a cool enough scene that I buy it.
Lori, with Dale and Blondie sitting there staring at her, tries to explain to Carl why they didn’t tell him sooner. Like, the day before when everyone else found out about it. Lori reveals that she hasn’t yet had “The Talk” with Carl, because, well, Carl’s what, ten? Nine? That talk would have confused the shit out of Carl. Still, she looks embarrassed about that fact. Dale assumes that everyone wants him to tell Carl about sex, which is creepy and weird, and says he won’t. Yeah, I don’t think anyone wanted the weird old guy to pull Carl aside and talk to him about sex. I hate Dale. Shane comes in, shooes everyone out, and has an awkward discussion with Lori. He’s trying to win her back by being scary and freaky and telling her that he loves her and his kid that she’s carrying. He’s obviously on the edge. So Lori, quite sensibly, tells the crazy dude that she feels nothing for him and starts badgering him about Otis, because reminding an unhinged person about someone they may have murdered is a good way to defuse a situation. He leaves, and Lori looks scared of him. Maybe she could have handled that a bit better.
The next morning, Shane and the crew are getting ready to look for Rick. As they are packing, Rick and the gang show up with the blindfolded kid. After hearing the story, Shane, rightfully so, asks why they thought it was a good idea to bring a guy they were shooting at back to their farm. Everybody looks at Shane like he’s crazy. He leaves. Blondie catches up and gives Shane advice about his delivery. Good advice, actually.
The last scene has Rick and Lori in their tent. Lori tells Rick about her encounter with Shane, and that Shane said he loved her and thinks its his baby. Rick, having just got back from a gunfight and murdering people, looks a little…off. Lori immediately says that even if it’s Shane’s, the baby is Rick’s, which is nice for her to say but I can only think just what that little message is doing as it pings around Rick’s head. So immediately after saying this, Lori slips behind Rick and starts whispering in his ear about how Rick killed people to save her and the baby and protecting what’s his and now Shane thinks that Lori is his instead of Rick’s, and if Rick really wants to defend his wife he’ll… do something about it. My wife and I turned to each other and clearly had the same thought: “Holy shit, Lori’s gone all Wormtongue on Rick.” Rick looks crazy as hell as he listens. Man, Lori is pure poison.
The show had a lot of relationship drama, Rick and Lori, Glenn and Maggie, Shane and Lori, Daryl and Whatsherface, Shane and Lori and Rick, which were the slowest aspects but actually did a fine job of illustrating just how fucked up interpersonal relationships would be in these kind of circumstances. Make no mistake: every single one of the people on this show is fucking crazy. Anyone would be in that situation. Eventually, when the imminent danger is past, they all turn on each other. I think that’s exactly how it would be.
Honestly, my only real issue with the episode is way they handle the passage of time. OK, sequence of events goes like this: Lori crashes the car while the sun is up. Simultaneously, Rick shoots the other guys. Let’s say it was just before sundown, since when Lori comes to, it’s dark. At the same point in time, Rick and Glenn and Herschel are recovering from the double murder. The others are sitting down to dinner. Let’s call it, say, 8 o’clock. Benefit of the doubt. Gun battle, break for the car. Let’s call that an hour, being way generous. It’s 9 pm. Shane gets Lori, Rick finds kid. 10 minutes, tops. They get to the car. Now, if they stop to make a fire and cauterize the gaping wound, we’ll give them an hour for that and for Herschel to stabilize him. It’s 10 pm. They are, what, half-hour from the farm? Let’s call it an hour. Lori planned on walking there, so it couldn’t have been more than twenty miles away, right? Maggie and Glenn rode horses at a walk there and back in relative good time. So it’s 10, they have a vehicle equipped with headlights, someone who has lived by this town his entire life, no food or supplies, and show up at the farm 8 or 9 hours later, when the sun is fully up? Huh? What the hell did they do overnight? They don’t think anyone would be worried? They weren’t concerned about Catatonia? The writers in this season have demonstrated a complete inability to make time flow logically, so no real surprise here, but it’s the one thing about the show that I disliked.
And considering the past episodes, that’s a win. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t drop a single f-bomb in my review. Which is kind of disappointing in its own way. Where’s the fun in that?