Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Walking Dead Ep 4: Cherokee Rose

So, this made me laugh this week.

As Homer Simpson would say, It's funny 'cause it's true!!

Welcome to Week 4 of the Walking Dead rundowns with myself and Joshua Winstead as we talk about this week’s episode, the comics, and how to properly pull a zombie out of a well (rule #1: NOT the way they did it on this week’s episode).

Nikki: Well, somehow Daryl’s become my new favourite character on this show. I loved the moment where he came to speak to Carol and gave her the Cherokee Rose. I was REALLY hoping he’d find Sophia at the house when he was there, but he definitely came back with a great scene and it was nice to watch. How is it possible that this redneck who was so hated in season 1 has turned into THIS guy? He’s having heart-to-heart moments in the woods with Andrea, he’s giving Carol hope in her darkest days, he’s giving T-Dog the meds he needs (despite the fact that T-Dog was responsible for his brother being gone), and he always seems to be there the moment anyone needs him to be. What a great turnaround for this character. And in case you didn't notice, there was a sign behind Carol in the RV that said, "Nothing to buy, Nothing to sell, We've gone fishin', You can go to hell."

Is Daryl portrayed in a similar way in the graphic novels, Josh?

Joshua: Both Daryl and Merle were created for the show wholesale. They aren't pastiches of other preexisting characters, either, so I'm afraid I don't have any touchstones for their arcs. Daryl certainly has been one of the biggest surprises of the season for me, with the writers and Reedus' performance combining to make him so much more interesting and appealing than the cookie-cutter angry redneck he portrayed last year.

What worries me when it comes to Daryl, however, is how calculated that turnaround could be on the part of the showrunners. My concern is that we're being set up for Merle's return and some radically conflicted versions of the Daryl we're being led to love. I think it's an absolute guarantee that he will turn up again at some point, and though we've never actually seen the two brothers together, Merle doesn't strike me as the world's best influence. And Daryl seems to have at least one throwaway line regarding Merle in every episode this season, so he certainly hasn't forgotten. I can't say that I'm looking forward to their reunion.

But hey, we wouldn't love this show like we do if they weren't so adept at shaking our collective tree, right?

Nikki: This is true, and yes, Daryl mentions his brother all the time, and I, too, have been thinking that we’ve been led to believe that Merle was eaten alive on that rooftop, but I also think he found a way to get out of that situation. Whether or not he did so alive is the question, but as you say, it makes for more interesting television if he escapes intact. But boy will T-Dog be in trouble…

So, how about that Glenn getting his freak on? And of all the people to have that experience with, it’s with the clich├ęd farmer’s daughter, which I thought was hilarious. I’ve been waiting for Glenn to feature in an episode, and this was it, from the relationship he had with the girl to him going down in the well (no doubt to impress her). I find that every week there has to be at least one scene to make you cringe, pull your legs up under your chin, and make a terrible noise, and that zombie splitting in half as he came out of the well took the cake. GAK. The makeup job on that one was pretty impressive, making him look like he’s all bloated from the water. The fact his face is all puffed out makes me think he’s been under the water for long periods of time, but since zombies don’t have to sleep, why would his face have been under the water? That question aside, that was just exquisitely gross.

Josh: I was sitting on the couch eating string cheese at the time. Not a good choice. In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that one should forgo (or should I say 'es-chew,' har de har) all snacking during broadcasts of The Walking Dead, because chances are they're gonna go for the gross-out at least once. Waterlogged Shar Pei geek definitely qualifies, though I must admit that I personally found the canned ham they were trying to use as bait every bit as disgusting.

But yes, it was great to see Glenn getting a little hero time after being largely sidelined this season. I didn't realize how much I'd missed that look of abject terror on his face! And indeed, it seems to have gotten him laid, too. By the farmer's daughter AND the preacher's daughter, both rolled into one. In the condom aisle of the drugstone, no less. That's got to be a television first.

The banter between he and Maggie beforehand was great, too. It's hard to imagine how ordinary conventions would break down in the face of apocalyptic circumstances such as these, and my favorite aspect of this type of sociological conjecture is the redefinition of simple, unexpected stuff like romantic small talk. I thought it was a great touch and a nice reminder of how radically the status quo has been redefined.

Speaking of which, I believe my judgment may have been unduly harsh on the Quarry Kids these past few weeks with regard to the voracity of the search for Sophia. This week's scene with Rick and Hershel studying the map up on the plateau was another such reminder in this reality of the difficulty in doing even the simplest things like figure out exactly where the hell you are. At first, I was really surprised that this issue wasn't resolved more quickly, but as time goes on, I've come to recognize not only what a clever narrative choice it was to keep this pot simmering for so long on the back burner, so to speak, but also how Hollywood unrealistic my expectations were in thinking they would be able to find her with anything resembling efficiency.

Nikki: True. We’re beginning to see Carol’s resolve breaking down, which is a far more subtly nuanced performance of a mother losing it. As someone said in the comments section last week, perhaps all the years of abuse have changed the way Carol reacts to situations; inside she’s screaming with terror, but on the outside she looks calm and complacent.

But we can’t end this without discussing what Lori wanted from the drugstore. Of course, the moment she mentioned discretion and needing something from the pharmacy I’m certain every person watching the episode knew exactly what it was she needed. The upset look on her face when the stick registered positive was a reaction to two things: A) that she’s pregnant at all in this horrible world, and could be bringing a child into a place where she doesn’t even want her other child to be, and B) that the baby might be Shane’s, not Rick’s. D’oh. As I said to my husband, THAT’s an awkward conversation she’s about to have with Rick. “So, I have some good news and some bad news… the good news is I won’t have to worry about having a period for the next 9 months. The bad news is….”

Joshua: When we finally get the big showdown between Rick and Shane, boy, it's gonna be a doozy. I may not be a huge fan of Lori as a character, but it's been made plain that both of these boys worship her, and once all this crud comes bubbling up to the surface, heads will roll. Regardless of his speech to Andrea this week about turning off “the switch,” however, I think Shane will struggle to go against Rick when the time comes, perhaps more than even he himself believes. There's a lot of shared history there, years of backstory and complication, and I can't imagine Shane could just break from this man he considers a brother, even if he believes it will win Lori's hand.

And now Rick has symbolically broken from his previous life by taking off the badge and uniform, finally stripping away these trappings of his obsolete profession. For what good is a lawman in a world without laws? He seems to be trying to embrace his inner Jack Shephard, playing up the reluctance part of his “reluctant hero” role, but yet his foremost concerns beyond Carl's well-being are the continued search for Sophia and securing shelter for the group in his negotiations with Hershel.

Bits & Bobs:

• I had a hard time not referring to Shane as Lennie when he was wearing Otis' clothes; he really looked like he needed to be kept away from the bunny hutch in that outfit. [Nikki: LOL! “Tell me ‘bout them rabbits, George!” I half-expected the Deliverance banjos to start playing.]

• Something unspoken is going on with Hershel and his people, and it's bound to come out soon. Too many hints, the most egregious of which was his statement to Rick: “There are aspects to this – things that I can't and won't discuss. But if you and your people respect my rules...” Curious, to say the least.

• Signs I am a hopeless LOST dork, #481: when Daryl walked out of the treeline to find that house in the middle of nowhere, my first thought was, “Jacob's cabin! What's that thing doing out here?”

• Girls on horseback are hot.

• The beer bottle that Daryl used for his Cherokee Rose vase was from Sweetwater, a great local Atlanta brewery. I love the local touches!

• For the record, squatting in a field is a weird-ass cliffhanger, dude.

It was announced this week that The Walking Dead will be getting a season three, so bully for us, fans! There's plenty more madness to come, and I hope we all get to enjoy it together. See you next week, Nikki!


Page48 said...

"girls on horseback are hot" - I think we're all on board with that idea (I'm thinking Betsy Russell in "Private School")

How can The Dead not find Hershel's farm? They're in the area. One of them is 'occupying the well'. Was he a troubled loner? The cows graze in peace, the young'uns ride into town to stock up on sex and drugs, Otis used to hunt him some deer with a big loud-ass gun. Are The Dead even trying?

If Hershel says "get off my land", why doesn't Ranger Rick just move his clan into town? They have a pharmacy (although it may need a cleanup in aisle 5) and no Dead anywhere in sight.

Dead guy in the well reminded me of something from BtVS or "Doctor Who".

Shane all but told Andrea "I killed Otis in cold blood". All she wants is a gun to whack zombies, but Shane lectures her on what it takes to kill a man. Buzz-kill, Shane.

I was always under the impression that Merle would be back.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Guy in the well reminded me of Balthazar on Buffy.

I wondered if the daughter seduced Glenn because she wants to get pregnant. Maybe that's part of the vet's plan.

HoH8 said...

Why did Lori have to go to the woods to pee???....having the bathroom available to her very freely....So Dumb of her.....

and whats this rule of No Guns in the he Crazy?....

didnt we see Merle in the previews to next week's show?.....☺.....

Nikki Stafford said...

Colleen: HAHAHA! OMG, I thought exactly the same thing when I saw him! I can't believe I forgot to mention it. "If I have to scrub those hard to reach places, I request that you kill me now." ;)

Anonymous said...

I liked Daryl last season. Now, he's become too perfect. The badass, the comic relief, the sensitive historian...I like that Glen had something to do finally. And the actress who played Maggie was great.

yourblindspot said...

Nikki: I love the zombie/baby intro! So funny. I didn't mention it in our back-n-forth, but the first thing I thought of when they showed the geek in the well was the baby from that weird Muppet Dinosaurs sitcom in the early nineties.

Maybe next week we'll get a zombified forest critter that looks like Alf.

Anonymous said...

The little exchange Rick & Daryl had when Daryl was leaving to go search was so Jack & Sawyer.

Also - so what if they're asked to leave the farm - aren't there planty more around there in the middle of nowhere they could stay?

-Tim Alan