Monday, October 22, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2: "Sick"

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2:
"Sick"




Joe Chiarenzelli is an editor on The Gadfly Press who cares way too much about television. 




                Well, this episode picks up right where the last one left off, with Rick having chopped off Herschel’s leg and a group of prisoners watching on. What I find interesting about this episode is specifically how these prisoners are treated by the script as opposed to other characters the group has come across in their travels. More on that in a bit.

                Herschel should have probably bled out by the time they got him back to their cell block, but certainly wheeling him on a food cart while the group looks back over their shoulder to watch the prisoners tentatively following them makes for tense viewing. It’s very hard to tell immediately how the prisoners are going to react to seeing a group of outsiders with no uniforms gallivanting through their prison, but the answer becomes obvious fairly quickly; they are not mentally living in the zombie apocalypse. What I mean is that they immediately start talking about contacting their families and intimating that the prison is still theirs. This results in a tense stand-off with first T-Dogg and then Rick backing up Darryl. When they finally get the message across to the prisoners by taking them out to the yard and illustrating that this is indeed their prison now because they’ve shed blood to clear it out, it’s agreed that they will help the prisoners clear their own block in exchange for half of the food left in the kitchen.

                This sequence of scenes sets up the clearly tense temporary truce the two groups have established for the purpose of avoiding a gunfight. At some points watching the presumed leader of the gang whip out a gun while our boys were around led me to believe that some heads were going to be blown off at any moment. Lori tacitly approves of whatever Rick wants to do with the prisoners, “if that’s what (he) thinks is best.” But, while Glenn, whom Rick told to stay with the women and Carl, and the others care for a fading Herschel, the prisoners and the rest of our gang head off to clear another cell block.

                There were two scenes this episode that came around the midpoint that were encouraging to watch for the shows growing ability to oscillate tones. Maggie gives an immensely sad speech to her dying father where she lets him know that he doesn’t need to fight to stay alive for his family anymore and that they can take care of themselves. This illustrates how, for Maggie, she is doing her father a favor by absolving him of responsibility for them, instead of urging him to recover. The other scene is the complete opposite of sad. After Rick, Darryl, and T-Dogg inform the prisoners that they need to damage the zombie’s brains and the prisoners assure them they won’t break formation and that they can handle themselves, we watch as the prisoners immediately bum-rush the zombies and start shanking them like they’re out in the yard. The others watch on with amused, if startled, faces as the prisoners keep stabbing the zombies in the bellies expecting them to go down.

                Another round of zombie beating ensues and we watch as Big Tiny (which by the way seems to be a rather stupid name, yes we get the irony he’s huge, but why not just call him Tiny?) gets infected and begs for his life before the dominant prisoner beats him to death in manic hyper-violent fashion. After the dominant prisoner tries to get Rick killed a few more times, he’s had enough. Agreeing with him that, “shit happens” Rick plants a machete right down the top of his head, reminiscent of Big Tiny’s beat down earlier. Rick locking the prisoner who fled out on the rooftop was a chilling moment and it reminded me a lot of something Shane would have done.

                Herschel seems to be on death’s door but after he stops breathing Lori rushes in and gives him mouth to mouth and he suddenly lunges up at her. Luckily for her he’s alive, but seriously Lori, next time you go to give someone mouth to mouth consider whether or not they may in fact be turning into a zombie and your face being right on top of them may not be the best course of action. To cap the episode, Lori, who had earlier admitted to Rick that she knew she was a horrible mother (oh really?), tries to talk about their relationship, but the most she can get out of Rick is “we’re awfully thankful for what you did” for saving Herschel’s life.

Will T-dogg find out that canned-cans is neither a thing or a funny joke? Will Carl do something awesome like find medical supplies or something irritating like being petulant towards his mother? Let us know your predictions and thoughts in the comments.

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