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It’s not Hip-hop… It’s Electro!

I started typing this last night, but I’m gonna re-wing it here.  I’m kinda bummed I missed out on the zombie shamble-on-set contest as I didn’t put in the code soon enough.  (Stupid clocks always enforcing their laws of time on us!)  But, the good news that the third episode of The Walking Dead was amazing!  Let me get my Critiquein’ Hat on so I can get that out of the way and carry on with the beaming undead awesome that was last night’s show!

The show starts out with a delirious Merle still handcuffed on the roof, showing signs of sun damage and a bloodied wrist from previously attempting to free himself.  The make-up is fairly well used and reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  Suddenly Merle snaps from his stupor, struggles again with his shackles and zombies start trying to tear the door open before being stomped out by the mighty title screen of the series.

[Critiquein’ Hat firmly in place]

The only issue here is, well, how in the blazes did those zombies get up there in the first place?  I know they are there to have the audience react to the danger of the situation, but wasn’t it a clear enough picture that Merle was going to die up there in the first place?  It has only been one day and already his outer layers are looking like the crust on a fine corn pudding.  (More Thanksgiving day references on the way, never fear.)  He is either talking gibberish or shifting in and out of reality from lack of water at this point.  As Everett might say, he’s in a tight spot. 

Beware that clicking play will result in repeated utterances of the word “damn” as well a constant flurry of imagery as devilish as a hairnet remaining on screen nearly the entire clip.  Ye have been warned!

So why with the zombies and such?  Those zombies, while placed to keep the tension going for Merle, just so happened to make an appearance on queue.  They didn’t beat on the door during his rambling, not even so much as pawing at it like a dog wanting a treat.  While the argument that the zombies only presented themselves after Merle started causing a racket is valid, how did they know he was up there in the first place?  They couldn’t see him until they got up there, they couldn’t smell him even though he was getting roasted like a turkey in our mighty star’s golden rays (that’s two Turkey dinner references) as the fresh air was likely to blow the scent away and not through a sealed doorway.  That leaves their limited sense of hearing, and Merle only really started shouting after the zombies were banging on the door.  Unless he called attention to himself in the first place, they shouldn’t be there.  Not to say he isn’t dumb enough to do that, but it was still a vague thought and it stuck out a bit.  Chalk it up to Popcorn Logic, I suppose.

[Critiquein’ Hat deactivated]

I really am gushing about the rest of this episode that I had to go back and delete everything twice over.  I don’t like stating everything that occurs, yet that is what I kept doing as I don’t feel like anything should have been left out.  The characterization and interactions were great.  My only minor, minor complaint was that nothing really happened in this episode, as when I glanced up at the time I saw there was only two minutes of the show remaining.  The show flew by and I vanted moar!!

I suppose I should try to highlight only what I *really* liked about this episode if I intend on doing anything else today, so here goes:

Lori is finally a character for once!  I mean, yeah she did spend camera time on her back again, but this time it was more of a tender moment than anything.  The audience knows that she is already regretting what happened between her and Shane, but the way the series has thus far portrayed it, it was far more than a single romp in the woods.  Lori later confronts Shane and blames him for telling her that Rick was dead.  As other people have commented, this could either have been a scheme to lure Lori to himself, or been in line with his conservative “he’s dead, we need to go, NOW” sort of mentality that he showcased in the second episode that might have been the only way Lori got out alive.  Either way I’m glad that I can finally enjoy screen time devoted to her, so a big kudos to Lori.

Merle’s brother was also a jerk, surprise surprise. Rick and Shane restrain the brother, I think it was Darrel, in such a precise way that it really shows off that the two were working together on the force for years.  If only Shane was on the roof at the time Merle never would have gotten as far as he had in terms of a danger to himself and others around him.  I actually liked the brother, or at least the dialog written for him.  It was arrogant, crude, but still funny and believable.  From the time he shoots the decapitated zombie in the eye to his anger-filled realization that his brother is chained up on a roof and left to rot, this was an excellent character added to the mix.  Quite believable.  And look!  He actually helped others instead of posing as a threat!  We can still get along even if we don’t agree after all!

Shane.  Now here’s a loaded character.  The writing jumped from labeling Shane as a tool and a jerk the first two episodes to where he is currently, a character rooted in some fairly solid thinking-processes that has a few flaws.  (We will see if this remains to be true in the next episode, but I’m just glad I’m not cheering for zombies to eat his clavicle at every turn anymore.)  No longer is he the dude we are supposed to hate, but he is now a lonely man who if full of guilt for leaving his friend to die and then promptly tapping his wife’s keg, so to speak. 

He is possibly rethinking his motives and thought-process as Rick was able to do things he thought impossible, or too dangerous to even bother with.  I particularly enjoyed his royal trouncing of the chauvinistic southern wife beater.  It was exhilarating to see the guy get laid out, while also showed that Shane wasn’t just a pig as well.  He threatened the man never to harm any women in camp ever again, before breaking some more of the now swollen man’s face.  This might be a blatant symbolic act to show he is breaking down his ‘past evils’ or it could just have been due to him having balls a-blue as Lori is no longer a stress outlet (god that sounds really dirty), but at least Shane is depicted in a brighter light than in the past.

While I liked this episode a great deal more than the first two combined, I do have a worry that Rick is going to get promoted to a Mary Sue if things keep going the way they are.  He trumped the ‘everyman’ the moment he was covered in Guts and ascended to Hero status.  Going back into the undead lion’s den to save a jerk does make him look better than Shane, but it is also looking a wee bit dimwitted.  (You cannot reason to those without.  Saving him now just allows him to turn on you when the mood strikes him later on.  Not to say he should have been left to die up there, but it is never wise to give a spiteful man with a gun second chances so often…)  Again, a small point of contention, but something to avoid as the storytelling was rock solid and if it continues as it did here, we are in place for an excellent ride till the end of the season.  (Please don’t make us hate the new group of people hinted at in the next episode.  This musical chairs of bad guys is getting a bit obnoxious, too >.<)

Final Thoughts

From the very first scene the show really took off in my eyes.  Everyone present had something to add (though the sisters reunited was a little bit long and loud for my taste.  It came off more of a “I’m so happy you aren’t dead because the camera is on us!  Oh god, we might get an award for this scene!  Wail!  Cry!  …Are the cameras still rolling?  Oh, ok.  Teeeeaars!  Joy!!”) and the tale just kept going.  I never felt like the story stalled, and was quite curious what was going to happen next.  Though, I do feel the warning of graphic content was a major let down as I was jazzed to know some zombie action was on the way, only to see one lone zombie woman slain while shopping (there was a Sale!! too, by crikey!), and Merle’s right hand free of any real signs of blood.  Realistic hand, check.  Realistic amounts of blood reasonably present due to evisceration at the wrist… MIA.  Not that I wanted to see an olympic sized swimming pool of blood, but the sole warning for graphic content led a lot to be desired.

Excellent episode all around.  The flaws were impressively small, and I am excited to see what happens next.  Methinks based on the previews and dirge of action in this episode, a lot of action is on the way.  Though, this is proof that not much has to happen in a story to keep it flowing and entertaining.  Confused Matthew would be proud.

8 responses »

  1. You need to watch what you say about Andrea – she’s my favorite character from the comic and if they make her half of what she is in printed form she’ll end up being the best part of the show. =)

    I didn’t think about the lack of blood (as there should be a great deal considering one of four appendages now missing. When a certain character loses their hand in the comic series (won’t say who for the sake of those still reading the books or waiting for the series to catch up), he/she almost dies from blood loss. I get the dramatic effect and homage to Mad Max and Evil Dead II, but for a show trying to capture realism I think it’s a disappointment. Then again, it’s on AMC – a basic cable channel – and although showing dead people being destroyed I’m sure the censors would go bananas with gratuitous human violence (aren’t zombies human, just dead?).

    I think Shane’s turning into a very dynamic character and I like the actor playing him. I didn’t like his corny Friday the 13th spiel during AMC’s horror fest, but he’s great as Shane. Although he doesn’t look like the Shane from Kirkman’s comic, I think his performance forgives this. I’m still convinced a confrontation between Shane and Rick is forthcoming.
    Good post. Take care =)

    • Haha, sorry! Hopefully she’ll get more useful as the show goes on, because right now all she did was threaten the main character with a gun to his head and then steal a necklace right in front of a police officer -_^

      I’m a bit bummed about Shane’s future, actually. Just saw a behind the scenes and the actor himself pretty much called out that him beating Ed (which is his name, apparently) to a pulp was just the start of his own judge and jury lawlessness that he will probably start up soon. A shame, really. I know a story without conflict is hardly worth watching, but I would have liked to not dislike Shane again so soon. Rather they let him and Rick team up like in the beginning or like when they wrangled Merle’s brother at camp.

      Thanks for the comment, Foucault!

  2. I think Shane’s beating of Ed shows just what a wacked out jerk he really is. It’s also a good counter to Ricks good guy. Shane is basically ruling the camp and then Rick comes along with a more open and helpful nature. He does things because he’s a good person and it causes everyone to look to him for guidance, whether he wants that or not, and I think it will continually run throughout the series, much like it does in the books.

    I have to say that Andrea in the show is obnoxious. I like her in the books but she doesn’t seem to even be the same character right now. I’m interested to see where they go with her. Now all I have to do is get my hands in volume 1 of the books and I can start comparing back and forth! HAHA!

    • One thing I noticed was that, while Rick is being given the heroic and brave spotlight in the series, he is fairly slow and subdued when it comes to conflict. Shane on the other hand wants to avoid danger (I still wouldn’t say because he’s a coward, but doesn’t want people to die stupidly IE: Zombie warning signs on the highway. >.<) but when there is conflict, he rises to the challenge right away. Fire scene he nipped the problem in the bud to avoid zombies spotting them, and then when Ed abused his wife and potentially others, he stepped in and laid the SOB out.

      If he would have stopped at "and never touch anyone again" he would have been heroic. But he stuck the guy like 5 more times after that hahaha Wee bit excessive, and sadly indicative of the ominous and spiteful guy they are making him out to be.

  3. It’s interesting that when I watched the episode the first time, I too thought that not much had happened (also like you, I thought this was a terrific episode.) Watching it again the following day, I changed my assessment- there’s a lot going on, but the moments are small and pretty firmly rooted in character rather than plot.

    Honestly, I think that so long as the show keeps that focus on character (which I think is the greatest strength of the book) it will continue to turn out strong episodes. I loved that there were several little pieces throughout the show where Dale chimed in on something, and it seemed like a throwaway but was actually subtly revealing.

    I’ve also wanted to see more of Andrea on the show (she’s a fave of mine, too) but her minor involvement is sort of how I recall her from the first TPB. Whatever Darabont ends up changing- and we know he will- I hope she develops in a manner similar to the book.

    • Yet another fan of Andrea, I see, Mr. Vander Wal. Hopefully this character kicks into gear soon as the screen time this season is running low. So far she has only really shown that she cares for her sister, stepped up against the ‘redneck cartoon’ Ed, and then gave Shane a stare after his meaty smackdown of said cartoon.

      We’ll see how she starts to play out next episode, though I fear with the zombies attack imminent, people are going to have to get eaten to allow more time to be spent on the characters they intend to keep around awhile. (They are adding even more based on the preview, and half the cast still is fairly blank at this point.)

      This leap frog of character development then action (repeat) is noticeable, but as of yet still entertaining. Just like this episode was, I wanted more actiony stuff to happen, but at the same time I felt satisfied by what I witnessed. In one way I think it was great and I’d like to see more of it, but in another I think I’ll get bored of there only being dialog and a tenth of the time spent on actual action. It is messing with muh’ minds!

      I too like Dale’s character so far. (I’d say better than Andrea but he popularity in these comments would probably start a riot for my hide.) I do not know what happened in the books, but based on his demeanor he is being groomed as the next leader in case Shane goes off the deep end and Rick gets stuck in the city for awhile. Hopefully if he does not lead officially, he is at least considering an ‘advisor’ to the dude that is taking the lead.

      Thank you for your insights, Mr. Vander Wal!

  4. Pingback: Oy, Who Put This On? (It’s On Random) « Encrazed Crafts

  5. Pingback: The Walking Dead – Speedy Recap o’ Season One! « Encrazed Crafts

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