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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 2 - Sick

24 October 2012

Credit AMC

Synopsis: The prisoners in the kitchen have survived for ten months and Rick is reluctant to trust them. He agrees to clear a cell block for them but they struggle to adapt to fighting Walkers. Their leader is particularly bloodthirsty and so Rick kills him and leaves another to be killed. The remaining two are given the neighbouring cell block. Meanwhile Hershel lies unconscious and Carl slips out to the infirmary on his own. Carol practices for Lori’s birth by cutting a Walker open.

The Good: I’m glad Hershel survived for now. It was our moment of light amidst the darkness. I was impressed by Rick's precautions in case he turned and there was a palpable tension throughout the scenes where people hovered over him. I liked the idea that Carl slipped out on his own to find the infirmary and brushes it off as no big deal. He is growing up fast in terms of experience but remains a child when it comes to judgment. Carol’s decision to practise for the impending birth showed admirable foresight and adaptability.

The Bad:
The main part of the episode did not really work. It wasn’t terrible but it felt very much like a comic book plot and needed a lot more fleshing out to work on TV. The idea that the prisoners had spent ten months in one room and still believed that the world was normal outside stretched credulity to its limits. I don’t see how they could spend more than two months in such a confined space without going crazy and agreeing to break out. Their utter ignorance of what the Walkers were or how to fight them undermined the idea that they were too scared of them to open the door.

Once out of the kitchen they adapted far too quickly to news that the world was destroyed. They struggled to accept that civilisation had really been wiped away but then demanded that they get their cell block back. I appreciate that the TV show doesn’t have the time to field a thousand questions but the shallow characterisation of the prisoners made it hard to invest in what was unfolding. In a comic the brief shots of the clearly psychotic nature of their leader would have been all that was needed. On screen it just made him look like a Dexter villain waiting to be killed off.

The way the gang then disobeyed Rick’s clear instructions and beat down a group of Walkers was comical. And not in a good way. I just didn’t buy that they would so quickly ignore everything they had just been told. Again, it wasn’t the ignorance, it was just the speed at which it happened. Rick’s decision to kill their leader was fine and clearly had to be done. However his next two decisions were more baffling. Why did he chase after the younger prisoner when he ran? He didn’t know if Walkers were lurking around the corner and yet belted after him. Then when he caught up with him he condemned him to death when he could have easily saved him. If it was meant to be a Shane-like decision to thin the herd then it wasn’t as clearly communicated as it could have been.

The Unknown: If we accept that Rick made the decision to kill in that moment as a way to maintain control then I can buy that. I’m not sure what other motivation he would have had unless he was giving in to some kind of weird desire for revenge. His later shattered reaction to Lori seemed to imply that he was struggling with the guilt of what he had done. Again if that’s it then it was a well acted moment. If it was meant to relate to the tattered state of their marriage then I don’t know what to think.

Rick’s claim that at least half the population was dead seemed wildly optimistic. Who is watching Carol from the bushes?

Best Moment: Maggie saying thank you to Hershel and urging him to rest in peace was both sad and beautiful.

Conclusion:
In itself this was just a disappointing episode which won’t affect the show much going forward. However I’m worried by yet another chance for the writers to showcase new characters and utterly failing to characterise them properly. It’s an area of weakness which needs urgent attention.

('DiggThis)

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  • "On screen it just made him look like a Dexter villain waiting to be killed off." Funny sentence because the prison gang leader was called Dexter in the comics.

    Posted by Yo, 11/08/2013 10:20pm (5 years ago)

  • Very glad to be off the farm, but the show still seems to struggle when it comes to character development. The prisoner introductions, which could have been a fascinating study in cross pollination between the two groups were all too brief and clichéd. Here's the oversized, but lovable convict next to the small tough talking second banana followed by the local hick prisoner with the bad accent. Why on earth would anyone spend a year in a windowless room without at least making a few fact finding forays into the prison. Those guys should have looked more like Tom Hanks in Castaway by the time the cuffs came off the door. Once "rescued" you'd think that their first move would be to head for the hills, especially if you buy the fact that they apparently refuse to believe in the apocalypse that surrounds them. The 3-stooges shiving the walkers scene felt like a walking dead youtube parody sketch to me. They seem to be doing a better job with the regular cast as Carol finds a special purpose, Laurie attempts to fall on her sword, and even T-Dog gets to deliver a line, but they're still struggling when they stray too far from their bread and butter of zombie kills. Never apologize for nitpicking.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by dbates, 25/10/2012 7:50pm (6 years ago)

  • Lots of good acting on this episode. I loved the Daryl/Rick/T looks when the kitchen crew ignored their advice and went pell-mell. I actually thought they were gonna step back and let lose for a moment. I liked Lori's expression after Rick touched her. The scenes around Hershel were all pretty solid.

    The bad as mentioned elsewhere was the timing of Carol's cadaver practice. We did learn that Lori would likely need a c-section (not sure if we knew that before).

    What remains unkown is what effect decay and time has on the Walkers. How long until they shrivel up or goop apart? They graffically show a walker pull out of his handcuffs to attack, ripping of his hand and lingered on the shot a beat more than really necessary.

    Rick is a lawman, It would look up the prisoners they allowed to survive and learn what he could from the prison records. It might be prudent to re-incarcerate them rather than let them roam free.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 23/10/2012 1:33am (6 years ago)

  • With this episode I'm starting to like the episode structure, it made sense that we didn't see Andrea this week because this episode directly followed up on last week.

    The prisoners were a different dynamic (mixture of Hershel family last week and the gang from Vatos), even if they were painted with some broad strokes.

    I also felt that it was a little too easy for the gang to wheel Hershel out as they encountered no Walkers, same goes to Rick chasing after one of the prisoners.

    Otherwise I'm liking this season.

    Viewer score: 62 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 22/10/2012 11:39pm (6 years ago)

  • I actually feel the most hopeful that this show will be good since the pilot. However it so much more fun to rip an episode of the Walking Dead then talk about the good bits.

    I like that Carol is being prepared but she has to start practicing now? I understand Lori is pretty far along and could theoretically have the baby very soon but she couldn't wait until Herschel died or woke up. She has to endanger herself and Glenn and possibly cause Maggie or blonde daughter (I don't know her name and I don't really care) to kill their new zombified father. I like Carol showing initiative but this could have easily happened in the next episode.

    I'm not at all excited when we meet new characters on the show because I already don't care about 80% of the current survivors. So I was hoping/excepting that these prisoners wouldn't make it through this episode. However here's my question do we want Rick to give up his humanity? In the television world of Walter Whites, Don Drapers and Cersei Lannisters television characters don't have to be "good" for me to want to watch them. However for the most part bad people on TV don't "win" or survive. I think it would be really interesting if Rick's story is a good guy who has to flirt with his dark side to survive but eventually finds a way to be the hero again. I don't know if I want to watch the show where the main character loses his humanity completely to continue living this horrible existence.

    T-Dog still is the funniest character on television just because of his complete lack of importance. I'm so pleased when he has a line; I laugh every time he comes on screen. He's wonderfully useless and pointless. "I suggest you burn those bodies." Oh T-Dog you so cray cray, you have me in stitches.

    Posted by Derek, 22/10/2012 9:20pm (6 years ago)

  • "B) I understand the show was playing for slight cheap scare tactics with Lori giving Hershel CPR but it was extremely irritating."

    Great comments Ashley, but I wanted to address this. I think the fact that Hershel is the only Dr around kind of allows me to give Lori a pass for the mouth to mouth. Not that hard to believe that she would be so desperate to keep him alive that she would take a stupid risk like that. I think it works when you consider the fact that she is close to giving birth in a place with no trained medical professionals. Makes sense that she would do anything she possibly could to save Hershel, and then in turn possibly save herself and her unborn child.

    Posted by Aaron, 22/10/2012 8:59pm (6 years ago)

  • So usually we are on the same page, but I really disagree that this was a disappointing episode. I don’t see why the prisoners needed to be properly characterized just yet, as the vast majority of them existed just to be killed by Rick. I thought that the entire point of the episode was Rick crossing over to the dark side, if you will, and realizing that he is now in a position where he has to flat out murder people in order to protect his group. As far as the two remaining prisoners, I assume that we will learn more about them in coming episodes, so I’m not really worried about that yet.

    I do agree that the prisoners “shanking” the walkers was kind of silly, but I thought it was just an attempt at a little semi-light moment and it didn’t really bother me. As far as the prisoners being locked away for so long, it was a bit of a stretch, but at the same time if I heard walkers banging on the door and groaning I wouldn’t be in much of a rush to find out what was going on either. I think it’s easy to get how they would sit tight and wait for a rescue without having any idea of what was going on in the outside world.

    Rick’s journey from good guy police officer to somebody who will shoot people in bars and brain threatening convicts is what primarily drives my interest in this show, so when looked at in that context I’m ok with the prisoners being one dimensional.

    Not to go too long here, but what’s made this season work so well for me is the tonal change with all of our characters. It finally FEELS like a show full of hopeless people who are doing anything that they can to survive. The days of walking around the farm unarmed and unconcerned are over, and now the show finally has the sense of realism that was missing for much for the first two seasons. So I would give these first two episodes very high marks, and think that they may be the best back to back episodes that the show has done.

    Final small observation: Glad that they're calling him "T" now and not "T-Dog". I always thought that sounded very stupid given the circumstances that the characters are in.

    Glad the podcast is back


    Viewer score: 78 / 100

    Posted by Aaron , 22/10/2012 8:57pm (6 years ago)

  • I thought the pacing was a little slower than last episode. However, I appreciated the fact they kept to the prison only and tried not to integrate scenes between the split group.
    T-Dog, Daryl, and Rick had a great non-verbal communication. I thought the show tried to make you question your morality amongst the parallel between Tomas/Big Tiny's killing and Rick killing Tomas. Of course, In my opinion I felt Tomas' killing was justified because of his actions throughout the episode. I think what made alpha Rick appeared was the way they decided to have Rick execute the killing. That intense stare down followed by splitting Tomas' head open was extremely brutal, frightening, and entertaining in one.
    I liked the prisoners way of killing was unorganized and sloppy unlike the established methods of killing our survivors have mastered over the year.
    I also liked that they did show a slight glimpse of Carl not having the strongest relationship with his mother at this point.
    On to things I found slightly questionable.
    A) I am not sure why Carol wanted Glenn to help her get a walker from outside the prison when they were plenty of them lying around inside without risking the potential of being bit.
    (The only theory I could fathom was she needed the anatomy of a woman to practice). However, Daryl pointed out a specific "civilian" as he called her that seemed to be the only woman that was already inside the prison. I would figure she would suffice as she seemed to have not been decayed nearly as badly as the walker she chose.
    B) I understand the show was playing for slight cheap scare tactics with Lori giving Hershel CPR but it was extremely irritating.
    C) I thought it was interesting that Lori, to a certain degree planting the idea into Rick's head yet again if he needed to kill someone that imposed a danger to the group.
    D)And lastly, I think Axel is/will be a bigger threat than what his initial impression was from tonight.
    I thought the episode was solid and so far I think those in charge has tried to make this season run more efficiently and cohesive.
    I also enjoy your podcasts (Breaking Bad as well)

    Viewer score: 67 / 100

    Posted by Ashley , 22/10/2012 9:46am (6 years ago)

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