Episode 3 - Tell It To The Frogs
23 February 2012
Synopsis: Rick and the others return to camp and he is reunited with his family. The next day Merle's brother Darryl returns and is furious to learn what happened. Rick agrees to go back and Glenn and T-Dog go with them. Lori yells at Shane for having told her that Rick was dead. Ed hits his wife in front of everyone and Shane viciously beats him down.
The Good: I'm enjoying the simplicity of the storytelling at this stage of the show. In these first six episodes it seems we will just get to know this group of survivors rather than attempt to answer the question of what has happened to the rest of America, let alone the world.
The opening scene was excellent once more. Though Merle's delirious ramblings occasionally seemed forced, it was mostly compelling. His jumps from prayer to curses were particularly effective at showing the desperate straits he was facing. The final twist was brilliant and brutal as Rick leads the rescue party to find Merle has cut his own hand off to survive. I'm guessing forgiveness isn't coming the way of Rick and T-Dog now.
The post-apocalyptic world of the survivors' camp was well drawn. The sexist division of labour, the bartering for spare parts, the reminiscing about technology, the constant fear about sound and light attracting Walkers. The starkest reality of all of course is the absence of law enforcement. Ed is now free to beat his wife and do no work. But Shane is also free to take out his frustrations on him. More than the horrible beating he lays down, it's the look on the faces of the women that tells the real story. They are glad Shane is there to protect them but now they fear him too. It's become all too clear that the strong can dominate the weak and there's no one around to stop them. That mistrust and fear was well presented and believable.
The emotional reunion of Rick and his family was good too. I really liked Lori apologizing to him repeatedly. It's exactly what someone caught cheating would feel like saying. Even though we learn that Shane was the one who pronounced Rick dead and gone. We don't know yet his exact motives but it certainly makes Shane the most nuanced of the survivors. His resolute belief in safety and circling the wagons still makes sense. But the writers give Rick a very strong reason to go back into the city. Not just Merle, not just the guns but Morgan and Duane too. It was enough justification for him risking his life again.
The beatings to death (of the Walkers) still impress me. They just aren't something you see anywhere else on TV and they are brutal and primal and sad.
The Bad: I pointed out last week that the characterization wasn't strong so far. This week both Ed and Darryl were painted as fairly generic jerks. No one else really stood out either aside from Lori and Shane. There's still plenty of time for that to happen but it's a minor concern.
Sex with your kid in the tent? Not so great I would say.
The Unknown: Where's Merle gone? Why did Shane lie?
Best Moment: Probably the opening scene, seeing Walkers on the attack remains pretty dramatic and Merle gave the scene everything he had.
Conclusion: Another good episode. I liked that this one slowed things right down and showed us life back at camp. The Walkers will be much scarier if they are used sparingly.
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