Very good eppi!
Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead boasted the series’ first full-on surprise walker attack—which should have been exciting. The episode had all the elements to be the best so far this season—but instead we got an awkward installment littered with foreshadowing and clunky exposition.
Most of the problems focus on the character of Jim. And this has nothing to do with the acting ability of Andrew Rothenberg, who I actually think is quite great on the show. You see, Jim had a bad dream. Now, Jim can’t remember his bad dream, but it causes him to dig holes in the ground that are each, oh, roughly the size of a human body. This understandably worries the rest of the group. When confronted by Shane, Jim seemed a little off (but, really, under the circumstances, who wouldn’t be?) and clarified that he was not doing anyone any harm. Here’s where I get confused: Last week, Daryl tries to attack Rick with a knife and, after a choke-hold, Daryl’s sent off on his merry way. Jim, whose only crime is digging a few holes in the ground, finds himself handcuffed to a tree for almost the entire episode. I’ll get back to Jim a little bit later.
The other huge problem I have is with the Amy character. Now, before this episode, we didn’t know much about Amy other than that she’s the younger sister of Andrea. This episode really made sure that we knew Amy during an opening scene on a boat with her sister. I now know more about Amy than I do pretty much anyone in my own family. So, let’s add up what we’ve learned so far: Jim is digging human graves for no apparent reasons, and we got to know a lot about a character that we didn’t know much about before. Gee, wonder what’s going to happen here.
The good news: the Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog team that found Merle’s severed hand in Atlanta last week had a pretty interesting adventure. I said it last week, I’ll say it again: I really like the character of Daryl. According to the press notes, Daryl is a “racist, argumentative redneck” who has “a vicious temper and no interest in keeping anyone besides himself and his brother safe.” I don’t feel that’s true at all; at least Norman Reedus doesn’t appear to be playing him that way. I’ve never read the graphic novel (and for anyone who can explain the differences between television-series Daryl and graphic-novel Daryl in the comments would be welcome), but other than being related to Merle—who without a doubt is racist—there’s been no real acknowledgment of this trait with Daryl. I feel this is by design, so that we as an audience can actually root for this guy. In fact, it seems Daryl and T-Dog get along about as well (or as poorly) as Daryl gets along with anyone else. And after Glenn is captured by a gang—which turns out to be a group defending some sort of hospice/retirement home—Daryl seems to keep relatively calm in what, at one point, is a really tense situation. Put it this way: can anyone imagine Merle behaving as well as Daryl did in that situation?
In the comments for last week’s recap, VerityFrances said, “The reason that things are moving slowly is that they have season 2 ... It’s nice to get to know the characters before you start killing them off, or pulling them apart, slowly one by one.” I agree with this statement, but this is also why I didn’t particularly care for this episode. They do have a season two, but they didn’t know that when they filmed this episode. This episode moved things too quickly with Amy’s death, and, perhaps, with only six episodes in the first season, the writers felt they needed to make a move. Oh, yeah, Amy does die (but we all kinda knew that was coming, didn’t we?).
Rick and company failed to find Merle in Atlanta—who, off camera, stole their transportation back to camp—but they did find the weapons they were after. Unfortunately, by the time they got back to camp by foot, they arrived right in the middle of a walker sneak attack. Ed, the wife beater with a bloody face thanks to Shane’s pummeling last week, is the first to be eaten by a walker. I’m sure that bruised-up face of his was too delicious-looking for a walker to resist. By the end of the episode, Amy, Ed, and three other (fairly unknown) members of the camp were killed by walkers. But, oh no, we couldn’t just let the episode end on that note. Jim made sure to announce that, yeah, he just remembered what his dream was about. You see, he dug the graves because he had a dream that... yeah, Jim, we all get it. There was no reason for you or the show to explain.