The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4

Spoiler blah blah.

This movie mad me laugh damn hard!

Bring on the MoFo bad ass zombie killer!

I was watching Snakes on a Plane and laughing my ass off. The premise of the movie is to take Sam Jackson, and put him in a ridiculous situation where he can spit out great one liners and do bad ass stuff. What situation? How about 30k feet in the air onboard a 747 filled with crazy pissed off snakes.  It was perfect! Whenever they needed something bad to happen, they just put a snake in there. "Ok, how do we make this worse? Oh I got it, put a snake in the cockpit and kill the pilot!" Que Sam Jackson F-bomb version 39948. 

Why am I talking about Snakes on a Plane? Because this last episode of WD reminded me of it.  More on that in a bit.  First of all, AMC has not been listening to me. Once again, no progress on the overarching story has been made. I get it that they are dealing with shit, but that does not mean the episode cannot include bits about the story such as flashes of Chinooks in the distance, or sounds of explosions or something... Remember, last season left off with the characters trying to get to Fort Benning as their motivation. They picked up some good info on what happened, but need to find out whether there is a safe place, or if the rest of their existence is going to be spent running from Zombies. 

This episode I found myself paying more attention to my video game on the computer than to the episode. That is not good. I suspect ratings are on the verge of taking a huge dump and put WD in danger of cancellation for next year. 

But the episode did not disappoint either. First of all, as I predicted, Glen hooked up with hot farmers daughter. She also continued to take a bigger role in the group, while other characters were forced to do nothing like the Blonde and Shane. Continuing to compound their group dividing malcontent and setting the stage for future drama.  The kid is ok, the wife barely whines at all, and Glen and Daryl (The only dynamic characters aside from Rick and Shane in the show) handle most of the action. I want to talk about these two guys, and a third point, Cost Cutting.

After a hugely successful first season, created on a big budget, part of my issues with season two are their obvious cost cutting tactics.  The season has been written with their reduced budget in mind. Hell, I would rather have 6 episodes done on a high budget than 13 episodes on a shoe string. What do I mean? How about just one single set. The highway/farm. Well, thats actually two. But you get the point.  The traffic snarl and surrounding woods consumed most of the first three episodes, and the farm has been the setting for most of 2.  In season one the sets seemed so much more interesting. Maybe I am just imagining it though. And really, this issue is minor as I don't really thing it affects the quality of the show.

But the other cost cutting tactic does.  How bout a zombie apocalypse television show with NO zombies?  Yup. This episode included a grand total of one zombie, stuck in a well.  

Really the entire episode revolved around just a couple sets and plot points. The Well. The farm house. Another run down farm house (Probably on the same property) and a pharmacy?  Getting back to my other point today  by the way, did you notice that one of the only interesting parts of this episode was when Glen and the girl rode horses into town? I gobbled up the town eye candy!  The sign on the pharmacy suggesting to take what you need, and any thing else that might give a clue as to the struggle that happened there.  Those are the stories I want to see!

This is a big change from the dozens and dozens of extras that appeared last season.

I will refer to more cost cutting later.

He gets double duty this episode!  First of all, he gets to deal with the Snakes on the Plane... or in this case Zombies in a Well.  Does the reference make sense yet? To further emphasize my point about using zombies as simple plot points rather than creating a show about surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, the producers only used one zombie in this episode. And it was in a well.  The well they were using to get drinking water. Zoinks! Plot point! Get that Mutha F-ing zombie out of that god damned mutha F-ing well!  I wish they had sprung to get Sam Jackson to come into the scene and make some comment like that.  

All the zombie did was sit there and hiss while Glen dropped a noose around it's head.  But damn, the poor kid had to ride down the well, dangling above the zombies reach, and drop the noose around it's head! What the hell? The property has 4 other wells. Is it worth risking Glen to remove that one zombie?  And what the hell is the zombie doing in the well any way?  The property seems pretty secure, so how did this single zombie manage to make it's way into the property, AND find it's way into the 2x2 square foot area on those acres of land that would drop it into the well that the characters decided to use to get water? 

Now the girl said that this was the well they use to water the cows. How did they not notice the walker in the well before? Grr.  I hate it when things just don't make sense. I get it, willing suspension of disbelief. I am nit picking a zombie show. But COME ON!  

Has any one noticed there are no Zombie Kids?

This should have been the zombie in the well. We might have cared that way.

But at least Glen got a reward. He was picked to go "to town" and get some supplies with none other than the hot farmers daughter!  And sure enough, girls have needs too and shaboinks happened the first chance the two of them were alone.  Nice.  The best part, and this is why I love AMC, is the subtle writing. First of all, he was all gooey eyed and she shot down his post sex euphoria like a cold bitch. He got used. Nice.  But even better was the girls father eyeballing Glen when they got back. Dad must have known something funny happened. The writers didn't ruin the moment by giving him unnecessary dialogue. A simple look was all that was needed. Great stuff. Oh and they practiced safe sex. Can't be too careful!  

Too bad Rick's wife was not as sensible when she was getting scrogged by Shane. Soon we are going to have yet another kid in the group, and hopefully increasing the odds of us finally seeing a zombie child.  

Sure, I understand that the image of a zombie toddler meandering around by itself and gnawing on a leg bone would be too much for TV, but they would certainly exist.

Any way, git er done Glen! Nice job.  

Forced drama 101. 

Once again, the previously bad boy does good stuff. People like to see redemption, and the writers are no fools to this. They also like to make us care about characters, then put them into trouble. It's a simple solution.

 Protagonist + Challenge + Coping + Victory/Defeat = Drama.  

Shane coped wrong. The audience hates him. He is bad.
Daryl is coping right. The audience likes him. He is good. 

Great TV happens when those good and bad lines are blurred, and the coping happens in unexpected ways.


Daryl was the misunderstood bad boy rebel pre zombie. Probably a result of his social status, upbringing, family etc. He wants to change that. He goes out alone looking for the girl, (Loner coping.) and tells the mother a heartfelt story about a flower.  (The writers make us care about him, so he helps others by showing empathy.)  Now we are sure enough going to see him get into trouble.  (The writers make him fall and get an arrow up his butt.)  How he deals with the adversity next episode will be his character's defining moment. 

They took a moment to reinforce the fact that Old World Daryl still lingers when Rick suggests that he could leave as if he was waiting for a chance to slip away and leave his friends.  This reinforces how Daryl feels he is perceived and suggests a possible plot twist. Is he ever going to be accepted? Might he find acceptance elsewhere? What happens when Merl comes back and it is time to pick a side? 

In Blade 2 Daryl picked the wrong side... and paid the price.

In the preview for next episode, we see Daryl getting hurt, and we see Merl again. SURPRISE! 

Time for the good stuff.  What is going to happen next?  Well, this episode left little for me to work with. Glen and the girl are going ot have an ongoing back and forth thing used as a side romance plot. Hot and cold "I don't understand." stuff. Shane and the Blonde are going to bond more. The show sorta glossed over the issue of Rick's pistol that was supposed to be in the fat dudes hands when he died. After all, part of Shane's story was that they were "down to pistols" and the guy stayed behind to cover him, logically, with the pistol he was "down to". Since they did not take air time to show Shane explaining how he had Rick's gun, I am assuming he came up with a story off the air because it was back in Ricks hands this episode. 

The bubbling issue between Shane and Rick is going to come to a head soon. Rick gives orders, Shane offers his opinion, then follows Rick's orders. (Surrendering the guns.) It won't take long for Crazy Shane to finally decide he does not want to follow Rick's orders.  

Merl, at some point, is going to plot revenge and try to get Daryl to help.  Further, he probably has the little girl and has been protecting her.  After all, he probably has his own code of ethics that I spoke about last time, and it probably extends to protecting kids.  Motive aside. Daryl is going to have to make a choice.  Merl, or the group. 

The girl's mom is too minor a character at this point to be more than a plot instigator. Same with T-Dog and Dale.  I don't see them doing much more than interacting with the main characters offering support or countermand. If the girl comes back alive, we will see her mom remain as the same insignificant character that she is.  If she is killed, we can see a couple of interesting things happen. What I would like to see is her go rogue. She is getting weapons training from Shane, so maybe she will get all badass like Sam Jackson and go Medieval on some ones butt. My guess? Merl.  Thought it would be a nice AMC twist to have Daryl support Merl, and have the mom kill Daryl. 

Rick's wife, now preggers with Shane's kid, (that was one fast preg test) is going to have her own little hole to dig out of . Does she go to the vet for an abortion? Interesting twist there. I doubt the spiritual doctor would do an abortion having already commented about kids as our future and being religious and abortion being a sin and all.  But I doubt AMC would let such juicy possible plot points slip away. Imagine trying to raise a baby in Zombieland? A five year old can hide quietly while a zombie horde passes by, can a 5 month old? 

The coming confrontation between Shane and Rick is only going to be that much more nasty when he finds out Shane knocked up his wife. 

Then there is the issue of what the Doctor whispered into Rick's ear.  I might have been a bit drunk but I seem to remember this or last episode Rick referring the comments made by the doctor at the CDC but not getting into it.  I am a little surprised that Merl will be reappearing so soon, I thought he would appear right before a mid season break. At any rate, I suspect we will see new episodes through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I think that AMC will want to show Holiday programing through december, and will take a break on WD. That will leave them with 6 episodes that will air in the Spring if my count is right.  So I expect to see things bubble up to the boiling point with Shane's moral struggles, Merl's revenge, and the vet's philosophical issues in the next three episodes, and a nice little cliff hanger  to carry us through the winter. :)  

So how about Hell on Wheels?  AMC picked the right time to premiere it.  WD has a nice hold on the audience to lead into HoW which appeals to the same crowd. While I liked it for it's uniqueness, the old west theme, I have to say it seems more like forced drama.  I think that AMC should have taken a more surreal twist with the show and made it more dark and perverse.  Made it more weird.  I just don't think it is interesting enough to catch the audience that WD, Madmen and Breaking Bad did.  I doubt I will be watching it again this week.  It is just on too late!  

More to come.  I have some live shows planned, I am finishing up a big commission, and I want to talk about future 40k!



Chad said...

I'm loving the WD posts lately, you have some interesting insights into the show.

About the preview with Merl, the way it's done kind of makes me wonder if he's actually there, or if Daryl is "seeing things" after his fall. Seems to me they could play it up that he's really badly hurt and thinking of giving up, then he starts to see his brother's image telling him he's weak and "I don't think you're gonna make it...", making Daryl want to try that much harder to prove him wrong. I honestly hope i'm wrong, I'd love to see Merl come back, but I still think in the end Daryl will stand up to his brother in favour of the group.

master_of_perturabo said...

It's pretty easy to see where the show is going if you read the comics. Sure they might decide to change things slightly but they'll keep to the general story.

They get kicked out of the farm and end up at the prison. The hillbilly brother who lost a hand retcons the original antagonist from the prison saga easily.

Jawaballs said...

I thought I was pretty clear that I didn't care about the comic. For those of us who did not read the comic, it is fun to analyze and predict things on the TV show. I prefer TV because you have to rely more on good acting to understand what is going on inside a characters head when in a comic it is spelled out for you, literally.

Sure if I wanted to totally ruin the TV show for myself, I could read the dumb comic.

Andrew G said...


Not all of us have read, or want to read the comic. I read these posts knowing that the spoilers within will be about the current episode, not some guy telling about the stuff that hasn't aired yet from the comic.

Thanks for ruining it!


I enjoy lurking through these posts, and esp. the walking dead stuff. Just thought I'd drop in on this one and give it the thumbs up! See you at Conflict!

Jawaballs said...

Andrew see you there. And you nailed it. We all know that the story already has been written and that the program is closely based on the graphic novel. But I outlined in the first post about this that I am only responding to the TV show and have not read, and am not interested in reading the comic. I'd rather keep the future episodes unknown, so that we can have fun speculating about them. In these posts, I am responding to the current episode, and discussing what I think might happen next.

Aventine said...

Don't worry guys, the show has hardly followed the comic at all so far,so no need to be concerned about spoilers

Post a Comment