The Walking Dead... holy crap


Do not read any further if you do not want the episode spoiled.

Holy Crap.

Ok. Lets start with this. I have not watched Revolution since episode three. But allow me to show you how a terrible actor portrays grief/sorrow/agony at the sudden death of a loved one:

There it is. You can almost feel the anguish! (not) Actually it is a little hard to tell if she just lost her surrogate mother, just found out her pet goldfish that she won at the carnival the night before went belly up, or if she just heard Keeping Up with the Kardashians was cancelled.  

Observe true acting:

First, I suppose if her expression is supposed to emulate the shock of a 10 year old who just shot his mother in the head after watching his little sister ripped from her bleeding womb, than she is spot on. Their expressions are very similar. But for Carl's case, it is appropriate. For Charlie, it is bland. But looking more closely, you can see that Chandler Riggs is indeed a better actor. (Bear with me, I know this is just a picture, I am referring to this moment of the scene, not the image itself.) While the two of them share the same blank downward stare, his is a true look of shock, loss and disbelief. Hers? It looks like she is channeling her inner five year old, remembering what it was like when she stubbed her toe and went crying to daddy. You can see the walls he is erecting against the demons growing inside him. On her face all you can see is her disappointment in waking up on a Saturday morning to find that her little brother drank all the milk and she can't eat her Lucky Charms.

But Charlie and Carl are not why I am showing these pics. Do you want to see anguish? Take a look at Rick. His acting in this scene, while a bit exaggerated, was fantastic. You can't script this sort of scene.

I can imagine JJ Abrams telling Charlie "Ok, now go hug your uncle and look sad".  She complies. "Hmm. that's terrible. Oh well. We are out of time and over budget. Perfect! CUT! Wrap."  It doesn't matter. NBC will air the crap and the public will eat it up.

Thankfully The Walking Dead expects more, and gets it.

Andrew Lincoln channeled something few people can fathom. He portrayed the anguish of a man who has had just about every thing sane in his life ripped from his heart, one bit at a time.  You can see in his facial expression the shock and horror, the incredible disbelief, and desperate seeking for an answer that is not there, all at once.  Most lesser actors, like the chick playing Charlie, would have run up to Carl and hugged him in a sobbing embrace being all melodramatic and pathetic and using it as an opportunity to bury their face and hide the fact that they have no idea how to portray anguish. Well Andrew Lincoln tipped the scales of sorrow, and you could literally see Rick descend into madness. His unfettered flop to the ground in agony of the heart, almost wrenched my own out of my chest. I could actually feel what he was feeling. I don't think I have ever had that experience watching TV, ever.

If he fails to win an Emmy... I will probably flop on the ground myself.

This acting folks, is why we love this show and laugh at Revolution. Scenes like this, and the one that led to it, are what make TWD one of the most fantastic television shows, of any network, of any genre, ever.

Now that I got that off my chest!

This episode left me staring at the screen for a good long time.  Since my power was off for almost all of time between this episode and the week prior, I didn't get to see any previews. From what I did see, I don't remember seeing any thing that led me to believe what was going to happen here.

In the last episode, that I did not get to write about thanks to Sandy, we were treated to an entire hour of watching Andrea look all doe eyed at The Governor and Michone skulk about looking all skulky. I think that was about it!  Some more plot was revealed, including Merl showing a little more of what makes him tick. Are they actually going to turn him into an anti-hero? But the episode was forgettable at best and could have been summed up in a 3 minute flashback.

Well they made up for it this week.

First the convicts went to the group appealing to humanity. The poor guys got a dose of what the new reality of the world is. I felt that Rick's decision to expel them was correct. While they possibly could have become good members of the group, there was just too much mystery involved, and too much chance.  But all of that  didn't matter once the walkers started doing their thing.

The next 45 minutes could have been a season finale any other year for any other show. But for season three of TWD, this was just episode four!  The group gets splintered by a herd of walkers surprising them from behind.  Hershel and his daughter safely lock themselves up in a cage, while Maggie, Carl and Lori run inside and Tdog and Carol make a break in another direction.

Tdog shockingly gets bitten in the shoulder. Something I was absolutely NOT expecting. It took me several minutes to understand that we were witnessing the death of a major character!  I was like... "Wait a second, this means he is going to die!" Man this episode just got more interesting.

Then to make matters worse, Carl, Lori and Maggie make it to safety, but Lori starts going into labor. Lord when it rains it pours!  At worst at this point I am expecting more complications as walkers hear the baby being born and Tdog to have some emotional good bye like the guy from season one.


Just as we were adjusting to this episodes shocking events, it gets even worse!  Lori, who already had a problem pregnancy, developed complications. She was not dialated and was dripping blood.  I have a pretty good idea that Lori knew from the start that with her history, this baby was a death sentence. How could you possibly have a successful C-section performed by a vet or his untrained daughter in the middle of the wilds of a zombie apocalypse. Deciding whether or not to take the abortion pills had nothing to do with the babies life, it was her own at the time. She knew the baby would kill her. She decided then that the babies life meant more and that she would make the sacrifice.

From there it gets medieval. Tdog knows he is done. He is trying to get Carol to safety, and comes across a group of walkers between them and an exit.  So instead of going out like a punk, he charges the walkers, sacrificing himself and getting his throat torn out in the process while Carol makes a run for it!  What a way to go. Tdog proved, if only to himself, that he was NOT weak.

I love TWD for this. It is full of little personal struggles and victories.  You could see a moment of clarity in his face. His conversation with Dale on the highway was sort of a premonition. But in this case, Tdog chose his way to go.

But then came the even more unexpected.  Lori also having a moment of clarity, and also making that choice.  

She knew what to do when the time came, and made it so.

The director framed the light of the window on her face, a sort of absolution for what she has done. And this is the moment where you can see her clarity. And where you can see the last visages of Carl's childhood slip away with her last breaths.

Like the scene with Rick, Lori went a little over the top with the "you're good, stay good" stuff.  But it still felt right. And the scene where Carl comes upstairs after the gun shot... chilling.

Hulksmash said of my last article that I was reading too far into it, that there was no comparison between Carl and Shane. Well readers, I think we can officially equate Carl's shooting of his mother to Shane's shooting of the fat dude. Different circumstances yes, but same result. Just think about it, in less than a year, a 10 year old kid had to shoot two of the three people he loved most in the world. The zombie apocalypse takes another victim without a bit of flesh being taken at all. When it is Rick's turn for a bullet in the head, my money is on Carl to complete the trifecta. I think we can look forward to some seriously dark content involving Carl in the episodes to come. I can't wait!

Side note:

I wonder if he actually managed the shot, or just shot the ground, or if he failed to do her brain in. It would not be surprising to see a walker Lori after all this!  That would take huge balls for TWD and I would cheer.

So where to go from this?

The episode was literally exhausting to watch. I was drained.

The convicts earned the trust of the group, for now. What little is left of it.  But with a baby now here, they are going to need the infinitely and potentially more useful duo more than Tdog and Lori. It will be satisfying to see how they integrate with the group, and just how much more badass the group becomes.

I see leadership issues cropping up with Rick, especially as he pulls away from the baby that is probably not even his, but serves as a reminder to his friend that he killed, and the wife that he all but left while she was right next to him. That is going to leave Maggie and Glen doing most of the parenting. Hershel gets a stay of execution for now.  I was expecting him to be written off fairly quick, especially since I expected at least one of the cons to join the group. There is only so much room in the budget!  But the complete right hook of killing Tdog and Lori opens up that slot. We will see more death from the other side of the plot I'm sure.

Speaking of the other side...

Merl is going to go to the farm, then track his brother all about Atlanta. Eventually that is going to lead The Gov to the prison.  We are going to see several confrontations.

Merl vs Daryl:

Yup, Daryl and Merl are going to be happy at first, but then Daryl is going to be forced to make choices as it becomes clear that Merl is incompatible with the group. Blood is thicker than water.

But hold on!  With Rick and Carl both descending into madness, will there still be such a conflict of interests between them and Merl?  Perhaps they will find each other a bit more agreeable!

It is too hard to tell now, and impossible to predict, but we are going to see a lot of struggling when the two groups meet, both external and internal. Demons are going to come rearing their ugly heads, and death will follow.

I don't know what sort of weirdness we will see from Andrea yet, and likewise from Michone.  She is definitely going to end up in bed with The Gov. From there will we see her bad side emerge? Or will her sense of goodness pull through. I believe that previously, it was only Dale who maintained her, otherwise we would have seen her pulling a Shane. Unfettered and seemingly betrayed by the group, I think the zombie apocalypse is going to take it's toll on her.

We will see what happens when her or Michone snoop their way into the basement and find that room full of zombie heads in fish tanks.

Well there you have it. Absolutely brilliant television. If they keep this up, we will be seeing TWD mentioned a whole lot more at next year's Emmies.

I for one will be driving 90 all the way home from DaBoyz on Sunday in order to get home in time to see the show. (I don't have DVR).


Another interesting side note... In the opening credits when they show the little scenes of things related to the characters played by the actors whose names are up on the screen, when they got to Andrea and Lori, they combined the scene. They had some shells representing Andrea and some centipedes representing Lori I presume. (Fitting)  But as things turn out, the cut scene is actually fitting for Andrea alone, with the shells and bugs, while they made it easy to edit out Lori completely!  I also wondered why there was no cutscene for Tdog, seeing as how he has been there since the start. But along that same line of thought, I don't believe there is one for Glen either... uhoh... Might this be a predictor for who bites it next?


Ted Nagel said...

Emotionally draining is all I can say about that episode. I do DVR it and typically watch it in the AM before work. My entire ride to the office that morning was thought filled with the show.

Absolutely amazing.

Sometimes when a show kills a major character I don't even want to watch it anymore. When Game of Thrones killed my favorite character, I almost gave up on the series (I'm glad I didn't mind ya). The Walking Dead however, tends to have the opposite effect, even after the death of major players, I can't wait to see what happens next.

ShotDownMind said...

Im pretty sure you are way to googoogaga lol.

Its good at times, but almost never as good as you say.

Jawaballs said...

:) Perhaps Shotdownmind. I admit that the show does have some frequent flaws and has had some pretty bad episodes. It may be that I let artistry of individual performances cloud my estimation of the show as a whole. But when you get episodes like this, they more than make up for stinkers like last weeks.

ShotDownMind said...

I think what is fantastic about the series:

they dont call them zombies

zombie show that didnt get into the zombie lore until end of first season, and barely scratched it

they kill shit and blow up heads and brains often enough to desensitize any viewer after just 1 or 2 episodes

there are almost no twists. if you really are a connoisseur of story and drama, they dont pretend nothing bad is going to happen or try to trick us. we actually know what is going to happen next almost 100% of the time. but the writers have really mastered suspense and use it masterfully.

Most of season 2 was boring and useless.

The story is not as deep as you proclaim, but I sit on the edge of my couch and laugh/cringe/cry almost every episode.

I cry out of the brilliance of suspense. they really use the same build up constantly, but I want to see if "it" happens next.

Jawaballs said...

Great points and I agree! I also like how they don't call them zombies, as if the zombie culture does not exist in this world. I think this was even touched on at some point, in this world the zombie apocalypse was not even considered.

And yes, I especially love how they don't rely on artificial twists to create drama. They just use great writing!

I agree, season two was weak. To really appreciate the season you have to focus on the gems hidden within the episodes, like the interactions between Dale and Shane, Shanes descent into madness and the duplicity of Lori's personality.

In a mostly bland season, there were still some moments that can be considered among the best scenes to appear on TV on any network.

This season has been mostly outstanding however.

It may not be as deep as I like to look, but interpretation is part of the fun that I have with the show! IT is certainly deeper, and more human than shows like Revolution.

ShotDownMind said...

I dont think they fleshed out the "love triangle" enough or at all.

I havent watched the webisodes or read any of the comics. But besides a couple of snide conversations, I have no ideaer why Rick hated on Lori so much.

I think especially in death, she was a really weak character. i think killing her off has more to do with cleanup and drama focus then installing demons in carl. that kid is fuked no matter what. they dont have to go out of their way to make sure we know.

I didnt expect her to die in this manner even though it seemed foreshadowed incredibly. I thought her acting as sort of a co-counselor to rick they were trying to create an actual use for her now that shane is dead. she gave rick the ok to kill in cold blood to handle the cons if he thought it was necessary, and she emphasized the part about killing the cons...

My favorite so far was the shootout in the bar. Amazing. I prob wouldent have watched season 2.5 without it.

ShotDownMind said...

vs revolution and falling skies and a few others, they take the cake by far. man i wish i hadent even typed falling skies.

Jawaballs said...

Hah, Falling Skies! I gave that show a good try. But man it went south fast. I just couldn't watch season two.

As for the Lori, Rick Shane love triangle... Firstly yes she is a weak character and I'm glad she is gone. Ive been calling for her head for a year. In season two especially, she spent a lot of time manipulating Shane and Rick for some weird reason. She would tell shane to leave, then ask him to stay. Then she would go to Rick and tell him they needed Shane, then say Rick needs to do what he needs to do to protect the group from him. The whole situation with Shane was her fault, a situation created by her. She didn't love her husband, almost admitted in season one. But she felt duty bound to be with him for Carl when he returned. But missed the big Shane trouser snake and hated herself for it!

sonsoftaurus said...

I missed the first few minutes, and am glad I did. When they ran into the prisoner in the generators it was more of a surprise that way. Saw the opener in the replay.

Hulksmash said...

Still reading a bit to much into it but a good article :)

One thing:

How in gods name is Carl shooting his dead mother in the head the same as someone shooting a living person to escape?

You literally can't compare an act of selfish survival against a live human to an act that has been agreed upon by the group regarding their deaths.

Oh, and I doubt we'll see zombie Lori. Carl is hard. And I mean HARD now. He was already developing it last season and throughout this season has shown the same thing. He thinks of the group and responds accordingly now. In all honesty, outside of Daryl, he's probably the best adjusted member in this world. And I think they really pointed that out with the flashback to Rick handing him the gun in Season 2.

Doesn't mean he won't have daemons having watched his mother get gutted to save his sibling but I still think you reach to hard to a correlation between shane and carl.

Jawaballs said...

Hah! I knew you were going to pipe in on that. You are right, the circumstances are very different (I did say that) and at face value, unrelated. I compare them though because they are both turning points that will push them over the edge. Shane was barely holding on, but having to make the call and sacrifice the guy sent him over. And remember, it wasn't entirely selfish. As I discussed last season, he was more respecting his bind of honor to his friend still at that point than worrying about himself. One of them had to get away to save Carl, and Shane knew he had the best chance of survival.

It was not an easy decision for him, but once he made it, he was all in.

Shooting Lori was no more easy for Carl, and no doubt has the same ramifications. The only question, which way will it take him? We saw where it brought Shane. Will it bring Carl the other direction?

Hulksmash said...

I guess I just don't see where shooting a corpse in the head (one that might not even have been moving)is the same type of turning point of not just killing a man but actually wounding him to draw attention from you and leaving him to be eaten alive.

Either way it was a hell of an episode :)

Jawaballs said...

Well up until that point Shane was still struggling but succeeding at holding onto pre-apocalpyse order. But giving into his dark side, and shooting Otis, sent him into a downward spiral where he fell hard and fast.

Carl has been showing signs parallel, if not similar, to those of Shane's, the scene with the zombie in the swamp last year, the scene with his mom this year, the scene where he tells his dad to shoot that kid... Shooting his mother could be the symbolic last straw causing a kid who is struggling with his current situation to become unhinged and follow Shane down that spiral.

But I think in this case, Carl is made of better stock, and we will see his goodness shine through. Like the light on Lori's face!

Post a Comment