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