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20 June 2013 @ 08:02 am
Review: The Walking Dead's "Tell It To The Frogs"  
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The Walking Dead
S1, E3

"Tell It To The Frogs"

DIR: Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Writers (teleplay): Charles H. Eglee, Jack LoGiudice and Frank Darabont

Blurb (IMDB): Rick is reunited with Lori and Carl, but soon decides - along with some of the other survivors - to return to the rooftop and rescue Merle. Back at camp, tensions run high between the other survivors.

Spoilers presented, spoiled.


Scene 01: We open on the rooftop, where Merle was left handcuffed after T-Dog dropped the key in a one-in-a-million shot down a ventilation pipe.

Merle is suffering withdrawal of whatever drugs he was on, not to mention exposure to the heat on that concrete roof without fresh water. He's rambling to invisible somebodies, apparently reliving a confrontation he'd had at some point in the military.

He comes out of his fugue, to realize where he is and what position he's been left in. His wrist is bloodied from prior attempts to yank his cuffed arm free, and he flails around again now, attempting to break free while yelling to Jesus. He may not have wanted to do all of the yelling, as the zombies have been drawn to the rooftop and begin pushing on the chained door to get at him.

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And the tools that might help him cut through the cuffs are tantalizingly out of reach....


Scene 02: Meanwhile, Rick and Morales are in the front of the panel truck the rest used to escape. Morales tries to dissuade Rick from dwelling on leaving Merle behind. Morales tries to assure Rick that nobody back at the camp are going to be upset that he didn't make it back... well... excepting for his brother, Daryl.

Meanwhile, in the sports car, Glenn continues driving wildly, shouting out the window and having a grand old time of it.


Scene 03: Back at the camp, waiting for the exploratory party to come back, life goes on. Lori is giving Carl a haircut, Shane is planning for the future food needs of the camp's and bonding with Carl over frogs' legs. Elsewhere Jim is tending to the empty can lines to act as an early warning/to chase off wild animals wanting to get into their vegetable patch.

The camp hears the car alarm that Glenn never stopped to disable. He's powering up the mountain road well ahead of the panel van as Dale watches from an RV rooftop.

Glenn arrives in camp to panicked questions about the rest of the group, and to Shane's ire at the noise generated by the car alarm before Jim disables it. Dale tries to intervene to Shane that with the echoing of the alarm off of the mountains around them, it should act to confuse where the source of the noise was, so hopefully the Dead aren't drawn right to them. But he does add to Glenn that he needs to think more next time.

The others pull up in the panel truck.


Scene 04: Amy and Andrea have their tear-filled sister's reunion. Rick stays behind in the truck, still trying to deal with leaving Merle handcuffed on the rooftop, and the general exhaustion of being through what he has before finding this oasis of safety.

Morales greets his family - wife and two kids.

Lori leads Carl off, so that she won't immediately see Rick so we can have our big reunion scene in a minute. Carl is all teary, because... I guess the reunions leave him blue since he doesn't get one. Except of course, he does, as with Lori and Shane.

Rick is rocked on his heels to find them safe. There are tears and desperate holds all around for our family trio, but things are more ambivalent for Shane and Lori as she shares shocked looks with him over Rick's shoulder. He and Rick then share wide grins with one another as Lori clings to her husband.


Commentary: And, while the actors do great work with the reunion scene, the music did strike me a bit as over the top. I also think the scene did run a bit long, mostly due to Rick's sitting in the truck cab so long and nobody mentioning the new guy for several looong minutes. It struck me as clumsy and obviously trying to build up the moment artificially, where it wasn't needed.


Scene 05: So, that night around the campfire, Rick has told everyone about waking up in the hospital. Carl tells Rick that Lori said he had died, and Rick tells him with a small smile that Lori had every reason to think that it was true.

At this, Lori shoots a long stare at Shane. Lori doesn't say anything right away, but obviously she and Shane will be having a conversation later. She tells Rick that the hospital was supposed to be medivac-ing he and the other patients to Atlanta, but that it never happened since the city fell. Rick says that the hospital must've been overrun before any transfers could take place, judging by what he saw when he woke up.

Shane tells him that he was barely able to get Lori and Carl out of town after everything went to hell and Rick expresses his gratitude to him for looking after his family. Obviously, there is going to be the complication to deal with of Shane and Lori hooking up while they thought he was left for dead but for right now, everyone is just relieved to be together again.


Scene 06: At a secondary fire, off on their own, Ed Peletier is tending to his own campfire. He stokes it up, and Shane calls over to him about their fire rule to avoid drawing attention from wanderers in the woods. Tension rises throughout the camp, and we get a feeling from the dialog that Shane and Ed have butted heads before.

Shane gets up and marches over to Ed's fire. He pressures Ed into pulling the extra log out to keep the fires down low and Ed orders Carol to remove the burning log. Shane stamps it out with a look of disgust, and asks after how Carol and Sophia are doing. She apologizes for the fire, but he plays it off as no big deal. There is an undercurrent that Ed is a general asshole and that Carol and Sophia may be afraid of him.

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Scene 07: With Shane's return to the main camp fire, Dale turns to the subject of Merle, or more to the point, of his brother Daryl. T-Dog tells the group that since he dropped the key, it falls on his shoulders and he'll explain that they had to leave him. Rick says it's on him, since he cuffed him to begin with.

There is some discussion about lying or telling the truth, but it's complicated when T-Dog tells the others about his chaining that door. With the narrow staircase, it's likely that Merle is alive but still chained on the roof. T-Dog is having a hard time living with that truth and gets up to walk away.


Commentary: Again, I like this scene and the previous with Shane but at the same time it feels like it is dragged out too long. Maybe it's the number of characters we're trying to keep track of and making sure everyone gets a line (though Jim and Jacqui are missing in this one). Or maybe it's just a somewhat too leisurely pace... I'm not sure. It's just a bit too long.


Scene 08: Later that night, Rick and Lori are in their tent with Carl. He tucks in his son, and takes several seconds to just look at him, grateful to have found him before joining Lori.

He snuggles with his wife, and Lori has a momentary look on her face, suggesting she's dealing with her thoughts of Shane and her while she thought Rick was dead. He begins telling her about finding the house empty, but that he knew she and Carl were alive and that he'd find them both, because she took the family photo album. She jokes that he's getting cocky, but she pulls out the album that she's managed to hold onto. He in turn pulls out the family photo he's been carrying with him to add into the album of their family.

Lori apologizes to Rick for everything, which is a combination of what he knows - their fights before he was shot, and -one can't help but assume - for what has happened since, i.e. her affair with Shane. Naturally, Rick only understands the former. They start kissing, when she pulls out the wedding ring on her chain, and gives it back to him as as sign that they've put the "bad times" behind them and are making a fresh start.


Commentary: Okay, I cannot stand the camera work on this scene. It's meant to be intimate and keep us in Rick and Lori's space. I get why it was done. But, all it does is distract us. First, we keep switching back and forth between a Steadicam shot and a more hand held viewpoint. When we're with the hand held and looking down on Lori and Rick's hand, Lori is jittering all over the screen, despite lying relatively still. It gives a sense of trying to induce motion sickness and forces us away from the intimacy, not draw us into the moments of these two's reconnection. Secondly, once again the camera is practically smashed into their faces, so they're too damned close with their huge foreheads crowding out the framing. There is tight, and then there is TIGHT. This framing is pushed in much too far, again, especially when we're looking down on Lori vs. the two shot where we're still a bit too close, but not as badly.

Give us some room to take in the scene! And, quit back-and-forthing with the camera shots!



Rick and Lori start making out, and she turns down the light. Rick wants it, but he's worried about Carl being across the tent. Lori gives the green light by assuring him that their son won't wake up. The two start sexing. Lori holds back tears -- of relief, or guilt, or some combo we're left to figure out on our own.


Scene 09: Meantime, Shane is watching over the campsite from the top of the RV and feeling - I'm sure - quite a bit of ambivalence in regards to his supposed friend being back and taking over with Lori from where he left off. It's thundering and lightly raining, and Shane has a perfect view of the lights out in Rick and Lori's tent.


Scene 10: The following morning, Rick wakes up to find fresh clothes folded and waiting for him. He gets dressed and then walks through camp, greeting the other survivors, who are already up and at work with the daily chores of survival. He stops by Carol's ironing board, where she's washed his old clothes as best as she could and their currently drying. He thanks her for the kindness.

Next, he joins a heart broken and disgusted Glenn at the sport car, which to his chagrin is being stripped of anything useful that can be used to keep the group RV going. He jokingly tells Glenn that maybe he'll be able to steal another one some day.

Rick continues through the camp, where he finds Lori with Andrea and Amy. They're hanging wet clothes to dry in the sun. They exchange pleasantries, until Lori recognizes something on Rick's face. When she asks what he's thinking, he tells her about his worrying over Merle left behind on that roof. She's immediately on the defensive, already seeing where his mind is turning.

Shane pulls up then with jugs of water, and a reminder that they need to be boiled before usage. He and Laurie share uncomfortable glances.

Laurie asks Rick if he's asking her about what's on his mind, or if he's telling her ... obviously, his idea involves going off after Merle. But before things can be articulated, Carl screeches drawing everyone in a panicked run for his location.


Commentary: I do like the way that they have Rick and Lori shorthanding their entire argument, here. It's very much like a couple who have been together more than long enough to understand the way each other thinks and reacts.


Scene 11: There is a high adrenaline rush into the woods to find out where Carl went to. It appears he was wandering with Sophia, and Jacqui. She assures Lori that nobody was hurt, as Rick, Glenn, Shane and Jim find a zombie who is busy chowing down on a dead deer.

The undead senses their presence (After ignoring Carl's screaming fit? How does that work??), but the circle of men quickly beat it down, until Dale ends things with a beheading.


Commentary: There is something mildly disturbing with this scene, too. The circle of men-folk surrounding and beating the tar out of this pathetic undead guy... it doesn't sit right with me, and I felt relief when Dale used his axe to cut off the zombie's head and stopped the "circle jerk" going on.

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Dale comments on it being the first zombie that has made it up into the mountains. Jim thinks that they're finally running out of food in the city and it's causing them to disperse and widen their foraging. Before anyone can mention Glenn's hotrod-of-alarm-blaring, more noises in the woods have everyone on edge waiting for more wanderers.

This though, just turns out to be somebody tracking the deer. We'll find out that this is Daryl Dixon. He's pissed at the zombie for taking "his" deer & gets uppity with Dale, when he tells him to calm down.


Commentary: I have to say, that I was afraid of having Daryl as a character because this first scene with him is basically combining the ranting of Merle with the jerk-wadness of Ed. Yay. Thankfully, Future!Me assures me that Daryl gets much, much better and that I'll love him, so I should just ignore his stereotypical redneck introduction. I always trust Future!Me, 'cause he tends to be one smart guy.


Daryl, post insult at Dale, wonders if they can save any of the deer for the venison but Shane suggests that'd be too dangerous. Daryl gives the head of the zombie a boot, and we find out that a decapitated head is an 'alive' head. That upsets Amy and she retreats looking like she may vomit. Daryl puts a crossbow bolt into the zombie's head, while criticizing the rest of them for not destroying the brain.

As Daryl marches his way around them and back to camp, Rick stares after him - sizing him up, since he knows they have to tell him about Merle.


Scene 12: Speaking of which, Daryl now shouts out for his brother. Shane broaches the subject of Merle's being left and Rick fills Daryl in on what they did and why. Daryl does not take this news well. He goes in to attack Rick, but is shoulder checked roughly by Shane. In the meantime, T-Dog who had just returned carrying firewood, drops it to join the others. Before he can say anything, Darly pulls his hunting knife and slashes out at Rick. He and Shane team up to restrain Daryl. Shane puts a choke hold on the protesting Daryl.

With him controlled, Rick tells him that he'd like to "have a calm discussion on this topic". Rick tells Daryl that Merle doesn't play or work well with others, while T-Dog interrupts to tell Daryl that the fault is his for his amazing drop-the-key-down-a-roof-drain trick. Daryl has a mini-breakdown, but T-Dog adds that he chained the door, so Merle should still be alive.

Daryl demands to be told where they left him, so he can race off to the rescue. Lori intercedes (a little pissily) that her husband will show him where.

Rick agrees that he intends to go back into the city after Merle. Lori is not pleased. No one else seems to think it's a great plan, either.


Commentary: The non-steadicam action is bothersome again. It's tolerable in short scenes to add a bit of energy (like when they're being directly menaced/fighting a zombie), but this extended scenes using it has to stop. It's just distracting and mildly vertiginous, and when it's outside of the frantic action scene, kinda pointless-director "look at me"-ness.


Scene 13: A short time later, Rick leaves his and Lori's tent re-dressed in his cop's uniform. Shane confronts Rick as he's getting ready to leave the camp, and wants him to explain why he'd risk his life after having just returned to them by going after a douchebag like Merle.

Daryl menaces to choose his words more carefully, but Shane tells him he said what he meant.

Lori questions the brilliance of Daryl and Rick going off half-cocked on a two man operation into Atlanta, while Shane is arguing that Merle wouldn't give a man a glass of water if he was dying of thirst. Rick's more concerned about what sort of man he'd be if he left a person to die of thirst and exposure. In answer to Lori, he turns to Glenn, his being the expert on the way in and back out. This displeases Glenn, but he's Mr. Reliable, so....

Shane is growing more unhappy with the ratio of men-being-risked vs. man-they'll-be-rewarded-with. (Who can blame him?) T-Dog is the next to volunteer, which makes Daryl throw out another sarcastic comment. He and T-Dog get into some back and forth.

Shane is still pissed at leaving the camp shorthanded, and after a zombie had just been found too close. But Rick brings up getting more guns to help them defend themselves, and Glenn remembers the bag o' guns Rick dropped during his ill-fated first trip down Atlanta's streets. Well, the thought of 700 rounds does change the calculus some, but not for Lori who now bitches that Rick just got done reuniting with them. This sets up Carl to pressure his father not to go, as Lori argues the guns aren't worth the risk of leaving the camp... especially since the only reason Rick is going for the guns is because he'll already be there for Merle. She also argues that Merle isn't worth any of their lives... and pretty bluntly with Daryl still standing right there.

Lori and Rick argue, but Rick has one more card to play. He brings up Morgan and his boy, without whom he wouldn't be there at all. He tells her that they were going to follow, and that they'll be walking straight into the same trap he did if he doesn't warn them not to go to Atlanta. But, the walkie-talkie's are in the bag with the guns. Rick makes it an issue of honor and repaying the debt that he owes Morgan for taking him in when he was too disoriented to know what was going on. That takes the wind out of Lori's sail, as she knows her husband's sense of duty overrides personal safety concerns.


Commentary: I really like this scene, especially though, the give and take between Shane and Rick. You can really see that Shane, despite the complications that it causes between he and Lori, really kinda loves Rick and is just as upset of losing him again, as Lori is. I also love Glenn's reactions. And, that line of Shane's at Daryl over his brother being a douchebag is awesome and is probably (unfortunately) the best interaction between those two characters that we get.

I also really like that Morgan and Duane are mentioned and that Rick is still concerned about them (on the other hand, this just teased me that we'd see Lennie James join up with our camp survivors and left me hollow and disappointed when he fails to materialize).

This whole scene is really good.



Scene 14: The next task is to deal with Dale for his bolt cutters, but he's pissy toward T-Dog for the tools he already lost (through being the ones that were left behind with Merle on the roof). Rick assures him they'll pick 'em up, but Dale wants a bit more for his cooperation -- his pick of the long guns when they get back. It's a deal.

Wait. Not so fast. Jim is there, too, and working with Dale on the RV. He mentions the hose that is in rough shape... but that van that Rick took contains one that they could probably scavenge when they get back for use to bring the RV back to travel condition. Rick agrees, with Daryl honking on the horn to get a move on with this show.

Shane offers Rick bullets for his police revolver, but tells him how much he hates the idea of his going back into the city. He tells him though, that if he's going, he's going with bullets.

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Commentary: Slash? Yes, please. I know, I know -- it's a sickness.

Seriously though, until a bit later when it really becomes too repetitive and full of shouting, I really loved the Shane/Rick dynamic. I'm sorry when Future!Me butts in to inform me that Jon leaves the series to take another job and so Shane and Rick's story ends. Stupid, mean-spirited Future!Me....



Scene 15: With Glenn driving, Rick gets into the passenger seat and loads up the four bullets for his until-then empty Python.

The other survivors watch them driving away.


Scene 16: In Lori's tent, she finds Carl lying on his cot. She tells him that his dad and the others will be just fine, but Carl tells her that he isn't worried. Carl assures his mother that his dad is a survivor.


Scene 17: Back in Atlanta, our foursome arrive at some railroad tracks. Daryl issues vague threats at T-Dog. Glenn tells the others that they need to hoof it from there, to ensure that they don't lose their transport out by having the truck overrun.


Scene 18: At camp, Dale has again taken look out from the top of the RV. Lori comes up in a mild panic over not knowing where her son is (which is hilarious in hindsight, as I'm sure I'll complain about later). Dale tells her that Shane took him down to the quarry, where presumably they've been getting their drinking water.


Scene 19: Down at the quarry, Shane is carrying out his stated plan to catch them some frog's legs. A short distance away, Jacqui, Carol, Andrea and Amy are washing up more clothes. Shane gets in the water and makes a fool out of himself, drawing laughter from Carl -- but it doesn't appear any frogs.

Jacqui mentions that she's beginning to question the division of labor in the camp, while watching Shane splashing around and having more fun than work.

The ladies are under the watch of Ed, who is wearing his sour-face, as is his default expression. Jacqui -- logically and reasonably -- wonders how the world ending equalled them being stuck with all of the domestic chores, again. With a glance at her husband, Carol just says that it's just the way it is.


Commentary: See, we don't get any overt scenes of Ed being abusive, but every scene where he's lurking in the background, you sure do get that impression. I have to wonder if he's being set up to be our "feel good" kill by zombie at some point. And, whether that is going to be the extent of his character. We seem to have a plethora of assholes in this camp, and I'm getting worried that Rick is going to be the only "holier than though", while everyone else turns into a jerk. A more diverse set of people would be nice.

Future!Me has a lot to say on that, too -- but I'm telling him to shut his trap.



Scene 20: Back in the city, Glenn leads our gang to an opening in the fence that he already knows about. Rick questions whether they go for the guns or Merle first, which sets of Daryl again. Rick leads the decision to Glenn based on his knowledge of where they are vs. where they need to go to get to each.

Glenn chooses Merle, as he's closest.


Scene 21: Meanwhile, our girls get into wild laughter over the things they miss from the old world. Well, Ed can't abide his wife doing anything but being in a grey funk, so he immediately has to butt his face into things and be a real Dicky Downer (emphasise on dick). His presence shadows everything and he's rude and bossy toward Andrea, who is the only one to engage him in any conversation.


Scene 22: Around the quarry lake, Lori shows up to call over to Carl. She makes him leave Shane's side to go back to camp, taking it personally that Shane undermined her instructions to Carl to stay where Dale can see him (again -- hilarious in hindsight that she expresses worry over his whereabouts right now).

Obviously, it is less about Carl's leaving main camp, though and more about the subject hanging between Lori and Shane.

Shane tries to talk to Lori, and she gives a title shoutout. He pushes the topic of Rick, and she accuses him of lying to her about his having died in order to get into her pants. Shane is left to look bereft, but without giving us an explanation (at this time) for the circumstances that led him to tell her that Rick had died in the hospital.


Scene 23: In the department store, the gang find that only a few stragglers are still wandering the aisles after the previous swamping. Daryl takes one out with his crossbow.


Commentary: Weird scene break -- since we immediately rejoin Lori and Carl. Who edited this?? And, did I just miss T-Dog, or was he completely missing from this scene?


Scene 24: So, uh, in a sudden jump back to the quarry: Shane follows behind Lori and Carl, giving forlorn-face.


Commentary: Okay. Since we broke the action to toss this scene in here, just let me give a kudo to the location shooting. This quarry is a great location to choose for the survivor's camp.


Scene 25: While at the lakefront, the girls continue washing and scrubbing under the baleful eye of Ed, the Asshole. Andrea has enough of his attempts to intimidate. She gets up and tells him that if he's unhappy with the laundry service, he's free to pitch in and do his own. He and Andrea exchange words to Amy's growing concern for her sister. He orders Carol to leave the group of women, which she does immediately with that beaten-puppy air that pretty much confirms our feelings that Ed is an abuser.

Andrea tells Ed that Carol doesn't need to go anywhere with him, but Carol -- wanting to avoid any escalation, tearily tells her to let her join her husband. Ed tells Andrea that he'll knock her on her ass, to her appalled shock and he repeats that Carol can join him now, or regret it later. Jacqui makes it clear that they've all seen the fresh bruises that Carol turns up with and the other women have had enough of turning a blind eye to it.

Ed isn't interested in women's views on his family and starts to drag Carol away with him, as Shane notices the raised voices. When Carol tries to tell Ed that he doesn't have to get angry, he interrupts her with a hard smack to the face. This sets the others to get in between Carol and Ed with his yelling at her to get her ass back to their camp.

Shane interrupts the escalation, by dragging Ed away... and then throwing him to the ground, and beating the ever-lovin' shit outta him to Carol's growing hysteria, and the others' confusion and horror.

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Shane tells Ed that if he puts his hands on his wife, daughter or anybody else in camp again, he'll beat him to death. One definitely gets the idea though that this is less about Ed and more about Shane working off his own frustration after his confrontation with Lori, and that just doesn't feel good.


Commentary: I liked this scene, too, for what it was and the conflicts it brings up. But, this is the first hint we see that Shane maybe isn't quite the good guy and that his authoritarianism might be a might more nasty than just concern for keeping the group safe. This beating is really brutal and ugly and puts a new spin on the rising conflict that we can already see coming between Rick, Lori and Shane. Which is a shame, because I really want to like Shane, and I want him and Rick to work together instead of be at one another's throats. Future!Me disabuses me of that dream. Future!Me is kind of a dick.


Carol is far more upset over the brutality of the violence against her husband than she was over the abuse he's been heaping on her. And the others are definitely left not very happy to have Shane's "help", either. Andrea, especially, has a disgusted staredown at Shane over how far he went.

And it only helps to bring Carol over onto her husband's side, rather than to free her from him. She throws herself at his side and blubbers that she's sorry.


Commentary: Ugh. The whole scene really left my stomach turned.


Scene 26: We return now to the stairs in the mall leading to the rooftop. Somehow, all of the zombies crowding the stairwell moved on (I call dubious on this convenient development. Wouldn't it have been much cooler if they'd had to battle their way through... over Merle....)

They cut the chain around the door, and rush onto the roof with Daryl calling for his brother. Whatever they see sends "ew, gross" face onto T-Dog, while Daryl has a complete meltdown. We're to believe that a zombie slipped through the door and made it to Merle.

But, a camera pan tells us that it is... nastier... than that. We see a hacksaw ... and, yes... Merle's hand lying on the rooftop! Our continued pan shows us the cuff, still closed... and coated with blood. Daryl continues yelling "No! No!"

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Commentary: This is a fantastic place to end the episode, and I really love the music playing over it. It starts out with a discordant electric guitar sound that reminds me strongly of "28 Days Later" (which I'll eventually review, if I live long enough) and then slides into a bit of hard metal as we fade out to black and end credits.

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The Good: Michael Rooker again pulls out some really good acting for his sudden panic as he comes out of his delusion.

I loved that stare that Lori gives to Shane after seeing her husband just fine, thank you. And, I like the follow up where we're left to wonder just why Shane told her that Rick was dead and why he was left in that hospital room. This is especially true after the scenes of Rick and Shane together where we can see how much Shane cares for his partner-in-uniform. It's a nice mystery and a good way to set up tension for the trio.

I liked that little insight into Rick's psychology in having him change from civilian clothes to his uniform before going out on his rescue mission for Merle. That was an interesting choice.

I also loved that exchange between Daryl and Shane over Merle's personality.

I really like the brutal exchange of blows from Shane onto Ed as a way to tell us that Shane might not be the standup guy that you'd want in charge. And, that whole scene was really well done, including some pretty great work from Melissa McBride as the abused, but standing by her man Carol.

The implication of Merle's fate was an excellent place to leave our episode.


The Bad: I really don't like the hand held camera work for extended dialog scenes. It doesn't work and it makes me just a tad motion-sick. It's especially bad in the tent when it's used -- bizarrely -- to close up on Lori lying cuddled in her husband's arms. They really need to restrict this particular choice to frenetic action scenes.


Other Thoughts: That opening rant of Merle's went on a bit long, but Michael carried the one-man scene really well.

In fact, I think several scenes ran a bit longer than needed and the way that they put off Rick's reveal to Lori and Carl was a bit too obvious to work as feeling natural.

I'm a bit concerned with the number of characters we have here. I don't see how everyone is going to be able to have their own arcs, while at the same time we focus on the obvious main trio of Rick, Lori and Shane. I'm also a little concerned at this episode by the number of difficult characters we have: Shane, Lori (because she's pissy now), Andrea (pissy toward Ed now), Ed, Daryl, Merle (who obviously isn't dead) and possibly Rick when the affair between Lori and Shane inevitably comes to light. It's going to be hard to justify all of these folks continue to stay together, if one half of it is busy hating the other half. And, that doesn't even include our extras in the background who you'd think would once in a while get a "day in the life" episode just before they get eaten.

I would really like us to have less of the ultra-closeups, please! Some of our framing is way too cramped, and what is this series' obsession with wanting us to count our characters' pores?

Going back to the number of characters that are turning out to be unlikeable -- it'd be nice if we could either get rid of a few of them, or have some scenes where they are fleshed out more. I'm talking especially of Merle, Daryl and Ed here.


The Score: The episode feels a bit meandering with the lack of zombie action, but the ending is really great. I also like the way that Shane is being set up as an ambiguous guy ... it's tough to tell if he'll ultimately be a villain or a hero after this episode. The last several scenes really had my stomach tied in knots, and that is not a bad place to leave me hanging for a horror series...

3.75 out of 5 stars


Next Review: BTVS, S2 E20, "Go Fish" ... and I'll just tell you now, my highlight will be Xander in a speedo.


--end--