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04 November 2014 @ 03:00 pm
Walking Dead review: What Lies Ahead (part ii of ii)  
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Scene 31: Daryl is able to track her for some distance, before he finds her tracks suddenly veering off of the chosen track back to the road. After a short discussion, Glenn and Shane are sent back to the highway to keep everyone there occupied and from panicking while he and Daryl continue tracking the girl.


Scene 32: Shane occupies everyone by continuing their scavenging for needed supplies and pushing and cajoling a clear path for the RV.

Carol wonders why they’re not all out there in the woods looking, but Dale explains that they need to make enough room for the RV to turn around, stating the plan to head back toward the bypass road that Glenn had flagged earlier.

They discuss the walkers observed habit of forming packs before Shane gets them focused back on the tasks at hand.


Commentary: *Pshaw!* Can you just try to imagine how useful Carol would be wandering around in the woods, yelling for Sophia, getting herself just as lost…. Yeah. Just shut up, Carol.

[It’s really hard to like Carol as a character, but stick with her -- she undergoes some great development and becomes one of my favorites, a lot like Daryl actually.]



Scene 33: In the woods, Rick complains that the tracks have vanished. Daryl tells him the track is still there, it’s just really faint.


Scene 34: Back on the road, Carl has wandered away from the group [lets all take a moment to fake surprise at this]. He finds a cool-beans set of weapons but they’re in a car with a corpse.

Carl stares at the dead body as he tries and fails to get the weapons cache from the body where it’s been tucked tightly against the seat strap. The body appears to have been shot in the side of the head, but Carl still watches it suspiciously as he climbs up into the cab to wrestle with the satchel.

The body falls forward, and with a yell of alarm, Carl falls onto the pavement. He stares up at the body hanging partially out of the truck, but the corpse is just a corpse and not a surprise walker.


Commentary: The only thing I want to mention here, is how often everyone seems to forget that people stink when they’re dead. And that stink doesn’t dissipate in closed environments, like cars with their windows rolled up. I wish they’d treat the practical effects of being around these bodies with a lot more consistency and seriousness. It’s not just about the smell, but also about the diseases and fluids that come with rotting bodies. These issues are only haphazardly referred to off and on when the script or direction remembers it, and scenes like this one would be far more harrowing and gross if they’d remember to treat the bodies like the decaying things they are.


Scene 35: Carl runs to show Shane his prize. Shane is working on one of the cars and tells Carl to hand the tools over to Dale to put away. In the meantime, Carl is excited at the sharp weaponry and ignores Lori telling him to stop playing with them. She snaps at him.

He asks to keep one of the blades, but Lori won’t hear of it. Carl turns to Shane to ask that he tell her to let him keep one -- apparently forgetting that Shane isn’t playing the father role anymore. Shane snaps that he told him to take the weapons to Dale.


Scene 36: With Carl sent dejectedly away, Lori turns on Shane for blowing off Carl’s obvious hero-worship. Shane reminds her that she told him to stay away from her and her son. Lori brings up the CDC incident and he admits to making a mistake, but doesn’t sound like he’s taking what actually happened as what it almost was. He accuses her of making a few mistakes of her own, which she completely agrees with. But she tells him that the two of them need to stop this bitterness between them over what happened before and what the new situation is now.

Shane explains that he’s fixing up his newly found car to slip away and separate from the group. Lori is left staring at him speechless.

He starts his new ride, only to have the radio on. It’s broadcasting an emergency alert. There is a moment of excitement at hearing the voice on the radio, but it’s just an automated, repeating civil defense broadcast.


Commentary: Arggh. I hate this scene. Neither one of these characters comes off well and it’s hard to care when they’re both so… repulsive. Let’s start with Shane ordering Carl to take the weapons to Dale and Lori getting pissy about his blowing off her son: WHY? He’s trying to get Carl to listen to her about not playing around with the sharp weapons, even though the kid should be learning how to fight back to save himself in an extreme situation -- Sophia should’ve already pounded that lesson into them all, but given that as it may - You’d think that Lori would appreciate Shane stepping away from his role in telling Carl what to do like he’s still the replacement father.

Next, Shane’s statement about her ordering him to put some space between her family and him - Lori brings up the attempted assault, which is fully a concern - but that isn’t when she ordered him to leave her family alone. She did that way back in “Tell It To The Frogs”… right after Rick made his miraculous return and she was pissed off that he told her that her husband was dead. I wish Shane had mentioned that fact to her, instead of letting her pretend that she wanted space because of the latter incident.

Third: That incident! Why is Lori so ready to have Carl continue to be encouraged to hero worship Shane, instead of being relieved that Shane is showing his asshole colors to her son so that it’ll be easier to keep that distance she wants?! After his drunken attempt at a sexual assault, it doesn’t make sense for Lori to want Shane to continue to treat her son like a stepson of sorts. In fact, it makes sense for the exact opposite to be true. But let’s say that Lori recognizes the confusion and stress and she just decides to put that one horrible moment behind them for the cohesion of the group… why then throw it in his face as an excuse to keep him away from her family, while at the same time demanding he stop blowing off Carl? She isn’t making sense! And Shane isn’t being allowed to comment on not knowing what the hell she wants him to do or not do in regards to her family anymore.

Finally, I can understand Lori’s confusion over Shane’s sudden announcement he’s going to leave in order to resolve this situation. I’ve no problem on that front because after everything, they were close, Carl was close to him and the chances of his getting on all alone aren’t promising. If she has at least half-convinced herself to forget the incident, then I can see her not wanting his skills to be lost to the group, as well and his sudden out-of-the-blue plan could upset and confuse her with how to feel about it. But the problem with this section of their bitchfest is Jon’s acting which is awful. His line delivery is just painful and the bumpkin look on his open-mouthed face is horrible for this emotionally charged scene.

Everything together just makes their scene together fail.



Scene 37: In the forest, Daryl and Rick come across another walker ambling along, enjoying the quiet stroll through the late afternoon warmth.

They savagely attack the dude. While Rick bird whistles to draw focus, our bowman fires through the back of his head.


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When we return from a not-commercial-break, they notice the fresh looking blood on his face and a queasy thought occurs to both of them. Rick notes that there is fresh meat caught in its teeth, as well. He decides they have to know if it has human in its gullet.

Daryl takes on that task, having experience in gutting and skinning game. After an extremely unpleasant gutting and turning the stomach inside out while Rick tries to swallow back his vomit, they find that no human remains are left in the digestive tract.


Scene 38: In the late afternoon, Andrea checks on how Carol is doing. They both try to believe that she’ll be found.

Andrea gives her a pat, before marching over to join Dale. She asks for the whereabouts of her gun, which she already knows Dale must’ve hidden from her. Shane joins them as Andrea demands the gun back, while Dale suggests it isn’t a good idea at the moment. Shane takes Dale’s side, suggesting that in general until everyone else is trained in the proper use of them, Dale should keep a hold of them. Andrea storms away. Shane asks Dale what he just walked into, but before an answer can come, Rick returns.


Scene 39: To Carol’s heartbreak he has to report that the trail went cold and they have to stop for the night. Daryl is siding with Rick that stumbling about in the dark won’t help anything, even though the thought of Sophia trying to survive the night on her own is a scary idea [to whit, she’ll probably trip over her own feet into a tree trunk and brain her idiot self].

The fact that Rick and Daryl are filthy with blood doesn’t calm anything, but Daryl tells Carol about cutting open the walker to make sure. She can breathe again… enough to stop be afraid and start being angry at Rick’s “losing her”.

Rick pleads with Carol that drawing the walkers away from her was the only choice he could make under the circumstances [which as I’ve explained is bullshit, because they didn’t make the threat of being over run probable enough].

He feels everyone looking at him and walks away from everyone else.


Scene 40:  The next morning, everyone starts grabbing weapons to perform a more organized search under Daryl’s direction. Andrea is still bitching about them all not getting a gun, but Shane explains that they can’t have everyone firing bullets around every time a tree rustles nearby. He further tells them that all they need is one round going off at the wrong time and a heard could be drawn down on all of them.

It makes sense, but Andrea is still pissed that Dale is continuing to interfere with her.

Speaking of Dale, he’s assigned to stay behind and continue work on the RV so they can get out of there the moment they get back with Carol’s little girl. Also remaining with the RV is T-Dog who is nursing his wounded arm. There is some discussion of Carl, who wants to go and help… they end up allowing, though he’s to stay within eyesight - no exceptions.

[Future!Harsens-rob tries to interject again, but I think we got it now. Carl never stops being a little, wandering shit who doesn’t pay attention to his parents.]

Before heading out as everyone is gathering some gear for a hike, Andrea wanders up to Dale. Loudly enough for everyone to uncomfortably witness it, Andrea again demands her gun from Dale, who continues to refuse “for her”. She accuses him of doing it for himself, because he can’t stop treating her like he’s responsible for her and what she does and when is none of his business.


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Dale points out to Andrea that he saved her life, but she turns this back on him. She saved his life by leaving and it’s a responsibility he forced on her - stripping her of her right to make her own choice for herself about when and how to leave this world. She’s obviously very bitter still that she didn’t join Jacqui and Jenner.


Commentary: SO MUCH TO UNPACK. First, I’m siding with Shane on the no-guns-for-the-untrained decision. Andrea can take it as a veil for protecting her from her suicidal impulse, as Dale clearly means it no matter what justification Shane is using, as much as she wants - it still makes sense. They’re all going to be out there and the last thing they need are people not checking their targets before squeezing rounds everywhere. She can just suck it.

Now, as to Andrea’s leaving the CDC: I’ve explained how I feel about that already. Basically, I understand her anger. But she wasn’t any more responsible for Dale’s choice than he is responsible for hers. She could’ve stayed. She could’ve allowed him to stay with her and Jacqui. She didn’t. It’s misplaced anger and shifted blame in a way because although he chose not to leave unless she did which was a shitty position to put her in, ultimately it was his choice whether to go on without her. She could’ve just made that clear and stayed with her intentions.

On the other hand, I do understand her rage at him for even putting her in that position instead of accepting her choice for herself [not to mention how tacky it was that poor Jacqui’s suicidal choice was just shrugged at]. The fact that he is blindly insisting that this was about her own good, rather than about his selfishness in tying his fate to hers when they barely know one another only makes her anger more justified. That he would expect gratitude for disrespecting her choice and putting her in danger of having a messy death being torn apart, instead of dying quickly and cleanly in a flash is just more egregious than he was already being!

But worse even than that, which could be at least explained by the time limit they were under meaning there was no chance to talk it all out and make sure Andrea was still comfortable with her choice, he’s now hiding weapons from her and trying to control her so that she won’t hurt herself… none of which is his business as she’s explained. I can see his point in that if someone is feeling suicidal, you don’t handle them the gun with a shrug -- but he pre-empted any discussion about whether she intended to do something drastic or if he could trust that she wouldn’t blow her brains out. He also didn’t bring this before the group to decide about the guns in everyone’s untrained hands… this was specifically about her and had nothing to do with group safety [unlike with Shane, whose point makes perfect sense for now].

I really love this scene and the way that Laurie Holden’s anger and resentment is played and the utterly mystified look - really not understanding her rage - that Jeffery gives to Dale. This is a solid scene between these two.



Scene 41: Out in the woods, the search strategy seems to be to walk in a single line. Carl hangs back to join Shane bringing up the rear. He’s excited about being able to carry a knife, but Shane is short with him. He whispers that Carl needs to keep it down and focus on the task of finding signs of Sophia, not jabbering.

Lori re-collects Carl to join her. When he enquires if Shane is mad at him, she offers that he’s just worried about Sophia, when obviously she knows that he’s actually angry at her… and of course, that he plans on “abandoning” them.


Scene 42: The group, all bunched together as you would when trying to search acres of forested land, come across a tent in the woods. Shane, Rick and Daryl take point. They have Carol call out softly to her, but no one alive or dead comes out of the tent.

Daryl slooowly unzips the tent flap. There is somebody in a chair who doesn’t react.

When Daryl opens the flap, everyone is repulsed by a stench. Daryl goes in to find a man, victim of an apparent gunshot in the mouth, but no sign of Sophia and very little reason to think she’d ever actually go in there with this corpse rotting away.


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Scene 43: From the distance, they hear the sudden peal of church bells. They all take off to find themselves a church.


Scene 44: Back at the highway, Dale is scanning the horizon again [because he did such a bang up job of it before]. Theodore questions his not working on the radiator, but Dale says that he already fixed it the day before.

He goes on to say that he made the decision not to tell the others because he didn’t want them to get into an argument about the “needs of the many outweighing the needs of the one” and miss the chance to still find Sophia’s daughter or having the group cohesion shattered… such as it is.

T-Dog seems to agree with him for now.


Commentary: Again, I can understand Dale’s point, but he really irritates me by making these decisions for other people without any discussion or care of what the group thinks is best for the group. He just comes off as a busybody telling other people what is best for them. I wish I could tell you that he gets over it as the group continues to gel.


Scene 45: Meanwhile, the rest of them are finding that church. Although there isn’t a steeple or bells, Rick runs for the building anyway leaving everyone to keep up or stay behind.

In the church, they find a few ex-parishioners. They’re quickly dispatched…using a bit more force than is necessary from both Rick and Shane.

Shane repeats to Rick that there aren’t any bells here but then the peal of them rings out again. Outside, they find a timer and a speaker, which Glenn disconnects. Carol goes back into the church, seeking a little solace.


Scene 46: Andrea plops heavily on the ground with her back to the building. This puts her in a position to hear Lori confronting Shane on his plans to run out. Although she agrees with his decision, she’s still upset at what it will do to Rick and Carl. Especially since his plan is to simply slip away without a word of goodbye. He makes it clear that this is harder on him than anyone, since he’s the one that has to lose her this way.

This may be the first time that Lori has to acknowledge that Shane’s feelings aren’t just about comfort between them but that he may really be in love with her. She walks away in surprise, while he’s emotionally agitated.

From around the corner of the church comes Andrea with a look of shock on her face.


Commentary: And again, I find Lori just maddening the way she’s written. It’s almost like she’s telling him that she thinks it’s a good idea for him to leave, but then in the next breath she wants him to stay because of how Carl feels about him… and Rick….

GOD WOMAN, JUST STOP TALKING TO HIM AT ALL!



Scene 47: In the church, Carol gives thanks for getting them out of Atlanta but she also feels like she’s being punished. She prays that he’ll see Sophia to safety and that if he needs to punish her, that he not use her daughter to do it.


Commentary: I love Melissa McBride in this scene. She’s everything that I wish I’d see more of from Andrea when it comes to the tears. She’s a difficult character to really say you like, because her weakness is a fatal drain on the group’s survival but she does provide a real emotional heart for this group of fighting, angry people.


Scene 48: Outside, Andrea tells Shane she’s leaving with him when he’s ready to go. He isn’t wild about the idea, but she insists that they are two people who don’t belong with this group of survivors and she wants a ride to somewhere new.


Scene 49: Shane and Rick start arguing away from the others about whether they have time to still find Carol’s daughter. Shane is convinced to join Rick in staying near the church for a while longer in case she heard the bells, while Daryl leads the others back to the road and search the other side of the creek bed on the way.

Carl argues himself a position with the men folk. Rick tries to hand Lori his gun, but she refuses to leave him there unarmed. Daryl hands Lori the gun he picked up from the tent-suicide to Andrea’s disgust.


Commentary: Oh, shut up Andrea. I’m trying to be on your side, but you’re starting to piss me off with your shitty attitude.


Scene 50: Rick breaks from Shane and Carl for a minute to duck back into the church and rail at Jesus a bit for not giving him some kinda sign that he’s doing the right thing.


Scene 51: Out in the forest, Carol complains about their lack of a plan while they’re running around in the trees. Daryl complains about whittling themselves into smaller and smaller groups and Andrea prissily mentions that Lori apparently gets a gun now.

To Andrea’s surprise, Lori pulls the gun out and hands it over. Angrily she tells Andrea that she’s sick of the looks she’s giving her. She next turns on Carol, sympathizing with her agony but telling her she needs to stop blaming Rick, offering that he didn’t hesitate to run into the forest after her, even with the danger. She also points out that there isn’t any guarantee than any of them could’ve done anything differently to bring her back after she ran off.

She turns on all of them and reminds them that they’re the ones who keep looking to him for leadership and then heaping blame on him when he isn’t perfect. She reminds them all that they can go on without Rick at anytime, if they think they can do better.

Andrea at least takes it to heart and hands the weapon back to Lori as an apology.


Commentary: Lori is such a problem character because of the inconsistent writing given to her motivations, but I loved this scene and I want to kudo Sarah Wayne Callies for the delivery of her monologue. It was great to see her straight up stick up for her husband and put this grumblers in their place for wanting him to give them direction so they’ll have somebody else to blame for when things turn crappy. I really enjoyed seeing that.


Scene 52: Meanwhile, the Grimes men and Shane are trekking through the wood. They hear branches snapping nearby, only to run into a buck. They stare at it foraging until it walks out onto a path right in front of them, where their faces fill with wonder.

Rick stops Shane from shooting it, as Carl slowly gets closer to it with a look of unalloyed joy on his face. It’s a precious moment in a world of ugly.

Until a shot rings out and both the deer and the boy fall to the ground with bullet wounds.

Rick and Shane stare in stunned silence for a moment more before they run to Carl, Rick falling to his knees and Shane covering them with his rifle.


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Commentary: Oh, my god! This scene just shocked the hell outta me and I swear I was almost in tears. I expected something bad, but of course thought that a walker would suddenly come out of the trees to threaten our characters… maybe even a Sophia-walker. I was not ready for watching Carl smiling in wonder at this beautiful animal, only to then be gunned down!

I was just all, “Oh my god, no, no, no, no, no, no” and then wondering if this was a sign that Rick was asking for in some way. Which given this universe, who knows? But this was quite a scene to fade to black on.




The Good: I like the opening showing Atlanta as a nearly empty city best left to the dead, now.

The entire scene on the highway with the hoard is absolutely great.

I really love the character growth we're seeing in Daryl from the carbon copy of Merle that lets us start to like him.

I really liked several of the zombie effects in this one... good job, especially on the face that Rick smashes with a rock, T-Dog's sliced open arm, the walker autopsy and Carl's body being flung to the ground by the force of the bullet.

I really loved Melissa's acting when she's praying to the Lord to not punish her through Sophia.

I enjoyed the moment when Lori is giving her bracing retort to the gang for blaming Rick after they keep depending on him to take charge and make the hard decisions.

That scene between Carl and the buck was absolutely wonderful from the beautiful cinematography to the music to that sudden jarring gunshot. It was just breathtaking.


The Bad: I hate almost all of the dialog between Lori and Shane about themselves and their relationship. Mostly because Lori in particular is again all over the map as far as what the writing is trying to tell us about her feelings and thoughts on the subject.

I also just plain hate the acting in the above scene, specifically by Jon. I have no idea what was happening in this scene at this time, but his dialog delivery is just awful!

I don't mind Sophia missing, but I don't like the way that this was handled at all to get her into this position. The zombies are suddenly moving much faster than usual [without explanation], Rick's tactics are extremely flawed for the very few walkers that are threatening them, and Sophia's utter disappearance without any trace whatsover just doesn't feel credible with Daryl expertly tracking her.


Other Thoughts: I like the mention of Morgan and the nod to Rick's continuing to try to update him -- but I think I can do without more of Rick's voiceover monologues. They're a bit repetitive and Andrew doesn't really act them out all that well.

I have some problems with Lori's attitudes throughout this episode that I put down to the writers. For instance, her practically glaring disapproval at Carol for taking clothes from some of the cars. It'd ridiculous not to take advantage of resources over some stupid "the highway wreckage is a graveyard" sentimentality and her attempts at faux-civility in this circumstance over such a small thing is just silly.

Even though I don't agree with Andrea trying to blame the entire CDC incident on Dale, I do understand why she feels the way she does. I liked the scene for her anger and Dale's complete confusion, but his asking for gratitude seemed really tone deaf, not to mention downright self-centered ... I think this should've been softened up a bit during the script development so that Dale didn't come over as quite such a hugely selfish prick.


The Score: There were a few absolutely great scenes, but they really need to work on focusing Lori's character so that we can get some idea of what goes through her head about Shane. The writing for her character seems sloppy. In addition, I'd like to see more thought put into keeping the gang constantly mentioning perishables and resupply as they logically would always be worried about these type of things. But this episode has some really strong dialog scenes and is beautifully filmed.


3.75 out of 5 stars


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