The Walking Dead, which shattered record ratings last week with its premiere, topping 10 million viewers and becoming the top rated scripted show on television among the 18-49 demo (networks, included) is doing something kind of novel for the series this year. They decided that, if this many people are going to be tuning in, they may as well make their show effing awesome. Last night’s second episode picked up on the momentum of last week’s premiere and kept it rolling despite what is essentially a transition episode between moving into the prison and meeting The Governor.
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Let’s get to it.
1. Get Off My Back — Carl is just short of bad ass these days. Puberty has been good to him. He continues to prove his usefulness by going to the infirmary all by himself to collect supplies to save Hershel, taking out two walkers along the way. What kind of appreciation does he get in return? He gets yelled at by Lori. He can’t catch a break. Worse still, when he lashed out at his mom for yelling at him, his crush, Beth, yelled at him for yelling at his Mom, infantilizing the poor kid and snuffing out any hopes of a romance. Chin up, Carl. If you survive the zombie apocalypse, you’re definitely going to get laid.
2. “The Others” Were Prisoners — What I referred to as The Others last week (because I did not yet know who they were) turned out to be prisoners who had been locked away basically in the cafeteria for 10 months, safe but oblivious to what was going on in the rest of the world. The discovery came as something of a shock to them, but it didn’t stop their leader, Tomas, from engaging in a seven-minute penis-measuring scene with Rick before ultimately agreeing to let Rick and the gang have half their food in exchange for help clearing out another cell block.
3. That Prison Riot Bullsh*t Doesn’t Work — There was a bit of a learning curve with the ex-prisoners, who needed to get their prison-riot moves out of their system before coming to terms with what is actually needed to kill something that is already dead.
4. R.I.P. Big Tiny — Man, I liked that guy. A lot. This is obviously when we all decided that Tomas needed to die.
5. Sh*t Happens — Rick, whose testicles grew three sizes this week, did not hesitate to take out Tomas after he took a swing at him. This may have been my favorite Rick Moment from the entire series.
Rick didn’t let baseball bat kid (Andrew, I believe) off, either, leaving him to the Walkers, but not before a mid-day Dance Party.
Rick did, however, allow Oscar and Axel to survive, holed up in their own prison cell. I hope we see them again because, from what little we saw of them, both characters showed a lot of depth and humanity.
6. Zombie Kill of the Week — The “kill” of the week went to Rick for taking a machete to Tomas’ head, but for the Zombie Kill, I like the simplicity of T-Dog — who is now wearing the riot gear — spiking an arrow through a zombie eye socket. Clean, quick, quiet and effective.
7. Carol Is Totally Sane — It’s squicky and kind of deranged, but Carol is also getting over her squeamishness and making a real attempt to be a useful member of the group, even if it means rehearsing a C-section on a walker.
The mystery, for now, is who spied her doing so? The Governor? Merle? Michonne? Someone else entirely?
8. The Line of the Night — On Hershel getting injured and having his leg amputated: “It was stupid of us to let him go.” — Maggie, suddenly the smartest character on the show.
9. Hershel Lives! — In the night’s most uplifting moment, Hershel opened his eyes, and has no sign of fever, meaning the amputation plus Carl’s antibiotics worked to save him.
I’m glad Hershel survived and all, BUT how unbelievably dumb is Lori. NEVER GIVE MOUTH-TO-MOUTH TO A POTENTIAL ZOMBIE. Jesus, lady. Does your stupidity know no limits?
10. For the Record, I don’t think you’re a bad mother — Rick, saying the most wrong thing ever.
However, there does seem to be some minor defrosting of Rick and Lori’s relationship. Rick managed to muster one of the sweetest things he could say to the woman carrying his (zombie) child: “I appreciate what you did for us.” He even touched her shoulder. Awwwwww.
It was a solid episode, in my opinion. I missed Michonne, but it looks like next week’s episode will be heavily focused on her, as well as our first introduction to The Governor, and the re-introduction of Merle. I do hope that Merle doesn’t alter Daryl’s relationship with the group, however, because Daryl has become a solid Chief of Staff in the Ricktatorship.