Sunday 21 November 2010

THE WALKING DEAD episode three

The third episode aired on FX on friday. Read my review after the jump...

As expected, Michael Rooker was back doing his bigoted Mississippi Burning role. Still handcuffed where he was left on the roof, the opening scene showed his character Merle's near repentance for his sins and stubborn refusal to die. Seeing him plead for forgiveness and then realising his prayers would always go unanswered definitely added another layer to what could have been a one note character if played by a different actor.

Campside, Rick's search for his family may be over, but it's time for the repercussions to start. Firstly the revelation that Lori believed Rick to be dead, namely because Shane had told her so. It might have appeared like a fair assumption given the state of the hospital he was left in, but the situation between her and Shane may have been a lot different had Lori known the facts. Lori may have appeared to be a bit of a slut in previous episodes, but if she assumed she was a widow, there's at least a crumb of justification for her sexual encounters with Shane.

Shane's clearly experiencing mixed feelings about Rick's arrival at the camp; not only has his standing as camp leader been usurped, but his chances of continuing his surrogate husband routine with Lori and Carl have been clipped. In some ways we see how Lori would almost prefer life with Shane. Rather than running off doing a hero routine, Shane would rather try to catch frogs with Carl and be a father. Lori may have been attracted to Rick's heroic side, but it comes at the expense of family loyalties. It was a good performance by Jon Bernthal as Shane, in particular showing some tortured feelings when he had to put fellow camper Ed in his place.

Again looking at some people who perhaps didn't deserve to survive, this episode sees the introduction of the wife beating Ed, and also Daryl (Boondock Saints' Norman Reedus), Merle Dixon's little brother. Daryl proves himself to be as equally violent as his brother, quick to throw a bushel of squirrels when a fight starts. He's clearly weaker than his brother, and needs him to back him up. On the nicer side of the camp, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) is coming into his own as a character; somewhat crotchety but a fair minded individual. He may look like a weak old man, but he still knows how to swing an axe when needed.

This episode was not too heavy on the zombie action, although the one that invades the camp allows us a few insights into the capability of the camp to protect against predators. It was also quite a disgusting example of the zombies, able to continue chomping away without the use of their bodies. Remember folks, always destroy the brain. I thought I'd be a little more bothered about the reduction in zombie interactions, and whilst I'd enjoy more, the whole story's got me hooked now.

Despite just being reunited with his family, Rick's setting himself up as the un-appointed guardian of humanity, leading the dangerous rescue of Merle and the retrieval of the guns, not to mention his duty to warn Morgan and Duane (from the first episode) of the dangers that lie in Atlanta. Once again Glenn (Steven Yeun) has to return with him as a guide, along with the slightly bland T-Dog (IronE Singleton). Daryl is of course eager to retrieve his brother before he dies of exposure, but from the bloodied hand that remains it looks like a) I was right about that hacksaw, and b) they were just a little bit late. Given that it was T-Dog who dropped the handcuffs key, I expect there's going to be a bit of a shit storm between him and Daryl in the next episode.

So far I've been trying to view this TV adaptation in line with the books, but it's safe to say that it's now its own entity. At the end of this episode we're half way through the first season, but there's still a long way left to go.


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