Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Walking Dead TV Episode 3 Review

The Walking Dead TV Episode 3

Review by Bill Bedlam

Episode 3 of The Walking Dead, "Tell it to The Frogs", again reaffirms the greatness of the series with another massive increase in viewership! The phenom television series is spreading like a zombie epidemic, picking-up new watchers with every episode, and for those who have been in the know, it isn't a surprise.

Case in point, lets look at episode 3:

As I pointed-out in my review for The Walking Dead episode 2, I mentioned the difference in tone of the first two episodes. Where episode 1 was methodically paced and had chilling feel to it, episode 2 was more face paced and intense. With episode 3, we have yet another tone with an emotional roller coaster of human drama. Watching the reunion of Rick with his wife, Lori and their son, Carl was a perfect example of the compelling drama that drove the comic series for so many years. Where Rick and his family were awash with disbelief and joy, you see Shane being torn apart. Besides the shock of seeing that his partner and best friend Rick has "returned from the dead", he also has to come to grips with the relationship he was having with Lori and Carl coming to a crashing end.

The reunion is short lived as Merle's brother, Daryl (played by Norman Reedus of THE BOONDOCK SAINTS) returns to camp and the news of his brother's fate. Understandingly, Daryl lashes-out, and once Rick and Shane calm him down, Rick decides he must return to the city to not only rescue, Merle, but to retrieve the bag of guns, ammo and his walkie-talkie to contact Morgan and Dwayne who we last saw in episode 1. Merle, being the shiny ray of sunshine that he is, doesn't have many sympathizers at the camp supporting his rescue, but ultimately T-Dog's guilt gets the better of him and he volunteers for the mission. Rick also enlists Glen, since he knows the ins and outs of the city, and is their best bet to help ensure their return.

In episode 3 we also get a glimpse into the day to day life of the survivors in the camp, and how they are coping with life in a world with none of the comforts that they have grown accustomed to. We see the women have been designated for laundry duty while the men hunt, repair their vehicles, and keep watch. During one particular scene of the women down by a nearby lake, the ladies discuss some of the things they miss most, from their washing machines to their vibrators. And hey, who wouldn't miss their sex toys during the zombie apocalypse?

A growing plot thread that is developing is Shane's struggle with the return of Rick, and the fallout of his relationship with Lori and Carl. As mentioned earlier, when Rick returns Shane becomes a conflicted man. You see both the sheer shock and devastation underlying his happiness to see his best friend back from the grave. You almost wonder if he's happy at all? My answer is, "hell no". We see the night after Rick's return, Shane keeping watch... watching, Lori's tent that is. You can see him getting twisted-up inside with the thought of her laying with her husband once again.

Later on, back at the lake where the women are doing laundry, a confrontation between Lori and Shane reveals that Shane lied to Lori about Rick being dead, and she warns him to stay away from her and her family. Here is where the story deviates from the comic. In the comic, Shane never lied to Lori about Rick being dead. It was just assumed by both that he was. I feel that this is something of a slight cop-out for the character of Lori for the series. While it maintains the guilt she feels for being with Shane, it absolves her from taking responsibility for her actions, being able to blame in on Shane's deception. I don't think it will really take away from the story in the long run, but that little change to her character makes her more of a sympathetic character then she is in the comics and may alter some of her more choice moments from the comic.

After this scene, you can see Shane start to come apart even further. An incident breaks out at the aforementioned women at the lake with the one older woman and her abusive husband. Shane intervenes and succumbs to his rage, brutally beating the guy to a pulp. Andrea looks on knowing that something is seriously wrong with Shane, and wonders if this guy is quickly becoming a loose canon.

Have you noticed something about this review yet? If you're thinking, "This guy has hardly mentioned anything about the zombies", then my friend, you are correct. The episode really had only one zombie moment with a walker coming close to the camp, feasting on a deer carcass, and the group dispatching it accordingly. But that's the thing about The Walking Dead. Yes, it is a show about the zombie apocalypse and hordes of walkers looking for fresh meat to feast on, but they're more of a backdrop to the show, giving cause to the survivor's effect, than being the main antagonists. The real story is about the survivors and how they... well... survive. So, like in the comics, some issues deal with the survivors dealing with the zombies and some issues deal with the survivors dealing with each other. And that being done as well as it has been is the reason The Walking Dead is just so damn compelling!


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