Ohhhh man. Will Shane and Otis ever make back to the farm and save the declining Carl? Are we all up to speed everyone’s favorite (only) zombie TV show? There’s no doubt “The Walking Dead” knows how to leave us waiting for more, but when you get down to it, not much happened in episode 2. I can deal with one slow showing to move the plot along out of 13, but this trend better not continue. Now, lets recap quick for those who missed it…
So, we last Rick sprinting to salvation with his wounded son cradled in his arms. Well, we finally make it to Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) farm in this section, and meet his band of outdoorsmen. It’s revealed farm hand Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) was hunting the deer and accidentally shot young Carl as a result of the bullet passing straight through the potential dinner. Hershel agrees to nurse Carl back to health, but will have to perform surgery to remove the bullet fragments from his fragile body. To do so, someone will have to raid a medical trailer closer to town for supplies, but Hershel says the procedure can be done. Shane immediately volunteers for scavenger duty, and Otis joins based on principle. Off go Carl’s last hope, as Rick waits helplessly at the house giving his child blood.
Cut back to the RV while the search party is still out for Sophia, and T-Dawg is showing declining symptoms from his wound. He starts rambling about him and Dale being left behind because they are the weak links, and how they should get in the RV and just go. Here we start to see the clashing mentalities in the group. Dale of course holds strong, being the level-headed elder of the group, and searches for medication to bring down T-Dawg’s fever.
To the forest! Lori is leading Daryl and the others on the Sophia hunt, but with little promise. Spirits are wavering, and guards are let down. As Andrea is walking a little too far from the group, a walker gets a jump on her. Looking left for dead, Andrea is rescued by a woman flying in by horse. Saving the day, farm dweller Maggie Green (Lauren Cohan) bashes the zombie with a baseball bat. Yay! But she also has the job of delivering Lori the devastating news about her son, and takes Lori back to the farm via horseback. The rest of the group returns to the RV, deciding to wait with it in hopes Sophia returns. Except for errand boy Glenn of course, who is given the job of finding the farm and bringing T-Dawg for medical attention. At the house, Lori and Rick fanatically worry about their son, Rick tries to leave and join Shane, but Lori flashes her power of quelling Rick’s hero complex and convinces him to stay.
Final chapter. Shane and Otis find the medical trailer swarmed with zombies, and hatch a distraction plan. Throwing flares across the parking lot, they buy enough time to sneak into the trailer. The supplies are found, but the two open the door to find zombies don’t care much for bright lights. They bolt with zombies hot on their trail, and can only duck into the small entrance foyer of a nearby building. Closing the gate with a flimsy screw, zombies try to wiggle their way in for a quick midnight snack. Shane and Otis are stuck with all the equipment, and no possible escape seems likely. Pan to the screw wiggling violently around, and we’re left with the assumption the screw will pop out and our do-gooders will get the guts munched out of them in episode 3.
So I’m not going to say this week was a total snoozer, but it looks as if the writers are trying to focus directly on the dynamism of the group this season. So far in the first two episodes we’ve had a pretty low-level of action and gore, minus gutting a zombie and ripping his stomach out in the opening episode. Follow the comics though and you know “The Walking Dead” isn’t a run and gun zombie story, but instead a dissection of the human reaction to disaster. So take a look at the group now: not only are Andrea and Shane thinking of defecting, but T-Dawg is now trying to sway Dale into leaving with the RV. Add one more parasite to plague our group and spread their mindset like an infection, and now we just have to wait and see who buys into what logic. We also get a glimpse of a new emotional struggle though, as Lori breaks down to Rick who attempts to leave his shaken wife and unhealthy son because he feels he should be out helping Shane and Otis find medical supplies. Rick sees himself as a leader and hero of sorts in crucial situations, and this of course takes a toll on his wife Lori who’s constantly left just hoping her husband will return from one risk to the next. Lori is able to convince Rick not to walk out on her this time, helped by the fact that Rick has given so much blood he can barely walk, but we’ll have to watch for if Lori can hold herself together if she isn’t able to hold Rick back. Look for the writers to play with Rick and Lori’s relationship in the future, distracting our fearless leader in dire times.
“The Walking Dead” is fantastic at set ups, but I feel as if were always waiting. Sophia is still on the loose somewhere in the forest (or dead), Carl is still waiting to be operated on, and now Shane is stuck with Otis surrounded by zombies. I’m a tad impressed though because as the zombies chased Shane and Otis to the enclosure, visuals kept suggesting the overweight Otis was going to keel over from exhaustion. There’s still time for this though, so I’d wait for the clichéd “I can’t keep running, go on without me while I distract them” move to let Shane return with the supplies. I’d probably put money on that right now. But, there’s not much else to say about “Bloodletting” because all facts point to this being purely a set up episode. We get some tension as Shane and Otis have their lives in question for a chunk of time, but the rest is just filler to move everyone closer to Hershel’s farm. For now, my diagnosis stays with “The Walking Dead” keeps moving in the right direction. It’s still early in the season to fault the lack of intensity as plot lines have to be established, but episode 3 is due for a nice action dial turn up. We don’t need to be at 11 yet, but maybe a nice 7 or 8 to spike our adrenaline meters? Let’s inject a little life back into the dead…