Jesus Christ we’re still on Hershel’s farm?
Well, yes, we are. And, even if there’s no geographic movement, there’s still movement in the character sense. People are having things happen to them, although some of it is still in the Final Destination-lite run of luck these people have.
But there’s movement! Of story, if not of bodies. Well, okay, there are moving bodies, it’s a zombie show. But you know what I mean.
Spoilers, as always, below the fold.
So, uh. What is up with that car crash? Like, seriously. She can’t just wrap the thing around a tree, can she? Damn thing has to flip the fuck over and we don’t get to see what happens to Lori until next episode. But whatever. You have to keep the show exciting and the writers are determined to not throw zombies in our faces all the time the way some fans are asking for. But Jesus Christ. I really hope Hershel doesn’t have a working electric blender in that home. (Oh, they have a windmill! That’s where the electricity comes from.) So that’s not the really confusing part. The really confusing part is…. Why the hell is Lori driving off to rescue Rick? Rick doesn’t need to be rescued. Rick is the one who does all the rescuing. Like, a little too much even. She should trust him to get Hershel. After all, it’s like he said: They need the veterinarian around in case Lori has to deliver a baby. (Wait, what?) But instead she hops in a car because… Uh, because… Maybe she desperately feels like she has to do something and so she drives off ALONE (Have these people not heard of the buddy system? You’re living in monster fiction!) but she doesn’t know the way so she looks at a map while driving.
Take that to heart, kiddos: Keep your eyes on the road or you might run over a zombie which will make your car flip over. Plausibility! At least they never seem to worry about using too much gas.
Anyway. If I sound bitter it’s because snark is my natural element. There was, as always, great stuff in this episode. T-Dog continues to have nothing to do and also continues to deliver the best freaking lines while he does it. (“Man, how many times we gonna have to do this?” in regards to burning dead bodies. Also him kicking the freaking zombie in the head was cool.) Further evidence for the “psychic powers exist in this series” theory of mine in the form of Dale’s apparent mind-reading showed up this episode. He pretty much knows exactly how shit went down between Otis and Shane… based on, um. Judgment of character? The same body language skills that let him instantly know Andrea and Shane had sex? Well, that second one was kinda obvious. Still, it’s freaky how Dale knows exactly what happened when he wasn’t there and it’s Shane’s secret, and “Dale is slightly psychic” seems to be the most plausible explanation, keeping in mind you’re watching a TV show with zombies.
Meanwhile, Dale continues to attempt to handle things with subtlety while not actually having any subtlety. He thinks he’s Mr. Guile but his attempts to poison the group against Shane continue to be hamfisted and clumsy. Nobody is fooled. Lori certainly isn’t. If Dale was the master of manipulation and subtlety he thinks he is, Andrea, T-Dog, and Lori at a minimum would think it was their idea to consider Shane dangerous and potentially a killer. Instead Lori tells him “I know you two don’t get along.” or something to that effect.
Shane, meanwhile, continues to unravel. Which makes me think he’s not going to react well to the news that Fort Benning is bust. There was something very creepy about the scene where he washes Carol’s hands. And as Dave Navarro pointed out on Talking Dead, all he really said to the woman who just found out her daughter died was “Poor me.” Shane asks Dale what he’s ever done to protect the camp, seemingly forgetting that Dale is their main keep-watch guy and the one who spotted the zombie horde in time for people to hide under cars. He accuses Hershel of knowing Sophia was in there, which if he stopped to think he’d realize was ridiculous. But Shane doesn’t really stop to think, does he? Hershel wanted them off his farm. He wanted them off his farm ages ago. Since this is a world where a child can be up and walking around a few days after major stomach surgery from a shotgun wound, the only thing keeping Rick and co. on the farm was the search for Sophia. If Hershel knew Sophia was in the barn, he knew exactly how to get what he wanted out of our heroes. “You’re sticking around until you find Sophia? Well here she is! Buh-bye now!”
And that, my friends, is exactly why we know Hershel had no idea Sophia was in the barn. Like Robert Kirkman told us, Otis wrangled Sophia from the mud, then died before he ever found out there was a missing little girl. Which, come to think of it, means Sophia got turned fast after running away. Incidentally, Carl really committed himself to his fantasy of him being the one to find Sophia. I wonder if all children are like that: This is how I fantasize it being, therefore this is how I believe it will happen. Okay, scratch the children part. I know plenty of adults who’ve thought that way.
Glen, on the other hand, is closer to “This is something out of my fantasies, therefore it can’t be real.” Or maybe that’s projection on my part. I have to wonder why Glen refuses to think Maggie really loves him. Maybe he’s afraid of that in this world they live in. And while that’s possible, I don’t think it’s a big part of it. I think most of it is, like he said, that he’s only heard “I love you” from family before, and he never thought he’d ever have a girl love him in the romantic sense. I think Glen is completely unable to understand why Maggie wants to be with him even after she’s explained it to him, because unlike Rick he lacks any sort of awareness of his own heroic qualities. Plus there’s the low self-image part which he lets the group reinforce.
Maggie, for her part, is as able to understand Glen’s perspective about as well as Glen is able to understand her view of him. Glen turns to her and says, “I have to ask you… Did you know she was in the barn?” Well, of course he has to ask. And “I have to ask” is the key part of that. He believes her, trusts her, probably even loves her… But he has to ask. He’s gotta know, because if he doesn’t ask he’ll wonder, and it’ll gnaw at him and come out at a bad time. Maggie, naturally, says nothing, answering the question with her disgust at it being asked, probably not understanding that he really did have to get it off his chest.
Because, as we know, Glen can’t keep a secret. He was going to confess what he did about Lori to Rick eventually, and he did here for writing reasons. Namely, so that Rick could say this:
You did what you thought was right. It just so happens that it wasn’t.
And that, in short, is the keystone of this whole episode. Shane did what he thought was right by breaking open the barn and shooting enough bullets to be audible to any walker in a 50 mile radius. But as a result Shane or the whole group is getting kicked out of Candyland. And Shane still thinks he made the right choice, even though it blew everything apart socially and psychologically. If there was someone in the group with lots of savoir faire, that person probably could have solved the situation single-handedly and accomplished the finding of zombie!Sophia too. Hershel, too, thought he was doing the right thing. But he sees what the walkers are and he knows in that moment how wrong he was. Rick, finally, has been doing the right thing all along. But being the sentimental hero-type that he is, Rick doubts himself greatly.
So let’s talk about the ending. First of all, my mom and I agree that the whole bar scene was very talky. I didn’t mind the talkiness so much, though upon second viewing it was a lot of exposition in a short amount of time. But we get a lot of character establishment for these two in a short time—and yes, Tony pissing on the floor helps with that. Rick suddenly finds himself in the position he put Hershel in: Here are these people looking to him for asylum, and he doesn’t want to grant it because he just can’t trust these characters. As we are non-coincidentally reminded of, Rick is a cop. And has a cop’s instincts for a certain kind of character judgment. These are exactly the kind of people a cop is gonna be on light guard against in case they get violent and disorderly. It probably didn’t help their case that Dave said “Nobody’s got their hands clean” as if he expected Rick to have pulled the death-of-Otis-type stunts Dave’s admitting to. It’s the wrong thing to say to Sheriff Rick Grimes, let me tell you. And when Tony says “I’ll shoot you three assholes in the head and take your damn farm,” well, that was Rick’s cue to be ready to shoot first.
Here’s another safety tip: Pulling a gun out on a cop is a good way to get killed.
Final semi-random thoughts: Rick may have had his back to Tony while watching Dave, but there was a mirror behind Dave that Rick could probably see Tony in. Rick’s extra shot to Tony’s head was likely out of habit from killing zombies all the time. When Lori goes to Daryl he’s whittling sticks to make more arrows. And finally: Holy crap are these people’s clothes all dirty all the time.
Until next week.