EPISODE REVIEW: The Walking Dead: ‘Cherokee Rose” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Flabbergasted

Right off the bat, this is a slow one.

Let’s make that clear up front. After last week’s intense zombie homecoming at the high school, this is a vignette of character bits, with one nasty little gross-out thrown in just to remind us what show we’re watching. So if you’re of a mind that this season meanders more than it needs to, you’ll probably notice that this episode. If you’re not, you won’t care.

The one thing that does feel a bit padded at this point is the search for the missing girl, Sophia. I’m assuming it all ties up in an episode to come in some interesting fashion. But if not, then it is a weak dramatic spoke at this point.

The entire gang shows up at the Hershel farm. They set up camp around their vehicles at a short distance from the house. They also pile up stones in a memorial to some guy more than half of them never met, the late Mr. Otis, he of zombie bait fame. At the memorial service, Otis’ widow inconveniently asks Shane to speak since he was the last one with Otis.

Uh, yeah. Shane’s the guy who shot Otis to leave behind as zombie fodder so Shane could make it back to the farm with the medical supplies needed to save Rock’s son Carl. So Shane’s not exactly thrilled to be asked for a recap. Alas, he doesn’t really have the chops to stick with “I don’t do requests,” either. So he makes up a story that’s true around the edges and a total lie in its chewy center. But yes, if not for Otis, neither Shane nor Carl would have made it.

Ahem.

The farm folk have a nice topographical survey map of the county. So the basis of a thorough search for Sophie finally exists. Except Rick gave three transfusions to his son yesterday and can’t go, and Shane’s badly sprained ankle needs rest. So it’s up to woodsy Darryl, who has quietly become quite the nice guy and will vie for TV sainthood by the time this episode is over.

Lots of talky little bits. The main action revolves around Glen and Darryl this week. Go-to-scrounger Glen agrees to accompany Hershel’s daughter Maggie into town to look for supplies in a pharmacy. Lori, Rick’s wife, embarrasses Glen with a request for one item. When he asks where to look for it, since he’s a single guy dufus, Lori says “feminine hygiene.” She obviously wants a pregnancy test, an issue that’s been circling in the background for a while now. And as we shall see, chaos theory makes her request one of the best things that’s happened to Glen in the post-Apocalyptic world.

Before Glen and Maggie can take off, Dale and T-Dog find the wooden cover on one of the farm’s wells shattered. Down below, a zombie bobs. And a more pale, water-logged, completely disgusting sight you will never see: “Looks like we’ve got us a swimmer.” T-Dog says shoot it, but the others are concerned it could contaminate the well if it bleeds. So they wind up lowering Glen by rope; he’s got another rope to snag the zombie with so they can haul it out. Of course the old well head they’re using to wind Glen’s support rope about gives way and Glenn plummets down. Shane and T-Dog save the day by snagging it before Glenn falls too far. Several frantic minutes later they have Glen out, only to find that he still managed to snag the zombie during his ordeal. Now they start hauling it up. As it comes out it gets snagged. The gang give one mighty heave and its top half tears away. The bottom half, with all kinds of blood and guts, falls back into the well. T-Dog sums it up nicely: “Good thing we didn’t do anything stupid like shoot it.”

Darryl’s out hunting for Sophia. He finds an old Farm house. We play first person shooter game as he walks through it. What interests Darryl, however is trash. Specifically, a recently opened can of sardines, with the juice still fairly fresh. He finds a blanket on the floor of the pantry, too. Another Sophia tease as this storyline drags on. He searches the grounds and comes upon a flower.

Glenn and Maggie are in town at the pharmacy. They split up to look for stuff, and Glen tries to get Lori’s request out of the way quick. He’s fumbling through the remains of feminine hygiene when Maggie surprises him. He bags the pregnancy test, grabs something else for cover and bolts up. Of course it’s a box of condoms in his hand. His attempts to explain how this event transpired grow increasingly pathetic, at which point Maggie says she’s lonely, too, and Glen gets lucky. Sometimes you get the girl, and sometimes the girl gets you.

In the background, Rick and Hershel have been having a conversation about God and whether Rick’s group can stay. Hershel was against the idea, but says he’ll reconsider. The vibe is decent and conversational, but something’s not quite right at this farm. We shall see.

Darryl brings the flower back to Sophie’s mother. He tells her it’s a Cherokee Rose, named after the Trail of Tears when many a Cherokee mother lost track of a little one, or they simply died. Supposedly the elders asked for a sign to uplift the mother’s spirits. This rose appeared where a mother cried. Darryl’s even got it in a bottle for her, with a clear indication he hasn’t given up on finding Sophie. Quite the swell guy, indeed.

Later, Rick seems to put away his Sherriff shirt and badge. Maybe he’s changing, too. And even later, Lori uses her pregnancy test. Of course it’s positive. But is it Rick’s baby, or Shane’s from when they both thought Rick was dead? We shall see.

Will Conservatives Like This Episode?

Not really aimed at this question. Like I said—character vignettes. Try again next week, when it looks like bad old brother Merle may be back.

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