The Walking Dead: "Sick" (Season 3, Epiosde 2)

Flabbergasted

So Rick is now Shane. Score a posthumous debating point for Rick’s one time best friend. Lots of action, too, although there’s a hint of pacing problems creeping in this week. Nothing drastic, but noticeable if you look for it.

Last week, Hershel had just been bit and the gang had discovered five convict survivors holed up in the cafeteria. There’s a mild face-off, but out stalwart band is the more hardened bunch. They have better put down lines and are more focused, simply putting Hershel on a gurney and heading out. The convicts decide to follow. After all, wouldn’t you follow the first real people you’d seen after being holed up for ten months in a dreary cafeteria?

So this episode has two main plots: (1) saving Mr. Hershel, and (2) dealing with the prisoners. Darryl holds the latter off while Hershel gets basic triage. Just when things are getting ugly, Rick comes down to defuse the situation. No, we’re not a rescue operation, and no, cell phones don’t work anymore. You may have missed it, but while you were holed up in that cafeteria the world ended.

Bummer.

Tomas, the nastiest inmate, argues about who owns the prison. Inmates do have squatter’s rights, but then, to make a Solomonish point, who cares more for the prison? Who cleared it out while someone else was stuffing their face with canned goods down in the cafeteria?

Hmm. To heck with Solomon—they split the baby. Split the remaining food and then our group will help the prisoners clear out a cell block of their own. Deal?

Hershel’s daughters tend to him between various spates of tears and emotional dialogue. Rick tells Lori he may have to kill the prisoners. Lori tells him that she may be a crummy wife and no candidate for mother of the year, but he has her blessing to do whatever he has to with a clear conscience. Because if a crummy wife is okay with it, well… whatever.

Editorial point: I think their hitting this chord too hard. Honestly, maybe I’m just the forgiving type, but I think you have to cut people some slack in the zombie apocalypse. You’re running around frantically, emergencies always popping up along with lots of dead people. Face it—quality time just isn’t what it used to be. I think measuring yourself against Ward and June Cleaver is more than a tad unrealistic.

Rick and company give the cons a crash course in killing walkers. Go for the brain. Wounds to the body are no good. GO… FOR… THE BRAIN. It’s very simple. There’s a brief spate of comedy when our five stooges group of convicts rush in and hit everything but the brain. Rick chides them appropriately: “No more of this prison riot crap.” Alas, big Tiny gets scratched by a walker. While the others try and break it to him gently, Tomas comes up from behind and smashes him in the head. He keeps smashing over and over when Tiny is on the ground. Even Darryl is grossed out: “Did you see the look in his eyes?”

Human interest interlude. Lori is horrified by the fact that Carl went on his own to the prison infirmary to get supplies for Hershel. Again, you know, you can only shelter them from the zombie apocalypse for so long. Meanwhile, Carol, who had been assisting Hershel the vet as a nurse, thinks they need to know how to do a cesarean delivery if Hershel doesn’t make it. Because Lori is definitely showing at this stage. So she has Glen help her find and kill a female walker outside the gate. Dissection time, anyone?

Sometimes this show just doesn’t know when to quit.

Back in the cell block clearing exercise, Tomas shows his true colors. He lets in a lot of walkers at once, then hurls one on to Rick, who is saved by Darryl. The alpha dog face off comes to a quick end when Rick nonchalantly plants a machete in his head. A prisoner named Andrew runs off. Rick chases him down and locks him out in an exercise yard, surrounded by walkers. That’s just mean, folks. I realize they’re both survival decisions, but Rick seems to be finding his inner Colonel Kurtz.

One funny line from prisoner Mac when Rick returns: “I have no affiliation with what just happened!” Honest. Rick is all set to kill Mac and Darryl. He’s not completely gone yet, though, and relents. He tells them to keep to their cell block and not be seen outside. Or else. They believe him. I think I do, too.

Nice fake out back at the human interest interlude. Hershel stops breathing. Lori starts CPR, which is a pretty gutsy thing to do in the mouth-to-mouth part since we know what dead bodies can do on this show. Hershel’s arm eventually wraps around her as he sort of snarls. But wouldn’t you know it—that’s just the gag of a breath returning. He’s alive. As in, originally alive, not the whole post mortem alive thing.

Lori confesses her inadequacies to Rick. Again, I think they’re overdoing it. Rick is a dick and doesn’t really reciprocate. Life, such as it is, goes on.

Will Conservatives Like This Episodes?

Lots of action again. A little bit of Law and Order ,too, or maybe just the law of the jungle. The whole Rick thing feels a little bit masochistic. If we wanted a capable dick as the lead, Shane was better at it. But yeah, it’s still an engrossing survival story.

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