There is nothing easy about taking a man’s life no matter how little value it may have. But when you get it done, you have to forget it. I guess I haven’t quite got that last part down.
I am aware that out on the intertubes, there has been a good deal of complaining about this season of The Walking Dead. There’s not enough zombie action. Everyone is staying in one place. Shane only took off his shirt that one time. I’ve been really happy with the show so for, in spite of the incredibly drawn out Sophia plot. This is the first episode that I feel is a stinker.
I’m not sure what about “Cherokee Rose” didn’t quite click for me – the pacing seemed off, the scenes were jumpy, and everyone looked subtly different, as if filming had stopped and picked up at a later date than the first 3 episodes. On a normal length network show, this would have been filler – but we only have 13 episodes (and only 3 more before winter hiatus), so the show doesn’t have time for filler.
The group is settling in at Hershel’s Farm. Now that Carl is recovering, their main goal is to find Sophia. With the exception of Daryl, the search is put off for another day as they get organized, so all our action is set amid this landscape. But first, there’s Otis’s funeral.
Shane is asked to speak about Otis’s last moments. He’s distinctly uncomfortable, but is able to come up with a story that isn’t all lie and isn’t all truth, and that’s good enough for the mourners. He’s obviously still struggling with is decision – as he tells Andrea, it’s not enough to be willing to shoot someone else to save your life; you have to be able to move past it afterwards without regret. Be hard, be inhuman. Andrea clearly looks at Shane with admiration, because she wants to be hard too, since then she wouldn’t have to deal with the memory of her sister or her looming death wish. But she has no idea. None at all.
He also takes a moment to check in with Lori and see if she meant what she said after Carl’s operation. Did she mean it, when she told him to stay? Lori needs to understand Shane-speak, and I seriously have doubts about her mental capacity if she was oblivious to what he was asking – look, Lori, he wasn’t asking if you wanted him to stay in the group, he thought you were asking him to stay because you have romantic feelings for him. Lori. I get that he just saved your son’s life and all (well, Otis saved your son’s life, but I bet you’ll find that out soon enough), but Shane is a dangerous powder keg. Now is not the time to be sending him “mixed” messages.
Glenn gets some much deserved screen time, scoping out the farmer’s daughter, climbing into wells to lasso water logged zombies, and making a trip into town with the aforementioned farmer’s daughter. He even gets a little something-something from Maggie, who is just as lonely and isolated as he is. I might have given Glenn two thumbs up for all his work in this episode if he hadn’t thrown the goddamn tampons back on the floor. It’s the goddamn apocalypse, Glenn! How many pharmacies do you think are going to be out there, zombie free?! WHAT ABOUT THE TAMPONS, GLENN?! WOMEN NEED TAMPONS!
There was only one zombie encounter this time around and it was enough zombie encounter to satisfy all my weekly monster requirements. We haven’t seen yet what happens to walkers when they encounter water, but from this episode, it looks like they swell up like a gross, maggot filled sponge. The walker – Dale calls it a swimmer – that Glenn lassos is drug out of one of the farm’s wells. Mostly drug out anyway. It splits in half in delightfully gruesome sequence, with its lower half falling back into and contaminating the well, while the rest of it tries to crawl towards the survivors. I understand that this might be counter intuitive, but I actually like it when the group does something this incredibly boneheaded for what seems like a perfectly good line of reasoning. It makes them feel real.
My TV boyfriend Daryl gets another chance to shine this week, going out solo to keep searching for Sophia while everyone else is busy at the farm. He discovers an abandoned house that someone – possibly a lost little girl – had passed through recently. On the way out, he finds an in-bloom Cherokee Rose, which he brings back for Carol:
“The story is that when American soldiers where moving Indians off their land, on the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee mothers were grieving and crying so much ’cause they were losing their little ones along the way. Exposure and disease and starvation; a lot of them just disappeared. So the elders, they sent a prayer, asked for a sign to uplift the mother’s spirits. Give ’em strength, hope. The next day, this rose started to grow right where the mother’s tears fell. I’m not fool enough to think there’s any flowers bloomin’ for my brother. But, I believe, this one is bloomin’ for your little girl.”
I sense ominous foreshadowing for Daryl – one, Rick takes a moment out of his day to tell Daryl that he doesn’t “owe” the group anything now that they have a stable base and a plan, which just underlines how poor of a judge of character Rick is. Two, Daryl only has one bolt left for his crossbow. Is that as bad as only having one bullet for your gun? I dunno, but maybe Daryl doesn’t want to go on any missions with Shane anytime soon.
Importantly in this episode, Rick does two things of note – he gives Carl his hat and he puts his sheriff badge away. It’s not exactly a subtle thing, but Rick has been clinging to this part of his past as his guidepost through the apocalypse. His conversation with Hershel reveals how deeply distraught Rick really is. He might have made his peace with a God that allows corpses to get up and overrun the world, but he can’t understand a God that lets a child get senselessly shot while admiring the grandeur of the world he created.
Lori finds out she’s pregnant. I don’t really think there’s any need to editorialize this point. Maybe the show could, like, do something with this story that doesn’t make Lori seem like a shrill bitch now, hm?
And of course, there was that bit of oddness with Hershel this episode. He’s been the very model of country doctor so far, but his insistence that the group don’t carry guns on his property – you know, with the zombies running around and all – and that they leave as soon as Carl is healthy is Big Time Suspicious. This isn’t a family that’s lacking for resources. Something is off here. We’ll find out what it is soon enough – though, given how things have been going this season, “soon” doesn’t likely mean next week.
4 episodes down, Sophia still isn’t found.