TVTV Recaps

THE WALKING DEAD Post Mortem – Sick

Greetings fellow zombie lovers and fans of machetes lodged in heads. Rick Grimes has been through a lot since we first saw him sitting in his patrol car with Shane munching on a burger and discussing the differences between men and women. He’s seen things, and done things, that have forever changed him. He’s become a survivor,  a leader of men,  and a man who will do whatever it takes to protect those who follow him, even if it means sacrificing some of his own humanity to keep them safe.  Is Rick going to the dark side? Is he sliding down towards some Nietzschean abyss?  Is there even such a thing as a ‘dark side’ in the bleak and gray world of The Walking Dead? Let’s begin exhuming this week’s episode, “Sick”, and find out shall we?
Before we get into complex emotional territory of this episode, we’re going to have a discussion on the more visceral aspects of the show. I’m talking about zombie killing folks.  These last two episodes have surely sated everyone’s blood lust, right? Nah, didn’t think so….however, you can’t deny that both Seed and Sick featured more on-screen violence than most hard-R genre movies from the 1980’s. The walker deaths, the human deaths, the impromptu amputation, and the previously mentioned machete to the head, have given these first two episodes some much needed gory vigor. The action was all expertly staged, and the tension has never let up. More importantly, the writers have figured out how to create organic and believable scenarios which allow for a balance between the action scenes and character moments. Gone are the days when these characters are forced to make stupid decisions to insert suspense into the episode (cough, fishing the zombie out of the well on Hershel’s Farm, cough cough), the taking of the prison, and the meeting of actual living prisoners, gave the past two episode’s ample conflict.  Of course, ample conflict leads to ample gore, and ample gore is what makes the show fun to watch.  There’s no sense in denying it, and even when last season wasn’t working from the story or character end of things, you could always count on their being at least a few excellent zombies gags in each episode. Sick was full of great zombie moments, but it also managed to tell a good story.
This is Rick’s “I’m about to cleave in this dude’s head” face.
The lack of strong character work is one of the things that’s kept The Walking Dead from being as critically acclaimed as its network brother’s Breaking Bad and Mad Men.  While it might never (read: almost certainly) achieve the critical acclaim of those shows enjoy, it had improved drastically on the dramatic (non-zombie stuff) front.  All of the characters have, for lack of a better word, improved. Carol, Carl, Beth, T-Dog, even Lori, who owned up to being a terrible mother  in last night’s episode, are all much more interesting to watch this season.  The hour belongs to Lauren Cohan though, who manages to imbue Maggie with equal doses stoicism and grief.  For most of the episode she attempts to be a hardened realist of about her father’s chances of survival, but ultimately she breaks down, and the scene where she crying over her father and thanking him for everything he’s done for was incredibly poignant.

While Maggie is desperately clinging onto her humanity, Rick is having zero problems shedding his to get the job done. Lori may be right about Rick not having the malice in his heart, but he didn’t seem to have too much of a problem putting a machete through that one guy’s head. I was secretly dreading that this guy was going to become the new Shane:  a character that keeps challenging and pushing Rick over the course of several episodes until he finally has to end up killing the guy. I was not looking forward to that story arc, and lucky for me, the writers were smart and killed him off before the end of the episode. I don’t believe these were evil actions on Rick’s part; Rick saw another Shane budding right before his eyes as well, and did what he thought was necessary. Morality has become a fluid thing in this new brave new world. There are no more laws to keep people in line, and it’s funny that these prisoners, who at one point in their lives broke said laws, are having the hardest time accepting that the world they knew, the world they couldn’t function in to begin with, is gone. Another pretty fantastic episode…. keep it up Walking Dead. Keep it up.

P.S. Who (or what) was spying on Carol as she practiced her surgery skills on a zombie corpse? Feel free to speculate in the comments below, but try to keep super specific spoilers from the comic to a minimum please. Also,  The closing shot of Lori alone on the pedway was killer. That is all.

This week’s horror movie recommendation is…..Creepshow

Most self-respecting horror geeks have probably already seen this  super pulpy, highly campy horror classic. But if you haven’t….well then, you need to rectify that a.s.a.p. It’s available on Netflix instant as we speak. This movie is ridiculous fun, has a great cast, oh, and I did I mention that George Romero, the master of Zombie film making himself, the man who’s work would influenced a young Robert Kirkman to write a little zombie comic book, directed it? And some guy named Stephen King wrote the screen play. No big deal.

[springboard type=”youtube” id=”P_6vtAmFnkA” player=”scin001″ width=”560″ height=”315″ ]

Previous post

SNL Highlights: Bruno Mars' Musical Monologue, Merryville Brothers, and Stefon

Next post

IRON MAN 3 Poster and Official Stills Show Iron Patriot and New Villain

The Author

Chris Baldwin

Chris Baldwin

Chris Baldwin is a sometimes college student, a most of the time pop culture geek, and aspiring comic book writer. He loves: movies, comics, good television, (no Snookis or Kardashians please and thank you) short fiction, long fiction, Stephen King’s fiction, all things Nintendo, music, standup comedy, sushi, and beer. He is from the south; Midway, Kentucky to be exact. GO CATS!! He’s required by state law to say that. He spent the last few years attending college at Western Kentucky University where he studied pop culture, creative writing, and film. Sometimes, he turns off the geek and enjoys the great outdoors, but only sometimes.