Into the Fire

Season 4 Episode 8 “Too Far Gone”

The Episode

You’ll have to pardon me for being tardy with this post. I’ve been moving the past two weeks and internet access and energy really got in my way. And this episode was far too important to do a half-ass job on. The entire show and the characters are changed by the events of this episode. It is in my opinion one of the most important episode of the entire series.

Everything comes to a head between The Governor and the prison. Several don’t make it out alive and those remaining are permanently changed. After last seeing The Governor aiming a gun at Michonne and Hershel, we now know that instead of killing them he kidnaps them and takes them back to his camp where he uses them to convince his people to try to take over the prison.

Hershel tries to talk The Governor out of attacking by telling him he’s changed and that they can all live together. In some ways, yes, The Governor has changed. But at the heart of him, he’s still the same old psychopath. As we’ve seen over the past few episodes, he’s still very quick to kill and still only sees blood when it comes to Rick. We also catch him in a lie about his daughter. In riling up his camp to fight, he lies to them that the prison group killed his daughter, his daughter who was a walker. But then when he speaks to Michonne he says he knows his daughter was dead when Michonne finished her off. He’s willing to say whatever to stay in control, something he did throughout Woodbury.

Rick on the other hand shows real signs of trying to be a better person. He really means his offer of compromise. He was willing to set aside all that happened, and let The Governor and his people live inside the prison with them. Rick’s change is also evident at the end of the episode, when the British woman who Rick met and killed herself appears with a herd of walkers. We finally learn Rick honored her wishes and let her turn so she could be with her walker husband. A kindness that only one with real humanity still in them could give. The Governor is incapable of such kindness as we see with Megan who later arrives dead in her mother’s arms at the end of the fight. Immediately shooting her in the head. The Governor refuses to believe in a better world and does the most traumatic thing to all of our friends by cutting Hershel’s head to the bone and later on completely off.

Maggie, Beth, Rick and everyone lose it over this. The battle ensues. This is the fight we didn’t get at the end of Season 3. It’s a real battle with massive gunfire, grenades, tanks and plenty of bloodshed. Rick gets shot in the leg and has a bloody fight with The Governor which he almost loses. As the main characters fight, the rest of the prison survivors frantically run for their lives. Some pile onto an escape bus which ends up leaving without a lot of our friends.

I don’t believe there was anything Rick could have said or done that would have ended any better for them. It’s clear The Governor was never going to be happy and it’s safe to assume that if the group had left the prison, The Governor would have hunted them down anyways claiming them as a threat. The compromise was the best option and almost worked, but The Governor could not help himself.

black roseOne of the saddest parts of this episode is the final separation of the Greene family. Hershel has just been decapitated in front of his daughters. But also, Maggie orders Beth to load people onto the escape bus, uttering in a frantic way to her nervous sister, “we’ve all got jobs to do.” Words of her father which is emotional enough on their own but as we will come to learn, these are the last words she will ever say to her sister. At the end of this fight, Maggie will be alone in the woods with Sasha and Bob, separated from both Glenn and Beth. Beth will be off in another direction with Daryl. The two sisters will never see each other alive again. When I came to that realization the first time, it made me incredibly sad. As we often find, our characters do not always get a nice goodbye. But Maggie seems to be the unluckiest of all, as she doesn’t get a nice goodbye ever, not for a single member of her family.

In the end The Governor, Hershel and Megan are dead. Baby Judith is missing and presumed dead. Tara is alone and regrets her decision to fight. The prison has fallen. And we have a lot of unknowns about the rest of our separated friends. The last time they were all separated, our friends found each other on the highway the next day. Unfortunately, things will not go that way this time. When I say this episode changes everything, that’s a realization that comes with time. There’s obvious immediate changes that we will see, but losing the prison is a slingshot into a whole new world.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s grenade drop. As only Daryl can do, he gets one of those moments that make us all giddy with his bad-assery. In a single motion, he plows down a walker with his crossbow and dumps a grenade down the end of the tank. And to finish the moment off, shooting the tank guy in the heart with an arrow. Pure legend.

The Governor and Rick showdown. A fist fight for the record books. With Rick already shot in the leg, The Governor has the upper-hand in this fight. Rick is beaten to a bloody pulp and we think it’s the end as The Governor strangles him to death. But Michonne saves the day with a surprise katana through the chest from behind. Rick is saved and they both leave The Governor to die in pain.

Lizzie and Mika. Surprise surprise, these two youngsters follow in Carol’s footsteps and save Tyrese by shooting two attackers in the head. Don’t ever underestimate children in the zombie apocalypse, you will lose. But wait, weren’t these two taking care of Baby Judith?

Little Asskicker goes m.i.a. Rick and Carl find each other and then go to find Judith. But instead they find a bloody and empty car seat with nothing in it. They assume the worst and have an epic cry together. Surely all that didn’t just happen AND they lose Little Asskicker? Too much!!!

Rick’s speech. Rick uses every word he can muster to try to find a compromise with The heavenly white skyGovernor. We see Hershel’s face as he talks about living together, and he smiles. It’s pleasing to know that Hershel was able to accomplish something in this world by helping a broken man stay human. The speech seems to work….for a moment. But The Governor snaps out of it and the worst case scenario happens.

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Out of the Frying Pan

Season 4 Episode 5 “Internment”

The Episode

Black and white basement viewThis is one of those episodes that sends you through the ringer. It’s dark, violent and emotional. We’re centered around Hershel and Rick mainly and the very different battles they are fighting. And don’t forget the big reveal at the end.

Hershel gets the man of the hour award for his efforts in keeping the sick alive. The ill are staying alive but it is clear their time is running out. A few have died but there are still many more hanging on. Sasha and Glenn look terrible. They are also getting close to the end. The deadly flu storyline is not one of my favorites but still important. I don’t rank it high because I personally enjoy the human conflicts more. The flu is just not very exciting. But it is practical. Although we’re dealing with an apocalypse that’s unlikely to happen (yes, I said unlikely and not impossible), there would definitely be situations like this and to keep this rooted in a somewhat realistic world, the flu is an event that would happen. So here it has been covered and we’re getting it out of the way essentially.

Hershel is our fearless veterinarian turned doctor. He is giving everyone the tea he made and he has one breathing tube to help the current worst case going. But it’s also what he does for their spirits that makes him impressive. While Dr. S who is dying explains the technicalities of what is happening, Hershel takes to heart their mental well-being. “A sad soul kills quicker than a germ” is the saying he quotes. He knows that if he can keep their morale up, keep them from seeing people die and giving them hope with the tea and staying busy with reading books that he may keep their spirits strong enough to keep fighting. Hershel is a calming presence with a humorous touch with his “spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday”.

Which is why it weighs heavy on us when everything goes to crap. One unexpected death leads to another and another and before they know it everyone has turned and killing those that aren’t dead. When it’s all over, it’s only Hershel, Glenn, Sasha and Lizzie who remain. Daryl and crew have returned in time to save them and Hershel gets to collect himself. It’s a sad moment when Hershel, alone in his cell, holds his Bible and begins to cry. He has been physically and emotionally drained and it’s all too much at this point. There’s another great song that plays during this called “Oats in the Water” by Ben Howard.

Meanwhile Rick returns sans Carol and has a new problem to face. The fence walkers are building up again and they need to do something about it. But when they hear a gun shot from the sick ward, Maggie leaves Rick to go and help. Rick is overwhelmed and reluctantly gets Carl to come help him. That also goes to crap when the fence comes down and the walkers invade the prison. Father and son must grab some weapons and defend the prison.

Rick wonders if he was just fooling himself about building a peaceful life at the prison. I think yes to an extent but it’s only human to want that. Fighting all the time, living day to day, that is not what we are accustomed to doing. We want normalcy and to be able to see ourselves living for more than a day at a time. But what Rick and probably everyone and anyone in this situation would feel is how do you build that kind of life when every day something can knock it down?

There’s a moment the next day after the dust has settled with Rick and Carl picking peas in the field and eating them. Rick’s gun in its holster at his side in the background of the shot of him picking peas. Carol’s words from the last episode echo to me, “you can be a farmer Rick, you can’t just be a farmer”. Rick got his time out from having to kill. He’s now finding a way to balance the peaceful and the warrior. Maybe.

Just as things appear to be resetting back to zero, the final shot of the episode reveals the return of The Governor!!! I very much enjoy how the episodes are structured into making us feel what the characters feel. What I mean is, there have only been brief mentions of The Governor this season. Like he was their past and they are moving forward. Us as the audience are also left feeling like The Governor was so last season and that it’s done. And just when we all think that we’ll never hear from him again, we’ve got some new problems to deal with, he shows back up. We’re surprised to say the least, and so will the characters on the show. And they will definitely regret it.

Best of the Episode

End stage. The ill have reached the point of no return. One by one they all start dying and turning. The living are mostly too ill to defend themselves and so they die as well. It’s a harrowing turn of events for Hershel who is forced to start shooting the people he was just trying to save. Even more harrowing is when Glenn starts choking and Hershel has to climb out with his one leg onto a metal net to recover the breathing tube from a walker. Also, really try not to think about how disgusting it is that he pulled that breathing tube from the walker and directly inserted it into Glenn’s throat without sanitizing it. How is Glenn even alive after that?

Father and son shoot-out. I love this odd father and son bonding moment. The two just mowing down walkers like a video game together. And Carl takes really good instructions. Rick teaches him how to shoot and reload that gun he’s never used before in like .2 seconds. Carl is a natural.

Jobs To Do

Season 4 Episode 3 “Isolation”

Before we begin, I must say that the trailers for The Walking Dead and Fear TWD have got me super excited for the upcoming seasons. Watch them if you have not already. Second, all the goodbyes and nice sentiments I’ve been seeing across twitter and other social media for Andrew Lincoln coming out of SDCC are incredibly sweet and have me teary-eyed. Ok now, onto the usual…

The Episode

Picking up where we left off, Tyrese is about to lose his mind over Karen and David’s murder. And to add to it, Sasha also falls ill. He goes crazy on Rick and Daryl, assaulting Rick even when they are trying to keep him calm. Now we are seeing what Tyrese is capable of. He has been a calm and peaceful man, but now he loses someone who means the world to him and he is a loose cannon. One of his best moments this episode is when a group of them get surrounded by a herd of walkers out on the road. Tyrese at first refuses to leave the car and the rest of the team abandons him. When he does leave the car, he faces more walkers than it would seem anyone would be capable of taking on alone. But surprisingly, he makes it through without a scratch. Very similar to Rick’s rampage in the prison corridors after losing Lori.

From another perspective, we have Carol, who seems very calm and matter of fact this episode. Except when Tyrese surprises her and asks her to watch over Sasha. She loses it on some buckets of water. Why the intense reaction Carol? This would seem to be our first clue into who murdered Karen and David. A twist of irony that Tyrese would ask the woman who killed his love to now watch over his sister. Our suspicions are confirmed when Rick asks Carol straight up if she killed them. Carol gives a very succinct “yes” and walks away. Leaving Rick with his thoughts on how to deal with this.

This is another moment in Carol’s evolution. She has again taken a turn onto a deadly path. Refusing to be a victim any longer, she has now gone from teaching children how to defend themselves to outright murder. I can’t blame her for wanting to take measures to protect everyone from a deadly outbreak that seemed to be coming, but this vigilante attitude does not gel with what everyone else’s goals are. They don’t want to be murderers and have this zero-tolerance attitude. Rick just wanted to be a darn farmer! Carol now seems out of place and it looks like this incident may not go over well with the group.

With as much going on as there is in this episode, The Greene family is the most cherryblossomsimportant story to me. Many spoilers about to happen here so beware. Sadly, this family has very few days left together. And I get teary-eyed just saying that. By the season break, Hershel will be dead and Beth and Maggie will be separated and never get to see each other alive again. So, it is important to reflect upon this episode and all they share together.

Beth and Maggie lean on each other. Beth is in quarantine and charged with watching Lil Asskicker. But Maggie talks to her through a door and they support each other. As Hershel taught them, they use the phrase, “We’ve all got jobs to do” to help them carry on. This sisterly bonding moment has become so precious when thinking about what is to come.

Maggie also has a moment with her father when he decides to face possible death by going into the sick ward to help care for the ill. She tries to stop him, afraid of losing Glenn who has caught the sickness and now also her dad. Hershel embodies the phrase he taught his daughter and gives his famous, “you risk your life” speech. This convinces Maggie to let her father go in to the sick ward, but she hugs him first. Rick and Maggie are the two who get to hear the speech, which is important to note. Hershel means a lot to everyone and his steadfast and true approach to life, but I think in particular these words echo for Maggie and Rick. Over time, the two become so crucial in guiding the group, and you need beliefs like Hershel gives them to be a compass of sorts through adversity.

black and white group of crossesAnd adversity they will face. Currently there are 12 dead from illness, Sasha is sick, Glenn is sick, Lizzie is sick and the damn doctor is sick! Hershel faces death in the sick ward caring for everyone. Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyrese are on a mission to retrieve medicine to save everyone. Rick and Carol are trying to keep the place running while what Carol has done looms overhead. And not to leave out, there was a voice on the radio in the car. No biggie.

Best of the Episode

Tyrese fighting everyone….even the ground. First, he puts his hands on Daryl. Uh, no Tyrese, you don’t ever do that! Then, he pummels Rick and you really don’t do that. Rick amazingly wins this fight against Tyrese somehow. You would think that would be the end of it, but Tyrese just won’t quit, taking his anger out with a shovel on the dirt. He’s a furious digger looking like he’s gonna dig his way to China. And then out on the road, it looks like he has a death wish when he takes on an army of walkers. But somehow, he makes it out alive. He is unstoppable!

Hershel’s “you risk your life speech”. Sometimes mocked or quoted in jest, the sentiment behind it is still valid. Every day you risk your life, in this world and theirs, it’s what you are risking it for that matters. Words to live by.

A Cross to Bear

Season 3 Episode 11 “I Ain’t a Judas”

The Episode

Andrea steps into the spotlight this week with her stubborn desire to make everyone get along. As the only person right now managing to maintain relationships with both sides, she has become vital to each. But she will find it no easy task as she comes to find that both sides are unwilling to compromise.

It’s my belief that Andrea is the subject of this episode’s title. If you’re not familiar with who Judas was, he was the traitor to Jesus. As Andrea tries to reason with both sides, she walks the line of also being a Judas to them. First, she argues with The Governor about going to the prison. She wants to resolve the issues and prevent anymore fighting, but The Governor doesn’t want her to go and tells her to stay there if she does. When she persists and seeks out Milton to help her, The Governor gives his consent. At this point, The Governor most likely assumes she’s going to comply and not come back.

Andrea’s trip to the prison is no happy reunion. She’s greeted with guns pointed at her and a rough frisking before Rick gives her a cold “welcome back”. She’s given the rundown on what happened from the farm to present. She even learns the truth about what some of The Governor has done. Michonne is the coldest of all to her. Michonne makes no apologies for what she did at Woodbury and tells her former friend that she chose a warm bed over a friend, ouch. In a real surprise move, Carol asks Andrea to end this whole thing by seducing The Governor with a night of passion and then killing him as he sleeps. Holy hell Carol….you are not messing around anymore. This is a step into a whole new Carol, one that does not shy from a dead body or two or three, etc.

Andrea still cares very much for her old friends, and I think this request to end things is a truly difficult choice. She could be their savior right now, and The Governor’s Judas. Or she could be with The Governor and all Woodbury has to offer and be the prison’s Judas. At first it looks as though she will be the former, as she retrieves a knife Rick gives her from her clothes and hovers over The Governor while he sleeps. We don’t know at this moment if she is going to go through with it, but I’ll spoil it and she doesn’t. She told Michonne earlier that she wanted to save everyone. It looks as though she’s going to continue that route and thus not be anyone’s Judas.

heavenly white sky

There’s a lot of holy talk this episode besides the title. Michonne tells Andrea she’s caught the “Messiah complex” from The Governor. And Hershel quotes the Bible to Merle as he gets to know him. The Bible quote he reads to Merle is Matthew 5:29-30. It reads:

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

You could take this literally about either Hershel’s leg or Merle’s hand, but the meaning is actually deeper. The eye is a metaphor. In the Bible it can often be a metaphor for having evil desires. And plucking it out is a metaphor for abandoning or removing those evil desires from yourself. Yes, I did spend a lot of time in Catholic and Christian schools growing up. But what Hershel is saying to Merle is he believes he can change and be a part of their group. Merle does take this to heart by trying to make nice with Michonne and apologize sort of for what he did to her, although in Merle’s way he does pass the buck to The Governor, better than nothing though. It’s progress.

What’s up next for our group? While they wait to see what happens with Andrea back at Woodbury, Rick is going to take Carl and Michonne on a run. And it is a run that just happens to be one of the greatest episodes of the show. Can’t wait to talk about it next week.

Best of the Episode

pile of logs in the woods

Andrea’s walker repellent. When Andrea and Milton set out for the prison, Andrea decides they need a walker to use as protection from other walkers. In a very violent and gruesome scene, Milton holds down the walker as Andrea hacks off its arms. Then, to top it off, she forces the walker to bite a rock as she head stomps it to break its jaw. It’s one of those scenes that kind of makes you go, “stop it, I’ve seen enough!”

Beth’s song. Actress Emily Kinney is also a singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice. She gets to display that only a few times during the show, which could easily have been a very annoying thing except it was done very naturally and fit the mood. This scene is my favorite. At the end of the episode, she sings Tom Waits’ song “Hold On”. The title is fitting to what our groups is going through at the moment and Beth is trying to give her group something pleasant to unwind at the end of a very hard day. And as the show moves from the prison to Andrea at Woodbury, the song also transitions into the original Tom Waits version. It’s beautifully done.

Challenge Accepted

Season 3 Episode 2 “Sick”

The Episode

Our group has a lot on their plates this episode. The inmates pose a new threat. Hershel’s leg may mean death for him and Maggie is not coping well. Lori continues to try to mend fences with Rick but time seems to be running out. Our group has a plethora of challenges to face. We’ll see who rises and who doesn’t quite make it.

The introduction to the inmates is abrupt. They mostly look on as our group tries to stabilize and move Hershel back to the others. Since their safe zone is now destroyed, they wander out towards our friends. We learn they have absolutely no clue what has been happening on the outside. Still ignorant to how dire it is, they ask to use c

chain link fence

ellphones and still expect the National Guard to come rescue them. While Rick and the others are cautious to get close to them, only the leader really seems like a nasty dude. He stares threateningly and makes tough guy comments. The rest of them just seem like they have no idea what is going on and would probably follow Rick if it wasn’t for the inmate leader.

From the perspective of the inmates though this has to be a strange day for them. Finding out the world has ended and realizing they are actually safer in the prison then going outside is a lot to take in. But unfortunately for many of them, they don’t get to capitalize on their new-found freedom for long. They lose one guy to a walker bite. The leader gets greedy and tries to take Rick out…the one thing you don’t do. He gets a machete to the head and another inmate who tried to help the leader gets locked out in a yard of walkers by Rick. The two remaining inmates, a self-described pharmaceuticals man and a common burglar, get a pass and are allowed to live in their own cellblock. It’s not exactly a giant win, the cell block is full of dead friends, but they’ve got more time and maybe they’ll eventually build bridges with our group and join them.

The inmate situation is a shining moment for Rick as far as leadership goes. He takes opportunity as its presented with them. They’ve got all the food but he is able to trade with them and winds up with half their food! Hmmm, half their food, sound familiar anyone? And when he’s faced with betrayal, he doesn’t hesitate, he handles the situation fast. And he’s also able to show mercy with the two measly inmates at the end. He could have just said screw it and got rid of them too but he didn’t. He still has that ability to do the human thing.

Back in the other cell block, Hershel’s situation is pretty serious and leaves everyone reeling. He’s become the wise old man everyone could turn to, and he was going to deliver Lori’s baby. He played a pivotal role in the group and it’s not looking good. Carol and Lori do what they can to save him but most of it is just waiting to see if he wakes up. In the meantime, Maggie is struggling to find any hope in the situation. She’s pretty certain she’s going to lose him. She even goes so far as to say her goodbyes by his bedside. It’s unusual to see Maggie so emotional and pessimistic. She’s been the tough one of the family. While Beth had her troubles and then so did Hershel, Maggie was taking care of things. But this seems to have pushed her too far and it puts the seriousness of Hershel’s importance in perspective. Even though Rick is our leader, Hershel also has a leadership role in the group.

Carol is also not hopeful about Hershel and takes it upon herself to try to learn how to do a C-section. An interesting moment for Carol when she takes a female walker to use for practice. It’s surprising here too to see Carol outside of what her role usually is. She used to be the quiet laundry woman and now she’s practicing surgery on walkers. Way to step up Carol.

Fortunately, we don’t lose Hershel. After a nice scare that he has turned, he actually comes back! He wakes up with everyone standing around him. Another sign as to how meaningful he is to everyone. They waited on bated breath for him to wake up. And then another touching moment where he grabs Ricks hand in a sign of thankfulness. It will be interesting to see how this goes for Hershel now. In a world with constant threats, how long can you last with just one leg? I think it also tips us off that we’re going to be at this prison for a while. They won’t make a one-legged man run all season, will they?

And then there’s good ol’ Rick and Lori. Lori seems to have nothing better to do then try to make amends with Rick. She tries to reconcile but Rick seems to be done with that. He can barely talk to her. There is some real animosity going on there. At the end of the episode he meets Lori outside where he seems to have a lot to say but says very little. Lori again winds up doing most of the talking. The exchange is awkward. What I get out of the whole thing is that these two are never going to be close again. Rick has no plans to let her back in and I don’t blame him for that. After all he did, she turned her back on him when he needed her most. Rick doesn’t need that kind of sh*t.

Best of the Episode

The inmates killing their first walkers. They were repeatedly told to use headshots when killing the walkers but as soon as they get in the action, they use all their old prison-style stuff. Rick, T-Dog and Daryl just look on in confusion like, “we did just tell you guys get the brain like three times, right?” It’s a pretty funny moment for the show.

Hershel coming back. How touching it was to see him wake up with everyone around. Hershel’s our special grandpa and we don’t lose him like we thought we would when he got bit! It’s a moment of joy we don’t get to see a lot on the show. Usually when someone gets bit that’s the end, but Hershel gives us hope that sometimes the worst isn’t going to happen.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Season 3 Episode 1 “Seed”

The Episode

Season 3 I would describe as the beginning of the Golden Age of the show. The characters, the plots, the creativity and the writing are all at their best from here on out. This season is no slouch; it is pivotal in the show’s success. “Seed” is a great first episode and I will share with you why I think that.

Walkers…everywhere

As much as they were present in the first two seasons, we get nothing like this episode. We get up close and personal from the very beginning with that zoom out from inside the zombie’s eye. That was pretty cool. Then there is a never-ending supply of walkers at the prison. And we see more creativity with them as we don’t just get decomposing people, some of them are wearing SWAT gear making them harder to kill.

Experience

Our group isn’t so weak and helpless anymore. They are almost different people. Most of them are pretty good shots with a gun. None of them are afraid, not in the same way they were before. I’m sure they are still fearful about their situation but they have better reaction skills and can handle basic takedowns. They even demonstrate when taking the prison using better tactics, like working in a circle to prevent from being blindsided and making coordinated attacks one step at a time. Maggie at one point even looks excited when she kills one of the SWAT walkers; she smiles from ear to ear.

The Woman with the Sword

They still don’t reveal her name but she is clearly on the expert level of the zombie apocalypse. She’s without her hood this time we meet her, so we get to see a bit more of who she is, which turns out to be all serious. She is not playing around with that sword. But she also has clearly made a friend in Andrea who is currently very sick, so we also see she’s not heartless.

Daryl and Carol

This episode really gets the shipping going when Carol teases Daryl by fake flirting with him. It’s an adorable moment. In this moment, I really did want these two to get together. They have become extremely close and the lines might be a little blurred right now. Perhaps the writers are dangling a “will they or won’t they” for us. Maybe they don’t even know.

Stuff and Thangs

Rick is appearing to keep his promise from the end of Season 2. His face says all business. Before they found the prison during the episode, it didn’t appear he was doing too well at running the show. They were moving from house to house, starving and looked generally miserable. Rick caught a break finding the prison. But he’s not even nice about things when everyone wants to celebrate a little. After taking the prison yard, all he can do is talk about getting inside and all the work they have to do. It’s also clear Rick and Lori have not made up. She’s about ready to deliver so this grudge between them seems to not be letting up. Rick barely talks to her and when Lori tries Rick blows her off withthat famous line, “I’m doing stuff….thangs.” His pushing might also prove to be a bad move as well. After getting inside the prison, they make another push to find supplies inside, which results in Hershel getting bit. No one wants Hershel to die, so Rick hacks off his leg above where he was bit. Is that going to work? We haven’t seen anyone live through something like that before. If that works it is some very handy knowledge we’ve just gained.

The Prison

run down prison corridor

I know the lesson after the farm was don’t ever think you’re safe, but how could you not think you’re going to be safe inside a prison. The place is built to prevent people from getting in or out. We’ve got double-layer fences, concrete walls, a maze of hallways and cells to use for defense and offense situations and new equipment like the riot gear for armor. It is a seemingly perfect place to reside. It also offers a lot as far as plot goes. For starters, our group finds a small contingent of living prisoners inside in a surprise ending to the episode. Can they make friends or is this more bad news? And with Lori ready to deliver, it seems like this is definitely going to be the place that happens. I suppose it’s a lot better of an option than out on the road. It may not look nice or be ideal, but it provides them with a lot of safety to give her and the baby the best chance.

Hershel talks about planting seeds in the prison yard to grow crops, the obvious reason for the episode title. But another seed has been planted for the season. There’s a bit of a metaphor I think for the growth we’re about to see. I very much enjoy this episode as the season opener. It has a lot of the scares we expect from a zombie show (ugh, I hate having to use that term but it fits). It also sets up some major plot lines for the season in a very natural way. It doesn’t feel forced or out of sync. We get a lot of drama, excitement and a little bit of comedy. It’s a pretty well-rounded episode even after I’ve watched it a zillion times.

Best of the Episode

Taking the prison. The coordination of our group is on point here. We have some folks distracting walkers, some our on cover duty and then there’s the leg work folks. Everyone is chipping in and working together. They clear the field in a matter of minutes and then go inside to do it again. It’s a master class on walker takedowns. Except for poor Hershel….

Hershel. Are we or aren’t we about to lose Hershel?!??! I’m mostly sad for Maggie and Beth. They’ll be devastated. And that gore when Rick chops his leg off! I mean he hacks away at it and it is stomach turning! But we’re left with a bit of an unknown. He’s not dead yet so perhaps there’s a chance they just saved him.

Phasers Set to Stun

Season 2 Episode 8 “Nebraska”

The Episode

Stunned seems like the best word for where our group is right now. Dealing with the aftermath of the barn incident is difficult for most, almost deadly for some. There’s an overall sense that everyone is spent, tired and fed up. There’s a big pivotal moment during the episode that I want to talk about, but first I’d like to cover where everyone is at in 1-2 sentences.

Rick: Shane’s gotten into his head and doubting his decisions.

Carl: Figuring things out for himself. Admits that he would have killed Sophia if he found her as a walker.

empty road

Lori: Despairing over Carl’s admission above. In an effort to handle things on her own, she stupidly sneaks off in a car to go after Rick who has gone after Hershel and flips the car after hitting a walker because she needed to read a map?!?!?!? A moment that has immortalized Lori with fans as the worst person ever.

Shane: He’s fine, relentlessly still getting in everyone’s faces.

Hershel: All hope has been lost for him.

Maggie: Tells Glenn she loves him. Is it real or just panic over losing her family?

Glenn: Confused by Maggie…again.

Beth: In shock, literally. Her body has shut down on her and it could be life threatening.

Carol: Nothing left to live for and pulling up flowers in a field.

Daryl: Shut down. But delivers my absolute favorite line in a fight with Lori, “Listen to me Olive Oil.”

Dale: Continues to blame Shane for everything going on. Quietly launching a rebellion against him.

T-Dog: Tired of having to bury people and burn walkers.

Andrea: Seems ok, keeping her head on straight.

The major event of this episode centers around Hershel and Rick’s discussion at the bar in town which Hershel had snuck off to after the barn incident. Hershel is in a state of despair. Similar to Rick, he’s looking back at the decisions he’s made and feeling regretful over them. He feels foolish and embarrassed.

Bar stools

I empathize with Hershel and Rick at this time; it’s not a good feeling to see your best laid plans fail in front of you. Considering the consequences that are at stake for failure, it has to be extremely difficult to carry around that burden. A lot of people are depending on them with their lives. Hershel and Rick both know that and now it seems to be wearing on them. Seeing how these two characters are such good men at heart, it is sad to see them in a moment of dissatisfaction with themselves.

Although Rick is feeling similar regrets as Hershel right now, he does his best to convince him to return to the farm for Beth’s sake. However, they are interrupted by two travelers, Dave and Tony. It feels suspicious immediately. We all know by now that any stranger is pretty much your enemy until convinced otherwise. At this point, there’s nothing to do but chat. Rick and Hershel are wise not to give away too much. Dave and Tony bring news that Fort Benning has fallen. For me, the moment that said to me these two were not to be trusted was Tony peeing on the wall right in front of them. It’s a territorial move and I think Tony did it to come across as a tough guy. And why try to be a tough guy if everything is just friendly? Things go downhill when Rick and Hershel don’t want them to come to the farm.

Dave and Tony just might be the two guys that put the Rick and Hershel team into high gear. It’s a little hypocritical that Rick is now telling people they can’t come to the farm when he wouldn’t accept no from Hershel. But now Hershel seeing these two guys makes him appreciate Rick more. After Tony becomes angry about the situation, everyone gets a little trigger itchy. Rick is then forced to shoot them both.

Rick killing Dave and Tony is an important moment for Rick and the show. We have been watching Shane’s personal aftermath of killing another human being. He crossed the line and he hasn’t been the same since. Now Rick has taken the first step over that line as well. Of course, Rick’s crossing was somewhat justified, those two were about to fire on them. However, it’s a slippery slope. In the first season, Rick was the one to say that they weren’t going to kill the living. Now I guess the rule is we don’t kill the living unless we feel threatened. How long or how soon will it be before an amendment is made to the rule again?

In a final note, I’d like to step back to something Dave stated before he passed. Dave points out no one is innocent anymore. This is appropriate this day more than ever for our group. The barn incident was like a gigantic innocence breaker that the group is now coping with. Some have fallen to their knees, some have tried to become stronger, some are struggling in the middle and some seem to want to use it to their advantage. But it’s clear that this has been a defining day in these people’s lives that will mark them through their futures.

Best of the Episode

Tony dying in his piss corner. Nothing says karma like landing face first in your own piss. All he had to do was keep his cool a little longer and everything might have worked out. But instead we get a pretty bad ass moment for Rick shooting Dave in front of him and then Tony at the ready (or I guess maybe not) behind him. Quick shooting Rick is bad ass. And Tony is lying in his piss.

Lori’s car accident. This is the deciding moment where Lori goes from being somewhat ok to an absolute hell no for me. I mean c’mon Lori. I could go on for hours about this subject but I think that sums it up.