The wait for one of the best shows on TV is finally over! Not only was I not disappointed, my expectations were exceeded in one of the best episodes in the run of this series. This episode is the start of a new day for our group. No longer in a democracy, this is the dictatorship of Rick. Having that central authority looks like it has paid dividends for the survivors as we see in the opening scene.
In need of shelter due to Lori looking like she’s ready to drop the baby any day now, the team clears out an old house room to room swat team style as they put down walkers. This was hands down my favorite scene of this episode. One thing that stood out to me was it really showed how the group have become a cohesive unit now and not just individuals trying to survive together as evidenced by the fact that they worked so well together without one bit of dialogue. Every person knew their job and executed it to a tee. The other two things that really stood out to me were the evolution of Carl into one bad assed little kid. The way he calmly put that bullet into the walker’s head that he encountered shows how desensitized he has become to their environment. The other was his willingness to snatch up the can of dog food and almost dive right in until Rick stopped him. It was sad to see that they have become so desperate as to where a can of Alpo would be a welcome meal. You got that same feeling from the group by the looks in their eyes as they watched him half dismayed at what they were seeing, but half wanting that dog food themselves. Rick being Rick though wasn’t going to admit that things are that bad and quickly grabs the can from Carl and chucks it.
After the house turned out to not be a safe place due to an impending walker invasion incoming , they frantically pack up and hit the road again. That’s when they come upon the prison. Rick sees this place as the opportunity they’ve been looking for to find that safe haven, to not have to run from house to house anymore. After a bit of scouting Rick comes up with a plan to clear the yard of all the walkers and make it secure. In another great moment of unity they enact his plan with perfect precision and easily take the prison yard. While resting it up at night in the yard the group starts to make plans for making that yard habitable with T-Dog planning a canal for fresh water and Herschel wanting to build a garden plot. Rick being the man of vision though has bigger ideas, namely the prison itself. Explaining that there must be supplies in the way of food, medicine and weapons, Rick wants to take the group inside. I love how Rick is always thinking bigger than the rest of the group. Sure it’s secure and they could start up a life in the yard, but Rick wants it all. Lori isn’t so sure though and wants to let everyone enjoy the small victory they just won. She’s also hoping to work things out with Rick who’s now giving her the cold shoulder after she convinced him that Shane had to go last season. It seems like he knew it had to be done, but he also feels like Lori was manipulating him into that decision. There’s also the small matter of who the baby’s dad is, Rick or Shane.
The next day the group takes to storming the prison. In another great scene Rick, T-Dog, Daryl, Glen and Maggie work their inside gruesomely putting down walkers and securing a cell block. Happy to have shelter the mood seems to lighten among the group at the prospect of having beds and shelter again. There was a nice moment here between Glen and Maggie where Glen checks Maggie for scratches and what not while taking a break in the cell they are occupying. It seems like this is the first time in a while where they just get to be a loving couple. It was funny to see this tender moment take place in a cell with blood covered walls, which didn’t phase them a bit. Rick isn’t done though. He knows there’s more supplies to be had in the prison as he takes his “alpha squad” deeper inside. This becomes one of the most tense scenes the show has delivered. Being a bit of a claustrophobe I couldn’t help but become unnerved as they made their way down narrow hallways knowing any minute an attack was imminent. When that attack did come it was terrifying to see them scrambling and being surrounded on all sides. I was freaking out inside watching them being cut off at every turn. I love it when TV shows and movies put me in that position of feeling like I’m there trapped as well.
And that’s when it happened, Herschel falls victim to a seriously nasty bite on his leg that looked like the walker got a lot of tendon along with some meat, but it doesn’t end there. In one of the most grisly scenes I’ve ever witnessed on TV Rick decides that to keep infection from spreading through Herschel’s body that leg had to go, amputating with a hatchet. That was the “Holy F***!” moment of the year, possibly my life. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t watching HBO before remembering my broke ass can’t afford HBO. That scene made anything I’ve seen on Dexter seem tame(I can’t afford Showtime either, but I have a great mom who lets me come over to watch.). I had to turn away after a few hacks because I get super squeamish at those kinds of things. It was worth it though to see the look of horror on my wife’s face. It all ends with the alpha team finding a group of prisoners who are still alive hunkered down in the prison.
Top to bottom I loved everything happening in this episode. Though there was a scene with Andrea and Michonne that seemed like a throwaway, but it did let us get some great katana action as Michonne beheads a few walkers. Also, it seems like an odd pairing, but I wish Carol and Daryl would just get it on already. They aren’t the sexiest characters so I don’t really care about their sexual “will they or won’t they?” tension. Other than those two issues this was easily the best episodes to date. Every scene played so well, and besides the Michonne thing, no story was wasted here. Every act advanced the story and delivered some of the best action and tension the Walking Dead has given us yet. Things look like they will be heating up even more this season which will be welcome as the middle part of last season fell rather flat. I for one can’t wait for next Sunday. My wife also made a brilliant observation here as well. While watching shows like Revolution you don’t fully get sold on their apocalyptic situation since all the characters look perfectly groomed and the females have all their male up in place. The Walking Dead’s characters look like they’ve been through hell and back and that subtly really helps to sell the show.
4.5 out of 5 nerds
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