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The Walking Dead S1E3 review

REVIEWS - TV

Finally, the reunion and the best escape since Houdini (I'm looking at you, David Blaine!)...

The Walking Dead

The much-anticipated reunion at camp occurs and everyone’s world is rocked. Shane sets off on a very, very dark path and we find out that he actually told Laurie that Sheriff Rick was dead.  I wonder if his motives were pure?  Four guys decide to head back into Atlanta to save Merle Dixon and retrieve Sheriff Rick’s bag of guns ‘n’ ammo, because of course he’s on the roof where we left him chained to a pipe, right?  Oops.

Just before the group returns to camp, Shane refers to himself as the ‘Sheriff of Secrets'. Did that creep anyone else out? Glenn returns to camp first, and gets the two best lines of the night: “I got an awesome car” and “Merle, not so much.”  The rest of the group returns and the reunions begin, leading up to the mother of all reunions, Sheriff Rick and his family.  And it is beautifully done, and acted, and scored.  This scene was the high point of the series so far, especially the look on Shane’s face and the growing realization that his whole world just crumbled, priceless.

Over a campfire, Sheriff Rick describes how he got to the camp, but since this is a well-written show, they don’t actually make us sit through the telling (The Event!  Take notes!)  Shane has an altercation with a bad, bad man named Ed who challenges his authority, and when Rick and T-Dog start to argue over who will break the news of Dixon’s fate to his other brother Darryl, T-Dog tells everyone that he set the chain and padlocked the door, so Merle is still alive on the roof.  I realize T-Dog was in a hurry, but he stopped to set the lock and chain and not to hand Merle the tool bag to try to set himself free?  Should we read anything into that?

Sheriff Rick and Laurie have some lovely awkward sex and she gives him back his wedding ring.  Shane watches from outside the tent - shouldn’t he be watching the woods, too? The next morning Sheriff Rick is walking around, thanking people for their work, and generally spreading sunshine and light.  We get it – he’s the good guy who is going to lead the group naturally, through kindness, and Shane is the bad guy who is going to lead the group through authority, and toughness. Give us some credit for nuance, here, people.  Anyway, Sheriff Rick announces his decision to go into town to save Merle Dixon.  Again, Shane wouldn’t go to town to save a bunch of good guys but Sheriff Rick will go to save one bad guy.  Just buy him a white hat and leave it at that, all right?

"Over a campfire, Sheriff Rick describes how he got to the camp, but since this is a well-written show, they don’t actually make us sit through the telling (The Event!  Take notes!)"

A zombie is eating a deer in the clearing right outside the camp and a violent beat-down scene follows – it’s somewhere between Casino and Lord of the Flies.  Rick and T-Dog break the news about Merle to Darryl and a stupid plan is formed.  Rick, T-Dog, Glenn and Darryl are going back to Atlanta to get Merle, and also to get Rick’s bag that got left behind along with the Horse With No Name.  Lest you think that Rick was feeling mercenary, though, (heaven forbid!) he really needs the bag for the walkie talkie so that Morgan Jones and his son can contact him if they make it to Atlanta. Off they go, the heroes!

ShaneLaurie is against the plan, because Laurie is smart. Later Laurie finds Shane and Carl catching frogs, and orders Carl back to base.  When Shane admonishes her not to take it out on Carl, she reveals that since Shane was the one who told them Rick was dead, and now it’s brutally obvious that Shane lied, she’d like him to get the hell out of her life, please.  Difficult to do, as there are only about 15 people in your whole town, but she really wants him to make the effort.

Then Ed, the bad guy from the fireside, decides to give the whole group of women a hard time for laughing while washing clothes. He threatens Andrea, then punches his wife in the face. Shane proceeds to beat Ed within an inch of his life. He’s losing control. He’s lost Laurie, and now Carl, and you know he’s going to be pushed aside as Camp Champ now that there’s a new Sheriff in town.  

In Atlanta, the guys decide to get Merle first and the guns after.  They head up to the roof of the department store and find...an empty roof. Wha? Almost empty, that is.  Merle took the Cary Elwes, Saw 1 escape route and took his hand off.  And left it behind when he climbed down the roof, one-handed, just like the racist badass he is. Surely this won’t end in tears, right?  Right?

So the zombie hordes are starting to spread up the mountain.  Merle is out there, somewhere, bleeding and crazy and vengeful; and Shane is coming unglued. And only three episodes left!! I'm betting on a happy ending.


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