So last Sunday night was eventful, which may or may not be a good thing. Last season it felt like a lot of time was wasted on the farm looking for Sofia. I still haven’t decided how I feel about it, but last night created a nice opportunity to compare and contrast this second episode of the season to the second episode of last season. At this point last season we’d ended episode one with Carl (AKA “Plot Device” at the time) being shot (and the last thing on anyone’s mind was…would he talk about the deer?) and the second ep began with a much more emotionally open Rick rushing him to the farmhouse, where we spent the majority…well all of season two. Fast forward to, (however many months it takes to make Lori look ready to pop, though everyone’s hairstyle is the same*), and we’re looking at an entirely different ballgame.
Plot device, I mean Carl is older and less of a liability/plot device. What I mean by this is he’s less of a liability because he can kill zombies, good for him, he’s still somewhat of a liability because he still won’t stay close to his mother (which yeah I have an issue with, despite the fact that his mom is, well Lori, but we’ll get to that in a moment). What could have been a catastrophe involving a possibly dead Carl on the trip to an infirmary, which many expected would be tough to get to, (was I the only one expecting an encounter with zombie orderlies?) it was apparently a walk in the park we never got to watch as he went on his own to get supplies for Hershel. Carl further demonstrated his capabilities to react in tough situations when Hershel reacted to Lori’s CPR (we’ll also get to this in a moment, it’s in the Lori-was-stupid-category) having his gun aimed and ready to defend everyone from, the albeit shackled, #oneleggedhershel (LOVE that hashtag, thanks Talking Dead)! During Talking Dead after the show Chris Hardwick asked Wil Wheaton a very important question (paraphrased): Will Carl continue to be reckless or will he be a good little soldier? I think (for different reasons than Wil’s) it depends. For me, looking at Carl it depends on who’s giving the orders. Carl was reckless in this episode because he went out on his own, not because he’s selfish, so if the writers stay consistent, I really don’t think we have to worry about him *that* much. His father doesn’t respect his mother (we’ll get to this in the Rick-Is-Not-My-Favorite section) so he sees no reason to respect her when she says stay put. He also sees no reason not to yell at her, until Beth tells him not to. Go Beth! He will listen when his father says something, the same way he did when Shane was the only alpha male around, and I *hope* this is something they’ll address, but since, as I’ll dig into in the next section, apparently Rick doesn’t feel that he and Lori have much to talk about.
So let’s talk about Rick and Lori, because well, they won’t or at least Rick won’t. I have to say that if the most vital and long term story arc is having all viewers share varying degrees of judgmental superiority and disgust towards Lori, then kudos to them. For one night I thought, thanks to some open, honest, quality dialogue that viewers might hate Lori just a little bit less. Though in my opinion I don’t think that Lori is a “shitty wife” and what exactly would earn someone a “mother of the year” award these days? Instead what we get is a Lori who decides to stupidly play nurse when Hershel is finally dying and letting go. I thought that Maggie’s scene with Hershel held so much meaning and I felt like some of it left, thanks to Lori being an idiot. It wasn’t Lori’s intentions that I have a problem with, it’s just ridiculous that she’d attempt mouth-to-mouth with a potential walker (if one of the prisoners tried that I’d cut them SOME slack because well, they’ve been essentially living under a rock for 10 minths). For the 1st time in the whole series I really felt that what Lori did was unrelatably moronic. Sorry to sound harsh, but I’d have let Hershel go. I would like to praise the writers though for proving that it doesn’t take gore and action to make someone afraid, just good old fashioned suspense. What is also scary though, is Maybe-Daddy Rick. Killing Tomas was the right move to make. The guy nearly took Rick’s head off, and threw a walker at him. He had to go. Otherwise a lot of season 3 would have felt a lot like season 2, with Tomas as Shane 2.0. Leaving Andrew in that yard though, was awful. It was cold. If Rick had felt bad about it, fine, but he didn’t care. His non-versation with Lori cemented how detatched he is from humanity at this point. When it comes to Rick, I feel like the pendulum has swung too far. Everyone who’s been through the show understands what he’s gone through. But I feel like the writers looked at IMDB and twitter, and realized that everyone hated him being touchy-feely and taking his time, when he should have acted (how many people at least on the issue of Sofia were Team Shane for a while in season 2?). Have they taken Rick too far? Maybe, maybe not, but I liked compassionate Rick WAY better than quiet angry Rick. My biggest question, is there a way to bring him back to a more emotional Rick, and would that be a good thing, please leave comments letting me know what you think.
All of that being said, I’m psyched for next Sunday. And in regards to the creepy figure spying on Carol, (who’s zombie C-section, I’m glad we only saw from the treeline) my money’s on Merle, CAN’T WAIT!
*Also since I never did a review of episode one of this season, I have to say, in relation to the time jump, if nothing has really changed for the group other than Lori’s pregnancy and Carl beginning to look older, because that’s what those darn child actors do, then good for them. Last thing I want as a LOST-ie is someone yelling CAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, as he gets kidnapped.