Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Walking Dead: Episode 3 (Tell It To The Frogs)

Spoiler Warning! This post contains spoilers for episode 3 of The Walking Dead.

Episode Synopsis: Rick is reunited with his wife and son as the scavengers meet back up with the camp outside the city. But Rick soon makes plans to head back into the city for the man they left behind.

Discussion: Please welcome my friend Scott, who is joining me for a discussion of the episode.

Q: What were some of the highlights of the episode, in your opinion?

zharth: There wasn't a whole lot that stood out for me in this episode, specifically. It was a bit more drama-oriented, with less action, something of a break between getting out of the city, and then heading back in. And even with the reunion, the love triangle confrontation was avoided, though you know it's coming sooner or later.

Scott: The real highlight of this episode was Rick being able to meet up with his wife and son again. Every second he didn't get out of the truck, I was worried that the show would take a downward turn and Rick would just miss his chance here. But he didn't, and they got together. I was very happy for him.

There were other great moments, though. I was glad that Merle got his time in the spotlight; it made him more of a balanced character, rather than some stereotypical white supremacist. I was hoping that he would "see the light" when he was begging for his chance, that he would take the hacksaw as a sign from God that if he turned his act around, things would get better. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way and he only got madder. I can't blame him for being mad, though, as much as I'd like to.

I was very, very disturbed by the scene where the men leave the camp to go beat up a zombie. It seemed like they weren't even trying to kill it, but were just taking out their anger and frustration on it. I think this disturbed me even more than it normally would have because of Rick's behavior in the previous episode; he acknowledged that these zombies were once people, but in that scene, everyone, including Rick, just beat the crap out of that zombie. It was almost like a lynching.

Q: Do you agree with Rick's decision to head back into Atlanta, just after he made it safely out?

zharth: I can't say that it's smart, but I'll admit I got excited about the thought of him going back for a rescue. I don't believe it was his obligation to try to rescue Merle, although it reflects on his character that he would want to. The bag of guns, on the other hand - I was really disappointed that he lost it previously. And Rick's promise to the family he met before coming to Atlanta - again, in these extreme times, I wouldn't blame him for thinking primarily of his own safety, but his unflinching honor is part of what makes him a captivating character. That, and his nigh invincibility. Going back into the city may not be smart, but if there's anyone that can pull it off, it's Rick.

Scott: I think it was the right decision. The group needed the guns and they had a responsibility to go get Merle, as well. In a way, having made it safely out made it even more necessary to go in; if they made it out in that kind of situation, they can certainly make it out when things have calmed down.

Q: Do you think that Lori's instant rejection of Shane upon reuniting with Rick is justified? Does she have a responsibility to tell Rick about her relationship with Shane?

Scott: I did. It twisted me inside because I could see the terrible drama coming from a mile away and I hate that kind of crap, but Lori's rejection of Shane was completely justified. Not only is she not a widow, but Shane apparently lied to her about Rick's condition, for whatever reason. It made me think back to the conversation Shane and Rick had in the car; did Shane remember that Lori and Rick weren't getting along well... and then decide to throw his friend to the wayside to pick up his wife?

In a way, Shane seems to be the most instinct-driven of all of the men. He radiates alpha-male -- he wants to protect, he wants to fuck, he wants to order people around. When they don't do what he wants them to, he verbally or physically prods them to make them do it. So perhaps even if he wasn't consciously thinking that he wanted to take his friend's wife, it was under all of his other thoughts in the crisis.

Lori should have come clean as soon as possible. The longer she waits, the worse the shock will be.

zharth: By the sound of it, Shane had convinced Lori that Rick was dead. I think that justifies her involvement with Shane - although the question remains of how certain Shane was of Rick's supposed death, and how much he used that information to deliberately (and deceptively) win over Lori. Lori was clearly still holding onto her feelings for Rick, so I don't blame her for pushing Shane away the moment Rick showed up. However, I kind of resent her for telling Shane to stay away from her son Carl. They seemed to be bonding, and I think it's unfair to force them apart. Of course, I think part of that motivation is to reduce the chance of Rick finding out how close Shane and Lori were. I can't blame Lori for wanting to avoid the issue, but you know it's only a matter of time before it comes out, and I can't defend anything underhanded she does to keep the secret in the meantime (like forcing Shane and Carl apart).

Q: Do you think Shane (and the other women) were right to step between the married couple and protect Carol from Ed's abusive behavior? Should they have instead respected their alternative lifestyle?

Scott: Absolutely.

Do I think that Shane was motivated by other reasons as well?

Absolutely. He was clearly upset about his inability to keep a relationship with Carl; he obviously cares a lot about Carl and wants that kind of family for himself. Maybe his own wife died and he was unable to protect her. Whatever the reason, he was taking out his frustrations on Ed -- Ed has a wife that cares about him, and a child, but he's abusing them and that must be the worst kind of thing for a man like Shane to see. Shane was completely jealous and felt that he was justified in his anger.

I don't. He went way too far. He was right to take out Ed, but he used excessive force.

zharth: I think this is a complicated issue. It's interesting that, because of the whole zombie apocalypse, you have very different kinds of people working together to survive - people from very different walks of life, who might not get along otherwise (or still don't). I don't think domestic abuse is justified simply because it's the way of life some people are used to - and thus, Shane and the women's intervention was righteous (if Shane's reaction irresponsibly excessive) - however, the zombie situation brings up another consideration. In order to survive, it's probably best to keep the members of your group happy and content. So though the abuse might be morally objectionable, is stepping in worth the cost of potentially destabilizing the group, and putting everyone's very lives at risk? It's a tough question.

Conclusion: Thanks for joining me, Scott! Stay tuned for our discussion of episode 4 of The Walking Dead!

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