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Walking Dead Episode 205

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From the trials and tribulations of Daryl Dixon to the big reveal of Glenn’s booty call gone awry, this week’s episode of Walking Dead did what this show does best: unwrap the inner turmoil of the characters amidst the horrors of their daily lives. Some of them we like a lot more; some of them we wish had been shot in the head.

This episode was heavily focused on Daryl, and the writers handled his arc magnificently. We got to see through Daryl’s eyes and started to grasp the reasons for his alienation, diffidence and the insecurity he hides so well. Best of all, we didn’t get it through Daryl sitting around moping or complaining to Lori about it. He heads out alone (with a horse) again, refusing to team up with the other searchers. Just a man and his crossbow. We established last week that he’s the redneck with a heart of gold, so it’s no surprise that he’s putting in serious effort trying to find Sophia. His tumble into the creek shows that there are plenty of non-zombie dangers in the world when you’re living squirrel-to-mouth. It also sets up that brilliant imaginary encounter with his brother Merle.

At first it seems like maybe Daryl’s going to turn bad, his conscience crushed by the weight of Merle’s bad attitude and corrupt family values. When he gets to the top of the ridge again, Daryl rejects mind-Merle. Yet we see the inadequacy that makes him act the way he does. He’s far more intelligent than his upbringing would suggest — intelligent enough to understand how that upbringing makes other people see him. He feels shackled by his heritage even as he works to act supremely competent in hopes that the others will see him as valuable.

On top of all that, Daryl got the best line of the episode again: “Yeah, people in Hell want Slurpees.” Although Dale’s, “If I’d known the world was ending, I’d have brought better books,” was a close second.

Maggie got in a zinger of her own, looking devastatingly cute and then telling Glenn, “You see 11 condoms, I see 11 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” For some reason Glenn thinks this is a good time to pull out his Rico Suave maneuver, and Maggie just walks away. It’s hilarious how out of his depth Glenn is with Maggie, and the fact that it all leads to them passing notes at dinner like kids in middle school (complete with disapproving looks from Papa Greene) was even more perfect. We’ll get to where that whole mess ended up in a minute.

Hershel Greene turned up his own personal creepiness factor this week, going from the amiable veterinarian to the amiable fascist (“You control your people and I’ll control mine.”) and the amiable racist (“What’s going on with you and the Asian boy?”). His efforts to control his family with his pale fist predictably drove Maggie to subvert him by suggesting another hookup with Glenn. Oh, and there are other people living on the farm, too! They were there all along, but this week a few of them stepped forward out of the background, right into parts of the scene that were in focus. I think they even gave one of them a name, but he might as well have been wearing a red ensign’s shirt. He’ll be zombie food before long.

There were a few limp sections of the show this week. Pragmatic Survivalist Shane versus No Child Left Behind Rick is getting pretty stale. Lori seems to be some kind of emotional sponge the writers use to mop up scenes with other characters. Even her own unplanned pregnancy hasn’t changed things. She just strides around looking alternately determined and worried, then cries. Andrea shooting Daryl was certainly dramatic, except you saw it coming a mile away (so to speak). If nothing else, it cements her as the least likable character on this show, PMS or not.

That finally brings us to the zombie barn dance. Hershel has a whole mob of walkers boarded up in there. Maggie even knew about it. We didn’t get any explanation why, or why this might be connected to the farm seeming so safe from zombie attacks. My guess: they render zombie fat to fuel that generator (seriously, it works — I’ve seen it done with a pig carcass). But how do they get them in there? Probably with some kind of bait, and that’s probably going to be the most horrific reveal when all is said and done.

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Posted by on Sunday, November 13th, 2011. Filed under Dark TV, Headline, Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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