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Walking Dead Episode 208

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Walking Dead comes out of the mid-season break literally right where it left off, with Deputy Rick looking down the barrel of his gun at the little-girl zombie he just capped. Now that the ennui of the eternal search for Sophia has passed, where will the survivors go? Maybe Nebraska.

Following the Great Zombie Barn Massacre of ’11, the show keeps the foot to the pedal with a gritty snuff scene. Farmer’s daughter Beth runs to embrace her zombie mom, who isn’t quite fully dead until Andrea puts a pickaxe through zombie mom’s skull. Everyone seems divided into two groups – those who are still really freaked out by death and undeath (Dale, Lori, Rick) and those who are jaded and willing to do whatever it takes to make it through another day (Andrea, Shane, T-Dog, Carl).

The whole “zombie arm falls off the pickup” scene was expressly designed to show how used to all this crap Andrea has become. Heaving a rotting human arm into a pile of bodies is just another day on the farm. It’s the emotional sensitivity of some of the other survivors that seems a little unrealistic to me. I think pretty much everyone would grow a pretty thick skin after a few months living in that world. Morgue attendants, paramedics and other people who deal with death and gore on a regular basis learn to tune it out and even use morbid humor to keep the horrors of each day in check. Living in Zombieville, U.S.A. would probably be no different.

We get some new info dumped on us in short order. Dale blabs his fear that Shane killed Otis to Lori, and even though Dale is spot on with his suspicion, he still seems like a putz. Lori doesn’t believe him. Or does she? Then we learn papa Hershel used to have a mighty fierce drinking problem, so naturally Rick and Glenn head to the town bar to find him. We learn that Maggie loves Glenn – or at least, she tells him she does, but Glenn leaves that big meatball hanging out there.

The crux of the episode takes place at the town bar, where Rick tries to pep talk Hershel into coming back to the farm to help out his daughter, Beth, who seems to have gone into shock. Glenn says nothing and doesn’t even stand guard very well, since just as Rick is about to succeed (with the old, “We don’t matter, but think about the kids!” routine), a couple of strangers come stumbling in.

Thus enter Dave and Tony, a coupla guys from Philly looking for a place to rest their weary heads. They seem so affable and honest. They sit around, share purloined booze, and talk about all the pipedreams and mirages every survivor group is chasing. Refugee camps in D.C., military help at Fort Benning. None of them pan out. The latest craze? Catching a train to the heartland, where population is low and ammo is plenty. Based solely on the Bruce Springsteen album, Nebraska with zombies can’t be any more dreary and depressing than it was to begin with.

That whole speech drove home the point that there’s no savior and no safe place waiting for these people to discover. They have to make their own safe place and save themselves. Seems like the best way to go about that would be to band together and rebuild a community of some kind. You could eradicate the walkers (or lamebrains) in an area, fence it off and gradually expand your territory as more survivors found you. But no, as soon as Dave and Tony start asking to join the farm, Rick gets all reticent. No room at the farm, nevermind that he was an outsider there not so long ago. Then Dave thinks he can outdraw Deputy Rick and turns out to be wrong. Thus exit Dave and Tony.

By the end of the episode, we get a couple tables turned on us. Rick, who was so upset about killing zombies and hurting Hershel’s feelings, becomes a man of action (were Dave and Tony bad guys all along? Or just desperate?). Shane washes Carol with clean water, comforting her over the loss of Sophia. Daryl‘s about to go rogue, trading in his parables about flowers and souls for a pointy stick. Plus the episode gets bonus points for playing a song by Clutch over the final scene (“The Regulator” from the Blast Tyrant album, if you’re curious).

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Posted by on Monday, February 13th, 2012. Filed under Dark TV, Headline, Images, Releases. 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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