Walking Dead Episode 302
It turns out that one of the most marketable skills in the zombie apocalypse is just being good at killing zombies. Rick gets decisive, Carl mans up, Carol plays zombie doctor, and everyone mourns Hershel’s leg.
Things pick up right where they left off last week, with the zombie kill crew fighting to stem Hershel’s bleeding and a small band of prisoners looking on in awe. Even though one of them has a gun, the survivors pretty much ignore them, get a cart, wrap the stump and roll out. The prisoners are left stunned at the brass balls these people have, not to mention the fact that one of them left a leg behind.
They get Hershel back to the cell block, and the prisoners follow, although Carl’s playing gatekeeper, so they can only get so far. Daryl sets up with the crossbow trained on an open door, and I have no idea why he didn’t just lock it. There’s a bit of a Mexican standoff with lots of guns and crossbows being pointed at people, then we get an interesting twist: the prisoners have been holed up in that cafeteria for so long they have no idea what’s going on in the world. They think it was just some weird prison riot. The dawning realization leads to some great dialog.
Meanwhile the women care for Hershel. They apply lots of sheets and elevate his legs, and the bleeding slows. They worry about getting sterile bandages and antibiotics, but how is it possible Hershel survives that much blood loss? Shouldn’t one of his kids be thinking about an emergency transfusion? Everyone deals with Hershel’s injury and impending death in their own way. Beth is very pragmatic, cutting and trimming one pant leg on all of Hershel’s pants. I assume she also burned one shoe from each pair.
Laurie and Rick have a little talk about how Rick plans to deal with the prisoners. Laurie repeats some of her lines from last season almost word for word when Rick mentions, “Kill ‘em” as one potential option. As she did when talking about executing Randall in season two, Laurie plays the “Father knows best” card. Ultimately, Rick offers the prisoners their own cell block, and the survivors will even help them clear it out in return for half their food supply. The contrast between the seasoned survivors and their disciplined zombie strike team tactics and the panicky, moronic prisoners was perfect.
How would you deal with the prisoners? Clearly the Hispanic guy was going to be a problem (I’m calling him Hispanic because he called someone a “gringo,” which is lazy TV/movie writer shorthand for, “This dude is from Mexico.”). The other prisoners didn’t seem too bad. I might have taken out unstable Hispanic guy and kept his gun. Now you’ve taught the other cons a lesson (“Don’t Eff with us.”), taken their only firearm, and removed the most belligerent individual. He further proved his craziness by destroying Big Tiny’s head after a zombie scratch.
Oh yeah, the zombie pulling his own hand off to get out of handcuffs was great. For the record, my shorthand notes that I write during each episode to remind me of key moments say simply: “zombie hand job.”
The dude forced the issue by chucking a zombie at Rick in the middle of a royal rumble. After a brief staredown, Rick treated dude’s head like Hershel’s leg. Chop! One machete to the forehead. They did a nice side shot of dude with his head macheted, and I was really expecting a deep voice to suddenly say, “FATALITY!”
But then one of the other guys ran. Understandable. Rick chased him, then locked him in the exercise yard to be devoured by walkers. That seemed harsh. That guy ran because he was scared. I didn’t see any evidence of a plot to attack the survivors. I don’t even understand why Rick thought about offing the other two. Between the mustache guy and bearded Hershel, they’d have a pretty good Civil War reenactment team.
Back in the cell block, everyone’s sort of still taking care of Hershel. Carol has taken on the role of head nurse, and Maggie gives her dad the world’s worst pep talk. “No, go toward the light. God, breathing is so hard, isn’t it? You could just stop doing it. Wouldn’t that be nice?” Carl shows up with a bag full of medical supplies from the infirmary, and his mom flips out. It was obviously dangerous for him to do that alone, but a simple, “Cool, thanks Carl. Next time, use the buddy system,” would have been a lot less confrontational.
There was a ton of action in this episode, but the CG blood spatter is terrible. It’s incredibly obvious and takes you right out of your suspension of disbelief. Come on, effects people. Rig up some tubes and pumps and squibs.
Two weird things round out the episode. Carol realizes she’s going to have to deliver Laurie’s zombiechild by C-section, and needs practice. Glen helps her snag a girl zombie that Carol later starts slicing into. It was a deeply uncomfortable scene made creepier by a classic horror trope: Stalkervision! Someone’s watching Carol do this, and we see it from his or her point of view, peering through some foliage.
Then Rick and Laurie meet on a bridge. I thought we weren’t going to get any real zingers this week until Laurie uncorked one: “We’ll give Carl a safe place to…do whatever he does these days.” Rick finally seems to break up with Laurie — as she questions him about the nature of their relationship he just mentions that everyone’s grateful to her for giving Hersh CPR, then walks away. As Laurie said, what are they going to do, hire lawyers and split their assets?
Oh, by the way, Hershel didn’t die. For a second there it looked like he stopped breathing and then maybe bit Laurie on the mouth, and even after he woke up I thought they might interrupt everyone’s soft focus acoustic guitar music moment of relief with him suddenly turning and chomping an arm. I’m kind of bummed that it didn’t go down like that.