The Walking Dead - Cherokee Rose

We're gonna have a Shane-baby! Probably. Lori's episode ending, completely anti-climactic positive pregnancy test only serves to unravel the tenuous relationship she has with Rick and Carl, but it also seems a little trite given the circumstances. Sure, she slept with Shane in Season One, but the reveal isn't going to be the complicated thing. The trick will be in how to get around as a pregnant lady in a world of death and danger. If this turns into an emotional point of contention with Rick, then that's just stupid, because Lori should be able to pull a Joan Holloway-Harris and lie through it. After all, The Walking Dead broods and melodramas like it wants to be Mad Men, but it never plays its cards appropriately. And there's only so many times we can use the ol' "people in an impossible situation can act impossibly" argument. Just lie. If it keeps the group together. Just lie. Especially now that Lori knows Rick is feeling less a man, as demonstrated by his overwrought badge and gun in the drawer routine. But at least Rick and Carl are closer now that they've both been shot and, interestingly, cuckolded (in a way) by Shane. Shane tricked Rick's friendship and tricked Carl's need for a father. Oh it's a tangled little bit of fuckery.

But, "Cherokee Rose" is generally an uneven episode, but a decent one. Shane, who is forced to lie about Otis' death, is phenomenal. Daryl, who ventures out alone in search of Sophia (yeah, she's still lost), finds a flower, Georgia's State Flower the Cherokee Rose, and gives it to Carol as a sign that her daughter may yet come back. Note: Daryl is turning into the best guy on the show. He's undaunted by fear, faith-shakings, or anything else. He is an electrified bad-assery machine and it's a pity and possibly a mistake that he doesn't do enough on the show week to week. Or maybe it's because he doesn't spout philosophical ramblings that HE IS the bad ass. And Glenn, who awkwardly and accidentally talks his way into some abandoned drug store sex with the gorgeous cowgirl Maggie, is also exceptional. Those are the three upsides to the episode. Unfortunately they are, once more, surrounded by some questionable writing and "meh" character development.

For starters, watching our bloated, water-logged zombie of the week lugged from a well, rip in half, and then consequently contaminate the water supply was a bit of quality special effects and decent consequences to the mini-storyline. Had the group succeeded in getting him out, well, they'd have a victory, and other than Carl's recovery, victories really aren't what this show is about. Also, it was just such a stupid thing to undertake in the first place that it was right for them to fail. USE A DIFFERENT WELL. OR FILL THIS ONE IN WITH DIRT SO THAT THE ZOMBIE "CONTAMINATE" CAN'T GO FURTHER. Something else. Instead, they lower Glenn in on a rope. And the rope, well the rope doesn't break. But the steal, bolted well pump does and they just barely save Glenn. The problem here is that the plan was dumb. AND there's no real sense of urgency. Glenn won't die because he's not an Otis. We haven't seen a regular cast member die yet... except for Amy. And she was cursory at best. It's a neat way to include zombies, but one where we know what's going down and there isn't any real tension.

Shane and Andrea's conversation about guns, about "the kill" was solid. But it was the best talking point in the episode. Rick and Herschel have a moment of faith, another, where we seem only to rehash the conversations of last week. Really, the episode fails by giving too little time to Glenn and Maggie. Nothing else really happens anyway. Just a lot of quick conversations about failing faith. And then failing confidence. But Glenn and Maggie are something. Maggie specifically, who boldly undresses at Glenn's accidental suggestion of sex. It's a perfectly awkward moment in which Maggie's character is strongly defined. She's bold. She's in charge. And she doesn't say it. She just is it. That's what The Walking Dead is doing wrong. They keep using dialogue about faith to establish who is faithful and faithless. They use conversations about fear that way. And conversations about love. And hope and anger and confidence and all of it. Instead people need to do things that define them as SOMETHING. Maggie, undressing, is a more fleshed-out (pardon the pun) character in that moment, than almost anyone else. It was the same with Glenn boldly leading Rick through Atlanta in the second episode. We need more of that.

"Cherokee Rose" wasn't bad, but it felt like a stop-gap in a lot of ways. We could have moved forward, but instead the group takes a rest and so do we. It's not a total waste, but it is a sign of fatigue in the writing staff, whether it originated with the comic series or not. A new medium allows for new choices, options and storytelling modes. And if we're not going to tie all the flashbacks into the main story, let's leave them out entirely, shall we. Next week "Chupacabra."

No comments:

Post a Comment