After a Season 1 marathon last weekend and a replay of Seasons 2 and 3 this weekend, The Walking Dead will return to AMC with a new episode on Sunday, February 10th. It’ll be a great relief for fans. The hardships of winter and the disappointments of the holiday season double suck when you can’t even get your zombie fix.
The Season 1 marathon on Super Bowl Sunday featured a lengthy teaser from the upcoming Governor-ordered fight to the death between brothers Merle and Daryl Dixon. Not since the Civil War have Americans been so interested in brother-against-brother conflict. The outcome of the fight is sure to be one of the highlights of the mid-season premiere. The producers of The Walking Dead have promised us repeatedly that no character is safe, so there is fan anxiety attached to the fight. We stand to lose yet another main character. If Merle dies, nobody will care. If Daryl dies, there is a Facebook group that proposes we riot.
The death of T-Dog bothered fans of The Walking Dead, but the mourning was brief. Folk hero T-Dog was damned near scenery, truth be told. He had five minutes of lines in Season 2, even less in Season 1. Daryl’s death would impact the show in a much bigger way. Fans don’t like Daryl just because they like him. Daryl has become the heart and soul of The Walking Dead.
I didn’t really understand how it was that Daryl had wormed his crossbow-wielding, white-trash, man-of-few-words way into our hearts until I watched the Season 1 marathon this past Sunday. In the early days of the show, Rick took pleasure in his family. Glenn seemed to enjoy his transformation from pizza delivery guy to zombie slayer. Everybody hopped on the chance to get drunk. The group had reasons to survive.
By Season 3, not so much. Rick could barely look at Lori before her death. He has glanced at his new baby maybe twice, and he gives his son, Carl, orders and not much else. Carl struggles to take on adult responsibilities because there isn’t anything else for him to do. Glenn has acquired the ultimate hot farmer’s daughter love interest in Maggie, but their love is earnest and dutiful and doesn’t look like it’s any fun at all. Carol, eh, she’s still cleaning up the other character’s messes. With the joy gone from life, people have started doing everything they do on the show because they have no other choice. It’s backwards evolution. The original characters from Season 1 who’ve made it to the prison aren’t getting more complex. They are turning into mice.
In the middle of these miserable, desperate people, we have Daryl Dixon. Before the walker virus, the best Daryl could hope for in life was a trailer home and a live-in girlfriend to knock up. The zombie apocalypse has given Daryl a place of trust in a group that wouldn’t have admitted him in the pre-walker world. His nothin’-to-lose bravery and his got-nothin’-better-to-do tenacity allow the character to take on lost causes (the search for Sophia) and to spend time worrying about what really matters. Daryl is often the only character to acknowledge the other survivors’ grief, and his “Little Ass Kicker” greeting of dead Lori’s baby allowed the other characters to feel something better than despair over her arrival.
Daryl Dixon is the anti-mouse of The Walking Dead. With the other characters running around on a wheel, doing things because they have to, Daryl does things because he wants to. He has grown, not dimished.
The character of Rick Grimes gets the most camera time on the show, but, make no mistake about it, Daryl Dixon is the hero of The Walking Dead. I really hope that the producers won’t kill him off just to prove that they can.
I’m hoping people have noticed that my Zombie Reports have been a lot about The Walking Dead, lately. If you have noticed and you are annoyed, give me a break. Season 3 of The Walking Dead is the biggest zombie news since Florida immersed itself in zombie-making bath salts. So, here’s my Official Unofficial Recap of Episode 2, Season 3 of The Walking Dead!
(Those of you who both have DISH TV and don’t understand the word “recap,” you’ve been warned.)
The show picked up right where Episode 1 ended. Rick and his people are trying to save the life of One-Legged Hershel, formerly known as Two-Legged Hersel before Rick cut off his zombie spit infected leg with an ax.
The surviving prisoners we met at the tail end of Episode 1 are duly impressed by Rick’s act of savage ax necessity for all of three seconds. These prisoners are under the impression that they are Bad Asses, in spite of the fact that they’ve waited ten months for the guard who locked them into the cafeteria at the beginning of the walker apocalypse to return for them, something that even a lone, terrified four year old wouldn’t wait for after about a day. The prisoners continue to show us their stupids by ignoring zombie killing instructions, which results in a comically gory scene where they shank zombies in the guts instead of bashing in their skulls. I will not be surprised if prisoners in prisons all over the country start boycotting the show, since The Walking Dead has even less use for prisoner characters than it has for black characters. Although two new black prisoner characters ARE dead before we reach the thirty minute mark.
More about Hershel’s bloody stump. Blah blah, they don’t want him to die because they’ll miss him and because they’ll have to kill him when he rises from the dead and falls over because he only has one leg. Then Carl does something MIND BOGGLING. HE WANDERS OFF ON HIS OWN ADVENTURE. First he wouldn’t stay in the house, now he won’t stay in the cell. These people need to cut off one of Carl’s legs.
Carol suddenly has an emergency, and it’s a great time to have it, right in the middle of a real emergency (man with cut off leg maybe dying and becoming a zombie). Carol’s emergency is Lori is pregnant. Well, yes, yes she is. She has been for a while. We are worried about this right now because apparently Lori is overdue to have her Nerf Ball-sized baby, and Carol wants to practice cutting women open in case Hershel isn’t there to do it. Carol enlists Glenn to help her obtain a corpse to practice on. I’m surprised they even bothered killing their medical school specimen, frankly. If it’s practice Carol wants, what better practice could there be than performing the operation on a writhing, clawing, moaning female body? Lori isn’t likely to stay corpse-like still for a C-Section without anesthesia. While Carol practices, someone or someTHING watches her from the woods outside of the fence. I hope it’s a malpractice lawyer.
Back in the prison, Hershel stops breathing. This means he’s dead and this means he’s going to turn into a zombie. Lori performs CPR on him anyway. We are treated to a moment where we don’t know if zombie Hershel is ripping out Lori’s tongue or if confused, no-blood Hershel thinks Lori is his deceased wife. Turns out he was confused, and it’s a little anticlimactic. Lori is fine, nobody ripped out her tongue and nobody rips her a new one for endangering herself, her baby, and everybody else.
The last scene of the episode is Lori trying to get back with Rick because there are no lawyers left (except maybe the malpractice lawyer watching Carol from the woods). Rick’s zombie-like response leaves us to wonder if he has held onto his life but lost his soul. Because, my God, who WOULDN’T jump all over, “Let’s be a couple, again. What the heck, it’s not like we can’t get DIVORCED.”
If you watched The Talking Dead after the show, you saw the BIGGEST spoiler that has been ever been spoiled by a show connected with a show where people don’t want spoilers EVER. I’m not going to blow it here, because it was almost as big as showing us Sophia coming out of the barn the week before Sophia came out of the barn. Umm..AMC? Don’t spoil your popular show by trying to boost the ratings of your silly show. It’s about like leaving Hershel to die because you need to learn to cut people open in case Hershel dies.