What is “it” referring to in the title of this piece? Swami opens the envelope and reads: sex, a well walker, and well, sex.
“Cherokee Rose” was one of the more complete episodes of The Walking Dead yet, as we got to hear Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) take a pregnancy test, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) found himself desiring the comforts of the farm, Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Andrea (Laurie Holden) bonded over cleaning guns and having to waste Otis, and Glenn (Steve Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) got down. Don’t overlook that last one. But the best thing that happened was the well scene where Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) found a zombie at the bottom of the well, alive and moving. Timmy O’Toole he was not and fearing he would further contaminate the water supply the stronger personalities felt it was best to remove the zombie alive and kill it on dry land.
This was a stupid move because the walker probably already tainted that water, but there are a few reasons why I enjoyed the hell out of this scene. We know that this group hasn’t always exercised a great deal of common sense. Their “leader” has made several mistakes along the way, but that’s what makes TWD feel more real. How many shows and films have the main characters make flawless decisions? Too many. Sorry, that’s just not real and that doesn’t create interesting situations. Just because Rick and Shane wear cop uniforms, that doesn’t make them the best decision-makers. I could see there being a real case for trying to get the zombie out of the well. Obviously you hate to waste a resource like well water in a zombie apocalypse. Especially well water that’s been flavored with a giant tea bag of rot. The cows on the farmhouse will love that, and I can’t wait to drink that batch of 2% milk.
Next Maggie, Shane, and Andrea all agree that shooting the walker would be a bad idea, but instead are willing to drop one of their own down in the well and lasso it out of there. With respect to Maggie, it is her farm, but are Shane and Andrea the best people to make executive decisions? And of course Andrea looks at Glenn after giving her vote of confidence. Thanks, suicidal lady. Sure send the Asian pizza delivery guy down into danger. That Andrea is getting dark! Am I the only one who’s watching this show counting down the days until Glenn and T-Dog bite the dust? I mean I’m pulling for these two to make it to the end of the story, but we all know minorities in horror stories don’t have the best track record, right? Resist the urge, Glen Mazzara!
Maybe it’s fitting that T-Dog had the honor of bashing this thing in the skull, after it got caught on the lip of the well and ripping in half and its guts and worms spilling out everywhere and it’s bottom half falling back into the well. A scene that will surely satisfy the gore and effects hounds out there. I think we witnessed how Kimchi is made. Yeeesh.
T-Dog: Good think we didn’t do anything stupid like shoot it.
Easily, that was the line of the night. This was a fun, physical scene for IronE Singleton who I think has been under-utilized for much of the series. He wasn’t really adding much to the group especially when he’s clumsily hurting himself. It’s also good to know that his suggestions to Dale on the highway were the ravings of a delirious man needing medical attention. Glad to have you back, T-Dog. Perhaps a better use of time and energy might be extracting the water jugs from that truck Shane found in the season premiere. Next time. And speaking of Shane…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love that Shane has survived to this point and I hope he continues to survive throughout the show. Whether you agree with his actions or not, he is the one character (in addition to Daryl) who has experienced real development over these first two seasons. From his awestruck face when he had to eulogize Otis at his funeral, to his explanation to Andrea what it will take to survive this crisis, Jon Bernthal is The Walking Dead’s surprise star.
Shane to Andrea: Adrenaline… huh-huh, it’ll cripple you if you let it. You need to use your instinct… Somebody is going to die; you better hope you’re the one making the decision… You have to turn off the switch: the one that makes you scared, or angry, sympathetic. Whatever. You don’t think. You act. Odds are someone else is counting on you. Your partner. Your friend. There ain’t nothing easy about taking a man’s life and what little value they had. But when you get it done, you have to forget it. I guess I haven’t quite got that last part down yet.
Andrea: But you’re getting there?
Shane: I hope so.
Oh Shane, I do love the way he thinks, and how he lets us hear it. Now, it’s easy to judge Shane from the living room couch but most people wouldn’t agree with him because most people still have their humanity. Put yourself in these characters’ shoes. Survival means re-writing the rules as you go along. If Shane truly believed in what he told Andrea, then he believed he did the right thing. Something I tell people all the time when watching fictional TV and film is that it’s not the viewers’ place to judge Shane for his actions. It’s all about what his actions set in motion for the rest of the story. He needed to shoot Otis in the knee because zombies only feed on the living and dangling the canned ham in front of the well walker proved that. If you want something other than Carl (Chandler Riggs) laying in a bed or search parties looking for Sophia (Madison Lintz), Shane has given us something to truly debate.
Shane asked Lori if she meant it when she asked him to stay. After what Shane had done to Otis, I believe Shane needed to hear Lori say “yes”, if only to justify what he had done. As for Lori, her positive pregnancy test may confirm what many believe the CDC scientist whispered to Rick. While to many, there’s no bigger party than a negative pregnancy test, but in this world, a positive sign is its own terror. Pregnancies slow a woman down, are a drain of resources and energy, and are a constant foghorn to walkers nearby when they need to be fed, changed or are sick. Babies are great, just not in a zombie apocalypse. And we don’t even know if it’s Rick or Shane’s. I wonder if Oprah or Tyra survived in this world, because this would make a great talk show.
One of the more subtle struggles in “Cherokee Rose” was the epic tug of war Rick found himself having with Hershel (Scott Wilson), who made it clear that once Sophia is found and Carl has healed, he wants them all gone. They bantered about faith and respecting Hershel’s request to surrender their guns while on his grounds, but there was nothing temporary about what Rick did with his sheriff badges. Don’t mistake him putting them in the dresser drawer a gift, or as some symbolic gesture that the end of “the law” had come (though that would be poetic, wouldn’t it?). Rick does not want to give up the comforts of the farmhouse. Lori’s already questioned Rick what’s it worth living and keeping Carl alive, if all that remains is to live in fear. Outside of the swimmer in the well, that farm looks to Rick like an oasis with hot water, cattle to provide food and barriers to keep most walkers out.
I wondered if it was naïve for Hershel to think how he does. If guns are not an option, one wonders how he dealt with his wife becoming infected, or did he at all? How many of you caught the way Hershel looked at Maggie when the group was deciding what they should do and tell Carol, should they find Sophia’s been bit? They were withholding information and Hershel shook his head no to Maggie. When T-Dog turned that bloated zombie into minced meat, the others watched, Maggie turned away. Hershel also turned down the use of the barn. Have they really not dealt with killing walkers at all? Keep a watchful eye on the actions and words of those from the farm.
Which brings us to the lovely vet/farmer’s daughter. For Glenn’s sake I was glad that some good karma (if that is is one of the few things we believe on this show) was bestowed upon him on the pharmacy run with Maggie. For all the times he’s been sent off alone into the city to gather supplies, to have saved Rick and for being dropped into a well with a water-logged zombie, it’s the least my Asian brother could get. It’s was a nicely timed, awkward moment, and one that made sense given Maggie and Glenn’s roles in their respected groups. Sex drives in an apocalypse would be an interesting study, if people cared. Followers of Sigmund Freud connect the drive to reproduce and to avoid death tightly together. It’s on everyone’s minds but our survivors are either too tired, or too terrified to let their guard down.
Honestly, it was terrific to see someone other than Lori get lucky, but wow, was Maggie cold to Glenn.
Maggie: It’s not like our options are vast these days… You’re not the only one who’s lonely.
Okay, that comment could be forgiven given the context around it. Afterwards, while Glenn was still beaming, glowing even, Maggie just had to say, “Don’t spoil it–It was a one-time thing.” Damn. Way to burst a guy’s balloon. My initial reaction was that this is just another case of the Asian-American male being de-sex-ified. But I’m going to have some faith in TWD; don’t give up, Glenn. She’s just running that game on you. At least someone is still trying to have fun.
More Rotten Thoughts
• Daryl seems to be the only one who understands the situation, who is keeping a calm head and who is making any progress. While on his own, our favorite huntsman found an abandoned house, which looks like someone was recently eating and sleeping in a closet. Not too many adults could fit in that space so there’s reason to hold out hope. Daryl gives Carol a Cherokee Rose that was found blooming at that house and the legend behind it. He’s the one person who has continued to have real faith that Sophia will be found; I believe that Daryl believes it more than Carol.
• Daryl played his very brief confrontation with Rick, about not owing the group anything, perfectly. “You got a point? Or are we just chattin?” Daryl’s been a good soldier but given how quickly the search for Merle has been scrapped, he has every right to leave the group. It was nice to see someone confront Rick about his talking and lack of results. The fact is that they need him more than the other way around and that’s why Daryl has so many fans.
• I get what Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing, fixing up Dale’s RV, beautifying it, keeping herself busy. I don’t think I’d give up hope looking for my lost child; I only wish she’d be more involved in finding her. In moments of tragedy some people recoil, like Carol, but I think she’d find more sympathy from the others if she was actively leading the searches.
• Fans of the comic book had to have liked the scene where Rick gives Carl his sheriff hat.
Catch the new episode of The Walking Dead on AMC Sunday nights at 9/8C and Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick at midnight.