We start off with the redneck from the last episode, Merle, in a sort of dazed and confused state (hey, when did Led Zeppelin get here?!) as he struggles to release himself from the handcuffs restraining him to the roof. With the zombies trying to get past the locked door, he finally figures out that maybe he should use his belt to try to drag a tool over to help. You didn’t think of that before? Okay then.
We then go back to the truck and Challenger as they ride back to the forest encampment. There’s definitely a lot that builds up to the reunion scene; remember that Rick doesn’t know Lauri and Carl (his son) are there, as well as his best friend, Shane. Enjoy finding out that he and your wife have been having frequent sexy time while you‘ve been “dead“, Rick!
When they finally arrive, this is actually a very emotional scene all around – whether it’s between the two sisters reuniting, Rick and his family, or even Shane‘s reaction to him being alive (happy, but slightly sad at the same time because he knows he‘ll lose Lauri and Carl). That’s one thing this episode gets across better than the previous two episodes so far; the emotion. It’s much more of a “downtime” episode than the other ones – there isn’t much action to speak of, but mostly character development, and it was definitely welcome.
That night, everyone discusses the situation and how they had to leave Merle behind. Apparently, Merle has a brother at the encampment, but he doesn’t know about Merle yet since he’s out hunting. You guys are going to send ONE person out to hunt, who’s going to stay out in the woods – possibly infested by zombies, need I remind you all – overnight when he could very easily get overwhelmed by Walkers and eaten?! Where’s the sense in this?!?! I don’t care if he’s tough or not, that’s stupid and illogical.
After everyone goes to sleep, we see Rick and his family in their tent; Rick proceeds to say goodnight to his son and he and his wife… start to have sex. Right in the tent. With their son three feet away, if that, from them. I love what Lauri says in this scene – “He won’t wake up.” Wow, you guys. He just closed his eyes. There’s no way he’s asleep yet! And you’re going to just start going at it right next to him? I expect this child to have nightmares for the rest of his life now.
The next morning, Rick discusses with Lauri going back to Atlanta to save Merle, who’s still supposed to be on the rooftop. Yes, because the smartest thing to do is totally go back to a heavily zombie-infested city to save someone who will do nothing but cause trouble for the entire group and possibly even kill some of the survivors. Granted, I understand why he would want to do it, but still… Looking on it from an objective point of view, it’s really a dumb idea.
Interrupting their discussion, everyone hears Carl scream in the nearby forest – everyone rushes to see what happened and they find a Walker eating a dead deer. Mmmm. Bambi. Yum. After this we get a pretty long, drawn out scene with them beating the zombie and finally delivering the killing blow by cutting his head off. That couldn’t have been the first thing you guys thought of to do?
Merle’s brother suddenly crawls out of the bushes, pissed that the zombie took what he was hunting – the deer. Then he suggests that they cut around the part the zombie was eating and have that for dinner. Yes, because possibly becoming a zombie is totally worth having some extra food you could just get from another animal at another point soon. Anyway, the discussion soon turns to another point; Merle. Obviously, his brother doesn’t take the news well, and a fight soon starts between him and Rick. It’s soon resolved, however, when it’s decided that the brother, Rick, the black guy from the first episode who accidentally left Merle, and Glenn will go back to Atlanta to hopefully rescue him.
They leave soon after to do this, but unfortunately they haven’t actually put any thought into how they’re going to go about rescuing Merle. Seriously, did these guys figure they could just walk into the city and – wait a second. They… They actually DID just walk into the city, into the building without a problem? And encountered only one zombie? Seriously? I was going to recommend doing what Rick and Glenn were forced to do before – covering themselves in some Walker guts to mask their scent from the zombies, but I guess that isn’t necessary since they could just waltz right in without a problem.
Back at the camp, Lauri and Shane – Rick’s best friend – get into a fight, and Lauri tells Shane to leave her and her family alone. Well, that was sort of random. There’s not really much of a reason for her to be so furious at him – she claims it’s because he told them Rick was dead, but at the time it was probably difficult for him to believe anything else, and it wasn’t as if he did it just so he could get to her. At least, I doubt it. I would speculate, however, that the reason she’s acting like this to him is because she just feels the need to take her anger out on him because of her own current self hatred – for sleeping with him while Rick was still alive. Is it just me, or am I the only one who just doesn’t like her character? I’m not even completely sure what it is about her – the whole, “Sleeping with her supposed dead husband’s best friend immediately after his death” thing certainly is a turn-off, but there’s just a feeling I get from her aside from that that really turns me off the character.
After this scene, we go to a group of strictly women doing laundry at the lake – well that certainly isn’t sexist – who proceed to talk about the things they miss from the “old” world. One thing a couple of them agree on is their… vibrator. Ah, that’s nice. It’s no wonder Carl is far, far away from them at this moment. Of course, with his parents’ shenanigans in the tent the previous night, I suppose this talk wouldn’t phase him. When we finally move on from this… weird conversation, one of the women’s abusive husband starts to watch over the group, pretty much ordering them to concentrate on their work and stop laughing. Eventually he gets verbally and physically abusive with the entire group, but Shane steps in to give us an epic scene with him beating the crap out of the abusive jerk. God I loved this. I would’ve preferred it had they just shot him, but I’ll certainly take this, too.
Back in Atlanta, the Rick’s group finally reaches the rooftop (after encountering no resistance, of course) to find that… DUN DUN DUN! Merle is gone. The last shot of the show focuses the camera on a severed hand, presumably Merle’s, with the handcuffs still attached to the pipe and a tool nearby. Saw, anyone?
As I mentioned before, this episode had much less action in it than the previous ones, but also explored the other characters much more. It was welcome downtime, if only because we did get some nice character development and very well done emotion, and it looks like we’ll be getting back to the serious action in the next episode. Tune in next week to check out my commentary on the fourth episode of the first season of The Walking Dead!