Monday, November 22, 2010

The Walking Dead: Season 1 Episode 4 - Vatos (Quick Thoughts)

Welcome Walkers! 4 episodes in and I am still compeltely enamored by this show! I tell you what. Let's make a deal. The final 2 episodes could be the best thing ever to grace the screen, but I will wait until the season 2 premiere to see if the quality remains before I unveil a Mike V. staple "W" word seal of approval! We at least owe that to LOST, right?! But, dang!!! This show is on fire! Great character moments in this episode setting up more intense standoffs with humans and zombies alike. And, 4 episodes in and we finally start seeing some main characters (or at least who we thought were going to be main characters) taking a turn for the "CURSE" (like my play on words there?). We knew it had to happen eventually on a Zombie Apocalypse show, right? But even when it did, I was still shocked!

No sense in delaying. As always in this new tradition, I will share my quick thoughts on the episode and look forward to everyone chiming in with theirs! Here we go.
  • We started off with a great, tender, sisterly scene shared between Andrea and Amy as they remember their father. There's no telling whether their parents are still alive as they live in Florida. Amy shared optimism that maybe Florida didn't get hit as badly and they should go there. But they both shared stories of how their father taught them different methods of catching fish. Wet vs. Dry bait. Amy doesn't want to keep the fish, she wants to throw them back. Of course, in this instance, they are the Jin Su Kwon's of the camp and caught lots and lots of fish for their crew to feast on that night. Very scenic and cinematic shots in this episode as well. How did they get that water to look so BLUE!? Crazy.
  • Then there was Jim and his crazy digging. This dove a bit into LOST territory with crazy dreams. Now, I'm not going to go ahead and assume that something BIGGER is going on here with the zombies and a higher power because Jim had a dream that eventually came true. But, it was kind of bizarre, right? Jim was digging graves. That's immediately what we thought when we saw him. I originally thought he was going to bury the walker they killed last episode. The camp assumed he was having a bit of heat stroke. Which, after Shane cuffed him and tied him to a tree, Jim agreed to. He said he didn't even remember why he was digging but felt like he needed to be when he was doing it. He mentioned the dream and then talked a little bit about how he was still alive. He got away because the walkers were feasting on his wife and son (or daughter???). OUCH! That has to leave a bitter taste in your mouth, no pun intended. Jim then gave Lori some helpful advice, NEVER let your son out of your sight! Turns out that was a good suggestion.

  • Back in Atlanta, we left off our Rescuers looking for Merle who was short a hand these days. Daryl's first reaction was to take out his anger on T-Dog, but Rick was one step ahead of him. They calmed him down and followed the blood trail through the building to see where Merle went off to. They had to take down some walkers on the way. Just a routine scene in the adventures of Rick, Daryl and co! I couldn't piece it all together but it looks like Merle may have heated up an iron and seared the end of his stump? That sure had to be painful! It also was clear that he broke a window and went out into Walker City to find a way home. Oh boy.  Oh yeah, and the scene of Daryl putting Merle's Hand into Glenn's backpack?  Priceless!

  • Rick was able to convince Daryl to slow down and think things through. Loved T-Dog's comment about going for the guns first. Something like "I'm not going to go out there with just my good intentions!" Nice. How about Glenn coming up with a crazy plan to go for the guns alone with cover? He had Plan A and Plan B all devised. I love how they still find a way to bring comedy into these dire situations. Daryl was asking when Glenn did before the apocalypse and he said he delivered pizzas. That's fantastic!

  • So the guns plan didn't go off exactly without a hitch. It turns out there are other humans lurking about Atlanta. It's a big city, that would make sense, right? And it turns out they were trying to get those guns as well! Daryl caught one of the guys and he screamed for dear life...luring the walkers towards them. Oh boy! A car swung by and the grabbed Glenn instead. 
  • After some interrogation of the newbie, Rick devises a plan to execute a prisoner exchange, including T-Dog perched up on a roof in a sniping position. Some Ludacris look-alike with bad acting chops comes out and tells Rick that they want what is theirs. i.e. GUNS!! This whole thing gave me a LOST vibe in that, in the end, all that matters is GUNS. Whoever controls them controls the situation. Daryl seemed to be coming more off as the Sawyer than his brother Merle now. It seems like he has a bit of a bad-boy side but still some good in him too. Sawyer always treaded that fine line. Merle just seems like a jack#$#. Anyway, I'm off track here. So Rick pulls everyone out of the standoff and comes back determined to not give up any guns but to get Glenn back.

  • We have an indoor standoff this time and it seems that Luda's bluff was about to be called. And even if it wasn't, Grandma (or Abuela in Spanish) rolls in. She was awesome! Anyway, this is one of those "don't judge a book by its cover" moments as we find out Luda (didn't care enough to learn his real name) and his crew were just defending their people AND a hospital/nursing facility full of elderly patients who were too sickly to relocate. He is a janitor and his cousin was a nurse and they were the only members of the staff that didn't flee. They would do anything to protect the people and remaining medication. Good stuff. And of course Rick is guilted into leaving them some guns when they get out of there.

  • When they do get back to the location of their is gone! They suspect Merle took it, along with a whole lot of anger and brought it to Camp. So here's a question, did we miss a deleted scene or something where Rick and crew boosted another vehicle and drove back to their camp? There is no way that they RAN all the way from Atlanta is there? I guess it's possible since it was NIGHT by the time they got there. We don't really know HOW far outside of Atlanta they are. But we'll come back to that.

  • We did enjoy a nice fish fry at the campsite before the fun began. Lots of laughing and enjoying company around the campfire. Then we had an interesting moment with Dale and his watch. He winds it around the same time every day. Everyone else was joking saying that time doesn't matter anymore. Dale would beg to differ and asked for Andrea's backup (since she has been tracking the days until Amy's birthday to give her that charm she stole from the store in Atlanta). He goes into some thing about time that is paraphrased from Faulkner and I didn't mother to remember it all. I remember saying to my wife after he went through his speech "well THAT was deep and profound!" I'm thinking that the point of the whole story was that, they're not really keeping track of time anymore. So our questions like how long was Rick in a coma and how long has the zombie apolcalypse been going on are negated!

  • So we had 2 key scenes where we should have seen things coming. Ed is left alone with his wounds to be miserable. He wanted his daughter to stay with him but the wife wouldn't allow it. Amy got up with the new version of "I'll be right back". It's the ol "I have to pee. So much for being discreet!" She may as well have said "This is the last time you'll see me amongst the walking living!" Not long after we see someone trying to get inside Ed's tent. He's all annoyed and then he opens it up and there's one of the walkers!!! And right when we think Ed will defend himself the walker takes a huge chunk out of his neck! OH NO!!! No big loss, right? Yeah, but that is followed right up by Amy walking out of the camper and a walker grabbing her arm and biting it. NOOOOOO!!!!!! Then some other random dude gets bit and the guns go ablazing. Shane, Morales, Jim and crew are trying to defend their camp but they're outnumbered.

  • Here come our 4 rescuers with the guns! After an intense scene of gore, they are able to take down all of the walkers and save their camp. There is another reunion of Rick with his wife and son and then all sit around and watch Andrea and Amy's final moments. Andrea doesn't know what to do. She DOES know what to do but can't bring herself to do it. We then see Amy breathe her last breath we think. Now what we learned is that these people DIE and then come back right? How many of us were just sitting there waiting for Amy to jump back up and take a bite out of Andrea? Yikes.... I don't want to speak too much of what I saw in the previews about one of next week's plots so we'll just leave this one here for now.

  • And of course we hear Jim say that now he remembers his dream. Woa...
  • One big other question that still needs to be answered. Where on earth is Merle???
So that was some pretty intense stuff. 4 episodes and we get a big payoff. We got comfortable with these characters. We got to know them and were willing to enjoy more time with them and them POOF, they're taken away from us. I can only imagine what the final 2 episodes will bring. I wonder if episode 6 will leave us with a cliffhanger of sorts. I'm sure they weren't fully confident they'd get a season 2 renewal so I wonder if there is any sense of closure. I guess we'll know soon enough. All I do know for sure is that I am really loving this show. Everyone should do what they can to talk up this show to their friends/family and make them see it through any means possible. I expect that such a short 1st season will help with the word of mouth. People will be able to catch up fairly quickly before season 2 begins and the ratings could possibly shoot up even higher. This is a big deal for AMC. And we should be happy to help them spread the word!

That's all I have for this week folks. It's Thanksgiving week, so no Fringe but I will be recapping The Event . Speaking of Fringe, the show definitely needs our help people. It has been moved to the FRIDAY death slot starting in the new year. For the remaining episodes this year, we should be sure to watch it LIVE and give it all the support we can to show FOX that it has a dedicated following. Even if you're a season or so behind, maybe it's time to just jump back in. We don't want to lose the show! WATCH IT! Get seasons 1 and 2 for Christmas! Catch up and SAVE THE SHOW! Fringe and The Walking Dead are the best shows on TV right now!
Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!


Katrina said...

Great episode! I can't help but think the Merle brought the zombies in the truck somehow. His brother said he'd be heading back to camp and ready to attack so maybe that's what he did - he's sick enough to do it and trust that his brother would get himself out alive.

Mike V. said...

I didn't even think about that, Katrina. Yeah, considering he'd be up for revenge that definitely sounds like a possibility!

Anonymous said...

This is by far one of the best television series I have ever seen. The effects work is stunning and these are some of the best zombies I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of effects work that deserves to be on the big screen. Instead, I am treated to it each week while sitting on my couch at home. The episode had some humor in it as well as some serious drama. Everyone did a great job at bringing their characters to life.
I like the recurring theme of the apocalypse elevating people far above their station. Sometimes for good like Glenn, the pizza delivery guy, is a clever strategist and G, the custodian, now runs the nursing home and a large gang. Sometimes for bad like Shane as judge and jury, though the sentence was far kinder this week. And then there's Rick, still wearing his uniform - even getting his hat back - and still trying very much to be a cop, a husband, and a father.
We now have an explanation for why Merle didn't cut through the handcuffs (the saw blade was too dull). I enjoyed Darryl and the others vicariously experiencing Merle's high degree of toughness, from the zombies he slew one-handed to evidence of how he cauterized the stump.
But what was Rick's plan when he entered the Vatos compound with the guns before the old woman came out? He acted before like he had some great plan, but ended up just pulling out his guns and getting in a standoff that could have ended very badly. I assumed Rick was banking on the fact that no matter who they were they would be reluctant to start a massive gunfight as it would draw a lot of unwanted attention to their hideout from the nearby zombies. We saw what happened the last time someone fired a weapon in Atlanta.
Regardless, it was a very good episode. I was completely on the edge of my seat during the zombie attack at the end. I was shocked when Amy was killed. I am looking forward to the last two episodes of the season.

MJ said...

I am way behind this week - but wow this was a great ep ! Love this show more each week. So sad that they killed off Amy - but I so wanted Andrea to move away from her. And crazy how Jim was having a dream that made him want to dig graves ! Read an interview with the guy who is a showrunner and the writer of the orig comic book - and the idiot interviewer didn't even ask about Jim's dream ! Was it coincidence, or some sort of esp ?????

This show is so good that I don't even watch the comings for next week - I want to be thrilled when watching.

Mike V. said...

@Dee - No arguments on the praise for the show. I'm loving it too! I hope Darabount stays involved with season 2 so the quality remains. But, he is a busy guy in FILMS so we'll see!
Yeah, I think Rick was calling Luda's bluff (Still don't know his name...was it G? lol) and that no one would want to get in a gunfight. And yeah, it's a good point to raise that I don't think one bullet was fired off in Atlanta during the episode.

@MJ - Easy to get behind on all of this TV...believe me I get it! Was that the EW interview you read? Is Kirkman the showrunner? I thought it was Frank Darabount. Hmmmm....I may have to look into this! lol I know that Kirkman is involved on the writing team and he also was "lead writer" on this episode. Yeah, I speculated on the dream above too. While there are great "survival" comparisons to LOST and just the well written characters, I don't know if they're going to go into "DREAM LAND" like LOST did and make us question if the dreams mean something or not. It could have just been an additional "CREEP" factor for the episode. But, I guess there could be more there. Hey, there are zombies taking over the world, I'm sure it wouldn't be a stretch for the humans to be having prophetic dreams! lol

Probably a good idea not to watch the previews for next week. But I just can't help myself!!

MJ said...

Yes - it was on EW I think and it was Kirkman. I know they mentioned that he wrote the comicbook - so maybe he's not the so runner though, maybe I confused that part. But the guy they talked to was def the orig comicbook writer. I just thought the interviewer should have asked about it.

And - I am going to say it. WOW for this show. I don't feel the need to hold onto that for sentimental Lost reasons - so I said it for you ! ;-D

I think that Walking Dead, Fringe, Supernatural Chuck and HIMYM are my most looked forward to shows each week. Everything else is just filler.

Mike V. said...

Yeah I think Kirkman is involved with the writing on the show but it's all Frank Darabount's adaptation/creation. I agree the interviewer should have asked!

Thank you for saying it for me! LOL I want to, but I'm gonna hold on for a little longer!

Agree with 4 of the 5 shows...Supernatural I'm sure would be if I watched it...but alas..I haven't! I'd lump Modern Family into the mix too. That show cracks me up...and I'm kind of upset that I'm going to the movies tonight so I won't be able to watch it right when it airs. No fear...i'll still watch it tonight!!

Anonymous said...

I think the survivors on The Walking Dead should have a motto like “Aim Straight…Fire-Fight-Win.”
This motto is a two-part expression - a call to action, with a response of commitment.
I wonder if Rick was a Boy Scout. The Boy Scouts of America oath contains duty to God, country, other people, and self. I see Rick holding to these duties. He never raged against God when he returned home to find his family, which he treasured even above his own life, missing. We did see the despair he felt when he thought they were dead. He was elated his wife and son had time to pack clean clothes and take the family pictures from the walls and the albums from the shelves and leave to find safety.

As he left the sheriff department, the American flag was still raised full-mast and flying high in the wind. He put his deputy uniform on to travel to Atlanta. I felt this was his way of not leaving his post with its responsibilities. He is still “on the clock” wherever he travels.

He offered to take Morgan and Duane with him to the alleged safety of Atlanta. He gave them weapons to protect themselves when, in a few days, they would make the journey to Atlanta. He also gave half of his guns to the Vatos gang to defend the nursing home and its residents against the walkers.

When he met up with Shane, Lori, and Carl in the survivor camp he did not yell at them for leaving him in the hospital infested with walkers. He thanked Shane for getting Lori and Carl out of their home town and to a place of safety.

He took the responsibility and blame for leaving Merle Dixon handcuffed to the pipe on the roof of the building. He volunteered to return to Atlanta to rescue Merle and retrieve the much needed guns/ammo and walkie-talkie, so he could warn Morgan about Atlanta not being a haven but a trap.

I look forward to the next episode.