Jach Discusses: The Walking Dead 1.04

Posted: June 20, 2013 by Jachelle in General Media, Jach, Recaps, Television, The Walking Dead
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In episode four, “Vatos,” I’ve officially hit the halfway point of season one. Meanwhile, everything hurts and nothing is okay.

Previously on TWD: Rick & Co barely escaped Atlanta with their lives, but had to leave one member, Merle Dixon, behind. They arrived back at camp where Rick was reunited with his family and the group is forced to tell Merle’s brother, Daryl, what happened. Shane opened a can of whoop-ass on Abusive Ed Peletier, and Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn headed back into the city to try and rescue Merle, while grabbing the bag of guns that Rick had left there. But when the guys reached the rooftop where T-Dog left Merle handcuffed to a water pipe, they found that he had sawed off his own hand to escape. Gross.

The episode opens with Andrea and her little sister Amy sitting together in a boat and fishing. They have a brief argument about their father and the way he taught them to fish before they realize he taught them differently on purpose. He understood that Andrea needed to catch the fish, while Amy needed to throw them back. The girls cry together and it’s actually a very touching scene. It’s one of those quiet moments where we get to reflect with the characters about how their lives used to be, and how much things have changed for them. It makes me really excited to get more scenes like this for other characters. I love back story!

Back in Atlanta, Daryl starts freaking out about Merle and turns his crossbow on T-Dog, before Rick threatens to shoot him. And once again I’m somewhat baffled by Rick’s behavior. He’s risking his life and the lives of three other people by coming back into the city to save Merle, and now he’s saying he won’t hesitate to shoot Daryl in the head. Now, I know I’ve seen other shows in the past where the intrepid hero has to lay down some badassdom to keep the troops in line, and it hasn’t bothered me in the past, so I was struggling to come up with what it was in this situation that wasn’t sitting right for me. I think it’s because the shift is so drastic. Clearly Rick is a strong character. He wouldn’t be the lead if he wasn’t. But there have been so many moments where we’ve seen him as such a quiet, earnest character that when he switches into his tough guy mode, it throws me off a bit. I think I’d like to see a little bit more of Rick’s strength in the quieter moments of the show. Nothing crazy, mind you, I don’t want to totally change his character. But maybe a little less puppy eyes and a little more strength will help the transitions into those parts go a little smoother. Then again, this is only his fourth day after the zombie apocalypse. I should probably be cutting him a little bit of slack. It does leave me interested in seeing where his character is heading as the show progresses and he becomes more entrenched in this brave new world.

BACK ON TOPIC. Daryl and the guys play CSI and start following Merle’s trail to try and find wherever he got off too. Turns out one handed Merle is pretty much a badass. He took out a couple of Walkers on his own and cauterized his bleeding stump before leaving the department store. Daryl wants to continue after his brother, but T-Dog and the rest of the guys decide they need to go get the bag of guns first.

Back at camp Jim is mindlessly digging graves and freaking everyone the hell out. They try to intervention him, and tell him he’s scaring the kids. A clearly agitated Jim picks a fight with Shane and looses it for a little while. We learn that the only reason he was able to escape the Walkers was because they were too busy eating his wife and two sons. Harsh. After subduing him, Shane ties Jim to a tree while he calms down. Eventually he seems back to himself and apologizes for scaring the kids. He says he was digging because of something he’d dreamed, but he can’t remember what. And again, we get some really superb acting in this episode. Bravo, Andrew Rothenberg. He acted the hell out of this episode.

Back in Atlanta, Glenn proves to be the only intelligent one in the damn group by coming up with a freaking AMAZING plan to get the guns back. #teamglenn But here comes the part of the episode where Jach starts to loose it a little. Car zombie AAAH. Okay, okay, I’m breathing. Glenn gets the bag and Rick’s abandoned hat right around the time Daryl is confronted by a skinny teenager who starts yelling at the top of his lungs. Two of Skinny’s homies turn up and take Daryl down, but not before he shoots one of them in the ass with an arrow. Glenn turns back up with the guns, and the homies grab him and stuff him into a car before they take off. They leave Daryl, Skinny, and the guns behind just as Rick and T-Dog show up along with a friendly hoard of zombies. They escape back into the department store where they get a location from Skinny and they set out to get Glenn back. They have a brief showdown with the Vatos gang and their leader, Guillermo, who tells them to either come back with the bag of guns to trade for Glenn, or to come back “locked and loaded.” SHOCKINGLY, the guys pick the latter. They turn back up at the warehouse ready to start a gun-fight, and the Vatos respond in kind. Things look like they’re about to get messy when Abuela comes tottering in. The elderly grandmother of one of the Vatos, Abuela thinks Rick is there to arrest her grandson and pleads with him not to do so. Rick tells her that he’s only searching for a friend, and she happily volunteers to take him to Glenn. After leaving the warehouse, Rick realizes that the Vatos are actually protecting an assisted living center filled with the elderly. Abuela’s grandson, Felipe, was a nurse there, and Guillermo was the custodian. When the apocalypse happened, the staff left the residents to die. Felipe and Guillermo were the only two who stayed. Eventually they built up a gang to help protect the elderly. Touched, Rick offers Guillermo some of their guns and ammo, they get Glenn, and the group takes off back to their van. But it’s missing! Ruh roh. Seems like one-handed Merle stole the van and is heading back to camp with a little vengeance in mind.

Back at camp, Andrea is fussing because Amy’s birthday is the next day and she doesn’t have anything to wrap her sister’s present in. Abusive Ed looks like hell and is refusing to leave his tent, while the rest of the group settle in around the campfire to eat all the fish that Andrea and Amy caught. Everyone’s having a great time, which of course means that everything is now going to be ruined. Ed opens his tent to find Walkers outside. They attack him and now Abusive Ed is Dead Ed. Meanwhile, Amy had gotten up to use the bathroom and screams as a Walker rips out a chunk of her throat and my heart all at the same time. Walkers seem to come out of nowhere and descend down on the camp. The group scrambles to try and defend themselves and Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn arrive in time to help. But it’s a little too late for Amy, Ed, and god only knows how many other people at the camp. Amy dies in a frantic Andrea’s arms, Jim remembers the graves from his dream, and I am slapped across the face with a reminder that absolutely no one is ever going to be safe on this show.

Opinion of the Episode:

I know I said last week’s episode was my favorite so far, but it might have just been dethroned. This was such an excellent episode, you guys. I can see why so many people have fallen in love with this show. The acting all around was pretty phenomenal. Jim, Andrea, Amy, and Guillermo were stand-outs, but honestly, everyone was really on point. And it was easy to see why with so much excellent back story and character development going on. It makes me both excited and terrified. There is nothing I love more than great character development, but it’s going to make me attached to everyone, and then my heart and soul will be crushed when they die. Because they will die. Oh yes. We’re on episode four and have just lost two semi-main characters. I am under no delusions that the characters I love are safe. This is like Westeros up in here. I should just prepare myself for a lot of heartache right now.

I felt like the first half of the episode jumped back and forth way too quickly. We’d get maybe a minute long scene at the camp, then we’d flash back over to Atlanta for a thirty second scene and then back again. It was giving me whiplash. But honestly, that’s really my only complaint for the entire episode. It really was fantastic to watch, and I’m just loving this show so much right now.

Also, let it be noted that I watched this episode at 11 o’clock at night, and despite some brief squirming with Glenn and the car zombie, I didn’t freak out! And there was no trouble falling asleep or nightmares afterward. I THINK I MAY BE DESENSITIZING MYSELF. HOORAY! Also also, I’ve noticed that absolutely no zombie survivors seem to wear glasses. I think this is a sign that come the apocalypse, I am completely screwed.

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