Well tonight’s episode was a bit emotionally draining. Just how much can these characters deal with before they all have breakdowns? So we have the fallout from last week’s great cliffhanger. Poor Carl has a few bullet shards in his gut and Rick has never felt so useless.
Even though this episode has a few convenient plot points it still manages to hit home emotionally. Again Andrew Lincoln does some fantastic work here. No one would believe that he used to be on a Channel 4 dramedy (no matter how good that show was). Rick is his character and he is nothing short of a revelation here. As we watch Rick plummet into a spiral of despair, Lincoln’s commitment to the role is palatable and his scenes have an enormous amount of emotion intensity.
Again the rest of the cast are magnificent. Jon Berthnal’s Shane really manages to come to the forefront for a better reason than previous episodes. Shane’s jealousy of Rick and Lori’s relationship is a serviceable plot, but the character is more interesting here. He sets aside his feelings to help his friend and Berthnal puts in his best performance of the series. Talking of Lori, Sarah Wayne Callies finally gets to show off some of that strength her character supposedly has. It’s a touching scene between Lori and Rick and her determination is a breath of fresh air for the character, as she was becoming a bit of a loose end. A special mention goes out to Norman Reedus who’s anti hero Daryl produces a tender moment of hope as he reassures the other characters.
But there are a few minor gripes as the introduction of the new characters brings some questionable convenience to the survivor’s plight. The new additions are an interesting group and we have only scratched the surface. But having one of them a doctor reduces the dramatic tension of young Carl’s troubles. Ok so he isn’t a real doctor, but it just doesn’t sit well (also comic fans take note I didn’t like the idea in the original material either). Added to this is the deus ex machina of having an abandoned FEMA camp just a little way up the road, which has all the medication they need. It is a great action set piece to be honest as Shane and new boy Otis get there only to discover it’s overrun by zombies.
On the whole this is a great second episode. The introduction of the farm house and its denizens should add some interesting material for the show to sink it’s teeth into. It maybe considered a “slow” episode compared to last weeks opener, but it is full of significant character work, which continues to impress. This is what the Walking Dead is all about, obviously the zombies are necessary but this reviewer would be happy to just see these characters interact and that is a testament to the talent displayed here.