“Some fathers never earn their sons’ love” – Hershel Greene
[some spoilers within]
The first three episodes of this new season of The Walking Dead has for the most part been very good about keeping the story focused on what transpired in the beginning of the new season. The group is still looking for Sophia (a subplot that is definitely getting to become boring, if not a liability) who ran off during a zombie attack on the group. During the search we saw Carl end up accidentally getting shot by Otis, the hapless and helpful ranch hand of the Greene Farm. Every piece of plot thread in the three episodes had their origins from that initial premiere episode.
The previous episode took the two plot threads of the two kids in the group and the danger they were in and tried to resolve them. Carl’s predicament was resolved in horrific fashion as Shane had to make a calculating decision to wound Otis and make him become a living bait to the zombies on their tail. This plot and character development was one for the books as it put Shane on the dark path to losing his humanity as he begins to embrace the necessary cold-hearted decisions to survive.
One would think that with a third episode and still no sign of Sophia that the show would finally try to resolve this storyline in the fourth episode. The answer to that would be a yes and no. Yes, the episode has made some strides in the search for Sophia as Daryl comes across some signs of someone alive during his search of an abandoned home in the woods. Whether this was a sign that Sophia was still alive didn’t get resolved. This storyline thread has had quite the mileage to it and not for the betterment of the show.
“Cherokee Rose” wasn’t all bad despite what I’ve mentioned above. The episode was mostly acting like the calm before the storm. We see the episode begin with the Greenes, Patricia (Otis’ wife) and the Rick’s group holding a brief ceremony for our dear departed Otis. Shane doesn’t look well in this opening especially when Patricia begged him to say a few words and tell everyone Otis’ final moments. Shane’s words and how things played out definitely didn’t match up, but no one was the wiser and took Shane’s discomfort as his attempt to grieve. To say that Shane looked like a man holding onto that last strand of sanity would be an understatement. It was another great moment for Jon Bernthal which this season has had a lot of.
The rest of the episode was actually pretty peaceful as everyone went about trying to find Sophia in an organized manner, go out into town for supplies (Glenn and Maggie) and just contemplate once again the new world they now inhabit. I’m sure there will be many cries and complaints that the show was becoming too soap opera-ish. These people wouldn’t be too far off, but I also think that non-stop zombies would make this show become too one-note.
The scenes with Rick and Hershel as they briefly talked of God and their differing attitudes concerning the Creator were really interesting as were the scenes of Andrea finally making some strides in her attempt to move on from Amy’ death during season one. These scenes between Andrea and Shane as she pesters the deputy to teach her more about gun safety and how to protect herself was a good start in finally moving Andrea the character towards the badass that she’s destined to become. Andrea’s not fully there but this episode was a good start.
Another fun development in this episode had to be between Glenn and Maggie Greene as the two continued their flirty ways as they ventured into the nearby town to scavenge for more supplies. For fans of the book the relationship which begins between these two characters have become one of the few nice moments in a story that’s all about danger, dread and depression. Even how the two finally end up hooking up wasn’t born out of sentimentality but out of two lonely people and their current predicament allowing for something to brew. The fact that their brief tryst in the town market came out a very awkward situation Maggie found Glenn in was funny, touching and really something the show needed after all the doom and gloom of the first three episodes.
Even Daryl Dixon (becoming the fan favorite of everyone) got to show some of his softer side as he tries to comfort Carol about her missing Sophia. His little monologue about the white flower he found outside the abandoned home that might’ve been where Sophia was hiding explains this episode’s title but also showed much more about how much Daryl has started to see this group as his own little family even though his brusque outward appearance and attitude may not always say so.
“Cherokee Rose” wasn’t one of this season’s good episodes, but I wouldn’t call it one of it’s bad ones. Despite no resolution to the Sophia question the episode still made some good strides in developing some of the characters. The episode also continues this season’s habit of ending things either on a cliffhanger or on a surprising (at least for those who haven’t read the comic book) development. Tonight wasn’t a cliffhanger, but instead we have Lori finding out that she is pregnant. Now whether the baby is Shane’s or Rick’s will be a question that show will not be able to answer for quite awhile yet but still another wrinkle in the growing love triangle that is Rick-Lori-Shane.
- For the first time since we were introduced to Hershel Greene there’s now a bit of tension occurring between Rick and his gracious host. Now that Carl is safe and on his way back to recovery the show looks to be setting up something big between Rick’s group and those of the Greene’s.
- The episode did many lingering camera shots of the Greene’s barn.
- I know that many will think the scene with the well zombie was mostly filler and not needed I wouldn’t be a zombie fan if I didn’t admit that it was still a cool scene. Plus, it more than filled tonight’s gross quotient as the water-logged zombie literally turned into a bloody pinata.
- Maggie’s reaction as T-Dog put to rest the well zombie was an interesting one. It seemed like that was the very first time she ever saw a zombie killed.
- Once again, outside of Daryl, it would be up to Glenn to always do the hard lifting on the show. He’s not just the group’s expert “going into town” guy, but now he’s also it’s best zombie wrangler and live bait.
- While it differed from how it played out in the book, how Maggie and Glenn finally got together was a nice and funny scene. Love Maggie’s incredulous reaction to Glenn’s questioning of her proposition. Lauren Cohan as Maggie was a really nice choice by the casting director for the show.
- One final Glenn moment would be his huge grin as he and Maggie rode into the farm with supplies in hand and how his glee was just as quickly shot down as Maggie went all business once again. Poor Glenn.
- If female fans of this show wasn’t already in love with Daryl they are now after his awkward, but heartfelt speech about the Cherokee Rose he just gave Carol.