Episode two of AMC’s The Walking Dead, “Bloodletting,” opens as Lori confides in a friend that she and Rick have had a hurtful fight. She says it was mostly her doing the hurting. We soon realize this is a flashback to the same day that Rick was shot, hearkening back to the very first episode where Rick and Shane had a similar conversation. It’s a nice way to remind us of where and how the show started and just how far it’s come. When Shane shows up at the school to tell Lori about Rick, we already know where everything is headed, and she struggles with how she will tell Carl about his father.
I was expecting this episode to turn the tables on me, and it did, but not exactly in the way I expected. The flashback scene set up what I thought would be a foreshadowing of how the events in this episode would play out later, but I was pleasantly surprised. Characters that you think will divulge certain pieces of information don’t. And others you might never have thought of, or have even seen before (new characters!), are given those jobs.
But as promised in the season’s trailer, we are finally at the farm. It’s a storyline I think fans of the comic have been waiting for, but it plays out very differently than in the book. I’ve spoken to several fans of the comic who are no longer along for the ride, because “too many things are different,” but I don’t feel that way…yet.
This episode breaks the survivors up into smaller groups. Rick and Shane are caring for Carl who has been wounded. Lori and several others are searching for Sophia, who is still missing. There is some great character development from Daryl who is actually comforting and helpful toward Carol, while everyone else is stretched a bit thin. I never expected that. It was all important, though, as I’m certain several events that played out in this episode will be what ties some of the characters who wanted to leave to the group once again.
The zombie count for the first half of the episode is very, very low. I was fine with it, though. I think anyone watching the show just for the zombies is probably not watching it for the right reason and probably didn’t enjoy this episode, since it reaches for a more painful human story than many other episodes, especially in regards to Rick, Lori and Carl. But of course, just when I was wondering if and when a zombie would show up, one did. And it’s disposed of in a pretty cool way that is a great introduction to a character I have been waiting to see, Maggie Greene. Seriously, don’t mess with a farm girl on horseback, holding a baseball bat. She will mess. You. Up.
Then, of course, by the end of the episode, the zombie count = whoa.
An interesting development in this episode is veterinarian Herchel Greene, who offers a different take on the zombie plague, comparing it to the AIDS epidemic. Rick refuses to see how it compares, and Herchel insists that mankind has been fighting off different diseases and plagues forever. They beat up mankind of a while, and then we find a way to fight back. Some of this makes sense to me, some of it, not so much.
What makes even less sense is Rick trying to leave Carl’s bedside the entire time he needs him. I suppose I understand feeling helpless and having the need to try to do something, but Lori AND Shane both have to remind him that his son needs him. Literally, they share the same blood type. Do both really have to remind him so vigorously that he’s needed where he is? I’m not so sure.
Drink your juice Rick, drink your juice.
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