TV Review: The Walking Dead—”Bloodletting”

I think I should let it be known that I have never read the comic book series that The Walking Dead is based on.  This kind of seemed like important information I PROBABLY should have talked about during last week’s review.  But hey, I kind of went long on that one, so I had to leave it out.  But so yeah…I never read the comic book.  Not a single issue.

That said, I’m aware of some of the events that occurred in it.  The prison, Shane’s fate, and, of course, the Hershel farm; I am aware of their existence, mostly because of the comic book fans saying “Oh, just wait until the show gets into _____.”  It kind of got annoying after a while, just because I had no idea what they were really talking about.  But tonight we were finally introduced to one of the most popular arcs in the comic books—the Hershal Farm.  Did the episode deliver?

Well, yes and no.  If you’re going into this episode hoping for some kick ass and/or tense zombie situations, you may be a tad bit disappointed.  Other than one cool kill near the middle and a two or three minute sequence at the end, the walker’s are almost nowhere to be found.  Instead the human drama takes center stage as Rick and his wife deal with the trauma of their son being shot.  To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the human drama aspects.  I’ve spoken time and again about how disappointed I was with the dramatic aspects of the show, but this episode really kicked it into high gear.  It began with a flashback, all the way back to a pre-zombie time period (yes, there was a time like that).  Here we see Lori tell young Carl about his father’s death.  It’s a surprisingly sad scene, considering the obvious parallels between Rick’s accident and Carl’s.

Most of the episode is spent watching Rick in various degrees of disarray.  At one point he’s sad, at one point he’s made, and at other points, he’s downright pathetic.  It’s refreshing to see Rick brought down so far; most of the time, he’s the level headed, calm person.  But if he’s son is in danger, he loses all control.  Speaking of his son, one of the most effective scenes of the episode was Hershal removing the bullet from Carl’s gut.  It was heart wrenching to see this kid have to suffer through so much, but it’s something many shows would never think of showing.  But because it’s on cable, I guess the show will take the risk and show us all the bloody details.

In fact, that’s the ONLY bloody details we see.  This episode is probably the most chapter centric of the entire show, so the walkers are almost completely ignored (except for a freaking cool kill involving Daryl, a baseball bat, and a horse).  And even though I wrote last week that I wasn’t a fan of the character drama aspects of the show, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this episode.  It wasn’t the most captivating episode of the series, but it worked for the most part.  That said, it was one of those episodes that honestly, not a lot happened.  You could skip this one and come back next week, and chances are you wouldn’t be confused in the slightest.  Still, considering some of the weaker character aspects this show has delivered in the past, this episode was top notch.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Loose Thoughts:

-Andrew Lincoln’s performance was surprisingly captivating.  He did a pretty damn good job playing a beaten down man this episode.

-Also, it’s nice to see Shane not being a complete asshole again.  I knew there was a reason I liked him!

-No T-Dog, I can’t take you seriously.  Ever.

-Some quick impressions on the Hershal clan: I like em.  Hey, I said quick.

-So will Andrea ever stop being a totally awful human being?