Posted on December 6, 2010 by Eric Pollarine
So, I know that when I last wrote about the series, it was after the second episode, of AMC’s The Walking Dead, which was “Guts” and that it’s taken me a while to get these reviews moving. I apologize but there was a holiday in there some where. or at least I’ll use that as my excuse as to why I didn’t post these before. If you don’t like it then leave me comments.
Let’s get into it shall we?
Tell it to the what?
Episode three, or “Tell it to the Frogs,” was something of a proving ground for the series. What, you scoff, you don’t believe, then I will tell you.
Tell it to the Frogs,” was that moment when die hard fans had to either decide to stay with the program or to leave it, most, fortunately decided to stay. It has become the smash hit of the fall television season, with over 4.5 million viewers for the premiere alone. But fans of zombie horror, and zombie anything really are a fickle bunch, and there were rumors abound that the series was going to only focus on the human aspects of the book. The survival, the gore was all going to be a backdrop, the intense action scenes that filled splash pages in the comics and graphic novels, omnibuses and collections was going to be flirted with but only slightly. “Tell it to the Frogs,” was seen as something of a confirmation of that rumor. Except it wasn’t. Because the third episode was the set up for the fourth episode, “Vatos.” In which we see what a surprise zombie attack, can do.
Mandatory Warning: Plot Spoilers in the next few paragraphs, read on at own risk!
Episode three, “Tell it to the Frogs,” has Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes, and the rest of the survivors from Atlanta making their way back to camp. Upon arrival Rick is overcome with joy as he is reunited with his family, as well as his former partner Shane. Thus causing a new love triangle to form, thus causing more drama than action. The reunion is short lived as Rick then decides to return to the city for Merle (see the previous review for descriptions of Merle) the companion of the walkie talkie that he gave to Morgan, so that he can warn him about Atlanta, and to retrieve the bag of guns he dropped in the first episode. At the very end of the episode there is a huge fight between one of the other survivors and Shane, as Shane beats the man senseless for striking his wife. Rick, Glenn, T-Dog and Merle’s Brother Daryl find Merle’s hand on the roof of the department store, the handcuffs used to restrain Merle are swinging in the breeze.
Episode four, “Vatos,” is the bookend to the story arc that started in episode three, we find Rick and Merle’s brother, Daryl, played by Norman Reedus, Glenn and T-Dog trying desperately to escape from the ruins of Atlanta, while also looking for Merle, Who Daryl believes is still alive. The group finds evidence of Merle cauterizing his new wound in a kitchen. They decide to grab the bag of guns, with Glenn devising a plan to reach them that involves splitting the group into two seprate units. Just as Glenn has grabbed the bag of guns, along with Rick’s lost Sheriffs hat, (Indiana Jones style scene where Glenn thinks about it, then decides to grab the hat) Daryl is attacked by a gang of Latino, or Latino like “homeboys.” Daryl wounds one by shooting him in the ass with his crossbow, hilarious, and hold a young attacker hostage but the gangbangers manage to kidnap Glenn in the struggle for the bag of guns, which makes everything get crazy.
Rick and the gang interrogate the hostage and learn where the gangbangers are holding up then decide to take back the young Latino, in hopes to exchange him for Glenn. When they arrive at the other group of survivors hideout, they are told to either relinquish the entire cache of weapons and their hostage for Glenn, or come back shooting. Rick, Merle and T-Dog leave, then decide to go back for Glenn and make it rain shiny lead bullets on the group.
While this is happening in Atlanta, the somewhat mysterious but oddly warm Jim, played by Anrew Rothenburg, flips out and starts digging holes just because, Shane decides to end the weird behavor by placing him under arrest until his freak out goes away.
However,in Atlanta, just as the two opposing forces are about to have a potentially show altering gun battle, a small old woman comes in, pleading with one of the leaders of the band of thugs. Good thing Rick didn’t start shooting up the place, because the gangbangers are really there protecting elderly uninfected. Thugs with a heart, Rick leaves them a few guns and ammunition and wishes them well, they get Glenn back and decide to leave. There’s only one problem, someone has stolen their box truck.
Back at camp, it’s dinner time and Shane, Lori and the rest of the bunch are sitting around the fire, as if the world wasn’t infested with zombies shooting the shit, until of course a bunch of “walkers” decide that they will join in on the festivities. Rick and the gang show up at the last minute and there is much violence. Leaving several characters dead, and Jim wounded.
Proving Grounds and Killing Fields.
These two episodes, stand back to back in this review for a few reasons. 1. because I have been tremendously lazy/busy 2. they obviously fit as a bookend story and 3. to prove my point in this edition of these posts. If you’ve been watching the series then you’ve been thinking that it’s all been a moral soap opera set in the end times, kind of like a “Left Behind,” for zombie fans. The show has explored some heavy issues over these four episodes and will no doubt (as I am writing this on the eve of the season finale) explore more in the coming season, yes there’s been a second season of the series green lighted, this time with a full 13 episodes slated to be produced. But at the end of “Vatos,” we have raw violence, though shrouded by the cover of night, exploding with blood and gore and bullets. We have the reality shown through the haze of morality. We have a zombie apocalypse, and in these two stories we have the essence of being human, we have all of history and what humanity has to offer. In the gangbangers we find charity, in Merle, and his disappearance we find the will to survive. In Rick we see undying love and in the struggles among the various members of the group we have the human condition and it’s ability to adapt and change. And that’s the essence of GREAT, emphasis is clearly this author’s own, story telling.
We see a window into the world, into ourselves, into what makes us tick and who we really are. We are a soap opera, our everyday lives are more than just the menial tasks of, take the dog out, get dressed, make dinner and go to work. There’s sorrow and triumph, sacrifice and unrequited love, boredom and panic, action and doldrums. And though hardcore gore fans will obviously say that the show lacks in places, I truly believe that they would be hard pressed to say that the show isn’t moving, isn’t riveting and isn’t the logical and masterful genesis of what George A. Romero started on a little Pennsylvania farm in 1968.
So to all the detractors I say this: prove to me that this series isn’t the rightful heir to the kingdom of Zed. If you can’t tell me that this show is possibly the best series on Television today and one of THE groundbreaking series in Zombidom, if all you care about, really, are unhealthy obsessions with realistic looking FX, then I say go somewhere else. I say, go tell it to the frogs.
Review by Eric Pollarine