The second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead is moving full speed ahead with last night’s second episode, “Bloodletting.” Instead of giving viewers a break from the intensity and peril of the first episode, “Bloodletting” picked up right where it left off, just adding onto the life-or-death debacle our survivors found themselves in last week instead of resolving anything.
On the whole, this was a very strong and very emotional episode. We meet some new survivors, get into a whole mess of new trouble, and have some deeply-introspective conversations between our favorite characters. Intrigued? Then read on for my review of last night’s The Walking Dead.
SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT BEING UPSET IF YOU READ ON PAST THIS BLATANT WARNING BECAUSE THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
The strongest part of “Bloodletting” was the acting. I’ll say it: I think The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television and the performance of the cast is no small part of that. In particular, there was Andrew Lincoln’s (Rick Grimes) portrayal of a grief-stricken father after his young son Carl (Chandler Riggs) was shot at the end of the last episode.
We’ve come to know and love Rick as a level-headed man of action, someone who makes the hard decisions, remains cool under pressure, and who is the first to leap into the fray when something needs to be done. But after his son is shot, all Rick can do is sit at his bedside with a needle in his arm giving Carl blood, and the waiting and inaction drives him crazy. All he wants to do is go find Lori to tell her what’s happened, and then go to the nearby FEMA station to get medical supplies for Carl. It’s a turn of events that fleshes out a character we’ve been with from the very beginning.
Carl’s life-threatening injury also introduces us to one of the comic books’ most beloved, interesting characters. I am of course referring to veterinarian and man of faith Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson). As soon as Hershel appeared on screen and took command of the situation with Carl, this die-hard TWD comic book fan got excited. The casting of Scott Wilson is perfection, and the man quietly stole every scene he was in.
Another strong performance was given by Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) and IronE Singleton (T-Dog). At this point though, we’re getting used to Dale being the bearer of pearls of wisdom and compassion for his fellow survivors. T-Dog’s injury has resulted in blood poisoning and a high fever. He’s paranoid and angry, and it’s all Dale can do to talk him out of taking the RV and abandoning the others. Conversations like that are the real danger of their post-zombiepocalyptic world: With so much danger around them, if the group doesn’t maintain its composure and ability to make rational decisions, they will all die.
Daryl saves the day yet again by producing Merle’s stash of antibiotics to save T-Dog. At this point, the cross-bow toting redneck has become the group’s guardian angel, to the point that I’m getting suspicious. Not about his motives (it’s clear at this point that Daryl is a practical guy, driven to altruism by the plain fact that they’re stronger as a group and it’s the right thing to do), but because all this saving of T-Dog’s ass has to be leading up to something. If T-Dog doesn’t return the favor soon, and in a big way, I think the two characters are going to have a problem. And what if Merle catches up with the group? Will Daryl side with his brother, or the man who condemned him to death?
And for our “holy crap zombies!” moment of the episode, we had Shane (Jon Bernthal) and new series regular Otis aka “the idiot who shot Carl” (Pruitt Taylor Vince) attempting to infiltrate a FEMA station overrun with walkers. While it was exciting to see another close call with a horde of zombies, the two men distract the undead buggers way too easily by throwing flares. Rather than seeming like a clever tactic, using the flares to draw the zombies away from the FEMA trailer just looked comical. And The Walking Dead is not about the funny. Of course, our intrepid heroes were rewarded for their clever idea when they were chased into the town library by the walkers, leaving us with another cliffhanger.
While not quite as riveting as the first episode, “Bloodletting” still maintained the edge-of-your-seat intensity that we’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead. The best part of this season so far is that the writers have shown a dedication to the Snowball Effect. Problems are not solved one at a time. Instead, they pile on top of each other until the survivors are hopelessly mired in danger and entirely beholden to chance. As far as this zombiephiles is concerned, that’s a very good thing.
Will Shane and Otis escape the library and make it back to the farm with the medical supplies? Will Carl survive the surgery? Will T-Dog die of blood poisoning (we already predicted this character has a short shelf-life)? Will they ever find Sophia? Tune in next week when we find out if these people can keep themselves from acquiring still more life-threatening injuries before they’ve healed from the ones they’ve already got.
We are the walking dead: Tune into AMC every Sunday night at 9pm for the latest episode of the little zombie show that could, The Walking Dead.
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