The Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 2 “Sick” (B+)
This season is roaring head with plenty of violence and enthralling twists and turns, leaving the useless dialogue and occasionally slow plotting of previous seasons behind. Hershel’s condition set a melancholy tone for the episode, as it meant the loss of their father for Maggie and Beth but also the need for Carol to take over some doctoring duties that would require practicing a C-section on a walker corpse. Carl’s excessive maturity got seriously wounded by Lori’s disciplinary talk and Beth’s chastising of him for talking back to his mother. The reactions of the inmates to the news about the fate of the world (you can’t say the word “zombie” on this show, apparently) were telling of just how commonplace all this walker business has become on this show. The inmates were always going to be a problem, but their situation played out ominously as they went to clear out another cell block after Rick decided to make a compromise with their trigger-happy leader. Getting approval from Lori to deal with them as he saw fit may have been a factor in Rick’s quick decision to kill the leader with a machete and then chase down the poor prisoner who ended up locked in the yard with a bunch of walkers. Letting the other two live was a welcome sign of compassion, and a confirmation that Rick hasn’t gone completely off the deep end, despite what his hostility to Lori would indicate. Daryl seems like a loyal lieutenant, and his apology to the inmates about their friends was a rare intimate moment. I’m not so worried about the two inmates left alive, but the group is going to start experiencing cabin fever sooner or later; it’s just a question of whether a new enemy gets to them first.