The Walking Dead Goes Loco

We've now seen four episodes of The Walking Dead's six-episode first season, but last night's installment did little to straighten out the short stories we've been following so far. Rather than moving toward resolution for some of the show's ongoing arcs, last night's episode introduced a whole new group of characters and barely inched forward on the wicked dangling handcuff storyline.

I can't be too harsh on The Walking Dead because I've already pledged my undying and undead allegiance to the show. But I was pretty disappointed that we didn't get more of the Merle plotline—the dude cut off his hand! I'm like a kid at Christmas waiting to see how he reacts to seeing both Rick and T-Dawg! And I wasn't that excited to see the whole Latino gang full of vatos and extras from Michael Jackson's "Bad" video. Perhaps it was my fault: I went into the episode expecting fireworks from a one-handed redneck Merle and got a pretty pedestrian bait-and-switch instead (oh, they're nice gang members!).

The episode's real interesting parts bookended the whole barrio showdown, as we lurched forward with character development and got something the series badly needed: zombies chomping on familiar faces. The sister-to-sister chat that began the episode seemed innocuous enough, a way for us to get to know these survivors. But really it showed The Walking Dead's fearlessness and answered one of my prayers: Kill someone off that we've come to know and like. And they killed off the hot girl! How many shows do that? R.I.P. Amy, and good job, Laurie Holden (Andrea) for giving us a convincing portion-and-a-half of grief. How many of you were waiting for dead Amy's eyes to pop open as America's Next Top Hottest Zombie? It didn't happen. But will it happen in the next episode? This could lead to one of those pesky "She's not really your sister anymore! Now lop her head off with a shovel!" conversations.

Jim, who may become a more important character than I initially imagined, went from diggin' holes like a madman to being eerily psychic over the course of the episode. I'm guessing his dream becoming reality was just a coincidence, because adding supernatural elements to this series would kill it.

Overall, "Vatos" was damn close to being a great episode, though I could have done without the sidetrip with the titular vatos. Sure, they may pop up again later, but as of now it simply seemed like a wasted trip. Give me some more Merle!

Notes from beyond the graaaaaave!
... Hillbilly racist or not, Daryl is now my favorite character. Tie for first place with Glenn, the former pizza delivery guy.
... How about those gorgeous shots of the lake? I'm really liking the saturated colors.
... As much as I didn't really take to the gangster storyline, I did LOL at the three dogs.

And now it's time to rank the episodes, just for the sake of ranking them:
1. "Days Gone Bye," the premiere episode.
2. "Tell It to the Frogs," Episode 3.
3. "Guts," Episode 2.
4. "Vatos," Episode 4.
5. Most of the rest of television.

How would you rank The Walking Dead so far?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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I can understand that it's a show that appeals to different people at differing levels, most shows do. It invokes based alot upon what's come before it and how people feel about zombies and maybe society around them . . so you bring something to the table as well. It's a good show, not a great one . . but it's the only zombie tv we've got this year and unlike it's movie siblings, has its paces to take. My problem with the series so far is that I know it'll be a short season with a long break before the next . . . Oh well, I guess I can watch a show about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire, . . or a southern town crawling with shapeshifters, vamps, and demons . . . or . . . .
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I'm very confused about the praise this series is getting. Technically it's great - I even dare to say outstanding, at least excluding premium cable. But storywise... I find it plain annoying. It gives me pretty much the same feelings (except for the technical part) as "Jericho" did; it too preachy, the characters are stereotypes right through (especially in regards to gender - honestly, which decade are we in), and the relationships are awkward to watch. It might be that it is very American, while I'm European, I don't know. But honestly - to me it's just lame.

It has nothing of Romero's society satire, nor the claustrophobia of Danny Boyle's movies, the madness of Yuzna's films, or (obviously) the gore of Lucio Fulci. Not even the comedy of "Shaun of the Dead" or even "Zombieland". It is just... blah
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Epic
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Same ranking for me, but what a show, even its worst episode is awesome. I didnt foresee that ending at all!!
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And yeah, I also think Merle drove the geeks up to camp with the truck. What a bastard eh?
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This show manages to surprise, entertain and give room for thought. I am very impressed!
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Hey all... I think we might have seen something Merle did.... think about it...the Cube Van / Truck was missing from the city and then miraculously a bunch of walkers ended up at the camp? Couldn't it be possible that Merle did that out of anger? Just a thought?
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I like Glenn but Daryl wins my favorite vote by a crossbow!
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jax kicks azz on the attack you know its about samcro or maybe it could be cara cara you know then its about the blo.
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What happened to the walkie-talkie and the dude with his kid from the first episode? Wasn't that part of the reason for retrieving the gun bag? Merle's brother seemed to have forgotten why they returned the city too once the gun bag was spotted. Too many open ends... and only 2 episodes left!

Totally agree with your psychic comment, if that guy has powers then this show will quickly become the new Heroes. i.e crap.
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Amy died in the comic book so they decided to do the same.

And gang maybe looked funny a bit, but it was pretty unexpected twist(only for me maybe).

So for me it's second in the top.
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its freaking amazing. It surprises me every episode. there are not many zombie movies that can match this show.
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Getting better and better. That's it.
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America's Next Top Hottest Zombie?

LOL LOL LOL LOL :)
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I bet you that one-handed Merle will show up in the final episode of the season. And I don't buy the whole Glenn used to be a pizza delivery guy for some reason. He's too clever and cool. Really happy they killed off Mr. Wife-Beater
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Michael Rooker is the B movie stand out in this cast --- this show needs more Michael Rooker not less.
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Loving it, i suspect the final episode will be a showdown with the angry red neck that lost his hand.

Glen is my favorite character atm.
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I don't like all that zombie/scary stuff, so never watched it untill yesterday. But after I watched Resident Evil: Afterlife, I could not get enough walking dead, so I jumped of this show. Watched all 4 episode in the row ( I ll say Hulu and you will act like believed it, Ok). It is great show. I love all gang story, soft hearth guys pretend to be tough guys, for protecting old people.They say America lost respect and love to each other but this scene was great to proof it is not. And I loved dogs "taken from devil himself". I think a Desmond like character is showing up ( that crazy dude who was digging) And after Seeing Michael Scofield in Resident Evil, Sarah Tancredi was great suprise to me see in the show. But when zombies came I thought that Meril guy (one hand now) carried them with truck and made them attack to camp.Not sure if he has that much brain though.
Anyway, so far I liked show and thinking continue to watch.
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If anything, he honked the horn and drove slowly enough for the zombies to follow. Remember - the cab of the truck was open to the cargo area, so there's no way he would've been able to fill the truck with zombies and still drive it. I don't think he's sharp enough to do that though. I mean, he cut off his entire hand instead of sawing through the thumb, and he's lost a lot of blood. I just don't see him being able to plan that in his current state. Plus, he wouldn't have known that his brother was in Atlanta looking for him, so he would've risked bringing the zombie horde down upon him too. I don't think he's in the state of mind to consider such a consequence, but if he's capable of devising such a scheme, he'd also be capable of considering the possible outcomes. I think the zombies either wandered out of the city like the previous one or he drove slowly because of the blood loss and lack of hand. I guess we'll find out on Sunday though.
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1. "Days Gone Bye," the premiere episode.
2. "Guts," Episode 2.
3. "Vatos," Episode 4.
4. "Tell It to the Frogs," Episode 3.
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I guess I assumed that Merle stole the truck, filled it with zombies and drove them to the camp, although if he saw/stole the truck you would think he knew they came back.
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The six episodes are supposed to complete the first arc of the series, which will end with them leaving camp, and possibly making to Wiltshire Estates. Imagine the final shot will be of the snow falling off to reveal "ALL DEAD DO NOT ENTER" for the cliffhanger. I think they did a great job of adding meat to the story given the uncertainty of the show before it premiered. Remember - AMC only committed to 6 episodes because it underestimated our love of zombies. There was no guarantee there would a second season, so they wanted a good stopping point with something to lure back for a second season if it was given the green light. 6 episodes for 8 issues, so really, quit griping. It's unlikely we'll see the vatos again. It showed us other survivors and how the world has changed for them and everyone without actually adding to the group. I personally thought it was a great touch, considering how other survivors are generally treated in the first few arcs of the books. Anyway, just think about it - the elderly were ABANDONED by the doctors and left to die at the jaws of the zombies. A caregiver stays and a freakin JANITOR becomes the leader responsible for them all. You see how they acted when the grandmother showed up--they were acting the way they were to survive and keep from getting raided again. The group is adapting to the new world. Yes, there are two episodes left in the season... so why would they resolve the Merle plot in one episode? Seriously. If they had, then everyone would complain that "wah, that was over too quickly." Savor it, people. Episode 4 showed that the extra characters aren't just there as fodder to spare the book characters. It makes sense, since Amy's death was crucial for Andrea's character growth, but it was still painful to watch. We've got a few more deaths left before the gang makes it to Wiltshire, and that's not even counting the characters that the show introduced, so just sit back and enjoy the show. Laurie Holden's performance at the end was A-MAY-ZING. Really, the last 10 minutes of the episode are almost enough to make this one my favorite, but I think I still prefer 3. So: Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 1, Episode 2.
More+
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love this show, absolutely love it, and the twist with the gangbangers was awesome, just hilarious.
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@ killer - true on the forums. It's hard to get forums going until a few seasons are under the belt here. Our only true place to discuss it is right here.
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@ addict - adding such a bigot [sic] ramps up the dramatic tension considering he'll be face to face with the guy who handcuffed him to the roof and the guy who couldn't save him. You don't think that would be interesting? Plus having his brother on his side?
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@ adamonfire
if you have to ask what I'm smoking, then you don't know me very well. Speed balls. The answer is speed balls. But yes, Sarah is nice, a poor man's Mary Louise Parker. Amy is the hot one.
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She was the hot girl? What are you smoking. Sara Tancredi is the hot girl.
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This review is awful, who wants to see more of meerle who was clearly just there to be a complete biggot, his brother is far more interesting.
having the vatos was important because is mirrored the problems in the camp
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having Norman Reedus in the show = awesome
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You know I love a show when I'm willing to put up with a nice guy gangster storyline. Hmm... And yes they killed the hottest chica on the show. Surprising and quite sad!!
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I think the vatos thing was a little too much filler also, but the overall episode was still very good. In regards to the comic, is the hispanic couple and their two kids at the camp supposed to replace Alan and his family? If so I thought I say him get bitten. Anyone else? Also, Jim was one of my favorite characters in the beginning of the book, I always thought more could have been done with him so I'm glad to see he's being used.
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To each their own, especially in the hard reality of how many viewers aren't the comic readers versus those who are (and the baggage that entails). What I find more a problem with the season is that it'll be rather short and the wait for a new season rather long. My only exposure to the plot of the book are podcasts and you can only gain so much from second hand retelling.

As for who shows up and who dies, I guess I feel lucky in that I don't really know who's a main character and who's a new creation, it's a fresh take as long as the acting and writing are solid and even . . . As for ranks, well that's quite Nielsen and I don't take well to them folk.
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when they stick to the comic , the scenes are awesome , those are the best moments of the show. When they pull away from the comic , the show gets a little boring. Overall , definitely better than so much crap on tv as you said,o no mi pinche carnal !?
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I actually liked this episode, The Vatos storyline was made so we could forget about the zombies just to hit us as hard as they could at the end. The fact that the Vatos were helping those people was a nice little twist. That's why i somewhat disagree with you, however i also wanted some zombie chomping action so i loved the ending. For me it was pretty good. And why the hell the forums here are dead, i need to discuss this with someone dammit...!!!
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The nursing home was a suprise. They got me there. When I saw the zombies in the camp my first thought was that Merle captured some in the truck. I'm curious how they'll explain so many zombies out of nowhere.
It's was again a great episode, but I'm missing the tension from the pilot.
The pilot was so scary that my girlfriend stopped watching with me.
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I disagree with this review in that I found this to be the best episode to date. I liked the Vatos storyline and hope they build on it. Character depth building too. Keep 'em coming. Never thought I'd be watching a zombie show.
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As much as I also want to see how Merle reacts to being left behind (If he were to die a zombie death though, I would't miss the racist pig), the vatos/nursing home storyline was a pleasant surprise. I despised their tactics, yet was utterly surprised at what was going on inside. I think it was very necessary to show this. This clearly shows now that the world has become a "survival of the fittest or strongest"-type place. Just because people are in the same boat, doesn't mean they'll automatically get along. The ending with the zombie attack was unexpected and very bloody, which I loved, but hated to see the sister go. Don't get too attached to these characters, because last night showed how expendable any of them are.
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I was always dumbfounded that people would sleep in tents outside when there are zombies walking around. Anyone else think Merle might have some how driven those zombies up there to eat everyone? That would be a sweet twist.
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This episode went in a direction that I did not expect. I've already read ahead of the story from the comics, and this sidetrack with the gangsters was pointless in my opinion. Its taking some story elements in a different direction (specifically w/ the bag of guns). If we have only 6 episodes left they should focus more on all the good parts of the comic before people are left with a different impression of this great series. I agree with this writer and I still love the show, but please cut the unnecessary fat and give us some lean content. Mmm... lean brains...
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I loved this episode... Vatos were surprising, I thought it was pretty cool of them to help the helders...Not my favorite part, but it was descent... Some people seem to hate those plots which were not in the comic, but let me remind you that the season would be over since the last episode without the Vatos, Merle, etc... (spoiler) since I've read this first season will end when they leave the camp... Which is happening short after the attack...
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I actually liked the nursing home, too. It was the closest we've seen to the original book in that a) somebody had a closed-off community that other people wanted to invade and b) "our" guys turned out to be the scary ones all along with their demands for stuff and their refusal to compromise. And yeah, the attack was pretty scary. I guessed Amy wasn't going to make it (although with how far they've been straying from the books I'm fearing for everybody at this point) and it still creeped me out.
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I agree with you about the 'vatos' and yes I was yelling "give her a hug" to andrea, hoping on a sister-zombie-slaying. All-in-all a bit of a filler-episode. Which is a bit shamefull if your season is 6 episodes long. Then again, the rest of tv-land can't get close to this series, so who cares.
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How can you say the "side-trip" to the nursing home was pointless? That story is one of the hallmark concepts behind the entire show - that nothing is ever what it seems, that good men can be turned evil, ruthless criminals into caring protectors, and those living in the shades of gray get a chance to choose a new life (i.e., Daryl). The whole Vatos side-story was created to show what is going to be one of the coolest new characters on the show, (provided he survives) in Daryl. I can't wait to see how he reacts when Merle finally returns.
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