The Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 4: “Cherokee Rose”
Written by Evan Reilly
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC
Glenn! Glenn! Glenn! After a few episodes of being either invisible or inactive, everyone sane’s favorite character finally got not just something, but in fact quite a lot to do. Not only does he wrangle a particularly rotund zombie in a well (in a sequence that might qualify as The Walking Dead‘s first outright foray into splatstick), but he actually gets laid! This was no ordinary hour of zombie TV, as it turns out. (It also contains the show’s funniest moment to date in Glenn’s declaration while slowly approaching the trapped zombie while perilously dangling from a rope: “Living the dream!”)
Dialing down the gloom and significantly amping the sweetness and humor, not much actually happens in “Cherokee Rose,” but the seeds are sown for future conflicts, though it must be said that none of them are particularly exciting. Rick asks Hershel for an extended stay on his lovely property, to which he agrees assuming they can play by his “rules.” Is this where we find out he’s fiercely typophobic or something? (I continue to enjoy Scott Wilson’s gentle-but-firm performance.) The other looming source of doom is Lori’s pregnancy, which was the week’s only source of outright eye-rolling. Look, Glenn and Maggie can get it on responsibly (and spontaneously!), so there’s really no excuse.
Elsewhere, Daryl gets to wax poetic about flowers, continuing the process of making his character less of a grimy redneck and more of a second protagonist. His little history lesson on the episode’s titular plant almost seemed like a bit of serendipitous Hell on Wheels cross-promotion, but it did help to provide a scene wherein Carol was doing something other than open-mouth weeping.
That ties into the episode’s theme this week, which turns out to be: “d’awww.” Between Glenn being completely awed by his luck with the only of-age young woman on the planet (as far as we know), the aforementioned Daryl scene, Otis’s deceptive funeral, and Carl asking about Sophia immediately upon regaining consciousness (not to mention his adorable scene with Rick wherein they come to realize they have both joined the “I’ve-been-shot” club), this was an unusually adorable chapter in a show about surviving in a world full of flesh-eating half-people.
Simon keeps referring to this episode of The Walking Dead as adorable, whereas I would describe it as boring.
But to be fair, I think the show needed to slow down a bit. I like a slow burn and I don’t mind it taking it’s time to get our band of travellers to their next destination, but it seems everyone let their guard down a little too much in “Cherokee Rose”. Sure it makes sense that on the comfort of Herschel’s farm, the group would finally be allowed a chance to breathe, relax and would stop looking over their shoulders, but the problem is that any form of danger was completely neglected in this episode. Darryl continues to shine – once again volunteering to search for Sophia, and this time all alone – but there wasn’t one moment of suspense in his venture? I’m not asking for a geek attack but there is still an eminent danger out there, and both we the viewers and the characters need to feel it. Glenn and Maggie head out for a pharmacy run, and literally walk into town at a snail’s pace. Am I missing something here? It seems as if the characters already knew there was no possibility of any danger in this episode, so much so, that the two decided they would have enough time to stop and make sweet love in a pharmacy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for any major shocks, but I still feel the need to justify the danger. Take away any sense of urgency or stakes, in what is supposed to be a series taking place during a world wide epidemic, and your show will quickly fall apart. With that said – at least it offered some baby steps in terms of the character development, especially in the supporting players. The characters still need more depth, but this was a definite step in the right direction.
So the biggest revelation this week is Lori’s back-field pregnancy test, which isn’t much considering anyone and everyone (regardless if you’ve read the book or not) have all suspected her to be pregnant since season one’s finale. And if you didn’t, I’m pretty sure you saw it coming after it was telegraphed earlier on when Lori asked Glenn to get her something in secrecy from the woman’s health department. I’m not sure the test would register positive quite as fast as it does here, but who am I to say since I’ve never had the need to use one. However, having this revelation on Hershel’s farm seems like a missed opportunity. We will never know how Lori and Rick would react in a tougher situation such as when they were on the road. Sleeping in a camper is one thing, but giving birth at a farmhouse, with a relatively qualified physician (well veterinarian), is far more preferable. Rick has already asked Hershel to consider allowing the group to stay, and clearly the pregnancy will only aid in Rick’s request.
“Cherokee Rose” did offer one of the show’s biggest highlights yet. Last week’s Tree Zombie is trumped by this week’s Well Zombie – a mash-up of Garbage Pail Kids and Henrietta from Evil Dead 2. The plan on how to remove Well Zombie might have been the most inane method ever conceived by anyone who has ever tried to remove a zombie from a well. But let’s not ask T-Dogg, because what does he know? Despite the little action, at least the show-runners have the make-up and FX team still working hard. Glenn finally gets to showcase his courage again – first as the reluctant bait in the plan to lasso the zombie out of the well, and than again after things go horribly wrong, and Glenn insists on trying again. And while we are on the subject of the well – can we just all admit that while it provided the episode’s highlight, it made absolutely no sense. Why on Earth would our heroes put in so much time and effort in saving a well that is clearly already contaminated, when Hershel has other wells on his property – and more importantly, who was going to taste-test the water once the undead was removed?
“Cherokee Rose” is heavy on dialogue but often it seems like the writers are struggling to find something, anything, for the characters to say to one another. For those of you who are not familiar with the comic book series, the television show is a mass improvement, but this is AMC, the same network that hosts some incredible shows and I think they can do better.
There was a moment, although rather brief, in which Rick decides to give up his deputy hat to his son Carl and later tucks away his badge in a dresser. One has to question his motive. The uniform is symbolic, and if anything it gives the others reason to look to him for answers and leadership. Perhaps his reasoning for putting it away is to please Hershel, who seems to now be the unspoken new leader of the group. Maybe it is for the best – considering all Rick has been through, the man could use a bit of a break.
“If somebody’s gonna die, better hope that you’re the one who’s making that decision.” -Shane
Anyone else notice the foreshadowing of the Glenn/Maggie sex scene:
“I hear you’re fast on your feet and know how to get in and out.”
I’m grateful that Glenn’s getting more to do, with the little time he may have left.
Hershel hints at certain rules that need to be followed. I wonder how he’ll feel about Maggie potentially dating Glenn?
What is in the barn?
I’ve said this on the podcast and I will say it again – I really hope we never find out what happened to Sophia.
So what exactly was whispered in Rick’s ear at the end of season one?
Note to Simon: Glenn isn’t everyone’s favorite character. Daryl is. Haven’t you been watching season two?