The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick” – This really isn’t a democracy anymore

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The Walking Dead, Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”
Written by Nichole Beattie
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC

Last week’s The Walking Dead season premiere saw Rick and co. finding a seemingly safe haven in a nearby prison. “Sick” begins from where “Seed” left us: The group has to find a way to deal with Hershell’s zombie bite and abundant loss of blood – along with the arrival of some unexpected guests. While not as strong as the season opener, “Sick” has three memorable moments that can easily enter the pantheon of the show’s greatest hits, thus offering further evidence, the series has found more secure footing this year.

It was quite a stretch to have us believe that five guys locked inside a prison cafeteria for ten months, amidst thousands of zombies, wouldn’t ever have considered that the crisis had become widespread. While the interactions with these prisoners didn’t quite ring true (most notably their insistence on staying locked up in a prison after finally set free), the convicts did bring a welcome dash of dark comedy to the proceedings with their first attempt to take down the walkers, while ignoring the advice of Rick and Darryl.

The pseudo-alliance between Rick’s group and the prisoners was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode, but who would have guessed Rick would blow too? Killing off their de facto leader like he did – the swift machete to the skull – was completely unexpected – even for this show. And graphic! It was shocking enough to see Big Tiny viciously taken down, but Rick’s crime was a game changer. How many millions of viewers had to “rewind” just to see it again? Last week I commented on how Rick seemed to be losing control and slowly going down a dark path. If the machete to the head wasn’t evidence enough, his leaving Andrew locked outside certainly was. As the camera pulls back on Rick shutting the door, we hear the man’s dying screams and see Rick’s chilling smirk. Grimes is not doing so well and he’s now in such a murky moral place, it leaves us wondering if we’ll see another Shane. Rick changed when he killed Shane, but killing Tomas certainly made it apparent that he no longer has a problem killing humans. “Sick” does a tremendous job in backing up his famous quote from season two: This isn’t a democracy anymore. Once a hero, now the anti-hero, Rick’s new quote should read, “my people over your people.”

I say long live the Ricktatorship.

And how good is it to see his group finally taking control?

Rick and Lori’s exchange on the bridge was one of the most heartfelt moments between the two so far in the series. How rare is it to see good writing, good dialogue and good performances come from the dysfunctional couple. The writers are working hard to rebuild Lori, knowing fully well fans despise the character. Recently actress Sarah Wayne Callies was practical booed off the stage at the New York Comic-Con event. Their attempt to make her likeabe again is underlined by her “bad mother, bad wife monologue”. Even more, Lori is actually given a vital role for once and placed in a situation in which she must save Hershell’s life. Clearly the writers had fun teasing us with the episode’s one jump scare: As Lori performs CPR on Hershel, he lunges forward, leaving us to assume, or rather hope, he’s turned into a walker, and is going to bite off Lori’s tongue.

(Note to the writers: If Lori loses a body part, please let it be the tongue).

Of all the female characters, Maggie has always been that strongest, and she’s also been the fan favourite. Tonight, we are once again reminded why when Maggie makes her peace with Hershel in the episode’s most touching moment. The big question on everyone’s mind was whether Hershel could survive. As Maggie noted, “He can’t even walk and all we do is run.” She was ready to see her dad go, not because she wanted him to die, but because Maggie has come to accept the grim new world she lives in, and she’s come to accept death. Watching Lauren Cohan is always great and it would be sad if we ever have to see her go. While the Hershel storyline provided good material for him and Maggie it also gave new reason to show Carol’s ever-changing personality. She is no longer the grief-stricken mother of season two but an active and important member of the group. And how macabre was it to see her practicing a caesarian section on a zombie?

“Sick” carried the momentum of “Seed”, while moving the series forward with great character moments. Season three carries a vastly different tone from the previous two seasons while maintaining a constant sense of tension. As the gang get the prison under control, the focus will most likely shift away to Andrea and Michonne (both absent this week), and reveal who’s peeping in the bushes watching the prison from afar. I’ve got a hunch it is someone we already know.

After thoughts:

How cool was it to see the zombie escape from his handcuffs by peeling his arm bone out of his skin sack?

Theodus Crane, the actor who played Big Tiny, is an International Chinese Martial Arts champion.

Don’t forget to tune into our Walking Dead podcast for extended thoughts the series.

Ricky D

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