“Cherokee Rose” is the first episode in a while that proved to me Walking Dead’s writers actually understand how television dialogue works. There was a pronounced lack of redundancy, and while I didn’t actually care for many of the things being said, I can’t deny the improvement upon the last few weeks. Beyond that, I’m having a hard time thinking of anything positive to say about this molasses ass-drag of an episode. Exactly two things happened that will affect the rest of the season. Maggie and Glenn had pharmacy sex, and Lori found out she’s pregnant. Oh, and….No. No, that’s it.

RV, motorcycle and all, the entire gang reunites at Hershel’s farm. Hershel sets up rules and regulations for everyone (mostly just “No guns.”), and let’s Rick know that their situation isn’t permanent. Everybody has to pack up and go after Carl heals. Later, after the two men discuss Rick’s disbelief in God and merits as a father, Hershel reneges on his stance, allowing for the group to stay so long as his rules are followed. Which just means someone is going to break these rules and everything will go haywire. I’d like to reach that point already. I cringe whenever Scott Wilson starts talking.

Having a central location, a mapped one at that, means that the group can get strategic in their search for Sophia. I’m aghast that this plotline is still considered worthy of returning to. What little sympathy I had for Carol’s character has been replaced with an eternal yawn. If Sophia returns in a way that resembles anything normal without fanfare, I’m seeking out a real little girl named Sophia, and I’m going to punch her in the face. (Not really. Making her watch this show would be more severe.)

I’m not bothered when Walking Dead focuses more on the living than the undead. I am bothered when these singular zombie instances make absolutely no sense on any level. Dale and T-Dog find a water-logged zombie sitting at the bottom of one of Hershel’s wells. It’s determined shooting it would contaminate the water, the same water that the zombie has presumably been pissing, spitting, and shitting in. Instead, the gang lowers Glenn down on a rope in order to hoist the zombie back up. After an inevitable mishap that puts Glenn’s life in peril, he’s lifted out, and it seems their plan was a misfire. But wait! Glenn actually got the rope around the zombie. Had the camera not captured so much of Glenn inside the well, this might be plausible. But Glenn is shown throughout, and at no point during his kicking and screaming did he make a move to get close enough to tie the rope around the zombie’s midsection. As well, when he’s being lifted out, it’s blatantly obvious there is no rope around the zombie. The moment exists just to make Glenn look like a badass, and it fails. That said, watching the zombie burst apart in the middle was pretty satisfying.

Glenn and Maggie’s horse ride and pharmacy visit was my favorite part of the show. I’m glad the writers are introducing this comic book plot point, as this show seriously needs a couple without closets full of skeletons. When Glenn, hiding from Maggie that he’s getting Lori a pregnancy test, accidentally grabs a box of condoms for Maggie to see, I chuckled heartily. The ensuing conversation also made me smile, which makes me wonder why humor is paid the least amount of attention on the show.

Almost everything else though, I could just rattle off at will. Carl fully regains consciousness, and though his character is still pretty lame, Rick has a few nice, reflective moments with him that are genuinely tender. Daryl, in his search for Sophia, finds an abandoned house with a makeshift bed inside one of the closets, as well as a half-eaten tin of sardines. I have to assume this means Sophia was there. Daryl brings Carol back the titular Cherokee rose, accompanied by a morose story, from the house’s fence-line. And finally, Lori pees on a stick in the middle of a field. Why she couldn’t just do it in a bathroom inside the house, I have no idea, but there it is. I’m interested in how this will change the dynamics between the characters, but I hope the writers don’t wait until the last episode to bring it back. I’m also interested in the Shane/Andrea connection that’s building, just not in the endless gun-cleaning conversations they keep having.

No one is more disgusted by my negative views than I am. Show fanatics are going to love every minute regardless of how long those minutes seem to last. I’m glad I don’t fit into that camp, but I’d love to get into it whole-heartedly like I did in the first season, regardless of the problems it had then. Slow burns are acceptable when the end result justifies those means, but it’s too early in the season for this kind of halted storytelling. And I have serious doubts about what these writers consider justifiable conclusions. Feel free to hate on me in the comments. I’ll still be back next week, just like Rick and Co.

Brain Storming

Shane gives the most wide-eyed eulogy, for Otis, I think I’ve ever seen. As soon as the memorial started, it was obvious someone was going to make Shane talk. This episode takes predictability to new levels.

“We don’t normally take in strangers.” Hershel is just full of non-surprises.

“Good thing we didn’t do anything stupid, like shoot it.” As corny as T-Dog is, I find myself warming to him. Especially when he’s bashing in zombie cranium.

Rick packing away his sheriff star was another good understated moment. Five dollars says it comes out again next week.

Did anyone else find it odd that the house Daryl was walking through was that empty? I understand that once zombies start taking over, people will make hasty exits from their home. But there was barely any furniture in the house. I doubt people would pack a U-Haul when survival is so urgent.

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