Overall Rating 6.0
In a simple phrase - I don't know.
Wikipedia has a summary already - those deadheads sure are quick with their fandom. :)
This is the kind of show that proves to me - once and for all - that I'm definitely not a libertarian in the modern sense of the word. I called myself that when this blog started because I wasn't comfortable enough with my internal morality to make it external to policy or to my view on fandom...but that has changed of late, especially as my passion for faith has risen. I think the element missing from this show that is sorely needed is faith. They've given it a glancing try on a few occasions, but they've also taken great pains to punish the faithful with negative real-world consequences or portray them as living in denial (see: Hershel). It's certainly their right to portray this world-view...and in such an ugly world as this one, it's understandable, to a point, that most of the characters would be struggling to see any reason for faith. But my complaints from last week remain in my head as I watch the events of this episode.
It begins with Shane and Rick taking the boy they rescued last week eighteen miles from their farm so that he can't find his way back. They treat him as though he were a piece of meat that might attract walkers, rather than a human being. And they arrive at what was once a local school, where they plan to leave him hogtied and drive off. Even after they've already seen walkers about. This plan is interrupted by Shane questioning Rick's ability to keep Lori and Carl safe (and a huge brawl that nearly gets Shane killed by a pack of walkers)...and also by the boy's pleas for mercy. It turns out, he's human...he has a life story...and it actually somewhat intersects with Maggie's! Rick reacts to this news by reconsidering his plan (and deciding to take a day to think it over back at camp before he does any killing)...Shane reacts by grabbing a gun and trying to murder to boy immediately (because...his distant acquaintance with Maggie means he might know where the farm is...and this makes him a threat...I guess???). I don't, honestly, see the problem here. I'm having trouble figuring out why keeping him alive and with them on the farm - keeping an eye on him to make sure he doesn't go running off to bring more people there to cause trouble, but letting him live - poses any sort of threat. But hey...what do I know compared to the hothead with the gun?
Meanwhile, back at camp, Lori realizes that Beth is about to attempt suicide (just in the nick of time to stop her by taking away the knife). Lori and Maggie then begin an around the clock vigil to make sure that Beth doesn't get another weapon that could be lethal. Maggie, unfortunately, reacts to the suicide threat by screaming at Beth, rather than by showing any real mercy. You can understand...these are emotionally tense times, but it isn't the most productive method for bringing someone back from the ledge. Lori reacts by scolding Beth and trying to reason with her. Andrea reacts by GIVING BETH ACCESS TO A WEAPON!!!! HOLY BALLS!!!! Can you GET any more callous and despicable?? She does it, ostensibly, to give Beth a choice...thinking that, if she's going to survive, she has to choose it for herself. Again...you can try to understand her point of view here...but...she's just wrong. The correct thing to do when facing someone who wants to end their own life is to stop them...at least long enough to force them to REALLY THINK about what they're doing and who they might impact with their choice. Sorry, but Dale had it right, Andrea...and you're alive today (and choosing to survive) because he forced you to realize that you mattered to someone other than yourself. So...no one reacted well here...but by the end, Lori is actually defending Andrea and pointing out to Maggie that Beth has chosen life. The writers didn't leave this one up in the air enough for me to give them a pass here.
And the bottom line is...as crappy as the world looks right now...to assume that these walkers will survive forever...that they're eternally f***ed...is foolish. Sooner or later, if you survive long enough, you can wait them out...and start again. Maybe that's the not the life you wanted, but if humanity is to survive this...it's going to have to be the life you make. I liked that Rick was thinking about the possibilities for long term survival and stability. I like that Lori still had her mind on how to build a life worth living. We need to see a faith-based reason for sticking to the survival plan more in the future of this show will become a chore, rather than a joy for me. I am not going to assume the worst yet...they deserve time to play out their stories before I start hammering them on the faith front...but I think they're not showing a broad enough range of typical human responses to disaster...and that had better change pronto.
This episode feels forced...there's a lot of false choices between extremes that don't do a very good job making the moral/philosophical arguments in a sophisticated way. It was fun to see Rick and Shane finally have it out...but beyond that...the writing was pretty marginal.
That said...the acting was actually phenomenal here all around, even the boy (Randall) was pretty convincing.
But I can't ignore the lopsided message re: suicide, nor the total lack of moral grounding that seems to surround our characters at this point. It's like they've totally forgotten that not so long ago, they were all refugees depending on the kindness of strangers for their survival.