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Vanessa Berben Headshot

Lions to Lambs - The Walking Dead Came Out Swinging Last Night, Only to Fade Into a Whisper

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Once again, much to the consternation of column bestie Cristina, this week's The Walking Dead ended with... more talking! Ugh. Getting a little tired of this -- I think they should rename the show after the Chris Hardwick hosted gab-fest that comes on afterwards, The Talking Dead -- way more apropro lately.

Glenn, Rick and Hershel are still stuck in town after running afoul with a couple dirty, shady randos who were trying to figure out where the farm is so they could come and crash the Pity-Party that is Hershel Farm. Rick took things to Clint Eastwood levels and blasted them both and was generally a total badass, which is completely out of character for him given that the bulk of his role seems to be "Look at the others in teary-eyed frustration" mixed in with "Look into the horizon in teary-eyed frustration" -- oh don't you worry, Rick-fans, there was plenty of that too.

Back at the farm, Hershel's daughter Beth is still catatonic after the most obvious zombie attack ever -- did anyone else see this coming a mile away? Shane blasts Hershel's wife, and as soon as dumb-ass Beth started walking over to her mother, I just sat there counting the seconds in my head before you knew this idiot was going to get jumped -- right now we're not really sure what's going on -- she could be just passed out from the shock of seeing her mom like that, but part of me thinks there's going to be some kind of "major" plot twist (damn I wish someone would invent the sarcastic quotation mark) and one of them is going to discover some kind of hidden bite mark on her, meaning that they've been sitting here feeding a budding Walker intravenously thinking she was still human.

Lori asked Daryl (sigh... where's a tree so I can go carve "A hearts D" on it?) to go after Rick and try to find them in town, but Daryl's turned into Mister Sassy-Pants ever since he saw Walker-Sophia and realized he almost died for nothing when he repeatedly went out in the woods to search for her -- so he told her to fuck off in a more basic cable-friendly way and Lori decided to set off for herself to look for them. But since this is TWD and every female in this show is completely and utterly inept at even shooting straight much less driving (A WOMAN driving??!!? You know that's ending in misery!), she of course runs straight into a Walker, laws of motion-defyingly/inexplicably flipping her car over in the process.

We got our one taste of quality makeup effects right in the beginning when we see Lori unconscious in the car -- a Walker catches her scent and tries to squeeze its head through the broken glass -- fantastically done -- I wish I could say that about the rest of the episode, but that one Walker was just stellar -- loved it. Shane comes to Lori's rescue and tells her Rick and the others are back at the farm and safe so he can get her in the car -- for all of Lori's stupidity and ineptness -- I love that she's at least brave. She may make some pretty foolhardy decisions, but that skinny little lady is a fearless tiger-mom and I like seeing that there are at least one or two women on the show with some guts, shitty driving and shooting skills aside.

While Lori gives Shane the glare-eye for tricking her into coming home instead of trying to rescue Rick -- the guys are still trying to get out of town. Those shady-asses that tried to ambush them in the bar had friends, and those friends have arrived to find out what happened to the missing members of their party. Rick tries to reason with them through the barricaded bar doors, but the strangers start blasting away, a shoot-out ensues, and now our guys have to try and contend with all the Walkers who heard the shots and are coming to feed.

I have two things to say about the shoot-out scene -- one, it was nice to actually see some action. It was time to see these people fight for what's theirs, and it was about time we see that our group isn't the only one in the area. It just seems like common sense that in an apocalyptic world like the one our characters are living in, there has to be rival groups that are going to butt heads and blast each other away trying to defend whatever they've got left.

However, that being said -- as much as I liked finally seeing more Walkers -- I found it disappointing that they chose to film this scene at night, thereby saving a few bucks effects-wise by having the Walkers appear obscured in darkness and focus-trickery. We got a few close-ups, especially when one of the stranger's crew got shot by Hershel and was set upon, but hiding them all in shadows makes it easier to skimp on effects, and that didn't escape me.

I don't even really know what to say about the rest of it -- you'd think that me talking about all this crazy-action means that last night's episode was a good one -- but everything I've just told you happened in the first 15-20 minutes (!!!) -- what followed was another 30-40 minutes of what now seems to be the usual: over-talking about an issue, couple drama, crises of self(s), Rick/Shane conflicts, Daryl rotating between sulking and glaring, Dale looking on in disapproval, Andrea wanting to run off guns blazing with Shane, and Carol's teary-eyed lip quivering. I got so amped when this episode started where we left off with Shane blasting these dudes and Lori escaping from hungry Walkers I thought "It's about time!" Only to have my joy dashed upon the rocks of a sea of hemming and hawing. Frustration, you are an understatement.