There was plenty to enjoy in the latest Walking Dead; the show is still spinning its wheels to a large extent, but has at least decided to do it in an entertaining way. We’re given a 30-second pre-credits sequence of a zombie forcing itself face-first through a broken windshield, tearing its own skin off in an attempt to get to a barely conscious Lori.
It’s the most intense sequence for weeks, reminding us simultaneously that zombies are single-minded and lethal, and that Lori driving into town was pretty stupid. The pregnancy seems like it’s going ahead, they didn’t do that seemingly inevitable scene where she puts her hand below camera level and the pulls it up to reveal it covered in blood. So, it seems ultimately that the crash was another means to show that Shane is a pragmatic, sensible asshole, lying to her that her husband was OK to get her back to the farm.
Shane has done that a few times now. He’s getting a track record of doing what needs to be done (abandoning the Sophia search, killing the barn zombies), but doing it in the most dickish way imaginable. Like putting down a terminally ill puppy while vomiting on its owner. Andrea points this out to him, and he basically retorts with “nobody likes you either”.
The bulk of the episode is taken up with Rick, Glenn and Hershel under siege in the bar where they killed those two guys last week, and it’s top notch. In most dystopian fiction, as in real life, the problem is other people. The zombies, or nukes, or nuclear zombies are just there to create the situation for people to turn on each other.
The bar siege is about scary things from reality – tribalism, competition for resources, the consequences of a preemptive strike – and it’s done well. Of course the attackers are just regular people, but they’re presented as Other; we never see their faces, just shadows and gunshots. It’s tense and fast, and as soon as the human threat passes, the dead appear en masse. One of the attackers remains, impaled on a fence, and he’s just a scared kid. We’re all people, and there’s always a bigger threat to unite against, so I guess the zombies are a metaphor for climate change or something.
Anyway, that was pretty good, but let’s address the rest. Farm-person is still in one of those comas where she keeps her eyes open. Maggie gets a generic monologue that could have been written for any character in almost all of fiction, for the bit of the script that had [insert backstory here]. It’s worrying when The Walking Dead tries to add depth to a character, it puts them on the watchlist for impending death.
The end of the episode got weird. Lori, in the space of a day, went from the woman who drove her car directly into the only ambulatory creature in a square kilometre, to Niccolò freaking Machiavelli. She has decided that Shane is dangerous, because he killed zombies, shouts at people, and is in love with her. She worms her way into Rick’s brain, telling him that Shane murdered Otis (which, lest we forget, Dale derived from tarot cards under the full moon), and reminding him that he just killed ostensibly innocent people, hint hint.
The episode ends on a slow zoom on Rick’s face, as we see a small monkey turning cogs inside his head until a realisation flickers in him, and in the audience. “She wants him to kill Shane? That’s a bit nuts”.
The Walking Dead is on FX and FX HD Fridays at 10pm and join us for our Episode 10 review next week.
If you missed Episode 08 click Here and read our Season 1 review Here lastly check out a sneak peak of Episode 10 below: