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Posted at 11:58 PM ET, 10/23/2011

‘The Walking Dead’: In ‘Bloodletting,’ a visit to Farmville

A weekly recap of every gory detail in the latest episode of AMC’s ”The Walking Dead.”


Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) has a little chat with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) about farm life and zombie viruses. (Gene Page)

The plot-development pace in this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” — titled “Bloodletting” — slowed down considerably from where we left it in last week’s season-two premiere.

After last Sunday night’s mega-zombie walk along an abandoned Georgia highway, the disappearance of Sophia and the episode-closing Carl shooting, this week gave us fewer walkers (we didn’t see a single zombie tonight until the episode hit its 37-minute mark) and zero resolution regarding the fate of our children in peril. But it did introduce us to Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), the kindly farm owner who takes in the Grimes family and attempts to operate on the bullet-wounded Carl .

But is Hershel being completely forthright with Rick, Lori and the others? And is Daryl Dixon quickly turning into the “Walking Dead” equivalent of James “Sawyer” Ford?

Let’s decide while running through some of the key post-zombie-apocalyptic points from “Bloodletting.”

More ‘Walking Dead’:

Recap: ‘What Lies Ahead’

The flashback: A hint of feeling between Shane and Lori?

“Bloodletting” opened with a scene from pre-walker-dominated America, in which Lori confided in a fellow mother at Carl’s school that she and Rick had recently argued. It was a moment that mirrored a similar one from the series pilot, in which Rick and Shane both discussed the Grimes’s marital issues prior to the shoot-out that resulted in Rick’s injury and subsequent coma.

Consequently, it was no surprise when Shane showed up during that schoolyard flashback to tell Lori her husband was in serious condition. There is no reason to think that Shane and Lori were romantically involved at this point, since they supposedly did not have an affair until after Rick was comatose and seemingly incapable of recovery.

But was I the only one who picked up on an undercurrent of romantic tension between the two, a sense that a bond of some kind already existed between them?

Daryl Dixon = Sawyer from “Lost”

He may not have the smoldering shirtlessness going for him. But I am convinced that Daryl (Norman Reedus) is quickly turning into the “Walking Dead” equivalent of Josh Holloway’s character from “Lost.” Last season, he was a hostile, pain-in-the-rear hick. This season, he’s full of amusing bravado, as displayed tonight when he off-handedly and in Indiana Jones-ish style popped a cap in the suddenly risen walker who tried to attack Andrea. He’s got a heart of gold underneath his hard exterior, as evidenced by his willingness to give painkillers to T-Dog, the same dude who chained his brother to a roof and left him to die in the blazing Atlanta sun.

And he seems to be the resident provider of pithy quips such as “Am I the only one who’s zen around here? Good lord.” I almost made this Sawyer comparison last week, after Daryl referred to Glenn as Short Round, a line stolen directly from James “Voracious Beach Reader” Ford. But this week’s episode solidified what was already starting to become apparent: “Walking Dead” has its Jack in Rick, and, for now at least, its Sawyer is the guy who is willing to stick around on an abandoned highway if it means being there when Sophia returns.

Speaking of Sophia, her absence seems to be losing some narrative juice.

Rick was still processing his guilt about leaving the girl behind — “A little girl goes missing, you look for her,” he said, clearly distraught. (No offense, dude, but that’s exactly what I said in this blog last week.) And Carol, understandably, still seemed very concerned about her daughter’s well-being.

But somehow the sense of urgency just didn’t seem as acute as it should have. Maybe Carl’s nonstop bleeding-from-the-chest fest was part of the reason. Well, that and the distraction of a new setting: Hershel’s bucolic farm, where zombies don’t dare to tread and medical almost-miracles are possible.

Brief sidenote: wasn’t it awesome when Maggie rode in on a horse?

After all the Playboy bunnies and ’60s-era stewardesses that seemed, initially, to be dominating the landscape of the fall television scene, it’s nice to see a lady who knows how to swoop in, slay a zombie and play the hero by assisting a mom who needs to reach her ailing son. After watching Violet and Vivien fight home invaders on “American Horror Story” and females like Leslie Knope, Sue Sylvester and Claire Dunphy seeking public office on “Parks and Rec,” “Glee” and “Modern Family,” respectively, maybe this is turning into a semi-empowering TV time for women after all.

Can Hershel be trusted?

Hershel Greene has a kindly air about him and a generous spirit. He’s the sort of guy who will help his fellow men (and women), taking them in and attempting to resuscitate their children.

He’s also the sort of guy who will perform complicated surgery, do a blood transfusion and send two guys on a dangerous search for very specific medical equipment without explaining right away that he is, in fact, a veterinarian and not a people doctor. That’s a nice bit of irony considering that one of Hershel’s people caused this whole situation by shooting Carl when he actually meant to kill an animal.

Of course, Carl’s lack of full initial disclosure doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not to be trusted.

But given that he withheld at least one key piece of information, and that his views about the invasion of the walkers — he believes there is a cure for the zombie infection, despite what Rick told him about the destruction of the CDC — may not mesh with those of our key survivors, it seems fair to assume that the introduction of the farm into the “Walking Dead” narrative isn’t going to turn this show into “Little House on the Occasionally Zombie-Ridden Prairie.” There is going to be some conflict here.


(Bob Mahoney via AMC)

Do Shane and Otis have a chance of getting out of the emergency medical facility alive?

The clearly very loyal Shane and Otis — a.k.a. the guy Lori Grimes refers to as the idiot who shot her son — went on a mission to the nearby high school/FEMA shelter to get supplies. And of course, they ran into a raging posse of zombies, because this episode had been devoid of raging zombie posses until that point.

The previously sluggish walkers switched from sloth-like to a band of brain-dead Speedy Gonzaleses once they caught sight of Shane and Otis, who are now trapped inside the high school with nothing but a dodgy, about-to-snap latch protecting them.

Is there any chance they can make it out of that situation? Is it possible that next week’s episode, which will apparently feature Shane and Otis running through the halls of said school to escape the walkers, will be like a zombie-fied version of “The Breakfast Club”? And won’t somebody think of the children and let Carl live, Sophia turn up or, preferably, both?

Post your comments on these “Walking Dead” matters and more in the comments section.

By  |  11:58 PM ET, 10/23/2011

Tags:  Walking Dead

 
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