The Walking Dead season 2 episode 4 review: Cherokee Rose

Does The Walking Dead need just a little more pace? Here's Ron's review of the latest episode, Cherokee Rose...

This review contains spoilers.

2.4 Cherokee Rose

Carl is on the mend, the rest of the survivors leave the road and come to the Greene family’s farm, and everything looks to be going well for our group of survivors. They have food, they’ve got health care, and they’re pitching in to help around the farm to make ends meet. Of course, Hershel Greene’s got some ground rules, and among those are no guns on his farm. As Hershel says, they’ve done thus fine without becoming an armed camp, and that’s not going to change. Rick agrees, after negotiating for one armed guard on the premises (in this case, Dale).

The survivors need gun training, the farm needs medical supplies, and Sophia is still out there missing. Then again, with Shane limping around and Rick vampired out of most of his blood, there’s only one person really skilled enough to wander around in the woods and rescue Sophia, and that means Daryl’s off on his lonesome, Glenn and Maggie are off to a suspiciously empty town to raid the pharmacy, and Rick and Carl get to bond over their shared gunshots, when Rick’s not off trying to talk Hershel into letting the group stay on the farm.

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You see, Hershel knows large groups of people are trouble, and he wants as few people hanging around his farm as possible. Never mind the fact that there’s safety in numbers, but Hershel gives the group a reprieve while they rest and recover while taking into consideration Rick’s request that they get to hang around for awhile longer. (While this is going on, T-Dog, Dale, Glenn, Andrea, and Maggie find and try to remove a waterlogged zombie from one of the farm’s wells.)

Daryl is really becoming a softie this season, what with the Cherokee Rose speech he gave to Carol regarding Sophia’s still-missing persons case, but it also kind of makes sense. After all, he drops a little hint in his speech about his plans changing, which implies to me that Daryl is being extra helpful because he knows that his brother is out there somewhere, missing a hand and missing in action. If he can’t find Merle, then maybe he can find Sophia. If Sophia can make it on her own, so can Merle. He’s definitely softening towards Carol, but that’s probably because he knows how she feels, yet as a redneck male he can’t actually say these things, he just gives her a flower and tells a history about Indians and wanders off again.

Similarly, Shane’s discussion with Andrea regarding what Shane calls The Switch was also a good moment, and it helps explain why Shane was able to cold-bloodedly kill an otherwise good man without a second thought, yet also be distressed about it at a later date. Kudos to Jon Bermthal on his performance this episode, especially when Shane was giving his speech about Otis’s final moments at the funeral in absentia. Between Shane’s slow-burning derangement, Rick’s growing martyr complex, and Glenn’s return to awesomeness, the actors are really putting in some very good work with the scripts they’re given.

Writer Evan Reilly (Rescue Me) has corrected one of my most nagging problems with the show in the second season. In one episode, Glenn has gone from being a background decoration to being a central character again, as he not only gets to do something useful, he also gets to be zombie bait to impress his love interest Maggie, then he gets to consummate that love interest in a completely empty small town pharmacy (and the expression on Steven Yeun’s face after the fact is hilariously awesome). Of course, the show still has some clunkier moments where the writing isn’t quite up to snuff, but it has other moments where the writing is stellar. For example, the whole interchange with Rick and Carl, where Rick inducts his son into the Gunshot Survivors club and gives Carl his county mountie hat.

Director Bill Gierhart (Sons of Anarchy, Torchwood: Miracle Day) has put together a pretty good episode this week. There’s a lot of focus on the peace and quiet that the characters get to enjoy – no doubt a false sense of security—though there is one outstanding gore scene.

Bloaty Wellman (the name I gave the zombie found in the well on the farm) looks incredible. It’s an award-worthy construction by Greg Nicotero’s KNB FX, and the more they show it/him, the more disgusting and impressive Bloaty looks. When Bloaty meets his end after exploding in a shower of watery guts and gore, I was cheering because it was THAT awesome to behold. Incredible. Lori’s incredibly long public urination scene? Not incredible. I could have done without that.

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I’m still not into the whole missing Sophia storyline, and the sooner they find that girl and move on, the better off I think the show will be. There’s a growing backlash over it that’s getting pretty loud, and I’ve kind of lost patience with the whole thread, even if it did provide a nice creepy house scene for Daryl to discover while wandering through the woods. I’m just ready for them to find her and move on (since I doubt they’d let anything bad happen to her yet).

I do like how the introduction of the Greenes has changed the group dynamic, I like how some of the characters are changing due to their new world, and I think that once they can get past this particular storyline, the show will get some action going again. I understand why they’re on the farm, I just wish they could move along now since it’s been four episodes with Sophia as the focus. (I think American Horror Story‘s refusal to linger on a storyline for too long has spoiled me; the fact that I don’t care about Sophia or Carol is also something to consider.)

That said, I think business is about to pick up. From the spoiler-riffic sneak preview for the next episode, it looks like at least one missing character is going to make his long-awaited return to the show, and I for one can’t be happier to see his crazy-looking face. I can only hope Merle Dixon is a little better written this time around, and less a blatant troll.

Read our review of episode three, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan thinks that the return of Michael Rooker will really help move the show forward, because Rooker tends to do that. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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