Continuing on the heels of an exciting season premier, The Walking Dead kept it coming with the 2nd episode of the season titled “Sick”. In Sick, fans were treated to more zombie killing and even more character development. Picking up where the premier left off, Rick and his group had to contend with the immediate problem of Hershel’s amputation, as well as the potentially emerging threat of the prisoners turned survivors who were found holding up in the prisons interior quarters.
Given that Hershel was in critical condition, Rick and company had little choice other than to rush him back to their section of the prison and deal with the new survivors afterwards. After taking Hershel back to their cells, Rick reluctantly worked out a compromise with the prisoners, promising to help them clear out another section of the prison in return for half of their food supplies. Unfortunately, from the start it seemed that these new survivors would represent a threat, especially since their “leader,” had a gun.
During the hall clearing portion of the episode, the prisoners didn’t follow orders, which provided a bit of comic relief. After being told to stay in rank and aim for the head, the prisoners went at the zombies “riot style,” shanking and beating the zombies with little success. During the first encounter with the zombies, one of the prisoners, aptly named Big Tiny, started to back away and immediately found himself in trouble. Walkers had snuck up on him, scratching him in his back, much to the dismay of everyone else. In a crazy rage-induced episode, the leader of the prisoners bashed in Big Tiny’s skull, killing him instantly. Clearly this is a man who ended up in prison for a reason and one that represents a major threat to the safety of the group.
In the next room, they were again told to aim for the head, and open just a single door of the double doors holding the zombies. The leader of the prisoners, in an attempt to create a distraction and be able to kill Rick, proceeded to open both doors. The zombies piled into the room, causing a frenzy that allowed him to take a swing at Rick, and then even push a zombie onto him. Fortunately, Daryl was able to save Rick and dispatch of the last zombie. Afterwards, the prisoner remarked that “shit happens.” Rick, staring him down replies, “yeah, shit happens,” and in startling fashion, delivers a machete to his skull, simultaneously killing him and preventing him from coming back as a walker.
The interactions with the prisoners helped illustrate the dramatic changes in Rick. Whereas in seasons past he would be more hesitant and cautious in his decision making, the way that he handled the prisoners was quick and decisive, and ruthless. The unlucky prisoner that ran away and stumbled out into the courtyard filled with zombies is a perfect example. Rick could have easily let him back in, and perhaps even avoided killing him. Instead, he chose to lock him out and essentially feed him to the walkers. Even his decision to handcuff Hershel is a choice he probably wouldn’t have made in seasons past.
Rick isn’t the only character undergoing changes. Carl’s evolution into a zombie killer took strides, as he embarked on his own to the infirmary and retrieved medical supplies that helped save Hershel’s life. His response to his mom was also one characterized by defiance and disrespect. He’s a character that is definitely changing, and it’ll be interesting to where this leads him. Lori too, for all the fan resentment towards her character, is even making strides. She was able to help save Hershel’s life, and has come to grips with Rick’s attitude towards her. Her reassurance of Rick and his new ways might have even helped Rick to make the harsh decisions with the prisoners. Perhaps there is hope for both her character, as well as her relationship with Rick.
The final scene of Sick is foreshadowing of things to come. Carol, seen outside practicing how to give a C section on a walker, is being spied on by someone. Could it be Merle, doing reconnaissance for the Governor? We should find out soon!
Rating – 8.5/10
What did you make of the 2nd episode? Looking forward, or has this season let you down so far?
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