Well now, if Season 3 of The Walking Dead is trying to make a statement, mission accomplished with this week’s episode titled “Sick.” All those complaints of minimal zombie action and an overload of stagnant storytelling seem like they may be a thing of the past pretty soon, but I might be assuming a little hastily with only two episodes shown for Season 3.
In any case, it’s good to see the momentum still carrying over from a strong second half of Season 2, as Rick has delivered early and often this season. But enough jibber jabber, I’m itching to dive into the core of what I just witnessed, just let me wipe off some of this blood and pick some brain fragments out of my hair…
Kicking in exactly where last week’s episode “Seed” left off, Rick realizes Hershel is bleeding out dangerously quick now that part of his leg is missing, and his only chance at survival requires bringing him back to the cleared out cell blocks. Rick knows what has to be done, but he also recognizes the dangers this causes now that a group of inmates were found in the cafeteria, hankering for their own safe place to stay.
As the inmates follow Rick and the gang back, a small territory war is avoided when both groups agree to live separately, as the five inmates trade half of their food stash for help in clearing out another cell block to call their own. Rick is still conflicted by his decision, thinking that killing them off may be the safest option, even gaining Lori’s trust on the matter, but he decides trying to see if things work out might be the best option.
The first go at zombie-killing for the inmates doesn’t look too polished, as the thugs go “prison riot” style on the shambling corpsers. Between a bunch of stabbing and gang beating, Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog teach the inmates proper killing techniques. The second wave goes much smoother than the first, except for “Big Tiny” breaking ranks and getting himself shanked by a zombie inmate with a sharpened bone where his hand once was. Rick explains there’s no hope even as the inmate exclaims his good health, but the lead inmate takes matters into his own hands and bludgeons the infected inmate to death. Problem solved.
Then comes the last wave of zombies before the inmates can have a place to call home. Their leader whips open two large doors to cause mass chaos amongst everyone, letting zombies pour in, and puts Rick’s life in danger more than once, revealing less than the best intentions from a group of people found in a prison. The inmate apologizes, explains “sh*t happens,” and promptly gets a machete through the skull, compliments of Rick. Another inmate bolts for safe haven in the prison with Rick hot on his trail, finally locking him outside of the prison to die. The last two inmates are allowed to live because of their lack of collusion against Rick and his people, and are left to fend for themselves in the newly cleaned cell block. Howdy neighbors!
On the lighter side of things, Hershel’s medical health increases throughout “Sick,” but not without a few road bumps. The bleeding slows down and Carol is able to bandage the wound, but Hershel stops breathing while Maggie and Beth look on in horror. Lori rushes in at the screams for help, and she administers CPR to bring Hershel back, giving everyone a brief scare as he grabs her our of shock. Towards the end of the episode, we get more good signs, as he opens his eyes and grasps Rick’s hand, being a small victory for the group and a spark for some joy that day.
The last important tidbit sees Carol practicing medical procedures outside on dead zombies, because Hershel’s death would also mean the group would be without their chief physician. Just as Carol is about to cut into her first test dummy, the camera zooms out and alerts us someone is watching her through the trees…dun dun dun! But what does it all mean?
Continue reading on the next page…