TV Review: The Walking Dead – Bloodletting

After a good deal of zombie action last week, we slow down quite a bit for Bloodletting. That’s not to say there wasn’t tension this time around, it’s just that it was primarily focused around Carl’s gunshot wound.

On three. Ready? One, two, three, "...Braaaaaaains..."

But before we get any of that, the show gives us another flashback cold open. This time it begins with Lori and an unnamed girlfriend talking through Lori and Rick’s fight, which mirrors Rick and Shane’s conversation in the patrol car in the series premier.  I’m not sure what to think of this scene, really. It’s there to show a bit of parallelism, both between the two conversations about the fight and for Carl and Rick’s reaction’s to the news that the other had been shot. Structurally it makes sense, but I don’t think it added much to the story. We do get more about Lori and the state of her and Rick’s marriage, but that feels like territory we already charted pretty thoroughly.

Thankfully we jump back to the present after the credits finish, with a desperate race to get Carl to medical help. This is where we first meet Otis, the hunter who accidentally shot Carl (you have to watch what’s behind the target too, fellas). As a reader of the comic, the casting here was quite interesting to me. In the comic, Otis is scrawny, red headed, and kind of racist; you get the sense that he’s got some sort of significant inferiority complex. The show’s Otis is quite a change: husky, seemingly good-natured, and surprisingly smart and capable once he gets going.

The casting issue is something I’m really going to have to get used to. While I can definitely see the comic version of Shane, Lori, Morgan, Dale, and Glen in the show’s actors, I have a lot harder time with a few of the other characters, most notable Rick. This is a trend that’s likely to continue as the show adds to its cast. In fact, I was also a little taken back by Hershel, the doctor/vet attending to Carl. This is the nature of adaptation, I suppose.

Back to last night’s episode.

Most of the drama focused around treating Carl, and Rick’s reaction to it. I understand the character was panicked, and I thought the actor did a good job conveying that for the most part, but it still felt like we were reverting back to clichés and awful lot. When Rick yelled “You’re killing him!”, I almost laughed. Luckily those moments were few and far between, and I have to admit there were moments during the surgery that were really tough to watch.

Back in the woods, the group makes there way back to the camper while looking for signs of Sophia. They start wasting time, feeling sorry for each other and the like, but Darryl quickly puts everyone back on track and they get moving. It continues to amaze me how much Darryl has developed as a character. When he was introduced he seemed like a walking stereotype with little to no range, but he’s quickly turned into the show’s breakout character. We need more Darryl.

At the thirty-seven minute mark (with commercials), we finally see our first zombie. Andrea is attacked, completely loses it, and looks like a goner. Out of nowhere a woman on horseback (I think it’s Maggie) rides up and administers a heaping quantity of baseball bat to the zed’s head. And it’s just awesome.

Back at the RV we discover T Dog, whose name is apparently Theodore Duggs, managed to get blood poisoning when he cut himself to the artery on a jagged piece of rusty metal. Deliriously, he talks with Dale about how they should leave, since it’s only a matter of time before he gets lynched. It’s another bizarre scene. I didn’t like the sudden injection of racism, which recalled some of the show’s weaker moments with Meryl, but I was pleasantly surprised the T Dog realizes he’s the weakest of the bunch. This could make for some interesting simmering tension as the show continues.

Bloodletting ends with Shane and Otis going into town to raid a FEMA medical trailer for surgical supplies. They quietly sneak up on a sizable horde of zombies, distract them with some road flares, and make it into the trailer completely unnoticed. It was quite a nice scene where the characters showed some solid thinking.

And then it went right to hell.

Distracting the zombies with the flares was a great idea, but what exactly was Shane and Otis’ exit strategy here? They walk out of the trailer and are immediately spotted and pursued by the horde, finally ending up at what appears to be a high school. I’m all for ending the show on a cliffhanger, but it’s pretty ridiculous to show the characters being competent at the beginning of a scene, and completely clueless at the end.

So where do we go from here? Surely Shane and Otis escape and bring back the equipment to save Carl’s life. But what about Sophia and the rest of the crew? It’s been two days now, and there’s been no sign of her. Is The Walking Dead bold enough to kill off one of the children this quickly in it’s run? We’ll see.

Grade: C+

23 Comments

Calicade

Lol.. Sorry for not getting on this earlier.. I feel asleep and had to watch the re-show.

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Calicade

I liked it… I cant honestly say much about the show cept.. That blonde women (I’m horribad with bad with names) deserves to be slapped for not protecting herself.. JUST SAYIN’

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Dave

Hah, that happens.

The blond woman is Andrea, and her paniced running thing annoyed me big time. I don’t know why she just had that little hunting knife in the first place. What the hell good was that supposed to be?

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Silver Fox

Because she did so well last episode stabbing a zombie in the eye with a screwdriver, she’s gonna stab ’em with a knife now.

Overall, I’d say the show was decent last night… weirdly enough I had my mother want to sit with me and watch it too. But I shouldn’t be too surprised, she’s watched Highlander and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with me.

zombiemutts

I tried to watch Highlander on netflix…that windows awful 80’s graphic open and music made me bail out within 20 seconds. I did like the movies tho!

Dave

My wife and I checked out Highlander not too long ago. Cheesy 80s doesn’t even begin to cover it. Good lord.

Buffy, however, is a top notch show.

Siabur

The exit strategy from the FEMA trailer was quietly sneaking out. Until the oxygen cannisters made a bit of noise. They sure were loud in the trailer when Shane found them and held them up for everyone to notice their importance. And with Otis, didn’t they watch Zombieland? Cardio! Ha!

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Dave

If that’s the case, it was a shitty strategy. I mean, how long do you think the flares will really distract the zeds? I think I would have brought at least a couple with me just in case.

And yeah, cardio would definitely help Otis.

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Calicade

I hope they don’t depict every large person as a clumsy, unhealthy, buffoon that can’t think logically… Because that will piss me off :\

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zombiemutts

I do not like flashbacks. They rarely help with the story and often I feel like that are padding. And specifically last night I felt it was a waste of time. What did we learn that was new?

I think my prediction on T-Dog from last week is coming true.

What is with the low quality HD that this show is shot in?

I did not like that school scene what-so-ever. Terrible. Most of the zombies we walking upright parallel to each other just wandering aimlessly. None of them were curiously examining anything like a window or object or standing still simply pausing like some do.

Not a good follow up episode IMO.

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Dave

Definitely a step down from last week.

You’re totally right about the flashback. It felt unnecessary because it added nothing. We already know Lori is unreasonable and kind of a bitch. The show needs to give us a reason for that. We need to like Lori, or at least be able to understand her. Right now it just seems like she’s there to play against Rick and Shane, which is just a waste.

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Angelina

I agree about Lori. I was never a fan of hers and less so with the show. She poorly handled the situation with Shane and just seems really cold. I must admit that I have to wait until tonight (Friday night) to catch this episode and I hope the flashback you talked about softens her up a bit.

And about Shane, he gets so shafted!! He works so hard to protect Rick and his family. I read on other boards how people really feel that he is the villain of the group. I think he is a victim like the rest and maybe more so as his rock was ripped from under him. I personally feel that they should tell Rick the truth on the show like in the comics but I guess you gotta stretch the tension as long as possible for ratings sake.

Lastly, the whispered message from the doc at the CDC, my money is on his telling Rick that Lori is preggo!

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Dave

That’s my bet as far as the whispered message too.

Shane’s character is being handled too inconsistently on the show. One minute he’s got Rick lined up in the sites of his shotgun, and then next he’s comforting him and doing everything to help him out. One minute he’s attempting to rape Lori… you see where I’m going here.

I like the character, I just wish they’d stop making him do insane stuff and then backpeddling.

zombiemutts

Oh and

“We need more Darryl.”

ABSOLUTELY! And I think we will. They licensed his likeness for Walking Dead models so I am sure he will be around a lot considering its only him and Rick that got the nod.

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Dave

I didn’t realize that. Good sign, that.

Also, I’m loving the crossbow. That’s a cool weapon that I thought would be stupid but actually works quite well.

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Calicade

Exactly why we need the Bolt Action magazine fed crossbow people!
Darryl is my favorite, because Darryl reminds me a-lot of myself.
I especially love how T-Dog assumes wrong of Darryl. The misconception of all conformist is that way, if one is like that then they are all.. Which was proven wrong by the anti-biotic’s deal.

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Dave

The AV Club had a good line about this show: “I don’t think decompressed storytelling works for this series, as the slower it goes, the more time we have to analyze writing that really won’t hold up to scrutiny.”

Dead on as usual, AV Club.

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zombiemutts

Its been so awesome hearing people who aren’t zombie fans talk about this show..

This one gal I work with who I am simply stunned likes this show walked up to me today and complained about the lack of zombie action.

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