The Walking Dead: Cherokee Rose Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Monday, November 07, 2011


Now this is the way I remember this show. Nicely written, lots of tension, well acted, and some not so well kept secrets. And speaking of wells, there was a zombie in one. Just a single zombie in this episode, but the scene with Glenn being lowered to that reservoir felt at least every bit as tense as Shane’s trip to the high school last week and Shane shot an innocent man and used him as live bait. When this show is on and clicking on all cylinders it can be this gripping, this horrifying, this touching and this funny.
   That’s not to say this episode was without flaws, but they were small enough to forgive – though large enough to merit mention.
   First off the well-walker looked a little Troma-ish at times. Not to say it ruined the scene in the watering hole at all – I loved it. I simply thought at certain angles that zombie looked a little like Chris Farley in a filthy wetsuit. Also, pardon me, but Maggie said that water has been used for the cows. I wouldn’t have to be lactose intolerant to decline a glass of whole zombie nutrified milk.
   I believe it’s unanimous that everyone loves the character of Darryl. He’s been a standout surprise in the cast, and as many of us know he’s not a character from the popular comic book series. That said, I felt his scene with little lost girl, Sophia’s mother seemed forced. The acting was fine, and the legend of the Cherokee Rose is actually historically accurate, but even given that, it just seemed a little too on the nose for me. I realize many of you might take umbrage with me for calling out this scene, but while I didn’t hate it, it did take me out of the moment because the parallel was a tad too convenient for me. It was however forgivable.
   What I couldn’t forgive however was Carl’s first words when he came to this time around. “So-Sophia… is she OK?” Eh, maybe I’m being dickish about this, and I realize the kid delivering those lines is only like ten years old and he’s being asked to convey some pretty heavy reality, but it simply fell flat for me. For the most part, pre-teen actor, Chandler Riggs has handled his thespian duties without criticism, but this week I don’t think it’s any secret the kid was asked to do some big lifting, and his little frame wasn’t up to the task.
   Speaking of secrets, that seemed to be the through line of tonight’s episode. People are confiding in one another. Alliances are being consummated and some will in all likelihood be betrayed.
  Dale is keeping TDog’s drug-induced rantings confidential, Glenn and Maggie plan to keep their little trip to the pharmacy on the down low. Shane has a secret he keeps letting out in slow little leaks, as though if he cops enough of it a little at a time to different people he will somehow be absolved of the guilt that’s eating at him. It’s a poorly-kept secret (and I won’t get into on these pages what Hershel is keeping secret) Lori secretly asks Shane to stay, then secretly asks Glenn to get her a secret home pregnancy test so she could secretly take it.
   I’m willing to bet that was the first time American television has broadcast a woman squatting on a babyy tester in the middle of a zombie filled woodland. I say American television because Great Britain currently runs three shows that deal with no other subject than women pissing on sticks during a post-zombie-apocalypse. Those Brits. They are so far ahead of us – culturally speaking.
   I particularly enjoyed Shane’s oration on Otis’ passing. Clearly Shane is conflicted and realizes on many levels what he did was wrong, but as he explained to Andrea, he shuts down some part of his brain as time speeds up in these situations and makes the best call for all concerned – especially his partner. Shane is desperately trying to convince himself he made the right call, and assuming his mission was to get back with medical supplies for Carl, mission accomplished.
   It’s important to note once again that I am, and have always been in the “Shane is a conflicted good guy in a terrible situation” camp. Shane is simply a pretty good man – not a great one. Rick however is our hero. At this point in time Rick wouldn’t have done or behaved the way Shane has in certain predicaments, but every man has his breaking point, and it’s a decent guess if this program stays on the air long enough we may get to witness Rick’s.
   It was nice to see TDog pay his share of the rent this week as he crushed some bloated zombie skull. So far that guy has been little more than a lame name and a rotund albatross around the collective group neck. If however we’re talking about secondary characters showing up big in the spotlight, let’s give it up for Steven Yeun’s, Glenn.
   Yeun plays the goofy, nerdy, unsure romantic as convincingly as anyone, and at the risk of sounding racist, I think a part of me roots for Glenn because he’s everything I ever wanted Short Round to be. I don’t want people to believe I think all Asians in baseball caps look-alike, but so far I’ve only seen two of them, and the similarity cannot be denied. I would pay good money to hear Stevn Yeun say, "Okey dokey, Dr. Jones! Hold on to your potatoes!"
   Not sure why Hershel thinks he has the strategic high ground to inform Rick he and his group aren’t welcome on his land. At last count Hershel is about 68, he’s living with two unarmed women and one unnamed man. Rick and company are carrying plenty enough ammo and are in much better physical condition to take orders from some old guy – even if he had a legal claim to that property before the epidemic. I believe that was the symbolic meaning of Rick placing his badges in the drawer. It was two-fold. One, I live here, and plan on doing so for some time, so I put things in drawers. Two, once I remove these sheriff stars, I’m just a man, and that man may not care about trivialities like property deeds when his friends and family are on the verge of eviction.
   It sounded like Rick may have struck the right nerve with Hershel when he plainly spoke as a loving, protective father. Hershel is a father himself, and even though he chose to share his not so cherished memories of his own uncaring dad, Hershel was moved enough to mull Rick’s pleas over – abiding the group obeys his rules – which you know damn well someone won’t. Who likes Shane in that pool?
   So that about cover this portion of the review. Now let’s get into the business of communal discussions down below. As always I love hearing from everyone who writes in, and encourage those of you who normally only read to take the time and join in the comment boxes below. I check daily and usually respond to each comment – when time allows.
   Also, and this is apropos to this article, please check out some of my photography from the “Dia de las Muertos” celebration recently at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It was a good time.
Click this link to check out some of Joe Oesterle’s Dia de las Muertos photography at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and feel free to browse the site for some unedited stories from his book, “Weird Hollywood.”

Mania Grade: A
TV Series: The Walking Dead
Episode: Cherokee Rose
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Rick Grimes, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn
Written By: Tony Moore, Charlie Adlar, and Evan T. Reilly
Directed By: Bill Gierhart
Network: AMC
Series: Walking Dead