Walking Dead: Sick Review (Mania.com)

By:Joel Rickenbach
Review Date: Monday, October 22, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Welcome to the comedown. Don't worry, this week's episode is far from bad, in fact, it's rather good, it's just not the well oiled machine the season premiere was. Maybe that's a bit unfair, the season premiere had the advantage of coming back fresh with new situations and ideas, this episode has no choice but to deal with the connective tissue. We slow down a bit for this one, Hershel is down, tears are shed, but luckily for the bloodthirsty- there are still swaths of zombies to dispose of.
We get an interesting dynamic in this episode. As we saw last week, our group has become a lean, mean zombie killing machine. They're tactical, merciless, and have started to adapt to the world they live in. This theme will reoccur as the season progresses when characters such as Michonne and the Governor, two people who have already re-made themselves for this new world, are introduced and interact with our core characters. In "Sick", our core deals with a group (the surviving inmates) who are even less attuned to the world then they ever were. After a deal is brokered for land and food, Rick, Daryl and T-Dog head back into the catacombs with the inmates to clear out the rest of the zombies. We're not exactly sure yet just what these jump-suited fellas were incarcerated for, but the way they all attack the first zombie they see like starving men on a Christmas ham, it's clear they enjoy violence. Rick and company imparting their experience to the inmates is a another nice sign of progress.
I hate to even bring this up, because the cries of "stay in the house, Carl" got a bit too much in my opinion last season, but it may just be replaced by "stay in your cell, Carl" in season 3. His solo infirmary run may have helped to save Hershel's life, but nothing can save Carl from his elder's wrath. Shall we start making marks on the cinderblock wall every time Carl is Oscar Mike? Speaking of being on the move- Carol's forward momentum is very welcome. Her willingness to get far more intimate with a zombie than any one has before was a very effective scene. She may just surprise us this season.
Shane is dead, but his spectre looms large over Rick. There is an uneasy tension between Rick and lead inmate Tomas. It's very clear very quickly that each of their lives would be much easier if the other were dead. There's lots of long stares and hands reaching for holsters each time one of them turns their back. It seems Rick would easily have the upper hand, but once Tomas massacres Big Tiny, the tension gets even tighter. The prison is not big enough for these two men, and something's gotta give. After a few wild swings of the crowbar from Tomas, he takes it a step further by tossing a walker at Rick. As the subheading says above- "Sh*t happens", and Tomas finds himself with a machete to the skull for his troubles. He deserved it, no argument there, but old Rick would want to drive him out to the countryside, and release him like the squirrel you found in your garage. The new Rick has no qualms splitting someone's skull, and it feels eerily similar to what Shane did to Hershel's son. Even Darker is how Rick hunts after Andrew, only to incarcerate him all over again. Saving him would have been relatively easy, but Rick makes the decision that the world would be a better place without him. At what cost to Rick's soul will these Shane-like decisions have? Or is this just the price of living in the post-apocalyptic world? 
So far The Walking Dead season 3 is two for two, and next week things get really fun! What say you?

Joel Rickenbach write's Mania's weekly Comicscape column, is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him on Twitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.  


Mania Grade: B
Episode: Sick
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs
Written By: Frank Darabont (developer), Robert Kirkman (series of graphic novels)
Directed By: Bill Gierhart
Network: AMC