Walking Dead: Sick Review - Mania.com

Walking Dead: Sick Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • 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
  • Series:

Walking Dead: Sick Review

Sh*t Happens

By Joel Rickenbach     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.  



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flyinroo 10/22/2012 5:04:45 AM

 I love the character development so far this season. Rick dealt with Tomas perfectly, and dealt wth Andrew perhaps a bit too harshly. Carol does seem to be taking a larger role with the group, which is nice to see. Carl may be running off on his own still, but its nice to see his personality developing. The writers still seem intent on keeping T-Dawg in the "50 words or less" category. I still hate Lori. 

I would love to think that Rick will continue his distance from Lori, but I'm afraid he will soften up. Hopefully I am wrong, but I am expecting the worst. If Lori were to be eaten by walkers while giving birth, it would not hurt my feelings at all.

RedHood2010 10/22/2012 5:35:50 AM

Dealing with Tomas took too long.  My son and I were arguing over how we would handle them.  Me - they wouldn't have made it out of the lunch room.  My son - how are we going to survive if we just kill everyone we meet.  I tried aruging that folks we find in a prison, are not my 1st choice of people I want to try or need to trust.  Wasn't worth the risk.  So, I am glad they got dealt with sooner than another episode or 2 down the road.

I actually thought Rick would have softened by now, but after last night, I am leaning that this won't be happening anytime soon.  And honestly, I think Lori is trying to say something like 'sorry', but I feel it is going to take more words and more showing that SHE blew this thing up, not Rick.  The man has done all of this after waking up in a hospital bed, believing one thing when he went night night and then dealing with all off the crazyness since.

Good for Carl!

JonnyRotten 10/22/2012 6:20:30 AM

 Ok who was watching Carol from the bushes outside of the prison, any ideas.  I think it may be one of the surviving prisioners, the "goofy guy", he looks a little unbalanced.

Good episode, man Ricks getting quick on the draw.


TheSilentKiller 10/22/2012 6:51:28 AM

 I really liked the handling of Rick's increasing mercilessness. Parallels to the Governor, followed by an end of season turn from the dark side?

CaptAmerica04 10/22/2012 8:49:11 AM

I think a "B" is a more than a bit harsh.  I do think this episode paled ever-so-slightly in comparison to last week, but that's only because last week's premiere burned SO brightly.  This is still an A episode when taken on its own merits.  We saw a bit more evolution in several characters:  Carol is evolving into the team's nurse/secondary medic, Rick is falling further down the rabbit hole of his own conscience, Lori is admitting her mistakes and trying to make amends while not trying any soap opera "we can still make it work"-crap, and Carl is turning into a young badass-in-training, not just wandering off absent-mindedly, but running his own one-man op to get what the group needed to save a life, and literally telling his mother to step-off in the process.

I also think there was another significant moment that you didn't touch on, Joel, that's worth more than a little mention.  There's a brief moment where we see Daryl look at the inmates as if they're not good enough to be with his group, but he pities them.  In another life, Daryl could have (and perhaps even did) spent part or all of his life locked up with these criminals as just another skin-head scumbag.  But, in spite of everything, including, particularly, his own self-image, he has risen above all in the face of the horrors of this world and the friends (nay, family?) that he has surrounded himself with.  He is now one of the cornerstone members of this group, a source of strength not just for his killing ability but also for the quiet resolve he displays regularly, and he has found a home of sorts where he is appreciated and valued.  I think the moment in the prison where he is set at odds with the type of people he used to deal with regularly (scumbags in general, especially his soon-to-be-returning big brother) is a real notable juxtaposition.

At least, that's my two cents and what I got out of it.  Take it for what you will.

And T-Dog is still this show's equivalent of a red shirt.  The only thing saving him is that the showrunners like to jolt us by killing others and letting the silent, near-useless red shirt survive out of irony.  

violator14 10/22/2012 8:50:22 AM

Everything about this episode was so kick ass. I even dreamt about Walking Dead last night after thinking about it all night. Looking forward to when Merle and Darryl reunite and the whole dynamic of that starts soon. Who will Darryl side with if he has to choose?? I have to say, I do miss Shane tho...   =(  haha

xJokersxWildx 10/22/2012 8:58:46 AM

Rick's doing what he's ment to do just like the books. He's a shell of his former self and just is finished dealing with nonense. He's over the edge and will do anything to protect the group. I love how he's being potrayed.

Daryl was side with the group, maybe not at 1st but he will . He know's ricks a stand up guy and they have such a good chemistry together and have each other's backs.

momitchell7 10/22/2012 9:59:22 AM

I don't see what Rick did to Tomas as ANYTHING near what Shane did to Hershel's son... Hershel's son wasn't trying to kill Shane - In fact, this connection didn't cross my mind at all.

Is Rick becoming more merciless? I'm not so sure, but he's definitely becoming more intolerant of ANYONE who just might disrupt his group, whom he has taken the responsibility of leadership over.

I felt bad for Big Tiny - I thought he was going to be a cool, new addition to the cast - the "Big Bruiser/ Brute" character of the team.

I also thought this episode deserved at least an "A", certainly not a "B".

joelr 10/22/2012 10:57:24 AM

Sorry folks, but it's attack of the killer B's for this one. An "A" comes from an episode that is either a complete story that can stand on it's own, or does something truly profound. This episode was a fantastic piece of connective tissue, but it needs the premiere to work. If the two episodes were presented as a big two hour premere, then I would definitely give the whole thing an "A". The Walking Dead, as a show, has yet to find a way to thematically or narratively make each episode it's own story that also connects with the arc. They usually have premiere/finale bookends with a lot of meat (sometimes lean, sometimes tasty) inbetween. Now, next weeks episode...

@CaptAmerica I see what you are getting at, and it might be there, but a lot of what you are saying comes later in the season, and is much more front and center when Daryl and Merle are both in the picture. There will be plenty of ink about that when it happens. See the interview with Norman Reedus that should be up tomorrow.

@Momitchell7 It's not just what Rick did to Tomas, but to Andrew as well. He left Andrew for dead surrounded by a horde of walkers, just like Shane. The point is Rick is making the hard choices that Shane always said would have to be faced, and he's dealing with them in ways the season 1 or even 2 Rick would not. His first real soul-wrenching choice is when he kills Shane, and it's all down hill from there.

tacid 10/22/2012 11:22:54 AM

Last season Carl was a little kid geting himself into trouble and that was anoying. This season he is more mature and while he does wander off on his own still at least when he does so he's no longer the scared little kid and he's actualy productive, I welcome this new Carl.

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