The Walking Dead - Season 2, Episode 2: "Bloodletting" TV Episode Review
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
2011, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on October 21st, 2011
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Sarah Wayne Collins as Lori Grimes
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon
Scott Wilson as Herchel Greene
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
James Ferguson: The second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead continued this week. Little Sophia is still missing, but she’s been put on the back burner as Carl’s massive gunshot wound is top priority. He was shot at the end of the last episode by Otis, one of the residents on Herchel’s farm. Rick brings the boy over to get looked at, but Herchel needs more supplies in order to remove the remaining bullet fragments from Carl’s abdomen. Shane and Otis set out to pick them up from a nearby high school. Meanwhile, the rest of the group haphazardly looks for Sophia and T-Dog starts to lose his shit.
Steve Pattee: Okay, before I get into anything else, seeing Pruitt Taylor Vince playing Otis was a very pleasant surprise. I’ve been a fan of his work for as long as I can remember and whenever he shows up, it’s always a good time. I’m really hoping his character sticks around for the long haul. I like how Otis was just (naturally) devastated about shooting Carl. Not surprisingly, he was my favorite character of the episode.
JF: As a side note, my wife thinks that Pruitt Taylor Vince looks like you. I don’t see it, especially since I feared for his life running from the zombies with Shane towards the end. At one point I thought the walkers had actually passed him with their eyes on Shane alone.
SP: Just show her a picture of Robert Kirkman or Zach Galifianakis. She’ll see the light.
JF: Anyway, the opening scene of this episode bugged me. One of the things I love about the comic series is that it never looks back. Granted, they’re sort of going against that with the new set of novels that they’re releasing starting with The Rise of the Governor, but outside of those, there have never been any flashbacks. The story is very much told in the now and the characters reveal pieces of themselves as the events unfold. Flashbacks are a cheap way to develop characters in my opinion and that entire opening scene was unnecessary. Lori later mentioned how Carl wanted to give blood to Rick when he was in the hospital. That would have been more than enough to cement that bond between father and son. We didn’t need to see Carl blubbering about his dad at the beginning of the episode.
SP: You know, I never thought about how a flashback can be a cheat for developing characters, but you bring up an excellent point. Something bothered me about that scene, too, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but you nailed it. It was rather unnecessary, to the point it was almost filler.
JF: It was totally filler, which is disappointing considering how short this episode felt.
Is it just me or did Andrea scream an awful lot when that zombie popped out of nowhere? For someone that wanted to die just a few days ago, she sure wanted to live when a zombie was about to bite her throat out. It seemed a bit much. I half expected a shot of the attacker to turn into her sister Amy to really drive home the idea that she’s scared of the walkers.
SP: I’m really not getting Andrea this season. She wants to die, she doesn’t want to die. She’s a hardass, she’s not a hardass. It’s like she’s going through a mid-life crisis here. Perhaps she’s going a little nutty because of her emotional train wreck, so I’m hoping this is leading up to something. But, yeah, the scream seemed a little melodramatic for the situation.
JF: I don’t get Rick in this show at all. I hate to bring out my comic fanboy hat again, but there’s a big disconnect between Funny Book Rick and TV Show Rick. In the book, Rick is solid. He’s dependable and everyone looks to him as a leader. The show has him as a much more vulnerable character, driven by emotion and a ridiculous hero complex. At the beginning of the episode he’s in shock over the fact that his son was shot, but towards the end, when Shane and Otis are late coming back, he’s ready to leave him dying in a stranger’s house to go find supplies. You can’t have it both ways, buddy.
SP: When we did this for last season’s episode, I made mention more than once that Shane should be the leader. Hero complex is spot on for Rick. Honestly, what father would even consider leaving his son to go out for supplies? Shane would be an awesome leader because he (mostly) doesn’t let emotion cloud his judgement. Rick really irritated me this week with trying to go find Shane and Otis. What kind of father would do that in this situation? Carl is lying on his potential death bed, needing blood transfusions from Rick, and all he can seemingly think about it is what Shane is doing? What the hell!
JF: Good point with Shane not letting emotions cloud his judgement. Here’s a guy that thought his best friend was dead and shacked up with his wife, whom he clearly had feelings for. Then he finds out Rick is alive and the new life he was creating for himself was quickly cut to shreds by Lori. All things considered, he’s holding it together pretty well.
SP: Say this, though, the synergy between Andrew Lincoln and Jon Bernthal (as Rick and Shane, respectively) is phenomenal. I truly buy the two as best friends. You can tell that Shane is not just rushing to get the much needed medical supplies for Carl, but for Rick’s mental well being as well. These two really do play extremely well off one another.
JF: I agree that Shane is the more stable of the bunch. One thing I’m really glad for the TV show here is that his character is fleshed out a lot more. We don’t get much of a chance to get to know Shane in the comic, but here he’s centered and on top of things. He looks at the situation rationally and doing all the things that Rick should be doing. Sure, he tried to rape Lori that one time, and unfortunately that’s something that’s always going to hold him back as a character.
SP: That just kills me. Everything about Shane screams leader...except for the (attempted) rape. Every time I cheer him on, a part of me gets angry about that incident. Sure, he was drunk, but that certainly is no excuse.
Speaking of Lori, have I expressed my hatred for her in this episode yet? Because I hate her. I really, really hate her. Her son is laying on a bed dying, Herchel (Scott Wilson) can potentially save this kid’s life because he has the skill...well, more so than anyone else...and she has the nerve to bitch because he’s a veterinarian and not a “real” doctor? Well do it yourself, Miss Fancy Pants. Good God she is truly unbelievable. Part of me desperately wants her to die a horrible and violent death while another part wants her to stick around because she’s so damn good at drawing a reaction from me. I have to credit actress Sarah Wayne Collins for being so incredible on this show. She really sells the character.
JF: All valid points. Not to mention the fact that Herchel has brought these complete strangers into his home and used his supplies that could have been put to better use for his own family. It’s a testament to the acting of both Jon Bernthal and Sarah Wayne Collins that they can take characters that we hate and love in the comic (Shane and Lori respectively) and make us feel the complete opposite towards them in the TV show.
SP: It’s great that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is so heavily involved in the show because he knows the characters like nobody else and these changes can be made while still pleasing the comic fans, too. I mean, really, think about how hard that must be. He’s flipping things around and getting away with it. This could not have been done without his involvement.
JF: It’s easily one of the better comic book adaptations out there. Even if it’s not 100% faithful to the source material, it’s fully blessed by the creator and it’s not something stupid like making Greedo shoot first. All in all, I wish this episode was extended like the premiere was. It felt like it ended right when it was just getting started. I’m pumped for the next episode but I thought this one was a bit of a letdown overall.
SP: Agreed. This episode was a very busy episode, where very little was actually accomplished. It wasn’t quite as good as the season opener, but that first episode certainly set the bar high. We don’t know much about Herchel or his family. I’m very much looking forward to their story. More importantly, I’m looking forward to seeing if the TV Family has the same skeletons in the closet as the Funny Book Family. If so, we’re in for a treat.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
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