Monday, October 22, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 3: Episode 2: "Sick"

If last week's season premiere of The Walking Dead teased the promise of a rebound from the choppy second season, this week's episode pivots forward into more fruitful dramatic terrain. It articulates the growing anxieties of the weary-minded members of the group, honing in on their struggle to retain control in the midst of rising threats. This plays out in two central scenarios amid the claustrophobic surroundings of the prison, where conditions are graver and Hershel's (Scott Wilson) life is in jeopardy after being bit by a walker. While Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Glen (Steven Yeun) attend to Hershel with the dimming hope that he'll survive the wound, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) jostle with four prison inmates who've been cocooned from the outside world and now lay claim to the facility.
The former thread consists mostly of the standard "hope and reminisce" dialoguing between characters that's earned The Walking Dead some negative criticism. However, Rick's encounter with the four inmates takes the series into dangerous new territory. The inmates' intentions aren't quite clear, though their ringleader openly engages Rick in an alpha-male battle of wills that intensifies through the episode. Despite the threat of outsiders to the group, Rick is forced to negotiate a compromise with the prison survivors because they have access to food and also possess a better knowledge of the facility.

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