Welcome back to the Comic Booked recap of Season One of The Walking Dead. We have passed the halfway point of Season One and we have at least a cursory understanding of who the players are on the field so far. We know that Merle is missing… a hand. Let’s find out what’s next.
Season One: Episode 4 – Vatos
This episode beings with Andrea and Amy in a boat in the quarry fishing the way their daddy taught them. The problem is that it seems that their dad taught each of them differently. As they reminisce, another aspect of this world is shown, the fact that families were separated and still hope about meeting up with each other again.
As the folks back in the camp are reaping the rewards of the sisters fishing expedition, Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn are looking for the rest of Merle, having wrapped up his hand in a handkerchief. Worried about Merle passing out from blood loss, the team moves quickly into another building from the roof. They soon find that Merle had enough strength left in him to take out a couple of walkers with a wrench and cauterize his own wound. Daryl says, “Nobody can kill Merle but Merle.”
Back at camp, Shane, Dale, and the crew are worried about Jim. He has been digging and digging all afternoon and the kids are getting scared. Jim just wants to be left alone to dig, but everyone is concerned and when he swings the shovel at Shane, they have to take him down.
Switch back to the city where things are about to get really exciting. Glenn devises a plan for retrieving that bag of guns that Rick dropped in Episode One. Glenn makes a run for it, grabbing the bag, but Daryl meets a young punk in the alley. Two more guys come running in and beat Daryl up, then, when Glenn comes in with the bag, they start hitting him as well. Luckily, Rick and T-Dog return in time to save Daryl and the guns, but the two other guys take Glenn.
In the camp, tied to a tree, Jim gives us all something interesting to think about. Shane asks him why he was digging and he says that it was just something he dreamt last night. But he also tells Lori to keep her boy close. This makes me wonder about what other people may be dreaming and if there are others out there with abilities to “see”. Perhaps the virus or whatever effects the living in another way before they are injured or dying.
Meanwhile, things are playing out in the city. Rick, T-Dog, and Daryl take Miguel, the boy from the alley. The go to the hideout of a gang of “vatos”, a group of hispanic thugs hiding in a garage. Threats are exchanged and Guillermo, the leader of the vatos, tells them they can have Glenn if they hand over the bag of guns. The team is not willing to do that, so they come back locked and loaded, only to find that this is just a group of men protecting some elderly people in a nursing home. The medical staff all left, and Guillermo, a janitor, is now leading the group and caring for everyone. Rick says, the world has really changed, but Guillermo says it hasn’t. “Same as it ever was, the weak get taken.”
Rick leaves them some guns and retrieves Glenn. The team leaves the city, heading back through the chain link fence they entered in, but they are in for a surprise. The panel truck they used to get there is gone. Who could have taken it? Probably Merle. Looks like they have to hoof it back to camp.
Dale’s quote of Faulkner is such a poignant illustration of something lost in this new terrible world. In talking about his watch he quotes, “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine or my father’s before me; I give it to you, not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it for a moment now and then and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”
The final scenes snap us back to the terror and despair of this time. The walkers shamble into camp, taking out Ed, no big loss, but also biting and killing Amy and several other members of the crew. Rick and the gang of guys get back just in time to save the rest of the survivors. But the losses are great.
Where this episode began with two sisters bonding over their differences, it ends with one sister crying over the loss of the other. The impact to the survivors can be seen on each face, and Jim states that he now remembers why he dug the holes. They were to be the graves for those who died.
This was a hard episode. A lot of tension and anxiety, but there were also some really good “people” moments, scenes where humanity’s light shown through the darkness all around. Tune in for our next episode as I review Episode Five: Wildfire.