Man, was that a gushy episode of The Walking Dead! Seriously, there were bodily fluids and heartfelt moments gosh-darn everywhere! Both human and undead descended to lower elevations! Hey-yo! Euphemisms off, spoilers on, and all that shibboleth.
When we last saw The Walking Dead, Shane had served up Otis to the ravenous horde like it was Sunday brunch at a Shoney's filled solely with the horrifically hungover. One guilt-shave later, and the rest of Rick's caravan's now bivouacking on Hershel's farm, attending delicious Otis' funeral, and listening to shorn Shane's sugarcoated eulogy.
The beginning of this episode — which is titled "Cherokee Rose," incidentally — went through lengths explaining how exposed the survivors will be on Hershel's homestead. The survivors are giving up their firearms on Hershel's command, leaving his property once Carl heals up, and generally kowtowing to the whims of He-With-The-Andy-Rooney-Brows (RIP).
(Comic fans, did you find one of Hershel's throwaway mandates somewhat ominous? And what's the over-under on 40% of Otis crawling home with new friends?)
Overall, "Cherokee Rose" was a more pleasurable watch than last week, as it tamped down on the Grimes' family drama and gave the supporting cast the spotlight. The two "spooky" subplots this week were A.) Darryl channeling his inner lone wolf and searching for Sophia; and B.) the gang using Glenn to fish a water-logged roamer out of one Hershel's several wells.
Let's start with latter — I liked how the zombie resembled an anthropomorphic big toe that had been soaking in a tub for a month. After being hooked with a loop of rope, the aquazombie pops like a water balloon, filling the well with infected offal. I further appreciated how this sequence gave me flashbacks to Army of Darkness. Pop quiz: who's the Ash Williams of The Walking Dead?
My vote goes to Glenn, because he's got the proper ratio of hapless and competent. Take his pharmacy sexcapades with Hershel's daughter Maggie — after risking his life during the failed zombie fishing trip, she deems him fit for some bedless bed-wrestling.
Sure, their pillow talk was depressing as shit ("I'm lonely!" "I'm lonely too!" Cue "Strokin" by Dynasty.) and I couldn't help but read every line preceding their journey as a writers' room yuk-yuk session (Glenn is the "go-to-town expert" who knows "how to get in and out") but good on these crazy kids for finding love in the ruins. Maggie dismisses it as a one-pharmacy-stand, but Glenn's got the wiles.
But wait, what did Glenn pick up in town? A pregnancy test for Lori! I'm pretty sure most of us figured this out immediately! Was this the topic of Jenner's careless whisper to Rick at the CDC? And is it Rick's baby or Shane's demon child? We'll have to wait and see if the kid's born wearing a cowboy hat or not.
Finally, I'm still very pro-Darryl these days, which I'm afraid may be a bait-and-switch. He's obviously still pissed about the survivors abandoning Merle (see: his sassy comment to Rick about his plans getting screwed up) and this episode turned him into the nomadic paragon of awesome.
Darryl's brawny enough to go hunting for Sophia (again!) solo and tender enough to console Carole with flowers and history. He's a little too perfect right now.
His turnaround may not happen until February 2012 (we have three more episodes before the winter hiatus) or Season 3, but I have a feeling Darryl's on a slow simmer.
UPDATE: Aaand Merle's in the promo for next episode. This is what I get for hustling this recap out once the credits hit.