The Walking Dead has taken many interesting turns in it’s first four episodes. Tonight’s episode, “Vatos,” is no different. Those of us who have read the books got a little satisfaction, and those who haven’t were along for one hell of a ride. That ride came with a fairly big price tag though, making you wonder how far you would be willing to go to save a stranger’s life. It also questioned a little bit of that ‘reality factor’ this show has normally been very good about.
Let me just say now, there will be a few spoilers from here on out. We left off last week with the discovery that Merle had cut off his own hand to escape. That is pretty believable, considering how small and dull the saw was. Though we were continuously reminded by his brother, Daryl, that Merle was one tough S.O.B., it’s still a little hard to believe that someone who was beginning to lose his mind could cut through his own arm, loose all that blood, cauterize his own wound, and then make a great escape. Really? That definitely makes him a pretty formidable enemy if he ever does return to camp, but since we didn’t see him at all this episode, I’m still going to hold on to my prediction that he befriends those from Woodbury (fingers crossed!).
We finally got a little peek into the world of Jim. He wasn’t a huge character in the comic series, but his story was just as heart-rending as ever. Poor guy. Really, everyone has been through a lot – it’s not surprising that a few survivors will go a little crazy. Now, I hope Darabont isn’t going to play too much into his little “dream” he had and make that a recurring element, but overall I felt much more connected to Jim’s character. Alas, if there’s one thing I know far too well about this title, it’s to not get too attached to any one character. Realism in a post-apocalyptic environment is always the goal of this series – and frankly, sh*t happens.
When our small rescue team finds a group of violent Hispanics in the city instead of Merle, the show ran into a couple issues. The idea that there would be other groups of people surviving together isn’t the issue; that’s totally plausible. Do I think that there would be an entire group of survivors who are only of Hispanic descent living together and adding new members all the time? Not really. Do I think that they would all congregate in a nursing home that had surprisingly been completely untouched by the undead? Ha-Ha! Ah, NO. Do I really believe that Rick would be prepared to die, guns blazing, to save a kid he barely knows? I’ll plead the 5th on that one. I think just a few lines were crossed in the hopes of maintaining the usual theme of retaining humanity in a zombacolypse aftermath. I don’t think that “G” would have talked first and shot later, considering the situation and the words that were passed between parties. But hey, that’s just my zombie-aficionado opinion. I understand that Darabont is trying to expand the little universe that Kirkman established, and leave plenty of action for future episodes. So far, I’m still glad he’s doing that.
I have been wondering since episode 1 how long we would have to put up with these no-name characters that sit around camp and eat fish. There were so many extra survivors I was getting Lost flashbacks. Finally, finally, FINALLY, Darabont has decided it is time to thin the herd! What better way to do that than with a huge zombie attack? I won’t go into detail about the end in case there are those who haven’t seen it, but just know this: you’ll be on the edge of your seat!
Overall, I thought “Vatos” was interesting and still moving the plot along nicely. While it missed the mark a little on the realism aspect, it’s pretty forgivable given the interesting events that take place and all the zombie-killing action. For me, Norman Reedus (Daryl) really stole the show. He had some really great dialog and scenes in this episode, and I can’t think of anyone who could have done that role any better. There were some especially grody zombies in this fourth episode, and I hope to just keep seeing more and more of that great make-up and special effects! Watch next week’s The Walking Dead episode, “Wildfire,” on AMC at 10/9 central. I’ll have a preview for episode 5 midweek, complete with screen shots and video!
I give “Vatos” 4 “…Zombie?” out of 5.