Essentially, the entire episode is dedicated to saving Carl from the errant bullet he took at the end of the season premiere. Rick rushes him to the farm of a new character, Herschel, who is a kind old veterinarian. Herschel’s daughter fetches Lori from the group, and Glen is sent to find the farm by road as the rest of the survivors stay behind to see if poor Sophia will somehow find her way back to the camper. In the meantime, Shane and accidental shooter Otis go off to find medical supplies for Carl’s surgery.Though it’s a pretty basic story, the performances this week were outstanding — especially from Andrew Lincoln. He was able to take the usually cliched parent-frets-over dying-child routine and make it so very realistic that you forget you’ve seen that theme a hundred times. His grief, despair, and utter exhaustion draw you in and he gently slides Rick’s shoes on your feet without any effort on your part. Veteran actor Scott Wilson makes for a convincing Herschel, and all though we haven’t been shown what Herschel’s had to deal with thus far, it’s nice to have a character who still has hope for the future without seeming like an idiot in denial.
While the story really took it’s time developing this ‘save Carl’ plot, it only showed a small amount of other existing conflicts. Some relationships are explored, some new ideas are tossed into our mix, and some new characters are introduced. Compared to the main plot though, these all took a back seat. I know some people will complain that not enough happened in Bloodletting, but you have to remember that this season is twice as long as the first season was, allowing more time for the development of storylines. This series isn’t about gratuitous zombie horror and tons of action, it’s about the people who are trying to survive in an apocalypse of the most dire design. That being said, I do have to admit that the pacing was by far the slowest that we’ve seen from this series so far and that there is not one, but two deus ex machina plot devices. It will be interesting to see if the pacing of the show will vary greatly depending on the writer of the week. This week’s writer was Glen Mazzara, The Walking Dead‘s new show runner.
The best part about Bloodletting, even with these issues, is that it still kept me invested and on the edge of my seat for next week’s episode. The performances, special effects, and fantastic score are all in keeping with the tradition of the series, not to mention the overall feel of Bloodletting. Though it may seem like a low spot in the series to some, I say that if every TV series’ low spots were as excellently executed as this episode, the world would be a better place.
I give Bloodletting a 4 out of 5.
Here’s a sneak peak at next week’s episode “Save the Last One”.