Editor’s Note: The following recap of The Walking Dead season 2, episode 3 contains spoilers; read at your own risk.
The best and worst qualities of The Walking Dead were on display in tonight’s episode; the extremes were so pronounced that my notes suggest the exuberant jottings of a split personality. “Gorgeous.” “Oh, for chrissakes, quit while you’re ahead — you already showed that, why re-hash it?” “Some of the best atmosphere on TV.” “Oh, shut up.” “Jon Bernthal is KILLING in this episode; he has Richard Gere’s oily, furtive, ‘What am I NOT guilty of’ body language.” “I wish Rick and Lori would get eaten so I didn’t have to hear their ‘discussions’ anymore.” “Brilliant ending — best of series so far.”
My sister, my daughter, my sister, my daughter, slap, slap, slap.
Scott M. Gimple wrote this episode; Sopranos veteran Phil Abraham directed. It was the best of Dead, it was the worst of Dead. Bottom line: When The Walking Dead is dramatizing its characters ‘ moral and ethical conundrums and letting them play out through physical action (or inaction), it’s as good as the very best zombie films that inspired it. But when one character says to another, “Can I talk to you for a second?”, the show’s slow-burn momentum halts so abruptly that they might as well signal an upcoming heart-to-heart by laying a “screeching brakes” noise on the soundtrack. [“Hey, Shane, ya got a minute?” SCR-EEEeeeeEEEEEEEE!] I wish this show would have faith in its B-movie spirit and considerable filmmaking prowess, model its dialogue on an old cowboy picture, and keep things moving. There’s no reason to keep turning every scene into Zombie Oprah. Honest.
You can read the rest of Matt’s piece here at Salon.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the publisher of Press Play.