The group of survivors from the department store have made it back to camp (sans Merle Dixon). Upon arriving Rick, Lori and Carl are reunited in a powerful scene that really captured the feeling of surprise and overwhelming joy they felt finally getting to hug one another again. Immediately Lori’s joy starts to become poisoned by feelings of guilt rising up from her relationship with Rick’s former partner and best friend Shane. While Shane is happy to see his friend Rick alive, he also seems disappointed and resentful now that Lori has forgotten about their past relations. Rick and Lori spend a romantic evening in the tent and make love as their son Carl sleeps at the other side of the tent, under the watchful eyes of Shane who sees their silhouettes through the tent.
The next morning Shane makes one last attempt at talking to Lori and trying to rectify the extremely awkward situation he has placed them in. Lori scorns his advances and proceeds to tell him to stay away from her and her family, and she wants nothing to do with him.
The rest of the group are forced to confront Merle Dixon’s younger brother Daryl and let him know they left Merle up on the roof, chained and stained. Obviously Mr. Boondock Saints (Norman Reedus) doesn’t take lightly to this news and a confrontation erupts which Rick finishes.
Rick, Daryl and a few others agree to head back into town and rescue Merle Dixon from the rooftop of the department store where they left him handcuffed in the previous episode. Lori, Carl & Shane don’t understand why Rick and the others would risk their lives again heading into the zombie filled city for a piece of shit like Merle Dixon. Rick explains that he needs the bag of guns and ammo he dropped in the town square, and that he needs to get back to warn the father and son team that took him in, in the first episode. Without his heads up, they would be walking into a zombie nightmare in Atlanta. So against the wishes of the others, they head back into zombieland and make their way to the department store. Once they arrive, they find Merle’s saw off hand still cuffed to the drainage pipe and he’s nowhere to be found!
This episode delivered the goods that episode 2 lacked. The Walking Dead isn’t about zombies and gore. Yes it has these things, but it’s a series that revolves around and is focused on character development, storytelling and their relationships. Episode 2 was definitely about zombies and gore, and had little of the qualities that made episode 1 (and hopefully the rest of the series) memorable and unique.
The tale of the zombie apocalypse has been told a million times before, and is at this point, a very stale and forgettable tale. No one spins that yarn better than George A. Romero’s early films, so it’s refreshing to see the crew of Walking Dead not attempting to rehash these old stories. I personally feel the zombie genre as a whole has been mass marketed to death, and has become way too mainstream and woven into today’s pop culture. I’m tired of all of the zombie films, books and references that I encounter on a daily basis and was extremely skeptical of The Walking Dead because of this.
Episode One showed me that this show is written not about the zombies as it’s main focus and hook, but rather about the characters themselves. Thankfully Episode 3 shifted right back, and gave us an amazingly heartfelt and emotional reunion between Rick, Lori & Carl. I felt terrible for Shane being pushed out and cast aside as I thought he was an honorable man that was looking after his best friends girl and son after he passed away. I was horrified when Lori told him to stay away from her and her family, until it was revealed that Shane actually told her that Rick was dead! Wow! What an instant shift of opinion I had after this, then viewing Shane as a sleazy back stabbing piece of garbage that hopefully will meet his end by Rick’s hand. This is the kind of character development and writing that makes this series so damn impressive, and interesting. It keeps us on our toes, with a carefully crafted story, with sprinkles of excellent looking zombies and carnage as the icing on this delicious cake! Bring on Episode Four!