EW writers Jeff Jensen and Dan Snierson have such a mutual affection for AMC’s The Walking Dead that they get together once a week to watch and recap it. Below is a transcript of Jeff and Dan’s conversation.
JEFF: “Vatos” (Mexican slang for “guys” or “dudes”) continued to push the character-driven horror that has distinguished The Walking Dead as quality drama. Any story that can blend discussions about the nature of time, the human capacity for change, and (most importantly) fishing lures and knots with gratuitous shots of zombie heads exploding like watermelons at a Gallagher show is aces in my book. Still: Good, not great. I don’t mean to be all Me cago en los muertos about “Vatos,” but the episode didn’t leave yipping with yariba, either.
DAN: My Spanish is a little rusty. Did you say your cage is dead? While I enjoyed the episode—and was left hyperventilating for all the right reasons—there were a few moments that felt a bit precious or heavy-handed. But let’s start at the beginning: We opened on an expanse of turquoise water, which turned out to be… the reservoir at camp. The placid-yet-weighted fishing scene between Andrea and Amy—sisters trying to bridge the waters of a 12-year-age gap, discovering differences in how their dad taught them to tie knots—never fully ignited our imagination (“He knew you needed to catch fish and I needed to throw them back,” quivered Amy.) Though we did get to learn that baseball is not in the only pastime in which there should be no crying.
JEFF: I agree. The scene didn’t reel in the emotional whopper it was fishing for. Let’s talk about Jim’s holes. Haunted by a premonitory dream, addled from dehydration, Jim manically began digging grave-sized ditches on a knoll. The One RV Hill Gang deemed his ominous gardening rather disconcerting. A debate about personal liberty vs. community responsibility ensued. Jim: You have no right to regulate me! I’m working separate and alone and hurting no one. Bugger off! Lori: Your hysterical activity is producing fearful psychic static that is spooking the kids and detrimental to our frazzled culture. Didn’t you learn anything from the Rally For Sanity? Stop acting like a metaphor for idiotic cable news sound-and-fury and chill! After proving unsuccessful with empathetic smooth talk, “King Boss” Shane subdued shovel-swinging Slim Jim, cuffed him, and sentenced him to a time-out. Jim’s tragic testimony spilled out of him. Zombies chowed his wife and two boys right before his eyes. “The only reason I got a way away was because the dead were too busy eating my family.” Yeah, that’ll leave a psychic mark.
DAN: There’s this palpable creepiness to Jim that’s tempered with a gentleness and likability. And I like that he ultimately showed us that a sun-baked crazy person ain’t as crazy as you’d think. When he’s on the screen, though, I can’t help but shake this feeling of ‘Uh-oh…’ In other uh-oh news, the hunt for Merle took our survivors back to rooftop, where they deduced that he’d made a painful one-handed escape. A very angry Darrell (is there any other kind?) wanted to adorn T-Bone’s face with an arrow after realizing the grisly lengths his brother had to go through to lose the handcuffs. Luckily, Rick’s gun reasoned with Darrell’s face. Jeff, did you read Darrell’s “You got a do-rag or something”? comment to T-Bone as olive branch, or racist dig masquerading as olive branch?
JEFF: Dude needed a do-rag! He had a bloody mutton of cracker paw to wrap! (Glenn’s utterly defeated look as Darrell stuffed Merle’s hand in his backpack? Priceless.) Merle left a blood trail; Rick & Co. tracked it like hounds to a kitchen. Like CSI wonks, they Gil Grissomed the clues. Merle must have cauterized his gushy stump with a scalding iron.
NEXT: Pizza delivery dude devises a plan worthy of Patton.