Viewers of The Walking Dead, whether they’ve seen one episode or ten, know that Rick Grimes is the man in charge of the show’s little band of zombie apocalypse survivors. Rick makes pretty much all of the big decision and never seeks anyone’s advice or counsel, something we are reminded of time and again by his wife Lori, who likes to remind the group of all the tough decisions he has to make for the good of the group.
But if Rick is the Eisenhower of this little band of refugees, then Dale is emerging as the group’s George C. Marshall, a kind of elder statesman with good weapons skills and a lot of patience. Dale was front and center in the very literally titled “Secrets,” playing the role of peacemaker and diplomat for the seemingly smaller, but more explosive, problems that have either been kept from Rick or that haven’t popped up on his radar screen.
The truth-telling begins because Glenn is terrible at keeping secrets, whether it’s Lori’s pregnancy or the walkers in the barn. Speaking of which, the mystery that served as a cliffhanger for last week’s episode got a quick resolution. After Glenn spills the beans, Dale confronts Herschel about his little zombie colony and it turns out they’re all family and friends: Herschel’s wife, stepson and neighbors. He has been keeping them alive both in hopes that there will be a cure and because he can’t bring himself to dispatch them. Herschel, it turns out, might be this world’s most dangerous kind of good-natured ideologue; he sees the zombies as former loved ones who might some day become people again.
(MORE: See the All-TIME 100 TV Shows)
Along those lines, the scene that packed the most emotional punch was Maggie and Glenn’s stroll in the fields shortly after a walker nearly turned her into a pharmacy snack. She’s forced to confront, perhaps for the first time, that these creatures are slobbering monsters. Before her attack, she yelled at Dale for calling them Walkers — to her they’re mom, her brother, the neighbors. After her attack, her mind might be changed. So far, the core group has displayed zero emotional attachment to any of the walkers. In the first season, Rick sees a zombie who was a former policeman and friend and calmly shoots him in the head. The Greene’s are different, and the farm interlude (as endless as it may seem) has shed light on the complexity of the show’s world — offering another point of view that our group is incapable of considering given all they’ve experienced in their short time together.
And then there’s the subplot of who fathered Lori’s baby and what will she do about it? Dale decides to jump into this one too, fibbing that he could sense Lori’s morning sickness because it’s similar to his wife’s. But despite Dale’s roundabout advice that life is precious and children are a gift, Lori gobbles some morning after pills (though quickly changes her mind and throws them up). She tells Rick, after he discovers the empty pill packets, and we learn that he discerned the truth about her and Shane a long time ago. Now Rick has several problems — a baby on the way, confirmation of Lori and Shane’s romance — that he’ll have to deal with. He’s good at the heavy things, such as marshaling people and battling zombies. These personal dilemmas are harder to sort out, and if he’s smart, he’ll look to wise, old Dale for some help.
Zombie Kill Report: We were back to a very respectable double digit walker count. Most of the kills were the standard on the run-head shot as Shane and Andrea fought their way out of a suburban zombie ambush, but Glenn’s kill was sublime: a dozen blows to the head with a Gerber machete. It’s nice to see these two stepping up — Andrea with the marksmanship and Glenn with the more roughshod slaughter.
And after the violence comes…The sex, of course. Andrea wastes no time and isn’t exactly subtle jumping on Shane after the big battle. We’re pretty happy — they make a good couple — but sex in the front seat of a car, in the middle of the road in broad daylight, isn’t a great idea anytime, let alone when walkers might hear the car horn and pay a visit.
Cliffhanger (of sorts): What’s Rick’s next move? He has a child on the way; he knows about Shane and Lori. Herschel wants him gone and we still haven’t found Sophia! Maybe that’ll be resolved in the next episode. Please let it be resolved in the next episode.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Should Lori have the baby? Are they ever going to find Sophia? Should Dale keep putting his nose where it doesn’t belong?