Walking Dead Recap: Cherokee Rose

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Gene Page / AMC

Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead gave us an increasingly mellowed out Daryl, a significant late plot development, awkward sex and perhaps the most gratuitously gory zombie kill yet.

It all began with the farm conducting a memorial service for Otis in which Shane was asked about his final moments. Shane, who shot the man and left him to become a zombie buffet, makes up a story about how Otis put up a last-stand rear guard action all in the name of saving Carl. “He saved him and me,” Shane says, which opens some interesting avenues for his character development. I still think there’s a possibility that he could leave the group, strike off on his own, take Andrea with him, and become a benevolent leader in his own right.

But seriously, let’s talk about the walker in the well — one of the most grotesque sequences the series (and perhaps basic cable) has given us so far. When a bloated walker is discovered in one of the Greene’s wells, Dale assembles a team that decides it’s better not to shoot the zombie, lest they poison the water supply, but rather use Glenn as live bait to try and lure the sucker out. After a terrifying 10 seconds in which it seems like Glen might be a goner, they slowly haul the walker up. Unfortunately, the weight of his fat lower body tears loose from his fat upper body and the walker literally rips in half (in what appeared to be slow-motion), spilling blood, entrails and nastiness into the water. Plop, plop, plop. Honestly, that right there is why many people watch The Walking Dead.

Over in Sophiaville (the young girl been missing for a month now in what has become an incredibly dragged out subplot, though it’s only been a few days in TV time) Daryl tries to comfort Carol by explaining the story of the Cherokee Rose, Georgia’s state flower. During the Trail of Tears, when the Cherokees were evicted from the state, tribal elders asked for a sign to lift the spirits of grieving mothers who were losing their children. The Cherokee Rose appeared, and a flower grew everywhere a mother shed tears, so that the flowers covered the route from Georgia to eastern Oklahoma. It’s a beautiful and tragic story, and the fact that Daryl is familiar with it and kind enough to share it was the episode’s biggest surprise. He’s still pretty much an asshole, but he’s now evolving into an asshole with a heart of gold.

An episode that began with a memorial service ended with Lori discovering that she’s pregnant, which is bad news in general, considering the zombie apocalypse and all. But it’s also, as they say, more complicated than that. When Lori thought Rick dead, she slept with his best friend Shane, a liaison that ended just a couple weeks ago, in story-time. Either man could be the father.

Zombie Kill Count: Yet another episode with only one. But as previously mentioned, it’s a hell of a gruesome scene. The show has reached a nice rhythm where it oscillates between gory, kill-heavy episodes (like last week’s 3 dozen or so) and stretches of plot and character development.

Best I Told You So Moment: Last week, I predicted that Glenn and Maggie the cute farmer’s daughter would get together. They did, in a slightly touching, but mostly awkward exchange in the town’s ransacked drug store. And even in the midst of the post-zombie apocalypse, Glenn found a box of condoms. That’s right, safe sex still exists after the apocalypse. (Mostly. Hello, Lori.)

Best One Liner: T-Dog after beating the brains out of the putrid zombie they hauled out of the well: “Because we wouldn’t want to do anything stupid like use a gun.” Exactly what I was thinking.

Prediction That May or May Not Come True: Last night, we had a couple powerful scenes where Hershel tells Rick that after they find Sophia and Carl heals, he has to take his band down the highway. When Rick tries to convince him to let them stay, Hershel tentatively agrees, provided they abide by the rules, which include no guns. As our travelers become more comfortable on the Greene farm, I foresee Merle making his long-awaited reappearance, which will cause his increasingly nice brother Daryl to regress and all hell to break loose. We may not need many zombies for this to get interesting.