The Walking Dead Episode Recap: Cherokee Rose
by Marc Patterson
I’m assuming you all have watched last night’s episode of The Walking Dead? If you haven’t you might consider not reading this post, since it’s full of spoilers, just like all of our recaps. If you have, let’s dispense with the formalities and start talking turkey.
If there was one word that could summarize last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, it was this: stupid. Well, that or “crazy”. But I’m going with “stupid”. Either way, the whole damn episode was bursting at the seams, quite literally at times, with stupid people doing stupid shit. Let’s start with the question on everyone’s mind: What the fuck was that whole bit about lowering Glenn down into a well with a bloated water logged zombie ready to nip at his heels and snack on this thighs? Why in the love of all that is unholy would anyone do something so hair-brained you ask? Well, for fresh fuckin’ water of course. I mean, it’s not like there were FOUR other wells to get water from. Oh wait, THERE WERE. Actually, come to think of it Glenn might walk away with the stupidest of the stupid award. First, he agrees to go down the well. Second, he has sex with Maggie in an unsecured pharmacy. Nothing like getting caught with your pants down by some brain-hungry walker in search of an afternoon snack. But, before I get into that I want to go back to the water logged zombie for a moment. I thought that this moment (if nothing else) would propel the show to a pivotal moment whereas some exposition about Hershel’s farm management might be revealed. After all, how many times did that barn loom in the background? (Fans of the comic series know exactly what I’m talking about). But instead of taking the story to new depths (no pun intended) we just get a semi-tense moment that serves as otherwise wasteful filler for a whole episode that felt just like that – wasteful filler.
Let’s go back to the pharmacy and talk about sex and babies for a moment. Glenn has been sent on a mission from Lori to snag a pregnancy test while down at the local drug store. Lucky for him he manages to find the last one, but in a rush to hide it from Maggie he grabs a box of condoms. Awkwardness has its surprising side effects though and within moments Maggie and Glenn are banging like teenagers on prom night. Okay, I’ll admit, Maggie is cute, a little fierce, and hell… even I would have been coerced into a moment of stupidity for five minutes with her. I’ll ease off Glenn and give him a pass. Maggie makes it clear that it was a one-time only deal, but c’mon, nobody believes that, not even Maggie. We’ll be looking for this blooming romance to grow as the season moves on.
In the meantime we’re still looking for Sophie. I ask, is it just me, or is this the most elongated and ill-conceived sub-plot since the inception of the show? What am I missing? It feels pushed upon viewers and weak. I mean, Carl can get shot and recover from a near fatal wound and no one can find that kid in the immense amount of downtime? Dear Walking Dead writers, you’re milking it. Please stop. We have more pressing matters to attend to.
Let’s go back to stupid though, because I’m still not quite done with that theme song. After burying Otis, and saying some nice words about the dearly departed – and I mean really, that sucked. Comic fans must be shedding a tear. But alas, after placing the final rock on his grave the troops decide to create a formal search party for Sophia. They load up their guns and… wait… did someone say “guns”? Yeah, Hershel informs Rick and Shane that he has a strict no-firearms policy and that if they want to continue to camp out on the farm that they’ll need to surrender their firearms. Ummm… like fuckin’ hell Hershel. This is the end of the world. Not to sound Texan or anything, but you can pry my iron from my cold dead hands. Oh, and how did that rule apply to Otis exactly? So, stupidly Rick and Shane submit. Well, Rick submits. Shane relents, reluctantly. I’m with you man. Fuck Farmer Brown.
So let’s talk Shane. He has become my personal favorite this season. He’s a truly multi-dimensional character, complex and flawed. Unlike Rick who vocally “bears the weight of the world on his shoulders”, Shane actually carries that weight like a man. He constantly is forced to make hard choices. He doesn’t back down, but like a true survivor does what’s in his best interest and lives with the consequences. Last season he beat the shit out of Carol’s husband because it was the right thing to do – not the popular thing. He killed Otis – to save not just Carl, but everyone else in his camp. Carl’s death would have crushed Rick and Lori. Plus, Shane really does love that boy like his own. Shane constantly must not only make tough decisions, but ones that are often lose-lose. All the while he must do so in the shadow of Rick and be vilified for those choices. No wonder he wants to strike it out on his own. I wasn’t sure about keeping Shane around last season, but I’m glad the writers have done so thus far this season.
Let’s talk about other tough guys that are started to have layers peeled back. Some lament the kinder and gentler Daryl, but I for one like how he’s found time to share moments with the various female cast members. The most emotional moment of this episode comes when Daryl, in searching solo for Sophie, finds a Cherokee Rose and gives it to Carol, regaling her with the Native American lore of how it’s a flower birthed from the tears of mothers who have lost their child, signifying that the rose should give her hope and that he’ll find Sophie. Not like every woman watching wasn’t already wet enough for Daryl… Good god.
The episode closes with Lori getting the shock of her life. Only a day before she was ready to say goodbye to Carl, making peace with the idea that he might not survive his gunshot wound and how it might be better to not have to live in a world like this and then comes the bombshell… she’s pregnant. I joked with my wife while watching the final moments of the episode that those damn pregnancy tests require a special degree just to sort out what the hell they mean. Pink, blue, one stripe, two… who would have known TV writers could get it so spot on. A little “+”sign means the drama is about to get jacked up.
Cherokee Rose might have been a sour episode with only a couple minor highlights but from next week’s preview it looks like this show has some explosive potential yet again. We get a milli-second glimpse at Merle Dixon’s smug face. Daryl has been foreshadowing his possible reappearance with all his jibber-jabber and it looks like fans of Michael Rooker will get what they’ve been howling for. I, for one, can’t wait. Talk about a comic plot derail! It’s awesome to see this series take on a life of its own, while remaining generally faithful to the source material. I’m putting this one behind me and letting bygones be bygones. Now bring on the insanity and enough of the stupid!