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The Walking Dead — Season 1 Episode 3 — “Tell It To The Frogs” — recap

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For this week I’m eschewing the straight recap I’ve done earlier for “Romero Points,” a system that awards or takes away points certain scenes in the episode. A positive score is the degree to which George Romero would approve, and a negative score indicates the number of times he would roll over in his grave, if he had one, because he’s very much alive and also who knows whether or not he even plans to be cremated, or if there would be room in his grave to roll, or even if he will ever die (note: this not the real George Romero’s opinion, because I have no idea what he thinks. Rather, it is the one who lives in my head and tells me every night that I’m the “best little zombie fan ever”).

Here we go:

+10 For Merle’s opening unintelligible soliloquy, wherein we learn that he is, indeed, still stuck to the roof, still crazy, and still RACIST. Which is bad, because zombies are COLORBLIND and are, in fact, attracted to his crazy yelling. Whoops.

-5 For Glenn driving his stolen car all the way back to camp with the damn car alarm going off the whole way. Wasn’t that design to attract zombies? Are there seriously no zombies within ear shot of the car? And how can we possibly buy Dale’s excuse that the zombies wouldn’t be able to “pinpoint the source?” Don’t they typically find their man-brains by just totally flooding over areas that pique their interest?

+25 For happy reunions tinged with hidden, unspoken guilt and shame. Way to go, Sherrif’s deputiy Shane. Maybe next time you should wait more than a couple weeks before jumping into your partner’s wife’s pants. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you Shane. I can’t express it.” Rick tells him after arriving back at camp.

+100 For the revelation that Shane had told Lori that Rick was dead. DRAMA!

-20 For the assholeishness of the entire Dixon family and the fact that, of course, they are among the few characters with a thick southern accent. We support creative villainy at Handshake. At least give them a Newfoundland accent, or something. That’d be original.

-3000 I don’t care how much you missed your wife Rick — you should save the bedtime acrobatics for a time and place that are not in proximity to your child. You know, like the woods outside of camp where she does it with Shane.

+500 To zombie beheadings. The boys dont’ want to use guns in case the sound attracts other zombies. So they’ve got to use whatever else they have. When one zombie chews up Daryl’s (Merle’s brother) freshly killed deer, they beat it with everything they’ve got. Then Dale lops off it’s head with an ax.

+1000 For still-moving beheaded zombie heads. Too bad Daryl had to go and shoot it in the head with a crossbow. They should have kept it as a pet.

+20 for Rick Grimes doing the right thing and going back to save the RACIST.

-20 Because he reveals that he’s not really doing the right thing, he’s just going for his walkie talkie so he can warn Morgan to not go into Atlanta — also good but, still, he should just be honest from the get-go.

-100 For the fact thaat these guys are out of supplies and yet all they have to do is ride right into the nearest strip mall and pick up everything they need. This is the south, after all — is it really that hard to find bullets?

-100 When Shane and Carl go frog fishing, there are no zombie frogs, which is an absolute and perhaps unforgivable oversight.

-100 Not only is the post-apocalypse full of racism lessons, it’s full of lessons in sexism. Ed wants the women to do his laundry because that’s their job. When they start arguing with him he calls them “uppity” and then smacks them around. YAWN for a weak and overused plot device. And, of course, Ed has a thick southern accent.

+100 For Shane beating the shit out of Ed for his comic sexism but really because he’s pissed off that Lori is mad at him.

+100 For the ultimate discovery that Merle actually chopped off his own damn hand to escape the “geeks.” I guess his own flesh proved easier to cut through than the handdcuffs, or he was just a big fan of the original Saw.

-20 For the fact that, despite Merle’s apparent escape, the door to the roof was still padlocked from the outside. Did he fly off the roof? Jump onto the helicopter Rick saw flying overhead in episode one?

Point Total: -1,510 A major negative drop for the series in episode three.

The Verdict of the Romero in My Head: The plot seems to have stalled to standstill after just the third episode. Not only are all the characters sedentary, hanging around in a camp where nothing happens except a loan zombie eating an already killed deer, or frogs that don’t get caught, the only movement forward in the plot comes with a trip back to the scene at the end of the last episode. The only bad guys so far (other than the zombies) are not complex or interesting, but rather comic caricatures of the many shades of bigot, something probably more suitable for some sixties morality play (ahem Night of the Living Dead ahem).

And, as noted above, despite the fact that this is based in Georgia, the only characters with thick southern accents are invariably bad. Can’t we get past this caricature of the racist, sexist southern man?

We’re halfway through season one, and things are starting to go downhill. It looks like next week’s major plot device involves some gangsters who run a garage in Atlanta. Or something like that. Prognosis: Not good.

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