28 November 2010

Bullet Points of the Dead: The Walking Dead Episode 3

The new zombie series The Walking Dead is on in the UK every Friday night. I'm (hoping I'll be) posting up three bullet-pointed observations about each episode. Here's the first post and here's the second. These posts are deliberately "chatty" and written with the intention of being read as quick observations, notes essentially. Info/synopsis here.

Episode #3: Tell It to the Frogs

  • This was the weakest episode yet. I say this as if the series has been showing for weeks; it's only the third episode. But the early plunge into tedium is off putting (I'm pretty sure this will be temporary). I found myself easily distracted during much of its hour-long run-time. Whether this could be chalked up to a general lull in the narrative, a dip in ideas or a calm before the storm scenario is open to question, but there was plenty of dead air surrounding the walking dead this episode.

  • Michael Rooker's racist redneck character is already too much of a stock type to be either truly convincing or anywhere near interesting... as yet. (Admittedly he hasn't had much time to flesh the role out, but it's essentially like a harder, more concentrated version of the nutjob he played in The Trigger Effect.) He's trapped on a rooftop with zombies about to breach the door between them and him. We know he survives - it's all but spelled out in the left-dangling images at th end of his scenes. Also, his rant - the wailing pity cry for help he performs whilst struggling to free himself from handcuffs - felt like he was trying too hard. Well, either that or the writers were. His expounding of his lot in life came across as pointless and illogical - a bad, mightily fudged set-up for future events. (I'm holding out for something far more surprising from Rooker - the writing is keeping largely him hidden for now, maybe they have a bigger purpose in store for him.) Norman Reedus showing up late, as Rooker's probably equally racist brother, is good news - I haven't seen him in anything since John Carpenter's Masters of Horror episode Cigarette Burns - but he'll clearly need to ease into the role on early evidence.

  • This episode was also the least visually interesting. The settlement scenes (attempts at an end-of-the-world community banding together) are on the whole uninspired, but something - I'm not sure quite what - is telling me that there's more occurring here. More in the offing, that we're not being given yet. It's interesting, but frustrating. There has to be a reason for so much dead time. At least I do hope so. On a side note: The females are rather, er, lightly drawn thus far (and that's putting it nicely). And the dialogue trails off often, occasionally going nowhere. I was left with one overriding feeling at the close of this episode: something's gotta give.

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