The Good, Bad, and Ugly of The Walking Dead: Tell It to the Frogs

16 11 2010

No surprise to you readers by now, The Walking Dead continued to impress me with it’s newest episode, ‘Tell It to the Frogs’. The halfway point of AMC’s fledgling series was far lighter on zombie content than the first two episodes, but all of that didn’t matter to me, as the show finally proved what I’ve been raving about all along: This show isn’t just a lot of zombie violence, and it focuses more on the demons of the people than the monsters themselves. In fact, none of the characters have been eaten or bitten by a zombie yet, we’re halfway through Season One, and it’s still the best zombie thing to hit the screens in years. Not too shabby.

Click the jump to read all the best, worst (Which is more like “meh”), and most brutal parts of my favorite show on cable.

[And if you haven’t figured it out by now, yes, this contains spoilers. Don’t whine to me if you haven’t watched this yet.]

The Good:

  • Serious Comic Book Deviation: Yup, this show is going to be very different from the comic book. By my guesstimation, there are at least 8 characters not from the graphic novel in the TV series, and at least one family from the comic has been removed to make room for characters that I’m guessing will provide more dramatic scenarios. Couple that with the fact that episodes 2 and 3 have almost no similarity to the original novels, and you can tell that a lot of this show is going to be a big surprise even to people who have read them, such as myself. Honestly, I love it. Just make sure that the main concept remains and I’ll be happy. Oh, and The Governor sure as hell better be showing up by season 3/4.
  • Human Emotions Take the Spotlight: After two episodes that showed enough blood and guts to satisfy most male viewers, ‘Tell It to the Frogs’ let the violence take a backseat to a bunch of conflicts within the band of survivors. I won’t go into too much detail, but these include: (1) Daryl, the brother of the violent hick, Merle, who was forced to be left behind by the gang, isn’t pleased about his family member being handcuffed and deserted on a roof (2) Rick reunites with his family, ruining Shane’s attempts to become Carl’s new “dad”, as well as his relationship with Laurie since it was he who told her that Rick was dead (3) The females attempt to save a fellow camp member from the clutches of her abusive and sexist husband, which leads to a pretty gruesome fight to end the episode. Sure, there were some nice zombie action sprinkled in, but it was the humans that caused the true dramatic tension of this episode.

The Bad:

  • Not Bloody Enough: Still nitpicking, this is a good thing. The only complaint I have (Other than Amy being a horribly annoying character) is that [SPOILER] When Rick and Co. find Merle’s severed hand on the roof where they left him, there’s simply not enough blood to constitute the fact that somebody just pulled a Saw to escape starvation and zombies. Being atomically correct is fun!

The Ugly:

  • That’s Gonna Leave A Mark: [Spoiler-ish] Good Lord, Shane’s relentless pummeling of the wife-beater, Ed, was far, far more disturbing than at least 80% of the zombie content seen on the show so far. It lasts around 30 seconds, and it currently holds the award for “Hardest Thing to Watch” on The Walking Dead. The dude did deserve it, but still, very unsettling.

Best Zombie Kills:

  • Rick, Jim, Glenn, and Shane all pummel a zombie that scares the children and is eating a deer. Since a gunshot would alert more zombies, Dale decides to stop wasting energy and just decapitates it with an ax. After some conversation, the head comes back to life and Daryl is forced to shoot an arrow through the still-living (Sort of) zombie head. It was essentially the only zombie kill of the episode (A few more sprinkled in towards the end), but it was still bad-ass.

Ranking the Actors: Who’s Great and Who’s Decent?:

  • Tier 1 (The Best So Far): Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Laurie Holden as Andrea, Jeffery DeMunn as Dale, Steven Yuen as Glenn, Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, IronE Singleton as T-Dog.
  • Tier 2 (Solid): Sarah Wayne Callies as Laurie Grimes, Jeryl Prescott as Jacqui, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa Suzanne McBride as Carol, Andrew Rothenberg as Jim, Adam Minarovich as Ed.
  • Tier 3 (Most Disfigured): The zombies. Man, they’re really good at looking disfigured.
  • Tier 4 (Children): Children can’t act.
  • Tier 5 (Amy): Emma Bell as Amy just annoys the hell out of me. When your main role is to act scared or cry, then you can bet your ass that I want your character to die. And if things go the comic’s way…. Oops, did I ruin something for you? Oh, look at that pretty butterfly!

Yep, this show still rocks. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry. AMC will likely play the entire season over twice once the sixth episode has been aired.

Grade: A+




3 responses

16 11 2010
Encrazed Crafts

Awesome review of the episode! I agree on pretty much every single point you highlighted above. Great, great breakdown and review of this one. (It’s my fav. episode so far, BY far!)

Where is Merle’s blood?! Other than a slick, crimson handcuff, it was incredibly dry up there. The way I described was: “…Realistic amounts of blood reasonably present due to evisceration at the wrist… MIA. Not that I wanted to see an olympic sized swimming pool of blood, but the sole warning for graphic content led a lot to be desired.” And other than the one zombie girl Merle’s brother killed downstairs, all they showed was the hand lying there like a mislaid pet’s toy. Minor gripe, but still. They don’t mind doing close-up, slow-mo, bloody-trail headshots or showing people hack a dead (twice over) body to use as nose camo around the zombies, but a simple body of red liquid is just too much.

Heck, they even shouted several slurs that episode and still had censorship-room to fit in all this dismembering and the like. Bah, silly directors.

I actually thought Shane’s pummeling session wasn’t as unsettling as comically redeeming. He beat up the one guy (or at least one of the few guys) that the audience disliked more than himself up until that point. Aye, it might have been a little excessive, but the dude did just hit his wife AND Shane was probably sexually frustrated at least with Lori now cutting off his supply of ‘action.’ Pretty sure any guy that built with muscles probably has testosterone to spare and given the right spark…

Oh, and I think the most unsettling scene of the series was actually when Rick had to make it out of the completely blackened hallway with nothing but matches. That was fear imprinted onto film, my friend. It felt like I was watching some medical procedures on ER or something and nearly had to turn away from all the nerves in my body screaming not to go into said smelly black corridor (signally something died, or was dead in there to top it off) after the zombies have made their presence known to both Rick and the audience.

I’d also give this episode an A+! Let’s hope they keep the rest of the series up to this caliber!

16 11 2010
Matt Suppes

Thanks for all the kind words! Much appreciated, and I’m glad everyone loves this show, being a fan of the graphic novel series as well.

16 11 2010
Matt Suppes

And yes, the hospital scene was very creepy. I almost forgot about that part.

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