The Walking Dead 2.4 – Cherokee Rose

Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!
Well that’s going to be problematic since in the last episode had Shane crippling sweet, earnest Otis and leaving him back in town to be devoured by zombies. 

We start this episode with a little cairn building.

Carl wakes up as soon as Doc Herschel pronounces his fever has gone down. He wants to know about Sophia. His parents lie to him and tell him she’s just fine.

Meanwhile, the rest of the ragtag caravan finally arrives at the ranch. Both groups size each other up, and the Dale asks about Carl. Lori tells him that he’s going to pull through thanks to Herschel and his people. And Shane, Rick adds. “We’d have lost Carl if not for him.” (No specific mention of Otis? Really? Assholes. Get your ungrateful asses off our property now.)

Shane radiates guilt. Dressed in Otis’s overly large clothes, his head shaven, and his face hangdog, he couldn’t look more guilty if he pinned a Polaroid of himself shooting Otis in the leg, as zombies tucked into their writhing, hungry-man size dinner, while Shane ran away crying like a little girl.

But hey, let’s get back to work on that cairn anyway. Each person places a stone on the cenotaph to commemorate the life that’s been lost. The increasingly creepy Doc Herschel gives a little sermon. He finishes with, “He died, as he lived. In grace.” Hmmm. That definitely isn’t matching up to what’s running through Shane’s extra-thick cranium. Then the inevitable. Herschel asks Shane to speak for Otis. He tries to back out, but Otis’s widow begs him since he was there to share in Otis’s final moments. She wants to be reassured that his death had meaning.

In the end, Shane says that Otis saved Carl and Shane with his selfless act. (Even if we know that the details are disgustingly twisted, at least Otis’s widow can take some measure of comfort in her husband’s death.

Shane lays the final stone on the cairn.

Now they can start a real search for Sophia. They have more resources and a good map, but Doc Herschel won’t allow Rick or Shane to go yet. They both need another day’s rest to be fit enough for the search. Shane agrees to search the interstate by car. Daryl will take on the search on his own again. He’s got a plan.

When Shane brings up firearm training Doc Herschel shoots him down. He doesn’t like guns on his property. Rick agrees to this nonsense since they are guests and everyone disarms. (Ding. Ding. Ding. Something’s not right about old Hersch.) Shane does get his way for Dale to keep watch with a shotgun. He’ll take the guns to an offsite training area and teach anyone who wants to learn.

Shane also brings up the question of what to do with Sophia if they find her and she’s been bit? Rick says to do what has to to be done. Maggie is horrified and wants to know what they would tell Carol. Andrea, who’s been there, says simply, “The truth.”

Maggie needs to make a run to the local pharmacy for supplies. Rick suggests she takes Glenn with her. He’s they’re, “go-to-town expert.” She and Herschel agree.

Shane is glad to hear from Lori that Carl will be okay. He wants to know if Lori really wants him to stay. She says yes. I guess that means he’ll be there when he finally goes to pieces over what he’s done.

Maggie says to Glenn that she hears he’s fast on his feet, “and knows how to get in and out.” He’s visibly flustered. Especially when she goes to saddle his horse.

Shane and Andrea discuss the fact that they don’t like the no firearms ruling, but they’ll go ahead and get in some practice on how to strip a weapon down, clean it, and then they’ll have some shooting lessons offsite.

Daryl sets out on his own. He’s is single-minded in his dedication to find Sophia and he doesn’t care to wait until tomorrow to start looking again as Rick suggests.

Rick and Doc Herschel have a little heart to heart about how long they are welcome at the ranch when Rick offers to move his people into the barn. Doc lays it out plain. He’s fine with the group staying until Carl is better and they find Sophia, but they are not welcome indefinitely.

As Glenn and Maggie get ready to leave for their pharmacy run, Lori gives Glenn the pharmaceutical list and tasks him with finding her a private personal item. He is to keep it a secret. He can find the item in the feminine hygiene aisle. And no. It’s not strawberry douche. (Although I bet during the zombie apocalypse, most women do have that “not-so-fresh-feeling.”)

As Dale and T-Dog go to get water from one of the wells on the property, T-Dog apologizes for the crazy talk on the highway when he was sick. Apparently he doesn’t really feel weak or disposable. Dale lets him off the hook and acts like he doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about.

As they pump the water, Dale hears a noise and goes to investigate the busted up old well cover. He takes a peek as T-Dog is talking about finding Sophia and then scooping up a ladle of water to drink. As soon as he gets it close to his mouth, Dale knocks it away and advises him not to drink the water.

They summon the whole group to take a little peek-a-loo, and as Dale shines a flashlight down the well, he says, “It looks like we got ourselves a swimmer.” But Michael Phelps it ain’t. This guy is a bucket of bloated mush.

Since the group thinks shooting the thing in the well might further contaminate the water, they think they need to get it out of the well without damaging it. (Mmmm. Good plan. I’m sure that thing hasn’t leaked any contaminating fluids yet. Yes. Yes. Perfectly sterile unless you puncture it. Anyway, lasso the damn thing and winch it out of there with vehicle or horse.)

Great. More God talk. Herschel wants Rick to enjoy the view and the wonder of God. Rick says, “Last time I asked God for a favor and stopped to admire a view, my son got shot. I try not to mix it up with the Almighty anymore. Best we stay out of each other’s way.” Herschel wants Rick to feel God’s power in the healing that came his way after each tragedy. Rick just thinks that God has a strange sense of humor.

Back to the well full of horrible.

A canned ham is a terrible thing to waste. And we all know that zombies only like meat that’s running and screaming. This is an exercise in futility. (But they do apparently enjoy an occasional gopher, so why not try a live chicken or squirrel or something?) Why? Because it’s more exciting to lower one of the characters we’ve grown to like down into Buffalo Bill’s lotionarium. Glenn is pressured into it, because he want’s to look like a bad-ass in front of Maggie. So down he goes with Maggie as his spotter.

Suddenly the pump they’ve been using as an anchor comes loose from the rotted wood and Glenn drops perilously close to the goopy creature (that still looks strangely like Herschel to me) and the group goes into panicked action to save Glenn. Finally pulled to safety, Dale mentions that they’ll have to go back to the drawing board. “Says you.” Glenn pants. And Dale discovers that Glenn was able to get the rope around that slippery, slimy thing down there.

Daryl, who’s still on the search for Sophia, comes upon an abandoned looking farm house. As he carefully checks the rooms, he discovers that there is a freshly open and eaten can of sardines in the garbage can. He also finds what looks like a nest of blankets at the bottom of the kitchen pantry. Outside of the house he calls for her several times, but gets no answer. As he looks around, he finds a beautiful Cherokee Rose in bloom.

Next, we see the snarling, bloated thing back on the farm being pulled up from the bottom of the well. (I still can’t kick the idea that it looks like someone who might be related to Herschel.) In the final pulls, its lower half gets stuck and the thing actually gets pulled in half. Gore from the waist down drops back into the well. (Guess they’ll be capping that one off.) But the top half is still clawing, snarling, and squirming.

Maggie starts to ask, “So what do we do about…” right as T-Dog thoroughly smashes in its face with something heavy and metal. (Maybe the drinking ladle?) The others are blase. Maggie is revolted. She’s been sheltered.

Shane takes Carol and Andrea to the car on the highway to see if Sophia has returned. Carol no longer seems to be taking comfort in platitudes or prayers.

Shane then takes the women to learn to shoot. And then launches into a long speech about how killing someone who is trying to kill you is different than target practice. Killing another human being is hard to learn to live with and he is working on it himself. (What the hell? You’re talking to a woman who had to shoot her own sister in the head and who stabbed out a zombie’s eyes with a screwdriver. I don’t think she’s going to need therapy after a kill. Probably a high five will be sufficient.)

Maggie and Glenn are finally on their way to the pharmacy. He starts off acting a little macho, but then pulls back when he realizes that Maggie is probably still disturbed by the killing she witnessed at the well. She goes to look for antibiotics, he goes to look for Lori’s special order in the feminine hygiene aisle.

He’s looking at the pregnancy test when Maggie walks up on him and asks what he’s got. Flustered, he shoves the test into his pack and grabs up a pack of condoms. What follows is one of my favorite dialog exchanges on the show yet.

Maggie — Whatcha got.
Glenn — Uhhh. Umm. Nothing. You know, I said general stuff.
(Glenn realizes he’s holding a pack of condoms.)
Maggie — Condoms. You got a girlfriend I don’t know about?
Glenn — Me? No. No.
Maggie — Then you’re a pretty confident guy.
Glenn — Noooo. No. No. No. I wasn’t. I would never.
Maggie — Is something wrong with me?
Glenn — No. No, I. Uh. I would never have sex. Uhhhhhh. I’m lost. I’m.
Maggie — I’ll have sex with you.
Glenn — Really? Why?
Maggie — You’re asking questions?

Maggie takes off her hat. And his hat. And tells him he’s not the only one that’s lonely. Kiss and fade to black. So sweet. (Now cue the bad ’70s porn music.)

Rick and Herschel look out at the gypsy camp of Rick’s group and he tells Herschel that he needs to reconsider making them leave. He appeals to his belief in God. That a man of God wouldn’t send his fellow men to face what’s out there.

They have a heart to heart about good parenting. Seems doc’s old man was an alcoholic who beat up on his kids and that Rick should not feel guilty about his lie about Sophia being okay when it was just meant to comfort a sick child. Some men do not earn the love of their sons. Herschel does not see that being a problem for Rick and Carl.

When Rick repeats his request to at least think about letting his group stay, Doc Herschel says,” There are aspects to this. Things that I can’t and won’t discuss. But if you and your people respect my rules… No promises. I will consider it. You have my word.” (A cacophony of klaxons  should be sounding. Something is very, very wrong about this man.) Rick gives him his word as well.

Maggie and Glenn make it back to the ranch. He’s grinning. She tells Glenn not to spoil it. He asks, “So it was good?” She tells him it was a one time thing. Awww. Poor Glenn.

Lori immediately wants her pregnancy test from Glenn.

Daryl returns to the Winnebago, finding that Carol has cleaned it up for Sophia’s arrival. He presents Carol with a Cherokee Rose in a beer bottle. He then tells her the story of the relocation of the Cherokee people on “The Trail of Tears” and how so many women lost their children on the way. Because they were so despondent, the elders said a prayer and asked for something to lift the mothers’ spirits. Where their tears had fallen to the ground, Cherokee roses bloomed. Daryl thinks this one is for Sophia. (Which had me thinking maybe he knew she was dead. But then he comments that she’s really going to like the way the Winnebago has been fixed up.)

Rick confesses his lie to Carl about Sophia, but Carl already knows because Lori has told him. He tells him that he truly believes they will find Sophia.

They compare bullet wounds and Rick gives Carl his Sheriff’s hat. They tell each other that they love one another.

Rick then takes off his sheriff badges as Lori watches from a doorway. She asks if he’s really “putting them away.” He shuts the drawer in answer and touches the bullet scar that nearly killed him. (I can see someone being happy that their spouse is leaving a dangerous profession, but it seems to me that is not going to be much of an answer to their current problems. I mean, it’s not just meth-heads, psychopaths, and family disturbances that you have to worry about now. It ZOMBIES! They don’t care if you have a badge! That’s just something that might get stuck in their teeth or poke the roof of their mouth.)

It’s night. Lori takes a knife with her and leaves Rick. She has a very private mission to undertake. All alone, in a field a pretty good distance from the house, she finds the right place. She squats down, stares at the black sky, and pees on a very special stick.

The results are not positive.

They’re positive.

NEXT WEEK: Will Shane shave off his eyebrows and nipples, too? Will Glenn get to use another condom? What will a pregnancy do for Rick and Lori’s already rocky marriage?