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The Walking Dead: “Vatos” Review

I’m starting to feel like a broken record. Every week we get a new episode of The Walking Dead, and every week they somehow manage to beat out the previous.  While “Vatos” started off slower, it built itself up nicely, made a couple of twists and turns, and packed a punch in the last ten minutes or so.  (Oh and if you haven’t figured it out yet from my previous reviews, I do talk of spoilers and plot points.  Just be warned).

The episode opens with the sisterly bonding between Andrea and Amy (played by Emma Bell), who are reminiscing about their fishing obsessed father.  Looking back on it, this felt almost like a low blow for the writers of the show (and what have we here, this week’s episode was written by the comic creator himself, Robert Kirkman), knowing what happens at the end of the episode.   The two crying over how their father knew that Amy needed to throw the fish back, and Andrea needed to catch them, due to their polar opposite personalities, was emotionally on the dot and just what we needed to get closer to the siblings.  And makes it that much sadder when one is made the main course for zombie-thanksgiving.

Putting those sissy emotions aside (I mean this IS a show about the zombie apocalypse) Rick and his crew are still in Atlanta, and finding their simple rescue mission is hitting more than a few road blocks.  Merle is missing (someone may have watched Saw one too many times, I think) and Glenn gets kidnapped by an unknown group of Mexican hoodlums.

I loved the way Daryl reacts to Glenn’s kidnapping.  Just when you think he’s uncaring, calling Glenn “kid” for the entire episode, and throwing Merle’s cut off hand into Glenn’s backpack without asking, he’s suddenly feverish with anger, yelling at the young kid the kidnappers left behind.  And even when they discover Merle stole their van and is probably headed back to camp; he looks genuinely scared for the campers.  Norman Reedus is doing great at evoking the air of caring for his brother, but still having awareness that the guy’s kind of an A-hole, and showing he may care for his fellow survivors way more than he lets on.

Rick, Daryl, Glenn and T-Dog formulate a plan to find Merle and simultaneously get Rick's guns back. On a side note, "T-Dog"? Really?

Speaking of those seemingly mean and rough group of guys who kidnap Glenn, I loved how they turn out to be, well, the complete opposite.  Right when Rick pulls out his shotgun, ready to shoot up the entire place to get Glenn back – “He could have left me in that tank, but he didn’t.  I owe him” – one of their grandmothers strolls out and takes them right to Glenn.  It’s weird and pretty funny to see such machismo filled guys succumb to the words of an almost incoherent old lady.

After Rick and the gang get back (having given the group of survivors back in Atlanta some of their guns and ammo) and realize Merle stole their van, they run to camp.  Everyone is sitting around the fire, Dale quoting Faulkner and everyone enjoying the fish Amy and Andrea caught earlier, and Amy gets up to use the bathroom (not without a fair share of inquisition from her sister).  This entire camping scene is nerve-wracking just because we’re waiting for Merle to show up any second with some crazed agenda of revenge.

What actually happens, as you may have deduced, is a zombie attack.  Numerous unimportant characters get knocked off, but also Ed (Carol’s abusive husband), and Amy.  That opening scene made this about one hundred times worse, as Amy (bit several times on the arm and neck) bleeds out onto a screaming and hysterical Andrea.  Laurie Holden gets major props here.  She shows bare bones, unmitigated grief as her baby sister dies in her arms.

It's sad just looking at it

Even knowing it would happen from reading the comics didn’t help my completely unprepared mind from freaking out when that first zombie popped out next to Amy.  “Vatos” really helped show how deep and personal the show is getting, as the audience gets more and more attached to its characters.

Having only two measly episodes left (here’s that broken record again) I simply can’t wait to see what goes down next.  With Amy’s pitiful demise, we get the picture that things are really starting to move along.  And with the walkers’ invasion of the camp, we’re left wondering if the survivors are going to stay and continue to fight or pack up and flee.  But hey, on a positive note, Rick got his sheriff’s hat back!

So how did you guys react to last night’s emotionally draining episode of The Walking Dead?

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  • I just knew something terrible would happen towards the end. I thought it would end with the guy in the tend but the human buffet didn’t stop there. Great episode though.

  • KimiE

    Sucks for Andrea. I would feel like crying too if my sis was dying but i would have to shoot her to save the others. Poor sweetie and Amy. But, it is the apocalypse

  • Robin

    It was a mixed episode but the last five minutes was very strong. It sent a good message about the show’s intensity and tragedy going forward. More of that on the podcast http://www.thetvcritic.org/casts/34.The_Walking_Dead_104_Vatos.mp3