Episode Title: Tell It to the Frogs
Original Airdate: 11-14-10
As Rick heads to the survivors’ camp with Glenn and the rest, the abandoned Merle frantically tries to find an escape from the department store roof as Walkers try to barge through the chained door. The group returns to camp and everyone has a wonderful reunion with their loved ones, including Rick and a very shocked Lori and Carl. However, when Daryl returns from a hunting trip, he is less than pleased that his big brother was left behind, handcuffed to a roof by the new guy. Angering his wife, Rick decides to head back to Atlanta to try to retrieve Merle, with Daryl, T-Dog and Glenn. Once there, they find Merle’s severed hand and no Merle. Meanwhile, Lori confronts Shane about lying to her regarding Rick being dead. She also warns him to stay away from her and Carl, ending their affair. Shane then takes his rage out on an abusive Ed who just finished slapping his wife, Carol.
So the reunion we were all longing for happened, and to this day, I still tear up. The looks of disbelief and happiness on everyone’s faces, even those in the background, are so uplifting, it’s hard to believe the show was able to make such a connection with the audience on just the third episode. Since the pilot began with Rick talking to Shane about his marital issues, the reunion is made even more touching, because this couple that was separated during difficult times has truly been given a second chance against all odds.
Unfortunately in the same breath, Lori becomes one of the most annoying characters on the show. It was rather immediate too. At her earliest opportunity she confronts Shane and rips him to shreds. Of course, at this point we don’t know that Shane is a complete psychopath, but still she tries to destroy the man who saved her and her son as a courtesy to his best friend. I understand she was mad at him for declaring Rick dead, but logically speaking, who wouldn’t have thought Rick would be dead in that situation? I’ve always felt Lori was so poorly written in the early days, that it forever marred her reputation. She’s always angry at some man, and never seems grateful to just be alive with her family. It’s a trait that will pretty much follow her to the grave.
A “now and then” comparison must be made for current fan favorites Carol and Daryl, both of whom are introduced in this episode. Carol is very much a withdrawn figure, standing in the shadow of abusive husband Ed. Even at night, they sit at their own campfire with their daughter, instead of joining everyone else. After enduring years of his torture (more we hear about in later seasons), she still runs to his aid after Shane nearly beats him to death, not a minute after Ed hit her. Surely she feels that his protection in this new cruel world is better than no protection at all. And who would have thought Daryl and his crossbow would now be so iconic? In his early days, Daryl is very much like his white trash brother, and I remember hoping he would end up dead on the return trip to Atlanta. But where would the Group be without him? Surely Rick didn’t initially think this man who attacked him with dead squirrels and a knife five minutes into their first meeting would end up his best friend. It just shows how the writers can really develop a character for the better when they want to, while others just keep repeating the same annoying mistakes.
Lastly, it took FIVE adults to take down one docile, distracted Walker. And they didn’t even damage the brain. Come on guys, you have to do better than that.