Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)

T-Dog Finally Contributes!

If you’re one of the many Walking Dead viewers who loves to complain about how there’s more “talking” than flesh-eaters walking, you’re probably stewing about last night’s episode, “Cherokee Rose.” There was a whopping total of one zombie to be seen, and that sole walker did nothing other than look revolting, flail its arms at Glenn (Steven Yeun) while they were both in a well, and then rip in half in one of the AMC show’s nastier moments to date. Aside from that one ghoul, though, “Cherokee Rose” was devoid of the undead. Yes, it was one of those character development hours, which are, of course, important to the overall narrative yet do little to please the single-minded gore whores out there.

But at least a few of those character moments were quite meaningful. First, however, let’s focus on the episode’s lone zombie kill. For once, the still hilariously named T-Dog (IronE Singleton) was actually given the chance to do something. After he apologizes to Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) about his delirious rant in the season’s second episode, “Bloodletting," the one where he said the rest of the group belittles them and that they should split off on their path, T-Dog keeps pumping the well outside of the Hershel farm, which prompts Dale to have a peek inside said well. And what does he see? That obese, roly poly, deformed zombie at its bottom, though they can’t shoot it in the head to kill it since that’d contaminate the water—as if they fact that the damn thing has been chilling inside a pool of the water for god-knows-how-long hasn’t already spoiled the agua (Bullshit Call No. 1, Walking Dead producers).

So, naturally, they decide to use Glenn as “live bait” once again, dangling him from a rope atop the zombie so he can lasso its cold fat body with a harness rope. Which he does, but not without the expected near-death, rope-gives-up-too-much-slack shot (Bullshit Call No. 2—when the hell did Glenn get the noose around the zombie's body?). The whole in-well ordeal is shown, and there's no shot of Glenn lassoing the monster.

As they’re pulling the fat lifeless bastard out of the well, its waist area gets stuck on the brick, rubbing against it with the ferocity of two sticks around a campfire—thus, its lower half separates from the upper portion and falls back into the well, along with a healthy portion of its entrails. T-Dog, thinking what we’re all thinking, strolls over and bashes the zombie’s head in, firing at Shane (Joe Bernthal) and the rest of the present crew, “Good thing we didn’t do anything stupid, like shoot it.” Ladies and gentleman, after ten Walking Dead episodes, your boy T-Dog finally gets his big scene…one that’s not really that big, but stands out amongst an otherwise violence-deficient hour.

Having Babies and Bumping Uglies

In theory, by the end of “Cherokee Rose,” we should be happy for Glenn, who follows through on his less-than-10-minutes’ worth of sexual tension with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) by knocking her boots inside the local pharmacy, where the Hershel farm’s hottest resident and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) people’s “own go-to-town expert” stop to pick up some supplies. Inside the RX, Glenn fumbles around the “Feminine Hygiene” section looking for a pregnancy test for Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), who has asked him to grab one for her discreetly. Maggie catches him, interrogates him about kinky stuff, and then randomly declares, “I’ll have sex with you.” And then they smash.

Score, right? For Glenn, absolutely—Maggie’s a fine little piece. But for The Walking Dead’s creative team? Well, they’ve scored themselves Bullshit Call No. 3; granted, we’ve never been in a zombie apocalypse, but it seems a bit unrealistic that a chick like Maggie would, seemingly out of nowhere, give it up. We’re all for a Maggie-and-Glenn romance (hell, Mr. Live Bait deserves it by now), but how about building some foundation first? Their little tryst was designed to be profound—Maggie didn’t say “You’re not the only one who’s lonely” for nothing. And, had there been more than two scenes in Season Two so far between the two of them, the scene’s degree of catharsis would’ve been heightened. As it stands, Maggie’s down-for-the-cause show of affection just makes us wish we’d find ourselves in a zombie apocalypse with the quickness.

But, hey, maybe knocking on death’s door makes a person more apt to have sex for the fuck of it—that’s what’s gotten Lori into her whole mess with Shane. And now, thanks to the pregnancy test that Glenn so discreetly brought back to the farm, she knows that she is in fact with child, the seed possibly belonging to Shane. Yet another factor that will make the inevitable smackdown between Rick and Shane an epic tussle; hopefully by then they’ll have found Sophia (Madison Lintz), who, yes, is still missing. And we’re quickly losing interest in her well-being.

The Sappiness Pays Off…In Doses

The prolonged search-and-rescue mission for Sophia certainly hasn’t reached its apathetic stage for badass Daryl (Norman Reedus). First, he heads off into the woods on his own to conduct yet another investigation with his trusty crossbow, during which he explores a rundown farmhouse where he notices a little sleeping station prepared inside a closet. Which better be that of fucking Sophia. Once back with his fellow road warriors, Daryl finds grieving mother Carol (Melissa McBride) redecorating the inside of their trailer, so it looks nice for Sophia when she returns.

Daryl hands a white flower to Carol (a petal he plucked outside of the farmhouse he happened across), and explains to her that it’s a Cherokee Rose, a piece of folklore heard in stories of Cherokee Indian mothers who sobbed over dead loved ones, and how their tears hit the ground and caused the roses to bloom. Daryl reassures a teary-eyed Carol that the flower he’s given her is for Sophia, and that she’s going to love the trailer’s new interior. For the show’s fiercest terminator, Daryl sure is becoming a softie at heart, and it’s a testament to Reedus’ solid performance that we’re not feeling any forced emo overload during his more tender scenes. Daryl’s easily one of Season Two’s MVPs to this point.

The same can’t be said for Rick, who’s spent most of the season engaging in often groan-sparking speeches about faith, god, and “choices.” Without fail, he had another one of those religious chats with Hershel (Scott Wilson) within “Cherokee Rose,” citing that between his own shooting and that of Carl, he’s “trying not to get in [God’s] way” anymore. Much like Hershel doesn’t want Rick’s group getting in his own way too much longer, though Rick talks the elder gent into letting them hang around as long as they abide by Hershel’s rules, “aspects of [which he] can’t discuss.”

One of Rick’s quiet bits was entirely successful, fortunately, and it came alongside Carl, still resting in his bed. Carl points out that he and pops have both been shot, which gives them something to have in common; Rick, honoring Carl’s induction into “the club,” gives his son his sheriff’s hat amidst declarations of love and genuine father/son bonding. And that, folks, was The Walking Dead’s first legitimately poignant moment shared between Andrew Lincoln and young Chandler Riggs, something far stronger than the show’s usual “You should buy their love because they are, in fact, father and son” suggestions.

Now if they’d only find Sophia so we can get one of those exchanges for Melissa McBride and Madison Lintz. Or not—just finding Sophia (dead or alive) will generate enough satisfaction.

Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)