Tonight's adventure: "Vatos"
"Oh. Old People."
This week's episode was written by Invincible creator Robert Kirkman.
Sisters Andrea and Amy sit in a boat out on the Kool-Aid blue waters of the quarry. They have different fishing methods, though both are well experienced. "As you know," Andrea explains, "We are sisters, twelve years apart in age."
"Yes," says Amy. Their father taught them each different knots, because they too are different. They wonder whether their parents survived all this down in Florida. It might be better down there. But then again it probably isn't.
Like the bespectacled eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, Dale sees all from his perch atop the mobile home. He spies Jim the mechanic up on a hill, digging at a frenzied pace. Dale does not like what he sees.
Meanwhile, in the dead metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia: Daryl the redneck reels on T-Dog, ready to launch an arrow between the man's eyes. He admonishes T-Dog for leaving his brother in the kind of situation that would necessitate sawing off his own hand. Rick steps in, leveling his sidearm at Daryl, promising he won't hesitate to put him down. Daryl backs off, gathers Merle's discarded hand in a hand-kerchief, which he stashes in Glenn's backpack. They follow the trail of blood down into the building.
Back on the outskirts of the camp, Dale approaches Jim about his digging. Jim does not wish to discuss his digging. It's a private kind of digging.
Amy and Andrea present their haul of quarry fish to the rest of the camp. They are all impressed, tired of eating squirrel and Kellog's blueberry Nutri-Grain bars. It is too bad the quarry does not have an Arby's. Dale shows up to ruin everyone's fun, alerting them to Jim's new hobby of digging human-sized holes.
"Like the Shia LaBeouf movie," Shane mumbles. And no one understands.
In Atlanta, Rick and his crew follow Merle's trail through the department store. They take out a few walkers, but Merle has already done much of the job for them. They discover a kitchenette where Merle used a hot skillet to cauterize his wound. Gross, we say, just moments after a jawless walker is executed on screen. Merle's trail ends at a smashed window, where he seems to have made his escape. If they're to follow him, they'll need Rick's lost satchel of guns.
Shane and the rest of the camp for some odd reason, approach Jim, who's still burrowing. Using sophisticated psychological methods, Shane attempts to calm the man so he'll stop freaking everybody the fuck out. Jim refuses to relent, continuing to dig and never offering his reasons. It's hot, says Shane. Take a break. I'll come back later and help you. Jim questions Shane's authority and wonders whether he'll be pummeled into submission for disobeying. Lori implores Jim to knock it off because he's scaring the kids. Shane finally wrestles the man to the ground, not attacking him, but cuffing him. Jim breaks down, saying the only reason he escaped the walkers in the first place was because they were too busy eating his wife and kids.
Who wants fish?
Glenn uses the floor as a dry erase board, pitching his plan for grabbing the bag of guns. He'll run in to secure the package while Daryl covers him from one side. If Glenn is unable to return that way, he'll escape to a position 90 degrees and two blocks off, where Rick and T-Dog will wait for him. Daryl wonders where Glenn developed his tactical skills. In a previous life, Glenn delivered pizzas.
They split up and Daryl covers Glenn out in the alley. Here comes the first wince-inducing moment in the episode, when Daryl refers to Glenn as a "Chinaman" and Glenn is forced to correct him, saying he's Korean. It feels anachronistic here, a slur that this young character probably wouldn't use, unless ironically. And it didn't come off as such. Anyways, crossbow up. Glenn makes a mad dash onto the block, ducking behind abandoned cars as he makes his way toward the tank and the dropped bag. The walkers take notice, but he's quick enough to grab the bag as well as Rick's hat and make it back to the alley.
Men jump both Daryl and Glenn in an attempt to take the bag. Daryl fights them off, firing an arrow into one man's ass. A car pulls up and the men subdue Glenn, pulling him into the vehicle and speeding off. Daryl tries to take chase, but he's forced to close the gate into the alley when a swarm of walkers appear from the other side. Rick and T-Dog arrive in time to grab the guns and grab the remaining attacker, a scrawny kid in a wifebeater.
Shane brings water to Jim, who sits shackled to a tree. Lori and the kids sit just a few yards away for storytelling reasons. Jim has calmed down a bit and apologizes for his actions, especially for spooking the kids. He doesn't know why he started digging the holes, except it has something to do with a dream he had. Jim creepily assures Carl that his dad can do just about anything, that it'll all be okay. When the boy wanders off to do man stuff with Shane, Jim looks at Lori and implores her to never take her eyes off the kid. Lori nods politely.
The scrawny kid Miguel leads Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog to an old factory where they intend to reclaim Glenn. The leader of this operation is a man called Guillermo, who emerges from a loading dock. Guillermo is not a very big man, but whenever he speaks he either gesticulates with his hands, shrugs, or turns his head to the side as if working a jawbreaker or experiencing a small stroke. The deal is this. They want the guns, which they see as finders keepers since it was out on the street. They'll kill Glenn if they don't get Miguel and the bag. Guillermo doesn't much care that T-Dog sits on a nearby rooftop, sniper rifle aimed at the man's brain. Rick calls times and they shuffle off to regroup.
Rick feels he owes his life to Glenn, so they're going in after them. The boys arm themselves to the teeth. They return to the factory, ready for a standoff. It's essentially a suicide mission, given the numbers. Luckily, all is not as it seems. An old woman appears, looking for assistance. Guillermo seems embarrassed. The assembled warriors instantly soften, and Rick immediately lies about the situation, saying that Guillermo and crew are simply helping him with a missing persons case. The old lady then leads them off to find Glenn. See, the reality of the situation is that this rough urban street gang is really just a bunch of keys watching out for the abandoned seniors at an old age home. Guillermo was once a custodian. Others are nurses or relatives of the elderly patients. Glenn is in no real danger, watching as one of the "thugs" aids a man experiencing an asthma attack. Rick freely offers the majority of the weapons to Guillermo and his people before heading back out to the street.
The boys head back to find their van missing. Merle. Shit. Shit.
Andrea looks for wrapping paper in Dale's RV, and he tries to help. It's Amy birthday tomorrow, and she wants to wrap the necklace she looted for her.
Jim is freed and invited to join in the fish fry with the others. Father of the year Ed naps in his tent, ignoring his family's offer to join them at dinner. His face is a bruised and swollen mass of yellow and purple, capillaries burst in eyes. Shane walloped him good.
Dale tells everyone some batty old person story about clocks or something and then Amy has to tinkle.
Ed hears movement outside his tent, and he grouchily turns from his nap to look outside. A walker waits just outside the flap, and it immediately rushes him. What's weird is he actually looks worse than the thing that's gnawing on his wind pipe. And it's not alone.
A swarm of walkers descends upon the camp. As Amy steps out of the RV, one of them attacks, sinking its teeth into her exposed arm. Shane begins dropping the zombies from the high ground, firing headshot after headshot. Down below, Jim and Morales lay into the walker with baseball bats. Soon Rick and his crew appear and join the fight. Up on the hill, Rick races to Lori and Carl, embracing the frightened boy. Behind them, Andrea cradles a dying Amy in her arms, horrified and racked with grief. The girl dies there and Andrea unleashes a primal, despondent moan.
Jim remembers his dream then. "Why I dug the holes."
Quick plug: An in depth discussion between myself and cohost Dave Accampo on the first two episodes of the series.