luke kalamar tries to avoid getting shivved…
Plot: The prison is not as vacant as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) once thought. A small group of convicts lead by Tomas (Nick Gomez) has survived the outbreak by locking themselves into a cafeteria. This causes unforeseen consequences for Rick and his group who now call the prison home. On top of this, Hershel (Scott Wilson) is rapidly losing blood following the amputation of his bitten ankle by Rick. In a race against time, Rick has to both find a way to save Hershel and quell this potential threat the convicts pose.
Right off the bat, this episode starts off very positively. The transition between the end of the season premiere, “Seed,” and the beginning of “Sick” is flawless. It’s as if the two episodes were shot back to back. “Seed” was probably one of the most exciting episodes of this entire series, so it was great to see the thrill continue on with “Sick.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many shows end an episode with force, only to have the following episode start off weakly. Needless to say, I was instantly hooked from the beginning. Thankfully, this episode was able to keep the intensity going for the most part. There were a few weak moments unfortunately, but the overall quality was very high.
I knew all about the convicts before this season even aired because I’ve been reading the comics for quite a while. There was little news about their inclusion before the premiere however, and considering how much the show has diverted from the source material, I had no idea if they would appear or not. The convicts were an essential part to the prison arc in the comics, so I was very happy to see them. The idea that there are still people out there who aren’t aware of the zombie apocalypse was a great twist to the story as well. Since the convicts were sealed away when the epidemic began, it only makes sense that they would have no knowledge of the outside world. Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus), and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) trying to teach the convicts how to properly kill zombies was easily one of the highlights of this episode. It was actually pretty funny to watch the convicts act all tough and try to kill the zombies as if they were regular living humans. This also provided a nice way to measure how much Rick and his group has evolved compared to those who have never killed a zombie before.
The new nickname for Rick should be “No Shit Rick” following this episode as well. Sure, we saw how aggressive Rick became in the Season Two finale, but that was between him and the people he’s grown close to. This episode is really the first time we see this new Rick interact with people he really does not care about. In order to find peace between the convicts, Rick promises Tomas that they can have their own cell block. Rick also warns Tomas that he has only one chance to gain Rick’s trust, or else the consequences will be severe. I don’t want to say what happens, but I will say that when Rick now says one chance, he truly does mean one chance. There is no looking the other way. It was both amazing and shocking to see this continuing evolution of Rick’s character.
As I said before, there were a few weak moments with the episode. First of all, Michonne and Andrea did not even appear. I understand that the main focus right now is what is going on at the prison, but as the premiere indicated, we can still learn about what those two are doing along with the main group. I want to know more about what is going on with them. I feel that the writers could have probably found some place to put Michonne and Andrea in. They are main characters too and their absence felt a bit weird.
Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) adverse reaction to Carl (Chandler Riggs) killing some walkers to get medicine for Hershel felt a bit out of place as well. Several months have gone by since the farm, and obviously Carl has become much more self-reliant during that time. Surely Lori could have become more accepting of her son’s new found bravery in the face of danger. She had no problem with his actions in the premiere as well. Granted, I do understand her frustration considering Hershel’s injury and the fact that Carl is still her young son, but there is no place for coddling in this type of world. I know Carl’s frustration with his mother now though, and why that whole sub-plot exists in the first place.
Lastly, the convicts really had no formal introduction in the episode. The only reason I know their names is because they are online. For a while it was just Tomas and group of unnamed men. I thought that was a bit strange honestly. If these convicts are truly going to try to compromise with Rick, surely he would’ve taken time to at least learn their names first. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the convicts played a huge role in the prison arc for the comics. Considering what happened in the episode, I can easily conclude that the show is planning to do away with most of the stories that revolve around these prisoners. That disappoints me because those parts of the comics lead to some truly life changing moments for the characters. It also leads me to think that the prison will only be a one season type of deal, which is something I really disapprove of.
Overall, this was another amazing addition to this already sterling series. The action was intense, the ending was very emotional, and there were no moments were I felt bored or disinterested. I absolutely love that Daryl, Glenn (Steven Yeun), and T-Dog have become Rick’s right hand men too. I remember making fun of T-Dog throughout Season Two because his character had about one line per episode and did practically nothing. Now his character has become extremely hardcore and it makes the show that much better. If it wasn’t for those moments that held this episode back, this would have been another perfect in my eyes.
All Photos Credit: AMC