The Walking Dead "Bloodletting" - TV Review


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Is the kid going to buy the farm?

THE ONE WHERE Rick takes the injured Carl to Hershel's farm, and Shane heads off to find the medical supplies needed to save the boy's life.

VERDICT Does it feel to anyone else like The Walking Dead has become more of a Romero-style shambler than a sprinting Infected this year? Maybe that’s just the impression you get if you know the comic, in which Carl’s gunshot wound is a matter dealt with surprisingly quickly and easily; here, it’s magnified into a life-threatening situation that’s the focus of an entire episode. Perhaps that says something about the difference between writing for an audience of horror buffs and writing for a more general audience who are used to drama with a more domestic focus. We’ve already had “lost kid”, now we’re getting “dying kid”.

Still, getting shot isn’t the trivial business which Robert Kirkman suggests in the comic more than once, so this new treatment does have greater verisimilitude. T-Dog’s blood infection underlines the point being made here about the fragility of our heroes’ lives - in a world without casualty departments and ambulances, almost any kind of injury is liable to prove fatal.

There are numerous neat little character moments, perhaps the best of which is Shane’s pep talk to Rick. The duality of Shane’s nature continues to fascinate: is he a wife-stealing attempted rapist, or a courageous, loyal man striving to do the right thing?

The chief thing that lets the episode down is, once again, the continuing hunt for Sophia, which is really starting to drag on now. It’s entirely lacking in drama, partly because Carol doesn’t seem that upset: shouldn’t she be screaming blue murder every time someone declares that it’s time to call off the search for another day? This subplot really better pay off – and soon.

STAR TURN Andrew Lincoln delivers a superb performance, preventing the episode ever veering into lachrymose Hallmark Movie Of The Week territory by powerfully conveying Rick’s feelings of helplessness and his terror that his son might die.

IT’S WOSSERNAME! If the face of Hershel’s daughter Maggie rings a bell it may be because of Lauren Cohan’s recurring role as British cat-burglar Bela Talbot in Supernatural season three.

BEST LINE Glenn: “All I know is that this chick rode out of nowhere like Zorro on a horse and took Lori away.”

Ian Berriman

Read all our Walking Dead season two reviews here.

The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Friday nights on FX .

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Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.