Hello all you more sympathetic siblings of terrible racists and welcome back to the feature I’m doing specifically for my mom even though she doesn’t read any of these! We’re halfway through the first season and things are…well not heating up but stuff has definitely happened. In this episode families are reunited, friends quarrel, and the Punisher finally lives up to his name. And we’re introduced to one of the fan-favorite characters of the show: Daryl. Let’s dive right in!
We begin with Michael Rooker on the roof, babbling to himself like he’s been there for days even though he’s definitely only been there for like an hour. He goes from babbling, to pleading with Jesus to save him, to telling Jesus he’ll never beg him for anything again, to trying to get at a saw. Meanwhile some zombos are creepin on him. Rick and co. are driving back to the survivor camp and Morales is trying to make him feel better by saying no one will miss Michael Rooker – and immediately says he has a brother. Yeah, sure, definitely gonna be no issues there.
Back at the survivor camp, people are milling about and Punisher is acting like Carl’s dad, telling him that he’ll teach him how to catch frogs if he’s good while Lori cuts his hair. They hear Glenn tearing ass through the valley, car alarm still blaring, and they all start to freak out. You’d think he would have ditched that car and gotten into the RV on the way back, considering zombos are drawn to sound…but apparently Glenn’s a dummy.
We get this really kinda dumb scene where all of the group gets out of the RV and Rick just sits inside looking sad, then Lori and Carl look at the RV and they look sad cus they’re still holding out hope that Rick is still alive (I guess, though we’ll learn something later that makes that weird), and then Rick fiiinally gets out of the RV and he and his family have their reunion. Punisher watches them with just the most disappointed look on his face the whole time, then we cut to that night where Punisher is STILL looking at them with wide-eyed disappointment. Show some damn class Punisher!
We get a quick introduction to a character named Ed who…clearly beats his wife. He wants to use an extra log in his fire cus it’s cold but Punisher tells him no. Things get tense and it seems like Punisher’s gonna kick his ass until he relents. And then…Rick is in the family tent and we get just…the most awkward sex scene ever. I get that Lori is feeling guilty about having sex with the Punisher but god this scene made me so uncomfortable. It doesn’t help that the actors don’t really have any chemistry. Also Punisher is on top of an RV watching their tent in a real creepy way. So that’s a thing.
The next day they destroy Glenn’s car and a zombo wanders near their camp. They make a big deal out of this because apparently no zombos have ever come near their camp before but no time to ponder that they have to kill the zombo in literally the dumbest way possible. Let’s set the scene: there’s a zombo on its knees, eating a deer and not paying any attention to you; there are five of you all with weapons; all of you know that you have to destroy a zombo’s brain to kill it. What do you do? If you said surround it, wait for it to notice you so it can stand up and lunge at one of your faces, then savagely beat its body without even trying to go for the head…congratulations! You’re a fucking idiot and you would somehow survive in The Walking Dead universe.
Finally an old man – Dale – chops the thing’s head off with an axe. And then Daryl shows up! Yaaaaaay. People love him so it’s a good thing he’s here I guess. Apparently he had been tracking the deer that the zombo was eating and he’s none too pleased that they can no longer eat it. He also calls the zombo a “poxy bastard” which is…weird. Is that a thing southerner’s say? It doesn’t seem like it would be. And he shoots the zombo through the eye because apparently they’re still alive even if they’re decapitated. Anyway he finds out that Merle (I’m guessing their dad’s name was Earl) was left in the city and he’s all pissed off so he pulls a knife on Rick but the Punisher subdues him and they decide to go into the city to get Merle back.
So we gotta talk about Lori. Once again, the show is framing Lori as unreasonable despite the fact that she’s speaking perfect sense. She’s mad that Rick wants to go back for Merle considering he JUST GOT BACK after they thought he was dead. They have a son, a very young son who just got his father back, and he wants to immediately abandon them again. It’s a patently ridiculous thing to do. There are other people who can go, T-Dog is itching to go cus he feels bad about losing the key, Daryl obviously wants to go, Punisher gets visibly erect when Rick mentions there’s a bag of guns that he left behind. Let other people go so you can be with your family you asshole. He gets his way, of course, and Punisher gives him some bullets.
Later, Punisher is showing Carl how to catch frogs. A nearby group of women as watching them while they do laundry and wondering why they have to do all the washing. Which is a good point. Good to see that in the face of a zombo apocalypse they just revert to sexist gender roles. Also Ed is there, watching them while smoking. Then his wife, Carol, laughs with the rest of the women as they think fondly back on their old lives and their vibrators.
Lori comes by to tell Punisher that their relationship is over and we find out that he told her that Rick was dead. That’s fucked up Punisher. Real fucked up. She’s only schtupping you because she thought Rick was dead. Soooooooo that’s basically rape. Damn dude. Anyway she tells him to stay away from her and Carl forever and as she walks away he gives her just the most toxically masculine “ima kill you girl” look in the world. So…yeah immediate turn to villainy is imminent.
Anyway Ed comes down to berate Carol for the crime of laughing. The other women defend her and he winds up slapping her. So Punisher gets his juices flowing and beats the ever-loving shit out of Ed. Congratulations Ed…you just got Punished.
And then Rick and co. find Merle’s hand on top of the roof and Daryl screams, thinking he’s dead. But we know better. Michael Rooker doesn’t die so easily. He will rise again, harder and stronger.
I gotta say, not a lot happened in this episode. It’s pretty bad when three episodes in you’re already putting a lot of filler into your show. But then that’s a frequent issue with hour long dramas and the show is still technically finding its sea legs. We’ll see what happens with the rest of the season.