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"Cherokee Rose" a metaphor on The Walking Dead

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Written by : published Wednesday 9th November 2011

     "Cherokee Rose," the newst episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, finds Rick (Andrew Lincoln) pleading with a very reluctant Hershel (Scott Wilson, CSI) to let the group settle on his farm. He says he'll think about it. But does one want to settle in a place where a zombie is found in a well? Well, Glenn (Steven Yeun) may still want to, after a steamy encounter with cute farmer's daughter, Maggie (Lauren Cohan, Chuck, The Vampire Diaries), even after she tells him it's a one-time thing. Anyway, now that the survivors (temporarily, at least) have a base, a thorough search can begin for Sophia (Madison Lintz).

     How did the zombie get into Hershel's well? There are no zombies to be seen on the farm, and the residents seem pretty secure, not even worrying about leaving visible lights on at night. This indicates there may be more security present that is immediately apparent. It also is enough to wonder if perhaps someone put the zombie into the well purposely. After all, there are a number of wells on the farm, and the central group is sent specifically to that one. Of course, if the zombie is placed there purposely, not much is done to hide it, so it's really kind of a situation that doesn't make much sense when examined too closely.

     Even more confusing is Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and T-Dog's (IronE Singleton) plan to get the zombie out of the well alive, so as not to contaminate the water. Since zombies are, essentially, rotting corpses, surely the water is already unfit to drink. Whether it will infect anyone with the zombie virus or not doesn't matter. There are pieces of flesh coming off, and pus and other liquids dripping into the water supply. Zombies are not clean and hygienic. The entire exercise of removing the zombie is pointless.

     Continuing on the weirdness of this scene, Glenn should not be used as bait, nor should a canned ham, for that matter. The survivors know that zombies don't go for dead things, and surely saving an entire ham when supplies are scarce and not easy to replenish trumps what they are doing. And they are on a farm, so there has to be an animal around that would make better bait than Glenn. Plus, after the rope breaks and Glenn is struggling, it is predictable that when he is pulled up, he has already accomplished the task. Yet, despite the assumption and confirmation that this is what happens, it doesn't appear realistic in the moment, given what is shown of Glenn's panicked struggles.

     But enough about the one bad scene in an otherwise great episode. Even The Walking Dead is allowed an occasional mistake.

     Hershel becomes a bit more mysterious and less friendly in "Cherokee Rose." While previously offering hospitality, he now wants everyone to move on as soon as they are able. Rick asks him to reconsider, and Hershel agrees, but doesn't seem too eager to relent, also mentioning that there are things that he will not discuss. Readers of the comic books know something is lurking in Hershel's barn, which is mentioned, but not in a suspicious way, in "Cherokee Rose." What might the screen version of Hershel be hiding, and why can't he share that with Rick?

     Despite Hershel's insistence, Rick looks to be staying. He puts his badge away in a dresser drawer in Hershel's house, and promises to follow Hershel's rules, even avoiding questioning their host, as he should. This points to Rick's willingness to do whatever needs to be done so that they can stay in this comparitively secure location.

     One thing that could get the main gang kicked off of the farm is if the truth ever comes out about how Shane (Jon Bernthal) kills Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince, The Mentalist, Deadwood). Shane gets up and spins a hero's story about the death of Otis at his wake, but viewers know that Shane murders Otis so that he can escape with the medical equipment needed to heal Carl (Chandler Riggs). Shane's actions may make sense from a completely intellectual standpoint, but that will not endear him to Otis's friends in any way.

     Shane is having quite a rough time dealing with his actions, and he should be. As he tells Andrea (Laurie Holden), sometimes decisions must be made in a split second, and emotion cannot factor in. The brain shuts down, and instincts rule. This is obviously what Shane believes happens when he shoots Otis, which makes sense, as Shane is not a bad guy, and he shows no sign of leaving Otis prior to that moment. He does what he must do because he values Carl over Otis. In that regard, it's a simple, justifiable decision.

     A huge part of why Shane feels as he does about Carl is because of his love for Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), probably the only person who would easily forgive Shane for his actions, should they ever come out. Lori allows Shane to stay with the group, even though she asks him to leave earlier, because Shane risks his life to save Carl. Lori values her son above others, too, and it grateful for Shane's save. But Lori is also in love with her husband, Rick. And whether her unborn baby turns out to be Rick's or Shane's, of which there may not even be a way to tell, she probably will stay with Rick if she can. It matters little to her that Shane fancies himself a better protector and provider.

     It is surprising that Shane is not a hero of The Walking Dead anymore, and that redneck Daryl (Norman Reedus) is much more likable. Daryl goes out of his way to hunt down Sophia, though he doesn't have to, and may even find a clue in "Cherokee Rose." Looking in an abandoned house, Daryl discovers recently eaten food packaging and a makeshift bed. Who else could it be besides Sophia? In a very tender moment, Daryl picks a "Cherokee Rose" from the site and presents it to worried mother Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride). He doesn't mention what he sees, so as not to give Carol false hope. Daryl's selfless and compassionate acts may point to many having misjudged him.

     Is love blooming between Maggie and Glenn? She says that their sexual encounter in the pharmacy is a one time thing, done only to relieve mutual loneliness. But Glenn is a good guy that proves his bravery to her twice in "Cherokee Rose," with his actions at the well and his willingness to go into town. They both seem like great people, who deserve a little happiness in a dark time. With her options limited, Maggie may reconsider Glenn down the line. He couldn't do any better, under any circumstances. The only question is, how would Maggie having real feelings for Glenn jeopardize Hershel's plan to kick them all off of the farm?

     Only three episodes left before The Walking Dead takes a couple of months hiatus! Do not miss it Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

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Article first published as TV Review: The Walking Dead - "What Lies Ahead" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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