Director: Johan Renck.
Writers : Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.
Episode 4 of “The Walking Dead” entitled “Vatos” aired last night (November 21st) and the reel was significant for showing another surviving group in the midst of Atlanta. Also, the climax was effective in showing that the zombies can threaten and do attack characters. This is the fourth episode and only now has a member been bitten and turned onscreen! This seems strange, but the episode was well played, with Merle Dixon an ever looming villainous figure.
In case you did not see the show, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) return to Atlanta for two primary reasons. They are there to retrieve a bag of firearms from downtown and to find, then release Merle Dixon from the confines of his handcuffs. However, Merle is long gone, after removing his hand to facilitate his escape. There are also challenges to retrieving the guns, as a Latino gang fights for control of the streets. Many events do not go as planned, with the final three to four minutes showing that the zombies in a zombie apocalypse can and do infect others.
The one critique that began to emerge in this episode was the total inability of the zombie hordes to impose any type of threat upon the characters. Thankfully this all changed, with director Johan Renck (“Breaking Bad”) bringing in a swarm of the undead in the closing moments. Did Merle have anything to with this attack? The answer would be a likely no, but this vindictive character did not show himself in the episode at all (outside of his amputated hand). So, this possibility remains.
This episode was also important for showing that man’s greatest threat is often another man, or woman. The gangsters threatened to derail Glenn’s plan for gun retrieval and most of the tension did not come from the living dead, but from other gun-toting hooligans. This tough guy facade was quickly removed to show the realities and the desperation of living in a very dangerous, disease infested world.
“Vatos” is the second best episode shown by AMC, with “Days Gone Bye” the best. There was plenty of tension, thrills and excitement throughout, with much of the best action occurring late. Future episodes will hopefully show characters turning from loved one into blind man-eating killer. Stay tuned for more updates on this well-crafted television series.
Acting/characters: 8 (high quality degree of acting here).
Writing/story: 7.5 (the zombies seem like a backdrop most of the time, but the story is continuing to develop).
Pacing/continuity/denouement: 7.75 (enjoying the lively pace).
Overall: 7.75 out of 10.
The AMC Blog for “The Walking Dead” is here:
The Walking Dead at the AMC Blog