If you thought that the first couple of episode’s of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” were creepy, get a grip, because now I’m inclined to think of them more as “introductory.” We get to know the characters and get a feel of the situation. In the third one things get more worrisome, and in the fourth – bang! The darkness really begins to fall…
A character of George Romero’s “Land of the Dead” once noted that “in the world where dead are coming back to life, the word “trouble” loses its meaning.” But when “zombieland” is a generally accepted reality, the difference between things being “ok” and “trouble” still remains. In episode No. 4, “Vatos” characters find out that a threat to their lives may be coming from many directions, and zombies is just one of them.
A quick reminder about where the 3rd episode left us. Rick Grimes, along with the rest of his newly found friends, reached the camp, where he reunited with his wife and son. The one person who is not exactly happy to see him is his formerly best friend and partner Shane, whose fresh romance with Lori Grimes thus suddenly ended. Among other inhabitants of the camp, Grimes also gets to meet Daryl Dixon, who is not at all happy to learn that his brother Merle was left behind handcuffed to the roof of the building in the city. In the end the decision is made for Grimes, Daryl, Glenn and T-Dog go get Merle and the bag of guns that Grimes left in the street as they escaped in a hurry. As they get on the roof to find Merle gone, leaving his sawed off hand behind (which is a lot better than finding a bloody carcass if you ask me), back in the camp Shane take his anger out on the wife-beating bastard Ed.
Episode 4 takes off on that same roof. Shocked and enraged Daryl picks up the only remaining part of his brother – the hand, intent on finding him no matter what, while Glenn devises a failsafe strategy to get the bag with guns. But there is an unexpected flaw in the plan – they are not the only ones after the arms. Daryl and Glenn run into a group of men with baseball bats who capture unarmed Glenn, but leave a kid of their own behind. Meaning to do the exchange of “hostages,” Grimes & Co meet up with what looks like a gang of thugs, who refuse to let Glenn go until they get the gun-bag. Grimes decides to load those guns and go get Glenn by force. In the meantime, back at the camp Jim causes alarm by restlessly digging holes in the ground, unable to explain why. As the night falls the group shares a nice hearty dinner, momentarily feeling like normal happy people, and, unfortunately, forgetting that zombies may be lurking behind nearest tree. We also learn that Merle could be heading back to camp – which, in a way, is even scarier than zombies.
Starting with an idyllic (well, almost) fishing scene on a sunny day in the beginning, the episode ends in a very dark place. “Vatos” both contains some pleasant revelations and unexpectedly touching moments (I’ll keep spoilers out for those who haven’t seen it yet), and reminds us how dangerous it is to relax and give up your guard even in the seeming safety of the camp – when you live in the world plagued by zombies. Body count has already started, and it’s hard to predict which of the characters is next to be put out of the picture – technically, none but Grimes (the main star) is safe.