Recap: AMC’s “The Walking Dead” 1.4 “Vatos”

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In this week’s The Walking Dead episode, ‘Vatos,’ the blonde sisters are in the boat and reminiscing about their father.  Turns out they are not only twelve years apart, Amanda (Laurie Holden) was taught wet knots and to keep the fish for dinner and Amy (Emma Bell), the younger sister, was taught dry lures and learned to throw fish back.  But their dad was a stickler for no crying in the boat, so he’d be let down when they pontificate about their lives and get teary.

Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Crazy Daryl (Norman Reedus), T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) are on the roof, tense and angry to find only Dixon’s hand remaining.  Crazy Darrel of course packs up the hand (makes a good soup probably) and they head back downstairs making a crap load of noise.

At camp, Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) is digging multiple holes or for a very wide treasure and Dale (Jeffery DeMunn) looks confused and offers him water.  He just keeps digging.

A walker takes a crossbow to the face and they assume the dead walkers are from Dixon’s one-armed wrath.  In one of the smartest moves, they find skin on a cooking burner and figure Dixon cauterized his own wound.  The smell of cooking flesh apparently wasn’t a siren song to the walkers, and he broke a window and is on the loose.  Grimes and Crazy Daryl have some close-talking evil-eye moments and they agree to get the guns and find Dixon, in that order.

The girls bring back a line of fish and Dale rains on the parade by sharing that Jim is digging away.  Shane (Jon Bernthal) asks him what he is digging for in the sweltering heat.  Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) – also Grimes’ wife – is the one to speak the truth and say Jim’s scaring everyone.  But honestly, it might feel pretty good to get a good hole going after an apocalypse.  Jim gets offended and calls Shane out for beating up Abusive Husband in front of everyone.  Shane wrestles Jim and Jim says the only reason he’s alive is because the walkers were busy eating his family.  Doesn’t explain the hole though…

Glenn is mapping out a plan to get the guns and have everyone living stay that way.  While Glenn and Crazy Daryl head out, Daryl is distracted by a living guy!  Turns out walkers aren’t the only gang in town and Daryl is beat down while the gang makes a play for the guns.  The plan doesn’t work perfectly, two of the three gang folks take off in a car, with Glenn as hostage.  Daryl, the guns and the other gang fellow are left for Grimes and T-Dog to rescue.

At camp, Shane and Jim make up, even though Jim is tied to a tree.  He apologizes to the kids of the camp and says he had a reason from one of his dreams to dig.  Then he gets creepy by talking to Carl about how ‘tough as nails’ his dad is.  Jim tells Lori to always keep Carl in her sight.

The Gang Fellow is being questioned by Grimes and Crazy Daryl.  Daryl takes on the role of Bad Cop by showing Gang Fellow what he did ‘to the last person who pissed him off’ and unwraps his brother’s hand.  Awesome!  Because no more flush toilets and decomposing zombies aren’t gross, but one fairly clean hand is ookey!

Gang Fellow takes them to a gentleman called ‘Guillermo, the boss,’ who is, well, the boss.  Guillermo isn’t willing to take a person-for-person trade between Glenn and Gang Fellow.  Guillermo wants his boy and the bag of guns and offers an ultimatum: come back with the bag of guns to give to him or come back locked and loaded.  [Just as a public service announcement, it would seem the gang would want more people.  Sure, a bunch of dudes isn’t always want you want—but they might know some girls or where to find fresh food, and you can’t tell me those wouldn’t be helpful.  And at the very least, more people means more chances to get away if the walkers find them.  Silly boys.]

Grimes being the Ghandi of Atlanta, wants to talk more, but brings the guns loaded, and Gang Fellow tied up, to Guillermo’s.  Guillermo’s gang is pretty numerous, with dozens of living people in the background.  Guillermo is all attitude and doesn’t blink when Grimes puts a rifle in his face.  But another gang fella’s grandma (complete with bobby pins) shuffles out and asks why the deputy is trying to arrest her grandson.  Grimes says he’s just helping them look for a missing man, and Grandma instantly says ‘oh that nice Asian boy?’ and offers to take them to him.  They walk through a convalescent home which is jam-packed with old people.  Glenn is there, doing just fine, helping some of the elderly.  Guillermo shares that Philippe and himself were the only ones that stayed to help the elderly.  So why the ‘tude?  He claims his gang grew from people checking in on their parents who feared the looters.  Or you know, the walking dead.  Turns out there is a pretty good system of people helping the residents of the home, a 24-hour watch system, and a sense of injustice to keep the bitterness going against any living person who isn’t a part of their gang.

After this they braid each others’ hair and paint each others’ toenails.  Oh wait, no.  But just as unbelievable, Glenn is released and the four leave on foot.  When they arrive at their van, it is gone and immediately proclaim Dixon is the culprit.  So they jog the undetermined distance to the camp.

Amanda is worried about not wrapping her sister’s birthday present and asks Dale why he doesn’t have any wrapping paper in his RV.  Something is fishy about Dale, but I’m not sure why.  Shane invites Jim to be untied from the tree for fish dinner, but he still seems a little bizarre.  As everyone is enjoying the meal, Morales asks Dale why he bothers to still wind his watch everyday.  His answers poetically about not conquering time but no one is impressed.  Amy leaves to pee and I doubt we’ll see her again.

The Abusive Husband is pouting in his tent when a group of walkers scratch on the tent and poke his eyes out to get their nom nom on.  Amy is caught leaving the potty and becomes a walker chew toy.  The whole camp is under attack and Grimes and crew are just on the horizon hearing the shots.  Pretty sure Morales has his shoulder chewed on, and then his face.  Shane does an alright job of getting people together, Jim is doing above par work with a baseball bat, and then the city guys arrive and bring their newly loaded guns to the rescue.

With the threat over, Amanda holds Amy as she suffers and dies.  But she’s been eaten on, so one must assume she’s going to come back?  Grimes is thinking this too as his family sees Amanda sobbing and other members of camp down for the count.  Jim closes out the episode by saying “now I remember my dream, why I dug the holes.”

Bonus Thoughts:

*Remember the father and son from the pilot?  The ones Grimes was so insistent to get in radio contact with and cited them as a reason for going back into the city?  There is no mention of them, and no attempted contact.  Wherever they are, I hope they are taking the rejection well.

*The department store still has clothes, so they could have make their lives easier by gooping Glenn up with zombie guts again to get the bag of guns and blend in.  Or at least goop up on the way out of town, because we all know the suburb walkers are the worst.

*The elderly angle is an interesting one.  Realizing all those old folks are basically on their own to care for each other is scarier than a few zombie-grandma cameos.  It seems unlike Grimes to leave such a big group of people behind, especially when they are better off than some gypsy camp in the woods.  Perhaps they’ll aim to settle in town?  It seemed as if there’d be room, food and medicine, and I’m sure Guillermo would come around.

*The ‘stagger-on role’ magic word is: Epidemic and you can enter at www.amcdead.com

*After the first two episodes being mostly monologues from Grimes, this episode was a nice balance of the dozen or so characters taking turns.  The only flaw in such a big cast is no one really stands out to care about.  When Amy dies, it isn’t so much that I was sad, as I was thinking it was about time someone’s luck ran out.

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