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'Walking Dead' recap: Grave implications

November 21, 2010 | 10:10 pm

Well, Ed, I can't say you'll be missed.

The abusive husband was one of several casualties in tonight's episode, "Vatos," penned by "The Walking Dead" comic creator Robert Kirkman, who seemed right at home adapting his characters for the screen.

He opened with a quiet conversation between Andrea and Amy as the sisters sat together in a boat fishing, recalling childhood memories of their father. At camp, though, a rattled Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) was spending his morning furiously digging graves on a hillside in the relentless Southern heat — a nice bit of foreshadowing hinting that the rustic domesticity the survivors have cobbled together in Atlanta's rural outskirts is about to end. Indeed, by the episode's conclusion, walkers have invaded the camp taking with them not just Ed but Amy too.

Jim's erratic behavior becomes a focal point, with Dale suggesting he put down the shovel, Lori plainly stating that he's frightening everyone, including Carl. But as Shane steps in to subdue Jim using physical force, the man cops to suffering from the most intense form of survivors' guilt — he lost his wife and two sons to walkers. The ghouls were too busy feasting on his family to notice as he fled.

Later, Jim apologies to Lori for scaring her son. He tells Carl that he dreamed the boy was worried about his father but that he needn't be, saying that Rick is "tough as nails" and that nothing will stop him from returning to his family. After Carl leaves, he tells Lori to keep her son close, to never let him out of her sight.

In the city, after Rick, Glenn, T-Dog and Daryl discover that Merle has gone — having sawed off his hand to escape from his shackles — they try to continue their search following a trail of blood leading inside the building. But when the drops stops at a stove, which, they deduce, Merle used to cauterize his wound, they decide to turn their attention to retrieving the bag of guns that Rick had dropped in the street when he first reached Atlanta. Glenn offers to run out to pick them up, insisting he can make it faster solo, and the others agree to cover him.

The mission goes awry, however, when a skinny guy with a neck tattoo and his friends ambush Daryl and kidnap Glenn but fail to capture the weapons — or Rick's hat, which Glenn also managed to grab. It turns out that a group of young Hispanic men were also after the guns, but rather than the violent thugs they at first appear to be, Rick and the others eventually learn that they're protecting and caring for the elderly and infirm left at the abandoned medical facility where they've taken shelter — after the professional staff had abandoned the patients to die.

After dividing up the weapons, Rick and the rest of the group head back to where they'd parked the van they'd driven into the city, but it's vanished. They assume Merle has stolen it and is on his way back to the camp to take his revenge. They rush to the grounds only to hear gunshots being fired, and they assume Daryl's bloodthirsty brother must have made it to the camp ahead of them. Instead, they discover a battle in its final stages, with bodies, walker and human, scattered in every direction.

Andrea cradles her younger sister in her arms as she bleeds to death from her bite wounds, and the others silently stand by, surely realizing what will have to happen next — namely, dispatching Amy to ensure she doesn't become a walker and starting the search for a new place to call home.

— Gina McIntyre

Photo: Andrew Rothenberg, left, and Jon Bernthal in "The Walking Dead" Credit: AMC.