The strength of The Walking Dead comic series is human drama, while the zombies are the catalyst for events that happen, it is the relationships between those struggling to survive that drives the series forward and makes it better than standard genre fare. This was supremely evident in the premiere episode of the series but the series took a detour with the second episode, delivering an exciting, if somewhat predictable, episode. I for one didn’t mind it but there was a slight outcry from some fans about the change of tone from the first to second episode and the perceived dip in quality.
Well those vocal dissenters can rest easy as the human drama returned to the series in spades in “Tell It To The Frogs”, the third episode of the series. Rick finally and quite emotionally reunites with his wife and son and his arrival, or revival as the case may be for Lori and Carl, will have far reaching implications for the rest of the season. There are secrets and lies that will need to come forward over the next three episodes and it won’t be pretty.
As fascinating and tense as the love triangle is right now only Rick, Lori and Shane are portrayed as anything more than one dimensional. While the show is obviously focused on Rick, this episode begins to introduce us to the rest of the survivors and we begin to see that they are more than just zombie food to satisfy our bloodlust. Character development is going to play a large role in the success of this series and the viewers getting to know the rest of the group is vital in keeping people vested in the ongoing struggle.
However as important as developing some other characters may be like it or not, The Walking Dead is primarily Rick’s story and so the writing is on the wall for a couple of characters and it is not hard to distinguish who at least one of them is. This is after all a drama that uses zombies as a catalyst for strife and tension and people will die.
Speaking of zombies, there was not much in the way of the actual walking dead in this episode as it focuses more on developing the tension between the three primaries. Don’t take that to mean that the episode was devoid of any action. The series continues to push the boundaries of what is acceptable on television in a brutal group beating scene where the survivors bludgeon a wandering zombie that is devouring a dead deer and a scene involving Shane going a little crazy as he breaks up a domestic dispute.
All in all “Tell It To The Frogs” is a good episode and it continues the high quality standard the series has set for itself. Going forward the plot needs to advance more than baby steps but I have a feeling (and an unfair knowledge) that big things are just around the corner for the series. Next Sunday can not come soon enough.
4 out of 5.