I guess we need to talk about that "Walking Dead" episode last night

People have been asking for a TWD thread and we need a palate cleanser before 49 percent of the population has a nervous breakdown tomorrow, so here you go. Major spoilers below. Turn back now if you don’t want to know what happened.

Two things. First, why did Oscar, the big convict, shoot the little convict instead of shooting Rick? I know, I know, Rick spared his life after he tomahawked the convict gang leader in the forehead a few episodes ago, but even if you think Oscar would reciprocate in gratitude, why’d he shoot the little guy? Didn’t they spend 10 months together holed up in the cafeteria while zombies overran the prison? That must have built a certain esprit de corps. And yet, given the chance to (a) shoot Rick in the face or (b) take Rick prisoner and establish himself as the new leader, Oscar opts for (c) shooting his friend, the little guy, for no apparent reason and then handing the gun back to Rick. Did I miss a plot point somewhere that would explain that? Did Oscar suffer some sort of brain damage in hand to hand combat with the undead? Rule one of life during the zombie apocalypse: Never, ever, ever surrender your weapon.

Two: I agree with everyone else in America that the show’s much better this season than last season but I still don’t care about any of the characters. The only death that’s been even a little affecting was Shane’s, and that’s because he was the only thing happening onscreen for most of season two. Watching Carl euthanize his mom and then have his dad fall to pieces in front of him should have been gut-wrenching but all of the main players are too two-dimensional. Rick isn’t a person, he’s a lab rat in a dramatic experiment designed to see how a good man might behave when civil society collapses around him. Carl is basically just Rick at an earlier stage of development so that we can compare the effect of zombie stresses on a child in his formative years to those of an adult. If you’ve read “Lord of the Flies” or watched a few particularly didactic episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” you’re well acquainted with fragility-of-civilization drama. To make it three-dimensional, you need to be scrupulous about adding small, human details to your characters; the show used to do that (remember the sick man in season one who asked to be abandoned by a tree so he could die in serenity?) but it doesn’t do it as much anymore. It’s smart and bold and admirably merciless of the writers to cull their main characters, but there’s never any punch when they do it beyond, “Wow, I didn’t think they’d dump him/her so soon.” Is anyone going to miss Lori? Did anyone feel anything from Carl last night? If not, then we have a problem.

Oh, in case you’re wondering because of the slight ambiguity when Carl pulled the trigger: Yes, it looks like he really did finish Lori off.

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