TV Recap: 'The Walking Dead: Vatos'

TV Recap: ‘The Walking Dead: Vatos’

After a rather slow episode last week that was almost devoid of zombies, this action laden episode put the undead front and center once again.  This was a heavy, violent episode that had a lot of emphasis on family.  It dealt with the ties that bind, whether they be blood ties or the ones we choose by association, or even the ones that are created out of necessity.

This episode jumped back and forth between the men in the city (Rick, T-Dog, Daryl and Glenn) and the survivor camp. The episode begins with a rare moment of tranquility as Andrea and Amy wax nostalgic about their father, who taught them both to fish (albeit in very different ways). The skill proves invaluable, and the two women bring enough fish for a feast back to camp with them.

In the city, the men come across Merle’s bloody hand and deduce that he cut himself free.  They follow a trail of blood down through the building, and Daryl keeps commenting what a tough son of a bitch his brother is.  Right on cue, they find evidence that Merle must have cauterized his stump. A tough son of a bitch indeed.

Back at camp, Jim is exhibiting some troubling behavior.  He is obsessively digging holes in the ground in the hot sun, and the survivors are worried that something is wrong with him.  He won’t stop, even when coaxed to, so Shane has to physically overcome him,  for his own good.

This triggers the normally quiet Jim to have a bit of a mental breakdown, and he shares the horrible details of his last moments with his family. Everybody is upset by his tale, it’s an unnecessary reminder of how precarious their own lives are.

At the department building, Glenn proposes that he retrieve the bag of guns by himself.  His rationale is that they move too slow as a group, and it will be safer to be flanked by the men with weapons. Daryl states the obvious-that Glenn has some big balls (only he manages to throw a little bigotry into the observation).

So the men split up, per Glenn’s plan.  Glenn retrieves the bag, but Daryl and Glenn run into a trio of Latinos who cause them some trouble.  A scuffle ensues over the bag, and two of the Latinos drag Glenn away in a car, but they leave the third man (Miguel) behind.

Miguel takes Daryl, Rick and T-Dog to an abandoned building, where they come face to face with Guillermo, the leader of what appears to be a Mexican gang of sorts. They try to propose an even trade-Miguel for Glenn, but Guillermo will hear none of it, he wants the guns. He tells them to relinquish the guns or come prepared to fight.

The men choose the latter.  They show up “locked and loaded” and the tensions run high between the two factions of men.  Crisis is averted with an extremely well-timed appearance by an elderly Mexican woman asking for help for “Mr. Gilbert.”

The men take their fingers off of the triggers.  Rick asks her if she has seen Glenn.  Why, of course she has!  She happily escorts Rick to nearby building.  Rick is amazed to find lots of elderly folk being cared for by a variety of people, including the Mexican gang members.

Appearances can be deceiving.  The “gang” are actually employees of the nursing home that have stayed to care for the sick when the original staff abandoned them.  Guillermo was the custodian of the building. Rick ends up giving Guillermo some of the weapons, since he is protecting the patients.

Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and Glenn head back to the van, but it is missing.  Rick immediately suspects Merle.

Back at camp, Dale is explaining why he still winds his watch every day, then all hell breaks loose.  In a particularly gory sequence, Walkers invade the camp, and quickly claim Amy and Ed as victims. The city group arrives just as the mayhem begins, and they help defend the group from the Walkers, who are shot and bludgeoned in every manner possible

Poor Andrea has a total breakdown over her sister’s dying body. It is a powerful scene.  Jim finally remembers why he was digging those holes..

All in all, this was a great episode.  It snuck up on you and that last attack really leaves you shell shocked.  Clearly, the camp is no longer safe.