“Next time on The Walking Dead...” an odd decision by Channel 5 last week, to air Cherokee Rose's closing moments as its own promo material. Especially given the air of mystery built up throughout the episode, with Lori acting mighty suspicious and requesting a top secret item from one of Glenn's salvage runs.
The cliffhanger itself will come as little surprise to followers of the comic book or even half-astute viewers, but it's still a silly marketing decision to air a spoiler in advertising the following week's episode. This leaves the viewer left distracted waiting for the big moment itself to air – and when it finally does, there's a bathetic air about it. Still, the rest of Cherokee Rose makes for fine television too. Following Hershel's successful operation on Carl's gut wound, the rest of the survivors arrive at his farm. A newly shaven-headed, obviously disturbed Shane speaks emotionally charged lies at Otis's funeral while the rest of the gang concentrate on either finding Sophia or helping out on Hershel's farm.
For Glenn, this involves a supplies run to the local pharmacy with Maggie. A supply run apparently being a metaphor for sex. The Walking Dead has no time for a will-they-won't-they romance between the two, as they soon find themselves disrobing in the aisles. A bonus of boning in the local pharmacy: plenty of condoms on hand. Also, that secret something for Lori.
Elsewhere, Andrea and the menfolk find something nasty in one of Hershel's wells: a waterlogged zombie trapped at the bottom. What's that, Skip? A zombie, you say? Trapped down the well? Since shooting the thing would taint the water supply, they have little option but to pull it out by other means. The zombie effects are wonderful here, leading to a spectacularly gruesome payoff. It also gives Glenn something else to do, with the episode making him seem as gutsy and invaluable here as his comic book counterpart. Innocent soppy Glenn makes for a nice change from the rest of the bestubbled tough guys and traumatised semi-psychopaths that otherwise populate the programme. The other exception being Daryl, who gives Carol the titular Cherokee Rose with some surprisingly sweet words of comfort.
Aside from the wet zombie in the well, there's hardly any walking dead to this Walking Dead. Rick gets to share a few tender moments with his son (the lad finally inherits his dad's hat) as well as talking religion with Hershel. The kindly farmer promises to consider letting Rick and co. stay on his land, providing they abide by a few rules. Given the more volatile personalities amongst the Grimes camp, they'd be best off not holding their breath. Especially with Shane looking more and more bug-eyed as the series goes on. And I wouldn't want Dale parking that eyesore RV on my land either.
Like last week's instalment, it feels a little padded – the missing Sophia storyline is beginning to get a bit tedious – but is enlivened with neat character building moments and the odd touch of horror. Cherokee Rose ends with a cliffhanger, but we already know what that is, don't we.