The Walking Dead teaches us that we still need manners when the zombies come

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Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, "Vatos," taught us that appearances can be deceiving, always cauterize your wounds, and only say significant things when the zombies rise. You don't want your last words to be embarrassing.

PRO: "Vatos" opens with some nice character development with Amy and Andrea. They remember their deceased parents and fish in a gorgeous quarry. It's a poignant moment (they know they'll never see their parents again) and a welcome shift from Merle's hand antics last week — it's nice to see the zombie world won't be all cracked concrete and hillbillies with adjustment problems.


PRO: Jim is quietly losing his mind and digging graves for no discernable reason. Hooray, inevitable group tension!

PRO: Glenn's facial expression when Darryl salvages Merle's hand.

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CON: The hacksaw was too dull for handcuffs. I know you don't lollygag around zombies, but that's just impatience.


PRO/CON: Rick, Glenn, Darryl, and T-Dog follow Merle's trail of survival. Apparently Merle is an indestructible cornpone golem who can tourniquet his wound, bash in two geeks' heads, and cauterize his own stump faster than a jackrabbit on a date. Good on him for being alive, but then again, he is a total arse.

CON: Coma survivor Rick is sour grapes about Merle's unkillability. "Any man can pass out from blood loss, no matter how tough he is."


CON: Jim, who seemingly stole his wardrobe from Ernest P. Worrell, refuses to stop digging mysterious holes. Shane has to wrestle him down (and tie him to a tree) after he won't drop the shovel. Here comes martial law.

Jim then admits, "The only reason I got away was because the dead were too busy eating my family." Seems like he was digging graves for his zombified family. CON, because I regret that Ernest crack.


PRO: Glenn, the pizza boy, comes up with a sophisticated, office supply battle plan to retrieve Rick's gun bag.


CON: Darryl to Glenn: "You've got some balls for a Chinaman." Dammit Darryl, and you were becoming my second favorite Georgian bow hunter this side of Burt Reynolds in Deliverance.

PRO: After a gang ambushes and absconds with Glenn during the gun retrieval operation, Darryl uses his brother's severed hand to interrogate a gang member who's left behind. This thing is becoming one hell of a conversation piece.

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PRO: After a botched hostage exchange with the gang who ran off with Glenn, Rick returns with the bag of guns. Rick wants Glenn, Vato leader Guillermo wants the firearms. Things become extremely real when Guillermo threatens to feed Glenn to his hounds ("I picked my dogs from Satan at a yard sale!").


PRO: Deus ex abuela! Someone's nutty grandmother wanders into the standoff, completely oblivious to the testosterone in the room. Apparently an old man needs their medicine, the creepy gang warehouse is a retirement home, the fellow Darryl shot in the buttocks is a nurse, and Guillermo is a custodian. The Vatos protect the old-timers from looters. This makes Guillermo's uneasy threats all the more endearing. Rick realizes his cadre were the interlopers here, and they relinquish most of the guns to the Vatos.


PRO: Guillermo's dogs.


PRO: "Admit it, we only came back to Atlanta for the hat." Glenn zings again.

CON: Merle stole the van! And he's driving one-handed!

CON: Ed's face looks like a cherry cobbler.


CON: Dale quotes Faulkner, which summons Southern Gothic-hating zombies.

PRO: They eat Ed first.

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CON: Amy's last words are "We're out of toiler paper!"

PRO/CON: Random guy gets bit. I can't remember his name, so I call it a wash.

PRO: The episode ends with total zombie carnage. Everybody is screaming and shooting guns and bludgeoning and collapsing their voice boxes in fear. The episode ends with Jim staring direly off into the horizon. Those holes were prescient.


(Sorry to keep things short this week. The Venture Bros. hour-long season finale is on, and I've got to recap that as well. If you're not watching it, you really should be. It's like Super Ducktales with more swearing.)