The Walking Dead: ‘Tell It To The Frogs’ episode review

Shane just wanted to be a good dad (screenshot, TWD - AMC)
Shane just wanted to be a good dad (screenshot, TWD - AMC) /

Before the zombie outbreak, The Walking Dead’s Merle Dixon may have loved roofs.  Perhaps he occasionally spent nights on them peering up at the stars, pondering the vastness of space with a big grin on his face.

If that’s not a natural situation for Merle,  neither was being stranded on a department store roof, handcuffed to a pipe as zombies are barely kept out of range by a padlocked chain.

In this prologue scene, we saw Merle go from (a) banging his head on the ground and pleading God’s forgiveness to (b) vowing to never beg God again, saying, “I ain’t never begged you! I ain’t gonna start beggin’ you now!”  To avoid becoming dinner, Merle used his belt to reel in a hacksaw from an overturned toolbox, to free himself like a rustic MacGyver by severing his hand (one wonders how much tougher that pipe was to slice through).  I would like to think Merle flipped the bird to the walkers and the whole universe before cutting, but I wasn’t around to see it happen.  None of us were.

Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, The Walking Dead - AMC
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon, The Walking Dead – AMC /

Not being around to see things is a big theme to this episode, and many other episodes of The Walking Dead.  For example, Merle’s brother Daryl wasn’t on the roof to save him.  Also, because Rick was abandoned in the hospital, he could not have been there for Lori and Carl altogether.  Of course, this allowed Shane to swoop in and play alpha male dad guy, which he seemed to rather enjoy.   In a heartwarming scene, Shane attempted to teach Carl how to acquire “Cajun-style Kermit legs,” apparently with mixed success (but it’s the thought that counts).  He also got Lori’s lucky charms.

Before long, the serenity of the frog fishing was disturbed by Glenn’s car alarm, shortly followed by Rick’s return.  This changed everything, and right quick.  Lori and Carl were shocked to see Rick, and Shane definitely seemed conflicted, as he believed Rick was dead in the hospital when he started “sleeping with” Lori.  Now Shane would have to abandon his alpha male status, obviously.  He simply won’t be there as much.  If that’s not enough, that very night Shane sat atop Dale’s RV on night watch, knowing Rick and Lori were getting it on in the tent below.  That’s something else Shane can’t be around to see anymore, unless Lori and Rick would feel ultra-freaky (which apparently was never the case).  At the same time, Shane probably was glad to see Rick alive, which certainly made things more confusing.

When Shane confronted Lori about the Rick situation later, she said, “You can tell that to the frogs.”  With that dismissal, Shane’s world was all but destroyed, and not just because frogs can’t talk.  No, the fledgling family situation was his main initiative in life.  Now that was gone, and so unceremoniously.  Whatever value he had as a man — as a person — was severely undermined, especially in his own mind.   Lori also believed Shane had lied about Rick in the hospital, though he had not.  So, in addition to his own feelings of abandonment, he had the uncomfortable feeling of being called dishonest when he really was not.  No one wants that.

"Tell that to the frogs!" Whap! (Walking Dead -- AMC)
“Tell that to the frogs!” Whap! (Walking Dead — AMC) /

Before long, though, Shane had ample opportunity to unleash his aggression on Ed Peletier, after Peletier struck his wife Carol in the face.  Tellingly, Shane really did a number on Ed, mashing his face into interesting colored bruises, like an abstract painting using a fist for a brush.  The raging male told Ed, “You put your hands on your wife, your little girl, or anybody else in this camp one more time, I will not stop next time. I’ll beat you to death, Ed.”

At the very end, the group made it back to Merle’s rooftop, and we witnessed Daryl’s reaction to finding a hacksaw and Merle’s severed hand there.  You’ve really got to hand it to Daryl — he really cares about his brother.

Next: Episode 4: Vatos

Unfortunately, Daryl probably developed negative feelings about being on roofs, too.  And Shane had been sitting on the roof of the RV for that humiliating scene. Maybe it’s just me, but The Walking Dead really gives roofs a bad name.