First off, what I liked about this episode was…well…pretty well damned near everything. There were some little niggly things that bugged me, but we’ll look at that in a second. First off, the acting in this episode was superb, especially on the part of Jim Beaver. His anguish and fear throughout the entire episode was palatable, and I just wanted to give the poor guy a big hug or buy him a drink, or both.
He had so many heartbreaking scenes — from throwing the boys out to having to kill his wife…again… — were just so amazingly well played and well crafted that I don’t see how anyone else could have pulled them off. Mad props need to go to Jim Beaver for his both heartwarming and heartbreaking portrayal of Bobby in this episode.
Also, the actress who plays Bobby’s wife, Carrie Fleming, just turned in a fantastic performance. She was endearing, honest and ultimately heartbreaking, and all that was nailed to a T, as they say. She did such an amazing job of both scaring us a little and making us feel totally sorry for her at the same time. She was a pawn in this big game of Armageddon, and she totally didn’t deserve that.
Props should also go to Jared and Jensen for some terrific performances. I totally loved lines such as "I’m gonna regret this," and "Awesome, another horseman. Must be Thursday", which were given respectfully by both actors which were just both tense and hilarious.
Overall, the story itself was very well done. It was tense, funny, and action-packed, and I enjoyed nearly every moment of it. It had great scenes, like Jared and the town sheriff kicking some zombie ass, the gross fight between the old-lady zombie and Sam — which actually made me gag — and so many others help make this quite a memorable episode. The end scene, between Bobby and the boys, was the most compelling of all of them, though. We’re totally left with the question as to whether Bobby is out of the fight, and honestly I’d not be surprised if he called it quits after this.
The episode also had a lot of great technical bits as well. The music, which seemed more orchestral this time around, with less rock and more strings and so on, and I actually loved it. The visuals in the episode were also top notch, which helps in a violent episode such as this one. Things like the blood on the camera as Sam shot out the last zombie were an especially nice touch, for example.
Now that I’ve gushed about the episode, there were some things I didn’t like. One thing that bugged me is how easily the townsfolk seemed to just be so accepting of the undead, like it wasn’t a big deal. Bobby, who’s in the know, had a reaction I can understand, but the wives and parents of the other undead just being as accepting as they were? Just letting them back into their homes without so much as a whoopsie daisy?
I also, at first, was bugged by Sam asking Bobby repeatedly at the end of the episode if he was okay. Um…no Sam, he’s so obviously NOT okay. However, after a second viewing, I wasn’t bugged by this. Why not? Because I realized I would’ve done exactly the same thing, and have to people who are grieving, for several reasons. Not only to get them to talk about it — which sadly, Bobby wasn’t ready to do — but to also give US some assurance that they’re at least thinking about being alright.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode, but it was also a very difficult episode to watch, mostly due to Bobby’s anguish. The acting, the story, the visuals and the music all came together for what, to me, will be one of the more memorable episodes of the season, if not the series. Hopefully we’ll continue on this upswing of quality after a shaky first half of the season, and if the preview for next week’s episode is any indication, I think we’ll be in for the awesome ride we’ve been waiting for.