“Amy/Dr. Everett” never quite manages to commit to its ideas, and some pacing issues hamper the emotional aspect.
This recap of Tales of the Walking Dead season 1, episode 4, “Amy/Dr. Everett”, contains spoilers.
It had never occurred to me why very few people in The Walking Dead universe ever bothered to study the zombies. There probably hasn’t been time. You know how it is in an apocalypse – you’re either trying to find food or avoid becoming it, and everything else is a little secondary. The essential conflict in “Amy/Dr. Everett”, an episode largely about the conflicting ideologies of an academic and a more traditional “survivor”, largely boils down to how one has managed to remain isolated while the other hasn’t.
Tales of the Walking Dead season 1, episode 4 recap
Dr. Charles Everett (a bearded Anthony Edwards) is studying what he calls Homo Mortus; a new, naturally occurring devolution with what he believes are unique psychologies, migratory patterns, and pack behaviors. I haven’t seen much evidence to support his claims, and a late reveal suggests we might have a case of confirmation bias on our hands. Everett wants to believe that his research is valuable and revelatory because if it wasn’t, what else would he have to offer?
Amy (Poppy Liu) is a more typical character in this universe. She’s been out on the road and has seen how things really are. “They don’t do anything other than walk around and try to kill us,” she says at one point. She’s anti-academic. But she’s smart and capable and clearly understands people better than Everett gives her credit for, since she deduces pretty easily that Everett’s favorite “specimen” is really an old colleague of his who asked Everett to study him when he was dying of cancer.
This is what undermines Everett’s angle. He claims that his aloofness is a scientific thing, but in a few instances when Subject 21 is imperiled, he’s as emotional as anyone. This is clearly a guy who is unable to process his own loss; his “research” seems like a coping mechanism. And that’s fine – a good character turn, even. But I also liked hearing about his research, and the idea that perhaps the zombies are a little more intelligent than we’ve realized. Given those later developments, I’m tempted to believe that Everett might have been seeing patterns where there were none, and on balance that’s probably less interesting.
“Amy/Dr. Everett” also has some pacing issues. There’s a middle stretch that feels as if it’s playing on fast-forward, and the conclusion, while refreshingly grim, is presented a little too matter-of-factly. Everett and Amy have a disagreement about “the right thing” when the former reveals that a herd of walkers is heading right into the latter’s group of friends, and after he fails to prevent her from going to help, he later finds her zombified and tags her with one of his specimen labels. Again, grim, but I never really felt the emotional sting this is supposed to have.
Overall here’s another episode of Tales of the Walking Dead that fits in without managing to stand out, which is becoming a theme of the anthology if we’re being honest. I don’t imagine this will be anywhere near as divisive as the first two episodes since it’s a little more on-brand, but it also fails to really do much with the continuity in a meaningful way.