"Tell It to the Frogs" is the third episode of the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the third episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 14, 2010 at 10/9c on AMC. It was written by Frank Darabont, Charles H. Eglee, and Jack LoGiudice, and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.
The hot sun beats down on his burnt scalp. He snaps back to reality and begins panicking again. Suddenly, walkers start to clamour at the padlocked stairwell door. Merle becomes hysterical, desperately trying to break free. He prays to God for forgiveness.
Merle then spots a hacksaw from the overturned tool box and his resolve suddenly strengthens. He shouts at God, "I ain't never begged you! I ain't gonna start beggin' you now!" Taking off his belt, he repeatedly tosses the buckle end to try to reel in the hacksaw, lying just out of reach.
At base camp, Lori gives Carl a haircut while Shane promises him that they will catch frogs at the quarry, so they can eat some "Cajun-style Kermit legs." Lori expresses her disgust at the thought, quipping "I would rather eat Miss Piggy." Shane tells her she'll be begging for more once she tastes them, then smiles while telling Carl, "We'll be heroes, son. Shane and Carl, spoken of in song and legend." Their moment is interrupted by the approach of Glenn's Challenger.
With the car alarm still blaring, Glenn drives in to camp, excited to show everyone the car. Amy rushes to Glenn and demands to know if her sister, Andrea, is okay. Dale tells Glenn to turn off the car alarm before walkers hear, but Glenn responds smilingly, "I don't know how!"
Jim, a solemn man and former mechanic, disconnects the alarm while Amy continues to ask questions about Andrea. "Is she okay? Why isn't she with you?". "She's okay!" Glenn shouts. "Everybody is. Well, Merle not so much." Shane chastises Glenn for drawing attention to their location.
The cube van arrives. Morales tells an exhausted and apprehensive Rick to come meet everybody. Andrea and Amy tearfully reunite, as do Morales and his wife, son and daughter. Lori and Carl briefly watch the happy reunions before Carl becomes emotional and Lori leads him away. Shane watches them, sympathising.
Shane then asks Glenn how they made it out of the city. Glenn says "thanks to the new guy" and Morales beckons Rick, adding that he's a police officer, just like Shane.
Rick emerges from the van. The first person he recognizes is Shane. The two trade stunned glances as Carl tearfully lifts his head and Lori's eyes follow. He spots Rick, shouting "DAD!" as he runs into Rick's open arms. Lori stares at Rick, the gravity of her situation suddenly weighing down on her, but she tearfully embraces her husband and son. The rest of the group, and Shane, watch on, dumbfounded. Lori looks up at Shane, wide-eyed, momentarily, and he attempts to smile away his obvious pain. Lori cries into Rick's shoulder while Rick turns to smile at Shane, who does manage an honest smile in return.
Later that night, around a campfire, Rick describes the disorientation he felt waking up alone in the hospital. "I felt like I'd been ripped out of my life, put somewhere else." Lori explains she was told Rick would be brought over to Atlanta, but it never happened. "Mom said you died," Carl comments. "She had every reason to believe that," Rick replies. He then expresses immense gratitude to Shane for saving and taking care of his family. Lori exchanges an awkward glance with Shane.
Nearby, Ed Peletier — a hulking, blue-collar type — stokes his family's fire with a fresh log. Shane intervenes, instructing Ed to take the log out so they can't be seen from a distance. Ed tells him to mind his own business, "for once," but concedes under Shane's forceful command - instructing his meek wife Carol to pull the log from the fire. Ed glares as Shane bids Carol and their daughter Sophia good evening, asking if they're doing okay. "Just fine," Carol says, hiding from her husband's stony glare.
Shane returns to his group's fire, and Dale asks what they should tell Daryl about his brother. Andrea reasons that Merle was out of control, and the only person to blame for getting left behind was Merle — but Dale reasons that they can't tell that to Daryl. "Word to the wise: we're gonna have our hands full when he gets back from his hunt," Dale warns. Rick volunteers to deliver the news, as does T-Dog, still filled with guilt for dropping the key. He tells the group that he stopped to chain the stairwell door before he ran for the van. "Dixon's alive, and he's still up there," T-Dog says. "That's on us."
Later on, in their tent, Rick is saying goodnight to Carl, who tells him he loves him. Rick then takes Lori's hand as he crawls into bed with her. He tells her he knew she and Carl were alive because their photo albums were gone when he returned to their house. Lori smiles and pulls one open. "I told you so," says Rick, and Lori jokingly accuses him of getting cocky as he grabs for the family photo in his jacket pocket. "Belongs in here," he says, placing the photo inside the photo album. They reflect on their past mistakes and are grateful for the second chance that they have been given. "Not many people get that," Rick says. Lori returns Rick's wedding ring, which had been removed when he was in the hospital, and the two discretely have sex. Carl is sound asleep on the other side of the tent and Shane, keeping watch on top of the RV, stares with melancholy at Rick and Lori's tent as a thunderstorm builds in the night sky.
The next morning, Rick wakes to find a fresh pair of clothes laid out for him inside the tent. He can hear children playing outside. He gets up and gets dressed. He bids the other survivors good morning as he steps outside. He finds Carol ironing his freshly laundered uniform, though she laments how much harder it is without her old Maytag. Rick thanks her for her kindness.
Nearby, Glenn mourns as Morales, Dale, and Jim strip the Challenger down for parts, taking gas for the camp's generators. "Maybe we'll get to steal another one someday," Rick says to comfort him, patting him on the back as he sees his wife hanging laundry with Andrea and Amy.
She asks if he slept okay; he tells her, "Better than in a long time," and she grins, saying she didn't want to wake him before she catches a look in his eye. "God, what?" she asks, and he admits he keeps thinking about leaving Merle behind. Shane arrives back at camp with more water, and Rick tells Lori he plans to return to Atlanta. Lori is shocked, but their discussion is interrupted by screams. Carl, Sophia, and Jacqui, who had been out walking, run in to camp deeply shaken. Sophia calls out for her mother and the men grab various weapons from the campsite.
Finding Carl, Sophia, and Jacqui unscathed, Rick, Shane, Jim, Morales, and Glenn run past them to a clearing where a walker is devouring a deer with crossbow bolts sticking out of it. Amy and Andrea follow.
The five men beat on the walker until Dale arrives and decapitates it. "This is the first one we've had up here. They never come this far up the mountain," he remarks. "They're running out of food in the city, that's what," Jim offers.
The group hears the bushes rustling and Shane raises his gun protectively. A man in a sleeveless t-shirt, Daryl Dixon, emerges from the woods carrying a crossbow and hauling over a dozen dead squirrels. He's upset that the walker ate the deer he'd been tracking for miles, and the food has been wasted. He cusses out the walker, kicking at its corpse, while Dale tries to tell him he's not solving anything by lashing out. This causes Daryl to lash out at Dale. The walker's decapitated head starts grinding it's teeth, growling. Amy and Andrea take off back to the campsite, disgusted. Daryl fires his crossbow in to its skull. "Come on people, what the hell? It's gotta be the brain — don't y'all know nothin'?" he rebukes, before heading into camp looking for Merle.
Shane follows, and he tells Daryl that Merle didn't make it back — Rick chimes in, confessing he left Merle handcuffed to the roof as the group surrounds them. He introduces himself to Daryl, who doesn't want to hear it, as T-Dog emerges from the forest carrying firewood. Enraged, Daryl throws the dead squirrels at Rick who ducks as Shane throws Daryl backwards. T-Dog sees Daryl pull a knife and warns Rick and Shane, dropping the logs and joining the scuffle. Rick is able to disarm Daryl, and Shane locks him in a sleeper hold. "Choke holdin's illegal!" Daryl argues breathlessly, to which Shane responds with a shrug, "Yeah, well, you can file a complaint."
Rick tells Daryl he wants to have a calm discussion about Merle, explaining that what he did wasn't on a whim as Shane releases his hold. "Your brother does not work and play well with others," Rick tells him, which Daryl seems to understand already. T-Dog cuts in, saying it was his fault, explaining that he accidentally dropped the key in a drain. He adds that he chained the door to the roof shut so the "geeks" couldn't get to him. "Just tell me where he is, so I can go get him," Daryl orders. Lori cuts in from the door of the RV, "He'll show you." Staring her husband down, she challenges him, "Isn't that right?"
Rick nods. "I'm going back," he pledges.
Back in his uniform, Rick prepares to leave with Daryl. Shane questions his decision to risk his life for "a douchebag" like Merle Dixon, who wouldn't give you a glass of water if you were dying of thirst. "We left him like an animal caught in a trap," Rick says, who can't live with what he's done no matter what kind of man Merle is. "That's no way for anything to die, let alone a human being."
When Lori wonders if his big plan is him and Daryl alone in Atlanta, Rick admits he wants Glenn to come along because of his experience getting in and out of the city. "That's just great. Now you're gonna risk three men, huh?" Shane scoffs. "Four," T-Dog cuts in. He can't live with what he did, either, and has to go back. Reluctantly, Glenn agrees to go, too.
"You're putting every single one of us at risk," Shane tells Rick, arguing they need everybody to protect the camp in case more walkers show up. But what they really need, Rick contends, are more guns, which he'd be able to retrieve from the bag he dropped outside the tank. Shane softens, knowing the value of more guns and what Rick estimates are 700 rounds of ammunition. But Lori still isn't convinced. Carl tells Rick he doesn't want him to leave. When Lori continues to plead with Rick not to risk his life for a man like Merle, he explains to her that he also needs to collect his walkie-talkie from the bag so he can warn Morgan Jones away from the city. "I owe a debt to a man I met, and his little boy," he tells her. "If they hadn't taken me in, I'd have died. It's because of them that I made it back to you at all."
Shane also recognizes that the walkie-talkie would be better than their CB, which has outdated software and won't communicate with other signals as well as the walkies do. Lori gives up arguing, and Carl tells Rick he's okay with his reasons for going back to Atlanta.
Rick and T-Dog cut a deal with Dale for a set of bolt-cutters to cut the chains on the door. Not only does Dale want back his tools, which T-Dog dropped as he fled the roof, but he wants his pick of the guns Rick intends to collect, and Jim wants to be able to strip the cube van for parts that they can use for the old RV when they get back. Although he's still not happy with the idea of Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog leaving camp, Shane gives Rick the last of his bullets for Rick's Python revolver. "Four men, four rounds," Shane says. "Let's just hope that four's your lucky number."
Rick loads his gun in the passenger seat while Daryl drives out of camp and the group watches as they exit the campsite. In their tent, Lori frets about Rick. "I'm not worried," Carl assures her, taking his mother's hand. "Think about it, Mom. Everything that's happened to him so far; nothing's killed him yet."
The men drive the van in to Atlanta, parking along a fenced in railroad line. Daryl threatens T-Dog if Merle's not okay, but T-Dog insists that the "geeks" can't get through the chains on the door. As they travel on foot below a highway overpass, Glenn decides the group should go for Merle first, because going for the guns would mean doubling back.
Later on, back at camp, Lori's carrying kindling and looking for Carl. When she asks Dale, situated on top of his RV, where he is, Dale tells her he should be down at the quarry catching frogs.
Shane and Carl try to catch frogs with a bucket and net. Shane falls in the water trying to drive them to Carl, but the hunt appears to be going nowhere. Andrea, Amy, Carol and Jacqui do laundry nearby, discussing the division of labor. "How did we get stuck doing all the Hattie McDaniel work?" Jacqui mumbles, and Amy replies, "The world ended. Didn't you get the memo?" The discussion turns to talk of the modern luxuries they miss, like Carol's washing machine, Jacqui's coffee maker, and Amy's cell phone. "I miss my vibrator," Andrea admits. "Me too," Carol whispers. The women break in to laughter.
Carol's husband, Ed, standing watch nearby and smoking a cigarette. The women's laughter draws his attention. He looms over them, and Andrea scoffs, "Problem, Ed?" He shakes his head and tells his wife to focus on her work. Carol continues to rub the clothes against the washboard.
Lori arrives at the quarry, ordering Carl to return to camp. After he leaves, Shane tells her not to take it out on him, and Lori warns him to stay away from her family. "I think we should talk," Shane says, but Lori snaps, "You can tell that to the frogs." Shane asks Lori if she thinks he's not happy about Rick's return. "Why would you be?" Lori responds. "You're the one that told me that he died." She storms off.
Ed continues to loom over the women doing laundry. Andrea finally confronts him. "Don't think I won't knock you on your ass," Ed warns her, demanding that Carol come with him. "So she can show up with fresh bruises later, Ed?" Jacqui asks. Carol tearfully attempts to calm him while the others try to intervene. Enraged, Ed slaps Carol across the face.
Shane, still fuming from his confrontation moments ago with Lori, sees Ed slap Carol. He then proceeds to grab Ed and throw him to the ground and punch him continuously until his whole face is bloody. "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," Shane warns. He kicks Ed in the side before storming away while the women look on, stunned.
In Atlanta, Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog return to the department store. Daryl kills a walker in the store with his crossbow. They cut through the chain on the stairwell with the bolt-cutters and emerge onto the roof. On the ground, a hacksaw sits beside a severed hand. Bloodied handcuffs hang from the pipe above. Daryl screams as the others look on helplessly.
- IronE Singleton as T-Dog
- Adam Minarovich as Ed Peletier
- Melissa Suzanne McBride as Carol Peletier
- Jeryl Prescott Sales as Jacqui
- Madison Lintz as Sophia Peletier
- Maddie Lomax as Eliza Morales
- Viviana Chavez-Vega as Miranda Morales
- Noah Lomax as Louis Morales
- Orlando Vargas as Camp Survivor
- Gregory Nicotero as Deer Walker
- Stephen M. Phillips as Walker
- Nilsa Castro as CDC Lab Technician
- 1 deer
- Several squirrels
- First appearance of Daryl Dixon.
- First appearance of Carol Peletier.
- First appearance of Ed Peletier.
- First appearance of Sophia Peletier.
- First appearance of Miranda Morales.
- First appearance of Eliza Morales.
- First appearance of Louis Morales.
- This is the only episode of the series in which the entire Atlanta group appears.
- Bellwood Quarry is the location of the lake that Shane and Carl caught frogs on and where the women did their laundry. Taken from this thread: "Following the completion of mining, the Bellwood Quarry was acquired by the City of Atlanta for a mixed-use recreational/park facility and water reservoir."
- The name of the episode, "Tell It to the Frogs," refers to the fact that as Lori and Shane are fighting about the return of Rick, just before Lori leaves, she tells Shane to "tell it to the frogs." The saying is also a metaphor for words going unheard or unaccepted, which recurs throughout the episode. First, Merle is talking to a possible hallucination on the roof at the beginning of the episode; when Ed first tells Shane to mind his own business over the log on the fire; when Rick tries to explain to Shane and Lori why he needs to go back to Atlanta; when T-Dog explains to Daryl why he has to go back to Atlanta; when Lori uses the term with Shane at the quarry to blow him off; and when the women are arguing with Ed because they were fed up with his behavior.
- According to the commentary track of the next episode, halfway through this episode, Dale's hat changes color from blue to white, because Robert Kirkman stole the blue one.
- The shirt that Carl is wearing when he and Lori are reunited with Rick is the same one he wore in the comic version of the scene.
- The walker that is eating the deer Daryl was tracking was played by Greg Nicotero, whom serves as the show's co-executive producer and special effects make-up designer .
- One of the vehicles at the survivor's camp is a van from the Holy Cross Lutheran Chruch, which exists in real life in Athens, Georgia.
- In the scene where Shane gives Rick four rounds, Rick says "thank you" but his lips do not move.
- When Rick reunites with his family, just as they embrace, the camera pans to a shot with the Challenger. To the very left of the Challenger, a crew member is clearly seen.