If the record-breaking debut of The Walking Dead’s second season indicated anything, it’s that this series is extremely popular among its ever-growing viewers, and for good reason too. This is high quality programming that’s one of the most riveting shows to have ever appeared on television. The Walking Dead’s trend of excellence continues tonight with an incredible new episode that introduces a bunch of new characters that fans of the graphic novels will be instantly familiar with.
It starts off with another Lost-esque flashback of when Lori received the news of Rick’s gunshot wound that sent him into a coma before the whole zombie apocalypse began. The scene does a great job of setting up an association with what’s currently happening, with Carl’s unexpected status. Once we return to the present, things are already in motion with Rick carrying an injured Carl along with Shane and the culprit behind the shooting of the boy, Otis.
It appears while he was hunting for food, Otis aimed at the deer that Carl was so carefully approaching last episode. He tells Shane and Rick of a farm close by where Carl can receive help from the ones who are staying there. Then, after a bit more of determined sprinting, we catch the first glimpse of Hershel’s Farm, a seemingly safe haven of empty space with the luxury of no immediate close danger. Hershel is introduced and his appearance matches his drawn interpretation, although he is a little bigger in weight.
Hershel and his pack of daughters immediately treat Carl, while a worried Rick looks on with a face full of dread. As he prepares for the worst, Shane tries to help Rick remember to focus on being there for his son as the top priority. Rick wants to get Lori immediately to tell her what happened but Shane urges him to stay put in case Carl needs more blood from him (they share the same type, an important fact to remember). The moment of bromance between Rick and his former partner is another reminder of the friendship that holds the two together, secrets affairs aside for that matter.
The rest of the group is still searching for Sophia and they begin to loose hope, especially after they discuss the meaning of the single gunshot Otis had fired in the distance. A quick attack with a lone walker almost gets a hold of a horrified Andrea, but Hershel’s daughter Maggie saves the day on horseback. Limited screen time and dialogue aside, Maggie proves her worth as an athletic woman who can swing a bat like any major league slugger can. Glenn commenting on her popping up like Zorro to rescue Andrea is a subtle touch of foreshadowing towards their future relationship that will eventually be explored.
Back at the RV, Dale still searches for supplies while a sickly T-Dog starts to become delusional. His conversation with Dale about leaving the rest of the group because of discrimination he feels victim to, is oddly confusing. T-Dog’s infection is getting worse on his wound and it’s clearly affecting his mind. But his comments come out of left field and Dale’s reaction to the absurd accusations is similar to how we feel as viewers. It seems T-Dog as a character is limited to constantly being the singular black man who uses the race card too often when he has dialogue. His demise is almost a for sure thing this season, given the way he is starting to randomly act.
As Carl’s condition worsens, medical tools are needed to help him maintain stability for survival. This requires someone to venture out to a nearby school where there’s a building with materials that could potentially save Carl’s life. Shane volunteers, as does Otis who feels responsible for harming the boy in the first place. They reluctantly drive off for their dangerous mission while Rick has a one on one talk with the owner of the farm.
As in the novels, Hershel is a God-loving man who blames the current state of things as a plague applied towards mankind that will eventually resolve itself. He also describes the ones close to him that have passed on, which included his wife. Hershel is not as bitter or edgy as he appears in the novels and instead he is more of a passive and calm human being. While helpful, his viewpoint of events conflicts with Rick’s and before they butt heads Lori and Maggie arrive on horseback.
The episode has a disjointed feel to it, with the survivors all separated in groups. Being split up is never a good thing but in The Walking Dead, it’s a common occurrence, one that can lead to a boatload of problems. Daryl in particular was worth mentioning. His lecture to Carol about giving up on hoping and praying as means of finding Sophia was spot-on, as was his memorable kill on the zombie who attacked Andrea.
He also has a bag full of drugs to help ease the pain for T-Dog, which is yet another reason of his importance among the group. The show’s creators have crafted a terrific personality in Daryl, a character who Robert Kirkman must be envious of not including in his graphic novels.
The separation factor becomes an issue for Shane and Otis when they have their hands full after they grab the supplies. The flares they used from an abandoned cop car as a means of distraction have worn out and they are chased into a building, which they lock themselves into. Judging by next week’s episode preview, the action heats up as Shane and Otis fight for their lives to return to Hershel’s with the medicine intact.
It will be interesting to see the group dynamic once everyone eventually meets, which is assuming they all do. How Hershel and his batch of survivors will be portrayed beyond the confines of the farm is intriguing as well. Will they meet a similar fate as in the novels? That’s uncertain, just like how the show will attempt to interpret the setting of Hershel’s Farm and its residents. The only thing to do is wait and see. Stay tuned next week for another recap for an all-new episode of The Walking Dead.