The Walking Dead S2E1 review
|REVIEWS - TV|
In case you wondered what lies ahead - see below ...
"What Lies Ahead"
[Spoilers lie ahead...]
Previously on The Walking Dead: The zombie apocalypse happened, which resulted in the decimation of the population and a bizarre love triangle between Sheriff Rick, wife Lori and their best friend Shane. Rick led the survivors into Atlanta, to the CDC, but only got a few of them killed, so .... yay? Since the CDC exploded in what might have been my favorite example of terrible tv effects until SMG hit the green-screen in the Ringer pilot, it's time for Plan B.
Sheriff Rick goes to the walkie-talkies one last time, ostensibly to leave a message for the father and son from the pilot episode but in reality to gracefully recap Season 1 for us - it was pretty well-done, actually, although his sign-off ("We've got to stick together ... it's the only chance we've got") is my new favorite example of heavy-handed foreshadowing. The ragtag group of survivors heads toward Fort Benning, I think, and there's a nice shot of them on the highway leaving Atlanta. It's a nice counterpoint to the iconic entering Atlanta alone on a horse, the convoy of survivors on the highway out of town.
The group gets stuck at a roadblock on the highway and decide to scavenge the cars for supplies and gas while they figure out how to get off the road. Dale, on lookout on top of the RV, spots a walker. Make that 20. Oops, 50. Wide shot: make that 100. The survivors decide to hide under the cars - there are too many to fight. Everybody's under the cars except Andrea, who's in the RV trying to put her gun back together and T-Dog, siphoning gas. Andrea hides in the bathroom when a walker finds his way into the RV; but she drops the pieces to the gun and attracts its attention. Dale drops her a screwdriver through the RV roof, and she takes down the walker with a wicked stab to the eyeball.
T-Dog cuts himself badly on a car and in a weird turn of events, Darryl saves him from a walker. Didn't Darryl hate T-Dog because he left his brother on the roof? Nice development, I actually like that a lot.
The moms are trapped under a car separate from kids, and the tension is unbearable. And I'm just sitting on my couch with a laptop. Little Sophia moves too soon and is spotted by two stragglers - she runs into the woods with two walkers chasing, and Sheriff Rick runs directly after. He hides her under some trees and draws the walkers off - but he can't shoot because that will attract the rest of the zombies - God, where's Andrea and a screwdriver when you need one? Never mind, he just bashes them to death with a big rock. Way to improvise!!
Uh oh! Sophia is gone - and lost. The search party comes up with nothing and have to leave it till the next morning. Everyone sets out to help except Dale and T-Dog - Andrea is pissed because they took her gun away; Dale won't give it back because she was so recently suicidal. Shane backs him up with an 'only trained professionals get guns' excuse. In what may be the high point of the episode, Andrea gives Dale a piece of her mind. Beautiful and succinct - she point out that he didn't save her from blowing up at the CDC - by refusing to leave her there alone, and forcing her to save them both, he took away her ability to choose her own death. And she refuses to thank him for that. Nice.
Darryl and Sherrif Rick find a walker in the woods and shoot him with a crossbow. When they find flesh in his teeth (gross!) they decide they need to know what it is and in the grossest, goriest, really unbelievably yuckiest turn of events ever, they disembowel the zombie and check his stomach for Sophia. Yikes. Luckily, they find only woodchuck. (Obviously, it wasn't lucky for the woodchuck, or for anyone who ate before watching this episode.)
The group finds a campsite but Sophia's not there. Nothing in here but us suicides, missing the lower half of our faces; wearing a pin that says, "No Excuse for Domestic Violence". Suddenly, a bell is ringing - hope that's not the dinner bell! The group heads toward the sound, hoping that Sophia does too - instead they find a Southern Baptist Church (with a sign outside that says, "Welcome Bikers!" Is that product placement for Sons of Anarchy?) Three people are in the church pews ... they turn slowly .... all walkers.
Andrea overhears Lori and Shane talking - Shane is going to leave the group and Lori says that's a good idea, but she's acting weird and giving him a hard time. Andrea asks Shane to take her too - she needs a fresh start, and could have his back. The group splits up (have they never watched a horror film? Know your genre, people!) Lori gives the second-best speech of the episode, when she defends Sheriff Rick and his decisions, and tells the group to get off his back, already. Well said.
The group offshoot (Shane, Carl, and Sheriff Rick) see a deer in the woods. (Is it a zombie deer? That would be a makeup marvel!) Nope, it's just a deer. But as Carl approaches it, with a smile on his face, and his dad and Shane watch, smiling too ... suddenly, a shot rings out!! And the gunshot goes through the deer. And hits Carl.
Hello, foreshadowing. "We have to stick together ... it's our only chance." At the first split, Sophia gets lost. At the second, Carl gets shot. Also, if they went over the dangers of gun violence even one more time, without someone getting shot, it would almost have been a letdown. We. Get. It.
Welcome back, The Walking Dead. This episode hit all the highs: creepy, claustrophobic tension - under the cars; in the church. Disgusting gore - the screwdriver killing, the disembowling. Great speeches and acting, especially from the female characters, especially from Andrea. Humor - the corpse's pin, the 'welcome bikers' sign. And some overall plot development: why do the walkers travel in herds like that? And what the heck did Booze Jenner, the scientist from the last episode, whisper in Rick's ear? They almost tell you .... between that and the fact that Carl was shot and Sophia's still missing (and also it's the best thing on TV right now) I guess we'll be watching next week.
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