Our survivors are on the road again and, after an atrociously ADR’d catch up from Rick on an Atlanta rooftop; they are leaving the city life for a military base quite a ways from their temporary home. Along the way an abandoned traffic jam causes the group to pause and resupply, only to encounter a “herd” of walkers that certainly must mean something because they made such a big deal about it here. After a close call with Andrea, another walker chases Sophia into the woods with Rick running after to save her. After fighting off the two pursuing walkers, Rick can’t find Sophia where he left her hiding and the search is on. Some seemingly irrelevant character moments and the upcoming possible exit of Andrea and Shane are the only other non search related activities for the rest of the episode. That is until the “shocking” ending in which Carl gets shot by an unseen hunting party observing a wandering buck in the woods.
The episode’s highs are mostly expected with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure. The zombie work is top notch and the gore is as good as ever; with the gutting being particularly gooey. A couple of characters have a particularly strong episode here, with Andrea’s monologue to Dale about why she left the CDC and her hopelessness with the situation being the standout performance of the night. The team player nature of Daryl is also quite a welcome change of pace as I find myself liking him more and more every week; even if Reedus needs to work on his tracking acting.
For a 90 minute episode not a whole lot actually happened this week and I can’t imagine how this was two episodes originally. The introduction of people praying for hope was quite the stretch, if the zombie apocalypse doesn’t kill religion I don’t know what will, and Rick looking for solace felt like quite the stretch. I know he is an optimist but I think he is smarter than still believing in God at this moment in life. Luckily the show makes sure Rick won’t put his faith in God ever again in the episode’s final moments. Carl getting shot was quite the heavy handed moment but it worked as a good set up for the season, and series, in foreshadowing things are only going to worse from here.
An above average episode of The Walking Dead, by the shows standards, and the episode was a major step up from last season’s later entries. Though, a little less aimless forest walking would do the show better.
Not Bullets (We don’t want to attract the herd.):
-the special effects shot of the convoy leaving Atlanta was also quite terrible, and really, we need a motorcycle?
-can’t state enough how much I like this new Daryl. Seeing him work with Rick looking for Sophia was a high point for the episode and let’s hope he stays friendly and less rednecky
-quite a few dead zombies this week and they didn’t hold back on the brutality either, thanks AMC!
-the gutting scene was, again, quite the highlight, and Daryl rationally trying to explain to Carol how they know the walker didn’t eat her daughter was quite humorous/terrifying
-another thing that seemed a bit inconsistent, and ridiculous, was the display of intelligence by the zombies on a couple of occasions. The one that climbed into the RV was far too investigative and as for the church going walkers; seriously? I get that it is some interesting imagery, but come on; this is too much to ask.
-not really sold on the Shane and Andrea exodus but it is nice to see some dissent in the group, especially with a couple of major characters.
-if they do let these two go on the lamb, it could help spice up the show a bit. Not having everyone tied into one plot line would do the show well; and the show has proven in its past it is better when the group is fractured.
That’s it for this week, let’s see what happens next with Carl and if the show can continue to improve off of this upgrade from late last season.
Oh and I hope they find Sophia, for the sake of safety and story