Welcome back to a brand spanking new Stay Tooned Sundays. Have you picked up your copy of Batman Year One yet? (It came out Tuesday on Blu-Ray and DVD.) If you haven’t or if you are on the fence about it, click here and you can see what I had to say about it when I saw it back in July at SDCC. This week also marked the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead after nearly a year long wait! Let’s get into it, shall we.
Waking from a coma to a world overrun by zombies, policeman Rick Grimes must learn how to survive in this post apocalyptic nightmare. Armed with firearms and supplies, Rick sets out into this dangerous world, searching for his missing family, hoping to find them alive and well…this is The Walking Dead.
*For a refresher of what happened at the end of season one click here.*
Title: The Walking Dead
Written by: Ardeth Bey, Frank Darabont (developer), Robert Kirkman (graphic novels)
Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Company: Darwoods Productions
Original Air Date: October 17, 2011
Length: 90 min.
Episode: “What Lies Ahead”
The second season opener of the The Walking Dead, “What Lies Ahead,” does not disappoint. We rejoin Rick as he is giving a bit of a recap of what happened last season over a walkie-talkie, hoping that Morgan and his son somehow receive it. The gang gases up their vehicles and leave Atlanta to look for hope someplace else. They don’t get very far when they reach a major road block in the form of a car graveyard on the highway. With not enough fuel to go back, they decide to proceed carefully though it. As Murphy’s Law would have it, Dale’s RV breaks down right in the middle of this dangerous stretch of road and they must stop to repair it. Dale and Rick keep a lookout while everyone else spreads out searching the cars for spare parts and supplies. The group isn’t searching long before the guys spot a heard of zombies nearing their location. With no time to spare, Rick and the others climb underneath the nearest vehicles hoping the zombies will mosey on by without noticing them. The plan works well for most of them with the exception of T-Dog, who ends up having to be saved by a quick thinking Daryl (ironic, I know). Andrea also barely makes it out alive by killing a walker that gets trapped in the RV with her. Just when it seems that the threat has passed, little Sophia crawls out from under a truck and gets noticed and chased into the woods by two walkers.
As everyone looks on, Rick charges alone into the woods to rescue her. He is able to fend off the two zombies, but not before he gets separated from Sophia. When Sophia does not return from the woods, Rick and Daryl go back into the woods in search of her, but return to the group empty handed just before nightfall. With the prospect of her daughter having to spend the night in the woods or possibly being dead already, Carol goes off on Rick, blaming him for losing Sophia in the woods. The next morning the entire group prepares to go out looking again for her with the exception of Dale and T-Dog, who remain behind to work on the RV. Before they leave, Andrea and Dale have it out after he takes away her gun in fear that she might try to kill herself like she did back at the CDC. Once Andrea says her piece, the group sets out and searches the woods, ending up at a church where many of the characters take the time to have a heart to heart with God. Lori and Shane also have a heart to heart in which he informs her that he will be leaving the group at the first opportunity. Andrea overhears the conversation and asks Shane to take her with him. Shane is not too keen on the idea, but agrees to think about it. Later, Shane recommends to Rick that they head back to camp, but Rick convinces him to stay out searching with him while they send the others back with Daryl. On the way back, Lori lays into Carol and the others for always looking to Rick for all the answers and then blaming him when things go wrong. Meanwhile, back at the church, Rick takes a moment to ask God for a sign that he is doing the right thing, and by the end of the episode, he gets it…in the form of tragedy.
For anyone that had doubts about this season, I’m pretty sure this episode will put them to rest. Easily one of the top three episodes of the series in terms of writing, acting, and special effects. Everyone seems to be getting very comfortable with their characters and the various relationships between their characters. The suspense and gore are at all time highs, and the character drama continues to be the driving force of the show. Not to say that there weren’t a few issues with the episode, like the fact that even though Dale was on top of the RV with binoculars he didn’t see a giant heard of zombies until they were nearly upon them. Lori’s behavior in regards to Shane was a bit contradictory, because in a previous episode she told him to stay away from her family, and in this episode she got butt hurt when he was distancing himself from Carl. There was also a scene that was completely unnecessary to the plot, where Rick and Daryl gut a zombie to see if it had eaten Sophia. This scene was clearly added just to up the gore factor for the episode and give people the big “gross out” moment that wasn’t needed. Other than these few nit picky things, the episode was awesome, and I, like 7.3 million other viewers (yes, it was record breaking), can’t wait for the next episode. (That’s tonight if you are reading this on the day this was published.)