Summary: Shane and Otis escape the school but both are hurt and being chased by walkers. Shane shoots Otis in the leg and leaves him for dead to allow himself to escape. Daryl and Andrea look for Sophia and come across a walker of a guy who committed suicide. Lori and Rick debate over if they should just let Carl die. Shane comes with the tools and Hershel performs the surgery to stabilize Carl.
The Good: The twist at the end was fantastic. I genuinely wasn't expecting that, so it totally caught me off guard. I had thought Shane was bitten or something along those lines and I was going to be frustrated by Shane hiding a bite like an idiot. But the twist that he sacrificed Otis instead was so pleasing because it made perfect sense for his character to do that. Shane has always looked at things logically instead of morally, and Otis wasn't going to let Shane fall behind so he instead let Otis fall behind to get the supplies to Carl. It's easy to understand why he did it, but the question is was it a morally correct move? And does this signal a change in Shane now? There are some fascinating ideas now which could be explored in future episodes regarding how Shane gets affected by this decision and if he will be forced to make a choice like this again.
The twist really saved the episode because there wasn't much that really connected me with this episode (see: The Bad). There was genuine emotion from seeing Shane do something so cruel, and it made the ending of the episode have emotional resonance. I thought the editing of the reveal was very well done and contrasted well with Shane examining who he really is by looking at the mirror. Furthermore, I think the twist was even more powerful because I was initially disappointed that we didn't see Otis' fate. I was really expecting Shane to get scratched or bitten, so when he didn't my disappointment transformed into shock and satisfaction. That's the perfect way to execute a twist and it added so much more to this episode.
I enjoyed the actual school action sequence too. It was logically planned out and had some really enjoyable and tense moments throughout.
I'm glad that we got to see some more development on Daryl as he revealed some of his backstory. The scenes with him and Andrea were pretty good and allowed us to understand that Daryl is a much better person than Merle was.
The Bad: I don't think Lori wanting to let Carl die felt earned. It would have been nicer to have some set-up for Lori deciding that she may want Carl to just not experience this awful world. The scenes were fine exploration of the horrors of this new world, but I think they could have felt more realistic and organic, or even delved a little deeper than they did. I also wasn't a fan of Carl conveniently waking up to only talk about the deer to help prove Rick's point.
The suicide victim was a bit too on the nose for Andrea's story. What are the odds she would find that walker and realize that she may actually want to live?
This episode almost felt like it had no content. It consisted of a bunch of average conversations which didn't accomplish much and there were very few talking points aside from the ending twist. This felt completely different from the pace that season 1 was going at, and the short length of my review really accentuates that.
The Unknown: How will that twist affect Shane's story? What is his future in the group? Will he still leave or could he maybe stay and try to enforce his more straightforward approach to surviving compared to Rick's moral method?
Best Moment: The execution of the twist in the final 2 minutes was superb, and added a lot of emotion and memorability to the episode.
Character of the Episode: Shane.
Conclusion: Up until the ending, this felt like a slow and almost pointless episode, but that twist added so much resonance and power to the episode and practically was the only reason this episode has such a good score.
Summary: Rick rushes Carl to Hershel's farm. Hershel is a veterinarian and saves Carl but he requires more operation. Shane and Otis, the man who shot Carl go to a high school for medical supplies but are cornered by a horde of walkers. Lori learns that Carl is shot and rushes to the farm. The rest of the group don't find Sophia but prepare to leave a message for her on the highway before they head to the farm.
The Good: This was a slower episode but it still had some good moments throughout.
Rick was the star here as Andrew Lincoln put in a killer performance showcasing Rick's shock from the whole Carl situation. He impressed in every scene and made me buy into his current mind state. The emotion was easy to buy into here as Rick was forced to watch, helpless, as his son lies in critical condition. A lot of the scenes were suitably sad as a result, making them fairly powerful.
There were a lot of other good scenes too. I liked T-Dog and Dale's story for the most part. T-Dog got to raise some interesting points about how life is during the zombie apocalypse and how maybe they should just be looking after themselves instead of after others. It was quite fascinating to explore an idea like that, and it's something I would love for the show to touch upon more often.
It was good to see Daryl get some more development to show him as a more likable person. He shows grit and determination to get Sophia back under the guise of being cold and also saves T-Dog once more by giving him some antibiotics. I also love that there was what seemed to be the blue meth from Breaking Bad in Merle's stash.
The Greene family at the farm seem like decent enough people but I'm definitely interested to learn more about them. Hershel is a decent character so far and it's interesting that he believes so firmly in a cure coming for the infection.
The Bad: The walker attack on Andrea in this episode was pretty bad. It was just there for drama's sake which was weak and the set up for it was stupid. Andrea for whatever reason was walking way behind which was already dumb, but then for some reason there was a walker hiding behind the tree. What??? Since when do walkers hide like that? And why did it attack Andrea and not the group when they walked by? Poor writing.
I was also put off by nobody wondering if T-Dog was infected. He had a walker lying on an open wound and then got a fever, yet nobody is suspecting infection? That seems stupid, and if T-Dog isn't infected it's even worse because it shows that the writers never intended for us to suspect the obvious answer,
Lori is hard to like in this episode. She has just been a generic annoying wife/mom and she continued that here by taking her frustrations out on Hershel who is literally saving her son's life. I need to have more characters to like in this show, but the writers have failed to provide even a single reason for me to like Lori.
I didn't like Rick attempting to leave Carl and do everything himself like Jack from Lost. I don't buy hat as being part of his character and I feel like it would be so much more in character for him to want to stay with Carl no matter what.
The school attack scenes disappointed me too. It's obvious that Shane isn't going to die there, so the scenes lack tension and there were some sloppy moments there too. For example, why didn't they see the walkers earlier and only wait to get closer? It seemed to exist just for drama. Also did they not leave themselves an escape plan from the walkers? Why not save some flares to distract the walkers before they make their escape as well? Also it seems that they waited several hours for it to get darker before enacting their plan, so surely they would have thought of an escape strategy. Additionally, the filming at the end was weak. Why aren't Shane and Otis just going into the school to escape? The camera is suggesting that they are trapped but they really aren't at all. Poor cinematography.
And that awful evening filter returns again this episode. Ugh.
The Unknown: The 2 children in the show are both at risk of dying now. Will they both die? Will they both survive? Or will only 1 of them die? I believe that Carl will survive but that Sophia won't. After all she has been alone for 2 days now, so it will be hard to buy into her surviving.
Best Moment: There wasn't much which stood out here, but I'll go with Shane comforting Rick a little and ensuring that he will stay with Carl. The 2 have been at odds very often, so it's really nice to get a reminder that they are still friends.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was a slower episode and while it had some decent moments, there was also a number of flaws which took away from this.
Summary: The group travels the highway but run into a traffic jam and get stuck. They scavenge but suddenly a walker herd attacks. Everyone hides but Sophia is chased into the woods by walkers. Rick saves her but she gets lost in the woods. The group tries to find Sophia in the woods and split off. Rick, Shane and Carl find a deer and Carl looks at it before he gets shot.
The Good: I thought this was a very effective season premiere. A lot of stuff happened and there was a ton to like in all of this.
I like the simple problem of the traffic jam. It was a good way to get the group stopped on the way to Fort Benning to create some tension and new storylines. I enjoyed the car looting scenes since they all made sense to me. After all why wouldn't they get supplies from all the cars available? The walker assault was also fantastic and created a ton of tension early in the episode. We haven't seen so many walkers at the same time with our characters so out in the open since "Guts", so there was a huge sense of danger and I really felt like something was going to go wrong.
Thankfully nobody died (until that ending), but the herd paid off with Sophia going missing. I thought it was an excellent storyline to centre around and it gives the characters a good reason to stay around the highway for the next little bit at least. It also served well to allow our characters to explore different locations, like the church and the tent. The most fascinating thing about this show is the world it's set in, which allows for the show to have so many potential stories of survivors to explore, like the man who killed himself in the tent for this episode. I'm really excited to see more survivors in this world and how the apocalypse affected them. I also really enjoyed the gruesome cutting open of the walker. The show continues to rub in the unpleasantness of the world as our survivors are forced to do some truly gross things.
While the characters are still mostly shallow, I thought there were a ton of great little moments here as characters begin developing storylines and conflicts. I really enjoyed Shane's current storyline as he plans to leave and starts distancing himself from everybody. It was pleasing to watch and created some really nice drama with Lori and Carl. I was pleased that Carl wasn't just clueless and that he realized that Shane has been being a little distant. I also really enjoyed Carol panicking and grieving about Sophia's disappearance. Melissa McBride did a terrific job of making me feel bad for her even though I hardly know who she is. I thought Lori had a nice moment as she stands up for Rick, and I also enjoyed the little moment between T-Dog and Daryl when Daryl saved his life.
The ending shock was fantastic as well. The episode had been going at a slow yet enjoyable pace for the final half hour as the group hunted down Sophia, but suddenly things seem to have cracked into second gear as Carl has now been shot. I was genuinely caught off guard by this and honestly I do think there is a chance that Carl actually dies here. I do think he survives, but I wouldn't be shocked if he dies either. This show has done a great job of establishing that nobody is safe in this world, so that immediately adds tension as soon as Carl is shot since there is a decent chance that he actually dies here.
The Bad: Not much major but I feel like this episode really missed with the little details as I have tons of nitpicks. For one, why is Lori constantly leaving Carl alone? Sophia just got chased into the woods, yet immediately Lori lets Carl go off on his own to check out the cars. Seriously, what parent is so irresponsible? I also didn't like Shane wasting water taking a mini shower. It just seemed like an unnecessary waste which the survivors should not be doing. Andrea screaming in the RV was way too loud so I have a hard time believing that no walkers heard this and entered the RV through the OPEN door. Lori's comment about the place being a graveyard was dumb. What were they supposed to do, go get supplies from the shopping centre?
Also shouldn't Rick be able to run much faster than the walkers with or without Sophia? He had a huge lead on them, so shouldn't he just double back to the highway to get some help? I can hardly buy that he wouldn't be fast enough to outrun the zombies, and that he would rather leave Sophia on her own instead of just directing her back to the highway.
The only major problem I have with this is the guns. Why does everyone care so much about guns? Like seriously, Rick is just walking around the entire time holding a gun, yet it's been established that nobody should be using guns. Why not carry a knife instead? It would have helped him take care of the zombies chasing Sophia as well. It seems so dumb that he would only carry guns and not just give everyone a knife or axe in case they find walkers. I was also disappointed that Carl never made mention that he should keep an axe in case he is attacked by walkers like Sophia. I thought for sure that he should have at least mentioned that to Lori to give her an interesting moral conflict to think about.
Also there was a terrible filter placed to make it seem like evening time. Awful production value and it was incredibly obvious.
The Unknown: Do walkers regularly travel in herds? Is that a sign of intelligence for them? Also where did this herd come from and how did it show up so quickly?
What was that radio signal? A government message? Where is it coming from?
Is T-Dog possibly infected now? He had a walker laying on his open wound, so could the infection have passed into his blood stream through that?
Will Carl survive the shot to his midsection?
Best Moment: While the walker assault and ending were stunningly good, my favourite moment was Andrea letting Dale know why he had no right to take away her choice. It was a great emotional scene and one that had proper resonance since I completely understood both characters' mindsets and why they did what they did. In the end I feel bad for both, which is exactly what the show was going for.
Character of the Episode: Shane.
Conclusion: This was a very good premiere episode. I had tons of nitpicks, but other than that I feel that the episode was extremely enjoyable all the way through. A great way to start season 2.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.