So begins a whole new season of shambling corpses and the sheriff who shoots them. Last night saw the beginning of the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and well, by my estimation of survival instincts, a whole lot of people should be dead at this point.
Last season the group was parked on an overlook outside of Atlanta. The main conflict centered around Sheriff Rick reestablishing a connection with his family, first physically and then emotionally. At the end of the season the group decided to go to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, hoping to find some answers for whatever was going on. Once they got there they found a whole lot of nothing, well not counting the suicidal scientist who blew up the building after a narrow escape by Rick and company. The smell of spoilage isn’t all rotting flesh. Read at your peril!
This season opened with the group on the highway heading to Fort Benning. Why take a drive down an interstate that was bound to be filled with delectable people trapped in cars, you ask? So did I! It’s not long before they are brought to a complete standstill by a large traffic jam/old wreck, and having made this drive a couple of times now, I’ve got to say, no shocker there. The group makes the tactical decision to raid the cars for supplies and fuel, double back to a highway bypass, then continue on their merry way. The problem is that a whole mess of zombies decided that the American Highway System is a marvelous way to get around the country, so the two groups had a bit of a disagreement. Rick, who was on point with Dale and his RV, has everyone hide under and on top of cars. The majority of the group manages to avoid any major incident. You have T-Dog being an idiot, again. I mean, really, this guy should just do the group a favor and git bit. Instead of getting under something big and metal, he acts on the clever notion of hiding behind windows. Apparently T-Dog doesn’t understand a concept that even the 12 year-old girl grasped without much in the way of adult supervision.
T-Dog cuts his arm on a door and has to be saved once again by the “racist,” Daryl, known by the SS stickers on his motorcycle. I like Daryl. I liked his brother too. I’ll be curious to see if he dies saving T-Dog or Glenn, or dies at all. He seems like he could make a good redeemed hard-ass/bad-guy character.
Andrea also has a close call in the RV. Being distraught over the death of her sister, she has developed a bizarre obsession with guns. Instead of searching for needed food and water, she takes the short time on the highway to try and field-dress a pistol. She does manage to hide in the bathroom until Dale gets her a screwdriver that she then uses to give a quarrelsome zombie a frontal lobotomy.
After the main “herd” leaves the area, people start coming out of hiding. However, two straggler zombies see the young Sophia and chase her into the woods. Rick, being one of the only two adults that actually cares about his fellow man, follows suit. He’s able to catch up to Sophia and dispatch the two zombies following her. But does the small child stay in the extremly well chosen hiding spot that good ol’ sheriff Rick picked for her? Of course not, that would only make sense. When Rick returns to the creek where he hid her, she is gone, and this episode’s main plot begins in earnest. That’s right, a sheriff is going to lead a group into the woods to search for a missing girl.
While they search, there is a whole lot of airing of dirty laundry. Shane is becoming increasingly hostile to both Carl and Lori, due to the weird breakdown after whole “Your husband is dead, so sleep with me, and I’ll be his new dad” thing last season. He reveals to Lori that he plans on separating from the group and venturing off on his own. Andrea overhears him and decides that she’s tired of people judging her for being suicidal and always wanting a gun and wants to go with Shane.
Back on the Highway, Dale reveals to T-Dog that he has been pantomiming RV repairs ever since Sophia went missing in an effort to keep the group from the needs-of-the-many mentality, making him the only other decent person in my book.
After finding a church filled with zombies and no Sophia as of yet, Rick begins having a personal crisis. He starts to doubt his ability to hold the group together. He still is able to summon up his cop voice to calm folks, but you see him almost lose it a couple of times. This just proves that the guy is under the same pressures everyone else is and is still holding it all together. (Andrea and Shane could take some notes.) After having a quick and clichéd chat with God, wanting a sign to let him know if he is doing the right thing, Rick orders the majority of the searchers back to the highway, including his wife, while he, his son Carl, and Shane continue the search.
Once far enough away, Rick’s wife, Lori, explains to the other searchers that Rick is pretty close to losing it, and if they think they can do bette,r they should step up and do it. Guess what? No one does. Because Rick is The Man. Meanwhile the sheriff, the deputy, and the boy find a deer. Shane wants to bring the buck down, but Rick stops him after seeing how enthralled Carl is. Carl walks towards the deer and is able almost to touch it when someone else decides to shot the obviously out-of-season 12-point, and bags a little boy in the process.
No word if Carl is dead or not yet. I’m not thinking so. I feel like the church scenes were a bit weak and forced. Not sure why they felt the need to introduce faith this late in the game. This first episode just didn’t have the constant tension that the last season had. I am curious to see where they take this season and if Shane was detached from Carl enough to still leave after he has been shot.