A Little Introduction
The Walking Dead is back for the second half of season two. The last episode ended with some very shocking confrontations and revelations. This episode deals mainly with how each of the survivors handles dealing with the aftermath of the barn shootout, and the consequences they now face.
Shane and Rick deal with the aftermath in very different, but similar ways. Each man is affected by the horrible sight of Sophia’s demise by reverting back to and even furthering their old attitudes.
Shane delves even farther into his “anything goes” mentality and instantly becomes antagonistic with Hershel, accusing him of knowing about Sophia all along. Shane is obviously shaken up and does indeed feel guilt over his role in the events at the farm. This is clearly shown when he washes Carol’s hands later in the episode, trying to console her and apologizing for what happened.
However, he is always looking for someone else to blame. First, he goes after Hershel for potentially harboring the secret of Sophia. Then he turns his attention to Rick, blaming him for making bad decisions that led to this point.
Rick also reverts to his old ways, becoming instantly insecure about his worth as a leader. Though Shane does have a lot to do with Rick’s insecurities, his constant self-doubt has been his biggest flaw since the beginning of the series.
Rick also reverts to his habit of leaving to help someone in need. He left in season one for Merle and earlier this he wanted to join Otis on the run for medical supplies. This time Rick decides to save a distraught Hershel. Rick needs to deal with the pain of shooting Sophia by moving on to his next “mission” and not thinking about the pain he’s assuredly feeling.
The Mother and Child
Lori and Carl deal with the fallout together. Carl’s natural change from average boy to future survivalist is greatly quickened due to Sophia’s death. His bond with her was strong, being the only children of the group, and his reaction to her death is haunting. Carl would have shot her, just like his father did.
Though his cold attitude will no doubt prove crucial to his survival, Lori can’t help but be afraid of what her son is becoming. His chance at any sort of normal childhood and upbringing is all but lost, and she knows this. When Carl confides in her, it’s something she isn’t ready to hear.
Lori’s decision to follow Rick and Glenn to their “rescue Hershel” mission seemed strange to me. They hadn’t been gone long and I don’t understand her risking her unborn child or leaving Carl with Shane, who she’s beginning to fear after her conversation with Dale. It felt like a sloppy way for the writers to put her in danger, and I didn’t care for it.
The Two Lovers
Maggie has to deal with not only the loss of her family members, but the possibility that Glenn will be forced to leave. Before her and Glenn really have a chance to hash out any plans, Beth passes out mysteriously.
There’s probably a good chance that Beth is infected, whether it be by scratch or bite from her mother, or infected water, she’s a ticking time bomb waiting to blow.
Glenn has to deal with Sophia’s death, but he sees the bigger picture. He fears that the group will lose all faith in any chance at a bright future. This thought weighs heavily on him, and coupled with his sadness for Sophia and the possibility of losing Maggie could lead him down his hardest road yet.
Hershel is also clearly dealing with the barn incident. He’s not only grieving for the death of his family members, but also the metaphorical death of his beliefs. Hershel realized all at once that his philosophies regarding the walkers were wrong, and it shakes him to his core.
Much like Rick and Shane, Hershel reverts to old habits. Before the birth of Maggie, he had a bit of a drinking problem, and in his grief he decides to head to his favorite watering hole. When Rick shows up to help him, the two men have another one of their philosophical conversations.
This time, the two men agree on something. Rick wakes up Hershel to the fact that just because his hope is gone, doesn’t mean they can give up on others. They are natural leaders to their respective groups, and have to keep it together for those who still have hope.
The Hunter and the Widow
Carol and Daryl are perhaps the two characters who had the most to lose from Sophia’s death. Both of these characters have hoped and prayed the entire season to find her, and the sudden shock of her loss weighs heavily upon them both.
Daryl has made it his personal quest to find her, taking an arrow to the gut and a bullet to the head to insure her safe return. He’s put all of his proverbial eggs in one basket and has lost his sense of purpose.
He also reverts back to his usual anti-social tendencies, denying Lori in her request for help. He was already a broken man who’s lost the only family he had. This loss could be a breaking point for him, sending him over the edge completely.
Carol has already lost her husband, and even though he wasn’t a great guy, it still hurt. Now with the loss of her daughter, Carol has no one to turn to, and even pushes Daryl away.
Her uprooting of the Cherokee roses may have been out of frustration to Daryl, who gave her what turned out to be false hope. Only time will tell if she places any blame on him or if the two can learn to heal together.
The closing scenes were some of the tensest television I’ve seen in a long time. These strangers were clearly up to no good, and Rick
stood up and did what had to be done for the safety of his people. It’s great to see Rick finally step up and do the “dirty work” it takes to survive.
This is the first time the show has explored how much more dangerous outsiders can be than walkers, and it should be great to see how the conflict escalates.
Though I didn’t love this episode due to its questionable writing (Lori’s little road trip) and the very slow first half hour, it did a solid job of wrapping up the plotlines that drove the first half of the season while paving way for things to come.
Will Gibbs is a Michigan native and journalism student at Oakland University. He is a long time Walking Dead fan and self proclaimed "zombie survival expert." When he's not writing, Will enjoys watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books.