The Walking Dead is back! It’s Season 2, Episode 1, and it couldn’t come at a better time — there’s nothing like some zombie-fueled methadone to slowly wean us off our Breaking Bad addiction. Though actually, wouldn’t that be an addiction to meth? Whoops! Now we’re just taking two unrelated drugs. THANKS, AMC!
As we recall (thanks to a haphazard five-second “Previously” segment that was like half a zombie’s face and Shane pouring wine), Season 1 ended with a steamy Cinemax shower scene turned Center For Disease Control F***ing Exploding (RIP and LOL), leaving the remaining survivors (aka, THE WALKING DEAD, a double-meaning that hit me like a month after Season 1 so why are you even trusting me to do these recaps) to hit the road in search of a location free of zombies and zombie-sympathizing suicidal doctors.
We open on Rick Grimes, therapeutically explaining the situation to his walkie talkie:
The group decides to abandon Atlanta and takes to the road in their RV and accompanying ‘working car’, but they quickly hit a wave of broken-down cars and way-more-broken drivers clogging up the highway (“Look at all this traffic!” – Michael Douglas, Traffic). While they’re moving cars out of the way, the RV’s ‘horror movie malfunction valve’ malfunctions, and Dale takes a second to repair it. He repairs it easily and they move on. Whew! Just some very minor car problems, not sure why that was even in there.
Psyche! While they’re fixing the RV, Rick spots a walker, then another walker, then more walkers than there are awesome Walker, Texas Ranger episodes:
The group realizes they obviously can’t go up against Big Zombie, but because they’re surrounded by decaying flesh in all the cars, they might be able to hide and just let the walkers pass. This seems like a HUGE risk though, since these are the same walkers that instantly smelled Rick and Glenn when it rained for five seconds and slightly washed off their zombie entrail costumes.
Basically, they’re adopting Homer Simpson’s final exam strategy: “During the exam, I’ll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.”
Operation “Hide Under Sh*t” is going swimmingly until T-Dog (T-Dog! Still a character called that!) gets his arm caught on a car door and cuts it VERY VERY open:
T-Dog runs for cover — because the zombies can smell the blood but not all the humans, or just because he needs medical attention? Cause it seemed like the former, but that doesn’t totally make sense unless they’re part shark — but just when a walker is about to descend on bloody T-Dog, Daryl jumps out and bludgeons it to death. When friends are in danger, the only race that matters is the HUMAN race! Then Daryl’s like “Aww, crap. I mean you’re welcome friend!”
Borderline-suicidal Andrea also has a run-in with an exceptionally curious walker who corners her in the RV bathroom, but Dale manages to toss a screwdriver down to her so she can stab it to death in the face while secretly thinking but not saying “YOU’RE SCREWED” in a Schwarzenegger voice:
Just when you’re wondering how #CARGATE is gonna fill the 90-minute premiere block, the verrrrrrry last walker notices young Sophia and chases her out from under the car. Quick aside – must be fun for these child actors to get attacked by grown men in zombie makeup, huh?
Sophia runs off into the woods with the duo of walkers in pursuit, and Grimes runs out after her as worthless Carol watches worthlessly. Grimes catches up to Sophia and grabs her, but as the walkers draw close, he realizes he has to part ways with Sophia to draw the walkers toward him so he can kill them. Or he could just kill them while Sophia’s there then take her back to the road and end the episode? Surely that would’ve been less of a risk than letting Sophia run back into the woods alone, no? No time for splitting hairs, only time for splitting heads.
Plus it’s hard to question the judgment of Sheriff Good Judgment Face:
Sophia runs off and Rick easily takes care of the two walkers, but quickly realizes that Sophia is out there alone in the zombie-infested woods. UGH – Mondays!
While looking for Sophia, Rick and Daryl kill another straggling zombie, and in an attempt to top the grossness of the entrails-smearing scene from Season 1, Daryl cuts the walker’s stomach open to see if he could’ve eaten Sophia:
Nothin’ like a rousing round of Zombie Operation! Got some ‘Water in the knee’? Or maybe some ‘Pieces of Sophia’s flesh in the stomach?’
The group decides to re-enter the woods to search for Sophia, leaving Dale behind to keep the sun out of the RV’s eyes. While the group’s away, Dale does admit that if they don’t find Sophia, at some point they’ll have to move on and abandon her, because that wouldn’t divide the group or weigh on anyone’s conscience. Also, FUN FACT – The actor who plays Dale wears those hats even when he’s not in character:
Rick leads the group of way too many people back into the woods, and they decide to not split up so they can cover the least amount of ground possible:
They come across a tent and open it cautiously, hoping to find Sophia hiding out, but instead it’s just a rotting dude who looks to have shot himself in the face, or as they now call it, a “Code 1″:
If you look closely, at least he died wearing his beloved “No Excuses For Domestic Violence” pin. And for the record, ‘I’m a zombie’ the worst excuse of all.
The group does eventually split up, though not before tons of splinter-group gossiping: Shane tells Lori he’s gonna leave the group the first chance he gets, Andrea tells Shane she wants to go with him, Carol blames Rick for Sophia’s disappearance but Shane aggressively defends him, and Shane continues to act unnecessarily coldly towards Carl, acting as if any affection he shows will blow his ‘I was banging Lori from behind in the woods’ cover:
Suddenly, Rick and Shane hear church bells ringing and follow the sound to a nearby chapel, and before I could joke “the zombies actually have a small congregation,” they open the door and THERE’S THREE ZOMBIES SITTING THERE IN CHURCH. Is this perhaps an indication that the zombies still have one tiny shred of humanity left, and are able to follow their past patterns? Or is it a ‘Dawn Of The Dead mall’-like commentary on religion itself? Or are there just zombies f***ing everywhere so they happen to be in the church too? I’ll take all of the above.
Rick and Shane dispatch the zombie parishioners — “Your penance: Five Hail DEADDYS” — and Shane & Carl leave Rick behind so he can have a moment of solace in the church. In a moment of simultaneous desperation and unselfconscious humanity, Rick pleads for a sign from the most famous zombie of all time, Jesus Christ.
With no luck on the Sophia front, Rick, Shane and Carl continue traipsing through the woods and happen upon a lone deer, and when Shane raises his rifle preparing to shoot it, Rick tells him “no no, let Carl go up to it and do whatever or something.”
In the episode’s final moment, Carl approaches the deer with childish wonderment, and just when you’re expecting a walker to jump out and attack him, something a million times funnier happens:
Carl gets shot! And Sophia is still missing! Two potential dead kids for the price of one!
Welcome back, Walking Dead! Are you now one big homage to the “It’s 10 pm, do you know where your children are?” campaign? Your message is blunt but effective.
Walking Dead Season 2 Premiere thoughts? Stuff we missed, questions, predictions, problems, literal zombie entrails? Leave ‘em all in the comments.
(All pics via AMCTheWalkingDead.com)