Written by SR Staff Monday, 17 October 2011 10:07
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Synopsis (What Lies Ahead - Air Date: October 16, 2011)
Rick and the group leave Atlanta and encounter a threat on the highway the likes of which they've never seen. Elsewhere, the group search for a missing person.
Full Recap (spoilers)
For the most part, as expected, "What Lies Ahead" met expectations: it was suspenseful, gory, and even had a surprise or two. It continued to be a nice balance of zombie-killing fun and deep character development. I laughed, I cried, I threw up a little bit.
It's good to see that the suspense is still there. That scene with Rick walking out of the hospital (the pitch-black staircase and the matches? Forget it) is still burned into my memory, but this episode's "herd" scene topped it. I was even willing to forget that the zombies are supposed to be able to smell them (but, a heads-up move by the ever-useful Daryl to cover the bleeding T-Dog with a corpse).
The gore is still there too: some of the kills were truly brutal (Andrea's screwdriver to the eye might win) and I truly thought I was going to lose my lunch during the horrific examination of the walker's stomach contents.
But that same autopsy was also a prime example of how humor, albeit the dark kind, can somehow be woven into this show. Daryl's slicing was comically drawn-out, and I got a reasonable chuckle out of Rick's punchline with Jesus. Also, church zombies? Not only was that a funny "what?!" moment, it reminded us of something we learned from Morgan's wife back in the pilot episode: there's still a piece of these walkers' former lives with them.
But despite the nearly 20-minute-long herd scene and the hunt for the runaway Sophia, there was plenty of time in this 90-minute opener for character development. Andrea's meaningful look at Dale at the end of season one is explained: Dale didn't convince her to leave the CDC and have another go at life. She left only because she didn't want Dale to die on her behalf. There's a good deal of resentment there, whether you think it's warranted or not.
Shane and Lori, meanwhile, are still having their issues, and it's gotten to the point that Shane wants to leave the group. When Andrea overhears, that leads her to confront Shane and ask to go with him. Should the group split up (which the previews show it will), it looks like we have a new duo. What's the over/under on how many episodes they go before they totally bone each other? Five maybe?
Then, of course, there's Rick. Poor Rick. Thrust into this position of leadership and finding that it isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. Whenever something goes wrong (and lately, a lot of things have), Rick feels that he is responsible. So when Sophia decides to get herself lost in the woods after climbing out from under a car too early, Rick puts the blame on himself, despite the fact that he killed two zombies with nothing but a rock. A motherf**kin ROCK.
I enjoyed seeing more of this from Rick. He was a bit too confident last season, and that got him and the group into trouble on occasion. Those losses had to weigh on him if he was going to continue to be a believable, relatable character, and they did. We heard in his conversation with Jesus in the church just how much is weighing on him.
But his guilt isn't about to go away any time soon, as it was his desperate need for a sign that made him give Carl the go-ahead to approach a wild buck (not the greatest choice) that got him shot. What will happen to Carl? They were careful not to show him in the previews, but I would be very surprised if this show chooses to kill off either of the two kids.
Notes and other stuff:
-Sign in the RV: "How about a nice cup of shut the hell up?"
-As always, amazing use of sound, whether it be the minimalist use of music and building tension with silence or the fantastic foley work with all that zombie slicing/stomach examining.
-Religious themes: Shane finds water and says it's "like being baptized," then they stumble across the Southern Baptist church. Nice.
-Machetes! Now we're talkin' some traditional zombie-killin' tools.
Next Week: Bloodletting
Rick discovers a possible safe haven; Shane must go on a dangerous mission to get needed medical supplies.
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Synopsis (What Lies Ahead - Air Date: October 16, 2011) Rick and the group leave Atlanta and encounter a threat on the highway the likes of which they've never seen. Elsewhere, the group search...
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