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11 October, 2012

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 1 "What Lies Ahead"

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

Season 1:

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.

We open two days after the season 1 finale with Rick back on the radio talking to Morgan, interlaced with shots of the desolated world and our characters scavenging and siphoning fuel from abandoned vehicles.  The characters are now officially headed for Fort Benning 125 miles away, as Shane suggested last season.

The convoy gets held-up by gridlock and overturned vehicles on the Interstate when, suddenly, the radiator hose on the RV blows again.  That hose ought to get a "Special Guest Star" credit at this point, I'm thinking.  They plan to scavenge for a new one, siphon fuel, and look for other useful supplies among all the parked cars.

Rick stands guard with a scoped hunting rifle as Dale assumes his customary position as a lookout atop of the RV with binoculars.  All in all, the folks on this show seem to do a decent job as far as security procedures go, but they still somehow miss the approach of a "herd" of Walkers that catch them off-guard.  They have to quickly hide, mostly under the abandoned cars, but with a few even being forced to play dead with corpses strung over their prone bodies, hoping for the threat to pass.

Sophia, the young daughter of Carol and that creepy, abusive redneck guy Ed who died last season, moves from her hiding spot prematurely and is seen.  She runs down a hillside, chased into the forest by two Walkers, with Rick following to help.  Catching up to her, he tells her to hide while he leads the threat away, then double-back to the highway after they've passed.  A few minutes later, he kills them both but, when he returns, little Sophia is nowhere to be found.  Daryl tracks her footprints to a point where they can see she was headed back to the group, then suddenly veered-off into the woods, perhaps because she was spooked by something she saw or heard.  Rick and Daryl keep looking, but send the others back to the group to put them to work scavenging and pushing cars out of the way to keep them busy.  In my opinion, this is an example of another useful leadership idea to take not of when thinking how we would handle crises in a post-collapse scenario.

Shane and Lori take advantage of Rick's absence to have another private argument over their shared situation, during which Shane informs her that he is prepping one of the abandoned cars to take and leave the group.  As he gets it started, we hear a Civil Defense broadcast of the Emergency Broadcast System over the car's radio, and Dale surmises it must be transmitting from within between 50-100 miles.  Perhaps there's hope that Fort Benning has survived?

Back in the woods, Rick and Daryl kill another Walker and discover gruesome evidence that it fed recently (which is a gross, gruesome, and awesome, all at the same time).  Luckily, none of that evidence points to it having eaten Sophia.  Rather, Daryl states that it looks like it ate a woodchuck for lunch.

Meanwhile, Dale has quietly confiscated a handgun belonging to Andrea (given to her by her father), saying he's uncomfortable with her having it in her state of mind.  It's obvious that he's worried she's suicidal, though he doesn't go so far as to say it.  Shane agrees that Dale should keep most of the group's guns locked-up, but for different reasons: he doesn't want untrained people carrying guns in camp, until there's been time to teach them how to handle them safely. Probably sound thinking, but I, too, would take great offense to my property being confiscated in such a way, especially in a survival situation.

Unfortunately, they have to give up the search for Sophia as the sun goes down, vowing to begin again at first light.  Her Mom blames Rick, rather unfairly, and you can tell he is also blaming himself somewhat.

At first light, knives and hatchets are given to everybody who are not yet trained to shoot and an advanced search is conducted with everyone keeping in sight of everyone else.  A bell chiming in the distance leads them to an abandoned church, hoping either that Sophia is the one wringing it to signal her location to them or that she too will hear it and head that way.  Unfortunately, the bell turns out to be on a timer, but the little church provides the characters with the perfect venue to do a little soul searching.

Beyond that, I won't say much else.  The rest is important to the story, but there's nothing else pertinent to our community, and I don't want to give away any more than I already have (which is a lot).  I will say, however, that the final few seconds of the episode are as shocking as any season cliffhanger ending I've ever seen.

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