My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:
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.
This episode begins with another flashback to before the collapse (the day Rick was shot). It's full of great character development, but there's nothing in it that needs to be discussed here for our purposes. Back in the present, we rejoin Rick carrying the prone body of his young son, who was seriously injured in the previous week's shocking ending. He is being directed to a nearby farm by another man to get help from someone named Hershel; who, from the knowledge of emergency medicine he exhibits when they get there, is obviously a doctor. All throughout this segment, we see Rick's abject (and perfectly understandable) panic over his son, while Shane is at his level-headed best, showing us why he is Rick's best-friend and that he isn't really the villain they have been playing him up to be, at least not totally.
Meanwhile, back at the highway, Dale is building an impressive collection of spare parts scavenged from all the abandoned vehicles, and T-Dog begins showing signs of possible blood-poisoning from a cut he received in the previous episode (he has discolored veins and it hurts to touch the arm). He and Dale make another pass at searching abandoned cars for antibiotics, but a bit later he starts getting delirious and talking crazy. It turns out, he is absolutely burning-up with fever. Luckily, Daryl will soon inform the others that he has a stash of illegal meds that belonged to his brother Merle, among them some antibiotics he used to self-treat for STDs he was known to pick-up from time to time.
Rick isn't allowed to leave, as he is needed for blood transfusions Carl must have, so it is decided that Shane has to be the one to go back and tell Lori and the others. But then Hershel announces he needs to operate and, to do so without killing him, he has to put Carl under anesthesia. He needs a respirator and surgical supplies. Shane and Otis (the man responsible for Carl's injury and who understandably feels responsible) make plans to go to the local high school, where a FEMA shelter was set-up to retrieve what's needed (the last hospital nearby was burned to the ground a long time ago). Hershel's daughter Maggie goes by horseback to inform the group in Shane's place and bring Lori back to the farm to be with her son.
We later learn that Hershel lost his wife and step-son in the plague, and that he and his daughters are hoping to just wait it out until a cure can be found. He states that mankind has been fighting plagues since the beginning and that we get our butts kicked for a while, then bounce back. It's nature's way of correcting itself, he argues. I am struck by the fact that old Hershel is like one of us, but far more naive about obvious threats. Also, it turns out he's a veterinarian, not an M.D.
When Shane and Otis get to the high school/FEMA shelter, they find it to be completely overrun. They create a distraction that allows them to cross the parking lot to the medical trailer and retrieve what they need, but, when they open the door to sneak back out, the Walkers have returned. They are chased and cornered inside a building, and the episode fades to black.
All in all, this episode was all about what happens when people are in desperate need of medical care, but there's no infrastructure in place to help them. We see one character saved (hopefully) by using stockpiled antibiotics to shake an infection that's killing him, while another is getting blood transfusions straight from his father's arm in the downstairs bedroom of a Georgia farmhouse. The second patient will be receiving a potentially life-saving surgery in that bedroom as well, if some folks can make it back in time with scavenged supplies and equipment, and if the veterinarian ministering to him is up to the job.