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.
First, I should point-out that the premiere of the 3rd season airs on AMC tonight (14 October), meaning I’m not going to be caught-up. I’m going to just keep going at the current pace, though, reviewing the season 3 premiere directly after the season 2 finale and continuing on with each new episode as they air. I also intend to review some other shows as well.
As the episode begins, we see that the characters have no choice but to temporarily delay the search for Sophia. They move everyone to the Greene's farm to regroup and utilize as a base of operations as well as a place for those who are injured to recover. There, they attend a funeral service for Otis using a cairn of stones, since there is no body to recover.
The plan is to organize a better search by grid, using maps provided by Hershel. Shane suggests firearms training for everyone, since they are in a spot of at least temporary peace. The problem is that Hershel wants no one carrying guns on his property, saying that they have managed thus far without turning the farm into an armed camp and he would like to keep it that way.
Here is an example of Hershel’s naivety about what the world they are living in has devolved into. Honestly, I can sort of see his point with respect to untrained people, but, if I were in his situation, I would want as many trained gun hands around as possible. In the end, they compromise by Shane saying he will train their people off-site and Herschel agreeing (grudgingly) that Dale alone can remain armed with a rifle in his familiar capacity as an RV-roof mounted look-out. Hershel also soon makes it clear to Rick that everyone needs to understand that the current arrangement is temporary; once Sophia is found and Carl recovers, he wants them to move on.
Daryl, meanwhile, continues the search on his own, apparently unwilling just to sit around until the organized grid search begins the next morning. Some time later, he comes across an abandoned house where it looks like someone, presumably Sophia, hid-out in a pantry for an indeterminate amount of time (he finds bedding).
Maggie Greene (one of Hershel’s daughters) and Glenn prepare to make a run to the pharmacy in town for supplies via horseback, a notion regarding which Glenn is somewhat uneasy (meaning RE: the horse). Lori asks Glenn to pick something up for her that she needs him to keep quiet about, which turns out to involve some rather life-changing news.
Before leaving, however, they are pulled into helping with a precarious group effort to deal with a Walker that has become trapped in one of the farm’s five water wells, causing obvious contamination concerns. Later, we see them at the pharmacy, which bears a handwritten sign telling people to "Take What You Need and God Bless." Maggie and Glenn grow close as a result of shared loneliness
We see that they have left supplies for Sophia on the hood of one of the abandoned cars with a note written across the windshield, telling her to stay put and they will return to the highway every day; Carol (he mother), however, appears just about past hoping to get her back.
We hear Shane explain to Andrea how killing is never easy, but that the way to get through it is just to “flip a switch,” thus turning off all doubt, remorse, fear, et cetera, and allowing you to do what has to be done to take care of those for whom you are responsible. This gives us another glimpse into his psyche, and it’s almost as though he’s trying to justify his own past actions to himself as much as he is trying to talk to Andrea.
Ricks tells Hershel that he needs to reconsider asking them to leave and earns his respect as a plain-spoken man and a good father. Hershel agrees to consider letting them stay if they respect his rules, and he alluded to unspecified aspects to the situation that he will not discuss.