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.
Episode 5 begins with another flashback to the early days of zombie apocalypse / societal collapse. For the record, I love these scenes, as they open-up the world of the show for us and give us a glimpse of all that we missed by virtue of the show following Rick’s point-of-view predominantly; he, of course, having been in a coma all through the early drama. Needless to say, the show needs more of these.
We see Shane, Lori, and Carl sitting in gridlock on the highway leading into Atlanta on their way to the refugee center there. Stuck in the same traffic jam are Abusive Ed (dead since season 1), Carol, and poor little (currently) lost Sophia. This represents where they first met, apparently. Abusive Ed (and, yes, I’m still digging the nickname I gave him), as it turns out, is a survivalist, which makes me hate him even more; one of our community ought to not be such a complete $h!theel. We learn this through Carol trying to share one of their MRE stash with young Carl, because he’s hungry. Abusive Ed gives her a verbal dressing-down about Operational Security and not advertising what they have to strangers, which is actually good advice, but he’s such an all-around bastard that I hate him anyway.
Shane is concerned because the Emergency Broadcast System has stopped broadcasting about the Atlanta refugee center, fearing they might be turning people away and commenting that, if they are, they’re liable to have a riot on their hands. Just then, military aircraft fly overhead and begin fire-bombing Atlanta, dropping napalm in the streets.
Back in the present, the search for Sophia is gearing-up based on the possible evidence Daryl found the day before, even though there is no way of knowing for sure that it was her who had been sleeping in the pantry of the abandoned house. While searching their assigned grid, Rick and Shane bond over their high school days, before Shane says they shouldn't be talking about the way things used to be. He states his belief that nostalgia is just a drug that keeps you from taking care of things in the present. He believes that they should call-off the search, because Sophia is almost assuredly dead by now, and that Rick’s continuing to look for her is what got his own son nearly killed. He tells Rick that his good intentions are making them weaker and that they should be half-way to Fort Benning by now.
Elsewhere in the forest, Daryl finds a baby doll in a stream that looks like Sophia’s, before being injured as he is thrown down a ridge by the borrowed horse he’s riding getting spooked by a snake. He ends up killing two Walkers and climbing out of a steep gorge, despite being hurt, with some motivation provided by a hallucination of his missing older brother Merle berating him for being weak.
Back at the farm, Hershel is worried that Rick’s group is getting too comfortable and wants clear boundaries set between his people and them, including his daughter Maggie getting closer to Glenn. I smell the beginnings of some unfortunate tension between our survivors and the Greene clan. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around why Hershel isn't more happy to have additional warm bodies around, both for security and labor. I, for one, know exactly how I would handle the situation if that was my farm: in fact, I highlighted it in a past installment of another article series that you might find interesting.
Andrea spots a Walker approaching and folks go to deal with it, despite Rick saying that Hershel wants to be the one to handle such situations. He’s obviously trying to follow Hershel’s wishes, but – more and more – the way Hershel wants things done is clashing with the way the group has operated in the past. This is only exacerbated by a near-tragic accident that puts Rick in definite damage-control mode in order to keep things between them and Hershel from getting any worse.
All through this, there is a clear sense of mounting tension between Rick and Shane. Shane privately tells Lori that all he cares about is her and Carl and he'll do anything to keep them safe, to which she replies that they are not his problem anymore. The thing is that Lori is struggling with yet another secret: this one being how to tell Rick that she's pregnant (as discovered in episode 2x04), knowing it might not be his baby (he still doesn’t know about her and Shane).
The episode closes with Glenn making a shocking discovery that has the potential to drive an even deeper wedge between Rick’s people and Hershel’s.