Welcome back. Time to rejoin Rick, Shane and the remnants of this zombie-infested world to discover what happens in the next dismal chapter of The Walking Dead. So let’s get to it. Picking up seconds after we left off, the smoking barrel of Rick’s gun has silenced the panicked group and sent shockwaves around Hershel’s farm. Us viewers may have had a couple of months to come to terms with last November’s mid-season finale but for the group it’s a very fresh wound. Shane’s misguided actions have officially shattered the dream of all parties coexisting as one. Some believe what he did was necessary; others feel he’s a ticking time bomb. Needless to say, tensions are high. The revelation of Sophia’s whereabouts has stripped all survivors of that thin tendril of hope that they clung onto so tightly. As you may have guessed, this week’s show is a brooding one, full of contemplative ‘could ofs’ and ‘should ofs’.
Crisis mode has taken hold and no one’s immune. While Andrea and co burn the random barn dead and bury Hershel’s loved ones, Rick is left speechless and unable to command the chaos. Burdened with guilt from his fruitless search for Sophia, his confidence as leader has been shattered. He’s not the only one at a crossroads either, as patriarch Hershel has retired to a nearby bar to question his faith and fall off the wagon. Rick and Glenn tail him to try to make amends but back at camp the group mentality is splintering. As Dale attempts to warn others about Shane’s darker side, Hershel’s daughter mysteriously passes out, forcing Lori to make an ill-fated solo trip to retrieve the trio at the bar.
Meanwhile Rick is trying his utmost to patch things up with a disillusioned Hershel. His main argument is that nothing has changed. People have, and always will die so why should we succumb to failure now? However when two shifty-looking drifters stop in for a drink and discover the gang’s idyllic getaway, Rick’s theory is put to the test. What he discovers is that the world hasn’t changed but the position of that thin line between right and wrong has. By the end of this week’s episode Rick’s been broken down and rebuilt as a new breed of leader. One who’s willing to do whatever it takes to survive and maintain hope. Perhaps it was AMC’s plan to get us so emotionally invested in the season’s dialogue-heavy first half that we really feel the sting of each part two gut-punch, perhaps not. Either way, it’s working and TV’s all the better for having The Walking Dead lumbering across its screens once more.
Originally posted on OntheBox.com.