After the shocking final scene of last week’s season two premiere, “The Walking Dead” continued to surprise in week two, with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) doing everything he can to save his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) after being accidentally shot by a hunter.
Instead of opening directly after the last scene from the premiere, though, the cold open of “Bloodletting” gave us a look at how, in pre-zombie days, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl found out that Rick had been shot. What it told us was that a) their marriage was in more trouble than we realized, and b) all of their troubles got pushed out of the way as soon as Shane (Jon Bernthal) showed up at Carl’s school to tell Lori about what happened.
But just because those feelings were pushed aside, first by Rick’s injury then by the zombie apocalypse, doesn’t mean they’re still not there. And, as we saw in the first episode, Season 2 is going to be about exploring the characters more, not just how they react to former humans trying to rip their flesh from their bones.
Watch Sunday’s Episode Below:
The next thing we know, Rick is running, carrying a bleeding Carl against his torso, towards a farmhouse, Shane and the hunter who accidentally shot him not far behind. From there, we enter what seems to be a safe haven from the walkers, with kindly a kindly old Dr. Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), his daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and some other family members. The farmhouse should be a welcome sight for the show’s fans, as it provides a settled base of operations for them for a while, even if there are still issues hanging in the air:
Where’s Sophia? Sophia (Madison Lintz) remained missing for the entire hour, and there was a split decision on whether to retreat back to the farmhouse or stay on the highway where the girl could find everyone. Daryl (Norman Reedus) again stepped up to the leadership plate, devising a plan which gives them the chance to retreat and not feel like they’re abandoning Carol’s (Melissa McBride) kid. The transformation Daryl has made from a redneck loose cannon to the only person in the group with his stuff together has been remarkable, but not unwelcome. He even managed to raid his brother’s drug stash to get antibiotics for T-Dog (IronE Singleton)!
Speaking of T-Dog… It could be the infection raging through his bloodstream, but he’s starting to get the same “what’s the point” existential angst that Andrea (Laurie Holden) has been feeling. At one point, he even pointed out that he was the “only black guy” in the group, showing that he’s watched enough horror movies to know what the deal was. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) tried to talk him down, but will we see T-Dog get taken down by his guilt, or the infection? Or will the walkers still get him?
The Grimeses and their troubles: Even though Rick is wobbling from blood transfusions, he is still the square-jawed Dudley Do-Right of the group, almost to a fault. On two separate occasions, he just couldn’t sit still, wanting to run out to find Lori, then wanting to join Shane and the hunter as they foraged for surgical supplies at a high school overrun by walkers. In the first case, Shane convinced him to stay saying he’d never live with himself if Carl slipped away while he was trying to be the hero. In the second case, though, Lori’s anguish as she screamed at her husband to stay put pointed out some of what’s wrong with their marriage: he wants to be a hero, and she just wants to have someone who’s a husband and father. Let’s hope we see more of this play out this season.
Who are these people at the farmhouse? And why are there no walkers there? There are some still wandering the woods, as Andrea found out — Maggie, the doctor’s daughter, came out of nowhere to save her. But at the farmhouse? The scene is pristine and peaceful. And even though Dr. Greene is wise, telling Rick that, like AIDS, this zombie disease will kick the humans’ butts for awhile then get manageable, he’s only a veterinarian. Considering he’s about to cut Carl open, that’s not a piece of news that inspires much confidence.
Will Shane and the hunter make it out? If you thought the overweight hunter was going to get overtaken and eaten at the end of this episode, raise your hand. The final scene, where the two pen themselves in a vestibule, with a flimsy gate separating them from the clutches of the walkers, was about as tense a moment as we’ve had in the series so far, and it makes us look forward to next week. Who gets eaten? What’s going on with the folks in that farmhouse? And will Carl pull through? It’ll be fun to find out.