FLASHBAAAAAAAAAACK! Traditionally, a flashback is used as a way to offer up previously unexamined information that might help to explain how or why the characters are behaving in a certain way in the narrative’s present. He is like that because his dad did the thing. She will never forget the time that she something or other. By retracing our character’s steps we can begin to map out where they might be headed, or at least make sense of the path. Not so on The Walking Dead! On this show, the flashbacks are empty and pointless and only tell us things that we already know. This week, we see many of the survivors stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. Will they survive?! Yes, we know that they will. There’s Sophia, because if there’s one thing this show does not want you to forget, it’s that you’re supposed to care about Sophia for some reason. Here are Shane and Lori. Have they fucked yet? We don’t know! Probably not. You get a serious “they haven’t fucked yet but they are definitely going to fuck soon” vibe from this scene. Lori and Shane leave the group to get a better view of what is happening up ahead, at which point they hear helicopters and explosions and head into the forest (obviously) to get a better look. (Luckily, they are stuck in traffic right at the top of an impossible hill that gives them a perfect panoramic view of the entire city.) Oh no! They’re fire-bombing Atlanta! Shane holds Lori close. Slowly, with the explosions echoing in the background, and other refugees wailing around them, Shane and Lori begin to make tender love. END OF FLASHBACK. Thank God we know that they firebombed Atlanta now. Definitely explains why they ripped that fat zombie in half last week. (What?) (Who cares.) (This show sucks.) FLASH FORWARD:
Lori overslept. Hahha. Is that really a thing? She tells Sophia’s mom that she can’t believe she overslept and Sophia’s mom says “you must have needed it,” so clearly oversleeping is still a thing that we all agree is a problem but that every once in awhile it’s OK to do if you really need it. They hang up laundry on a line. Nice shorts, guys:
I know that it’s a Zombie Apocalypse and beggars can’t be choosers, but let’s also point out that season one began IN A DEPARTMENT STORE. I’m just saying, they have SOME options. Sophia’s mom says she wants to invite everyone to eat dinner together. Lori says it’s the least they can do. Is it? Where is the food coming from? You are going to invite the farmhouse people to a dinner in their own farmhouse cooked with their supplies? It’s almost TOO thoughtful. Sophia’s mom says it would be better if Lori extended the invitation because she’s Rick’s wife and that makes her, like, the First Lady. Yuck. Can we impeach Rick? And guillotine Lori? VIVA EL PRESIDENTE T-DOG! Meanwhile, Rick has unfurled the map and divided up the group to head back out into the woods to search for Sophia. Daryl is going to borrow a horse, get up on that ridge (you know the one) and see if he can’t spot her by looking out over the whole grid. That definitely sounds like a good plan. “Oh, there she is. It turns out we should have just been up on a ridge the whole time.” Someone makes a joke about Daryl believing in chupacabras. He spits back that they’re surrounded by zombies, which is a VERY good point. Maybe if we were still in the flashback, you could make fun of Daryl for believing in chupacabras, but I’m pretty sure at this point, chupacabras are about as realistic and believable as anything else. Oh, also some 17-year-old that we have NEVER SEEN BEFORE walks up and says he wants to help and that Herschel told him it was OK. Later, we will find out that Herschel did NOT tell him it was OK. This is a fun plotline. I’m so sad it didn’t take up more of this episode.
(The kid says that he wants a gun, but they won’t give him one unless he trains with Shane, a certified trainer. And Daryl says “Yeah, and people in hell want Slurpees,” which is a funny thing to say in a world where Slurpees don’t exist anymore. Daryl, at this point, EVERYONE wants Slurpees. And also guns.) Right before they split up, there is a VERY WEIRD slow-dolly product placement shot of a BRAND NEW HONDA?!?!?!?!
“Honda: BEHIND YOU!”
Glen is sitting on the porch, strumming on his acoustic guitar.
Can you even imagine? There are few things worse than walking out onto a porch and finding someone strumming on an acoustic guitar even NOW while the world is WHOLE and everyone is ALIVE and there are an infinite number of ways to ESCAPE. The farmgirl walks out and he tells her that he’s still got 11 condoms left. Smooth operator or smoothest operator? She says that he sees 11 condoms, she sees 11 minutes of her life she won’t get back. Ouch. That IS a pretty good burn. These two are the new Hepburn and Tracy. This hurts Glen and he is like “It wasn’t that bad, was it?” And she says “Look, I don’t know if I like you.” Hahahaha. The banter between these two is ELECTRIC. Glen tells her to think about it. Yeah. Think about it. Think about a) if you like him, and b) if you want to have sex with him exactly 11 more times.
Out in the woods, Grimes says that he knows the only way to get Shane to have a conversation is to talk about his high school sexual conquests. And he’s apparently right, because Shane definitely launches into a neverending monologue about his high school sexual conquests. Admittedly, considering that Grimes and Shane have the most INTENSE and TEAR-STAINED heart-to-heart conversations about love and family and friendship and survival and manhood and leadership and risk and reward on what appears to be a DAILY BASIS, I’d never realized how hard it was to get Shane to open up, but that’s probably just the editors doing their job. I bet each episode up until now has included a 15 minute Shane monologue about the girls he fingered in high school that we never even got to see. Naturally, as with most conversations about someone’s adolescent sexual experiences, this turns into an argument about Rick’s bullheaded insistence on finding Sophia. Shane thinks this is putting everyone in danger in order to save someone who is probably already dead, and that it’s not fair to the group. Good point, Shane. Grimes clearly feels guilty about not doing a better job of protecting her in the first place, which is fine, but he uses that as an explanation of why he thinks she’s still alive and why it’s definitely worth it for everyone to be looking for her, which doesn’t really hold up logically, but whatever, Grimes. And then, of course, the conversation just casually wanders back over to the gym teacher Shane bangggggged so hard her head fell off and they used it for pick-up game of crab soccer.
Daryl finds a doll in the river. It’s Sophia’s doll! (Five episodes in, boys. We found her fucking doll.) Then his horse gets scared by a snake and he is thrown off a cliff and pierces by his arrow and bleeding out in the river. He rips the sleeves off of his shirt to staunch the bleeding, which really only makes you surprised that his shirt had sleeves in the first place. Daryl? Is that you? I hardly recognized you with the sleeves. But then you tore them off and now I recognize you. He tries to walk up the hill but falls back down. Then he has a fever dream about his dead brother Merle, who tells him that he needs to get back up or else is a fucking pussy, and that when he gets back to the farmhouse he should shoot Grimes in the face.
He wakes up to find a zombie chewing on his shoe. He fights the zombie, who is actually a pretty good wrestler (?!) and smashes its face in with a stick and then pulls the arrow out of his body and loads it into a crossbow (?!?!) and shoots another zombie in the head. And then he manages to climb up the hill. HAHAHHAHAHAA. I’m not a doctor, but that is a VERY IMPRESSIVE RECOVERY! Near the top of the hill he sees his dead brother again. Also he is wearing a zombie ear necklace now.
Grimes heads back to the farmhouse and has a very serious conversation with Lori about how hard it is to make decisions or whatever. Honestly, I just can’t even DEAL with these scenes anymore. Grimes struggles with being a leader on a minute-to-minute basis. It’s boring! I don’t want to see how the sausage is led. And it doesn’t humanize him to show that he is vulnerable all the time because when he does lead it’s NOT VERY IMPRESSIVE. It’s not like, oh wow, the other side to this brave and heroic GOD LIKE CREATURE. He’s just a furrow-browed, quivery-voiced dude in a perpetually dirty shirt who can’t make a decision to save his life and who everyone inexplicably resents but also respects? Which is it? How does he manage to keep so much control over these people if every single one of them thinks that he is full of shit?
The ladies are cooking dinner and setting up tables and Herschel is NOT happy about it. He says they need to be setting clearer boundaries with these people because they’re getting too comfortable, which is totally fair. They ARE getting too comfortable. Then he asks what’s her name what’s going on with “the Asian boy.” A-ha. FINALLY! Now we are getting somewhere. She explains that he is a friend. “I wish he wasn’t,” Herschel the unabashed racist says. She says that she’s a little old for them to be having this conversation. Yes. It’s also a little bit too much the End of the World for them to be having this conversation. Guys! Everyone’s dead! Fuck whoever! Get crazy! Herschel says “Don’t get too close to these people. They’re not going to be around forever.” That is very ominous! And/or it suggests that Herschel and his family have found the key to eternal life, and he knows what an endless plague of misery it is to watch your loved ones die in your arms repeatedly forever and ever as their life cycle runs out and yours carries on through the ages. Too vague at this point. Hard to say whether he’s just a creep, or a living God.
Glen asks Dale if the women’s moon cycles have all aligned because everyone’s being weird, and Dale says to keep that theory to himself. Wait. I mean, Glen should definitely stop talking because Glen is a clown, but it’s not his theory. It’s pretty much proven that this is a thing that happens in close-knit communities? Maybe you should keep your EYES to yourself, Dale.
Daryl comes wandering back into the camp. Andrea sees him from her watchpost on top of the RV. “Walker!” she shouts. Everyone starts running through the field to kill the zombie. “Herschel wants to deal with walkers himself,” Grimes says. “Why? We got it covered,” Shane says. They explicitly tell Andrea not to shoot the walker with her rifle, but she keeps aiming at him anyway. Why? We know that zombies are not that hard to kill. You just smash their face in with literally any object you can find. It’s certainly not going to be a problem for THREE armed men. They pull up on Daryl and they realize it’s Daryl and their like Oh good, it’s just Daryl, and that is when Andrea still shoots him. Fucking Andrea. The worst. Always. So awful. I hate her so much. She gives this little grin that is like “I shot the walker. I saved the day.” Even though the three armed men who could have handled it themselves and who also clearly told her NOT to shoot, have been standing around TALKING to the walker for a full minute. Andrea. ANDREA!
Grimes shouts “NOOOOOOOO!” and now Andrea is like.
The worst. Dale comforts her on the porch and says that everyone wants to shoot Daryl. Don’t comfort her. She SHOULD feel bad. Why are you comforting her? She’s a piece of shit! Herschel hears the gunshot and comes running out and is like “what is happening here?” Incidentally, the whole thing about how he wants to handle zombies himself, which does have an explanation that we are about to learn (NO SPOILERS but we are about to learn it!) isn’t really dealt with. He does not raise any particular concerns about how they expressly disobeyed his request. Obviously. Because this show is lazy. Daryl is fine. He is just grazed. I mean, he’s not entirely fine. He has arrow holes in him, and bullet scratches on his face, and Grimes stole his zombie ear necklace. Give it back! MY EAR NECKLACE! Herschel does point out that he’s pretty surprised anyone in Grimes’s group has even survived as long as they have. Yes. No joke. Grimes thinks that Daryl finding Sophia’s doll is yet another sign that they should definitely spend forever looking for her. That’s fine. I don’t care anymore. But I do have a question: THE FUCK HELL KIND OF DOLL IS THAT?
Sophia’s mom is going to marry Daryl. Season three. Wait for it. Judge Dale presiding.
That night at dinner, which looks like a FUUUUUNNNNN dinner, with everyone sitting in gloomy hateful silence, and thank you to the ladies for even suggesting it, Glen is like “Anyone want to play this acoustic guitar?” GLEN! EVERYONE HATES YOU! Someone says that Otis was the one who could play the guitar. Haha. Good, I’m glad he’s dead then. The farmgirl slips him a note that says “Tonight. Where?” This is a weird note. It’s your house, and you are the one whose dad disapproves. How about we just say the location of your sex minute is LADIE’S CHOICE. He writes down an answer (I guess, we don’t see that part, this show is very economical in its use of time just kidding) and hands her the note and I guess she just shoves the note in her pocket and doesn’t read it for an hour and a half? Sure. Why read it? It’s fun to have all the suspense of not knowing what weird location Glen picked to fuck you on your own property. She opens the note:
Uhhhhh, Glen? We need to talk. Hahhaa. EVER DONE IT IN A HAYLOFT? That is the weirdest thing you can possibly write on a note asking you for a sex date. EVER DONE IT IN A HAYLOFT. Also, this girl is a farmgirl. YES, SHE HAS DONE IT IN HAYLOFT. Oh, Glen. But the girl’s face drops. Uh oh. WHAT’S IN THE HAYLOFT! It would be funny if Glen got to the hayloft and it was just filled with excited dudes with condoms spilling out of their pockets. “I didn’t want you to go into the hayloft because that’s where all my ex-boyfriends live.” Speaking of ex-boyfriends, the hayloft is just filthy with ZOMBIEEEEEEEEEEES! Hahhaha. AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A ZOMBIE PARTY BECAUSE A ZOMBIE PARTY DON’T DIE!
It does seem worth wondering how on Earth this has been such a secret the whole time. I mean, they’ve been sleeping in thin nylon tents a few yards from the hayloft for days and no one has happened to hear the groans of two dozen zombies? No one has smelled them? They smell really bad. We know this because Glen holds his sex blanket up to his nose because of the smell. (He was clearly very determined to fuck in a hayloft at all costs. “It smells terrible in here, but as long as I cover my nose with this blanket, we can probably still get it done. It’s only going to take a minute anyways.”) The zombies start banging on the locked door trying to get out. But they never did that before? This is the first time they’ve done that? Good looking out, zombies. Very low profile. Glen runs out of the hayloft and right into his girlfriend. “Hey,” he says, “Why do you have a hayloft full of zombies?” he asks. “You weren’t supposed to see that,” she says. Hahahahhahahahahaahah. Yoops. EVER DONE IT IN A HAYLOFT?! FADE TO BLACK.
Next week: SOPHIA IS STILL MISSING.