The Walking Dead: 201 ‘What Lies Ahead’ Review
Sunday night’s highly anticipated return of The Walking Dead did not disappoint. We were brought back to the story a short two days later, which I was glad for. I hate it when a series jumps you too far ahead in time for the simple convenience of creating a clean slate for writing a new arc. The writers did a good job at recapping the important things of season one without taking too much time in the process. And from what was revealed in this first episode, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for a bumpy ride on an emotional rollercoaster.
Recap: Season 2 Episode 01 “What Lies Ahead”
It’s all about slim chances now…
The second season opened with a heartfelt monologue from Rick as they prepare to leave the pulse less city of Atlanta. “It’s all about slim chances now” he tells his lost friend Morgan over the airwaves. You can hear the hurt in his voice as he explains how he’s ‘tried to do everything right’ and ‘keep people safe‘ As he continues talking we are quickly reminded that Dr. Jenner from the CDC told him something before the implosion. In the very same breath we are teased as Rick is explaining things on the walkie-talkie “I met a scientist, he told me something. He told me… (insert dramatic pause) … it doesn’t matter. What does matter is we‘re moving on. Atlanta‘s done. We‘re gonna try for Fort Benning.”
And with that the people are packed and begin the 125 mile long, hard and grueling journey southwest.
So it Begins…
Sharing memories is a good way to pass time while driving along a desolate byway. That is exactly what’s going on when the convoy comes upon a massive pile up. Slowly they forge ahead with Daryl in the lead on his motorcycle, weaving and dodging around the heaps of abandoned and not so abandoned vehicles. Making forward progress is short lived however when the Winnebago blows a radiator hose forcing the convoy to a full stop.
People start looking through their surroundings for anything useful. Suggestions like siphoning fuel and finding water, food are the first to be discussed. However Lori takes offense to the plundering of these people’s belongings. “This is a graveyard” she says solemnly with her arms crossed “I don’t know how I feel about this.” Despite her objects, the others continue searching… rifling through everything they can. And soon she joins in with her son Carl in tow.
A Herd of Walkers Come’ith…
Dale and Rick are on watch when they spot a walker coming towards them. And you guessed it, she’s not alone. There are many more coming behind her.
With an “Oh Christ” slipping from lips, Rick runs to warn the others in the quietest manner possible. People take to hiding under the closest vehicle except Andrea who is inside the RV assembling her father’s gun and is unaware of the danger right outside.
As the walkers pass through a few situations arise.
- Andrea gets cornered in the RV’s bathroom by a lone walker. (She is saved by Dale who passes her a flathead screwdriver through the sky vent and she does a number on the balding walker by stabbing him numerous times through the eye.)
- T-Dog slices his forearm open across an artery causing a bloody mess and of course attracts a walker of his very own. (Coming to his rescue is of all people, Daryl. He skewers the walker through the head with an arrow.)
- Daryl again comes to the rescue when he covers T-Dog and himself with the dead. (The walkers just walk right on by. Can I please say eww here?)
- Sophia attempts to come out of hiding too soon causing her to attract two walkers.
Sophia runs from the walkers and Rick gives chase eventually catching up to her. She is scared and full of panic. Rick has a plan to kill those chasing them and hides Sophia close to the creek they find themselves in. He tells her once the walkers are away from there, run back the same way they came into the woods. To ‘keep the sun on your left shoulder.’ She agrees and he makes his move to draw the two walkers away.
Little Girl Lost…
Going back to the creek we find Daryl, Rick, Shane and Glenn looking for Sophia. Where could she be? Rick was sure she would make it back to the road without any problems. She never made it back. The men take to the woods with Daryl in the lead tracking her footstep impressions. They come to a point where it looks like she went off path. Rick and Daryl continue looking while Shane and Glenn head back to the road.
Continuing the search, Daryl and Rick come upon yet another walker which they kill with no problem. Rick looks for evidence of Sophia on the walker, finding that it ate recently. The only way they can be sure it’s not Sophia is to gut the walker, which Daryl takes great pleasure in doing. They are now sure it wasn’t the lost girl, but a woodchuck this walker ate for lunch.
With the light of day fading fast, the men return to the road where they have to tell Carol they haven’t found Sophia yet. “Her trail went cold. We’ll pick it up again at first light” This of course doesn’t set well with her. It is her daughter that is out there, lost and alone. It’ll be dark soon. She can’t leave her out there like this. Rick pleads for patience and understanding explain they will go back in the morning. Continuing the search at night is just too dangerous. Carol becomes very enraged, lashing out at Rick for leaving her alone in the first place. Rick pleads his case, but eventually steps away.
Andrea vs. Dale…
Who knew that one simple question would lead to what I consider one of the most emotionally charged arguments ever written. “Where’s my gun?”
With what happened at the CDC last season, Dale doesn’t trust Andrea won’t try to hurt herself. After all, she did choose to stay and die in the implosion. It was Dale’s decision to stay behind as well that brought her around to leaving just a brief moment before the CDC was destroyed. To Dale he saved her life.
Andrea however doesn’t see things the same way. To her Dale’s actions took away her choice to die how she wanted to die. He manipulated her into saving herself by saving him. She is very angry with the old man and she holds nothing back.
For Whom the Bells Toll…
Soon after the morning comes, they resume the search for Sophia. A glimmer of hope shines when they come across a single tent campsite, but is soon lost when they discover the tent only held a maggot infested body with no sign of the lost girl.
Off in the distance they hear what sounds like a church bell ringing. Again the glimmer of hope shines as they follow the sounds away from the campsite.
Meanwhile back on the road, Dale admits to T-Dog that the RV was fixed yesterday. When asked why he hadn’t told the others, Dale says that if the others knew they were mobile, then they would want to move on. He wanted to guard against the worst and not have to deal with the whole the ‘needs of the many verses the needs of the few’ argument.
Back to the search party… They come to a clearing in the woods where a small community church stands. Immediately Shane notices it doesn’t have a bell or steeple, but it doesn’t stop them from running to it, praying Sophia is safe inside. Again, they enter to find no lost girl. Instead there are three walkers sitting in the pews (kinda disturbing if you ask me). Rick, Shane and Daryl arm up and go on the attack, easily taking them out. When you look around you see all the religious icons. Rick screams for Sophia. Daryl walks to the crucifix asking “Well J.C. You taking request?”
Again the bells ring out.
They soon discover the bells are coming from a PA system rigged on the side of the church. “It’s on a timer” Daryl says winded and frustrated.
Carol goes back inside the small white church.
Sitting alone by the side of the church, Andrea overhears a very personal argument between Lori and Shane about their affair and how he is planning on just walking away without telling a soul. Shane feels like he has to do this even if it means he loses everything. Lori is worried about how it will effect Rick and Carl. Shane seems pretty set on it and Lori walks away. When Shane turns around he see Andrea standing there just looking at him.
Inside the church Carol prays for forgiveness. She acknowledges the answered prayers as well as being sinful in her request for the death of her now dead husband. She pleads for Sophia return and begs the lord to not make losing her daughter be her punishment. “Please don’t let this be my punishment. Let her be safe. Alive and safe. Please lord, punish me however you want, but show mercy on her.”
Outside we find Andrea chasing after Shane telling him she is going with him, Shane saying he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. “I’m not stupid and I’m certainly not deaf” All she wants is to get as far away from there as she can, just like he does. A chance to start over somewhere else. She leaves Shane to think it over as she sees Rick walking to the side. Shane goes to him telling him they need to head back. Rick says he has to keep searching for her. He feels guilty, like it is his fault she is out there. “We can’t give up.”
The group splits up sending Daryl with the ladies and Glenn back to the road. As they make the hike, Lori decides it is time to clear the air. She is tired of Andrea’s whining about not having her gun. “You want it” she says as she reaches for the gun “ Here take it. I’m sick of the looks you’re giving me.” Andrea looks offended as she takes the gun from Lori who is not quite finished clearing the air. She takes her aim at Carol point blank telling her how she can’t imagine what’s she’s going through, but she has to stop blaming Rick “It is in your face every time you look at him.” She then looks at everyone wanting to know if they would have done anything different in handling trying to save Sophia. “You guys look to him and blame him when he’s not perfect. If you think you can do this without him, go right ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.”
Andrea hands Lori back the gun and says “We should keep moving”
The Deer Hunter…
After spending time in prayer, where he pleads God for a sign, an acknowledgement of some kind, Rick rejoins his best friend and son in the search of Sophia.
They are walking along when they hear a rustling, Rick quickly stops and signals to look ahead. There is a large beautiful buck standing just beyond some brush. The deer walks out to where they can see him without obstruction. Shane takes aim but Rick calls him off as Carl slowly walks to the animal. Rick and Shane watch in awe as Carl inches closer and closer. He is almost eye to eye with the deer when out of the blue a shot rings out. The bullet passes through the animal and into Carl who is flung backwards from sheer force.
We are left with Rick kneeling over an unconscious Carl and Shane looking down the scope of his gun for the person who fired the shot.