Hey Walking Dead-ers. Welcome to the 202 minicap! We have a lot of questions after last week’s fucking CLIFFHANGER: is Carl alive? Who shot him? What are Rick and Shane gonna do? And less importantly, are the other survivors still looking for Sophia?
But all that has to wait because we begin with a flashback. The show takes us back to the day Rick got shot in the shootout with the meth lab proprietors back in the pilot. Laurie is outside Carl’s school, talking to a friend. She and Rick had a fight the night before. She doesn’t indicate about what, but that’s not the point. Laurie’s more mad about the fact that Rick never stopped being reasonable even when she provoked him as hard as she could. Her friend asks her the dreaded “do you still love him?”, and Laurie doesn’t have a ready answer. (In the pilot Rick and Shane had a conversation about this same fight in the moments leading up to the shootout, but Rick was quite a bit less open about it). But that has to be put aside for the moment because Shane arrives. He’s come to tell her the news that Rick has been shot. Just then, Carl comes out of school. Laurie’s got to find a way to tell her son…
Then it’s back to the present. Rick is running through a field with Carl in his arms. Behind them are Shane and a heavyset dude named Otis. He’s got a hunting rifle, so he must be the guy who pulled the trigger on Carl. But hey, there IS a silver lining: Otis’s own survivor group includes a doctor. They’re headed to see him now.
Rick comes to an idyllic farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Coming out to greet him is Dr. Herschel Greene, the father of the household. (Pictured above. He looks and acts like he just stepped out of the Civil War). Once Doc Greene determines Carl’s only been shot and isn’t infected with the Wildfire, he allows Rick inside, sets up Carl in a bedroom that will serve as the makeshift OR, and gets to work. (I’m pretty sure without washing his hands first, but whatever).
Doc Greene detects a faint pulse, so at least Carl is alive, but his diagnosis is grim: since Otis’s bullet hit the deer first it was slowed down by the time it got to Carl, saving his life. But the impact with the deer ALSO broke the bullet into fragments, and Doc has counted six of them inside Carl. Doc orders Rick to leave the bedroom, (but not stray too far because he’ll be needing Rick’s blood soon), and outside Shane tries to comfort his friend. Rick is in agony and wants Laurie to be there.
Speaking of Laurie…The rest of the survivor group, having split up with Rick, Shane, and Carl last week, is still in the woods searching for Sophia. Laurie thinks she heard a gunshot, (which turns out to be the one that hit Carl), but Daryl thinks they should just ignore it. Back at the RV, while Dale and T-Dog are waiting anxiously for everyone to return, Dale realizes T-Dog’s forearm gash is starting to get infected. They hunt for antibiotics in the abandoned cars, but it’s not looking good.
Then it’s back to the farmhouse. Doc Greene is trying to dig the first fragment out of Carl’s chest but has no anesthetic, so Carl is in severe agony and Shane has to hold him down. Greene gets the fragment out but it was so torturous that Carl has passed out. Rick rolls up his sleeve so the doctor can begin to give Carl the first transfusion Eventually Carl stabilizes, but Doc Greene has discovered a complication: Carl’s blood pressure has dropped, indicating that one of Carl’s blood vessels has been nicked and is causing internal bleeding. Doc Greene’s going to have to operate, but the slightest move from Carl will mean a severed artery and almost instantaneous death. Carl will have to go under for the surgery, but the guest bedroom isn’t exactly set up for that kind of thing. They need a surgical ventilator so Carl can breathe during the operation, plus a bunch of other supplies they don’t have.
Their best bet, Otis suggests, is to head to a nearby high school where FEMA had set up a treatment center when Wildfire first broke. Naturally it’s been overrun with zombies in the meantime, so it’s a longshot at best. Rick wants to be the one to go but Shane won’t let him—Rick needs to be as strong for Carl as Laurie was for Rick, back when Rick was in the hospital himself. (See why they did that flashback there?) Instead Shane will go, accompanied by Otis. While that’s going on, Doc Greene’s daughter volunteers to hop on a horse and find Laurie so she can be with Carl and Rick.
It’s getting late in the day. Back at the RV, Dale and T-Dog don’t find any meds for T-Dog’s wound, and the infection gets worse. T-Dog has a fever and is starting to rant and rave. And down in the woods, everyone decides to postpone the search for Sophia for a second night. But on their way back to the road, a zombie appears out of nowhere and attacks Andrea. Andrea tries to stab it but her knife has no effect. The zombie overpowers her. And it’s just about to sink its teeth into her when the doctor’s daughter shows up on horseback and clubs the zombie in the head with a bat. Whammo!
Bet pulls Laurie onto her horse and gallops away, leaving the other survivors to figure out what to do next. Once they get back to the RV and tell Dale and T-Dog the news, it’s they’re torn between two responsibilities: they have to follow the doctor’s daughter and Laurie to the farmhouse so they can get T-Dog medical attention, but they also have to think about Sophia. Daryl has a plan—Glenn can drive Carol and T-Dog to the farmhouse while he, Dale, and Andrea stay behind to rig a big sign for Sophia with directions on where to find everyone. That’ll have to do.
But really everyone’s playing the waiting game while Shane and Otis are on their mission. Doc Greene gives Rick his take on the Wildfire outbreak, thinking it to be yet another in a long line of plagues mankind has faced, but Rick can’t share his optimism. Laurie arrives soon after. Once Laurie gets over the initial shock at seeing her unconscious son barely breathing, there’s not much she can do other than quiz Doc Greene on his plan to save Carl…and that uncovers even more terrible news: Doc Greene is only a veterinarian.
It’s all up to Shane and Otis. They arrive at the high school and find that it indeed is overrun by the zombies, and that the path to the FEMA trailer is blocked. Shane gets an idea. Using some flares he found inside a cop car, they distract the zombies long enough to get inside the trailer, where finally they get a stroke of luck: it’s got everything Doc needs for the operation.
And then Shane just opens the friggin’ door to the trailer and gives their presence away to the horde. Great job there, Shaner. The zombies chase Shane and Otis around the school and soon have them cornered. Their only option is to hide from the zombies INSIDE the high school. Shane shoots out the glass in the school’s front entrance and they squeeze their way in, slamming a metal gate behind them. But basically they’re trapped. And the gate is starting to give way.
And that’s the episode! If you thought last week’s season premier went on too long, maybe you liked it when the second episode just stopped right in the middle of the action! I kind of did! Full recap Tuesday!