Hello and welcome to TVgasm’s coverage of the second half of The Walking Dead, season two! Before we get started on S2E8, I’ll sum up the previous seven…
They were on a farm
OK, onto this week!
I kid, I kid. Still, everyone’s biggest complaint of Season Two so far has been the fact that they’ve stayed in the same place for the whole thing. Which kinda slows down the action, even if the writers keep coming up with terrible things to happen to them on that farm. Everyone has been clamoring for them to go somewhere, ANYWHERE else…and unfortunately, after episode 8, it looks like that’s not gonna happen any time soon.
So after that uplifting intro, let’s get started on the recap! Afterwards, comments and a bonus recap of some behind-the-scenes The Walking Dead developments that have happened during the hiatus.
After the Great St. Zombie’s Day Massacre that capped off the first half of Season Two, we enter the second half with lots of questions. Team Rick was only allowed to stay on Herschel’s farm until 1) Sophia was found, and 2) Carl healed from his gunshot wound. The Sophia issue came to a pretty firm conclusion in the massacre, being that she was zombiefied and had her head blown off and all. As for the second reason, Carl got better about two episodes after the accident.
On The Walking Dead it takes two days to heal from a gunshot wound to the chest. On Justified and in real life, it takes months and months. Cool!
You should watch Justified because it’s a good TV show.
So the first question is, does the massacre mean Team Rick has to find a new home?
Second, Shane initiated the massacre against Herschel AND Rick’s wishes. Until now Shane has more or less accepted Rick’s authority. Is this gonna change the group dynamic?
Other questions include: is Shane going to keep being a cock to everybody? Will we have to put up with more Glenn-Maggie romance? (Even if it’s Valentine’s Day today…I don’t really care).
Whatever happens, things are about to change. Probably. Unless they don’t.
Which, they don’t.
We open the episode right where we left off. Literally. Rick is standing over Zombie Sophia’s body with his gun still drawn. Everyone else looks like they’re pretty much stunned.
As you might expect, Carol is pretty upset, as she has finally found her missing daughter, learned her daughter is a zombie, and witnessed Rick shoot her zombie daughter in the head, all in the space of 10 seconds. Daryl takes pity on her and guides her away from the scene.
And then everyone stands around looking for each other waiting for the next thing to happen, until Herschel’s younger daughter Beth begins to sob and runs over to the pile of dead zombies to find her Zombie Mom.
Which is a pretty piss-poor idea, because what if that zombie isn’t quite re-killed yet?
Or, this is a special strain of the Wildfire virus that brings zombies back to life TWICE. What a pain in the ass that would be, killing zombies two times apiece.
The others wrestle the girl out of the zombie’s hands, and T-Dog and Andrea kill it yet one more time.
That extra jolt of action was enough to get everyone moving again. Herschel is leading his family back towards the house while Rick and Shane run behind. Tempers are beginning to flare on both sides and it looks like this could get ugly.
Shane’s pretty pissed at Herschel. Which, if you think about it, is pretty damn ballsy because Shane DID just shoot Herschel’s Zombie Wife.
Killing a guy’s Zombie Wife and then picking a fight with that guy? Ballsy.
Shane’s pissed because he thinks Herschel knew all along that Sophia was in his barn, which means Herschel willingly allowed everyone in Team Rick to put themselves in danger by continuing to search for her.
If true, that’d be pretty asshole-ish on Herschel’s part, wouldn’t it? Daryl almost died while searching. Also it would be INSANE of him. If Herschel was only letting them stay long enough to find Sophia…why not tell them right off the bat that Sophia was dead? Problem solved.
I’m chalking this up to heat of the moment.
Herschel denies knowing Sophia was in the barn. It was Otis’s job to capture zombies, not Herschel’s. Meaning, I guess, that Otis was the one handling day-to-day Zombie operations while Herschel only gave the orders. Sure, he gave the orders, but he didn’t actually DO it. Blame Otis.
This is known as “Pulling a Rumsfeld”
We’ll get back to the “what did Herschel know and when did he know it?” debate after the recap. For now it doesn’t matter because Herschel wants them off the farm. Which pretty much settles the question of whether the massacre will screw up their relationship. Looks like it will. (Which, it doesn’t, really. Keep reading).
Team Herschel goes inside, leaving Shane and Rick to discuss the little matter of Shane completely usurping Rick’s authority by killing all those zombies. A lot of this is the same back-and-forth we’ve seen already. Rick’s priority has always been appeasing Herschel to get him to allow them to stay on the farm, and the massacre has ruined everything, while Shane believes Rick is unfit to make tough decisions. And not just the decision to deal with the zombies in the barn; Shane never thought they should be risking their lives looking for Sophia, either.
I guess the thing to remember is, Rick doesn’t just want to stay on the farm because it’s safer than anywhere else. Rick HAS to stay on the farm, because Lori is pregnant and needs Herschel’s medical skills. Shane doesn’t know that. Maybe it would change things.
It’s really really windy.
Andrea puts a blanket over Sophia. Inside the camper Carol sits at the table all mopey, and Daryl comes in to be with her. He doesn’t say anything, probably because there’s not much you could say. Other than…
“You know what would make the pain of losing your daughter go away? Making another one!”
THE GREENE’S HOUSE
Inside the house Glen asks Maggie the same question Shane just asked Herschel: did Herschel know Zombie Sophia was inside the barn? Maggie doesn’t answer.
They both try to figure out what comes next. In the immediate future they know they’ll have to deal with the zombie bodies, but after that, they don’t know.
Lori and Carl sit out by the dead zombies and try to process what happened. Carl thinks Rick did the right thing by shooting Zombie Sophia. It’s yet another sign he is adapting to the post-apocalyptic world. This was beginning to happen a few episodes ago, and Lori doesn’t like it.
Then it comes time to deal with the zombie bodies. Rather than try to reassert his authority, Rick lets Andrea takes the lead. She decides that they will bury Zombie Sophia, Zombie Mrs. Greene, and Zombie…Shawn (who was a friend of the Greene’s but we never met him). The other seven or eight zombies, they will burn.
That’s right! They bury the ones they gave a shit about, and burn the rest. If you weren’t a family member or friend, you get burned in a mass funeral pyre.
Oh, and there’s also gonna be a service held for the dead, so that’ll probably be a drawn-out scene that’ll take up a chunk of this episode.
After that, Lori asks Rick what’s happening with Herschel, and he tells her about Herschel’s order for them to leave the farm. Even if Herschel unambiguously told them to leave, Rick is pretty sure he was just blowing off steam. Lori also broaches what you’d think would be a more pressing topic: shouldn’t they be expecting more zombies to show up thanks to all the gunfire? Maybe it’s SAFER to leave the farm. Which Rick says he will take under consideration, and then doesn’t.
And finally, Lori plays the supportive wife for a little bit. She’s usually sympathetic and tries to comfort him for doing everything he could to help Sophia. It’s pretty cold comfort, since things are so haywire right now.
Shane gets in the pickup truck to begin transporting the zombies to the funeral pyre. He notices Dale leaning against a car, staring at him. Dale and Shane have not been on good terms for quite a while—in the previous episode Dale tried to throw their guns into a swamp to prevent the massacre, but backed down when Shane challenged him. And before that, Dale accused Shane of being less than truthful about the circumstances of Otis’s death. (Dale happens to be 100% correct on that one).
Dale tells Shane he’s dangerous to the group, but Shane will not be stopped. If he’s such a danger, why didn’t Dale shoot him earlier? And furthermore, what is Dale doing to keep the group safe? Shane might be an asshole but at least he’s an active asshole.
Dale just kinda looks at him and Shane storms away.
Everyone has finished digging the graves, and Lori and Daryl try to convince Carol to come to the service. Carol doesn’t see the point. Why should she mourn the thing they’re putting in the ground, a zombie? That’s not her daughter. Her actual daughter died days ago.
Carol tries to take comfort in the notion that maybe Sophia was transformed into a zombie soon after going missing, and thus didn’t suffer much. As Carol puts it, “Sophia didn’t cry herself to sleep, she didn’t go hungry, she didn’t try to find her way back.”
Actually Carol, I’m sure Sophia DID go hungry, as all zombies are driven by an insatiable hunger for brains.
Inside, Herschel prepares for the funeral for his wife. He gathers her belongings to bury with her, and he puts on a suit. Even better, he takes out a frilly, lacey dress that clearly belonged to his wife.
To the writers of this show: please, please, PLEASE make Herschel put a zombie in a dress
Oh, and you’re going to bury the jewelry with her? Idiot. Jewelry can be bartered for food, gasoline, extra women, ANYTHING. Apocalypse 101.
And finally, everyone gathers over the graves, where the zombies have just been covered over with dirt.
Carol has wandered into a field to be by herself and has found another of those Cherokee roses Daryl told her about a few episodes ago, the flowers that supposedly bring you good fortune. She found a couple of these roses while Sophia was missing and it didn’t exactly help the situation, so she’s less than pleased with Cherokee roses as a whole now. She rips it up.
While Rick, Lori, Dale, T-Dog, and Andrea pile up the remaining zombies into the pickup to be burned, an argument breaks out. It’s time to deal with one of the big questions: was Shane right to do what he did? Here are everyone’s points of view:
Rick: It was wrong because it fucks up our relationship with Herschel
Andrea and T-Dog: Zombies should be shot on sight
Dale: Yeah, but did Shane really need to cause a panic?
Lori: Stop fighting you douchebags because what’s done is done
So when is everyone gonna wise up and make Lori their leader?
Maybe it will be like on Doug when the townspeople realized their mayor was an ass and elected Mrs. Dink instead
Then T-Dog gets behind the wheel, Andrea sits on the truck bed next to the pile. T-Dog slowly drives away but one of the zombie’s arms is dangling over the side and gets caught in the wheel, severing it. Andrea yells for him to stop and retrieves the arm.
Unnecessary? Gratuitous? No. Awe-SOME.
Inside, Maggie asks Glen another Pressing Question: if the Rick Tribe leaves the farm, will he stay behind?
Damn it! Relationship storyline. I’m going to lunch.
OK, I’m back. Just had some sushi, with a little Peanut Butter & Company peanut butter for dessert (White Chocolate Wonderful).
Just as interesting as what I ate, Glen didn’t really know that option was even on the table. (Neither did I). He has no response. Either way they have to table the discussion because in the kitchen…Maggie’s sister Beth collapses.
Remember, she has narco-epi-asthmalepsy, the worst of all the plot point illnesses
Glen and Maggie have taken Beth into the bedroom. They’re pretty sure she’s just in shock from the day’s events, but they don’t know for sure because…Herschel is nowhere to be found! Uh-oh.
Rick, Lori, and Shane join them to discuss what to do. Shane finds a flask on the dresser and surmises that Herschel must be off drinking somewhere. Maggie comes up with the name of a bar in town Herschel might be at, but she’s skeptical because Herschel gave up drinking the day she was born. He was so strict about it he wouldn’t allow alcohol in the house. But Rick’s convinced this is where Herschel is, and he decides to head into town to get him.
Out in the hallway Lori stops him. She doesn’t like this idea. She thinks Herschel ought to be left alone while he’s clearly grieving, and plus she doesn’t want Rick putting himself in any danger.
If Beth has to fucking die, so be it. He needs space!
And here’s the bullshit reason why Lori doesn’t want him to go after Herschel, (and thus, why she wants to MURDER BETH): because of the thing Carl said earlier, about how he would have shot Sophia himself if he had had to. Their son is growing cold in this post-apocalyptic world. Carl needs a father figure and she can’t afford to lose Rick.
She got it at Bullshit Reasons Depot, your one-stop shop for bullshit reasons for your objections
What she should have said is this:
“Don’t forget to pick up some groceries when you go into town! Oh, and if you die, Shane’s gonna raise Carl.”
Another, lesser objection is, she thinks Rick has a hero complex. She doesn’t think Rick should have to solve everyone else’s problems the minute they crop up.
But Rick reminds her that, aside from Beth’s medical emergency, Herschel is in danger RIGHT NOW. He is unarmed and probably drunk. The zombies will kill him. And they need him alive, because of Lori’s pregnancy.
Can’t argue with that. Rick is off.
Rick is getting into the car to leave for town. Rick sees Glen on the porch giving Maggie a long kiss goodbye and gets impatient. Because apparently Glen is going along with him, but must have volunteered in some scene they cut out.
I’ll say that again: apparently Glen volunteered to come along with Rick…but we never knew that…and now Rick is impatient for Rick to come with him.
Become a TVgasm recapper and live the DREAM of describing poorly written scenes that leave out important information!
THE WATER PUMP
Shane is at the pump pouring some water over his bald head when he hears footsteps in the woods. He draws his pistol, but it’s only Carol. She’s been wandering around in a daze since finding the Cherokee rose, and he has to repeatedly call out to her to get her attention.
Shane notices Carol is scraped and bruised from wandering through the underbrush, so he helps her clean her injuries with the well water. While he does that he tries to sympathize with her. So we can see his softer side. He understands she might be upset at him for opening the barn, but he hopes she understands that he was trying to keep everyone safe.
Lori and Dale talk outside the house. She’s sensed how much Dale hates Shane and wants him to try to cool it for the sake of the group. Dale can’t see how everyone seems to think what Shane did was justified.
That just made me think of Justified again. Never a bad thing.
But for Dale it’s more than a mere personal dislike. He doesn’t think Shane is a hothead, he thinks Shane is actually dangerous. And here, Dale finally tells someone else what he’s long suspected about Shane (and what we know is true): that Shane killed Otis.
Lori thinks that’s preposterous, and Dale admits he has no proof beyond his suspicions and the conversation he had with Shane a couple episodes ago, when he accused Shane and Shane didn’t deny anything outright. And Lori doesn’t totally discount the possibility that Dale is right. The seed’s been planted
THE PICKUP TRUCK
So on the way to town, Rick and Glen have a little man-to-man chat. Apparently back at the house, when Rick was waiting impatiently for Glen to stop macking on Maggie and get in the truck, Maggie said something very important to Glen, which we didn’t hear: she loves him. And Glen has no idea what to do.
Because a) Glen’s never had a relationship before and was probably a virgin before Maggie, b) what’s the point of falling in love when everyone’s about to die anyway?; c) Glen barely knows her; and d) when you’re literally the last available man on Earth, it just doesn’t feel that special. So Glen’s at an impasse. He didn’t say it back to her
“Hey! He’s not the last man on Earth! What am I chopped liver?”
I wish T-Dog sometimes talked like and was a Borscht Belt comedian
And Rick actually has some pretty optimistic advice, and, even better, seems to really enjoy thinking about something other than the group’s immediate survival. In Rick’s mind, not much falling-in-love is going on these days and Glen should just run with it.
Also one or both of Glen and Maggie are not likely to live more than a couple weeks longer, so why not?
“Say whatever you have to say as long as you get that SNATCH,” I wish Rick would have said
This is totally the Valentine’s Day episode of The Walking Dead
As they arrive in town, Glen makes a surprise confession to Rick: he knew about Lori’s pregnancy before Rick did, (because she asked him to get the pregnancy vitamins for her). Rick doesn’t need an apology from Glen, though, because he understands Glen did what he thought was right. (“Even if it was wrong,” Rick adds. Right on, Rick!)
Then they get out, guns ready, and creep towards the bar.
Back at the house, Beth is still in bed, still in shock, although it looks more like she’s in some kind of trance. Lori notices her heart is racing and she has a fever. It’s gotten worse and they need Herschel.
So Lori runs out to speak with Daryl, who is whittling new arrows for his crossbow. She tells him about Beth and wants him to go into town to fetch everybody.
Daryl does not react positively. He’s had just about enough these search-and-rescue mission. He points out that he’s taken an arrow and a bullet recently doing just that. If Lori wants Rick and Herschel back, she can get them herself. Sometimes a guy just needs a day off.
Back in town, Rick and Glen enter the bar, and sure enough, there’s Herschel. He’s clearly in despair and tying one off.
When he sees Rick and Glen he’s not in much of a mood to talk, but eventually they convince him to spill his guts. Herschel’s feeling all the self-doubts that come with grief. Should he have done differently? Right now he’s beating himself up for maintaining his belief that Wildfire can be cured, because it led to him keeping zombies in the barn, which put his family in danger. But more than that, his deluded optimism rubbed off on his daughters. They held out hope their mother could be cured, which kept them from mourning.
Let’s see, what else? Watching Shane shoot his Zombie Wife in the chest with no ill-effects convinced him finally that zombies are not human and cannot be cured. Which means, to Herschel, the world is about to end. He’s lost all hope in everything, not just the immediate concern with saving his wife.
That includes God, too…Herschel used to think that Carl’s survival from the gunshot wound was a real miracle, now he believes it only prolonged Carl’s misery. He calls it a “bait and switch” from God, like God’s playing pranks on him.
God DOES kinda do that…like when he told Herman Cain to run for president
Since Daryl won’t step up, it’s left to Lori to fetch everyone from town.
More on how monumentally stupid this is after the recap. For now, she loads the .38, gets in a car, and puts it on the seat beside her.
Problem is, Lori doesn’t know where town is. As she drives along she has to look at a map. Thinking all road are empty, she takes her eyes off the road.
And doesn’t see the zombie in her path. She smashes into it, loses control, and flips the car into a ditch.
Gosh, hope she’s not hurt.
Because that would mean they have to stay on the farm longer
Also, the silver lining is maybe now she’s not quite so preggers any more. It definitely would make things easier on everyone. (Who wants to deal with pregnant-lady hormones?)
Back to Herschel and Rick. Herschel is still drinking and shows no signs of coming around. Rick’s gonna have to come up with a way to sway him.
He tries the “you are abandoning Maggie and Beth” card but that only pisses Herschel off. Herschel shoots back that Rick has no room to talk, as he’s led his own people into disaster after disaster. Ouch.
Herschel gets angrier and angrier. Now he thinks Team Rick is the direct cause of all the misery in his life. And here Herschel invited them into his home, which is the Christian thing to do. What the eff, God?
But really, once again, Herschel believes there is no longer hope in this life. He asks Rick to dispute it and Rick has no answer.
Shane and T-Dog unload the bodies from the pickup truck one by one and pile them onto a funeral pyre. Before they light it, T-Dog wonders how many more times they’ll have to burn a pile of zombie corpses like this.
Wait, NOW Rick has an answer.
He actually makes a pretty good point: Life isn’t really different than it was before, is it? Before Wildfire, everyone still had to die. Wildfire doesn’t change things that much.
Forget the part where Wildfire kills everyone way faster than anything else ever did
Rick tops it off with his usual speech about how the zombie plague is a trial bigger than any one person, and that all humanity has a duty to carry on. And so on and so forth. He’s getting pretty good at this speech.
But then, behind them, the door to the bar opens. They turn and aim their guns…but it’s not zombies, it’s a couple healthy men. Who are they?
They usually only have four. What the hell?
So yes. Two strangers have shown up in the bar. They ain’t from ‘round here.
Hey, it’s the guy from Terriers! Maybe they’ll give him a nice multi-episode arc to take the sting out of Terriers getting the axe
Rick, Glen, and Herschel have invited the two men in for a drink, and the men seem amiable enough. The guy from Terriers is Dave, and the fat one is Tony. They are from Philly.
This guy is from Philly? Never! I don’t believe it.
Rick tells them that Herschel has gone through today—keeping the details deliberately vague—and Dave expresses his condolences. He seems a little too sincere if you ask me.
Then Dave tells them about their travels, how they’ve come from Philly to DC to Georgia. One thing they’ve noticed is how everyone they meet seems to have a different plan to survive Wildfire, and how all those plans have fallen apart. Rick mentions their plan to get to Fort Benning, but Dave tells him Fort Benning has been overrun. So Dave says. One of the only remaining refugee camps seems to be in Nebraska. (Which is where this episode got its title).
But when he’s finished talking about himself, Dave gets interested in Rick. Way too interested. Where does Rick come from? Where is he staying? Does he have food or supplies? The kinds of questions you ask someone you’re about to rob. Rick tells them a series of lies but Dave keeps poking holes in their story. He pulls a gun out of his waistband to show off to them, explaining he got it from a cop, and when Rick tells him he’s a cop he quickly adds that the cop was already dead.
Tony gets up to take a piss…right on the floor of the bar in front of them.
Eventually Dave guesses that they’re staying on a farm, so he comes right out and asks them if they can join Rick’s group. Rick refuses. They don’t know anything about Dave and Tony.
Dave admits that he and Tony aren’t the most respectable of people. They have had to get their hands dirty to survive in the wild. (What the hell does that mean?) But who hasn’t.
Tony starts to get pissed but Dave keeps everyone calm. As a gesture of goodwill he takes his gun out and puts it on the bar. But then he hops over the bar to get a drink for himself—putting Rick directly between himself and Tony. Now Rick is in the open, while Dave and Tony have the strategic upper-hand. Rick hears Tony take the clasp off his shotgun.
Dave calmly pours himself a drink and says that they can’t continue to roam the country in the open. That’s the situation. Rick suggests they head for Nebraska.
Dave goes for the gun and Rick draws and blows his ass away, then turns and puts a couple bullets in Tony. And THEN puts one in Tony’s head to make sure he’s dead, like he did with Sophia.
Glen and Herschel look pretty dumbstruck, but Rick not so much
And finally Shane and T-Dog pour gasoline on the zombies and set them on fire.
Keeping my bullshit this week short because of the behind-the-scenes recap portion after…
-There were a lot of little moments this episode that didn’t go anywhere, which I don’t always like, but I really liked the part in the beginning when Beth couldn’t even touch her Zombie Mom’s corpse without it coming back to life. Not only has her mother just been re-killed right in front of her, she can’t even have a moment’s peace. That’s pretty cruel on her, and great.
-I really, REALLY hope they do some cool shit with Carol now that her two main plot purposes have been exhausted. She’s always seemed two-dimensional to me, put in the show to show “here’s what happens to wives of abusive assholes after the apocalypse” and “here’s what happens to mothers after the apocalypse”. Maybe without so many burdens she’ll do something cool…like take up water colors!
-I guess we don’t have to worry about Daryl wasting an arrow every time he shoots something. He’s making more! We should have known better.
-And as for the “What did Herschel know and when did he know it” vis-a-vis the zombies in the barn…I think it was a plot hole. I really do. There’s no way both Otis and Herschel had no idea Zombie Sophia was in the barn. Zombie Sophia didn’t just wander into the barn on her own. Either Otis or Herschel had to have put her there. So one or both of them knew there was a little-girl-zombie WHILE Team Rick was out looking for a little girl.
The only reason they COULD have hidden this reason from Team Rick, and especially from Carol, is if they were trying to protect her feelings. Which is literally the most selfish thing I can think of doing in this situation. Shane’s right that they wilfully put everyone in danger by allowing them to go on a wild goose chase. All because they wanted to avoid a conflict?
Plus, Herschel WANTS them to leave. It makes no sense to delay that. Thus, plot hole.
-I think we mentioned it before the hiatus, but the show’s been picked up for a third season, even with all the budget cuts that are boxing in the story, even with everyone complaining that it’s gone downhill. So the show toddles onward, not dead. Undead. Kinda like a zombie, I guess. (S2E8 hit a ratings homer too, so it’s not exactly a shocker)
-Frank Darabont has begun telling people about awesome ideas he didn’t get to do before they fired him. (Someone’s bitter!) For instance he wanted to occasionally step away from Rick’s group and follow a completely new set of characters for an hour. Since we’ve all been so sick of following team Rick for seven weeks while they basically stick around in one place, I gotta think this would have been well-received.
-And last, some possible SPOILERAGE
I’ll put it a few lines down so you don’t accidentally read it…
…here comes the spoiler…
OK…Jon Bernthal, aka Shane, may or may not be starring in Frank Darabont’s new TNT pilot. Which may or may not mean he’s leaving TWD. Which may or may not mean Shane’s gonna die soon.
I will not say anything about the graphic novel in response to this.