The second episode of the second season of AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama “The Walking Dead” is an intensely emotional one, playing off of the Grimes family dynamic and the tension that’s introduced with the emergence of a new pack of strangers to the show.
It all starts off with a flashback of Laurie telling Carl that Rick’s been shot and is in the hospital, with the slow crumpling of Carl’s face making for a powerful transition to the present-day role reversal, when the show switches back to Rick carrying a bleeding, unconscious Carl in his arms. Accidentally shot by a hunter named Otis, who says that they can find help at his neighbor Herschel’s farm (readers of the graphic novel will be familiar with Herschel and his band of survivors), Rick frantically runs ahead, while Shane drags a bumbling Otis far behind.
Once they reach the farm, Herschel, a veterinarian by trade, gets to work on Carl’s wound, which makes for an absolutely heart-wrenching scene as Carl struggles during the surgery and an emotionally shell-shocked Rick looks on helplessly.
A new problem arises though when Herschel tells them that they need to find medical supplies to put Carl under so that he can complete the surgery. So Otis, ridden with guilt and familiar with the area, departs with Shane (as Rick needs to stay nearby in case Carl needs a blood transfusion) to search for anesthetic materials at a nearby abandoned FEMA shelter.
Meanwhile, back at the RV, T-Dog’s wound is severely infected and in need of antibiotics, which Dale searches the highway for, though to little avail. T-Dog, always the optimist, spends the entire time disparaging that everyone else has left them to go search for Sophia, because they’re the weakest, awakening an insecurity within Dale about his old age, which, in the graphic novel, led to relationship problems down the road.
In the forest though, things get much more fast-paced and exciting with the search party when Andrea is attacked by a stray zombie, but is saved just in the nick of time by a badass Maggie wielding a baseball bat on a horse. There mainly to deliver the news of Carl’s injury, Maggie gallops off with Laurie while the rest of the group heads back to the RV, unsure how to handle these new developments and whether they should even trust this new group of strangers.
Fast-forward a bit to Laurie’s emotional arrival at Herschel’s house, where she weeps over her child and stresses out (as any good mother would) over Herschel’s medical pedigree and the fact that he’s only worked with animals. It’s a decidedly tense scene, so it’s somewhat of a relief to transition back to the RV, where the group finally gets a glimmer of hope in the form of continuing camaraderie between Daryl and T-Dog.
The group wants to split up so that Glenn and the ladies can go to Herschel’s and seek medical help for T-Dog, while Daryl and Dale can make provisions at the RV in case Sophia shows up.
In another show of group solidarity though, Daryl reveals that he has Merle’s old stash of biker drugs (and clap antibiotics), effectively saving T-Dog’s life for the second time.
Meanwhile back at Herschel’s, Rick is wrought with worry over where Otis and Shane are, so in another show of his alpha male mentality, he attempts to leave and look for them, even though he’s in a very weak state from the blood transfusion.
It turns out though that Rick may have had something to worry about though, as Otis and Shane have gotten into a spot of trouble at the FEMA camp, which is overrun with walkers. Because while they managed to sneak past them to get the supplies, the episode ends with the two trapped behind a fence, mere meters away from becoming munchies for these hungry zombies.