This year’s premiere of The Walking Dead raised a laundry list of questions right off the bat and in the first ten minutes alone. Why hasn’t anyone spoken? What happened to them over the past few months? Where are they? With such a time jump, one couldn’t help an audible gasp at how pregnant Lori is – and they’re still running from walkers. Where will she have this baby? Will it live?
The premiere left a lot of new questions up in the air as well, such as will Hershel survive having his leg cut off? What will they do about the prisoners? Is this prison really secure? Is Lori’s baby still alive? Will Rick and Lori ever act like the adults they are and discuss their relationship? 43 minutes flew by, and I was left with my jaw on the ground echoing the inmate’s “holy s**t!” While the entire episode was one zombie-killing nightmare complete with SWAT walkers (anyone else freaked out by them more so than any others?), some serious things now need to be dealt with.
After watching Sick, a plot point that I feel is being mildly overlooked this season so far is will Andrea survive? From where we left her last season in the care of Michonne, she seems to have spiraled downward in terms of her health. In a post-apocalyptic world where children wield guns shooting walkers and hospitals no longer exist, how do you survive an illness? How do you survive natural childbirth? Good God.
Speaking of children, poor Carl. That is not to say “poor Carl” as in he can’t handle this. I say “poor Carl” because he was forced out of his childhood. Three minutes into the premiere he is shooting walkers in the head like a pro. Now, in episode two, with his mother and father barely speaking, he is simply trying to prove that he is able to be a valuable part of this nuclear pack. Lori scolding him for going off on his own (while I understand it) was probably a bad move, mom. He needs to feel like a man and that he is an asset. This dynamic between mother and son will be of peak interest through the rest of the season. He is no longer her little boy, he is a little man who, unfortunately, is acting a lot like his father from the lip service he hurled at his mother.
And Hershel…oh, Hershel. Of all of the characters, he was always the level-headed voice of reason to Rick’s sometime crazy. His wisdom is always a source of relief and he isn’t a half bad shot, either. Without a doubt, the most terrifying moment of the entire episode was Lori performing mouth to mouth and Hershel regaining consciousness only to try to find purchase, scaring the hell out of Lori, his daughters and the audience. Knees to my chest, hand over my mouth, I almost cried I was so happy he was alive. If there is one thing this little band of misfits needs, it is the wisdom of someone like Hershel.
The plot line that was created of the two surviving prisoners living in another cell block of the prison is going to be rather interesting. Will it be pushed to the back burner since there are only two of them? Speaking of the prisoners, Big Tiny’s quick exit at the hands of Tomas proved just how humanity is corrupt. They themselves had been a part of their own nuclear group trying to survive in a prison infested with walkers. What prompted the killing? Because he knew he had to or because he had just that much malice in his heart? Perhaps the apocalypse does not give prisoners a clean slate. What would you do? Kill them? Lock them up? Force them into a yard filled with walkers and tell them to run?
Rick is on a slippery slope this season. While Lori tried to talk to him and tried to tell him that she knew that he was still human and good in his heart, he still pushed Andrew out into that courtyard with those walkers with the parting words, “you better run.” Where did your humanity go, Rick? What will this mean for the group? How will this shape when Lori has her baby? How will this shape the season? So many questions, and the list just gets longer with every passing episode.
While it leaves a lot of questions in it’s wake, The Walking Dead is one never-ending zombie flick filled with much more than walkers and blood. The dynamics of family, friendship and survival are commingled with the fear and thrill of the horde. While we all have our favorite characters and least favorite characters, I think we can all agree that we care about these people. We want to see them not only survive, but we also want to find out what happens “in the end. “That is what keeps us coming back each week. Rick losing his humanity slowly, Michonne’s introduction and Lori’s pregnancy are going to keep me deeply invested until I get my answers.
Join me next week for our first meeting with The Governor!