Hi there. I’m Tom Edwards. You may know me from such recaps as Top Chef: D.C. and American Idol: Season 9. You can find them and the rest of my stuff here. As for this recap (and the ones that will follow each week), understand this – there will surely be spoilers in it. It’s a recap, and it’s awfully hard to recap something without directly talking about it. So if you haven’t seen the episode and want to be surprised by the twists and turns that come from a show like The Walking Dead, by all means, thank you for the pagehit, but stop reading here.
Are we good? OK. The other thing I feel like I should mention is that when I do my recaps, I’m assuming you’re a regular viewer of the show, so you kind of already know what’s been happening. I do a little recap of the action that has recently happened (just like the show does) but I refer to characters by their names (or the names I give them), so if you get a little lost because you haven’t seen the show before, I apologize. I will be doing an “introduction to The Walking Dead” type of article in the near future, but for now, bear with me.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to recappin’, shall we?
LAST TIME, ON THE WALKING DEAD: Carl likes deer so much he’s willing to get shot like one, Rick lucks out that the guy who shot his son knows a guy who just happens to be a skilled pig surgeon, Hershel the pig surgeon needs more tools to save Carl, so Shane and Otis the Carl Shooter volunteer to go to a local school that FEMA set up as a camp/zombie feeding ground, Sophia isn’t where Rick left her and now she’s gone but redneck ninja Daryl will find her, Hershel’s daughter finds Lori and brings her to the farmhouse so that she can cry a lot, Hershel says he doesn’t have much time, which sucks because Shane and Otis are pretty screwed since the school is actually East Zombie High School.
We start off with a shower and clippers – someone’s getting a haircut. It’s Shane, who apparently got out of the school situation fine. Well, that’s nice. Uh oh – Shane’s looking into the mirror and has the crazy eyes. Not the crazy “Steve Buscemi in an Adam Sandler movie” way, but crazy in the “PRIVATE PYLE WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION” way.
A flashback seems necessary here, and we get one, with Rick doing the voiceover, telling a story about Shane back when they were in school. Shane and Otis the Carl Shooter are running from the zombies. Should we pity Otis? I mean, you know, he shot a child while shooting a child deer, but you have to feel for the guy. Next to token black characters and teenagers having sex, fat guys are probably the most likely to get killed in a horror type of situation. Yet he elects to go back into hell to try to undo the wrong that he did. Noble cause, or secret suicide wish? I’ll let the psychologist blogs figure that out.
Oh, right. So Rick’s telling this story to Lori as they watch over their comatose son. Lori tells Rick to “keep his strength.” Yeah – things aren’t good here.
Inside the RV, Carol’s crying in her sleep, just in case you thought Rick and Lori had it bad. It’s one thing for your kid to be dying; it’s another to be picturing your kid’s flesh being ripped from her body as she’s eaten alive. So suck it up, Rick and Lori. Andrea’s trying to put her gun back together. Why are there always extra pieces? Daryl can’t sleep (Carol’s constant crying might have something to do with it), plus redneck ninjas work best under the cover of darkness, so he’s going out to find Sophia. Andrea decides that she’s going to go too and learn the ways of the redneck ninja. Dale isn’t so sure that’s a good idea, but after a good dose of the STFU treatment from Andrea, Dale decides maybe Andrea will be fine.
MEANWHILE, back at the school, Shane and Otis are trapped at the top of some bleachers where the zombie pep club and the zombie football and soccer teams are looking for lunch. Shane says they can bust out some windows and crawl out that way, but Otis is fat, you see, so knowing big-ass round pegs don’t go through small square holes, Otis volunteers to jump off the bleachers and make a break for the door, asking for Shane to cover him. Otis jumps off the bleachers and does what any fat adult would in the same situation – busts his leg – and a zombie grabs a hold of him. Otis tries to fight him off as the rest of the walkers come after him, but a well-timed shot from Shane frees Otis to scamper away, with most of the walkers going after him. Shane takes out the window and has a little time to actually think about the two-story drop he’s about to encounter, but that time disappears as a zombie apparently figures out how to pull out the bleachers and starts to grab him. Shane struggles, shoots the zombie in the face to break free, then remembers that the zombie was the one holding him up – dropping the two stories without so much as a tiny Wile E. Coyote-esque sign to acknowledge the camera. Shane’s in pain, but he can move, and as he makes the “ow I’m in pain” grimace, he hears three shots from inside the school, presumably from Otis.
Back at the farmhouse, the minority tag team of Glenn and T-Dog finally make it there and offer to help. Before anyone can say anything, T-Dog once again explains that he wasn’t bitten but instead brushed up against a car and since he has skin and muscle that cuts like butter, damn near lost his arm. This is acceptable, and they may pass. They see Rick, Lori, and coma Carl – they offer to help, but they know there’s nothing they can do. Hershel the pig surgeon, sensing an opportunity to kill any positive mood, reminds the Grimes family that times running out and they have a decision to make – have Hershel operate with out a respirator, which likely wouldn’t turn out well, or… wait longer, which isn’t really a decision.
In the woods, Daryl regales Andrea with stories of the redneck ninja way. He thinks Sophia’s OK, because when he was young, he got lost in the woods for nine days, then got home and made a sandwich, with the only damage to him being poison oak. His dad was drunk and didn’t care, and his brother was in jail, so he didn’t have anyone to help him. Andrea likes the story, so apparently tales of child abuse and horrifying childhood experiences amuse her. No wonder Dale won’t let her have a gun.
Rick and Lori start getting deep. Lori starts to question whether or not it would be best for Carl to be dead or alive. “This isn’t a world for children,” she says. She says that if he dies tonight, this whole hell that they’re in – it ends for him. She starts to talk about Jacqui, who elected to die in the CDC explosion, thinking that maybe she was right. She demands Rick tell her why it would be better for Carl to live than to die. Rick can’t answer.
MEANWHILE BACK AT THE SCHOOL, Shane’s trying to get the hell out of Dodge. He’s noticeably limping, so the fall affected him worse than he let on earlier. It’s not nice to hide that stuff from us, Shane. He turns around – HEADSHOT to one of the zombies. Damn, these guys are possibly the finest marksmen on the planet. Zombies are still coming after Shane – LIMP FASTER BOY. Shane’s pressed up against a fence. Zombies push up against it trying to get to him from the back through the fence. Zombies coming after him from the front. What’s Shane going to do? HEADSHOT – MY MAN, OTIS! Otis made it out of the building, and the two of them shoot their way out of the confrontation. They might make it after all, but Otis reveals to Shane that he’s out of ammo, so they best be limping fast.
Back at the ranch, it’s Carl! He’s awake! And he likes deer! He’s in pain, but he has to tell his mom about the deer he saw. It was so close and GAK. Well, that lasted for a minute. Carl’s having seizures and Lori’s losing it, as I’m sure you would if you were watching your kid die. Hershel the pig surgeon says that Carl’s not getting enough blood to his brain, and Rick offers up more. Hershel says that taking more blood from Rick could kill him SUBTLE HINT LORI but Rick doesn’t care – take what you need. Him no thin brai mamage bad thing happen yes.
Cut back to the school. Shane’s limping even more with Otis. LIMP FASTER BOY.
Cut to the RV, where Carol goes to visit Dale. Has every non-missing character gotten screen time yet? OK, good.
Cut to the woods, where redneck ninja Daryl and assistant redneck Andrea find a campground, where there’s a zombie hanging from a tree in a noose. Daryl reads a note that tells them that the man got bit by a zombie, and elected to commit suicide by hanging himself rather than to live life as a zombie, not knowing that the hanging wouldn’t stop the transformation, so he’s been hanging there ever since. Daryl decides to leave it there – “It’s like a big ol’ pinata” – but Andrea thinks they should kill it anyway. Daryl concedes and shoots the hanging zombie in the dead, calling it a waste of an arrow. You know, because apparently he can’t pull it out of the thing’s head.
Dale and Carol are on the RV. Carol tells Dale not to worry about Andrea, that she’s with Daryl. Dale responds by giving her the gun and telling her to keep watch. Carol says she doesn’t know what to do with a gun. Um, shoot it?
T-Dog is getting sewn up in the farmhouse, and Glenn can’t watch. Maggie, Hershel’s daughter, comes out to talk to him. The two start talking about religion, showing Maggie has learned nothing from Linus Van Pelt. The two don’t start talking about the Great Pumpkin though (at least Maggie knows enough to stay away from that).
Cut back to Dale, who’s looking for something. Or trying to get the hell away from having a conversation with Carol.
Rick’s finally got an answer for Lori. Despite all the hell around them, Carl saw the beauty in the deer. He doesn’t see the world for what it isn’t – he’s seeing it for what it is. He keeps bringing up the deer. He tells Lori that there has to be something better out there, and that’s why Carl deserves to live.
Back at the school, Shane’s in trouble. He’s having trouble walking, and slowing him and Otis down. Otis isn’t going to leave him behind though. They say they’ve only got 10 bullets between the two of them. Wait – didn’t Otis say he was out of ammo before? Anyway, 10 more bullets. And they shoot back at the mob of zombies after them. You know, because if you shoot one zombie, it apparently sends a message to the rest of the zombies that they should stop chasing. STOP SHOOTING BACK.
[Sidebar - at this point in the show they have a commercial break, and one of the commercials is for the Air Force. They show the Air Force using some nifty looking transforming planes and taking care of some apocalyptic event. Is this PR control during The Walking Dead where basically the whole military gets owned by the zombie apocalypse? "No guys, join the Air Force! As long as it's not zombies, we really help people!" Anyway, I'll get back to the show now.]
Back at the farmhouse, Hershel says Rick & Lori have to make a choice in regards to Carl. Again with the choice. There’s two options here – operate without the respirator or wait longer. It’s not a choice if one of the two options is not making a choice. Hershel says that he’s going to die without the operation, but he’ll only most likely die with the operation without the respirator. Lori tells Hershel to do the surgery. Hershel tells Rick & Lori that they probably don’t want to watch. They step out and… wait a second… IT’S SHANE! YAY IT’S SHANE HE’S GOT THE STUFF OH CRAP SOMEONE TELL HERSHEL TO STOP CUTTING. The group goes out to meet Shane but uh oh – no Otis. Does that mean? Yep – Otis didn’t make it. Shane tells about how Otis wanted Shane to keep going and not to look back. Rick hugs him. Shane doesn’t look too good – something seems… wrong.
Back at the RV, Carol sees Daryl and Andrea coming back without a kid, and she gets upset and bolts back into the RV. Daryl goes in to talk to Carol, while Dale stops Andrea. Dale apologizes to Andrea and gives her back her gun (apparently without extra pieces). He asks if she forgives him, and she says she’s trying. TENSION.
Cut back to farmhouse, and Glenn is consoling a highly upset Maggie. He asks who else she’s lost, and she starts pointing out pictures on the refrigerator of people. Hershel comes out and tells Rick & Lori that Carl has stabilized. Lori doesn’t have the words to express her joy, while Hershel doesn’t have the words to explain to Patricia what happened to Otis. Yes, Hershel segued Lori’s joy into asking for help with Patricia. Rick elects to help, and the two go to tell Patricia, who (understandably) breaks down. Lori goes in to see Carl, with Shane entering the house slowly. Shane follows Lori into the room to see Carl. Lori, a hell of a lot more friendly to Shane now (naturally), tells him to stay.
Later, we see Shane by himself. Maggie brings him some clean clothes, but says that they won’t fit well, because they were Otis’s. Shane’s not looking too good.
The shower’s running – this is the scene we opened with. Shane looks at himself in the mirror, and – as mentioned before – kinda has the crazy eyes. He checks his hair, and there’s a patch missing, almost like it was torn out of his head. I think that calls for a
OK, remember when Shane was getting left behind and they had 10 bullets?
Cut to present time – Shane’s looking for something, anything. Ah yes – clippers.
Cut back to the flashback – Otis is helping Shane, and Shane apologizes… and shoots Otis in the leg. Otis goes down, but he’s not going to let go.
Present time – buzz buzz go the clippers.
Flashback – Shane’s struggling with Otis. Otis has a death grip on Shane’s hair, with Shane beating on Otis in an effort to get away. Finally, Shane breaks free, missing a patch of hair, thanks to Otis. As Shane limps away, the zombies swarm Otis and feast, eating him alive. Shane looks back at Otis and the carnage, making sure that it did stop the zombies from chasing him, then keeps limping on.
Present time – Shane looks into the mirror with those crazy eyes. Everything’s going to be OK – right?
[Header image via Hulu.com. All other images from amctv.com]