This was a 90 minute season opener and they probably could have condensed it down to an hour. Yes, I realize that this show is about more than zombies - character development and interactions among the survivors being as important as the zombies ... but I am of the more-zombies-is-better camp. I found this episode a tad slow, although certainly suspenseful and exciting in parts.
Our group of survivors is leaving Atlanta for Fort Benning, 125 miles away, in hopes of finding something, anything there in the aftermath of their visit to the CDC. Rick gives a long monologue about being a survivor, etc., etc., over the walkie, trying to reach his buddy from S1E1 (Morgan?) and warn him away from Atlanta. Finally, they move on in a small caravan: motorcycle, RV and SUV. They cruising down the interstate when they are stopped by two things: a huge wreck/traffic jam across the highway and a blown radiator hose in the RV. As Dale tries to repair the radiator hose, the others search the stranded/abandoned cars for supplies as they need almost everything: water, clean clothes, medicine, gas.
After a while, Rick sees a "herd" of hundreds of zombies lurching towards them, as if migrating. The survivors quickly hide under various cars, trying to stay silent as the zombies go by. Andrea is still in the RV, trying to reassemble her gun after cleaning it; a zombie decides to investigate the RV and she hides in the tiny bathroom. When the zombie tries to get in after her, Dale - who is up on the roof of the RV - drops a screwdriver down to her and she ends up staking the zombie through the eye with it, eventually killing it. You see, they can't use their guns because to do so would alert the rest of the zombie herd. So when Whatsisname the token black guy, badly cuts his arm on some metal, and a zombie goes after him, Darryl (Norman Reedus, my new favorite, hot off his gig as Judas in the video for Lady Gaga's eponymous song) has to silently shove an arrow by hand through the zombie's brain to save him.
Finally, the herd has passed ... except for a couple of stragglers who see little Sophia when she climbs out from under the car she was hiding under. Sophia runs away into the woods, the two zombies chasing her, and Rick races after them. He finally catches Sophia and tells her to hide as he draws the zombies off, and then she is to retrace her steps back to the others. The zombies follow him further into the woods until he takes them out, one at a time, via a large rock to the skull. Unfortunately, Sophia does not make it back to the group before Rick does, so he and Darryl head back out to track her. They find and kill another walker, and note that it has fed recently, so Darryl cuts its stomach open (with many squishy sound effects) so they can see what it ate: a woodchuck. They suspend the search for Sophia when it gets dark.
In the morning, everyone goes back out to search for the little girl, except Dale (who's supposed to be fixing the RV - but who actually fixed it the day before but doesn't want anyone to know because he's afraid people will want to leave before Sophia is found) and Whatsisname (who is recovering from his cut arm). Before they leave, Andrea gets in Dale's face: she's pissed that he wouldn't let her die in the CDC explosion like she wanted. After they've been searching a while, they find a church with several zombies inside. After Rick, Darryl and Shane kill the zombies, there's a bunch of blah blah blah of talking to God. Outside, Laurie and Shane argue because he's decided to leave the group since he can't stand being around her and Rick any longer. After Laurie walks away, Andrea - who overheard their argument - tells Shane that she wants to come with him.
It's getting late but Rick feels guilty and doesn't want to give up the search. He and Shane decide to search for another hour or so while the rest of the group head back to the RV. Rick's son Carl wants to stay with his dad since Sophia is his friend; amazingly, Laurie and Rick agree to it. As Rick, Shane and Carl are walking through the woods, they find a huge deer. Fascinated, Carl approaches the deer while the men watch, smiles on their faces. Suddenly, a shot rings out from across the clearing. Both the deer and Carl fall to the ground. Rick and Shane rush towards the boy, stricken looks on their faces.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
2 hours ago