Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steve Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) set off to find Merle, but instead ran into a self-styled gang of tough guys who took Glenn hostage and demanded Rick’s bag of guns in exchange. You heard right: While the world was falling apart around them, Rick’s group faced off against a street gang over the bag of guns that Rick dropped back in the first episode. Instead of joining forces with Rick, Guillermo’s (Neil Brown Jr.) crew pretended to be gangsters and everyone risked killing everyone else. Which was insanely stupid; with the world collapsed, why fight for petty power and influence over a tiny band of survivors? At least Rick was simply trying to get his man Glenn back from the Vatos. In truth, Guillermo was a janitor before the fall, and his lieutenant, Felipe (Noel G.), was a nurse, and the Vatos were defending not gang turf, but an old folks home full of helpless, senile elderly patients.
Another big development was that someone we knew and liked, Amy (Emma Bell) was killed by the zombie horde. I am sure there were cheers among viewers when Ed (Adam Minarovich), the abusive husband/father, was taken out by walkers, but the loss of Amy probably shocked a few folks. But any savvy viewer saw her demise coming from the beginning of the episode. After all, the entire teaser was devoted to sketching in a relationship between Amy and her big sister, Andrea (Laurie Holden), with them recalling their father and warm childhood memories. Amy was given a personality with interests, quirks and foibles, and she was shown to compassionate and understanding. Of course she practically had “Dead Meat” tattooed on her forehead! Bye, Amy…
Dale’s (Jerffrey DeMunn) speech quoting Faulkner about how one should forget about time and concentrate on the present came just before time was up for our jovial little band of survivors. The zombie attack at the end of the episode was a great payoff for fans who have been waiting for precisely such a scene since the series got under way. The walker attack was truly frightening because the creatures seemed to come out of nowhere, and to be everywhere at once, biting and scratching, and piling up a body count. It was thrilling in a chaotic way, a way that made the preternatural monstrosities seem like an unstoppable force of nature. Except that the zombie hordes could be stopped by the return of Rick and pals. I love the idea of the walkers being attracted by sound, because it gives the survivors incentive not to use guns – beyond the traditional motivation of saving scarce ammo. Luckily, Daryl is a deadshot with the crossbow (yeah, pun intended). And it makes every loud noise a reason to flinch! As a practical matter, how far can Merle get? Hopefully, we’ll find out next week.
It’s worth noting that comic book scribe Robert Kirkman, who co-created The Walking Dead with artist Tony Moore, wrote this week’s script. All the episodes are based on the first six issues (or so) of the comic series, but this is only episode for which he wrote the actual teleplay. Dude’s got talent.