NOTE: Let’s be mindful of all the new viewers participating in this conversation and try not to spoil plot points taking place deep into the run of the comic series. Mild speculation is fine and encouraged, but don’t get too explicit with regard to future surprises. They will be deleted. Thanks!
“Never Drink Well Water in Zombie County”
Rick and the gang are reunited! The caravan from the highway shows up at Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man’s house and it leads us to wonder why they let Daryl ride that noisy chopper when zombies are attracted by sound. It’s probably because if it was suggested that Daryl trade it in for, say, a whisper quiet Prius, they’d get a crossbow bolt in the ass.
Carl wakes up and asks his Rick and Lori about Sophia. Is she okay? They tell him she’s fine, but what they don’t say is that she has linked up with the missing Russian from The Sopranos and they are going to make a life as King and Princess of the Wood People.
An awkward funeral is held for Otis. They build him a giant rock coffin even though the bits that were left over from the zombie feast could probably fit in a small plastic grocery bag. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man has some nice things to say about Otis, the sweet man who gave his life to save a child. Shane has a hard time appreciating the words, what with his being plagued by flashbacks from when he shot Otis in the leg and left him to get eaten alive by zombies. Funerals can illicit a complicated series of emotions. It gets worse when Otis’ mom forces Shane to speak and he tells a harrowing and hopeful fiction about OTIS, HERO OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE which he punctuates by placing a rock atop Otis’ symbolic coffin. A rock of lies.
Sophia has been lost for three days so it’s time to start taking this thing seriously. Time to organize a grid search of the area using Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man’s maps. One problem: Rick is down a few pints of blood. Another problem: Shane’s got a busted leg. So it’s up to Daryl! Also, Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man would like them to stop carrying guns on his property. Curious. Well, considering the fact that he still has a considerable number of un-zombie-eaten livestock on his property maybe Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man has a giant force field protecting his property that he hasn’t told Rick and the gang about yet. Anyway, Rick wants to respect the new rule but Shane isn’t too happy about it. You never know when you might need to shoot someone in the leg to save your own ass, you know? Shane brings up the uncomfortable possibility of finding a zombie-bit Sophia. Rick says that if that happens, they’ll just put her down. Maggie asks what they will do about Sophia’s mother and when Andrea says they’ll tell her the truth, and Maggie and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man exchange mysterious looks. Before they head out, Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man agrees to let Dale act as an armed lookout.
Maggie invites Glenn to accompany her on the supply run to town. Her (possibly unintentional) sexual innuendo throws Glenn for a loop.
Andrea isn’t too happy about having to give up her gun but what can you do, Shane says. Meanwhile, he’s going to teach her how to clean her gun. Meanwhile, I don’t like where this is going between these two.
Daryl heads out on his own to find Sophia which seems kind of foolhardy. Rick tells him so, but not directly because they are tough men who do not share their feelings. Daryl heads out just in time for Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man to tell Rick that there are no extended stays available at his house and that as soon as Sophia is found they’ve got to hit the road.
It would appear that Glenn and Maggie are taking horses into town which is a-okay with Glenn because Maggie’s got a whole hot farmer’s daughter thing going on. Lori gives Glenn a shopping list which includes a personal item that she would like to remain private. Pregnancy test? Tampons? Twinkies?
Dale and his new best friend T-Dog collect water from a well and T-Dog would like Dale to forget about the whole “we should abandon the group” thing from last week. Dale agrees and then spies a giant hole in the ground a few feet from the well. Just as T-Dog is about to take a sip from a ladle full of cool, refreshing water, Dale slaps it away from his mouth. Rick and the gang (and Maggie) are summoned to the hole which has a zombie in it!
After a few deliberations it is decided that they shouldn’t shoot the zombie because that would definitely contaminate the water with zombie guts. They’re gonna have to pull it out… and then shoot it.
Rick and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man pause from looking at a map of the area to consider the beauty of the nature that surrounds them. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man tries to engage Rick in a talk about the wonder and majesty of God but oh, did Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man pick the wrong man to have this conversation with.
Back at the hole, Dale, Shane, T-Dog, Lori, Andrea, Glenn and Maggie lower a canned ham down to the water-logged zombie but the fish ‘ain’t biting. Since the zombie isn’t going for the ham on a string, they’re going to have to lower someone down into the hole to grab him. They all look to Glenn because it’s well known that when it comes to lowering someone into a hole to grab a zombie you always go Asian. Also, this is one of the worst plans that this group has come up with and that’s saying something.
Maggie informs the group that they are crazy and they lower Glenn down into the hole. He’s got a noose in his hand ready to drop over the zombie and it’s all going swimmingly until the pump that they have attached the rope to gives way and Glenn goes plunging all the way down. T-Dog grabs the runaway pump just as Glenn’s feet reach the outstretched hands of the zombie. After lots of kicking and screaming and shouting, the group manages to pull Glenn back up to safety. Dale thinks they need a new plan but no! Glenn managed to rope that zombie while he was shrieking in the hole and he hands the rope to Dale and saunters off because Glenn is awesome.
Out in the woods, Daryl comes across an old abandoned farmhouse. He searches the house, which creaks and moans and generally creates a very tense atmosphere. He finds recently eaten food and a little makeshift bed in a closet. Could it be… Sophia?
Back at the hole, the group is pulling out the bloated and growling zombie. It’s drooling and oozing and you’ve got to think that the water is contaminated pretty well and good already. They pull the zombie to the top of the hole but it gets stuck on the edge. With one mighty heave, they yank the rope and the zombie rips in half! His upper half remain on the ground, growling and grasping as his lower half falls back into the hole and the water therein. Yeah, that water is officially contaminated. I wouldn’t drink it even after it was boiled to the point where it all evaporates into the atmosphere, it comes back down as precipitation, and then it was collected and boiled again. Still not drinking it.
Back on the highway, Carol, Andrea, and Shane make their daily trip back to where they left food and a sign for Sophia telling her to stay put. There’s no Sophia, though, so they head off to begin some gun training. Andrea complains to Shane that they still won’t let her pack heat. This leads Shane to a long soliloquy that starts off about gun safety and ends with Shane talking about the effects of taking a man’s life. I really don’t like where these Shane and Andrea scenes seem to be going.
Glenn and Maggie head into town on horseback. Glenn tries to evoke a mysterious loner cowboy vibe to Maggie but she’s distracted by the memories of the zombie they pulled out of the hole and then accidentally pulled apart and then had its head bashed in by T-Dog. She’s not used to seeing zombie killing up close and personal. They find a drugstore that implores visitors to take what they need and they have because the place has been picked pretty clean. While Glenn looks for the mysterious item that Lori asked him to pick up, he comes across a pregnancy test. Maggie catches Glenn with the pregnancy test and then springs a verbal trap on him. Is that for his girlfriend? No? Then he must be pretty confident about his chances with her. No, he’s not aiming to have sex with her? Why? Is there something wrong with her? Anyway, before Glenn’s brains can seep out of his ears, Maggie says she’ll have sex with him. And not just in the abstract, but right then and there in the abandoned drug store. Chicks, man.
Back at the house, Rick tries to make Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man reconsider the whole thing about kicking his group out of the house after they find Sophia. They talk about fathers and sons and Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man says he will consider letting them stay if they respect his rules. He also hints at some “aspects to this… things I can’t and won’t discuss” which seems like a giant red flag that Rick is just too exhausted and lacking blood to pick up on.
Glenn and Maggie ride back to the house and Glenn’s got the kind of big dumb grin on his face often found on those who have been unexpectedly laid on the floor of an abandoned drug store by a hot farmer’s daughter. Maggie notices and tells him not to ruin it and besides, it was just a one time thing. Sad Glenn. Dr. Herchel, Medicine Man asks how things went in town and she tells him it was uneventful in the most unconvincing way possible. Meanwhile, Lori asks Glenn if he found her item and he hands her a small bag that she immediately hides her jeans. Maybe her mysterious item was meth.
Daryl returns sans Sophia. He brings Carol a Cherokee Rose flower and tells her the story of the flower and how it represents strength and hope for mothers who had lost their children. He punctuates the heartfelt moment by telling Carol that Sophia will really like living in the RV, which Carol has been decorating just for her.
Back in the house Rick admits to Carl that he was lying about Sophia being okay. He believes they will find her but he doesn’t know if they will. Carl understands and also thinks that it’s cool that both he and his dad have been shot. Rick gives Carl his awesome deputy’s hat as a reward for taking a bullet like a man.
Rick undresses very deliberately. He strips off his badge and the uniform shirt in such a way that implies that he’s done being the resident cop of the group.
Lori heads out of the house and into the darkness on her own. She goes out into the field and pulls out the mysterious package… a pregnancy test! She pees on the stick and gets the result: she’s pregnant!
Another strong episode that got me thinking a lot about Sophia. It is becoming clear that the loss of Sophia is going to plague the group for some time possibly the whole season. This is good. It adds a layer of pathos to the group that while they are fighting for their lives they also have to carry the guilt of losing a child from their group. The more I think about it, the more I hope that Sophia never gets found and I hope that the specter of Sophia haunts the group for some time.
Also, for those who are curious, the footage that Robert Kirkman showed us at NYCC during out interview was the shot of the well water zombie being pulled apart. It was awesomely gross then and it is awesomely gross now.