'Walking Dead' Recap: The Sophia Search Is Over, So Now What?

(Warning: spoilers ahead!) Hey, zombie fans! Can I get a spooky unearthly groan for The Walking Dead being back on? All together now: URRRRRRRNNNNNHHHH.

What's happened so far in season two: Lori's pregnant, Carl got shot but he's all better now, Shane's all haunted and shifty-eyed on account of the fact that he's kind of a psycho, and Hershel's barn turned out to be secretly crammed full of zombies—which is now public info because at the end of the mid-season finale, Shane broke into the barn (psycho!) and all the walkers poured out, including Carol's long-lost daughter, thus putting a much-needed headshot in that whole Where in the World Is Sophia? ♫ storyline.

Tonight we began the six-episode second half of the season, and I've been tentatively hopeful it would be better than the first half (smell ya later, Sophia!). Let's see where things went:


The episode starts exactly where we left off: everyone's standing around the barn going "Fuuuuuuu—" and Sophia's lying in the dirt with a brain-full of bullet. Carol runs off, because, well, yeah, and Hershel's daughter Beth (wait: who?) flips out and tries to cuddle her dead Barn Mom who ends up being Not Quite Dead Yet After All, and as if this whole thing isn't awkward enough, T-Dawg violently stomps the crap out of Zombie Mom's head before Andrea swings an axe through her skull.

Hershel's like, "My barn wife! Oh my god, worst party foul ever. Get the hell off my property!" and Shane's all, "Did you know Sophia was in the barn? Did you? I WILL GO SO PSYCHO ON ALL OF YOU RIGHT NOW AND YOU KNOW I'M GOOD AT DOING THAT," and Rick's like, I am knitting my brow to show my various concerns about all of these developments.

The survivors have a sad little funeral for the dead but Carol declines to attend because, as she puts it, her daughter died a long time ago. Instead, Carol goes off to the woods to ponder a Cherokee Rose, the flower that was supposed to offer hope for Sophia's survival, before she starts ineffectually flailing at it because god DAMN that stupid rose and I feel really bad for her but also want to offer some advice on weeding. Jesus, pull it by the roots, Carol!

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Back at the farm, Beth—who is suddenly, like, part of this show now?—dramatically collapses, and as everyone looks for Hershel for more of his horse doctorin' skills (apply a poultice!), it's determined that he R-U-N-N-O-F-T to the bar in town. Rick decides that he and Glenn will go retrieve Hershel and Lori's like, well that sucks but fine, I'll just stay here and do more Pilates, god.

Carol returns from the woods and Shane tenderly attempts to wash her arms, which are filthy from doing battle with the Cherokee Rose, and I cannot help but notice that Shane is exactly as bad at personal hygiene as Carol is at weeding. Use soap, Shane!

Off Rick and Glenn go to the bar, where, sure enough, Hershel's holed up pouring himself some booze with a hefty chaser of self-pity. He moans that there's no hope, and that he knows Rick knows it too, because he saw it in his face when Zombie Sophia made her appearance. (Walking Dead writers: "SEE? SEE? SOPHIA WAS A METAPHOR, YOU IMPATIENT ASSHOLES.")

Rick's like, "Dammit man, I'm a sheriff, not a philosopher!" But he manages to get the message across to Hershel that it's not about what they believe, it's about the people they care about. You know, like your daughter, Hershel, who's back at the house all weird and feverish and hey does anyone else think she somehow got dosed with zombie juices? I mean, if Beth had a publicist, she'd be suffering from "exhaustion" but I'm calling it: INFECTED.

Suddenly! These two random dudes show up in the bar and they start out friendly but sure enough there's a showdown where Rick eventually kills them both and I guess the takeaway here is that 1) the living are as dangerous as the dead now, and 2) Hershel is now thinking that Rick can offer protection so maybe he won't be so eager to vote him off the island. 

Meanwhile, Lori leaves the farm, jumps in a car, drives off while staring at a map instead of the road, hits a walker, and sends her car flying into a ditch. Sigh. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

All in all, I thought it was a pretty decent episode. It wasn't exactly jam-packed with action, but the scenes that could have drowned in lame monologues didn't do so. It seems like there's still some character redundancy going on, but I get a feeling that the writers have been working on improving some of the clunkier aspects of the show. Maybe? Hopefully? At any rate, I'm crossing my fingers that this half of the season isn't dedicated to Where in the World Is Lori? because NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

What'd you think about tonight's episode? Like/dislike?

Image via AMC

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