TV Recap: The Walking Dead, "What Lies Ahead"

It's been about ten months since we last left those wacky survivors on The Walking Dead, and ok, I admit it, I don't remember a ton of stuff. But the one thing I did remember from last year's cliffhanger (which came after a mere six stinkin' episodes, what's up, Darabont?!?), is that near the end, as the gang ran out of the CDC headquarters into an army of zomboids outside and made it to their caravan right before the whole building exploded, the last remaining scientist dude whispered something in Deputy Dawg's ear, and Deputy Dawg instantly went all Tragic Sad Face about it right before he made his escape.

That's what I really want to know about as Season Two resumes. What the scientist said. I mean, what was it? "All is lost?" "The whole world is overrun?" "Don't worry, Dude, it's just Atlanta that's screwed?" "Don't eat old mayonnaise?" "This whole thing is Michelle Bachman's fault?" What was it?

Let me just end the suspense.  Whatever that scientist said? We don't learn it in this episode. Dammit.

But other than that, the entire hour and a half was absolutely kick ass. Follow along. Be aware that this recap is literally all spoiler. Just so you're aware.

It's not long after our merry band of runaways made their exodus out of Atlanta. Which is done.  Atlanta is done, y'all. Change your vacation plans. We get a little exposition from Deputy Dawg, who's hanging in there as the fearless leader. Things are tense in the group after one too many close calls with the brain-eaters, who just aren't getting any less hungry, it seems.

The survivors are driving down the highway in their campers and truckers when they come upon a bummer of a situation: the highway is choked with cars. It's like rush hour, except half the cars are overturned, or on their sides, and have a lot of dead bodies in them. Not zombie dead, but dead dead. Many half-chewed by Walkers. The group really doesn't want to U-turn it back towards Deadlanta, but they can't go forward without moving about a hundred cars out of the way. They do, however, decide to hang out for a while, siphon gas from other cars, and scavenge for supplies: water, clothing, and maybe a version of travel Scrabble. The group spreads out and starts rummaging around the auto graveyard.

Do you feel a sense of foreboding? Me too. Do they? They do not. Despite everything that jumped out at them every five minutes during Season One.

Here's what happens, and it's freaky as all hell. Deputy Dawg idly looks up and see one, solitary, slowly shambling Walker moving between bumpers a few cars ahead. Hmm. That's not good. But one zombie, they can handle. Then he sees another one a few more cars back, stumbling along. And then another one.

And then three freakin' hundred of them. All slowly unknowingly making their way towards our poor, unsuspecting, naïve, so stupid group of heroes.

It's so awful. It's so awesome.

Frantically, the Deputy Dawg tries to signal the others silently. Everyone crawls beneath cars: the wives, the children, Redneck Daryl, T-Dog, Glen, Backstabbing Wife-Stealer Shane, everyone. Thus begins a terrifying sequence where everyone hides as they watch hundreds of pairs of zombie feet slooooooowly move past them. They have to be totally quiet. For some reason, zombies seem to have a phenomenal sense of hearing on this show, in addition to the ability to sniff humans out through metal walls.

Hey, speaking of idiots, isn't that Andrea, the blonde girl whose sister became zombie food last season, sitting innocently in the camper, completely unaware of the zombies that are surrounding her as they mosey on down the road? Why yes, I think it is.

Seriously so creepy. I'm sitting on my couch with five lights on in the room.

So what happens next? Let's begin this season's zombie death count. First, Redneck Daryl and T-Dog save each other from a couple of Walkers, spectacularly bludgeoning them to death. (Two down.) Andrea gets cornered by a bald, exceptionally gooey zombie in the camper's bathroom – it practically chews its way through the door to get to her, and Andrea has to use a screwdriver dropped through the sky light by Grandpa Dale to pull a total Jamie Lee Curtis and stab the zombie in the eye. (Zombie Death #3).

Ok, that's all fine and nasty and great, but here's the thing. The zombie mob moves on, unaware that three of their number was just dispatched squishily…. but just when our survivors start to emerge from their cars… ONE LAST ZOMBIE SUDDENLY APPEARS AND TRIES TO DRAG SOPHIE THE LITTLE GIRL OUT FROM HER HIDING SPOT AND SHE'S SCREAMING IN FEAR AND I'M LIKE GAHHHHH!!!!!

Little kid in danger? Oh NO you don't, show.

Sophia, doll clutched in one hand (of course), runs terrified down the embankment and into the woods as not one but two zombies go after her. Deputy Dawg follows. He circles around, catches up to Sophia, gets her to hide as he draws the zombies away, and gets them to lurch deeper into the woods where he and Redneck Daryl make zombie meat out of them. (#4 and #5). They circle back to Sophia's hiding place, but... SHE'S GONE!

Commercial. I can already tell that recapping this show is going to break my caps lock.

After the break: there's other stuff going on, but honestly, it's not that interesting. Backstabber Shane has an angry exchange with Lori (aka Mrs. Deputy Dawg), whom he'd been sleeping with back before anyone knew Deputy Dawg had survived the zombiepocalypse, Andrea and Grandpa Dale have a spat about some nonsense, and everyone's pissy because the group needs to consolidate its gun collection.  There's a whole thing about who should be in charge of the weapons, who gets to carry one, and other stuff that isn't interesting because it doesn't involve exploding zombie jawbones. (Although it turns out that the whole who-gets-a-gun debate is going to end up being relevant later. Take note.)

Meanwhile, back in the woods, several members of our gang are combing the woods for Sophia, because if they don't find her, Sophia's mom, the meek, crew-cut lady that she is, is basically falling apart at the thought of her daughter lost in the woods with monsters. In the woods, the crew runs around freaking out.  They do run across a stray zombie, which they kill (#6). Here's a highlight: just to make sure that the zombie didn't catch Sophia and eat her, Redneck Daryl and Deputy Dawg cut the zombie open, and dig around in his blackened, viscous innards to try and find... little kid parts, I guess. It's SO gross. And when I say gross, I mean awesome. They don't find anything in there that looks like Sophia, apparently, so they move on.

It's going to be dark soon, and there's no sign of Sophia. Uh oh.  Just when things start to look dire, the group hears the sound of church bells somewhere close by! Whoa! Nothing ominous about that!  They race towards the sound and discover a little church! In a meadow! Hey, let's go in there!

Inside, they find three zombies, naturally, who are sitting idly in the pews until they hear the doors creak open, and that's when they all sloooooowly turn their heads to look at our gang, at the same time. So creepy. Luckily, all three get bludgeoned by our heroes without delay (#7, #8, and #9). Exploding zombie heads, people. That's why I watch this show.

After the bludgeoning, the group takes a little breather to regroup. Shane corners Lori (again) and tells her he's going to take one of the cars and leave the group for good. He's causing stress and ill will, so he's going to be the big martyr and take off. Inside the chapel, Sophia's mom is crying and praying for her little girl and asking God to punish her, not her child (Gah! Stop, AMC! Too real! Too real!).

And a little later after everyone has gone outside, Deputy Dawg stays and soliloquizes, talking to a big crucified Jesus statue with bloody eyes that's frankly wigging me out more than the zombies. He's feeling the weight of the world, guilt guilt guilt about Sophia's disappearance, yaddah yaddah.

He tells bloody-eyed Jesus that he needs a sign, something that will tell him that there's hope.  Um… Dude? I don't see that happening.

But then, check this out: a little while later, he and his 10-year-old son are heading back out into the woods with Shane in one last attempt to find Sophia. (Oh yeah, did I mention that Deputy Dawg lets his son tag along on all their zombie-dodging adventures? Nice parenting.) They're walking around, feeling hopeless, and then they hear a rustling in the woods. Is it Sophia? Is it a zombie? Is it Yogi Bear?

It's a deer. A beautiful, graceful deer that ventures into a clearing. Deputy Dawg's young son is entranced. Dawg and Shane hang back and let the boy approach the deer, allowing him to experience one moment of natural beauty in the midst of all the horrors they've been seeing... it's a magical happening, boy and gentle deer. Yep, maybe Deputy got his sign after all...

...and then a gunshot rings out from some other direction, and a bullet rips through the deer – and hits the boy. Who collapses backward, bleeding from the chest.

End credits.

Whaaa? Wait! NOOOO! I hate you, Walking Dead!

And our Season Two stats after the first episode?

Zombie Death Count: 9.
Survivor Death Count: 0 (So far.But there's no way they're gonna kill off either of the little kids, right? Right?)

Stay tuned. I'll be recapping this awful, awesome show all season.

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