When last we left our hardy zpoc survivors, they had found the little girl Sophia, who they had spent a whole 7 episodes looking for. She was dead. Well, walking dead, that is. Not only was she shot in the face, but Hershel's zombie family was slaughtered in front of his face and his surviving family.
When one of Hershel's daughters, Beth, flips out and wants to mourn directly over her now-dead mother's body, the mother needed a bit of a double tap. The living dead mother reached for Beth, but was put down by women's libber, Andrea, who puts a scythe through the old lady's head. Once again, directly in front of the daughter.
Welcome to the Zpoc.
Needless to say, Hershel tells the team they've worn out their welcome and to get off the land, leading to an argument between the two friends, Shane and Rick. Shane ended last season making inroads to usurping leadership with his divergent survival philosophy, and the tension is starting to build.
After watching her daughter get shot in the face, Carol is a bit upset about it. But the way she sees it, her baby girl died alone long ago in the woods. So she's taking the neutralization hard, even making Daryl feel guilty for not finding her in time, in spite of his efforts and sacrifice.
Glenn and Maggie discuss the idea of moving on after finding Sophie. But Maggie offers for Glenn to stay, which surprises him.
Andrea decides that Sophie, the mother, and the other family members who were slaughtered should be buried, while the other bodies burned. She says, "We bury the ones we love, and burn the rest." A very informal service is held, and the bodies are left to rot in their shallow, unmarked graves.
Near the barn, young Carl is being shaped by the zpoc, telling his mother, Lori, that putting the zombies down was the right thing. Including Sophie. Rick once again symbolically hands Carl his sherrif's hat as Carl is asked to go back to the house and rest.
As Shane gets the truck to haul the dead for burning, Dale mad-dogs Shane. But Shane calls him out again, saying Dale doesn't do anything worthy of the group.
Hershel is having a hard time dealing with watching his zombie family gunned down, and comes to terms that he was wrong when he finds an old friend in a bottle.
Instead of attending the funeral, Carol goes into the woods and shreds a Cherokee Rose bush. It looks like the promise of the flowers failed her. It is, perhaps, a metaphorical attack on Daryl, who introduced her to the promise of the flower.
Meanwhile, Beth passes our while doing dishes. When the friends look for Hershel for help, they find he has cut out. They figure out that Hershel went to go bury his pain at the bottom of a bottle and has gone into town on a bender. Rick and Glenn volunteer to go in, and Lori doesn't want Rick to go. She says Carl needs a dad because he's growing cold. But Rick puts it in perspective, claiming he needs to make the move so Hershel can ultimately deliver Lori's baby.
In a weird moment, Shane is rinsing himself off at the water pump, unconsciously rinsing his shaved head, the symbol of his murder of Otis, trying to wash away the guilt. But I imagine its the same pump that the dead well zombie body all but contaminated last session. So was Shane bathing himself in the blood bourne pathogens of the dead guy? WTF? But then Carol returns from the woods, and Shane cleans off her dirty hands like some kind of disciple of Christ.
Dale shares with Lori his belief that Shane killed Otis, and believes Shane will kill again. Considering the beef the two have with each other, I would be willing to bet money with any blog readers that Dale will be the one that eats a bullet later this season.
As Glenn and Rick make it into town, Lori is concerned for Beth, who has developed a fever in her catatonic state. Lori panics and reaches out to Daryl for help to go fetch Rick, Glenn, and Hershel. But Daryl, whittling away on a stick, says she can forget it. He's doesn't want to put himself in danger like he did for Sophie and feel like a failure again.
Rick finds Hershel sucking on a bottle of J & B in an old bar in town. Rick tries to talk sense to him, and there's a discussion of hope in the zpoc, and what their meetings have meant to each other.
Lori makes an executive decision to go find Rick and the fun bunch. So she gets in a car and drives to find them. As she's looking at a map, she doesn't see the zed walk in the road and hits it. And she wipes out, flipping her car. Not good.
As Rick and Hershel are coming to terms with Hershel's misjudgment, two interlopers arrive suddenly. The brash duo get into a Pinter-esque territorial battle with words, where the language is not menacing. But the subtext is. The duo mentions Nebraska as an alternative place to hide. It makes Rick consider the possibility.
Naturally, the two people want in at the farm, but are emphatically denied. When one of them ends up making a move for a weapon, Rick shoots them both in the face, ala old west saloon gunfight.
Back at the farm, Shane and T set the dead on fire.
The episode was good, with its strengths being some of the more artistic shots the director took. Strong moments were emphasized with long shots, including a shot above the shallow graves where the people dispersed. I liked some of those choices, and think those shots elevate the show.
It wasn't a bad episode. All they're doing is placing a new set of dominoes up in a row to knock down yet again in a few weeks. Could we see Shane vs. Dale? Will Glenn stay with Maggie? Will the alleged friends of the interlopers find their buddies dead, will they go on a hunt? Will Daryl forgive himself for not finding Sophia? Did Lori live? More importantly, did the baby make it?
The worlds favorite zombie novela shambles along....
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Bowie Ibarra is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster. 'The Fall of Austin' is his latest zombie entry, featuring a battle for survival in the Texas state capital.
Network with Bowie at his official website, ZombieBloodFights.com