The name of this episode, which marks the middle point of season 2, should be “Open Secrets.” In last week’s “Chupacabra,” AMC poked us awake – prodded us into caring after the first half of the season put us to sleep. (The heated comments on my snarky review of last week’s episode bear witness to this: whether you’re frustrated with creeping plotlines and overused devices or you think season 2 is the best thing since Dawn of the Dead, at least you care.)
This week’s episode dwells on the plot points introduced last week (“dwells” is an understatement – “hammers on” might be better). Carl’s up and around now, but Sophia’s still nowhere to be found. (Come on already!) Lori is pregnant, and as with the scene in which she wonders whether to just let her son die, she’s once again waxing dramatic and stewing in her own bad decisions. Andrea is gathering strength in firearms and shooting practice; her will to live seems to be back with a vengeance. Glenn is still acting like a teenager – but to be fair, so is everybody else in this episode.
Carl steals into Dale’s RV, ostensibly for a walkie-talkie, and instead grabs himself a pistol. When Lori, Rick, and Shane find this out, Carl’s dishonesty gets him in a tad bit of trouble. However, he makes a case for his need to learn to shoot, and his lie is only the first of many in this episode. Glenn witnessed a horrid thing at the end of “Chupacabra:” Hershel and family are keeping walkers in their barn, right smack dab in the middle of the idyllic fields, surrounded by juicy human meat. Maggie begs Glenn to please keep his mouth shut and plies him with fruit. To compound the situation, Lori begs poor Glenn not to tell anyone about her pregnancy while also requesting that he supply her with morning after pills from the pharmacy in town. Glenn, who’s totally incapable of lying, tells Dale both of these things within a day. In Dale’s infinite wisdom (the writers imbue him with a preternatural sense of other people’s problems; his omniscience is a bit mind-boggling), the old man approaches both matters with a soft touch.
When Glenn and Maggie go to the pharmacy for Lori’s pills, Maggie explains that the things in the barn aren’t “walkers,” dammit – they’re Mom and Sean and the neighbors. Like Hershel, Maggie believes her family can get better (or is in denial of the reality of the situation). They’re just sick! Luckily for Glenn, he doesn’t have to explain the details of the walkers’ brutality, their inhumanity, to her – one of them attacks her in the pharmacy. It’s hard to believe you can make them better when you witness firsthand one that attacks while its head hangs by a thread on its nearly-severed neck. What’s a horrible revelation for Maggie turns into a tantrum directed at Lori, then a masterful speech imploring Glenn to have some damn respect for himself. “You’re walker bait” to the group of survivors, she says. They don’t want to believe he’s brave and strong and a leader. It’s perhaps the most insightful thing anyone’s said about Glenn so far.
Andrea and Shane, whose chemistry has changed slightly in the last few episodes, share an ill-advised tryst in the car after Andrea makes her first “kill.” Dale magically sees this on their faces when they return from the prolonged hunt for Sophia, and approaches Shane to let him know Dale knows “exactly the kind of man” Shane is. Shane gets all crazy-eyed again and threatens Dale’s life: “If I’m that kind of man, what do you think I’d do to you?” THE MAN IS INSANE – why has no one else caught on to this yet?
Hershel finds out Dale knows about the walkers. Lori discovers Dale knows about her pregnancy. Lori realizes Hershel wants them gone after Carl is better. Rick catches on that Lori is pregnant, and ascertains that she had an affair with Shane (this he had already guessed). Lori chooses to take the morning-after pills, but then throws them up. Things are out in the open again, and though it should ease some stress among the characters, it really only serves to prolong the plot devices that are making season 2 less of a psychological thriller and more of a soap opera.
How are you feeling about the season so far? Share your thoughts in the comments.