BEST EPISODE EVER!!! Daryl! Merle! Flashbacks! Zombies! My faith in the walking dead is restored and my fingernails are all bitten off again (they were gettin' kinda long since last week's episode didn't even warrant a nibble).
We started off with a flashback where we see that Shane and Lori think that leaving your wee child with total spouse abusing strangers in the middle of a global crisis is perfectly OK. How on EARTH did these knuckleheads even make it to the hobo-camp in the first place? They're lucky they ever saw Carl again. Napalm in the streets of Atlanta was epic and shocking. ooooooohhhh!!
Post credits we're back in the present where we're STILL organizing another search for Sophia. Except for Lori who's moping about her stick and Glenn who's hoping for another shag. Then Rick and Shane take a walk down memory lane and revisit all their high school conquests (or maybe just Shane's). They have a big fight about continuing to search for Sophia. Shane wants to stop risking everyone's lives and when we see what happens to Daryl I think he may have a point. In a VERY un-Daryl like moment he manages to get thrown from his horse, plummet down an embankment and impale himself on his own arrow. Wow. At this point I'm praying to the Walking Dead Gods to spare my favorite character. Anyone else would have laid down and died, but he rips off his own shirt and ties the thing off and then has the sense to go after his cross bow. Stud. He tries to climb up the embankment with his arrow and Sophia's doll (and probably his squirrel - waste not want not right?) like a Zombie Apocalypse all-star.
Quick switch over to Rick and Lori: "NOO!! Take us back to Daryl and his arrow!" and they're all yada yada and then we're back to Daryl falling back down to the creek.... for about 20 seconds and then we had to listen to another Rick vs. Hershel episode. ARRRRGH!
And then, in an incredibly inspired turn, Merle shows up. The interaction between Merle and Daryl is so insightful and tells us so much about each of them in turn. Merle is obviously just a survival tool that Daryl's mind has created to get himself to dig deep when he feels like he's at rock bottom but it reveals so much history and even though he's doing all of it to himself with his projection of Merle I felt so incredibly sorry for him throughout the whole thing that I wanted to just help him up the hill and give the poor guy a hug. Jeepers. What shocked me the most was Daryl working through his insecurities about where he fits in with the rest of the group and how the rest of them perceive him. Then he wakes from his stupor to find a Zombie munching on his boot. He kills it with a stick and then takes out a second Zombie by ripping the arrow out of his flesh and shooting it through the brain. What a rock-star. He refuels with some squirrel (knew you still had it D-man) slices off ears and then tries again to get up the embankment. Merle has to talk him the rest of the way up at the end of it. Again - awesomeness. Merle has beautiful teeth for a red-neck. No seriously, check them out.
We cut back to the farm. Glen and Dale have a talk about women in the RV. I love Dale. He so reacts to things the way my mom would. THEN a "walker" comes out of the woods and everyone goes into battle stations. Right away we know it's Daryl and he's gotta really be out of it because he MUST know how he's going to look to the rest of them and then Andrea shoots him. Dammit Daryl! If only you had washed your face!
Best lines of the Episode:
" But look at him! What the hell happened? He's wearing EARS."
"Let's keep that to ourselves."
A bunch of soul-searching then happens between Rick and Shane, Andrea the sniper and herself and Lori and fetus. We cut to dinner. Glen still has that post-coital glow about him and then he gets a note under the table from Maggie. SHA-WING!!!
Carol goes into Daryl and tells him everything he needs to hear about being worthy of being in the group. I wish she had stayed longer and told him more and given him a hug. Then we find out that Glen's headed to the barn and from Maggie's reaction we're pretty sure that our suspicions are about the be confirmed. Thank-God he goes straight for the hay loft and doesn't try to actually go into the barn on the first level. Aaaaaannnd...... the barn is full of Zombies. Damn you HERSHEL!!!!