The first four episodes of this season of ‘The Walking Dead’ have already surpassed the quality of the entire first season. We now have real conflict with a cast of characters that we’re genuinely invested in, unlike last season when an ancillary character got taken down by a walker. Just when it seemed like we were losing one area of concern with Carl on the road to recovery, we gain another with Lori’s positive pregnancy test.
I didn’t get a chance to cover last week’s episode, but Lori made an impassioned speech to Rick about this new hellish world not being meant for children and that maybe Carl’s injury — and perhaps Sophia’s disappearance? – was a sign of that. Rick, being the devoted father he is, talked her out of that and they elected to have Hershel operate on Carl. Now that Lori’s seemingly pregnant – when did they make time for sex? — how will she respond? Without the sanitary means of aborting a child, what options does she have? She doesn’t want to bring new life into a zombie-ridden apocalypse. I have a feeling Rick may have a different opinion, though.
Something else I didn’t get to touch on last week was Shane. He made a choice that is going to haunt him for the foreseeable future. Unlike other men he’s had to put down in the line of duty, Otis was a conscience choice. He sacrificed one man’s life to save two. There’s little chance he and Otis both make it back to the truck and to the farm in one piece given their injuries. Shooting him was the only option that would keep Carl alive. For better or worse Shane is a changed man. Hopefully for everyone else it’s the former.
The hunt for Sophia continues to no avail. It’s still the main storyline, and the one that lead them to the farm in the first place, but it’s taken a back seat the past few weeks. Daryl seems hell bent on finding her, but other than him and Carol the other characters have had their own issues to worry about. T-Dog makes peace with Dale who is trying to make peace with Andrea. Glen and Maggie provided us with the funniest moment of the series to date when she catches him holding a box of condoms and proceeds to playfully grill him about it as he stumbles through his answers. He got what he wanted, though, as the farmer’s daughter of his dreams says “I’ll have sex with you” and strips before he can blink an eye.
I have to believe the hunt for Sophia will extend until the final few episodes of the season. When they find her Hershel has asked Rick and crew to head out, and even though Rick protesting might have changed Hershel’s mind in the interim, the show only progresses if these characters take on the world once more.