Where we left off: Darryl brought Carol a Cherokee Rose because Little Girl Sophia is still lost. Sheriff Rick gave Carl the Kid his sheriff hat. Glen and Maggie got jiggy with it. Lori peed on a stick and is preggers.
Where we pick up: Lots of alive people are walking around what looks to be a major traffic jam. Shane tries to get an emergency signal on the radio, to no avail. Oh, this must be a flashback. Thanks for the hairstyle clues, Show! Exactly – Shane is with Lori and Carl because Sheriff Rick must still be in a coma. And, look – there’s Carol and Sophia and the Mean Husband who was married to Carol before he died. Mean Husband doesn’t want Carol to share their food with Carl, even though he is very hungry. Shane announces he’s going to go see what’s happening and Lori wants to go with him. She asks Carol to look after Carl – oh, so clearly this is the beginning of their long and beautiful friendship. For some reason, everyone has much thicker Southern accents in this flashback than they have in real time.
Sophia tells Carl his dad is really nice and Carl responds, “Shane’s not my dad! My dad is a sheriff who we left behind because he got shot and is in a coma!” (He doesn’t actually say this, but that was probably the original draft, because this show loves exposition.) The humans on the highway look up to see helicopters flying into Atlanta. Shane and Lori plunge into the woods, which have turned into a tent city during the traffic jam. The helicopters bomb Atlanta. Atlanta burns. Again.
In the present day zombpocalypse, Lori wakes up in her tent. Carol is outside doing laundry and Uncle Dale greets everyone with a cheerful “Good morning” as if everything here is really good. Newsflash: it’s not! Carol is dying to cook in a real kitchen again so she asks Lori if she’ll ask Doc Greene‘s permission, because Lori is more-or-less the first lady of the Still Alives. So she’ll be hosting her first State Dinner!
Sheriff Rick is elated that they can re-align their Sophia Search grids because they know she made it to that farmhouse where she ate the (yum) cat food. Hershel’s Blonde Teenager Boy wants to join the search party. Daryl suggests that they try to reach a tall point so they can look out and survey the land – that is how he once saw a chupacabra on a hunting trip. The other Still Alives are like, “Oh, riiiiight, that one time you saw el chupacabra! Is this the X-files?” And Daryl replies that as long as there are zombies, there might as well be chupacabras. Fantastic reasoning, Daryl.
The Still Alives won’t let Blonde Teenager Boy have a gun, so Andrea will have to babysit him. I think Blonde Boy is named Jimmy, according to the internet.
In the woods, the search party splits into teams to canvas the area. Shane and Sheriff Rick are on the Red Team and they nail a kerchief to a tree to mark their territory. Shane is not very talkative, so Rick starts talking about all the girls Shane banged when they were in high school. Apparently, the only way to get Shane to stop pouting like a petulant tween is to talk about his sexual conquests. Allrighty, then. He totally nailed Maryann, the waitress at the Dairy Queen. And Mrs. Kelly, his 30-year-old gym teacher. Rick was not such a BMOC in high school. He told Shane that he went all the way with a girl named Sheila, but he actually forgot what the bases meant. Oh, Rick. Everyone knows what the bases mean. It’s a universal thing every schoolchild learns at some point.
But Shane doesn’t want to be distracted by digging up the past. He snips that the old life, with all the bangable waitresses and gym teachers, is dead. He barks that nostalgia is just a drug that keeps you from seeing things the way they are. He is clearly not watching enough VH1. Shane thinks they should give up the Search for Sophia because it’s been over 72 hours since she disappeared and now it’s time to stop looking. Rick is adamant that they continue hunting because he gave the girl his word. As they argue, Rick and Shane see a blue washcloth marking T-dog‘s territory. They’ve stumbled into his search grid, and then we hold on an uncomfortably long shot of that blue washcloth.
In his chupacabra-hunting grid, Daryl shoots a squirrel while riding a horse. He notices something down in the crick and decides to investigate. Is it … Sophia’s doll? A flock of birds spooks the horse and the horse rears and takes off, while Daryl tumbles down a cliff. When he lands at the bottom, he rips off his long-sleeved shirt to make a tourniquet. Wait, where he is hurt? Oh, look, there is an arrow sticking through his torso. Never tumble down a cliff while you’re holding arrows, friends. It’s like running with scissors.
Back at the farm, Glen confronts Lori about her special feminine hygiene item. Does Rick know she’s got a bun in the oven? No, Lori doesn’t want to bother him because he’s upset that Shane wants to stop looking for Sophia. Is Rick getting soft? No, he’s just compulsively fixated on finding this little girl who is probably very, very dead by now.
Daryl struggles to climb up the cliff to higher land. He’s a total wuss about climbing a bare cliff-face with an arrow sticking through his body. Don’t be a pussy, Daryl! And then he falls down the mountain again. Ouch. He passes out when he hits the bottom of the creek bed. And then there’s a blurry figure moving in the background. Is it a zombie? No! It’s his brother Merle, last seen handcuffed to a roof! Hallucination Merle browbeats Daryl into removing the arrow and chides him into realizing that he is a misfit among the Still Alives. Daryl is like, “Chill out, bro.” And Hallucination Merle keeps on attacking, asking if Daryl is happy that that a pack of “pansy asses, negroes and democrats” have made him their bitch. (Merle’s words, not mine. What a jerk, that Merle). Merle keeps attacking Daryl and threatens to kick his teeth in if he doesn’t get off the ground and onto his feet.
Hallucination Merle starts tugging Daryl’s legs, and that’s when Daryl wakes up and realizes he is being attacked by zombies. Oh right, this is ostensibly a show about zombies! Of course! Daryl spears the zombie through his brain, and then takes out a second walker with the arrow he pulled from his own body. Daryl passes out again. He adjusts his wound dressings and thinks about what Hallucination Merle said. “That sumbitch was right!” he exclaims. Daryl takes the zombies’ ears as souvenirs, which is always a sign of normal behavior. He eats the squirrel he shot for sustenance because he forgot his Luna bar.
After his snack, Daryl attempts to climb the cliff again. Hallucination Merle taunts him again. “Take off those high heels and climb,” he urges. Daryl tries to point out that a hallucination can’t talk, and Hallucination Merle responds that he is just as real as the chupacabra. Daryl insists that he did see a chupacabra, even if he was shrooming at the time. I suppose, if there can be zombies then there can also be chupacabras and probably visions of one’s possibly-dead brother. Anything goes!
In the Greene farm, Carol and the other ladies cook dinner. Hershel is not happy because he thinks the Still Alives are blurring their boundaries with Team Greene. Maggie says it’s not a big deal. But Doc Greene is upset – first Sheriff Rick takes Jimmy with him without permission, and then Shane grabs a horse without asking, and now the ladies are cooking dinner? The nerve of these people! The Good Doc is also pissed off that Maggie and Glen are becoming friends. He doesn’t want her to get close to any of the Still Alives, because they’re not going to be around forever. He is turning into more of an Ominous Doc than a Good Doc.
Outside, perched on top of the RV with a rifle, Andrea spots a walker! She wants to shoot it but Dale warns her that Hershel does not want them using guns on the compound. Rick and the other Still Alives run to the zombie and Rick draws his gun. (Even though Hershel doesn’t want them using guns. Huh). Back on the RV, Andrea is so excited to make her first kill. She pulls the trigger, just grazing the zombie, who is not a zombie at all but actually a very Apocalypse Now version of Daryl. Doc Greene and Maggie rush out at the sound of the gunshot. Sheriff Rick removes the ear necklace so no one will know Daryl’s gone native. T-dog realizes that Daryl is lugging Sophia’s doll.
Doc Greene is pissed off about this friendly fire injury because they’re going through antibiotics so quickly. Besides, that horse was named Nellie because she was no nervous and that’s why she spooked and dumped Daryl. Hershel smirks, “It’s a wonder you people have survived for so long!” Rick insists that Daryl was doing a good job because he found evidence that Sophia is out there. Hershel snaps back, “He risked his life today for a doll.” When you put it that way, sir, you do seem like the logical one here.
In a callback to the flashback (say what?), Shane tells Lori that he’s tired of the Sophia hunt and he really only cares about Lori and Carl the Kid. Lori, full of hormones, informs him that they’re not his problem anymore. Nor are they his excuse for being a crazy person. Meanwhile, Uncle Dale tells Andrea that Daryl’s going to be okay. And that she shouldn’t worry because every Still Alive wanted to shoot Daryl. Ha ha ha, Daryl really is their bitch! Their bitch whom they want to shoot! Hallucination Merle was right!
At their big State Dinner, Glen sits with Maggie at the kids’ table. He asks if anyone plays guitar. There is an awkward silence until Patricia tells them that Otis played guitar, and Doc Greene adds that Otis was a regular Johnny B. Goode. Too bad you guys killed the only guy who knows how to play guitar! It’s like a black fly in your Chardonnay!
Maggie passes a note to Glen under the table. It says, “Tonight. Where?” Glen is elated, but Hershel notices their note-passing and narrows his eyes. Carol leaves the grown-up table to bring Daryl a plate of dinner. She needs to tell him that he has done more for little Sophia than Carol’s Mean Husband ever did for her in his entire life. Carol kisses Daryl on the forehead and tells him he is a very, very good boy. Take that, Hallucination Merle!
After she does the dishes, Maggie unfolds the note Glen passed back to her. It says, “Ever done it in a hayloft?” Maggie is like ,”Oh FUCK.” She runs towards the barn, where Glen is trying to find access to the hayloft. The door is locked so he climbs a ladder into the barn. Something smells awful. Maggie chases after him, but doesn’t call his name – I guess because she doesn’t want to alert Hershel that she was making sneaky hobbitses plans to have sexytimes with Glen. Glen moves through the hayloft and looks down. The barn is FULL OF ZOMBIES. They are desperate to eat Glen. Maggie arrives and says, “You weren’t supposed to see this.” Oh, REALLY? The zombies are awake and inflamed and this episode ends as the zombies try to get out of the barn. Were they just lying latent in there until Glen woke up them up? Why does Doc Greene have a barn full of zombies? Something is totally rotten in the state of Atlanta.
Humans: Sophia is still missing. Daryl took a licking but keeps on ticking.
Zombies: Two of them are dead in a creek bed. Dozens of them are lurching inside the barn.
LAST EPISODE: Errand Run