The Walking Dead: ‘What Lies Ahead’ ReviewOctober 17, 2011
A great start to Season 2 of The Walking Dead.
WARNING- this review contains spoilers.
At the beginning of The Walking Dead Season 2 opening episode, ‘What Lies Ahead’ we get to catch up with Rick “Mr. Friendly” Grimes and the gang. Officer Grimes is still trying to get a hold of Morgan and his son via the radio that he finally got a hold of late last season. His wife still has not told him about either a) that she became f*** buddies with his partner on the police force Shane, and b) that in the season finale, Shane got emphatically drunk and tried to rape her. He is still pondering what the man from the CDC whispered in his ear in the season finale.
Everyone decides to head out of Atlanta to find the next CDC center, but they don’t get far before Dale’s RV blows the radiator hose. It happens right on a main highway, in the middle of hundreds of lifeless vehicles and bodies. It isn’t long before the gang realizes that they could pilfer many things that they need from these vehicles. You know it won’t be long before a “herd” of walkers come calling, and the tension of the situation is very well handled.
You first see one straggler zombie walking towards the RV in the distance through Rick’s sniper rifle. One quicly turns into 2, and then about 40 walkers. The situation quickly becomes dire, and everyone outside hides underneath cars. Andrea is still inside Dale’s RV, unaware of the situation. As she is putting her handgun back together, she slowly turns in horror and realizes the huge pack of walkers shambling right outside the RV’s window. T-Dog slips and slices his arm on a car, and starts bleeding massive amounts of blood. The little kids, Carl and Sophia, cower in fear beneath a car and Sophia clutches her doll in horror.
While Andrea hides in the bathroom of the RV, she tries to put the gun back together as a walker enters the RV. You just know that she’s going to drop a piece of the gun, alerting the zombie to her presence. It’s not long before she does, and Dale has to save her ass by throwing down a screwdriver for her to viciously drive through her attacker’s skull.
Outside the RV, redneck Darryl (Boondock Saints’ Norman Reedus) attempts to save T-Dog and comes up with a great idea: throw some dead bodies on top of them to cover their scent as the dead walk by. It was a bit odd that the zombies couldn’t smell the other people hiding under the cars; in Season 1 Rick and company had to cover themselves with the guts of a zombie just to pass down a street undetected. I guess it could be argued that in that situation they were walking in plain sight, so maybe the zombies hunt by scent and sight. Also, there probably was a pungent musk of dead flesh pervading the air surrounding them.
The little girl, Sophia, comes out thinking the coast is clear, and is promptly chased down by two walkers. She starts running through the woods, and Rick chases her down, runs through the woods a bit with her, and hides her in an alcove. He tells her to wait until he baits the zombies away from her, then run back to the other survivors, keeping the sun on her left shoulder. Rick then kills the walkers with a big rock.
After a while, it becomes clear that Sophia did not follow Rick’s plan, or worse, she was eaten by walkers. Most of the gang sets out to look for her, and Sophia’s mom seems to harbor major resentment towards Rick for leaving her, although he had no choice in the matter. Shane probably harbors even more resentment, as Rick’s wife has pushed Shane away ever since she found out Rick was still alive. Even though it was shown that Shane legitimately though Rick was dead, and did what he could to protect him in the hospital from being eaten, he’s still a total douche for banging his wife a mere month after Rick’s supposed death. I mean, he was his partner, cmon! Yet he gives Rick the evil eye every chance he gets, just because the guy managed to stay alive and make it back to his wife and kids. Douche.
Daryl continues to be one of my favorite characters on the show. At first an unlikable asshole redneck, and brother to an even more unlikable, racist asshole redneck (who is possibly still alive and sans-hand), he has since saved most of the gang at least once. He and his crossbow have become invaluable, alongside his hunting and tracking skills. He shows absolutely no fear in the face of zombies, and usually dispatches in a very humorous fashion. I really hope his character gets to make it to the end, because not only is Norman Reedus great in this role, but without him I think the gang would be in far worse trouble. Here, Daryl helps track Sophie’s footprints, and Rick and Daryl begin to suspect that she might have become zombie fodder. They find a walker, dispatch him, and Daryl promptly slices it open to see if its stomach contains any human flesh. After an extremely gruesome, long scene, they find out that all this woodland zombie has eaten recently is a woodchuck.
They venture a bit farther, and it seems like most of the gang is getting ready to give up. The see a tent, and Daryl approaches it and unzips it, but all that’s inside is a camper who “opted out”, as CDC man so eloquently put it. They hear church bells, and find the source. Inside, there are a few worshiping walkers (wtf?) that reminded me of the beginning of Resident Evil 4. After taking them out, some of the gang talk to the Jesus statue. Some pray to it, Daryl jokes about it, and Officer Grimes asks it for some kind of sign that he’s doing the right thing.
Andrea overhears Shane talking to Rick’s wife about how he plans to leave the group next chance he gets. She confronts him and asks him to take her with him. After Rick decides to split the group up to continue their search (which Darryl wisely points out as a dumb move), he seems to get the “sign” he was looking for, spotting a deer in the woods. A big cliffhanger happens next, and I can’t wait for the next episode of the 13 this season. The acting, writing, cinematography and action is just as good as last season.