The Walking Dead 2.13 – Beside the Dying Fire

City-dwelling walkers pause over their bloody lunch of stiff pig or dog, can’t really tell, mid-slurp to listen to and watch a helicopter pass overhead. Without spoken communication they begin to gather and move en-mass in the direction of  the chopper. Another horde migration (like the one in the season opener that saw Sophia chased off) has begun.

The fields and woods are teaming with filthy walkers all headed in one direction together. A wooden fence only keeps them out for a couple of minutes before they break through and proceed (in a very orderly fashion) completely ignoring the  “Trespass and it’s your ass” sign. We realize we are now back on Herschel’s farm when we see herd’s-eye-view of Carl and Rick walking back towards the farmhouse, just ahead of them. Oh crap, Oh crap, Oh crap!  (Roll Intro Credits now that we all understand, fully, the migratory instincts of the undead)

Daryl and Glen return to the farmhouse where the others are waiting. Daryl is curious why Rick and Shane aren’t back already. He explains how they came across Randall, all-twisted neck-and fully walkered-out.  Herschel asks if they got the walker that bit Randall. See, that’s the funny thing, he wasn’t bit. Curious looks are passed around the room. Daryl is asked by Lori to please go back out into the woods and find her two men. Hey Lori, have you seen Carl?…nevermind.

Carl is trying to piece together what happened just before he walked up. Rick’s not telling. Carl keeps trying to understand how Shane got bit, having not seen any nearby walkers. Rick shrugs the issue.  His mind is on so many things that he can’t see anything in his periphery, like an oncoming herd of hungry walkers. It’s only when he hears their vocal-fry growling that he and Carl start to move.

Rick and Carl are scurrying along by the barn, unseen by the others who step onto the porch to see the descending hoards coming their way. Zombie-flash mob Extreme Farm Makeover is here and you’re not going to Disney World. Rick and Carl barricade themselves inside the barn as walkers queue up bushes-to-butts, clawing at the wood of the barn door. They are right, that old, dry, paint is offensive.

Lori finally realizes that Carl has gone missing and turns to Carol for aid. Good call, she’s always so positive. The group hatches a plan to use the guns and their cars to kill as many of the herd as they can, as they lure the zombies off their land.  Sounds easy enough. Herschel isn’t giving up his farm without a fight. Daryl agrees that, perhaps, today IS a good day to die, flexing his inner-Klingon.

Rick is now splashing gasoline all over the hay-barn. The walker mob is bashing through rotten planks, wanting in. Rick tells Carl to climb up to the loft and drop the lighter he hands him, when he says to. Carl is worried about his dad. Rick assures him that he’s a total bad-ass and not to worry. He tells the boy he loves him. The little prick doesn’t return the sentiment before Dad tells him it’s go-time. Rick moves to unlock the barn doors as he taunts the hungry gang outside. “Who’s hungry?” He lets them in and moves up the ladder as the walker-crowd, still moving at a medium pace, very orderly, not trampling anyone, pursues. Rick gives Carl the go-ahead from the top of the ladder and the boy strikes the lighter and drops it. The walkers could give a crap about a little bit of fire and are unimpressed and unfazed.

Outside the barn, the others come rolling up in their cars with Daryl in the lead, on his brother’s chopper. He starts picking walkers off, with his pistol as the others join in the geek hunt.  Andrea and T-dog are in the truck with her shooting out of the window.  She’s a dead-eye, capping zombies with countless head shots. Impressive. Maggie is driving Shane’s Hyundai with Glen doing the killing, out the window. He’s dead-on target too, but with a shotgun. Oooof! T-Dog runs right through a walker and whips the truck around, 180. Glen is now sitting in the window, blasting zombies over the top of the roof. Damn, that Hyundai is versatile.

Walkers are fully aflame inside the barn as Rick and Carl are looking down from the loft. The walkers could care less, they like their meat more rare. Patricia and Beth notice the barn burning from the farmhouse and hope Rick did it, to draw the walkers in. Lori is upset that her search for Carl is fruitless as Carol reassures her.  It’s not helping.

Jimmy is shooting walkers from the window of Dale’s RV. Daryl is dropping the perfectly-spaced walkers, like a bad-ass.  He finally pulls away on the bike as walkers stroll right through a wimpy barbed wire fence.  He tells Jimmy to pull the RV around back hoping to find Rick and Shane who may have started the fire. Jimmy drives up, just in time for the father-son pair to leap on top of the RV.  Jimmy steps out of the driver seat, I’m assuming looking for a phillips head or flat head screwdriver or something and is easily eaten by the slightly toasted zombie hoard. Ouch, that looks like it hurts like hell. Rick is face-kicking and head-shooting geeks as he descends the RV ladder. Noticing the vehicle not moving, he and Carl begin to flee. They look into the cab to see a blood splattered feeding frenzy going on. Sorry Jimmy, too bad Herschel didn’t let you take Shane’s shooting class.

Maggie and T-dog continue to zig-zag outside the barn as Glen and Andrea continue to brain-bust any walkers they can.  They are doing pretty well, but need a lot more ammo.  T-dog goes old-school, driving the car through a good number of walkers, himself. Rick and Carl keep ahead of the not-so organized group of walkers, running for their lives as Herschel stands firm, blasting uncountable numbers of walkers with his shotgun. Lori and the women call from the porch to Herschel to follow them away, to safety. He will have none of it, he’s in the zone, blasting zombies, blasting zombies, blasting zombies.

The women finally move, leaving the old man, as they run off the back of the porch. Patricia is instantly grabbed by a hungry dead dude as Beth can’t bring herself to let go of her wrist. Patricia is clutching the girl’s hand as she is getting ripped apart by a gang of flesh-hungry walkers. Lori finally pulls her away as the mob settles on her for a short buffet. Carol is frantic, running right into a dead end. She grabs up a log. (stupid ass) T-dog and Andrea pull up in the truck, saving Beth and Lori, who sends Andrea to go save Carol. Andrea is wicked-awesome as she drops another few geeks before shooting the two walkers about to eat Carol.

Carol can barely bring herself to warn Andrea that while she was trained on killing Carol’s attackers, she was about to get grabbed from behind, herself. Finally she finds her voice and yells to Andrea, just in time. A shot to the head, point-blank, drops the walker on top of her as she falls. From the view of the truck, it looks very much like Andrea is killed, so they haul ass. Andrea pushes off the limp-stiff and gets to her feet. She’s not going down that easy, you zombie fucks.

Glen and Maggie are running out of driving room, the crowd growing too thick.  He instructs her to leave the farm. She doesn’t want to leave the others, but puts the pedal to the metal when the zombies start head butting the windshield.  Maybe Lori told her a story.

Herschel is still planed in the same spot, shooting walkers like a pro. There should be a wall of dead, from all his blasts.  They keep coming. He backs off a bit, still shooting, while reloading.  Oh No!!! there’s a side-winder-betty-zombie behind you Herschel!! They keep coming in this slow-motion-zombie-apocalypse, that one behind you, Herschel, look….Oh!…YES! It’s Rick standing there to save the old man. Rick is awesome as he blasts her brains all over the back of Herschel’s silvery head. Rick asks about Lori. Herschel can’t get over the mob of zombies.

Rick orders them to move on. Herschel wants to keep fighting for his farm. Noble, but stupid. They hurry to the Suburban, still dropping zombies, Herschel even jacks one with the butt of his rifle. They start the car and drive off, just as Andrea makes it to their trail of dust, behind them. She’s unable to motion for them long, as she must keep fighting off the oppressing crowd of biting and clawing people who want to eat her. She grabs up whatever is left of her gun and ammo bag and books it off into the woods.

The image of the barn burning to the ground as walkers are silhouetted against it’s firelight is being taken in by Daryl when he hears Carol scream out.  He pulls up to her, as she is running out of energy, telling her to “Cmon, I haven’t got all day!” She likes that kind of talk. He knows how to treat her.  She gets on the back of the chopper and they speed away.

Rick assures Carl that they will find his mom as Herschel sees his farm being overtaken by staggering dead.  The walkers seem sad to see them go. They continue to mosh around the fiery barn. It’s an epic scene as the walkers mill around the farm, while the last traces of life run away, all dramatically lit by the burning barn. What a great battle. What an awesome scene.

Daryl is weaving in and out of zombies on the farm road.  He and Carol are alright. Maggie and Glen are ok, but she’s starting to freak out about her family possibly not getting out. He wants her to go back to the highway where they lost Sophia. She knows the herd came from that direction and is unwilling.  He tells her to pull over, so he can drive. After swapping seats and Glen doing a Korean fire-drill, Maggie starts to fall apart in tears.  Glen figures this is as good a time as any to profess his love for her. It is a touching moment and gives her a bit of assurance that she will not be alone. What?…, no kiss??

Rick, Carl, and Herschel pull up to the roadblock on the highway and walk up to the lace where they had originally left supplies for Sophia’s inevitable return. This is a place where the boy is unable to find any hope. Good call dad. Carl drums up a little bit of his inner-Shane and rips into Dad about why he is running away to the only place where they know Mom isn’t at. The boy finally uses the magic word, saying “Please?” Rick starts to explain why not as Carl pulls away. Herschel wants to stay behind to wait for the others allowing Rick to keep his boy safe.  The man is ready to give up.  Rick tells the old timer to suck it up and draw on his FAITH. Herschel, delivering the greatest and possibly the funniest line in all of television history replies,

“I don’t profess to understand God’s plan, but Christ promised a resurrection of the dead…(pause for comedic/dramatic effect)…, I just thought He had something different in mind!?”

Rick doesn’t know how to reply, but after a long enough pause, he says that they’ll stick together.

T-Dog is driving the truck due East. Lori wants him to turn around and drive back into the attacking herd, to find Rick and Carl, and uhm, Shane. T-Dog wants to head up the coast ditching the rest of them, with two chicks. Who could blame him, go T!! Of course Lori talks him into returning, by attempting to jump from the rolling vehicle. He turns the car around to head towards the highway, hoping the others will join them.

Rick, Carl, and Herschel are avoiding a solo harlequin sweater vest wearing walker and running out of time.  Rick begins to explain to Carl, not sure of their next moves when he hears the others pulling up. Hooooray!! The shocked and bloodied survivors have a short but meaningful embrace before relating their stories. Daryl drops a joke, dogging on Glen’s people’s driving ability making him stand out.  He knows laughter reduces stress, the group needs this.

Lori asks about Shane: Nope! Glen asks about Andrea: Nope!, they saw it go down. Herschel asks about Patricia Beth answers: Nope!. She then asks about Jimmy: Nope. Carol wants more info on Andrea. T-dog, who a moment ago said he watched her fall, remains quiet as the others, Daryl and Glen want to go back to find her. Rick assures them that she is not there and possibly dead. They begin to hatch a new plan as the argyle-sweater walker shuffles back up. Daryl departs him with an arrow to the eye socket, before the group pulls away, in caravan, once again. The camera pauses on the washed out note to Sophia. Things are grim.

Andrea is running through the woods being pursued by a pretty speedy group of hungry dead. She takes stock of her ammo and weapons. It’s not looking good. She has to face-bash a walker into a nearby tree before kicking his head free from his body, off camera. She continues running with her bag of guns, stoppig to drop a walker or two, or three, then OH SHCRAP! her gun jams. She just runs faster.

Rick is driving the Suburban when he realizes it’s out of gas. The group pulls over and starts making plans. Rick tells them how they are going to stay together. He assures the group that there has to be shelter somewhere, a place as a stronghold, a place to build a life. The group is divided on how pointless it all seems. Beth is worried that a group like Randall’s rape-buddies may return. Daryl then tells Rick about how Randall was found, with his head turned, by Shane, then went all full-zombie, yet remained unbitten. The group wants details, as Lori pushes Rick for how Shane died. He pauses for a bit before admitting what he’s known for some time, now. That they are ALL infected. Jenner had told Rick this little tid-bit of information. He chose to keep it from the rest, saying he wasn’t sure until Shane came back. A few of the group is upset to learn this was held from them. They are ALL carrying this, whatever it is. Rick chose not to tell them. He walks away from the group. Lori follows.

As she begins to embrace him and try to understand his reasoning, he starts to relate the truth about how Shane died. He tells her how he was lured into the woods by Shane, to be ambushed and shot in the back.  He eventually understood Shane’s plan, but kept walking, waiting for his best friend’s bullet to possibly end this nightmare. Lori withdraws from her man, pulling her tender embrace away from his back.

Rick continues to remind her how Shane kept being a prick, trying to steal his wife and kid/kids.  Rick tells her when Shane turned he knew that Jenner was right. It’s the last bit of the story that really upsets her. The part about how Carl was the one who put Shane down, shooting him. Mom must have dreamed that her son’s first kill would be a dear or a squirrel, not her lover. She is upset to near breaking. She fights off her husbands attempts to console her and walks away pissed.

Andrea is still being pursued in the woods and seems to be wearing out. She stops to head smash a walker with the butt of her pistol, crushing his brain to ooze. Stepping away, she opens her pocket knife and drives it into the throat/neck of another. She falls down like a chick in a horror show and starts reverse-crab-walking away from a walker that is right on top of her. He’s making every effort to rip at her, but she has a mean ground game and is keeping him at bay with kicks and lunges. A sword slashes the head off of the attacking zombie and as we see the double-dead figure fall away, we see the craziest of sights.  A hooded figure stands, sword in hand, with two armless walkers chained to him like standard poodles on an afternoon walk. Andrea is happy to be alive, but puzzled by what stands before her.

The remaining living-dead have built a small shelter and are sitting all-cozy by the fire. The ambience of the flames is not doing well to relieve their minds of what just happened on the farm. Carol is ready to revolt, attempting to get Daryl to stand up to Rick. Daryl says Rick is still good in his book. Maggie wants to jet also. Herschel sees it’s foolish to split up. Rick puts is foot down. No one is leaving.

He is fed up with the bullsh of everyone looking to him for answers and criticizing his every move. He knows he is the reason that they are still together, still alive. His choices have paid off. He finally blows his stack, admitting that he killed his best friend for these people. Everyone is stunned. He continues to remind them of how much a prick Shane was and tells them of Shane’s plans with the whole Randall scheme. Rick was left with no choice. Carl starts to cry like a pussy, seeing his dad in such a state.

Rick offers anyone who wants to split, and take their chances, the opportunity to leave. Those that choose to stay need to understand one thing: this isn’t a democracy anymore!! Rick has evolved to full-pimp. The group stares back at him, but nobody raises a voice. Rick walks away.

The camera pans up, away from the campsite, showing that just beyond the river, there is a fortress, a castle, or maybe a prison.  I bet it’s not a castle.