What Lies Ahead? Church Slaughters, Lost Reminders, Best Show On TV [Walking Dead Recap]

Posted by on October 18th, 2011
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There is a breath of fresh air, a unique buoyancy, to viewing a television series where you trust the storyteller. Gone is the nagging sense of second guessing or internal apologizing for obvious flaws because you so want to love the project as a whole.

It’s just you and the story, riding the rhythm of plot.

That is The Walking Dead.

Of course any informed fan of the series is living in fear, not unlike Andrea trembling behind the RV door with a curious walker sniffing inches away, as to when the current sense of rapture might abruptly end after AMC’s senseless in-production banishing of series mastermind Frank Darabont.

But enough of the dread, let’s focus on the now.

The zombie apocalypse survive-a-long returned to television Sunday after a nearly yearlong absence with nothing short of the best episode the series has delivered to date. Characters reset, season plots began to emerge and a few Lost tropes were dusted off for good measure.
The End is back, read on AFTER THE JUMP to get all the details on “What Lies Ahead” including the episodes best moments, ratings triumphs and a countdown as to when we can all start panicking about the quality of the series…

Ratings Monster:

TWD shattered internal AMC ratings records with 7.3 million viewers, up 38% from the premiere last autumn. We suspect the relatively short first season, which made for bite-size Netflix or DVD catch up consumption, helped the genre series further break into the mainstream. The Vulture broke down the numbers and rightly points out just how strong Dead did with younger viewers. Digging deeper, shared the number one slot for teenage boys (12-17) with an uncompetitive Sunday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

This is a huge lure for advertisers and gives AMC (whose cash woes have been publicly documented all summer) more high priced real estate to sell.


The strongest character moments of the episode came between Lori and Shane as the former lovers who double as dual support struts for hero Rick bickered with each other about recent history and future plans.

As far as “old business” goes, the two acknowledged Shane’s drunken sexual assault at the CDC in the S1 finale with Shane lumping it in with skitched-20111018-230353.jpgmany mistakes made since the dead went a strolling. Meanwhile, he reveals his plan to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as things cool down.

His decision to leave couples with a few tender moments (“I’m the one that loses you”) and some strong leadership to return Shane into his dark horse role as “sympathetic anti-hero” which is pretty impressive for a guy who tried to Pepé Le Pew the main character’s wife in the episode previous.

We also get hints that Andrea and Shane might have romantic potential as they share an initial conversation about escaping the drama of the camp by running away together. This would add a layer of complication for Winnebago Man Dale who eventually winds up with Andrea in the source material comic series. Of course, in the source material Shane is already dead by this point, so who the hell knows.


Fans of Lost who’ve struggled through shows about dinosaurs, swamp aliens, lizard aliens, sea monsters and forward flashes have finally found a show that scratches the itch left behind by Jack n’ Co. This episode very specifically hit a ton of Darlton tropes.

We got:

– The gang banding together to track someone through lush greenery on a mission

– A conflicted, overwhelmed leader searching for guidance from a higher power

– Simmering love triangles

– A random animal randomly presenting itself as a sign

Also, TWD does a great job of making the sunlight fell dirty and grimy in the same way Lost made paradise feel like a prison. I think both might heavily rely on sweaty actors.

If panicked father Rick started pounding on young Carl’s chest after his cliffhanger bullet wound this entire recap would have been comprised of 4 8 15 16 23 42 copied and pasted over and over again.



Make no mistake, this is still a genre horror series. Skulls crushed, zombies cut open (thankfully not spilling that little Kitner boy all over the woodland floor) and an extremely pious pack of pew-dwelling walkers (sitters? prayers?) got hacked and stabbed in the most bloody “come to Jesus” television moment this year.

The balancing of genre horror and suspense beats into a mainstream television show remains the signature element of this series and why it’s so special. If only we could rest assured that the man whose sensibility has presumably infused this series with note-perfect horror pacing was going have his steady hand on the tiller all season.

Which brings us to…

How Many Episodes Do We Have Left Of Frank Darabont?

Two more.

According to Hercules of Ain’t It Cool News, who has been all over TWD as well as the behind the scenes shenanigans, the last show Darabont held the title of Showrunner for was Episode Three.

However, the event which allegedly precipitated his departure was the series premiere. AMC, reportedly, was very unhappy with “unusable” footage turned in by a mutually agreed upon director for the premiere. Darabont was in the middle of working to fix it in post when he was relieved of his duties.

Apparently tonight’s 90-minute “Walking Dead” season premiere was originally two hourlong episodes, the first written by now-fired series mastermind Frank Darabont and the second by Robert Kirkman, who co-created the “Walking Dead” comic book series.

Amusingly, the episode’s writing credit is awarded to Ardeth Bey, a Darabont pen name.

Where Are We Now?:

Carl is shot. Sophia is still lost. The Atlanta chapter of zombie survivors anonymous have officially go oh fer two in the child care department.

Where Do We Go From Here?:


5 Responses to “What Lies Ahead? Church Slaughters, Lost Reminders, Best Show On TV [Walking Dead Recap]”

  1. Flscarnage Says:

    It was a great episode. I can’t wait to see what happens with Carl and Hershel’s farm next week. The only reason that we should worry about Darabont’s departure is that it wasn’t amicable. I can think of multiple shows where the show runner chose to leave to pursue other projects that were as good if not better under the new show runner, Doctor Who for example. I can’t think of any where the show runner was fired and the show was as good if not better under the new show runner. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  2. Pink Nixon Says:

    i’m really suprised they are going to show up at Hershel’s farm already.  I heard in an interview with Kirkman “why is Shane still here?”  He said in the beginning of the comic he was just rushing it, trying to make it as crazy in the 1st few issues.  Missing the tension that the love triange could have.  

    I truly thought this episode was going to be the death of Shane.  Shane, Rick, Carl go into the woods, Rick shows Shane his gun…  i was sad that it didn’t happen.

    Andrea seems a bit whiny.. but knowing who she becomes, i love watching her, waiting for her skilled shooting to hone in

  3. JustinRYoung Says:

    I really think the more we distance ourselves from the comic canon the better we are going to be. Who wants an exact visual retelling? I say let’s mix it up. Let’s have Shane bang Andrea and let Dale brood a bit. 

  4. JustinRYoung Says:

    It was VERY acrimonious. I am nervous about episode four.

  5. Jevon Phillips Says:

    Great write up, Justin. I agree with you, although the comic is great we don’t want an exact visual retelling. Love your writing. Keep it up. 

    P.S. You should talk about The Walking Dead next time you’re on The Morning Stream 🙂