Forgiveness is in short supply in our world. So it’s no surprise to find the survivors struggling with forgiveness during the zombie apocalypse. Not just forgiving others: they can’t seem to forgive themselves.

What a great way to open the episode. At first I thought it was a flashback to a few years ago, when Lori and Rick had been going out for awhile. Lovers trying to figure each out their feelings for each other. But Lori and Rick were having problems just before the zombie crap hit the fan. That revelation certainly puts Shane’s fling with Lori into perspective.

Once she hears about what happened to Rick, the guilt is evident in her eyes, especially after her conversation with her friend.

The scene and the guilt associated with it also sets the stage for “Bloodletting”: Carl cried over Rick when he was shot, and now the father cries over the son.

It’s great to see Shane acting like a best friend again. Wiping the blood off of his friend’s face and trying to cheer him up. He even volunteers to go for medical supplies alone. I feel for him more and more with each episode. No matter what might be creeping along in his head, he’s able to fall back on his default mode of supportive and decent human being.

Watching Rick grieve exposes just how illogical we can be when something happens to a loved one. Rick blames himself for doing what is essentially good: continuing the search for Sofia. Otis shot his son and carries the “blame” even though it was an accident.

Yet Rick, like any one of us, just can’t help but blame himself for not keeping his son safe. Zombie apocalypse or not, people are people, and we feel the same emotions during just about any circumstance. Guilt is a hell of a thing to carry about with you, and as blinding as it can be, I hope Rick forgives himself soon. He needs his wits about him to survive!

Having said that, I’m curious about what Rick expects to get out of this new, zombie filled world. When he speaks to Shane about surviving in the hospital only for it to end up like “this,” meaning his son dying, I couldn’t help but wonder what goals Rick has in mind. Is it only survival? Do they really think that they can carry on for years? Death is the only thing that’s assured, whether being eaten, dying of infection (which might be T-Dog’s fate), or dying of thirst/hunger.

Rick, this just won’t end well, my man.

T-Dog looking in the backseat of a car and seeing a blood splattered baby car-seat was disturbing as hell. The fate of babies and little children isn’t spoken about much at all in zombie books, movies, and games. It’s yet another part of The Walking Dead that I really enjoy: it doesn’t shy away from tackling, even briefly, the difficult scenarios.

Finally, Andrea is having a hard time forgiving Dale for interfering in her suicide plans and for keeping her gun. She must have been thinking about her gun when the walker attacked her in the woods. Given how panicked she was, I doubt the gun would have done her any good. However, having your life threatened twice in the same day would make anyone want to pack more firepower.

If I had one complaint about this episode, it’s that the zombies moved at different speeds. I can understand some of them shambling more than others, but I felt as though the first season established a pretty slow pace for the zombies. When Shane and Ottis are escaping the medical trailer, those zombies were moving WAY faster than they should have been. Someone should have told the actors to sloooow down. 

Overall, this was a very good episode that was more cerebral than action. We’re getting more of the comic book’s characters like Herschel and Ottis. Herschel still keeps his faith that a cure possible, that this is just a phase that humanity has to go through. If the show turns out like the comic book, we’ll soon find out why he’s so eager to believe in humanity’s redemption.

Until then though, our little group is certainly being tested, and I hope they emerge stronger than ever.

Score: 9/10