Since Americans spent most of yesterday drinking watered-down beer in memory of their past and present leaders, I doubt we'll be seeing a Walking Thread by Rorie on the most recent episode of the Walking Dead. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and kick off the discussion on the second episode of 2012, which I personally enjoyed rather a lot.
As usual this thread will be genuinely spoilerific, so avert your eyes if you have not caught up yet.
The episode picked up from probably the most obvious hanging plot point from the previous episode, Lori's car crash. Yes the crash seemed like an extremely contrived plot device, but the rewards represent to me at least everything the show had been missing for most of the first half of this season. For the first time in a long time I had a feeling of dread when the walker started to push his way through the broken windshield of the crashed car. There had been some zombie encounters in the first half of the season, but none of them seemed particularly dangerous for the characters stuck in those situations. The second missing piece clicked just moments after, when the walker started to push it's head through the glass, pealing off skin and muscle from it's face. We hadn't really seen proper gore like this since the walker dissection early on in season 2.
After an interesting little struggle Lorie naturally survived, to be finally rescued later on by Shane. The drama at the farm seemed to ramp up even more, with Shane starting to go off the deep end. The added dramatic tension has really helped me to feel engaged with the characters once again. I can't say that I'm really hoping for any of them to survive, but at least there seems to be a little more depth to the characters now (excluding T-Dog and the farm sisters). I even thought that the relationship between Glenn and Maggie got into some really interesting territory after Glenn returned from the "night out at the town".
Speaking of which, the bar. I was expecting for the situation to escalate after Rick killed the two "scouts" in the previous episode. There was again some great tension here, with Rick, Hershel and Glenn stuck a bar with two dead guys as the friends of said corpses patrolling outside. Ricks eventual decision seemed to fit his character. The ensuing firefight was not that interesting to me, but I did like how the group outside was depicted only as shadows and voices. I also enjoyed the character progression of all three characters, especially Hershel. He seems to now be back in reality, and the suggestion by him to "put down" the man stuck on the fence was a perfect way to convey this. The whole part with the man stuck in the fence again seemed contrived, but with sweet rewards. That seems to be a continuing theme for this show.
All and all I really enjoyed this episode, probably more so than the last two which were on to themselves already steps into the right direction. I hope that the show stays the course. The man who was brought back to the farm, Shane's dive towards madness as well as the possibility of a walker-baby brewing inside of Lorie (as suggested by) are sure to keep things interesting and moving for a few more episodes at least. My prediction is that a war with the other group will force the gang to eventually abandon the farm.