AMC's second season premiere of its smash hit The Walking Dead, "What Lies Ahead," broke basic cable viewing records this week. In the episode, the survivors camp is traveling to an army base when Dale's (Jeffrey DeMunn) RV breaks down in the middle of a sea of wrecked cars. While gathering supplies and fixing the vehicle, a herd of zombies walk by. While the others hide, Sophia (Madison Lintz) gets scared and flees into the woods. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) takes off after Sophia and kills the zombies, but after two days of searching, there is still no sign of the litle girl.
"What Lies Ahead" asks a very tough question of the main characters. How long should they continue to look for this little girl? How long can they afford to? With the zombies roaming the country, it is unlikely she can survive long at all. With a second night approaching, is there even a chance she is still alive? Are they putting themselves in jeopardy by continuing to look, when they should be moving on and trying to find a safe haven? How much search time is owed to grieving mother Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride)?
There are no right answers to these questions, though in the new talk show following, Talking Dead, they post a poll in which they claim 99.9% of voters wouldn't search at all, hardly likely. Which is why each character has their own opinion. Dale pretends the repair is taking a long time to keep the search party looking. Rick, wracked by guilt, doesn't want to give up, either. Honestly, neither does anyone else, really. The loss of an innocent child is a tough twist to take. But with little hope, some of them will want to start moving on again soon. Is that an evil desire, even though it is logical when their lives are definitely in danger?
As if the writers aren't cruel enough to children, the only other one in the group, Carl (Chandler Riggs), is shot, presumably by a hunter. Who the hunter is is still unknown, but hopefully it is just an accident, and the shooter will provide help for the wounded little boy. How cruel can one series be, focusing all of the misery and strife on the kids? It's unexpected, shocking, gut wrenching, and the reason so many people tune in.