They come to a stop in the middle of the road and Rick puts Carl on watch. Clearly he is no longer seen as a little boy who needs protection. They are looking for a path to escape the zombies and move forward. Rick says that they need to find someplace to settle for a few weeks. Hershel says that Lori can't take much more of this moving around. It has clearly been sometime since the farm burned down as Lori's pregnancy has much advanced. While the others search for water, Darryl and Rick leave to go hunting, sure in the knowledge that the owl won't stretch far. They come across a prison with zombies strolling in the yard. They cut through the gate and Glen uses wire to draw it closed. When they reach they gate Rick starts to organize how to secure the site and kill the zombies. Rick slips inside while the others are providing a distraction, killing all of the zombies they can and he locks the gate. The survivors are excited and Carol says that they haven't had this much space since the farm.
That night they set up camp outside the prison as Rick walks back and forth in front of the gate. Hershel starts talking about how the soil is good enough to farm and T-dog talks about building a trench. Bessie points out that this would be a good place for Lori to have her baby. Clearly, everyone is thinking about laying down some roots at last. Carol brings over some food to Darryl and comments that Rick has brought them further than she thought. When she starts to complain about the kickback from the rifle, Darryl starts to massage her shoulder and they share a moment. Carol comments about how romantic it is and asks him if he wants to screw around and Darryl snorts. I found myself wondering if this is fan service or if they actually plan to move Darryl and Carol closer together. They seemed to have meshed quite a bit. Watching this however I could not help but think that this does not look good for Tyrese because in the comics, Carol and Tyrese were a couple. We keep hearing rumours that he has been cast or about to be cast but so far, there has been no concrete evidence of this and instead we still have the ineffectual T-Dog.
Back at the campfire, Bessie starts to sing and its clear the survivors have morphed into a family. Rick suggests that they all turn in because they have a big day tomorrow. When Glenn asks what he means, Rick says that it looks like the place fell pretty early which means that there could be supplies like food and medicine. Hershel is worried that they are dangerously low on ammo and Rick says that is why they have to in there hand to hand and assures them that they can do this after everything that they have been through. When he walks away Lori stops him to say that she appreciates this but because everyone is exhausted she thinks they should wait for a few days. Lori says they need to talk because the baby is about to come and Rick cuts her off and says that he is doing stuff and if she wants to talk, she should talk to Hershel. Rick reminds her that he is still there and walks away. I almost feel sorry for Lori at this point because she did in good conscience believe that Rick was dead when she slept with Shane. It was about comfort and safety more than anything else. When it came right down to it, Lori chose Rick over Shane.
An American flag is flying outside of a building which Michonne enters for supplies. She quickly uses her katana to make short work of them and picks up a pack of asprin on her way out. Back at the prison, the hand to hand combat has begun. These opening scenes have made up for the shortage of walkers last season. Rick, T dog, Maggie, Glenn, and Darryl are on the inside fighting, while the others are outside of the gates trying to cause a distraction. It's Maggie who figures out how to kill the guards in the riot gear. When they find a civilian, they worry that the prison could have been overrun with outside people. Rick says that they cannot risk a blind spot and that they have to push in.
When they enter the prison the silence is absolutely eerie. On a dead guard Rick finds a set of keys, which lets them onto the cell block. All they find is dead people in the cells. Upstairs, they find a few zombies locked in their cells and Darryl and Rick make quick work of them, then drop them down for T Dog. The others enter and Rick says that this cellblock is secure and that in the morning they will search for the infirmary and kitchen. Lori tries to thank Rick but he walks away. Carl follows Bess and Hershel enters, quickly making it clear that they are not sharing a cell. It looks like Carl has a little crush going on. Lori and Carol pair up, as Glenn checks Maggie for scratches. Rick wonders away by himself and sits clearly exhausted.
Michonne is on foot and the walkers are slowly approaching but she is not concerned. She returns to the walkers she is holding captive, who have no arms and have had their jaws removed. Michonne approaches Andrea who is sleeping on the floor and she gives her the packet of asprin and some water. Andrea is clearly not doing well and Michonne tells her that it's the same out there quiet and Andrea tells her that she is lying. Michonne admits that they should go in a few days. Andrea suggests that Michonne should go on her own because she will hold her back but Michonne is insistent. Andrea says, "I won't have you dying for me." Michonne says again, we'll go in a few days. Andrea says, "if we stay, I'll die here." They make the decision to leave together and Michonne drags her two walkers behind her as Andrea takes up the rear.
At the prison, they have found the guns and the riot gear. Carol comes in and calls for Hershel. When Rick asks if everything is alright, Carol says it's okay. Lori tells Hershel that she thinks she lost the baby because she hasn't felt it move and asks if it's dead inside her right now and rips her apart. Lori then asks what happens if it lives and she dies in childbirth. She wants to know what happens if she attacks it and she demands that they put her down immediately. Hershel points out that Lori is exhausted and frightened. Lori says that her son can't stand her and that Rick won't talk to her but Hershel assures her that he will come around. Lori is convinced that Rick hates her because she put that knife in his hands when she put him at odds with Shane. Hershel points out that the baby doesn't give a shit about any of this. As they gear up, Carl grabs a helmet but Rick tells him he doesn't need it because if things go bad, Carl will be the last man standing.
The survivors continue their way through the prison and find dead body after dead body lying on the ground. They have to search by flashlight because there is no light in the prison. Glenn uses spray paint to indicate the direction they are headed should they get confused. Around one corner, they are confronted by walkers and are forced to retreat. Maggie and Glenn are cut off from the main group. As Hershel attempts to step over a Walker, he is bitten in the leg. Darryl and Maggie catch up and the whole crew hides in a room. Hershel is o the floor with blood pouring from his wound and Rick uses his belt as a tourniquet and chops of Hershel's leg saying there's only one way to keep you alive, as Hershel passes out from the pain. Comic book fans will recognise this as scene with the exception being that it was Dale and not Hershel who got his leg cut off. When they look up, they see a group of people staring at them. I don't know about you, but it seems that there were more people there than were originally in the comics.
As a season opener I thought this was great. They kept up the tension throughout the entire episode and the zombie kills were amazing. At the NYC comic con, Andrew Lincoln said that there were more zombie kills in this one episode than there were in the entire first season and I believe it. It is so much better than season two were they spent so much time on a porch, looking concerned, while searching for Sophia. There has been a clear evolution of the survivors and with the addition of the Governor and Michonne, this might well be the best season yet.