What do you feed a shedload of captive zombies? The answer, apparently, is traumatised chicken in a bag. With his farmhands feeding abused chicken to battery cooped zombies, it would appear that Hershel's farm isn't as happy as it might first have appeared to be.
The old man's intentions are ethically sound though, not having the heart to put his deceased wife, stepchild and neighbours out of their misery. Since discovering the Greenes' big secret last episode, Glenn keeps things mostly under his hat for now, telling only Dale what's in the shed. It's quite the day for revelations, with Dale finding out not only about Hershel's pet zombies but Lori's pregnancy too. Aptly enough, the episode is called Secrets. Poor Rick is on the end of a couple of doozies.
Foremost, Secrets is an episode full of character progression. As Rick and Shane teach the group how to handle firearms, we begin to see the birth of the sharpshooter Andrea that many will recognise from the comic books. Glenn comes in particularly handy, showing remarkable initiative with a wooden shelf and a walker's head. This happens on a second trip to the pharmacy, Glenn yet again acting as Lori's little errand boy. A zombie grabs Maggie as they peruse the aisles, leaving her with a change of perception and the zombie with quite the headache. All this in the pursuit of a packet of morning after pills. Maggie lauds Glenn's intelligence, but even he doesn't seem to realise that morning after pills aren't going to be of much use if it's an abortion you're after.
Controversial issues, then, at the heart of Secrets. This gives Dale plenty of chance to offer his opinion about practically everything, from Hershel's lodgers in the barn to Lori's pregnancy to Shane's rather volatile personality. It's understandable that the old guy should feel aggrieved though; with Shane having survived the TV series' Days Gone Bye arc, he's now stolen Dale's thunder and embarked upon an affair with Andrea. Mind, it's inevitable that certain relationships should play out differently on the television – nobody wants to see Jeffery DeMunn and Laurie Holden getting it on, ew.
All this is following Shane and Andrea's visit to a nearby neighbourhood where they suspect they might find Sophia. Instead they find a lot of zombies, giving Andrea the opportunity to show off her newfound gunplay skills. It gets both of them a little hot under the collar, and the pair pull up on the road for a quickie before returning to camp. In a tent, in the pharmacy and now in a car – those kinky survivors will get it on anywhere. Needless to say, hotheaded Shane doesn't take too kindly to being warned off by Dale, and issues a thinly veiled warning to the man in the potty hat.
The interplay between the group has vastly improved since Series One, with the characters coming together to feel like a cohesive unit. There are exceptions (T-Dog remains incredibly underused) but I'm finally starting to feel for the survivors as I did the LOST castaways. One by one, we're coming to care about these characters (except for you, Dale). Since Series Six of LOST came to an end, I and many others have sought a substitute. Dexter, True Blood and newcomers like American Horror Story have helped to fill the void, but it's the “live together, die alone” spirit I've really missed. The Walking Dead isn't quite there yet, but it finally feels as though it might be making moves in the right direction.
Secrets doesn't end with a cliffhanger, as such. To be fair, given the revelations he shoulders in this episode, poor Rick Grimes is owed a break.