Episode 2 starts off with a tender kiss goodnight between new beaus Tyreese and Karen. He caresses he bracelet, noticing the message “paper scissors rock” – bet that will come back before the episode’s end. She heads back to her own bunk in cell block D – alone, because she’s a good girl – and makes a quick pit stop on the bathroom, having a sip of water from the basin where we last saw a feverish Patrick before his nasty spill that took his life.
The sound of Karen rouses zombie Patrick, who follows her back to cell block D to leisurely sup on the sleeping form of one of the inmates.
The siege from within has begun. The enemy no longer lies outside the gates.
By dawn, with Rick outside trying vainly to keep Carl’s interest away from firearms – gee, don’t know why he may want his gun back, what with the hordes of zombies who gather at the prison fence every night – the zombies have gone into a feeding frenzy. Unarmed but for a hand knife, Rick jumps into action as the residents flee Block D in panic.
It’s been weeks if not months since there’s been a need for hand-to-hand combat with walkers, but Rick, Glenn and Darryl take to it like riding a bike. Within minutes, they clear the block of walkers without so much as a blink toward the zombies that only hours ago were their friends. They’ve been down this road before, after all.
Meanwhile, Carol sets about triaging the injured. She tends to a middle-aged man fatally bit in the neck and arm. She calls his daughters in to say goodbye. Bravely, the barely-teenagers bid farewell and Carol encourages them to put into practice the lessons she’s been giving in the prison library. But of course they can’t, because they are only little girls and not jaded killers who could shove a knife into the skull of their own father.
Carol, however, hardened by the death of her own daughter, refuses to let the death of their father be the worst thing that happens to them that day. Instead, she takes them out to the prison fence to show them what awaits them. This is the face of compassion in the zombie apocalypse.
Meanwhile, the Council meets to figure out what is to be done about the zombies. Patient Zero, Patrick, had no visible bite marks. Another zombie is found locked in his cell – an inmate who had been complaining of a cough the day before.
They quickly come to the conclusion that a virus has made its way into the prison. It strikes fast, killing the exposed within hours. The only choice is to quarantine everyone left alive from cell block D. Tyreese and Karen are separated just as their romance is taking off. Maggie and Glenn, Rick and Carl face the same fate.
Meanwhile, another threat faces the prison. The larger groups of zombies gathering at the fence by night are not there by accident – they’ve been getting fed rats by someone from within. The promise of flesh attracts more and more every evening, even more are attracted by the sound of gunfire.
The sheer number of walkers threaten the integrity of the fence. Faced with losing their best protection from the outside, Rick and Darryl gather up all the pigs – the very same that were showing signs of illness yesterday – and ride out beyond the fence. One by one, Rick sticks the pigs with his knife and drops them squealing and bleeding into the path of the walkers. They are dawn away, giving those on the inside the time to reinforce the fence.
With the threat from outside the prison neutralized, the group must focus on curing the threat within. But it won’t be easy. With Karen sequestered in cell block A with the only other inmate showing signs of virus, Tyreese heads over to liven up her bedsit with some lively daisies.
But he’s greeted instead with a long trail of blood leaving her empty cell. Following it outside, he discovers the charred remains of two bodies, one is clearly Karen. We can tell by the words on the bracelet still clinging to her blackened wrist: paper, scissors, rock.
But why were they killed? Did they die and turn? Were they murdered to prevent them from turning? And who would kill them without saying anything?
It seems there are still more enemies to be faced.