Thinking back on it, it couldn't have been any more obvious. The obvious being the final fate of Sophia, the little girl lost, whose search served as the fulcrum and lever that plodded the plot along for the first six or so episodes of this season's The Walking Dead.
I guess the quarter to finally answer that question started spinning for me about a week ago, the day before Thanksgiving, when I met up with several friends, back in town for the holiday, at a local watering hole. At some point, after we caught up, the conversation turned toward the boob-tube, and, eventually, The Walking Dead. And while my friends and I heartily disagreed over Daryl's transformation from redneck peckerwood to redneck peckerwood with a heart of gold, we all agreed that the show needed to stop spinning its wheels and come to a much sooner than later resolution on the Sophia situation, who had been missing since fleeing into the woods and abandoned by Rick in the season's harrowing first episode.
Also, having read the comics, we pondered when the inevitable shit was gonna hit the probable fan with the recently discovered zombies locked up in Hershel's barn. In the printed pages, that ended in a massacre, and with the mid-season finale due this past week, the show was also critically overdue for some full-fledged zombie-chompin'-fu.
With family commitments wrapping things up early at the bar, it was while heading home that night that the quarter picked up some momentum when the notion first hit me as to why, despite the best of efforts, the group just couldn't find Sophia. Perhaps and maybe, just maybe, she was in the one place they hadn't looked yet -- he typed ominously ... But this notion was quickly lost in the haze of the three pints of Scottish Ale imbibed in little over an hour. Thus, the quarter fell silent and the notion flickered to barely a wisp.
But come Sunday, about halfway through the mid-season finale, the quarter cranked up again with a mighty fury, when Hershel takes Rick on a zombie round-up, with two walkers stuck thigh deep in the silt along the river. Wait, Wasn't Sophia's doll found in the same silt along the same river bank, said the quarter as it spun even faster. And maybe all those clues that led the search for Sophia further and further away from the farm were being read backwards, and instead, circled her ever closer? But then where was she? Surely she would have shown herself by now, right?
I honestly thought Dale was going to be the one to go this episode, especially when he passed his ratty hat onto Glen, a symbolic shift of the group's conscience. And while focusing on his confrontation with the rapidly disintegrating Shane, that quarter, now rocketing around furiously in its fight against momentum and gravity and its inability to hold my attention with the true answer, was ignored -- until the climax, where it could be ignored no longer.
Here, in a scene aptly described as "war atrocity footage" Shane breaks the barn door open and the massacre begins in earnest. For those unaware, the misguided owner of the barn kept the undead locked inside, hoping a cure would be found to what ails them. Inside were his wife, step-son, neighbors and friends. Each with a face. Each with a name. Each with a past. Each with no future, alive or dead, as they spill out of the barn into a hail of bullets. And once the bodies stopped falling and the guns went silent, with the soft, scrabbling sounds of something still inside about to make its way out, thoughts of it being Hershel's wife, triggering an ugly confrontation between the two factions outside, where the living ironically tear each other part, were quickly pushed aside. I knew better. And I knew what was in there, even though I didn't want to know what was in there. No. Not what. Who. Who had to be in there.
And so, I finally let that damned quarter drop. And with that, we have our resolution. What once was lost, was now found. Looking back, this was bound to happen. And it couldn't have been anymore obvious. Now, you'll hafta excuse me; there's something in my eye.