‘The Walking Dead’ turns up the drama

Tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead” had it all. Illicit sex. The results of illicit sex. Family conflicts. Conversations on how to rebuild society after the end of the world.

And, oh yeah: A zombie.

(And some spoilery stuff, so beware.)

Now a few episodes into its second season, the AMC drama continues to give us some of the scariest, queasiest moments on TV. Tonight the “yuck” moment was an unfortunate attempt to get a zombie out of a well on the remote farm where the survivors of the zombie apocalypse have gathered.

That moment followed the scary bit, as the band of survivors lowers Glenn (Steven Yeun) on a rope down into the well as bait for the zombie.

Why? Well, apparently to avoid contaminating the well with zombie innards. But it doesn’t work out.

Glenn has the best scenes in the episode, acting as zombie bait, reacting to the idea of riding a horse and getting propositioned by the farmer’s daughter during a drug store scavenging trip that reminded me more than a little of “The Stand.”

As last week’s episode demonstrated, the interactions between the humans and humans are always more interesting than those between the humans and zombies. Deputy Shane’s shocking, last-minute act from the previous episode was back-burnered tonight. But I think we can feel a Shane explosion coming, can’t we?

Maybe that explosion will come courtesy of Lori, the wife of hero Rick and former paramour of Shane. Tonight Lori found out she was pregnant. Is Rick or Shane the father? And who can picture reed-thin Sarah Wayne Callies with a belly?

The preview for next week’s installment was nearly as good as tonight’s episode, as it showed us a glimpse of Michael Rooker, back as Merle, the violent racist the group encountered in the first season. When Merle comes back, what happens to his brother, Daryl, who has become a tender-hearted, crossbow-wielding cornerstone of the group?

We’ll know next week.

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