'The Walking Dead': Rick Grimes has come undone

twd-2-2-rick-carl.jpg Oh my god, they shot Carl.

Now that we've got that out of the way, it is our duty to mention that the following post-show brain-dump may, in fact, contain spoiler-y-ish material if you have not yet viewed "The Walking Dead's" second episode of the second season: aka 2x2, aka "Bloodletting."

Still with us? Good. Because it would seem that sheriff Rick Grimes ( Andrew Lincoln) may not be. As Sarah Wayne Callies (who plays Rick's wife, Lori) told Zap2it last week, the bottom has fallen out for Rick -- heretofore the group's de facto leader -- after seeing his son get shot. He's a guy who just wants to do right, but is finding out that making fair, selfless decisions doesn't always guarantee a happy outcome.

"He's kind of going down a rabbit hole," said Callies.

So Rick's on the rocks, Carl's out of commission and Shane ( Jon Bernthal) and our new frenemy Otis ( Pruitt Taylor Vince) are zombie bait. What else did we learn this week?

  • In the season premiere, we found out that "The Walking Dead" isn't afraid to be the show that shoots little kids. In Sunday's (Oct. 23) episode, they took it a step further -- it is also not afraid to be the show that performs amateur-ish exploratory surgery on kids without anesthesia. Chandler Riggs (who plays Carl) deserves a giant merit badge of some sort for not only enduring, but believably acting out, a gut-churning (literally) scene.

  • The balance of power is shifting. As we mentioned above, Rick is tapped out. Not only has he given like 78 percent of his blood to Carl, he's just used up in every way possible. The burden of making decisions for the group has taken its toll and the guy, like any leader, is susceptible to pressure. If there's a power vacuum, someone will step in to take over. Who says a post-apocalyptic world covered in zombies can't also be a post-feminist world where Lori Grimes leads our group like a fierce Amazon?

There are other contenders -- Shane, obviously, if he survives zombie high school. Dale ( Jeffrey DeMunn) comes to mind as a thinker, while Daryl ( Norman Reedus) has the woodsy brawn -- together they could combine as a Master Blaster kind of two-headed leader. Hershel ( Scott Wilson), who seems to have managed to keep his honking big farm zombie free, may also be the kind of guy one can depend on in a pinch. All this may just be speculation. Rick may be just dandy. But...

  • According to Callies, a reckoning is coming. Rick doesn't know about her (now ended) sexy-time relationship with Shane. And, as she told Zap2it, it's hard to keep a secret like that for too long. And if there's one thing that could push Rick completely over the edge into oblivion it may just be the knowledge that his wife was making it with his best friend when they thought he was dead.

  • Hershel's daughter, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is a young, canny hottie. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is also a young, resourceful dude who is somewhat easy on the eyes.  They haven't quite met yet, but you do the math.

  • Andrea (Laurie Holden) is, like, so unlucky and yet so lucky. In the season premiere, she got cornered by a walker in the RV and had to screwdriver him in the eye. Now she's just minding her own business walking in the woods and one just materializes from behind a tree to tackle her. She's survived both attacks. She appears to be doomed to remain alive -- really alive, despite her stated desire to end it all.

Our nagging question: The hundreds of zombies who were crawling all over the high school just seemed to kind of mill around waiting for a meal to wander their way. Unless -- like Shane and Otis -- someone really needed something from the place, most people still alive at this point would be smart enough to steer clear of the place. So -- yes, we're getting to a point -- why are the zombies still hanging out there? Any fresh meat has to have been eaten weeks ago at this point, so wouldn't they eventually have wandered off in search of food elsewhere?

What'd you think? Did you watch? Share your expert analysis below.
Photo/Video credit: AMC