Season 1, Episode 3

Tell It To The Frogs

Rick makes a decision to go back to Atlanta to retrieve the bag of guns and save a man's life. Lori and Shane must deal with the surprising return of someone they thought was dead.

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A handcuffed and delirious Merle mumbles to himself on the roof of the department store. When walkers clamor at the stairwell door, he snaps out of his daze and resumes his task: Using his belt to try to reel in a hacksaw lying just out of reach.

Driving back to the camp, Morales advises Rick not to dwell on Merle's abandonment. "Nobody's gonna be sad he didn't come back, except maybe Daryl," Morales says, referencing Merle's brother.

At the camp, Lori cuts Carl's hair while Shane regales the boy with promises of catching frogs at the quarry to eat "Cajun-style Kermit legs." The quiet is interrupted by the approach of Glenn's sports car — its alarm still blaring.

Jim, a solemn man with experience as a mechanic, disconnects the alarm while Shane chastises Glenn for drawing attention to their location.

The cube van arrives. Andrea and Amy tearfully reunite, as does Morales with his family. Nearby, Lori comforts a tearful Carl.

Glenn explains to the group that they made it out of Atlanta thanks to the "new guy." Morales adds that he's a police officer like Shane.

Rick emerges from the van. Seeing Lori and Carl, he runs to them and the family embraces. Shane watches on.

Later, around a campfire, Rick describes the disorientation he felt waking in the hospital. Lori explains she was told Rick would be medevaced to Atlanta, but it never happened. "Mom said you died," Carl says. "She had every reason to believe that," Rick replies, thanking Shane for saving them.

Nearby, Ed — a hulking, blue-collar type — stokes his family's fire with a fresh log. Shane intervenes, instructing Ed to pull the log so they can't be seen from a distance. Ed concedes, instructing his meek wife Carol to pull it out. Ed glares as Shane bids Carol and their daughter Sophia good night.

Dale asks what they should tell Daryl about his brother. Rick volunteers to deliver the news, as does T-Dog, who is wracked with guilt for dropping the key. "Dixon's alive, and he's still up there," T-Dog says. "That's on us."

Later on in their tent, Rick tucks Carl in and then crawls into bed with Lori. They reflect on past mistakes and the second chance they've been given. "Not many people get that," Rick says. Lori returns Rick's wedding ring, and the two make love. Shane, melancholy and keeping watch atop the RV, stares at Rick and Lori's tent.

Rick wakes to find a fresh pair of clothes laid out for him. Outside, Carol is ironing his uniform. Nearby, Glenn mourns as Dale and Jim strip the sports car down for parts. "Maybe we'll get to steal another one some day," Rick consoles him.

Rick tells Lori he plans to return to Atlanta for Merle. Lori is shocked, but they're interrupted by Carl's screams.

Finding Carl unscathed, Rick, Shane, Jim and Glenn run past him to a clearing where a walker is devouring a deer with crossbow bolts sticking out of it. The four men beat on the walker until Dale arrives and decapitates it. "They never come this far up the mountain," Dale remarks. "They're running out of food in the city," Jim offers.

A man in a sleeveless t-shirt, Daryl, emerges from the woods and laments that the walker ate his hunted dear. Finding the walker head still alive, Daryl fires his crossbow at it, then heads into camp looking for Merle.

Shane tells Daryl that Merle didn't make it back — Rick chimes in, confessing he left Merle handcuffed to the roof. Daryl pulls a knife. Rick disarms him, and Shane locks him in a sleeper hold.

With the door to the roof chained securely shut, Rick tells Daryl, Merle is likely alive. "I'm going back," Rick says.

Back in his uniform, Rick prepares to leave with Daryl. Shane questions his decision to risk his life for Merle. "We left him like an animal caught in a trap," Rick says, enlisting Glenn's help. T-Dog volunteers as well.

"You're putting every single one of us at risk," Shane says, arguing they need everybody to protect the camp in case more walkers show up. What they really need, Rick contends, are more guns, which he'd be able to retrieve from his dropped bag. Rick also needs to collect his walkie-talkie from the bag so he can warn Morgan away from the city.

Shane gives Rick the last of his bullets for Rick's revolver. "Four men, four rounds," Shane says. "Let's just hope that four is your lucky number."

In their tent, Lori frets about Rick. "I'm not worried," Carl assures her. "Everything that's happened to him so far. Nothing's killed him yet."

Down at the quarry, Shane and Carl try to catch frogs with a bucket and net. Shane falls in the water trying to drive them to Carl.

Andrea, Amy, Carol and Jacqui do laundry nearby, discussing the modern luxuries they miss. "I miss my vibrator," Andrea says. "Me too," Carol adds. The women break into laughter, drawing Ed's attention.

Lori arrives, ordering Carl to return to camp and warning Shane away from her family. "I think we should talk," Shane says. "You can tell that to the frogs," Lori snaps. Shane asks Lori if she thinks he's not happy about Rick's return. "Why would you be?" Lori responds. "You are the one that told me that he died." Lori storms off.

Ed continues to glare at the women doing laundry. Andrea confronts him. "Don't think I won't knock you on your ass," Ed warns Andrea. Carol attempts to calm him while the others try to intervene. Ed slaps Carol's face.

Shane grabs Ed, throws him to the ground and pummels his face. "You put your hands on your wife, your little girl, or anybody else in this camp one more time, I will not stop next time," Shane warns. He kicks Ed in the chest before storming away.

In Atlanta, Rick, Daryl, Glenn and T-Dog return to the department store. They cut through the chain on the stairwell door and emerge onto the roof. On the ground, a hacksaw sits beside a severed hand. Bloodied handcuffs hang from the pipe above.