Day turns into night and we find the group by the fireside as Rick tells the story of when he woke in the hospital. Shane sits quietly there the whole time, clearly unhappy with how things are. He had a perfect little world (except for the whole zombie thing) going on before Rick arrived and now that's over. After Rick tucks Carl into bed, Lori and him lie together and have a nice little scene. It's clear Lori feels guilty for what has happened since Rick's been gone and you can see that regret in her eyes. Rick comforts her (as he still doesn't know the truth) and they share a nice long scene where they eventually get it on. Just like the reunion scene from earlier, the moment was handled with a certain degree of grace that I appreciated.
Morning comes and it's not long before we meet Daryl Dixon (Merle's younger brother) played by Norman Reedus of Boondock Saints' fame. Daryl is a more toned down version of Merle which was nice to see. The group eventually confronts Daryl about his brother. He doesn't respond well to Rick telling him he left his brother handcuffed to a department store roof. After a tussle between Shane and Daryl, the group eventually is able to calm Daryl down by letting him know that there's a possibility of Merle being alive. Rick's conscious is clearly bugging him about leaving Merle there and he knows that he's to blame for the whole situation. So, he agrees to accompany Daryl and he also convinces Glenn to join him. Glenn is reluctant about it but Rick is good at convincing him. T-Dog also agrees to go since he feels it's partially his fault. Rick convinces Lori that there's reason to go since he left all the weapons, that they need, back in the city. He also tells Lori that he left the walkie talkie there and wants to try and contact Morgan and his son (from the pilot episode). They are the reason why he's survived this long, after all.
We return to Rick and company as they're making their way through the department store. When they arrive on the roof, Daryl immediately breaks down. As the camera pans back, we expect to see Merle's dead body. But all that lied there was a bloody sawed off hand and empty handcuffs. It was a great cliffhanger to end the episode on and it left me wanting much more.
This third episode was the best of the three and it's what I knew The Walking Dead had the capacity to be. I was excited about getting to know these people and the third episode filled the void that the second episode left. Shane's deterioration and complexity was absolutely fascinating and just made a great episode that much better. The greatness that was expected, has arrived.