The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 7 Pretty Much Dead Already: Review

Guns for everyone!

I didn’t catch last weeks “Walking Dead” so I did back to back episodes last night. “Secrets” made strides to move the story forward but not very convincingly.  Now It’s no secret I’ve been critical of the direction of this show and with good reason.  The foot hold this show had with dishing out genuine horror as well as fear and anxiety of what would happen to this group of survivors has slowly dissipated over the last 6 episodes and my interest in these characters is waning.

This episode begins with Glenn revealing to the entire group that the barn is full of “walkers.”  This shatters whatever fragment of tranquility these people had staying on this farm and predictably sparks an argument between Rick and Shane over how to proceed in light of this revelation.  Shane wants to put the creatures down while Rick tries to see all angles of the situation as ideas collide in a scene we’ve become all too familiar with in this show.  Shane is representing a more grounded be it unhidged apporach with the zombies where as Hershel has a more “pro-life” approach and Rick is caught somewhere in the middle.

This scene is followed by more rehashed conversations between Glenn and Maggie bickering over Glenn revealing the secret of the barn, Rick and Hershel fighting over Rick’s people staying on the farm as well as Carol and Daryl talking about rescuing Sohpia.  These scenes weren’t bad but you’re looking for progression story wise and something interesting we haven’t seen yet.  Maggie taking an egg and smashing it over Glenn’s head due to disappointment of not being able to keep a secret needed a laugh tracked to support that scene…Maybe Daryl calling Carol a stupid bitch because she doesn’t want him to get hurt looking for Sophia could used a laugh track too.  This a repeated centiment by someone smarter than me, but it’s the farm that’s really the problem.  The farm setting has put this show in the mud.  When they were in Atlanta it was moving around, running from zombies and tough choices.  Those tropes have been traded in for make out sessions, bed rest, petty arguing and peeling carrots. Also in this mud our characters have become stale, boring and predictable.

I’m not watching this show half hearted while giving every piece of a dialog a dismissive wank and commenting how the comic is so much better, but lets be realistic, it’s been 7 episodes and I just want them to surprise me right now and get me invested in these people again.  Sure Lori is pregnant and were supposed to care but she’s one of the most uninteresting characters on the show and it’s really come off as ineffective.  The most interesting character on the show is Shane but they’re setting him up to be borderline psychotic, yet if he mowed down half the group in a hale of gun fire I’d probably be excited something new is happening.

How's your lunch?....dick!

When Hershel rejects Rick’s proposal of his group staying Rick even drops the Lori’s pregnant card but Hershel won’t budge.  This starts a chain reaction of Rick telling Shane Lori is preggers, so Shane runs off to tell Lori it’s his which she refutes but leaves you wondering why she’s so sure.  Shane insists Rick is too careless and is going to die and that he has saved Lori and Carl’s life countless times, tough to argue any of these points.  After this conversation Shane storms off to collect his guns and finds them missing.  He immediately knows the culprit, that 14 year old girl Dale.

Here’s where I do compare the comic and the show;  In the comic Andrea is interested in Dale because he’s a kind and wise old dude who usually has some really good life advice etc.  She’s lonely and falls for Dale even though he insists he’s far too old for him, etc.  In the show she’s a wholly unlikable loose cannon who doesn’t give a shit about Dale, but he’s got a crush on her and hates Shane because he assumes he’s evil and because he’s banging Andrea.  Dale comes off pretty naive and shallow so I’m going to say “Advantage Comic Book” on those two characters.

Between this we also get a good scene between Hershel and his daughter Maggie discussing more about what it means to not give these people safe haven and a good job by both actors showing some range in this scene as well.

In the meantime Shane finds Dale trying to hide the guns but Shane gives him crazy eyes and retrieves all the guns and goes back to the farm.   In the meantime Hershel needs Rick’s help wrangling zombies out in the woods and Rick complies trying to score brownie points.   As he makes his way back to the farm with the walkers in tow, Shane shows up with his guns and all hell breaks loose. 

This is when the ideas finally collide with Hershal treating the walkers like sick people and the group who have been out in the world, treat them as monsters.  Shane in a rage hands out all of the guns and busts open the barn doors and turns the episode into Alex Murphy’s death in Robocop.  T-Dog, Andrea, Daryl, Glenn and Shane open fire on the walkers as they pour out of the barn in a free for all.  This if nothing else was actually a well crafted action scene and hats off to director Michelle Maclearen for putting it all together along with some great camera work for this episode.   After the smoke clears one final zombie exits…and it’s Sophia.

Found her!

Least we know where she is now.  Emotion takes it’s grip as everyone holds off in horror as Sophia walks out slowly in her new zombie form. Rick finally taking back the leadership role by taking a gun and puts her down.  This is how the mid-season finale ends and it was a damn good ending.  The best possible conclusion to searching for Sophia for 5 whole episodes, being that she was right there in the barn the entire time and the show finally showed some balls, something this show has lacked since the last season.  These are the types of soul crushing down endings that you’ve come to expect from this show but have really failed to deliver.  In a sense it really proves Shane’s point as a whole because this world that they live in is hell on earth.  Shane is becoming a living breathing reflection of that and I fail as a viewer to hate or despise him as a villain and more of a real life interpretation of what fear will drive a human become.  Be it the fact that he’s the most interesting character and actor Jon Bernthal is given the most to do, but it’s also he’s the most realistic depiction of the reality in which these people live.  In the many missteps this show has had over this season, making Shane a focal point is not one of them.  Watching him go through the motions of what this world will drive a man to is what we should be seeing Rick go through, but I guess be happy your seeing it none the less.   I know it’s totally cliche but you gotta get tough or die, and it’s fun watching Shane get tough and the rest of the group dangle Glenn over a zombie as human bait.  I’m not rooting for the bad guy here, I’m rooting for logic and pro-activity so I’ll take Shane going shithouse crazy and opening the barn doors to another annoying conversation between Rick and Lori.  Here’s to hoping this is a spring board for more progression and less wasted motion.  Alright Walking Dead fans, see you in 2012.

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~ by ATOM on November 28, 2011.

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