The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 13: Beside The Dying Fire Review.

When this season’s final episode of The Walking Dead faded to black the nerd in me wanted to fist pump but the realist in me was hit with an overwhelming sense of “meh.” There were things that worked, there were aspects that tickled my fanboy sensibilities and then there were things that sucked and that’s been the running theme all season. The last two episodes did seem to find it’s footing but was it too little too late, let’s find out.

The first 20 minutes of this episode was non stop action and it was entertaining as hell and maybe that’s not a great thing.  It seems that all the on screen chaos can really distracts you from how horribly inconsistent these characters are being written and does help you to just sit back and enjoy it that much more.  What always makes a great story is conflict but the problem is conflict in this series seems to be muddled with people just whining at each other and making horrible decisions. The conflict of man vs monster is something that’s a lot more enjoyable to watch rather than people sitting around irritating each other; so suffice to say the first 20 minutes really worked.

Not the first 90 seconds however as we’re given a tutorial on how a herd of zombies is formed.  Thank you for that, I was unsure of the aesthetics  of such a scientific marvel. When they showed a helicopter buzz over a dilapidated city I thought we were getting some super awesome flashback or reveal but it turns out the writers were trying to convey “that big noise make zombie go places.”

Thanks to this giant herd of zombies the story is forced to progress as zombies tear through the farm killing “what’s his face” and “that older lady that did stuff” and forcing the rest of the group to flee in all directions just trying to survive this disastrous orgy of the undead. The group is sent into complete calamity, sending survivors off in different vehicles in a panic, the funniest being T-Dog, Lori and Hershel-Daughter-Coma-Girl as T-Dog tries to convince them that they should break off from the group and head for the coast?  It’s cute when they try and run away from the group, I would too.  Lori convinces T-Dog to head to the highway where they left Sophia Gatoraid and peanut butter and lucky that’s what everyone else did too.  Hershel, Rick and Carl arrive first and consider leaving as Carl throws a shit fit and decided he cares about his mom this week, the sneaking out when she asked him not to, eh who cares.

Also visually, the barn burning with the walkers in the foreground was a great shot, and the yin to the yang that was the horrible cgi of burning zombies inside the barn.  The theme to this review is give and take.

Glenn escaped with Maggie who’s freaking out cause her unnamed siblings got gobbled up by Zombies so Glenn takes charge and finally tells her he loves her.  This device was kinda weak for drama but did help Glenn give their characters more of an arc so I shouldn’t complain.

Once everyone convenes at the rendezvous spot in the middle of the highway they realize Andrea is nowhere to be found and pretty much write her off as a lost cause.  They decide they need to keep moving and look for safe haven, we’re essentially back to where we started at the beginning of episode 1 except we’ve traded Shane and Sophia for Hershel and his final two Daughters.

Meanwhile, Andrea has been fighting her way through the hoard of Zombies in the middle of the woods trying to escape.  She fights off as many as she can until she runs out of ammo and energy and just as she’s about to become Zombie food a sword cuts the head off of the ensuing Zombie.  Holding this sword is a cloaked mystery person with two armless, jaw-less pet zombies chained to him or her (It’s a her) The visual is very cool with the two armless zombies and bad ass mystery person posse.

This person is a very popular character named “Michonne” who is a sword wielding bad ass who aids Rick’s group to it’s current issue.  Geeks rejoice as we’re finally getting a cool aspect of the comic book introduced to the show and the moment she arrives is indeed very cool, but I’m going to curb my excitement.  Not to be a Debbie downer, I just think expectations should be kept low in order to be met.  These writers have proven that they’re above the source material and could take some liberties with this character.  Example: Dale ruled in the comic book as the groups moral compass but sucked on the show as a whinny old fart.  Tyreese was completely omitted (unless he’s supposed to be T-Dog, which is even worse) and other such crimes again the comic reading community.  So fingers crossed Michonne will be an awesome character, but I’m not holding my breath.

Prediction: Michonne and Daryl make whoopie.

So the group hits the road without siphoning some gas from the highway cars and they have to set up camp because Rick’s truck is out of gas.  It’s here that Rick reveals finally what he was told at the CDC in last year’s season finale.  Jenner told him they are all infected and it doesn’t have to be a scratch or a bite but just if you die you will return as a zombie.  I’ll be honest last week when Shane and Randell rose from the dead while not being bite it didn’t really phase me, I never gave it a second thought.  Those are the rules in most Zombie Movies, the dead rise from the grave, it’s not an infection but more a supernatural plague that reanimates the dead into brainless cannibals.  I guess this woulda been a cool reveal if your new to the party.  Anyways, the group reacts as if he revealed that he assassinated JFK  and how could he not tell them as if it fucking mattered either way.

Speaking of over reaction; Rick reveals to Lori that he killed Shane to curtail Shane’s own plan to lure Rick out to the woods to kill him because he wanted his family.  Lori reacts negatively and shuns Rick, completely disgusted with him.  So I’m thinking “that’s funny, in the episode a few weeks ago Lori did everything but make a giant sign that said Rick should kill Shane” She flat out told him he’s too dangerous to be around them.  So either she’s a crazy person and the car accident gave her Momento disease or the writers of the this show are not on speaking terms.  Either way this got the biggest dismissive wank of the night.

The episode closes with Rick with the group splitting apart, Maggie trying to convince Glenn to leave on their own, Carol talkin mad shit about Rick to Daryl and Rick decides to let them have it.  He rants about the group and declares that if he’s the leader this will no longer be a democracy.  It’s a powerful speech non the less and as we fade up away from the group ready to roll credits we see off in the distance what can only assumed to be “The Prison” where the group sets up shop for a good portion of the comic book.

The final two episodes of this season were good but I’m not 100% faith restored in this show as of yet.  They picked up the pace and they upped the action to distract from the poor character development but maybe beggars can’t be choosers.  I’m glad it seems like we’re looking at season 3 taking place in the prison, but I hope to hell I’m not writing reviews for season 4 complaining about Lori yelling at Rick, T-Dog having 2 lines and why are they still in the prison for a second straight season. I’m not denying this is a good show, but it’s not a great show.  The amount of plot holes, head scratching dialog and complete lack of character development (Trying describing any of these characters without using a physical  description, it’s not easy) Yet it’s still a pretty engaging story despite it’s faults and I hope for the best next season.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a full season recap and reaction.


~ by ATOM on March 19, 2012.

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