The Walking Dead Season 2: Recap and Review

This article is not for the meek who breath nothing but love for this show, nor the weak of heart who see no flaw in this messy plot pile week after week. Within the following will review this past season of The Walking Dead. We’ll recap some of the action, complain about the stupid barn, and explore the notions and non-notions found in season two and hints at season three.

ON THE ROAD
Much like the end of the finale this season beginning was set in the same exact place: On the road. We picked up with the redneck brigade as they escaped the CDC in search of… I don’t know. Probably somewhere Lori approves of. That picky bitch. Anyway quite like the last episode as well our group were overrun by a herd of walkers. This is my complaint enough about this show. This very action happens to them the same day the find Hershel’s Farm. Why are they so unprepared when it inevitably happens again? We all knew it was coming as viewers. We’ve known probably since they got there and tried to pretend like they were staying indefinitely.
Anyway this first season 2 herd separates the cute little Sophia from the group and her overly passive mother Carol. This whole debacle initially works. Everyone searches for poor little Sophia alone in the woods with who knows how many walkers. It’s a truly dire situation. Then to make matters slightly ridiculously worse Carl is shot through the chest during the initial forest search. Rick is letting him get close to this gorgeous little deer. It was a shot from Otis who is the hunter and walker gatherer for a new group of cast members: Hershel’s Family of Nameless children.

HERSHEL’S FAMILY OF NAMELESS CHILDREN
Hershel’s farm was a well known plot point from the comic books therefore this felt like a legitimate milestone in their journey. This however falls extremely short in my mind, as this whole place was the season-long set piece, as well as the basis of every characters hopes and dreams. This might have worked if they actually changed, or grew as characters but in the end it felt just like another pointless CDC visit.
They arrive at the farm initially as Otis leads them there feeling horrible about shooting Carl by accident – this so doesn’t read well on TV, and would pass as a better plot point on one of the new horrible CW reboot series: like 90210 or Melrose Place.
Anyway everyone momentarily forgets little Sophia as Hershel is wrangled into saving little Carl’s life. He’s a veterinarian and obviously everyone who is a doctor of anything can perform intense surgery. Eye roll. He mind as well admit to learning most of his techniques from the History Channel. As Carl recovers, and seemingly ages a few years overnight, the rest of gang (still minus Sophia) move onto the farm like a pack of wanton gorillas screaming selfish desires and bickering over power and leadership.

GLENN AND MAGGIE
One of the few truly likable characters left builds an expected relationship with one Hershel’s daughters: Maggie. Much like her comic counterpart she starts out as one of the stronger characters and slowly morphs into another nameless crying woman by seasons end. Their drug store runs seemed more intimate then Rick and Loris marriage. Their relationship like in the comic book is a bit forced initially as both sort of fall into together obviously looking for company and/or sex but unlike the comic book I buy them as legitimate.  Glenn obviously was never some ladies man by he seems to genuinely love Maggie – in fact his delay on the show in actually telling her he loves her was one of the only parts I felt did not work. In fact it felt like Glenn wasn’t intimidated by her and his love her but rather he was told by writers to hold off on figuring out his feelings so he would have something valid to share in the season finale.
During on of the couple’s early dalliances brings Glenn into the farms barn.

THAT FRAKING BARN
Glenn discovers Hershel’s barn is full of moving biting walkers. The occupants include members of Hershel’s family, most importantly his wife, as well as numerous walkers Otis has been wrangling in there as they wander onto the farm.
The entire situation is a little sick by oddly understandable in this world. But of course everyone shits brick because it’s also a hugely dumb move. This season’s first huge reveal was found in the barn also.
In just one of Shane acts of utter appliance for anyone but himself and Lori he initiates the emptying of the barn as well as the massacre of everyone inside. Hershel and his nameless now crying children watching in horror as everyone slaughters every walker in slow-mo fashion. Then came the gut punch. Poor little Sophia who we kept getting hinted at being alive, and had the amazing Daryl still singlehandedly searching for her, limps out of the barn all zombied out. I was suddenly struck with how lucky this little actress was. She got to have a cool zombie death and leave this malfunctioning show.
Here is where everyone’s hopes crumble. Everyone. The cast. The characters. The viewers. Myself. This shouldn’t have been a multi-episode payoff. It once again seems fine on paper but poor boring lead up for what should have been a monumental payoff.

SHANE – MAN OF LIMITED RATIONAL AND HORRIBLE TASTE IN WOMEN
Shane’s transformation from average small-time cop, sexing his best friends girl, and playing dad to his son to shaved headed crazy gorilla with guns was one of the great movements of the season. His transformation earned many jeers from viewers as everyone amazing villain should. The greatest villains are the misdirected and overtly self-righteous. It probably doesn’t hurt that this actor was one of the few I credit with the for creating better scenes and more realistic emotions.

RICK – MAN OF NO RATIONAL AND HORRIBLE TASTE IN WIVES
Rick makes one of his more defining moments with his movement to kill Zombie Sophia himself. All season he seems to struggle: with himself, Carl, Lori, Shane, rationale, the group, Hershel, his demons, his secrets, his pride, his accent, his identity, and his motives. We can only hope with his final moments of “no more democracy” in the season finale will mean the character will finally settle for a real motives and true feelings rather than what the writer of the week decides should be his goal.

A BROKEN GROUP
This is where the writers would want us to believe the group went from slightly fractured to full on broken and firmly placing the blame on the slightly insane Shane. Unfortunately I preserved this messy group as never quite together. But if were listening to the writers, after the barn incident the group full on broke apart. Hershel, with good reason, wants this pack of hick gorillas off his farm. Daryl withdraws even further from the group primary converses with his motorcycle. Hershel is so set back he retreats a real ole timey salon to drink his troubles away. Rick and Glenn go to get him. Lori leaves to go get Rick. Instead we have the pointless car accident of 2012. Shane goes to get Lori. Lies to get her crazy ass back to the farm.
Back in the salon we get some one of the more memorable dialogue scenes between Rick and Hershel and mostly silent Glenn. It is interrupted by two new survivors who Rick immediately senses are threats. Glenn and Hershel basically raw up a map back to the farm and hand the strangers invitations to crash their big farm party until Rick makes another one of his few season highlights. He changes into a leather vest, puts on a nametag that says HAN and shoots these sleazy city slickers first. They go down in epic fashion – too bad seemingly EVERY SINGLE ONE of their friends arrive moments later and instead of Rick staying mum and playing dumb when they ask where their kindly friends are Rick for some ungodly reason admits he essentially killed them therefore instigating a kind of major fire fight in which we find out some fun facts: Hershel is sort of badass. Glenn is a pussy, which should not be a revelation this late in the game. And Rick still isn’t sure if he wants to be the man who makes the hard decisions or the man who has trouble making any sort of decision without making it slightly worse. This leads us the an epic example of Rick’s madness: Randall.

RANDALL – THE MOST LUCKY AND UNLUCKY HOSTAGE EVER
The resulting gunfight draws a large horde to them because like Pavlov’s dogs, Zombies answer to gunshots not just bells. The “other” group of guys leave because – MOTHERFUCKINGZOMBIEHORD! One of their guys who was playing bad sniper on the roof jumps down to join them but somehow impales himself on a metal pointy fence exactly in the way no one ever wants to. What is this show Saw? Can someone get stuck in one of those zany traps next season – you know – accidently? What is it with this show trying to use regular horror movie troupes to scare us? It’s a zombie apocalypse people! This shouldn’t feel this convoluted. Anyway back to the train wreck…
The man we later find is named Randall. Rick wants to save him from the steadily approaching horde of zombies because he seems to be wanting to feel better about killing dudes in cold blood minutes earlier. Its blatant Rick flip flopping on his own morals – which could be further investigated or taken at face value and its face value and the writers still have no idea who this man is supposed to be. Even Hershel is all “lets just put him out of his misery” but Rick even suggests cutting off his leg to “save” him from being eaten by zombies. He just ends up viciously ripping him of the fence instead once again shows this television shows true colors as being cheap climax building and easy to read plot directions.
They go on to get take their “saved” man back to farm bound and tied up as Rick seems to realize that this “saved” man could very well be a bad man. We go on for episodes watching this poor kid be abused at redneck gorilla hands. This includes a pointless trip “18 miles out” with Randall tied up in the truck listening to horrible music with Rick and Shane having some minor disagreements which includes some death threats and wrench throwing. Randall frees himself; and assists Rick in saving Shane, therefore getting rewarded with getting tied up again and driving back to the farm from hell. I bet he wishes he stayed with the pack of angry rapists.
During this mess one of Hershel’s nameless daughters (Beth) has one of those catatonic womanly television episodes and follows it up with a suicide attempt. No one really cares I don’t think. Everyone actually can barely be prompted to speak at all.
Ultimately lucky Randall is sentence by the Rick-Shane counsel and sentenced to death.

DALES LAST STAND
Dale was one of my favorite characters in comic. He often reminded readers of what humanity should be like. This did not translates, as television Dale was preachy, self righteous, and completely unfair in his judgements. His final judgement however was the opposite. It was truly the good person thing to do. Dale was one of the only members of the gang to openly see the horrible treatment of Randall as something they were not handling well and spoke out when they finally decided to just outright execute him.
He begs everyone in their group to seriously think out their decision being actually Rick and Shane’s decision. Only Andrea sees the light in the end leading a sweet smile and eye contact between the two giving comic book fans something nice to chew on. Ultimately Dales last stand serves a purpose as Rick cannot physically pulled the trigger right away when he intends to point blank execute poor Randall. His delay leads to the discovery of his (stupid) son Carl following him into the barn of death to cheering on his father to happily shot poor Randall in the head. This rightfully forces Ricks brain to kick-start and realize he cannot do it because it’s not right. This is all while Randall openly sobs and begs for his life.
Dale is out walking this night though as he doesn’t want to be with the broken group, and he doesn’t want to be in the barn of death. Instead of getting his much needed peace of mind he gets a zombies bite to the gut. The gang finds him in some painful death throws. Rick cannot end his life as mercy (which felt weird imo) but this leads to a better characters lending his able hand: Daryl. And we loose Dale right when he became more likable.
I wish I cared more but it felt like a welcome death. The character was annoying and no one had bit it in awhile. One sort of amazing development from this moment was little Carl realizing the zombie that had gotten on the farm was the same zombie he had met for drinks in the forest the prior day – I mean threw rocks at. Man this kid is dumb.
During Dale’s funeral “broken” group vows to rediscover their humanity (because they’re all zombies! GET IT?!?! ::Hits face with frying pan::) and I sort of don’t buy it.

CARL IS GOING TO LOOK 47 PLAYING 12 NEXT SEASON
Carl is getting dangerous and in my opinion it’s way too early for this kid to be getting this nutty in the universe but they are playing this card. Carl apparently for as much as his mother smothers him also leaves him to his own devices. He ambles out into the forest after stealing Daryl gun (like a tool) and stumbles upon a zombies comically stuck in the mud. He spends some time throwing rocks at it, and tries to gear himself up to shoot it. It of course backfires as expected and Carl takes off back to farm leaving the zombie alive (like a tool).
This being the same zombie the kills Dale leads to Car’ls fragile developing mind to fracture further with guilt and violence.  And then later in the last two episodes Lori once again loose her son as he mindlessly follows Rick into the forest. This of course ends up being a good decisions as they worked together to live but WHY IS THIS KID JUST WALKING OUT AT NIGHT IN THE FOREST? How his Lori a crazy controlling bitch but her son is the captain of bad decision making.

A CONFRONTATION WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
Lori the Horrible falls further into bad character territory as she approaches Rick warning him that Shane is a bit nuts and totally wants to get all up on her and Carl. Rick actually sticks up for his friend here. Lori lays it on that Shane might even try to kill him. A few episodes later Lori is approaching Shane all “thanks for you know keeping me alive and being a good boyfriend before Rick my loving husband returned from the dead”. She mind as well unbuttoned her shirt and did a bad strip tease because of course Shane only heard “I love you and Rick needs to go”. We fast forward to what Shane must have seen as killing two birds with one bad plan. He takes the still-hostage Randall into the woods under the pretense of joining him and his crew of merry rapists but snaps his necks off camera instead. Then he breaks his own face on a tree, which would have been cooler if Tyler didn’t do the same thing for the near same purpose on Revenge earlier this year.
Crazy Shane then takes his broken face back to the group as they realize the poor man they keep tied up in the barn for daily murder attempts is missing. Shane weaves some farce about Randall attacking him in the woods and leads Rick, Daryl and Glenn on a wild Randall race. Daryl and Glenn go in one direction while Shane and rick go the other. Ahh Shane is finally making his big move that most viewers have at least heard about since season one. The problem here is Rick puts in together as well. This confrontations worked really well as Shane’s acting brought Ricks up to par and we finally get another solid emotional death from this show that is filled with nothing but death.
Ricks fakes the pretense of disarming to negotiate with Shane but rushes him with a really nifty knife in hand. Shane bleeds out under him in an empty field under the stars much like my belief that Robert Kirkman knows what he’s doing with this show.  Of course this is when Carl makes his pathetic entrance. Rick is as baffled/horrified by Carl appearing as we are.
Back with my new favorite power couple Daryl an Glenn start to realize Shane was totally lying and stumble across poor hostage Randall zombified. Cue the dramatic music as Daryl and Glenn realize that you don’t need to be bitten to become a zombie but merely die….

THE REVEAL
This was the big secret Rick got from the CDC back in the season 1 finale. This would be cool if I hadn’t already assumed it was some big secret. I also might by it more if Rick didn’t seem confused by the dead security guards without bite marks he found with Shane back when they went on one of their little short road trips off the Hershel farm of hell. I’d seen better theories for the secret whispered in the worst of comment threads from the dumbest of posters. Cheap pay off to a cheaper set up.
The point is reiterated as Shane’s corpse reanimates pretty quickly after Rick kills him.
Carl appears and while Rick cries in shock as his son seeing him and his dead friend Carl for once totally gets his big boy pants on (only character on the show to do so) and shoots the zombified Shane approaching Rick from behind. Yet there is no time to talk as a final horde of zombies appears in the field drawn by Carl’s gunfire. This is of course the horde of zombies most zombie fans have been expecting since episode two of staying at the farm. The gang however may have their humanity back but they still lack any good planning or pragmaticy. As the horde approaches the drive around shooting willy nilly, loose each other in the chaos, realize it’s a hopeless cause, and take off for the hills.
In the meanwhile Lori is just discovering Carl is missing while Carl and Rick just make out running the horde into the barn of death. They pretend they’re in a buddy cop film and light many zombies aflame inside. Then they join the gang in the ridiculous gunfight and follow them out to the hills.
Patricia and Jimmy die in the fight. Who you ask? Why of course some of Hershel’s nameless children. The part I found both annoying yet intriguing was my girl Andrea getting left behind. The more upsetting death for me is the RV.
RIP RV. Without Dale you simply could not stick around.

THE SURVIVORS and SEASON THREE SET UP
Our gang regroups on the highway. Their very DNA is changed: Rick, Lori, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Hershel, Beth (still sort of nameless to me), Daryl, Carol, and T-Dawg. They just happen to regroup at the same place they were stopped on the highway at the very beginning of the season. This depicts the amount of plot movement that has occurred this season. A great big circle of loose ends and poor character choices.
They leave behind the provision they had left out for little Sophia back in the earlier episodes. Hopefully leaving behind some of those bad decisions and ridiculous plot points. This hope is quickly dashed as the group is forced to stop on the highway to spend the night as one of the cars is out of gas. They immediately seem to breakdown into the same “he said” “she said” “leadership” hoopla.  Ultimately Rick is fully taking the leadership role – hopefully with his moral compass intact. He also tells them all about Shane as well as the big CDC reveal. They all spaz as though Rick infected them himself.
We leave our survivors seemingly as broken as ever. Lori cradling her sobbing child as she mourns Shane seemingly forgetting she basically painted Rick an elaborate portrait asking him to kill Shane – because she is one of the most poorly written characters ever. Rick stews in self-hatred for himself and the gorillas around him. Maggie breaks down. Hershel cuddles with nameless child #3. Glenn is Glenn. Carol somehow stays pathetic and sad. Daryl gets cooler (I didn’t think it was possible). TDawg gets forgotten off camera.  They broadcast their intense need for “somewhere safe”. Which is just as dumb on paper as it is on the show. However as we leave with a parting shot of a large prison. The penitentiary is a much-anticipated location as it was a fun locale in the comic book. My argument is that Hershel’s farm was just as anticipated to visit on screen and not satisfying at all in my opinion.

We also leave Andrea running for her life in the forest away from the horde. She seemingly about to bite it after a fierce battle with all of the tools she has left when a mysterious hooded figure with a sword and two armless zombies chained to her rescues Andrea. This of course is somewhat of a fan favorite from the comic book – an equally mysterious woman named Michonne. I welcome this sort of change to the group dynamic but if I’m truthful these people might end up dumbing down Michonne who is obviously tougher and more intelligent then them ala her two armless zombies on a leash.
With these two glimpses into next season – the show could either right itself and charge into the cool territory that it hinted at in early season 1, and in the comic book or it could continue using CGI blood, cheap scares, poor set-ups, and lame character mistakes.

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~ by ATOM on March 21, 2012.

One Response to “The Walking Dead Season 2: Recap and Review”

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