It’s hard to believe that season two of ‘The Walking Dead’ began just as the group was making a fast exit from the exploded CDC in Atlanta. So much has happened…and not happened – and it will be discussed in part or in whole in this review, so reader beware of spoilers!
The complaint that I heard the most grumbling about was that there weren’t enough zombies or zombie kills in this season. I understand where people are coming from with this – certainly if you’re tuning into a show about zombies, you’re looking for a certain level of gore and grisly surprise – but I personally didn’t mind this too much. Part of what I love about this series is that it takes a very serious look at how we would sustain ourselves in a zombie attack situation – not just at how we would fight our way out of a tight spot, but how our relationships to each other would change, and how the rules of society would adapt. You have to build that in a lot of establishing exposition scenes, which are usually quiet and involve lots of talking and emotions and not so much exposing internal organs.
Here’s what I will say: they spent far too long at the farm. Whenever people stay too long at a (supposedly) safe haven in a horror story, things get boring. The suspense is in drama and tension, and not much tension mounts in a discussion over what’s for lunch. I realize they were saving the big zombie swarm for the season 2 finale, but I was so sick of looking at that farmhouse that I felt physical delight in watching its destruction. At any rate, there was plenty of undead blood and guts to close out the season and satisfy the fans.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how quickly the women of the cast became so unlikeable (the characters, of course, not the actresses, who I’m sure are lovely). Lori rallies for a return to a “women in their sphere” mentality, content to let the men do the dirty fighting for her while she washes clothes and cooks meals and has no idea where Carl is most of the time (not in the house, I can tell you that!). In fact, she tells Andrea she’s wasting time by learning how to shoot in the “18 Miles Out” episode. Really, Lori? Learning a life-saving skill is unimportant when the undead are popping up everywhere you go? Meanwhile she plays the devil on Rick’s shoulder and eggs him on to “do something” about Shane and his growing jealousy, then acts appalled when Rick takes action.
Andrea, whom I love dearly in print, became cold and abrasive. She had some great moments – shooting the zombies in the suburbs with Shane and joining the firing squad in front of the walker barn – but overall, I felt she was rude to Dale for no reason, and let’s not forget that she left Beth alone, knowing she was suicidal. The argument could be made that her humanity and sympathy leached away when Amy died. I could see that as a valid plotline, but it doesn’t make me like her any better.
As for Carol, I don’t know what she’ll do without Sophia to worry about anymore. She seems to have latched onto Daryl for now, though the jury is still out as to what his feelings are for her.
Maggie, who we know was just recently made a season 3 regular, was a delightful feisty spitfire this season, and I hope she keeps her drawl-y sass when season three comes around.
Overall I liked this season, despite my initial outrage over some of the changes in story from the comic. Rick killing Shane was such a relief, even though part of me was hoping Shane would run away and make his way solo. Would he have stopped being so reckless and dangerous if he got away from Lori, Rick and Carl? I think he might have, especially if he had run into someone who would depend on his protection and make him feel needed.
And while my enthusiasm for Michonne’s arrival overshadows any misgivings I had about this season, I’m a little wary of the way Rick laid down the law at the finale’s close. Not because I don’t want Rick in charge, but because I’m worried that he’s going to back down again. He has struggled with his leadership role, and I had thought when he stepped forward to shoot zombie Sophia that he was claiming it at last. The second half of this season, however, has seen him continue to waver in making decisions and confronting others in the group. I want to see Rick become the leader I know he’s capable of being.
We got some answers this season about how the zombie infection is spread (we’re all infected!) but still no clues as to how it all started. We’ll have to wait for season three to see what’s next for the ‘Walking Dead’ crew, though I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with that prison we saw in the distance.
What did you think of this season overall? What parts did you love, and what made you throw your remote in disgust? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!