Well, well, well. Look who finally reached down and remembered they had a pair. Only two episodes into the second half of season 2 and we’ve already had more excitement than all seven episodes of the first half, which could have been accomplished by watching paint dry but hey, baby steps. Shoot-outs, character evolution, role reversals, rival survivors, zombie kills, confrontation, tempers starting to boil over…it’s about time “The Walking Dead” got some pep in its step. Just to point out, I’ve given up on the whole “comparing the comic and show” because I finally accept this series as Kirkman put it…a “re-imagining,” or in other terms a different way for Kirkman to explore the other ideas in his head concerning scenarios for characters killed off too quickly in the comic. From here on out, we have full separation…
So what we know from last week is as follows: Rick, Glenn, and Hershel are holed up in the town bar; Lori has crashed her car attempting to find them, and everyone else is safely back at the farm. Cut to this week, and Lori wakes to a walker skinning his own face trying to force himself through the broken windshield. Panicking, she dispatches of the zed along with his lumbering companion outside. Momentarily safe, Lori moves on. Her husband on the other hand isn’t having the same luck, as more unknown survivors arrive to locate their now dead friends. Rick reverts to his reasoning ways and attempts to defuse the situation with logic, but that only ends in a rain of gunfire being brought down on the bar. The lawman has no choice but to dig in for a good old fashion gun fight.
Back on the farm, Lori’s absence is finally noticed, and Daryl reveals her want to find Rick and refusal to help. Shane immediately jumps into action and drives off, tracking down the overturned vehicle but no Lori. He later finds her meandering up the road, and lies about Rick’s whereabouts in order to get her home. Shane defends his decision, saying the safety of Lori and the baby come first, but she still feels betrayed. As time goes on, Lori’s distrust becomes more and more obvious.
Other farm drama presents itself when Carol tries to comfort Daryl who has now set up camp on the outskirts of the farm to avoid contact with the group. He feels used and expendable, sacrificing his life with no results, and blames Carol for Sophia’s death. Carol continues to show interest in Daryl still, showing no signs of backing away from the abuse.
Back at the bar, the three devise a plan to sneak out the back door and dash to their car. Their exit becomes compromised though, and Glenn shoots at the door as one of the strangers attempts to break in. Glenn runs first out the door, narrowly being shot, leaving Hershel to put a bullet in the assailant, knocking him incapacitated to the ground. Walkers start enclosing on the town, so the two parties find it best to leave. Hershel’s victim works as bait, as does a stranger on the rooftop to couldn’t land a rooft to roof jump and end’s up with his leg impaled on a fence. But suddenly Rick flashes back to his caring mentality, and rescues the young boy even though he was trying to snipe Rick. With no time for Hershel to amputate, Rick lifts the leg clean off the spiky fence, and the escape is made. When all four arrive back at the farm, Rick’s decision is of course unpopular with some, only deepening their rage. Rick explains the boy is only there temporarily, long enough for Hershel to treat his wound. Shane is convinced the boy’s (who we learn is named Randall) party will search for him, bringing a war to the farm, going off on another angry rant. Hershel then reminds Shane if it wasn’t for Rick, he would be kicked off the farm himself, and house rules are still in order. A little while later, Andrea confides in Shane she agrees, as the two strengthen their alliance and Shane’s ego is fed. Not all believe Shane is mentally stable enough though, as the episode ends with Lori suggesting to Rick his future actions may threaten the lives of all and drastic measure may have to be taken.
So: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s go. I’ll start positive with what’s been going rather well; Rick and Shane. These two characters are trapped under the focal microscope and draw all attention from the viewer, displaying careful care of the writers to advance character personalities. Last week, the sheriff gunslinger attitude came pouring out to Rick and his hand cannon, showing us a new side to the normally cool-headed leader. Now, an episode later he’s regained that “softer” side which recognizes humanity by first offering peace with the new strangers and then by rescuing a boy who two minutes ago was one shot from putting Rick in the same boat as Otis. Shane on the other hand is only spiraling more out of control by brainwashing himself Lori’s baby is his, flying off the handle frequently, and telling Lori her husband Rick is practically useless. What we’re starting to see is Rick inherit those qualities which Shane believes Rick lacks, making Shane more and more obsolete while also being a threat equal to a walker attack. Rick has been fighting for Shane, rationalizing it with a past friendship, but as Rick thinks more and more like Shane, well, the past doesn’t hold much levity anymore. These two characters are hurdling towards a bloody and finite confrontation, question is, when?
Ok, now the bad that comes along…the writers, giddy something is actually penning smoothly, pretty much forgot anyone else. Any other character could be killed off right now a I wouldn’t even bat an eye. Oh, T-Dawg died? Rats, who will sit lazily in the background? Dale died? Who’s going to walk around rambling off old folk wisdom? Lori died? Who’s going to be the idiot flipping her car in a horribly executed accident? Beth died? Patricia died? Umm….who were they? You get my point. “Triggerfinger” was able to mask such flat characters with some gripping tension and finally a zombie kill after how long, but the question remains if said characters can be swept under the rug week after week without viewers starting to notice? Granted, Glenn and Andrea were developing nicely, but it looks as if Glenn is about to tie himself to Maggie’s side and Andrea is just there to pump Shane’s ego. Any camper is expendable, and maybe that’s how the writers want it for killing purposes, but “The Walking Dead” is far from overcoming lax writing and faulty story boarding that has been a complaint since minute one.