Monday, February 13, 2012

My Lively Thoughts on The Walking Dead Mid-Season Premiere

Does your head explode when you read spoilers for a show that has already been nationally televised? Do you hate it when your head explodes? Well, you might want to skip this post then.

So yeah, I only watched about a whole 4 minutes of the Grammys, because I was far more stoked for new episodes of Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead. I've been eagerly anticipating new episodes of The Walking Dead for almost two months now. I really didn't feel like waiting until it stumbled upon an on-demand service. I wanted my zombies, and I wanted them ASAP.

Well, except that there weren’t a lot of zombies. There were plenty of zombie corpses, but very little in the zombie action. Actually, there wasn't a lot of "action" in this episode. I've read that despite the show getting record ratings for AMC that they've cut the budget in half this season. It means they need to minimize the need for special effects, which probably is why we get episodes like this one where the zombies essentially take a vacation.

It wasn't necessarily a bad thing. This episode was all about the fallout from Shane's freak out at the barn and the discovery the little girl has been stumbling about the barn for the entire second season. It was an episode that has dropped a lot of hints for potential big storylines in the future. For example, Shane is becoming more insane, and Dale is probably right in saying he's just teetering over the brink when it comes to killing another human. It's also interesting that Dale has Shane figured out, but no one else is willing to believe that Shane would kill someone or is really dangerous. The crazy part is that there were a few key characters that agreed with Shane's decision to unleash the zombies and take part in a game of "Off the Walkers." I'm predicting that we are going to see a split in the group where you have a Rick faction and a Shane faction. It's a pretty cool prospect and a lot of potential for some cool future storylines. Or it could go the other way, the Shane sympathizers aren't willing to fully drink the Kool-Aid and they finally realize what a nut bar he really is -- which would likely lead to an even more delightful meltdown from Shane (only in television can a meltdown be something I look forward to witnessing).

Rick seems to have got himself some trouble too. In the tensest part of the show, Rick offed himself some outsiders who didn't appear to be honest in what they're claiming. They likely have some friends, and friends that may not be totally enthused to hear their buddies are now riddled with bullets. Rick and pals may have a pack of both zombies and angry thugs to worry about. Of course, Rick is also completely unaware that his wife is currently handing upside down in a car, and just waiting for some zombies to make a visit.

The final scene is also interesting in that Rick is now the other character that is responsible for killing humans. He's got desensitized in killing walkers, but now it seems like he doesn't struggle much with shooting a human beings either. Of course, it was out of self defense and you're to believe these guys were just bringing the trouble. This final scene seemed to book end an episode that was all about break downs (assuming you agree Rick lost it just a tad at the end).

You have Hershel who ran off to town to get himself drunk. He has realized the zombies aren't just sick humans but actually dangerous "monsters." It still had to be hard to see his wife and step son get shot and essentially, killed a second time. I think the part that really drove him over the edge was when he realized he'd been spending all those months hoping for a cure that wouldn't exist, and also spending man power "rescuing" and feeding the undead. It wasn't a good day for poor Hershel and I can't blame him too much for resorting back to the drink.

On top of Hershel's big break down, you also have Darryl and the girl's mother totally cutting themselves off from everyone else. Again, this is a pretty believable response since the entire first half of the season they were devoted to finding the girl and keeping home she was alive. She wasn't. It was a pretty big emotional hit to both, and I look forward to seeing if they can recover or will take an even deeper emotional descent.

It wasn't a blow away return episode. I missed my The Walking Dead, and I was just happy to have something fresh. This was an episode all about setting up the future storylines for the rest of season. There seems to be a lot of promise and a lot of major issues to be resolved. You'll have the big action in town where Rick has to protect himself from the outsiders, while also eventually needing to rescue his wife (or she'll have to fight her way out without anyone knowing where she is stuck). Then you have the intriguing friction between the two sides (pro Shane/anti Shane), as well as the emotional descent of a whole crew of characters. The character development has been pretty realistic so far, or at least, it is how I would believe people would be responding to a world filled with zombies (I don't have much experience).

It has given me a taste of what should be a delicious gourmet meal. I am predicting an action packed second half to the season, and hopefully, some more appearances from our beloved walkers -- after all, the show is named after them.

Anyone else decide to pick zombies over musicians last night?

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