WARNING: The following blog post will contain spoiler-y stuff about both The Walking Dead TV show and comic book.
I love zombies and I love that they’re popular enough to make a wildly successful television show out of. This is good for my writing career, if nothing else. But loving zombies doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically love anything that has zombies in it. Hell, the movies my brother and I watch every month are sometimes the biggest pieces of garbage ever put on film. It’s just like every other form of entertainment. I love football too, but I haven’t loved every game I’ve ever watched. All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I didn’t much care for the second season premeire of (AMC’s) The Walking Dead. Let me count the ways…
Right off the bat, Rick’s speech into the radio was super lame. And even worse than that poorly written monologue was the fact that it borrows heavily from the comic version of Rick who almost psychotically talks into a telephone he carries with him. Those who know why he does that will also know that it is a much more compelling window into the character of a crumbling man in a crumbling society. This Rick sounds like he’s talking into the radio just to hear himself talk. What if Morgan was on the other end, patiently waiting for his turn to talk but never gets the chance? Anyway, the telephone is one of the best parts of the comic and now either they won’t do it at all OR when they do, non-readers will complain that they’re repeating themselves.
Secondly, there was NO plot to speak of. I’m happy that there will be more epsiodes this season, but I would also like stuff to happen. The herd of zombies walking by was the only part of the episode that I truly enjoyed. That was well done and scary. But everything after that seemed like filler that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Do we really care that much about Sophia as a character that we are desperate for them to find her? And why would she take off? They should have at least edited it to seem like more time had passed by and she felt obligated to leave. The zombie autopsy was kind of cool, but ultimately, it wasn’t necessary. You knew they weren’t going to find the girl in the stomach so it came off as just more padding of the runtime. Maybe it’s unfair to compare TWD to the modern masterpiece that is Breaking Bad, but given that they aired a week apart on the same channel, I have to say I was much more buzzed at Sunday at midnight (and many days after that) about the human chess game’s conclusion on BB than I was about the “let’s look for that girl” “plot” of TWD.
Third, I LOVE that Shane is still alive. I understand the reasoning behind killing him in the comic, but it really could have been more played out and this is a second chance to tell that story. But I think they’re stumbling a bit with it and what could have been a MUCH more interesting storyline than the comic one is turning into simply a more drawn out rehash. Comic Lori instantly regrets a one night stand with Shane even before Rick returns. She still loves her presumed-dead husband and it is never a question who she is with when he miraculously returns. The TV show told us in the very first scene that the marriage was on the rocks and later showed an ongoing affair that TV Lori was kind of kinky and into. They set this up to be a true love triangle with a genuinely torn woman. But instead, there has been virtually no character development. Is TV Lori suppressing her feelings for Shane and pushing him away out of a sense of obligation to her marriage? Both Shanes are being driven mad by rejection, but I feel like TV Shane is more justifiably upset and deserves a little more than the cold shoulder he’s getting. I’m excited that he’s going to set off on his own as that will be a chance to not EVER know what is going to happen…which leads me to …
Finally, I felt a little robbed of a great television moment. The entire premeire of Season 2 was 89 minutes and 30 seconds of brand new material. None of it is in the comic and Kirkman even said that he wants to preserve the TV experience for people who have read the comic and anything can happen. So why is the twist ending something lifted directly from the comic where I’m sitting there going: He’s going to get shot NOW…ok NOW…ok NOW…I knew it. Bleh. Carl getting shot is an awesome twist. I just can’t help but wonder how much more jazzed I would have been if I hadn’t seen it coming.
And if they’re going to run him over to Herschel’s farm…does that mean they’re skipping over the stop in the gated neighborhood? They’re skipping over TYREESE!!!
I give this episode a C+. The herd saved it.