Season two of The Walking Dead continues, with the small band of mismatched survivors expanding somewhat as they try to save the young and wounded Carl; meanwhile, the show’s plot continues to spin its wheels as nothing really happens… again.
Check out our review below…
Director: Ernest Dickerson
Writers: Glen Mazzara
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Laurie Holden
Rick and Lori Grimes’ young son was shot at the end of the last episode—now we meet Otis, the hunter who accidentally wounded the child. Otis takes Carl, Rick, and Shane (Rick’s best friend/former partner, who, just as the zombie outbreak began, just so happened to tell Lori that Rick was dead and began sleeping with her) to a barn housing more survivors, including a veterinarian named Herchel, who attempts to save Carl. Meanwhile, T-Dog develops a blood infection, and Shane and Otis become trapped in a zombie surrounded school looking for antibiotics (author’s note: originally, I noted that it was Otis and T-Dog who were trapped in the school–my mistake); elsewhere, the character of Lori continues to become even more shrill, unlikeable, and poorly written as the episode opens with a flashback to the beginning of the series, in which she learns from Shane that Rick is supposedly dead.
- Um, zombies are still scary: Look, walking, rotting corpses that want to kill you will always be spooky and generate plenty of anxiety. So the show still has the ability to creep its viewers out. That’s, uh, that’s kind of it for this episode.
- The flashback/ Lori Grimes: Lori has increasingly become the clichéd stock character that populates every disaster film or zombie flick: the shrill, bitchy person that tells everyone who comes up with a plan that said plan will not work, the unlikeable character whose sole purpose is to hopefully generate dramatic friction in a story that apparently can’t organically do so on it’s own. The flashback to her learning of Rick’s supposed demise only serves to continue to paint her as selfish and whiney, and throughout the rest of the episode, she serves to tell the rest of the characters (whether they are trying to save Carl, or search for the missing Sophia), how pointless their efforts are. Characters like this are a sign that the show’s writers desperately need some drama, but don’t know how create it directly from the story in a natural way. And, if you can’t organically create drama in a show about a ragged group of people desperately trying to survive in a world in which the dead walk and stalk humanity, gang, you’ve got serious problems.
- Will Carl live?: Most of the episode was given over to “will Carl survive his surgery?,” and, instead of creating any kind of tension, most of this plot was, well, boring—it smacked of, ‘hey, let’s take a week off from developing of the mythology of The Walking Dead and just spin our wheels making fans wonder if we’ll kill off Carl” (even though you know Carl will live, because this show doesn’t seem like it would have the brass to kill a child character).
- More and more wheel-spinning: Lori’s bitching for the sake of bitching, and the whole will-he, won’t-he Carl survival story, both smack of storylines put in place just to take up space while the show figures out what it’s supposed to do, and what it’s supposed to be, besides being an AMC cash cow. The show seems to essentially be shaping up as a program in which a group of not particularly interesting people continually give themselves a series of goals, then the goals fail, and then they improvise at the last minute to do something else. And, honestly, a story about a series of stock characters taking three steps back for every step forward might be ok to watch for one two-hour zombie film, but having to keep watching that for several seasons of a TV show… well, let’s just say the zombies didn’t seem to be the only folks involved in The Walking Dead last night that seemed a little brain dead.
Seriously—The Walking Dead is a show in serious need of direction beyond “the gang gives itself a goal that falls apart at the last minute,” as well as more depth than “Lori inexplicably acts bitchy because this will hopefully create some non-zombie drama.” In fact, the Dead may need to simultaneously raise the stakes and clean house a little bit: maybe it’s time for a few major characters (whom viewers would assume are untouchable) to succumb to a few zombie bites. Something has to change, and soon—when you’ve got a show about a zombie apocalypse that somehow manages to be boring, you’ve got problems.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.