Season two of The Walking Dead continues, with the plot of the second season finally beginning to rock ‘n roll, with the characters starting to make truly hard, game-changing decisions, one of which may turn a primary ally/ asset into a new villain. Major spoilers ahead!
Check out our review below…
- Director: Phil Abraham
- Writers: Scott Gimple
- Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Laurie Holden
“Save the Last One”
Now that’s how you do a zombie show. After starting off with two so-so episodes of wheel-spinning and plot contrivances, Season Two of The Walking Dead threw down the gauntlet last night, and threw it down hard. Carl’s continuing to bleed out while Hershel struggles to keep him alive, while his parents Rick and Lori debate whether or not, in a world overrun by rotting, murderous corpses, they should let their young son die. Daryl and the maybe-she-is/maybe-she-isn’t suicidal Andrea search the woods for the still-missing child Sophia, with both characters opening up to one another in one of the season’s best, and most quietly satisfying, moments.
And, in what may be the biggest turning point of The Walking Dead (and certainly the biggest of season two), Shane returns with the medication necessary to save Carl, and brings with him to the group the sad news that Otis, the kind man who offered to help him, was murdered by zombies while trying to help Shane get the meds back to the Carl and company—except, that’s not what really happened, as we learn that Shane shot and wounded Otis, letting him be massacred by the dead so that he, Shane, could escape and return to the home.
- Shane: In a show that has eschewed character complexity for the most part, The Walking Dead brought nuance and depth with a vengeance last night, especially with Shane. On one hand, his actions do make a kind of logical, objective sense—he needed to get the meds back to the group in order to save Carl’s life, and Otis would likely have slowed him down and got them both killed, which also would have led to the death of Carl. However, none of that changes the fact that his sacrifice of Otis to the zombies pushes Shane one step closer to total amorality, which is one step closer to TV villainhood. The best bad guys are the ones who think they’re acting in the greater good, and Shane seems headed down that road.
- Lori vs Rick/ Daryl vs. Andrea: While her shrillness in previous episodes robbed her fatalistic negativity in “Save the Last One” of some of its power (of course she’d be the parent who would suggest that they let Carl die), letting Lori and Rick debate whether or not it’s worth it to save their son, only to bring him back into a world in which the dead will stop at nothing to eat him, was a necessary move, driving home the point that in the world of the Dead, life may no longer be worth living. Elsewhere, in the woods, Daryl and Andrea also debate whether or not survival should be a priority any longer—the show is finally getting down to the philosophical meat of what it means to be outnumbered and outpowered by the dead, and it’s doing so with real power.
- Plausibility: Look, I know I can’t ask for too much realism or logic in a TV show about dead bodies that chase down the living and eat them, but if you were Daryl and Andrea, would you really go for a walk in the woods in the middle of the night when zombies are stumbling around, or would you maybe wait until morning to continue the search for Sophia?
Finally–Season Two of The Walking Dead may have launched a few weeks ago, but last night felt like the real beginning of the season: characters are beginning to fray, the philosophical weight of the situation is beginning to drive people apart, and Shane has emerged as the front-runner for being the necessary antagonist (you can’t count the zombies as bad guys–they’re more like a natural disaster, one that just so happens to eat you). With an amoral killer now in their midst posing (and maybe thinking of himself) as a hero, The Walking Dead just lived up to the spooky promise of Season One.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.