Season two of The Walking Dead continues, in which Hershel and Lori reveal their potentially disastrous secrets.  Elsewhere, Shane is confronted about his role in Otis’ death, and the search for Sophia inexplicably continues on and on and on…

Check out our review below…

The Players:

  • Director:  David Boyd
  • Writers:  Angela Kang
  • Cast:  Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Laurie Holden

Episode Title: “Secrets”

[Spoilers ahead!]

This week, Hershel reveals that the zombies locked in his barn are actually family members who have succumbed to the zombie virus, and he is keeping them contained until a cure can be discovered.  Lori decides to abort her baby, and sends Glenn and Maggie to a pharmacy to get her what she needs, where Maggie is attacked by walkers.  Shane and Andrea go out to look for Sophia in this week’s episode of “Let’s Put Some Characters In Danger While Searching For Sophia Despite The Fact That It’s Obvious Now That We’re Saving Sophia For Some Kind Of Shocking Reveal In The Second Half Of The Season, But Hey, Since They’re All Stuck On A Farm, We Need An Excuse To Throw These People Into Obviously Stupid And Dangerous Situations,” and (surprise!) they get attacked by zombies.  On the way back to the farm, the two have sex.  Dale begins questioning Shane about what really happened on the night Otis died, and Lori admits to Rick that she slept with Shane when Rick was presumed dead.

The Good:

  • Hershel:  Once again, the character of Hershel and his bizarre plans are the only saving grace of the episode—his desire to keep his zombified family members alive until a cure can be found is creepy, sad, and disturbingly understandable, all at once.  He’s becoming one of the few characters whose desires and machinations actually seem human, and not just a plot contrivance.

The Bad:

  • Everything else:  As I mentioned in the recaps from weeks previous, The Walking Dead very rarely rises above cliché.  There were a few nice moments early in the season, but, for the most part, this is a show in which the plot wheels just spin on and on, the characters refuse to rise above cliché (and are frequently less interesting than the zombies themselves), and plotting in general just seems silly.  Get off the farm, develop the characters, and allow them to make smart decisions every now and again.  Seems to have worked for films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and 28 Days Later (I know, it’s not a zombie flick, but it’s close enough).  It would work for The Walking Dead, too.

Overall:

Brains.  Thanks to movies like Return of the Living Dead, the prevailing pop culture image of a zombie is a rotting, stumbling corpse that mutters the word “braaaiiiiinsss” over and over again.  It’s ironic, then, that The Walking Dead, a TV drama about zombies, would so often be limited to the same kind of cliché—at this point, despite a few bright moments this season, The Walking Dead itself is a show which, creatively, is stumbling around, in desperate need of some brains.

For yet another week, we have a group of characters who have yet to rise above broad, disaster-movie stereotypes, while the show they appear in refuses to go anywhere, or evolve, or grow.  Remember how the survivors were supposed to be headed to Fort Benning in the season two opener?  Well, that was six episodes ago.  We’ve had an entire half of the season set on a farm because… well, why?  Because two thinly drawn child characters have encountered danger, essentially turning them into simple plot devices and haven given the writers an excuse to grind the show’s progress to a halt and not go anywhere.  The problem with that kind of lazy writing is that, as seen for yet another week on The Walking Dead, it turns the characters themselves into, essentially, zombies—they shuffle around, they do things to serve the plot and drive it forward, but, deep down inside, there is simply nothing there.

Brains.  The show better develop some, and soon.

Rating:  5/10

The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.