Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Walking Dead: "Beside the Dying Fire" Season Finale

In “Beside the Dying Fire, the finale of Season 2 of The Walking Dead, a huge question is answered, bigger questions are raised, and survival is—as always—the name of the game.

Carl and Rick don’t have much time to discuss Shane’s death, his rise as a walker, and his second death before they realize a humongous mob of zombies is pouring out of the woods toward them. (If you puzzled over where they came from like I did, here’s what I deduced from the flashback: the helicopter attracted them, they started to follow it, and then, because they’re incapable of independent thought or reason, they just kept walking and walking and walking in that direction. Is that what you decided too?)

Rick and Carl run for the barn and Rick decides to try and attract as many of the walkers as he can, hoping they’ll follow him into the barn. It’s not a bad plan—there are just too many zombies for the fire that he and Carl set inside the barn to be of much benefit. Some of the walkers die, yes, but not enough of them. The farm is under siege.

It’s chaos as everyone tries to flee. My husband and I dubbed the very minor members of Hershel’s farm family—Patricia and Jimmy—as “red shirts,” and it was an appropriate moniker as they both died bloody deaths trying to escape the mob.

Lori is frantic because she doesn’t know where Carl is, but she jumps in a truck with T-Dogg and Beth and escapes. (I hate Lori, by the way. “Shane was always there for me. I love Rick. I needed Shane. I don’t know whose baby I’m carrying.” Gag.)

Hershel is determined to die trying to save his farm, but when Rick and Carl find him, Rick makes him leave with them. “It’s my farm!” hollers Hershel. Looking at the swarm of zombies, Rick tells him, “Not anymore it isn’t.”

Carol seems to be a goner until Daryl spies her and rescues her, the two of them escaping on his motorcycle. Glenn and Maggie make it out. That leaves only Andrea, and although I don’t really like her, I do admire her strength. So I was disgruntled—not quite sad, but definitely bothered—that she was left behind. What a fighter she is…and what will happen to her now that that dark-robed figure has found her. One of the big questions for next season.

Once the whole group is reunited, they turn to Rick for guidance but many seem unhappy with his decisions—especially the decision he made long ago to keep them in the dark about something the scientist told him at the CDC: all of them are infected with the virus. That’s why Randall and Shane turned after they died even though they hadn’t been bitten. And that, my friends, is the basis for the biggest questions for next season.

How will the infection affect them from here on out—both physically and mentally? Will the group continue to trust Rick, now that they know he kept this from them? (Should he have done so?) What does this mean for Lori’s baby? Will it be born in some weird, mutated form, infected from conception? And how will Lori and Carl relate to Rick now that they know he killed Shane?

It’s such a compelling show that always makes me wonder what I would do if faced with such terrible choices. I can’t wait to see what they do with Season 3 of The Walking Dead. Was that the prison in the distance?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Walking Dead: Rick killed Shane in "Better Angels"

In “Better Angels,” the next to last episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead, we see Shane push the boundaries farther than he ever has, and we see him pay the price. Unfortunately, others get caught up in the wake of his actions.

Shane hasn’t been himself since he shot Otis and left him behind for the walkers—and let’s face it, Shane’s original character left little to commend. Leaving people behind for dead wasn’t new to him. Sacrificing others for his own good wasn’t new to him. But this act seemed to stain whatever good might have been present, and he became nothing but a destructive malignancy within the group.

Were you surprised when Shane led Randall off into the woods and broke his neck? Nope. Me neither. I was surprised, though, when Randall showed up as a walker. What the heck? We knew how he died, and it wasn’t as a zombie meal. So what’s up? The last episode reveals that answer.

When Shane slapped himself upside the head after killing Randall and then rammed his face into a tree, his deterioration became even more apparent. When he and Rick took off together to try and find the “escaped” Randall, did you have that sinking feeling in your gut that they both weren’t coming out of it alive? Me too. Were you ready to say goodbye to Shane? I was. It was time for him to go.

When Rick finally faced off with Shane and stood seemingly defenseless against him, his gun innocuously outstretched in his left hand, I thought maybe Shane was going to get away with it. (How could the show go on without Rick, though, you ask? I don’t think it could. That’s why I said “maybe.”) The knife Rick drew and shoved up into Shane’s torso surprised—and thrilled—me. I am so glad he’s gone.

He almost wasn’t, though, was he?

What the heck is up with these dead people coming back as walkers? Again, the final episode reveals the truth—and it’s a doozy.

I’d be negligent if I didn’t comment on Carl’s well-timed appearance and his amazingly good aim with Daryl’s gun. Carl saved his dad’s life, but again, at what cost? Carl loved Shane. When will all the baggage that boy is carrying become too much for him to handle? The growth of his character has been one of the most interesting ones in the show.

There’s only one episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead left to blog about. And there’s a mob of walkers on the way.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Walking Dead: Kill Randall? in "Judge, Jury, Executioner"

If you had been part of the group in The Walking Dead episode “Judge, Jury, Executioner,” how would you have voted? Should they have killed Randall or kept him prisoner?

There were convincing arguments to kill him: he’s got 30 scary friends, he knows where Rick & Co. are hiding, and he’s another mouth to feed. There were convincing arguments not to kill him: if they’re civilized, they wouldn’t do it; he hadn’t done anything to them; they saved him in the first place.

The arguments to kill him came mainly from Shane. Dale spoke up—mostly alone—against killing Randall. Sounds true to both characters, doesn’t it?

For the record, I was in favor of keeping him prisoner. I wouldn’t have been comfortable killing someone who hadn’t hurt me or the people I love. My daughter felt the way I did. My husband didn’t want to kill him either, but he did want to take him far away and drop him off.

We’ll never know which would have been the best choice.

But it is interesting that the voice of morality and reason is the one that was silenced in this episode. Will others wear the hat? Will they honor Dale as they said they would?

And what about Carl? The lost boy…the boy who doesn’t believe in God or heaven. The boy who antagonized a walker. The boy who stole Daryl’s gun, who intended to kill that walker. The boy who blames himself for Dale. And, finally, the boy who took the gun his dad offered him. What is going to happen to Carl? Who is he becoming and who can control it?

There was also one sweet moment, wasn’t there? When Hershel gave Glenn the watch—and his approval? Did that give you the warm fuzzies? It did me, which is nice because usually The Walking Dead only gives me the creeps…in a really good way.