A quick review of tonight’s “The Walking Dead” coming up just as soon as I buy your silence with fruit and jerky…
The good part first: Lori confesses her affair with Shane to Rick, and Rick is unsurprised and largely unphased. I know it’s only been about 10 episodes since the two of them were reunited, and that many shows might drag out this kind of revelation over many more episodes, but when you spread them out over two seasons, and when you spend so much time on Lori’s guilt and paranoia about the affair coming to light, it was well past time to stop keeping it a secret. I liked that Rick had either figured it out in the back of his mind, or else was able to do the math very quickly and accept it; there are plenty of times where the demands of the plot make Rick and his people out to be idiots, so it was a relief to have a moment where he understands something instantly, and if he’s not terribly happy about it, he gets it.
On the other hand, putting their debate about abortion(*) only a couple of episodes after Rick and Lori had essentially the same argument about whether to keep trying to save Carl’s life added to the sense that so much of season 2 so far has been wheel-spinning. The gang found refuge at Hershel’s farm, and they repeat various conflicts over and over during this relatively peaceful time, and while this lull may be setting us up for whatever bad thing happens next – either with the zombies in the barn or simply Hershel kicking them out of paradise – the show needs a kick in the ass, and soon. They’re starting to do some interesting things with some of the characters – Andrea becomes an effective, if bloodthirsty, gunslinger, Dale finally confronts Shane about his behavior (albeit possibly out of jealousy that Shane has hooked up with Andrea) and Maggie points out that Glen is much more awesome than he or the group realizes – but it’s happening verrry slowly, as if the plot was itself a walker, shuffling along until it gets to whatever destination offers food next.
(*) And let me remind you once again, very strongly, that this blog is a No Politics zone. We are not going to actually debate the morality of abortion, in either the world we know or the one Rick and Lori are trapped in. Period. Any comment that heads down that road gets deleted. Got me?
We’re almost done with the first half of the season, then we get a break until February. We’re also fairly close, I think, to the point where Frank Darabont left, for reasons unknown. He helped break the entire season’s arc with Glen Mazzara and the rest of the writers who stuck around, so I don’t imagine we’re going to see a radical shift in the back half of the season. But as we get ready to say goodbye to the show for a couple of months, I’m beginning to wonder if Darabont’s exit might not turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Darabont’s a terrific writer and director. You can look at his movies, or even this show’s pilot, to see that. But the storytelling was uneven for the rest of the first season, and something’s definitely been lacking in these early season 2 episodes. Mazzara’s not going to re-invent the show from scratch, at least not this year (his imprint will probably be more keenly felt in season 3), but maybe a different voice from the head man add a little juice to the back half of the season.
Before we go to the comments, let me remind you once again about the no spoilers rules for this blog, and specifically how it relates to a show like this adapted from a popular source material:
2)This includes any discussion of the previews for the next episode.
3)This includes any discussion of storylines from the comic that haven’t happened yet in the timeline of the TV show. (And, yes, the show has and will continue to deviate from the comic in some ways, but for the sake of those instances where they’re going to be the same, I don’t want people talking about something from issue 50 when we’re watching episode 11.)
4)This includes anything you’ve seen or read elsewhere about anything that has not happened within the context of the episodes that have already aired.
Got that? Now what did everybody else think? Are you disappointed the show’s about to take a break, or are you ready to take one yourselves?