Review: The Walking Dead S2E6 “Secrets”


“Everything is food for something else.” – Carl Grimes

[spoilers within]

“Secrets” is the title for the sixth episode of the new season of The Walking Dead. It’s an episode that really should please not just fans of the gore and action, but also those who like some character and story development in their shows. The first five episodes of this second season has been hit or miss. Those episodes have reinforced some viewer complaints about how the show seems to go nowhere at times. Except for a couple moments of well-done script work involving Daryl Dixon (who happens to be the one character created for the show and absent from the comic book) the writing for this season continues last season’s uneven quality.

The last couple episodes were light on the zombie mayhem, but they were rife with character development and some forward momentum in the story (though Sophia still remains missing) with the discovery made by Glenn the big cliffhanger leading up to tonight’s episode. An episode which more than lives up to it’s title as secrets become known as others remain hidden.

With Glenn’s discovery one would think that the title of tonight’s episode meant Glenn and Maggie trying to keep the secret of the zombies in the barn kept from Rick and the rest of the group. The predicament Glenn finds himself in with Maggie begging him not to tell anyone about the barn then on another side Lori also begging him not to tell anyone that she’s pregnant. Glenn would be the first to tell both women how much he sucks at keeping secrets and the episode wasn’t even past the first ten minute mark when his resolve breaks under Dale’s epic eyebrows and fisherman’s hat.

The secrets which this episode focuses on doesn’t just include the barn and Lori’s pregnancy, but the secrets Shane has been trying to keep from everyone in camp. It’s during the aftermath of a very thrilling and eventful foray into the nearby housing association by Shane and his shooting apprentice in Andrea that Shane’s recent turn to the dark side comes to light with none other than the show’s elder busybody. Everyone in the show seems to tip-toe around the topic of Shane and his behavior, but not Dale who sees danger in Andrea learning from the one person who’s agenda may not lie in the group’s overall safety.

Like the show’s own troubled off-season, the show seems to have made a turn with the last couple episodes into something that seemed to balance well zombie action with the show’s more expositional side. This may not be too much of a surprise since Darabont as show-runner was supposed to have been fired around the filming of episode 4. Could his departure from the show and the promotion of a veteran tv writer and show-runner in Glen Mazzara finally put the show on a much more focused path. It’s a possibility and it could also have been part of Darabont’s plan for the season to have such a long slow-burn. I hate to admit it but as much as I love Darabont as a horror and genre fan I think his departure finally putting the show on the path to consistency on all creative fronts.

The secret about the barn and Lori’s pregnancy, not to mention Shane’s character becoming more and more dark, could’ve been strung along for the length of this season’s 13-episodes, but the last 2-3 episodes seem to dispute that. The show has begun to reveal it’s secrets into the open quite quickly and letting the characters deal with the ramifications and fall out. Already we see a much more spirited Rick react to Lori telling him of her pregnancy and what occurred between her and Shane. We get to see why in the end he’s the leader the group needs now and not Shane or Daryl or even Glenn (as Maggie suggested). He’s thinking of the group and trying to keep them sane in a new world hell-bent on driving all of them beyond the brink and past the breaking point. All that he has suspected since reuniting with his finally are now out in the open and while he’s angry he also looks to trying to work things out. How the knowledge that Shane and Lori got together bears out in future episode will make for some interesting thing times ahead especially for Rick.

This episode definitely put character conflict and drama into the forefront with very little wince-worthy moments. Everyone reacted in an organic way to everything suddenly coming out into the open. Even Andrea has begun to make the turn from helpless, suicidal to someone who may become the group’s most important protector. While the episode continues on last week’s high points it still had the Sophia issue which continues to plague the show. The writers will need to reward it’s viewers’ patience (and growing lack of in regards to the missing girl) and make sure the Sophia question gets an answer and soon.

There’s just one more episode left before the show goes on it’s mid-season break. From the look of things the show looks to be heading towards this break on a high note. It would be interesting to see how the Mazzara-led writing group deals with the ramifications of tonight’s episode with the mid-season finale.

Notes

  • For a kid who has been shot then operated on just days before (unless the show has skipped showing some days pass by) Carl looks to have recovered quite well.
  • Great to see Carl wearing Rick’s sheriff’s deputy hat. That look on Carl remains one of the comic book series’ most iconic image.
  • Seeing Carl learn how to shoot and do it well could be a sign that the show may soon start dealing with putting this show back on track in regards to the Rick-Lori-Shane triangle.
  • Steven Yeun’s role as Glenn continues to grow and he’s definitely got the awkward moments of the character done to a T.
  • I think T-Dog as a character either needs to grow or he needs to go. He’s been mostly absent from this season outside his fever-induced ranting to Dale a couple episodes back.
  • We finally get to see more and more how the Greene family sees the zombies and why they keep them cooped up in the barn. Some people will say what they’re doing is stupid. I think it’s a nice shout-out to the tenement scene in the beginning of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead where people kept their dead locked up because they still thought of them as loved ones who might still get cured or whose culture teaches them to respect the deceased.
  • Lauren Cohan as Maggie continues to be one of this season’s highlight. Her reaction once back on the farm toward’s Lori after her and Glenn have themselves a zombie encounter was very nice. Lori’s horrified reaction was great.
  • For those wondering what that piece of badass metal Glenn used to go aggro on the pharmacy zombie. It’s a Gerber Gator Machete Pro  and retails on Amazon for $41.63 with nylon sheath.
  • If Glenn wasn’t confused about how Maggie feels about him then tonight’s episode will drive him crazy. Still great to see that the show has one relationship born out of genuine interest and not out of necessity (though for Maggie it may have started as one it sure doesn’t seem to be that now).
  • I know there are people out there calling for support of Team Shane, but I think everyone should get behind Team Glenn. He seems to be the one out of everyone in the group to be the most level-headed one notwithstanding the awkward with girls and not being able to keep a secret routine.
  • I know that there are many out there who hate Andrea because of the past 4-5 episodes going back to last season’s finale, but tonight definitely saw her go from victim to survivor and do so with a bang. Love the moment out in the middle of that suburban street as a calmness washes over her face and every shot begins to land true.
  • Dale gets to use those epic eyebrows of his and say how it really is when it comes to Shane.
  • Finally, the show’s cold opening of Patricia breaking the chickens’ legs before dumping them into the group of zombies in the barn should not be pleasing PETA and this show probably not in PETA’s must-see list since the pilot episode.