Review: The Walking Dead S2E7 “Pretty Much Dead Already”


“It ain’t like it was before!” – Shane Walsh

[spoilers within]

Tonight marks the mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead. We won’t get a new episode until the show returns in February to continue with season 2’s second half. One could say that tonight’s episode is the reason why this show has gained such a vocal and loyal following despite it’s many flaws both large and small.

This new season has been trying to improve on some of the flaws of the truncated first season by working on rounding out some of the main characters on the show. Whether the writers succeeded in this aspect of the show’s writing has been a hit-or-miss proposition. Characters like Daryl Dixon, Shane Walsh and new ones like Maggie and Hershel Greene become more fully realized during the first six episode this season while others like Rick, Dale, Carol and T-Dog remain too one-dimensional too often through the first half of the season. Then there are plot threads which seem to either drag on too long (search for the missing Sophia) or get too little mention (what is up with the nearly invisible T-Dog through this first half). It’s these inconsistencies which has brought out the even more vocal minority of the show’s viewers who have come to either feel apathetic towards the series or hate it for one reason or another.

“Pretty Much Dead Already” is the title of tonight’s episode and what happens throughout this episode goes a long way to rewarding the show’s loyal viewers for their wait through the first six episodes of this season and all its many flaws. It’s en episode which doesn’t come off as subtle with how it explores new themes of whether one belongs in a world of the living dead and does one have to lose their humanity to survive long. The episode also brings to a head the conflict which has been brewing for the last couple episodes between Rick’s group and that of Hershel Greene’s.

We see a silent opening of Rick and his group of survivors enjoying a breakfast with the tension in the air thick with unspoken consequences from the previous episode’s deluge of secrets being revealed. While Glenn had revealed the secret of the walkers in the barn to Dale the rest of the group still were kept unawares. Despite look of pleading from Maggie for Glenn to not tell the group he gives in to his conscience and tells everyone the biggest secret and their reaction at this reveal ranged from shock, surprise, incredulity and, finally with Rick, a hint of anger. It how everyone moves forward with this final secret reveal that the episode focuses mostly on. There were still some moments of character development and conflict sprinkled throughout the episode (mainly involving Shane and his distancing from Rick, Lori and others of the group), but the episode’s narrative still moved towards a final confrontation between Hershel’s need to keep the zombies corralled with the hope a cure could be found for them or Shane voicing everyone’s concern that a barn full of zombies was a disaster waiting to happen. Either they took care of the problem while they were still kept relatively harmless or they continue on towards their original plan of reaching Fort Benning.

This question finally gets answered with Shane forcefully making the decision for everyone. Jon Bernthal’s performance in the final five minutes of this episode was pretty good and while he teetered on over-the-top level in his anger and frustration at having to make the hard decisions concerning the group’s safety (at least in his own mind) he never steps over the line. The scene where he shows Hershel (as both he and Rick attempt to bring back two more catch-poled zombies back to the barn) made for some very tense and illuminating moments for everyone in the scene. We see understanding from people like Andrea and Daryl who think what Shane is saying is true to the look of horror on the faces of Hershel and Maggie as their idyllic world begins to crash all-around them. Maggie has gradually begun to move away from her father’s viewpoints about the zombies and how they should be treated through the last couple episodes, but to finally see Shane show them the true horror of what the world has become really hits both her father and herself pretty brutal and hard.

It’s interesting to note that tonight’s episode actually made a conscious effort to try and humanize the zombies. The way the episode unfolded was almost like the writers were trying to add some credence to Hershel’s way of thinking. This focus was understandable since everyone in the episode either followed Hershel blindly, were beginning to doubt Hershel’s way of doing things or just outright hostile towards it. This made the massacre of the zombies coming out of the barn with Shane leading a veritable firing squad somewhat poignant and sad. Even Glenn joined in on the shooting spree (though not before silently asking for Maggie’s consent) with an earlier personal epiphany about how he had forgotten just how dangerous the zombies were.

In the end, even the massacre of the barn zombies wasn’t the biggest shock of tonight’s episode. As the sound of gunfire stopped and the echoes faded away we hear a final zombie come out of the barn’s darkened interior and into the daylight. This was the final secret that finally answered the biggest and most dividing question of the second season of The Walking Dead.

Where the hell was Sophia?

Her final moments on the show has her coming out last from the barn and everyone’s fears were confirmed and everyone’s hopes about her eventually being found safe and alive were dashed. Even Shane who had been so gung-ho in showing Hershel and Rick that he was the right man for this new world to make the decisions about people’s well-being was left dumbstruck and unable to do what was needed. It took Rick — lambasted by both fans and detractors of the show plus Shane on top of them as being weak and unable to make the hard choices and decisions — to do what was needed. The scene ending with him standing over the body of Sophia after he shot her in the head (with the same Python revolver he used to start the series with the shooting of the little girl zombie in the pilot) made for a sad, poignant and incredible ending to what had been a tumultous story-arc to cover the first half of this new season.

The show will return this February. It is safe to say that moving forward the second half will be all about how new showrunner Glen Mazzara sees the show as and how to keep it the momentum of tonight’s episode into the second half. Darabont’s contribution to the show has probably ended with tonight’s episode or, as some have surmised, maybe even a couple episodes earlier. If the latter is the case then his firing from the show, as controversial and polarizing a decision to genre fans who love his work, may work to the show’s benefit. With Darabont we had a creative mastermind who dealt with film, but never with long-form tv shows. Maybe in addition to AMC being penny-pinchers and creating a hostile working arrangement with Darabont was only part of the problem. Could be that Darabont not having any experience writing for TV finally showed and kept the show from fixing some of the writing problems from the previous season. It will be interesting how a veteran tv writer and showrunner like Glen Mazzara will handle a show that tries to explore the conflicts and drama of a zombie apocalypse.

“Pretty Much Dead Already” doesn’t mean the show is now dead on arrival, but it does highlight that the premise which drives The Walking Dead could easily symbolize how this apocalyptic event has killed what humanity some might have had while also highlighting that every zombie killed was still someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, friend and family. In a world full of dead people the walking dead may not be the zombies but the survivors themselves.

Notes

  • Once again I like how the show has evolved the character of Glenn. Even when he’s being awkward as he tells everyone the secret of the barn gives a glimpse as to the sort of person Glenn is. Part of him wants to make Maggie happy, but knowing that keeping the secret of the barn will endanger his people and Maggie, he makes the hard decision to tell all even if it means Maggie hates him for it. Glenn shows that he can make the hard choices but do so with his conscience guiding him.
  • This is opposite with how the show has developed Shane this season and how this episode finally shows Shane tipping past his breaking point. Yes, he shows he can make the hard decisions but he does so not with his conscience as his guide but his base, survival instinct.
  • I found it darkly comical how Shane tried to one-up Rick in the eyes of Lori by pointing out how he was the one who has saved Lori and Carl to her. This scene with Lori really makes Shane less the badass zombie killer with people’s well-being in mind, but more of a selfish, sociopath who’s begun to believe all the lies he has been telling everyone and himself to justify his actions.
  • This in contrast to Daryl. While Daryl didn’t have as many scenes in tonight’s episode the ones he was in continued to explore his dual-nature. He will always be the true badass zombie killer in the show, but the show also continues to explore his growing humanity in his steadfast belief that they will find Sophia. It’ll be interesting how the dashing of his hopes on the Sophia subject will affect him moving forward.
  • I like how Daryl also hides behind aggressive reactions to hide his discomfort at others caring about his well-being and his safety. Will Daryl succumb to his inner-Merle and revert to how we first saw him in the beginning of the series as the violent, angry redneck? Or will he finally realize that the group does care and appreciate what he has done and continue on his journey into becoming a part of this post-apocalyptic family unit.
  • T-Dog has been pretty much useless and invisible this first-half of the season. I think I’ll echo what others have been saying about this character. Either give him something to do other than stand in the background or kill him off, but hopefully in spectacular and heroic fashion.
  • Even though Robert Kirkman gave an explanation about Sophia, the barn and Hershel during the after-show Talking Dead live segment I still think the second half needs to fully explain whether Hershel already knew that the girl the group had been searching for and putting themselves in danger during these searches.
  • There still some awkwardness in how child actor Chandler Riggs has been handling the role of Carl, but he’s getting better. I hope this improvement continues because Carl, whether the show follows the comic books or not, will become a major player in this show’s overall narrative sooner or later.
  • Once again, great make-up effects work by Greg Nicotero and his make-up effects wizards at KNB EFX. Their work tonight wasn’t as gruesome as the previous couple of episodes, but their work to give a semblance of humanity to these zombies helped make tonight’s episode one of the better ones, if not the best, of the show.
  • Finally, Andrew Lincoln does his best performance as Rick Grimes. Love how he lets his expression speak for themselves throughout most of the final 5 minutes of the episode. From the helpless look as he fails to stop Shane to finally showing everyone that only he can truly make the hard decision as he finally puts down Sophia while Shane watches helplessly this time around.

So, what did people think of tonight’s episode and the whole first-half of this second season. Did you like it? Does the show still have problems to work out with how these characters are written? Will Darabont’s removal and absence in these last few episodes and moving forward make the second half of season two something to look forward to?

All comments welcome and will be discussed in healthy, civilized, if heated discussions.

17 responses to “Review: The Walking Dead S2E7 “Pretty Much Dead Already”

  1. Decent last few episodes. Shame it took them years to get there :/ The first four/five episodes were complete filler and a waste of time for everyone involved. They could easily have jumped into episode five or six (I forget the exact number as I kinda stopped keeping track at that point because I really started to plan on not watching the show anymore) *finally* had something to watch.

    Almost everything in those first few was painful as it was slowly delivered and while hints of greatness were there, it wasn’t worth the wait by a loooong shot. Everything we got was just to ‘HAH! got ya!’ later on, like Shane for example. Season 1 ended with him plain crazy and deranged. Suddenly he was an uber nice and caring guy. …And then he snapped and went right back to being a cowardly self-serving jerk. Why bother setting us up for that? We already knew he was bad, why try steering us away, unless you really had nothing to say in the first place so you wanted to pad the gap.

    Darle is a badass. Then he picks some flowers and cares for a girl and her mom #who might I add are two pointless characters in the first place#. And then he goes right back to being a badass killer. But now he has flowers again! Bleh.

    Lori was sticking up for Rick. But then disagrees with him. Constantly.

    Andrea should be long dead by now.

    Carl is also pointless and is merely a talking plot device. He went from being sad Shane ignored him as Shane was planning on ditching the group, to saying Deers are Cool! and making Lori want him to live when she was doubting Rick yet again, to asking about Sophia randomly after waking up just to Rick could lie to him to so he could apologize for that lie later on #which ALSO didn’t happen because Lori told Carl this off camera#, to wanting to learn to shoot which everyone else joins in on, to now wanting to stay to find Sophia.

    This season has the whole Star Wars Prequel vibe going for it, and it is quite detrimental, Last season #the original 3 episodes# was good to great. Then they try to milk the sacred cow some more with a second season #prequels#, only they don’t really know what they are doing. They have a plan to do what they want, but the audience doesn’t really agree with their plan. Only when the final new episode comes out do fans rejoice. It is undecided if they liked it because it simply attaches itself to the superior original episodes, or if merely because it was the final episode and the trashing of their memories would finally cease.

    All in all, like someone going through a traumatic event, if I completely block out all memory of but the last two or three episodes, I’d say this was a great first half. But as I am got rather burned out desperately waiting for the show to actually start for over a month… I’d say this was a C-average and that’s being generous. To put it another way, if you had zero knowledge of this series’ history in book form and merely watched the show week to week and gleaned information that way: If season 1 never aired and season two was the first view fans got of the show, would you watch it?

    Personally, in that scenario, I do not think they would have gotten up to the fourth episode before getting pulled. And if I was in their position, I would have. Now, that scenario is not the present, I admit. But if I was in a CEO position and I was able to single-handedly make the call, I’d force them to rewrite the whole dang season to make it as busy and active as the last few we saw. In a way it reminds me of Bioshock as they went all out making the demo at E3 over-the-top with special abilities and chaining them together and all this fancy stuff. It totally took people by surprise and they loved it. After E3 the guy in charge said “ya know… why don’t we go back and make *every* part of the game like the demo?” It made people go nuts on the team, but the final product was far superior than what it would have been.

    I really, really wanted to like this season because last year’s was so good and the material is #pun incoming# to die for and it is amazing to see the Geek Culture getting promoted. I just wish those in charge of the show would care as much about making a quality show as I did wanting to see one as what we got #at first# was a bloated, jabbering mess. They took far too long, and this mid-season break reeks of publicity and hollow pre-fabrication to increase demand that really is not there. They wasted nearly a month and a half to get the show started, and that it just not acceptable. Though, in their defense, I might have enjoyed it more if I downed a shot for every Hell on Wheels or “HAI! I’m a nerdist! Watch mai show after the show!” Talking Dead ad they aired. The show would not have been any better, but I’d be so hammered I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference XD

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    • I will agree with you that the show was uneven this first half of the season. While details of Darabont’s involvement in this first half continues to be assumptions I’m really beginning to lean on his departure as one reason why the show finally began to have momentum from episode 4 to last night’s mid-season finale.

      As Lisa Marie had called the series, a flawed masterpiece, I do believe that the basic premise of the show has been difficult to master by a team of writers both from last year and this year. I know that it’s like giving the show an excuse, but it’s difficult not to when despite the uneven nature of the show’s writing it still remains the most watched show on basic cable (I’d even dare say premium cable). The reason for people to continue watching is there despite it’s inconsistencies.

      I do believe that if this show was in regular network TV it would still be considered a success. One has to remember that despite already halfway through season 2 this show still has only 13 episodes under under its wing. I’ve seen far more successful genre shows take a full season to finally find it’s legs. I think for those like yourself and others who have been frustrated with the show’s flaws it’s due to finally having a zombie series on tv that treated the subject matter in a serious way that wanting to see it be perfect and succeed has raised the bar for it to reach. I point to the recent HBO hit, Game of Thrones.

      That show had a killer pilot then was slow to somewhat meandering it’s next 4-5 episodes before all the pieces began to fit together, characters began to emerge and finally it hit it’s stride with the final two episodes. I’m not saying The Walking Dead’s writing is on the same level as Game of Thrones, but I do believe that TWD’s writers have a much harder time trying to get a handle on how to tell this series’ story without relying over and over on the zombies as a plot device. They’ve been trying to find a way to build the characters through dialogue and their personal interactions and conflicts with each other which at times have been successful and others not.

      I love Frank Darabont and all for his love of genre and all, but I will be the first to admit that he’s quite maudlin and unsubtle when it comes to exploring humanistic themes on his films. This creative trait just got magnified on a project that needed someone with a more subtle hand and I do think that Glen Mazzara, who has worked on another show which tackles similar themes albeit minus the zombies, with the very apocalyptic-feeling cop show, The Shield.

      Yes, the first half could’ve handled the Sophia question without using the whole first-half of the season to play it out. I actually thought it should’ve been over and done with around episode5 at the longest, but even believing that I still thought that last night’s episode did a great job in pulling off the answer. I know that I was beginning to tire of the Sophia arc by episode 5 but even getting an idea (from a comment left by someone and quickly deleted by me as too spoilerish a week ago) that this was the route the writers finally decided on I was still shocked and saddened that they went this way. This wasn’t how TV traditional storytelling was done. One didn’t kill off a child that it spent half a season trying to save. And I think this is what the writers under new showrunner Mazzara are beginning to find out.

      The show has really been succeeding on the positive end of it when it goes against what’s traditionally accepted for TV. On its most basic the show has already succeeded on being a show about the zombie apocalypse that wasn’t a cheap SyFy movie of the weekend or a self-referential, tongue-in-cheek that was cynical about it’s premise. The show still has problems to deal with moving forward is one thing I can agree on, but after 13-episodes I do think that the show has done enough to set-up how the show should continue. Maybe it was a good thing Darabont was fired. I think the second half will bear this out and season three (which in network TV would be considered just the start of a true second season when most shows really hit their stride like past genre shows Buffy, Angel and Supernatural…I’d even add Lost to that) will be where the show really hits it’s stride.

      I don’t even try to compare the show to the comic book it’s adapted from since the show has completely gone off that rail in major ways this season that even having read it even I’m not sure how the next story arc will play out. I also think that you’re looking too much into the reasoning for the midseason break. It’s common use in basic cable series that has more than 10 episode for said season. Yes, it’s a money-making decision since it will stretch out the 13-episode season two run past January which should make the wait for the start of season three much shorter than the wait between 1 and 2. I also think that the show and it’s network at AMC won’t lose sleep at losing fans since it’s ratings numbers seem to say opposite. AS I mentioned on the review, the very vocal minority have their reasons, but there’s a much larger majority who lives by this show that word of mouth continues to spread for new viewers to chime in. The only way this show will be cancelled is if the ratings begin to slide into numbers more akin to what Breaking Bad is getting which is not very high (the show only being kept from being cancelled by it being the best written show on tv).

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  2. I think the writers for this series have taken on a rather challenging task. They must strike and maintain a perfect balance between zombie carnage, engrossing story content, and character development. Constant mayhem would inure the viewer, and make any weaknesses in the special effects (I haven’t really noticed any thus far) more apparent. Too much sitting around and gabbing would be tedious. Either way, sooner or later, the viewer becomes bored.

    The “Walking Dead” writers seem to have attempted to create that elusive middle ground with repeated crises involving the short-fused/violent/abusive/impulsive jerk du jour. That title has changed hands several times over the first season and a half. That strategy has resulted in some annoying characters, which has made the program annoying, at times. And there have been some dull lulls, as well.

    However, keeping the zombie action fairly limited has allowed it to be effective when it has been unleashed. And the patience of the writers in stretching out the resolution of the Sophia situation resulted in a pathos-drenched mid-season finale.

    So they’ve kept us waiting, but we have been rewarded. Whether or not sufficiently to justify the unevenness and tedium with which the show has been charged is debatable. (Nice to see that you’ve lightened up on the hyper-critical fine-tooth combing for inconsistencies thing there, EC. 🙂 )

    That is another problem for the writers. Portraying people realistically also often bores viewers. But non-dynamic characters like T-Dog or Carol are not only believable, but likely, if not entertaining. You might like to think that if you were I the midst of a zombie siege, you would be a person of action. Maybe you would, but probably not. More likely, you would look to someone else to organize things and keep you safe. Presenting such characters may not be entertaining, but it is more believable than having a group of which every member is confident and capable, as well as charismatic.

    Same goes for Rick. If he were presented as most protagonists are, he would be less interesting and less realistic. He thinks before he acts. And he must make decisions in situations in which there may be no such thing as a “right” choice. Having others second-guess him after the fact with unprovable “if we had done this instead” proclamations would be an inevitable occurrence. I think he is a much more plausible character than the usual TV leader-in-a-crisis.

    While the zombies are at bay, the show lapses into the realm of soap opera. The Shane/Lori thing (and the possibly resultant baby…are you kidding? “Whose baby is it?” Seriously? What are we watching, “All My Zombies”? “The Young and the Lifeless”?) And Glenn and Maggie. And Daryl and Carol. And Shane and Andrea (I’ve got a good feeling about that one. I’ll be rooting for those kids.) …What the…?…Sorry. I think I was channeling Encrazed Crafts there for a moment.

    Anyway, I think there is much to appreciate and anticipate here. Let’s keep in mind that this is a prime-time television series about flesh-eating zombies, and a non-campy one, at that – nary a pun or socially satirical gimmick to be found. As such, it could easily look ridiculous in its attempt to pull that off, but it doesn’t. Furthermore, it boasts top-notch creature and gore effects, which AMC allow to be displayed at an R-movie level of explicitness. Uneven, bland or annoying at times, and unsure of its characters’ characters? OK. I really wish the show was just plain scarier. But it is well-produced and generally, solidly-acted. So, yes, its artistic and commercial fates do lie in the hands of the writers, and they do have some work to do. But they have provided some compelling plot angles and gripping scenes thus far. That perfect balance that would satisfy every viewer is impossible to achieve. Less focus on drunken anger-management flunkies, some coherence to some of the characters, dispensing with some of the soap opera stuff, and an intensification of atmosphere could bring “The Walking Dead” as close as any show would be able to get.

    (Qualifier – This was written before Arleigh’s most-recent response, so there is some unintended echoing of observations. Great minds, etc.)

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    • On the topic of the show’s soap opera aspect which seems to be the major sticking point for most of it’s detractors and, to a certain extent, how some characters have been portrayed. This goes to my observation of the zombie genre in general as well.

      The Walking Dead, in my opinion, follows on the great tradition of being quite melodramatic in it’s storytelling. There’s always relationship issues and conflicts between many characters which highlights the answer to the age-old question of how did the zombies take over: people when gathered in a group bigger than 3 really do dumb things and suck at being humans and civilized.

      If Darabont contributed anything of note to this show’s overall exploration of existential themes then it would be that human’s by nature will never be able to act in a rational and logical manner to stop a crisis. Now add zombies into the mix and you get crisis turning apocalyptic. Romero first began exploring this theme and every writer and filmmaker following in those footsteps have done the same. Where the writers of this show seem to have difficulty in staying consistent is the balance between a realistic portrayal of people behaving in an ongoing crisis and how to interject dramatic elements into the situation.

      So what people see as the show acting like The Walking Dead of Our Lives is really the writers not striking that right balance. I don’t believe that even in a zombie apocalypse relationships and/or couples don’t form. In fact, such situations are perfect breeding grounds for soap opera-types situations.

      The writers haven’t done as good a job in portraying these relationships and their accompanying drama. The only one which they seem to have pulled off well is the one between Glenn and Maggie.

      So, for me it’s not that the show has become too much like a soap opera, but more of that the show hasn’t pulled off the soap opera melodrama with ease and a sense of forward motion in regards to the characters and their motivations.

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      • Well, that is true. I suppose I contradicted myself, in a way. After defending the portrayal of indecisive and unexciting people as realistic, I criticized the portrayal of relationships development, which would, as you indicated, certainly occur during stressful events. It is one more element for which the right balance must be established. I think I just saw an opportunity to exploit the premise in order to come up with ostensibly clever zombified soap opera titles, which didn’t really pan out. But I stand by the “Whose baby is it?” complaint. That, while situationally and biologically possible, is just too “One Life To Live – And Then You Come Back As A Reanimated Corpse”. (These really aren’t working out as well as I had hoped.)

        Having held onto that one criticism, I will say that a baby would present an interesting scenario, and possibly a temptation/dilemma for the writers. How dark are they willing to go? Would they have the guts to have a baby eaten? “A zombie ate my baby!” The concept was implied in (I think) this season’s first episode, in which someone saw a small and bloodied child seat in the back of a car. But that was a deductive and indirect presentation of the concept. That is probably as far as they would go. Now, if Darabont were still on board…

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        • If Darabont was on board still I do think that the inconsistencies would continue.

          As of now, pretty much every writer on the show are tv veterans who know how to handle collaborative work for long-form tv shows. This is why I believe that while Darabont’s ideas were still being used for the last couple episodes right up to last night’s mid-season finale, I think these writers were beginning to add their take on the premise and characters with Darabont out of the picture. The last couple episodes still had some clunky dialogue and character interaction, but you could see the show and its characters begin to make a turn towards consistency.

          I believe that Darabont was the right person with the genre clout and background to bring the show to tv, but Glen Mazzara may be the better showrunner in charge of focusing everyone on what the show needs to be. Is it a show that treats the zombie apocalypse in a realistic manner with all the advantages and flaws such a move entails? Or is it a show that should be melodramatic and take advantage of the zombie genre’s long-standing tradition of horror, existential angst and soap opera-level character conflicts and interactions?

          So far, the show has tried to be both without being best at either one which, at times, sends the audience a message of a show that seemed to go nowhere and spinning it’s wheels in place. My hope is that Mazzara, his team of writers and the crew of veteran tv directors like Guy ferland, Ernest Dickerson and Michelle McLaren embrace the genre’s penchant for melodrama and allow the series to let the scenes speak for themselves instead trying to explain everything from themes, ideas and agendas.

          I think this is why the character development for both Daryl and Shane, with some respect to Glenn as well, have been high points this season since in addition to their dialogue they also have allowed their body language and facial expressions to tell their story and how they’re reacting to the situation at hand. Rick had such moments this first half of the second season, but the writers still continued to let dialogue rule his character development. The positive thing to come out of last night’s episode in regards to Rick as a character was how the writers were able to balance his expository moments with scenes of his face and body telling the story without much talking. That final moment with him making the hardest decision to mercy-kill Sophia in the end was Andrew Lincoln’s best moment on this series, so far.

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  3. On another note, I was on twitter last night and about four hours after the show aired, I mentioned that Sophia had been shot in the head and this guy tweets back, “Thanks for spoiling my show! Unfollowed.” Now, seriously, I understand that the death of Sophia was a big deal and a big shock and all but really, it’s not a spoiler if it’s four hours later! And then to get so upset about it that instead of just unfollowing, he has to leave a snarky little message just to hurt my feelings, seriously, what an ass! Seriously, he not only made me cry but he made me feel bad too.

    But then I noticed that I have 7,000 followers on twitter, whereas this guy has a total of 35.

    And those 7,000 followers lept to my defense. One of them wrote: “Dude, if you’re unfollowing @LisaMarieBowman, that’s your loss, not hers!”

    The ass wrote back, “I don’t consider it to be a loss.”

    To which I replied, “You better believe it’s your loss! Who the Hell are you ever going to be!?”

    So, maybe it wasn’t my proudest moment on twitter but my point here is that we should all be able to talk about, argue about, and disagree about the shows we love with the amount of maturity that Arleigh, KO, and Encrazed Crafts have shown above. Just because we love zombies, that’s no reason for us to treat each other like the undead. 🙂

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    • Yeah, I saw what had happened when I woke up and checked my timeline. Even Doc was quite dismissive of the unfollower.

      Now, to more important things. What did you think of last night’s episode and the show in general, so far and moving forward.

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      • I know, Doc was all like, “Meh.” lol.

        Anyway–

        Last night’s episode, I think, was a game changer and I have a lot of respect for the series for actually going there. I was one of the many people getting annoyed with how long it was taking to resolve the Sophia storyline and one reason why I was getting annoyed was because I just naturally assumed that Sophia would eventually pop up safe and I was like, “How can she still be safe after being missing all this time?”

        And the answer, quite simply, is that she wasn’t safe. Instead, it appears that something caught her, took a big bite out of her neck, and turned her into a zombie. And what’s amazing is that it was obvious that this had happened just by the discovery of her doll and the zombie that was lurking nearby. But, I think the majority of the audience totally missed this (at the time) because we’ve been so conditioned to believe that, of course, a child is going to show up safe and unharmed. I mean, just think about how, on Lost, somehow both Walt and his dog managed to survive the exact same things that killed everyone else in the cast.

        So, I think by having Sophia finally turn up as a zombie, The Walking Dead has now declared that 1) the world is indeed collapsing and 2) that all the things that we’ve come to take for granted no longer apply. I think it was the perfect pay-off for the long wait, especially since Rick and his group were just like us — they simply could not bring themselves to accept the obvious until Sophia finally showed up with half her neck missing.

        (That neck wound, obviously, really disturbed me. Some of that’s because the gore effects on The Walking Dead are so effective and well done. And a lot if it is because I once flipped a car I was driving and ended up getting a shard of windshield in my neck. Luckily, it somehow managed to miss my jugular and it was a pretty shallow cut but it still bled like crazy and scare the Hell out of me and it just made me feel so sorry for poor Sophia.)

        I also found it interesting that everyone was so quick to condemn Herschel for keeping all the zombies in his barn but, once Sophia came out of there, they discovered that it wasn’t so easy to kill the people you love for a second time.

        Hopefully, now that the show has established the reality of the situation and proven to us that we can’t take it for granted, the pace will pick up a bit in the upcoming episodes. I’m hoping that the Governor shows up sometime soon and I’m hoping that he’s Michael Rooker. Or alternatively, I’m hoping that Michael Rooker shows up in zombie form.

        The characters are still a mixed bag to me. Rick’s been kinda overshadowed as of late but he took control of the show once again by being the one who put down Sophia. It’s a moment that reminded me a bit of Lost when Sawyer tried to mercy kill the F.B.I. guy but only wounded him and therefore, the show’s nominal “hero,” Jack, had to be the one to shoot the man in cold blood. It was an important moment there because it established that, while Jack might not be as complex or charismatic as the other castways, he was still the one who we could depend on to do what needed to be done and I think that’s comparable to what happened when Rick finally shot Sophia.

        Shane remains an asshole but you have to respect the fact that he was the one who was willing to open up the barn and start shooting. To continue with the Lost comparison, the all-important anti-hero role of Sawyer is kinda shared between Shane and Norman Reedus’s character. That said, Shane is still such a sleazy guy that I was kinda hoping Sophia would at least get a chance to take a bite out of him before Rick shot her. Glen remains adorable (or is that adorkable, either way, he deserves to be a fan favorite) and hopefully, the old guy will eventually get to do something other than just be the old guy. T-Dog, I always forget about and, quite frankly, I have a hard time with any character named T-Dog. Actually, is there a character named T-Dog in the show or did I just dream that? I’m not sure. The female characters remain, largely, plot devices.

        The soap opera element doesn’t bug me, not at all. All the great shows on television are, at their heart, soap operas.

        So, I’m definitely looking forward to the show’s return in February and I can’t wait to see where this show goes. Yes, it still has some flaws but I also think it’s 100% better than almost every other show out there right now. At the very least, I will always watch for the zombies.

        Like

    • “Unfollow”? That is now a word? (I don’t Twitter. Is that even a verb?)

      Alas, the bastardization of the language that technology has wrought.

      What is the world coming to? What’s next – a combie apocalypse?

      At least we avoided The Rapture. Dodged an existential bullet there.

      Anyway. sorry to hear that you were …ahem…unfollowed. His loss, for sure.

      Like

      • And yes, “combie” is a word. Everyone knows that. Communist zombies. Much worse than Capitalist zombies. Get ready for the Occuppy and Devour Wall Street movement.

        Like

      • Yes, unfollow is a part of the new English language, along with the use of both “twitter” and “facebook”as a verb.

        An example would be the following exchange:

        Random Guy: “Hey, Lisa, would you facebook me?”

        Me: “Not on the 1st date.”

        Anyway…

        Like

    • Aww, don’t let them thar’ trolls keep ya down, Lisa. A nice point of view is to remember that most ‘tough guys’ on the net are simply jealous or ‘jelly’ of something of yours. Not only is it true, but calling them ‘jelly’ is one heck of a nice way to make them into something cute and harmless.

      In order to keep this peace-lovin’ and kumbaiyah chanting train a goin’ (and that I am wicked tired and fading fast), I’ll end my comments on this current season by saying a quick recap of muh’ thoughts on this season thus far. First off, you guys posted a lot of thoughts I agree with and articulated them quite well. Secondly, I feel that I am not invested in nearly any of these characters, but namely the ones that the show *wants* me to be at any given time. I also feel like the people in charge of the show are amazed at the tiny and given details.

      For example, the chick they had on Talking Dead on the Felicia Day and Napoleon Dynamite episode, someone asked if Shane shaving his head symbolizes his character coming undone/emotionally cutting himself. Then in a moment of delicateness, she responds rather slowly and in such a way as to politely say “God, you’re dumb”, she re-iterates that he was hiding the gash of hair that Otis ripped out.

      Yeah. He knew that, we knew that. He was asking about the inner turmoil, the deep connection and not just the visual connection, yet she completely was obvious to it in preferance to the blatant.

      Now this week the VFX guy mentions that Sophia emerging from the barn was an emotional moment and everyone on set was misty eyed and all that.

      Did anyone at home react that way? I admit that get the music playing a certain tone and I’ll get liquid eyes pretty easily, but in this case it was more of a ‘Ha, that’s ironic. … Is Carol gonna run to her and geat bitten like I hoped back in the first episode recap?” And yeah, she would have if her new boy-toy Daryle didn’t stop her. Raspberries!

      An even bigger “WTF!” moment to me was their admission that they actually recorded two scenes and that one script required that Sophia was undamaged from the front but had a nasty bite clearly visible from behind. They planned on making her look human as that is how they really wanted to see her after searching so (too) long, but Rick comes to his senses and pops her off or something like that.

      Why didn’t they stick with that! That would have been sooo much better! That means that someone in charge had to go out of their way to say “no, do it THIS way instead. It’s better, trust us you’ll go far” and called it a day. Yet again we got the blatant surface value of the scene when it really could have been stuffed with depth and all that good stuff. This was a clear case where they had gold, but pawned it for quick cash 😦

      Both of those could be classified as melodramatic, or soap operatic. Or heavy-handed, unsubtle writing. Forceful directing. In another situation, possibly even hammy acting. It is all the same problem just another variation. All I want is, whatever caused (in my opinion) S2 Eps 1-4 to suck so very, very hard, to not happen again.

      If it was Darabont, cool he’s gone. If it was the mother of the key grip, keep her off the set. I don’t want to blame anyone or call any one person out. All I would like to see is, whatever was the cause of the terrible result of the start of the season to not have a hand in the decision making process ever again. Or, in the very least, to be the polar opposite choice to whoever makes the tough calls. “Oh, dumb-dumb McGee wants to have the zombies in only one scene this episode. He thought having two back-to-back character to god monologues was a good idea in the first episode, so yeah… let’s do *all but one* scene about zombies instead.”

      Sidenote: as KO mentioned a certain fine-tooth comb for details ^_^: is anyone else bothered by that slash of hair missing from Shane’s right forehead? I know Otis took off a clump, but that was from the side and back, not the front at all. So… is this there because Shane supposedly messed up during the trimming and nicked himself? Why did he only mess up that one spot? Did the actor have a scar or natural part there or something? Seems rather off to me.

      Not even touching on the yet-again perfect accuracy at 900 yards while running zombie headshots this season. But bugged me enough to warrant this footnote.

      Might have a few spelling errors, was gonna run it through the checker but you’l get what I was saying. Going to bed.

      Viva La Zombies.

      Like

      • I actually think that they went with the right method of just making Sophia come out already changed and that’s how everyone saw her. The other way would’ve been too “cutesy” in trying to make everyone see her as being normal or hoping she still was. Her coming out already changed but still looking somewhat human due to the simplicity of the make-up effects was a much stronger reveal.

        Someone on the set who had been fired and had a beef with the show was spoiling this episode by posting on every blog and site the whole episode breakdown had posted it here and I was unlucky enough to read it as a comment. I deleted it, but even after being spoiled by that comment post I was still moved by the ending. As Lisa mentioned, TV is where children in drama don’t die in such a way. Kids are considered sacred ground when it comes to drama on tv. They either die off-screen or remain above it all. The show killing a kid in such a way for a second time in its brief time tells everyone that even our own rules that we expect from a tv show are not safe.

        Another thing why I thought the way Sophia came out was the right one was the reaction everyone on the cast had at the reveal. They were all either gung-ho or methodical in gunning down all the nameless zombies coming out of the barn (except Hershel who was horrified and shocked), but once the little girl they all knew came out last the situation switched. Hershel now looked calm and stoic with a barely there expression of “what do you do now that it’s someone you know” expression. Everyone from Rick’s group had their moment to shine in that scene even if they haven’t had the chance during the show previously.

        Andrea’s was coming face to face with the fresh memory of her sister turning and once again reminding her that she may not be the victim, but Sophia reminded her that in the long run they were all victims. Daryl’s aggressive optimism crashed and burned and Carol’s last link to her family was destroyed. I think for parents that scene of her sobbing helplessly was nightmare enough. Carl, for all his attempt to act grown up and tough, reacted how a child would confronted with the new world’s take on mortality. Lori’s own reaction seemed to mirror her own personal fear that what she was seeing was a sample of whats to come for Carl and her unborn child.

        Then we come to Shane and Rick. The one the writers have been setting up as the one with the mindset and skills to survive and had been the leader of the shooting line was left unable to act. For all his bluster and rage-fueled reaction to the danger he saw to his group, Shane was all talk when it comes to dealing with one of their own being turned. It ended up Rick who came out of the group’s collective grief and shock to do the hardest thing an adult had to do and that’s put down a child, a zombie child, but a child nonetheless.

        I think going the other way with the Sophia reveal would’ve cheapened the scene and not allow everyone a chance to confront consequences of this new world on decisions they make or not make.

        Like

  4. Seeing her alive and well would have surprised me a lot more than seeing her as a zombie, to be honest. All Shane did was rile them up into hysterics, and how hard was that? Darle doesn’t take much to provoke, T-Dog is potentially paranoid to begin with, Andrea will do anything for her man hulk, and Glen was protecting Maggie and the group from the now loose zombies that Shane himself released, though he did make sure it was okay with her first.

    While I see what you are saying, I personally view it as the writer’s being lazy, going “You know what totally isn’t expected? The exact opposite of everything! Let’s kill her off.” “…Didn’t we already… I mean, the very first thing to die on this entire series was a zombie girl.” “Eh, eh, eh. Just line up the shot. Okay. Everyone look sad. Annnd action!”

    In one way I think, intestinally or otherwise, they did this big recap and nearly homage to the first episode. Rick talking to Hershal about his first time seeing a zombie, about not wanting to kill it and all that. Then we have Rick sullenly putting down Zombie Sophia in a mix of Biker Girl zombie and the teddy bear zombie at the very start. It was quasi-series finale-ish. I wonder if this was there silent nod to a goodbye to Darabont, as that was his pilot and directed episode they are alluding to?

    As you mentioned above, I don’t quite think they got the drama levels perfect yet. There is good in there, but just flipping things around does not make it unexpected or deep. You can do this once, maaaybe twice but after that the genie has errantly left the bottle and everything you do after that will have the audience immediately jumping to that opposite conclusion to avoid getting misdirected and laughed at. M Knight ‘Sham’alon learnt this the hard way. After the series did it a few times (Shane’s crazy, no he’s not, yes he is / Lori walking out with a freaking skinning knife only to jam it into a tree and urinate on a stick seconds after the knife was dramatically revealed / Carl getting close to a deer, peacefully, and then getting shot immediately after) the first thing you start to suspect IS the exact opposite. In this case they already did a young girl zombie getting shot so it wasn’t a surprise nor emotionally heavy in the slightest, though I am sorry someone went out of their way to spoil the experience for you. That has happened to me several times with games in the past 😦

    I’m glad you got a lot more out of it and certainly enjoyed the scene a lot more than I, but I just feel they only reversed it for shock value. (Incoming bullet point slash thought process ‘tree’# But I was not shocked. And then it ended. And now we have to wait months and months for it to start again. After the series took a year to start up after we were hooked in the first place. Only to meander about for a month and a half after that point before it actually started going somewhere. And now when they finally have some nice action and drama and all that going full tilt… we have to wait said months and months for it to start up. AGAIN.

    Are you guys familiar with the show Ghost Hunters on Syfy? I used to watch it religiously for like the first three seasons with the Misses every chance we could get. After awhile we noticed a pattern of nothing ever actually happening, or if it does it is only fully revealed at the very end of the show when they unveiled it to the home owner. We went from watching it constantly to occasionally, to finally just queuing it up On Demand and fast forwarding until we saw “The Reveal” caption appear near the last five or so minutes and only watching that. If nothing happens before then and the rest is entirely filler, why waste our time?

    Again, I am over-joyed if all yall love the show head over heals and I do not wanna drag any of you down. I was super excited for Walking last season, but this one disappointed me. If I were able to pinpoint one specific reason as to why, one root of it all, I’d have to say it was how anyone involved could have let the last three be so good and leave the first four being so bad. I mean, I might be a bit more harsh on the show than you guys because I did not enjoy where they went with it, but I think we can all agree the latter half of the current season clearly outshone the first?

    I know they have to set up some things, but I’d much rather have minor information over-load than basically empty episodes. To me, they put everything on hold just to save Sophia for the ending of this mid season nonsense. I do not think it was worth damning the show that I really enjoyed last year just to kill off a pointless, plotless character. It would have, in my opinion, been a much better solution to have Rick return to find her mauled and bleeding out, then having to decide to shoot her before she turned in a mercy killing way, or wait for her to turn. That still would have allowed him to go all “zomg, am I making the right decisions?” as he more or less would have accidentally led to her demise.

    At the very least that would have avoided a seven episode story arc about a storyless character. Honestly, and I do not mean to project loathing on to the young actress as she did wonderful for the role she was given and in no way does my dislike of the story arc fall onto her to burden in the slightest, buuuut:

    Unless you are a cyborg out of the Alien series that is more human than humans actually are, how can you possibly care about a girl that the show itself care enough to put forth any effort into endearing towards us? We know her name, her mom was abused, and her dad was a jerk. Her dad had more lines and more reasoning to be on the show than either of them, from a script perspective. She had maybe six to ten lines the entire series thus far, including flashbacks and one word answers. So, much like what they did last season finale, they merely put any random character of their choosing into a depressing situation and put on sappy music and expect us to empathize.

    While I feel for anyone in that situation, I cannot muster up more than the basic “Well, gee, that really sucks.” In this case, I am far more upset they even went this route to put the entire show on hold and have Rick say “We have to look for Sophia!” fifty times which got stale rather fast. The poll was broke on the first episode of the Talking Dead, but seeing 99% of the people vote to not look for the girl was more believable than only having one guy, Shane of all people, say they need to up and out.

    I hope all the best for the show and its many fans. To end this on a bit of a positive tone, I do, in a way, appreciate the ending we were given. While I think it was a bad call from On High, I would much rather have an action I disagree with, than no action happening at all.

    Like

    • Intestinally. Really? Learn to spell check properly ya TWD-bashing nub. Sheesh.

      Intentionally*

      (Anyone else miss orangoo? Was an awesome spell checker before they got gobbled up by another site >.<)

      Like

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