Friday, October 21, 2011

The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1: What Lies Ahead

After almost a full damn year, The Walking Dead is back on AMC! Huzzah!

I finally got to see the Season 2 premiere yesterday. I don't have cable anymore, so I have to wait until I can get over to KW Monster's house to watch it. But enough of my problems, on with the review!

Wow! Now THAT'S how you kick off a new season! My eyes were riveted to the screen for the entire episode. I was initially worried by reports that co-creator Frank Darabont had been fired from the show, and feared for its quality. If the rest of the season is anything like this episode, there's no cause for alarm.

Picking up right where we left off last season, Rick and his crew are tooling down a highway when they encounter an impassible traffic jam. As they scavenge supplies from the abandoned cars, they're nearly overrun by a herd of hungry zombies. Tempers flare, long-simmering resentments come to a boil and the group threatens to fly apart.

Although this episode wasn't based on any particular issue of the Walking Dead comic book, it did follow its general rule: Things Get Bad. Then They Get Worse. Then After They Get Worse, They Get REALLY Worse.

Some thoughts (SPOILERS, obviously):

• I know that the RV sort of became a character in the comic book, but come on! If I was trying to survive in a post apocalyptic zombie wasteland, I would for damn sure secure myself a more reliable mode of transportation that an old RV that breaks down every few miles.

• That zombie herd absolutely freaked me out. Their shuffling feet and undead moaning... yikes. I was certain that any second one of the characters hiding under the cars was going to get dragged out into the sunlight. And it just kept going on and on... I felt like I was under the cars with them.

• I guess I should cut Sophia some slack since she's just a kid, but... she's an idiot. Rick tells her to stay put until he comes back, so what's the first thing she does as soon as he's out of sight? Runs off looking for her mom. And then inadvertently endangers the entire group as they now have to spend two days in the same spot searching for her.

• Why didn't all the dead people in the traffic jam cars turn into zombies? Darryl pulled a dead body out of a car and hid under it to fool the zombie herd. Carl climbed over a dead body's lap to reach a satchel full of knives, and its eyelids didn't so much as flutter. Why are some of the bodies really dead, and some are only mostly dead? Did I miss something? Is the TV Universe is different from the Comic Universe? In the comic you become a zombie at the moment of death, even if you weren't bitten by one. Maybe in the TV Universe you have to be bitten to turn? Explanation, please.

• Some nice writing in this episode, especially Andrea's speech to Dale and Lori's speech to the group.

• Is Darryl becoming The Walking Dead's version of Sawyer? He calls the Asian-American Glenn "Short Round," and in the church addresses a statue of Jesus as "J.C," just like Sawyer used to do on LOST.

• I've seen a lot of stuff on TV in my time, but I never thought I would see two men gut a zombie and pull out its stomach contents to see if it ate a little girl!

• That final scene took me totally by surprise! I should have known that on this show, whenever something nice is happening and the orchestral music swells that that's a signal for the rug to be pulled out from under you, but they still got me. I was absolutely gobsmacked. I can't imagine that they'd kill off a little boy, but on this show... you never know.

Bring on Episode 2!

6 comments:

  1. There were so many things that made me FURIOUS about this episode. Par for the course for Walking Dead. Starting off good in season one then fell apart.

    - I suspect the reason why people in the car weren't zombies is that they died from starvation. They've played the outbreak as a plague and that would require a bite or some sort of fluid exchange. I felt like explaining that without step-by-step explanatory exposition was one of the few nice touches of this episode.

    issues:

    1) "We're going to need a lot of people to help comb the forest to find the little girl." Okay, absolutely. THEN THEY ARE WALKING IN A STRAIGHT LINE. Killing me. There are two sheriffs there. They know how to do a search - single file is negative effective.

    2) "Only three of us are going to be carrying fire arms". So the rest of you should stand about twenty feet away in a cluster while we "sneak" up on a tent. What? Come on.

    3) Did you just have a tough guy soliloquy with Jesus? Are you kidding me? As terrible as the opening soliloquy with someone you probably won;t even be able to reach via walkie talkie, unless it's some sort of unlimited range walkie talkie. Which is magic. ALSO, Jesus died and came back. He IS a zombie. He's on their team, buddy.

    4) "Hey, Shane, why aren't you being nicer to Carl?" Come on. Seriously? You're worried about how the guy who SERIOUSLY JUST TRIED TO RAPE YOU is treating your son???

    5) If you have a knife, why are you hitting zombies with a rock? During that whole period I was wondering why Rick didn't have a knife. Then as soon as it's over, oh no, he's carrying one. Oh. Okay.

    There are more, I'm sure. Almost every episode is like that, anymore for me. Complete logic drops, behavior that makes no sense, ridiculous investments in cliche - these things murder the few decent moments each episode has (like the zombie herd). The comic is so good and it's already so far away from what made the comic and the characters so moving.

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  2. K Starks - picky, picky, picky. How can you let a few minor niggles about this fantastic show spoil it for you, get a life mate..... I don't see that any of the above points you made "murdered" any moments, well not for me anyway. And just one more point I think the collective name for Zombies should be a "shuffle of Zombies" not a herd. Love the blog Bob

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  3. I love this show. You bullet pointed my thoughts exactly Bob!! I think I held my breath during the entire Zombie herd scene!! The ending took my breath away as well, cannot wait for the next episode!!

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  4. K. Starks: I noticed the single file walking in the woods too, but I gave them a pass because it would be hard to have the characters talking if they were all 100 feet apart. If everything the characters did was totally logical and by the book, you'd end up with a pretty dry show.

    I guess your starvation theory makes sense, as to why the dead bodies locked up in the cars didn't turn into zombies. That means the zombification process is different in the TV universe than it is in the comic universe though.

    I agree it's not perfect, but it's the only zombie TV show we've got, so I'm willing to overlook some of the gaffes.

    RobS: "Shuffle of Zombies." I like that.

    Dawn: I'm loving the show too. Looking forward to the next episode.

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  5. "I agree it's not perfect, but it's the only zombie TV show we've got, so I'm willing to overlook some of the gaffes."

    See, all because I want a soda, if the only option is Sort Of Poopy flavored soda, I'm not going to let it slide.

    The comic was really logical in all of it's survival stuff, everything is interesting and exciting. I don't see why they decided to freeball it and just pass over all that stuff to make these scenes that are illogical (the entire girl running off bit) for the sake of cheap emotion. Because, to me, that's what it feels like.

    In the comic when Carl got shot and they met up with the Greene farm it was exciting, emotional and interesting. Episode 2 was a drag.

    Just saying, clearly I'm still watching, because I love Zombie - and I LOVE Walking Dead, but man, after every episode I'm asking myself WHY I'm still watching it. But I'm not going to let a show slide on terribleness because its a genre I, normally, really like.

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  6. Also, I HIGHLY recommend that if you like the series AT ALL, you should get the trades. You can get the first 48 issues (1088 pages) on instocktrades right now for $38. That's a $1.25 an issue.

    http://www.instocktrades.com/TP/Image/WALKING-DEAD-COMPENDIUM-VOL-1-TP-(MR)/MAR092419

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