As AMC’s The Walking Dead slowly lumbers its way to the mid-season break (tonight’s episode was the second last till we wait the long wait to February 12th), we have a handful of plot threads dangling. Yes, little lady Sophia is still missing, Lori is still pregnant and her affair with Shane is still a secret, Doc Hershel has zombies in a barn and wants Rick and his group to leave soon. Will we see resolution of any of these this episode? Your guess is as good as mine. The show has spent the majority of the season locked on Greene’s farm and talking. A lot of talking. Don’t get me wrong, the show has had drama but if you are tuning in to see pulse-quickening battles between overmatched humans and armies of the undead, you are probably getting very frustrated. Its a fair guess to say the static nature of the show currently is due to the double hit of production budget getting slashed and showrunner Frank Darabont getting the axe about halfway through production of this season. In light of creator Robert Kirkman‘s recent revelations, we do know some changes are coming, but when?
Season 2, episode 6, Secrets cold intro starts with a clear sign that Carl is slowly slipping into the dark character comic readers have gotten to know (‘everything is food for something’), and we also see one of Doc Greene’s kin prepare the zombie chow by going all Misery on some chickens. The horse that bucked our hillbilly kill machine, Daryl, returns and we are into the credits.
Lets see what Secrets holds, shall we?
As you can tell by the episodes title, this one is about the slowly growing list of secrets that are whirling around the farm of Doctor Greene these days. Two if the bigger ones resting on the head of Glenn, if you are thinking he’ll crack under the pressure of keeping them, you’re right. I will say this, even if it was cheap, I enjoyed how comically incapable Glenn is with keeping his mouth shut. That dude would suck at playing poker because, when Dale asks him whats up he quickly blurts out that Hershel is keeping zombies and Lori is keeping a fetus. Oh it is good to see some things move forward. Dale is the resident busy body of the camp and goes out to confront both Hershel and Lori. We’ll cover Hershel’s secret about the zombie barn first. Yes, you are correct. He is making the time tested and true mistake of trying to keep undead loved ones penned up out of some faint hope that they can be cured. As usual, Hershel has a vaguely naive but respectable stance. Yes, I am sure in a real world scenario if you saw your dead grandma walking around you might think there is hope she could be cured, but can you really cure lack of flesh? I have always wondered about this in zombie fiction. Sure uncle Ted is dead, but he is still moving, perhaps we can sure him and then he can be a healthy cheekless torso the rest of his life.
Other happenings include Carl’s slow decent into badassery. He wants to learn to shoot a gun and you can start to see how dark the post zombie world is making him. Shane, after a brief family debate between Rick and Lori, takes Carl into his combat classes, of which a large part of the survivors are taking part in. Yes this also includes budding psycho Andrea. The Shane and Andrea relationship continues to blossom as they bond over being awkward outsiders. Their private one on one shooting class is roughed up by Shane using Andrea’s dead sister as a motivator, but they patch things up and lead into this weeks ‘let’s half heartedly search for little whatshername’. Apparently there is a chance that the eternally missing Sophia could be hiding in a nearby suburb. She isn’t, but zombies are and Andrea finally gets to flip the switch to killing moving targets. Then Shane and Andrea do it. Ok, so we’ve seen this building for awhile now, the Shane and Andrea subplot. Personally I think this has the potential to be one of the more interesting couplings in the show.
Dale, meddling here as well also confronts Shane, basically reminding him that he was going to leave, briefly touching on how he lied about how Otis died, and more or less shows he’s uncomfortable with whats happening with him and Andrea. With the Rick/Lori/Shane triangle fading off, is this the start of Shane/Andrea/Dale? The exchange also smartly calls back to last season’s “Wildfire” (written by new show-runner Glen Mazzara), when Dale reveals he saw Shane raise his gun on Rick in the woods. Shane gives Dale a look, Dale returns one of ‘oh fuck, you’re going to kick my ass’, and scene.
Of course the other big secret is Lori’s pregnancy/infidelity, and it twists a little. The main plot is not who the father is, but if the the baby should ever really even be. Lori asks Glenn to go back to the pharmacy and fetch her something, namely morning after pills. Quick side note, they does give us one of, if not the best, zombie kills of the show so far when Maggie is attacked and Glenn defends her with a piece of shelving (and doesn’t use it to make an action star style quip, damn it). Lori is still struggling with the thought of raising a child in this new world filled with undead. She does eventually decide to take the pills, quickly recants and reguragtates them leading to the eventual discovery of the whole situation by Rick. Now, not to even go near a pro or anti-abortion debate here, while watching this I found myself almost confused by her actions. Yes, the world is total shit now that the dead walk and hunger for human flesh, but (not to echo Dale when he meddled here too) this is the time for humanity to crawl itself back out again. You find the strength to go on, you continue to survive and over come, right?
Anyway, yes. Rick and Lori finally confront the secret that has been hovering over them for the last 10 episodes. She had an affair with Shane. To be honest, Rick seemed far to calm and understanding about it. Granted, when the world is overrun by cannibalistic corpes hellbent on consuming you, I guess you don’t sweat the small things.
Next week will be the mid-season finale. What can we expect? Well, my guess is that the plot of little missing Sophia will not be resolved. My hunch is that she will return, found with a host of new characters next February. I also think that we are coming to the last few moments of peach on Hershel’s farm. Doc Greene wants them gone, yes, but I think we are warming up to a more violent end to this chapter. He has a barn filled with zombies. Think about it.
Here is the teaser for next week:
and here is the sneak peek: