Well, here we are. The Walking Dead has officially hit its mid season finale. We now have to wait until mid February to have any chance at resolve on the plot lines that have been dangling for the last 6 episodes. So far this whole season has been far too chatty for my taste. Yes, it’s one of the best shows on TV now, but damn it, the highs of season one are still not met by this second season. Now the show is about to go dark until February, maybe its time to wrap up some plot threads.
Will they do it? Let’s see.
So, remember how Glenn said he sucked at keeping secrets? He proves that in the first few moments this week by blurting out that farmer/doctor Greene’s barn is full of zombies. The news leads to a minor freakout by our band of survivors and rightfully so. If you are expecting the big conflict between Rick’s group and Herschel’s farm here, you do get it it. Sorta. Maggie freaks out on Glenn (again) for being to chatty about the walking cannibalistic corpses in the barn, Shane is all angry and ready to leave, Rick is all concerned about trying to stay for his own reasons (that whole baby on the way thing) and Dale is all meddling. Par for the course really.
Shane is clearly concerned about the zombies penned up in the barn, Sophia is still missing, and everything is still rather crappy around the old Greene farm. I found the Daryl/Carol scene disturbing. So she is starting to imprint on Daryl? He’s the bad boy but still capable of caring type she’s been longing for ever since spiking her abusive husbands skull with a pickaxe? For that matter, the Andrea/Dale scene, where she finally tells him to back off, and then the Rick/Hershel scene where he tells him to leave. We are waiting for something to happen here. damn it. I find no logical reasoning for Rick to finally buckle to Hershel’s view, regardless of the dialogue we are giving or his plea to the doctor about his up coming baby.
Where I do start to agree, and damn the writers for this, is Shane’s psychotic focus on the dangers farm Greene’s little holdup of the undead. Sure he spoils that with his creepy insistence on (the very real possibility) that Lori’s baby is his. We sure are getting a lot of talking again, aren’t we. Maggie and Herschel have it out a little bit, and then we get a little talk about the eternally missing Sophia. It’s right about here that I lose all faith in the TV version of Rick Grimes.
Rick ventures out to help Hershel fishout a pair of zombies from a swamp. Seriously? Apparently Rick, to keep in good faith with the deluded doctor ‘save’ a couple walking dead from not eating people because they were trapped in sandy soil. Ok, I know Rick means well, but this is just starting to get stupid. Oh and Dale hides Shane’s guns and Maggie and Glenn talk a little more about being more than ‘eff buddies. Damn it, I need something to happen here, don’t you? This entire episode is overrun with subtext and side talk. Yes, we do see Dale finally confront Shane, but even that feels a little weak. We have a small amount of tension when Dale raises the gun, but still. When are we going to see the gut wrenching moments of the first season?
We do get those moments. It took 7 episodes (mind you the season did start well with the whole traffic jam of the undead), but finally a gut wrenching zombie scene happens. Rick’s still out of character Hershel led zombie rodeo returns to the barn mid Shane’s all to in character power move/psychotic episode. Two polar opposites meet and debate the topic of how best to deal with rotting meat sacks that want to eat you, that is Rick stands there while Shane goes all crazy pants and pops open the barn of the undead, slowly characters that have been rather hidden (save for the Daryl, but he has been quiet lately) form a firing line and take out the zombies as they spew out of the barn. Here comes the heart breaker. Yes, the last zombie to come out of the barn is the long lost Sophia, apparently she has been there the whole time. Now, quickly dismiss how that doesn’t fully work out. How did she get bitten, shamble around for a bit and then get found by Hershel before our group got to the farm? What does this mean for the whole story arc, so much screen time has been spent on her being missing when she really wasn’t at all. Personally I am a little disappointed. Had this happen 2 or 3 episodes ago and not had the whole search for her dragging the momentum of the series down, sure, I’d be ok with this. At this point it almost feels like a punch out ending for a plot I had already lost interest in.
So what next? I don’t know really. I had thought the mid-season finale would end with Herchel’s farm no longer being the safe haven that it was, and other than him just being a dick there is no real reason for Rick’s band of survivors to move on. Hell, Hershel’s motivation for making them leave has already lessened since even he has to admit that zombies don’t make great house guests.
Guess we’ll have to wait till February to find out…