The second half of season two: Game on!
So the second part of the season launches. We all know what is going on, but this episode leaves us reaching, and lurchinig, and wanting for more! And there is more going on than we may think.
First of all, they (The writers) have to resolve the mess created by Shane in the last episode. The barn is revealed and Sophia is blown away. This leads us to minor confrontations between Glen and Hottie, and Rick and Shane. But more importantly, this brings Hershel's world crashing down. Up until this point, he and all of his cult, had hope. Well, Shane shot hope through the heart like 9 times then blew her head off.
This episode served two major purposes. It sets the stage for the rest of the season, and most importantly, brings forth Rick as the leader he needs to be.
One: Rick has arrived.
Up until this point, Rick has been the placating leader. Trying to please every one, and playing it safe. He has been treading water in unknown oceans and barely keeping his head up. But the scene in the bar was great for many reasons. First of all, he did most of the talking. You could almost see him evolve on the spot. His reasoning went from pleading, to ordering. And you could see Hershel come around as he spoke. As Rick spoke to Hershel though, it was not so much for Scowl's benefit, but more for his own. As he spoke he became more sure of things himself. You could see Rick go through a metamorphose as the scene went on.
It was satisfying to see Hershel come around at the end. Hershel had given up, but Rick knows he is going to need a doctor in about 9 months, so he had to do his best to keep the guy working, and succeeded. Then came the knock at the door, and that's when it all came together. Those boys had pretty piss poor timing, unfortunately for them. Had they arrived 10 minutes earlier they would have found whimpering and pleading Rick, and probably pulled one over on him. Instead they found a Rick who was revived and ready. And even more unfortunately they presented Rick with something he knew how to deal with.
Cop Rick was on the job. His training took over. While Glen and Hershel were open and willing to share info at first, Rick had the smarts to keep his mouth shut and not give them too much info. And when it came time for killing, Rick performed it without hesitation. He knew just what to do. He had seen their kind before and I think he was actually happy to plug some bad guys. It was a reach back to what he was missing. A world in order, where there are laws and right and wrong. He is on the side of good and those guys definitely had ill intentions.
It is interesting to see how quickly and precisely he executes humans, but struggles over killing zombies. You have to wonder if Merl had encountered this Rick instead of the one he met in Season One would he have been killed on sight?. What ever happened to "Humans don't kill humans."? There were plenty of times when Rick could have gotten the drop on them and simply drew his gun. Glen had a gun in his hands already, and Rick is good at drawing his weapon from his holster. The bad guys either had their guns over their backs, or sitting on the table! Rick definitely had a chance to resolve it peacefully if he wanted. He chose to end the bull shit.
Even more interesting was how he almost went for the final killing head shot on the fat dude, as if he was a zombie. I think Rick is having his own sort of moral blurring of the lines like Shane. The two of them are much more alike than one would be lead to believe.
In fact, they almost switched positions. You saw Shane showing compassion and empathy by helping out Sophia's mom. In an almost voyeur, fetish kind of way he was helping clean her up. What was with the cameras focus on him washing her hand. Was it a symbolic washing of the hands? Shane washing away his wrong? She had a weird look on her face. Was he baptizing her? Seducing her? He already has blondie on his side and on her back, did he just recruit another? Do we see the group dividing into camps?
Rick, Glen, Lori, Kid
Dale, Dog, Daryl, Sophia's mom
Now I can see Sophia's mom aligning with Shane, she has nothing left to live for plus she still harbors anger towards Rick for getting Sophia killed. Daryl's anger is also bubbling and the guy's upbringing is getting the best of him. He tried the noble thing, but years of living will take over every time he has a set back. I see it all the time in school when the bad kids try to do better. They sincerely try, but a little set back drops them right back into the gutter. Dale and Tdog are sill just side characters used to further plots. Dale especially. He effects no action, only provokes it. That is called a plot device. He exists to make Shane get out of his car and offer expository as to what he is thinking for example. That's the whole reason Dale was sitting there by the way, when Shane got into the truck. It would have looked weird if Shane just started talking to himself but it was important to the series that Shane said those words.
It was important to the show that Shane had a shift back towards the neutral point, at the same time, so did Rick. Both were becoming polarized in their own directions. This episode served to sort of break up those hard lines they were following away from each other, thus leading them back towards a hard intersection, and the drama that comes with it.
What the hell is with Lori by the way. Her actions make no sense at all. Just stupid. Like Blondie shooting Daryl. Stupid decisions. What did she think she was going to do driving into town alone to look for Rick. What help did she think she was going to give, and why did she leave her son?
There are no answers for either, other than to put another character into danger. Whenever you see a character do something completely out of the ordinary or character for lack of a better word, it is a sign of writers forcing plot. Staying on the farm is easy. They eliminated any problem by clearing out the barn, so there was no danger.Without danger there is no drama. SO, lets have Lori defy any character traits she has shown so far, leave her son unattended, show that she does not trust her husband one of the most capable guys in the party, and get her into a car and drive her out alone and get into a car accident. Stupid chick, weak writing. AMC is good, but not perfect. Speaking of weak writing, how bout the kid blonde going into the classic catatonic state? Nothing like instant home grown crisis to force characters out of their comfort zone. I have come to expect more from TWD.
Now we are going to have to deal with a bunch of "where's Lori?" bullshit. Then come the search parties. Plus we are going to have to deal with the zombies trying to get her out of the car. She had no reason to leave the farm. Period.
Lastly, it irks me how they so easily dismissed Fort Benning. Unless of course Rick chooses not to believe the guy when he said the grunt reported that it was over run. I just don't see how the fort could be over run. They have tanks, and ammo and guns capable of cutting zombies in half and half again. Of course there is the problem of guys deserting, but even if half of them ran, there should still be enough guys to pull triggers and explode zombies. I can understand isolated places like the CDC getting overrun. But I don't buy a major base. Once the military realized they had lost control, they would have ordered a total regroup at the most strategic place possible. That place would be the place with the tanks, guns and ammo. I would love to see that scene though.
The fall of Fort Benning! That could be it's own Walking Dead spinoff.
Any way, based on the preview for next week we are going to see some Jericho type man on man action as the bad guys have Rick and co. pinned in the bar. That will be fun to watch, but the more juicy stuff is going to be what happens back on the farm. Daryl continues to be a mystery and Sophia's mom is going to go all sorts of Road Warrior apocalypse crazy. I wouldn't be surprised if she starts painting her face and wearing ears around her neck. Lori is going to spend an episode stuck in her wrecked car screaming at zombies and Shane is going to have a heart to heart with another of the undecided. Probably Tdog.
One last point, why the hell were the bad guys so focused on finding Rick's farm? They are in Georgia. They came from Philly, an hour removed from Amish country. The point is that they left PA, a place loaded with farms and space devoid of people, to go to Georgia, a state full of farms and space devoid of people. They must have passed hundreds of farms coming down 95 and the side roads. Any one of them would have served as a place to hole up, get live stock and survive. Pig farms, chicken farms, you name it. There was no point in the guys becoming fixated on wanting the farm that Rick and co. were living on. In fact the whole scene of them being unscrupulous and aggressive didn't make sense. I get that human nature left unchecked would result in people doing bad things, but with the exception of a few chaotic evil dudes like Merl, most "bad" guys would be smart enough to cooperate with new people over killing them and probably put aside any unscrupulous intentions completely for the sake of mutual survival.
Those two guys seemed at least smart enough to understand that. Especially if you stop to think about the fact that the world is now a ripe oyster waiting to be shucked. The zombie fall could only have spanned a couple months and things probably spiraled faster and faster as things played out. Which means people had time to stock pile, but no time to use the stuff! Odds are there are going to be stock piles of supplies every where just waiting to be taken. There will have to be entire towns, empty. They can leisurely go house to house and clean them out. I just looked in my cabinet and there are a bunch of cans of corn, tuna and other stuff that has been there forever, forgotten. Those are not the things that people packing in a rush to escape a zombie apocalypse bring along. So I have to imagine that there would be bits and pieces of food and supplies in every house in every town. Georgia must be spotted with little towns like this. Isolated and ready for the pickings.
All they have to do is find a relatively empty town, quietly cave in the heads of any zombies that are lurking about, and eat. Trying to steal from living thinking humans is counter productive and dangerous.
Here is to next week, and some action, something that came sparingly at best in the first half of the season.