The Walking Dead Season Two: Season Finale

As you guys know, I have been writing these for the better part of two seasons, and religiously every week for season two.  I have always tried to avoid inadvertant spoilers by placing revealing pictures as the header and what not.  But last week I guess I lost a subscriber because my TWD post spoiled the episode for him.  The article that went up two days after the episode aired.

I will start by apologizing to the guy for my article spoiling the episode for him.

But seriously, whats a man to do. It's not like I blasted a pre air spoiler all over the internet. I wrote about it two days after it was on TV. And I even attempted to protect from spoiling any thing by using a season one picture as the header so as not to have the new pic appear in the blog rolls.  But alas, I guess my article in it's entirety showed up in some sort of google reader he used.

So having said that, I warn you, read at your own risk if you and a tribe of Brazilian rain forest natives are the only people left in the world who have not seen The Walking Dead season finale.

Well as Rhino had said, I had my blood bath.

The episode delivered all that was promised, and hoped for.  The end of the farm. The death of useless characters, and some extreme character twists.  Rick was pushed to the brink, Lori revealed her twisted bitch nature, and every one else was shown the back door.

First let me discuss the episode as a whole. Outstanding.  The chaos of the scene was delicious, and the burning of the barn was spectacular. In The Talking Dead they discuss their good fortune with how it worked out, but I wanted to say that damn it was great.  It was such an amazing collapse and scene, with the horde of zombies back lit by the flaming building, that even the zombie extras had to turn in awe.  (You could see some of them turn their heads in surprise.)  I want to congratulate AMC and the creators of the show for an absolute outstanding series. And thank them.

In all of this mess, we saw one prevailing theme. Perceived order falling to chaos.  The farm was safe. The survivors were building a home where they could live. They had sustainable food, and a protected perimeter. But then the swamp dried up.  Uhoh...

As things collapsed, by the way the collapse was not when the helicopter started a zombie herd... it started when Shane freaked out and opened the barn, then Rick went to town after Hershel.  Bringing home the prisoner started a series of choices that would tear the group apart.  The zombies just facilitated things.

So Rick went over the deep end. The one who thrived on order the most was most impacted when it disappeared.  The actor playing Rick has been fantastic, but the final scene, where he admits to killing Shane to Lori, then to the group was amazing and does television proud.  Where has this dude been hiding?  I was utterly convinced about the anguish in Rick's world as he first told Lori about Shane, then looked her in the eye as she recoiled away, confirming her true feelings.  Then even more so when he addressed the group.  The man had had enough.

How much can one man take?


As I said last week, Rick stuck shane because it was indeed personal. He flat admitted it this week.  Rick knew Shane had to die or go away. Every one did.  But what the rest of them did not have knowledge of was Shane's confrontation and Rick saving him.  Carol, of all people, was questioning Rick's honor. It was funny how Daryl defended him.  Daryl, a man who probably his whole life was seen as having no value to society, and was now deemed as needed, was defending a man who would probably have put him in jail had they met six months earlier.

And who the hell does Carol think she is?  She is completely useless to the group and in fact hinders their safety. Without them, she is meat. Who is she to accuse Rick of having no honor? When no one else ran after her daughter, he chased her down, trying to save her.  I guess her role next season has now been defined, the instigator. In season two she was the object of a lot of the drama, now she will be the source and creator.

So yah, Rick steps off the deep end.  He makes it clear in no uncertain terms, that HE is the boss, and it is being done his way.  Frankly, it probably was not what they wanted hear, and it was definitely not the way they wanted to hear it, but I think every one of them knew, it was something they had to have.  It is interesting to me how Rick has pretty much become Shane in his leadership tactics.  Earn their hearts and minds, but that only goes so far. In the end, the only way to absolutely lead a group, is through an iron fist.  Committee just leads to bull shit.  Shane understood that. The post apocalyptic world demands it.

I liked that as the last couple of episodes wore on, Rick started becoming more regimented. Barking orders instead of seeking opinion. That is how I see a survivor group as needing to be run.  Doing it Dale's way only leads to discontent. Ever one of them is going to be forced to face problems with their own morals. The fact that Rick, the guy with the strongest, has pushed his own so far, or completely abandoned them, is great television.

What about Lori?

The way she recoiled from Rick made me want to punch her in the face.

She put the both of them in motion. She created the situation that would force Rick to kill Shane. You could see it on Rick's face before the mid season break when he stared straight at the camera. You could see his realization that he had been manipulated by her again here.  You could see his heart break. And most importantly, during his rant at the end, you could almost see laserbeams shoot right at her when he told her to hit the road.

With Shane and Dale gone, the show's dynamic is going to change big time.  And the conflict between Lori and Rick is going to be at the top.  We can probably expect to see her manipulate Carol, and in a round about way, Daryl. It is going to be juicy indeed.

Well there is the door honey!  I loved how Rick pretty much looked them each in the eye and said get out.  And each of them stayed.  As the camera panned, you could read their roles. Hershel supports Rick. His world is gone. The only thing he has now is his family, and the bond created between himself and Rick at the bar.  His blonde daughter... heh whatever.

Maggie and Glenn begrudgingly follow. Maggie because her father does, and Glenn, well, what else is he supposed to do. But you could definitely see him having a heart break of his own.  He had set up Rick as a sort of hero. Bigger than life and above human. But Rick's rant showed Glenn that they are all human.  You could see that he was unsure of what to think.

Tdogg stood there as a man with no better choices. You could tell he had something to say, but kept his mouth shut like a smart man should.  He showed his true colors when he tried to run with Lori and lil blonde. Heh, why wouldn't he? He had a vehicle, open road, and a couple of hoochies.  He set himself up as a possible back stabber in season three.

Carol played her cards.

Daryl also played his.

This picture says it all. See if you can tell me each character's dispositions. 
Body language says a lot.  


I love this pic. Note Tdog's back to rick but gun ready. Lori protecting Carl (from Rick?) who is looking at rick confused. Maggie caring for lil blonde and the space between her and Glenn. Daryl, body facing and open to Rick, ready to follow, and Carol arms folded staring across the group at the man she blames for her current situation.

My question about the ending is why would they be so upset about Rick keeping his secret. Cannot they see any logic?  First of all, how would knowing that fact make a difference in their lives? And can't they see that it only made sense for Rick not to tell them until he had seen it for himself?  And now because he kept the secret he was dishonorable, despite what he has done for them?  I like that he put them in their place, the ungrateful lot.  I look forward to more of this Rick.

So what else?

The chick in the robe.

Here is a case where comic simply does not translate into television. I think the two walkers on chains with no arms were ridiculous. It probably worked in the comic, and I'm sure had a great explanation, but in OUR zombie survival world, it is silly.  I love the idea of her though. I like the comicy character, the hooded loner with a katana. And yes these sort of people would certainly exist and thrive in a ZA world.  We all know a few of the sort. Store clerks. IT dudes. Whatever. Smart guys who go about their daily lives in unassuming ways. But at home, there is a trove of weapons and swords. These are the guys I want to know in the event of a ZA.  More than any one else, these are the guys who have rehearsed how to decapitate a zombie with that sword, and can teach me to do the same.

I think she, whatever her name is, Mignone? will send the television show down a whole new avenue.  I look forward to scenes between her and Rick, where he is learning how to lead and she is letting him.

Cool in comics, but here? Just plain dumb.


I pause to ask, did modern "fast mover" zombies suddenly appear? How did Andrea not lose those zombies in the woods?  From sun up to sun down she was running from them.  She had a decent amount of ammo. With some bursts of speed, in a thickly wooded area, she could lose some, cap the rest, rinse and repeat. The echos of the gunshots in the trees would fool the undead and she should be able to get away. But instead they were right on her ass the whole time.  I did love the scenes though. The sheer mayhem of the zombies in the woods, or on the farm in general. Every one running in every direction, zombies every where...  God it was good.

So any way, I know enough about the comic to know that they hold up in a prison, as the end scene would hint at.  I am looking forward to Hershel going "Oh there is a prison right over the ridge maybe we can hold up there." when they are having the "what do we do now" discussion in season three.  He has to know it exists, what home owner would not know about a maximum security prison mere miles from their farm.  You would have thought that in this episode, instead of him looking all bewildered with no direction to go, he could have said, "Hey guys, I have an idea..."  Then off they go.  I look forward to them actually setting up the zombie survival stronghold Dawn of the Dead style.

What else is there to say?  A perfect end to my favorite show since Battlestar Galactica.  This week marks the start of a LONG count down to October.  I wish I could just go to sleep for six months. I look forward to seeing how Hood chick changes the dynamic of the group.  A lot is going to change, as they go from passive, to reactive, to proactive in their survival.  The prison is going to add a cool factor to the show. There should be ammo a plenty, and armored cars, riot gear, you name it.  They should be able to gear up and kick serious ass.  The rift between Lori and Rick will widen and rebellion will be rampant.

I do raise a question, how did those two security guards die a few episodes ago? They were not bitten... there was no sign of death.  Since they are all supposedly infected, could it be that the transformation is a ticking time bomb, that wont necessarily wait for death?  Could those two guys have been at ground zero? There will be lots of questions and answers to come.

EDIT:
Oh and one last thing, I forgot to mention this gripe.  The food on the hood of the car... They spent what must have been two months on the farm. That food had been sitting on the hood of that car the entire time, exposed to the elements. The other day I left a bottle of coke on the hood of my car while I brought in the groceries, and the wind blew it off.  How the hell did that collection of stuff manage to last on the hood of that car the entire time they were on the farm?  I mean, seriously, since the time that the food was put there, Carl was shot in the gutt and fully recovered. The jar of peanut butter and bottle of gatorade can stand the test of time.  At least there was something there so they could have a snack!

Well that's it!  No more Walking Dead until October.

Home is where the bars is.


Now back to my regularly scheduled 40k stuff. Come on 6th Ed.

Jawaballs

21 comments:

Dezartfox said...

Great write up as usual! :)

Will Wright said...

The armless Zombies make alot more sense if you could see they also did not have jaws.
Think the 2nd or 3rd episode of season one,how they got out of the store.
She just figured out a much cleaner way to go about it.

Author said...

Eh... I think you are being very generous.

The writing in the show has been extremely nonsensical this year.

Characters make these bizarre decisions and choices that no person would make.

Shane's plan was what... to circle all the way back to the farm with Rick, and then shoot him right there where anyone could hear it, and then go BACK into the woods and drag the broken neck body back to where Rick was, and THEN go back to the farm? WTF kind of plan was that?

And what was the plan for fighting the zombies? Everyone get in your car and drive around and make MIRACLE headshots that Navy SEALS couldn't make? Huh? Why not, you know... just get in the damn cars and DRIVE AWAY?! Then the next day you could just drive back. It isn't like the zombies are going to set up house at the farm; they are zombies, they'll move on.

There isn't a character on the show I connect with, and the entire CAST doesn't have the charisma of Don Draper's big toe. We've gotten NO scenes of the characters going out and looting local places, which they would have done often and which would have possibly led to much more interesting story lines than just having them standing around losing Carl. The writing has been lazy.

So yeah... loved the first half of the first season, but the show has gone downhill since.

Hulksmash said...

So much to discuss, this might take a post or three:

First off thanks for the write ups. It’s always good to see how other people view the show.

The Carol things pissed me off too. I couldn’t help but laugh since it’s pretty much the most she’s talked all since the season break and it’s to badmouth the guy who wasted the groups time and resources to find her daughter and did more than anyone except the guy she’s talking to.

I’d disagree that Rick has become Shane. He’s not going to beat people or point a gun at them to get them to do what he wants (as long as they aren’t threatening him). He’ll just tell them to get the hell out and exile the bastards. It’s a pretty major distinction. And unlike Shane he’ll be able to listen to advice even if he is making the final decision. Remember how Rick deferred to Shane in season one and was pushing to get farther away from Atlanta. Shane wasn’t hearing it and still was solidly against it even after that attack that killed tons of them.

Oh and I loathe Lori. I’d say it’s an excellent job by the writers since they kept Shane alive so long in how they’ve molded Lori. I’m looking forward to watching season 1 and 2 back to back before season 3 starts. I think it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on her without a week between episodes and see how much she’s manipulated Rick and Shane from day one. I’m not totally sure she wanted Rick to be the one that came out on top either.

I like that they kept Hershel around. It was interesting to hear they were planning on offing him before leaving the farm but that it didn’t wind up working for the progression of the show. I’m also glad because it gives the group a solid feel. It gives Rick a sort of wise counselor/sounding board that he doesn’t have to worry about behind his back.

Regarding Michone and the zombies it’s been partially covered but remember that they hunt by scent and sound and other zombies would mask both. Michone has removed the two zombies parts that are a danger but kept them mobile to keep her safe. Allowing her to sleep at night and survive on her own. You’ll see how much knowledge she has regarding surviving in the new world in the next season.

As for Andrea well that situation is a little complicated. Take into consideration how long she has been running. She started in the mid to late evening the night before and was saved by Michone at dusk the next day. So she’s been running for approximately 18ish hours. She obviously couldn’t run all out that entire time. Basically zombies don’t stop following and the shots would have kept giving them the general direction. Also they tend to herd so if one zombie heads off because they see something to eat every zombie in sight/hearing range does the same. So you have a case where she probably was running and shooting, eliminated the immediate threat, caught her breath, only to see more zombies closing. And as the day wore on it would only get worse, especially carrying that bag of guns. That’s why it’s stupid to be alone and not have a home base (unless you’ve figured out the new world like the character above) because Zombies don’t need to rest, they will run you down eventually.

Hulksmash said...

Oh and regarding the Prison and Hershel I get the feeling they were driving for a while before running out of gas. Which means they are probably 200ish miles from the farm at this point. Most people don’t know if there is a maximum security prison within 200 miles of them. It’s not like it’s just over the ridge and I get the feeling Hershel wasn’t the type to get out of his little town to often.

I know you don’t like to talk about the comics vs. the show so I’ll leave out some of the why on my predictions that are based on how I see the characters and the show developing in relations to the comic.

What I see happening next season:

Darryl and Carol having a falling out. I see Darryl and Michone becoming close (relationship-wise) and this causing tension in the group. Remember that Darryl isn’t his brother.

I forsee T-Dog betraying the group and throwing in with some people they will probably meet at the prison.

I see Carol and Lori growing close as other people slowly ostracize them.

And a whole lot of awesome! Though there will be some character building and such similar to the farm likely as the characters start to become proactive about living in the new world and encountering others who have survived and are doing the same.

Hulksmash said...

@Author

Remember Shane isn't a tracker. He wouldn't have know where the hell he was going really in the dark. And Rick was leading most of the time so it was Rick that might have brougtht them back around to the house. In fact I think the way it played out showed it was more about Shane committing suicide by cop that about killing Rick.

They don't need to loot right now because the farm has everything they really need. So why risk going out and getting killed, seperated, or leading people/zombies back to the house? That seems stupid to me.

As for the car thing I thought it was a pretty good idea. It keeps you from being surrounded on foot and leaves you with a get-out plan. As for leaving and coming back the Hershel didn't want to leave his farm and neither did anyone else who still saw it as safe. Look how hard it was for most of them to bail even when it was burning down.

I'll agree to some non-sensical things like Lori's dumbass ride into town but for the most part I think they are doing a very good job, especially since the dude who wrote the first half of season 2 was let go.

Jawaballs said...

Author, all the points you make I addressed in previous articles. Yes, I criticize the producers/writers for taking short cuts, and writing in illogical character choices, like Lori driving off to find Rick and getting into an accident. I didn't totally address Shane's tromp through the woods, but I did point it out as silly.

Shane's plan? What plan! He was crazy. It was obvious to me that he had no real plan at all. To me, this is actually good writing. It seems you missed something.

My point is that none of those things alter my opinion about the writing in the show as a whole.

The final scenes, with Rick on the verge of madness are great writing and acting. Lori's duplicity, Tdog and Carol on the edge of betrayel, Daryl's begrudged respect for Rick, it goes on and on. All of that is good writing.

While it is silly that they were pulling off head shots from the cars, I had no problem with them trying to drive around the farm and clear them out. It was smart. They had no idea how many zombies were coming, so of course they would make an attempt to clear them out. Using the cars to drive around and stay mobile was actually a logical decision on the spot seeing as how they had no real plan for such an eventuality. Sure they could have abandoned ship to return later. But frankly at this point, this group is pretty far from well thought out and logical decision making. The scene of them driving out to the field and stomping the zombies in the previous episode foreshadowed that.

So from the start of season two I have been very critical of poor decisions in the writing, based on cut budgets and decisions put forth by people no longer associated with the show. But for every bad scene, there are a dozen great little bits of dialogue that more than make up for it.

Jawaballs said...

Hulk and Will I hear ya on Michone. I just think the zombies on chains sort of add a silly comic feel to what in my opinion should be a show kept as rooted in reality as possible. It is easy in comics to explain away the chained zombies, and the groups reactions, like what Daryl might do. But I think it will be a much more difficult dance to explain in the television show why Daryl does not put a crossbow bolt through both of their heads on the spot.

Jawaballs said...

I would like to add this little point of view about the writing.

The transition from season one to season two was clunky. A mark of changes in director, writers etc. When season one ended, we had a group with a plan... get to Fort Benning. We were looking forward to a season two that followed them on their journey. But instead we got a season quagmired on a farm.

They did not make that mistake again. The end of season two leaves nothing but mystery. Who is Michone? Whats with the prison, and more importantly, what the hell are they going to do. There is no plan, and nothing but destroyed moral. This sets us up to openly accept whatever comes next fall. That alone is better writing than what came before!

Hulksmash said...

I think your suffering on the silly idea because you're going to have more time to think about it. Keep in mind someone willing to chop the arms and remove the jaws of zombies isn't going to view the same way pre-barn Hershel does. Do you think she'll care if Darryl puts a bolt through them? Or if she's told they have to be put down before she can approach?

Hulksmash said...

Besides. It might be what keeps Andrea alive with her until they link back up with the rest of the group.

Jawaballs said...

Interesting point. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

It strikes me as silly because some one is leading around zombies on chains. This would imply that zombies can be controlled and even trained when to me zombies are unthinking, unwavering things. They need to have minds that can learn. Dogs can be trained as pets because they have thinking minds that understand that some actions will provoke pleasing rewards. Are zombies now to become pets? This is a dangerous line that could lead to trouble for the show, since something like this might be gotten away with in a comic, but would work less in a real life show.

But now that I think about it, Romero also flirted with the concept of training zombies in a couple of his movies... oh wait... didn't those turn out very bad? (Not just the movies themselves, but the training of the zombies.)

Hulksmash said...

How can something be unthinking and yet react to sound/smell and pursue a course of action? I'm more of the camp that zombies have extremely limited cognitive function. Now I'm not saying they could make zombie jesus or problem solving zombie saviors like some of Romero's flicks have toyed with. I'm talking about the fact that zombies tend to herd, hunt by sound and smell, and seem to have muscle memories such as turning door nobs (remember season 1). As such how do we know what the response would be when it could no longer eat which seems to be the sole reason for their existence?

Finarfin said...

hey dude, that reader wasn´t the only one that was spoiled :P but dont worry, sometimes shit happen. Next time you know what to do XD

Unknown said...

All I've got to say is that it's a good, suspenseful, gripping series. I tend to suspend belief any time I see "zombies" in a movie, but other than the fact that everyone there is an expert marksman, the producers did a good job making it quite believable.

Jawaballs said...

Again with the spoiling! :) Sorry again. But I took precautions by adding some lines of text that had nothing to do with the plot, and a pic from last year. Short of not writing the article, I don't know what else I could have done. I figured two days was enough time, as I must have seen that picture of zombie Shane at least 20 times before I used it. As Rick would say, "My hands are clean!"

Will Wright said...

Oh that was the other thing I wanted to say,someone. Who is baby enough to drop off,because of a spoiler,is not someone you really want as a follower anyway.
If he followed my blog I would block him on principal.
What the hell are you reading a post titled Waking Dead episode this week if you did not watch it.
I hope that guy slips in a puddle of AIDS

Jawaballs said...

Will be a good boy, I don't wish harm on any one. Especially for sticking to their convictions.

Chad said...

Everyone seems mad at Lori for her reaction when Rick told her about Shane, but if you watch the Talking Dead Kirkman said she wasn't recoiling because of what Rick did, but the fact that she was ashamed that it was her that pushed him into doing it.

As for Michone leading walkers around by chains, I'm fine with that, they have no arms or jaws, they can't harm her even if they tried to bite her, they can't. After a while they would probably quit trying because it isn't getting them anywhere. And if it helps her survive, all the better. Remember, these are walkers not zombies, we don't know what drives them, or even what caused it in the first place, Kirkman can write their behavior anyway he likes and it isn't wrong. I would be worried though that some hunter or something would see me walking with them and think I was a walker too, and being the only one with arms and legs would probably be the one to take the first bullet.

As for the prison, you see a possible treasure trove of supplies and weapons, I see a place that would most likely have had any supplies used/stolen, and I would also be worried about who/what you'd find there. There is no guarentee that the prisoners are still locked up, or that the leaders (assuming there are people there) would be trustworthy. In a world where walkers roam and there is no law or police or anything that keeps us safe and our civilization moving along, travelling, or going to new places or places where you are meeting the unknown become much more dangerous. I really hope they show more of what I'd consider the real dangers of a world like that, the living, and how people act or react when there is nobody to stop them, and nobody to punish them. In our world today people rape, assault, and murder, I only see it getting much worse in a world where walkers roam and there is no more law.

Lach said...

The "fast zombie" I would put as a theatrical license. Think Jason or Michael Meyers, the slow walk while you run as fast as you can. I don't think it was so much that the zombies were fast as just always around her.

John's Blog-O-Plenty said...

Hooded chick with zombies RIDICULOUS? I thought it was HELLA cool! You forgot to mention the zombies lower jaws were ripped off. But that will add a cool dynamic. After all, this IS a show based on a comic book about a zombie apocalypse. Try not to take it too seriously. Dead on about Rick Dude's acting, though. That was a classic scene for all time. And I would have fed Lori's lame ass to rabid beavers. What a twat! Peace brutha. -JPT

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