This review contains spoilers.
2.13 Beside The Dying Fire
Safety is a lie. Democracy is dead. Just when you think everything is starting to calm down, it all goes crazy. This is the game-changer for Rick and company. Their little safe barn out in the middle of Georgia? That was a lie. The thought that they could hold onto the old ways with the bickering and talking? Also a lie. Hope for the future? Well, that remains to be seen.
When we left our friends on The Walking Dead, Rick and Carl were in the process of discussing the very dead Shane in the field, but before they can have another father/son bonding moment over the death of the guy who Carl was very close to and who kept Carl and his mother alive for months while Daddy was sleeping in a hospital, there’s an interruption. A zombie interruption. A zombie interruption of dozens of walkers, and they’re all heading toward Hershel Greene’s All You Can Eat Pointless Cast Member Buffet.
In a world full of the hungry dead, who will survive and what will be left of them?
This week’s episode, the season finale, had some incredible moments contained within it. First of all, the horde of zombies from last week finds its way to the farm after months of wandering around pointlessly. And when they arrive, they immediately start going kill crazy and rampaging around the farm, while the gang mows them down by the dozens. Hershel alone must have killed 15 zombies, which is incredible considering he started this season with a barn full of flesh-eating family and friends.
Even more impressive was a sustained shot of the barn, which was set ablaze by Rick and Carl in an attempt to get away from the chasing walker hordes from the beginning of the episode. They actually manage to catch the burning structure’s collapse on film, and according to Glenn Mazzara on Talking Dead afterwards, this was completely unplanned.
Some cool callbacks this week: the helicopter from the pilot reappeared in season two’s finale, season one’s finale was wrapped up in season two’s finale, and there were a ton of visual scenes that made me think of other zombie movies. For example, the scene of walkers shambling through a field while being shot from an overhead ¾ crane shot made me think of Night Of The Living Dead, and the aforementioned shot of the helicopter over zombie-filled Atlanta reminded me of Day Of The Dead. There may have been others, but they were lost in some impressively non-stop zombie action.
The first half of the episode was pretty much constant motion with driving vehicles, shambling zombies, and running and screaming humans firing weapons. Even after the flow of zombies ebbed, it stayed pretty action packed since they interspersed the various separated groups with each other, so someone was always running from something or towards something else.
Hershel’s moment of glory aside, one of my favorite sequences was Andrea’s run through the woods. It was just really well done (the entire episode was, thanks to director Ernest R. Dickerson), and moves well between television-style shooting and big cinematic violence.
The amount of characters The Walking Dead has shed in the second half of this season has been pretty impressive, even if it did take away two of the better characters/actors in the show. What they did nicely with this week’s episode is end the farm on a high note, while setting the state for the future thanks to the sudden appearance of a new cast member, and the sudden appearance of where the show is probably going to be set in season three.
Ending season two on a high is all well and good, but the most important thing is to make me (and I guess everyone else) excited for the third season. Given the trouble with the show’s second season, the backstage drama, and the upset actors leaving, I imagine that it’s been as tough on the show’s team as it has been on the show’s fans. However, I have to say that given the strong finish, I’m feeling hopeful with the show under the guiding hand (and pen; once again he wrote this episode with Robert Kirkman) of Glenn Mazzara.
The characters are adapting to their environment, as Andrea and Hershel’s respective shifts have shown. The show’s writing of said characters is becoming more consistent, even if it means that some characters (Lori) are becoming more and more unlikable. They tossed in a little more fan service for the comic nuts in the crowd, while adding a little more unpredictable weirdness for the non-comic fans. Perhaps most importantly of all, Rick has stopped being paralyzed by inaction and seems to have turned into the no-nonsense leader that this group wants and needs him to be.
Democracy is dead; bring on the Ricktatorship.
Read our review of the last episode, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan nearly bailed on this season of The Walking Dead, but he stuck it out and now he’s excited to be covering season three this time next October. Thank you for sticking with the show, and his reviews.Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.