So before I even start watching the season 2 finale of The Walking Dead, I’m trying to piece together what the rules are for zombiefication. Specifically, when does it occur, and has that rule changed? I’m trying to remember anyone who has died and/or was seriously injured and whose health was in question BUT wasn’t attacked or later eaten by zombies. Not Otis, obviously. Merl? The two guys in the bar? But I’m pretty sure Rick shot them in the heads. Several people have been bitten but not killed, yet eventually became zombies, so that fits the earlier rule that you have to get bit first. What about Carol’s husband? He didn’t die, though he was very seriously injured by Shane. Presumably, his injuries could have allowed for a much easier infection by the zombie pathogen. Right, nurse friend? It’s of course a moot question since he is attacked by zombies not soon thereafter.
But we must move on, for I have lots of questions, and there may or may not be answers…
Anyway, so it’s finally confirmed that everyone is already infected, and they erroneously thought the zombies’ bites directly led to zombiefication. I think that’s partially true; it’s a lot easier to die if you have several giant infected wounds. Then you reanimate, since you were already infected. It’s dubious to think that the writers knew all the way back to the first season finale that Jenner was whispering into Rick’s ears, “we are all infected.” I realize this comports with the graphic novels, but there was no indication up until a week ago that the television version was taking that route. In fact, you could argue that the show has largely not been about zombies at all. Let’s just assume Rick did know this whole time, though. What exactly would he do with this information? “Hey, everyone, I need you to all know that we need to be super careful about not dying, because then we’ll be zombies.”
Once again I question how the zombies caught a dog. Hmm, maybe it was suffering from malnutrition?
So the zombies followed the helicopter…slowly? Randomly? Clearly a helicopter flies much faster than a human, much less a necrotic human. So the zombies simply set off in one direction…and kept walking? I’m not going to complain because finally, finally we get a giant out-of-control horde of zombies, not seen since the pilot! If you looked closely, you really got a fun smattering of extras acting their hearts (brains?) out. How jealous were you not to be among that group? As much as I’ve hated on Magic Farm this season, it really set the mood for a very spooky twilight setting for the carnage.
Lori doesn’t know where HER CHILD is? As my viewing companion exclaimed, “you got to be fucking kidding me!” And she’s going to be a new mom soon? It’s a cathartic feeling when Lori is frantically looking for Carl during Zombie Mayhem (TM), and someone helpfully suggests, “maybe he’s at the fire.” Ha! Don’t worry about Carl, he’s probably in that burning building where all the zombies are going.
I realize all of these characters have been established, but anyone else look at the group of Magic Farm randos and just think, “oooooh, you’re going to be eaten later? You’re going to be eaten later!” Sure enough, one dude’s a mere blood splatter on an RV window only minutes later. RIP, dude whose name I didn’t bother to learn. Then when Momma Farmer gets eaten (where’s Hershel by the way?), her daughter holds on for a hilariously long 5-7 seconds. “Noooo!”
Yah, so, what’s with all the shooting? Not that I’m going to fault this show for showing what we want, which let’s not mistake this, it’s more zombies. But wasn’t the plan to somehow lure the zombies away? I guess they didn’t know Rick would burn down the barn, thus drawing them back to the homestead. But um, how about driving slowly enough to taunt the zombies in A LINE but fast enough to not, you know, get caught by them? The definition of luring away, if you will. Or if that’s not the plan, maybe run some over? I suppose the cars would eventually break down (though they arguably have an unlimited supply of product placement SUV’s, natch), but if they were preparing by barring the windows, they could have prepared the vans for Zombie Mayhem. You know, with spikes and razor wire. Maybe some of those blood bait Super Soakers I invented a few weeks ago? Lastly, and this is nitpicking, but no one was wearing any ear protection. Their hearing is probably permanently damaged, notably Hershel’s, as a result of repeat and close gunfire. Right, nurse/gun friend?
Wait, so Andrea jumped out of a getaway car to help Carol, but then Lori jumps in to take her spot. “Um, thanks,” Andrea probably thought? Then Andrea doesn’t stay with Carol, presumably due to zombie involvement? Let’s call it a wash, since obviously there was a lot going on.
This is random, but did they happen to run out of gas by some nice park with a water feature? You could see a fence in the background of one shot.
Rick delivers the line, “The last thing we need right now is for everyone to go running off in the dark.” Like you do…every other night? And what does his admitting to killing Shane have to do with them hearing a sound in the wounds anyway? “If you’re staying, let’s get one thing straight: This isn’t a democracy anymore,” he later declares. It was a democracy? Oh, OK. So that’s why T-Dog never spoke.
So here we are! Season 2 is over. What did y’all think? It was obviously an amazing piece of television, but what does it say about this show? Should every episode have been like this? Or every other? Maybe half of this action per episode? It just seems insane to me that through random chance, the mundane Magic Farm comes to an abrupt, firey end. A spectacular and exciting end, yes. But a realistic end? I always pictured The Walking Dead to show us a post-apocalyptic world on a regular basis. It did this ever so often in the first season, but we forgave the lack of action since there were only six episodes. Now that we’re at the 20th produced episode (counting the premier as 2), I’m looking back and not remembering too many fantastic moments.
Remember in the premiere for season 2 when they came upon the zombies attending church, who arrived apparently every time the bell rang? They were being drawn to it somehow, perhaps due to some deep instinctual urge. But we never explored that further. We settled at Magic Farm, learned a bunch of new boring characters, met a few innocuous zombies here and there, faced various unimportant moral decisions (i.e., “Should we kill this hoodlum stranger?”), prepared for the eventual zombie attack…here and there, and then eventually killed several people off and set the rest back on the road — effectively hitting the reset button.
Which is to say, what happened in the season 1 finale.
I love this show. I really do. But it has never reached its potential. I’ve read elsewhere that this finale “saved” the show. Did it? Or did it remind you why you liked it in the first place? I don’t think those are the same thing. A show I want to like shouldn’t need “saving.” So what’s the answer? They can’t blow up the CDC or burn down a barn in every episode, because that wouldn’t be sustainable. It should, however, take more chances. It shouldn’t rely so heavily on the primary characters, most of whom we never cared about to begin with. Let’s have Daryl go off looking for Merl. Let’s have T-Dog explain literally one thing about his past. Let’s have Carol come out as a lesbian. But most importantly, The Walking Dead should…move on.
That’s why I’m excited for Zombie-Slaveowner Samuri Riding Hood! And Spooky Prison!