Well, I’d say waiting two seasons to watch Shane die was certainly worth it, but that might imply wanting him dead to be my only reason to follow this show. The Walking Dead certainly differs from other mainstream zombie shows and movies, probably due to its focus. Most zombie things tend to concentrate on showing, you know, zombies. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, will go almost entire episodes without bloodthirsty carcasses stumbling across the screen to eat the random extras.
The lack of zombies—or walkers, in this case—has caused a bit of an outrage among some of the fans. This is probably in part due to the comics the show is based off, where the writers stated that they wanted the story to follow the character Rick around and chronicle his life during this tragedy. I cannot quote that exactly, as most of my comics are being borrowed at the moment, but you get the picture.
If there’s one thing I have to give The Walking Dead credit for it would be that, first and foremost, it’s one of the few things I’ve seen that’s portrayed people with real human reactions. I always find myself comparing it to something like the Resident Evil films, where Alice will meet an unimportant extra and watch that person get eaten with little to no emotional reaction to it. Like, it’s just a person, who cares, right? On top of that, not everyone in The Walking Dead is some badass with super fighting skills. They’re real relatable people having real relatable reactions.
Though the main character is still Rick, season two did a lot more with Shane’s arc than I would have expected. I don’t remember this guy surviving past the first volume in the comics, but in the show he outlives both Sophia and Dale, the former of which who hasn’t died in the original source material, at least not yet. Though Shane was well on his way to villainy in the first season, with the whole almost raping Lori and pointing a gun at Rick and being actively jealous of him, it peaked in this season. It was admittedly fun watching him overreact and endanger the group during his attempts to protect them in his slow drive toward insanity.
And though he didn’t make it to the very last episode, the gunshot used to kill him certainly attracted enough walkers. For a show that doesn’t feature zombies that often, it doesn’t shy away from the gore of people ripped apart alive, nor is it afraid to kill any of its characters. That last episode was brutal, and I loved every moment of it and everything that led to it. And though it did stick to the typical killing of extras who have no lines—like with the deaths of both Jimmy and Patricia, who were also the only people to die—the other characters still feel for their loss. That coupled with losing the farm and everything else they love and having no shelter now puts everyone in a very distraught and precarious position, which will undoubtedly lead them to the prison shown in the last shot.
Outside Shane’s arc, the season did a lot more with Daryl and Carol. Though Sophia’s disappearance and her subsequent death made her little more than a device to develop the relationship between Daryl and Carol, I thought it was done pretty well. Daryl’s constant searching gave Carol hope before the ugly truth had been revealed and Carol had to watch her walker daughter shot before her own eyes. All of Daryl’s attempts hadn’t mattered in the end and Carol felt betrayed. I loved watching them come to terms with what had happened and working through their anger at each other. And the building relationship between Glenn and Maggie finally gave Glenn more screen time, and thank goodness, because the two of them are really interesting as well.
Theodore, our token black guy, did almost nothing all season but accidentally rip a walker in half while pulling it out a well and fire a few rounds. Now that both Shane and Dale are gone, maybe they can work him more screen time the next season. Our only other black characters were either killed or written out of the story, so one can only hope, especially considering that in the first season Theodore did nothing but have racial slurs thrown at him by Merle.
I want Carl to die. Just to throw that out there. Well, to be fair, I think by the season’s end he learned his lesson. Let me change what I just said: I want someone to slap that brat across the face.
The entire incident with Randall pissed me off and I sided with Dale the whole time. What Rick allowed during those episodes was evil, and it made me angry that Hershel just sat by idly following Rick’s every say. Dale’s character was about not losing himself despite everything that had happened, and it may have ended in his death, but he was the conscience of the group and the only one to really see what everyone was becoming. Of course, my feelings for this situation were not helped by Lori and her blatant lack of personality. Those episodes, she really just proved to be nothing more than a mom and wife who refused to voice an opinion against her man. She even said that she didn’t like the idea of killing Randall, the guy they just saved only to torture for no real reason, but that she’d support it if Rick did. So she doesn’t agree with murder unless her husband okays it first. Oh, wait, Rick kills Shane in self-defense later on because he has no choice. You know, Shane, the guy that tried to rape her. Well, that makes Rick a bastard now, doesn’t it? I’m real glad she grew an opinion there. I mean, I know she knew Shane for years by now and had an affair with him, but come on! She was the one to tell Rick he needed to be stopped in the first place. Though I don’t agree with everything Rick does and says, I did like his “Well, screw you” speech at the end.
But getting back to the season finale, a lot is going on. On top of all the deaths, losing the vehicles and the farm, finding out that everyone’s infected, and the final shot with the prison, we get this awesomeness right here:
I’m a little on the fence with Andrea at the moment, and I eagerly wait to see how she develops in the next season. But much like with Beth’s failed suicide, I knew the moment she was running in the woods that she wouldn’t die. I was not expecting to see Michonne come to her rescue, and I really didn’t understand how simply cutting off walker arms stopped them from eating people. Or at least I didn’t until the nice men at the comic store pointed out that the walkers’ jaws were ripped off as well. I still don’t really get why they don’t at least try to feed, but hell, that shot was awesome.
Yeah, The Walking Dead has its fair share of problems, like with anything, but it’s still one of the better zombie shows out there. Outside 28 Days Later, I’d say it’s one of my favorite things dealing with zombies, so I’ll be waiting for the third season.