The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Part 1 (2011)

Walking Dead S2 Poster.jpg
A show that's more than just brainless fun

The first half of the second season follows on straight after the ending of the first season as Rick and his band of survivors aim to survive the zombie apocalypse. They leave Atlanta in order to reach Fort Benning, but come across a traffic jam.

*Warning: Spoilers abound, but not too many*

With Frank Darabont fired from the show, fans of the first season do have one question on their collective minds: would the show dip in quality without the man who brought the comic book to our television screens? The good news is the show can survive without the man who directed The Shawshank Redemption, as evidenced by the first half of the second season.

The showrunners took a gamble by letting Shane live on past the first season, and I feel that the right choice has been made. In the first season, we could see Shane's building anger and sense of right and wrong descending, as, unbeknownst to Rick, he aimed his loaded gun at him, not to mention when he unleashed his anger upon that wifebeating scumbag. We see even more of that here, and Shane proves to be one of the more interesting characters, as he makes a number of questionable decisions whilst proving he has what it takes to survive in this new world, no matter what has to be done.

Shane isn't the only character to develop further from the first season, as Andrea becomes more hardened, Daryl gets more focus upon his self, to everyone's delight, Glenn opens up more to a love interest and Rick continues to prove how he is the one willing to make the tough decisions that no one else could do. Fans of the comic will also get a kick out of seeing a certain hat getting passed on and lessons being given to train others how to use a gun.

New additions to the cast include Scott Wilson as Hershel, Pruitt Taylor-Vance as Otis and Lauren Cohan as Maggie, all of whom manage to make their characters well rounded and three-dimensional, which is more than can be said for Patricia, Jimmy and Beth, who you'll barely notice as they don't make much of an impression. I only noticed the latter two in the fifth episode, I did not recall seeing them at all in the previous eps.

Don't you hate it when you have guests over and you lose your keys?
A number of moments are very questionable. The search for Sophia does push your patience, and manages to slow down the pace for this half of the series, but the ending to that story does pretty much make up for it. Plus, it doesn't help how Carol's reaction to her daughter being missing is pretty much as emotional as if she lost her keys. T-Dog doesn't manage to develop as a character, pretty much being the unneeded extra weight token that you just can't stop predicting will be zombie bait. Also, what Dr Jenner whispered to Rick doesn't get revealed, but it's a question that's only teased once, as opposed to being constantly teased until the viewer loses patience and demands the answer.

If this first half of the season has proven anything, it's that this show is not afraid to makes changes from the source material. Sure, the last season showed their willing to change by extending Shane's longevity past the first season, but here the death of a number of characters will undoubtedly shock the comic readers.

It does feel like the rumoured cost saving techniques AMC suggested to the writers have come to pass, as less zombies are shown, a lot more time is spent on the farm as opposed to anywhere else and zombies do seem to be heard more than seen, but the show manages to showcase these cost effective methods in an effective light that it doesn't bother you that you're not seeing as many zombies as you did on the first season.

After a mid-season finale that ends with a final five minutes that will leave you shocked and breathless, you are more than proven that The Walking Dead can survive without Mr Darabont. The wait until the remainder of the season will be difficult, though.


yaykisspurr said…
Fascinating that you love Shane so much! Not that I love Rick either though. I do find their relationship fascinating and the writers actually did well developing it. If they don't move on from this freaking boring farm though I might have to say bye-bye. I did love the ending and while I figured Sophia was dead I didn't see the barn coming.