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Last night, we reached the midway point of THE WALKING DEAD’s
second season and much like the first, its run just wasn’t able to live up to
the dreams and hopes of its first two installments. Only this time, the high of
having a horror tale to tune into every week has been deflated, thanks to its own lackluster nature (and AMERICAN
HORROR STORY). [SPOILERS AHEAD]
There were bright spots yet, however, and if anything, the
last third of last night’s midseason finale proves that when charged with a
fire under their ass, the writers of THE WALKING DEAD can deliver on not only intensity,
but actually gripping drama.
Hopefully, with the sound of Rick’s gun still ringing in
everyone’s ears, the momentum and urgency felt in “Pretty Much Dead Already”
will carry over to an entirely more satisfying remaining six episodes. With
that wish in mind, here are some aspects of the show that I’d like to see
remedied come February:
Stop Trying to Make Rick Happen
Rick’s translation from page to screen hasn’t exactly been
an inspiring one. The Rick Grimes we watch every week seems to only be a leader
because he’s our predetermined protagonist, and it’s become hard to understand
why the group had automatically turned to him upon arrival. In trying to embody
the qualities of someone levelheaded, everything to Rick has become endless
discussion, only stepping up to make “the hard decisions” when the writers are
trying to prove a point about him (i.e. shooting Sophia, which happened to be a
nice, resonant echo of the little zombie girl from season one). While it’s
understandable and admirable if the minds behind the series are attempting to
organically grow Rick into someone more firm, learning how to transform into
all he needs to be, everything about that transformation should’ve been
organic, including his now seemingly illogical rise to the top.
Rick’s ineffectiveness is also hurting other characters, as
Shane is sent often aggressively over the top (just like the end of last
season) to seem less reasonable, when he’s frequently the most right (and the
most interesting and the most complex).
I loved the weight of Rick as he stepped up last night, but
let’s not forget only moments before he was ridiculously leading a walker by a
leash. It really feels like a “shit or get off the pot” moment for the
character is here.
Sophia and the Slow Burn
The case of missing Sophia has been simmering since episode
one, but with nothing to reignite interest, had simply become an eye roller
upon mention by episode five. While the actions and reveal of “Pretty Much Dead
Already” still hit hard, there’s a good chance the impact would’ve been even
greater had the storyline not been dragged so thin and felt as pointless to us, as it did to Shane. On that same level, it’s lovely to see a show take itself
seriously, but THE WALKING DEAD is confusing sluggish with deliberate and from here on out, a little
tightening can go a long way.
If you’re into the comics, you may well know that Sophia is
very much still a part of the proceedings, so it’s great to see the series
employ the spontaneity that Kirkman often does: anyone, anywhere can die. But
was Sophia a bit of too little, too late? We barely spent any time with the
little girl, so her turn as a walker was more in service to the rest of the
group’s development than any shocking tear to emotional connection. So let’s
see the show really go for the gut, and reach the heights we saw with Andrea
And since the zombies remain incredible, let’s at least use
them to take out some of the folks on Herschel’s farm we’ve barely gotten to
know. Or let’s get to know them! Because another conversation between Dale and
Andrea (or really, Dale and anyone) is not something I’m looking forward to.
And finally, Carol
Now that she knows what’s happened to her daughter, it would
be great to see Carol become a character that doesn’t cry at the end of every
conversation she has.
I’m here for the long haul, and truly intrigued to see where
we go in this next half. So, please WALKING DEAD, stop acting like Rick.
Stop meandering and be great.
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