At the time of its original airing, I really liked Season 2 of The Walking Dead. I rebuffed all the haters who complained on a weekly basis that the time on the Farm was dragging out and the Group needed to move on. I was convinced that the writers were keeping the Group there to really build the characters for us and it was easier to do so if everyone stayed put for awhile instead of giving us action-packed episodes full of Walker killing. I was wrong.
The first half of the season drags on with “SAVE CARL! FIND SOPHIA! After both of those issues are resolved, it’s “Now what do we do about Random Randall?” And during all this, there certainly wasn’t as much character building as I remembered. Shane’s still crazy, Lori’s still annoying, Rick’s still good and Andrea’s still the worst. I really didn’t need thirteen episodes to tell me that.
It did give some of the side characters more development. Daryl turned out not to be the world’s most selfish, racist jerk. Carol pulled herself back up after losing everything with Sophia’s death. And Glenn found love. Still, Dale became horrible before his death and there’s poor T-Dog who just feels ignored 95% of the time; the Farm didn’t change that.
In summation, the season doesn’t hold up, and they probably could have achieved the same story lines in half as many episodes, then moved on to set up the Prison in the latter half of the season. Perhaps at the time I was too excited for a weekly zombie show that would last longer than the six-episode freshman season, therefore I was completely immune to the negativity others were spouting. But I have since removed my rose-colored glasses and now view it for what it really is.
Favorite Episode: Beside the Dying Fire
As I mentioned in my post for the episode last week, this was my second favorite episode for a long time, but now I’m reshuffling that list. It remains in the Top 5, and though it still has plenty to offer with the action and pushing the plot beyond the Farm, it doesn’t quite deliver the way it once did, thanks to better episodes since. Still, at the end of this episode, it’s the first time we’ve seen the Group with almost nothing: shelter, food, water, clothes, a plan. Though we’ll see it again plenty, that first time of near hopeless is a real punch to the gut.
Favorite New Character: Maggie Greene
I can’t officially count Michonne yet, due to her wordless, faceless cameo toward the end of the finale, so I’ll go with the farmer’s daughter, Maggie. Though she starts off as sheltered and naive, she comes around more quickly than the rest of her family to the actual danger the world now presents with the undead. She’s tough and sassy and she manages to fall in love in the harshest of times, instead of closing herself off so as not to have more to lose. She doesn’t believe that a woman needs to be unfeeling to shoot a gun, or shoot a gun to prove her worth. Out of all the women on the show, she’s the one I’d most like to be in this post-apocalyptic universe.
Saddest Death: Sophia Peletier
Not quite as much as a “by default” as Amy in Season 1, but again I wasn’t very attached to any of the departed this year either. The deaths of Dale and Shane were almost welcome at that point. Otis, Patricia and Jimmy were barely characters. Everyone else was a villain. Sophia’s death was a little worse when you imagine what a 12-year-old child must have gone through in her final moments, alone in the woods. Of course if you think about it too long, it probably wouldn’t make much sense how she was bitten (without being devoured), found a place to stay until she died and turned, then was found by Otis and put in the barn before he was able to shoot Carl and get killed by Shane at the school. Doesn’t add up, but that doesn’t make her death any less sad for her poor mother and the rest of the group who went through hell looking for her, only to discover her walking corpse was a stone’s throw from their camp the whole time.
Most Memorable Walker: Well Walker
Disclaimer: I’m not including “known” characters here, so neither Shane nor Sophia, or even Randall for that matter, made the cut. With that out of the way, this season’s winner is definitely Well Walker from Episode 4 “Cherokee Rose.” I briefly mentioned it in that post, but it was a Walker that somehow became trapped in one of the Farm’s water wells. They sent Glenn down to put a rope around its middle so everyone could heave the bloated corpse up, but once it was nearly clear of the well, it became stuck and the body ripped as the lower half fell back into the well and the remainder lay on the ground flailing and growling. Even before tearing apart, looking at the Walker was like seeing some horrible creature in an old monster movie. The water and bloating certainly did the trick. It’s probably one of the more gruesome sights the Group has encountered up to that point and the first Walker that Maggie didn’t call by name, so it made a huge impact on her thinking toward the undead. Memorable and absolutely disgusting for so many reasons.