The Walking Dead, Season 2: Secrets
Recap by Marc Patterson
Next week is the mid-season finale for season two of The Walking Dead. Is it just me or does that moniker sound completely idiotic? “Mid-season finale”. Sounds like something a junior marketing exec came up with. “Hey, wanna boost some ratings? When one finale isn’t enough, let’s have TWO!” Whatever. We’re going into the holiday season and I need more free time to watch my holiday horror. Slap whatever name you want on it – I finally agree, it’s a good call on the break in the season. It’s been pretty boring anyway. Bring on the figgy pudding and Rudolph slay!
So quickly into this recap I must digress. Let’s get this back on track and talk about secrets – dirty, dirty secrets. This episode is entitled Secrets and of course, from last week we know what those are – zombies in the barn, Lori’s pregnancy, Hershel’s intent to have our crew leave camp, Glenn and Maggie’s blossoming relationship, oh here’s a new one: Shane and Andrea finally screw each other. Since with the exception of Shane and Andrea there aren’t really any NEW secrets, I’m thinking that makes the title a bit anti-climatic. However, this episode is all about dealing with those secrets, or the complete failure to do so.
While last week focused on Daryl. This week Glenn gets a shot in the spotlight – and I kind of like it. Glenn is one of the guys I actually enjoy. He’s been one of my favorites in the comic series as well, and I feel his adaptation to the screen has been handled fairly competently. Glenn is kinda like the guy you’d want to go drinking with because as strange as the night gets at least you won’t end up in the woods killing something. Daryl would make a good drinking buddy too, but only if you’re in for a wild and unpredictable time. You might end up scalping a walker or two or worse… yeah, things would definitely get weird.
Anyway, Glenn holds all the cards in this episode and his inability to keep a secret leads to a lot of trouble – well that and Dale’s meddling. Seriously, why doesn’t Dale just wear granny panties? Mind your own business old man! Glenn tells everything to Dale which results in Dale talking to Hershel about the walkers in the barn. And out comes the truth behind Hershel’s secret. All of those people are family and neighbors. To him, they aren’t walkers. They’re his wife and daughter. They are sisters, brothers, cousins. He doesn’t believe they’re dead, but that they’re sick and that perhaps somewhere, someday a cure might be found. But let’s cut Hershel some slack. Killing off your loved ones isn’t something easily done. This was so emotionally and impactfully demonstrated in the season one premiere – not that we need that kind of graphic visualization. Just imagine putting a bullet in the skull of the person you love the most. Pretty depressing shit. So that’s that. The barn stays under wraps for now, though it won’t much longer and next week we get to see what happens when the whole camp finds out.
Back to Glenn. This episode sees Glenn doing more chore running for everyone. On a ride back into town for more supplies from the pharmacy (why don’t they just take everything?) Maggie accompanies Glenn, where they talk about the walker situation. Maggie feels much the same as her father, but when she gets attacked in the pharmacy we get the distinct impression her opinion might be slowly changing. Maggie blows up at Lori upon their return, basically tossing Lori’s secret right into the open. She’s indignant that Lori, and everyone else in camp, uses Glenn as the goto bait boy for the walkers and pretty much doesn’t like the fact that she was attacked while doing someone else’s bitch work. While Maggie thinks Glenn is smarter than to be treated this way, I’m not sure. Hey, I still like the guy. I’m just sayin’ he’s not exactly a natural born leader.
So that kid, (What’s her name again? Oh yeah – Sophia – I almost forgot it’s been so long), remains lost and Rick, Shane and the gang continue their search, but you can tell they’re getting kinda apathetic about it. I mean, when Shane and Andrea use Sophia as an excuse to go off together alone, you pretty much know this plot line is wearing thin. The writers have really squeezed every last bit out of that one they can. If they were seriously interested in finding Sophia we would have been watching Daryl as he picked the scent back up and gone found another clue. But we’re not. We’re exploring a random neighborhood that’s teeming with walkers and watching Andrea show off her newly acquired gun skills. Yawn.
Speaking of “yawn”, I want to address something that’s going to be a bit sensitive because I’m a guy with a swinging dick between my legs, but for the love of God – this season the key women are seriously BORING! There’s very little character development around any of them. Even Andrea. The best we can get from her is that she learns she’s a crack shot with a gun. Does that really take a three show story arc to come out? Hell, they’ve been hinting at it all season, so let’s just make that six episodes. And I say again – that’s the best we can get?
Then there’s Lori – when the hell did she become so pathetic and loathsome? In Secrets she scolds Rick for not disclosing they’ll have to eventually leave Hershel’s farm while at the same time harboring a far larger secret in her pregnancy, something Rick finds out on his own – and trust me – he’s pissed, and rightfully so. She’s whiny and just generally ill-written. Her character could be stronger – and SHOULD be stronger, but she’s just not.
Meanwhile, Carol lifelessly meanders around in the background, popping up whenever we need to be reminded that a child is lost. Again – Carol is another great character, but just not here. Who else is there to address? Who cares? If I can’t remember them then they aren’t worth discussing. Maggie has the most potential, but we still need to get to know her better.
Come to think of it, most of the guys aren’t much better. I ask, why is T-Dog still even around? For all the good he’s been this season he should have bled to death out on that highway. Dale is whiny and irksome. His character serves only to act as the father figure nobody needs or wants. But, when I think about it, I feel he’s more like a mother hen than the cock of the walk. When you boil it down the show is really about Rick and Shane, and that’s too bad because there is a lot of potential to be had with this cast, but with so many half-fleshed out characters it’s like trying to herd cats and the result is dragging the plot down to a baby paced crawl.
Not that I felt this episode was all bad. In fact – I found myself finally starting to like Rick again. Maybe Shane’s ass reaming from last week started to do some good. And the focus on Glenn was a welcome change. Plus, all the pieces finally fell into place for that eventual stand-off we can see coming between Hershel and his people and Rick and his people. The writers have successfully kept us on our toes in regards to who might live, who might die, and who might eventually be introduced to the series (I’m impatiently awaiting the arrival of Michonne!) Unlike Dexter, I’m still tuning in weekly, and I suppose that’s a good thing. Now let’s just hope next week turns a page and picks up the pace!