After a small blip in form normal service was resumed in last weeks Chupacabra. I had been nervously hoping that The Walking Dead would be able to keep the momentum going with Secrets – a title which strongly implied high drama.
PLOT: Carl (Chandler Riggs) is back on his feet and has stolen a gun from the R.V and wants to learn how to shoot. Despite voicing legitimate concerns Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) allows Carl to accompany the others to Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) gun range for some basic training. Andrea (Laurie Holden) finally becomes the sharp shooter we have all been waiting for but quite frankly I could have done without her groping Shane’s bulging crotch. Glenn (Steven Yeun) fails to keep several secrets and tells all to Dale (Jeffrey De Munn) who thereafter has rather unsubtle conversations with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Lori. Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohen) do the abortion pill run in which Maggie gets attacked and thereafter has a good old bitch at Lori. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally gets some screen time and discovers that Lori is pregnant and that she slept with Shane. Some Secrets were discovered but others remain hidden, for example, where did Shane get that brand new Hyundai? Why do Lori’s earrings magically appear then disappear? Why did T-Dog (Irone Singleton) get more screen time than Daryl (Norman Reedus)? Tune in next week to see none of these important questions being answered. END PLOT
Sophia (Madison Lintz) has still not been located however it looks as though her whereabouts may be discovered next week judging by a spoilery photograph which has been floating around. It may be fake but then again it may not be. If it is real it will be one of the worst pay-offs in tv history but I shall digress no more and place my focus on the episode at hand – Secrets.
Unlike the almost false advertising of Chupacabra, Secrets gave what was advertised - long kept secrets finally being told.
Lori’s pregnancy and affair with Shane is now out in the open and as per usual Sarah Wayne Callies stepped up to the plate with another fantastic performance. Andrew Lincoln has been quiet in the past couple of episodes but in this episode he showed Rick’s bubbling anger before repressing it to resume his usual calm demeanour. Lori wanted him to get angry and so did I but it isn’t in Rick’s nature – it was hinted at but there is time for Rick to have a full scale angry meltdown later on. In terms of ending an episode it was shoddily edited, held no tension whatsoever and was too quiet for its own good. The ending of Secrets revealed some major and important revelations but it was handled unforgivably poorly.
Dale, like Rick, has been lurking in the background for a few episodes but armed with the knowledge of Walkers in the barn and a pregnancy he put on his hat of wisdom and set off on a mission to speak to Hershel and Lori but in the end he accomplished absolutely nothing. Dale calling out Shane didn’t end well either although it was a decent little scene.
This week Shane drops his Hills of Eyes persona and channels R. Lee Ermey in a training montage in which he harshly calls Andrea a girl and brings up poor deceased Amy. Shane and Andrea were involved in some fairly decent Walker action but it ended up being cheesy with Andrea’s slow motion shooting and failed to create much excitement.
The Maggie and Glenn relationship is still not working due to the fact that Lauren Cohan is still acting Steven Yeun off the screen. Cohan is getting better with each passing week and Maggie’s smack down on Lori sent Lori’s bug eyes into maximum overdrive. Yeun’s delivery of Glenn’s lines is now really beginning to grate on me – announcing to Dale that “there are Walkers in the barn and Lori is pregnant” played like something out of a bad 90’s sitcom. Glenn isn’t working for me at all this season which is a crying shame.
Hershel’s farm is essentially Walker free (the vast majority of the characters are not aware of the Walkers in the barn) but the show has become too safe. There is no danger or tension and the characters have to venture out and seek out Walker action and when they do it just seems forced and set up.
Last week we had a brief Michael Rooker cameo and in those ten minutes it is clear what The Walking Dead is missing – a villain. Merle Dixon shows that tension can be created by strong writing of a dangerous character. Shane isn’t quite there yet so they need a villain and they need it now.
The Walking Dead has always had potential to be epic and groundbreaking television but at the minute something isn’t quite right. This is far beyond the Darabont drama or the budget cuts. There is something about the show which feels so vanilla at the moment – it feels as though the show is refusing to fully embrace the fact that it is a dark drama.
Secrets scores a 6.5/10. There were strong performances but they are beginning to be comfortable and familiar. The directors, writers and the actors all need to keep pushing the show forward otherwise they will find themselves up Walker Creek without a crossbow.
The next episode is the midseason finale and it cannot be a let down. The Walking Dead needs to go into the hiatus on a major high and it must definitely up its game in the 2nd half of the season.
I have the confidence that it will.
Performance of the week:Lauren Cohan
Annoying character of the week: Glenn
Zombie kill of the week: Glenn
Daryl line of the week: "Shoot me again you best pray I am dead"
Said with all the threat and conviction of a tired bunny - Daryl is officially 100% a good guy
Daryl picture of the week: