Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Walking Dead: Pretty Much Dead Already (Spoilers)

After an amazing start to season two there is no disputing the fact that it noticeably dipped in quality with the obvious weak links being Cherokee Rose and Secrets.  I was nervous about the mid-season finale especially after seeing the spoiler photograph which had been circling the internet. 

PLOT:  The episode opens with an ominous shot of the Walker filled barn which is now defying the basic rules of geography by being is in the background of almost every shot.  Glenn (Steven Yeun) announces to the group that there are Walkers in the barn and the news does not go down well with Shane (Jon Bernthal).  Shane discovers Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is pregnant and is promptly told that he is *not* the father although he begs to differ.  Maggie (Lauren Cohen) gives Glenn an egg hat. Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) continue their awkward yet adorable friendship.   Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) senses trouble and attempts to hide the guns by basically wandering into the forest and remaining stationary until he is discovered with relative ease by Shane.  T-Dog (Irone Singleton) wanders into frame and I need an explanation as to his whereabouts.  Is T-Dog having some mini adventures off screen that the viewer is not privy to?  As Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is off on a Walker reconnaissance mission with Hershel (Scott Wilson) Shane uses the opportunity to deliver a motivational “kill them all” speech in his typical steroid-esq fuelled manner.  The barn door is open and a staggering number of Walkers emerge. The hunt for Sophia (Madison Lintz) is finally over.  END PLOT

If Chupacabra is Daryl’s episode and Secrets is Loris then it is only fair to say that Pretty Much Dead Already belongs to Shane. 

Shane is the most intriguing and controversial character on the entire show.  His apparent craziness isn’t as clear cut as it first appears as although serious questions have to be asked about his methods his goal has always been to protect the group and more specifically Lori and Carl.  Jon Bernthal absolutely killed it this episode.  Shane’s reaction to the news that Lori is pregnant is my favourite Shane moment of the entire show - his subtly shaking hands were a brilliant touch.  

The relationship between Rick and Shane is becoming much more strained.  There were a couple of nice paralleling moments in the episode with Shane telling Lori that “Rick isn’t cut out for this world” which shows that Shane sees Rick as being weak.  This was flipped around by Dale later on in the episode with Dale telling Shane that “You belong in this world” which shows that Shane is losing his grip on humanity. 

I always liked the fact that tv Shane has outlived his comic book counterpart and it is definitely worth mentioning that his story arc has become the most intense and dramatic.

Daryl and Carol’s continuing friendship continues to blossom and although their screen time has been quite limited for a couple of episodes they make the most of what little time they get.  Their silent reactions and flinches speak volumes about their past.  They both deserve more in the 2nd half of the season.

It is interesting that the arcs I am buying into the most; Shane, Daryl and Carol are not from the comic book.  I am not sure if it’s because they are new to me or if they are quite simply better than the source material – either way if season two keeps the momentum going with these three characters I have high hopes.

As a self confessed spoiler whore I knew how the hunt for Sophia would end as soon as a photograph of Walker Sophia started circulating on the internet several days before the episode aired in America.  There were debates about whether or not it was fake but from the moment I saw it I knew it was real – and I wasn’t happy about it.

The hunt for Sophia lasted for so long I expected an earth shattering pay off and after seeing the photograph I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I never get tired of being proved incorrect about my hunches as the reveal of Sophia and the attack on the barn was probably the best 10mins of The Walking Dead so far. 

Madison Lintz got more time as Walker Sophia than regular Sophia and this worked as it allowed each character a reaction shot and the softer part of me thinks it’s sweet that she got an extended moment to shine.   The death of Sophia is a big departure from the comics as she is one of the few original characters still alive.

Sophia in the comics plays a big part in Glenn and Maggie’s relationship as they essentially adopt her.  Although I am sadder than expected about the death of Sophia I could never see this comic book thread developing on the show and that is because of Glenn.

Of all the characters Glenn is the one that remains the least developed as he hasn’t changed in the slightest since season one nor has he been given any back story.

The way Steven Yeun delivers his lines reminds me of I-Carley or some other zippy Nickelodeon sitcom that I have been forced to watch by the younger members of my family.   Whenever Yeun is not attempting to be dry witted he can be watchable – Glenn asking Maggie’s permission to shoot was a surprisingly respectful touch. 

Perhaps they are keeping Glenn as the kid of the group in order to allow him to have his coming of age moment.  The problem is we are already going through this development with Rick who is a much more important character than Glenn.  It worries me that when his moment comes I wont care as he is nothing more than a background player.

There was always going to be some action in the mid season finale and it did not disappoint.  The Walker action was very organised, controlled and a far cry from the pandemonium of the Atlanta camp attack.  It was an excellent way to show the development of the group and have them work together as a relatively complete unit. 

Pretty Much Dead Already didn’t end on a major dun dun dun cliffhanger but it cut to black perfectly.  Next year each character from Carol to Shane and Hershel will all have to deal with the aftermath in their own unique way and I for one cannot wait to see how this all plays out. 

The quality of The Walking Dead is so high that when it produces filler episodes they become nothing more than that and are instantly forgettable.  Pretty Much Dead Already shows that when it is in the notion The Walking Dead can be a very gripping and tense drama.  This episode was a welcome return to form and it scores a 9/10.

Pretty Much Dead Already made for great tv and I realised just how involved with these characters I have become.

Performance of the week:Jon Bernthal
Annoying character of the week: Glenn
Zombie kill of the week:Rick on Sophia
Daryl line of the week: "Stupid Bitch"
Still getting used to positive feedback he lashed out at Carol after she tried to bond with him. He later apologised. 


  1. Such a great episode, Jon Bernthal as Shane in those last 10 or 15 mins was just so on his game, truly impressive, can't wait for the 2nd half to start.

  2. I completely agree with the ideas about Glenn; as much as I like him and Maggie, they do seem very young, and as if the zombie apocalypse hasn't matured them at all. There is no way they could have looked after Sophia.

    That scene with Daryl holding Carol as she wept over Sophia was tragic though - poor Rick having to take responsibility again!!

  3. the episode is "pretty much dead already", not "better off dead".

    That said, it was an amazing episode! It amazes me how much this show pulls you in and engages you emotionally.

  4. Daniel: I agree - I was nervous about how the Sophia arc would play out as I thought it would be anticlimactic but it wasn't!

    Kate: I don't mind Maggie as she seems much more clued in to what it going on. In this episode her shoplifting and smoking days give her a bit of street smarts.

    It's Glenn and the way he delivers his lines that annoys me - Yeun is trying so hard to be dry witted it just comes across on screen as Yeun trying hard to be dry witted rather than the character.

    I could see Maggie stepping up as Sophia's adopted mother but not Glenn - not that it matters now!

    Erin: thanks for reading and correcting. I've no idea how I managed to get the title of the episode wrong and not notice!

    K :-)