Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Walking Dead" Season 2 Episode 12: Who’s your daddy?

Not Vader, that's for sure

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 4:00 AM

*Full spoilers of this week's Walking Dead follows*

Another main character dead.A twist in the very development of how people become walkers.A character confrontation that has been building since the very start of the show.

And yet, I can’t get into the episode as a whole.

click to enlarge episode-12-carl-rick.jpg

Perhaps it’s because it stuck pretty close to last week’s formula: Let nothing important happen for the first 30 some-odd-minutes and then have hell break loose. I’m being a little unfair but it felt like a return to the earlier shows this season: Lots of talking and very little actually going on.

It might have been that each scene felt disjointed, like we were getting small snippets of what everyone was up to, yet with the story’s wheels were stuck in the mud and not going anywhere. Several of the scenes were important, Lori(Sarah Wayne Callies), and Shane (Jon Bernthal), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), but everything on the whole felt scattered, like we were just biding our time on the farm waiting for something more exciting to happen. Sure, the wheels led somewhere eventually, but it was a destination we’ve all known was coming for so long it didn’t really need, or get anything for that matter, to move it forward.

Or it’s because I still am not really sure what made Shane break, and what made him finally decide he needed to kill Rick. Was it Lori admitting she didn’t know who the father of the baby was? Was it her coming within a few words of saying she had feelings for him? Lori enjoys manipulating people, but her emotions seemed genuine. But she must have known that setting Shane off like that would cause something to happen. I have no idea what she was trying to accomplish, but I don’t think she’ll like the results.

Whatever finally went off in Shane’s head, he went off and concocted a plan to solve two birds with one stone: Rick and Randall(Michael Zegen). He springs Randall free, but tried to set it up to look like an escape, only to lure Rick into the woods on the hunt alone.

What resulted was a great ending, and a finely crafted scene between Rick and Shane (The moon, the wide angel shots, the grassy plain, oh my!). This, more than anything else, is where the show has been headed for so long, and it might have been the overdue-ness of this confrontation that took away its emotional impact.They’ve fought before, and we all knew deep down inside it wasn’t over. Rick and Shane could not survive together, and Shane, willingly or not, gave Rick the chance to fight for his family and Carl. And no real surprise, but Rick won.

Oddly enough though, I still think I cared more when Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) died. Or perhaps Dale’s death was just more shockingly out of nowhere. Now I’m just glad that the Rick-Shane drama will finally be over, but I am quite curious to see how Rick handles the blood on his hands. He certainly isn’t the good guy anymore.

In an interesting twist, Carl stumbled upon his father and Shane’s dead body, which started to come back to life as a walker. Fittingly, it was Carl who put down walker-Shane, but this proved that anybody who dies in this world will be reborn as a walker, not just those that are bit. An interesting wrench to throw in the works, for sure.Doesn’t explain why it didn’t happen to Dale, though. (Perhaps that echelon of walker can’t dig, who knows).

But, as well executed as the ending was, it just took so long to get there, both in the series as a whole and in this episode. The show pulls off great and intense moments; I just don’t want to keep waiting through mediocre ones to get there.

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