I have a lot of feelings when it comes to The Walking Dead. And, if you’ll recall, a lot of them are far from positive. I can’t help it – the first season of the show spoiled me by being practically flawless. Add in a slow run of shows in season two, and I couldn’t help but feel that it was somewhat lacking – until the midseries finale.
Well, I’m happy to report that The Walking Dead and I are once again on speaking terms. I got my fair share of everything this time around – gore, blood, startling zombie jump moments, and some good ol’ fashioned gunfire. Yes, Virginia: The Walking Dead is back. And I feel confident in saying that it’s better than ever.
The second half of season two picks up where we left off . The entire gang standing in front of the barn, a pile of dead geeks at their feet… Sophia included. It’s grisly, uncomfortably quiet, and downright unsettling.
This is what the show is supposed to be. The dead walking are supposed to give us the creeps, they’re supposed to leave us wondering where the line between good, bad, and downright wrong are. It’s so exciting to see that things have finally reached their breaking point at the farm after so many moments of quiet.
Since the site was on a break during the finale, I never had the chance to really talk about how amazing Jon Bernthal’s performances are as Shane. He is everything that you fear society can become: cold, ruthless, and downright scary. It was chilling seeing him confront Dale in past episodes, and now, talking to the man who used to be his best friend, you hardly recognize him. Everyone else seems to be sinking further into themselves too, particularly Daryl and Carol, who are both affected strongly by Sophia’s death. The show keeps taking people down darker and darker paths and…. oooh. It’s good.
But, of course, this wouldn’t have been a great episode of The Walking Dead for me if there wasn’t some gunfire and some zombies smashed in the head. The episode has its jump moments, and they work perfectly, as well as its share of downright grisly moments. My favorite part of the episode, though, is the end.
Can we talk about how perfect the final scene of “Nebraska” is? When Rick, Glenn, and Herschel meet the two lowlifes from Jersey, I was right along with them in their hesitation from the beginning of the scene all the way to the end. The way that the writers portray Dave and Tony, the two jerks from New Jersey, is downright flawless. The outward friendliness is there, but the tension and want to mistrust the two of them is immediate; I was just as hesitant as the survivors were to want to listen to a damn word they said. Sure, the two weren’t immediately likeable – Dave’s immediate use of the word “douchebag,” Tony pissing on the bar floor – but Daryl even has his charms, and you can tell he has a heart, where you know right off the bat that these two aren’t good news.
Reactions felt real. The writers didn’t take the easy way out and make Rick make more do-gooder mistakes, allowing strangers to their camp. Maybe I’m trigger happy, but I was ready to shoot at the same moment Rick was. The writing was just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
It wouldn’t be season two of the show, though, if I didn’t have my gripes. Mainly my beef this time was with Lori – I don’t understand the logic of going after the boys when she specifically sent them into town with the objective of coming back. The whole scenario seemed contrived, a way to get Lori out on her own and in an accident, and in an episode that felt so real (well, you know what I mean), it felt extremely out of place.
I also hate Andrea. …but I always hate Andrea.
All in all, though, this was a solid episode, and after a good couple of months without some zombie killing in my life, I feel like The Walking Dead has come back with a vengeance. Guts, gore, some heart to hearts in between: this is the show that I fell in love with. Here’s to many more like it – or at least, the rest of the season.