Children of the zombie-tribes, here it cometh: My impressions of the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on the comics by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore and let it just be clear from the effin’ beginning: This season sucked so hard most of the time it is even kinda unbelievable I watched it through and am actually blogging about it.
But oh, what can I say? Zombies are not actually known for appearing in quality TV or films (Resident Evil, anyone?), so to hate on The Walking Dead in terms of quality is like expecting Britney Spears to include more Shakespeare recitals in her book tours (yeah, Britney Spears and books? you’re asking, which is what you should be doing). So hating on The Walking Dead happens on my part mostly, because the first season seemed rather solid and promising, though looking at my review of it HERE I realize that all the sucky points survived, and all the good one’s got killed. Oh, and then they added some sucky shit.
Of course: Major SPOILER ALERT. I am going to rant and it is going to be impossible for me to keep from naming shit, so if you haven’t seen it yet, be warned: All is revealed! Well, partly. But: read on at your own risk!
Can Lori and Carl please please please get the zombification storyline RIGHT NOW? Lori has always sucked as a character and continues to do so and all her “oh what to do” and “Shane, I hate you or maybe still really like you” and “then I’ll go by myself and tell no one” makes me want to shoot her, rather than the zombies. Seriously, how is this woman not already eaten up alive? And how can you be any more of a selfish scheming little shit than Lori? Oh, of course you can be Rick, but we’ll get to that. On top of that the writing on this show is so horrifficly bad that even if the Lori actress were a good actress – and I don’t think she is – she could not make any of her verbal nonsense work.
Of course the major issue of this season, or rather The Walking Dead in general lies with the bad writing. The characters were tired clichés to begin with and exactly nothing has been done to get away from that. The dialogue is not only inane and often pointless, but characters like Shane and Lori are written so inconsistently that they change their minds within seconds based on nothing we could more than guess at just to reverse the whole thing next episode around.
And bad writing wouldn’t be such a huge issue for a zombie storyline if there was action taking place, but this season we are stuck on Herschel’s farm. And while not all about it is bad it also means that basically every episode is focused on the premises of that farm where nothing but relationship stuff takes place and relationship stuff taking place does not go well with bad writing and unmotivated characters. It’s horrible, but not because of zombicalypse, but because grand feelings vs. the horrors of survival only work when there are characters with a reason to feel and personalities to carry those feelings. But the writers chose to focus on a few of those feelings and force them down our throats again and again and again and again. In my season one review I complained how much it sucked that Rick was on his “as long as my family makes it” trip. And guess what: we’re still on it. The worst thing that could happen to Rick: Lori and Carl die. To Lori? Rick and Carl die? To Carl? His parents die. Yeah, then throw a baby in there. Which could be Shane’s. Because his worst nightmare: also Lori and Carl die. And he gets to be jealous All. The. Fucking. Time. Because that’s just who he is. The rest of the characters are ominously not having terrible nightmares about Rick and his family vanishing, because it would of course be so tragic to all of them, only: not really. By the end of season 2 Rick gets tyrant on everyone’s asses, Carl is dumb as a log anyways in all he does and Lori irritates all of them. Why the fuck are people still listening to these morons? Oh yes, because they are dumb morons, too.
But I can rant all I want there were still things I liked about TWD season two.
No. 1 was the conclusion to the Sophia storyline, because I expected the show to be too afraid to go there, but go there they did. Carol’s devestation is to equal parts forced and annoying, but this scene made up for all the suckitude of the rest, cause it was a powerful image and possibly heavy stuff for the group, which of course, because of dumb characters and dumber writing had no real impact on anyone of the group.
This whole incident had a far bigger impact on Herschel and his family, which is, oddly, another aspect that I liked. I like Herschel, though he is of course somewhat of an ass and likes Rick, which is stupid enough, but he feels like a real person and I like how he tried to cling on to the notion that all of those people he loved can still be saved. The idea to capture them and lock them in the barn is pretty awesome and what happens to him after he sees these hopes crushed is for once in this show believable.
Totally non-believable is that Maggie is his daughter, but I like her character nonetheless. She’s the plucky new one and calls people out for their shit, at least in the beginning (now she’s just part of the cast…). And although the whole relationship is contrived and implausible, I also think that her and Glenn make a cute couple and despite everything, I still like Glenn. Amazing also, how this show manages to keep the fact that Maggie and the blond suicidal one are sisters from us for three quarters of the season. Simply, because all those blond people on Herschel’s farm are there without us getting any explanation as to who they are, ever. For a show to be about caring about those who survived the show actually cares little about those who survived and in turn I care little about these people that I know nothing about and wouldn’t you know it – they get eaten alive just when it’s time to leave the farm.
I hate Shane and Rick and their storylines a lot, but I liked how it all played out in the end and how for both of them this whole shitfest lead into this dead-end that could only be concluded by having one of them dead. And nice touch – Shane rising again. Uh-oh.
Also: Okay, thanks Rick, everyone is infected, nice that you never told anyone, because yeah, why should you? Urgh. Tyrant Rick, that zombie-killing chick with zombie slaves and the wide shot of the castle-thingy that looks like it is going to be next seasons farm-background for more unbelievable human drama leave me with the feeling that there needs to happen some big – B.I.G. – changes in order to make that show work again.
I would like to end on a quote taken from the episode reviews by Alex Brown over at tor.com, which talks explicitly about Carol during the zombie-attack, but which sums up the whole season rather neatly IMHO:
“Maybe if you, I dunno, did something useful instead of doing the lamest running away from zombies ever recorded on television people wouldn’t look down on you so much.”