Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walking Dead: What Lies Ahead Review

The start of a new season has arrived, with it we have anger, remorse, pain, fear, despair, violence and hope. This first episode is an hour and a half long, with commercials, but they surprisingly kept commercials limited, but it just left me wanting more. It's all about slim chances now, a line that should resonate with anyone who has been keeping up on the show. For those who haven't watched the first season of The Walking Dead, you get a little bit of relief at the beginning of the episode when it slightly recaps some of the events, but mostly you just get to hear about the end of the first season and where it has left this small group of survivors. We start the episode by hearing Rick Grimes speaking, Rick the star of the show, the leader of the group, the only one holding them all together against the hordes of undead. He is leaving a warning to his old friend, Morgan, from the first episode of The Walking Dead, but also a warning to anyone who can hear it. He tells them that Atlanta is for the dead and that they are moving towards a military fort one hundred plus miles away. It was great to hear Rick, played by Andrew Lincoln, speaking right off the bat, drawing you back into the show with a monologue that shows' his fears, sadness and will to survive. I will try my best to describe the episode without merely regurgitating the plot, like many others tend to do. If you missed the episode you can watch it online over on at the AMC website.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode Photos

Spoilers Ahead
If you have seen any of the trailers for this season then you will know exactly what awaits the group ahead, especially when you see them arrive at freeway cluttered with cars. Needless to say, they get stuck and hordes of zombies approach. I really liked how they handle that scene, very different than most zombie scenarios. The hordes shamble through, listening for sounds, but mostly unaware of the survivors hiding under the cars. Only does trouble happen when a certain someone decides to try to put together a gun while the horde is walking right by her vehicle. There is also a very gruesome scene with T-Dog, played by IronE Singleton, where he slices his arm on a door. They kept making me think that they were going for the generic, the black guy is the first to die stereotype, but I didn't account on Daryl Dixon.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode Photos

Daryl, played by Norman Reedus (from Boondock Saints), is fantastic in this episode. He keeps his bad ass persona from Boondock Saints, but adds a sense of care and understanding to his character. He is often the one getting into the grit of things, with Rick, and is also a zombie killing machine, yet he is also very sensitive towards the other survivors in his group. He never argues, never put's others down, but always does his best to keep everyone else safe and help in whatever way he can. Rick on the hand is still calm, collected and quick to react. He quickly gets everyone aware and safe from the zombie horde without alerting them to their presence, like the great leader he is. There are a few frustrating moments in this first scene, specifically with Sophia, played by Madison Lintz, who is Carols daughter. When someone tell's a child to stay put and then you see them moving, it just makes you cringe a little, because we all know that something awful is going to come from that. I am amazed at how impatient they made the characters look at this scene, jumping from under the cars the moment the horde seemed to have passed, big mistake. Sophia ends up on the run in a nearby forest, while Rick runs off to save her. At the same time Daryl is saving T-Dog from being eaten alive.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode Photos

Sophia get's lost in the woods, instead of staying put like Rick told her to, surprise! All of the frustration in this episode is a result of her not staying put, twice, but there is also a bit of malcontent that is building towards Rick throughout the episode. Carol, played Melissa Suzanne McBride , blames Rick for everything involving her daughter, even though he likely saved her from being devoured by zombies. The other source of malcontent comes unilaterally from Shane Walsh, played by Jon Bernthal, and from Andrea, played by Laurie Holden. Shane, played by Jon Bernthal, is still pissed about Rick being alive and his wife, Lori, not being with him anymore. He feels rejected and rebellious. In this episode he makes his plans to leave the group, telling Lori only, but Andrea overhears the conversation and demands to join in on his escape. Andrea is pissed off about being live after Dale Horvath saves her in the last episode of season 1. Dale, played by Jeffrey DeMunn, ends up continuously pissing her off as he tries to protect her. All three of these characters blame Rick for everything, somehow, even though he is barely holding himself together trying to lead the group. Only does the anger and malcontent seem to be put to rest with Lori makes a moving and powerful speech on Ricks behalf, slewing out frustrated words about Ricks good intentions.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode Photos

Everything character in this episode get's a good bit of time, except for Glenn, played by Steven Yeun. Glenn proved himself to be a like able character in season one, but in this episode he plays merely a supportive role and has very few lines, while each other character has at least one character specific moment. Although, the trailer for the whole season that played after the end of the episode showed some significant looking scenes with him later on. All of the acting in this episode is well done, but Laurie Holden in particular did a great job making me begrudge her character, Andrea, while still making me like her once she relents a bit on her rebellious attitude. Jon Bernthal also does a great job making me feel conflicted about Shane. Shane wants to leave, but still is Rick's best friend and right hand man among the group. For every line that he has about leaving the group and going away on his own, he has cooperative and caring actions that counteract that. He looks to be stuck in the show for quite some time, especially thanks to the continuously more troublesome state the group seems to be. Rick's faith is put into question several times during this episode, along with the faith of others, but in the end he seems to get the sign he wanted, although it quickly turns from something beautiful into something cruel. If that was indeed a sign from god, then they have a malicious god watching their back.

This season started out with a episode that showed the strengths and weaknesses of many of the characters, once again reminded us that this group is not a stoic band of survivors. It is group with problems, in a world full of danger and chaos. The road to the fort will certainly be a rocky one and we can only hope that they make it there without losing anyone. This episode could have been better, but it leaves room for the possibility of great future episodes. After the initial panic and fear, there was plenty of slow moments in the episode, but they did a great job making the slow moments feel just as important as the panic filled scene on the freeway. Thanks for reading and tune in next week for the episode two review.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer

Violent Score: 8.5 (out of 10) 

-Written by Sean Cargle


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