Monday, March 12, 2012

Exfanding Review: Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 12

As I’ve done pretty much every Monday over the course of this season, today I’d like to talk about the latest episode of Walking Dead, on AMC. And, as usual, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS if you haven’t yet seen the episode.

And, unlike past SPOILER WARNINGS on this site, this time I plan to COMPLETELY RUIN LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE IF YOU HAVE NOT YET WATCHED IT, so please take heed and come back after you’ve seen the show.

Okay? Okay, here we go with the Dash Marks of Doom...

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Okay, that should do it.

On to the Good Stuff.

Last night, in the penultimate episode of Season Two, the Thing that all readers of Kirkman’s graphic novel have been waiting for finally happened. And, while it didn’t happen exactly as it went down in the book, I think it worked quite well.

Of course, I’m talking about the death of Shane, a pretty major event that happened almost immediately in the book. One of my favorite characters on the show, Shane brought a tension to the group that is going to be tough to replace.

His death at the hands of Rick will have repercussions with the other members, sure, and he’ll eventually need to explain his actions, but that constant—and sometimes terrifying— friction between the two male leads will be missed.

Luckily (for viewers, at least), Shane’s death wasn’t the biggest shock of last night’s episode.

Instead, it was revealed that it’s not just those bitten by “walkers” who are coming back to “life.” This is by far the biggest diversion from the book in a season filled with diversions. This adds a completely different dynamic to the show, and to the world these characters (try their best to) live in.

From the clips we’ve seen of next week’s Season Two finale, it appears that AMC is going to give viewers a 90-minute assault, à la Night of the Living Dead.

Seriously, did you see how many zombies were shambling out of the woods just before the credits rolled? Next week is going to be intense, and I think it’s pretty clear that the cast going into the episode will not be the same as the cast coming out of the episode.

While Shane’s death may have been a nice little swerve from the books, this new twist with who can and can’t come back from the dead is interesting and it opens things up to a more “TV-friendly” zombie show. And, by that I mean, with more zombies out there, it’s more visually interesting for viewers.

So, Shane’s death—while not as shocking as it was in the book—still lived up to the hype that the series has built up around it these past couple of months. And what’s to come seems to put what’s already happened to shame in terms of ratcheting up the violence and horror.

So I, for one, am quite excited to see where things go.

I will say, though, that I'm going to enjoy this season a whole lot more on DVD, knowing what's going to happen before it actually does. Because for the only time, ever, with a TV series, I find my stomach in knots during most of the season.

And that, dear readers, is how horror should be done.

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