An Appraisal of The Walking Dead Season Two

The Walking Dead Season Two has come and gone, leaving me with an entirely different feeling than I had after Season One’s finale. Unlike last season, which ended horribly (that CDC explosion was stupid, adding an explosion into a series which didn’t need it), this time around the show came through. For those of you not in-the-know, here is what happened.

**Spoilers Ahead**

Shane’s dead, Dale’s dead, Sophia’s dead, and a few secondary characters are dead – mostly from Herschel’s farm. Michonne was revealed at the end of the finale, along with the prison, and Lori’s pregnant.

Where Season One went wrong – a lack of zombies, a horrible score reminiscent of a Hallmark commercial and way too much melodrama – Season Two delivers. It didn’t at first, relying on a little too much melodrama from Rick, but missing the action and zombies necessary to offset the corniness (Rick’s little conversation with Jesus in the church was contrived). The show turned around a few episodes in, especially when Shane was recovering the antibiotics at the school. From there, The Walking Dead finally found its legs.

 

Of course this is all subjective; maybe somebody liked where The Walking Dead was in Season One, but I would say your opinion is lacking. I’m also a fan of the comic books. It’s actually the only book I buy monthly and there’s a reason why: it’s a great book about damaged people surviving the zombie apocalypse. It’s about time the title for the television show The Walking Dead meant more than zombies.

Sometimes it takes time for a show to find its voice and it seems The Walking Dead finally has. Some shows like The Sopranos or Rome were excellent from the beginning, but with others it takes time, relying on the actors better inhabiting the characters or the writers learning how to write the characters for the actors. This happened with the American adaptation of The Office, which was a copy of Ricky Gervais’ version for the first few episodes of Season One. I also wonder how many of the casting and character decisions on The Walking Dead are based on focus groups or standards and practices injecting their desires into the series.

 

I’ve sometimes wondered if Shane lasted so long because he did well with test audiences (for those who haven’t read the comics, Shane dies very early on, shot by Carl for threatening Rick’s life). Jon Bernthal was excellent as Shane and one of the primary reasons I started really liking the series; the other reason is Norman Reedus’ performance as Daryl – a character who isn’t even in the comics. I found Rick (Andrew Lincoln) annoying until the last two or three episodes before Season Two’s end. I also understand why they killed off Dale this season, since he was the voice of reason, bringing the perspective of pre-zombie civilization into the conversation. But, considering the events of the last episode, especially Rick’s change into a dictator, I can understand why his death held meaning.

Overall this season of The Walking Dead was excellent, evolving the show beyond what seemed like serious creative limitations with Season One. Considering it’s the first zombie television series (that I know of), and based on such an incredible comic book, I had high expectations; it’s too bad it took the show’s creators over a year before these expectations were met. It’s better late than never, and with the few recent reveals about Season Three, I can only hope the show gets better.

By the way, the Governor will appear in season three, but I’m sure they’ll exclude this:

Comments:

Author: Emmanuel Malchiodi View all posts by
Emmanuel Malchiodi is a freelance writer living in New York City but originally from Florida.

6 Comments on "An Appraisal of The Walking Dead Season Two"

  1. Matthew E. Jones March 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    And now for the dissenting opinion! 🙂 I thought the first season of TWD was fine. It had enough zombies. Come on, it was 6 episodes and it was all made at a time when they didn’t know if the show would even take off. Makes sense to me as to why it was a bit uneven in parts. I never understood why so many people are down on the CDC explosion thing. The cgi on it was bad, but other than that…I think people forget that the CDC is a real place in Atlanta, where there show is filmed. It made sense to me. But then again, I live in Atlanta! Season Two was awful until it came back from the mid-season break. The first half was pretentious, drawn out, boring, slow, dull, annoying. Part two of the season redeemed all doubts I had. They have fixed their errors and are moving on the right track. Just an opinion, about as subjective as it can be. However, let me say this….Lori on the show is the worst mother ever (keep your eye on your damn kid, ya dumb bitch. It’s a zombie apocalypse, HELLO!).

    • Emmanuel Malchiodi March 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      I agree with you about TV’s Lori – she’s a moron and I can’t
      stand her. I like comic book Lori but they changed her pretty drastically in
      the live action adaptation.

      I know the CDC is in Atlanta, as are the Real Housewives and
      CNN, but I found it a bit over the top and not just because of the bad CGI. I’m
      not saying an adaptation has to stay faithful (after all, Hooper dies in
      Benchley’s Jaws and I love Spielberg’s version better) but it was over the top.
      More than the bad explosion it was the shower scene which caused such ire. They
      used it as a cheap melodramatic device, telling the audience how we should feel
      about the different states the characters were in instead of letting the
      viewers figure it out for themselves. It was insulting. I thought to myself “I’ve
      been watching this damn show for five episodes already and I don’t have the
      attention span of a fifth grader on Ritalin – I’m fairly confident I can figure
      out how each character is feeling.” I understand it’s an American show and it’s
      not on HBO but its rated TV-14, meaning if you’re 14 or older you can handle
      the violence and situations. Instead they treated us like we’re five by dumbing
      things down. That annoys me and it’s my chief complaint with the season.

      I agree with you that season two didn’t start off with a
      bang but I felt it found its voice about five episodes in and a little before
      the mid-season break. I also agree that the second half of the season was
      incredible, apologizing for the mistakes made earlier. Like I said in my op-ed
      I think the show found its voice this season and hopefully it’ll continue on in
      a similar fashion. Of course I still have a few complaints about the show but I
      guess I shouldn’t expect perfection from a show on AMC that isn’t Mad Men (I
      really think that show does no wrong and can’t wait for the season five premier
      Sunday).

      Thanks for reading.

      • Matthew E. Jones March 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm - Reply

        I hear ya. The CDC thing wasn’t for everyone, obviously. I believe that episode of was written by Frank Darabont. Who was subsequently fired halfway through season 2 for being difficult and taking too much of a “movie approach” to the show. If you look at the episode in that fashion, I think it makes sense…but perhaps not for a TV show. I dunno, I didn’t look into that deeply. 🙂

        How do you feel about “Dictator Rick?” I think its great that he’s finally showing signs of becoming who he is in the books. Now if they can do the same for Andrea, then hell yeah. I really don’t like her on the show either. 

        I’ve actually only seen the first season of Mad Men and it didn’t really grab me. One of these days I’ll watch the rest of it, though. I know that most first seasons can suck. Now Breaking Bad…..there’s an AMC show to watch, if you’re not already.

        • Emmanuel Malchiodi March 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm - Reply

           I’ve watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad and it was good but I haven’t kept up with it. It’s
          one of those shows I’m going to start watching and I’m sure when I do actually
          get into it I’ll love it. Everybody else does.

          I’m glad Rick is finally becoming a dictator and hopefully
          he’ll go back and forth like he did in the comic – from benevolent to
          malevolent tyrant. I don’t 100% agree with you about Andrea but I feel there
          are vast differences between the television and comic book version. At first I didn’t
          like television Andrea but the more the series goes on I’m beginning to like
          her. Even though I like comic book Andrea much more (I think she’s the
          strongest character in the book and I hope she doesn’t die) I’m warming up to
          the television version.

          I heard about Darabont being fired from the series and I think
          that’s probably for the best. I agree the CDC scene is very theatrical but felt
          it traversed into melodrama. I’m not saying an adaptation needs to be
          absolutely faithful to the source material but it should have a similar
          aesthetic and I felt the second half of season one was missing that altogether.
          Thankfully season one was only six episodes.

          As for Mad Men:
          you should give it another try. There’s very little to no action and it’s about
          these horrible people going through and doing horrible things. I’m going to
          post an article giving my top 25 predictions for the new season of Mad Men in a few days; unfortunately you
          won’t understand it, like I wouldn’t understand a prediction list for a few
          season of Being Human or some other
          popular series.  

          • Matthew E. Jones March 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm -

            I’ve always felt that The Walking Dead (book) has to have Rick die at some point. The guy has been on a spiral for years! And I’ve always said that I would continue reading it just so long as Carl, Andrea and Michonne stay around for a good long run after Rick’s demise. Without those three (plus Rick), there is no Walking Dead in my opinion. Andrea is my second favorite character in the book. I just can’t get into her on the show. She’s just too much of a bitch. If she was at least friends with Dale on the show instead of always talking down to him, I’d probably like her better. 

          • Emmanuel Malchiodi March 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm -

            Knowing what we both know about Andrea’s actions in the
            comic (and her fan favorite status) the Andrea on television is much less
            likeable. She was a bitch to Dale but I was still hoping they’d hook up at some
            point. That was thwarted when Dale’s guts were ripped out (a move I thought
            necessary for the way the show’s progressing but I still didn’t like).

             

            Personally I want Rick to die at some point in the book too
            and for Carl to become the series’ focus. I think there’s something incredible
            about that character and since he’s young there’s so much room for expansion.
            Can you imagine what that kid would be like at 16? I have no idea but I’m sure
            he’ll be a complex character.  I
            told Kirkman in a letter once (they published it about a year or two ago) that
            if he kills Andrea I’ll walk away from the series – a promise I probably won’t
            keep but I wanted to try my hand at a small, comic book based boycott. After
            the last few issues I have a feeling Andrea’s going to die pretty soon and that
            will upset me.

Leave A Response