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.
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: