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Rise of the Ricktator: Walking Dead S2 Finale Review

Because using the sights is a total pussy move.

It’s been a long slog through Season 2, one that began with such high hopes and ended with, well, this season. When a show about a zombie apocalypse spends more time on domestic drama, gender roles, and the ethics of becoming pregnant during Doomsday, it makes for slightly less compelling television. Anyway, I’m glad the season is over. If Season 3 began tomorrow, I’d be completely unable to watch it. Maybe having some time and perspective will open my eyes to the creative team that is layering such subtext and melodrama into a rich tapestry of… yeah, uh, we’ll have to see.

Here we go. When last we saw Carl and his stupid hat, the kid had wandered off and watched his dad shiv Shane after talking him down from shooting him. Then the zombies came pouring out of the woods. Remember how last week I said not to worry about where this magical horde came from and why they were milling around 300 yards away from a house full of their favorite meal? Well, the show didn’t listen. Instead, they decided to show us where they came from. Atlanta. See, they were eating something when a helicopter flew by. Apparently the meal in front of them was lousy, because they immediately left it behind to follow the helicopter that soon disappeared from sight. I guess other zombies saw them moving and were like, OK, I’ll see what’s up. Somehow, they managed to avoid getting distracted by anything while swelling in numbers, until they arrived in the woods where they waited around and heard Carl shoot his gun and that made them come out of the trees. They were better off not showing us where they came from, because it’s not like their explanation makes any sense.

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Dealing With Shane: Walking Dead S2 Episode 12 Review

Just Shane and his shovel.

When we last saw our band of… whatever, they were all staring raptly at their last possible glimpse of DaleFace, trying to memorize every last unruly eyebrow hair and getting a good look at the Judgemaster General’s fillings before Daryl made his head explode by firing a high-powered revolver into his skull two feet away. Too bad they faded to black then, because I’d have loved to have seen the reaction of all of those people close enough to get hit by shards of flying bone and brains. “Dude, seriously, what the fuck! I was sitting on the guy! You couldn’t have waited like two seconds. God it got in my mouth!” That would’ve been cool.

This episode begins with Rick eulogizing the dead guy, something he’s starting to get a lot of practice at because he’s been doing a great job of keeping the group safe. Since he took over as Big Bossman, at least 7 members of the group have died (and probably some extras that didn’t get enough airtime to count). That’s close to a 50% loss ratio. He’s, uh, struggling in the role that he claims to have never asked for but sure as hell has gladly taken and run with, telling everyone what to do and making the decisions himself, at least until he changes his mind (Shoot the boy! Help the boy! Abandon the boy! Kill the boy! Keep the boy! Thank god someone else dealt with the boy!)

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Why I Hate On The Walking Dead So Much

I’ve been asked that question before by friends of mine. They know I love zombies and zombie movies. They know I write books about them. They watch the show and can’t understand why I have such a problem with it. I try to explain, and bits and pieces come out, and after I’ve been asked that question I lie awake at night pondering the answers to that very question. Why on Earth do I, a zombie lover, hate on the Walking Dead so much?

I think, for me, it all has to do with missed potential. This show could be great. It should be great. The zombies are awesome, the effects are great, they have, uh, actors, they have an incredibly popular comic as their source material; there is no reason why a story set in a zombie apocalypse that has good effects should make me so angry. But these writers have figured out a way.  I’m going to try to make this somewhat organized, to keep my thoughts in order. Maybe I’ll learn something from all this, What Not To Do In a Zombie Story. In no particular order, here are some of the things that I think make the show so much worse than it should be.

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Bye, DaleFace: Walking Dead S2 Episode 11 Review

Can't beat my, can't beat my, no you can't beat-a my DaleFace.

I’ve begun the laborious process of catching up on past Walking Dead episodes. It’s harder than I thought it would be, and this episode is a perfect encapsulation of why that is the case. I think this show is coming down with a serious case of Heroes syndrome: a strong start followed by a realization that the writers have no idea what they want to do.

But anyway, when last we followed this group of absentee parents who nevertheless think it’s best to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, Shane and Rick were going to try to leave the kid Rick rescued, patched up, and decided he couldn’t live with, after which the two got into a brawl that nearly got them all killed, all of which could have been avoided if Rick had just let Shane kill the kid. Rick, however, insists on it being his choice and that he has to sleep on it.

So, of course, the show begins with Rick deciding the kid needs to die. Sigh.

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The Shane and Rick Episode: Walking Dead S2 Ep10 Review

Last week, the episode ended with Lori whispering sweet and earnest words of love and commitment and how very necessary it was that her husband shoot Shane in the face. This left me wondering if there would be a showdown this week, Shane vs. Rick, the winner getting his just reward of sweet, blissful death and release from a horrible world and loser forced to take on the responsibility for taking care of the screeching harpy they are for some reason fighting over.

I’ve been calling Lori a harpy for a while now, and other reviews I’ve read of this show also seem to frequently use the term in relation to her. So I decided to Google Walking+Dead+Lori+Harpy. It got over 50,000 results. Honestly, I would have expected more.

Anyway, this episode ended up being all about Rick and Shane “settling” their differences, along with a side helping of Suicide Watch and the usual smattering of “what the fuck were they thinking” plans that are the true hallmark of this show.

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Now With 30% Less Hate! Walking Dead S2 Ep9 Review

"Kill them, Rick. Kill them all. For me. And Shane's, I mean your, your baby."

When last we saw the world’s most dysfunctional zombie apocalypse survivors, Rick had just blown away two guys from Philly for having the audacity to ask where the group was staying, Lori was suffering from brain damage before she actually suffered head trauma from a car accident, and some blond girl that hardly had any airtime at all before now was catatonic. Is this the week where our prayers our answered and Lori gets eaten, Carl tries to find her and gets eaten, Dale looks for the two of them and gets eaten, and the audience lives happily ever after?

Well, no, not so much. But I do have a confession to make. This episode didn’t make me angry. Not once. I know, right? Crazy. Well, OK, I did get angry once, but that was when they showed the car wreck from last episode, which is still just awful in every way. But other than that, I didn’t hate it. Did it have issues? A couple, but they were minor. Instead, we had a mostly plausible story, maybe for the first time since the first season. So put away your Haterade, pick up a gun, and follow along with our intrepid band of somewhat-less-stupid-than-normal survivors.

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It’s Back, and Fast-Paced As Ever: Walking Dead S2 Ep 8

America’s favorite, and only, zombie series on TV returned this past Sunday. The last episode had ended with a climactic massacre of a barnful of “walkers”, culminating in the reveal of Sophia’s walking corpse and Rick’s dispatch of it. It was an exciting part in Season 2, which was a rarity in this bloated, shambling mess of episodes. Would Episode 8 pick up where the last one ended, full of action and suspense and gun-fightin’?

Well, yes and no. It picked up from the exact end of the last episode. Fifty-eight minutes later, there was action. Sigh.

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Well, At Least They Found Sophia: Walking Dead S2 Ep 7

OK. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the turn of events from the mid-season finale (and when the hell did this trend start? I don’t remember shows doing this before. Is it just me, or did this crap just start happening a couple years ago? Or am I just dumb?). I fully expected more talky-talky and then Shane doing something reprehensible and getting his macho mug blown off. What we got instead was definitely more interesting.

It’s funny, because the last half of the show made me forget about the first half. I’m trying to remember what went on then. Much of it was pointless, of course, but that’s to be expected by now. Let’s see. Dale makes Glenn tell the group about the barn, because that’s how Dale operates. Instead of helping the kid out so that he can try to keep Maggie from melting down, Dale keeps his role as Group Cockblocker by not claiming he found out about the barn. Maggie, using her Female Telepathy that all women have, knows exactly what is going on from 150 yards away and gets pissed. Everyone in Glenn’s group gets all pissed off at the idea of zombies in the barn. In general, this episode is about being pissed off.

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Baby Drama, Guns, and Tattletales: Walking Dead S2 Ep 6

We’re almost there! Nearly caught up! I almost watched Episode 7 directly after Episode 6 last night, because for the first time in a while I was eager to see what was going to happen next. That’s a good sign. I decided to stick with the original plan I had, though, since if I watched more than one at once I was afraid that I get mixed up and that reviews for the earlier episodes would be colored by later ones. So, tonight I’ll watch Ep 7. I’m actually looking forward to it. Huh.

Which is odd, because it wasn’t like Episode 6 was awesome or anything. In fact, I find it hard to remember exactly what happened in a lot of it. The talky parts were pretty dull for the most part. I think what carried the episode for me was Shane, since Fuckin’ Daryl was reduced to a single glimpse of him in a tent. It also featured something that was awesomely realistic and true to life, which I appreciated since they didn’t have to do it.

The downside of this episode for me was once again Glenn (I finally saw how it’s really spelled! God I’m too lazy for this job.). He was asked last episode to keep a secret by two different people, including the girl who has been kind and desperate enough to bang him. But this week we learn that he is “without guile” and apparently even the thought of maybe having to lie to someone makes him uncomfortable and awkward and pained and moronic. So this guy has never been able to keep a secret, eh? I can picture him now: as a young teen, going to the dinner table, his father asking how his day was, and Glenn blurting, “I smacked off to the Sears catalog.” With his first girlfriend, who asks if her jeans make her look fat, “No, it’s all the French fries you eat that makes your ass so big and gross.” To a cop that pulls him over, “Yes, I know how fast I was going, and if you hadn’t pulled me over I’d have been doing at least 90.” I mean, OK, I get it, he’s supposed to be such a good guy that he can’t lie. So when Lori asked him the first fucking time to be discrete and he agreed, why didn’t he bring it up then? Does he not know that “discrete” pretty much means “keep your fucking mouth shut”? I think they overdid his truthiness thing in this episode to the degree that it became completely unbelievable.

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Blah Blah Talky Talky – Walking Dead S2 Ep5

Since I was on vacation, I didn’t get a chance to watch this episode til last night, so it’s not timely or anything, but whatever. Suck it up. I’ll be catching up with Episode 6 tomorrow, then Episode 7 Thursday, then we’ll be all caught up and everything and YAY.

My general impressions of this episode were boredom, followed by a serious WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE moment, then pretty much nothing after that. This episode seemed mostly to be about people talking and making faces at each other, interspersed with shooting friends in the head. I’ll be going over the episode in as much detail as I can handle, in no particular order. So I won’t be doing a moment-by-moment run-through but will instead, as usual, go with the major themes in the episode.

Oh, and try to stay awake.

The episode begins with a flashback showing how Lori hooked up with the chick with the shaved head. Oh, not “hooked up” like, you know, the horizontal kind’ve way, but more like met up. And I will not pursue that line any more. I’ve already erased three sentences. Suffice it to say that Lori and What’s-Her-Face are not exactly people I’d want to see hooking up. Anyway, Shane and Lori watch them napalm a city I can only imagine is supposed to be Atlanta. You get to see Shane do his weird sideways lope as he moves along. I have no idea what this scene is supposed to show us. That these people met somewhere and that Shane isn’t Carl’s dad? Yeah, we figured that one out already, thanks.

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