Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walking Dead Season Two Episode One: What Lies Ahead

When we last saw The Walking Dead, Rick and the fellow survivors left the CDC after it was blown up.  The show opens up with Rick on the rooftop of a building talking to Morgan via the radio. He explains Jacqui's death by saying that she had lost faith; however,  I don't know if that is enough to justify the writers killing off the only woman of colour on the show. Rick tells Morgan that they are moving forward to Fort Benning.  He says that he is trying hard not to lose faith for the sake of his family, and that he believes that because they have such few numbers, that they have to stick together, and be willing to lay their lives down for each other. In these moments, you can clearly see Rick's struggle, as he signs off saying that he hopes to meet Morgan in Fort Benning one day. 

When Dale's RV's radiator hose causes the engine to over heat on the highway, they are forced to come to a stop. Darryl begins to look for items in the abandoned vehicles, but of course concern troll Lori pipes up to say that she does not know about this, because they would looting a graveyard. Yeah, I think in a situation like that, it's okay to take everything you need. Lori of course judges, Carol when she holds up a shirt and admires it saying, "Ed never let me wear nice clothes like this".  I am starting to think Lori needs to be eaten along with Shane, but I take heart in the fact that I know what happens to her in the comics.

The highway is quickly overrun by roamers, and the survivors are forced to hide under the vehicles. When T-dog accidentally cuts himself and blood comes pouring out of his arm, I thought for sure that he was a dead man walking, but he is saved by Darryl.  Really? Couldn't we have him save himself the way that Andrea did?  I suppose I should be grateful that he wasn't turned into snack food because that would have left Glenn as the only person of color on the show.  Darryl puts a dead body over himself and T-dog to hide their scent.  I cannot imagine the horror of lying there praying not to be discovered, with a dead body on top of you.

When Sophia goes missing, of course Shane has to pipe up that maybe she was to scared to listen to Ricks instructions. What else was Rick supposed to do?  Rick sends Shane and Glenn back to the highway to clear the cars and get ready to move.  When Carl finds an arsenal, he takes it to Lori and she tells him that he cannot keep a weapon. Carl then appeals to Shane for help, and he orders him to take the arsenal to Dale.  You would think that would be enough for Lori and Shane (who is not dead), but she yells at him for crushing Carl's heart and then is upset that he is giving her the cold shoulder.  Ummm Shane who is not dead tried to rape her in the last episode.  Can we have some consistency please. Shane has the nerve to call what happened in the rec room a mistake, and says that he is leaving the group. He plans to quietly slip away the next chance that he gets. Lori should be happy to see him go but proving that you cannot possibly make this woman happy she is upset. Why oh why would Lori be sad to see the man that attempted to rape her leave? Don't get your hopes up on Shane leaving though, according to IMBD, he will be in the entire second season.

Darryl takes down a walker with his bow, and Rick discovers that there is flesh in its mouth and under its fingernail.  Darryl guts the walker in an attempt to learn what it has just fed on.  Rick so clearly is physically ill and struggles not to vomit.  Darryl tells him the zombie had a big meal not long ago. When they cut him open they discover that the walker had a woodchuck for lunch.  Honestly I don't know how Rick managed not to be sick, just watching, I felt my stomach turning.

Andrea confronts Dale about taking her gun and when she asks for it back, he tells her that he does not think it's a good idea because he's not comfortable with it.  Shane of course says that the less guns they have floating around camp the better. When Andrea asks Shane if he is going to give up his gun, he says no, because he is trained and he believes that what everyone needs is proper training with the guns. Can we all say paternalistic excuse for sexism.  Having a gun could be the difference between life and death but of course the mens are there to protect the women. This is further highlighted when Shane turns to ask Dale why he made the decision he did.  So it looks like the men this season are set to put on a united front to keep the women in line.

Rick and Darryl return to the camp because its starting to get dark and Carol begin to freak.  She reminds them that Sophia is only 12 years old, and cannot be left out in the forest alone at night. Carol then turns on Rick for leaving Sophia out there in the first place, and he tries to explain to her that this was the only choice he could make.  Rick walks off down the road clearly upset. Once again, he has the bear the burden of the group, and no one bothers to comfort him.

In the morning, Rick hands out the arsenal and Shane tells Andrea that she needs to just get over it and accept the situation, because if someone happens to fire at the wrong time, when a herd is passing by, it could be game over for everyone. Rick instructs Dale to get the RV ready to move.  When Carl asks to come with the search party, Lori says that she cannot always be the bad guy, thus giving her assent.

Andrea then approaches Dale to get her weapon and he says don't put me in this situation and that he is doing it for her.  Yeah, more paternalism from the male characters.  I gotta say that I don't like this dynamic at all, because this was not the way their interaction was in the comics, and it differs largely from the relationship that they established in the first season.  Dale reminds Andrea that she chose suicide, and she tells him that if she decided that she had nothing left to live for, and it was not his place to decide different. When Dale answers that he saved her life, Andrea tells him no she saved his. It seems that the only reason she left the CDC was because she didn't want him to die.  He tells her that he expected gratitude, but she answers that she wanted to die her way, and not be torn apart by roaming freaks.  He took the decision away from her and reminds him that he thought he knew better than her. She tells him that he took her choice away.  This leaves Dale speechless and Andrea says, "I'm not your little girl, I'm not your wife and I'm certainly not your problem."

This was easily one of the strongest scenes in the entire episode and I think that Andrea was absolutely right.  The world has markedly changed and therefore saving someone may not be what they want or need. Is it really anyone's right to decide that an individual is wrong when they claim to have had enough and have no desire to keep going? I also think that it was important for Andrea to assert her own agency in this scene because the men seem to have taken over control of the group.

When Carl approaches Shane with his knife, Shane tells him to focus on the task and to keep it down, because they are looking for Sophia.  Carl tells Lori that he believes that Shane is mad at him, but Lori answers that he is worried about Sophia.

In the woods, they hear bells ringing and decide to go towards the sound in case Sophia is signalling them, or someone else is signalling that they have found her.They approach a town and find a church with three walkers inside. Darryl looks at the crucifix and says, "Hey JC, you taking requests". I actually thought that this was a great mood lightener because up to this point the show had been very tense.  They discover that the bell rings on a timer.  Carol goes back to the church to pray and she tells Lori that she prayed for Ed to be punished for laying his hands on her, and that she gets the chance to raise Sophia right. She says, "please lord punish me however you want, but show mercy on her." I thought that this was a great commentary about the ways in which abuse victims often believe that the violence is their fault, though it is the fault of the abuser.

Shane tells Lori that he is trying to be the good guy, and that he is attempting to put some distance between them.  Of course it's all about him and his loss. How is almost raping Lori being a good guy? Andrea overhears the conversation, and then follows Shane and tells him that she is going with him when he leaves. Andrea says she wants a chance to start over somewhere else. Andrea feels that neither of them belong. Of course, Shane being Shane, he wants to know what's in it for him, because if he takes Andrea there will be "an extra ass" for him to cover.  Andrea tells him that if he puts a gun in her hand, she'll cover his ass too. Andrea tells him to think it over and walks away.  I don't know this Andrea that we are seeing this episode.  Where is this coming from?  It seems as though the writers are trying to separate her from the Andrea that we know from the comics.

Dale tells T-dog that he faked still working on the RV, in the hopes of forcing the group to continue to look for Sophia.  He believes that they would have given up looking for her otherwise.I have to say that were I in that situation, I would have called Sophia gone and got moving.  What are the chances of a young girl surviving this long in the woods?

After splitting up the group, Rick goes back into the church to pray. He tells the crucifix that he is not much of a believer, and that he has always chosen to put his faith elsewhere, and he asks for some help to keep them going. Rick wants an indication that he is doing the right thing. This is yet another scene where we see the burden of the group and the weight of responsibility upon his shoulders.  When the world has come to an end in this fashion, is there really a right way or a wrong way to do things anymore?

When they stop for a break, Andrea makes sure to point out that Lori has a gun, but she does not.  Lori hands it over saying, "I'm sick of the looks you been giving me. You want it take it".  Lori then turns to Carol and tells her that she has got to stop blaming Rick, and that it is on her face, every time she looks at him. Lori then tells Carol, that she does not know that anyone else would have gone after Sophia the way Rick did, or made the hard decisions that he has made.  Lori says "Ya'll look to him and then blame him when he is not perfect. If you think you can do this then go right ahead."  Andrea hands Lori back the gun saying that they should keep moving, but not a single person decides to address what she has said.

In the woods Rick, Shane and Carl spot a deer and when Shane goes to shoot it, Rick stops him as Carl slowly approaches the deer. Carl approaches with wonder in his eyes, but he gets shot as the deer ducks and that is how we leave the episode closes out for the week.  What did you think of the first episode of the season?