harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

The Walking Dead Reviewed: "Secrets"


The Walking Dead
Season 02, Episode 06


Written by: Angela Kang
DIR by: David Boyd

Blurb: Dale confronts Hershel after Glenn tells him about the walkers in the barn. Meanwhile, Lori struggles to come to terms with her pregnancy, and Shane tries to teach Andrea how to use weapons.

Scene 01: We open at the Greene chicken coop, where Lori and Carl are tossing feed to the gathered hens. In the background Patricia enters the coop itself with a basket.

Carl tells his mother she shouldn’t look so worried, to her bemusement. She tells him it’s her job, but he says it’s not… she’s a housewife. She tosses feed at him and jokes that her house isn’t around there.

Carl notes a group of chicks without a mother hen watching over them. He calls attention to them. Lori suggests the mother is just off scratching somewhere else, but Carl says she probably got eaten. Lori doesn’t like the casual tone in his voice and Carl notices the look on her face, he shrugs that everything is food for something else.

Commentary: The impression is that the chickens weren’t being ate by the people on the farm, or at least they certainly aren’t being shared with Rick’s group.

This opening scene is… problematic… for me. I get what they’re going for -- obvs Lori is worrying over what this new reality is doing to Carl. Maybe he was the sort of kid that got upset easily before and now he’s shrugging everything off. But since we haven’t seen anything of what Carl, Lori and Rick were like pre-apocalypse as a family unit, we just don’t have any basis to follow Lori’s train of thought, here.

I can’t find enough here to be worried about in Carl’s behavior without that reference to what he may have been like before, and this is critical for Lori’s character. It plays into everything that she’s going through privately over whether to continue her pregnancy and bring a baby into this new world. But there isn’t really enough here for us to reach this point with her either. It feels more like she’s just moody and worrying over nothing, especially compared with the other things she should be thinking about like Herschel’s continued distance from them, the dead walking around and trying to bite people, Sophia missing and looking less and less likely to ever be seen again and the very obvious tensions between Rick and Shane that she is unwittingly the cause of.

Scene 02: We follow Patricia into an old shed. The camera gives special attention to the Walker Barn on the Greene property.

When we return to Pat, she’s got a hen with her where we thought she was just gathering up eggs. She cuddles the chicken for a moment before very deliberately breaking both of its legs.

The chicken makes pained distress sounds as you may well imagine, and she then shoves it into a sack, where there are a few others as well.

Scene 03: She wheelbarrows the sack down to the barn, where the disabled chickens are dumped down to the walkers in the barn.

Patricia looks down at the walkers with resigned disgust. [I’m not so resigned, but I’ll join you in that disgust, Pat. And also, I’m happy to report that none of the dayplayer-chickens are looking like they have just had their legs broken either.]


Scene 04: When we return from crediting, we find ourselves looking through binocular lenses at the Greene Barn. We quickly find out this is Glenn, who now that he knows the secrets in the barn, is obsessed with checking that nothing is creeping out of it in their direction.

Maggie storms over with a basket of collected peaches and asks him if he could be more obvious. She hands him the basket. He asks if she’s seriously trying to buy his silence with fruit and she denies this… before adding that there is also jerky for his group.

Glenn whispers for an explanation about why her dad has walkers gathered up in the barn that way and pronounces it creepy. Maggie shooshes him and he complains to her that he can’t lie… he’s really, really bad at it. But Maggie insists with a plea that he keeps his mouth shut.

Scene 05: Glenn brings the peaches to the group for breakfast, starting with Dale and T-Dog. Both notice that he seems off that morning and he isn’t very convincing in trying to portray that everything is fine.

Andrea passes by in the background.

Scene 06: Meanwhile, Andrea was passing by because she’s decided to go out to Daryl, where he’s been relocated from a bed in the Greene home to his tent. He’s lying around clearly bored.

She brings him the badly written book that Dale had in the RV and has made the rounds. She’s really there, of course, to apologize for shooting him. She tells him she’s not expecting forgiveness but wants him to tell her if he needs anything.

Daryl surprises her by pointing out that she was trying to protect the group. He tells her that they’re good. She gives him a smile and goes and he jokes with her on the way out that if she shoots him again, she best pray he’s dead. She grins at him.

Commentary: I liked this scene and I really liked Norman and Laurie in it. But I always feel this episode is somewhat out of whack. I wish we’d had started off with some sort of action sequence, before slowing things down again.

A problem with the farm scenes is that we’re dealing with a lot of domestic issues between Rick trying to get Herschel to let them stay, while Shane is doing everything he can to antagonize everyone and Lori’s having her dilemma. It’s nice that Glenn has been put in the center over keeping Maggie’s and Lori’s secrets but at the same time, nobody is acting like they’re still in danger here -- even ignoring that they don’t know about the walkers in the barn.

It’s all sedate. And we’re not getting enough worrying discussions about a hoard sweeping through, or raiders, or Herschel basically giving a definitive timeline for when he expects our group to move along, in order to provide a sense of imminent all out conflict between the farm owner and our not-welcomed squatters... any or all of which would act to keep the sense of danger for our characters in the air for the audience.

I like these small scenes between characters, but we’re too focused on them when there are very real physical threats that should always be upper most in everybody’s mind.

Scene 07: Glenn’s next visit is with Lori. He asks after what Rick said, only to find that she hasn’t told him yet. He’s beside himself with worry on her behalf and tries to push his share of the jerky on her but she won’t take it. He tells her [in what must be a meta-comment on Sarah… it just must be…] that she’s too skinny and then likens her being pregnant to a physical disability.

She treats this with a combination of frustration and amusement. He tells her to just tell him what she needs and he’ll make another run into town but she tells him that all she wants is for him to keep quiet.

He’s called away from her, frustrated at all of this keeping important secrets thing.

Scene 08: Nearby, Rick, Shane and Jimmy are considering their map of the area. Rick suggests they should head back toward the house near where Daryl found the dolly. Shane questions if Rick maybe thinks she found a road leading north along the river and Jimmy tells them that road leads to a housing development.

It sounds like somewhere a lost child might try to find help.

Rick asks Shane to make a run into the suburb but also insists he take backup. He tells them that he doesn’t want anyone to travel alone after  Daryl’s experience. Shane wonders who he had in mind, suggesting by tone that he doesn’t see any of them as fighting capable [excepting Daryl probably, who is obvs too laid up and Rick, who has just said he’s going to hold down the fort]. Rick tells Shane that at gun practice he can see whose the better of them and take his pick.

Glenn hands out the peaches, but he’s clearly distracted. As everyone wonders what his mood is about, he glances back at Lori who glares at him to keep quiet.

He goes on his way, with everyone glancing after him and wondering what is going on.

Commentary: Oh, Jimmy. It’s so cute how you keep trying to make yourself a part of the scene, like you may be a featured character at some point. Poor, dear.

Not that I don’t want to see more of James Allen McCune but a big problem with a large cast is how often so many of our characters stay on the sidelines … until it’s time to die anyway. We went through this with the entire Morales family, Jim and Jacqui. Unfortunately, other than Herschel and Maggie it’s the same thing with the farm residents. Patricia has a bit more because she was Otis’ wife but her scenes aren’t actually doing a lot, either.

With so much time spent futzing around this farmhouse, I wish we’d get more of our farmers interacting with our regular cast to flesh them out a bit more. This will end up especially true of Maggie’s sister, Beth [she gets better later] and Jimmy. We still have the problem of T-Dog not being given enough scenes doing things, too.

Scene 09: Beth and Patricia join the men folk to ask to join the gun practice session. Rick points out how clear Herschel has been on everything going through him before Rick’s group can ask for their participation in anything. Beth assures him that he doesn’t like it, but her father has consented. Patricia points out that they depended heavily on Otis to handle the guns and they need some more hands who are comfortable with them.

Rick consents now as well… but only after he talks to Herschel [not going to get in trouble for some lying again… Jimmy].

Commentary: And again, I’m relieved to finally see everybody getting at least familiar with handling and using guns. I don’t like them myself and would be just as happy to never have to be around them but in this situation, one of my first impulses after shelter, fresh water and food would be to find somebody willing to teach me everything I need to know about handling, firing and even maintaining a firearm.

It’s just so obvious, that it remains quizzical how it wasn’t addressed early in the first season.

Scene 10: While Rick is dealing with this, Shane notices Carl playing around with a knife and whittling a blade. He heads on over there to check on how he’s doing, what with an apocalypse and a recent gun shot injury and all. Carl has a bit of hero worship toward Shane, so he’s happy to have him paying some attention to him.

[And as I’ve commented on before, it isn’t like his mother and father aren’t constantly losing track of him.]

Carl tells Shane he wants to learn to shoot, too. Shane tells him he’d have to talk to his parents about that and Carl asks him to do it, because they’ll listen to him. Shane has a bitter chuckle about that statement. He gives Carl the “we’ll see” non-answer.

Carl starts to wander away, but Shane calls him back and asks him what he’s got hidden under his shirt. Carl sheepishly shows him that he’s walking around already with a gun in the waistband of his trousers. Shane is not pleased.

Scene 11: And immediately after, Lori is fit to be tied. She wants to know how Carl managed to snag a gun without anyone knowing. Dale takes the blame, stating that he told him that Lori had sent him to borrow one of the walkie-talkies, which only makes her more angry at Carl for lying.

Shane brings up to the group about Carl’s asking about being taught to shoot. He makes it clear that he wasn’t going to without his parents’ okay on it, but that he is happy to do so if they want.

At first Lori is simply: “NO.” But Rick is more open to Carl learning to defend himself. She’s stunned that Rick is ready to go along with this after Carl was just shot as it is, but Rick points out their survival situation. After a tense discussion, Lori relents finally. But seeing the excitement on her son’s face, she grabs his chin and forces him to recognize how serious she’s being. She tells him that if she gets just one report that he isn’t taking learning gun safety seriously, she’ll stop the whole thing immediately.

Commentary: This is another really nice scene. I like the way that everyone is relating here, and I absolutely love that after Sophia’s loss and Carl’s recent injury that our survivors are taking the children’s safety seriously. I like the way that Lori is really compelled by circumstances to give consent to this, without liking it and I love Sarah Wayne’s very mom moment of laying down the law to Carl over how seriously she expects him to take this training.

Scene 12: As Rick and Carl get ready to head out with the rest to a place where they can safely practice shooting, Rick repeats to his son how serious he is to listen to Shane’s instruction, especially on handling the weapon safely. [I especially like seeing Carol involving herself in this training as well… I thought that maybe she’d be the one who remains the non-combatant, dragging down the group when things get hairy… Future!Harsens exclaims that is definitely NOT the case.]

Glenn begs off with an excuse that Dale wants to show him how to upkeep the RV and he needs to go find him. Dale is already standing near enough to hear him and though it’s obvious to us that no such plans were in the works, Dale plays along with Glenn’s fib.

Scene 13: Once the rest are loaded up and leaving, Dale turns an inquiring eye on Glenn. He hees-n-haws, but finally spits out about Lori’s pregnancy and the walkers kept in the barn.

Scene 14: At the impromptu range, T-Dog tells Jimmy to stop the “gangster shit” with his sideways held pistol and shoot like the gun is supposed to be handled.

Otherwise though, everyone seems to pick up the basics against empty bottles pretty quickly [Yeah… let’s just say that everyone learns how to make headshots against the walkers a little too damned quickly to be believable. Apparently our survivors just happen to ALL be natural shots… unless a scene needs them not to be…]. Andrea especially turns out to be a very quick study with a natural eye -- at least when firing at stationary objects. She becomes a candidate for “advance training” to join camp defense.

Andrea smarts to Shane after Rick wanders away that she sees he decided not to leave them after all. She questions with a smirk if something changed his mind, not realizing that it is his conflicted feelings toward Lori and Carl that is holding him there.

Scene 15: In the horse stable, Dale finds Herschel. He spins that he was out walking around the old barn on the property, which Herschel describes as “unfortunate”.

They discuss the situation, but Herschel isn’t in the mood to negotiate on his own property. He tells Dale that what he chooses to do with “the sick people” is entirely his call and he should butt out of it. He isn’t opening the floor to debate. Dale reports about watching people he cared about being attacked, dying and coming back to kill and tells Herschel that the walkers aren’t people. But Herschel returns that his wife and his stepson are in that barn….

He asks for silence from Dale - arguing that he and some others in the group may be conscientious enough not to go storming into the barn on a walker-killing mission, but questions if Dale is so sure about everyone. Both of them know they’re talking about Shane.

Commentary: The character of Dale is another one where I wander back and forth. I generally like his inclusion and I like that he’ll often be the voice of reason, especially when things are getting heated between group members. But, he also tends to go too far as the buttinski in the group, and it really grates on the nerves. This is especially true when he does things behind the group’s back “for their own good”, where I feel he doesn’t really have any right.

He starts to get especially irritating when he’s confronting Shane and not reporting to anyone -- including Rick -- just how unstable the latter is acting. I also found his immediate suspicion about Otis’ actual fate to be … well… ultra-intuitive, which I’m not completely buying.

Scene 16: Later that afternoon, Lori finds Herschel installing a new wire fence to isolate the area around the barn from the main yard. He mentions that Carl must’ve did well since the boy is all smiles.

Lori’s point was to thank Herschel again for his pulling her son through his injury and to thank him for the hospitality that he’s shown them. She wants to assure him that they’ll earn their keep but Herschel passive-aggressives that now that Carl is nearly healed, he expects they’ll all be moving onto Fort Benning soon.

This really blindsides Lori.

Scene 17: Out in the woods, Andrea is learning from Shane some more by focusing on trying to shoot a swinging log. She’s much less proficient when the object won’t hold still. Shane points out that the walkers aren’t likely to allow her to stand still for handfuls of minutes while she’s taking her aim.

He gets pretty aggressive, shouting in her ear about the stress that shooting an attacker has and how if she freezes up or wildly fires, she’ll be dead before she can finally find her target.

He goes too far in shouting her into focusing by mentioning that the log is a walker, the same one who got Amy, striking to Andrea’s core.

She storms away, and Shane walks in the opposite direction - whether he’s more frustrated with her or himself is unclear.

Commentary: This is another nice scene and really shows some more evidence that Shane is cracking apart and nobody is really noticing just how on edge he is. So much of Shane’s flying apart is like a slow accident that nobody is going to notice until it’s way too late that it frustrates me. He and Rick are two sides of the same coin when it comes to keeping the group safe and if they’d only be able to work cooperatively, the group would be so much better off.

I love Laurie Holden’s face in this scene and the focus on her look of utter horror at Shane for bringing up Amy’s death so casually. It’s great when our dead characters’ names still come up as having a real impact on our characters and this scene is brutal when Shane goes too far.

Scene 18: Back at camp, Lori has run to Rick. She brings up, quietly but with urgency, that Herschel is expecting them to leave… something that is coming as news to her. To Rick’s look, she intuits that he knows about this already and asks if anyone else does too, but Rick tells her that they’re the only ones.

Lori is annoyed that he didn’t tell her, but she’s more focused right now on fixing whatever happened that has Herschel ready to see their backsides. She tells her husband that everyone is getting settled here and they’ll be devastated but Rick tells her that he’s working on it with Herschel and right now they need to give him his space.

She looks doubtful, and he nearly pleads with her that he needs her to trust him. He can take everyone else wondering if he knows what he’s doing, but not her.

Lori lists how half of their group are injured and asks how they can make it outside of this sheltered farm and Rick tells her that if they have to leave, he’ll keep her and Carl safe. He insists that they can get by.

Scene 19: Back with Andrea and Shane, she’s storming down the road when he drives up in the car, but she’s still hurt and really angry that he brought her sister’s death into things.

He cuts her off with the car and gets out, telling her that he was just trying to get her rattled so that she’d see what it was like when the shit starts to fly and there wasn’t time to carefully stand there for minutes at a time aiming. She sarcastically asks if he’s apologizing. He gets out of the car and tells her yes, he’s apologizing to her for bringing Amy into it. She calls him a dick. He admits to it, but he tells her about the lead on Sophia and asks her to be his backup when he checks it out.

Scene 20: In camp, Dale is preparing lunch. The smell of the frying meat is making Lori sick, and he notices. It’s his excuse to bring up her condition with her now that Glenn has shared it with him.

He couches it in terms of his wife having gone through the same thing when she was pregnant once during their marriage but Lori sees through this and guesses Glenn spilled her secret. Dale asks her not to be angry at him, because they all know Glenn doesn’t have any guile.

Lori admits to Dale that she hasn’t told Rick and doesn’t know how to. He guesses it’s because of the Shane situation, and she’s shocked. She questions if her and he were that obvious, but Dale assures her that nobody else suspected a thing. She exclaims that it only happened because she thought Rick was dead and she felt like she’d died too and wanted to feel something… anything. Now she’s filled with self-loathing over it.

He brings up the baby and she says definitively that it’s Rick’s, which makes Dale question what the issue it. Lori admits to thinking of not having it because of the way the world is right now. She tells him of the damage she’s seeing in Carl over what is happening and wonders what sort of memories her new child would be stuck with, being brought up in this world.

She pleads with Dale to tell her that her baby will grow up to be his age and have a life with joy in it. She asks him to tell her that he genuinely believes that… which he can’t do, as the look on his face suggests is just hitting him. Lori gets up to rush away someplace where she can pull herself together before Rick sees her upset.

Scene 21: Glenn is chopping up firewood, when Lori finds him. He immediately sees that she knows that he told Dale. He preempts with apologies but she’s not upset about it… not really. What she’s there for is to ask if he’d still be willing to go into town for her, which he immediately agrees to. She hugs him in gratitude and goes off to write a list.

Scene 22: Later, he and Maggie are on horseback and entering town. She’s still not speaking to him. He pleads with her to say something and she snits that she asked for his trust and he betrayed her and now her dad is pissed at her.

Glenn asks about Herschel’s opinion of the walkers as people who are sick. He asks if she can really agree with that after what happened at the well. Maggie claims she’s not sure what she saw at the well, but Glenn counters that she does know and implies nobody could’ve still been alive after that, but the walker was still animated.

Glenn tells her that if she’d seen Atlanta, she wouldn’t have a barn full of walkers so close. She angers that she wishes he’d stop calling them that. He asks what she calls them then, and she replies “Mom” and lists off names of the individuals being held in the barn for their own good.

Scene 23: In the store, Maggie snits about what Lori wants now. Glenn tells her he can’t say, which she finds unbelievable. He immediately caves and hands her Lori’s list. She storms away, pissed at whatever she finds written on it.

She heads straight for the medicines in the back of the amazingly-unlooted pharmacy, and one can get the impression that Glenn has no idea what Lori meant by what she wrote.

In the meantime, Glenn goes through and grabs more random things that might be useful from the front of the store.

Scene 24: Maggie is so incensed that she doesn’t watch where she’s going and between this visit and the last, a walker has managed to find its way into the store.

She gets grabbed through the medicine rack and while screaming for Glenn, finds that the walker is much stronger than it seems it should be. She can’t break its grip on her wrist.

Glenn grabs up a shelf and climbs up onto a counter behind them. Swinging, he damn near decapitates the walker… which isn’t damned near enough.

As Glenn is trying to comfort Maggie, she yells out a warning through her hysterical tears. Glenn spins around to find the nearly-decapitated walker still trying to get to them! He responds with his carbon machete blade [which is a nice callback, it's one of the weapons Carl found on the highway after the RV broke down].

This puts the walker down onto the floor, but it still isn’t damaged enough to stop gurgling pathetically… Glenn has to chop at its head several times to get it to be inanimate, the entire time Maggie reacting with fear and horror.

Commentary: Finally, some energy in this episode! And I like how we can intuit just how isolated the farm has been, that despite the walkers in the barn, this is clearly Maggie’s first real brush with just how deadly these walkers are. Yes, she’s lost her mother and step-brother to the walker plague but they were/are controlled and kept safely tucked away. This appears to be the first time when she’s gotten an indication of what our survivors have actually faced in nearly being killed by them on a near daily basis before finding the farm.

I’d also hazard that she’s seeing her turned family’s faces on this thing and realizing just how nightmarish being one of them must be. Lauren Cohan does some very nice hysteria here, and the special effects really amped up the physical brutality of both the walkers and what it takes to put them down when you can’t use pretty, little head shots.

Scene 25: Meanwhile, Shane and Andrea have made it to the housing suburb where they’re hoping to find signs that lost Sophia got this far. Andrea says with hope that if she made it that far, she has a real shot at being alive. Shane’s face says that he’s not optimistic at all.

Scene 26: Back with Maggie/Glenn, they’ve returned to the farm and in the ensuing horse ride back, Maggie has worked herself up from terrorized to angry. She bulldozes her way through the yard gate, yells at Lori that “we got your stuff”.

Lori is left confused and speechless at Maggie’s rant as she pulls one item after the other from the baggie and throws it at her feet. Glenn is mortified, after Maggie grabs up the dropped box of “abortion pills” and throws these at Lori a second time. She tells her the next time she wants something to go get it her damned self as they’re not her errand boys before storming off. Lori is still left with her mouth hanging open.

Glenn can only look dumbfounded and lost.

Scene 27: Glenn follows Maggie as she’s walking off her rage and fear and tells her that wasn’t cool. Maggie asks which part facetiously, and asks if it was the part “where that bitch nearly got us killed”.

Maggie rants at him that she’s already lost three of the people that she loved most to the walkers. She kisses him desperately and then tells him that he’s smart and brave and a leader, but he doesn’t know it. And his friends? They don’t want to know it. They want him to be the guy who goes into wells after walkers. Maggie tells him that she can’t take him becoming one of those things and blames the others for making Glenn the guy who does all of the dangerous runs like he’s nothing more than walker-bait.

Scene 28: At the housing development, Andrea and Shane look for signs that Sophia made it there. In one house, they find a wall nailed up over a hallway. Shane tells Andrea that whoever lived there tried to make a stand but it’s clear that somebody or something managed to punch a hole through their impromptu defense.

They crawl through the same hole.

It the back of the house, they find walker bodies with headshots lying in a heap. They head down into a basement where they find the garage where more walkers have been piled and burned.

Andrea comes to the realization that Sophia was never there, either. She laments having to tell Carol that there just isn’t any sign of her little girl. But this is interrupted by the suburb walkers who have heard their calling and banging about. They’ve wandered up to the driveway door that is stuck partially open.

Shane and Andrea have to make a run for their lives!

Scene 29: They have a walking gun battle as they're in the midst of a hoard of walkers. Shane tells Andrea to cover the street, while he clears the area around their car.

Andrea fires a few times, emptying her gun, but failing to make the critical head shots. Her gun jams up. Shane takes out the stalking walker woman that was closing but then calmly tells Andrea to focus and clear her jam.

As she finishes, a male walker is nearly on top of her but when she looks to Shane in a panic, he calmly points his gun downward. She gives him a “Are you kidding?!” but he tells her that he has her back. He orders her to take the shot in front of her.

She does so and gets the advancing walker through the head. Andrea takes a breath… and a calmness descends over her. Just like that, she’s found the calm spot that Shane tried so hard to explain to her in the woods.

She’s making head shots left and right now. And when Shane tells her to get in the car, she takes a few extra and unnecessary shots at the walkers to put a few more down, filled with self-confidence in her aim, now.

Commentary: Good for her… but I find it rather… questionable that she’d suddenly turn into Dirty Harriet like this on a dime. But I do like the scene, and I like how Andrea is becoming a survivor that she didn’t think she could be after Amy’s devastating loss.

Scene 30: At the camp later, Lori is sitting over her Morning-After pills, considering.

Glenn stops by to check on her with this choice she’s wrestling with. She turns attention to Maggie and asks about the blood on her shirt and Glenn confirms their close call.

Glenn asks if the pills will even work now, and Lori admits she doesn’t know, and she’s not sure if she wants them to. Glenn pulls out a baggie he’d snuck and tells her that in case, he decided to get one other item not on her list: Prenatal Vitamins.

Glenn asks if they’re friends and Lori confirms that after everything they’ve been through, absolutely. He offers her friendly advice to not struggle through this choice of hers alone.

Scene 31: In the car on the way back to camp, Andrea is looking confident and self-satisfied at her performance. She’s feeling strong. And horny. She glances at Shane with a smile and reaches out and grabs his crotch.

They share looks and Shane stops the car. He tells her to “c’mon then” and they have car sex. The horn blaring probably wasn’t a good idea.

Commentary: And once again, I foolishly allow myself some glimmer of hope that Shane is going to be brought back from the dark side through Andrea. Because Shane’s seeing the world with harsh practicality/pessimism balances out Rick’s way too optimistic view of their chances. Together, they would be exactly what this group needs in leadership but this stupid Lori thing is in the way and if they could just get through that, something Andrea could help with, then our group would be stronger for it.


Scene 32: Back with Lori, she’s near hyperventilating now that the moment of truth has come regarding what to do. Crying, she takes a handful of the Morning Afters …

But a moment later, she has a freak out. She runs out of the tent and away from camp where she can force herself to throw them up, not ready to give up this baby.

Commentary: Of course, it’s too late for these pills to be effective anyway which many commentators call a scripting mistake. It really isn’t. It’s a mistake of Lori’s… but there isn’t any particular reason why she a) would necessarily know how the pills work and their timing limits to be effective - and she’s already admitted to Glenn that she lacks this information and b) that she wouldn’t take them anyway out of desperation -- they’re better than throwing herself down the stairs or looking for a hanger. So, the commentary tends to be a bit wild in regards to this single plot point for some reason but it’s a character mistake, not a scripting problem.

Scene 33: Andrea and Shane make it back to the camp safely. They have to break it to Carol that they don’t have Sophia. Dale and Carol notice something off, especially with Andrea’s disheveled appearance and the glances she and Shane share. Shane quickly says that the development was overrun, but Andrea’s self-satisfaction doesn’t completely sell that is all that “happened out there”.

Dale goes into busybody-mode, not liking what he suspects Andrea may be feeling toward Shane. He suggests, after the girls go off, that Shane has that nice new ride of his, maybe now would be a good time for him to head on out.

Shane is gob smacked that Dale is practically telling him to leave, but Dale tells him that he knows Shane has been thinking of going. Now’s as good a time as any.

Shane reminds Dale that Carl would be dead if it wasn’t for Shane being there to put his ass on the line as proof that the group needs him around. But Dale reminds him that he put Otis’ ass on the line too, and he didn’t come back. He accuses Shane of being vague about just what happened that night.

Shane tells him that Otis was a hero and a little boy lived and to just let it rest at that. But Dale reminds him of his raising his gun and training it on Rick, which has been preying on Dale’s mind this whole time.

They have a confrontation about Shane not being the man that he is presenting to the group’s face and accuses him of being the type of man who’d kill his best friend to get something he wanted. Shane points out to Dale that if he were to be that kind of man, he wonders what he might do to some old geezer who he didn’t even like putting his nose into his business….

Dale seems to grasp the concept.

Commentary: I know that Shane is the bad guy here (damn it) but I gotta admit: This scene was awesome for putting busy body Dale in his place! I loved Shane putting some fear into him. First, it bugs the hell outta me that Dale seems to have some psychic sense for everybody’s secrets because it’s not well shown just how he manages to keep track of everybody’s business going on. But in addition, Dale is entirely bothersome and arrogant and smug in this scene and it feels great to have that “Mr. Know-It-All” look wiped off of his face.

Dale irritates me more and more with his trying to push everybody into doing what he thinks is best for the group by butting in where he’s got no business and then doing so without explaining himself. We’ll see more of this coming up. I want to respect his morality and his wanting to safeguard the group, and he’s definitely not wrong about Shane’s danger but jeezus he’s just so…. ARRRGHH, annoying!

Scene 34: While this is happening, Rick has returned to his family’s tent and taken off his gun belt. He notices the torn up packages on the table and gets a stunned look on his face as he realizes what they are.

Scene 35: He goes to find Lori who is out on the dirt road overlooking one of the paddocks and trying to get her own head together. He’s breathing heavy and they stand there for an awkward moment staring at one another.

Rick asks if there was something she needed to tell him.

“We can’t leave, I’m pregnant?” she suggests.

He asks if she still is while bringing up the boxes crushed in his hand and she tells him she threw them up. This isn’t enough to alleviate the devastation as Rick starts yelling at her for not telling him before now and for making this decision without consulting him about it. Lori cries that she doesn’t know how they do this, meaning bringing up a fresh life in a world that has been destroyed.  They argue about a new baby’s chances in this new world and Lori brings up how every cry will put the entire group in danger but Rick insists they can work it out and find a way. She keeps asking how, and he doesn’t have any definite answer.

Rick asks if she really thinks he’d force her to have a baby she truly doesn’t want and she replies that she took the pills without telling him about the pregnancy because she wanted that burden on her, not him. He offers that he understands her reasoning but that he can’t live with not trusting each other anymore [hinting, I think, to their pre-apocalypse marital problems that were hanging between them that we heard about in the pilot episode].

“Is there anything else I should know about,” he pleads with her.

Lori takes a very long moment,, “Shane and I.”

Rick takes a moment himself before admitting that he knows. He’s even worked out how it happened. The world was ending, she thought he was dead, and she needed something… some comfort while things were falling apart.

They stand looking at one another.

Cut to black.

Commentary: So, first I really liked most of this scene. I loved Sarah Wayne’s acting in it and I loved that Rick already had guessed at the what had happened by the interactions and stresses between he, Shane and Lori that we thought he wasn’t aware of. It’s nice that he wasn’t being a prick about what happened when everyone thought he’d already died and that he could see how his wife might have had need of somebody in those circumstances.

I liked this clearing of the air between them, though I think Andrew’s acting gets a bit wobbly throughout his end. I’m also not wild on ending the episode on this… it feels both abrupt and not actually a cliff hanger-y moment on which to close but at the same time it’s not set up as if this conversation has gone toward repairing the wound in their marriage either, so it’s just a weird place to leave things.

What I like though, is putting the couple on the road to working things out one way or another and setting them up finding a way to make their peace with Shane over the past several weeks’ tension. I’m left hopeful again that Shane can be brought back from the edge just by having Lori and Rick be able to talk openly and honestly about what happened and what it meant [Future!Harsens says, “This reviewer is just a blind idiot, isn’t he?”].

The Good: I liked the extended opening as we follow Patricia to the barn of walkers. Her disgust but resignation while feeding the walkers was nicely portrayed by the actor and the fact that the zombies are being actively fed just sent chills up my spine and made we wonder just who these people really were.

I also liked all of the scenes between Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan.

Finally, everyone being taught how to hold and point a loaded gun and aiming it! This should've been something Shane was doing at the beginning before Rick even made it to the camp.

I really like the relationship between Shane and Carl and how both actors work it.

I really liked that moment when Andrea gets blindsided by Shane shouting about the walker that got Amy being her target.

I liked that moment when Shane asks Dale to think through logically what he's suggesting about Shane's basic character and the sudden realization on Dale's face. Heh-heh-heh.

I'm glad that Lori and Rick are finally clearing the air.

The Bad: I have to put pacing here. While nearly all of the scenes are actually advancing our characters, there isn't any sense of urgency or danger and menace hanging over the group. The farm isn't THAT isolated, it's not like are characters have found Shangri-La here and I wish that everyone was doing a lot more worrying about the dangers that still lurk around them -- even the fact that they're becoming dependent on the whims of strangers instead of keeping a healthy distance from the Greenes until they know more about them. The feelings of the group in general are just much too sedate and their heavy focus on relationship issues is out of balance with the world having ended around them.

The very sudden 'Andrea: Terminator' subplot wasn't well written overall.

Other Thoughts: I find Maggie and Glenn's romantic relationship a bit sudden, especially since the general timeline between seasons as compared to between episodes [i.e. time isn't passing at the rate of real time in between seasons] is shaky so it's hard to determine just how long they've known one another in show before they're convinced they're in love with each other [which admittedly is something that seems to be more of an issue in upcoming episodes than here specifically].

Dale's character is problematic for me. He's just in on too many things that he happened to notice, and his need to butt into all of them becomes irritating. This is especially true since he's always working to manipulate things for the group's benefit without actually including any of the group in his plans. I want to like him, but his self-important buttinski actions are getting in my way.

The Score: My biggest problem with this one is the pacing. It's not so much as to what is on screen and what isn't, as it's a case where the characters themselves aren't acting like their all in danger and they are. It makes things feel too sedate for the circumstances of the apocalypse and drags things down. Individual scenes were great, but we need more of our characters talking and worrying about the dangers that could come from any direction at any moment.


Next up: The comic reviews for Angel & Faith, Season 02 and BTVS, Season 10.

Tags: walking dead season 2 review

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