Spoiler Alert: Amber Alert. There are some shocker’s this season that, if they are ruined for you, you may be so upset that you turn into a flesh eating zombie so…just kind of a heads up.
I really should have written this review in two parts because, even though each half of the second season of The Walking Dead was seven and six episodes respectively. Going from a six episode season to a thirteen episode season is enough to change the pace and dynamic of a show but the writers and creators of The Walking Dead did stop there. Season altering surprises appear in every episode as a whole new group of survivors are introduced and characters we have come to love get picked off one at a time. Turmoil seems to be theme of the season as each episode pits any number of potential group leaders and group ideals against one another. The brilliant season, full of twists, turns and drama builds to a season finale that will leave you devastated and realizing that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is right, this isn’t a democracy anymore.
Season two of The Walking Dead is riveting from beginning to end. The season opens with one of my favorite zombie scenes that the show has created yet. While searching for supplies on a highway full of abandoned cars, a small herd (I call it small because the show defines what a big herd is in the season finale) of zombies stumbles past, forcing the group to hid in and under the abandoned cars. As the group tries to escape the geeks (walkers, zombies whatever term you want to use to describe them) a number of very important things happen. The first is that they lose Carol Peietier’s (Melissa Suzanne McBride) daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz) in the woods. While searching for her, Rick and Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) have to face the ultimate horror as their son Carl (Chandler Riggs) is accidentally shot. And all of this happens in just the first episode!!!
In the interest of time and post length, I am going to speed through the rest of the season’s plot. Carl’s shooter, Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), leads the group back to a farm where we are introduced to a new group of survivors. Lead by Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), the barn and house are full of Hershel’s friends and family and Rick’s arrival there sets the scene for rest of the season. Dividing their time between regrouping and searching for Sofia, Hershel not only manages to save Carl’s life but he also allows Rick and company to stay on his farm for a while. Tensions begin to rise as news of Lori’s pregnancy starts to send Shane (Jon Bernthal) into madness. Convincing himself that he was supposed to take care of Carl and Lori, Shane began to disagree with Rick at every turn. When Hershel and Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) begin to add their opinions to the mix, it creates a clash of possible leaders that causes problems for everybody in the group.
This season of The Walking Dead takes the audience on an intense and at times emotional journey. Pitting best friends against each other and turning the fear of mutiny into a bigger threat than the impending end of the world, the writers prove with ease why AMC makes some of the best shows on television. Sending us from one explosive situation to the next, they weave together betrayal, love, secrets, murder and death to create something that was nearly impossible to wait for each week. The cast of survivors somehow managed to up their game this season, bringing even more brilliant, awe inspiring and heart wrenching performances, notably Shane’s decent into angry madness and Carl’s performance after being shot. Somehow the show manages to address death on an even more personal level than in the first season. A man is murdered so another can survive, Rick is forced to kill a member of a group that has been turned, a survivor that had already been torn apart is killed in front of the group and a man is forced to murder his best friend.
This season gets a 9 out of 10 from Orangechair and it has depressed me that I have to wait until next fall to see the return of the zombies. Leaving the survivors frustratingly close to safety after barely escaping a zombie horde, AMC made certain that the fascinating group of survivors they created will not leave my mind until I know they are safe next fall.