The Walking Dead: Season Two

This season comes in twice as long as the first at thirteen episodes which is a real testament to the fans who loved the first season and made it such a success. The bottom line is that it kicked off strong and stayed that way. AMC realized they had a great, character-driven show that they needed to run with and made the right decision in doing so. Still, at 13 episodes it’s only half as long as many other prime time TV shows. Compare that to LOST which had 24 episodes in its second season.

Warning: Spoilers.

The Poster:
This poster is a nice adaptation of the poster for season one which showed Rick riding away from us down a half empty highway into Atlanta in the background. Here we have him running down a dirt road towards what viewers know to be Herschel’s farm house, which is why I like to call this season, “The Farmhouse season.”

Season two picks up with our characters caravanning down the highway.  After hitting a few “bumps,” namely Sophia getting lost and Carl getting shot, they make their way to a farm which has remained mostly untouched through the early stages of the epidemic. This is the setting for the rest of the season. This is also sort of classic in that it addresses a common theme in the genre; that of holing up someplace till this whole crazy situation blows over. The farmhouse is the setting for the Night of the Living Dead and is well ingrained in zombie imagery and lore. The idea of using it here is great in that it does exactly what Robert Kirkman wants to explore with this show; the long term. We always see what it’s like to hole up some place for a short time during an emergency, but what is it like to do the same thing for a long time and slowly watch it fall apart like we see in Dawn of the Dead but very few other places? TWD does this brilliantly throughout. It also addresses different types of survivalist ideas. Some people say they would head out to the country, others say they would try to get someplace secure like an army base or a prison. Each season seems to deal with an ever escalating scenario of survival locations.
The Good
Character development: 
During season two we continue to see characters change dramatically under the strain of the situations they find themselves in. Weak Carol begins showing the first signs of growing stronger, Shane finally really goes off the deep end, Rick continues his decent into darkness, Lori becomes much more decisive, Herschel goes from denier to survivor, Glenn becomes stronger and more of a dependable man, not so much of a boy. The list goes on and on.
Sophia going missing in the opening episode set up the larger theme of safety that runs throughout the season; primarily keeping the people we love safe. Some people complained that the Sophia situation got strung out too long but upon rewatching the season it’s hard to see it as anything other than a driving force in the tensions between the characters.
We see this throughout the whole season with Lori struggling with the idea of bringing a new life into the world and keeping it safe. Shane and Rick battling it out over who can keep the group safe. Herschel talking about keeping his family safe. Glenn hesitating to commit to Maggie because he doesn’t think he can keep her safe.

When we finally do get resolution in the Sophia situation it’s both deeply satisfying and heart wrenching at the same time. It’s also different from the comics and really put the message out there to the comics fans that anything can happen on this show regardless of how it went down on the page.

One thing I heard about season two before I had  a chance to watch it was that they FINALLY! get to the prison. Fans of the comics were a bit disappointed that the survivors hadn’t gotten there yet and that it took such a long time to get to it. But again, this show is out for the long haul. It’s exploring ideas and themes in the story telling in a way the comic didn’t. Any writer will tell you that multiple drafts help improve the story and Kirkman seems to be benefiting greatly from the developments made in the show over the comic.

One other brilliant bit is that we finally get a hint at Michonne, a mysterious figure we’ll find out more about in season three. The end of this season was a great set up for what’s to come with Michonne finding Andrea in the woods and the prison just off on the horizon. The season ender put us back on the highway where the group left supplies for Sophia and reconnects us, reminds us, of how far we’ve come since the first episode.

The Bad: 

There are a  few inconsistencies throughout the series. In the opening episode of season 2, walkers on the highway don’t smell the survivors who are only inches away even though it’s a major plot point from the first season.

When Dale dies  Rick makes it a point to say they will honor him by living how he would have wanted them to. It’s made very clear how Dale felt through his defense of democracy and life and the value of discussion and debate. When the group takes in an injured survivor who may or may not be from a hostile group there is a lot of fighting over what they should do with him like let him go or kill him. Dale fights for the group to at least talk about their decision. Yet just one episode later Rick says “This isn’t a democracy anymore!” It’s a bit of a flip flop. I don’t mind characters changing their minds but such a big change of course could have been handled a bit smoother.

The Ugly:
The Effects are top notch:
This season really ramped up the effects over last season. We have complicated staging and well choreographed imagery that heighten the tension in scenes and give the effects team a great chance to show what they are capable of. From the zombie in the well that gets ripped in half to the zombie tearing it’s own face off as it pushes through the glass windshield of Lori’s wrecked car. It’s hard not to be impressed.

well zombie
The ones we lost:
No doubt about it, this season was full of heartbreaking moments and near death incidents. Losing Dale was hard. Seeing Sophia coming out of the barn just killed us. Shane getting killed was for the good of everyone. But then there’s Otis and Maggie’s family and the way Carl and Daryl suffered so much. It was a rough ride and it only gets rougher as we head into season 3 and beyond.


Published by

Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

3 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Season Two”

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