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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
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.