Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 13 - Beside the Dying Fire

Okay, no getting around it for this one. WOW!!!  What a way to close out a season.  I feel like we earned this finale for the grueling season we had to endure to get here.  And, you all probably know how I feel by now, it was worth it!  All those emotional discussions and slow pacing led to this glorious finale of walker mayhem.  Emotions boiled over when people were abandoned, leaders' actions were questioned and their whole world was pretty much turned inside out, upside down and every which way till next zombie day.  There wasn't much need for setup or character build-up in this explosive finale because that work had all been done in the 12 preceding episodes (that also had a bit of excitement too mind you).   With all the drama behind the scenes on this show with showrunner changes and a whole lot of uncertainty and anxiety by the cast and crew, they put together a fine season of television folks!   And we're about to break it down.  Here we go!

Where did this Walker herd come from?
Well, we opened the season with a walker herd, it makes sense that we'd close the season with one too, right?  We flash back to who knows when and see the masses of walkers that were still roaming around Atlanta.  Then, remember back in season 1 when Rick saw a helicopter?  Well it was back in this episode!  The Walkers heard the sound and started moving towards wherever it was going, in large masses.  I mean, we know there were tons of walkers in that city and a lot of them could have seen that helicopter (surely, we haven't seen the last of this chopper).

So, then the herd starts walking down the highway.  We see them pass the cars that I can only assume was the same traffic jam of cars we saw in the season premiere.  Then they wandered off into the forest, and onto farmland.  Probably Hershel's farm property, but not sure.  The sheer force of thousands of walkers broke through the wooden fence.   And they were continuing to move through another forest when they heard a gunshot.  (Shane's gunshot or Carl's Gunshot or both)  And then they all began to move towards the farm. 

RIP Hershel's Farm
This was just absolute mayhem.  How do I sum this up?  Carl was questioning how Shane died and became a walker.  Rick didn't have time to explain because they noticed the herd coming their way.  Everyone at the farm barely have time to catch up and wonder where Rick and Shane are because they spot the walkers too.  They start arming for battle.  Maggie gets a great line when she tosses some shotguns around about being a southern girl and picking up a thing or two.  Lori realizes Carl is missing, adding a bit of drama to their potential escape as she doesn't want to leave without him. 

Rick and Carl make their way to the barn and it's glorious.  Rick does the whole "human bait trick" and lures a bunch of them into the barn.  He climbs the ladder and Carl drops a lighter into the gasoline drenched barn.  Awesome!!  (and yes, they actually set that barn on fire for this final act!  fantastic) 

Hershel is prepared to go down with his ship (farm) and he starts popping walkers one by one with his shotgun.   Everyone else has gotten in vehicles and are driving in circles and dropping geeks at every turn.  The barn being set on fire alerts them that Rick may have set that up.  They send Jimmy (Hershel's barely seen son) in the RV to ride around back and check it out.  The RV provides a platform for Rick and Carl to jump on, but Jimmy isn't so lucky.  This is why they cast a few extra people each season folks!  May as well have been wearing a red shirt all season.  Lori is finally convinced to leave the farm house without Carl but can't convince Hershel to go.  He doesn't even hear her yelling.   She is with Beth and Patricia (Hershel's daughters, the first one being the one that attempted suicide).  Patricia gets taken away by the walkers and Lori is forced to break Beth away from her.  Red shirt #2 down.  (well seriously, we already lost Dale and Shane, chances were we weren't going to lose another major character last night, right?!) 

Daryl's affection for Carol was not dead, he was able to ride his bike over and save her from the walkers surrounding her.  Andrea was in that area too, but T-Dog thought she was bitten and taken down so they leave her!!   WHAAT?!  Lots of confusion surrounding this farm escape! 

Glenn and Maggie have no choice but to just take off too leaving Maggie an absolute wreck. 

Hershel looks like he's going to go down as a walker creeps up behind him.  But Rick comes to the rescue and takes that guy out!  Whew.  I'll be honest.  I didn't think Hershel would escape season 2, and apparently the writers didn't either.  They confirmed that they had planned on taking him out in last week's episode.  Randall was going to kill him or something.  But they didn't like how it was coming together and they loved Hershel's character.  So, they kept him alive!  (for now, right?)   Anyway, Hershel was devastated having to leave the farm, but Rick convinces him. 

And so our group is all separated, but at least they had the smarts to return to a common rendezvous point.  The highway traffic jam where they waited for Sophia to come back.  It didn't look likely for awhile.  Carl was refusing to go anywhere without his mother.  Hershel was telling Rick to get his son to safety.  T-Dog was planning to head to the east coast with Lori and Beth, but Lori was able to convince him otherwise.  (way to have a big stand there T-Dog!  You had maybe 5 lines this episode.  I guess that counts as significant.) 

And so, they all meet up and all is happy for a bit until they realize Shane is gone and Andrea is missing.  Daryl volunteers to go back for her, but Rick wants to keep everyone together from now on.  He's convinced she's either dead or long gone from there.  So, they plan to head out East.  But not before Daryl gets one more kill under his belt with "Preppy Walker" (named on Talking Dead's "in Memoriam".  Hysterical montage last night, by the way)

Daryl: "Saw tailights zig zagging all over the road.  Figured he had to be Asian."  Glenn: "good one!"

Andrea's alienation/transformation
So, apparently in the comics Andrea becomes this bad-ass sharp shooter/walker killer.  We saw that transformation starting earlier this season with her target practice and sniper skills.  But we saw Andrea: Action Hero tonight.  She had no choice but to fend for herself.  She was running for what seemed like forever and shooting walkers in every direction.  She even slammed one against a tree and then snapped its neck.  NICE!  But eventually, she was running out of gas.  And a walker got her on the ground and was about to take a nice bite.

But then someone came to her rescue.  And that disgusting sound was the sound of every comic-book nerd in the galaxy simultaneously wetting themselves when they saw a hooded figure on screen with 2 armless walkers chained to it (her), and yes, a samuri sword!  She sliced off the head of Andrea's foe and left Andrea in a thankful and very confused state. 

Ladies and gentelemen, meet Michonne, one of the most infamous characters from The Walking Dead's comic book franchise.  Fans have been dying for her to show up.  I figured it was going to happen at the start of this 2nd half, but they saved it for a cliffhanger in the finale.  Apparently, we're in for some fun stuff with her.  And Robert Kirkman announced the casting of some girl from Treme to play her.  Kirkman or Mazarra, I forget who, said that this is someone who has figured out a way to live in this new world without fear or trying to survive.  So, season 3 we'll be taking a new approach from this girl's point of view.  Should be fun!

Live Together Die Alone
So enroute towards the East, Rick's car is running on fumes.  All 3 vehicles stop and they discuss setting camp here for the night and looking for gas in the morning.  People start questioning the safety of this idea.  And they start questioning further the fact that Randall came back as a walker even  At this point, Rick connects the dots of what Jenner told him in the CDC. He tells everyone "We're all infected. Whatever it is, we all carry it." We kinda figured that out last night or even before, but it was still chilling to hear him say it. The group is confused and angry at this revelation that Rick has been sitting on. Rick defends his decision to keep it secret. He didn't want to cause a false alarm. Jenner was a little nuts, so he had no way of knowing for sure. Until, he saw Shane come back. Of course, he knew something was up when he saw those 2 dead cops with no bites. Obviously, this changes everything now. The way they think. No more talk of suicide, unless you're going to pop yourself in the head.

So Rick walks away from the group and Lori follows saying she's sure he had his reasons from keeping it from the group. Rick comes clean about Shane too. How Shane set him up with the Randall situation to take him out. Rick was convinced he could have talked Shane down, but he was tired. It was just easier to kill him. Lori looked absolutely shocked, but she shouldn't have. She was the one that tried to convince Rick to kill him in the first place! So, I've convinced myself that it was the fact that Carl gave Shane the "final death" that put her over the edge. Anyway, Lori wouldn't let Rick touch her by the end of the episode. She's furious. And once again, our group is broken!

Carol wants to take their chances without Rick. She wants a man of honor. Hershel has Rick's back, as does Daryl. But they're all just bickering about what to do next. And then Rick just loses it. He again repeats how he killed his best friend for them. They're all just shocked. He explains the same thing he did to Lori. Shane was egging him on and he was a liability. And Shane attacked HIM. He had talked all season, and earlier this episode about having hope that there is some place out there where they can "hunker down". A safe haven where they can "live" again. He doesn't want to lose that hope. But now, he says maybe he's fooling himself and maybe they're all better off without him. He did the whole reluctant leader thing with the "I didn't ask for this" speech. But, instead of Jack Shephard's inspiring "if we can't live together, we're going to die alone" speech, he said this. "There's the door. Let's see how far you get. Send me a post card." When no one leaves. He said, "Let's get one thing straight. This isn't a democracy anymore." WOAAAAAAA Rick has come into his own and he's PISSED!! But, did anyone see Hershel's nod of approval? He likes this new bad-ass Rick! And that's where we leave things folks!

Well, not quite yet. The camera zooms out, and pans up to reveal the # 2 thing that got all of the book fans excited. THE PRISON!!!!


Yes, the prison will be a big setting in #3. But judging how "the farm" got on people's nerves being the setting for ALL of season 2, something tells me it might be a little more fast paced than what we have become accustomed to. But, I have no idea what even happens at the prison, but just seeing that shot of it got me excited too! Plus, another famed character from the books that I know little about: The Governor was recently cast for season 3! (and no, it's not Merle Dixon as previously speculated)

Anyway, what a way to wrap up the season, folks! I'm giddy with excitement for season 3. But, also glad that we can set this show aside for a little bit too. Lots of good shows coming to take its place on AMC with Mad Men returning next week. And then Breaking Bad to resume once Mad Men ends. Whew, lots of good TV! And of course, Game of Thrones starts April 1st! All of these shows are excellent shows to discuss, but I will not be taking up a blogging venture for them. So, if you want to discuss, bring them up in comments of any recap and I'll be happy to discuss them!!

And with that said, I'll sign off on Walking Dead blogging until season 3! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next season!

End Credits
  • This season I am recapping FringeTerra NovaThe Walking Dead and Alcatraz
  • Other shows that are being discussed in comments recently:  Sons of Anarchy, How I Met Your Mother, Once Upon a Time, American Horror Story, Dexter, Chuck, Shameless, Mad Men (March!!), Game of Thrones (April 1st!), among others.  Feel free to join in!
  • See trailers for the Mid-Season shows I'm looking forward to: Awake and Touch.  
  • As always, there are other shows that I watch as well and would be happy to discuss with all of you in the comments of any of these blog posts.


Mike V. said...

Kirkman interview!

Mike V. said...

Forgot to mention Glenn finally professed his love for Maggie. Sweet moment, but I forgot about it with all the crazy gore and action going on! See, this is why slower episodes are good sometimes. :-)

Anonymous said...

Does the helicopter have some meaning to the next season, or was it just a device to get the herd to turn a certain way ?? Guess we shall see.

I thought for sure that Maggie or Glen were going to buy it when they stopped the car, switched positions and then Glen told her I love you! That is always the time when something bad happens - I actually yelled at them to move ! LOL So kudos to the writers for not going with the obvious. I was also yelling at the tv when I thought they might kill Andrea in the woods.

And what an awesome line! "Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind." And he still had a bunch of Zombie guts on the back of his head I think.

I'm sure no one is shocked that Jimmy and Patricia 'bought the farm' but I thought T-Dog and Hershel might die as well. They need to give T-Dog something to do if they are going to keep him around. I too heard later that they had planned on Hershel being killed originally.

Nice that both Hershel and Daryl stand up for and defend Rick. Not surprised that Hershel approved of Rick taking charge, Hershel ran the farm that way afterall.

I had not heard of Michonne before - quite the character ! Hooded and walking with two chained up walkers in tow. Sounds totally bad-ass to me.

I know there are alot of comments out there today about How can Lori be shocked when she set Rick on Shane - but it was debated at the time whether Lori was saying to kill him, or just get him to back off her and her family. And I never actually felt that she was asking for Shane to be killed. So I don't feel that put out by her shock - besides being shocked that Carl took part I think she should be genuinely shocked that the Rick she knew and loves was actually capable of killing his best friend. For her to be anything other than shocked would make her pretty heartless. Just my thoughts.

I also feel that season 3 will be a faster pace - new characters that will be more exciting. The EP showrunners stopped short of admitting that they were too slow in the early part of the season, but obviously agree since they have said that S3 will have a faster pace.

But - what a great finale and great season.

MJ said...

Oops ! That Anonymous was me !

Mike V. said...


We saw the chopper in the pilot episode and no one believed that Rick saw it. So, now we've seen it a 2nd time. So it's either a plot device next season or eventually in the future. Kirkman confirmed we may see it again. lol

Kirkman also said he loves the people are on edge with scenes like Maggie/Glenn's because they've established that anyone can go at any time! I'm happy with how things turned out in all of those scenarios. Even with Hershel, even though I thought he was a goner all season. lol (and yes his line was awesome!!)
Agreed on's almost like they dropped his whole subplot earlier in the season when he was infected and talking crazy and stuff. lol

Agreed on Michonne. I had heard of the character with samauri sword but never knew her name I don't think. But definitely bad-ass! lol

Good point on Lori...i guess it could have been looked at in more than one way. But it all boils down to that she loved all 3 of those people and was personally affected by what happened. I guess the details are up for debate but doesn't matter in the long run! lol

Yeah, I loved how season 2 played out, but if they can find a balanace between giving these characters meat to their bones while keeping the pace up, I'm all for it! lol

MJ said...

I remember seeing the helicopter but I don't remember people not believing Rick when he said he saw it.

Agree on the balance. All action all the time would not be entertaining for long, but too much sitting around talking about your feelings is dull.

I appreciated the little detail of zombie guts on the back of Hershel's head after Rick saved him too. LOL

I'm-the-boss-Rick should be a good time next year.

MJ said...

Touch: finally watched the pilot now that it's ready to start up. I really enjoyed it.

Don't know if anyone realized since it premiered so early but it's original start date of 3/18 matched the show being about 3:18 on March 18th. Very cool.

Leslie said...

Being killed by a walker just isn’t pretty…actually, pretty gross!

Hershel was in the killing zone, too! It looked like he was hitting his target each time! Andrea was such a bad-ass! But, I thought we were gonna lose her until that hooded women came to her rescue. I know nothing about the comic books, so didn’t know about that new character until watching Talking Dead after. I’m curious what the purpose is of the two walkers without arms on the chains behind her. The “In Memoriam” on TD was pretty hysterical!

Yep, agree that Hershel has a lot of confidence in Rick as the leader, and that Hershel had one of the best lines saying he had something different in mind with the resurrection of the dead. And, of course, Daryl’s line about Glenn’s driving was pretty funny.

I’m not sure Lori meant for Rick to kill Shane either, even though she did throw him under the bus, I don’t think she really wanted Shane to die. I also think some of her shock was in hearing Carl “put him down”. That’s a definite end to her “innocent little boy”. I also think Rick was still in shock that it happened. It kinda felt like his whole speech about Shane planning it and coming after him and leaving him no choice was just as much to justify it to himself as it was to explain to the others especially when he yelled, “My hands are clean!”

Like I've already said, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this show since I'm not usually a fan of the zombies, but just like with LOST, it's such a character driven show, and once you care about the characters, you are happy to go along for the ride!

Mike V. said...

@MJ -
Yeah, they thought Rick was hallucinating or something. They said the place was totally abandoned by humanity. I actually forget if it was Jenner or the the survivor crew that didnt believe him.

Yeah, there may have been some repetitive discussion topics all season, so I guess that could be slimmed down a bit. I just felt like something important happened in each episode and I was entertained. But it wasn't "jaw to the floor" every minute like I have been with Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy lately. Different types of shows obviously. But, yeah...balance is always good.

didn't even notice the guts on Hershel's head! That's awesome.

And yeah, Rick's "dictator" approach will be awesome. Apparently, he's pretty bad-ass in the comics too but it took him time to get there. So, we kind of saw that transformation happening all season in dealing with Shane and all of the rumblings in the group. He had to blow his lid eventually. Good stuff!

TOUCH - Glad you enjoyed! Not sure when I'm going to be watching those episodes since they'll be on Thursday nights and I have a jam packed schedule. I already made room for AWAKE. Can't be making rand watch eventually. Apparently, EW gave the follow-up episode a bad review, but we'll see how things go! Pretty cool on the 3/18 stuff. But it was supposed to air on Mondays (i.e. today 3/19, right? lol). And I definitely don't think they knew the start date when they wrote the script since we didn't know for awhile. Still, a pretty funny coincidence! lol

Mike V. said...

@Leslie - Didn't see you sneak in a comment there when I was posting my response! lol

Yeah, I don't know much about Michonne, but I just know she's a fan favorite so I'm excited to see her potential. They seem to overall be pretty happy with the casting too.

There definitely were some classic lines in this episode! I forgot to throw them all in there, but definitely had to put Daryl's line with Glenn's photo. lol

OH yeah....Rick was trying to justify his actions as soon as he stabbed Shane, so I agree he was still trying to do that when he talked to Lori and the group. But, I totally side with Rick on this one. He had a gun to his head. Sure, he may have been able to talk Shane down, but it was only a matter of time before it happened again. It was time to get rid of Shane!

Totally agree. I'm not much on zombie movies or any of that sort either. But, once I saw the trailer for this show I was sold. And knowing Frank Darabount was attached didn't hurt either. of course, he got fired but they're still managing well without him! I'm all about a good set of characters. If you have your characters nailed down, pretty much any journey is worth the trip!

Mike V. said...

Great interview with show runner about future of twd

Anonymous said...

Great season finale!! Somebody posted about Lori's reaction to what Rick told her and it was my thought also that her reaction had more to do with Carl. My feeling was that she was thinking Rick had turned Carl into a killer. Also that his victim was someone who loved him and yet he was cold enough to do it.

My jaw dropped when Andrea was saved by the caped person dragging around two walkers (or were they walkers?) With no arms! Very creepy!!


Mike V. said...

Cajun, yeah I think we're in agreement on Lori. Stil plenty for her to be upset about. lol

As far as the "new character"--yep, those are walkers chained to her! lol Can't wait to hear her story. Might just have to break down and buy the comics! lol But then it would ruin my recapping since I'll know too much. (i already do know too much and I haven't read them at all! :-))

MJ said...

Hmm - good point on the Touch scheduling. Someone told me that the pilot would have aired the 18the show start the 19th - shouldn't believe everything we're told ! LOL

Funny - I've never been into the zombies either. I love supernatural and horror - but zombies were always dull with the exception of a few funny ones.

I heard/read that they are walkers that Michonne has chained and that they have no lower jaws or something like that so they can't bite.