Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa Suzanne McBride, Lauren Cohan, Madison Lintz, IronE Singleton, James Allen McCune, Scott Wilson, Emily Kinney, Jane McNeill
Writer: Scott M. Gimple
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Network: AMC, airs Sunday nights
Original Telecast: November 27, 2011
In the seventh and mid-season cliffhanger episode of THE WALKING DEAD Season 2, “Pretty Much Dead Already,” tensions reach the breaking point and beyond as Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group struggles with the prospect of leaving the relative security of Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) farm. Shane (Jon Bernthal) stands up for what he believes and has a dangerous confrontation with Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Glenn (Steven Yeun) is tired of secrets even if it means losing Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) continues to bond with Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) over the ongoing search for Sophia (Madison Lintz). But when the barn opens, it’s time to face a profoundly depressing truth – the world has changed, survival is paramount, and no one is safe from becoming the walking dead in one way or another. No one.
Wow. Really, give me a minute. OK…
When I began watching this mid-season finale, my first thought was that even given its pacing issues, significant drop in zombie-related business, and narrative inertia, the series could win me back by doing what I thought it would never do – resolve the Sophia storyline by revealing that she died and became a zombie. When they delivered on precisely that in the episode’s shattering last sequence, I was so sorry I had even considered the possibility as if my wishing might have made it so. Yet it’s the only way the story could have brought home the full weight of what these people have risked – and lost – in trying to make the transition from the world of the living to the world of the dead. It was also, strange though this word may seem in conjunction with such a plot twist, beautifully done.
I could discuss other aspects of this episode, from the opening gambit in which Glenn opens up to his fellow survivors and later resolves his fight with Maggie, to the well-acted battle of wills between Dale and Shane, to the amazing slow burn that Bernthal begins early in the episode until he is seething with fury by episode’s end and opens the doors almost literally to Hell itself. And when that last walker emerges from the barn, what better image of damnation could there be? Of course there’s also the obvious implication that Hershel knew all along, which only makes the whole situation that much worse.
I could talk about Rick yelling at Shane and calling him “brother,” that Shane’s actions at the end are the culmination of his ongoing attempts to convince the others about the way the world has changed, and that when Rick finally steps out from the group and takes that last shot himself, he is not only reasserting a weakened leadership role but doing so in acknowledgement that Shane’s view is the correct one. I could even mention that this finale ends with a scene that neatly bookends our first meeting with Rick in the opening of the series’ very first episode. But never mind all of that, because this episode’s final scene is so powerful, so unwanted, and yet so right that everything else pales in comparison.
The purpose of horror is to provoke, to force us to look in the mirror (as Shane recently did) and face the darkest parts of ourselves. We can try to hide it, to lock it away somewhere and pretend it doesn’t exist, but eventually it will shamble back into the light of day and force us to face the truth. THE WALKING DEAD has proven with this episode that it not only understands that mission well but that despite the roadblocks that may have affected its real-world production, it is capable and willing to push the limits of an audience’s emotional endurance to fulfill it.
The series returns on February 12, 2012.
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Click on Link: TV Review – THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Secrets”
Click on Link: TV Review – THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Chupacabra”
Click on Link: ASSIGNMENT X’s complete Season 1 episode guide
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: TV Review – THE WALKING DEAD – Season 2 – “Pretty Much Dead Already”