Tonight the mid-season finale of season two of The Walking Dead, “Pretty Much Dead Already,” shattered the hopes and dreams of everyone watching. It was the culmination of days of turmoil between the two camps, when everything came to a vicious, bloody head.
The only good thing about the episode––or about the plot of the episode, since the episode itself was phenomenal––was that it brought a close to several lingering questions and closed some open doors. We now know where Sophia is, and we know the group will have to leave Hershel’s farm. Intrigued? Then it’s time to review The Walking Dead episode 2.7.
SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD! THERE ARE SO MANY SPOILERS AHEAD YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!
This episode is titled “Pretty Much Dead Already,” but it could just as easily be called “The brutal demise of all you once held dear,” or “Abandon all hope for zombies totally suck,” or “I hate being right.”
Everything in this episode leads up to one inevitable moment: When Hershel’s barn is opened and the zombies spill forth. In the very first scene, Glenn reveals the truth to the rest of the group and they are (understandably) upset. From there things just spiral downward.
First we have a great fight between Hershel and Rick, as seen in the sneak peek. The two patriarchs are vying for power as well as safety and security for their way of life. It would seem that Hershel won this round, but Rick urges him to think about the consequences of kicking them off the farm (ie, they all will die). So maybe it’s a stalemate. Whoever wins, I don’t really care. Why? Because the performance of these two actors is such that I could watch them argue about dryer lint and still be entertained. Can we have a spin-off series entitled “Andrew Lincoln and Scott Wilson Argue About Stuff”? I would totally watch that.
Then we’ve got the lingering Maggie vs. Glenn shitstorm. There’s trouble in paradise, with Maggie angry at Glenn for revealing the secret of the barn to everyone, and Glenn angry because she doesn’t get why he had to do it. There’s some cuteness with her smashing an egg in his hair (nice one, Maggie!), and then Maggie calms down enough for Glenn to explain, in true Good Guy fashion, that he had to tell the truth in order to protect her. Then they get all smoochy again. Maybe this is just my inner (and outer) girly-girl speaking, but I am loving the progressing romance between these two.
And speaking of lovers’ spats, Daryl has some commitment issues. It was annoying to see him fling Carol’s concern back in her face when she let him off the hook for the Sophia search. But we can understand why the writers did it: After all these episodes of Daryl looking more like one of the Good Guys, we needed a reminder of who he really is (hint: A very damaged, hardened human being).
Meanwhile, a third, potentially life-threatening conflict is breaking out between two other characters… and this one isn’t likely to end with smooching. For some reason Dale is the only one who can see the true evil brewing in Shane. And Shane, power-hungry mayhem-monger that he is, drops all pretense around Dale. The two see eye to eye on the whole good vs. evil thing, or at least the survive-at-all-costs vs. the maintain-your-humanity-no-matter-what thing. After talking with Andrea about Shane’s idea to keep the barn under guard, Dale gets a sneaking suspicion that Shane is going to do something rash, something… well, Shane-like. So he takes the guns and treks into the woods to hide them.
Thus follows our second intense argument of the episode, in which Dale and Shane get the measure of the other man, and Dale realizes that no matter how dangerous Shane is he can’t just shoot him. Which, from the point of view of a TWD fan rapidly tossing back the popcorn, is a very good thing. More Dale vs. Shane drama please!
And all this leads up to one big climactic moment: The showdown at the barn. Why did I even waste half a review on all that other riveting character drama stuff? This is what you’ve all been waiting for. The barn… the zombies in the barn… the zombies coming out of the barn. Bad-assery ensues. Also, heartbreak. Seriously, it took me this long to get up the nerve to write a review because I was still weeping into tissues and calling my family to tell them I loved them.
So Shane goes nuts and starts passing out the guns just as Rick and Hershel return from a zombie bag-and-tag mission. This sight just makes matters worse, and Shane goes off the deep end and opens the barn. Yes, a barn full of who-knows-how-many walkers and the man just plumb opens it like he was opening a can of peaches on a warm summer day (I think their charming Southern dialogue is wearing off on me). Out stream Hershel’s dead friends and family, about a baker’s dozen of them, and armed with the newly-liberated guns Andrea, Shane, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog take ’em down. Like a boss.
Aaaaand then there’s Hershel, kneeling in grief because to him, those weren’t undead monsters. Hershel just watched Shane and Co. murder his loved ones. Think about that. He just had a reality check in the worst way possible. Understandably, he’s a little emotionally devastated. But, y’know, they were just walkers, so it’s cool––OH MY GOD IS THAT SOPHIA?!
Because this episode hadn’t mangled your heartstrings enough, the writers decided to throw in one more horrible thing to get you all weepy and despairing for the fate of mankind. After all the zombies have been gunned down, the Last Little Zombie creeps forth from the depths of the barn in the form of Sophia, Carol’s twelve-year-old daughter. Yes, the kid we’ve spent seven episodes searching for has been chilling in the barn the whole time.
And Rick shoots her. Because that’s what he does.
Ok, you can finish crying now. I’ll wait. Just let it all out. I certainly did.
The worst part about Sophia being in the barn is that it just shows the futility of the world they’re living in. It’s a world where children can’t be kept safe, where one small mistake or accident could rip the innocent from your grasp with no way of salvaging them. Sophia wasn’t just the little lost girl in the woods. She was hope for the future of the group, and as Daryl so aptly put it, they didn’t have anything else to do. Now that there’s no chance of rescuing Sophia, what is their purpose? Merely to survive? Because that doesn’t sound like any kind of fulfilling life.
Regardless, as a viewer it’s a relief to close the book on Sophia. And appropriately, with this being the mid-season finale we can now move on to another mission for our survivors, another purpose in their miserable lives. But we won’t find out what that is until February.
We are the walking dead: Tonight’s episode was the mid-season finale. That means the show will be taking a break for the next few weeks. We’ll just have to wait until February to find out what happens next on The Walking Dead.
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