Midweek Geekiness: Walking Dead Wrap Up Edition

Too many thoughts wandering around in my head concerning The Walking Dead.  I decided to make like Otis and corral them into one place once and for all. By the way, this post contains spoilers ergo if you have not watched the season finale then don’t read any further .  Ditto for those not even watching season 2 until it comes out on Netflix.

We Need to Talk About Shane

When Lori wrapped herself around Rick and whispered à la Lady Macbeth her ‘concerns’ about Shane, it helped illustrate the Shakespearean overtones of his down fall.   We meet Shane before the zombie apocalypse having burgers with Rick, while talking about his latest failed relationship.  May be he’s a player, but he seemed to have a good friendship with Rick.

Then the walkers happened.

While people point to Otis’ shooting as the beginning of his downfall,  hints about Shane’s instability began in first season.  In the CDC a drunk Shane attempts to force himself on Lori.  That event happened after Shane trains his gun on Rick in the woods during a patrol of the Camp perimeter.  I bet it was Dale’s first inkling about Shane’s darker nature within the group.  Rick announced the group no longer functioned as a democracy.  Shane may just shoot, or throw someone to the zombies to make the same point.

I have to admit feeling sad watching this character disintegrate week after week.  It’s easy to say Shane was the ‘bad guy’, but the writers, and actor Jon Berenthal, layered Shane as both unstable yet seeing himself wanting to do the best for the group.  In the end Shane’s scalding words to Rick (‘Your wife is broken.  You son is weak.)  gave me a glimpse into a man secretly wanting the kind of love and family alluding him before the zombies.

We Do Need to Talk About Rick Too

Rick Grimes also disintegrated along the way.  The upright lawman tried to hold on to that self-image in this new lawless world.  He went back for Merle despite so many reasons not to do it with the same focus as his search for Sofia.  While Shane simply shot at the walker in Hershel’s barn, he didn’t have the stones to shoot Sofia.

Instead Rick did it with the same stony look given with the little girl in season 1.  It’s the look saying he didn’t want to do it, but it has to be done.  Doing what needs to be done is one quality of a good leader, but Rick will most likely dip into the same grey area like  Shane in order to truly take his place in the group.  He didn’t wait for Andrea and in the end he had to kill Shane.

But…

Remember pre-walker days?  Lori and Rick already hit a rocky road in their marriage.  If memory served me correctly it stemmed from Rick not ‘fighting’  for the relationship, like Rick seemed a little too complacent for Lori.  Well, with Shane’s death that complacently is long gone.  Perhaps Lori saw what she wished for and didn’t like how it came true.  Rick needs to get a little more gritty to lead his group’s survival.  The Governor will teach him the dangers of listing too far in a dictatorship.

Michonne, I Believe We Met Before In New York

True story.  I tuned into a Treme Marathon on HBO after missing some episodes.  One of the character, the Jazz trumpeter living in New York, talks to his girlfriend about storing his stuff at her place while he goes back to New Orleans to help his dad rebuild.  The woman responds she not a storage place and laid down the law regarding the relationship. No shouting, just a steely assessment of the relationship and expression of her place in it.  It’s one of those small scenes speaking big volumes on a show.

I didn’t know all she was missing was a sword.

Once again the message boards over at Entertainment Weekly debated whether Danai Gurira was right for the role.  It didn’t surprise me perhaps Robert Kirkman felt the same way about actors  big-volume small scenes. He also watches Treme and is a huge David Simon fan.  Some people the role should go a ‘name’ actress with some bad-ass roles to her credit.  For some reason Lost‘s Michelle Rodriguez’s name was mentioned although Michonne is African-American.  Noamie Harris, another name mentioned on the boards, already dealt with zombies and evil creeps in 28 Days Later.  Why would she repeat herself? It’s about the character and finding the right actor to embody it.  People probably thought can the guy from Love Actually play a role like Rick Grimes?  Well, the answer to that question might be the answer to this current question.

Overall

I admit the show over stayed its welcome on Hershel’s Farm.  The first half, although it delivered some fine moments with Carol and Daryl, lurched like a zombie in its storytelling.  Speaking of Hershel,  Scott Wilson’s name finally lodged in my memory about years of seeing this guy in a variety of role.  His experience helped fashion the character from a country vet wanting to me left alone to a man whose past left in a ‘edge’ seen in the show.  Dale may have departed, but Hershel may serve as a new voice of reason as a man once a pilgrim on the dark side until he knew it could destroy him.  Hopefully Hershel will guide Rick in making peace with a new edge in his personality before it destroys him and the entire group.

The second half packed itself with action, but I also hope the drama side will not slide for the sake of action for action’s sake.  In the latter half I saw the show strike a balance between character meditation and zombie kills.  Plot may drive the action, but it’s character that makes me as a viewer stay.  It’s interesting people talking about the characters, even the despised ones, as real people.  It means two thing import to any drama:

  1. The writers are doing their jobs
  2. The actors are doing their jobs

I feel exhausted from this season.  Mad Men will recharge my batteries until season 3 lumbers back in the fall.

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