The Walking Dead: Season 2 (2011)

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Overall Rating 77%
Overall Rating
Ranked #71
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Connections: The Walking Dead

Sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating zombies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 29, 2012
Sometimes I hate myself for it, but I always wait until a season is over and done with before I watch any of it. This is usually pretty hard to do with a show I'm highly interested in, because I have to resist the urge to watch an episode or read an episode synopsis while also avoiding spoilers from the people who watch the show on a week-to-week basis. It was even harder with this season of The Walking Dead, as it decided to take a three-month break right in the middle of the run. However, it's all worth it in the end, when I find myself able to sit down with all thirteen episodes and watch them at my leisure, and that is exactly what I did over the last couple of days. So, let's get straight into it, shall we?

We kick things off right after the grand finale found in the first season, and we find our merry band of misfits - Rick (Andrew Lincoln), his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Andrea (Laurie Holden), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Shane (Jon Bernthal), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Daryl (Norman Reedus), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), and Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) - driving towards Fort Benning in search of refuge and other survivors. Along the way, something happens and Carol's daughter (Madison Lintz) gets lost in the nearby woods. The group sets out into said woods to find her, and during this hunt, another something happens and the group soon finds themselves shacked up at an old farmhouse headed up by the old and old-fashioned Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his daughters Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth (Emily Kinney).

This piece of land is the setting for the entirety of the season, and the main focus is on Rick and his leadership skills. You see, Shane calls him out on his tactics and choices, claiming that he is putting the group in jeopardy by trying to be the good guy. For example, the missing girl: what are the odds that she has survived numerous days in the woods, alone and surrounded by zombies? Why waste time and energy while also putting people at risk by heading out looking for her on a daily basis? On the other side of the coin, Rick asks, what if that was Carl... should they just give up and move on? Both men have a point, and this is but one of the things that they butt heads on... and the tension between them never stops building.

I've now read a handful of reviews for the season, and one of the things that a lot of people griped about is the ratio of "human element" to "zombie action." I disagree with this complaint, though it is true: the story centers around the people and how they are surviving this end of the world scenario, and there are episodes where we barely see even a single zombie. It's the same way that the comics played out, so if you're just looking for wall-to-wall zombie action, you're going to be disappointed. However, this human element is the very reason why I enjoyed the show so much. These characters are built up excellently, and there is no black and white with them: there are no "heroes" and there are no "villains", just differing opinions that will have different audiences cheering for and despising different people.

Now, that's not to say that the zombies completely take a backseat to the humans. They are still a very real threat, and they definitely get their time to shine. There are some nasty kills on display, and a few people that you wouldn't expect to die do get eaten. The zombies themselves look excellent, and they are dispatched in various grisly ways - my favorite being a pitchfork through the head. There are a very few instances of shoddy CGI work, but for the vast majority of the season, the makeup and effects are top-notch.

Having read the comics, I always enjoyed the way that the writers for the show handled the source material. For the most part, the show does stay true to it... however, there are surprises thrown in to keep us on our toes. Remember how so-and-so died in the comics? Well, the show builds up to that moment just like they did in the comics... and then somebody else dies. I liked this approach, as it left me with numerous surprises even though I've read this plot arc already. Speaking of the comics, how about that grand reveal of a certain character in the season finale? That five-second clip made me squeal with joy, and I can not wait to see her in action in season three.

Some people have called this a weak season, but screw them - I absolutely loved it, and I really can't find a single fault with it. Yes, there is a huge emphasis on the humans and the zombies do get pushed to the side from time to time, but so what? That's how the show operates and that's how the comics operated, and if you can accept that, you'll love watching everything that it has to offer. 10/10.
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