“Pretty Much Dead Already,” this week’s episode of The Walking Dead definitely makes up for the last few. I feared the title might be a bad omen for the show. Were they giving up? No, the show has already been picked up for a third season. But “pretty much dead already” was how I was feeling about the show, and then I saw this episode. It’s fantastic, which makes me wonder why the rest of the episodes this season have lagged and couldn’t have been just as good. But whatever.
It opens on our group of survivors, still camped out at Herschel’s farm. There is a clear separation between the Herschel family farm residents and Rick’s group of survivors. The air is tense; you could cut it with a knife—literally—since they’re all eating breakfast. Everyone except Glenn, it seems, because something’s bothering him. After an encouraging nod from Dale, he just lets it all out:
“Um…guys, so the barn is full of walkers.”
After this, the episode doesn’t waste too much time. Everyone rushes to the barn to investigate. People begin fighting. So and so knew, and so and so didn’t say anything. You know, that sort of stuff. Shane wants to leave, right then and there, but someone reminds us that they still need to find Sophia. Shane, and I suspect a few viewers, are sick of hearing about Sophia and insists she must be dead. Rick, in his infinite good-guyness, tries his best to calm everyone down, insisting he will talk to Herschel, while Shane, of course, wants to resort to violent behavior.
Glenn and Maggie fight. It’s a nice break from all the other fighting, though, because she has been in the chicken coop and has a basket full of eggs. I’ll leave what happens up to you, but it’s a lot more lighthearted than everyone else’s arguments.
Some of the best character development comes from Carl, who sits with Lori doing some sort of schooling. He optimistically tells his mother that he knows they are going to find Sophia, and that she is going to love it at the farm. It’s sweet and typical of Carl, but he shows another side of himself when he confronts Shane about Sophia. Cark insists Sophia isn’t dead. She will be found. He’s definitely not just sweet and typical Carl anymore.
When Rick talks to Herschel, you can see the frustration on his face. It’s Herschel’s land and barn, and what he does with it is his business. Rick knows this, he agrees, but he pleads with Herschel to let them stay. Lori is pregnant after all. He gets no answer.
In my opinion the best scene in the episode is an emotional bit of dialogue that Maggie has in the kitchen, speaking to her father. She reveals how a boy whose name he won’t acknowledge saved her life from a creature he continues to insist is a person. She spouts a bible verse he taught her, “As I have loved you, love one another,” and calls him out on his hypocrisy. She takes no pride in pointing out how wrong he is, but is pleading with him to understand.
Outside, Shane and Lori have a conversation about how Shane thinks the baby has to be his. Lori says it never will be. This just pisses Shane off more, and he goes on a rampage, in search of the guns. That means he must go in search of Dale, because, well, he’s taken the guns and hidden them.
Dale and Andrea’s relationship, if you can call it that, goes further down a rocky path, because again, Dale tries to warn Andrea about Shane. Frankly, I’d be sick of this man telling me what to do, too. Yeah, he’s got her best interests at heart, but I think it’s more than that. There’s feelings there that Dale is afraid to explore. Andrea can sense it, and it bothers her. She takes her gun before he has a chance to run off with the rest of them.
Of course everything goes to crap. That’s really all I can say without ruining a terrific ending that had me shocked and sad. It’s intense and makes for a great ending to this mid-season finale. Jon Bernthal as Shane deserves some acknowledgment for his performance in this episode, as he is the catalyst for most of what happens.
Have fun waiting till February! For more Walking Dead coverage on FBOTU, click here.