The last episode of season 2 of the Walking Dead has come and gone, so now I can put my two cents in without spoiling too much for people.

First off, SLOW!  Slower than the freaking zombies they’re NOT running from.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it else I wouldn’t have watched it all the way through, but damn it was hard at times.

Season two starts off with them still on the run from the fireball in Atlanta, and they get stuck in some abandoned car gridlock on the highway, natch.  So they disembark, start stripping the cars of anything useful, and get ambushed by a herd of walkers.  Thankfully they all make it out alive, but the little girl is too stupid to stay in hiding until told it’s safe, so when she tries to come out she grabs the attention of that last walker in the area and has to make a run for it into the woods bordering the highway.

Rick naturally goes after her, finds her, stashes her, and draws off the walker after her.  But when he goes back to her he finds she’s gone.  So the first half of the season is the group running around like chickens with their heads cut off looking for this little girl.

In the meantime, they find a group of survivors, a veterinarian, his family and their farmhands holed up in a farmhouse.  One of their number accidentally shoots Carl when hunting for food for the family, so they rush the lad to the vet and he manages to patch him up, but not without needed more supplies from a school swarming with walkers.

Shane and the guy who shoots Carl volunteer to get the supplies, but coming back both are injured, limping, and have a swarm of hungry undead on their arse so  Shane shoots the other guy Otis in the leg and leaves him for zombie bait so he can get away and get back to the others.  Also, token black guy T-Dog gets a nasty gash on the arm during the first walker herd on the highway and gets a nasty blood infection that the vet patches up as well.

That’s it.  That’s the most action in the first half of the season and it’s only the first three/four episodes.  The rest of the first half is the two bands trying to find some type of peaceful cohabitation on the farm, looking for the little girl Sophia, and drama drama drama.

-Daryl goes searching for Sophia, gets injured, almost eaten, and hallucinates about his brother.

-Lori is pregnant so you can imagine the drama for that between her, Shane, Rick and Carl.

-Andrea and Shane get it on during one of their Sophia scouting missions and I think she gets a bit of puppy love because she’s always has his back after that now matter how much you’re screaming DON’T DO IT!

-T-Dog has basically no lines.  You see him every once and a while, in passing, in the background.  The show kinda turns into a Where’s Waldo thing for those who like T-Dog’s character in the second half.

-Shane and Dale butt heads because Dale suspects the truth about Otis’ death.  And you can tell that Shane is going off the deep end because he starts thinking of Lori and Carl as his, in every sense of the word, and is going against Rick every chance he gets when Rick goes off the farm.

-Glen gets it on with the vet’s daughter.

-Carl’s Carl.  A little boy trying to make sense of a world where the dead walk, but in the second half looks like he’s turning into a real sociopath.

Now they’re staying on Hershel’s farm, he’s the vet and paterfamilias of the family living there.  Poor Hershel is deluded into thinking the walkers are sick people, not dead people, as and the season goes on our group of heroes finds out he’s capturing walkers and keeping them in an old barn, and feeding them no less!  They break the legs of the chickens and toss them in for the walkers to feed on.  That was a hard scene for me, I’m too much the humanitarian sometimes.

Of course this makes the group very uncomfortable, and it takes everything Rick has to keep the group from going postal, but it happens anyway when Shane goes crazy, busts open the barn doors, and they mow down all the walkers inside, ending with little Sophia.

Yeah, turns out they’ve been searching for a dead girl the whole time she’s been in the barn with the other walkers.  Carol is of course devastated, the two bands are against each other again, and it looks like everything is falling apart once and for all.

Until they go into town.

See, Hershel was an alcoholic, and after being confronted with the truth that these people are really dead, he goes into town to go on a bender.  Rick and Glen go after him, and they encounter another band of survivors.  Not a good band.  As Daryl puts it later on: “If they roll through here our boys are dead, and our women…they gonna wish they were.”

One of this other band gets left behind with a spike through his leg and a swarm of walkers running amok, so the three rescue the poor lad, patch him up, and try to drop him off but he knows where the farm is now.

There’s about three episodes or so where his fate is debated.  Daryl interrogates him to find out what kind of people the lad’s running with, they take him out to a drop off that fails miserably when Shane tries to kill Rick, and finally they decide to kill the boy, but when Carl follows them to the execution and encourages his dad to do it, things are once again on hold.

And now we go back to Carl, and find out he’s a lot more damaged than he seems.  He finds a walker stuck in the mud, and instead of shooting it, stabbing it in the head, or telling mummy and daddy about it, he taunts the damned thing!  And now with it being all riled up, the zombie gets itself unstuck and starts after the kid who runs off and doesn’t tell  anyone about it, leaving a zombie on the loose on the farm.

Dale is the one to find the zombie on night patrol, just as it jumps him and starts ripping into his chest cavity.  The others come to his rescue, but too late.  There’s nothing to be done for him and Daryl shoots him in the head, putting him out of his misery.

So Carl is turning into a sociopath, Dale is dead, and they have a kid who belongs to a really nasty group of people locked up in a shed.  It’s at this point Shane really goes off the deep end.  He takes the kid into the woods, kills him, bloodies himself up, and runs back to Rick, crying about how the kid got loose and jumped him.  Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glen go out looking for the lad, and split up.  Night falls, Daryl and Glen find the kid, undead and hungry despite not being bit.  And Daryl, being the expert tracker that he is, finds inconsistencies with the tracks left on the ground and Shane’s story, so of course his flags are up.

Rick and Shane meanwhile, find themselves in a secluded pasture, and Rick tries to talk Shane down from killing him and going totally off the ledge of bat sh*t crazy.  Shane listens to him, at least for a minute, and Rick buries a knife in his gut.  Lordy how I cheered at that!  I was so happy Shane finally bit it, he never lasted this long in the graphic novel and I was just itching for Rick to take care of him.

But now that Shane is dead, Rick starts going through a mental breakdown and sees Carl with a gun pointed at him.  Turns out the cheeky little sociopath in the works has followed them once again, and saw his daddy kill his daddy figure.  As Rick tries to talk HIM down around his grief, Shane gets back up as a zombie, and Carl shoots him, in the head no less!  Looks like he’s turning into a bit of a sharpshooter there.  Alas and alack, despite Rick’s relief at being alive and Carl being safe, that gunshot has alerted a herd just over the hilltop, and they descend on the farm.

The final episode of the season is the united band of survivors holding off the horde and ultimately surviving, albeit with a few casualties.  Thankfully though, we don’t lose anyone else from the main band.  Well, not really.

Patricia dies, and so does that kid Jimmy as the shooters are driving around mowing down zombies, and Hershel is protecting the farm with the women folk.  The women folk flee, and eventually so does everyone else, abandoning the farm and eventually all meeting up back at the highway, albeit without Andrea.

They saw a walker fall on Andrea after she shot it in the head, so naturally they think she’s dead.  But Andrea managed to grab the bag of guns and fight her way off the farm, albeit now she has half a dozen zombies chasing her.  So she’s running through the woods all night and most of a day, so she’s getting tired.  She turns to take down the last walker, but it looks like it’s the end for Andrea.  That is until a sword comes slashing out of nowhere, lopping off the head of the zombie about to bite Andrea and we see a dark, hooded figure with a sword and two armless zombies chained to her waist.  Enter Michonne! One of the most famous and favorite characters in the Walking Dead graphic novel

Meanwhile, back with the others they’re starting to question Rick’s leadership, and really they need to get off his back.  He tells Lori about Shane’s death, and she gets all indignant and acts like she’s afraid he’s going to hurt her too now, despite the fact that it was SELF DEFENSE!  They also share the fact that the kid with the broken neck came back without being bit, and Rick revels something Jenner told him in season 1: They’re all infected already.  Death activates the virus, and the bites just speed it up.

So of course everyone is upset and scared and turning against Rick, saying he should of told them earlier, maybe someone else would be better off leading, maybe they would be better off on their own.  And Rick, bless him, tells them all where to shove it.  He gives them an open invitation to leave if they want to, and tells them if they stay he’s not playing the diplomatic nice guy anymore.  That I think was a little too much as it seems like he’s turning into Shane with that statement, but I’m glad he told the other to nut up or shut up.  If you think you can do better, go on and try.  And of course once given the option, the last of the group show they’re all talk and no action.

The last scene is a pan out to where you see the prison in the background.  Oh so excited for that!

So.  That’s the story of season two.  And while I quite enjoyed it, there are a few things that were a tad off.

1: Like I said, not enough action.  The beginning and end were really good, but the middle just kinda sucked.  I’m pretty sure half the reason most of us tuned in for the middle of the season was just to see if anything would actually happen, and alas we were always disappointed.

2: Lack of air time for secondary characters.  Dale, Carol, Daryl, and T-Dog are pushed to the background while the story basically focused on the Rick, Shane, and Lori love triangle.

3: Dale.  He died!  Ok he dies in the graphic novel too, but not so quick and the way he went out there was bad ass.  The group is being tailed by a band of cannibals, and Dale gets bit so he basically offers himself up to them.  They eat him, infect themselves, and kill him.  You have to admit that was pretty cool.  It was sad how he went in the show, but there was that one bit of bad-assery with it.  He lifted his head to the muzzle of the gun they used to shoot him.  He accepted his death and encouraged it, because he knew he was dead anyway, and he’d rather go out fast than slow.

4: Ok they’re surrounded by the living dead that just so happen to continuously avoid the farm.  There are like 2 instances of walkers making it into the property.  The rest of the encounters happen outside the farm, at least until that herd in the final episode.  And granted, while that herd more than makes up for the lack of zombie action in the middle of the season, the law of statistics is clearly on the side of the zombies in that they should have showed up just a bit more.

5: Character development.  I like how they did Lori at the end, she was never my favorite character in the graphic novels, and while they made her more likeable in the series, I’m kinda glad they’re going back to the original character now.  Snippy, bitchy, and whiny.

I like how Carl is swinging between emotionless sociopath, scared little boy, and brave young man.  I think it really fits what a real child would go through during something like that.  They try so hard to be brave when there’s no danger they come off as emotionless.  When faced with their own death they shut off the fear and fight (albeit often at the direction of their parent, but it still works).  When faced with something just plain scary, they want their mum and dad.  So I like it.

And Shane…well lets just say I’m glad he’s dead.  Rick should have taken care of him a long time ago.  The way they depicted his descent into madness was pretty cool though.

That’s really it.  My biggest complaint is the lack of action in the season, and the fact that the season focused on like 3 characters.   I heard rumors that despite Walking Dead being AMC’s latest and greatest drama, the bigwigs had decided to sacrifice the WD budget on the alter of Mad Men.  And we all know that’s never a good idea.  When you have something as wildly successful out of the gate as I have heard WD was, don’t sacrifice their budget!  It’ll only make the show suffer and you’ll lose viewers.

But after seeing the last episode, I’m not so sure about that now.  I think the reason for everything being so slow and cut down in the middle was because they were planning this grand finale of an ending and were making as many cuts as they could to be able to afford the ending that they wanted.

And a side note about the season finale, it felt like it lasted twice as long as it did.  There’s just so much going on in this episode you don’t feel like it’s only an hour long.  I look at the clock about half an hour into the episode, and I was shocked to realize there was still another half hour left!  I like to think that’s a good sign.

So aside from a slow middle and lack of secondary character airtime and growth, Season 2 of the Walking Dead was a smashing success just like Season 1.  Or at least I like to think so.

Alas, now we are zombie deprived until the fall when Season 3 starts, or Season 2 comes out on DVD.  I think it’ll be worth the wait though.  Especially if they’re bringing Michonne in.

Enjoy folks.