My Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 2 Episode 1
Posted by Alan Edwards
I don’t know if I’ll do this for every episode of the AMC series, but I had enough thoughts about the first episode that I figured I’d babble on about them. At least I think I have enough thoughts. It’s really early and I’m tired so maybe I just have one thought bouncing in my head and it’s I LIKE CHEESE and this post will end up moldering in the Drafts area for a few months before it gets thrown out like a 7-year-old box of baking soda that hangs out in the fridge for some nebulous reason like “fighting odor” when I’m not really sure what odors there are to combat in a refrigerator but ANYWAY.
So, Walking Dead is back. I watched it last night. As a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time writing zombie stories, most people assume that I love reading about zombies and watching zombie movies and going to zombie dress-up events and all that stuff. I’ve got a secret. I actually don’t. Yes, I love every George Romero zombie film there is, even the ones no one else does. I love the Resident Evil movies, but that is also due to the Milla Jojovich factor, the actress that I have a free pass for from my wife for when we meet (right, honey? Honey? It was a joke! Honey? /grumble /makes couch into bed). I love Max Brooks’ zombie novels (and cringe when I think what Brad Pitt is going to do to World War Z. Just when I started to respect him as an actor and whatnot.). And honestly? That’s about it. There’s a couple throwaways like Planet of the Dead that I enjoy as well, but there is an awful lot that I don’t really care for in the slightest.
Why? I’m glad you asked. You did ask, right? Anyway, I think it’s because I have certain set opinions about what a zombie story should be. I like my zombies a certain way, the Romero Way, and I get uncomfortable when people decide to change up the zombie oeuvre for “artistic reasons”. Fast zombies, smart zombies, mind control zombies, zombies that say “braaains”, shit like that – I can’t tolerate it. I get annoyed and pissy and all panty-bunched about it. That’s my problem, I understand, but it’s something that I almost feel too close to, and that prevents me from having an open mind about it. Or something. Whatever, I tend to get all opinionated and nitpicky and mouthy and complain like a bitter old man with youngins on his lawn.
Oh yeah, Walking Dead. So I watched it last night, as I said an hour ago. I enjoyed the first season for the most part, but my enjoyment lessened as the series went on. At first, it was friggin’ awesome, then my enthusiasm started to taper off. The effects stayed top-notch throughout, they did a good job with the tension of dealing with the undead, there were some well-played bits of interpersonal issues that will occur when a diverse group of people get thrust together by circumstance and the erosion of patience, the problems of basic survival like food and water and all that were done well. I enjoyed a lot of it.
What made me enjoy it less as the season went on: the people.
I don’t mean the actors. I mean the survivors themselves. They started to grate on my nerves a bit as things went on. Bizarre actions, reckless-as-fuck behavior, sheer stupid shit they’d pull – the more I saw them, the more I wondered how the fuck they’d managed to stay alive this long. Plus there was the situation with the one dude’s brother that they left handcuffed to a beam with zombies a’comin’ and he manages to apparently saw his hand off and get away and I’m expecting some big scene where he comes back and then he never does and it’s like “oh, ok then,” and everything moves on. If the dude shows up this season after they’ve traveled some ridiculous amount of miles away then I’ll be both vexed and wroth. But that’s enough about last season.
Oh, and I probably should say that if you get all bitchy about revealing what happened on the first episode and you haven’t seen it yet and I didn’t warn you about spoilers – well, you decided to read a post called “My Thoughts on the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 1” and if you didn’t expect me to drop what may or may not be considered a spoiler, well, that’s your problem and not mine.
My first thought about the show: I still hate these people. Seriously. If I found myself with this group of people, I’d probably pull the crazy hunter dude aside and say, “Let’s leave these idiotic shitheads behind”. These people are pretty fucking lackadaisical about surviving in a world where potentially at any moment a dead person is going to chew off their face while they nonchalantly wander around a graveyard of wrecked cars and dead people. They give their kids an offhand, “Oh, and stay in sight” and then proceed to ignore them and not watch them at all while the little idiots go poking around. When it comes time to scavenge, they send the unarmed people out haphazardly while the guys with guns hang out at the RV or take a shower with a Culligan bottle. I like the lead dude, Sheriff Andy or whatever the fuck his name is, the hunter dude, and, uh, well, I guess that’s about it. The rest would have me begging for a gun so I could eat a bullet like Mopey Blonde Chick seems to want.
Then there’s the kids.
OK, if you’ve read a lot of my other stuff, you probably have an idea on how I feel about children. I don’t find the little tow-headed scamps precocious, or cute, or plucky, or special, or anything along those lines. I don’t like them very much, especially when they’re allowed to run screaming around a restaurant or kick the back of my seat in a movie theater or breathe their snotty little germs in anything resembling my vicinity, which is roughly a city block. So I might be a little biased here.
I can’t stand the kids in the Walking Dead. I can’t stand their parents. These kids should be locked in the RV and allowed out only if everything is 100% completely safe, if the little bastards are that important to you. Instead, they get treated like they’re at a goddamn kiddie park, with the offhand “stay in sight honey” ridiculous requests that they never pay any attention to, parents or kids. When the one girl takes off in a straight line when she’s spotted by zombies, and just keeps running and running directly away from everyone into the fucking woods, I just shook my head. My wife summed up exactly how I felt: “Kids ruin everything.” My wife is awesome.
Didn’t these people teach these kids what to do in these situations? I don’t think “Run as fast as you can in a straight line away from everyone who can help you” is the proper behavior here, and I can’t believe that the dumb kid doesn’t know better. “Oh, she was panicking” you say? What kid would panic and run AWAY from their only surviving parent and/or trusted adults? That kid would start screaming “MOMMY!” and bring the whole damn herd back on the group while the kid tried to run directly to the parent. That’s what a panicky kid would do.
And the other kid, Officer Barbrady’s brat. Just looking at him annoys me. He’s constantly wandering off and doing dumb shit everyone lets him get away with. The “touching” scene with the deer – which was stupid as fuck, really, I mean, OK, the buck’s just gonna stand there while three people look at it and one starts walking toward it? Yeah, OK. Whatever. Then the adults let the kid try to walk up to it like it’s a fucking petting zoo and not a wild animal with FUCKING ANTLERS that could punch through that ugly brat’s skull if it decided to, I dunno, get scared at the fact that a fucking predator is approaching it and decide to kick the shit out of it. That’s some good parentin’ there. “Go on, Billy, try to touch that thar deer. It’s a SIGN FROM THE LORD-AH!” Then he gets shot and all I can think of is, “cool, writing out both kids in the first episode is a good move.”
Oh, and whoever shot that deer totally knew that kid was there. I don’t care what he says in the next episode. I bet he did a small fist pump when he saw them both go down with the same shot, then put on his Remorse Face. He probably hates kids, too.
Some other scenes that didn’t sit right:
1. The search party. “C’mon, everyone, we can cover more ground if we go together, just be sure to stay in sight.” Then they march in a single fucking file, all looking in the same direction. That’s perfect. Awesome. You’ll find the kid for sure. Well done, Trooper Dan. Good plan.
2. The zombie herd, hiding under cars scene. As the dead shuffled by, I thought how good it was that none of the dead people had broken legs or missing feet or anything, because one crawling dude would make the genius plan of “hide under shit” work out pretty poorly.
3. The church scene. Poor lady whose dumbfuck kid went missing decides to pray aloud. Everyone stands around to gawk and listen in. Cop Leader Dude wants to chat with Jeebus, and it’s all “let’s give him privacy”. If I was that lady, I’d have turned around and said, “Do you mind? HOW ABOUT YOU GO OUTSIDE AND LOOK FOR MY FUCKING KID WHILE I TRY TO COMPOSE MYSELF?”
There was stuff I liked, too, don’t get me wrong.
1. The makeup and zombies are awesome and well-done. A lot of those actors make their bodies look and move completely unnaturally. They’re the stars of this thing.
2. The fact that everyone seems to be getting thinner and thinner with every episode is a nice touch. Well done.
3. Officer Handy bashing in the skulls of the two zombies was sweet. His look of savage primal caveman was spot on, and the effects of one skull getting slowly smashed to a pulp was nice.
4. The joy of the water discovery was spot-on. Water that’s safe to drink would probably be the most difficult thing to find in an apocalypse.
I have hope for the series and will continue watching it. I nitpick it because it’s good. If it was shit I’d ignore it. The only reason elements stand out so strongly to me is the quality of everything around it.
Plus, I like bitching about stuff in a hyperbolic manner. Even I don’t hate kids to the degree I pretend to.