My Thoughts on The Walking Dead, Season 2 Episode 1

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.

Probably.

About Alan Edwards

An indie writer who does accounting full-time on the side.

Posted on October 18, 2011, in Zombies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I watched the first 2 episodes of the series, and then got distracted by other shit. I enjoyed what I saw though.

    As a proud mother of three, I must say that in movies, books, and TV I ABHOR kids. Unless it’s a movie ABOUT or FOR kids, leave them the fuck out of it. Worst way to ruin a good thing is to throw wee-devils into it. And don’t get me started on romance books where the heroine ends up pregnant with quadruplets in the end and they all bounce with joy at the good fortune that has befallen them. Oh my fucking God. Fork me now. Happily ever after is one free of fetuses.

    I love my children, but I don’t want them (or anyone else’s) anywhere near my entertainment.

    • I think you’re right. I think too many storytellers use them as a crutch, a quick and easy way to try to elicit sympathy or protective feelings or something. I think they underestimate the power of I Hate Other People’s Kids. When your own kids do something, I’m sure it’s adorable. Other kids doing it, not so much.

      Movies about kids I actually don’t mind too much, like Stand By Me and stuff. If you want to talk about life as a kid, cool. Throwing kids into every other movie for no real reason sets my teeth on edge.

  2. First, I think I would worry that you were secretly gay and our marriage was a sham if you didn’t want Milla Jojovich. I may still cut your nuts off if that happened but after I got over my initial anger I’d understand. Hopefully you wouldn’t be a eunuch by then.

    I’m glad you brought up Jim-Bob’s one handed brother. I found myself lying in bed last night thinking… ‘aw christ, that racist fuck is going to show up this season all angsty because he cut off his own hand’. I hope he’s zombie chow and wandering aimlessly in Atlanta somewhere because if he shows up this season I may mentally check out.

    Also, the dude that filleted his arm… umm can anyone say staph infection? How about tetanus? That dude basically sliced open his artery to have a boo-boo band-aid on it the next day… uhhh…. no.

    I don’t care of how grungy or hillbilly you are, eventually you’re going rinse off your face or at least wipe that 7 week old dirt off of it. Don’t patronize me AMC, I get you are trying to show me that he’s a hillbilly back woods fuck, I get it but come on, the guy would occasionally wipe all that grime off of himself. At least once a season….

    The deer…. that lovely fuzzy horned buck… don’t get me started…. That buck didn’t get to be 8 – 10 point age by all the sudden going animal-retarded. No way he would have just stood there as a human walked up on him. Especially in a world were things that look like “humans” bite and gnaw like wolves…. Nope, horrible scene. It pissed me off to be truthful. I felt like they insulted my intelligence. The kid could have easily gotten blown away by mystery hunter X being way back in the treeline. As a matter of fact that is a more likely and historically accurate scenario. It would have been believable and tragic, not sappy and lame.

    And another thing on the kid shooting incident… Did anyone else have a problem that no parent or groupmate of this rodent noticed he was doing a search in the woods with a group of people with live/hot weapons DRESSED IN A CAMO SHIRT? “Go on Timmy, go out and play in the woods in your camo with all the people with guns. Since they will shoot slow moving and shambling human shapes let’s make sure you blend right in with the woods!” – yeah that is fucking smart…. The real reason they let him go is they probably are realizing the little leech is slowing them down…

    Yep, I’d be trying to recruit that hunter and maybe psycho blondie to get the fuck away from these people. Blondie may be flaking out but she’s only going to kill herself most likely if she finally goes over that cliff. And hunter Jim-Bob… well that is one useful and skill mo-fo. Who cares he hates personal hygiene, that dude is one resourceful guy.

    Hopefully I don’t get more of that ‘beat you over the head’ sympathy crap and touching kid scenes. Kids ruin everything.

    • I love it!

      I totally forgot about the guy slicing his artery. The way he was bleeding out and practically passing out that led to him with a handy bandage and no ill effects was jarring. I thought that was going to lead to a frantic scene where these people with no real medical backgrounds would be struggling with how they would save a guy with a lot of blood loss and possible infection and just instead led to…nothing. I barely remembered that he and the Asian guy were there at all.

      When they were hands-deep in the dead guy, it made me think about them spreading a zombie’s guts all over themselves last season. OK, these dead dudes spread infection via bite, right? So slathering myself with their guts and probably getting it in my eye or a small scratch or something isn’t a worry or concern? Like shouldn’t you at least get rid of the disgusting-ass stanky gloves instead of grabbing your crossbow and wandering around?

      And I like my junk too much to risk it. Even for Milla.

  3. Sorry to write a blog post of my own as a comment – haha

  4. Read the comic you will like it, you will still find crap to bitch about, but you will see where the show came from. And return spoiler, the boy lives.

  5. I’ll chime in with Kendall. If I was stuck in the apocalypse with my kids, I don’t know what the fuck I’d do. Sam wouldn’t be able to keep quiet (he has actual ADHD and hyperactive disorder, so he has a medical reason why he’d be trouble…aside from just being a child). My daughter would decided she knows what’s best, and go off and promptly become a Tasty Treat.

    Kids are props and plot devices in TV and movies. Yes, it’s annoying as hell. In reality, parents would do just what you suggested: children would be kept locked in air-tight containers until any given situation is 100% free and clear of danger. And if I suspected they “needed some air” and would do something stupid like wander off because they were too stupid to realize we were in a life-and-death situation, then ZIP!, back in the box ya go!

    I can’t imagine my attitude would make good TV, though.

    I have no trouble with the one-handed hick brother’s absence. Yes, he’ll make his return, its inevitable. Just like Suzy Runs In the Woods will turn up somehow.

    The one thing that’s pissing me off is the absence of the guy from the pilot (the guy with his son, whose wife was one of the zombies outside). They were awesome, and I’d really like to see them show up again at some point.

    All in all, I’m enjoying it. This is one bleak fucking show.

    • That would be horrific – being a parent during a freaking disaster, especially one where the kids doing what kids do gets them eaten in 4 seconds.

      I think your attitude would make great TV, for me at least, heh.

      I think he’ll make his return too, but it stretches my suspension-disbelief muscles to the breaking point. The girl will be back, I’m sure, and the boy will be just dandy despite the punctured lung and blood loss. Maybe they’ll use the Magic Band-Aids like they did for the one dude’s arm.

      Funny you bring those guys up – they’re 2 of my favorite characters from the whole shebang. Maybe they’re too nuanced and believable to get included.

      I WANT to enjoy it, and it’s pretty damn bleak all right. I can’t help this nagging feeling I keep getting, that what it reminds me of most so far is Star Wars Episode 1. Not in story or tone or anything, just the feeling when I walk away that it’s just not.. right. That it should be and could be better. I’m not giving up on it yet, though.

  1. Pingback: Hey, I’ve Got a Great Plan: Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2 « Me and My Shovel

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