The Walking Dead continues true to form in season two, teasing us with New York Strip and feeding us Chicken Fried Steak.
We left Glenn and Maggie last episode with the startling discovery that the Greenes are seriously bent, keeping their zombiefied loved ones penned up in the barn. Their reaction? The repercussions? The argument or explanation or reconciliation between Glenn and Maggie? Skipped via the magic of LAZY WRITING. We’ll just let all that emotional, intellectual, and moral drama happen off-screen, and pick up this episode assuming it happened, and nobody is the wiser. Cheap.
This episode? It’s obvious Hershel Greene wants Rick and his crew to move on. He doesn’t like them, and he doesn’t like their guns. Lori has a confrontation with Hershel, and this becomes obvious. We’re starting to figure out why Hershel is behaving the way he behaves. He has something he wants to keep hidden, and doesn’t care to explain.
We pick up with Maggie and Glenn, and she’s begging him to keep the zombie-filled barn to himself. Apparently, the Greenes have not accepted the walking dead as an evil that needs to be destroyed, but as a sickness that needs to be prayed for and treated as an illness. The Greenes keep them pacified with peace offerings of crippled chickens, and they remain locked up in the barn. It’s one of those fundamental absolute-vs.-relative morality problems characterized in childishly simplistic fashion that really diminishes any discussion on the subject. The Greenes respect life. Therefore killing zombies is an abomination. Yeah Mr. Greene? I’m as pro-life as they come, but in the case of the zombie apocalypse? Shoot the zombie toddlers first. They’re too easy to miss. Anyone too morally conflicted to pop skulls is walker bait.
Glenn absolutely cannot keep a secret to himself, and spills the beans to Dale on the zombies as well as Lori’s pregnancy. Maggie is right-on when she tells Glenn that he’s pretty well the whipping boy of the crew, the one sent into danger without consideration or second thought. Glenn is developing into a character I can almost care about. The ‘barn zombie’ plot line remains unresolved. Only Dale, Glenn, and the Greenes are aware.
Lori continues to be a waste of space in this episode. She sends Glenn (who brings Maggie) back to town for ‘Morning After Pills’. (As an aside, they say MORNING AFTER PILL on every side of the box. Is that really the way things are packaged these days? Did I miss the meeting where we stopped labeling drugs in a friendly fashion and started labeling them by what they treated? Is my Viagra going to be labeled PECKER KEEPER UPPER? Is my Pepto Bismol going to be named CHALKY TASTING ENTIRELY TOO-PINK ANTI-DIARHEA JUICE? Does TWD producers think the audience is too stupid to infer what an abortive drug is?)
Glenn and Maggie have a close call on the way, and Maggie has her fundi panties in a twist that they risked their lives for fetus hemlock. Glenn (again, shaping up as a character) keeps a cooler head. He brings the requested, absurdly cartooned abortive, along with pre-natal vitamins (strangely NOT labeled as BABY VITAMINS in giant bold letters), and tells Lori that of course her choice is up to her, but it might not want to be a choice she makes alone. There are really good reasons arguing for and against an actual abortion here. None of them are actually delved into. That would require Lori coming out of the second dimension. Instead we get more crying, moping, whining, right before she takes a double-fist-full of MORNING AFTER PILLS.
I hopped on the internet looking for common side-effects, and overdose reactions. Experience with ulipristal acetate overdose is limited, as no one in the clinical trial was fucking stupid enough to down two fists-full. Compound this with the fact that most ‘morning after pills’ are effective for 120 hours or so, not a month later, I’ve missed my period, and I have morning sickness stage. So. Lets stack dangerously stupid on top of whiney basket case, and we’ve got Lori. After this laughably idiotic sequence, she comes clean to Rick, admits to the pregnancy, as well as to the affair with Shane during the time she thought her husband was dead. Rick takes this surprisingly in stride. He must be used to an extra helping of crazy lady with his morning breakfast after so many years of marriage.
Shane teaches Carl and Andrea and a few others how to shoot. He takes Andrea out for ‘special lessons’ along with everything that implies. When they get back, Dale lets Shane know that he doesn’t think much of Shane, and wants him to leave the group. He give several examples, such as Shane considering shooting Rick early in the first season, lingering questions on Otis’ death, and Shane’s assorted shenanigans since the series began. Shane lets Dale know that if he was willing to consider shooting his own best friend over a woman,what did Dale think he would do to a crazy old man that he didn’t’ even like that was making wild accusations?
The ending was rather abrupt. It looks like this episode was used to build toward next weeks “Pretty Much Dead Already”. Listen TWD. You fired Darabont. You want to go your own way. Your mouth has cut a large check your ass has yet to cash. Stop taking the easy way out and playing out the high points of drama off-screen. Stop mistaking gibbering incoherent sobbing women for drama. Bring it back on point. I’ll give this one a seven, because of Glenn. Lori is making this program hard to watch, and Daryl is still laid up from last episode.
And for those of you who are in the know, here’s hoping Carl shoots straight. ;-)