Review: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 2 Ep 1 & 2 – ‘What Lies Ahead’ & ‘Bloodletting’

Based on the comic book by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is one of those shows that came out of nowhere and bit me hard, showing me that a zombie story can be dramatic and engaging with some good direction, acting, and pacing. I don’t have anything against other zombie stories like Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later, but the series format helps expand on what it’s like to try to survive a zombie apocalypse day to day. I will be reviewing the first two episodes from Season 2 and I want to let you know there won’t be any major spoilers, just slight spoilers.

Episode 201 – “What Lies Ahead”

Episode 201 starts off right when last season’s finale ended, with the CDC being blown up and the gang moving on forward in a caravan to find other habitable locations. The group leaves Atlanta, Georgia, and finds a bunch of deserted cars on the highway. For a moment, the group gets a moment of peace as Shane (Jon Bernthal) finds a truck with a bunch of water containers and Carl (Chandler Riggs), Rick’s son, finds a collection of hacking tools. Of course, that peace will come to an end as an isolated zombie herd moves pass the area and causes trouble for the survivors. Since this episode is character driven mostly, I’d like to focus on the main players.

Young Carl suddenly has the urge to be more involved now, whether it’s looking for supplies or searching for others. Last season, he was just the goal for Rick to find and he was being taken care of by Shane and his mom, Lori. Ever since the “sexual tension” incident inside the CDC with Shane and Lori, Shane is trying to keep distance from both Lori and Carl. Carl finally gets his wish to be a contributing member of the group as he gets to accompany his dad to help on different missions. It’s nice to see the young boy eager to become a man. He’s showing more of an initiative and can be a valued asset to the group.

Shane, the third wheel of the Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) love triangle, is now distancing himself away to prevent any more heartaches from the people he cares about. Carl wonders why Shane is being a dick to him, but he doesn’t know the truth about Lori and Shane. Shane is pretty level headed in this episode, as opposed to last season where he would beat the crap out of people and had anger issues. He’s actually growing on me now that he’s calmer and showing reason.

Rick Grimes continues to give the group hope and courage, but is starting to doubt his actions as it leads to more despair. I like that he’s trying so hard to please everyone, but no matter what he does, something bad always happens. The second episode will show a glimpse of his relationship with Lori, and you can start to understand where he’s coming from.

Andrea (Laurie Holden), still sadden by her sister’s death, takes her anger out on Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn). Last season, Andrea wanted to commit suicide, but Dale gave her the guilt trip, saying that he would stay with her too. She tells Dale how she really feels about him and is also starting to resent the current group. A part of me feels like Andrea is being ungrateful because she hates Dale for “saving” her life. Andrea definitely needs a man in her life to keep her happy. She’s just looking like a wreck now. Later on in the episode, she talks to Shane about leaving the group, since she overheard Shane talking to Lori about leaving the group too.

Like Shane, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is a much nicer guy now. His anger for his brother’s treatment in Season 1 is pretty much gone in this episode, as he helps the group as much as possible and is the most optimistic. He hunts, tracks, and becomes a scout for the group. I’d say he’s the most stable of them all now and is the most likeliest to survive without them. Just having him stick around shows that he cares. He even saves T-Dog from the zombie herd, and he’s the one that blamed T-Dog (IronE Singleton) for losing his brother.

As for the actual story, it’s mostly the group surviving near the deserted highway with cars. It’s nice to see how the characters are feeling and how their views on things are quickly changing. The characters mostly are behaving in a realistic manner, and their actions are completely understandable, even Andrea’s. I must mention that the cliffhanger for this is an “Oh shit!” moment. You’ll see.

“What Lies Ahead” will be the 90-minute long Season premiere and will debut on Sunday, October 16th, at 9pm EST.

Grade: A

Episode 202 – “Bloodletting”

This episode review will be short, as the main plot will ruin episode 1’s experience. What I can discuss is the arrival on Hershel’s Farm, the new characters, and how the original survivors are doing.

Rick and Shane head deeper into the forest and find Hershel’s farm. It’s there that Hershel treats them with kindness and everything. Rick is starting to question his own authority as a leader because of an incident in the first episode. Shane tells him to calm down and that he should stay at the house while Shane goes searching for supplies. Shane teams up with Otis from Hershel’s farm to retrieve a medical equipment to help out an injured person. It’s there that they get stuck, which leads to the cliffhanger for the show.

T-Dog is hurting, becoming delirious, and is getting an infection from his cut in the first episode. His condition is clouding his judgement as he thinks Rick, Shane and Daryl are out to get him, despite having them save his life many times before. Andrea is still mad that she can’t have a gun because Dale believes she might commit suicide. Lori gets tired of the group placing blame on Rick for his actions, but it’s Rick that has gotten the whole group this far.

The new characters include Hershel (Scott Wilson), the man who owns the farm; Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the farm hand; Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Hershel’s daughter and potential love interest for Glenn; and Patricia (Jane McNeil), Otis’ girlfriend. Not much is known about them other than their interest in helping out the original survivors. They all seem very sympathetic and kind, but we’ll see if this is the case in future episodes.

“Bloodletting” will air on Sunday, October 23rd, at 9pm EST.

Grade: B+

Check out our video interviews with the cast and crew from The Walking Dead Season 2.

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