AMC: The Walking Dead – Season Premiere Episode Review (Episode 2.1) What Lies Ahead

A few months ago, I took some shots at AMC and The Walking Dead for the handling of the whole Frank Darabont debacle. It made me nervous that season 2 might not be very good. Over the summer, I grew even more concerned about the quality of the second season because I began to reflect a little more on the first six episodes, and I think I started to realize that, as a whole, they were really not all that good. They were disjointed, wooden at times, and lacked a sense of direction or purpose. I was worried that the second season would carry over the same qualities.

While I’m not willing to let AMC or The Walking Dead off the hook entirely, I will say that I’m nowhere near as worried about this season after seeing the first episode. It was sort of a slow burn episode; not a whole lot happened but I think that was a good thing. The emotions by everyone, particularly by Carol and Andrea, were really convincing. The very long scene where the survivors hid themselves as a mob of zombies shuffled down the highway was the most tense, scary thing the show has ever done. All the survivors reacted convincingly to Sophia’s disappearance; I’m sure we’ll probably see her again, but the frantic search for her was really interesting (except maybe when Rick and Daryl cut open that walker’s stomach; ugh). I like that we seem to be getting a slightly different view of Daryl; he’s not just some random, brooding redneck. Judging by the risk he went through to save T-Dog, it seems like he really cares about these people. The end of the episode was a surprise too. Two kids possibly biting the dust in one episode! Like Sophia, I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of Carl, but it can’t be good to suffer from a gunshot wound with no functional hospital around. The previews for the next episode made it seem like Carl, Shane, and Rick might be separated from the rest of the group for a time. If that’s the case: good! I’d like to switch back and forth between both groups, and see them deal with different situations and group dynamics.

Anyway, I was pretty encouraged by this episode. Hopefully the rest of the season will be this good. This year, I’m going to keep a tally of the crazy acts of violence in each episode. Enjoy.

Crazy Violence Level: 7 of 10
Comments: Good start; lots of blood!

Notable Highlights:
* Rick bashing two walker’s brains in with a big rock.
* Daryl crossbowing a zombie in the head
* Andrea jamming a screwdriver through a zombie’s eye
* Massacre of a bunch of zombies in a church, including a possible beheading.
* Nine year old and beautiful deer, shot at the same time with presumably the same bullet.

John is a TV blogger for Raked and an Entertainment and Sports contributor here at The TMR Zoo. You can follow him on Twitter at @raked_jc