Last night was the mid-season finale of Walking Dead and OHHHHHH HOLY CRAP it finally turned around again! I don't think I've ever sat watching anything with my mouth so rigidly agape, my eyes so dry and wide with terror. It was like the first time I saw the day of reckoning at the end of The Godfather. Congratulations, Walking Dead. You did it!!!
First thing at breakfast, Glenn tells the gang that the barn is full of walkers. Now, "full" isn't really the right word for it, but there's danger just the same, and everyone rushes down to the barn to freak out. Excellent idea, starting a yelling match five feet away from the walker pen. The door starts shaking menacingly, but nothing really happens. Those zombies are actually pretty well-imprisoned. But still, Shane is like "GET US OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!"
For some reason we are being treated to every moment of Glenn and Maggie's ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. Is she mad at him? Oh man, she's mad at him again! I wonder what for!! Literally 50% of the show these days has been The Glenn & Maggie Report: Is Maggie Mad at Glenn? She puts an egg in his head and squashes it. Maybe this is a callback to Ramona Quimby. In which case, bravo! Meanwhile we're also watching a train wreck in slow motion in the form of Daryl & Carol's Unlikely Courtship. Ohhhh nooooo, why is she spending so much 1-on-1 time with him? Daryl calls Carol a "stupid bitch" under his breath after a tense conversation. Nice!
Lori's pregnancy secret is all the way out now, and Rick is using it as ammo to get what he wants around camp. He tells Hershel about the baby to get a permanent invitation. He tells Shane about the baby to try to un-crazy him a little bit. But that never works. Never promise Crazy a Baby. Shane's sanity roller coaster starts clicking up the first hill, the one big enough to power his entire topsy-turvy descent into psychomania.
Carl marches up to Shane, looks him right in the eye, and tells him he's bullshit. It's bullshit that he wants to leave when Sophia's still missing. It's bullshit that he wants to leave at all when the farm is so safe. Carl is still a ridiculously uninformed kid, but at least he's sassy now. Sassy and behatted!
Lori chops carrots like she's trying to do a bad job. Girl, even pregnant ladies know how to chop things evenly into bite-size pieces. Even ones with a lot on their minds, like zombies or paternity issues. Sassy like her son, Lori tells Shane that no matter who the baby's biological father is, that baby belongs to Rick. Click click click click Oh God here we go over the first hill WHOAAAA!
Shane wants all the camp's guns in his hot little hands. Now that there's a baby in the picture, he can't afford to let zombies march around minding their own business in a totally locked-up barn. It's time to shoot some stuff.
With his last shred of ESP, Dale makes off with the guns just minutes before Shane comes looking for them. Dale plans to bury them in a swamp (?), but Shane tracks him down and stands watching him like an arched, feral cat. Dale points a rifle at Shane and asks him if it really has to come to this. DO ROLLER COASTERS HAVE BRAKES? I don't think so! Sidebar: in any other movie, Shane acting this way would portend a hideous, inevitable death. Wha' happun?
When Hershel gets news that two zombies have gotten stuck in a nearby swamp, he enlists Rick to go get them. With pool skimmers or whatever. Nope, that's not stupid at all. God bless that Hershel, he sure knows how to keep himself alive. It's totally understandable how he's still standing. It probably has to do with how he walks his zombie prisoner RIGHT NEXT TO RICK through half of the forest.
As they approach camp and Shane returns with the guns, whatever's left of Shane's brain snaps into a million pieces. He starts tossing guns to everyone who'll catch one, even Carl. He starts breaking down the barn door with the over-powered gusto of a man marked for death. By all rights he should slip on a blade of grass, knock himself out on the padlock, and get swarmed by zombies. But everything goes just how Shane wants it, and that scenario is by no means easier to watch.
The zombies march out one by one and get shot one by one. It's a massacre. When it finally ends, everyone stays frozen and aghast. But oh god: there's one last walker about to come out of the barn. Are you ready for this? They've been getting you ready all season, so you really have no excuse not to be ready. It's Zombified Sophia. OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the only justification that I buy for keeping Sophia lost for so long. She was right under their noses the whole time, and all this barn-pussyfooting was directly responsible for prolonging their search. Not to mention the implied backstory - either Hershel wrangled Sophia into the barn himself and was keeping her fate a secret (thus keeping the gang at his barn even longer?), or Sophia came upon the barn herself one night at dusk, so relieved to find the shelter of the loft that she didn't even notice the gaps in the cross-beams, which subsequently tripped her and made her fall headlong into the zombie pit as she screamed, "No, not this way, not like this! I never even kissed a boy! Tragedy!!!! Misery!!! Oh, most rued day!"
We don't really see Shane hesitate to shoot Sophia, but then again, he doesn't raise the gun either. Once again it's up to Rick, the real leader, to step up and do what's ugly. Just like when Jack Shephard had to finish off the U.S. Marshal that Sawyer only managed to futz with. AND HE DID IT BY HAND.
The first half of Season 2 closes on a field of assassinated zombies, our gang's hands as bloody as they come, and our search for Sophia rendered totally in vain. Dang, Zombiepocalypse. Bumzers!!
C U IN FEBZOMBRARY!
all photos courtesy amcTV.com