California Literary Review

The Walking Dead Recap: Secrets (Season 2, Episode 6)

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November 21st, 2011 at 2:30 pm

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The name of this episode, which marks the middle point of season 2, should be “Open Secrets.” In last week’s “Chupacabra,” AMC poked us awake – prodded us into caring after the first half of the season put us to sleep. (The heated comments on my snarky review of last week’s episode bear witness to this: whether you’re frustrated with creeping plotlines and overused devices or you think season 2 is the best thing since Dawn of the Dead, at least you care.)

Getting your bottles in a row. Photo credit: AMC/Bob Mahoney

This week’s episode dwells on the plot points introduced last week (“dwells” is an understatement – “hammers on” might be better). Carl’s up and around now, but Sophia’s still nowhere to be found. (Come on already!) Lori is pregnant, and as with the scene in which she wonders whether to just let her son die, she’s once again waxing dramatic and stewing in her own bad decisions. Andrea is gathering strength in firearms and shooting practice; her will to live seems to be back with a vengeance. Glenn is still acting like a teenager – but to be fair, so is everybody else in this episode.

Carl steals into Dale’s RV, ostensibly for a walkie-talkie, and instead grabs himself a pistol. When Lori, Rick, and Shane find this out, Carl’s dishonesty gets him in a tad bit of trouble. However, he makes a case for his need to learn to shoot, and his lie is only the first of many in this episode. Glenn witnessed a horrid thing at the end of “Chupacabra:” Hershel and family are keeping walkers in their barn, right smack dab in the middle of the idyllic fields, surrounded by juicy human meat. Maggie begs Glenn to please keep his mouth shut and plies him with fruit. To compound the situation, Lori begs poor Glenn not to tell anyone about her pregnancy while also requesting that he supply her with morning after pills from the pharmacy in town. Glenn, who’s totally incapable of lying, tells Dale both of these things within a day. In Dale’s infinite wisdom (the writers imbue him with a preternatural sense of other people’s problems; his omniscience is a bit mind-boggling), the old man approaches both matters with a soft touch.

Dale knows exactly what to say, all the time. It’s a little eerie actually. Photo credit: AMC/Bob Mahoney

When Glenn and Maggie go to the pharmacy for Lori’s pills, Maggie explains that the things in the barn aren’t “walkers,” dammit – they’re Mom and Sean and the neighbors. Like Hershel, Maggie believes her family can get better (or is in denial of the reality of the situation). They’re just sick! Luckily for Glenn, he doesn’t have to explain the details of the walkers’ brutality, their inhumanity, to her – one of them attacks her in the pharmacy. It’s hard to believe you can make them better when you witness firsthand one that attacks while its head hangs by a thread on its nearly-severed neck. What’s a horrible revelation for Maggie turns into a tantrum directed at Lori, then a masterful speech imploring Glenn to have some damn respect for himself. “You’re walker bait” to the group of survivors, she says. They don’t want to believe he’s brave and strong and a leader. It’s perhaps the most insightful thing anyone’s said about Glenn so far.

Shots fired. Photo credit: AMC/Bob Mahoney

Andrea and Shane, whose chemistry has changed slightly in the last few episodes, share an ill-advised tryst in the car after Andrea makes her first “kill.” Dale magically sees this on their faces when they return from the prolonged hunt for Sophia, and approaches Shane to let him know Dale knows “exactly the kind of man” Shane is. Shane gets all crazy-eyed again and threatens Dale’s life: “If I’m that kind of man, what do you think I’d do to you?” THE MAN IS INSANE – why has no one else caught on to this yet?

Hershel finds out Dale knows about the walkers. Lori discovers Dale knows about her pregnancy. Lori realizes Hershel wants them gone after Carl is better. Rick catches on that Lori is pregnant, and ascertains that she had an affair with Shane (this he had already guessed). Lori chooses to take the morning-after pills, but then throws them up. Things are out in the open again, and though it should ease some stress among the characters, it really only serves to prolong the plot devices that are making season 2 less of a psychological thriller and more of a soap opera.

How are you feeling about the season so far? Share your thoughts in the comments.

More of this please! Photo credit: AMC/Gene Page

  • laura

    Im not sure about this season, it’s good but not really amazing like the first. I wish they wouldn’t drag out the whole search for sophia thing for soo long.

  • ohmygodjohntravolta

    Episode 7: “Pretty Much Dead Already”

    Episode opens with Glenn revealing the presence of the walkers to the rest of the group, who promptly proceed to freak out. Maggie becomes angry with Glenn for not keeping the secret and ruins his hat in retribution. Dale gives Glenn his trademark bucket hat as a replacement. Maggie later makes a plea to Hershel for the group to stay. She and Glenn also have an argument about the walkers, after which they eventually admit their feelings, kiss and make up.

    Rick and Hershel argue, with Hershel demanding the group leave within a week. Rick uses the my-wife-is-pregnant card, but Hershel’s not persuaded. Shane also wants the group to get the hell out of there because of the walkers in the barn, but Rick uses the same excuse to cool him down. However, Shane then becomes convinced that Lori’s baby is his.

    Dale takes off with Shane’s guns to hide them in the swamp. Shane tracks him down and demands he give the guns back. Dale points his rifle at him and threatens to shoot. However, he backs down at the last moment, since he has no wish to become like Shane: he reveals that he knows Shane shot Otis and lied about what really happened. Shane heads back to the farm with the guns.

    Hershel has Rick help him and Jimmy try to fish some walkers out of a nearby pit of quicksand and lead them into the barn with snare poles. He says the group can stay on the farm if they agree not to kill the walkers. They arrive at the farm about the same time Shane emerges from the swamp and hands out guns to other members of the group…

    Shane sees the snared walkers and goes berserk. He yells at Rick and Hershel as they guide the walkers towards the barn, with the rest of the group and people in the farm looking on. He pulls his sidearm and unloads it in the chest of one of the walkers, demanding to know “Could someone who’s alive just take that? Why is it still coming?” Hershel has no answer.

    He finishes off the walker with a headshot, grabs a nearby pickaxe and breaks open the barn door. Walkers pour out, T-Dog, Daryl, Shane, Glenn, and Andrea form a line and open fire. Once the dust clears, one more walker emerges. Sophia. Rick finally steps up next to the others, pulls his six-shooter and kills Sophia with a shot to the head. End episode.

  • Thorne

    I wouldn’t compare these moral conflicts to a soap opera at all. They are very real and down to earth, and they do exactly what they were made to do, which is open up a bunch of difficult topics that all other fantasy writers tend to forget is just as real in this situation as survival.

    Anyone can write a war story or play a war video game without thinking about things like resources, morale, skill at the commander’s level, and the politics behind everything. Just like you can write a zombie story and forget that the people in it are not only surviving, they’re still living.

    If you think the hardest economic downturn you’ve ever lived through has made your family decisions that much more difficult, imagine what it’ll be like when the economy and government cease to be, and 75% of everyone you’ve seen in the past however many decades is now a wild predator hellbent on eating you and your family. This shit is real.

  • snowyegret

    agreed

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