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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale and Wrap-Up

Posted March 19th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review — The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale

As a nerd with Internet access, it's hard not to get caught up in the drumbeats of war over our favorite shows, movies, or games—Mass Effect fans are doing so as we speak over the ending to Mass Effect 3. Fans of The Walking Dead began beating that drum shortly after a decently satisfactory first season, when news hit that showrunner Frank Darabont was unceremoniously dropped from the show. Perhaps because it was announced in tandem with budget cuts, fans were equal parts furious at the change and terrified that the second season would suffer for it. And suffer it did. The interminable campout at Herschel Greene's farm is as cruelly stagnant as one can imagine a show about zombies could be, with any budget. It only picked up in the second half of the season, capping off with last night's finale.

But the first half of the season? When nothing substantial happened for full episodes at a time? That's when Frank Darabont's influence was still guiding the show. Glen Mazzara's takeover didn't fully take effect until the mid-season return this spring. And aside from a major hiccup in Episode 11, it has largely exceeded expectations under his watch. So maybe there's a reason to look forward to a third season that can not only outdo the second, but also make up for it. There is certainly reason to think so after the major dust-up of Episode 13, "Over the Dying Fire."

After a recap, it's time to evaluate the season as a whole and whether it's worth it to keep trudging through zombieland with these people. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, zombies, kirkman, tv

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E12

Posted March 12th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review - The Walking Dead S2E12

"Better Angels" opens with the funeral of a fallen comrade and an entreaty to the titular better angels of human nature. In his eulogy, Rick proposes to honor Dale's memory by recommitting to Dale's rational, humanist ideals, and to the group from breaking. Thankfully, this is dramatic irony, and the group only serves to split even further throughout the episode. It would be very funny of the show to actually follow through with the promise to work together better, and then have the season finale just be one long hour of the group enjoying the fruits of their labors. And then I would stop watching the show altogether.  Nevertheless, a good portion of the early scenes involve Rick and company doing their very best to make the camp safe, as sure a sign as any television viewer might need to figure out that all hell is about to break loose.

As always, spoilers ahead. Behind, too, if you weren't aware that Dale is dead now.

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Tags: the walking dead, Comics, tv, zombies

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E11

Posted March 5th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

Recap/Review — The Walking Dead S2E11

The Walking Dead sucks again, officially. For perhaps the first time since the show premiered, churchgoing fans of The Walking Dead can honestly say that the hour spent singing Sunday morning hymns compared favorably in excitement to the hour spent watching Rick and his family decide whether or not to execute a man they spent the previous two episodes saving from death. Episode 11 - "Judge, Jury, Executioner" is a terrible, frustrating entry in the series that kills the momentum generated from the previous three-episode winning streak, setting back the season and even the series as a whole considerably. Spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, tv, zombies

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E9

Posted February 20th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

The Walking Dead S2E9

Maybe it's just because I am closely scrutinizing the show for the purposes of these recap/reviews, but it's hard not to see the boardroom efficiency of the way Episode 9 - "Triggerfinger" deals with the three plot seeds that were planted in Episode 8. There is the hot, medium, and cold porridge. Rick's standoff carries the episode with plenty of gore and suspense, Lori's accident is dealt with quickly enough that it almost feels like a gyp, and Beth's "sickness" is ignored almost completely, to be saved for later. Like a modern medical marvel, the episode was engineered to be both fast-acting and long-lasting.

But don't let my cynicism get you down: this was probably as good as the show will get without major retooling (or de-tooling, i.e. kill Andrea). Judging using the most basic math available, on the merits of how well it followed up on previous plotlines, it was exactly 2/3 good. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, zombies

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E8

Posted February 13th 2012 by J. Edison Thomas.

The Walking Dead

Like a Heavyweight boxing match, the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead started out explosively strong, quickly degenerated into a lot of shuffling around with occasional jabs, finally erupting in the mid-season finale with a stinging gut punch.

The season is back on, starting with Episode 8, "Nebraska." The return of the season is a return to the slow shuffle that makes me feel dead inside. There are a few decent jabs, though, and one extended tense scene that—along with the sneak peek at Episode 9—gives me hope that this show can start landing more solid punches. As always, spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, television

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E6

Posted November 21st 2011 by J. Edison Thomas.

At some point, the combined forces of Tim the Enchanter, a paper cut-out God, and an army of Britons clamored "GET ON WITH IT!" And so the merry men at AMC who create The Walking Dead obliged.  Last night's episode, "Secrets," leaped forward on several plot threads, as the tag-team duo of Glenn and Dale made short work of a few underlying secrets to set the stage for a season semi-finale climax next week.  It was a welcome change of pace, although it's hard to say that much payoff came out of it within the episode itself.  Largely, it was an episode that was enjoyable if you like seeing Dale, Glenn and Shane doing things, but not for any reason outside of that.  Spoilers ahead.

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Tags: the walking dead, kirkman, amc, tv, zombies

Posted in: Entertainment, Reviews

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RECAP/REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E5

Posted November 14th 2011 by J. Edison Thomas.

"It's a wonder you people have survived this long."  Herschel nails the quote of the night for Episode 5, "Chupacabra." It's pretty apt not only for the situation at hand, but in a meta-example, it describes the trajectory of a 13-episode season that's simply taking twice as long as the previous six-episode season to get anything done.  This marks the fifth episode bound to finding little lost Sophia, in which each major plot point appears not to be about overcoming a challenge of living in a zombie-fied world, but about recovering from a major fuckup.  Girl getting lost, boy getting shot, horse throwing its rider, zombie contaminating a well, Andrea, etc.  But in spite of this, there was plenty to enjoy this time around: solid character moments, a few thrills, and a cliffhanger that suggests life on the Little House is going to shake up quite a bit.  My only major beef is that, like the previous episode, the "meat" is largely consequence-free, with the biggest thrills coming from psyche-outs on the viewer.  Spoilers after the jump.

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Tags: the walking dead, tv

Posted in: Offline, Reviews

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TV REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E3

Posted October 31st 2011 by J. Edison Thomas.

Over the weekend, TV.com posted an article, "Are The Walking Dead's Zombies Following the Show's Own Rules?" In it, writer Tim Surette questioned the inconsistency between the first-season episode "Guts," in which Rick and Glen cover themselves in zombie entrails to hide their human scent, and the season-two premiere wherein the group hides from zombies under cars without smell entering into the equation—a point we had also brought up during our Halloween podcast.  The Chris Hardwick after-party show Talking Dead is a lightning rod for these kinds of objections, such as why the highway is littered with dead-but-not-reanimated bodies despite there being a clear zombie presence in that area.  These questions of consistency can run the gamut of reality-breaking to nit-picking, and a great deal of fans and producers don't seem to sweat the details if the overall effect is strong.  After all, it's a drama, not a documentary.  But part of the drama lies in the characters operating by certain rules.  Tension is built from characters being restricted in how they can respond to danger—a classic example is the utterly blind Jodie Foster stumbling through a serial killer's dark basement in Silence of the Lambs—and seeing characters find creative ways to conquer that danger is what makes the scene satisfying.  This all came to a head at the outset of last night's episode "Save the Last One," which picks up from the cliffhanger of Shane and Fat John Malkovich bungling their way through a high school riddled with zombies.  Spoilers after the jump.

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Tags: tv, Comics, zombies, amc, the walking dead

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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TV REVIEW — The Walking Dead S2E2

Posted October 24th 2011 by J. Edison Thomas.

"Bloodletting," the second episode of The Walking Dead's sophomore season, starts up with a look back at the day when Rick was shot in season one, from the point of view of his wife.  Though zombie-less by necessity, I like these flashback scenes because they tend to be chock-full of information that's relevant to what's happening to the survivors currently.  Last season, a flashback showed us that Shane is in fact not a total dick, and he sincerely thought Rick had died during a zombie attack on his hospital.  This time around, there's even more to mine out of the five-minute cold open.  Lori gets her companion scene to Rick and Shane's series-opener dialog where they complain about their women.  Here, Lori candidly admits to a friend that she is an irrational bag of emotion and Rick is a rock of unwavering reasonableness, which makes it seem like her lines were written by Rick himself.  So basically the glaring misogyny of the screenwriting isn't letting up anytime soon.  Lori also mentions that she isn't entirely sure she still loves Rick (at the time at least), and we get to see how Shane deals with telling Lori about Rick's injury and seeing Lori relay that news to young Carl.  Trying to guess which of these is most relevant to what's to come is half the fun.  And of course there's the obvious parallel to what happened at the end of the last episode; spoilers after the jump.

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Tags: tv, zombies, the walking dead

Posted in: Reviews, Entertainment

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PODCAST - Episode 33: Kirkman's Zombies Halloween Special

Posted October 19th 2011 by Daisy Garcia.

In this Halloween-themed episode, the regular gang discuss Robert Kirkman's foray into zombieland, with Marvel Zombies 1 & 2 (trade paperbacks) and AMC's The Walking Dead: Season 2 premiere.

Happy listening!

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Tags: podcast, itunes, marvel zombies, the walking dead

Posted in: Entertainment

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