Entertaining Peery: The Walking Dead “Beside the Dying Fire” Season 2 Finale

March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped up season two with the finale “Beside the Dying Fire.”  This episode capped the season’s questions nicely and even answered a question that the season one finale posed.

The human drama, or Politics of the Apocalypse, came down to a showdown with Shane and the group’s dynamic was then reinforced by the zombie herd attack on the farm: this rotting new world isn’t a democracy any more Rick declares. You have to feel empathy for Rick that the group is almost too stupid, either with fear, or from just hanging onto the same illusion that Rick had kill, for it’s own good.

How ironic is it that in a group that includes his own family it is the outlaw, Daryl, who is backing and understands the sheriff best? Which brings me to Lori: for a someone who was largely responsible for the fracturing of the group, her reaction to Rick’s actions is worse than betrayal.

But back to the zombies! The long introduction to the episode was a nice visual narrative of how zombie herds work: they follow whatever sound/moving object that they last “locked on.” Thus, the herd encountered early in the season was probably chasing some fleeing survivor that had long out paced them. The bad luck of a herd following a helicopter lead a horde from Atlanta to near the farmhouse where Shane’s gunshot aimed at killing Rick ultimately kills two from the group he thought he could protect better. If the power play didn’t happen, as likely as not, the herd would have just kept on walking pursuing that helicopter instead of attacking the farm.

The plague’s nature is, as Rick learned in secret at the CDC, revealed to the audience and group. The observed un-bitten water works security guards, Randall, and Shane rising as zombies was explained as everyone is now a carrier. The Max Brooks-ish side of my zombie lore immediately thought about the ancient Egyptian burial practice of brain removal . . .  maybe the disease goes dormant and active throughout history? In any case, the show’s title can be read to really mean those still living.

Finally, the audience was gifted with two teasers for next season. Poor left 4 dead Andrea (ha! video game pun) meets a cowled, katana wielding savior that is leading chained, armless, “pet” walkers. Awesome and gnarly at the same time. Finally, Rick’s foreshadowing musings about a place to fortify and rebuild is revealed to be more than a “pipe dream” with a wide angle camera shot revealing what will probably be next season’s focus: a “super max” prison. Nothing says “fortification” like guard towers and steel reinforced walls! I really look forward to next season and may replay the video game “Dead Island” just for the prison missions to pass the time!

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