This week on The Walking Dead: utter, crushing misery. I know I shouldn’t expect a show about survival post-zompocalypse to cheer me up, but this entire episode radiated horror. Well, there were a few wisecracks to cheer me up, but for the most part, sadness.
So, was it the good kind of unhappiness? (Customary warning: There is a surprising ending and I will be spoiling it.)
The Grim Haircut
From the grim haircut at the very start, it was clear something bad was coming. And to be honest, if you’ve ever seen a horror/survival story before, you could have taken a stab at the vague gist. Yes, poor Otis shot Carl by accident a few episodes back, and this week he pays the karmic price.
But the nature of the death is the surprising part. There is no heroic sacrifice; instead, Shane, the pragmatic, brutal psychopath of the group, exercises forced natural selection and purges the overweight. I was just murmuring last week that Shane was finally being shown in a more heroic light, and now… I don’t know.
He’s somewhat of a bastard, but as Rick clings hopefully to simplistic black and white morality, is Shane the man you want in your corner in this awful landscape? Well, depends if you’ve eaten too many pies, I guess, or accidentally shot a kid. All credit to the writers, this was a fascinating plot twist. Made me think.
The Dark Soap Opera
Away from Shane’s brutal corner of the plot, things weren’t as fascinating. Lori and Rick had some interesting dialogue about the hopelessness of their situation, then ruined it by cooing about deer. The little girl remains missing, Andrea still semi-suicidal. Someone needs to get them off that highway before they die of our boredom.
Although Darryl Dixon did his best to help, throwing in most of the best lines as ever. If nothing else, The Walking Dead is doing sterling work in raising Redneck Awareness.
Still, hopefully season two will vary a little. We’ve been rather stuck in this pattern of Rick/Shane/Lori having big drama, Darryl getting all the fun dialogue and everyone else… well, they’re just kinda there. Next week, presumably, our heroes settle down on Hershel’s estate and do some farmin’.