by Samantha Rullo
The second season of “The Walking Dead” has come to a close, with promise of an intense third season. The finale was a fast-paced hour packed with action, some surprises, and solid acting from the entire cast.
This season’s main setting of Hershel’s farm was largely blamed for its initial meandering pace. Once Hershel accepted the group staying there, it was clear the show needed a new way out—something the finale’s massive swarm of walkers accomplished. The farm’s takeover delivered suspense and emotional moments that showcased the group as a whole more than individual characters.
The panic felt by everyone was made clear as they all struggled to get themselves and the rest of the group to safety, with no time to make a clear plan. Scott Wilson gave an exceptional performance as Herschel struggled to protect his farm, and after finally giving up, silently watched it burn and collapse.
Another scene that really stood out in this very impressive episode was the reunion of the group on the highway. As we saw various ideas of where to go next, it seemed that the season would end with a fragmented group. But at the last moment, with music perfectly suited for the scene in the background, each vehicle arrives at the former sign of hope for Sophia. The group may be broken, but in that moment they showed unity, and it was a truly touching scene that gave hope for the future.
The only real disappointment in this episode was the lack of surprise when it came to character deaths. “The Walking Dead” has shown that it isn’t afraid to kill main characters, but the only ones lost tonight were minor ones without much relevance. The deaths may have been gruesome, but the fact that T-Dog actually survived to deliver one line per episode again next season was far more surprising than who was lost.
There were still some shocking moments, however, most notably towards the end of the episode, thanks to a hooded figure wielding a sword and two chained walkers. Though she was only seen briefly, the character is easily identifiable as Michonne, a fan-favorite from “The Walking Dead” comics who is sure to bring plenty of action next season.
Then of course, there was Rick’s confession of what Dr. Jenner told him way back in the first season finale—everyone is infected. Rick’s secrecy about this and confession about Shane led to a huge dynamic shift. Throughout the episode, various characters seemed to consider just leaving the group, but when Rick gave them the ultimatum they revealed their true feelings. No one has the confidence to leave, and with this admission Rick declared the end of democracy. After claiming for weeks to no longer be “the good guy,” he finally seems to truly mean it.
The season ended with the perfect combination of finality and questions. We have an idea of how the group will function from this point forward, but there is still the uncertainty of how they will survive without a safe haven. But it was the constant danger and insecurity of the first season that turned “The Walking Dead” into a success. With a renewed intensity and endless possibilities, “The Walking Dead” is bound to return with enough brilliant episodes to make it worth the wait.
Samantha Rullo is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.