I suspended my reviews of The Walking Dead in February mostly due to time-constraints, but I have to admit I wasn't sad to do so. What I enjoy most is writing about shows that I think are great, such as Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, or Deadwood. What a large percentage of my small, deeply disturbed following seems to enjoy most, on the other hand, is when I write about shows that I think are just appallingly shitty, such as American Horror Story and Torchwood: Miracle Day. There are pleasures to be found in waxing rhapsodic, and there are different, but equally valid pleasures to be found in crapping upon that which truly deserves to be crapped copiously upon.
And then there's The Walking Dead, which just seems, week after week, to shamble along joylessly like its titular revenants. A few weeks back, in one of the episodes I skipped ("18 Miles Out"), Shane and Rick drove past a zombie lurching its way slowly across a large field very early in the episode. At the end of the episode, after a lot of other stuff had happened, they passed the same zombie, who had still only made it halfway across the same dull field of grass. I'm sure this was supposed to be a metaphor for Shane's state of mind, or the existential pointlessness of existence, or some such nonsense, but it struck me as the perfect metaphor for the show as a whole: a lot of shit happens, and yet, like Zeno's Paradox, we keep finding ourselves making imperceptible progress towards no particular destination. I don't assign grades to episodes, but, if I did, The Walking Dead would fluctuate regularly between a B-minus and a C-minus; there are occasional moments of brilliance (the reveal of Sophia's death), and frequent moments of anger-inducing stupidity (any scene with Lori), but as a whole the show exists, for me, in the zone of dull mediocrity, which makes it just no fun at all to review.
The back half of Season Two has done little to change my mind, sadly. Season One was flawed as well, and those flaws remain—more on that later—but at only six episodes it moved along at a pretty good clip. Season Two, on the other hand, has felt like a six-episode season padded into 13 episodes. Did we really need to spend an entire season on Hershel's farm? Did we need drag out the Sophia story for seven episodes? Did we need 18 episodes—all the way from the beginning of Season One—to finally resolve the Rick/Lori/Shane triangle? No, of course we didn't; the actual plot involved in any of these could have been dispensed with in a couple of hours at most. These key developments, however, have been incessantly drawn out around long and pointless sub-plots that offered little reward. Continue reading