With season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead nearly upon us, it’s a good time to look back at season 2 to see just where we are and how we got here. Sure there was plenty of griping about the plot slowing down, lots of talking, little zombie killing, people sharing emotions over a pint of Häagen-Dazs; and that was just from me. But the show paid off our patience in the end with what ended up being a very strong sophomore season. Besides, everybody needs a little rest from the constant carnage or we’d find ourselves dealing with zombie overkill. I will not apologize for that. So there.
There are only a couple of kids on the show, but boy do they end up spoiling the picnic in big ways. Sophia decides to play the title role in a live-action version of Where’s Waldo which becomes a major plot line for the first half of the season. Meanwhile, Carl is out doing his best impression of a deer and gets shot by Otis, part of a group living on a farm owned by Hershel Greene, a veterinarian. With Carl in danger of dying, the group moves into Hershel’s farmhouse. This is where we’re served lots of discussions about emotions and relationships. For a little while it felt a lot like a twisted, angst-driven version of The Waltons, but, you know…with zombies.
The group eventually finds out about Hershel’s dirty little secret: the barn is full of stinking zombies, many of them relatives of the farm dwellers. Hershel is convinced they’re not dead, only sick, and can eventually be cured so he’s keeping them in the barn until that glorious day arrives. Well, Shane isn’t happy about a barn full of dead munchmeisters, so he lets them out and our suffering band of survivors proceed to shoot them in the head as they exit. Last out is the big reveal: Sophia, now a zombie, who is subsequently shot by Rick, thus bringing us to the end of the first half of season 2.
Herschel is none too pleased about the group playing Whack-A-Zombie in his front yard on his own undead relatives, so he wisely runs into town alone to get drunk (Because nothing bad happens when you run off alone in zombieworld, does it? Right, Sophia?). Rick and Glenn hunt down Hershel in the bar and are joined shortly thereafter by a couple of shady looking survivors. After the usual small talk one expects during an outbreak of the undead, the strangers tell Rick that their planned destination, Fort Benning, is overrun and that they’d like to hang at the farm…pretty please. Rick is having none of that nonsense and eventually everybody breaks out their shootin’ irons which leaves the strangers dead.
All that racket gets the attention of the strangers’ group who decide the best way to repay their buddies’ deaths is to give Rick and friends the gift of hot flying lead nuggets. Naturally, this attracts the groovy ghoulies who crash the party for some finger sandwiches. As the bad guys bug out, one of their group, Randall, slips off the roof of a building and impales his leg on a nasty iron fence. Always the big softy, Rick saves the guy from the shambling hordes of decomposing face-munchers who are out looking for the next all-you-can-eat buffet on legs. Randall is later killed by insane Shane (Inshane?) in secret only to be found wandering in the woods alone, undead, and apparently untouched by walkers. It’s during all this mess that Dale, the survivors’ annoying version of Jiminy Cricket, gets partially scarfed by a walker and has to be put down by Daryl “Hawkeye” Dixon.
Randall’s spontaneous reanimation is an important turning point in the series because this is when we find out that the dead will zombify even if they weren’t exposed to walkers. It’s later revealed to be the secret that Dr. Jenner whispered in Rick’s ear back at the CDC before he made it go boom. Everybody has the zombie virus. Everybody. Anyway, this major factoid nearly bites Rick in the butt when he stabs Shane (who was going to kill Rick otherwise) who then reanimates and literally tries to bite Rick in the butt. Fortunately, Carl inherited his father’s shooting skills and he handily ventilates Shane’s cranium.
Well, if you thought all hell broke loose before then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet because the sound of gunfire draws walkers to the farm like it’s Black Friday at WalMart. Rick and Carl run to the barn, end up corralling a bunch of walkers inside, set the barn on fire and narrowly escape. In all the hullabaloo, Andrea gets left behind, but is soon saved from being zombie chow by the mysterious Michonne, a katana-wielding slayer who’s so bad-ass she has two armless, jawless zombies on chains as pets.
The finale closes with a prison off in the distance which will play a majorly creepy role in season three. Watch these trailers to whet your appetite for the upcoming season premiere on Sunday, October 14 at 9/8C only on AMC.
The latest on-air trailer for season three
Season 3 Comic-Con trailer
The cast on season 3: Inside The Walking Dead
And once more so you don’t forget: The Walking Dead season three premieres Sunday, October 14 at 9/8C only on AMC.