Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Walking Dead Season 2 Midseason Finale

I am suffering from nerd rage. I kept hoping it would go away but it hasn’t. I know shows that are adapted from other source material tend to be different. I'm okay with that. I expect it. BUT when a creator says he's going to stick to the basic framework of the source material, I expect them to keep their word. That's right. folks. I’m raging about the midseason finale of The Walking Dead.

If you haven’t watched the finale or read the comics...

STOP NOW!!! Spoilers a-plenty!

I know I expressed concerns about character and plot changes (looking at you, Shane), but I've made my peace with most of it. I've even embraced a lot of the new additions. But no more! No more.

The search for Sophia finally ended. Woohoo! That was a story line that slowed everything up and made the first half of the season drag on and on and on. Unfortunately, it ended in the obvious way – Sophia became a Walker and ended up in Hershel’s barn.

For the sake of television and how they wrote the season, there was no other way this could have ended. Sophia was destined to die. I would normally be okay with that; I’m not above killing kids if it helps progress the story, but I am against killing a character who is still alive in the comics.

In the comic, Sophia doesn’t have a huge role but it is important. She helps bring Glenn and Maggie together as a family unit, she is Carl’s kind of girlfriend as well as someone his age he can just be around and be a kid with, and she is an example of how some kids can’t fully comprehend or handle what has happened to the world. She has a role to play. Just like in the show, she was a bit useless in the beginning, but unlike the show, she didn’t die.

This is a perfect illustration of a larger problem with the show. I still think it is being wonderfully acted, and I look forward to watching it, but I am having a harder time being able to justify the changes in the characters and the plot. It has stopped making sense to me. 

Let’s look at Shane. He’s supposed to be dead. Carl was supposed to have killed him and that starts Carl on his journey of growing up in the new, crueler world. Shane’s still kicking on the show. In this case, I quickly embraced it because watching Shane go off the deep end is pretty fun and adds a new dimension to the group, but Carl’s character development is being hindered by this. Carl’s growth in the book is so interesting and I want the viewers to go on that journey, especially since Chandler Riggs is playing Carl. If there is any kid who can pull off all of Carl’s complexities, it’s him.

Then there's Daryl. I love that he was created; he brings something twisted to the group. Twisted in a good way, but what about T-Dog? What the hell does he do other than stick around proving that they are not going to kill off the one African-American man on the show? We know that’s not true, but they are not doing anything with him, and instead of killing him, they kill off a character who has a role to play. Right now, T-Dog is a red shirt. Either kill him off and get it over with or give him something to do.

When discussing plot changes, I liked that they went to the CDC. It made sense. Kirkman has even said he wished he had thought of that for the books, but I hated the barn scene. The Walkers breaking free was supposed to be an accident, not for a firing squad. As much as I enjoyed Shane getting militant, it made the group look like a bunch of bullies. At that point, while they were trying to survive and not above doing whatever was necessary to ensure that, they were not cruel. It made them much more unsympathetic. By the way, what is up with Rick calling Shane “brother”? Is it me, or did that come out a little strangely? But I digress.

You better run, Shane. Your time is running out.
I guess what I am saying is it is okay to play with plot and characters, as long as it can be justified. Right now, I don't see it. I know Kirkman has also said they would be straying from the comics, but to kill off a character who has come so far is ridiculous. Maybe it had more to do with production costs and child labor laws, I don't know. I'd rather it was that then if they gave up on developing her. Especially since Carol bites it, leaving Sophia alone. It's why she latches on to Glenn and Maggie.  I can go on about this, but I'll leave it with this - right now, I feel the show is doing a terrible disservice to the characters. These characters are complex and fascinating. Their struggles and triumphs and their journey as individuals and as a group make a compelling story. It's why the comics are so popular. It's already there. We know the show is different from the book. We know that. Stop tinkering with the plot and the characters and just tell the story. There's plenty of space to color without going so far out of the lines, you can't tell what the picture is. Oh, and can you please kill Shane already? It's time.

End nerd rant.


  1. Oh God, I agree with everything about this post.

    In the preview for the next half of the season, it didn't look too much like they were leaving the barn right away.

    Seriously, the barn was all that kept me going for most of this season so far and they blew it.

  2. Thanks. I agree about about the barn. I was excited for it and they blew it. Now I'm a little worried Shane is going to do something stupid like try to take it over.