We open this episode with a flashback to days of yore (Season One Episode One to be precise), where the helicopter that Rick saw upon entering Atlanta is now being seen from the vantage point of a bunch of walkers. The whirlybird is quite the attention grabber as every zombie within eye and ear shot decides to follow in the general direction the ‘captor was heading in. Herds being herds they pick up some stragglers along the way and show us that the undead are operating on ZPT (Zombie People Time) since it took them forever to finally arrive at Green Acres. And arrive they did, just in time to hear Carl bust a cap in Shane’s massively lobed head. The scene where the horde of zombies all keep pushing against the fence until it falls was cool and epitomized the awesome relentless nature of zombies.
Dale’s dead and some of our friends on Green Acres have decided to do what most of us do when dealing with the death of a loved one…namely go HAM on a stray pack of Walkers. Shane, Andrea, Darryl, and T-Dog (remember him?) open several can’s of whoop ass on these shambling undead fools and teach them that they better not never bring their punk asses on their turf again! Pitchforks are shoved through faces, mudholes are stomped, and brains are splattered all while Rick’s eulogy of the dearly departed Dale serves as our voice over of the festivities. Then we are back to Dale’s funeral where Rick reflects on Dale’s admonition that the group was broken and vows that they will all prove that dead know-it-all wrong by pulling together and getting their heads out of their collective asses. He also makes mention of Dale’s “look” which made me laugh hysterically because Dale’s look is one of the things that I will miss most about the character. Cue theme music and opening credits!
“Judge, Jury, Executioner” can be summed up as a split show featuring a day in the life of Dennis the Menace during the zombie apocalypse and a bare bones production of “12 Angry Men” put on by the Herschel Greene Improvisational Players.
“18 Miles Out” can be described as a tale of two plots. One plot is action-packed and riveting while he other is dull and harkens back to the not so halcyon days of lounging around Herschel’s fair navel gazing with intermediate forays into the woods to search for Sophia…all the things about the first half of this season that made the viewer want to change the channel. Plot A focuses on Rick and Shane as they attempt to drop off Randall (the guy who got impaled on the fence last week) somewhere that he can have a chance to survive but not close enough that he can make his way back to the farm. Plot B focuses on Beth (who is no longer catatonic but still has the personality of doorknob) and the other women of the group except for Carol and Mrs Otis.
So THE WALKING DEAD is back to finish up season 2 with new show runner Glenn Mazzara in full control of the goings on of our favorite group of zombie apocalypse survivors. The first half of Season 2 ended with the revelation that poor, little lost Sophia was one of the undead Herschel had living in his barn which led to Rick putting a bullet right in her dead little noggin. “Nebraska” opens immediately after that shooting and the characters are all in shock and dismay with Herschel and Carol (Sophia’s mom) being neck and neck in the running for most crushed survivor on the farm. Herschel eventually runs off to the local juke joint to wet his whistle but not before telling Rick to take his band of merry men and “git off his propertah!!!!”; Carol deals with her grief by wandering through the woods…even her reaction to a major tragedy is reliably dull.
The WALKING DEAD began its second season with an episode that provided 15 minutes of gripping, intense action with the zombie stampede on the highway. And now, they have finished the season with another gripping and intense 15 minutes. Starting with Shane and Dale’s confrontation over the guns in the woods to Rick having to be the one to step up and put Zombie Sophia down it was some of the best TV I have watched in a while. Its just that the bulk of the show between the Episode One zombie herd and the Episode Seven barn full of zombies was less than scintillating to say the least.
I had been anxiously waiting for the second season of THE WALKING DEAD to begin since the moment the (too short) first season ended and in the first 16 or so minutes of the Second Season Premiere I was rewarded with a textbook example of how to make a suspenseful zombie apocalypse experience. The panic that came over the crew of survivors when they realized too late that they had stumbled into an oncoming herd of shuffling flesh-eating zombies was great and the tension as each character scrambled for a sufficient hiding place was palpable. Andrea being trapped and unarmed in the RV’s bathroom, Sophie being chased into the woods by two zombies, and Rick’s daring rescue were all edge of your seat moments.
And then it all went to hell.