S2E6: Now, I’ve been defending The Walking Dead’s emotional journey for the entire season. Fans have been upset at the lack of action and danger so far – though I think Daryl’s storyline last week was a pretty decent break from that. And I get that. But thus far, the emotional turmoil of it all has been a very important and relevant topic for the survivors. However, we’re getting to the point when that should be coupled with a little more. It doesn’t have to be an all out zombie buffet, but we could use a cliffhanger or a last-minute shocker at some point. The cast and crew’s assertion from Comic-Con this year was that no one, not even Rick is safe. I believe Andrew Lincoln’s own words were, “Don’t get too attached.” The series has yet to make good on that notion, unless they’re referring to Sophia, who I don’t believe could have possibly made it – and as much as she was a cute little girl, she’s not a character any of have a real attachment to.
Now, imagine my disappointment when they biggest questions left hanging in the balance after the second-to-last episode before winter hiatus are will Hershel let them stay (which is something we wondered last week), is Sophia still alive, and are Lori and Rick going to work things out after all these secrets were kept between them? (Plus, they seems to have very different philosophies on life in the zombie apocalypse.) All in all, these are some pretty weak questions to leave us with, though maybe they’re just trying to make the next two months without the series a bit easier?
”There’s walkers in the barn and Lori’s pregnant.” –Glenn
Well, I tell you on thing, the episode title, “Secrets,” was certainly used up like a rolled up tube of toothpaste by the end of it all. Glenn bears the brunt of these secrets, yet he’s the one who has the hardest time keeping them. First he spills both to Dale, who takes these issues to their sources with cleverly veiled explanations as to how he knows about them.
First, he approaches Hershel and says he knows about the barn. We get the explanation for its existence (but those of you who read the comics already know): Hershel’s wife and other friends and relatives are in the barn and he believes they’re sick, and that they’ll eventually get better. He doesn’t understand that they are literally viruses walking around in the shells of his loved ones’ bodies. This only seems to strengthen his notion that they should be leaving, and it gives Glenn and Maggie something to talk about very tensely when they go to the pharmacy for Lori.
Because Lori still hasn’t told Rick, Glenn says someone needs to take care of her, so he offers to pick up whatever she needs at the drug store in town. She takes him up on that and asks him to get her the morning after pill – which I’m not sure works if it’s not literally the morning after, but whatever. Despite the fact that Hershel knows its Maggie’s fault the Dale and Glenn know about the barn, Maggie still joins Glenn on his errand and they get into a discussion about whether or not she’s on her father’s side – if she believes the walkers are actually just sick. It seems she doesn’t – especially after witnessing the walker in the well – but she’s wrestling with the notion which would eliminate the hope of her mother returning to normal. When she sees Glenn’s list isn’t even for himself, but for Lori, she gets even more angry, but it’s not long before an ex-pharmacist walker grabs her arm and Glenn has to beat the hell out of his brain to protect her. She later throws the pills in Lori’s face, storms off, and kisses Glenn when he comes after her. She’s livid that they continue to make him their errand boy and it seems she’s well aware her loved ones aren’t coming back – she says she cannot deal with losing someone else who she cares about. I wish they would devote just a little more time to developing this connection because it’s compelling – and it’s not that I don’t buy it the way it is, but it would carry more weight if it got more attention. Kind of like Glenn in relation to the group…
“You’re still a virgin.” –Shane
“Target’s too small.” –Andrea
Meanwhile, the hunt for Sophia is still on, but first, two women from Hershel’s house, Carl and Andrea all demand some shooting lessons. The Carl issues becomes another point of contention between Lori and Rick, but ultimately he gets to learn. However, that discussion seems to be the end of Carl’s journey to marksman. We switch gears and focus on Andrea, who’s a little smug with that gun for someone who just tried to kill Daryl in last week’s episode. (He’s forgiven her, but I’m still annoyed with her emotionally driven wayward arrogance.)
Eventually, because he can’t take the fatherly duty of mentoring Carl in his target practice, he takes aim at Andrea, putting her through a moving course in the woods. She keeps missing, so he goes all drill sergeant, yelling at her and eventually using “the walker that bit Amy” as fuel. Of course, that sends her running until he catches up with her in the car and sweet talks her – and by sweet talk, I mean he asks her to back him up on a lead he’s got on Sophia. They waltz into a housing development only to find piles of decaying bodies and swarms of walkers. While Shane takes perfect headshots, Andrea freezes until the last second, but then she’s in the zone. They clear their car, but she won’t stop. Later, in the car, those sexual vibes between the two pay off when she full-on grabs his crotch and then jumps on top of him.
When they get back, it’s as if Dale can smell it on them and he’s jealous. He tells Shane to leave and says he’s basically a bad man. He uses the time he caught Shane with his gun on Rick and questions what happened with Otis. While Shane says he would never hurt Rick, he also turns to Dale and asks him that if Shane was the type of person Dale thinks he is, what does Dale think that person would do to someone he doesn’t even like who’s putting him on the spot like that? We’re not out of the woods yet with Shane’s questionable decisions and possible psychopathic tendencies.
”I can’t live like this anymore.” –Rick
No, he’s not referring to the constant fear or the dodging of flesh-eating zombies, he’s talking about – you guessed it – big ol’ secrets. First, Lori becomes enraged when Hershel tells her he expects them all to leave “soon” because Rick knew this and didn’t tell her. After she reams him for it – and after they already had an argument about whether or not it’s appropriate to teach Carl to use a gun – and then proceeds to deal with her secret pregnancy with Glenn’s help.
Dale also has his hand in this storyline and takes the first sign of morning sickness as an opportunity to ask her about her pregnancy. He asks bluntly if it’s Shanes, she says right out that it’s definitely Rick’s and I’m inclined to believe her – her real concern is bringing a child into the world they live in. She asks him if he thinks it’s possible for the baby to have any happy memories or a happy life, and he says they can find moments of happiness, but what she’s really asking is will this ever end. For that, Dale has no answer.
When she finally goes to take the pills after Glenn picked up both prenatal vitamins and the morning after pills and left her with a hell of a choice, she chooses the abortion route. However, she immediately bursts into tears and runs into the fields to throw the pills up. While she’s doing that, Rick finds the wrapper and goes after her, demanding to know how long she’s known and why she made this decision without him. He says he’d never make her have the baby, but he doesn’t believe she doesn’t want it.
As they argue the pros and cons – curtailing life due to horrible conditions for giving life a chance because it’s not fair not to (the abortion argument in a nutshell) – she notes that every time the baby cries, it will put anyone around it danger, which is something that’s more relevant than I would have thought. The baby really is a liability. After we see Rick really yell – remember the flashback when she says he won’t? Things have changed – he asks if she has anymore secrets. She says she slept with Shane. Rick says he knew, he had to. He just has one thing to ask, she did it because she thought he was dead, right? They end the episode with these two staring at each other with uncertainty. Will they work it out? Did Lori have any inclination that Rick was alive? These are relatively weak questions to leave us with because I for one don’t believe that either of these questions will have negative outcomes. They’re road hazards. Now someone with the potential of being bitten (or shot, in Carl’s case), or being cornered hopelessly by walkers – those are cliffhangers. The series needs to take a page out of it’s own book from those first two episodes. We need to feel a little more of the danger.