Secrets don’t make friends, but the truth is rarely pure and never simple. This week on The Walking Dead old secrets are brought forward, new secrets are burrowed away, confessions run rampant, and we get plenty of food for thought. Oh, and then there’s Shane and Andrea (shudder). Secrets was the first episode in a while that felt pretty genuine and ‘back to it’s roots’. There was some great zombie action, but that was an extremely small portion of what brought back that warm, fuzzy feeling that came with season 2’s sixth episode (and by “warm and fuzzy” I mean the pure enjoyment of the anxieties and complexities of this character-driven horror series).
We find out that Hershel is keeping the zombies in the barn not only because they were once his loved ones, but because he has hopes of a cure to this epidemic. He’s afraid that killing a zombie could actually be murder. While there are many flaws to his theory, it’s an interesting one. These are the kinds of thought provoking ideas and scenes that we fell in love with last year.
The warm fuzzies continue with Glenn being adorable but not too sweet, clueless but not an idiot. Maggie hits the nail on the head when she points out what an asset he really is, and how being unattached makes him the go-to guy for dangerous missions. The secret about Shane and Lori is finally out of the bag, but thankfully it wasn’t a long, drawn out event. Rick was either able to process the information quickly and start coping, or he already had a clue and has always suspected it. Either way, that whole scene was one of the best ones we’ve seen between Rick and Lori, with the mood and the implications delicate instead of overbearing. Speaking of good scenes, Shane’s “motivating” scene during Andrea’s advanced lesson was another way to remind the audience of his big secret that only we are aware of.
The pairing of the two of them is a strange one, though definitely not unseen. Yuck. I’m not sure if Secrets was the episode that the writers decided to start trying to turn her character around, but seriously? If they think that her sudden crack-shot abilities and handling of Shane’s ‘gun’ will appeal to the girl-power fans out there, I think they are sadly mistaken. Her smug attitude and smirk just made it all the worse. The writers have their work cut out for them when it comes to digging her character out of the deep, deep hole they tossed her in.
A character who’s is finally emerging from his shell is Dale. He’s always been pretty insightful, but Secrets has really shown that you can’t get anything passed this guy. He can tell when Glenn’s upset and hiding something. He has tact when talking to both Hershel and Lori about their secrets. He knows there is something very wrong with Shane. Not only that, but he’s a tough ol’ boy, holding his ground when crazy is staring him in the face. Does a little jealousy factor into his wanting Shane to leave? Maybe, but I think his reasoning mostly revolves around his gut feeling about what travesties may come while Shane is a member of their party. Regardless, Dale is shaping up to be a favorite character of mine.
The secret that Lori’s not real keen on bringing a baby into the zombocalypse is a rehash of the conversation she had with Rick back when Carl was on the verge of death. It’s a legitimate idea that comes into play in a story about survivors with a bleak future. With abortion being such a touchy subject, I think giving it a little fuel for the fire lent this episode a feeling of connection with the audience without being a gimmick. This show is about people used to our society and politics being cast into a desperate situation, and what moral and questionable issues surface because of it.
The Walking Dead proved again tonight that regardless of budget cuts, they still intend on giving us some gory moments to cherish. The half-beheaded zombie was quite unique and wonderfully creepy. It’s just another reminder of how wrong Hershel’s hopes of a cure really are. These are true zombies, not the living infected like 28 Days Later. I’m sure Hershel will come to that realization very soon.
Is this sudden shift in story movement and character development due to the fact that next week is a Mid-Season Finale? Possibly. If there was a time to start developing and preparing our characters for a big plot shift, now would be the time. This season has been a little hit and miss for a series that relies heavily on it’s characters and their situations. It will be interesting to see what happens when the show returns in February. I believe we are coming up on the point when Darabont left the show and the writers that stayed took over. I don’t think we’ll see a huge shift in the direction that has been laid out for the rest of this season, but I think season three has the potential for a big breath of fresh air.
I give Secrets a 4 out of 5.
by Rachael Edwards