The Walking Dead Season 2 ends with an explosion, but that’s mostly from fans of the graphic novel who likely lost their minds when we finally got a glimpse of the prison. Or maybe it was just the hooded figure that gave you chills.
We knew it was coming, and now we’re ready to see what happens when The Governor makes his entrance onto the show. But that’s for the next season. With this episode, we have to deal with an episode that was chock full of surprising and incredible moments.
The biggest thing to take away from this The Walking Dead season finale is that there isn’t a whole lot of plot going on, and any events transpire quickly. This episode was all set up for what happens next on the show.
The first large chunk of “Beside the Dying Fire” is spent on the farm as a herd of zombies storms and takes over. In the process of the full-on walker attack, we lose a few members of the Greene family, and Andrea is separated from the group.
It’s clear that Andrea has established herself as the best badass female on the show with this episode. The woman fights, scratches, bludgeons, and everything else she needs to in order to survive.
Watching her running and beating back zombies all alone was one of the best sequences in the finale.
And, of course, it could be argued that the introduction of Michonne in this fashion, saving Andrea with a katana blade that Hattori Hanzo would be proud of, was an even bigger “oh shit!” moment than the final shot of the prison.
From this perspective, fans of the graphic novel had to begin letting go of that story in order to fully AMC’s The Walking Dead. To some degree, it requires getting behind the new version of the tale being told.
At this point, the show becomes more than a simple adaptation in which the writers have to figure out how to translate a book to television. It is, instead, a new story that utilizes the characters in a fantastic new way.
This episode’s other major plotline involved Rick’s group placement. As they’re on the road running, he reveals to everyone that he was told that it was an infection, but he wasn’t sure that it was real. It’s not like his source was all that sane. But everyone questions whether Rick should be the leader.
And then there’s Lori. When Rick reveals to her that he killed Shane and why, she gets pissed, swatting him away, and getting very angry. The writers seem to be starting to imply that Rick doesn’t need her and, in fact, would be a better leader of the group if he weren’t beholden to a manipulative and annoying woman.
Speaking of leading the group, The Walking Dead season 2 finale didn’t forget that this show may have cool moments but it’s about the people. And people change.
After what happened on and off the farm throughout the season, Rick has had enough. He gives a big speech to the group basically saying that he’s now calling the shots, and anyone who questions his authority can leave. Is this a bit of the Shane worldview being transposed onto Rick, or is Rick just worn down? These are questions the series continues to explore throughout.
It was a near-perfect end to a tumultuous season that had a few major missteps. Although the writers have proven time and again that even when they’re bogged down with what appears to be a trifling storyline (Searching for Sophia) there’s something bigger going on.
The farm was a bit of a sidetrack and possibly one the show needed to frame the story better. Going forward, this show will be about the Woodbury survivors and a looming battle between Rick and The Governor.
But for the time being, “Beside the Dying Fire” ignites more than a few questions and problems for the group going forward.