Comic Books Magazine

Review #3084: The Walking Dead 2.2: “Bloodletting”

Posted on the 25 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Now seems like a good time for me to re-iterate that I am completely unfamiliar with the original comics on which “The Walking Dead” is based. So I may never know how much better the show might have been if it had more closely adhered to or more dramatically deviated from its source material. “Bloodletting” marks the first appearance of Hershel’s farm, which I have heard plays a part in the comics. Personally, I like the idea of giving the season a kind of temporary “home base”, though it will depend a lot on how the idea is executed. The season could easily lose a lot of momentum from such an inclusion.

Review #3084: The Walking Dead 2.2: “Bloodletting”

For now, though, “The Walking Dead” is rolling along at a respectable pace. Things remain fairly frantic after the opening flashback, though the zombie threat isn’t as much a driving force of the story until late in the episode. Most of the momentum of the episode comes from the attempts to save Carl’s life, which leads Shane and Otis to make a perilous journey to a nearby high school in an attempt to collect urgently needed medical supplies. Poor Otis seems sure to be a goner, which is too bad, because I already like him. I found it interesting that we went from Shane angrily forcing Otis to run all the way back to the Herschel farm to having Shane and Otis working side-by-side (and getting along quite well) for the supply run.

Hershel’s farm makes for an interesting setting thanks to how serene and inviting it is, which strongly contrasts with the more typical post-apocalyptic locations we’ve seen so far. I hope we learn more in the coming episodes about how Hershel and his friends/family have kept the zombies at bay and survived all this time. I like the idea of a more permanent location, but like I said, it all depends on how they handle this. I think of a home base as being something the characters can essentially deploy from and return to as needed. There’s a fair amount of potential here for stories surrounding the need to preserve Hershel’s farm as a place of sanctuary amidst the chaos.

Aside from a brief zombie attack on Andrea, which resulted in a couple of cool moments (Maggie riding up “like Zorro” before bashing the zombie’s head with a baseball bat and Daryl’s casual dispatch of the zombie with his crossbow), the scenes surrounding the other survivors are mostly downplayed drama. Nobody wants to give up looking for Sophia, even though almost everyone is starting to feel that it’s hopeless. Even Daryl isn’t ready to give up. Daryl’s toughened exterior remains, but it seems that his experiences with the survivors in the first season have led him to become more protective of his tribe. He’s much more focused on others than himself this season. I really appreciate that he hasn’t had any real confrontations with anyone in the group yet this season, and mostly just focuses on keeping everyone alive. Even his rebuke of Carol and Andrea for praying is framed as a reassurance that they will, in fact, find Sophia.

The character drama in “The Walking Dead” has often been one of its more problematic areas. It can be pretty weak in some areas, but the truly bad parts seem to be fairly rare at least. But the show also has its share of truly impressive scenes of character drama. Rick’s opening monolog from this season’s premiere was pretty terrible, but his complete shock over Carl’s shooting and sense of desperation is an example of how great Andrew Lincoln can be when he has the right material. I’m beginning to think that the inconsistencies of “The Walking Dead” exist more in the writing than anything else.

At the very least, I’m hoping that this season of “The Walking Dead” will be more consistent than the first. After all the worrying about production troubles, it’s nice to see that the show has (so far anyway) weathered these issues fairly well. I don’t know what all happened with the show’s budget issues, but I think AMC would be wise to invest enough for the show to at least match the production values of the first season. Part of the reason the pilot episode was so impressive was because of how cinematic and big-budget it felt. So far, budgetary issues don’t seem too evident this season, and I suppose the comic book fans will have a better idea of whether we’re missing out on anything or not, due to budget limitations.

Rating: 8/10

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