Summary: The walkers descend upon the farm. Everyone fights to save the farm but it is overrun and they all leave in groups. Jimmy and Patricia are killed. Andrea is thought to be dead and ends up left behind. She encounters a woman with a sword. The group meets up at the highway and go off together. Rick starts hunting for a new place and the group starts doubting him. Rick snaps and reveals that he killed Shane. Lori is horrified. Rick also reveals that they are all infected. Rick makes it clear that he is in charge and everyone will have to listen to him.
The Good: I enjoyed this. I thought it was an exciting finale which thankfully allowed the characters to leave the farm in exciting fashion. While I don't think it makes up for the extended time we spent at the farm, it was at least a fun climax to the story.
I thought the teaser sequence was well-done and provided a cool origin for the walker herd which descended upon the farm. I like the irony that the helicopter, a symbol of hope for the survivors, ended up bringing death and disaster to the farm, forcing the survivors on the dangerous road once more.
The action scenes at the farm were tense and exciting with a greater sense of urgency than any other scene this season. I was at the edge of my seat, enjoying the focused pacing and tension on screen which is a feeling that I hadn't really felt since the season premiere's walker herd. If it weren't for a lot of little inconsistencies which detracted from my experience (see: The Bad), this would have likely been my favourite walker set-piece in the show.
The best parts of the episode in my opinion were the moments following the big action scene. The storytelling was really good in these moments. I really liked the idea that somebody would be left behind in all the chaos, so seeing Andrea alone and struggling to escape was a joy for me to watch. It was scary to see her left all alone, running away from walkers. I'm intrigued by this new character with her swords and walkers chained to her (see: The Unknown).
Glenn and Maggie had a good moment in the car as Maggie was shell-shocked, driving away from the farm without any idea what to do. I really liked how Glenn took control of the situation and also helped Maggie calm down, finally showing us that Glenn is a strong-willed guy. The story of Glenn has been botched this season as he has been described and portrayed in different ways, but here his storyline came together nicely.
Rick's speeches towards the end of the episode were really great. His anger towards the group felt warranted and had some great layers of storytelling. Rick just killed Shane, and expected that maybe now he can lead without having to worry about somebody pitting the group against him. However he sees everyone questioning his decisions anyways, nobody trusts him and everyone seems to be treating him as Shane does. This causes Rick to snap, angry that killing Shane has achieved nothing, and he unleashes his anger, declaring that the group is not a democracy anymore and he will be entirely in charge (a Ricktatorship?).
These discussions also led to the big reveal that everyone is infected, which is a very good development. Not only is it a dramatic reveal, but it also helps explain why walkers would be such a threat as anybody who dies will turn into a walker, bite or not. Furthermore, I think the reveal served as a great catalyst for Rick's transformation at the end of the episode, bringing up conflict with everyone is the group, and further increasing the doubt surrounding Rick's leadership.
I am beyond happy that the group is back on the road again. The desperation and fear that everyone exhibited while on the road, scared that walkers could attack again was really good. There is a certain vulnerability surrounding the group now that they don't live in a safe haven, and I think it adds a lot of drama and momentum to the show. I hope that we get to see the group on the road for several episodes in season 3. Lastly, I thought that the lingering shot on the message for Sophia was really effective, accentuating the emotion of the group losing the farm.
The Bad: I was annoyed that nobody important died in the walker assault. The "big" deaths were Patricia and Jimmy, characters who have said maybe 20 lines between them both. For this to have been a more memorable spectacle fitting of "The Walking Dead", there really should have been more significant character deaths.
The actual action had a ton of inconsistencies in it which I am going to list out now. Glenn was in a moving car with a shotgun, yet he somehow gets headshots from quite a distance away with perfect accuracy which is completely unbelievable. Apparently everyone became professional gunslingers off-screen. While on the topic of shotguns, Hershel appeared to have activated the infinite ammo cheat to fire 20-30 rounds from his shotgun without reloading once. Jimmy pulled up to pick up Rick and he apparently left the door unlocked so that walkers could come in and kill him easily. Rick fires a gun right next to Hershel's head to kill a walker, something that should be deafening, yet Hershel hardly reacts to it. Rick, Carl and Hershel leave the farm on foot and somehow reach the highway long before the others who had vehicles, which is ridiculous. Also, Rick's group can outrun the walkers but Andrea is somehow unable to get away safely despite leaving mere minutes after them. These moments detracted from the action and stacked up in annoying ways.
One specific moment I want to single out is T-Dog's random idea to go to the coastline. He is so determined to do this, yet I can't recall him mentioning a desire to go east a single time prior to this. Furthermore, T-Dog has had nothing to do this entire season, so this just feels like a failed way to give him something to do. I wish he had an actual story to justify his role in the show a little more. Furthermore, I found T-Dog's sudden decision to go east and declare that they are all alone even though they saw nobody actually die to be unintentionally hysterical. I was laughing when T-Dog declared this which I'm sure wasn't the intended effect of the scene.
The most annoying moment in this episode was Lori's reaction to Rick revealing he killed Shane. She seems supportive at first but then Rick reveals that Carl put down walker Shane which horrifies Lori. Then she inexplicably refuses to talk with him for some unknown reason. Oh man. First of all, why is she mad? Is it because he killed Shane? A few episodes ago, Lori was actively telling Rick that Shane was dangerous and insinuated that he had to do something about it, yet she acts like he is evil for killing Shane. This makes no sense. Was it because Carl killed Shane? No chance because that is all Lori's fault for not watching her own son ever. So I'm left puzzled as to why she reacted like this, and I continue to despise Lori's character for not making any sense and being downright unlikable in every scene she is in.
The Unknown: So there is definitely a helicopter going around. Where is it going? Whose helicopter is it? Is there a civilized community somewhere?
Who is this mysterious woman that Andrea found? Why does she have walkers chained to her? Were they people she once knew?
Where do the group go now? What's next for all of them?
Best Moment: Rick revealing that they are all infected before he explodes in an angry speech. A great moment of pay-off after Rick's leadership had been questioned for a full season.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was a very exciting and enjoyable season finale with some really powerful and memorable moments. But some action inconsistencies and a continued weakness in Lori's character brings down the score, and prevents this episode from being as good as it could have been.
Every way to look at it, season 2 was a step down from season 1. The pacing slowed down to a crawl in the first half of the season, and while the back half was better, it still didn't hit the highs of season 1. The slower pace, lowered budget, poor character development and writing inconsistencies didn't help the season at all. However, I still believe it was a good season, and the back half did deliver in a lot of ways. While the first half only really offered two or three good moments, the second half had something memorable happen in every episode. I thought the Randall story and Rick/Shane story provided more momentum and flow than the Sophia story and the farm conflict story did in the first half of the season. In the end, this was a step down, but the show remains enjoyable and I have high hopes for season 3.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.