Have You Been Watching.. The Walking Dead?

WALKING DEAD – SERIES 2 EPISODE 3: Friday 4th November, FX, 10pm

If you’re not watching The Walking Dead, you’re missing out. Simple as that. After lumbering onto our screens for a short but sweet six episode debut, the show quickly gathered a fan base big enough to rival its rabid zombie hoards. And it came as no surprise. Based on an insanely popular graphic novel and spearheaded by ace director Frank Darabont and Terminator mega-producer Gale Anne Hurd the property was in very good hands from day one. Not bad for a bunch of corpses.

New to the show? Fear not, here’s a quick recap: local sherrif and all around good guy Rick (Andrew Lincoln) gets shot whilst on patrol with his partner and best bud Shane (Joe Bernthal) putting him into a coma. He awakes to find a world overrun with the undead and sets out to find his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and young son Carl (Chandler Riggs). Meanwhile, assuming his comatosed friend stood no chance of surviving, Shane made it his duty to protect Rick’s family, getting it on with his wife Lori in the process. That’s right, there are emotions as well as bullets flying here.

After eventually reuniting with Shane and his family, Rick straps on his sherrif’s hat and resumes his keeper-of-the-peace duties leading a rag-tag group of survivors across a zombie ravaged America. Pretty soon they stumble upon a desolate military base where they meet a scientist bent on finding a cure. When his attempts fail he becomes disillusioned and suicidal, activating the compound’s self destruct countdown and forcing Rick, Shane and the others to chose between life and death.

It was a brave ending to a show that cut no corners. Shot with the care and attention of a big-budget blockbuster it’s hard not to notice the high standards running throughout every aspect of the show. From writing to acting right down to inventive zombie deaths – it’s all here. Now we return to the undead-wasteland for season two and all those hoping for a silver lining are out of luck. One thing’s remained consistent throughout all three aired episodes , that’s the theme of losing hope. It’s something every character has pondered as they find themselves thrown from cruel situation to cruel situation. And rightly so, things start off bad and get worse.

Episode one saw Carol’s (Melissa Suzanne McBride) daughter go missing in the woods and Rick’s son take a bullet in the belly. If there was ever a time to question your faith, this was it. The following week we met some new faces, including a kindly vet who offered to help young Carl. There’s just one catch: he needs supplies. Otis, the hunter responsible for the misfire offers to join Shane in a dangerous trip to the hospital wing of a nearby school and that’s where this week’s edition picks up.

As Shane and Otis struggle against the ever-present zombie crowds to retrieve the much sought after medical supplies, the search for Carol’s missing daughter continues. Redneck badboy Daryl (Norman Reedus) puts his homegrown tracking skills to use alongside Andrea (Laurie Holden) but all they find is the grizzly remains of a suicidal zombie. While the latter is teetering between faith and despair it’s nice to see the former emerging as the reluctant anti-hero of the group.

Meanwhile, pained parents Rick and Lori need to make a snap decision whether to allow their son to be operated on without the proper equipment. Luckily, Shane returns from his troublesome trip just in time but he’s alone and we soon discover he was forced to make selfish sacrifice in order to survive. The show ends with a new character; a shaven headed Shane. Wrapped with guilt and with a crazed look in his eyes, he leaves us wondering whether the pressure of a doomed society has finally got to him. Perhaps he’s lost all hope…