âThereâs always that chance isnât there? That slim chance.â? As Rick searches for hope in the opening of The Walking Deadâs season two premiere he touches on the true driving force of the series, that desperate chance of survival.
We join the slimmed-down band of survivors more-or-less exactly where we left them last season, beginning the journey towards Fort Bennett in the wake of the Atlanta CDC explosion. Itâs no surprise that this premiere opened to a record breaking audience in the states and the fans won’t be disappointed because for my money, ‘What Lies Ahead’ is the best episode since the show’s debut. It has everything a The Walking Dead fanatic could ask for. Hundreds of zombies? Check. Pivotal character development? Check. Cliffhanger ending? Double check.
The premiere was not short on zombie kills, showing that the showâs cult followers wonât be forgotten. The highlights included Andrea taking a screwdriver to a walkerâs face, Rick eliminating a pair with a rock and an awesome scene in which Daryl cuts one open to check its stomach content. Itâs great to see that with increasing commercial success, the show is sticking closely to an element essential to many of its diehard fans.
This series opener was also heavy on character development, as it saw a potential end to Shane and Loriâs tumulus relationship, Shane vowing to leave the group and his unrequited love behind for good. It examined Dale and Andreaâs relationship (creepy as it is) and Andrea revealed that she wished he had left her in the CDC building to die. One of the key elements to the showâs success in season one was its impeccable balance of action and storytelling and that blend is maintained here.
The plot advanced rapidly and in between each thrilling action sequence there were revealing and touching interactions between the survivors. The characters can come across as a bit whiney at times, but you would too if you were living through the zombie apocalypse.
Most powerfully, this episode focused on Rickâs desperation as the pressures of leadership build. This is central to the showâs plot and, fittingly, it was this episodeâs focus. His breakdown in the church reminds the audience that he is just human, struggling to survive in a hell on earth. The church scene might have been a little overblown, but it was a good device for allowing the audience to hear some of the charactersâ inner thoughts.
An epic Walking Dead episode wouldnât be complete without a suspenseful ending, and this one has possibly the greatest to date. Just as you think thereâs hope in this world, down goes Carl with a bullet to the chest. The premiere had it all and in one episode we got equal parts action, suspense, drama, carnage and even a touch of romance. As usual, they didnât waste a minute of screen time and each second requires full attention. Without question, The Walking Dead continues to get better and tuning in for the next episode is compulsory.