Comic Picks By The Glick

The Walking Dead: What Lies Ahead

October 18, 2011

For all the dark clouds that have swirled around the series after its reported budget cuts and the firing of series developer/showrunner Frank Darabont, the season premiere felt like a logical continuation of what had come before.  In both a storytelling as well as a stylistic sense, because if you didn’t already know that Darabont had left, you probably wouldn’t have noticed based on what was on display here.  The slow, measured pace and sense of development which characterized the first season was still on display as Rick and the crew encounter the remains of a traffic jam on their journey from the remains of the CDC.  Things (naturally) take a turn for the worse after a zombie “herd” passes through and young Sophia is chased into the woods by two walkers.  Rick runs after her and finds out later that taking care of them was the easy part -- now the group has to comb the forest for any trace of Sophia.

The premiere episode hits on a lot of familiar things from the previous season, such as the need to scrounge for the most basic necessities like canned food and gas from all of the stalled cars in the jam.  As well as the joys in finding unexpected treasure troves like a truck full of water cooler tanks.  Plot threads are picked up as well, with Shane letting Lori know about his plans to leave the group after their disastrous rendezvous at the CDC in the season finale.  While that development wasn’t entirely surprising, what happens between Andrea and Dale is compared to how it was portrayed in the comics.  Her angry discussion with him actually makes a lot of sense and puts a much different spin on Dale’s efforts to save the woman’s life.

It’s also worth noting that the premiere really didn’t draw anything from the comics, even though it was co-written by creator Robert Kirkman.  That’s not necessarily as a bad thing as it still feels like a logical extension of what was in the comics, and I’d be VERY surprised to learn that Lori’s speech defending Rick’s actions towards the end didn’t come from the man himself.  Overall, this was a solid opener even if I wish there was a stronger sense of direction about where this season was going to go.  Beyond the last-minute cliffhanger, I mean.  Yeah, that was bad, but at least Carl didn’t wind up losing a chunk of his head like he did in vol. 14.  Gotta look on the bright side here...

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