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'The Walking Dead' premiere gets season 2 off to a solid start

‘The Walking Dead’ season 2 premiere comes after behind-the-scenes drama ended with the departure of showrunner Frank Darabont

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In the midst of that high tension, there were some great dramatic moments between the various characters, which sowed promising seeds for the arcs the survivors will be on this season. Some characters (Andrea, Shane) are more interesting than others (T-Dog, Dale), but the great thing about a show like this is that characters can (and will) die at any moment, so it’s easy to keep the cast trimmed and still give the audience a shock or two when someone bites it (no pun).

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Virtually every scene in the premiere was relevant, and expanded both the characters and the themes of season 2, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Some of the more undercooked characters from season 1 had great moments to shine – Daryl (Norman Reedus) in that nauseating dissection scene, or Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) finally showing spunk by defending Rick’s honor – and on the whole the episode balanced the time spent with each character well, so that no one felt left out or irrelevant. A drastic improvement on one of the major issues with season 1.

Admittedly, the scene with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in the church was a little bit over-dramatic (the whole church scene was, really), but it still laid out an interesting arc for Rick this season, as he struggles to keep it together and lead his people, even though this horrible existence eats away at his morale – and morality – the same as it does any other man. Now that Rick and the survivors are over their initial confusion and panic about the world they’re living in, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of person each of them becomes, as they’re forced to make hard choices (how long do you search for a missing child in zombie land?) and face hard realities (death, loss, etc…).

Last but not least – what an ending! Just when you thought there might be a glimmer of hope (Rick, Shane and Carl encountering that gorgeous buck and having a happy bonding moment) – hope turns into horror in the span of a gunshot. There are not many shows that will go so far as to depict a child getting shot – but hey, this is The Walking Dead we’re talking about. Expect the unexpected.

Whatever budget Frank Darabont was asking for – whatever creative decisions he was making – it’s clear from this episode that AMC should’ve catered to the man. Mad Men may be the critical darling (which gets it the biggest investment from the network) – but TV like this Walking Dead season 2 premiere has the potential to attract the masses, and ergo, the advertisers. Hopefully the ratings will tell that same tale.

Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.

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