The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale Review: “Pretty Much Dead Already”

Written by Chris Beaulieu November 29, 2011

As the group ate breakfast by their windy campsite, it seemed as if they had already been exiled from the Greene farm; only after a few shots do we see the house in the distance behind them, with Maggie watching Rick and the others with an eye of resentment on the porch. It on this ominous note, and with plenty of foreshadowing cuts to the barn that “Pretty Much Dead Already” begins. Once Glenn tells everyone that Hershel has been keeping walkers in the barn, the episode is propelled in a forward motion of increasing tension until the climax.

Since there is a lot to take in with the mid-season finale, I would like to get the parts that didn’t work out of the way first. Firstly, the interactions between Glenn and Maggie were cringe worthy in this episode, and did not match up to their previous behavior. They begin with a comic moment when she crushes an egg over his head, and then go on to confront each other with clichéd dialogue (and an irrelevant Portal reference), in which Glenn expresses how he realized that walkers were dangerous. The second drawback is that T-Dog is now the only character that isn’t really a full character. Dale got plenty of time to show his intentions and anxieties in his confrontation with Shane, but T-Dog has been left out as someone who just shoots walkers.

With all of the confrontations of characters in this episode—Daryl and Carol, Maggie and Glenn, Shane and Dale, Rick and Hershel—the audience knows that something explosive is going to happen at the end, and that someone is going to snap. Of course this person is Shane, who in this episode is finally fed up of the camp’s optimism in looking for Sophia; optimism is a waste of time for Shane.

The fact that Lori makes Carl do math problems shows that she has perhaps developed a sense of optimism and forgotten her fear that Carl’s future is pointless, as she continues to raise him with an academic education. Questions of natural selection come in to play then, as one wonders if academics will be useful in a world of survival, or if Carl’s time would be better spent with physical training.

All optimism and hope is lost however, when the group finds that Sophia had been in the barn the whole time, and that she is now a walker that needs to be executed. Despite all of his anger, heartlessness, and the fact that everyone rallied against him, Shane was right. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of “Pretty Much Dead Already” is that Rick, by taking the burden of putting Sophia out of her misery, adopts Shane’s worldview of “making the tough calls”, which will no doubt have an effect on how the group continues to survive on their own.

As we wait for the rest of the season in February, the question of Rick’s leadership will linger the most. Will the rest of the group resent his submissive behavior towards Hershel, and will Shane have a greater influence on how the group operates? One possibility is that Shane may create an independent faction of survivors based on one mentality, while Rick takes head of the others. In either case, it doubtful that anyone will be welcome on Hershel’s farm much longer, as he was forced to witness the slaughter of his loved ones. “Pretty Much Dead Already” has the greatest climax of any episode so far, and opens the rest of the season up to new narrative paths.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Chris Beaulieu

When Chris isn't studying film, reading English literature, fencing, or watching re-runs of Frasier on TV, it's because he's writing awesome reviews for We Eat Films.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale Review: “Pretty Much Dead Already”. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment