As a long time zombie aficionado and fan of The Walking Dead comics back when the first one was published, you can bet I’ve seen every episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. And, like all fans, I definitely have my favorite moments, although not always for obvious reasons. Here, in no particular order, is my top ten list of favorite scenes from season two:
Zombie Herd in Episode One
While not exactly the action packed season opener fans hoped for, episode one had some cool moments, including the first appearance of a zombie “herd” on the move. There was genuine tension when our heroes hid under cars (and bodies) to avoid detection, and we got to see Daryl overcome his racist upbringing and rescue T-Dog (who actually had a few lines!). We also saw the height of hypocrisy as Lori stops Carol from calling out to her daughter, who is being attacked by a zombie. You know Lori would’ve been hollering Carl’s name and going all Mama Grizzly if it’d been her rugrat in danger instead of Carol’s.
Zombie Sophia Coming out of Barn
Sure it was shocking and totally unexpected, especially to those of us who read The Walking Dead comics and expected Sophia to last well into the next few seasons. It took away our safety net as far as smug “I know what’s going to happen” mindset and made us realize no one was safe from those trigger happy writers. And most importantly, it put an end to the interminable “little girl lost in the woods” subplot that dragged on for six episodes!
Lori’s Car Crash
Should she have even been in the damn car? No. Was the motivation and logic behind it reasonable? Hell, no! But for one brief shining moment, I thought maybe, just maybe, they were going to get rid of Lori sooner rather than later and that made me supremely happy. I mean, seriously, she won’t let Carol try to rescue Sophia on the highway, but gets all “I am not leaving my son” drama queen whenever Carl goes missing … which is often. There’s no two ways about it; Lori’s character grates more than a wedge of parmesan cheese at Olive Garden.
Any Scene with Daryl
Daryl (aka Squidbilly) is by far my personal fave on the show thus far. If I had to choose one weapon to use during the zombie apocalypse, it would be a crossbow with Daryl attached to it. Whether he’s doing his modern-day Legolas action with the crossbow; tripping out like Alice on magic mushrooms and talking to his possibly dead brother; giving Carol smoldering looks at Dale’s funeral or swooping in on his motorcycle to rescue her from the zombie hordes; or making necklaces out of zombie ears, Daryl is just cool. Note: I’m rolling all of Daryl’s moments into one paragraph because otherwise my top ten list would be far too Daryl-centric.
Shane Shooting Otis in the Leg
Ouch. Here’s Otis just trying to do the right thing and he gets shot and ripped to pieces by way of thanks. Okay, Shane did it to insure one of them would make it back with Carl’s medical supplies and they obviously just weren’t gonna make it otherwise, but still… that’s just harsh. But “harsh” makes good drama and it also definitely pushed Shane further along the road to Crazy Town and led to the whole bare-chested Taxi Driver head-shaving scene. So shooting Otis was a good thing, right?
The Shootout and Escape from the Bar
After what seemed like an ice age of angst, people yelling out Sophia’s name, and Hershel reminding everyone it was his farm, we were all ready for some honest to goodness tension, not to mention zombies. By the time we added up the two dubious strangers (sorry, guys, peeing on the floor in front of people is not the way to engender good feelings); Rick manning up and killing them; the shootout; the decision whether or not to leave Randall to his fate and that nasty moment of yanking his leg off the metal spike; and (finally!) lots of zombies, there was enough tension to have me yelling at the TV for Rick and company to get the hell out of there. This whole bit restored my faith in season two, especially after the “Zombie Timmy is down the well!” episode the week before.
Rick Killing Shane and Carl’s Subsequent Double Tap
Anyone who read the comics knew Shane eventually had to die on The Walking Dead. I was both surprised and pleased when Shane made it past season one and we got to see him get just a little crazier and stalkery with each episode. His epic Quiet Man (or They Live) brawl with Rick and the subsequent “Shit! Is Rick really going to abandon Shane?” moment made me think just maybe they’d work it out, but Lori’s weird-ass moment of nostalgia combined with the whole Randall situation killed that notion, and the set up for Rick killing Shane was as dramatic – and honestly, pretty sad – as I could have hoped. Carl then having to put down Zombie Shane was equally effective. Carl is going to be one screwed up little soldier in short order.
Zombie Herd in Season Finale
Wowza. Of all the moments in the second season, that first glimpse of the herd lurching up behind Rick and Carl after Shane's death was just chilling. We just knew that things had gone from "we're sort of kind of safe here" to "OMG, we are so screwed!" And the climax lived up to that first glimpse; with some of the best zombie action I've ever seen on screen. From the zombies pouring into the barn after Rick and Carl, to the relentless shamblers pursuing Andrea, and all of the zombies in between, this was just awesome. I loved the flashback showing the helicopter flying overhead and catching the walking dead's attention, and how the gunshot when Carl caps Shane acting as the death knell for the farm. Good stuff.
Farmer Terminator and his Infinite Ammo
Is there anyone who didn't appreciate Hershel's transformation from über-religious teetotaler to gun-slinging badass? If so, go away. You have no place in my world. I loved the moment when Hershel, if not entirely sober, faced the realization that the world had irrevocably changed, and if he wanted to keep his family safe, he would also have to change. And he did. I'm not sure how he managed to rig his firearm up with an evidently infinite supply of ammo, but I’m not picky. It was cool and he kicked zombie ass before finally forced to leave his farm. We may have lost Dale, but we still have Hershel, dammit!
Michonne and the Prison
Oh yeah, you really thought I'd be able to choose between these two iconic moments? I mean, Michonne! Fans of the comics have been waiting for at least half a season to have our favorite katana-wielding badass show up. And what better moment for her to finally appear than to save Andrea, the show's other female badass! Well done, producers and writers and other people who make these decisions! And that first glimpse of the prison, directly on the heels of Rick's "This is not a democracy" speech? Pure brilliance. Whatever slow patches you put us through in season 2, the last five minutes of The Walking Dead season finale put paid for everything.
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