Walking Dead: Secrets Review (Mania.com)

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It really pains me to say this, but I was not impressed at all with this week’s Walking Dead offering, “Secrets.” I’ve been generous in my reviews this year, and maybe that’s partly because off all the good will Season 1 had stored up in credits with me. After almost a half a season gone by and not much seems to have happened, my faith is starting waver. It’s not to say this season has been bad. It hasn’t. It’s been good. The problem it’s just not as good as last season, and it storyline doesn’t seem to have progressed much.
   Seems like I’m quibbling here, but when my expectations have been raised to exceptional material, and this staff is handing in only good to very good stuff I start to feel like a Korean father after being informed his 4 year-old child only took second place in the seventh grade international spelling bee. If I had a will worth writing, I’d be thinking about taking Walking Dead out of it right about now.
   My main problem with this episode is how much they changed some characters or how poorly I understood these characters to begin with. Not sure which is true, but I prefer to think the one in which I didn’t understand something as the incorrect one.
   Now before I delve into my main problem, let’s take a quick sidetrack into my lesser main problem. At this point I sincerely don’t know what Sophia looks like. If I were living with a group of a dozen other zombie-apocalypse survivors every day for a month and 12 year old girl came up to me, knew my name, asked for her mother by name, had photos on her Facebook of her and I and a Walker, and was even wearing a name tag that read “I am Sophia, the girl some of you thought must have been eaten by Zombies by now” I would still have to ask for photo I.D. Point is, I’m over Sophia. Let’s face it, her own mother never seemed nearly as upset at her disappearance as I was, and I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup of disappointed Korean fathers.  
   Here’s my guess, she’s going to be found alive, but in a very precarious situation. She will be rescued - but at the price of one of the original survivors (and that will probably be her mother – because of the Star Trek-style red shirt she ominously held up to the camera earlier this season.)
   The main reason she will be alive for a while is to give Carl someone his own age to bond with, and a girl with whom he can play naughty games with, which in turn Lori into more of a annoying, crying wreck and that will cause even more of a rift in her marriage.
   Anyway, just find Sophia already and sacrifice whoever you need to sacrifice in order to satiate the hungry gods of television horror/drama.
   Ok, let’s focus on the main, main problem, and that’s the depiction of Dale. I’ve always seen Dale as kind of a wise, though impotent old man; the kind of guy who somehow knows everyone else’s secrets, but has managed to keep quite a few of his own. Now, this week, I see the guy make three dumbdick calls in the space of about 40 TV minutes.
   Asshead Move Number One: He tells Hershel he’s heard the moans in the barn and knows what’s in there. He then proceeds to insult (without actually saying much) Hershel’s faith in the power of prayer and intimate all Hershell’s hard work searching for the cure to this epidemic will end up in vain. He also pisses on Hershel’s belief that his family will once again be reunited. Now let’s be honest, we all have a more than a sneaking suspicion Dale’s absolutely right, but it was a bad play to blurt that information out without taking the pulse of the room. I really expected Dale to be more clever than that. Way to make an asshead move, asshead.
   Asshead Move Number Two: Was he thinking he was being slick when he dropped that line about his wife being sick whenever she smelled meat cooking during a pregnancy. Lori saw through that, I saw through that, I’m assuming a Walker would see through that. That was just really stupid. Nice asshead move again, asshead.
   Asshead Move Number Three: You can’t be serious. You’re telling me you’re clever enough to have “figured out” what kind of man Shane is, keep it to yourself after all this time, but then decide, after Shane just obviously had parked car sex up on Old Zombie Road, you were going to harsh his post-ejaculatory serenity with, “I saw you point a gun at Rick, and oh yeah, stop tapping that young-un’s ass, ‘cause I wants my turn on it.” Dale, what turned you into such a stupid asshead, asshead?
   I was also surprised at how quickly Rick was able to rationalize not only Lori’s affair with Shane, but how he never really seemed to connect the dots that despite what Lori tells anyone, the odds that baby is actually Rick’s are probably not nearly as stacked as Lori would protest. It wouldn’t surprise me if Rick might eventually come to the same conclusion after a long night of “by yourself drinking” and a painful next morning hangover. Instead Rick went from denial to acceptance in the space of time it took me to write out the words “denial and acceptance.”
   And while I’m bitching like Andrea on her period, (which seems to fall between the 2nd and the 30th of each month) I found this week’s zombie attacks to be unbelievably sudden. Not sure how a Walker could have gotten into that pharmacy to attack Maggie since they always close the doors and Walkers haven’t tried to turn a knob in the 9 episodes I’ve seen so far. That simply seemed to be a device to conveniently display to Maggie that Walkers are no longer the living, loving people we knew them to be, and will never again be.
   Same problem with the cul-de-sac attack on Shane and Andrea. That scene established nothing more than to show Shane’s bad-ass drill sergeant routine actually worked on her, which sets up the obligatory, thanks-for-hardening-my heart-and focusing-my-will-against-these-creatures hand job. Oh and by the way, if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of that particular hand job, well done, sir. Well done indeed.
   So that’s it. I realize I didn’t touch on much of the story, but to be honest there wasn’t much of one. This was more a character study in asshead moves. I haven’t given up all hope, however. There is still enough built-up Season 1 credits to allow me top be optimistic towards the mid-season finale. I’m expecting big things from you next week Walking Dead. I warn you though, do not bring shame onto me again. I am disgraced to say I am a fan.
Click this link to check out some of Joe Oesterle’s Dia de las Muertos photography at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and feel free to browse the site for some unedited stories from his book, “Weird Hollywood.” http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/dia-de-las-muertos-hollywood-forever-cemetery-2011/

Mania Grade: C
TV Series: The Walking Dead
Episode: Secrets
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn
Written By: Angela Kang
Directed By: David Boyd
Network: AMC
Series: Walking Dead