Walking Dead: Secrets Review - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: C

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  • 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

Walking Dead: Secrets Review

Worst One Yet

By Joe Oesterle     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/


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evilbeagle 11/23/2011 8:13:57 AM

I liked this episode quite a bit, but I agree about the asshead moves.  My wife and I were having the same discussion during the show.  The asshead move with Shane seemed very unneccesary unless of coarse he was hoping to tap her ass first. 

There were some emotional things that moved forward, but I too am tired of the "search".  Maybe I've become a grown up member of the ADHD population, but either find her dead or alive and be done with it.  Next!

Either way, the acting on this show is of the highest quality, and we watched this episode a day after seeing the new comedy-Breaking Dawn.  The Walking Dead, from a production values, acting, script, etc standpoint, makes Breaking Dawn look like a high school production.  Good work team!

evilbeagle 11/23/2011 8:15:25 AM

'course'  I hate obvious spelling errors.  I'm sure there are more in there...

Roqueja 11/23/2011 8:39:04 AM

I may be in the minority on this one, but I kinda liked the shift in Dale's character.  With everything that's going on around him, he has adopted a "take no crap" attitude by stepping up and letting the people who seem so smug with their "carefully hidden secrets" know that they are not as smart as they think they are.  It deflates their arrogance, and he is starting to enjoy doing that.  It comes across to me as "We are all in it knee deep so don't think that you are special or pulling the wool over anybody's eyes."  A reality check if you will.  The spot that they are in would harden anyone, and this seems to be the way that they are showing it for Dale.

I do agree that Rick got over his wife's infidelity without so much as a sideways glance a little hard to beleive.  Seemed a little too convieniant, as though the writers couldn't put the right words into his mouth. 

Glad to see the review up, had me worried for a day there.  Good review, even though we may be a bit at odds over Dale.

JonnyRotten 11/23/2011 8:42:24 AM

Wrong again Joe ... a grade of C I do not agree with, this was by far the best episode so far. Yes, Dales character was a bit odd this week and to approach Shane and Hershal  like that was stupid (esp Shane ... man that guy will kill you?). But otherwise great episode, Andrea's "transformation" was great, she is living up to her "comic book character".

Rick's reaction, not bad, what can he do, he seems to rationalise and move on, guess we'll see.  The Walker in the store, they've been in this store before, actually you may have a point Joe, Walkers don't just appear and don't open doors.  

I keep reading about how the show doesn't follow the comics, so I finally read a few of the graphic novels and come to the conclusion that in order to be PG the show had to be tamer. This comic series is messed up, lots more killing and a ton of sex, good reading but not television material.    



rogue188 11/23/2011 9:15:41 AM

I disagree with Asshead move three. That is very much a man characterization of getting pissed when someone bangs the girl you like. Perhaps a younger man move, but it is the zombie apocalapse after all, and hotties are hard to come by, especially for a middle-aged man who was married for decades. I will allow that reation and say it was spot on writing.

The rest I agree with. This Sophia storyline needs to end and get these folks back on the road. The comic did not keep them on the farm nearly this long, and it has become a long, drawn out ordeal. I am trying to look at this season much like the two last Harry Potter films (Deathly Hallows). The first set up all of the characterization and storyline, and the last film was all ass-kickery. My hope is I am correct.

millean 11/23/2011 9:23:12 AM

Hmmmm.  I see a lot of Joe's points, but this was one of my favorite episodes so far.  Dale did seem to be out of character the entire episode, but I was more disappointed in Glenn.  Did Dale use the Jedi mind trick to get him to so easily divuldge his secrets?  That was just too easy.  As far as Dale confronting everybody, it seemed to me like brand new writers started handling his character this week.  I'm all for him showing a bit more backbone, but he went way overboard.

As far as Sophia, good grief!  Does anyone care about her anymore?  I kind of hope she is in the barn.  Actually, after thinking about that a second, that would be pretty cool, but we know that ain't happening.

Maggie is coming off more and more as a crazy woman (though using the terms both crazy and woman may be a bit redundant, I suppose).

Andrea is finally starting to come around.  Though jumping Shane's bones like that was a bit crazy... but saying that she is a crazy woman may be a bit redundant, I suppose.  :)

Finally, I am hoping beyond hope that is all of the baby daddy drama we have between Lori, Rick & Shane.  Rick knowing about the affair does make him seem like he is more observant than we give him credit for.  However, I think we all know there will be a lot more to this story.


hanso 11/23/2011 9:36:09 AM

"thanks-for-hardening-my heart-and focusing-my-will-against-these-creatures hand job"  Lol.  Good stuff as always Joe.  

A bit of semi related news:

1.  AMC is going to rerun all the episodes of Mad Men every Sunday starting this Sunday.  They did something similar last year with Breaking Bad.  If you haven't seen Mad Man (excellent show) and are interested, this is your chance.  It's also on Netflix instant streaming.

2.  AMC is also doing a Walking Dead Season 2 marathon on Sunday.

That is all.  Joe and you all crazy Maniacs, have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Hanso out.

RedHood2010 11/23/2011 9:42:35 AM

I agree with the C.  My boys and I weren't too thrilled with this one.  I didn't care for the breaking of the chickens legs and it is sad THAT was the most horrific moment of this episode.

I agree will all THREE A$$head moves.  We don't the mental state of our hosts?  Hello, keeping walkers in a barn and to threaten a guy you believe would shoot his best friend without concern.  Shanes comeback was sweet and I would suspect made Dale piss himself when Shane walked away. lol

Sophia...sorry, unless someone else has saved her, she is done and we need to move on.  I love your line about a line-up Joe.  Classic.

RedHood2010 11/23/2011 9:44:14 AM

Oh of course, thanks Hanso.

Enjoy your Turkey day tomorrow gang!  And for those who don't celebrate and will be working, sorry.

jedibanner 11/23/2011 10:24:09 AM

See!!! Finally I'm not the only one seeing it...qho cares about Sophia right now...she's alive...she's dead....what is it, 9 episodes to search for a girl??? COME ON!!!!

As for the assheads moved, I view it as it's in his character of Dale to view and support the group's well being and he did what he knows Rick would support (in the comic, the relationship is developmed way more then in the TV show). Maybe that's what this was, maybe not done the best way but I view it as it was bold and good for him to approach (just because one person is the ''boss'' doesn't stop anyone else from being proactive, especially with the fact of having zombies in a barn and still ''hoping in jebus'' to save them).

It's the mid-season finale this weekend and i hope, hope we can all move on to better things because it's getting boring...really boring.

And this whole thing with the ''shtumping'' in the car, this has nothing to do with the comic so, not really liking it...SPOILERS: .....


Shane should die like he does in the book ASAP.

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