Catching Up with The Walking Dead

Photo © 2011 ZSC, LLC

Season two of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” kicked off with a groan, lurch, and the bang that made viewers jump off their couches. For a show that went through more than a few growing pains during filming of the current season, TWD creators are proving that despite the changes, they are still striving to deliver one of the best-made programs on television. And the proof isn’t in backroom antics; the numbers for the season premiere alone are amazing–7.3 million viewers tuned in to catch the flesh-munching goodness, shattering previous records for a basic cable TV show.

The first episode was light on the bloodshed, but heavy on character focus. We got a serious look at the women who provide the backbone of the survivors. You’ve got the widow finally finding her footing in life after the death of her abusive husband. There’s the woman who has lost everything and everyone she loves and wants nothing more than a way out. And, of course, we have the once-thought widow who is reunited with her husband, but not until after sleeping with his best friend.

There’s a saying, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.” We were shown in season one that the women handle more than their share of the work in camp. Since leaving the camp, that work has translated to emotional support, and basically the three have become a collective “mommy”–a mommy with a gun and short temper, apparently. The best thing the creators did with that first episode was hit the women where it hurt–their children. One child goes missing in the middle of a zombie attack, and the other…well, remember that bang mentioned before? It wasn’t a happy moment for our survivors.

Episode two carried on with the deep look at the women in camp. Almost instantly, Laurie knew something was wrong. It’s always been a little creepy when a mother does that; how despite distance, she knows her family is in danger. Too many times it has happened in real life to be simply a story mechanism. This story line is really putting the focus on Laurie and when she tells Rick his place is by her side with their son, you knew he’d sit, stay, and do what she wanted.

We’re also introduced to a new group of survivors out on the farm. You don’t take notice of their women until after the men have all taken off to do what men do, risk their necks without a solid plan. But when Maggie decides to make her presence felt, it is a solid blow that snags your attention. As we put it while discussing the episode, Maggie is the face of girl power in The Walking Dead, no doubt.

On this show, the women are a symbol of hope, while the men try to be realists…to a fault. Survivors of any disaster need hope in order to keep putting one foot in front of another. Without it, they’d be like the corpses in the cars on the freeway, laying there waiting for a slow death. Now we just have to wait and see if that hope can survive the horrific situations thrown their way by fate.