The Walking Dead Season 2 finale, much like the season as a whole, was full of slow character-driven scenes scattered with occasional bouts of action. The good parts are very good, but the characters in this show, as I’ve said before, do a lot more talking than doing.
The final destruction of Hershel’s farm was vivid and entertaining, and the loss of a couple of extraneous characters made it impactful. The real season finale, however, was Episode 12, in which Shane meets his end, not this episode. This episode just sets the series up for its next season, by introducing two major new character subplots and hinting at the group’s destination from here out.
Andrea meets an awesome katana-wielding someone after being separated from the others who will clearly be somehow important in Season 3, and Lorrie’s disgusted response to Rick’s revelation that he killed Shane destroys whatever peace and stability we might have expected after Shane’s disruptive influence was removed. Rick also seems to be growing harder and more authoritarian, which should prove interesting. The last shot of the episode zooms out to show a prison, where the characters will presumably end up next season. I remember hearing that there was a prison involved in the graphic novel, so they’re clearly drawing from the source material, but it makes me nervous. The farm was in the comics too, but the show’s writers and producers took what should have been about six episodes worth of material and stretched it out to cover the entire second season. As good as parts of this season were, the fact that the group remained almost entirely stationary at one location meant that the plot dragged more often than it had to. Leading the characters into another holdfast, especially one as (presumably) defensible as a prison facility, portends more of the same. Will season 3 be 13 episodes of deep conversation while the characters watch zombies hurl themselves at the prison fence? They’d better come up with some compelling damn plot if they plan on leaving everyone in one place again for another season.
In all, while I enjoyed Season 2 quite a bit, I thought the pacing needed a jump start and the plot needed more substance.