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New ‘Walking Dead’ Season Keeps Viewers Hungry

Before we dig into the sophomore year of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” let’s give ourselves a refresher on some of the most important points from season one.

The main character, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), has no idea that his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) had an affair with his best friend, Shane (Jon Bernthal), and there is a bit of an underlying opposition between the two. Even worse, Shane still wants to be with Lori.

Andrea (Laurie Holden), who at the beginning of season one lost her sister to the “walkers,” as the zombies are called, attempted to commit suicide by trying to stay behind at the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when it blew up, but she was rescued by Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), who was not ready for her to die. She holds some sort of resentment for Dale for saving her, and may still be suicidal.

Just before the CDC blew up, the sole scientist there, Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), told Rick something that was not revealed to the audience. We are supposed to find out what this inaudible whisper was this season.

Finally, Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) is still missing. Last season, in a heated argument between T-Dog (Irone Singleston) and himself, the group of survivors turned on him and chained Merle to a pipe on the roof of a building. Left for dead, he escaped, and we may see more of him this season.

Rick, who became somewhat a leader of the group in season one, struggles to keep himself from losing it as he and his motley crew of survivors push forward through this dreary world that they could have never imagined.

Now, with the guts of season one out of the way, let’s discuss the season two premiere titled “What Lies Ahead.”

The story picks up one day after the CDC explosion as our “heroes” continue onward after failing to find a cure for the zombie epidemic. Their next stop is Fort Benning, where they hope to meet some surviving members of the US Army.

Along the way, they encounter problems that no one wants to experience in a world filled with zombies. Their RV breaks down and are forced to find replacement parts on foot. Not only that, but now the zombies seemed to have developed a herd mentality, walking in large groups.

The excitement and hype the premiere for the second season of “The Walking Dead,” television’s first primetime series about survivors in a world of zombies, offered possibly one of the best episodes of the series to date. It displays what this show is truly capable of, and brings the characters from Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels to life. “What Lies Ahead” also allowed the more minor characters like Norman Reedus’ character, Daryl Dixon (Merle’s brother), to shine during a grisly Walker dissection.

Walking Dead 2The tension between characters was very high as they searched for Sophia Peletier (Madison Lintz), one of two kids in the group, who ran away from the group and into the woods after being chased by two walkers. 

It was at this point, you felt like the group might fall apart if they discovered the girl had been killed or worse, turned to one of the walking zombies. Each character was given enough of his or her own screen time in the episode to shine brightly enough to gain or lose our sympathy.

The story arcs for each character were so well proportioned that there was enough time to get a little bit for everyone in this special 90-minute premiere, sowing the seeds for future confrontations.

The great thing about this show is that no matter what happens between the characters, no matter what they experience, there is always the looming threat that one of them could die at any moment.

After the end of last season, it was announced that the shows creator, executive producer, and director Frank Darabont was releaved as “The Walking Dead” showrunner, despite the zombie show’s massive success with audiences.

Season two’s premiere was his final episode as showrunner, and from the looks of things, getting rid of Darabont may have been a complete mistake. Still, future episodes may change this opinion.

Be that as it may, concerns for his lack of involvement in the series may be diminished as the second season opener directs the series to bigger and better things. Hopefully, we can expect a greater story, more one-on-one time with the characters, and, most importantly, a longer season.

So far, ratings for the first season two episode were quite high.  According to EW.com, “Sunday’s season 2 premiere rolled up 7.3 million viewers. If you count the show’s repeat, that number climbs to 11 million.”

Thirteen episodes are slated for this season, which will run through November of this year.

“The Walking Dead” is on Sundays at 9:00 pm on AMC.

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