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Posted at 11:43 PM ET, 03/18/2012

The ‘Walking Dead’ finale: Ridin’ in cars, shootin’ at zombies and getting a glimpse of Michonne

A weekly recap of (almost) every gory detail in the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.”


Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) and co. on the next chapter of their zombie-pocalypse journey on “Walking Dead.” (Gene Page/AMC)

The season finale of “Walking Dead” combined elements from a George Romero film, a summer action flick and “Gone With the Wind.”

There were car chases, zombies, tons of zombie killings and a beloved Georgia barn going up in flames. (Tara! Tara is burning! As God is my witness, I’ll never let hungry zombies eat me again!)

Aside from all the ridin’ around in vehicles and popping caps into walkers’ heads, this episode — dubbed “Beside the Dying Fire” — raised some important questions about the zombie-pocalypse narrative. Let’s handle some here, with the caveat that there will be more questions raised and (hopefully) answered during a live “Walking Dead” discussion today at 1 p.m. ET. In addition to posting comments about tonight’s finale below, we encourage you to bring your pressing concerns to the live chat as well.

Why did the zombies in the city start migrating toward the country, and Hershel’s farm, just because of that helicopter?

In the beginning of this episode, a number of walkers were happily enjoying a flesh feast in Atlanta when a helicopter showed up, prompting all of them to start heading in the direction of that chopper. The migration eventually took the walkers to Hershel’s farm. (Estimated time required for this zombie migration to occur given how bleeding slow those things walk: half of season one and nearly all of season two.)

Why did the zombies decide to take a road trip (or road limp-along)? The helicopter may have been a sign that more people could be found wherever it was heading. Another option: it was serving as a very specific walker signal, leading them to a place where it wanted them to converge. Who could be piloting such a helicopter? Could it be a government official who wants to bring the walkers to the farm? Merle? The Governor? Only season three will definitively tell us.

Was there something ironic about the fact that Rick and Carl had to lock themselves in the same barn where the zombies were once held captive, while a bunch of zombies tried to get inside?

Yes. There was something ironic about that.

Does Lori Grimes ever know where her son is?

Rarely. To be fair though, in this episode, Carl had left the house late at night under intentionally secretive circumstances. So it’s kind of understandable that when Zombie Infestation 2.0 began, she couldn’t find him. Perhaps when things calm down, they can come up with a more reliable check-in system that allows them to be more cognizant of each other’s whereabouts. May I suggest leaving notes for one another on a dry-erase board?

Was Rick’s advice to Carl the second best dad talk he’s ever had with his son?

Obviously the best was the one from last week, in which he told his kid to prepare for his parents’ deaths because the world has basically gone to hell. This week he almost trumped that by giving Carl a lighter to distract some zombies, then reminding his only son that he loves him. “I love you, son. Now go up into that hayloft and play with a lighter.” Fine, he didn’t say that literally. But that was basically the message. And for the record, the fire-as-distraction method worked, at least in part.

What was a better moment: Daryl and Carol as Easy Rider stars or Hershel’s Christ quote?


They like smokin’ lightning, as well as heavy metal thunder. (Gene Page/AMC)

I loved that Daryl heroically picked up Carol on his motorcycle and zoomed off as if they were embarking upon on the sickest cross-country journey ever, as opposed to running away from a bunch of nasty, moaning-and-groaning freaks. But I have to say that Hershel’s comment about Jesus’s relationship to the zombie epidemic may have been even better.

“Christ promised a resurrection of the dead,” the Bible-reading Hershel said, straight-faced. “I just thought he had something a little different in mind.” Speaking of Jesus and zombies, will there ever be a special holiday episode of “Walking Dead”? Because I’d love to see all the walkers and the survivors come together in the spirit of the season and sing, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Just a suggestion for next season.

Rick confirmed what most suspected after last week’s Shane zombie-fication: everyone is already infected with the walker virus. Should people have seemed more upset about this?

There was a definite sense of shock among the group, but Carol and Glenn seemed more concerned that Rick never mentioned that Jenner — you remember Jenner, he worked at the CDC and was Truman’s best friend in “The Truman Show” — revealed that everyone has zombie disease way back in the season one finale. Rick told everyone calmly, which is probably not the way I would have gone about it. (“Guys, we’re all basically zombies-in-waiting, dressed up like real people. It’s like reverse Halloween. Reverse Halloween, I said! Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!”)

Why Rick kept this information from the group seems like it should be less of a concern than realizing that infected zombie blood is coursing through your veins. But that’s me.

Who is the ninja?

Ah, excellent question. As confirmed by executive producer Robert Kirkman on tonight’s episode, the hooded woman who saved Andrea toward the end is the comic fan favorite Michonne. She’ll be a regular part of season three and will be played by actress Danai Gurira.

Has Rick lost it?

He boldly announced that “this is no longer a democracy” and suggested that anyone who doesn’t want to do things his way can hit the highway. Of course, the highway is littered with corpses and preppy zombies traipsing along creepily in argyle sweaters. So no one seemed too jazzed about the highway proposition. But I think it’s clear that, just as Shane became a changed man after killing Otis, Rick is beginning to transform into a darker human being after putting an end to Shane’s life.

Why was Lori mad at Rick regarding Shane’s death?

Seriously, what was Lady Macbeth’s problem? She previously implied that she wanted Rick to minimize Shane’s presence in their lives. But honestly, we all know Lori loved Shane — maybe not as much or in the same way as her husband. but there was definite love there. And he’s the potential father of her baby. It’s understandable that his loss would be so upsetting to her. But I think what made her most angry was the fact that Rick allowed Carl to shoot Shane. Hoo boy — just wait until she finds out that kid was playing with fire in the hay loft.

What’s up with that building we saw at the very end of the episode?

It appeared to be the Prison, a key setting from the comic and likely a key setting for season three of “Walking Dead,” which won’t begin again until the fall.

How did you feel about season two of “Walking Dead”? Are you still eager to find out what happens next? Did you grow fatigued of the many trips to town and repetitive moral arguments that arose this season? Have you found a summer camp for Carl Grimes to attend so that he spends his time during hiatus doing something productive? If the answer to that last question is yes, please make sure his mother knows he’s enrolled.

Again, any and all comments are welcome. And I hope to hear from you during the chat at 1 p.m. ET.

By  |  11:43 PM ET, 03/18/2012

Tags:  Walking Dead

 
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