The Walking Dead is finally drawing lines in the sand between characters, albeit with a “dialogue stick” that makes me want to bury myself in said sand. Do the writers have a vendetta against providing viewers with sustained levels of excitement? The few truly exciting moments come at the expense of sensible storytelling. It’s like The Killing, just with more sunshine and zombies.

“Secrets” is a fairly misleading episode title, as viewers already know them, and they’re revealed to those who were the reasons for hiding the knowledge in the first place, thus making them non-secrets. Yeah, I’m being a dick. Still, call the last episode “Secrets” instead of “Chupacabra.” Also, not everyone learns of these secrets, so more chatty information-reveals are inevitable in the future. Dale should invest in a megaphone to air out everyone’s dirty laundry at once.

For personal drama, the last scene is the most engaging. Rick confronts Lori about her pregnancy, resulting in a fairly intense argument. When all is calm and tempers have subsided, Lori confesses her and Shane’s carnal past, which Rick has already accepted as an unspoken truth. Andrew Lincoln delivered these lines of pitiable understanding as well as anyone could. Such a compliment from yours truly must come at a balanced cost, right? Absolutely.

(Let me first cop to having no exact assessment on Walking Dead’s passage of time, and nothing beyond a layman’s knowledge of the construct of time itself.)

Rick discovers Lori’s pregnancy by finding an emptied package of “Morning After” pills Lori had Glenn get from the pharmacy. It’s a fine way of saying the pregnancy is unwanted without directly stating it, if we hadn’t gleaned this information a thousand times already. However, should we assume the writers believe people in high-stress situations don’t understand how medicine works? Will characters take Pepto Bismol for earaches next week? Sure, Lori admits to not knowing if the pills will work, eventually regurgitating them before they’re fully digested, but she doesn’t explain why she didn’t adamantly ditch this idea to begin with. She doesn’t even take them in the morning; she does it at night, covering that remaining sliver of logic in face-spit. If she doesn’t want this baby, someone in the Greene family has to have a wire hanger she could have. It better fits the show’s aesthetic anyway.

Was I wrong in thinking the Barn, the farm plotline’s single redeeming factor, should have been a major issue here? In the opening, Patricia feeds the barn zombies live chickens. (Patricia breaking the chickens’ legs first is perhaps the smartest moment in this whole series.) Otherwise, people just talk about it. Surprise, surprise. Maggie won’t give Glenn any real explanations, and he eventually blabs to Dale. Dale then has a one-on-one with Hershel, who refuses to kill these zombies, which include his wife and step-son, because he believes there is still humanity in them. A well-rounded conversation, but a subdued reveal for such an important justification. (By “subdued,” I mean “fucking lame.”) Though an ignorant belief, it’s still valid, and will no doubt be undermined by Rick and the Gang, leading to a much-needed standoff. At present rate, this will probably happen in the eighth season.

In other news, there are lovers and fighters to discuss.. The fighters here are Maggie and Glenn. Due to Hershel’s incessant reprimanding, and her insistence that the group uses Glenn as risk-taking zombie bait, she explodes on Glenn and Lori. Granted, this second pharmacy trip resulted in a close call with a zombie, which keeps coming even after Glenn has gloriously lopped most of its head from its neck. Regardless, how are these two already in “squabbling couple” territory? If Glenn thought all the women on the farm were on their period last week…

The aforementioned lovers are Shane and Andrea, surprisingly enough. After the necessary “Gun Practice Scene” has Andrea really coming into her own as a shooter of bottles and signs on a fence, Shane asks her to join him in the necessary “Search for Sophie” scene. This search has apparently far exceeded Rick’s original grid, as Shane now drives miles away to begin the hunt. After a creepy scene where they find burned up corpses behind walled-off hallway in an abandoned house, Shane and Andrea are soon swarmed by zombies. This results in Andrea’s “Jill Valentine” transformation into a headshot-blasting zombie killer. And all she needed was three hundred instances of Shane believing in her. When she gives him googly-eyes on the drive back, he stops the vehicle and they get it on. Because a fruitless search for a missing child ending in zombie carnage is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

This arguably ridiculous set-up leads to a tense conversation between Shane and all-knowing Dale, who could just smell the sex coming off of them. His protective nature/jealousy flares, and he advises Shane that departing the group is in his best interest. Shane defends himself with his part in Carl’s gunshot survival, and Dale throws out suspicions that Otto’s death may not have been so innocent. Finally, someone besides Lori’s flip-flopping ass calls Shane on his bullshit. Dale’s lack of personality traits, beyond being the wise sage who gets in everyone’s business, makes him an unpredictable foe in my book, and could be as interesting as Shane’s violent selfishness. Could be.

Speaking of Carl, there’s one more instance of an enticing scene spun from pure bullshit. It doesn’t involve Lori being pissed off that Carl is secretly keeping a gun in his pants. This should make you say, “Surely this isn’t involved because Carl is still in bed after his days-long near-coma from being shot, right?” Wrong. He frolics around in a manner much unlike one whose bullet wound was operated on by a veterinarian. Whatever. I’ll accept it. Carl’s health means the group should soon be leaving the farm and going to Fort Benning, as the passionless Hershel relates to a dumbfounded Lori. Okay, so maybe this whole standoff thing will happen as early as the sixth season.

As happy as I am with the amount and progression of conflicts here, I still think of this show as an audio book with occasional moving pictures. So much blabber. And I never would have thought I’d say this, but tonight also suffered from a lack of Daryl, whose only scene had Andrea giving him a book to read while he heals. (To which he jokingly asks, “No pictures?” which may have subconsciously led to this paragraph’s opening sentence.) My homework assignment this week is to strip away my expectations for next week by inhaling whatever cleaning supplies I have around the house.

Brain Storming

Glenn thinks a nice pillow is essential for all pregnant women. Expecting fathers, take note.

Andrea boffs Shane even though he pissed her off by using her dead sister to fuel her gun-practicing fury. Girls always go for the homicidal bad guys. Non-homicidal good guys and Glenn, take note.

Yes, I understand that “morning after” isn’t a concrete time-frame either, and that it can work if taken over the next several days, not necessarily in the morning. Sometimes I think I’m funny. And how funny was it that Glenn didn’t have to actually know any medicinal brand names for the pill, as it came in a happily-marked packet.
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If you think Glenn might know juicy gossip, watch for him to look at something in an utterly puppy-eyed manner. His drawn out gaze from Rick to Lori to the barn was insanely obvious and grade-schoolish. Just like Glenn!

When Andrea tells Shane, “You decided not to leave us. What changed your mind?” before slyly walking away before he can answer, it was the first of many moments reminding me how much I hate Laurie Holden’s performance as Andrea.

I may be wrong about this, as I can’t currently re-watch, but when the zombies came after Shane and Andrea, didn’t they get into the room from underneath a garage door or something like that? This was still in the walled-off part of the house, wasn’t it? If not, my apologies. But if so, I’m far from shocked.

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