Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus)… (Gene Page/AMC )
Finally, and I mean finally! Sunday night's installment of "The Walking Dead" was the midseason finale, and it took almost 50 minutes into the episode, titled "Pretty Much Dead Already," to get there, but we finally got some of the satisfaction that we were waiting for.
Up until that last ten minutes, though, I was starting to worry that we were in for another cliffhanger where the characters are standing around with concerned looks on their faces and their hands on their hips, wondering if they'll find Sophia and if Hershel will let them stay on his cool farm.
I mean, last week's episode made it seem like we were really getting somewhere, but when you think about it, all that was happening was characters learning new information that wasn't new to us. So Lori's like, "Oh, Hershel wants us out of here? That's weird." and Rick's like "You're pregnant? O I C." and we're like "Can something new happen please?" It was like opening a present and finding a toy that you got for Christmas two years ago wrapped up in a new box.
Well, this week we got a few new presents.
*Standard warning: If you haven't seen the episode yet and don't want it ruined for you, you came to the wrong place, because I'm about to do some ruining.*
In a span of about five minutes, Shane ended weeks of tension by busting open the barn with some big Gold Rush prospector's pickaxe, a gaggle of geeks come rambling out to meet their fates head-on and we finally figured out what happened to Sophia, or at least where she ended up. (Hint: She was in the barn.)
The scene was actually really striking, as she walks through all of the fallen walkers, wearing her bright shirt emblazoned with a cartoon rainbow and her sporty Old Navy cargo Capris.
For a second I thought she was still all good, kind of like when Daryl came back from his vision quest and was all beat up. I thought she was going to be like, "I was scared so I hid out in that barn all this time with all those monsters in there. I was sleeping in the hay that Glenn and Maggie were going to bump uglies in and eating Naked Tenders from the gimpy chickens that Patricia was wheel-barrowing in here."
But maybe, like Daryl, I was holding out hope beyond all doubts. Sophia was a walker, and Rick — whose leadership qualities were being seriously questioned by alpha gorilla Shane — stepped up to the plate and was like "Step back, y'all, I gots this," and then blammo.
Rick is still the head honcho of this group of banditos, at least for another few months.
Aside from all that, a bunch of characters had good standoffs: Dale and Shane, Daryl and Shane, Shane and Lori, Shane and Rick, Rick and Hershel, Hershel and Maggie, Glenn and Maggie, Carol and Daryl and so forth. And then Maggie and Glenn had another hot make-out session.
Here are a few of the highlights from those shouting matches:
Shane, to Daryl: "All methed out with your geek ears round your neck and your buck knife, she'd probably go running in the other direction if she saw you coming!"
Rick, to Hershel: "My wife's pregnant, that's either a gift here or a death sentence out there."
Shane, to Lori: "You and I carried on quite a bit."
Shane, to Dale: "When you really look at it in the cold light of day, you pretty much dead already!"
Glenn, to Maggie: "I'm sick of secrets, secrets get you killed!"
Maggie, to Glenn: "You look like you should be in line for the early bird special!"
Programming note: "The Walking Dead" is going on a 10-week midseason break, but I'll see everyone on the other side. Also, as a little holiday treat, be sure to check back next week for "The Walking Dead" midseason extravaganza where I'll run down the best and worst moments of the first seven episodes of the second season! It'll make your flesh crawl!
Most shocking and disturbing revelation
Dale has only one Gilligan hat. If that is the kind of world that it's become, where a man can only have one Gilligan hat to protect his bald pate, well then, maybe I just don't want to live in that world anymore...
Most immature practical joke
Maggie, pulling the old egg in the hat bit on Glenn. Come on Maggie, grow up. What's next? You're going to go into the bathroom, wad up a bunch of wet toilet paper and chuck it at the ceiling? Or maybe trick Glenn into doing an atomic sit up? Actually, he'd probably like that if Maggie was the atomic part, and not someone like T-Dog or Dale.
Hershel, while eating his canned peaches and reading the good book. He's breathing in and out of his nostrils all loud like he's been running a 5k or something. Jeez, Hersh, slow it down, this isn't the Golden Corral!