Unnecessary, but if I don't do it then someone will inevitably bitch, spoiler warning.
Wow, that is how you cap off a season full of zombies. You completely destroy the main setting of the past season, while unleashing a raving horde of zombies, then reveal a cool new character, and then leave a whole lot of tantalizing teasers for next season. Oh yes, there is definitely teasers. Will the group split up, just like I've been constantly guessing over and over, and continually been wrong about for the last two seasons? Once they finally find that enormous fortress, will they find people there and will those people be all huggy and lovey? Will Andrea get her own armless zombies for pets? And is that mysterious hooded figure destined to be the next coolest character in all of TV? Can Lori possibly get more annoying and unlikable? Who is flying that damn helicopter? Why did the zombies all migrate to the farm? When the heck did Herschel become so bad ass?
I felt it was a rather satisfying conclusion to what I felt was bit of a hit or miss season. I wonder if the show would be better suited to only about 6 episodes a season. The first season was fantastic, but it was also incredibly short. They extended this season to 13 episodes, and it had some moments of brilliance, but it also has sometimes it dragged. The first half that consisted of the search for Sophie was really strong, but then I felt the second half started to drag until they got to the Dale's death episode. Then they amped up the action and emotion, and finally caused for some chaos and panic to overcome the farm. The final Shane and Rick confrontation was intense, and it led to a pretty action packed (and bloody) finale. The standoff at the farm gave me everything I could have expected, and the torched barn was a rather fitting end to that place. Now, the group is full of tension now, and there is an appropriate amount of danger and panic since they lost their place of comfort. There is a lot of potential for an awesome third season.
The Andrea and stranger story arc should be an interesting one. Did the hooded stranger come from the fortress? Or is she a nomad? Will Andrea carry any bitterness when she finds out her tribe has abandoned her? Actually, she may not be too happy to find out her last ally, Shane, is worm food, either.
Though I loved the big zombie showdown and I love the potential for next season, there was a few glaring flaws in the finale. The kid who played Carl shouldn't be in put in spots to convey intense emotion, but rather just be left firing his gun and baiting zombies. His big scene was pretty weak, and it caused me and Emily to laugh rather then get caught up in the moment -- like we were supposed to. I also still haven't figured out if Lori is really supposed to be such a punchable character, or if the writers are just missing the mark with her. She pushes Rick to take out Shane, and then totally works up Shane into a fervour (playing both sides), but she is upset that Rick was forced to kill him? How clueless can she be? I also felt the final Rick monologue was a little forced, and it didn't have the impact that I think was supposed to be there. I actually felt he was being a little annoying and irrational, and not sure why he chose that moment to drop the bomb that he killed his best friend.
I honestly, did love the finale. It gave me what I wanted, and has me stoked for next season. I am assuming it won't come around until Halloween again. What a painful wait for the awesome that should be brewing.
Oh wait. . .
I also love that they finally revealed the big cliff-hanger left from the first season finale. I totally forgot that Jenner whispered something in Rick's ear. It was cool to be reminded of that, and finally get the big payoff. I think, it would be pretty believable that Rick wouldn't reveal that information right away, but also understand why the group was a little upset he withheld it. It is now clear that the "walker" epidemic is some type of viral spread, and all survivors are carrying the disease. That was a pretty cool twist, and one I expected, but I liked it just the same.
I'm looking forward to season 3, and it looks like we'll have a bit more action packed season. This one capped off in a great way, and reminded me how great this show can be when it is hitting the right groove. I also like the fact I have no idea where things are going, because I never read the comic. Though I hear it is going on a fairly different path. All I can guess, is a lot of the season will be stationed in the fortress, the hooded figure will be a major player, the group will continue to bicker, and zombies will be out for some of that sweet flesh.
What did you think about the finale or the second season?