The snowclone for today's blog entry is "When X learns that Y." All set? Here we go. Spoilers. . .
1. When Andrea learns that Daryl has no hard feelings about her shooting him, it's another sign that Daryl is more complicated and principled than we give him credit for. That's about it in this episode for Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl. Both the character and the actor probably need a rest.
2. When Dale learns that Hershel has been keeping zombies in the barn, kindly Dale attempts to reason with the increasingly cranky Hershel, only to be rebuffed. We're not murderers, says Hershel, and those are people in the barn. Yeah, right.
4. When Carl learns that his parents will let him learn to shoot, he shoots the shit out of a bunch of stuff.
5. When Andrea learns that she can shoot a gun pretty well, Shane decides to increase the difficulty of her training, and when she starts to lose her composure in trying to hit a moving target, Shane yells at her. Not cool.
6. When Lori learns that Hershel expects the RV Gang to hit the road once Carl and Daryl are fully healed, she's not happy that Rick's been keeping that little logistical detail from her.
7. When Shane learns that Andrea wants to have sex, they have sex. In the car. Parked in the middle of the road. Very cool.
9. When Lori learns that Rick has known about her affair with Shane, she's more confused than apologetic.
10. When Dale learns that Andrea likes hanging around Shane, he confronts Shane about it, only to have Shane threaten to kill old man Dale if he presses the matter.
While "Secrets" is not the kind of mid-season cliffhanger we might expect from a series with zombies, the plot threads that have been playing out from the start of the season are nicely tangled halfway along here. Shane, who's role in the comics had been extinguished by this point in the Hershel's farm storyline, now becomes as essential to the plot as Rick. Shane loves Rick's family, and would do anything to help the people he cares about, and how he's developed a meaningful bond with Andrea. Dale, whose passive-aggressive, cards-close-to-the-chest approach has worked until now, is quickly being pushed aside by the younger, more aggressive characters. Andrea has made a play to become a survivor. Lori's general avoidance of hard choices has caught up with her. Glenn and Maggie are clearly going to be asserting themselves more in the general mix of things, as Maggie' confidence will bolster Glenn's developing skills as a leader. Rick's got plenty to deal with in terms of Lori, and Shane -- and there's a looming conflict with Hershel's folks that still has to begin playing out in the second half of the season.
So, while there wasn't much zombie-killing this week, there was a real sense of movement in the characters, particularly internally. If characters best reveal themselves by the decisions they made when faced with challenging situations, "Secrets" laid bare the thinking of most of the RV Gang. As others have said, for the show to succeed in the long term, The Walking Dead needs to be about more than Rick. And, in a way that avoids gimmicks like "Last Week on The Walking Dead" and, for the most part, Lost-style flashbacks, the creative team have found a way to move the show from being about one character to being about a dozen -- in the space of six episodes.
With a closing shot of Lori and Rick standing in the middle of the road, at an impasse in their conversation, it seems that TWD is primed for a great many reactions from the cast of characters, probably in the additional context of Hershel's barn causing more and more problems. Next week, we'll reach a stopping point of sorts with the episode "Pretty Much Dead Already," as the series goes on a two month hiatus. Hold on to your hats and pass the ammo. After that, no new episodes until February 12 of next year.
Zombie Kill of the Week: Glenn, with shelving.
Zombie Quotient - from 1 (none) to 10 (major herd): 4