The Walking Dead "Secrets" - TV Review


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In which Andrea gets a grip on the situation


Writer: Angela Kang
Director: David Boyd

THE ONE WHERE Glenn lets the cat out of the bag about Lori’s pregnancy and the zombies in the barn, and Lori tells Rick about her fling with Shane.

VERDICT Another episode which downplays action (Shane and Andrea’s tip to the zombie-infested housing development seems like a particularly token effort in that direction) in favour of focusing on group dynamics and character. Fortunately, the fact that so many secrets are bubbling to the surface combines with some outstanding performances to prevent things ever getting too dreary - in particular, Jon Bernthal is downright chilling during Shane’s confrontation with Dale. It also helps that the tedious search-for-Sophia subplot is put on the back-boiler.

Lori’s dilemma over whether to abort her unborn child is interesting too, although there’s a feeling that we’re retreading old ground at times, given that the Grimes discussed whether this is a world fit for children a couple of episodes back. It makes sense to lay the foundations for her decision, but sometimes it’s more effective when things come out of leftfield - like when Andrea suddenly grabs Shane’s cock! Either that guy has some remarkably powerful pheromones, or shooting zombies in the head is more arousing than you’d think…

If anything disappoints about the episode, it’s the calmness with which Rick receives Lori’s confession of infidelity; that particular firework just fizzles out after the blue touchpaper is lit. But of course, there’s plenty of time for that subplot to explode further down the line.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES Angela Kang is the first female writer to script an episode of The Walking Dead , and “Secrets” is an excellent showcase for both Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) and Laurie Holden (Andrea). Anyone who criticised the first season on the grounds of sexism must be satisfied to see Andrea blossoming into a crack shooter – and, perhaps, wondering whether they leapt to judgement too soon? It’s impossible to know for certain whether this was always the plan, but it seems likely given that Andrea complained about the division of labour along stereotyped gender lines early on, and the issue of who gets the weapons has certainly been handled with logic and consistency. The no-nonsense sexual directness of both Maggie and now Andrea is also rather refreshing: these women know what they want, and take it. You’d certainly be hard-pressed to argue that season two is lacking in strong female characters.

NITPICKS For the second time, our heroes treat a trip to the pharmacy like it’s a stroll to the shops. This time they’re disabused of the illusion that it’s safe, but still: wouldn’t it make better sense to bring back all the drugs they can carry, rather than just a small bag? Will they be nipping back in a couple of weeks time, once Lori’s run out of conditioner?

BEST LINE Lori to Dale: “Look me in the eye and tell me that my baby will grow up to be your age and die happy.”

Ian Berriman

Read all our Walking Dead season two reviews .

The Walking Dead airs in the UK on Friday nights at 10.00pm on FX.

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Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.