The Walking Dead: “Pretty Much Dead Already”

The Walking Dead‘s mid-season finale brings conflicts to crumbling point—and leaves us with a development both shocking and expected.

Sometimes wisdom hides in a barn.

Title: “Pretty Much Dead Already”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michelle Maclaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple, from the graphic series by Robert Kirkman

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Steven Yeun as Glenn
Scott Wilson as Herschel Greene
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene
Norman Reedus as Darryl
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Melissa Suzanne McBride as Carol Peletier
Emily Kinney as Beth Green
Hane McNeill as Patricia
James Allen McCune as Jimmy
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.


Everyone learns the secret of the barn, Shane tries to Jack control of the group, and the searchers finally discover Sophie.

High Point

The episode brings to a convincing conclusion and, if many people had called Sophie’s return, it remains a good twist, played for maximum shock without seeming overly forced. The situation at the end should propel the narrative in the second half.

Low Points

While the cast consists of capable actors, the characters have often lacked nuance, and that hasn’t improved this season. I know humanity would be stripped pretty bare under these circumstances, but the show’s better moments remind us that even the depiction of people under pressure can be presented with greater subtlety than what we often see in this show.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The writers feel comfortable deviating from the graphic novels, and that often serves them best.

Effects: 5/6

Story: 5/6

Acting: 5/6 The quality of the acting continues to vary, though the script makes it very hard for the actors not to chow down on the furnishings. Jon Bernthal does a plausible job as a man on the edge of sanity. Some additional thoughts appear under “Low Points”

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 If the show had to divide the second season, they at least left us with one of its stronger episodes.

In total, “Pretty Much Dead Already” receives 33/42

2 replies on “The Walking Dead: “Pretty Much Dead Already””

  1. I think the emotional response and the production of this episode were off the scale.

    The final scene was AMAZING. The direction of it was impeccable. The move up from the shoes to show Sophia was very well done. The impact of that moment on the show was huge. I put this scenes impact in the same group as, the end of Severed Dreams on Babylon 5, the end of Exodus on BSG, and the end of Best of Both Worlds on TNG. Yeah, I thought is was THAT good. So good it belongs right there with the list of the 3 best episodes of any shows on television ever.

  2. I’ve been grumbling about this show more than praising it all season long, and for legitimate reasons. This ep has absolutely redeemed this show. At first I thought the high point of the show was Darryl calling Carol a stupid bitch. I’ve been wanting to say that all season, and I’m glad he did it for me. But then we went into turbo storytelling mode – the secret of the swamp, Rick buying into that to curry favor and even outright survival with Herschel, and then the AWESOME final reveal of the secret of the barn. And Rick stepping up to become the leader in the group once more, a changed man.

    Wow. I can forgive all the narrative flaws that led up to this point, a truly epic ending. I am pumped for February.

    Huh, even Hell on Wheels is getting better as it goes on.

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