The barn full of zombies remains filled with zombies, Sophia remains missing, and the specter of getting kicked off the farm is still hovering over Rick’s head, but in the penultimate episode before the mid-season break, it feels like a lot is happening. Sure, it helps that there were two zombie encounters this week, one of which being a large scale set piece in a creepy, abandon suburb, but there was a lot of other moving parts to Secrets that made it work.
The titular secrets, were, of course, the big ones. For whatever reason, poor Glenn has been entrusted with all those secrets, and he is ill equipped to handle them. With Lori’s pregnancy, he is quite concerned about his knowing while Rick is ignorant, and this is indeed and awkward position to be in. I really like the way Glenn chooses to deal with this as well: he offers to help in any way he can, even accepting relatively dangerous missions into town to gather supplies, all the while bugging her to tell her husband. This seemed to really hit Glenn’s natural character rhythms well.
What also worked for me was his suddenly vomiting out both Lori’s pregnancy and the barn of the living dead to Dale, after minimal prompting. Glenn is doing his best juggling these issues, but he’s go no stomach for politics and the secrets that go along with them. So what does he do? He goes to the oldest, most centered member of the group and dumps the whole thing in his lap. Perhaps not the best way to handle the situation, but pretty much what I would expect him to do.
On the other hand, it seemed like there were far, far too many scenes of him walking around, hovering, and generally looking awkward and suspicious at the beginning of the episode. I get what they were doing, but the audience isn’t stupid; there was no need to lay it on so thick. Thankfully, that nonsense was kept to the first act.
Those secrets led to a number of confrontations, the best being the low simmering one between Dale and Hershel. I really liked this scene for one important reason: the whole time Dale was trying to look Hershel in the face, while Hershel lectured on and on while never once making eye contact with the other man. I thought this was really telling. Dale and Maggie’s scenes were fairly well done, although Maggie’s blowing up at Lori was a bit much, especially since she and Glenn would have had the whole way back to the farm to talk and hopefully decompress a bit. Of course that did also lead to a really nice scene with the two discussing Glenn’s role in the group and how much Maggie hated it. I was happy to see Glenn reinforcing that position just a little while later when he talked to Lori; again pushing her to talk to Rick.
Speaking of talking to Rick, that decision was taken out of her hands. After choking down a whole pile of Plan B, she realizes she can’t go through with it and runs off to vomit them all out. Rick, of course, wanders in and finds all the packaging just sitting there. So he confront Lori and out pops not only the pregnancy, but Lori’s affair with Shane. I have to say, I didn’t see that coming. Rick’s reaction to the latter was bizarre, but pretty much in character. I can’t say I’d be so calm, but I guess she was telling something that he already knew and had come to peace with.
The first half of their discussion, however, was about abortion. This is the second time the show had broached the subject, and this time much less obliquely. I don’t want to turn this into a political discussion, and I’m not going to go into my personal beliefs here, but I have to say I found it a bit unbelievable that Lori was the only one who was seriously weighing having a baby in this kind of world and figuring out whether that was something she could do, and something she could put on that baby, who didn’t have any choice in the situation.
And then there was Shane. This week he didn’t interact much with Rick, and stuck primarily with Dale and Andrea. It was nice seeing him break away from his normal pairings, especially given the standoff with Dale, which was the episode’s best moment. I also loved that the whole thing was triggered by the sexual tension between Andrea and Shane finally coming to a head. Yeah, Dale can claim he’s looking out for Andrea all day and night, but it’s always more interesting when there are ulterior motives behind his actions.
Secrets was a pretty solid episode, and a great lead in to the mid-season finale. There were some clunker moments, but on the whole it was a great hour of TV. The suburb full of zombies definitely helps.