I have to admit, I think I'll be hard-pressed into watching a second season. It started out with potential but the storyline would hit a wall every time it started to move forward. Most notably with the episode "Vatos". On a mission to recover the guns Ricked dropped and find Merle they meet up with a handful of gangbangers, decked out in wife beaters and driving a lowrider, no less. The storyline pauses here to give a morality play from the leader of the Vatos. As it turns out they really are a bunch of nurses, caring for the elderly.
And with a low point like that, it takes some time to gather up enough steam to move the storyline ahead.
***As always, something something spoilers something ***
It starts out with a flashback to Shane trying to cart comatose Rick out of the hospital when everything is starting to go to hell in a handbasket. They didn't make this clear if but it appeared if the military was shooting hospital staff. Not sure if they were infected and waiting to turn into zombies or not. It was never specified. Soon after the culling, the door behind them opens up and full blown zombies attack the troops. Shane takes this time to wedge a stretcher in front of Rick's door and leaves the building.
Back to present time: They made it to the CDC and Dr. Jenner, the lone scientist still inside, lets them in.
At last, safe behind fortified walls with food and warm water, they let their guard down for the night to get drunk. Dr. Jenner kept a safe distance from everyone.
Shane in a drunken stupor confronts Lori about their past while Rick was in his coma, she scratches him in an effort to get away. The struggle went rather uncomfortably long which makes me beg the question: Why don't movies show women kneeing a guy in his nuts in that kind of situation? He was close enough to her and wasn't blocking anything. For her, it would have saved a good five seconds of dignity. For him, a harsh reminder he wasn't invincible and maybe his dinner. It's an issue still hanging in the air if Rick ever becomes observant enough.
After a breakfast of powdered eggs, the Doc answers a series of questions and showed them video of 'Test subject 19' (TS-19, name of the episode) as the person turned into a zombie.
Who happened to have been his wife.
Jenner didn't turn out to be a Dr. Mengele as speculated. Only someone who has finally hit bottom. Figuratively and literally as the survivors find out they have about an hour left in the emergency generators because the 55 gallon drums of diesel fuel are empty. Then the automated facility will detonate a fuel air bomb underground in order to destroy all the nasty little viruses the CDC contains.
The Doc gives out his exposition about the end times and how humanity will be gone (With the obligatory swipe at fossil fuels. Calling it stupid *sigh*). He locks everyone inside so they can go with him in a blaze of glory. Numerous threats later, Rick talks him into letting those who want to leave, leave.
The core group leaves, save for one. Jacqui (The older black lady) gives up and stays behind to go out with the flash and the bang.
And the season ends with the group driving off, leaving the smoking rubble that was the CDC behind. Not too bad of an ending.
It did answer the question of 'What about the CDC?'. It's a sink hole, so any hope of some government scientist brewing up some sort of inoculation to the dead is gone. But really, any hope should of that should have died at the thought of 'government scientist'.
They finally did get to story movement with this episode. With a series or movie like this, it needs to go one of two ways. Either a guns and explosion route where they kill zombies. Or have the zombies play more in the background with the human element at odds with each other. Which is what made 28 Days Later a good movie. The suspense wasn't with the Rage Virus but with the military squad who took over the house.
The writers need to study movies like that or even Key Largo, where the hurricane-- a force to be reckoned with on it's own-- plays second fiddle to Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson.
The hand grenade finally makes it's reappearance. Why Rick forgot about it, I don't know. I think it's fair to say that most people would remember a thing like that.
There is still a chance but so far, it's been 'General Hospital with Zombies'. It can be so much more. I'm hoping next season will be but not betting anything on it.