A Little Introduction
This one is coming a bit late, but after two weeks of digesting the season finale it’s time to break down all of the episode’s intricacies. The episode really deals with the growth of each character set amongst the backdrop of the herd’s rampage. Each character has their own arc to complete, and this “Beside the Dying Fire” finally allows them to do that.
Daryl had transformed from an outsider only content when he’s at odds with others into a valuable member of the group. Though his journey this season (especially the death of Sophia), made him begin to detach once again, his rescue of Carol at the end of the herd ordeal has proven that he’s ready to step up and work with the others.
Going into season three, it’s safe to assume that Daryl will fill Shane’s roll as Rick’s second-in-command. He seems to have a newfound respect for the ex-cop, and the two seem to have a solid sense of teamwork with one another.
Glenn has travelled his own path this season, falling in and out of love and learning to let go of his fears. By confessing his love to Maggie, Glenn has finally stepped up emotionally and stopped fearing the possible death that could leave her devastated.
Glenn not only admitted his feelings, but got in touch with his inner badass, killing plenty of walkers in a moving vehicle with a shotgun. Impeccable aim, young Padawan.
Glenn and Maggie will certainly go into season three with new focus. Hopefully they can find an important place in the group and bring back the morality that Dale died with.
As a man once stuck in his beliefs, Hershel has grown a lot over the course of season two. Not only has he let go of his views on walkers, but he managed to let go of his farm. It took plenty of bullets and one hell of a close call, but he has finally moved on. He also let Maggie move on, both with Glenn and in her own connection to the farm.
Hershel seems to have decided that Rick should be in charge. He wants no place in decision making anymore, feeling that he has enough blood on his hands already. If there is any divide about Rick’s leadership, Hershel will most definitely take his side.
Andrea has gone from suicidal victim to brash fighter during the events of season two. It took her a while to find the middle ground between both extremes, but she seems to have found it. Andrea has quite simply become a badass, capable of surviving without losing touch of her humanity.
With this new lease on life, Andrea will undoubtedly become one of the most valuable members of the group. Her skills behind the barrel of a gun and her newfound resolve should prove crucial to their survival.
Perhaps the most changed member of the group id it’s leader. Rick has undergone a transformation from doubt-filled would be leader to smart, calculating dictator. His new stance on how things should be run may cause some concern amongst the others, but this new Rick is probably the leader they need in this world.
Rick is sure to continue his shift as the story evolves, becoming a better leader and a harsher judge. This Rick isn’t playing games anymore, and that could mean drastic changes for the future of the survivors.
Beside the Dying Fire
This finale succeeded in furthering the story, ending major plot threads and setting the stage for things to come.
Much like the characters on the show, the show’s writing staff has undergone a major transformation. Seemingly useless characters have been killed off (here’s looking at you Jimmy), the dangling plots have been closed (the whisper) and we’ve been treated to some glimpses at future aspects of next season.
Seeing both the hooded figure (who viewers are sure to love) and the prison at the end of the episode have given me hope that the show is moving in the right direction. It seems that sources of the doubts and complaints facing the show have been systematically wiped clean with this episode, paving the way for a better show next season.
Now, if T-Dog can just find something to do.
Will Gibbs is a Michigan native and journalism student at Oakland University. He is a long time Walking Dead fan and self proclaimed "zombie survival expert." When he's not writing, Will enjoys watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books.