OK, I went home sick from work today, and I binge-watched all four episodes in about three hours or so. In my defense I am running a fever.
But based on the negative comments here, I watched with a notebook and pencil determined to mine a few nuggets of positive impressions out of the episodes. Again: fever.
S02E01 almost disabused me of the entire project. Sweet Zombie Jesus but that was a terrible episode with almost nothing to recommend it whatsoever. I think it was Tom that noted the change from serene oceanfront idyll to Normandy Beach in (apparently) the time it took for the sun to set. And who the hell was it that decided to take two trips to get to the boat, anyway? Ugh.
But was there NOTHING positive about the episode? Well, Travis got punched in the face... that's pretty good. I also liked the first time that Wistful Girl listened to the radio and heard nothing but horrible cries for help. Too bad it got ruined by the obvious honeypot and that completely terrible apology from the Coast Guard.
S02E02 was a lot better. I kind of liked the whole thing with the nutcase ranger realizing that eventually the zombies from the town were going to find and overrun them.
Beyond that, the prologue/tease with the two kids playing on the beach had one really good shot: one zombie is ambling towards the children and -abruptly- a second zombie stands up in the surf. I thought that was really effective in showing that the undead were constantly coming in from the waves and pretty creepy to boot.
The exposition by the ranger nicely outlined how bad things were on the mainland... though the constant air-strikes would tend to indicate that the military has a pretty good command of the West Coast airbases. I also appreciated him citing Travis' ethnicity, because I had been wondering. Finally, I loved Strand's line about the little boy: "Put him back where you found him!" Like he was a snail one of his kids had brought into the house.
S02E03 was pretty much back to the bad though. I know very little about boats, but I DO know that if you have a water-intake for an impeller engine, there is a grate too small to get your arm sucked into placed over it.
But I thought the shot with the sand blowing over the dunes as Papa Salazar stalked forward to look for Moody Boy was great. I'm glad they saw the beauty in that event and grabbed it.
Oh, another negative: the crab-zombie. TWD hasn't been spectacular about rules, but for the most part we haven't seen any living creatures feeding on the zombies other than a shot or two of maggots that I'm pretty sure were just thrown in for gross-out purposes. If crabs and other sea-life feed on the undead, then the entire event would pretty much be over within two months. Cool CGI though.
S02E04 was a pretty good ride. I'm glad they didn't wrap it up too cleanly in the end, and for the most part the main characters didn't actually bathe in stupid. Sure, Travis' clever plot would only fool a cartoonishly evil villain. And yeah, Luis is a better sharp-shooter than any 20 Navy SEALs. And yeah, Papa Salazar's using his own blood as a lubricant to get the bonds off is pretty ridiculous. But it still wasn't too bad.
Again, finding the pearl in the oyster: The prologue with Depp Jr. being a ninja was fun, but all the tents billowing in the wind was a great shot.
But overall, these four episodes were more disappointing than not. As others have pointed out, we seem to be deep in TWD organized gang territory here, which is disappointing. There are SO MANY good stories about desperate last stands, well-meaning government plans doomed to failure, communities clinging to desperate hopes of rescue, etc., etc. And yet they go immediately to post-ZA pirates. Yay.
Come to think of it, they really need a Hershel. Season 2 of TWD was a couple months after the fall of civilization and Hershel's blind belief that there was some "cure" for the people in the barn was kind of silly. But here, with everyone seeing their loved ones coming back from the dead and most people believing in an "infection" of some sort, there ought to be LOTS of Hershels around.