The Walking Dead Season Two DVD Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
I still have to pinch myself that there is actually a zombie show TV. And not some watered down, homogenized show but one that has more blood, more gore, and better makeup effects than most theatrical films. Thank you AMC! After a short debut test season, The Walking Dead got full 13 episodes for season two.
Things pick up where they left off as the small band of survivors flee Atlanta after the destruction of the CDC. They are trying to reach Fort Benning but their progress is halted by a traffic jam of abandoned cars. As the group scavenges for supplies among the cars they are surprised by a herd of zombies travelling along the road. Forgiving the writers for the heavy handed plot device that they might actually be “surprised” by the zombies (nice job by the lookout), this becomes the catapult to the entire season.
Sophia flees from her hiding spot and into the woods, pursued by the walkers. The group splits up to look for the little girl and it is during one of their searches that Carl is accidentally shot by a hunter. Otis leads Rick back to the secluded farm of Hershel Greene, an aged veterinarian. The rest of the group soon follows as Hershel nurses Carl back to health and for a short time, the group manages to live a relatively safe and peaceful life, away from the flesh-eating zombies.
The illusion of safety comes to an end abruptly when Glenn discovers Hershel has a barn full of walkers, including many of his own family members, believing that they can be cured. Shane releases the zombies as the group shoots them all dead. But their safety may face its greatest peril from another group of survivors. Rick and Glenn bring Randall back to the farm after he is abandoned by his group. This leads to a showdown among the Rick’s group whether to set Randall free or kill him to prevent him from leading his friends back to the farm. Season two ends as the farm is overrun by an especially large herd of zombies, killing several members of Hershel’s group and leaving the rest of the survivors splintered and on the run. As the final shot fades out we see the image of a prison looming in the background, setting the stage for season three.
While several new characters would be introduced, many would not survive the season. Only two characters, Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan) would play significant roles. When you counter this with the deaths of two of the main characters of the original group, the writers have to be commended for keeping the cast small and tight, and not creating too many sub-plots. The show tarried at the farm longer than in the comics and perhaps longer than it needed to but managed to close out strong, including a brief but memorable appearance by fan favorite character Michonne.
What season two ultimately achieved was slowing down long enough to develop its core characters. Andrea goes from suicidal at the end of season one to a trigger happy zombie killer; Rick begins to doubt his leadership abilities; Shane goes off the deep edge completely; Daryl shows his softer side as he takes the point in the search for Sophia; and Glenn strikes up a romance with Maggie as well as having some of season two’s most harrowing zombie encounters including being lowered into a well tie a rope onto a bloated zombie who is trapped within. Oh and Lori goes from being a bitch into being a complete and utter bitch. T-Dog even got a couple of lines of dialog!
While I still thought the idea of the zombie herd following a passing helicopter all the way to the farm to be far-fetched at best, the positives far outweigh the negatives and loyal viewers are being rewarded with a third season that will run 16 episodes this time.
The four-disc DVD set is filled with all sorts of goodies…
Audio Commentary on five episodes including the season premiere and season finale episodes
All the Guts inside (5:30) – A look at the scene where Rick and Daryl perform an autopsy on a zombie to see if it has eaten Sophia. Lots of gooey goodness!
Live or Let Die (7:00) – A look at Shane’s story comparing the series to the comic and why he was kept around longer in the series.
The Meat of the Music (8:00) – A look at the series’ musical score with composer Bear McCreary.
Fire on Set (6:00) – While Hershel’s farmhouse was an actual home the producers got permission to use, there was not a barn on the property. So a complete barn had to be built from scratched an aged to look decades old…and then burned to the ground for the climax of season two.
The Ink is alive (9:00) – Comic creator Robert Kirkman discusses the similarities and differences between comic and TV show such as the additions of Daryl and Merle, the destruction of the CDC and Sophia going missing.
The Sound of the Effects (4:30) – A look at how the sound effects are created and interestingly, just about all the show’s sounds are recorded and mixed in later from the mundane sounds like setting a coffee cup down on a table to the sounds of zombies chewing their meals.
In the Dead Water (5:00) – A look at filming the “zombie in the well” scene and the bloated zombie makeup.
Mania Grade: A-
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus
Written By: Various
Directed By: Various
Distributor: Anchor Bay
Original Year of Release: 2012
Extras: See Below