The Walking Dead season 2 Blu-ray Review

The second season of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead” finds our ragtag group of survivors regrouping after the first season ended with the death of their hopes for finding a cure to the zombie invasion.  They begin headed to Fort Benning, GA, where they’ve heard rumors that there’s a larger group of survivors.  But along the way, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) son (Chandler Riggs) gets shot by a hunter aiming for a deer.  As luck would have it, the hunter is holed up in a farm house that happens to be owned by a veterinarian.  The house seems like the perfect place for Rick’s small group to take shelter and decide a course of action.

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The first season of ‘The Walking Dead’ was incredible.  The devastation and horror of facing a zombie apocalypse came through in spades and every episode was a nail-biting roller coaster of emotions.  Not only did our heroes have to deal with their environment in every episode, but they also had a goal and a focus; a plot point to drive the episodes along and something for the audience to root for, other than pure survival.  The second season stops the momentum a little bit by holding everyone up in the farm house.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing to drive the series forward this time around as the characters are more concerned with trying to make a decision rather than acting on a particular decision.  This opened up the door for more character and situation studies, but also revealed some of the series’ flaws.

The Walking Dead

On the positive side, the group is starting to realize the reality of their situation and so people have to establish themselves in specific roles.  With that, comes jockeying for position and the challenging of Rick’s leadership status, most notably by his former best friend, Shane (Jon Bernthal).  The dynamic between Shane and the rest of the group was interesting for a few episodes, but eventually it started to drag on to the point where we just wanted them to move on.  It felt like they discussed the Shane problem for far too long.

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However, Shane was a part of the best sequence in the season when he decided to kill someone in order to save himself and subsequently, Rick’s son.  That decision and the aftermath was kind of a microcosm of the entire season as people had to make moral decisions about who lives and who dies.  The greatness of the season was its ability to establish two sides to the argument without really being biased one way or the other.  That led to some great discussions and some personal reflection as I pondered what I would do in their situation.  It’s easy to take the moral highroad when you’re sitting in the comfort of your living room, but when faced with such extreme circumstances, it’s not always so black and white.

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The flaw of season 2 was that it had no focus and no direction for the characters.  They were at the house, but the question of what to do next was never fully explored.  The group was so focused on resolving minor disagreements that the larger question of “what do we do now?” was never fully vetted.  I kept wanting them to come up with a plan to survive past the next day and they barely touched on the subject.  I had hope when they ran into another group of survivors, but that just led to more moral decisions.  The moral questions the show raised were not a bad thing by any means, but I would have liked them to be wrapped in a larger plotline that the audience could get behind.  That said, the character development in the second season paved the way for great things later on and hopefully, the showrunners can take full advantage of it in future seasons.

 

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  Every episode looked wonderful, with the blacklevels coming through well.  ‘The Walking Dead’ is a dark show, but thankfully the transfer quality didn’t suffer because of it.

Audio: The audio was also very well done.

Audio Commentaries with directors, producers and actors on episodes: “What Lies Ahead”, “Pretty Much Dead Already”, “Nebraska”, Judge, Jury, Executioner” and “Beside the Dying Fire”

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Featurette: All the Guts Inside (5:32): A short featurette about how a scene featuring how two of our characters explored inside a zombies stomach.

Featurette: Live of Let Die (6:50): The cast and crew talk about the differences between the comic books and the television series.

Featurette: The Meat of the Music (7:56): A bit about Composer Bear McCreary and how his music moves the story along.

Featurette: Fire on Set (6:08): A piece on the main set used during this season as well as how it was used in the season finale.

Featurette: The Ink is Alive (9:08): Another bit about the differences between the comics and television show.

Featurette: The Sound of the Effects (4:30): The use of sound effects in the series and how they are created.

Featurette: In the Dead Water (5:06): This is about the zombie in the well sequence.

Featurette: You Could Make a Killing (6:21): A bit about Greg Nicotero who was a producer, second unit director, effects artist and director of the episode “Judge, Jury, Executioner”, as well as the death of one of the characters.

Featurette: She Will Fight (5:41): This is about the character Andrea and how her sequence where she fights off zombies in a tight situation progresses her character arc.

Featurette: The Cast on Season 2 (4:49): The main players talk about season two plot lines and character arcs.

Featurette: Extras Wardrobe (2:48): Eulyn Womble, Costume Designer, discusses how she has dressed the zombies.

Webisodes: (19:43): Includes six internet shorts based on THE WALKING DEAD which follows various moments after the zombie outbreak.

Deleted Scenes (29:19): Various scenes from different episodes that are worth watching if you are a fan of the show. Includes optional commentary with Executive Producer Glen Mazzara.

OVERALL 3.5
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