Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Walking Dead Season Two: In Harm's Way Review

The third episode of the season still doesn't address the problems from previous episodes, but it manages to strengthen things somewhat with a more focused plot and a strong villain.

This episode finds the group in a new situation and having to come to grips with a ruthless man who needs things his done his way.  The series is always best when it shows how far people will go to stay safe, and this episode manages that well, from the villainous methods of the leader, to the actions of both the people who are under him and those in Clementine's group.  This season hasn't had a strong direction in its plot.  This episode, while it feels like it is self-contained, manages to have a clear focus and benefits greatly from that.

This episode also brings in choices from episodes previous to this season.  It doesn't do so in a meaningful way however, as it is only handled by ways of cameos depending on who you came with you in the episode where they made their debut.  The choices from previous episodes of this season are handled better, however, as Clementine's attitude finally seems to have an impact on those around her, either positively or negatively depending on your choices.  The fact that Clementine is sent to do actions usually meant for people beyond her age and sized are handled better here, as the group shows genuine concern for her safety, and the situation where she is the only person who can do the task is presented believably.

The presentation has been the redeeming factor of this season, and it continues to be quite good here.  One of the new characters has a voice that takes a while to get used to, but it does match the personality of his character well.  The rest of the cast is excellent as usual, with the episode's villain rising above the rest.  He was briefly seen in previous episodes, but he really shines here, both in characterization and in vocal performance.  The rest of the presentation is just as good, from the always excellent musical score that sets the mood well, to the continued use of the great looking art comic book inspired art style.

The third episode suffers from some of the problems from previous episodes, but it does have some strengths as well.  The problems from the previous episodes still aren't addressed, and the choices from episodes previous to this season aren't utilized meaningfully.  However, the choices from this season finally seem to be having an effect on the people that Clementine has met, and the group is finally treating Clementine in a more believable fashion.  It also benefits from a strong, self-contained storyline, and the presentation, from the art style to the voice acting and music, is great as always.  While In Harm's Way doesn't quite reach the level of the excellent episodes from the first season, it is definitely the best episode of The Walking Dead Season Two so far.

Final Verdict:

3½ out of 5

Episode Two ReviewEpisode Four Review

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