Review: The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 – All That Remains (2013)
Whilst “All That Remains” felt very predictable it was still a great return to a series that we all came to fall in love with.
Coming back to The Walking Dead showed just how much the events of Season 1 has taken its toll on young Clementine. She has emotional scarring as she learns to deal with loss, loneliness and violence. As the recap played and the title of the show came on the screen I felt this sense of nostalgia and sadness come over me. It was great to be back in the world but losing Lee at the end of the first game made me scared because I started to feel much more vulnerable and Lee’s shoes as a protagonist are big shoes to fill but I feel Clem does that well.
“All that Remains” is based around Clementine as you try to survive the savagery and horrible nature of humanity and try and survive the relentless walking dead (Pun intended). But more then anything at its core it’s about showing you just how strong and independent Clementine has become as she loses everything and everyone she loved.
The Walking Dead, much like The Wolf Among Us, has a brilliantly designed storyline that lets you the player make the story unique to your play style, which is why I felt weird going into the start of Season 2 because all those choices that you made in Season 1 don’t feel like they matter anymore here. It feels like out with the old and in with the new, which whilst that’s not a bad thing, it does make me feel sad to think that all efforts to protect and educate Clem on the world went to waste. I felt like if I had gone into this season of the show without using my save for season 1 then I would still have a unique experience that wouldn’t feel any different to people that had transferred their save.
But whilst it will be frustrating to some fans to feel that their save won’t mean anything going into season 2 it does make sense as it’s set a full 2 years after the events of the first season. 2 years on we are confronted with a older much less trusting Clem, as everyone she loved has been taken away from her and left on her own she runs into a not so trust worthy group of survivors. They are nothing that we haven’t seen before. Pete, the leader, is naïve and trusting and comes over as a father figure to Clem.
With the game centred on dialogue, investigating everything and everyone, it’s not long before we come to know who we can confide in, like Luke, a young guy and the only person that trusts and talks to Clem as a adult rather then a child that’s dead weight. But Luke still never seems like anything more then a nice guy and it isn’t any real reason for you to care about him like I did Kenny or Lee in the first season. The most interesting opportunity for development is a naïve young girl that follows you like a lost dog and doesn’t know anything of the world outside her bedroom.
This new group of survivors I have already found much more fascinating and interesting then Lee’s group from the first season, mostly because I felt that the whole group felt the same everyone was a nice person and didn’t feel like they were holding back any secrets. This group who are full of strained relationships, with everyone at each other’s throats, makes for better screen time and interesting dialogue. The plot for this season feels much like the show, each season feels like a new threat. Whilst last season was survival this season is much bigger with a more threatening character to come, which is touched upon partially during the episode but all of the group keep their feelings quite close to their chests.
As the episode played out Clementine is pushed further from safety and those who she trusts manages to reach and top the levels of tension from season 1. Season 2 has already created emotional ties and break ups that took a whole previous season to get to, as violence and death stand at the centre of the episode and the plot for the whole season. The gore factor is bumped up a level this episode and I expect more for this season so have a strong stomach because we’re in for a bloodbath.
“All That Remains” doesn’t hold any punches whether it’s having your arm bitten into by a rapid dog and watching as Clem slowly bleeds out or watching a young girl screaming in pain are some of the most shocking moments from both seasons. As all of this happens to her it’s easy to look at Clem as this strong independent girl that has grown up in a harsh world. She’s been alone for so long that human interactions have become more about how much she can hate a person as her pain and anguish take over her. It’s made for some of the greatest dialogue moments from the game and it makes the series special.
Some of season 1 stand out moments were such things as amputating Lee’s arm, do you kill Larry or don’t you, save Carly or Doug and should you just let Ben drop to his death. But already I feel we’ll be looking back at this season and saying: “Hey, you remember when Clem blackmailed that pregnant woman?”
The thing I was scared about coming into this season was that playing as Clem was going to a hard adjustment by taking a secondary character and making her the main protagonist. But seeing her character develop throughout this episode from a young weak girl into a strong cold blooded killer that doesn’t trust anyone and is more then capable of looking after herself was great. It’s made me much more attached to her as a character and much more excited for where the story in going as a whole.