Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Walking Dead – Season 2 Deleted Scenes Review...

The DVD and Blu-Ray box sets for Season 2 of The Walking Dead are now available, and among the special features are a range of deleted scenes. The following is a review of those scenes, and naturally there are season two spoilers ahead.

“What Lies Ahead” (2x01)

The bulk of the cut scenes comes from the opening episode of the season, which was originally to be two episodes, but problems arose and Frank Darabont either walked or was pushed from the show during the editing process. The true story will never be known as to what went down, but anyway, on with the deleted scenes:

1)      It appears that a sequence is missing here showing Shane running away from a hoard of walkers as he desperately screams for attention and fires his shotgun (as glimpsed in the season two Comic-Con trailer). As evidenced from the conversation they have once Shane hops aboard the RV and they continue their escape, Shane's vehicle must have run out of fuel and he honked his horn to alert them. Then they come up with a plan to buy them some time – head to the Vatos' hideout at the old folk's home within the city.
2)      Our gang arrive at the Vatos' hideout, but discover a series of dead bodies outside being feasted upon by walkers – Rick says to hell with the noise and they gun down the zombies.
3)      They enter the building and discover yet more dead bodies. Sophia begins to cry and make too much noise, so Daryl tells her to shut up in no uncertain terms (before his character was softened as he became more involved with the group during the season).
4)      The men continue to sweep and clear the building upstairs. Bodies lie everywhere and there is an increasing sense of hopelessness. Meanwhile downstairs the others hide from a passing walker outside the now-barricaded front door, and when Sophia begins to panic Carl calms her down. It's a nice little beat for Carl, who is clearly coping with the situation far better than poor Sophia, and it's a nice juxtaposition to all the death and despair around them.
5)      In an excellent moment of foreshadowing, after they plan to stay the night in some of the upstairs rooms, Daryl points out (in a sneering spat with Andrea) that the people have all been executed before the zombies arrived – clearly there is now a human danger out there, somewhere, waiting for them.
6)      “Cough drops and bonzo beans” - the group, huddled in a small room, lay out their meagre supplies for Glenn to ration between them all. Shane makes friends with Daryl with a peace offering of a bottle of booze he pinched from the CDC. There's also an extra moment between Dale and Andrea – no doubt the first moment for the two of them to have a chance to debrief after he convinced her not to die in the CDC explosion – which adds a horrific reality check from Andrea. Furthermore Rick begins to blame himself for not following Shane's lead in heading to Fort Benning instead of the CDC, but Shane and Lori say he shouldn't blame himself. After Glenn makes a comment about their dire situation, the men exit to formulate a plan – to ditch some of the vehicles, siphon the fuel, and head for Fort Benning. Numerous small character beats here, as well as some exposition which covers a couple of minor plot holes – particularly explaining why their vehicle count is markedly different between the last shot of season one, and the opening montage of season two.
7)      Fast forwarding to the highway, Rick returns from his woodland encounter with walkers after Sophia ran off, and quickly discovers the girl didn't make it back.
8)      Carol stands alone by the roadside late at night looking into the woods.

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of the deleted scenes in-review...

“Save The Last One” (2x03)

1)      A brief action beat as Otis saves Shane with his last rifle round. We discover that they're almost out of ammo as they move on away from a load of walkers behind a fence.
2)      Hiding from walkers, Otis struggles to get his bearings as Shane stresses the need to get the hell out of there now.
3)      A good scene for Dale next as he sneaks out to one of the cars for a crafty cigarette alone. Turning on the ignition to warm up the lighter in the car, a fundamentalist preacher comes on the radio espousing doom and damnation for all those who ignored the teachings of the Bible and following science. Dale bristles at the arrogance of the only human voice on the radio, and ends up arguing back in hushed tones, calling the preacher a “douchebag, pervert”. It's a darkly comic scene, which provides a little bit of shading to the wider world around them, and an enjoyable beat for Dale.

“Secrets” (2x06)

1)      A brief scene of gun training, lead by Shane, which gives us a hint at his former life as a police officer who had previously carried out such lessons before the apocalypse. Carl takes a shot (everyone gets three rounds for practice) and it's interesting to note that the actor was given a simple plastic gun with no barrel or working chamber – we can assume that this would have been digitally replaced in post-production. There's also some exposition regarding ammo rationing as well as the risk versus reward for the sound of the gunshots out in the open.

“Pretty Much Dead Already” (2x07)

1)      In the wake of Sophia's Rick has a guilt-ridden daydream that involves Carl's shooting and Sophia going missing.
2)      Rick and Shane assess the structural integrity of the barn, and there's a small exchange that foreshadows Shane's hasty actions later in the episode.
3)      Seemingly at his wit's end, Daryl ponders for a moment by a lake until he spots a Cherokee Rose flower nearby.
4)      Finally, there's a brief exchange between Hershel and Rick where the former states “my farm, my barn, my say” and introduces him to how they wrangle walkers.

“Nebraska” (2x08)

1)      A brief connecting scene where Lori and Dale lay out where everyone is and how they're doing.
2)      Hershel watches from his porch as some of our gang begin to load the bodies from the barn massacre for disposal. It's an extra moment to show Hershel's shell shock and crisis of faith.

“Judge, Jury, Executioner” (2x11)

1)      After a small moment between Carl and Daryl, where the boy wants to learn how to shoot the crossbow, Carol comes over and berates Daryl for beating up Randall instead of confronting his emotions over the loss of Sophia. She also points out that Daryl's made real progress as an integral part of the group and that he shouldn't retreat again.
2)      Glenn and Maggie look at her high school yearbook and discover Randall was telling the truth about being in the same school as her. There's a nice moment of wistful reminiscing and a nice exchange between the two of them about how Glenn thinks Maggie would have never noticed him if they'd been in the same school, to which she responds “I like geeks”.
3)      Dale tries to convince Lori to help Rick make the 'right decision' regarding Randall, stating that Shane is like the Devil on Rick's shoulder and that Lori should be his conscience whispering back on the other. According to Lori though, Rick has too many whispering voices in his ears. This is one of the best deleted scenes as it further explores some of the more philosophical debates about the human condition in this time of great stress. Dale is seemingly starting to give up hope for them, saying that they blew their chance to come together, instead of continuing to fight against themselves while they have a common enemy – the walkers. It's classic Romero territory, and a satisfying extra moment for the thinkers out there.

“Better Angels” (2x12)

1)      A very brief moment between Glenn and Maggie as he reconsiders her offer to sleep in her room. Inconsequential, but nice nonetheless for fans of their apocalyptic romance.

“Beside The Dying Fire” (2x13)

1)      A small extension to the scene of T-Dog, Lori, and Beth in the blood-splattered pick-up in which Beth blames Lori for leaving Patricia behind when she was consumed by walkers. It speaks to Beth's innocence in the face of the harsh practical realities. If you've been bitten, you're dead.
2)      A minor scene extension when Michonne is revealed and saves an exhausted Andrea from a walker. Here we see the katana sword finish the job to the still-alive severed head.

So there you have it, quite a number of scenes, with many being brief extensions or moments of exposition that were covered elsewhere in the respective episodes. However, there are some excellent scenes that were unfortunate to be cut out – such as Dale at the car radio – and it was good to see most (but for some strange reason not all) of the scenes that had to be cut when the originally-conceived first two episodes were combined into one longer episode.

Finally, a word on box sets and special features – how come we Brits have never got the Special Edition of Season One? There's a ton of great-sounding extras that we've never got our mits on, not-to mention uncut episodes (bizarrely some of the first season was cut on DVD/Blu-Ray, despite being shown uncut on television). Furthermore, how come we Brits didn't get any episode commentaries on the Season Two set? I'd dearly like to see the former complaint rectified, and at least they're getting closer to providing us with the same content as the Americans – but clearly not quite close enough. Why on earth can't we get the same releases over here? It's a real annoyance for we non-American TWD fans.

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