TV Review: The Walking Dead - Season 7, Episode 11
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The season starts off strong, with the surviving members going head to head with a zombie herd in the middle of an abandoned highway, thus giving us what we want in terms of what we have come to expect from such an epic zombie series. From there, a few key plot points kick-started: Sophia goes missing, Carl gets shot, and the group seek shelter at Herschelís farm. The farm then becomes the setting for the majority of the season and itís a quality setting, indeed. From there, tensions run high, drama escalates between Rick , Shane, and Laurie, and the group faces growing moral dilemmas.
There are a few issues I had with the Season upon it airing live on TV, issues that I canít ignore while checking it out on DVD, though in all honestly, can be more easily overlooked now that I can plow through episodes with rapid speed, and knowing that there is an end in sight. The biggest issue is, of course, the search for Sophia, a storyline that was excruciating to watch on a week-to-week basis as it seemed to drag on and on. This story should have been 1-2 episodes (max), but was stretched all the way to Episode 7 (the mid-season finale). Given, the payoff of Episode 7 is monumental, but the journey to get there was tedious and unnecessary. But like I said, knowing the end was insight and being able to watch a few episodes in a row, made this announce not as unbearable as when the show first aired.
The other issue is mostly just my dislike of the character (or the actor?) of Carl, played by Chandler Riggs. Heís pretty much the most annoying kid actor Iíve had to endure in a long while and would have killed the show for me if it werenít for the outstanding performances by just about everyone else. Other issues I had with the series as a whole include how preachy Dale gets, the odd disappearance of T-Dog through a bunch of the episodes, and the lack of enough real hardcore zombie action in the first half of the season.
But all is forgiven in the last half (Episodes 8 Ė 13), with the lamest of the storylines out of the way, zombie action returns with a vengeance, the drama between those within the group escalates, main characters are surprisingly snuffed, and the epic Season Finale leaves just about everyone watching yearning for more. Seriously, I canít wait for Season 3, and while I had a few issues with Season 2, itís still better than most shows on TV, and is still one of the best horror/zombie/pos-apocalyptic TV series in the history of television.
Audio: The episodes are rockin' out in 5.1 Dolby Digital, so each blood-splattering zombie attack surrounds your living room and puts you right there in the middle of all the action... and the drama.
All the Guts Inside: A behind the scenes look at the filming of Rick and Darryls exploration of the dead zombie they dissect looking for signs of Sophia in its stomach. Cool look at how they did the effects and how they filmed the scene on location in the woods. As it's one of the cooler scenes from the early episodes of the season, it's fun to see how they did it.
Live or Let Die: A look into why the character of Shane was kept around longer in the TV series than he lasted in Robert Kirkman's original graphic novel. Part love-triangle story line, party solid actor, the fact that they address the question that so many graphic novel enthusiasts have been asking is damn cool.
The Meat of the Music: An inside peak of how the thematic music of The Walking Dead was created, with behind the scenes orchestra footage during a recording of the soundtrack. If you like the music, or even just the epic theme, you might get a kick out of this.
Fire on Set: Hang out on Hershal's Farm, the great location where the majority of the season takes place. From the Farm they used for filming, to the creation of the barn in the film (built from scratch!), to the farmhouse, and everything else that took place at the barn that housed the zombies. All leading up to grand finale where they burn the barn to the ground.
The Ink is Alive: Robert Kirkman talks about the big differences between his graphic novel and the television series, and why he liked messing with fans of the comic by taking out--or including--different things for the show. While Season 1 was close to the comic, Season 2 went off the deep end and did its own thing (Sophia going missing, Shane sticking around longer, Dale's ultimate demise, etc...).
The Sound of Effects: A feature focusing on all of the bone-crunching, blood-splattering sound as created by the ingenious Foley artists that worked on the show. Every piece of sound you may have taken for granted was created by Foley artists and it's damn fascinating to see them at work. Interesting enough, all of the sounds (including the moaning and groaning of the zombies) are inserted after the fact. Cool!
In the Dead Water: One of the most memorable scenes of the season is revisted in this behind-the-scenes little feature about the nasty-ass zombie at the bottom of the well, the one that's eventually ripped in half in a bloody and incredibly nasty mess. On stage sets of the well, how they did it, everything you could possibly want from the scene is shown here. Awesome... and gross. Really, really, really gross.
You Could Make a Killing: Get to know Greg Nicotero, the second unit director (and director of the episode where Dale dies) and special effects guru on the show. Basically, this is the dude that makes all the zombies look like the "classic" zombies featured in the show. He wears many hats and without Nicotero, the show wouldn't be what it is today.
She Will Fight: Hang out with Andrea (Laurie Holden) and get an inside look at her character and the change she goes through in Season 2 (from victim to ass-kicking zombie killer). Specifically, the episode early in the season where she kills the zombie in the RV and how that scene changed her character for the remainder of the season.
The Cast on Season 2: The entire cast talk about the upcoming season (Season 2) of The Walking Dead in this pre-season promo piece that aired leading up to Season 2 on AMC. I remember seeing this when it aired on TV and it got me pumped for Season 2!
Extras Wardrobe: Another pre-season promo piece that aired on AMC that goes into the process of dressing all the zombie extras as seen in the show. The Costume Designer has her job cut out for her as she has to dress ever single rotting, walking corpse in the show. Talk about a fun job!
Webisodes (Each webisode available with optional commentaryby writer/director Greg Nicotero):
Webisodes #1 thru #6: These short 2-3 minute webisodes shows the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of other characters (and not the character we've come to know and love of the show). Specifically, a dysfunctional family trying to cope with the zombie uprising in their suburban home / neighborhood. The way to do this is to select the "Play All" feature and watch them all in a row, as it's pretty much like watching an episode of The Walking Dead, with plenty of epic zombie action and a real satisfying ending. Really awesome stuff here, especially if you can't get enough of the whole "zombie apocalypse" thing.
Deleted Scenes (Each one available with optional commentary by executive producer Glen Mazzara):
"What Lies Ahead" Deleted Scenes 12-26: Watch as the group head to the nursing home to meet up with another group for shelter, if only there were any of them left alive. This major scene is from the first episode of the season and it's a lot more than a just a random moment or two here and there. Zombie killing galore, yo!
"Save the Last One" Deleted Scenes: A few deleted scenes from the stand-off with Shane and Otis at the High School. Mostly dialog between the two of them, and all very short. This collection is more like a random collection of deleted exchanges rather than actual scenes. There is also one screen with Dale having a smoke and listening to a sermon on the radio talking about the ominous message regarding the dead coming back to life, a sermon which gets Dale really riled up.
"Secrets" Deleted Scene: Shane teaches those on the farm how to fire a weapon, with a speech and bottles on the fence as targets.
"Pretty Much Dead Already" Deleted Scene 1-7: Rick has incredible guilt over losing the little girl. Rick and Shane investigate the barn full of zombies. Daryl sits on a dock by the bay. Herschel and Rick discuss following Herschel's rules about his group staying at his farm and living on his land.
"Nebraska" Deleted Scene: Herschel looking on at the barn. Dale chats to Laurie about preparing for the big burn.
"Judge, Jury, Executioner" Deleted Scene: Daryl and Carl have a little exchange about shooting arrows and guns, as well as a chat between Carol about Daryl beating the crap outta one of the others. Laurie and Dale talk about the moral justification of Rick's choice about killing the dude who came to wreck havoc on the farm.
"Better Angels" Deleted Scene: Glenn takes Maggie up on her offer. Probably the shortest and most useless of all of the deleted scenes.
"Beside the Dying Fire" Deleted / Extended Scene: Lauria and T-Dog ride in the truck with one of the girls from the farm after a zombie attack. Andrea is saved by a masked warrior with a samurai sword and two zombie slaves.
Easter Egg on Deleted Scenes Menu: Maneuver the selection with your remote control to the blue pick-up truck just to the right of the Deleted Scenes menu. Upon it turning red, click on it. Greg Nicotero then provides a commentary over a montage of all of the zombie sequences as seen through the entire season of The Walking Dead. For those loving the look of the classic zombies of The Walking Dead, this is a really cool little feature, giving you all of the gory zombie gags seen throughout the season. Fourteen minutes of bloody, gory, goodness all around.