The Walking Dead saunters back in 2013 with Season Two, “All That Remains”. Here’s a review. Spoilers ahead.
Throughout season one of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, the father-daughter relationship of Lee and Clementine helped drive events. Clem was in danger, Lee saved the day; that’s just what happened. Entering season two, the situation has changed. Lee either has a bullet in his skull or is chained up and growling at nothing. Clem had to grow up or face the same fate.
An after-the-credits scene after season one showed Clem walking in a field and seeing two individuals from a distance. We speculated they were Omid and Christa, and it seems we were correct. But four months later, the game in a startling way reminds us everything is short-lived. As Clem freshens up in the ladies’ room, another survivor enters and starts rummaging in Clem’s backpack. Omid enters. The bathroom door creaks behind him, and the desperate survivor shoots Omid in the stomach. Christa, now a pregnant badass, retaliates. Clem watches on horrified as Omid dies, as Lee had. And this all takes place within the first ten minutes of season 2, episode 1, “All That Remains”.
Sixteen months after, Clem and Christa are outside cooking a weasel. A local license plate on the ground reads “North Carolina”. Christa talks about travelling up to “Wellington” by going north. At this time, it’s unclear what Christa did with her newborn. Suddenly, they are attacked by scavengers. Christa and Clem get separated in the fray, as Clem falls into a river.
Washing up on land downstream, she finds a dog named Sam abandoned in the forest. Sam leads her to a rundown camp where they play catch and eventually find food. But the zombie apocalypse affects animals too, we tend to forget, and as Clem denies Sam some canned beans, he bites her arm. Clem kicks him off and he lands on a spiked railing. The player can then decide to leave Sam or finish the job.
Clem is hazy and visibly shaken. Her eyesight fades in and out. She finds a rock and collapses. A group of survivors come to save her, crossbow in hand. Her new group can’t decide how to approach their new member: Some think she was zombie-bit, while others are less inclined to believe that. The group’s doctor, Carlos, opts to lock her in a shed overnight and see if a fever sets in.
That night, Clem is anxious. She knows she could die if the bite on her arm gets infected. So she does what any logical person would: Sneak into her saviours’ paradise and steal medical supplies. This leads to an interesting confrontation with Carlos’s daughter Sarah, seemingly oblivious to the troubles of the outside world. Returning to the shed with thread, a needle, hydrogen peroxide and some rags, Clem performs self-surgery. And we witness the entire grimace-inducing procedure: She sutures each piece of skin as the wound hangs open, in full view. To top things off, a walker climbs through a hole in the shed’s wall and grabs Clem. She takes a rake and slams him into a sharp anchor.
Hearing the commotion, the group rushes to the shed. They finally let Clem inside.
Clem reminisces about Lee and Christa as she bonds with another survivor. The following morning, Clem goes out with one of the men who saved her and his nephew to look at fishing traps. When they arrive, they find the area littered with dead walkers. Across the river, she finds her backpack with one of the men that attacked Christa. Then a zombie horde arrives at precisely the wrong moment. The man who saved Clem has his ankle scratched. And the episode ends.
“All That Remains” thrusts Clem right back into the heart-stopping, perilous action The Walking Dead is famous for. The survivors she meets reference a mean kingpin named “Carver”, a man who they fear immensely. It’s unknown why they’re scared, but he seems to be the antagonist of season two. Unfortunately, this episode focuses purely on Clem and her rapid transformation from a little girl to merciless survivor. We don’t learn much about her new group, except for the fact that Sarah would “cease to function” if she knew about the world, and one other survivor might be lying about the father of her baby.
While weak on character development, Clem’s migration is fascinating. Some of her possible choices are drastic and incomparable to what she would say in season one. She’s adapted to surviving in a broken world, but she doesn’t stonewall her emotions. The best sequences in “All That Remains” do focus on Clem herself, as we thoroughly discover all her personality changes. The rest is weaker, but still enough to build on as the season moves along.
In further episodes, I’d love to know more about Sarah and if she develops a friendship with Clem. By Carlos’s reaction, I’m thinking Sarah could be more delicate than just being a young girl living in these conditions. It’s possible Carlos is just protecting his daughter too much; but the fact that he said “cease to function” makes me wonder if she has a developmental disorder like autism. Any Walking Dead product has shied away from how people with mental disorders or disabilities handled the apocalypse. It wouldn’t surprise me if Telltale goes that route.
“All That Remains” has a lot of action and not much else. But it plants the seeds of Clem’s first time solo and builds into an interesting scenario to explored in future episodes. Let’s hope the visceral impact of The Walking Dead: Season One is emphasized in episode two, “A House Divided”.
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