The Walking Dead Season Two: Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins starts with a scream. A scream that echoes throughout the entire thing, never letting you forget the horrors that lurk around every corner, in every seemingly abandoned building, behind the eyes of every stranger you meet. It is this intensity that makes Amid the Ruins stand above the rest of the episodes in the season. Even the quieter moments are constant reminders of how different the world has become, and what it takes to survive in it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the episode’s main plot thread – Rebecca’s pregnancy – and the many moral questions it raises.
This has been a long time coming. Rebecca’s growing belly was a harbinger of doom from the very first episode. You knew that sooner or later the baby will be coming, and that probably won’t end well. Most of Amid the Ruins revolves around finding someplace safe for Rebecca to have the baby, and the many complications that arise. Rebecca’s condition doesn’t only put Clementine and her group in various dangers; it also presents several moral questions and choices you won’t easily make. Your resolve, loyalty and humanity will be tested at every turn, and giving up on everyone and everything is more tempting than ever. This episode would have worn many players down if it wasn’t for Clem’s and Jane’s budding friendship.
If you remember, Jane joined the group when they attempted to escape Carver’s compound in the end of the previous chapter, In Harm’s Way. She is a no-nonsense young woman who seems to know a lot about survival, so no wonder she and Clem eventually hit it off. Their relationship is responsible for many of the highs and lows of the episode. At one point Jane and Clem bond over sharing strategies for killing Walkers, and despite the gory nature of the situation, it feels almost playful. It is as close as Clementine gets to acting like a child, as if showing off to her big sister. Of course, family members are the ones that can hurt us the most, and Jane is no exception. Her trust issues keep coming between the two as the episode progresses, and Clem becomes torn between her new surrogate sister and the friends who need her.
Even with Rebecca and Jane each having their own story and moments throughout the episode, there’s still plenty of time left for other characters and story arcs to share the spotlight; some more interesting than others, but all deep and well-written. Almost every character has enough “camera time” to act and evolve in a meaningful way. There are a few boring conversations here and there, and there isn’t a lot of story progression, but overall this episode is pretty strong when it comes to character development, for Clementine herself and the supporting cast.
With all this character growth, you’d think Amid the Ruins doesn’t leave any time for action; well, you’d be wrong. Episode 4 offers an almost perfect balance between action and character development. The entire first half of the episode is comprised of several intense action scenes, ranging from navigating through a horde of zombies to escaping from a tight space with a group of them. Some of the major choices you have to make during the episode are woven so neatly into these scenes that you act on instinct, without over-thinking things too much. It creates a natural flow, and as things keep getting worse, you start to question your own actions over and over again.
The Walking Dead 2: Amid the Ruins doesn’t quite follow the path suggested by its own title. Instead of standing helpless in the ruins of an otherwise rather lackluster season, it uses them to build an incredibly solid base for the upcoming finale. It offers one last chance of connecting with the characters that accompanied you so far, all without compromising the good action bits. It was by far the best episode of the season as of yet, and the only episode that left me eagerly waiting to see what happens next.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.