Why I’m No Longer Watching TWD

I am officially no longer reviewing or watching The Walking Dead.

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I’ve been standing up for this show through all eight seasons, through all the shows racial problems, and through all the death, but I simply can’t take this show anymore. Don’t get me wrong. The show is still compelling. It’s still addictive. But I gotta find something else to watch.

I’m a very emotional viewer. When I watch a show, I really get involved with the characters, and plots, and settings. Yes, I’m one of those people who yell at the screen. I look for attachments to certain characters, (I still love Michonne and Carol, btw), and checking in, to see what some character is doing, is a large part of what keeps me watching a show. But I think last week broke me. I think perhaps this was simply not the kind of show I should ever have been watching in the first place. I got presented with characters adventures, and I wondered about their futures, and I cared about them, and too many times, I’ve had those imagined futures cut short because a character got brutally killed.

I’ve never re-watched a single episode of this series.

NOT IN NINE SEASONS!

That says something.

When I don’t want to revisit a show I’ve been watching, for eight years, that means something . I’ve re-watched episodes of X-Files, Star Trek, Farscape, Firefly, and Supernatural numerous times. I love to go back and revisit favorite episodes, as if they were the first time I’ve seen them. They’re fun, and I like visiting with the characters, and remembering why I liked them the first time.

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I don’t do that with this show. There’s no point in remembering the fun times with a character knowing that their future is a brutal and pointless death.

I managed to get through so many deaths on this show. I realize that’s almost the point of the show, but when you’re going through personal shit, and political shit (as a Black woman both can take its toll on you) when you watch a TV show, that can sometimes be a respite from your anxiety producing life.

The Walking Dead ain’t it.

Last week the show killed off so many characters, it was just emotionally devastating, in a way that the singular deaths weren’t. And it really did feel like something that was done for the spectacle. The show keeps increasing the number of deaths per season, sometimes pointlessly. The characters, all of them, their deaths were utterly meaningless, their deaths fixed nothing. The people who did it, did it on a whim, for some nebulous purpose I barely understand, because I don’t exactly know what The Whisperers philosophy is.

But Negan is still alive though….

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This is a world that produces more than enough stress in my everyday life. I don’t need that type of stress from a TV show, too. I’ve found myself gravitating to more innocuous, lighthearted, less anxiety producing shows, comedy stand ups, and reality cooking documentaries. I’m just not emotionally equipped right now to be watching shows that are going to hammer my emotions every week. I gotta stop watching it just for my emotional health.

I knows some you been quit this show, and you had your reasons. I supported all of your reasons for that, because when a person quits a show, it’s personal to them.

I think, just like for a lot of other people, it’s  time for me to leave the show alone.

‘Allo!

Hey everybody, I’m still here. Just in a kind of hiatus while life happens to me.

I had a really nice and quiet Christmas with the fam. I got some smart, practical gifts, like a muscle warmer for my back, and some gifts I have no idea what to do with. For some reason my family members all got me food gift cards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely gonna use them, but it’s puzzling, since I never mentioned liking any of these restaurants to them. I went to my sister’s Xmas party, and I’m not a party type person, so that was remarkable for me. I didn’t do anything but eat, play with my niece’s and nephew’s toys, and watch a movie about Tina Turner  with my Mom,  while trying to avoid getting our pictures taken, and failing.

New Year’s Day was really nice. The night of I got to watch some fireworks over my house, because the neighbor had some left over from Independence Day, I guess. That was kinda cool. I drank some sparkling grape juice and fell asleep. I’m a party animal.

In the Southern part of the US, its traditional to eat a mess ‘o black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. I had mine with neckbones and cornbread, so I’ve done my duty. I made only one resolution this year, to knit my first sweater. (Top down, and in the round, for you knitters out there!) I haven’t picked out a yarn or a color yet. I’m spoiled though and want the good wool yarn, and the good wool yarn is moderately expensive. I’m looking more closely at some Lion Brand, though.

I’ve got some interesting posts coming up about movie landscapes as characters, the depiction of greed in  the movie Fargo, my ten favorite characters of 2018, and scifi movies that tackle memory and identity. Plus the usual show and movie reviews. There are some things I won’t be reviewing anymore, like The Walking Dead, and Supernatural, although I will still be watching both these shows, and there are some shows I most definitely will be reviewing in their entirety this year, namely season two of American Gods, starting in March. Some shows I’m still on the fence about reviewing, like The Passage. I want to focus more on long form essays this year, as you guys seem to really those. Apparently, the weird way in which my mind parses the world is fascinating to some of y’all.

Glass will be released on Jan. 18th and I will be going to see that at the theater, and I’ll let you know what’s up. With the release of more trailers, I’m beginning to get slightly more excited for Captain Marvel, but not too much. I’m just not feeling it like that. I’m more excited by her appearance in The Avengers sequel (if she’s in there) than her standalone film, because I really want to see her go up against Thanos. I’m interested in going to see the new Hellboy. I’m hoping my Mom and sisters don’t make me go see the new Medea movie. I don’t hate the Medea movies, but they’re really not my cup of tea.

Ta Ta for now.

I will be back later in the week with some stuff!

The Walking Dead: Mid-Season – What Came After

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I reported a couple of weeks ago about Rick Grimes leaving the show, and how the show would take a jump six years ahead, to see what Alexandria and Hilltop had gotten up to in his absence. This is what came after.

The three societies are no longer as close as they once were, and that has something to do with Maggie’s disappearance, and Jesus now  being the acting leader of Hilltop, in her absence. To bring the three communities together, Jesus and Ezekiel have planned a fair of some kind, so that everyone can come together to touch base, but the impression is that the Alexandrians have withdrawn from contact with The Kingdom and Hilltop because Michonne had some kind of falling out with Maggie. Michonne is the security chief of Alexandria, not its leader, but she makes hard rules for the others to live by, even thought there is a counsel. The implication is that none of the Alexandrians should have contact with the other two communties.

We begin by meeting a new group of people who have fallen afoul of a swarm of walkers in the woods. One of them is injured in the fight and Judith, Aaron, and the others happen to come along at the right time to save them. Judith decides they should be taken to Alexandria, but Michonne is upset that she did it and advises that the new people be sent away.

The new group consists of a young Black boy or girl, (I’m unsure which, because the character in the comic books is male, but its an actress playing the character on the show), and their older, deaf sister. They communicate using American Sign, a music former music teacher, (Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts), an Asian woman who was badly injured, and another woman who is an ex-con, with trust issues. I am glad to see these two hearing impaired characters on the show because its a way to answer questions about how people with various disabilities would navigate a zombie apocalypse. I actually like the two of them because you can see the  bond between them. I hope they survive longer than one season.

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The Alexandrians take them back to the compound where we find that Michonne is nominally in charge along with a kind of counsel. The Alexandrians we meet now are much less trustworthy than they were under Rick, which makes me wonder what they went through after he was gone. There is no sign of the surviving Saviors who were attached to that community, so there may have been some event regarding that group.

There’s a counsel meeting where the newcomers are rejected because one of them was hiding a weapon, and withholding information that she was an ex-con, who had killed people. Later, Michonne changes her mind about them and elects to guide them to Hilltop, which is now being run by Jesus, with Tara as his assistant.

The alliance between the three groups, The Kingdom, Hilltop, and Alexandria, appears to have seriously atrophied.

Rosita and Eugene go out  to broadcast radio signals from the top of a water tower because they want to contact new people. Rosita is currently in a relationship with Father Gabriel, which I didn’t see coming, but Eugene still seems to be crushing on her. One of the more positive moments I saw on screen is Eugene’s change from timid know- it- all, to born again killer of zombies. He is definitely hardcore, and I was glad to see that. It seems he really stepped up to help care for and protect the group after Rick’s absence. Eugene and Rosita get ambushed by a swarm of walkers who are acting very oddly, and very deliberately chase them, while communicating in harsh whispers about not letting them get away.

This is the introduction of the most famous group in the comic books, the  very possibly deranged Whisperers. With the addition of this new group, The Walking Dead just got really scary again, because we know nothing of this new group except that they live like the  zombies, by hiding among them. This season will also introduce Samantha Morton as someone called The Alpha, the leader of The Whisperers, during what the books call The Whisperer War.

Meanwhile, The Kingdom has been dealing with some raiders, the last surviving members from Negan’s Sanctuary,  who keep ambushing their supply wagons. Carol ,who is now married to Ezekiel, decides to accompany their son, Henry, (the little boy we saw them training last season) to Hilltop. They get ambushed too, but as you probably guessed, Carol gets through it by being her usual murderous bad ass, and after their adventure, they encounter Daryl, who has been living in the woods like the wild man he’s always wanted to be.

 

Judith Grimes: 

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I’m trying really hard not to compare Judith to Carl and her father, but its almost impossible not to do that. She seems so much like and un-alike either of them. At this time,  Judith is somewhere around 9-11. I don’t know what her exact age was six years ago.

She’s not like your typical child of that age. She is very resourceful and extremely self possessed. She is a child who knows her limits and her power because she has had to know these things. Unlike Carl, whom we watched as he began to understand his power as he grew up, she has always had to know hers, as the zombie apocalypse is all she has ever known. For children like Judith, born after the zombie apocalypse, the walking dead are just a feature of the world, and they have nothing else to compare it to.

 

Carol and Ezekiel:

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Carol and Ezekiel are now married, a result of the marriage proposal we’ve seen him make a number of times since he met her. Jerry refers to her as The Queen, which kind of irks her a bit. Together she and Ezekiel have been raising Henry and refer to him as their son, The Prince. It’s interesting seeing the two of them being really together as Carol has always seemed to kep people at arms length, but they are very much in love with each other, and are not afraid to engage in PDAs. Their relationship is another one of the positive things about this episode.

Carol has not entirely given up her murderous ways, as she kills  the raiding group, that attacked her and Henry, by setting them on fire. Yeah, this ain’t the first group of Saviors  that she has set on fire, remember? Carol has always been willing to be extra, to protect her family, so this is entirely in keeping with her usual modus operandi.

 

Daryl:

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Daryl isn’t introduced until the end of the episode. Apparently, he has been living in the woods with his doggo, and looks his usual greasy self. How much of his current livelihood can be boiled down to Rick’s absence, we don’t know. Carol wants Henry to meet Daryl, because she is about to send Henry out into the world, and wants someone she can trust to be at his back. She knows Daryl well enough to know he will adopt Henry as his own, and he does just that. That evening, after they have met on the road, she spies on Henry and Daryl as they kill zombies together. She got exactly what she wanted – an alliance between  two of the people she most loves in the world.

 

Negan:

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Its been six years, and Negan is still locked in Alexandria’s jail. People still interact with him, but his little verbal schtick, where he mixes truth with lies to  emotionally rattle his interviewers, doesn’t get as much respect as it used to, and doesn’t seem to work at all on my girl, Judith, who not only sees right through his bullshit, but actively calls him out on it. She does not know or care who he used to be, and he can’t seem to  manipulate her the way he used to do  others.

 

Michonne:

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Michonne has been through a lot since she lost Rick, and I suspect some of that lot has to do with Maggie’s absence from the episode. She’s been raising Judith, and has been acting as Alexandria’s Head of Security. She is still not coping with Rick’s absence in a way I think is healthy. At one point, Judith walks in on her having an imaginary conversation with Rick or Carl, I’m not sure.  She has also been raising her and Rick’s son RJ, (Rick Jr.?) who was born not long after.

When we first see her, she looks as mean and cold and hard as ever, but by the end of the episode, we see that she can still laugh and smile, even if she only does it for Judith, who like her father, is very protective of her mother. It’s also kind of nice to see she’s stopped wearing that awful headband, as I was really getting tired of it. It’s Judith who helps change her mind about the newcomers to Alexandria, even after one of them comes to her home, planning to kill her. The woman’s hand is stayed  because  she witnesses Michonne interacting with her son, although Judith did have her back with Rick’s gun, which is bigger than she is.

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When Michonne was getting dressed, we saw that she had some kind of x shaped scar over the place where her left kidney should be, and I wonder at the story behind that, and if that has anything to do with Maggie disappearing. The writers keep giving us hints that the reason behind why the three society’s are not in contact with each other is because of something Maggie did.

 

Mid – Season Finale

During the mid-season finale, Negan is freed from his jail cell, and goes hunting, probably for Lucille, and Jesus is the first casualty in the Whisperer War, after he and Aaron set out to rescue Eugene from a zombie swarm.

Michonne sees Carol for the first time in several years and their meeting is somewhat prickly. Something happened between the three  communities that was so bad, that the Alexandrians entirely cut themselves off from the Hilltop, and the Kingdom.

Henry gets into some trouble with the other teenagers at the Hilltop. It’s kind of like he went away to college. he’s supposed to be apprenticing with the blacksmith there but ends up in jail after a night of drunken zombie fighting, and is in danger of getting expelled.

Now the show has entered some seriously scary territory, because the Whisperers are so unlike anything these communities have ever faced, or like anything we’ve seen on the show, and there’s gonna be a lot more death before the end of the season. I’m not entirely sure I’m up for that, but this is the scariest the show has been since the first three seasons, so my nosiness will probably get the better of me.

 

“Get Out” Linkspam

Get Out, Jordan Peele’s new movie, has been the hottest Horror  around for the past month, with a 99% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of people have a lot to say about it, as just like Beyonce’s Lemondae

http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/2/24/14698632/get-out-review-jordan-peele

Get Out Is a Horror Hit & Still Has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

In Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Well-Meaning White People Are the Scariest Monsters of Them All

In “Get Out,” Racism Is The Horror Story Black People Try To Survive

*Jordan Peele has always been a fan of Horror movies. Later, I want to do a post on Jordan Peele’s horror credentials, as the Key and Peele show has a long history of turning horror tropes upside down and examining them through the prism of race.

 

And here’s some links to general articles of interest, about race and Pop Culture, that I’ve come across in my travels on the internet:

Star Trek: Discovery And Black Womanhood in Speculative Fiction

‘The Walking Dead’ Finds Its Feet Again

And it’s at its best without Negan.

50 Nicknames For Donald Trump You Won’t Be Hearing On Fox News

Welcome to the America Black People Have Always Lived In

Beyoncé Falls Victim to the Grammy Awards’ Racism

The Problem With Romanticizing White Male Criminals On TV

White privilege extends all the way to our TV screens.

Missing The Point: Race in the Cinematic Universe of Marvel Comics

*Note: If the links aren’t working then feel free to copy and paste the titles in your search engine.

 

The Walking Dead Season 7: Rock in the Road; New Best Friends 

So, I’m back and cautiously attending the show. I was looking forward to this episode, as it’s mostly Negan-free, and it’s nice to see Rick getting his mojo back. Plus, I’m partial to Jesus, and he’s just really pretty, and he got to say some lines during this episode, so…

We open this episode with Rick and the Gang, walking with new pep in their steps, into Hilltop to confront Gregory about joining them in taking down Negan. Greg is at his infuriating worst, calling everybody out of their names, until Rick starts to lose his shit. My favorite moment is when Michonne, realizing her bae is about to lose it and slap Greg into the next episode, pulls her man back from the brink with a single touch, stepping in to save Greg’s sorry life. She grounds Rick in a way absolutely no one else can. Watch her face as Rick starts to get more and more agitated in discussion with Gregory, after Greg calls him Ricky. Incidentally, why is Greg in charge? He is a total trash coward!

Negotiations with Hilltop are a bust, so Jesus takes the crew to The Kingdom, where they meet up again with Morgan, who lies about Carol’s whereabouts, even though he sees Daryl standing right there, and knows the two had a connection. The funniest moment is when Rick and the others meet King Ezekiel for the first time, and are staring, rather goggle eyed, at Shiva, when Jesus apologizes for not remembering  to tell them there was gonna be a tiger. The look on Jesus’ face is priceless.

They strike out at The Kingdom. King  Zeke is reluctant to get involved in a war, but he  needs to understand that his relationship with The Saviors, is already tentative. They are bullies who can decide, on a whim, to change the dynamic of their relationship with him at any time, (and I’m certain they will, because that’s what sadistic people do.) The King’s people are always in danger from them, no matter what he does.

The group is on a time stamp, because Daryl’s escape has been discovered, and Rick knows The Saviors will come directly to Alexandria to look for him, and terrorize his people. (They know this because Jesus managed to steal one of the Saviors walkie -talkies.) They need to get to Alexandria before the Saviors do. On their way back home they meet a roadblock of cars and bombs, and make plans to take the bombs with Rosita’s help. Can I just say that Rosita is seriously getting on my nerves. I know why she’s acting the way she is but it’s still irksome. Nevertheless, I hope she doesn’t bring harm to herself. She’s in a kind of fatalistic depression that is going to get her, or someone else, killed. Again.

While  stealing the bombs, a horde of Walkers appears, and the Richonne team take most of them out with a couple of cars and some wires. Can I just point out how batshit this show has become this season? I loved this scene. (I won’t even mention the scene, a few episodes back, where Jesus backkicks some zombies, at Hilltop.) Afterwards, Michonne has to talk Rick down when he has a panic attack, at the realization, of just how much danger he just put his bae through. Rick has always had to consider others, but there was a power differential, with Carl and the others, that could create some control for their safety. The same isn’t true in his relationship with Michonne. She has a level of autonomy that the other characters lack, and she’s not like his late-wife, who would stay put when he told her. He needs to start considering the kind of danger he used to just walk into, with an understanding that the others would stay behind. Michonne isn’t going to stay behind. I think he’s just starting to realize that this woman would walk through the Gates of Hell for him, so  he may have to rethink doing that kind of stuff.

Father Gabriel makes off with Alexandria’s supplies, before Rick and the others can get back, but  Rick is just in time to meet The Saviors, and assure them that Daryl isn’t there, although The Saviors wonder at why they don’t have anything. Why do nasty people, when searching for stuff, always break things and topple things over? This is a trope I’ve seen in every TV show and movie, with the villains toppling over chairs, tables, and picture frames, as if whatever they’re looking for can be found in that bottle of orange juice they just smashed on the floor. Incidentally, this  also shows the viewer what type of villains they are, and how important, and/or meaningful, their search is. The Saviors issue  some threats and leave. Rick investigates Gabriel’s disappearance. He trusts Gabe wouldn’t do what he did without a reason, and finds a note from Gabe to go the boat, from which came  their last batch of supplies.

When they arrive, they’re attacked by a new group of people, who live on heaps of garbage. Right now fans are calling them the Scavengers. Rick however is unbowed. He smiles because what he sees is an opportunity to make new allies.

Now:

And that’s sort of what happens, after some very rough negotiating techniques, where Rick has to fight a spike covered zombie, in a garbage-dome, while Michonne yells out helpful hints, like “Use your environment, dude!” Well, I’m kind of paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. I like how the writers are showing the dynamics of their relationship, since they got together. The creators said the two of them were long destined to be a couple, so we’ve seen some of this dynamic the entire time, but this season we get the full outlook, and it’s interesting to watch Rick have these epiphanies, brought about by his relationship with her. Michonne, is an anchor, she’s a sea of calm. Like I said, she emotionally grounds him, and he is her emotional safety, where she can freely express herself, without judgment.(For example, notice who receives most of her smiles.) They keep each other from spinning out of control, as we saw that first few months in Alexandria.

This new group of people are really weird, though, as the show just seems to be throwing all manner of craziness into the plot. They dress like extras from Star Trek, and the leader, Jadis, talks like a constipated Vulcan, and has a low concept of personal space. If the Hilltoppers are the Hippies, I guess these are the Goths of the Apocalypse, (which is a great name for an Industrial Rock band.)

Rick makes a deal with Jadis, to take down the Saviors, for a third of the spoils, and there you have it. This is Rick’s first step in the war, I guess. Now he needs to get Hilltop and The Kingdom on board. King Ezekiel is still surreptitiously checking on Carol even though she is vehement that no one bother her. He manages to weasel around her decrees very nicely, while still managing to give her stuff he knows she likes, like Cobbler. On a more humorous note, Jerry, Zeke’s second, is my new boyfriend. He is exactly my physical type, and I think I’m falling in love with his happy ass.

In the meantime, Daryl comes across Carol and there’s a happy-sad reunion. I like the relationship these two abuse survivors have built. Daryl still tries really hard to be stoic and manly around her, but she’s one of the few people who can see right through it. Of course, Carol wasn’t there for Glenn’s death, and when she asks if everyone is okay, Daryl lies to her, saying they are. I have mixed feelings about that, though. I don’t like that he lied. I disagree with him lying to her, but I’m also glad he did because I understand why. Carol is going through some kinda shit and needs to decompress. The Alexandrians are just going to have to opt out of nuking the Saviors from orbit, which is what Carol would do, were she available. She and Daryl sit down to have a quiet dinner.

I did enjoy seeing Daryl bonding with Shiva afterwards. Apparently, he can identify with her, in a way no one else can. Not even Jerry gets close to her, but Shiva likes Daryl, it seems.

Later, Daryl confronts Morgan, about why he lied about Carol’s whereabouts. Morgan is once again trying to talk someone else into taking the peaceful way out. I understand his point of view, but its extremely impractical in a world with such being as the Saviors. He’s starting to work my last damn nerve, too. He and Rosita. Rosita is flailing wildly at anyone that wanders into her orbit, on one extreme, and on the other extreme, you have Morgan, who thinks people can just talk their way through everything. Hey Morgan, guess what? There’s such a thing as the middle path.

I think I saw this same argument on Tumblr. You cannot reason with the unreasonable. You certainly cannot reason with people who mean you gross bodily harm, and only understand that they shouldn’t hurt you, when they have some skin in the game. In other words, some people only stop being violent when they realize how much that shit is gonna cost them. When we were kids my mother used to say this about bullies,” You got to bring some ass, to get some ass!” If a person wants to hurt you, make that mf pay for it, if you can, or rethink their actions, if you can’t. (In other words, there’s no such thing as a fair fight.) Morgan, in his zeal to salvage his conscience, can only get other people killed. This is a philosophy that only works in a world filled with honorable people, who don’t enjoy violence, for its own sake.

Also, I’m getting a little tired of the writers creating these useless Black men for the show. Black men who are cowards, or liabilities, who can’t, or won’t fight back. It’s interesting when you consider the show is written by White men who think they’re being nuanced and are trying not to stereotype them, and that’s all well and good, but in my life I’ve not met a single Black man that won’t, at least, attempt to put his foot in your ass, if you step to him. As a Black woman, I think I know a lot more Black men than the writers. They’ve written some wonderful Black women into the show, and I wish they could do the same for the Black men, and they could, if they weren’t being hampered by this idea of trying  to avoid stereotypes of Black men, I think.
Okay, I’m skipping next week’s episode, because I have a special intolerance for Negan, who is  prominently featured. But I will read the recaps and reviews, and maybe reblog one or two of those, instead. I hate the Negan centered episodes, even though sometimes they’re important, but I mostly don’t want to see Eugene being tortured, as he’s such a precious cinnamon roll, and really, I can’t watch that.

So TTFN!

The Walking Dead Season 7: The Cell

Normally, I’d review this episode myself, but it’s the night before the election, I just got through a harrowingly emotional episode of Westworld, and I’m not in the best frame of mind. I know my emotional capacity and I’m just not ready to watch  Daryl, one of my favorite characters, be tortured for an hour. My brain is tired. Nope! I’m not ready for it.

But, I came across this excellent review, at Supernatural Sisters. I couldn’t reblogged the post but I can steer you in their direction. The owners of this site are Af-Am women with an acute interest in all things Horror. It’s rare to find Black women who are interested in horror, so naturally, I fell in love.

They also do some top notch Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and Teen Wolf reviews, book recommendations, and posts on Horror mythology and cryptozoology . It’s great! Check it out!

Here’s Sunday’s review of The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead S07E03 Review: The Cell

The Walking Dead Season 7: The Well

I’m still a huge fan of The Walking Dead, even though every season the show takes an emotional toll on me. It’s such an emotional drain that I have never re-watched an entire season of this show. I’ve occasionally re-watched an episode or two, but most of the series, I avoid.

Now let’s get something out of the way first. As much as the show is emotionally fatiguing, it’s also incredibly gratifying. I’m going to continue to watch it despite what happened in the last episode, but I fully, and completely, understand those of you who want to check the fuck out. I get it. I’m not Asian. I’m not a guy. But I sympathize and empathize with all of you who had a deep emotional investment in Glen.

I’ll never know what it was like for you to lose him, but I’m a black woman who rarely gets to see herself in the media she consumes, and I do know what it’s like to lose a character you love, cared about, and rooted for (Sleepy Hollow, I’m lookin’ atchu!). I’m not going to stop watching The Walking Dead because there are other characters i still love, and  I’m stannin’ for  Michonne, Carol, Morgan and Daryl. Those, for me, are good reasons  to keep watching.

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However, if you feel you can’t watch this show anymore, I want you to know, your reasons for boycotting are entirely valid. Don’t let the rest of the fandom gaslight you into thinking what happened doesn’t mean anything. Glenn was the ONLY Asian representation for six seasons, and that meant something to you. If you started watching this at thirteen, that means you’re a grown man now. You grew up with Glenn. You watched him become a man just as you were becoming one, too. Your feelings, no matter what they are, are completely valid, you don’t have to justify how you feel, and you do whatever you have to do to self-care. If that means getting away from this show, than that’s what you must do, and no one has the right to denigrate you for doing that.

That said, I still had something of a debate with myself on whether I should watch this episode, although I knew I couldn’t stay away from the show forever. I get addicted to shows sometimes and TWD is one of those shows. I dithered right up until, and after it aired. (So I cheated and watched The Talking Dead, the talk show discussing whatever episode just aired. ) I’m glad I didn’t skip this though because I’ve been waiting a long time to see King Ezekiel and Shiva. In the comic books he sounded so ridiculous that I just kind of dismissed him, but he is kinda awesomely funny on this show. And hey, I love tigers! I’m glad they didn’t wait until mid- season to introduce either of these two.

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We spend out time this episode finding out what happened to Morgan and Carol. When we last saw them they were being attacked by Walkers after one of Negan’s people tried to kill Carol. Morgan, for the first time since we saw him in season one, shot a man to save her. Ezekiel’s people come riding in on horses, and carrying lances, and swords, to take out the Walkers surrounding them.

While Carol recuperates, Morgan gets a quick tour of Ezekiel’s Kingdom, where the motto is that as one takes from The Well, one gives back to The Well, which means that if you take their hospitality than you must pay it back by being useful to the group. This is not a different philosophy from that which was practiced by the cops in Atlanta, who captured and enslaved Noah, but seems much less coercive when practiced in The Kingdom. Probably because people are free to leave anytime they want. I’d like to know why Carol only ever seems to encounter these new communities  after being injured. She keeps waking up to new faces.

Image result for twd the well

Ezekiel is over the top and dramatic but seems to run his Kingdom very well, although its a like visiting a RenFaire. His people seem happy and productive. They have movie nights, a choir, breakfast and lunch cobbler, and a theater. Meeting Ezekiel the way we did was a lot of fun and a reprieve from the grief of last week. Shiva was awesome, but the stand out character seemed to be Jerry, Ezekiel’s majordomo, a giant Hispanic man, who reminds me heavily of Eugene, and has quickly become a fan favorite. Also I think the idea of having cobbler at every meal is hilarious. Well, what else are going to do with all that damn fruit? But there are some dark undertones in this scenario.

Ezekiel asks Morgan to accompany him on a run,where wild pigs are captured and fed Walkers, so that their stomachs are full of rotten meat, and then they’re given to the Saviors as part of their tithe. Morgan finds himself in the ironic position of defending another man with a gun, but he drops his weapon instead. Zeke tells Morgan he was curious about what Morgan would do,and that the pigs, and his tithes to Negan, are a secret he keeps from his people.

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Impressed by Morgan’s skills with the bo staff, he asks Morgan to teach aikido to one of his young charges, who happens to be inept with knives and arrows, and Morgan goes along with this. He seems to be thinking hard about staying in the Kingdom.

Carol meets Zeke and Shiva for the first time and plays her innocent act, which Ezekiel sees right through, probably because he’s playing a role as well, and so recognizes the same thing when she does it. I thought she was laying on the “oh mys” and “my goshes” a little thick. My favorite moment is when Zeke calls her “fair lady”. Carol thinks he and his people are living in a fairy tale, and finds its all laughably ridiculous. She spends most of the episode pretending to be sweet and innocent, while stealing supplies for her eventual walkout.

Image result for twd the well season 7/carol

But Ezekiel is very observant. He catches her stealing fruit from one of his trees, and confronts her about her act. He asks her to stay, and tells her his backstory, of how people treated him when they saw him with Shiva, and tells her there is a purpose to his act. That it keeps his people sane, and gives them hope. I got some strong romantic vibes from these two. Its obvious that Ezekiel really seems to like her, so I think he does have ulterior motives in asking her to “go but not go”. Which is Zeke speak for “you ain’t gotta stay, but I’d sure hate for you to leave”.

King Ezekiel helps Carol gather supplies, but later he comes to visit her at one of the abandoned homes, where she’s chosen to stay in her self-exile, and brings her the pomegranate  he offered her, when they first met. This is  definitely the beginning of a courtship. I think Zeke is smitten with Carol, and she is  charmed and amused at his antic. His frank conversation with her before she left went a long way towards getting her to like him, I think. It certainly worked on me.

I also want to point out that, as the seasons have progressed, the Walkers have become even more disgusting. Have you noticed? The Walkers are rotting, and not a lot of new ones are really being created, as people have gotten very good at adapting to, and navigating, this environment.

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ETA:

Oh yeah, that song the choir was singing, during Carol’s tour of he Kingdom, is a Bob Dylan Song called Don’t Think Twice, Its Alright. I love the barbershop quartet version, and now its stuck in my head, (along with the opening piano theme of Westworld.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead Season 7: The Day Will Come… (Non-Spoiler Review)

In the interests of those who haven’t yet watched this episode, I won’t reveal any spoilers on who Negan killed.

I was dreading watching this. I think most people were but I’m surprisingly not as upset as I though I would be, nor am I surprised at who got killed. I very strongly suspected who it would be, and what’s weird about it is  I had two choices. Even if you know what’s going to happen, you’re still not ready, but I’m not numb, empty, or devastated, although my heart goes out to those fans who are. Some of you deeply identified with Negan’s victim and I have a great deal of compassion for you. I know what its like to lose a character you care deeply about.  It’s funny how fictional characters can have such a profound affect on people. (That bullshit about people not being connected to each other anymore because of technology is just what it is. People still feel things.)

I’m still upset at the writers for the endless teasing that happened during the episode. They really should have led with Negan’s  actions, instead of his endless monologuing. Also, I didn’t  care for all the endless gameplaying that Negan likes to engage in.

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Most of the episode is from Rick’s pov. After Lucille has had her fill, Rick refuses to break, insisting that he will kill Negan at some point. Negan, one of those messy, jovial psychos, decides to take Rick out in the RV to hash out this issue, man to man. He takes him to the overpass, where Rick’s people hung one of Negan’s cronies, and attempts to show Rick who is in charge, by giving Rick the opportunity to kill him with his ax. Rick tries but fails. I kinda saw that coming. The basic rule is not to  let your enemy choose the battlefield. Rick refuses to be broken, even after Negan drops Rick into a horde of walkers, throws his ax into the crowd, and orders Rick to retrieve it. Rick does it but Negan’s not satisfied. That’s another one of his mistakes, besides leaving his enemy alive, which is going too far.
The writers kept saying that all this was a reset. Before Negan and After Negan. We’re going to see that this isn’t something easily dealt with and then moved along. Rick, his crew, and the viewers are going to be dealing with the repercussions of this for a very long time, far beyond just this season.

Negan takes Rick back to the others, where he starts to  force Rick to cut off Carl’s left hand, under penalty of all his people’s deaths, but finally relents, when Rick appears broken enough, and Carl keeps his hand. So not only was this an especially harrowing episode for Rick, it is for us too.

Negan expends a lot of energy in breaking him, but to a man like Rick, that level of humiliation is a mistake, too. I’m not sure what books on warfare Negan’s been reading, but I’ve read them and I’m pretty sure these particular tactics aren’t in them. I’m sure this is just something of his own devising. It’s worked  several times, so it’s a tactic he’s going to keep using, which makes him predictable.

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There are two kinds of people. Those who do things right away, and those who wait their turn. (Oh guys, this is going  to come as a shock to you, but the women you love so much and treat so well, most of them are people who wait. Luckily for most men, most women prefer to retreat than seek revenge.) These are the kind of people who take the whippin’ you give them, and act compliant for a while, but they’re really just waiting for the right moment  to strike, all the while playing the penitent. (I think most women fall into that category. Most women understand that they can’t physically go toe to toe with people who have bullied them, so they choose carefully what battles they fight, they wait to choose the battlefield, or simply take advantage of someone’s weakened condition. Possibly some men can relate) When some people get pushed far enough, they become people who wait for their moment, and I think that’s what happens with Rick. Will he ever fully recover? No. But I don’t think he’s as broken as Negan would like to believe.  Even if he is, the others aren’t.

I think Negan falls squarely into the instant gratification group, though. I say it’s a mistake, on his part,  because Negan is a classic bully, and makes the classic mistake of believing someone to be weak, and then underestimating them, or taking their weakness for granted. (Also, Negan doesn’t know about  Carol, the woman who almost singlehandedly destroyed Terminus, took down I don’t know how many Wolves, and killed at least a dozen of Negan’s followers, just by herself.) Negan also isn’t taking into account that Rick isn’t the only leader. We can think of at least three other players who could step into Rick’s place if he fell.

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After Negan leaves, the others deal with the aftermath, and their grief.

I’m confident Rick will prevail against Negan. (I also cheated by reading the comic books.) I do hope that tonight’s episode is not an example of the type of writing we’ll have to put up with all season, though.  I don’t have a whole lot to say about this episode as  it mostly consisted of Negan’s  actions,  and Rick’s response. There wasn’t much plot.

Next week, we get start digging into the meat of the season and I’ll have more to say about what happened in this episode.

Lkeke’s Fall Lineup (TV)

Television

I will review the first episode of season three of The Strain this weekend. Hopefully it won’t turn into a hate-review and this season will be better put together than last season. There’s still going to be plenty of snarking on it though. I have never in my life hate-watched a show, but I really believed in the show, because its such a great idea and  the books were pretty good, and I kept hoping the show would get better.

It didn’t.

Last season had some truly awful plot points, characters, and whole episodes. I always go into these endeavors with a sense of optimism, though. I’ll try to do the same for this show as I do for all the other shows.

I will be reviewing as many of the new pilots as I can, and based on my reactions to those, I will add or subtract them to the list of weekly reviews, but my time is limited. I may not review one of your favorites. There are some shows that I’m definitely waiting to review, on a regular basis as soon as they return, like Into the Badlands (TBD/2017), and Shadowhunters, which looks silly and fun,  and The Magicians. I don’t think these will be released until next year. In the meantime, here is the list of shows I will definitely give weekly reviews for.

American Horror Story(9/14) – I have no idea what this season is about. Nobody does. The creators are keeping it a secret which is very frustrating to a lot of people who are used to knowing the entire plots of movies before they’re even released. I don’t mind the surprise, though. I do know that whatever the creators give us will be batshit crazy, so I’m expectant.

Luke Cage (9/30) – I’m so looking forward to this. it looks like its going to be fun. I will be watching for how the characters are treated, especially, the WoC, as Marvel doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to such things.I wonder if Iron Fist will get a mention, and if we’ll get to hear Luke’s catchphrase from the comic books.

Supernatural (10/13) – The show that never ends will be in its twelfth season.  Like I told you guys, I’m gonna be here to the end of the line.  I always go into every  new season with a positive outlook, and I’ll decide how I feel about a season when its over. As usual, my reviews will first be posted on https://samanddeanbrothersinarms.wordpress.com/      and then reblogged here.

The Walking Dead (10/23) – I’ve mostly avoided talking about this show all Summer. I feel really good about this season despite the presence of Negan and the absence of his victim, which I know is really gonna hurt, no matter who it is. I refuse to speculate as to who it will be.

I may or may not review From Dusk Til Dawn (9/6) and Aftermath (9/27) on the Syfy channel. Also coming up is the second season of Ash vs. The Evil Dead (10/2), which I may not review because I didn’t like how the one black woman in the entire show got treated in the narrative. I’m still pissed off about the writers fridging her  (in the   most horrible manner they could think of), just to provide some minor manpain for Ash.

There’s some intriguing new shows coming to the Syfy network , that I have no idea what to think about them, like Falling Water (10/13), and Channel Zero (9/27), which looks pretty scary and weird. I’ll review the pilots if I remember to program them into the DVR.

I still have not watched The Get Down on Netflix, and had no plans to watch Mr. Robot or Gomorrah.

 The pilots I’ll be reviewing are:

Atlanta (9/6) – this looks like a lot of fun. It has an all Black cast, and I’m casting around for a new comedy that’s as good as Black-ish and Brooklyn 99, and I like Donald Glover.

Pitch (/22) – I don’t normally watch anything that’s sports related outside of The Olympics. I definitely do not watch anything involving Baseball, but this looks so good, I’m getting kinda excited for it. I may never watch beyond the pilot but I hope it does well. Its about the first female pitcher in major league baseball, and she’s a black woman, so I hope the writers get the subjects of racism, misogyny, and feminism right.

Versailles (10/1) – I love historical shows about 17th and 18th century France. (Mostly because I love the clothes.) I’m going to check it out because its different from anything else I’m watching and will tide me over til Vikings (TBD/2017) is back on. I always have to watch at least one or two shows that totally don’t fit the aesthetic of anything else I’m watching. I like a little variety, sometimes.

Still Star Crossed (TBD/2017) – This is another historically themed show based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and starring a large Black cast. It looks gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it.  I just came off  of Coriolanus,  and Macbeth, on Amazon. I’m no expert, and generally not into romances, though. I don’t study the hell out of his plays, or recite them line by line, but I know enough to get by.

Aftermath (9/27) – SyFy needs to hype its new shows more. I barely paid attention to this one but from the trailer it looks interesting. I don’t know if I’m going to tune in on a week by week basis, because The Walking Dead is enough apocalyptic TV for anyone. But this looks like one of those End of the World Christian millenialist type deals and I’m not gonna get all het up about this if I’m also watching the Exorcist.

Channel Zero (9/27) – There’s a horrible looking tooth-monster in the trailer. That’s all I got because Syfy is trying real hard to be mysterious about the creepy shows its going to be airing this Fall. I’m okay with that approach. It just means I’ll tune in to find out what the hell was going on in the trailer.

Midnight Texas (TBD/2017) – From the writer of True Blood (Charlaine Harris) and it may even star a few characters who made cameos on there. This is on NBC, which brought us Hannibal, but I’m not getting my hopes up ,that the show is going to be too wild. I think Hannibal was maybe a fluke or something.

Westworld (10/2) – I generally try to avoid HBO’s shows as they tend to rely a great deal on female violation to titillate male viewers. I’ve already read a bad review of the pilot for Westworld. On the other hand, I enjoyed Deadwood,  Carnivale, and Oz, and  I have memories of the original movie. I want to know how it stacks up.

Mascots (Netflix 10/13) – This is a comedy from the creator of Best in Show,  which is one of my favorite mockumentary films. Its about the world of sports team mascots. I expect it to be as lowkey hilarious as the movies Christopher Guest writes.

Falling Water (10/13) – I got nothing! Looks intriguing. I know nothing about it. I’m not especially impressed by the trailer and that doesn’t bode well.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (10/22) – I remember reading this book in High School. The trailer looks suitably zany and Frodo is starring in it, and I like him, so I’m going to check it out and see what’s up. There’s also a BBC version of this series, which I have not seen but the trailer looks as zany as this one.

The Crown (Netflix/TBD) – Another historical series on Netflix. I’m not especially impressed with this but I may watch it.

The Exorcist (9/23) – There’s no way this is as good as the original movie but I have to watch it to find out if that’s true.

There’s a bunch of returning shows that I will probably watch but only give a barebones review for. I prefer to leave such reviews up to those who’ve been more devoted to those shows than I have been. Nevertheless I am giddy about a few of the returning shows, like:

Teen Wolf (Season 6 -11/16)

Brooklyn 99 (Season 4 – 9/20)

Agents of Shield (9/20) 

Okay, lets try this again. I haven’t been watching this show because I dislike Chloe Bennett. She’s just highly annoying to me, for some reason, although I like everybody else, with my fave being Melinda, naturally. This season is helped by having one of my all-time favorite characters joining the show Ghostrider. I read these comics as a teen, and even watched those shitty movies, starring a totally miscast Nicholas Cage, for the special effects.

Legends of Tomorrow (Season 2 – 10/13)

I kinda like this show. I cant stand to watch most of the other superhero shows on the Cw but I get through this one just fine. I’m not devoted, but I am intrigued, mostly by Firestorm, whose comic I used to read the hell out of.

From Dusk Til Dawn (Season 3)

I missed some parts of season tweo but i watched enough to know what’s going on and to look forward to season three. This show still looks great but some of the acting is a little cheesy, and the plot is all over the place, by the middle of the season. Nevertheless, where else am I going to see lots of bad-ass, Mexican vampires.

Yeah…NO!

I have no intention of looking at these shows although some of you guys might get a kick out of them.

Conviction starring Hayley Atwell –  She’s a great actress but she’s made  the horrible choice of picking a bland lawyer show to star in next and I don’t watch those.

Lethal Weapon – I refuse to relive mediocre eighties action movies, in the form of mediocre television shows.

Sleepy Hollow – C’mon! You know why!

The DC superhero shows on the CW, I don’t dislike these shows exactly, but I’m never gonna be a Supergirl fan, I don’t care who is on that show. Arrow simply wasn’t compelling enough for me and The Flash felt like it was aimed at kids, although I really like the characters.

I like the look of Gotham and I hope its improved since the second season, when I last watched it, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me, even with the addition of Jada Smith.The show looks gorgeous but its stil la show with cops in it and I’m avoiding those right now.

Lucifer has some interesting looking characters, but I’m waiting for an especially compelling trailer or something becasue so far its just not capturing me, even though it stars DB Woodside, on of my fave Black actors.

Training Day seems like a grittier version of Lethal Weapon. I’m not watching any cop shows, so this one is out.

Van Helsing – I watched the pilot. I was thoroughly unimpressed. No.

Wolf Creek – I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet. Its one of those serial killer movies, so maybe no.

Next up Movies and Books to look forward to.

The Walking Dead: Bugging Out

In honor of The Walking Dead Finale, I thought I’d repost this, (from waaay back in 2014), with some minor edits:

If you’re a fan of zombie fiction you know  what “bugging out” means. For those not in the know, it means having a packed bag ready, with a couple articles of clothing, water, and food, so you can vacate that urban environment, that will soon be overrun with zombies and wild humans.

Well, I ain’t buggin’ no-damn-where. I sure as Hell am not going to run out to the woods, to survive the apocalypse. And, should you ever find me in the woods, you will know that civilization, has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

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No, no! I’m good here.

Seriously! Have you even watched the show The Walking Dead? Its as dangerous running around in the woods, with wild animals, cannibals, bikers and walkers as it would be to live in the city. At least, in the city, there’s no chance of also being eaten by bears or starving to death when you run out of granola.

And why would I go running out to the woods, when I don’t know one damn thing about living in the woods. I do know about living in the city. What’s more , I know about living in the city sans utilities. I don’t like it but I got that shit down. I know where everything is, which buildings are the best fortified and most importantly, where to find the best vending machines.

It doesn’t matter how many countless hours of Survivorman I have watched, there’s a lot of shit that just isn’t covered by that show. How am I going to get my hair done? (There are no Natural Haircare specialists in the woods.) What about moisturizer?( I have very dry skin, especially on my elbows.). Or sunscreen?

What happens when I get my period? (There’s no chocolate in the woods and I don’t believe bugs are a good substitute for that, no matter how many people say they’re good for you.) How am I going to stay clean during my monthly, with no water, when I’m not even allowed to wash my hair? What happens if you get sick out in the wilderness? I have asthma when it gets cold, and my nose likes to have a sinus infection, at least once a year. Something tells me that running around in the forest would up that quota. I would run out of Puffs in about thirty minutes.

Also, where would I go to use the toilet? I ain’t fo’ no squattin? That’s just not my bag. I have lived with the Porcelain God (and his accessory,Toilet Paper), my whole life. I shall worship them forever.

Command me, Lord!
Command me, Lord!

And, most importantly, what am I going to read? There ain’t no books in the woods and I’m not making my own. There’s only so many I could carry. I could scavenge them from any houses I stumbled across, but I don’t want to risk being shot because I needed new reading material, and Americans don’t read, anyway,  so the likelihood of finding books is pretty low. Since Americans who do read, have atrocious taste in books, the likelihood of finding a good book to read would be nil.

It’s also extremely difficult to find yarn, for  my crocheting, in the woods.

Let’s face it, most of us are not equipped for forest living. I know far more about living  in the Big City, than I do about  living in the woods. I live on Lake Erie, so water would be readily available. There’s plenty of food and other resources to scavenge and sleeping under a ready-made shelter, like in an office building, is way nicer than sleeping in a bag on the ground. It most certainly would be less wet.

Yes, there will be more zombies in the city but there’s also more people to fight them. And Black people don’t have a problem working together and cooperating with each other to meet a common goal like food production or zombie fighting, although, the going narrative seems to be that people in the city would have less of a chance to survive. I call bullshit on that narrative. I’m assuming whoever came up with it,  thinks Black people would lose their shit and start that race war, they’ve all been hankering for. Trust me, we wouldn’t. We’d be too busy building rope walkways between our houses.

Quite frankly, I don’t think our lives will be greatly upheaved. We all know our zombie lore, having completely memorized the Dawn of the Dead remake.

What not to do.
What not to do.

Also, Black men are some amazingly clever tinkers. My brother and his friends, will probably have the whole neighborhood hooked up with electricity and running water, using car batteries, electrical cords and duct tape in the space of a week. Plus, it’s just safer hanging out in our own neighborhood because there’s more than a few White people who are just itching to use a zombie apocalypse as an excuse to execute Black people. They’re too scared to come here, now. They’re not going out of their way to visit during the apocalypse. I’m sure they’ll be too busy.

The place to not be be during a zombie apocalypse is the suburbs. In the city: plenty of places to scavenge for medicine because it’s where all the pharmacies are, if you shop early. I don’t drink booze, but hey, liquor stores are  everywhere, although I suspect that’s the first place people will raid. Bottled water – check. Diapers – check. Formula – check. Neighbors who are trying to shoot you – probably not. And do you know how much non-perishable food there is in the city? At my place of work alone, there’s about ten vending machines, full of soda, chips, peanuts and those little Chef Boyardee microwavable cups, with the pull tabs.

A full banquet.
A full banquet.

Also, some of us don’t have the luxury of “bugging out”. I have an elderly parent with a lot of medical issues. There’s no way I’m going to talk her into going out in the woods. I can’t even convince her to go outside when it gets below 50 degrees. Plus, she requires a small pharmacy just for her medical needs. Hell, I need diabetes medication and my glasses. What happens if I lose my glasses in the woods? I can’t even see to drive without them. I’m certainly not going to stumble around in the woods without them. Jeebus help you, if you have a physical disability or a mental illness more desperate than glasses. You better have a damn good group of friends to help you out. There’s a reason we don’t see people complaining about the arthritis in their knees. People suffering from arthritis are probably all dead.

Let’s be truthful. “Bugging out” is an activity reserved for fit, single, young, White, video game playing men, who dislike their families. Young men who are barely equipped to survive in the suburbs, with running water and microwave ovens. Young men who think they will find a hot woman and fall in love, when they can’t even attract a woman while theyre able to practice good hygiene. In other words, they think they’re Glenn from The Walking Dead, when  most such men are like Eugene. They will have to get other people to protect them. And they’d have to use lies and deception because they’re certainly not going to be able to use their charming personalities. Glenn is likable. They’re not. They’re the kind of people most people want to shoot after spending just five minutes alone with them.

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It’s all well and good for someone like Michonne, a Black  woman, alone, wandering around in the woods chopping up zombies. She’s not even remotely concerned about being raped, taken hostage for some nutjob’s  harem, or shot for being Black during the apocalypse. She’s got skills. I harbor absolutely no illusions that I am Michonne. My vast knowledge of Samurai and Kung Fu movies is not going to be very helpful.

Not me!
Not me!
          Still not me.
Still not me.
            Nope!
Nope!

What the hell is this huge crowd of young men and their hot, but conveniently helpless girlfriends, going to be doing in the woods? My guess would be trying to look tough while carrying blunted Samurai swords they have no fucking clue how to use, and drawing the population of zombies out of the city. Those of us who couldn’t “bug out”, can get to rebuilding civilization, without being bothered by their macho silliness.

Either that or being victimized and killed by all of the other people, much tougher than them, who have watched the same zombie movies, but who actually know how to use a Samurai sword.  People who all decided to leave the city, thinking it would be safer.

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With most of the population eaten, those of us with family members we actually love, will have to work it out for ourselves.

Is anybody writing a book for those of us who can’t Bug Out? This needs doing.

No?

I guess I better hop to it, then.

The Walking Dead : Last Day on Earth

Okay, here it is. The season finale of The Walking Dead. (This level of tension is why I have trouble watching horror that doesn’t have any comedy in it.) Man, I just know, in the immortal words of Kevin Hart:

 

Okay, now that I’ve finally got my emotions in some kind of check about this, I just want to say Wheeww! That was some seriously tension-filled drama right there, even when I knew what was going to happen. In the interests of full disclosure, I did read some bios about Negan before the episode aired, so I kind of had some idea what was going to happen as far as his introduction and where things might go.

Lets get this out of the way up front. All of you who are anger-tweeting the shows creators about not knowing who died, I don’t understand how you didn’t see that coming. Its called a “cliffhanger” and its very purpose is to get you to return next season. That horrible frustration you’re feeling right now is a feature, not a bug. Not just that, but he Walking Dead ends every season on a cliffhanger, so how didn’t you know it was going to do that this time? Not only did I know it was going to be a cliffhanger, I knew where that cliffhanger would and should occur, for maximum frustration levels for the viewer, because if I was the show runner, its how I would’ve done it. I understand why people were angry. (You’re supposed to be angry.) I just don’t understand why people were surprised.

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Well, anyway, there’s not a whole lot of plot to get through in this episode but there is a lot to discuss. Rick And the crew in the RV spent most of their time running away from The Saviors, who were determined that they were finally going to  have it out with this little upstart crew, who kept brutally killing their people (burning them alive, blowing them up with rockets).Trying desperately to get Maggie to Hilltop (we still don’t know whats wrong with her), the crew kept running into larger and larger groups of Negan’s people who kept doing creepier and creepier shit to unsettle them. And it worked! I know I was unsettled.

Why so many people decided they needed to make the trip with Maggie to Hilltop is anybody’s guess. No, seriously! I mean everybody. All of Alexandria’s heavy hitters decided to take a road trip. Really?! I mean Eugene, Abraham, and Carl could have stayed home. I also wonder if, after this horrible event with The Saviors, if all of the fight has gone out of Eugene? I wouldn’t blame him for giving up on being a hard ass after meeting Negan.

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The first group they encountered on the road seemed relatively small, but well armed, and Rick correctly, didn’t want to have a showdown with them, while Maggie was sick in the vehicle, which is exactly the decision the Saviors knew he would make. The Saviors had Rick figured out at every turn, which was also  pretty creepy. Even the seemingly spontaneous idea to split up, with some of the crew on foot and Eugene in the RV, was predicted by them. At one point, Rick and the others come across a line of Walkers chained across the road, and find that one of them is wearing a lock of Michonne’s hair.The tension grows tighter when Rick realizes they have the other members of his group.

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The point of all this is not just to herd Rick and the others towards a particular location, or show him what he’s up against, but also to completely demoralize Rick, so that he stops fighting. Negan wants them alive but needs to bring Rick to heel.  The Saviors want him to understand that this  confrontation is going to happen, no matter what. Actually, what Negan says is correct. The Saviors have been pretty nice to them. Negan is showing Rick that they could’ve killed all of them, at any point along the continuum, but they want don’t want a fight that would potentially reduce both group’s numbers. They want to maximize their gain, which is why Negan  leaves so many, of the groups that he annexes, alive.

Oh, and all that whistling, which I thought was pretty funny at first, is a lot creepier coming from several dozen people in a dark forest.

Oh, but you want to hear about Negan. Well, that was certainly a grand entrance. He talked for a while, and I mostly dismissed the things he said, because whatever it was is  only in service to this ego. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Comedian from the Watchmen, did a bang up job, which I never doubted he would.

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I’m less concerned with Negan’s part  of the story and his odd, paternal interest in Carl, than I am  interested in Carol’s  and Morgan’s narrative Morgan, who had continued the search for Carol without Rick, finds an abandoned horse and then  Carol, who has been wounded. She tells him she is leaving the group because she has decided to give up killing, and if she stays she will be forced to kill, because she loves them. She’s  not wrong. Her need to protect the others from danger will push her to kill again.But what she doesn’t understand is that she is not the only one with that burden. Morgan tries to explain to her that the group  needs her and will kill for her too. Which he does, giving up on his pacifist philosophy to save Carol’s life from the Savior who was stalking her in  the last episode.

All of the decisions that the characters made all season have finally caught up with them. Morgan and Carol talk about “The Price”, not knowing that the group is about to pay the ultimate price for having made the decision to kill  any Saviors they encountered, from their first meeting onward. Yet I don’t believe the outcome would’ve been any different. These two groups were on a collision course  even if Rick and his group had never fought back. Negan would’ve killed one of them anyway because that’s what he does with every group.  Rick’s group killing all the Saviors they met simply prolonged the inevitable.

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I also got the impression from Negan that he sort of admires Rick and his crew.  He certainly seemed impressed with Carl. (I thought it was because Rick’s group is so dangerous and Carl’s the youngest one there. Negan seems  very intrigued by that. Probably because there aren’t a lot of very young people left alive in this world.) Rick’s  group, as small as it is, managed to take out a lot of his people. Negan can see that they’ve got skills and training and went through some trouble to craft an elaborate scheme for them. If he can harness them as a resource this is a good thing for The Saviors, although I don’t believe for one second that there will ever be peace between these two groups or that Negan will even survive this.

Questions: Has Morgan decided to give up pacifism? If he does, will there be a price for him too, as Carol says? Where are Tara and Heath and what are they going to think about their new arrangements with The Saviors when they get back? Especially Tara, who doesn’t yet  know Denise is dead. How are the Alexandrians going to handle this news? Who are the people on horseback that Morgan and Carol encounter?

As for who dies? I don’t particularly care because its not who dies that is my main focus. My focus is: what happens after that? What will be the repercussions of Negan killing one of Rick’s crew?

See, Rick and the others aren’t the only ones who have to pay a price for killing. Negan is subject to the same rules as everyone else, and sooner or later he’s gonna have to pay, too.

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The Walking Dead : East

It only appears to be a lazy Sunday morning in Alexandria as various couples celebrate their love, including Carol and Tobin and the new couple known as Sashaham. Carol is having some feels while she suffers a major crisis of conscience. Like everything else, she does it on a grandly quiet scale. She never does half measures of anything. After a last night with Tobin, she packs her bags and sets out, stealing one of the Alexandrian cars, that’s been outfitted with large sharp poles to drive away Walkers.

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Almost immediately, (approximately 12 miles outside of Alexandria), she encounters a Savior patrol. She immediately goes into what I, at first, think is her helpless babe act, but have since come to believe, may not have been an act. She pleads with them, hyperventilating in terror, while fingering that rosary she stole off a Walker last episode, but it’s a strong possibility that may have been actual terror of what she was about to do, rather than what The Saviors were about to do. Also there’s the  possibility that she knew this would happen. Earlier, we saw her sewing a gun into the sleeve of her coat. Was that just a precaution or was she looking for The Saviors when she went set out? We know Carol has a tendency to be preemptive, so I’m inclined to think just that.

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Daryl, hearing that Carol has set off on her own decides, once and for all, that he needs to end Dwight. I had the impression that he’s not just going after Dwight to avenge Denise but to protect Carol as well, should she encounter him.

I can accept Daryl and Carol running off because that’s what they do, but when Rick and the others hare off after them, its a bit much to understand. I get that Rick trusts the Alexandrians to hold down the fort while he’s away, but all of the town’s heaviest hitters decide to run out and chase down the two miscreants. Glenn, Rosita and Michonne run off after Daryl, and Rick and Morgan chase down Carol.

Incidentally, I like how Father Gabriel is coming along as an asset in Alexandria that Rick can depend on. That man has definitely been “Born Again Hard”, as they say. So, naturally, as the one black guy, whose willing to jump into the fray, that means he probably won’t survive. You’ve got two black guys on the show, so one of them has got to die, according to the show’s “Highlander Principle”, of only having one black guy at a time on there. On the other hand, this makes me feel pretty good about Glenn not dying, because he’s the only Asian guy on the show and would have to be  replaced with another, more random,  Asian guy, if he got killed.

On the other hand, this Principle also explains why Denise had to die. You can’t have more than two gay people on a show, and the two who are left can’t be dating each other. (If so, then one of them has to be killed.) I expect Aaron to last for quite some time as he is never even shown talking to his partner.

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Morgan and Rick catch up to the aftermath of Carol’s encounter with the Saviors but see no sign of her. I had to agree with Rick about Carol being a “Force of Nature”. He ain’t lyin’. One Woman! Just One! Managed to take out an entire gang of what?  Six or seven of Negan’s men? (Then again, the people left over after the Apocalypse, aren’t necessarily the smartest ones, just the most ruthless.) Rick and Morgan head off across the landscape to find her.

Glenn and the others don’t find Daryl but they do get captured by the Saviors and I’m not surprised asit seemed to be the sole reason the writers took them out of  Alexandria. I mean they all know the Saviors are out there, and Daryl, as a general rule, is pretty good at handling his shit. He doesn’t need to be rescued by the others and their decision put his life in danger. But that ties into the theme for the evening.

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Providence- fate, destiny, kismet, God’s will, divine intervention. God or nature as providing protective or spiritual care.

This is the discussion that Morgan has with Rick during their search for Carol. He confesses what happened with the Wolf after the attack on the compound. He believes everyone is entitled to a second chance and essentially argues about providence. If he hadn’t saved that Wolf, that Wolf wouldn’t have saved Denise, who would not have been there to save Carl. Of course he and Rick fail  to see that Denise probably wouldn’t have been in danger,  if Morgan hadn’t saved the Wolf’s life, since it was the Wolf who kidnapped her.

This is much  the same sentiment expressed by Glenn to Michonne, about how they were all simply thrown together, to their luck. Glenn helping Rick so many years ago, led to all the events and decisions that branched off from that.

Daryl argues that if he’d killed Dwight the first time he encountered him, Denise would still be alive. Of course, everyone running off to save Daryl from himself, puts all their lives in danger and in trying to save them, Daryl gets shot.

All of the decisions the characters have been making all season long are starting to catch up to them, from Daryl’s decision to let Dwight live, to Morgan’s decisions not to kill anyone, to Denise’s decision to step up and start hunting Walkers, in an attempt to be brave,  right up to Father Gabriel’s decision to start too.

Are these things fate? Providence? God’s Will?

 

Afterthoughts:

Carl finds a gun with a carving of Negan’s baseball bat, Lucille. This is one of the weapon’s stolen from The Saviors. Why do Negan’s people worship him like that? Or are they worshiping Lucille? Its like some kind of cult.

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Maggie and Enid seemed to have bonded as Enid cuts Maggie’s hair. New beginnings, I guess. Later, Maggie appears to have some kind of stomach cramps (although according to Yvette Nicole Brown, from The Talking Dead, that could be due to  the jar of pickles that Enid gave Maggie earlier).

Morgan takes it upon himself to run off to negotiate with Negan’s crew. I understand his philosophy but its simply not one that can work in a world full of Governors and Negan’s, if you want to live. Its why Father Gabriel , Denise and Eugene decided to start fighting Walkers. Its why Glenn is willing to kill people now. A lot of people have decided to turn over new leaves,  and adopt new patterns, since the season beginning. Eugene, Denise, Carol, Father Gabriel, Glenn.

Morgan argues with Rick about providence but he doesn’t just have himself to think about now. Its one thing to have this as a personal philosophy when its only his own life at stake, but despite what happened between Denise and the Wolf, not  being willing to kill  is endangering the lives of  everyone around him.

The theme this week seems to be “To Kill or Not to Kill” on the various shows I’ve been watching, as characters debate the merits of pacifism vs. various forms of violence, and how far should people go in completion of their  goals. I don’t  disagree with people like Morgan, but then I have the luxury of living in a little bubble of the world where that is an option, and no one’s life is at stake except my own, so its very easy for me to practice. It’s a hell of a lot less easy for Morgan to practice this philosophy in a world full of people like Negan.

My vote for who will probably die next is Carol. I think its very possible that Carol’s character arc has reached its end. I get the impression, if she lives, that  the writers will have to focus on someone else’s arc or search for things for her to do. Its possible the writers have said all they have to say about who she was, who she is, and where she’s going.

 

The Walking Dead : Twice As Far

My hearts feeling a little heavier this morning. Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead left me feeling down. One of my favorite, and adorkable, characters is dead, and the other is having such a major crisis of conscience, that she has exiled herself from her friends and family and I don’t know when or if we’ll see her again.

Things started out okay. Some of the scenes were beautiful and funny but I  know it’s not good to get too comfortable with things on this show. It has a nasty habit of pulling the wool out from under your feet at the most unexpected moments.

The Alexandrians split up into two groups as they go on supply runs. Tara and Heath are off on their own adventure, but Abraham, Eugene, Denise, Daryl and Rosita go off together because Denise found a place that may have medical supplies. Then they split up some more. Just like in horror movies, you don’t do that kind of shit in zombie movies either.

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Eugene and Abraham have a “coming-to” when Abraham, in an attempt to still protect Eugene, kills a Walker for him. Eugene is very put out by this. He is trying to convince Abe that he is in the midst of a change. That he is becoming a new man, capable of living in such a ruthless world. I’m not sure I like that idea, because it means that the world has coarsened Eugene, the same way it has Carol. In fact, their conversation is kind of funny, until it takes a bad turn, when Eugene informs Abe that he no longer needs his protection. Abe, insulted, walks off and leave Eugene on his own, which results in a bad turn for Eugene later.

I think the theme of this episode seems to be the “becoming new people” or “evolutions of the soul”. Carol, too, is in the midst of a come-to-Jesus moment, as she rethinks the kind of person she has become vs. the kind of person she wants to be. At the end of the show, she decides its not proper for her to stay in Alexandria. As I said in the last review, Carol loves these people, and now it’s frightening to her to know  how far she’s willing to go to protect their lives.

I don’t know if she has adopted Morgan’s philosophy, but seeing the kind of woman her captor, Paula, was like in the last episode, seems to have opened her eyes to something about herself. She leaves Tobin a note telling him why she’s leaving the group and striking out on her own. Carol is a survivor, I don’t worry for her safety out on her own, but I do worry about her self. I don’t agree with Morgan’s philosophy in this cruel world, but I admit he’s not wrong about it. What Carol was doing was taking its toll on her, and infecting other people, like Eugene and Denise, two of the gentlest souls in Alexandria.

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Carol’s conversation with Daryl seems to confirm something for her. Probably how her attitude is infecting the other members of the group as Daryl expresses regrets that he didn’t kill his captors in the burnt forest. Actually, this is the second time this season that one of Daryl’s decisions has come back to bite him on the ass. His decision to blow up the Saviors hasn’t quite reached anyone yet, but I suspect its coming. So far, everyone who knows about it is either an Alexandrian, or dead. So far! Paradoxically, his decision to let another person live, is what gets back to him in this episode.

Rosita is experiencing a loss of purpose after Abraham walks out on her. She’s trying to find companionship in the arms of Spencer. I think that’s a bad choice. I don’t think Spencer is good for anybody but himself, and is not good relationship material, for anybody. She needs to learn who she is without Abraham.

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Another person who thinks it would be a good idea to adopt Carol’s philosophy is Denise and I kind of wish she hadn’t. If she hadn’t decided that she needed to “man-up” and go out and learn to be tough, she’d still be alive.She has some wonderfully hilarious  interactions with Daryl, who I think is starting to look on her the same way he did Beth, probably because Denise makes no secret about how much she trusts him, even though he scares her sometimes too. (He’s probably unlike anyone she even met in the old world.) The two of them were just starting to bond when they’re  ambushed by the man who stole Daryl’s crossbow.

Denise’s death, like most of the death in this world, is  senseless and  meaningless. Nothing was accomplished by it, she didn’t sacrifice herself to save lives. It was just brutal and mean, and such a gentle soul never deserved that death. But then, gentle souls have never deserved death, its just that such deaths are more prevalent in this world.

I wish she’d told Tara she loved her.

I wish she’s lived long enough to give Tara her favorite soda that Denise found in an abandoned car.

I wish she’d stayed home.

I wish Tara had had a chance to say a real goodbye.

And  I should’ve known she was going to die soon, because we learned so many interesting things about her in this episode and she was just discovering new things about herself.

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Eugene does a complete” Ricktator” on their attacker with some,  get this! serious dick-biting!, (which I totally didn’t see coming, which is understandable because we’re talking about Eugene), after distracting their attackers with the idea that another member of their group was hiding close by. When he said he was becoming a new man, he wasn’t kidding. (Part of me wants to applaud this but another part of me sees Eugene’s inevitable corruption by this world.) He wasn’t actually lying, because Abraham, despite his words to Eugene, was still watching over him, and I’m glad the two of them reconciled at the end of the episode, even though Eugene did sustain a gunshot wound.

After they’re adventures on the outside, Abraham comes back and makes his play for Sasha, who seems willing to give it a try. I’m not sure how I feel about this relationship, though. Rick and Michonne was just a confirmation for me, of what was already there, but this relationship came out of left field, so I’m not sure what to think, or how to shorten their names into a cutesy couple. Sasham? Abrasha? What?

But this episode wasn’t all la-las for me, Alexandria two of its most valuable members. And I still have that horrible feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach that there is more to come.

In fact that seems to be my theme for this season:

There  will be blood!

 

The Walking Dead: The Same Boat

The title is in reference to the parallels between Carol and one of her captors , Paula. Its also a reference to the type of situation everyone is in. Rick and his crew are as much an unknown commodity to Paula and her crew as they are to Rick. Neither can trust the other, but both want to get out of the situation they’re in with lives intact. I think what Paula didn’t count on is Carol and Maggie are  the women of the Ricktocracy, who are every bit as lethal as the men.

Nope! The men were not the momentum of the  episode. This episode was all about the women, most specifically Carol, Maggie and Paula. There’s some interesting philosophical discussions, escapes, zombie killing and cigarette smoking. Carol, the survivor, brings her “A” game to this match. Her first order of business is getting her captors to underestimate what she’s capable of, and for the most part, they buy that she is a delicate snowflake, who has survived the apocalypse by sheer luck.

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From leaving a trail in the forest for Daryl to follow, to staging an asthma attack,  to pretending to be religious, so she could hold onto the rosary she stole from a walker, that she sharpens into a  cutting instrument, everything she does is calculated for maximum survival. Contrast that with Maggie’s manner of negotiation, directly attempting to escape, or rushing in to protect Carol by attacking their captors head on. We  get the odd glimpse from Carol, most especially in her discussions with Paula, that her pragmatism is starting to take its toll . There are a few scenes that call into question just how much of  the emotions  we’re seeing are fake.

 

 

Alicia Witt is absolutely superb as Paula. She seems as tough as Carol on the outside but her personal story closely matches Carol’s. This is not surprising. The only people left in this environment are people with horrible stories of survival. Everyone has experienced some kind of loss. Everyone is just trying to live and take advantage of others to ensure it. (For example, witness Maggie’s negotiation with Gregory, asking for half of everything the Hilltoppers have.)

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Paula too, is just trying to ensure her survival  and that of her group. (Its too bad that none of these groups can see the idea of all of them joining together for maximum survival.) The sad thing is, in another ‘verse, Carol and Paula might even have been friends. During the Talking Dead discussion after the show, Alicia Witt states that there was a line, cut from the episode, where Paula states  that in another life, she would’ve  sent Carol cat memes.

At one point, Maggie, who has been separated from Carol by a woman named ‘Chelle, is told  they are not the good guys. Not only are Maggie and Carol meant to doubt the intentions of Rick’s group but we, the viewers, are too.

Paula starting killing people the moment the apocalypse began, unlike Carol however, she stopped counting how many people she killed when she got into the double digits. There are at least a couple of cracks in her armor because she’s willing to talk about it at all. Carol can look at Paula and see both her own past, and the woman she will eventually become if she continues down this path, just as Morgan warned.

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But what is Carol’s alternative? Carol is who she is because she loves these people as her family.  Having lost her own daughter, she’s taken all her  mothering instincts and applied them to her group. They are her children, her family. Like any mother bear, she will do what she has to do to protect them, no matter the emotional cost to herself. (Contrast that to the early years of her life,when she expended almost no energy on protecting herself.) I don’t see quite this degree of loyalty on the part of Paula though. Paula is willing to let members of her group die to ensure that she lives.Witness how she treats Donnie, the only man in the group, who also insists on being in charge. When he challenges Paula’s authority she has no qualms about putting him down.

The captors retreat to an animal slaughterhouse and Paula stalls for time with Rick, while  waiting for Negan’s  scouts  to arrive. Rick, of course, is not buying this. Daryl has tracked the group to their lair but they only arrive in time to find  Carol and Maggie have not only saved themselves, but killed all their captors and the reinforcements.

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This episode was full of some very interesting characters. There’s Molls, the senior, chain smoking bad ass. I didn’t expect her to be quite as ruthless as she turned out to be. She really does look harmless. too. She is not. There’s ‘Chelle, who has her own wrenching story of loss to tell Maggie. ‘Chelle feels nothing but contempt for Maggie, as she can’t understand why Maggie allowed herself to get pregnant at the end of world. This is one of the most female-centric episodes of The Walking Dead we’ve had in a long time. I love it that the show never sells the women short, entirely in keeping with the pragmatism and survivability of real world women, during times of hardship. This is a world that has weeded out the stupid and reckless.

My favorite moments are also the most horrifying. Paula’s death was, while not sad, definitely not a good way to go, but even worse was what Maggie and Carol did to the reinforcements,burning them alive in one of the kill rooms. I did take note of Daryl’s response to seeing the two women alive. He asks Carol if she is okay and her response is “no”, after which he gives her a big bear hug. Daryl is one of the few people  that Carol shows her true face. Is all this killing starting  to take its toll? Has Carol’s story run its course?

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And what are we to make of the statement, by several of Negan’s people of  “We’re all Negan.”? What manner of brainwashing has occurred to make these people so loyal to Negan? Just how bad are things going to get?

If you’ve read the books, you know the Negan story line and how it ends, and I wonder if the show will follow the books that way. I know something about the story line from the books and I just know, that Rick’s group is not going to walk away from this unscathed.so far, Rick’s group has taken out a good dozen or so of Negan’s people. At some point, they’re going to have to pay for it.

There will be blood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title reference is parallels of Carol and Paula, Paula’s backstory

Hostages, Paula, Carol ,underestimating Carol, Carol pretending to be weak, smoking cigarettes, hyperventilating, Carol bends like water to her environment, whatever is required is what Carol becomes, Carol and the rosary/her daughter Carol and Maggie save themselves

Kidnappers:Donnie, Molls, Chelle, Paula

Paula and gang stalling for help, has carols story run its course, Daryl’s response to her safety

The Walking Dead: Not Tomorrow Yet

Wow! This episode did absolutely nothing to relieve the tension of the group’s first meeting with Negan, who has yet to put in an appearance. The group has decided to make a preemptive strike on Negan’s compound but he’s not there. I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing but I’m dreading when he’ll show up. I just know there will be death.

We spend the first half of the episode with the group making the decision to attack the compound and them saying their goodbyes.Morgan, who is at this point, is really starting to get on my nerves, had to stand up and make a plea for diplomacy. I realized after a minute though that its easy to be mad at Morgan because I know more about the situation  than he does. I know Negan is a bad man, who can’t be reasoned with, and Morgan doesn’t have any idea about that. I’m washing my hands of Morgan at this point because sooner or later this is a philosophy that’s just going to get him killed and I can’t allow myself to get emotionally invested in someone I know is going to die due to their own folly.

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Aaron, who must still have some kind of residual guilt left, because his photos of Alexandria led the Wolves right to it, decides he would prefer to fight, and accounts himself well during the battle at Negan’s compound.

Heath, (who manages to look exactly like his graphic novel character),  and Glenn express some reservations about killing human beings. Its one thing to kill Walkers, but its another thing  to kill sleeping, defenseless people, but all of the fighters feel they are doing what they have to do to survive. On the surface they seem little different in their behavior from Negan and his people but dig a little deeper and they are both right and wrong on many levels. We, the viewers, know that Negan is a bad man and sooner or later his attention would have turned to them, but they don’t know this and just have to make the best decisions they can. But by preemptively striking at him like this, there will also be some kind of price to be paid later. Either way, violence was ever  going to ensue.

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But that’s what this world has come to mostly. Small groups of survivors battling it  out for whatever resources are left. At this stage of the game, the only kind of people left are like The Saviors, The Wolves, or the Governor, the more ruthless and opportunistic members of society. This world will continue to winnow out the weak, careless, gentle,  and diplomatic, basically all the people unable to adapt to this new, more brutal, reality. And it will  get worse, until some kind of detente is reached among the various groups of people left.

Denise and Tara say goodbye to each other. Tara, in an attempt to distract Denise from her misgivings, tells her she loves her, but Denise won’t return thesentiment until Tara comes back home. After the fight at the compound, if she survives it, Tara will go out on a two week supply run with Heath. It will be a long time before they see each other again.

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Abraham breaks up with Rosita, in the worse possible way, at the worse possible time. I didn’t really see this coming. I thought he’d stay with Rosita, but he may be planning to pursue Sasha. This leaves Rosita in tears, which is not a good place to be before a battle, but apparently she channels her anger into the fight because she handles her shit very well. This doesn’t look good for Abraham’s future, however.

Carol is angry that Maggie is coming on the mission because Maggie is pregnant and needs to stay home.  When she argues with Maggie later, its clear that she is dealing with some personal issue that Maggie represents. Carol has a kind of death memorial in her house. She has a lot of death behind her, as quite a few people in this world do, but a lot of her deaths are children.

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At the top of the episode we see her making cookies and passing them out to people in town.She leaves a cookie at Sam’s grave. Its clear she is feeling a certain amount of guilt over the things she said to him over the course of their relationship and those statements might have had some direct impact on his reaction to the Walker crisis. He’s just the latest in a lineup of dead children, starting with her daughter. On the plus side, Carol gets her ashes hauled and its about time. (Of course this means her lover will be killed later, I’m sure.)

Everyone sets out for the battle. The first half goes about as well as expected. They pretend to bring The Saviors Gregory’s head, just as The Saviors asked. Its the head of a Walker that’s been doctored to look like Gregory, but its accepted and the Alexandrians get in. By “Doctored the head” I mean that Rick punched the Walker in the face several times because it didn’t look quite enough like Gregory, prompting Jesus to tell Rick that he was scarier than The Saviors. I don’t know. If Rick is scary, how much worse must Negan be. and the foe after Negan, and the one after that, because this is the kind of world that breeds  monsters, and I’m not talking about the Walkers.

Heath, Glenn and some others are supposed to kill any non-combatants they come across. Glenn doesn’t take this lightly. They are killing ostensibly innocent people, he thinks, until he finds the groups murder wall, featuring photographs of people they have brutally killed, which cements his resolve.

The Battle itself is interesting,  carried out in a very Black-Ops kind of way because  Abraham, Sasha and Rosita all have extensive military training, and it shows in the group’s teamwork and tactics. Despite the horror of what they’re doing, the battle still manages to be fun and exciting, to watch.

Father Gabriel gets badass, as he shoots a man in cold blood, after delivering some lines of scripture. Okay, its not Samuel L. Jackson levels of badassery, but it’ll do, because  I was expecting a lot less from him.

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The group successfully takes the armory but after the battle, find that Maggie and Carol have been captured, in the woods nearby. They decide to make a trade for them with one of the men they’ve taken hostage from the compound.

So yeah, I’m not feeling relieved or anything after watching this episode. There’s still no Negan in sight and their situation has just gotten worse.This is actually one of the few non-funny horror shows I can actually watch. I like my horror with a large dose of comedy and this show is not lighthearted in the slightest. I think at the end of this season, which has been very action packed, we are all going to need that 6 month break.