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a fair of some kind, so that everyone can come together to touch base, but the impression is that the Alexandrians have withdrawn from contact with The Kingdom and Hilltop because Michonne had some kind of falling out with Maggie.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.

 

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.

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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.

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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 : 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

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The Walking Dead : Knots Untie

I initially thought of Jesus as a rather funny character, this episode remakes him in my mind as someone more sober. He seems to be thee diplomatic glue holding Hilltop, and assorted isolated communities, together. It sure isn’t Gregory, who is something of a milquetoast. He’s not a villain but he’s unwilling to make some very harsh decisions, although he is willing to be an ass. He’s certainly  unwilling to make the kind of decisions Rick made in this episode.

We pick up the story almost where we left off. Jesus is amusing himself in Rick’s house when he’s interrupted by Carl. When he tells Carl he’s waiting on his Mom and Dad to get dressed, the look on Carl’s face is priceless. Later, Rick has a n awkward conversation where he attempts to explain to Carl what happened, which is totally adorbs, but Carl’s cool about it. Ricks new (old) dynamic with Michonne doesn’t bother him. Why would it? They’ve been living in each other’s backpockets for months now.

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Jesus explains that he’s from a community called Hilltop, which actually is on a hill, and used to be some kind of historic recreation, and that his job is to seek out new communities for trade. It really is a whole new world for the Alexandrians.  He’s taken inventory of their community and thinks there’s something to work with. He turns out to be a good guy after all, despite my dread that he might not be. Later, he tells Rick he likes them, thinks they’re good people, and that he took their truck full of supplies because they looked like bad guys. he’s right. Rick and crew aren’t evil but they’re not good for the communities they have disagreements with.

There’s a lot of Abraham in this episode with shots of him wistfully longing for Sasha, while sleeping with Rosita, and asking Glenn awkward questions involving pancake batter. (You have to watch the episode to understand that.) Later, at Hilltop,  Abraham almost gets killed. I wonder what will be the outcome of that event, especially after he told Rosita she was “almost perfect”. (Yeah, she is but  not as perfect as Sasha, apparently).

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Jesus takes them to Hilltop, after being derailed by a car crash. Rick and the others save the survivors from zombies because they can’t fight worth a darn, (which explains their behavior towards Negan and his crew). There’s a standoff with the gatekeepers, but Jesus diffuses the situation (not for the first time) by letting the Alexandrians keep their guns and informing Rick and the others that the Hilltoppers don’t even have any ammo. The Alexandrians have so little to trade  that I wonder what exactly Jesus had in mind when bringing them to the  community.

Rick throws Maggie in the deep end when he appoints her to be their liaison to Gregory, the leader of Hilltop. Her negotiations with Greg are the highlight of the episode. I love a good negotiation scene. She initially gets knocked for a loop but she gets back up and comes in swinging. Gregory, believing he’s got the upper hand, suggests the Alexandrians  work for the community, in trade for supplies, (while implying that he wants to get in Maggie’s pants) Maggie cuts his shit short about that, when she tells him to remember what her name is, and stop calling her Baby.

Maggie figures out that he’s not the only one with leverage after one of his community members stabs him in the stomach at Negan’s behest.The Hilltop is unable to protect itself from people like Negan, so they offer trade instead, but creatures like Negan are greedy things. If you give them an inch, they will take a yard. They’ve been sending supplies to Negan on a regular basis, but he’s been asking for more. At some point they’re going to have nothing to offer. Its the oldest scam in the book. “Give me your lunch money and I wont kick your ass.”

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One of Gregory’s deliveries gets derailed when Negan kidnaps the brother of one of the deliverers and sends the brother back with a very painful message for Gregory, Rick kills the man when he attacks him and his crew. (Watch Michonne step in to protect her man, although Rick can and does take care of himself, she’s always had his back.) The man Rick killed would never have been  trusted again anyway, as long as Negan holds his family. Negan would never have  been satisfied with  just assassinating Gregory. He would’ve asked for more because that’s just how he rolls.

Once again Rick walks into an ostensibly peaceful situation, and  nonchalantly walks out of it, covered in someone else’s blood. Does anyone else think of Rick and the Murder Crew as the nuclear option of the zombie apocalypse? Just drop them anywhere in or near a settlement and they’ll have it gift-wrapped for you in a week or two. They’ve been weapons of mass destruction since season one and have this shit down to an art form.

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Knowing this about Negan, gives Maggie the leverage she needs, to procure half of the Hilltopper’s supplies. She reasons that Negan would have to be killed, at some point, as someone like him  will never be satisfied with appeasement. Also, sooner or later, Negan is going to run into the people who turned his henchman into pavement stew and they’re gonna have to nuke him, anyway.

Maggie and Glenn, using the first rate medical facilities of Hilltop, get their first ultrasound  look at their baby, because conveniently, one of the people they saved earlier was once an obstetrician.

For those of you who have read the books, you have some idea  why every time Glenn and Maggie discuss their future and their baby, I feel a deep sense of dread and  everything that comes out of their mouths feels like a punch in the gut. For those of you who haven’t read the books “DON’T GOOGLE ANYTHING! YOU WILL NOT LIKE IT!”

Rick takes his proposal to the rest of the group and they reach a consensus. I feel pretty awful about the decision they’re making because, as a general rule, Rick and his crew don’t actually look for fights. The fights usually come to them as they seek to protect each other. But this is different. Rick isn’t wrong. Sooner or later, they will have to fight Negan, (probably as a result  of what Daryl did to his henchmen), which means somebody’s gonna die.

I think sometimes the best we can hope for in this show is that its not everybody.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead : The Next World

Well, this is certainly a new world we have entered this week. It was also a very enjoyable episode as it was one of the more lighthearted episodes of…ever. When do we ever get to see these characters just be silly sometimes?

Well, tonight we get a Butch and Sundance road trip between Rick and Daryl. They make a pretty good team, most of the time, but these two cannot be allowed to be together too much as they can’t seem to stop one another from exhibiting some of their worst habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it did result in some amount of tragedy for Denise’s snacks.

So, Denise and Tara are living together and Tara talks in her sleep. That’s very interesting. I think they’re relationship is one of the most adorable on this show. It’s not one of those great, grand, romances for the ages, like Glenn and Maggie.They’re not a power couple ,like Rick and Michonne. It’s just something the two of them quietly took care of in the background and I like that.

Learning that Rick and Daryl are going on a supply run, Denise is all kinds of  adoracute, when she gives Daryl her list. Michonne, who has an obsession with her teeth, just wants toothpaste, and Eugene, wearing his butt shorts,  requires they bring back  sorghum, (the super grain), after which everything will be just hunky-dunky. He gives his list to Daryl and you can just see Daryl rolling  his eyes “because why is everyone giving ME their list? And what the Hell does hunky-dunky mean?

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We spend most of the day with Rick and Daryl , listening to horrible country music, and driving too fast. They manage to find Eugene’s sorghum at a place conveniently called Sorghum. At a gas station they run into Jesus, who continues to vex them at every opportunity. He keeps showing up out of nowhere, the sneaky little ninja, and manages to get the best of Daryl and Rick when the two of them let their tempers get out of control.

Having found a huge cache of junk food (Denise’s special request) and other supplies, they bicker with Jesus, who wants it for himself. He’s an interesting character. At no point does he try to kill or verbally threaten the two of them, he appears to be unarmed, and has a somewhat Trickster sense of humor.

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Funniest moment of the episode is Daryl and Rick chasing Jesus around a grassy field, when they most certainly didn’t have to do that. They could’ve just let it go, but didn’t, and as a result, lose the cache of supplies in a small lake. Jesus is injured and they reluctantly  take him with them to Alexandria.

Most touching moment is Michonne finding out that Spencer has been going into the forest every day searching for the resurrected Deanna. The last time he spoke to his mom they had a falling out. Carl and Enid encountered her first, but Carl made the decision not to put her down, believing that someone who loved her should have the honor. (It’s  been a couple weeks after the zombie horde and Carl is looking all mature and shit. All he needs is an eyepatch. Those bandages just ain’t cool. ) Michonne doesn’t understand this until Carl explains that he would do the same for her, because they’re family.

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Michonne, Rick, Carl and Judith have all been living like a family anyway, and later Rick and Michonne make it official, which is a pleasant and unsurprising surprise, as this is a relationship that’s been building for a while now, to the great glee of fans of the show. (Hell, I thought they were already sleeping together and we just weren’t seeing it.) I’m always just a tiny bit surprised at who ends up with who, sometimes.

I think Sasha and Abraham make a good couple but I know some fans are going to react badly to having her black boyfriend killed off a season ago for her to be dating a White man later. And that’s if Rosita doesn’t kill Abraham first, because he’s already in a relationship with her and she may not take it well. I’m kind of scared for her now, because killing her off is one way to eliminate that problem.

Now if only Daryl and Carol would show their love. Not that everyone needs a hookup. It would just be nice if he had someone, although Carol may be wrapped too tight right now to be in a relationship with anyone. (Since Daryl is a completely original character, not in the books, he can be shipped with anybody.)

The next morning, Rick and Michonne wake to find Jesus into heir bedroom. How the Hell did that happen because they left him tied up and unconscious in one of the empty houses. with Daryl as a guard, the other evening?

WOW!

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Love at the end of the world as we know it.

And it’s just fine…

 

On A Personal Note: 

I wasn’t sure how to feel about the Official  Richonne relationship at first, but now I’m reluctantly on board and willing to see where it goes. Part of me is elated (YIPPEEE!) and the other part of me felt dread (OH NO!) for Michonne, because whenever characters hook up, one of them dies.

Please creators,  let this awesome Power Couple of the Apocalypse, live forever!

The Walking Dead: Heads Up (W/Spoiler Alert)

THIS RECAP CONTAINS SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE WALKING DEAD, STOP READING NOW!

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Glenn is alive! YAYYY!

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The show gives us this information right away, instead of waiting until the end, showing Glenn having climbed underneath the dumpster to escape the walkers. I didn’t guess this but under the dumpster is the only place he could possibly have survived. (Even I would’ve found a way to get my fat ass under there, even if I had to scrape off a layer of skin, to do it.)

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After he crawls from under, Enid, of all people is there, throwing water at him. She didn’t have to do that, which means she probably isn’t as far gone as she would like everyone to believe, although she does pull a gun on Glenn and then calls him the  asshole for disarming her.

Apparently, as has been rumored, Enid is not one of the Wolves, or she’d be with them now instead of running around by herself. She tells Glenn about the attack on Alexandria and Glenn determines that she’s coming back with him because its what Maggie would have wanted. Once again, we are shown the members of Rick’s crew acting according to the better angels of their nature.

Last week, it was Daryl, now Glenn and Tara this week, and even Rick joins in the fun, of proving they aren’t that far gone. That they are, essentially,  decent people. They’re still trying, although Rick seems to need more of a push than the others.  And then of course, it’s taken to extremes in Morgan’s case, as he has decided to be kind to everyone, indiscriminately.

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Just like Rick gets called on his BS several times during this episode, by the women in his life, Morgan gets an intervention too, where Rick, Carol and Michonne attempt to convince him that maybe he needs to relax some of this idealism just a tiny bit and kill somebody, at least one time. This ties back to the episode “Here is not Here”, (which I will review during the hiatus because I got thinky-thoughts about that one.).

Glenn and Enid, on the way back to Alexandria, find the body of Nicholas and Glenn puts it out of its misery. He finds Nicks note on the ground next to his body and takes it. Glenn gives Enid a good talking to, later. He’s thoroughly unimpressed by her angsty teenager vibe and tells her ,”the way to honor the dead is by living.” Enid is so terrified of dying that she’s just given up trying to have a life. She survives just to be alive, which is something Michonne warned Rick about last season.

 

Rick and Maggie discuss Glen. She’s certain he will return. The writers have said part of the reason they left us hanging, about whether or not Glenn was dead or alive, is because that made it easier for us to step into Maggie’s shoes  regarding her husband’s death. It was a way to help us identify more with the type of things these characters go through, (although I didn’t actually reminding. I live in a world that I know is possibly dangerous, though not zombie dangerous. When I leave home in the morning, I am aware it may well be the last time I see my family, so “thanx” show. Not a lesson I needed.)

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Rick and Carl attempt to teach Ron how to shoot and Rosita gives lessons on zombie killing to a small group of Alexandrians, including Eugene, who is too afraid to fight because that would mean getting close to a walker. Rosita is very harsh with him because she knows he can do it. He did it for her last season when he braved a horde of zombies to save her life.

Ron is just a little too eager to learn how to shoot because his ultimate plan seems to be shooting Carl for taking his girlfriend. Teenagers gonna be stupid, even during the apocalypse. Really, Ron! You’ve got slightly more pressing concerns than girlfriend trouble. But I understand, some people are just deeply myopic about their life and Ron is at that age, I guess.

As all of this is happening ,the bell tower has been creaking and dropping its  bits. No one has noticed.

 

Rick and Michonne discuss tactics for drawing away the walkers, when Deanna comes to them, all smiles, with plans drawn up for expanding Alexandria. I guess killing that zombie, last episode, got her mojo back. Rick is all set to object, although Michonne takes the plans and holds them. They all get distracted by Spencer dare-deviling on a rip-cord, over the crowd of walkers, at the fence. His cord breaks and the situation becomes very tense as he needs to be rescued by Tara and Rick.

Rick gives Spencer a dressing down for being reckless and not telling anyone his plan, which was to try to reach a vehicle outside the fence and use it to draw the walkers away. Rick tries to give some to  Tara, for risking her life, but she don’t wanna hear that mess, and gives him the finger. (Tara is very quickly becoming my favorite person.)

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Later, Rick apologizes to Tara for what he said, but she reminds him that that’s what they are all about. Trying to save people. When Deanna thanks him for saving Spencer’s life, Rick says he could have let him die, but Deanna tells him he didn’t because he’s still, essentially, a good man.

Morgan goes to Denise for advice on what to do about infected wounds. She gives him the advice but he decides to tell her about the Wolf he has locked up in one of the houses. They both sneak off to see him, followed not that surreptitiously, by Carol, who was babysitting Judith. She drops off Judith with Jessie and follows Morgan to the house, to find what he’s hiding.

Michonne sits down to examine Deanna’s plans for expansion (which probably means Deanna will die soon, because isn’t that what her husband did, right before he got killed – make plans with Noah?)

Glen and Enid arrive to see Alexandria surrounded by walkers. Having picked up several green helium balloons on the way home, they release them, and Maggie, newly energized, is relieved to see them, believing the balloons are a sign from Glenn.

Just when we think that things are about to calm down, the tower finally collapses, and lets in all the walkers that were surrounding the walls.

 

CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TO BE CONTINUED~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead : JSS

Last nights episode of The Walking Dead was  almost entirely action, yet still had enough depth to be unpleasantly satisfying. JSS is short for Enid’s motto, “Just Survive Somehow”, and the episode picks up the narrative in two places; how Enid, a young woman of Carl’s acquaintance, came to Alexandria, and where we left off last episode, with an alarm blaring out of Alexandria, attracting the zombies the townspeople were trying to herd out of the area.

We’re shown Enid getting in full touch with her survival instincts, hiding from Walkers and eating a tortoise, after her parents were killed by zombies, on the road. After several days of Just Surviving Somehow, she arrives at Alexandria. Like most people in this world, she is severely damaged and finds it difficult to emotionally commit to the people, or  the town. She really  has one foot in Alexandria and one foot out in the world. I don’t blame her. I would find it incredibly difficult to come close to people, after such an event, and not just for safety reasons. She is willing to set foot near Alexandria solely because her chances of survival might be better there. After the events of tonight’s episode, she has changed her mind and finally decides to leave.

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Deanna and Maggie talk about Deanna’s responsibilities and Petes wife, Jessie, tries to talk to her oldest son, Ron, who is mostly known for moping around Alexandria, pining for his late, abusive father. Tara and Eugene meet the new doctor, Denise, who is super under-confident about her new position, because she has panic attacks. Well, today is going to really test her competency and her nerves. Eugene’s advice is not helping and he should shut up now.

Father Gabriel tries to talk to Carl about helping the town. I guess it’s better if he talks to Carl, rather than Rick, as Rick will just ignore him, maybe. Carl agrees to teach him how to use a machete. Carol plans to fix a casserole. She admonishes her neighbor, Ms. Neudermeyer(?), that she should stop smoking because there’s enough ways to die, in this world, without adding smoking. Ms. Neudermeyer gives her the stink eye, but Carol’s words are prophetic, as Neudermeyer is one of the first people killed, when The Wolves, taking advantage of the absence of the town’s top dogs, decide to attack. Carol watches while she is macheted by a strange man, who blitzkriegs her, on her front lawn.

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Maggie and Deanna watch as the wall is struck by Molotov cocktails, burning some people, alive. Jessie and her youngest son hide in a closet, when someone breaks into the house. Enid comes to visit Carl before she leaves. Carl convinces her to stay for a while longer, so he can protect her and Judith. Enid was always ready to run at any time. JSS!

Various townsfolk are shown being chased down and stabbed or bludgeoned to death. One of the reasons this episode is so intense is because the Wolves are so thoroughly  unhinged. They stab and hack and chop at their victims long after they have expired. I guess to keep them from rising as zombies. I guess it hasn’t dawned on them that a blow to the skull would do the trick. It’s more brutal than just about anything we’ve seen on the show, because they don’t have guns. Carol, seeing one of her neighbor’s attacked, kills the attacker, and finishes off the neighbor after she dies in her arms. Carol dons the attacker’s clothes and, masquerading as a Wolf named Aphid, proceeds to kill every Wolf she encounters.

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The alarm that was heard was a truck horn, that got stuck in the on position, when the Wolves tried to ram a truck through the walls. The driver was shot by Deanna’s surviving son, Spencer, and the driver resurrected in the cab of the truck. Spencer hesitates to kill the Walker but Morgan does not. Morgan tells him to hide while he goes inside. He comes across a Wolf hacking at one of the townspeople and tries to talk him into leaving, but Carol, disguised as Aphid,  kills him first. They argue about killing the Wolves but Carol wants to get to the armory before the Wolves do and needs his help. It’s interesting to watch her because she seems so utterly fearless, at far remove from the timid creature we knew, in season one. All the fear has been burnt out of her, but people like Eugene and Spencer seem to have an endless capacity for it.

Denise’s first patient is Holly, brought in by Eugene, and Rosita and Aaron. Denise tries desperately to save Holly’s life, while Aaron runs off to help protect the town, and Eugene, who is of course, not a fighter, decides to stay in the infirmary. Denise is afraid to to do surgery on Holly but Eugene wisely states, don’t start off being a coward, as it becomes a bad habit. Deanna decides to stay outside the wall because she can’t fight and will only become a liability to Maggie, inside. Carl kills an attacker who was trying to kill Ron and offers Ron protection but Ron would rather sulk about Enid being in Carl’s house and runs away. A very strong part of me says good riddance to him, the little fuck.

One of the Wolves breaks into Jessie’s house and she brutally stabs the woman to death with the scissors she was going to use to cut Ron’s  hair, when she tried to talk to him about his father. I guess Ron was trying to establish a precedent becasue he got pissy and ran away then, too. This seems to be Teen Response # 2, from his roster of annoying human behaviors.

Carol makes it to the armory by pretending to have captured Morgan. Morgan runs off to protect Father Gabriel, while Carol is pursued by one of the Wolves. Carol kills the Wolf, arms Olivia, who was hiding in the closet, and then goes out to cause more damage. Morgan ties up Gabriel’s attacker. When the Wolf tries to explain why they attacked, Carol shoots him. Any excuse he gives will simply be self servingly batshit, I’m pretty sure.

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Morgan faces off against several Wolves with nothing but a Bo staff and some threats, and in one of my all-time favorite Morgan moments, manages to successfully talk (and beat) them into leaving. Morgan is totally the shit, but for the completely opposite reason, that Carol is. (I cannot help wishing Michonne had been there though, for maximum carnage.) Carol, her cover as happy homemaker now blown, contemplates her actions.  What is Olivia going to think of her? What does Morgan think? How many of the townsfolk have seen her without her mask? It’s the only time, since the beginning of the series, that we see her cry. Later, we see Jessie, Carol’s doppelgänger,  dealing with what she’s just done, as well. She was a mother bear. It’s impossible for me to pass judgment on her. That kind of judgment is for people who think they know where their line is. That line beyond which they’ll never step.

Aaron finds his old bag near the body of one of the Wolves, and inside, his photos of Alexandria. We know he thinks he’s to blame now, but he couldn’t possibly have foreseen something like this happening, I think. Denise loses the battle for Hollys life. She does not handle it well. I feel so deeply for her. She tried so hard. Maggie and Deanna come back inside the walls to survey the damage. Enid leaves. She’s a survivor. It’s what she does, but I sincerely hope she does not come in contact with any of the Wolves. JSS!

Morgan checks out a house and encounters the same Wolf who tried to kill and rob him last season, and whom he let live. The man taunts him about how he shouldn’t have. Morgan apologizes before delivering a final blow. It’s unclear whether or not he killed him, but I think he did. The episode ends with Carol passing Morgan on the street, completely ignoring him. She has no use for people who won’t do what needs to be done.

In Addition:

At the top of the show, Enid kills and eats a tortoise. It’s funny but the moment I saw it, I got totally invested in it. It was so cute. And then, I was shocked at the next scene of her eating it raw, and thought to myself, well of course. Nothing in this world would go to waste and she must be extremely hungry. I don’t think it would have occurred to me to eat it, no matter how hungry I was. I think part of my reaction was because we see so few animals, on the show. From time to time, we see rabbits or something small. But are there no deer in Georgia? We saw some wild horses last season and we saw the crew it a dog, but where are all the cats and birds? If the cats aren’t dead, the whole place should be overrun. What happened to the zoo animals? Are any of them running free, like monkeys, for example? I still don’t think there are enough animals shown in a world that’s been mostly denuded of people.

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I was not at all surprised to see Carol under the mask, later in the episode. Not surprised at all. Of course that’s what she would do, although I do realize it’s not an idea that would’ve occurred to me. Jessie  and Carol are such mirrors of each other. Abused wives, who were meek and submissive, to their husbands, but with nerves of steel underneath. Is  Jessie some kind of Proto-Carol?

When Morgan encountered the lone Wolf, I was rooting for him to not kill him. Not because I cared about the Wolf, but I wanted Morgan to stand by his principles and not kill. He’s been so adamant that he wouldn’t, what kind of person can he be if he folds the first, or even the second time, his resolve is tested? I don’t know if he killed the man, but I would be disappointed in him to find out he did.

Next week, we find out what the top dogs, Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Abraham and Sonya, were doing while Alexandria was being attacked? We’ll get to see what their reaction is, if they encounter the Wolves, themselves and if the successfully here’d away the swarm of zombies.

The Walking Dead: Try

Tonight is the penultimate episode of season five. (Am I using this word correctly?)

We’ll be looking at  the aftermath of the two deaths, during that disastrous run, in the last episode. I wasn’t that attached to Noah, so that’s not hurting quite as bad as it did with Tyreese, and Aiden I never cared about at all. We’ll see how Deanna handles the death of her son. What decsion will she make regarding Ricks group? Will MIchonne take Ricks’s side? What will Carol and Rick decide? Will all of this get sidelined by some new threat in the finale?

Let’s  find out:

Deanna  and her family are listening to Aiden’s mix cd’s . Yes, the music is still awful, even after his death. Carol bakes a casserole and leaves a note, which Deanna burns. The note, not the casserole.  Sasha is having a mo’.

Daryl and Aaron, discover another living person,  while out on their recruitment drive.

Nicholas, of course, is lying his ass off,cin his taped interviews. But I’m not actually shocked by that.  He’s certainly not going to admit to his own cowardice and would make a special effort to paint the others in a bad light. I don’t think Deanna is buying it, but she is still very uneasy about Ricks’s  group. Glenn tells Rick the truth about the run,  though.

Carol finds herself becoming increasingly involved in Sam, Jessie and

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Pete’s lives. She tells Rick she cares  because  of her own abusive past and she knows Rickt likes Jessie. This is an interesting conversation because Carol says that if the walkers hadn’t killed her husband, she wouldn’t have survived and Rick says that yes, she would have.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. The pragmatic, no-nonsense, survivor that Carol is now, was she always like that? Did the end of the world turn her into what she is now, (which is what she seems to be saying) or did it just peel off all her layers, to show what was really underneath? Do extreme conditions  make a person, or just expose what was hidden, all along? Like the people they’ve all met along the way. I find it difficult to believe the Terminians were like that before the apocalypse. On the other hand, I feel like those guys that Daryl fell in with, were a bunch of ne’er do wells, before the end of the world.

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Rick waits for Pete outside the house but doesn’t shoot him.

Yet.

Michonne contemplates putting on her new uniform but is interrupted by Rosita, who tells her that no one has seen Sasha since she went on tower duty, a day ago.

It just occurred to me, maybe so much  of the reason we love Michonne and Daryl,  is because they suffer from Bitchy Resting Face.

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Rick confronts Deanna about Pete and Jessie. She knew all along and Rick suggests separating them or killing Pete. Rick’s been burned too many times by being merciful to people and having it come back to bite him in the ass, later. Now, he’s where Carl was a few short years ago. The argument Deanna makes to him, is the one he made to Carl then.

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Michonne and Rosita learn that Sasha is out randomly hunting  walkers.

Carl follows Enid into the woods again. After she confronts him about it, they go frolicking through the woods like a couple of young deer in love – or a couple of batshit teenagers  that Deanna should find some work for.

Glenn confronts Nicholas about his cowardice and lets him know he’s not to leave out of the safe zone.

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After the two of them have run the sugar or hormones or whatever,  out of their systems, Carl asks Enid about her past. Then they watch a small swarm of walkers heading through the woods. Ahhh! Young romance blooms,  as they watch the sunlight bounce off the porous rotting skin, onto the naked tree bark, surrounding their enclosure.

Nicholas, now deeply frightened of Glenn, reveals that he’s hidden a gun in the forest. I think this is the gun Rick was looking for, earlier in the season.

Michonne and Rosita find Sasha, who is having serious trouble dealing with her grief, over Tyreese and Noah,  as she decides to take on a whole swarm of walkers. The two women save Sasha’s bacon afterwards.

Daryl and Aaron come across some dismembered bodies. Is this Morgan’s doing? And then another body that was tied up and fed on. This one also has a W incised into its forehead.

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Rick confronts Jessie about Pete. Jessie, like so many abuse victims, is unwilling to see what might happen. (I have more than a little passing experience with domestic abuse victims and I’m still baffled by this kind of thinking. I understand it, intellectually,  but it’s still extremely difficult not to be angry with the victim.)

She  gets angry at Rick. He tells her about Sam’s request for a gun. He stresses to her that those who don’t fight, die, just like outside the walls. And that he can keep her safe. He wants permission to get rid of Pete. She does say yes.

Pete walks in on them. Jessie tells Pete to leave, the situation escalates and Pete gets thrown out. Everyone comes running as Pete and Rick try to kill each other on the front lawn. It’s like some  horrible, trailer park drama, until Rick pulls a gun on Deanna, tells her how he really feels about all of them and that they are all now living in a Ricktatorship.

…and then Michonne knocks his block off.

This episode tested my patience more then a little bit. Enid and Carl’s teen romance novel and Rick and Pete’s cheap melodrama, had me rolling my eyeballs until they squeaked. Otherwise,  there were some interesting developments. A lot of my questions were answered, instead of derailed by some other emergency. Daryl and Aaron’s discoveries, the kerfluffle between Glenn and Nicholas and Ricks’s total loss of his shit, made it worth watching all the other stuff.

The Walking Dead: Spend

Last week, we got some disturbing glimpses into the mindset of Rick and his group and how they’re adjusting to the Alexandria Safe Zone. Sasha couldn’t handle it at all, Daryl found a reason to participate, Michonne hung up her swords…again, but Rick and Carol act as if they’re planning an insurrection. This week we’ll get to see how some of the other members of the group, Abraham, Tara, Eugene and Father Gabriel, are handling the stress of not running around in the woods anymore.

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We start with Father Gabriel, who has set up his church. I am one of those people, whose opinion it is,  that Gabe lost his crap a long time ago, so when he starts ripping up bibles, hello!…not shocked.

We catch up with Daryl, who has fixed his hog and is looking really James Dean while going out on his first recruitment run.  Noah is meeting with Reg, so he can teach him how to build things, because upkeep is a thing. It’s not a bad idea. The Alexandrians have been thinking long term, but not that long term. Reg also talks him into being the town Historian.

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Eugene is going on a run with the others so they can make repairs to the power grid, which keeps fluctuating. I do like the matter of fact way he talks,  while refusing to carry a weapon. And Bejeebus! That’s some godawful riding music the others are being subjected to. I’d kill myself not to hear it again.

Jessie’s owl sculpture was vandalized. Rick decides that’s a good time to crack jokes. My vote is Father  Gabriel because he’s Mister Destructo, and  he probably hates idolatry or something.

On their run, Noah takes out a walker and pairs up with Glenn. Eugene pleads his case for pulling his own weight to Tara and acknowledges, that yes, he is a coward. There’s  something very freeing in knowing one’s weaknesses. The  others go in the back way as the front is inundated with walkers. What are they doing there? Surely there wouldn’t have ever been people there or were these the people who took refuge there?

Aiden encounters a walker wearing body armor, which makes sense. I wonder how it is they haven’t encountered more zombies that used to be law enforcement or military. Were they so good at surviving that there just wouldn’t be any? He takes it down but causes an explosion when one of his rounds hits one of the walker’s grenades. Aiden  is fatally injured and the walkers get in. Tara is down, too. Eugene of course, remains unharmed, so he will have to defend her. Glenn saves his ass instead. Aiden is injured but not dead. The group is surrounded by walkers and Eugene is left alone to defend Tara…again. This mission has gone completely tits up.

The little boy, Sam, who chose cookies before death last week, is hiding in Carol’s house. He wants more cookies. Carol has no patience for his demands and bluntly kicks him out, but not before suggesting he steal some chocolate, for cookies that she doesn’t feel like making.

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Abraham is on a supply run with a larger group when they are set on by walkers too. One  of his companions, Francine, runs out of ammo and almost gets eaten, but Abraham risks his life to save her. They take refuge in a construction vehicle. Or rather he sticks her in it and prepares to go down in his rowboat. He hides under the vehicle and creates a bottleneck situation where the walkers can only approach one at a time.

Rick is visited by Jessie’s  husband, Pete, who is already drunk. I suspect he’s been drunk all day, unless it’s morning in which case he’s got an early start. He wants to be friends, which I do not beleive for one second. I think that’s just a warning to Rick, that he’s watching him.

Eugene is justifying his abandonment of  an unconscious Tara, but saves her life by carrying her to safety to the van. The  others try to save Aiden without making things worse but Nicholas runs and Glenn  and Noah have to leave Aiden, who gets eaten. I never liked him but I never wished for his death either.

Abraham confronts the rest of his group about leaving people behind, which is something Rick’s group doesn’t do. Francine, the woman Abraham saves, naturally takes his side during the kerfluffle. Abraham takes charge of the collection team.

Glenn, Noah and  Nicholas get trapped in some revolving doors. Just when I think this run can’t get  any worse, it does. Wow!

The ex-collection team leader is singing  Abrahams praises to Deanna and Reg, while Maggie looks proud. She understands exactly what Abe did and why. I would argue that that’s what this group is there for. Why Deanna invited them, in the first place. The group needs new blood. People who know how to survive in any situation. People who aren’t combat ready, like the Alexandrians, won’t last long and she knows it.

But, Deanna is expressing some doubts about putting more of rRick’s  people in positions of power, though.

Sam wants to talk to Carol, while she’s baking cookies but she’s not having it. He confesses that he broke his  owl statue, then he asks her for a gun but won’t say who it’s for.

Eugene comes to the rescue in the truck, distracting the walkers so that everyone can get out of the revolving doors. Nicholas gets out and runs away but Noah gets eaten as a result. Glenn has to watch him die after trying so hard to save him.  Awww! Why Noah? And another Black man down. I’m pretty sure some people are going to be pissed about that.

Ricks group simply cannot depend on any of the Alexandrians for survival, as their tactic, is to abandon people whenever they get in a tight spot. Ricks group has experienced so much loss ,but not because they leave each other when they get scared. Nicholas tries to strongarm Eugene out of the truck, but apparently Eugene has grown a pair and is willing to kill him. Also, Tara’s in the back of the van and I’m proportionally happy about that. Glenn Eugene, Nicholas and  the injured Tara make it back to the Safe Zome.

Despite herself, Carol finds herself getting involved in a situation  with  Sam and Jessie’s family. Lemme guess…domestic abuse? After all, Pete is an alcoholic and abuse seems to go with that affliction.

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Father Gabriel comes to Deanna and proposes she get rid of Rick’s  group, because they will destroy The Safe Zone. I’m not sure she believes what he says, as he starts gibbering, at the end, about Angels. Deanna doesn’t know that Maggie overheard it though. The sad point is, though he’s insane, he’s not wrong.  Carol informs Rick of her suspicions regarding Jessie’s family and advocates killing Pete.

Maggie is upset but I don’t know if she’s upset because she believes Father Gabriel or because he’s betraying them.

Glenn and the others make it back.

The Walking Dead : Forget

Tonight’s episode picks up from last week when Rick donned his old Sheriff uniform for the first time in several years. And although he looked like he was having some feels, about the old/ new outfit, he remains as flatly pragmatic (and a little sinister) and is already talking coup with his trusted cabal of Carol, and Daryl.

I’m really interested to see where last week’s conversation goes and how long Alexandria will last with Rick’s group as members, as there’s almost no group of people they’ve encountered, that they haven’t thoroughly disrupted. They’re like a mini-apocalypse of the Apocalypse.

Tonight, if Deanna is still recording interviews, I hope to hear what Abraham, Tara and Eugene, think about their new residence and maybe we’ll get to see someone beat up Aiden some more, ‘cuz he deserves the best.

Sasha can’t sleep, so she visits the weapons dispensary, so she can gear up for some hunting. She’s talking to the first woman of size, I’ve seen during the apocalypse. Is life really so cushy in Alexandria? I just know this woman has never killed a Walker, in her life.  Sasha’s  not hunting animals, but  the framed photos of the strangers, who used to live in her new house, and hoping to attract some Walkers because…issues.

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The cabal are having a secret meeting again and figuring out a place to stash some weapons. Carol looks totally incongruous in her Granny sweater, slacks and massive handgun. They discover a destroyed Walker with a W slashed into its forehead. Uh, oh, there’s some foreshadowing going on, people!

Michonne is trying on her new Deputy’s uniform. It’s interesting that Michonne is not in the cabal. I wonder if that means Rick either doesn’t trust her or just doesn’t want to harsh her buzz?

Daryl  discovers he’s being followed by Aaron and reluctantly permits him to ride along on his daily hunting trip.

Deanna discusses  some of  her motives with Michonne and Rick. I’m sure she has other motives but since I can’t even begin to guess what those could be, and I don’t think she’s anything like the Governor, I’m not going to speculate. Sasha volunteers to be a tower lookout. Deanna wants Sasha to come to her welcoming party in exchange. Ol’, charming and harmless Carol is smilingly making plans, with the other neighborhood Moms, about the party later. I still can’t get over It. It’s hilarious watching her act like a Soccer Mom, especially since I’ve seen her handle heavy weaponry. Hilarious and deeply disturbing.

Daryl and Aaron come upon a black horse. I had no idea that Daryl had horse whispering skills but I’m not surprised. Of course he does. Unfortunately, they get ambushed by Walkers. He helps save Aaron’s life, when a lurker grabs him, though.

Carol is in the dispensary, acting helpless, with a man named Tovah or Toby, who says he’d be happy to teach her about guns.  😂

Aaron is trying  to bond with Daryl. I’m not sure he’s reaching him, but Daryl is listening, which is more than I expected. Daryl doesn’t seem to care much about being accepted.

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At the party, everyone is all clean and pressed. It must remind them of old times, but still unsettling because it must also be dreamlike after so much time in the woods. We meet Deanna’s husband Reg, who greatly admires Rick. Jesse and her family show up.

Daryl and Aaron are still chasing  the horse, Buttons,  but before they can catch it, it’s attacked by Walkers, too and they put all of them down and the horse. Aaron says the horse always ran before, which is a good kchoice for horses during the zombie apocalypse, so Daryl, probably, thinks it’s all his fault because it stood still for him.

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Noah , Maggie and Glenn look nervous. This many strangers is just not something they’re used to. Aaron sees Daryl wandering by later that evening and invites him in for dinner. He didn’t go to the party although he said it was worth a try to get Daryl to go.

Jesse’s husband is a doctor. I don’t even begin to trust him becasue I think he may be  an alcoholic.  Rick seems sweet on Jesse. Carl seems to like Edie, although I think Edie doesn’t give a flying squat about him.  Boy! this is turning into a regular Peyton Place already isn’t it? Jesse tries to pep talk Rick ,while Carl bonds with the other teenagers.

Sasha shows up in a little black number and Deanna’s son, Spencer, is very intrigued.

Daryl eats like a pig. Eric and Daryl show Daryl their garage, where someone was building a bike and they offer it to Daryl, if he fixes it and becomes a recruiter, along with Aaron. Aaron flatters him into saying yes. It looks like the start of a beautiful bro-mance.

Michonne is contemplating her potato-puff sword, when Abraham, who is very drunk, comes and speaks to her. Rick kisses Jesse.

Carol is practicing her ninja skills at the dispensary. She’s there to steal weapons but gets caught by Jesse’s little boy. Carol swears him to secrecy on pain of death. Seriously! She threatens to put him outside the walls, so the Walkers can eat him and I’m thinking ,wtf, Carol? Now that she’s offed a little girl, she’s got a taste for killing kids, now?  Okay, this is a little psycho even for her (but  then again, name one adult who hasn’t wanted to scare the living shit out of somebody’s kid, at least once.)

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This is not a party. A party is like a hootenanny. This isn’t even a shindig. According to Oz from Buffy this is just a gathering, mellow song stylings and all.  I think Sasha is experiencing some form of severe culture shock or PTSD. Sasha loses her shit to one of the guests. I can’t even blame her for it. I just can’t.  She’s been through some serious shit and these people are standing around talking about the finger foods. They’ve never had a care in the world and she hasn’t had time to process that she can stand down now.

The irony of all of this is, this is what all of them were trying to survive for. It’s the reason they became the people they are, only to find, now that they’ve survived to get to this world,  that their  survival skills and experiences, makes them unfit to live in it. There’s  definitely a war metaphor in this. They all just came back from several years of battle and can’t readjust to civilian life.

Sasha takes off in the morning because she can’t deal, which pisses off Deanna. Daryl is surprisingly calm now,  about staying at Alexandria and Michonne makes herself at home by literally hanging up her swords for the second time.

Rick, after his meeting with his cabal, sees Jesse in the street.

Okay Rick, here’s a clue! Placing your hand on your weapon, whenever you see the husband of the woman you have a crush on…that’s  called a “Bad Guy” move.

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Think Rick is going to turn into this seasons Big Bad? That is definitely a radical re-interpretation of the script, Rick.

ETA: I know a lot of people read the graphic novels and watch the shows, but I don’t. I’ve been avoiding reading them because I don’t really want to know what’s coming or who is who ahead of time. So, when you read me guessing who people are and their motivations, that’s  genuine ” I don’t know”.  I have a general idea of who gets killed in the books or the kind of people Rick’s  group might meet at some future date.

So, while I have it on good authority that something really bad is coming, and I even have a name to go with it, I don’t know when, or how it begins or what happens during the encounter. For example, I had a vague knowledge that Terminus was a bad place, but not why. I do it this way because I like my thoughts and reactions to be as spontaneous as possible while watching the episodes.

Just a word from the management!

The Walking Dead : Coda

Tonight is the mid-season finale of season five of The Walking Dead. Traditionally, this has meant the death of a major character on the show. I’m hoping the writers buck this tradition and no one dies, but if anyone has to die, I’m voting for Beth.I know people love her but I’m all about my feelings on this site and Beth is the least painful loss for me. I am happily rooting for the death of Dawn, however, because she just irks me, in a way the Governor never did and at some point, I’m going to have to examine why that is.

At any rate, I know Daryl lives. I’m not so sure about Carol or Sasha. I think Tyrese is safe, as they’ve already killed off one Black man this season, and if they kill off the last one, I’m going to pitch a  hissyfit that will be about as useful as a strongly worded letter.  I know a lot of people find Father Gabriel very tiring, but he (and oddly, Eugene, despite his worries about being a Redshirt, like in Galaxy Quest), is one of life’s fools, who will just sort of blithely waltz through the atrocities of the world, untouched.

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Tonight is also the showdown between Rick and Dawn. Odds are on Rick, who is apparently the Nuclear Option of the Apocalypse. Mess with Rick or his crew and his job becomes taking you down. He’s a very different man than the guy we met in the first season and I worry that he’ll become the next Governor at some point int the future. He’s already become the next Shane.  My thoughts on this will depend, a lot, on what happens between him and Dawn.

We pick up where we left off. Sasha was knocked out, the cop who did it, on the run. He’s being chased by Rick,who hits him with his own police vehicle. Then Rick shoots him in cold blood. This is where Rick is now. A former law enforcement officer blatantly killing another ex-officer. The Rick from season one and two would never have behaved like this. The kind of people he keeps running up against has definitely stripped him bare of all civilization’s niceties.

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We’re back with Father Gabriel outside a school or rec center. How unfortunate that he keeps stumbling across the lost relics of people he used to know. He loses his shit about this and I think the reason I don’t trust him is because he’s so sentimental, he is completely ill equipped to survive the apocalypse. His actions attract zombies and he runs away, leading the zombies right back to the church.

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Michonne and Carl have to fight for their lives because of him. Father Gabriel buys them time to escape but the church has been overrun  and must now be abandoned, thanks to his unthinking behavior. See, this kind of thing is exactly what I’m talking about. He is constantly putting other people in danger while escaping that danger himself.

Rick confesses his killing to the others. The  female cop tries to convince Rick’s group that she can help them. However, the male cop with her looks entirely untrustworthy. I don’t know if he is, I just don’t like him.

Dawn is trying to reach her people about the gunfire she heard but gets no response. She tries to be good. She wants to be good but she’s in an environment that she can’t handle and she’s  holding on by her fingernails. She’s trying to be nice to everyone to get their respect. That’s not how leadership works. She tries to school Beth with the philosophy that in trying to save everyone, you end up saving no one. Sacrifices have to be made, to protect the group.

Michonne and Carl are at a lost for what to do until Abraham and the others sudden return. They confess that Eugene lied and Michonne informs Maggie that Beth is alive. She seems pretty overwhelmed at the idea, so I’m going to assume the reason she never spoke about her sister, the past few weeks, is that she thought Beth was dead.

We witness one of Dawn’s cops bullying one of the custodial staff at the hospital, while Dawn just walks by and does nothing. Beth witnesses this too.

This is what I’m talking about. She’s a good person willing to let bad people slide. She doesn’t seem to understand that this makes her bad too.  She’s willing to let her cops do whatever they please, so she can stay in charge. She should have paid more attention to the adage of lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. She keeps talking about keeping her cops respect, well the good ones have no respect for her and the bad ones see her as weak, too.

Okay, this show passed the Bechdel Test a long time ago by having real conversations between women on the show. With the conversation between Beth and Dawn it passes this season with flying colors. Dawn is trying to both cajole and threaten Beth into compliance, until she’s confronted by one of her own cops who threatens to spill her secrets. It turns out she killed their last leader and now she threatens to kill this guy. He tries to make an argument for his humanity but Dawn is  not buying it or accepting his accusations, considering his earlier behavior. She and Beth fight him and knock him down the elevator shaft. Well, Dawn can kick some ass. I don’t want to sound bloodthirsty but yeah! That was an  awesome fight.

Later, Beth finds comfort in Carol’s room. Dawn finds her. They talk some more. Dawn is touched that Beth helped her.

Sasha is embarrassed about what happened to her. She, Daryl and Tyreese are in sniper positions on the roof of the next building, while Rick waits for Dawn on the roof of another. Two of Dawn’s cops confront him and Rick makes his proposal.  He looks as cool as a cucumber, doesn’t he?

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They all go into the hospital, with the hostages. They make the exchange. But Dawn insists she must have Noah back. Rick disagrees but  Noah is willing to go back.  Beth rejects that idea, too. Dawn gets that last word in and that’s what dooms her. Beth sacrifices herself to save Noah from Dawn. Knowing what will happen, she  attacks Dawn and is shot by her. Dawn is shot in return by Daryl. Just before she died, you could see Dawn saying she didn’t mean to. The female cop they just exchanged, now seems to be the one in charge. She tells everyone to stand down.

Rick offers to accept anyone who wants to leave, but no one does. Abraham and the others arrive and Daryl carries Beth’s body out to her sister.

Coda: Morgan arrives at the church. He leaves a candy bar, a bullet, and a rabbits foot.

I sort of hoped it would be Beth who died. But not because I dislike her. I picked her because it was the least painful death I could imagine.

It wasn’t.

Before I watched the episode, I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to say about Daryl, but I’ll save it for January.

The Walking Dead : Crossed

In tonight’s episode we switch back and forth between three groups. Rick’s group, who decide to go on a rescue mission with Noah, to rescue Carol and Beth, who is bing held at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Glenn and Abraham’s group, who are stopped on their way to Washington, and Carl, Michonne  and Judith, left behind at the church. Once again, the overriding themes are, how far would you go to survive the apocalypse. How can you hold on to your humanity? Can you do that and survive and why would you want to? Can anyone ever be trusted? Ever?

Daryl takes Noah back to Rick’s group at the church. Sasha (I love that name,) is having some sort of emotional crisis while the others break up the church for supplies and weapons. There is no reverence for the church here. It’s useless except for parts. At the end of the world, what purpose does the church serve anyway? Is being religious at all useful in such a world? Based on Noah’s information, they make plans to rescue Beth and Carol. Rick leaves Carl and Michonne in charge and no, I still don’t trust Father Gabriel. There’s a fragility and sneakiness in him that makes him unpredictable. As the group leaves, he becomes obsessed with cleaning the blood from the church floors.

The DC group, who are stranded by the firetruck need to get water. Eugene is still knocked out  and Abraham is  useless. Rosita tries to talk to Abraham but when he threatens, her Maggie pulls her gun on him.

imageRick’s plan is a quiet, pointed attack on the hospital but Tyrese’s plan is to kidnap a couple of cops and trade for Beth and Carol. Rick goes with the second plan.

At the church, Michonne listens as Carl tries to talk to Father Gabriel about survival. He makes him choose a weapon and offers to teach him to fight. Father Gabriel chooses the machete but he’s far too squeamish to ever use it, based on his facial expression. Also, it’s just gotten to the point that, whenever I see Seth Gilliam, I just know his character is going to turn out to be a weasel. It’s the only character he’s ever played since I first saw him in Oz.

imageAt the hospital, Dawn and her officer discuss catching Noah, when gunshots are heard.  Dawn is so uselessness a leader. Does she even know what she’s doing? She makes decisions and blames others for the results. It’s infuriating.  She’s keeping her officers happy, so she can remain in charge and that makes her seem a very weak leader. But surprisingly, after the making the decision to let Carol die, she gives Beth the key to the drug locker so she can save Carol. She gives Beth some crap about how she was wrong about her being weak, but really it’s just a manipulative attempt to get Beth further into her debt. I don’t trust anything that comes out of Dawn’s mouth and I suspect the Rick is going to have to have to kill her.

Glenn’s  group looks for water, while Tara cracks jokes. She says Eugene was useless, but I disagree. He’s not useless. Eugene does have a brain and that’s a perfect commodity to possess in the apocalypse. When people slow down enough to start trying to be civilized again, they’re going to need people with brains, people with ideas, to help with the kick start. Maggie gives Abraham what-for about his little tiff and is clever enough to create some shade to protect Eugene from the sun, while he’s out.

Beth visits Dr.  Edwards to find out what medicine to give Carol. He guesses she has the key to the medicine locker and warns berth that Dawn didn’t give it to her from the kindness of her heart and I wholeheartedly agree.  Dawn does nothing without an ulterior motive. I hate Dawn, with the passion of a thousand fiery suns,but I still can’t tell if she’s just weak and stupid or really brilliant. There’s still a tiny part of me that feels sorry for her, because she’s so obviously overwhelmed.

Rosita creates a water filter, something she learned from Eugene. See, this is the kind of clever shit I’m talking about. Eugene has other survival skills beyond the obvious. He’s not useless.

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The cops in Atlanta are chasing gunshot sounds and find Noah. The two cops, a man and a woman are ambushed by Rick and the others. They take the cops hostage but more cops show up and in the shootout their hostages escape.

While following their hostages, Daryl gets ambushed by one of the rescuing cops and Rick saves him.

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It’s so easy to get caught up in the action of this show, even when you know someone isn’t going to die right then. The surrounding walkers come in pretty useful, when Daryl uses one of their heads to beat up his attacker. I’m cheering for Rick to kill the cop, but Daryl has other plans. It occurs to me that I’m probably far more ruthless  and far less trusting than some of members of Rick’s group, as I would’ve killed him without hesitation. You can see Rick intently considering doing so. Had it been me it would’ve been a mistake that would come back to bite me in the ass later, maybe.

The group retrieves their hostages and the cops convince them that talking to Dawn is their best bet. One of the cops seems okay, but remember the golden rule of the apocalypse. Trust no one, until you have some solid proof.

Glenn and the others are fishing and Tara finds some surprising supplies in the pack of one of the walkers they encountered. And now, I’m pissed because I gotta wait til next week, to find out what the surprise is.

Michonne tries to talk to father Gabriel about what he’s going through. Aaauuugghhh! I seriously do not trust him. He’s just so  cagey and now he’s secretly pulling up the floorboards in his office. What’s he up to now?

Beth creates a distraction, while she gets medicine for Carol. She visits her but Carol is still unconscious. I live in anticipation of Carol waking up because, I just know, if she’s in any condition, all manner of Hell is about to go down.

<Sigh!> Okay, Father Gabriel, the dumbass, has tunneled his way out of the church. Does anyone else want to give that man some serious slappage? I mean, really, man! Tunneling?! He probably could have just  walked right out the front door, and Carl and MIchonne probably wouldn’t have tried very hard to stop him. So now, he’s running around, in the woods, with no supplies and no weapons. Of course, he gets attacked by a walker, which he incapacitates but doesn’t kill. And, since he took the time to step on a rusty nail, during his completely unnecessary escape, he probably will now die a horrible death from Tetanus. That’s if he’s not eaten, in the next episode.

The male cop, named Bob convinces Sasha (who should know better) of his goodguyness. (Yeah, that’s  my word. I’m sticking with it.) He gives her some sob story about a friend of his, who is a walker that needs to be put down. I’m screaming at the TV for Sasha. (WATCH OUT, Don’t trust him!!) But she doesn’t listen and of course he knocks her unconscious. I just knew that story was hinky. (Well, at least he didn’t tie her up and take her weapon.)

Maggie convinces Abraham to rejoin the living and Eugene wakes up. I wonder if Abraham will ever speak to him again or just hit him every time he sees him. Yet another episode where Maggie doesn’t mention Beth. I wonder if  she just thinks Beth is dead.

I just want to give a shoutout to the special effects crew for this show. The zombies are always disgustingly awesome. The standout this episode were the half melted zombies and how just their presence tells a story about what happened. There was obviously some massive firefight there.I’d also like to give a rave to Rick’s massive hand cannon. I have no idea what that weapon is called, but it’s awesome, intimidating and fits Rick to a tee.

EDITED TO ADD:

i just oust want to talk for a moment about hair care during the apocalypse. Sorry ladies, but even though the women in the show have great hair, there are no spas or hairdressers (although you can pick up and use whatever fancy shampoo you can get your hands on) there’s not going to be much opportunity to have Beth’s flowing locks. I am so glad that I decided to go natural for my own hair because when the end of the world comes I just wanna be able to wash and go. I always find myself paying close attention to the hairstyles on the Black women on the show. Michonne has that dreadlock theme and Sasha just has some kind of French Braid thing. I’ve worn my hair like that a few times, which is interesting. And how does Eugene keep his mullet? He has to regularly cut it, to keep it looking like that. Mullets are high maintenance, I guess.

Seriously, all the women on the show have great hair,especially Rosita and Maggie and I wonder about basic needs like that. Right now, most of the world is still in scavenging mode but I can imagine being a hairdresser in such a world, when  everyone settles down. That’s a skill that I actually think would be missed and useful.