Horror Noire: Black History, Horror (A Review) — Stitch’s Media Mix

Black history is Black horror. – Tananarive Due One of Tananrive Due’s comments early on in the Shudder’s Horror Noire documentary will live on in my mind forever because of how it gets right to the meat of the relationship between Blackness and the horror genre. I love learning things and I spend a […]

via Horror Noire: Black History, Horror (A Review) — Stitch’s Media Mix

If you are at all interested in the history of Horror, and Eli Roth’s History of Horror documentary just didn’t work for you, (and it didn’t for me because it erased almost the entire history of Black people’s relationship to the genre), then you have to watch this doc called Horror Noire. It has interviews and clips from every important Black Horror film star and director from the past 60 -70 years, what those movies meant to Black people, and how we participated in the making if this genre. You have to watch it just for the interview with Jordan Peele, whose new movie, US, is set to debut in March,looks scary as shit, and which I am very, very, excited about.

Its especially enlightening for the review of a classic vampire movie titled Ganja and Hess, which seems to have been remade by Spike Lee, which he titled Taste Da Blood Of Jesus. Ganja and Hess is also available on the Firestick app called Tubi. There are also interviews of the stars of Dawn of the Dead, Blacula, and Candyman. Basically everytrinhg that should have been covered in Eli Roth’s series, but wasn’t.

Essential viewing:

King Kong

Creature From the Black Lagoon

Get Out

Night of the Living Dead

Candyman

The People Under the Stairs

Blacula

Ganja and Hess

Blade

The Girl with All the Gifts – A must see

The Walking Dead Season 9: What Comes After

I’ve not been reviewing this show lately but I have been paying attention, and I decided to wait until Rick Grimes last episode because it’s the end of an era, and I want to talk about that.

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Yes, indeed it is Rick Grimes last episode, but in fairness to those who haven’t watched the latest episodes , I won’t give away the very end, or add certain spoilers. Rick’s last few episodes have been especially emotional ones. No, they don’t have the resonance of those first images we saw of him riding  a horse down an empty highway, but those images are recalled by him during the episode, and there’s some musical callback to the first season with the replay of the song Space Junk by Wang Chung. This is fitting because we began with Rick, alone, remembering his family, and that’s how these last two episodes end, with Rick recalling the family he’s built over nine years.

Rick spends most of these last two episodes trying to escape a swarm of zombies ,and even though you know these are  his last episodes, they still manage to be full of suspense. You are definitely going to need some wine, (or lots of friends), to get through this one.

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Yvette Nicole Brown, who is one of my favorite reviewers, and a total Richonne stan, got to interview Andrew Lincoln, and seriously, I almost broke down when she did, because the two of them are such good people, and Andrew Lincoln is such a sweetheart. They didn’t discuss a lot of his plans for the future but the show’s creators say they will be creating a series of standalone AMC films about the events that happen after Rick, and that later in the season we can look forward to a new group of survivors called The Whisperers, (a name which heavily reminds me of the R&B singing group).

 

In Rick’s memories, he gets to say all the things he wanted to say to those he felt he disappointed, like Herschel, and see Michonne one last time. I find that I’m okay with all this.  I think it was a good send off, although you know at least one reviewer is going to bitch about how it all sucked. Rick went out as heroically as he lived and I’m at peace with his leaving, the way I wasn’t with Glenn’s passing. (I’m still pissed off about that. I don’t think the show has ever made a greater mistake then killing Glenn, while Negan gets to live, but I digress.)

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I’m definitely going to miss Rick, but we were shown some scenes from the next three episodes of the series, which look very interesting. According to the show, The Talking Dead, the show jumps ahead 6 years, and we get to see who is still alive, and what they’ve been doing in Rick’s absence. I’m looking forward to these next episodes, as the show becomes a true ensemble vehicle with no one particular leader. Rick anchored the show in a certain place and time.He was the linchpin, the sun around which the series revolved, and with him gone, the show will open up in some interesting new directions that I’m kind of excited to see.

It’s not that I won’t miss Rick, but he had a good long run, and I don’t mind seeing him step aside to let the others shine. I’m okay with it. And they will shine because we’ve had a chance over the years to watch all of them do just that.

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At the very end of the episode, we see Judith, wearing her father’s hat, and stepping into the role of a future leader. It was so fascinating watching that because I didn’t know when I was watching her scene, or who she was. I’m like, “Whose child is this? And what’s she doing with Rick’s hat?” ( I’d had a very long and emotionally taxing day, so I was a bit slow on the uptake.) She appears confident, (almost cocky), and strong willed and  I’m a fan of hers already! I just know she’s gonna work my last nerve! It’s going to be interesting seeing how she’s been raised in Rick’s absence.

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I have to  confess that I’m one of the few people who has never re-watched any episodes beyond the first season. This show is so emotionally draining engaging, that watching it is almost like a full time  job. I have re-watched the first season, but none since then. When a season is over I don’t go back, and I’m probably not going to do so here. I think my plan is to wait until the series is over and binge specific episodes. Yeah, I can’t re-watch the show while it’s airing. That’s just too much. So I’m not going to be seeing Rick again for a long  while.

13 Great Comic Books For Halloween

I stopped reading superhero comic books, a little while back, and went back to my roots. When I first starting reading grownup books, I started by reading Horror novels by Stephen King,  and comics like Eerie, and Creepy. I never completely got away from them over the years, but when I gave up superheroes (because of the paucity of storylines, and the hot mess of continuities that is Marvel and DC), I  started reading the work of individual writers, and following different artists I like, which led me back to reading horror comics again.

Here are some great comic books to read for Halloween. I’ve read all of these except the Honorable Mentions.

 

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles

30 Days of Night has since become an entire series of books, with crossovers with other horror comics, and a movie starring Josh Hartnett. The graphic novel is so much better than the movie, and the movie is pretty damn good. The atmospheric art of Ben Templesmith is a huge factor in how scary the first book is. I became a huge fan of Steve Niles after reading this.

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Arkham Asylum: A Serious  House on Serious Earth  by Grant Morrison

This is one of my all-time favorite Batman books. If you ever wanted to know what being inside Arkham Asylum must be like, this should give you a pretty good idea why the criminals keep trying to escape. But this isn’t your typical Batman chases down some insanity through Gotham. No, Batman has to journey into the heart of the asylum, where he not only confronts his greatest opponents, but the inner workings of his own psyche. Naturally, it’s the Joker who asks the most important  question: Why isn’t he in there with them?

The artist is actually Dave McKean, but I think you can see a pattern forming, in that I like either cutsie, or painterly, styles of art.

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The Nocturnals (The Gunwitch) by Dan Brereton

I was intrigued by the  illustrations for this series long before I’d ever heard it was a comic book.That first image was of The Gunwitch, and I loved that name so much, that I went on an all out search for more of it, and came across The Nocturnals. Essentially, this is a Halloween superhero team, with the various members having superpowers based on being supernatural creatures. The Gunwitch is the former bodyguard of the young lady holding the stuffy, with the pumpkin purse, named Evening Horror.  The art is funky and colorful and, despite the presence of sexy women, this is safe  for juveniles.

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Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin

This is similar to The Nocturnals in theme. I discovered this comic in an anthology series about Halloween, about a group of neighborhood dogs, (and one cat), who fight the various monsters that keep invading their territories. My favorite part is the relationship between the various pooches, who are all brave and  good doggos. It’s not all sweetness and light though, because the stakes are very real, and sometimes the dogs get killed. It’s safe enough for pre-teens because there is very little gore, but not okay for small kids.

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http://deadshirt.net/2014/03/11/hellhounds-and-scaredy-cats-why-beasts-of-burden-is-the-best-horror-comic-youre-not-reading/

 

Constantine Hellbalzer: All His Engines by Mike Carey

I would definitely consider myself a Constantine fan, as I’ve read most of the graphic novels. Not all, but most, and I do have some favorite storylines. This is a particular favorite of mine, because apparently all you have to do is throw in an old Aztec god, and I’m in. The art is exceptionally well done, very detailed, and disgusting, and very, very effective. In this one, Constantine manages to find his way  to Los Angeles, investigating why his best friend’s grandchild has fallen into a coma, only to find its a trap meant just for him, in a war between an ancient god, and a demon wannabe.

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Spiral/Uzumaki by Junji Ito

This is one of those comics that has no gore, but nevertheless, haunts you long after you’ve finished the story. A curse causes the people in a small Japanese town to become obsessed with spirals to the point where they begin physically  transforming into spirals. If you like geographical horror, like the movie Annihilation, this is a great spooky story for Halloween.

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Enormous by Tim Daniel

The earth has been taken over by gigantic monsters. In the first story, Ellen Grace tries to get some orphaned children to a safe place, after the death of her mother, and the destruction of most of Arizona.

You know how much I love monsters, and the art for this series is truly spectacular, with full color paintings. It also has a female lead, ala Ellen Ripley. This is a pretty graphic and harrowing adventure story about not just physically surviving, but surviving emotionally. This is a comic you read in small sips.

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Wormwood: Gentlemen Corpse by Ben Templesmith

I mentioned this series some time ago. I love horror-comedy mashups, and this is Ben Templesmith knocking it out of the park, with the hilarious, and terrifying stories of Wormwood, a tiny little worm inhabiting a rotting corpse, which  has not stopped him from living up to his responsibilities of  drinking, cussing, and saving the world from the interdimensional, Cthulhu-like horrors, waiting to destroy the Earth.

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The Goon Series by Eric Powell

For those of you who like monsters, but don’t like being scared, here’s some  humorous horror from Eric Powell. Think Ash vs. The Evil Dead, (and everything else), including mad scientists, zombies, Cthulhu, and femme fatales, set in the forties. The Goon usually wins by punching things, and when that doesn’t work, his loudmouthed partner will offer to shoot it. Don’t let the artistic style fool you. These books are nice and gory, but that’s okay, because they’re also deeply, deeply silly.

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Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing

I knew about the original backstory of the Swamp Thing because I read the comics when I was a little  kid, but when Alan Moore began his run in the 80s, he turned all of that on its head, and created one of the best story arcs for any character in the DC universe. Moore was aided in this endeavor by the  artists Bernie Wrightson, Steve Veitch, John Totleben, and Steve Bissette. (Please read the 1984 story “The Anatomy Lesson” if you want to be emotionally devastated.)

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Shaolin Cowboy by Geof Darrow

I was first introduced to the art of Geof Darrow in the book HardBoiled. A book with almost no dialogue, but plenty, and I mean plenty, of art. His work is so incredibly detailed, it’s ridiculous.  I went on to read Big Guy and Rusty (Who remembers that cartoon, but me?), and this crazed adventure here, Shaolin Cowboy, about the supernatural adventures of a Shaolin monk, in a techno alternate future America. Once again, there’s no dialogue to speak about, but you will spend hours staring intently at the pages trying to parse every detail, and it will be worth it, because Darrow likes to add lots of easter eggs to his work. It’s fun without  that anxiety producing gameshow feeling of  having to search for Waldo.

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Criminal Macabre by Steve Niles

Criminal Macabre is like if Ash from The Evil Dead had been born with the psychic ability to see the supernatural world, and tried unsuccessfully to suppress that power with a ton of booze and drugs. This series is deeply funny, mostly due to Cal McDonald’s ability to wisecrack, in even the most dire situations. This man takes so many drugs, it’s a wonder he’s able to stand up straight most of the time, often walking into fights drunk, high, or both, yet still somehow managing to prevail. And for those of you who consider comic books a little  too juvenile for your taste, there is a nice, fat, prose anthology of Cal’s adventures called Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories. The prose version isn’t as funny as the comics but the plots are just as ridiculous.

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Hellboy and B.P.R.D Series by Mike Mignola

I’m a long time Hellboy fan. Some of the love is at least partly due to the artistic style of Mike Mignola. If your only knowledge of Hellboy is through the two Guillermo Del Toro movies, then I urge you to check out the comic books, graphic, and prose novels, which are deeper than the films, and if possible, even more dark and moody. The biggest difference between the style of the movies and the books is tone. There’s not as much color or  humor in the books. If you’re looking for fun and funny, this ain’t necessarily it.

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https://nerdist.com/hellboy-rise-blood-queen-comics-history/

 

 

Honorable Mentions or What I’m About to Start Reading Soon

Aliens Salvation by Dave Gibbons

I actually haven’t read a whole lot of books in the Alien franchise. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the series. It mostly means I’m  too chickenshit to consume a steady diet of them.

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Beautiful Darkness by Fabian Vehlmann

This story about tiny mutated people living in and around the rotting body of a little girl abandoned in the woods, sounds suitably horrific and yes, very, very strange.

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Gyo by Junji Ito

I’m told that the actual title of this book is called Death Stench and has something to do with people dying horribly from intestinal gas. This should resonate with anyone like me who is lactose intolerant and has ever made the mistake of drinking dairy products.

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Hillbilly by Eric Powell

Since I love the midwestern horror stories of Manly Wade Wellman, I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this other series by Eric Powell, about a Hillbilly guardian who fights monsters, in the hills of Appalachia, accompanied by his friend, a giant bear.

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Neonomicon by Alan Moore

I heard that this book was deeply frightening, about two government detectives stumbling across a supernatural mystery. It’s written by Alan Moore, so I trust that assessment.

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Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs

Another monster book, about a couple who decide to spend their honeymoon hunting bizarre natural monsters. It sounds really cute, and I hope it’s not too scary for me.

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The Girl with All The Gifts (2016)

This is the first of my five posts reviewing horror movies where the stars are Black women, all part of the Graveyard Shift Sisters posts on 31 Black Women of Horror, for the month of October.

Okay, despite the fact that I read the book, I still didn’t know what to expect from the movie. I should have because the movie is mostly very faithful to the source material. It had not occurred to me that the filmmakers would do the thing, and make Melanie a little Black girl. I loved the character’s voice in the book and was looking forward to whoever they would cast as she would be carrying the movie, and I’m glad the director made that decision.

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When the writer, M.R. Carey was asked about the development of the movie he stated:

‘We went a slightly different way in the movie, especially when it came to point of view. Where the novel moves between the five main characters and lets us see what’s going on in all of their heads, the movie sticks with Melanie all the way. And there are no Junkers in the movie. The base falls to a hungry attack. But it’s a case of two different paths through the same narrative space. The ending is absolutely faithful to the book.’

— M.R. Carey, in an interview with Mom Advice[7]

The plot of the movie is very faithful to the source, so if you’ve read the book, you know the ending. Most of humanity has succumbed to fungal spores and become what are known as “Hungries”. ( Basically they’re zombies. They attack and eat people. (This is not  unprecedented in nature, as there are actually fungal spores that infect hosts, and force the hosts to  propagate itself.)  Some of the zombies are intelligent, and Melanie is one of the smartest ones.

Melanie, and a group of like children, all of whom were infected in utero, are being taught, studied, and experimented on, at a specially guarded facility, by Dr. Caldwell, played by Glen Close. She is attempting to find a cure for the fungal infection by vivisecting  the children’s brains, and Melanie is her star pupil. One of Melanie’s teachers is Ms. Justineau with whom Melanie develops a close  relationship.

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Melanie is played by the unknown Sennia Nanua, and she is absolutely perfect. She doesn’t try to play Melanie as sinister, or evil. She’s just like any other regular little girl, smiling, curious about the world , and happy, until her hunger is triggered. Those scenes are shocking in their viciousness. We watch Melanie attack and bite people, and at one point she captures and eats a cat. Although the movie has kids in it, it is not for children. Her behavior isn’t sugar-coated  or glossed over, and the soldiers are correct to be afraid of Melanie, as her Hunger appears to be something she seems to control. Gemma Arterton is great as Justineau, and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Melanie.

Justineau doesn’t try to control, or change Melanie, seems to accept Melanie just as she is, and unlike the soldiers, seems unafraid of her. She doesn’t seem to want Melanie for what Melanie can provide for her like Caldwell. Seeming to genuinely love and care for her, worrying about her safety when she’s not around. The two of them seemed to have formed a real and loving bond, and that bond between them, goes a long way towards the audience accepting Melanie for who and what she is, too.

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Justineau was constantly cautioned against attaching herself to the children she is teaching, but  she seems unable (or unwilling) to do so with Melanie. There are several scenes of the soldiers being verbally abusive to the children in their care, in order to teach Justineau to avoid them, but Justineau always behaves towards them with dignity and respect.

 

When the facility is overrun by Hungries, Melanie and Justineau escape inside a mobile lab, with some other soldiers. Caldwell, who has been bitten by one of the Hungries has developed sepsis, but still continues her experiments. The soldiers are wary that Melanie will turn on them so they make her wear a muzzle ala Hannibal Lecter.

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They soldiers fear her but Melanie is useful because she can walk among the infected with impunity. In their travels, they use Melanie to lure the Hungries away from them so that they can more successfully forage for supplies. Melanie uses that time as an opportunity to feed. During her explorations she encounters a group of feral infected children who have formed a gang to hunt  any wayward humans.

In one of the movie’s most exhilarating moments Melanie challenges and kills the gang’s leader, and commands the gang afterward, keeping them in line with the threat of her strength and ruthlessness. I’m not sure how to feel about these scenes. On the one hand, I applaud Melanie’s ability to survive and be a leader. On the other hand, I’m witnessing children committing shocking acts of violence, which is something I’m just not used to seeing. I generally avoid movies where children are killing each other. Melanie’s leadership of this gang is something that will come into play at the end of the movie.

I have to admit I felt some type of way about watching this little Black girl kicking ass, and being so vicious, because that actress looks so sweet and innocent, when she’s not doing those things. I can only guess that’s why this particular actress was chosen. There’s also the stereotype of the vicious Black brute, who is uncivilized and must be controlled, restrained, and made useful, which is illustrated in Melanie having to wear a plastic muzzle for at least half the film. All of Melanie’s captors are White, and with the exception of Ms. Justineau, they are all deeply frightened of her, which gives this movie a  disturbing racial angle, that it would not  have otherwise had, if Melanie had been cast as a little White girl. Her Blackness gives the end of this movie  a wholly different meaning, which I’ll have to discuss in another post.

There’s very little wasted space in this film, which is less than two hours, but feels   longer because the director takes time to have quiet moments to explore Melanie’s world from her point of view. She is in nearly every frame, she is the one around which the other characters revolve, and she moves the plot forward with the decisions she makes, especially the last one.

I considered giving away the ending of the movie, because I wanted to discuss how groundbreaking this is, but if you’ve read the book you already know it, and if you haven’t, I really don’t want to rob you of your feelings (and you will have some) when you see it for yourself, as everything that happens in 90 minutes of the movie is what leads up to Melanie’s final decision.

This is an excellent movie to watch on Halloween night along with, 28 Days Later, and Train to Busan, two other films that have WoC dealing with a zombie apocalypse.

28 Days Later will be my next review.

ETA: The Website featuring this list is available at the Graveyard Shift Sisters.

http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com/2017/09/watch-31-horror-movies-starring-black.html

 

Ten Scary Short Horror Movies

Well, it’s almost Halloween and so naturally, as it does every other day of the year, my mind turns toward scary movies. I can’t out a whole movie on here but I can share with you some of my favorite short films. I like monsters, so most of these have monsters. I like comedies, so some of them are funny and there’s a couple of these that scared the living shit outta m
This movie infuriated me, especially after I realized what was actually happening:

Don’t Move

 

 

You guys know I’m not a  fan of spiders, so I was reluctant to watch this one, but it just so happens it has a surprisingly funny ending:

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

 

 

I saw this one last year, and it stuck in my mind for a whole year, but I’d forgotten where I’d seen it, and the title. It took me some time to find it again, and it’s still scary:

Ghost Story

 

 

Yeah, this one is very, very, creepy:

Mimic

 

 

Yeah, this one is creepy but hilarious, and I think I remember this song from my childhood.

The Cat Came Back

 

 

This is a little longer than the others but it’s worth the wait and it’s  funny.

Waiting

 

 

This one isn’t particularly scary but it has zombies in it and I thought it was deeply cute:

Less Than Human

 

 

Here’s a slightly different haunted house story:

Vienna Waits For You

 

 

This isn’t what it seems:

Midnight Snack

 

 

Okay, this is the one that made me actually scream  out loud:

The Thing In The Apartment

 

Hope you enjoyed these. I’ll have some more on Halloween!

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead: Season 7 Review

I was waiting for the season finale to write a review for this season, as I wasn’t here for every episode. There were a few I  liked but I didn’t want to give my opinions about them until I saw how things would play out. I normally enjoy writing episode reviews but TWD, is just really not the kind of show I want to relive twice, once when I view it, and again when I write the review.  And sometimes it can take a few days to digest what was seen.

A lot has happened since the beginning of the season. I think I was still depressed and reeling after Glenn’s death because my enthusiasm for the show took a real turndown. I just wasn’t feeling it and started skipping episodes. But the interesting thing was how those earlier episodes got to play out in the finale.

From the tail end of the season, you can see how the writers maneuvered people and events, to get them into their proper places, for the finale. While this seemed pretty slow for us (we’re used to a much faster place, as regards the plots on this show), you can see how each episode set the stage for decisions that people make later in the season.

For example, although I skipped it, it turned out that we needed to visit the Saviors Sanctuary, not just to get more of Negan, but to help us understand how he  maintains control, and how that later backfires on him. It helps  us understand the drawbacks of maintaining one’s leadership skills through pain, and intimidation. These episodes help us to understand the fundamental (and subtle) differences between Rick and Negan.

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For example, having Eugene be taken into the Saviors, puts him in the  position of being able to help Sasha in a manner that only he can, in a way that having Daryl there, wouldn’t. Its only at the end of the season that we can see how these individual pieces fit together. I sort of knew this is what the writers were doing but just didn’t have the heart to watch certain episodes because I was in no mood to listen to Negan’s self aggrandizing bullshit for entire episodes.

My favorite episode for the entire season is The Cell, because we get to be introduced to King Ezekiel, Jerry, and  Shiva. The King is a ridiculously over the top character, but he did bring some much needed levity to the season. Tara visiting Oceanside, Rick’s supply run, and his meeting with  the Scavengers, Carol’s relationship with King Ezekiel, and Dwight’s punishment, all figured in the finale, as far as plot and character motivations. Not everything fits, though. There were some plot points that have yet to play out and haven’t gone anywhere yet, like Gregory’s departure.

Now that I look back on it, I have to say this season was well done, despite my upset and  misgivings during the first half, in the wake of Glenn’s death, but I understand if Glenn fans want nothing else to do with this show ever again. I was  dissatisfied with how that was handled, and then we spent the first half of the season watching Rick be bullied by Negan, and that shit was just demoralizing. On the other hand, that makes Rick’s partial victory over the Saviors, during the finale, feel that much sweeter. (Yes, I’m still upset about Glenn and wish he could’ve been there to see it. I think I’m always gonna be pissed about Glenn and Abraham.)

Rick

For the first half of the season we watched Rick lose, and lose again, and be completely beaten down by Negan’s reign of terror. He simply couldn’t catch a break. So it was especially nice when we came back after the hiatus,  to see Rick getting his mojo back. It was actually enjoyable to watch Rick swaggering into other people’s territories and negotiating with such confidence. I thought the episode with the Scavengers was especially fun, and the one where he and Michonne have a kind of honeymoon, was really sweet.

Its about time we saw Rick (and crew) get a win. For a brief moment during the finale, Negan had him down, but the moment got saved by an unexpected source. The look on Rick’s face as Negan rides up to Alexandria, with Eugene on the bullhorn, is priceless.

Another hilarious moment, is the look on Rick’s face when the Scavenger leader  asks Michonne if she minds if she sleeps with Rick when its all over. You can tell that sleeping with her never crossed Rick’s mind, and he had no idea how to think about that.

I also enjoyed the moment when, even under threat of the deaths of his entire family, he refuses to kowtow to Negan’s authority.  Good for him!

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Michonne

I think this was Michonne’s season, as she was really the heart, and soul, of the show. I credit her with being, at least, partially responsible for most of Rick’s turnaround, in the second half of the  season. At least part of that was because they kept their relationship so low key, that she was able to escape Negan’s notice.

The Scavenger leader, asking Michonne if she minded if she slept with Rick was apparently a deal she made with Negan, as a  ruse to confirm exactly what the nature of Michonne’s relationship to Rick was, as Negan wasn’t sure, and then, once confirmed, to kill her.

I feel certain that if Negan had noticed Michonne earlier, he would have killed her (which would have been the end of Rick), or taken her from him to the Sanctuary. She was able to hold onto the fire, after everyone else’s had been extinguished because, at no point, did Negan focus his attention on her.

I fully support their relationship. They’re so much better together than they are separate. They hold each other up, and anchor each other in a good way.  She lifts him up, and he anchors her in place, and I like that. Rick is the first man she has opened her heart to, after her profound depression when  the group first met her, and its been fascinating watching their relationship develop. (Rick is just about the only person she gives that smile to). I didn’t actually think it would happen, really. I thought the writers would just keep teasing us  about a relationship that would never happen, because television is notoriously chickenshit about showing interracial relationships.

Morgan

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I know a lot of the fans were disappointed in Morgan when he was re-introduced. Once again, we get yet another Black man who has decided to be peaceful and make boneheaded decisions about not killing. First there was Tyrese, who decided he couldn’t kill, then Bob, who everyone thought was a coward, and  Father Gabriel, another coward, that no one respected, and now we get Morgan, who also doesn’t want to fight.

I wasn’t happy with Morgan’s new philosophy either, although I understood why. I still found myself yelling at my TV a lot, but what made Morgan different, is that he is actually very lethal, and he will fuck a person up. He just won’t kill them.

We saw Morgan adopt and mentor another young man while he was at the Kingdom, and then lose him to the Savior’s whimsy, and I think that just broke Morgan. I feel like maybe his philosophy of not killing was him trying to hold on to the last shreds of his sanity. Remember where he was last season before he hooked back up with Rick. He was killing anyone and everything that crossed his path, and he was pretty far gone, until he was given this philosophy to cling to, in the episode Here’s Not Here, in season six.

After the last couple of episodes, Morgan is, emotionally, right back where he was after the loss of his son, and on another killing spree. Only this time its  aimed at the Saviors. For the second time, since he rejoined Rick’s group, we watch him pick up a gun and kill. The Saviors have a knack for bringing that out in people.

Carol

Carol, like Morgan,  was also going through a crisis of conscience, after she met the Saviors. She’d removed herself from any human contact, but the Saviors bullying (the killing of Abraham and Glenn) brought her back into the fray. I think, on some level, she felt responsible for the death of Glenn. Not only did she kill a lot of the Saviors, she probably felt like she could have saved the two men, if she’d been there, rather than in hiding.

We have the coming out episode of SlayerCarol. After Daryl’s and Morgan’s visit with her, the wily and lethal version of Carol is definitely born again. I can appreciate her wanting to get away from killing people for a while, considering what it was doing to her. But, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, killing is her main superpower, and she mostly uses it for the good of others. Unfortunately, this is the kind of world where someone like Carol finds a purpose or gets dead.

One of my favorite things this season, is watching the slow burn, between her and King Ezekiel. She told him she didn’t want any contact, with him or his people, but he kept cleverly finding ways around this rule, without being intrusive, or breaking her boundaries. He is very obviously smitten with her, but I like that he respects her right to make up her mind, about whether or not she wants a relationship with him, and seems prepared to wait as long as it takes, while occasionally reminding her  that he hasn’t lost interest. Carol has been closed off since Tobin. She and Daryl are too damaged to give each other what they need.

So, Ezekiel would be good for her.

Negan

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Negan began this season all confidence and smiles, and ended the season surprised and humbled. In this episode, he swaggered up to Alexandria, secure in the knowledge that he had the upper hand because of his deal with the Scavengers. He had Eugene’s loyalty, and thought he ‘d gotten Sasha’s too. After Sasha’s surprise, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Things went so wrong that even he had to  express some surprise. Michonne wasn’t killed, there was a fucking tiger eating his men, Morgan and Carol were set loose, and the Scavengers turned tail. What seemed like a sure win,  bringing  Rick to heel, turned into a  total route. Negan got his ass handed to him, probably for the first time in a very long while.

I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but I still think Negan talks entirely too damn much. I’m cautiously enthusiastic about his return next season.

 

Sasha:

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What can I say about Sasha? Well, she has completed the long character arc that brought her from being so closed off, when we first met her, to sacrificing herself for her family.

I’m not surprised at her death, and I’m not angry about her death, the way I was at Glenn’s. I kind of figured  she might be killed off the show because she is starring as the lead  in another show, which I consider much more important than TWD, and that’s Star Trek Discovery. I also strongly suspected she was going to die, after she explicitly told Negan that only one person needed to die, after he tried to get her to agree to killing three. I’m okay because I knew she wouldn’t be able to do both shows, her death wasn’t pointless, or even especially brutal, and actually turned the tide in Rick’s fight against Negan.

We get to see her have some lovely memories (and imaginings) of what she could have had with Abraham, as Michael Cudlitz makes a cameo. It was nice seeing him again. I consider this whole scene to be about Sasha coming to terms with her death, and mourning what could have been, vs how things turned out.

After breaking into the Sanctuary, Sasha is held prisoner. When one of the Saviors threatens to rape her, Negan kills him, and leaves his body in her cell to turn, but also leaves a weapon for her to defend herself. When Negan returns, she has dispatched the zombie, something Negan admires the Hell out of and tries to make a deal with her. Its clear he’s very taken with her, and some of my favorite moments are their scenes together. Soniqua brings her A game, and it was a delight watching her square off against him, plus she looks gorgeous in those scenes, with those large, expressive, eyes.

Knowing that he’s going to use her to harm her family, she persuades Eugene to bring her something to kill herself with. Eugene is against this, but uses his considerable skills to make a  homemade cyanide capsule for her. Negan, suspecting that Rick is up to no good, takes Sasha to Alexandria in a coffin, to tease Rick about her death. But Sasha takes her suicide pill before they reach Alexandria, and when Negan opens the casket, Sasha’s zombie attacks him at a crucial moment.

I don’t care how outraged the kids on Tumbr are, (they’re always very angry about a lot of TV shows, it seems), as far as I’m concerned, Sasha went out like a boss! I absolutely refuse to be upset about it.

 

Eugene

I know everybody was mad at Eugene for switching sides, but I’m not. I can get where he’s coming from, although he hasn’t articulated his motivations very well. I’m not even sure why people were surprised. He lied to Abraham,  Rick, and the others, when he first met them, because he desired safety. That’s always been Eugene’s primary concern from day one. I guess he figured he couldn’t be any  safer from the devil, than in the devil’s arms.

At the end of the episode, Negan has some deep suspicions about what happened to Sasha, and Eugene’s part in that. So now I’m worried for him again. Maybe being so close to the devil isn’t as safe as it seems, huh Eugene?

 

King Ezekiel and Jeffrey:

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These are two of my favorite characters. I’m surprise at how easy it was to get attached to Jerry, and really, considering the death rate on this show, I shouldn’t do that. Jerry is just a lovely, light note, in such a grim show, and and I kept muttering to myself during the entire firefight, “Please don’t kill Jerry! Please don’t kill Jerry!”

Also, I like King Ezekiel because  he’s so overdone! Who talks like that, naturally? And everyone just sort of takes it in stride when he talks like that. And c’mon! The man owns a fucking tiger! These are two of the most fun characters in the show. I would totally watch a spin-off of him, Shiva ,and Jerry, and their adventures before the founding of The Kingdom.

 

Shiva

Yeah, my girl gets in on the action during the firefight with Negan, literally jumping in, during a crucial moment. Even Negan had to stop, and marvel, for a quick second, that there’s a tiger! I know a lot of people loved that moment. Go to the 10:30 mark:

 

Well, this is my idea of a review of season seven. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So TTFN!

The Walking Dead Season 7: The Cell

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead S07E03 Review: The Cell

The Walking Dead Season 7: The Well

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Train to Busan (2016)

I was wowed by this movie. This is one of the best zombie movies Ive seen all year. If you like The Walking dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake, you will like this movie. Once it gets started, and it gets started almost right away, it doesn’t let up til the end.

Now lets get this out of the way. The movie contains fast zombies. They run,  twitch, growl and scream. So if you don’t like fast zombies, or hated 28 Days later, you can probably skip this. It also has a young child, and teenagers, who are constantly in danger. If you have trouble watching that sort of thing (sometimes I do) then  I’m going to suggest skipping this, or watching this with a great deal of caution.

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This is a harrowing movie, and every bit the movie that World War Z should have been, with some great setpieces. I got so attached to these characters, so fast, and spent several breathless moments wishing for their safety. Its been a while since I’ve been scared during a zombie movie, but this one is very effective. The zombies sense by sight, so there are more than a few suspenseful moments when the train passes through long tunnels,  and it gets dark enough the zombies can’t sense the passengers, who find several ingenious ways to get past them in the train cars, like crawling above them along the luggage racks. You have to see this movie for the passengers as much as the zombie action.

Seon-Woo is a busy manager, who doesn’t seem to have much time for his daughter, so decides to take her to see her mother in Busan. During their trip by train, there’s a zombie breakout, the train is quickly overcome and Seon and his daughter spend most of the movie fighting their way through the train, off that train, onto another train, escaping a crashed train. Basically, its trains all the way there.

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Seon is accompanied on this harrowing expedition by several people including a tough workman named Sang-hwa, a character I totally fell in love with, and his very pregnant wife,  an elder businessman, who is a complete asshole because every zombie movie has to have at least one, a homeless man who followed the other passengers  when they got off the train, and attached himself to Seon and his daughter, and the teenage members of a baseball team. Yes, they get to use their bats during a crucial scene.

I really enjoyed the message and characterizations in this movie. Earlier in the movie Seon had an opportunity to help Sang, and didn’t. Later Seon gets called on his behavior by his daughter, who questions why they aren’t helping others, and  that’s not nice. When Sang meets up with Seon, he continues to give him shit for what he did to him and his wife, needling him for his selfishness.

Seon becomes more selfless as the movie progresses. The parallel with the villainous businessman is not lost on the viewer. In the beginning Seon’s focus is more on saving himself and his daughter, but he comes to care for others besides himself. This is not true of the selfish businessman, who is really just kind of a  cartoon villain. He throws people to their deaths, leaves others behind to be eaten, and at one point, he screams a rant at a teenage girl, and  gets the other train passengers to turn on Seon, and his little crew of survivors.

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The movie is filled with touching moments of bravery and sacrifice. I rooted for Sang through most of the movie and wished he’d been the focus of the film, as Seon is a rather bland character, but that was the point, I think. Sang is brave and selfless from the moment we see him,  fighting the zombies hand to hand to save the life of his wife, unborn child, and other passengers. At one point using his own body as a break against the zombies invading one of the train cars.

Seon  has the greatest character arc, though. The kind of man who has nothing but contempt for the homeless, at one point, goes out of his way to save that man’s life, he fights side by side with Sang, goaded by Sang’s needling of his selfish behavior, when they first met, and goes toe to toe with the villainous businessman. Along the way his goal becomes making his daughter proud of him.

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The only problem is that in the world of the zombie,  none of this selflessness comes without a price, and selfishness doesn’t pay off too well, either. One of the most tearful moments was when a teenage boy gets bitten, and instead of leaving him, his girlfriend chooses to stay by his side, as he dies. She knows that when he turns, she’ll die, but she makes that sacrifice because she doesn’t want him to die alone, and he was bitten while saving her life.There’s a similar scene in the Dawn of the Dead remake, but in that movie, its much less effective. What starts as a train full of people finally gets whittled down to the villain, Sang’s pregnant wife, Seon, and Seon’s daughter.

The action is fast and frenetic, and the only quiet moments are at the beginning of the movie, or when the zombies get quiet, but that’s not much consolation because the tension  just ratchets up during those moments. I can’t list all the great moments in this movie.

Now, its a zombie movie so there’s plenty of gore, and if you have anxiety issues, you may want to watch this in bits and pieces because it doesn’t ease up very much. It clocks in at two hours but its so fast paced that it just doesn’t feel that long.

I’m fully prepared to call this the best zombie movie of 2016, and its definitely going on my favorites list. This is an excellent choice for a Halloween Zombie marathon.

The Walking Dead: Bugging Out

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

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

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

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No, no! I’m good here.

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

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

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

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

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

Command me, Lord!
Command me, Lord!

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

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

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

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

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

What not to do.
What not to do.

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

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

A full banquet.
A full banquet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No?

I guess I better hop to it, then.

The Walking Dead : Last Day on Earth

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Walking Dead : East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Afterthoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Walking Dead : Twice As Far

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish she’d told Tara she loved her.

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

I wish she’d stayed home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There  will be blood!