The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 3: “Four Walls and a Roof”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 3: “Four Walls and a Roof”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Strangers” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Slabtown” – click here
IMG_0259The Terminus cannibals are juxtaposed well visually with the zombies, tearing human flesh between their teeth. These people were essentially just waiting for the world to end, so that they could become who they were; I don’t care what happened to them at Terminus, they didn’t have to eat anybody. It’s just how they chose to deal with the post-apocalypse landscape. They weren’t strong enough, they’re weak and nasty people.
Gareth: “You join us, or feed us.”
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) is minus a leg from the knee down. He has to listen to Gareth (Andrew J. West) go on about what type of people he likes to eat; most people like women best. Gross. “I think pretty people taste better, too.”
But suddenly Bob erupts in laughter at them, cackling in mockery. He’s officially getting the last laugh in this situation. Back at the food back last episode, he was in fact bitten. They’ve been eating his “tainted meat.” And this evacuates some of their stomachs pretty fast. Whoa.
IMG_0260Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) worries about her man, so she goes looking. Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) meet up with her, also worried about wherever Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) took off. They go back to have a talk with Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), wondering if he has something to do with the disappearances. They want to know what he did, what secrets he’s hiding. Turns out he wouldn’t let people from his congregation inside, leaving them to the walkers outside his door.
Then they find Bob, leg gone, lying out in the grass, left alone. He tells them of the cannibals. As well as shows them his bite. More tragedy. Meanwhile, Abraham wants to get gone, to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington. Rick and the rest won’t go, not yet. It’s a bit of a clash between the two, until Glenn (Steven Yeun) negotiates a bit more time for them to stay together.
Sad to see Sasha having to let go of Bob already, as he’s one foot in the grave. They were only starting to get into their relationship, falling for one another. While the others are preparing to go out, she wants to go. But Tyreese suggests she stay, take what time she has left with Bob. Except she tasks him with staying, putting Bob out of his misery when the time comes. I tell ya, poor Ty gets roped into some shit, man. He’s expected to be tougher than others, simply because they know he can; that he is tougher.
IMG_0261So off goes Rick & Co, looking for the cannibals to dole out revenge, some real justice. However, Gareth and his people are watching closely, and they slink out of the forest when the crew leaves. Oh, fuck me. Only a few people remain, one of which is Carl, along with Rosita (Christian Serratos) and a couple more.
Judith’s crying alerts Gareth, but quickly Rick and the others are back. Silenced pistol shots blasting through heads, before he commands the cannibals to drop their guns and kneel. “We used to help people,” Gareth pleads like any cowardly monster would in his position; blaming his transformation on others. A couple seconds later Rick and Abraham and Sasha are murdering the cannibals, viciously, taking out what revenge they can in a few strokes of gun handles and machetes. Oh, and Michonne (Danai Gurira) gets her sword back! Yeah, girl.
On his deathbed, Bob thanks Rick for assuring him there are good people remaining in the world. Thankful for being taken into the group. Terminus offered salvation and sanctuary, whereas Rick and his people genuinely deliver survival. Afterwards, Sasha must watch Bob slip away. Then her brother offers to put him down, so that she doesn’t have to be responsible.
IMG_0262Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Maggie, Glenn – they’re heading out on the bus for Washington. Although Rick and the rest confirm they’ll meet them again. Somewhere down the road. For now it’s a goodbye, or a see you later.
One important look at the humanity remaining in the survivors is how Rick and Tyreese dig graves outside for the dead. They’re still keeping to tradition, to the old way of things. And I think within these small rituals there’s a way to remain in touch with oneself, hopefully something that will help these people retain their humanity for a long while.
That night, Daryl comes back. Without Carol, or so it seems. Where is she? What’s happened?
IMG_0264Another great episode, especially seeing as how we’re privy to the revenge against the Terminus cannibals. That’s a refreshing thing to see, instead of any further terrorising. Makes that villain plot quick, succinct, rather than dragging it out too far. Perfectly written, this arc.
“Slabtown” is next, where we get a glimpse of a familiar face we haven’t seen for some time. And we get the scoop on whatever’s going on with Daryl and Carol.

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The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 2: “Strangers”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 2: “Strangers”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Four Walls and a Roof” – click here
IMG_0251Terminus has fallen. Our survivors are out on the road like before, though they’ve certainly discovered some things about themselves. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is back in the saddle, he and Carl (Chandler Riggs) reunited with Judith. Tara (Alanna Masterson) ends up talking with Rick, who says he talked to her at the prison because he knew she didn’t want to be there. So the group’s getting bigger, more cosy. Trusting one another better. Carol (Melissa McBride) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) bond further, as he pushes for everyone to accept what she did to Karen and David at the prison. But they decide on not saying anything about Lizzie, Mika, what happened at that cabin: “I need to forget it,” Tyreese says.
Moreover, Rick tells Carol he owes her his life. All the same he admits not totally liking what she did, likewise admitting she knew things he didn’t at the time. Plus she’s proved herself as one of the ultimate survivors, she was out there alone for a long while with only herself to rely on. Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) glad to have her back. They share an intimate connection, both the victims of abuse in their own right. It’s nice to see them sharing the same space again.
The group doesn’t realise, though… someone is nearby, watching them.
IMG_0252Daryl picks up on this and tells Rick in the morning while they move onward. This pleases Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), he’d like to get back to the streets and out of the woods. When they get further they come across a priest, Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam), being attacked by a group of walkers. They dispatch the dead and save him. He’s scared out of his wits, even pukes a good one. Not armed: “Word of God is the only protection I need.”
They’re all naturally sceptical of the priest. Although he has a church; something that could prove useful, for shelter at least. Rick gives him the three questions, it appears Father Gabriel follows the Bible to the letter and hasn’t killed anyone; or anything.
When they make it to the church the group inspect the place, finding no one else. Nothing but scripture, the holy word in its various books transcribed by hand. THOU SHALT NOT KILL in boldest of letters. There’s something strange about it all. They’ve got one particularly good thing to use – a short bus to fix. Plan is to gather food, water, any ammunition possible. Abraham’s itching to leave, except for the fact most everyone else would rather follow Rick.
The priest tells everyone about a place nearby where there may still be supplies. A group, along with Father Gabriel, are heading out; dad leaves Carl behind with Tyreese to look after Judith. He explains to his boy that he is “not safe” despite wherever they may be, whoever’s there, any of that. There’s never safety in this new world.
IMG_0253At their destination, Rick & Co discover a building and its storage area flooded, zombies water logged and bloated. The gang get down into the flooded area to scavenge, using shelves to block the dead. Father Gabriel panics when one of them come for him, freezing. Rick manages to get to him before he’s chomped. Poor Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) nearly gets a bite, too. Barely coming out unscathed. All in all, they make off with a bunch of goods.
Back at the church, Carl’s found scratches on the outside windows. Somebody trying to get inside. He also found found a message left for the priest by some angry people. That night they’ve all got full bellies, eating better than they have in a long, long time. The Sarge makes a toast to “the survivors” leading into a speech about going to Washington.  Will they all go? Or choose to stay and take their chances long as they can in that church? “Were in,” Rick says after Judith leads.
IMG_0255 Afterwards, the former sheriff speaks with Father Gabriel. He knows the priest is hiding something. He doesn’t want his secrets to hurt their group. At the same time, Carol and Daryl run into each other. They wind up seeing the car that took Beth (Emily Kinney), so off they rush in a vehicle to give chase.
Worst is that Bob is knocked out while in the woods by himself. He wakes to Gareth (Andrew J. West), a still living Martin (Chris Coy), and a few others. They’re still eating people. This time, they’ve taken a portion of Bob’s leg. A good campfire meal.
Gareth: “If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would.”
IMG_0258This was a solid follow-up to the premiere, a deafening blow. Lingering on the Terminus cannibals, now out in the wild, is a treat. Because it’s some of the most vicious stuff we’ve seen the survivors up against.
“Four Walls and a Roof” is next, continuing the stories of the cannibals, our survivors, and the new addition Father Gabriel.

The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 1: “No Sanctuary”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 4 finale, “A” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Strangers” – click here
IMG_0236In that railway car where last we saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang, we see Gareth (Andrew J. West) and his own friends. They hear the sounds of screams outside somewhere. Obviously, their standing changed. Drastically.
Now we hear our survivors talking, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) telling of what happened when they arrived at Terminus, Daryl (Norman Reedus) speaking of the car which abducted Beth (Emily Kinney). As they prepare with anything possible – belts, a scrap of metal, whatever’s near – to fight off the people who’ve taken them captive.
But they’re ambushed, taken into a building where bodies are being cut up. Bins marked FEED, BURN, WASH. Blood. They’re cannibals. Rick and his people are lined up on their knees in front of a trough. This is where they crack people in the head with a baseball bat before slitting their throats, draining the bodies. The first? The young man, Sam (Robin Lord Taylor), who Rick ran into while he and Carol (Melissa McBride) were scavenging together.
Before Glenn (Steven Yeun) can meet his comic book death, Gareth interrupts with menial numbers, counting shells they’ve used up. Then he questions Rick about the bag he buried. The former sheriff tells him straight: “Theres guns in it.” He even lists the various weapons in there, too. Telling Gareth there’s a machete in there with his name on it. Terminus runs on a tight schedule, in order to appear welcoming, as sanctuary. So the killing needs to be finished.
Only it doesn’t get done. An explosion sounds outside, the building shakes. Somebody’s attacking Terminus.
IMG_0238Carol and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) are on their way up the tracks with Judith. We see how much more used to surviving Carol is juxtaposed with everyone else, simply because she had to survive an abusive husband. Although I’d argue she and Tyreese are a good pair; he’s had to survive being black in America, now all this shit. Soon, they hear gunfire up ahead, which luckily draws away a horde of walkers that was heading for them.
They bump into a man named Martin (Chris Coy) and take him hostage, he says they’ve got the “boy and the samurai” and the group attacked their people. Carol is prepared to go killing while Tyreese is left with Judith, watching over their captive. She prepares to head on by covering herself in a zombie’s guts. Meanwhile, Martin chips away at Tyreese, taunting that he and the baby are “going to die today.” But I wouldn’t be so sure about that, despite the guy making a couple good points. No reason to keep him around, and that’s the difference between Tyreese and these people at Terminus. He’s not willing to kill indiscriminately. Not yet.
At the Terminus fence, Carol sees Rick and the others bound, carted off elsewhere. She readies her rifle, scoping out the surroundings. Locating a large propane tank, a group of walkers closing in on the compound. She blows a hole in the tank, then sets off a firework to light the blaze. This was the explosion we heard.
Now the fence is open, walkers are headed inside, and she’s given her friends a fighting chance. Carol moves in, covered in guts, like a goddamn bad ass.
IMG_0240Terminus is falling, fast. Inside, Rick cuts himself free then opens up the remaining men. He gets the others loose, though in the railway car the rest of the gang are worried, hearing the madness just beyond the doors. Although Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) assure the group they’ll be okay, long as they’re ready to fight when the time comes. And Michonne (Danai Gurira), she looks ready as ever!
Glenn makes clear to Rick they have to save people locked in a shipping container in the yard: “Thats still who we are. It has to be.” They do, and only one insane man is left inside. He ends up bitten by walkers. Seeing Glenn insist on keeping their humanity, coupled with Tyreese’s mindset, there’s rays of hope throughout the violence and the insanity. To know human beings CAN keep themselves, despite it being a hard battle.
Rick commandeers an assault rifle, as he and Daryl make their way across the yard to Glenn and Bob at the container. In the compound, Carol finds Daryl’s crossbow and other items, as well as the shrine-like room with all the names of the dead written in a circle. As well as one of the leaders, Mary (Denise Crosby). The two women end up fighting tooth and nail, until Carol gets the drop on her; Mary tries explaining herself, but fuck that. She’s left with a bullet in her and some zombie friends.
Mary: “Youre the butcher, or youre the cattle.”
IMG_0241At the cabin, Martin gets his hands on Judith while Tyreese looks out the window at a pack of walkers. He forces Tyreese to go outside. Holy fuck. Soon enough our man busts open the front door, crawling on top of his captive with a knife. Choosing to beat him brutally instead. To death.
Those left in the railway car prepare, and they’re also curious about Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), his information about the possible cure. He says he was involved with the Human Genome Project, knows how to take out “every last dead one ofem.” And this gives them all a boost, a feeling of wanting to survive. Just as Rick opens the door for them to lead the escape. They get themselves over the fence, into the woods. Safety not guaranteed anymore, as if it ever were before. Rick wants to kill the remaining people at Terminus, though the others want to leave; I say kill anyone still breathing.
Then, a reunion – Carol comes out of the trees, into the arms of Daryl. She and Rick making amends for all that’s behind them. And the best one of all? Rick and Carl find Judith again with Tyreese, who has his own moment with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) after so long. More of the beautiful light left in this ugly, new world.
Now it’s on the road again, onto the tracks. Anywhere but there. Before they go Rick makes sure to write NO SANCTUARY for anyone who might happen to pass. We also get another look at long ago, when Gareth and Mary and their people were surviving the monsters at Terminus; the people who turned them into the monsters they later became.
IMG_0243Intense episode, a great way to start off Season 5. Assures that along with the character growth and the tense plots we’re also going to witness more of the gruesome side of the post-zombie apocalypse, again exemplifying how the humans are worse than the walkers.
“Strangers” is next and moves us into the next phase for Rick & Co.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 16: “A”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 16: “A”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
IMG_0212Flashback to the prison, when Hershel (Scott Wilson) was still alive. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rick (Andrew Lincoln) return from a run out on the road. This is where we see a softer, more gentle Rick, as he was when trying to live the live of a farmer, moving away from all the violence. At least as far as possible.
Flash-forward to Rick after some brutal moment, his face and hands stained in blood. All by himself on a road, sitting against a vehicle. What’s happened to him? This opener is a juxtaposition of Rick in a safe place, to Rick on the road, unsure, unsafe, not knowing what’s coming next.
IMG_0214Flash just a little back from the current moment. Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are at their latest camp. They go out hunting, looking for something to fill their empty stomachs. Still on the way to Terminus.
Suddenly they hear screams in the forest. Without thinking, Carl rushes toward them. It’s a man in the middle of a pack of walkers. Rick stops his boy from shooting, they can’t save him. The man’s eaten alive, though not before a couple of the walkers notice the trio nearby. They rush away, finding nothing but walkers. After they kill them, they’re further on down the road. Where they come across that truck against which Rick sits in the opening.
IMG_0215 That night they camp on the road, using the truck to sleep. Rick and Michonne sit by a fire, talking together, planning on the last leg of their journey. Then come noises in the dark. Soon, men are upon them – The Claimers, Joe (Jeff Kober) leading them. Now the trio are in a terrifying place, at the end of guns belonging to men looking for revenge against Rick, for their dead friend. When Daryl turns up with them, Rick’s surprised. Of course he doesn’t want his old friends hurt; he offers himself up to them for “blood.”
But the Claimers don’t care. They beat the shit out of Daryl, planning ugly things for both Carl and Michonne while forcing Rick to watch. However, our trusty sheriff will not let this violence pass. When pushed to the limit, he bites out Jeff’s throat – raw, primal, vicious. Blood everywhere. Our survivors turn the tables fast, killing the rest. Except for the man who was about to rape Carl, for whom a special stabbing is in order. The son watches as his father guts and slices the guy to sloppy pieces right there.
THIS IS THE EVOLUTION OF RICK GRIMES! He realises that being a farmer can never be his identity, no matter how safe the world can feel. He must retain all sides of himself, particularly that brutality. In order to survive in a world full of primitive cavemen.
IMG_0217Flashback to Hershel, taking Rick out to the yard. He’s showing them where they’ll build a farm, raising pigs and farming the land, planting seeds, growing crops. This is when Rick decided on giving up his gun, for so long. Before now, realising that – unfortunately – the war isn’t over, not like then with Hershel. The time of the old man is over, which is sad. But it is, and it’s a lesson Rick nearly learned at the price of his boy’s life.
Current day, we’re back to the opener. Rick sitting by the truck, stained in blood; inside Carl sleeps after all the terror, Michonne soothing him. Daryl explains to Rick what happened on the road, losing Beth (Emily Kinney) to a kidnapping, falling in with the Claimers, et cetera. “I didnt know what they were,” he tells Rick.
The gang keep heading for Terminus, though they cut through the forest instead of going straight on. To get themselves a sneaky look into the place, unsure of what they’ll find. Alone together, Michonne tells Carl about her little boy died; her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry got high as the refugee camp fell, getting bitten, so she let them turn and turned them into dogs on leashes: “It was insane. It was sick. It felt like what I deserved, dragginthem around so Id always know.” She credits Andrea, Rick, and Carl for each bringing her back from becoming a monster.
Heading into Terminus, Rick buries guns. Just in case. They go forward and their initial impression isn’t totally warm. They surprise the locals by walking on into the main building, meeting a man named Gareth (Andrew J. West) and another named Alex (Tate Ellington). They welcomes them, they introduce themselves. But then trust is the issue. They want to see the group’s guns. Things go well, no weapons are taken only inspected.
When they’re shown the rest of the place, Rick notices items which seem familiar – a poncho, riot gear, a watch like that belonging to Hershel and after that Glenn, among other belongings. Rick pulls his gun, not wanting his group to eat any of the food or do anything until they’ve figured the place out wholly.
IMG_0219Flash to the prison once more. Rick sees the difference between Carl and the other kids; he cleans and takes apart a gun while another plays with Lego. This is where he tried to show Carl how to be another way, to farm, to live a less violent life. Leaving their guns while they garden.
A great cut goes right to Carl, holding his gun trained on the people of Terminus, following his dad’s lead. Rick demands to know about the watch, the riot gear, so on. Eventually, a gunfight erupts, but they’re outnumbered and definitely outgunned. Coming to a point where they negotiate for their lives, which puts them in a railway car in the Terminus lot. A defeat.
But inside the car they find more familiarity – Glenn and the rest of the survivors and Abraham’s people. Back in the one place, everybody in solidarity. No longer a defeat, a strength that will build to the next season.
Rick: “Theyre gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out
Abraham
: “Find out what?”
Rick
: “Theyre fuckin with the wrong people
IMG_0220Season 4 is one of my favourites, because we move out into wider territory, as well as see that evolution in Rick from where he’s been to the person he realises he must be/become to survive the post-apocalypse landscape. That last line by Rick, unedited on the home release Blu ray/DVD, is perfect. Genuinely awesome writing, a pumped up way to close out the season.
Season 5 is great, too. Lots of intensity, character development, and more ahead.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 15: “Us”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 15: “Us”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Nichole Beattie & Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Grove” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 finale, “A” – click here
IMG_0206Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) rambles on about how you never know if the zombie apocalypse is what actually did the dinosaurs in; very strange comment from a scientific man. He and Tara (Alanna Masterson) bond a bit, chatting. She also talks later that night with Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), he’s a man dedicated on getting the doc to the capital. He figures out that Tara likes ladies, too. He’s keen. She’s also dedicated, to proving herself after falling for the Governor’s shit and being part of what went on at the prison. She needs her own personal redemption.
Tara: “What do you do when the missions over?”
Glenn (Steven Yeun) gets more hope when they find the GO TO TERMINUS sign left by Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr). But fools rush in, and he’d rather run straight the whole way without much more thought.
IMG_0208Ah, we see the Claimers once more at one of their makeshift camps. They’re a rough n’ tumble bunch. They’ve got a new member in Daryl (Norman Reedus), too. At least for the time being, as he reels after the loss of Beth (Emily Kinney), taken in the night by some stranger. We see Daryl adjusting to life with the Claimers, they must speak the word “claimed” in order to secure what goods they want in this new world. Either way, he clashes with one of the men before Joe (Jeff Kober), the leader, on the “rules of the road” within their ranks.
Daryl: “Aint no rules no more
Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) are making their own way along the train tracks. And things are well, for the first time in so long. Being back together is a nice feeling. No telling how long it’ll actually last.
With Glenn tearing off to Terminus, Abraham decides the group needs to stop. Tara winds up hurting her leg when the Sarge pushes her out of the way to save Eugene from a walker. So, Glenn makes a deal to pad the doc with his riot gear, then they head out sooner than later.
More of Joe and Daryl, as the latter doesn’t jive with a group whose rules are antagonistic. All the same he’s breaking down. He wants to be with a group, and fearing the worst, fearing everyone will eventually leave or die, he’s staying currently with this bunch. No matter if they don’t seem right.
IMG_0209Abraham, Glenn, and their crew come upon a dark tunnel, filled with walkers. The husband wants to go on through, to find his wife, though the Sarge can’t go in there with the uncertainty of what’s inside. It’s an amicable split, with Abraham giving over a few supplies, including a nice, big flashlight.
Goodbye. Or, see you later? Sarge takes his remaining crew on to try finding themselves another vehicle, leaving Glenn and Tara for the tunnel. When they do, Eugene pulls a tricky one on Abraham and Rosita (Christian Serratos) by getting them to stop at an entrance to the tunnel further down the tracks.
Glenn: “Im sorry I hit you in the face
Abraham: “Im not. I like to fight.”
Further on inside, Tara and Glenn find a blockage near the end of the tunnel, full of boulders and walkers everywhere. It was a collapse, only recently. The two move carefully around the zombies, the debris, silently killing the ones they can. And Glenn checks to make sure neither of them is his wife. Once they get over the blocked entry they find walkers swarming the tunnel. No place to go. There’s even a Bub-like zombie calling to mind Day of the Dead; Greg Nicotero directs this episode, and of course he was in the film.
The whole CLAIMED thing isn’t sitting so well with Daryl, he doesn’t like their system. He sleeps on the floor while they stop for the night as the rest of the men claim themselves a more comfortable bunk. He has more problems with the same guy from earlier, when he’s accused of taking the rest of a rabbit they were made to halve. Turns out the dude planted the thing to get Daryl in trouble, backfiring. Makes Daryl look better in the eyes of the Claimers, for not lying.
IMG_0210When Tara gets her leg stuck between a rock and the tunnel wall, she tells Glenn to leave her when they can’t force it off her. He refuses, unwilling to let his humanity go to get himself out. He fires his gun, killing the walkers he can.
And just as they’re nearly chomped to bits, a vehicle pulls up, Sgt. Ford and his crew unleash bullets, taking out the rest of the horde. Someone else is there, too: Maggie. Along with Bob and Sasha. Together again! Now, rather than head to Washington, everybody decides on going to Terminus, at least first. When they get up to the end of the tracks, they find the fabled place. They’re welcomed in with smiles, good intentions. Could this be sanctuary after all this time?
On the road again, Daryl heads forward with the Claimers. But it’s obvious he’s different from these men, and they’ve killed one of their own over something not exactly that bad; even if the guy WAS a dick. The Claimers are heading someplace special, to find a man who killed one of their men and escaped. They’re headed for Terminus, only because they’re on the man’s tracks.
We know who he is; they’re looking for Rick.
IMG_0211Great episode leading into one of the wildest of the series. The Claimers and Rick are headed for a confrontation. Boy, it is ever something. “A” – the season finale – is next.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie & Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Inmates” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Still” – click here
IMG_0169Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and his people have picked up Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) on the road; they’ve got a large military truck. The Sarge is a tough motherfucker, a real slick talker, too. Tara finds it strange that he was smiling while he killed. His response? “Well, Im the luckiest guy in the world.”
Oh, he’s a treat! Not only is Abraham a solid character, Michael Cudlitz is a fantastic actor whose role on Southland is one of the all-time greats on television. A welcomed addition on The Walking Dead.
IMG_0170In a house together, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) sit together at a table eating cereal. They have a nice morning, until he remembers Judith, imagining the worst. Nice that we know the truth, though painful to watch them not know.
Michonne is more committed to staying with people, she knows the depths of depravity to which her own mind sinks when she’s isolated; as we saw recently. At the same time, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is worried, faltering in his own confidence. He doesn’t know what the best pay forward is anymore. This is perhaps his lowest point yet, and he’s seen some shit. But there’s much more at play at this juncture, after the war with the Governor, the fall of the prison. He’s got some personal development to do. And Season 4 takes him to an extraordinary place. Starting with his day at home alone while Carl and Michonne go out scavenging together.
The pair head off through the neighbourhood, they get to know one another more than before. I like seeing them together because they’re friends. He also sees her, slightly at times, like a mother figure. She’s super bad ass, so it’s only naturally he feels comfort in being around her. She agrees to answer questions about her old life after they’ve cleared a room in the house; on they go, as he discovers her boy’s name was Andre, among other tidbits. They also stumble upon an ugly end to a once happy family in their home.
IMG_0176Then suddenly Rick wakes in his bed to voices downstairs. A bunch of men. Dangerous sounds. WHO ARE THEY? He can’t find his gun, so he rolls out of bed and hides underneath it. A man with a gun walks through the upstairs hallway, searching the rooms. Then into Rick’s room. The man lays down on the bed.
How the fuck is our sheriff getting out of this one? The man falls asleep and another one comes in, angry, wanting to lie down. They fight, the man in the bed sees Rick under it but is choked out by the other. Still not getting anywhere fast.
Once Glenn wakes up, again, he’s riding on the truck with Tara and their new friends. He isn’t exactly thrilled, he wants to be searching for Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Abraham is on his own mission. He doesn’t particularly want to let Glenn leave, either. He says they’re on a mission to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington, he knows what started the zombie plague. They want Glenn’s help, he’s a fighter. But he needs to find his wife. They wind up having a proper fist fight before anything else happens. Like walkers coming out of the trees. We also see Dr. Porter’s uselessness, too. He puts a hole in the gas tank firing at walkers.
More importantly, back to Rick – he waits until the latest man in the bed sleeps, then crawls out slowly. He makes it to another room before Joe (Jeff Kober) walks by, tossing a tennis ball around leisurely. Rick tries to find a way out, hearing that they’ve found evidence a woman’s been staying in the house. The men start gathering downstairs. In the bathroom, Rick runs into a man on the toilet, whom he strangles to death.
IMG_0173Abraham can’t figure out how to fix the truck, the tank is busted. Rather than stick around Glenn leaves, and Tara can’t leave his side. The Sarge doesn’t want to leave, though his friend Rosita (Christian Serratos) decides they’ll go, as well. Nowhere else to be, right? A destination is a destination, you can’t stop for long on the road in the post-apocalypse world.
Rick gets himself out the window before anyone can find him in the house, down to the ground and in time to meet with Michonne and Carl, so they don’t walk into a house of horrors. They get away without anyone knowing they were there. Except, is the gang’s dead buddy in the bathroom reanimating? Yikes, that’s brutal. Could mean trouble if they were able to track Rick.
On the train tracks, Rick, Carl, and Michonne come across a sign pointing to a destination further down the road. A sanctuary, a community, directions on a map. They decide to head onward. Will it be what they hope?
IMG_0178A great episode, introducing more stories and characters. As well as sets up a few different things we’ll find coming back into play the more we get towards the end of Season 4. “Still” is next.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “After” – click here
IMG_0162The Governor (David Morrissey) is bringing his vengeance to the new group which he’s been leading. He tells them all about the prison, that they’ve got to go and get themselves a new place to live. Mostly, he wants to kill Michonne (Danai Gurira), to take everything Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has done for his own. He makes the group out to be monstrous. Like it’s their duty to go and take the place.
We also see the Governor get a jump on Michonne and Hershel (Scott Wilson), taking them hostage. People get worried when he tells his group, this is all very new to them. He makes clear: there are no rules anymore, not in this war to which they’re headed.
IMG_0164The Governor makes himself out to be a saint, mutilated and ruined by those people at the prison. He talks a good game. Although Tara (Alanna Masterson), Alisha (Juliana Harkavy), they’re reluctant at first, they all come around fast. Ready to follow him into a battle of which they know nothing. Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) doesn’t like this side of the man she knows as Brian. He’s blinded by both vengeance and a want to relive his old life anew with a defacto wife and child.
Lilly: “Killing people?”
The Governor: “Killing killers
Michonne only threatens to kill the Governor, not willing to talk with him like a regular chat. For his part, Hershel offers to work together. To live as communities side by side. This is not an option, though. This man is set in his ways, he will not back down.
At the prison, the flu has finally passed. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is doing well, nursed back to health by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). They have no idea what’s coming. They’re merely living their lives, one day at a time. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is livid with Rick over what he did, without consulting anyone, with Carol (Melissa McBride). I knew this would cause grief between them. Except I agree with Rick on what he did. Then they’ve got to talk to Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and tell him, though he’s got other worries – he’s found a disturbing scene, an animal torn open and displayed in a dark hallway. Psycho shit.
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) sees Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) for the first time since getting back. There’s a connection between the two. She thanks him for helping with the medicine. But Bob doesn’t feel worthy, for having put people in danger over the booze he wanted so badly. Maybe he’ll get a chance to prove himself soon.
IMG_0165Bigger fish to fry now for all of them. The Governor’s arrived with reinforcements, and that tank is just waiting to tear the walls down if things go wrong. When Rick sees his nemesis has Michonne and Hershel, he’s pissed. Everybody is, they don’t want anything nasty to happen. Meanwhile, the one-eyed bastard is leading people into a battle they never started, never were a part of, and the consequences will be dire.
Rick goes down to talk with the Governor, as Daryl rallies the others on their side. The sheriff asks for his people to be released, his enemy states they must leave. Or else die. “We need this prison,” he tells Rick. The other people with him slowly start wondering if the monsters they heard of were mere fiction created by their new leader.
Waiting for her people to come back, Lilly sits watching the woods letting Meghan play nearby. A walker starts making its way across the river towards them making mom nervous. It falls into the undertow and washes away. Soon, her little girl digs up a walker in the ground where she’s playing. And you can guess what’s coming next… a big chomp!
IMG_0166So what will happen at the prison? Rick pleads for them to “live together” in harmony, no matter what went on before that moment. But that’s not going to fly. Rick tries giving them a good speech, explaining they took in people from Woodbury who’ve become leaders in the prison. The Governor decides on a different course of action than he’d originally planned – he slice Hershel’s neck open wide. This begins an all-out battle.
Michonne runs for cover, as does Rick, and bullets fly every which way. Hershel crawls for cover, but doesn’t get far until the Governor hacks his head clean off like a neanderthal. Right then is when Lilly shows up, dead daughter in her arms. There’s no human left in this man now. Tara throws down her gun, unwilling to fight anymore, and the others charge the prison, tank leading the way.
Rick’s crew start retreating a little while the Governor gains ground. People head for the busses to start fleeing. Everyone gets split up – Glenn, Maggie, Beth, Bob, Sasha; all separated. Tyreese ends up with Lizzie and Mika after they save him from certain death.
Out on the fields, Rick fights with his nemesis, fist to fist. They beat the living shit out of one another, headbutts and punches and kicks and all. As the Governor gains the upper hand, Michonne puts a sword right through his heart helping Rick to his feet.
IMG_0167Beth and Daryl take off together. Rick looks all over for his boy, finding Carl (Chandler Riggs) safe and sound with a gun in his hands. But what about their little girl? Where’s Judith? They find her car seat on the ground empty, fearing the worst. However, last we saw Lil’ Ass Kicker she was with Lizzie and Mika, so there’s hope yet that she made it through with them. For now, the Grimes’ mourn her as if she’s gone forever. Enough to break your fucking heart in pieces. And on they go, headed away from the prison.
Fittingly enough, the Governor is shot in the head by Lilly instead of left to die in the field. We see a familiar face, Clara (Kerry Condon), wandering through the field; the one Rick left with her husband. A sort of sad testament of the dead taking over the prison, just as they do with the rest of the world.
IMG_0168What an impressive mid-season finale! Such an intense bunch of moments, particularly with the death of Hershel, and in such brutal fashion.
The season returns with “After” next. And boy, have things ever changed.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Isolation” – click here
IMG_0132Someone is feeding rats to the walkers by the fence. My bet? The empathetic little girl from last episode who believes the zombies are “just different.” Elsewhere, there’s romance. With Karen (Melissa Ponzio) and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) spending time together, falling in love. They take it slow, even in this post-apocalypse life; a really romantic gesture, if there ever were one.
And in the darkness of the bathrooms that sick, dead boy from the Season 4 premiere comes back from the dead. Ready to walk the open halls of the prison, ready to infect everyone else. He stumbles into one of the cells and starts feeding on an unprotected neck. Uh oh. It has begun!
IMG_0133Before the terror begins we get more romance. Glenn (Steven Yeun) takes a mini Polaroid of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), the morning after in their little tower together. She doesn’t like the photograph, of course. But he cherishes it, and will for a long time. Something tangible in this fucked up world to hold onto, to help remember the good in the times of bad.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira) – everyone’s going on with their regular day, none the wiser of what’s started happening inside the prison. Part of Rick’s not using his gun isn’t just for him, it’s for his boy. He wants him to be someone else, to not become a hardened killer.
Then everything inside goes to shit in the cell block. Gunfire blazes, people start running. Carl winds up taking a gun out to help Michonne when she’s in trouble; he’s a damn fine shot, too. She ends up injuring a leg, but no bites. And walkers are seriously crowding the fence with all the noise. The integrity of their home is starting to waver. Daryl, Rick, Carol, everyone tries protecting the kids and those in trouble. However, they can’t stop those already bitten. All that’s left for them is mercy.
In the aftermath there’s nothing but loss. Some people turn, others mourn. It’s a brutal experience for all involved. The two little girls – Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) – they lose their father, who asks Carol to look out for them: “Like theyre yours.” She promises to guard them. Such a heartbreaking moment. The girls are called to their father’s side to say goodbye, before Carol has to put him down before he turns.
IMG_0136Rick and the others find the young kid who died, which started everything in the cell block. They discover it’s a bad strain of flu, as Dr. Caleb Subramanian (Sunkrish Bala) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) ruminate on the cause, its effects, and what they need to do next to prevent a full-scale outbreak.
Right now all they know is those possibly exposed must be quarantined from the rest. A separation of the sick and possibly infected. The main crew aren’t showing any symptoms; yet. Precautions must be taken. So, they decide on putting the quarantined individuals in the death row cell block.
But there are other issues, such as the fence nearly caving in with the wall of zombies pushing up against it. Everybody’s got more work to do than normal. It’s nice to at least see Rick in ass kicking mode again, even if just for the moment. At the fence, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) notices the dead rats someone’s been feeding to the walkers.
Beth: “When you care about people, hurt is kinda part of the package.”
IMG_0137Inside, we also see more about Michonne, that she has a sensitivity to the crying of children. There’s absolutely a reluctance in her to be near a baby, to hold one. With Judith in her arms she all but breaks down, then finally hugs the child against her. A sad story lies in Michonne’s past.
We start seeing the two worlds of Rick collide. He has to reconcile wanting to be a peaceful farmer with the other part of life in post-apocalypse living, the death and the killing. He puts a plan into effect, using his pigs to lure the walkers away. As they feed on the helpless animals, it’s like a metaphor for what needs to be done in this nasty world. That it isn’t about growing plants, nor is it about raising livestock and breeding new life; it’s about death, sacrifice, doing whatever they have to do in order to keep living another day. And the sacrifice of the pigs gives the others enough time to reinforce the fence.
Meanwhile, Carol is trying to prepare Lizzie and Mika for the real world, trying to get through to them about the realities they face going forward. She does so in an honest yet touching way.
IMG_0139Carl also tells his dad about what Carol’s been doing under his nose; dad isn’t mad, he’s beginning to realise the kids need to face things head on. He knows this for his own son, too. He can’t shield Carl from reality, or else it will eat him alive. So he gives him a gun again. Then he puts his holster back on, gun at his side. A new dawn for the Grimes family and the crew at the prison. Not that there aren’t tough times coming with the sickness lingering.
When Tyreese goes to find his lady, he only discovers blood. Trails of it leading into the halls. Out in the prison yard, he finds burned corpses. One of which is Karen. Who killed them? Who burned their corpses? All I know is Tyreese is going to rage.
IMG_0141Such a solid follow-up to the premiere of this season. Everything is messed up, and in the same vein there’s more hope again. Also, mystery when it comes to whoever’s burned Karen and the other dead body next to her. “Isolation” is the next episode. Lots of intrigue to come, many intense moments will happen.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Infected” – click here
IMG_0123Season 4’s premiere starts several months on from the finale of Season 3 when all hell broke loose, and the group lost Andrea. They’re still in the prison, still together. Trying to live whatever kind of normalcy is available to them. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) spends his day out in the garden tending to the crops. He finds a gun buried deep in the soil, like he’s tried to bury the violence with it. Is he just kidding himself? Yeah, I think so. If you’ve watched the series all the way to where it’s currently at, as of the time of this writing (end of Season 7), then you know pretending violence isn’t part of the equation is merely fooling oneself.
IMG_0124One thing that’s improved since last we left the group is the relationship between Rick and his boy Carl (Chandler Riggs). They do the farming together, looking after the field and their pig, Violet. Dad gives out an important lesson, though: don’t name the animals they’re preparing to slaughter for food.
Everyone else is doing well, a bigger family at the prison now with those they saved from Woodbury. Funny to see how people look up to Daryl (Norman Reedus), thanking him for the food he hunts, et cetera; he’s like a folk hero in their community. Carol (Melissa McBride) is taking on more and more responsibility, an active role in looking after their home. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) become further attached after their engagement; he worries worse than ever about her safety, the stakes somehow higher for the now. And new people like Karen (Melissa Ponzio), they’re adjusting to life and being productive members of the prison community. A man named Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) ingratiates himself to the group, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) particularly. Trying to make himself useful to them for giving him shelter.
Also, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Karen are clearly a full-on item, plus Beth (Emily Kinney) and Zach (Kyle Gallner) are together. Exciting to see because it means different stories for the group as a whole. One story I’m glad is continuing? That of Michonne (Danai Gurira). She comes back from a run on her own with comic books for Carl; she’s definitely staying as part of the prison crew. And as always, there’s a ton of work to do. Everybody has their thing, their chores, various responsibilities to make their tight-knit community work. Hershel (Scott Wilson) keeps assuring Rick that transitioning into a more farmer-like existence isn’t a bad thing. Although people worry he doesn’t carry a gun anymore: “We want you to be safe.” He doesn’t listen, and it’s because – as I mentioned – he is literally trying to bury the violence inside him, or at least he’s trying to pretend it doesn’t exist; out of sight, out of mind.
IMG_0128Later, out past the walls of the prison, Rick comes across a hungry woman in the woods. She’s found a deer carcass. She needs to get food back to her husband, they’ve been starving for days on end. Rick offers up food he has with him. Her name is Clara (Kerry Condon), she wants to know if he has a camp. Life’s been rough for her, it’s obvious by the layers of dirt caked onto her skin. Rick also mentions “three” questions he needs to ask the couple before they can possibly come back to his people. So she leads him on to wherever her husband is waiting.
Kids at the prison fence are naming the walkers. Carl finds some of them doing it, he chastises them as his father did when he was naming the pig. Moreover, we see the difference between him and the others. He’s grown in a way they aren’t yet. They’ve been relatively shielded from the horror of the world, while he’s had to shoot his own mother to prevent her from turning.
Daryl leads a group of people in town. One fun thing is watching Zach try guessing what Daryl “did before the turn.” Today, he guesses homicide cop, which gives Michonne a damn good kick. The group get into a store, only they don’t realise up on top of the building an army helicopter’s already crashed. And I’d be willing to bet that’ll cause a bit of shit. Doesn’t look like the roof is too stable.
Clara leads Rick on through the trees, explaining where she was when the apocalypse began and how she got herself to that moment. She talks of her husband, how he saved her life, so on. She talks of survival, by any means necessary.
IMG_0129In the store, Bob and others load up on supplies. He goes to the wine section. Above him, the ceiling leaks. Then a rack of wine tips over on top of him. Walkers on the roof notice the sound, walking further towards the helicopter. They start sinking through the weakened structure, falling inside one by one. A terrifying sequence, very unique! Lots of good blood and guts, too. An absolute shitshow. Bob nearly gets the chomp before Daryl saves him. Unfortunately, young Zach gets bitten and chowed down on by a nibbling zombie.
When Rick gets back to Clara’s husband, he finds something incredibly disturbing. First, she attacks him with a knife. After that she stabs herself in the gut, demanding to become undead. Like the husband she couldn’t bear to let go. She finds out the three questions, as well: 1) How many walkers have you killed? 2) How many people have you killed? and 3) Why? And we don’t see it, but the husband’s decapitated zombie head lays not far from the dying wife.
Carl finds that there’s not really any reading time for the kids. It’s a ruse, so that Carol can teach the kids how to use knives, to defend themselves. We also see one of them is feeling sick. Carl isn’t happy when he sees what Carol is up to, though she begs him not to tell his father.
IMG_0130Another taste of unhappiness comes to Beth, more loss as she finds out that Zach has died. “I dont cry anymore,” she tells Daryl. Glad for the time she had with him, rather than sad for not having him around. The two bond over loss, as he mentions he hates losing people. Something that won’t ever change in this new world.
Worse things are brewing in the prison’s darkness. That sick boy, he’s got something bad. And he ain’t doing so hot. As in death, and once he comes back there’s no telling how many others will get bitten, infected, sick, or who knows what.
IMG_0131Stellar episode. Love this one because it’s a solid season premiere, as well as the fact it leads into more stories, more intensity and emotion, more action, MORE EVERYTHING for the beginning bits of Season 4. Next is “Infected” and, you guessed it: there’s trouble!

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
IMG_0115The Governor (David Morrissey) is having his twisted fun. He’s got Milton (Dallas Roberts) at his mercy, beating him for burning up the walkers. And he has more than that planned. Much more. While he’s got Milton there, he admits to his love of war, of conflict. Like a thirst.
Then he brings his captive in to see where Andrea (Laurie Holden) is tied. He tells them both how he’s essentially lied to the people of Woodbury, to prime them for war with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people. Before they leave, the Governor wants Milton to kill Andrea. When Milton tries to kill him instead he’s the one who’s stabbed to death.
And then he’s left to do the deed, once he dies and comes back to life again. To feed on her.
The Governor: “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
IMG_0116At the prison, everyone is busy. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t overly impressed with his dad, and they all notice. Although Rick just hopes he’ll forget; not so easy. At the same time he’s still seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a vision. Daryl (Norman Reedus) can at least rest well knowing that his brother Merle tried to do right for once in his life. Generally, there’s an air of unease but a glimmer of hope amongst the group.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) forgives Rick for thinking about taking the deal, she understands the complexities of life in this new world. She also knows he didn’t ultimately make the choice, Merle did before his change of heart. Now, she thanks Rick for taking her in that while back. He confesses it was Carl who made that call.
Meanwhile in Woodbury, the Governor amps everybody up to go to the prison. To end the war between their camps. Before heading out, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) make clear they won’t go. They’ll protect the kids until everyone’s home, that’s it; if they’re not need afterwards, they’ll leave. He accepts with a grim thank you, handing over a weapon. That could’ve went either way. He’s on a fucking warpath.
Thus begins the assault. Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the other men open fire with the Governor, blasting away the walkers on the perimeter of the prison before heading in further on foot. Except all is quiet, nobody moving anywhere visible. They open up the gate and get themselves inside. They find not a soul, just empty cell blocks. The Govern finds nothing but a Bible. John 5:29 is highlighted, by Hershel (Scott Wilson). Minds games, son. Psychological warfare!
IMG_0118Back at Woodbury, Milton is dying. He dropped a tool for Andrea, though she’s still tied. She tries to get a pair of pliers nearby, dragging it with her foot. Trying to keep his morale up. But he only wants her to stab him in the brain: “Keep trying,” he cheers her on weakly while losing more blood by the second. He fades away, as she tells him of her regrets, having not killed that piece of shit Governor when she had the chance.
In the prison, the Governor leads his men into the tombs below. Ohhhh, god damn. Are they headed for what I think they are? All hell breaks loose. An alarm goes off, gunfire erupts. When people escape, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – clad in riot gear – open fire on them, driving people out. Trucks take off, and soon the Governor runs, too. Tail between their legs. For the time being, anyways.
Out in the woods, Carl and Hershel come across a young man with a gun. He goes to put it down, and Carl puts a bullet in him. To the utter shock of the old man. Everyone regroups inside. Hershel expresses his worry that Carl “gunned that kid down” and it’s not something Rick wants to hear; but he needs to hear it.
On the road the Governor pulls his people over for fleeing. Then he does his own gunning, slaughtering all of those opposing him. This terrifies his own men, Caesar and the others. But when one dissents, he kills him, as well. Putting an end to any further rebellion. He’s gone full dictator, murdering anyone in his way. Only a single woman manages to escape his bullet, lying underneath another corpse.
IMG_0119Rick asks Carl about what actually happened in the woods. The boy thinks he had to do what he did, or else something else worse would happen. He’s disappointed, ultimately, in his father not doing what HE should have done, several times before. This time, Rick heads out with Daryl and Michonne. On the road they find the woman who escaped the Governor, alive and hiding in a truck. A-ha! I wondered how she’d come back into the action.
Time’s running out for Andrea, with Milton expired on the floor in front of her.
Fuck. She’s in a heap of trouble. He’s come back from the dead and is lurching towards her in that chair. She gets free as he opens his mouth to take a bite. But we don’t immediately see the result. EVEN CREEPIER!
Moving on Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Michonne encounter gunfire from Tyreese and Sasha. The woman, Karen, explains to them what the Governor’s done, so on. The two groups reunite, now with Rick in a better frame of mind than the last time. Rick likewise reveals Andrea never made it back to the prison, that she may still be held captive there somewhere.
And inside, they find her. Bitten, on the way to turning eventually. She asks to do it on her own, put herself out of the misery that’s coming. No matter if it’s tough for Rick, Michonne, and Rick to deal with the request. Michonne refuses to leave, wanting to be there while she goes. So Rick hands over a gun to mercifully let her commit suicide.
Andrea: “I tried
Rick: “You did
IMG_0122Another one of the more intense finishers of any episode in this series. I hated seeing Andrea go, and the way it was filmed, written, presented, it’s a quality chapter. Right up to that final gunshot. This season was a killer, in so many ways. As we head into Season 4, there’s hope. Yet it isn’t shining, glimmering hope as there’s been in the past. There’s a lot of darkness ahead for Rick and the group at the prison. One of those dark spots is which way Carl will head: will he become a force of good, or will he let this world taint him?
Their time at the prison is going to come to an end, one of these days soon. For now the group are back with more people, the good ones from Woodbury, adding to the population. And for the first time in so long, Rick isn’t seeing ghosts.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Prey” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
IMG_0105Back at the prison, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) talks with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl (Norman Reedus). He tells them about the deal with Michonne (Danai Gurira), having to give her over to the Governor (David Morrissey) if they want to call a truce. The two of them don’t think it’s right. But they understand the stakes, too. A lose-lose, either way. This way they lose morality. The other way, they lose lives. It isn’t an easy choice, certainly nothing is in this post-apocalyptic landscape.
Rick then goes to talk with Merle (Michael Rooker). They need him to help out, coincidentally. Rick tells him the deal and how they need to keep their transfer of Michonne quiet. This makes Merle feel like part of the group, in a dark, dark way. At the same time he relays the savagery of the Governor, the sickness in him. If any of them’s good for this job though, it’s the older Dixon. He’s not quite THE bad guy, but he is certainly a bad fuckin’ guy.
Merle: “Youre cold as ice, Officer Friendly.”
IMG_0106So now it’s play along for everyone, particularly Michonne, until the dirty deed is done. Carol (Melissa McBride) starts questioning Merle: “Are you with us?” He doesn’t show any specific loyalty, only to his brother. Like she makes clear, though – Daryl’s one of them. It’s interesting to see Merle notice the change in Carol since last they were together as a group. She’s grown, for the better. She also knows everyone deserves a chance. Maybe Merle will have his; to prove he’s still human, unlike the Governor.
Nice moment with Glenn (Steven Yeun) as Daryl asks if his brother’s apologised. Yeah, like that’ll happen. When Glenn talks about what Merle did, not to him but to Maggie (Lauren Cohan), it’s clear the damage is much too deep for an apology to fix. Daryl is a good man and despite his brother being a pile of garage it can’t be easy to hear that from someone he considers a friend.
Merle gives it to Daryl hard when they’re alone, chastising him for going soft in his eyes. The younger brother’s not impressed with what Glenn told him, of what Merle did and nearly let happen to Maggie. “People do what they gotta do, or they die,” he tells Daryl. The older of the two sounds like a zombie king Scarface echoing “Say goodnight to the bad guy” as he takes credit for being the type of guy they need around to do the dirty work.
Although I’m not religious, whatsoever, I actually admire Hershel for the way he holds to his faith. After all he’s been through, what he’s seen close up, all they’ve managed to survive, somewhere deep inside him that faith clings. And there’s an admirable quality about that, because he still, even with one leg, kicks ass.
IMG_0107It looks like the plan’s in motion at the hands of Merle. He and Michonne are in one of the prison corridors alone, and he takes the chance to knock her out, tying then dragging her away. Back to Woodbury. When she’s awake he walks her toward death, through the barren streets of the wasteland. All the while he cackles, taunts, and tries out her sword for fun. At the prison, Daryl and Rick find out what’s happened. The brother insists he’s the one to go find them.
Glenn sits with Hershel and talks about the watch he was given.  He’s understanding the responsibility the old man is giving him, and asks for her Maggie’s hand in marriage. Of course, he gets the blessing. A bit patriarchal, if not still sweet.
On the road trying to steal a car, Merle sets off an alarm. This brings out a bunch of walkers. A tied Michonne manages to fight off a few before he notices. They get in the car before it’s too late and speed off together. But he’s still bringing her to a horrible fate.
She tries getting under his skin on the trip to Woodbury. She asks him question after question. Until he reveals a few of his genuine emotions, that he can’t go back to that prison. Then he cuts her loose, tells her to go back instead: “I got somethinI gotta do on my own.” So he IS a human after all. She walks on back over the road while he drives over the horizon, heading for his old pal the Governor.
IMG_0109IMG_0110Michonne runs into Daryl on her way, and he speeds on after his brother – who’s busy listening to some Motörhead and drinking a bottle of booze, sitting in a car surrounded by walkers. He drives slowly forward, stops. Letting them crowd the car again. He moves like this on and on and on until he reaches abandoned buildings. He hops out letting the car roll on with Ted Nugent’s “Turn It Up” playing loud on the speakers. This draws the walkers on further, as well as alerts Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and his men who find the zombies approaching. This lets Merle pick a bunch of the boys off from afar.
Then the Governor appears. The oldest Dixon tries getting a line of sight on him, but a walker stumbles in distracting him. Then the Governor and the lads find Merle, too. A fight breaks out. We see the viciousness of the Governor even more, as he bites off two of the digits on Merle’s good hand. Before putting a bullet in him.
In better news, Glenn pops the question to Maggie with a ring. She says yes, and at least SOMETHING is good in the world. Amongst death and tragedy and pain everywhere else. They all gather together in the prison where Rick tells them about the Governor’s deal, if they gave over Michonne. He admits to wanting to take that deal for their safety. He tells them what Merle did, that Daryl went after him.
Rick: “I couldnt sacrifice one of us for the greater good, because we are the greater good.”
IMG_0112Daryl gets to where all the carnage went down after Merle showed up, finding walkers and blood and guts everywhere. Worst of all, he finds his brother. Reanimated. Eating a corpse. Such a horribly tragic moment for Daryl, as dead Merle walks toward him. He pushes the zombie away, not wanting to have to put one in his head. But he does, he takes out all kinds of aggression, stabbing him in the head, weeping as he does it. So goddamn sad. Poor guy.
IMG_0113Such an intense ending, one of the most emotionally shattering things character-wise that comes along. Daryl is a great character, and just as Merle was turning a corner, in such a selfless, brave way after all he’s done, he meets his end. Nicotero directs some of the best episodes! Next is “Welcome to the Tombs” and it’s the finale for this season. Prepare for a life changing episode to follow this heart breaker.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Glen Mazzara & Evan T. Reilly

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Arrow on the Doorpost” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
IMG_0095We see Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) in the forest, before, when they were travelling together. Andrea starts asking about the leashed walkers, asking if she knew them, which Michonne confirms: “They deserve what they get, they werent human to begin with,” she says.
Back in Woodbury, the Governonr (David Morrissey) prepares his own chains, to hold and keep someone firmly in place. For some of his darkest plans yet.
IMG_0096Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) is doing his boss’ bidding, assembling weapons and people to head for the prison. Milton (Dallas Roberts) thinks it’s a “show of force.” For her part, Andrea believes otherwise. She knows there’s something not right. But then again, so does Milton. He sees the Governor falling apart in terrifying shambles. Likely with no way to stop it, either.
What Milton discovers is that Michonne is slated to be put in that chair, and much worse. When Andrea finds out she’s rightfully shocked. Milton shows her the room, the chair, all the nasty tools prepared for her friend. He asks her to go tell the people at the prison to get away. She’d rather kill the Governor, when she’s had so many chances before.
Andrea winds up slipping past Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) while they watch the wall, shooting walkers. They’re good people, which is already clear, so they don’t give her too much grief; they’re not the authoritarians in Woodbury. When the Governor finds out Andrea’s gone he tries making out he’s only concerned for her, though he worries she’s up to something else. He tries not to worry Tyreese and Sasha. It’s clear they know Woodbury isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Alone, Andrea makes her way for the prison, as she hears vehicles scouring the road to locate her. If anybody’s good at surviving on her own, it’s her.
IMG_0097Tyreese and Sasha find out more about Woodbury when they go help Caesar. They see a pit of walkers in a field. A preparation for when they head for the prison, apparently. More to release upon Rick and his people. “This is sick,” says Tyreese. He refuses to take part while one of the others from his group hops on board real quick. The two men end up fighting and Tyreese nearly feeds him to the pit, before letting him go. More and more, the brother and sister pair see things they don’t like in their new camp.
Out on the plains Andrea is nearly found by another patrol. She hides as best she can before anyone sees her. But the Governor comes a-callin’, trying to stop her from running back to her former group. She makes away into the trees before he can catch up. After another while she comes to a set of buildings where she hides. He almost finds her, he begs her to come back to Woodbury, pleading in the dark. I don’t see that working, buddy. Instead of wait patiently he smashes anything he can find to try flushing her out. They come face to face after not too long. She doesn’t decide on going home. She locks him in a room with a horde of walkers, leaving him behind.
IMG_0101After so much bullshit, Andrea gets back to the prison. In the tower Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost spies her, before the Governor sneaks up. He’s caught her, and so close to where she was headed. Meanwhile, the walker pits near Woodbury are scorched, the zombies melted in a pile. Someone’s been naughty.
The Governor arrives back at Woodbury to hear Tyreese and Sasha are under suspicion. He also curiously doesn’t tell Caesar he found Andrea. He heads over to talk with Tyreese and their group, smoothing things out, placating with lies. For now, they agree to stay and not cause any trouble. Because they didn’t cause any to start. Hmm; my guess is Mr. Milton Mamet.
The chair, lacking Michonne, has now been occupied by Andrea. Oh shit.
IMG_0104A gritty, creepy, intense episode. Love it. Next is “This Sorrowful Life” and there’s a ton more intensity to come as we get closer to the Season 3 finale.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 13: “Arrow on the Doorpost”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 13: “Arrow on the Doorpost”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Ryan C. Coleman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Clear” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Prey” – click here
IMG_0084Daryl (Norman Reedus), Hershel (Scott Wilson), and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) head to Woodbury. The former sheriff and resident crossbow expert go in, as the old man waits outside; equipped with a sneaky weapon on his knee’s stump. Tricky stuff. At a dark, quiet barn, Rick meets the Governor (David Morrissey). They’ve got a table and chairs setup for a proper meeting.
But can these men meet face-to-face like two people who’ve not been trying to murder one another and their respective people for the past long while? Hard to tell.
IMG_0085The situation’s tense, at first. Slowly but surely both of the men relax. Weapons go down, even as the egos stay up. Hershel and Daryl are on edge outside, which doesn’t change as Milton (Dallas Roberts) reluctantly shows up alongside Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo). Inside, Andrea hears a quick quip about something happening to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) courtesy of her dear Phillip, though he tosses it off fast. No good. She shouldn’t be on his side in any way, regardless.
Back at the prison Glenn (Steven Yeun) tries keeping the place going and organised, while Merle (Michael Rooker) wants to ride in on the Governor, hard and heavy. Especially with Daryl out in the shit. Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn want to stick around their makeshift home, and nobody’s really thrilled with Merle running his mouth.
Rick offers boundaries – the prison and Woodbury each take their portions of land where they’ll operate. Only the Governor wants “surrender” and doesn’t need or want a deal. Then they shoo Andrea outside, to speak alone. There’s even a bit of whiskey. Outside, Daryl and Milton butt heads a little, as Caesar laughs. They all kill walkers together, too. Like an exercise in bonding. Well, Andrea kills them instead of listening to the men have a pissing contest.
A bit of tension arises when Milton inquires about Hershel’s leg. He wants to see the stump, the amputation and such. For medical reasons. “I just met you, at least buy me a drink first,” Hershel says and laughs it away. Little does the nerdy dude know the old guy’s hiding that weapon in case shit goes sideways.
IMG_0087Hashing out their issues Rick and the Governor speak of choice – destroy it all, or find a way out? The former Sheriff Grimes won’t back down, and the eye-patched villain won’t be perceived as weak by his people in Woodbury. The Governor tells a story about his wife dying in a car crash, how quickly life changes. They have loss in common, if only one thing. They haven’t killed one another yet. That’s something at least.
Glenn continues taking charge at the prison. He finds Merle packing up to head out on the road, not wanting his brother out there without him. A fight breaks out. Surprising enough, Beth (Emily Kinney) is the one to break it up with a gunshot in the air.
The Governor tells Rick he wants Michonne. That’s the deal. He gets her and the whole thing “goes away.” Rick is left with a tough, dark choice to make, or not to make. Is selling his soul worth keeping his people at the prison safe? I don’t think so. Speaking of Michonne, she and Merle have their own talk. About sneaking into Woodbury, ending the fight for good. She has no time for him, though. She has faith in the new group who accepted her.
Since their capture Glenn and Maggie have been troubled. It was a traumatic thing, especially when Glenn felt he couldn’t protect her. He finally admits he made it about him, not her and what nearly happened at the hands of that horrible man. Then they sneak off to make love for the first time in so long.
IMG_0088At the table, Rick questions why the Governor would be so petty over a “vendetta” when he’s supposed to be the big saviour of it all. He isn’t sure to trust the man at his word. Offer is good for two days. What will Rick choose? The groups part ways, but soon they’ll meet again.
Woodbury is poised to kill the prison crew. The deal is bullshit, though the Governor still wants Michonne alive. What we see now is Milton diverging from the path his master is setting forth, so he has his own choices to make. As does Andrea. Although she’s kept at arm’s length and doesn’t know the terms of the deal.
Rick tells his people the Governor wants them dead: “Were going to war.” Afterwards, he tells Hershel the full truth about Michonne. The old guy doesn’t like the sound of it, not after she’s done so much for them all.
But right now, Rick doesn’t see any other way.
IMG_0089An intense yet somehow laid back episode at once. Great build up to the chaos that’s coming, starting with “Prey” up next.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 12: “Clear”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 12: “Clear”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “I Ain’t A Judas” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Arrow on the Doorpost” – click here
IMG_0069On the road, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is with Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). They see someone on the road, somebody alive. But they choose not to stop. Carl doesn’t really understand, or he does and would rather not. Further up the road they find a bunch of smashed up cars, zombies inside, stuck under wrecks, and so on. The trio get stuck in the car, then they ‘re crowded by a horde of undead.
Rick shows his son a few tricks to get a car out of the mud, in case he ever finds himself in that situation by himself. The kid is a bit of a nag, though it isn’t for nought. Rick explains their “common interests” and that it’s all only temporary, as Michonne listens sitting in the car. The man from the road gets near, so they get going, leaving him calling to them in the road.
You can never be too careful. Each time is worse when Rick & Co. find other humans. Easier to avoid any new ones altogether.
IMG_0071They head into town and start looking for supplies. The armoury at Rick’s old station is cleaned out. Like, licked clean. Barely a single bullet rolling on the floor. They’ve got to figure out something else. Either that or they go up almost naked against the Governor (David Morrissey) and his army of men, women, and children at Woodbury.
The whole place is rough. Charred bodies and tanks of gasoline. Markings, warnings, mantras on the walls and arrows pointing along the sidewalks guiding a path. In the middle of town there are a number of obstacles setup, wooden poles fashioned into spikes, more warnings spray painted everywhere. Someone highly prepared, and maybe unstable, is camping out there, someplace.
From a rooftop someone fires at a walker, alerting the trio to his presence. He calls down and asks for them to drop their weapons and leave. Rather than that Rick fires, he and Carl hide, and Michonne, she makes her way up towards the roof flanking. The man, disguised in a helmet, comes after Rick then Carl drops him with a hard shot. Another bad ass Grimes in the family.
And who is the mystery man, covered in body armour? None other than Morgan (Lennie James). He’s booby trapped that section of town, including his hideout. Since last Rick saw him the guy’s gone crazy, that much is clear. The entire place is like a piece of tribal land, pitfalls and other nasty bits await. They make it through and put the unconscious Morgan in his apartment. Moreover, they find all the stuff from the armoury.
IMG_0076But Rick pities the guy who saved his life. His son isn’t around, that much is obvious; he turned. Morgan snapped somewhere along the way. The walls are covered in mad ramblings, as if the apartment is more a cell than a place to live. Remembering their past, what the guy’s done for him, Rick opts not to take all his things and leave. He wants to wait for Morgan to wake up. And so he isn’t a danger, they zip tie his hands and feet.
Poor Carl. Lots of people shit on him, and for a point when I first watched the series through as it aired I didn’t like his attitude. The more I watch, the more I realise he and other kids don’t get to be kids anymore. If you were a kid, no matter how serious the zombie threat, you wouldn’t just automatically become a ruthless killer of the undead. Not even after you’ve had to kill your own mom, either. Takes an adjustment. So what we see here, particularly after Carl looks at a map Morgan drew of the town – including their house, which is now BURNT OUT according to the drawing – is the loss of innocence, the loss of his childhood and his past. Not only is Lori dead, so are the memories of her, literally. The only memories of family which exist now for Carl Grimes is in his mind.
The kid and Michonne go off to find supplies, hopefully baby stuff. He tries to take too much responsibility while she is looking out for his best interests. Most of all, he’s trying to make that adjustment, he doesn’t want to be a helpless kid for others to save or take care of; this is a boy who wants to do his part. Even if he’s a bit stupid about it at times.
Back at the apartment, Morgan’s got a sneaky knife hidden under the bed and gets himself free. Rick fights him off trying to get through his psychosis. He gets stabbed for his trouble, but then Morgan begs to die. That’s fucking sad.
Rick: “You know me!”
Morgan: “I dont know anyone anymore!”
There’s a goodness we see here shine through more than ever in Rick. Despite everything, he still tries getting through to the crazy bastard. Once he holds up the walkie talkie Morgan remembers. He’s pissed Rick wasn’t there when he needed him.
IMG_0077Carl gets mouthy with Michonne, but she won’t quit. She’s determined to help him on his quest for whatever he needs. So they work together, using skateboard critters to distract zombies. When things don’t go as planned Carl lashes out. Then we see that snagged what he wanted – a picture of his family, with Lori, so that his sister will know her mother’s face. Plus, Michonne needed a multi-coloured cat statuette that looks hilariously awesome.
Then there’s Rick, who wants Morgan to come with them. Only the guy doesn’t want to go: “I have to clear,” he says, as if called to it by duty. He’s taking the death of his son, extrapolating, and then sort of letting the world rest all on his shoulders. Punishing himself, in a way. He wants to clear his mind.
The trio get back on the road again heading for home, some things for the baby, weapons, and a stab wound for Rick. More than that we find out he and Michonne have things in common; she used to see her dead boyfriend, just as he’s been seeing Lori. The start of a strong relationship, in many ways. On the road they see the man they left behind, now only a reanimated corpse
Rick (re: Michonne): “Everything okay with her?”
Carl: “I think she might be one of us
IMG_0083Love this episode, and love Morgan as a character! Very important to the series, then, now, again in the future.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Home” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Clear” – click here
IMG_0047Rick (Andrew Lincoln) won’t run, neither with Glenn (Steven Yeun) or Daryl (Norman Reedus). But Merle (Michael Rooker) advises of the power of the Governor (David Morrissey). They could get starved out if they try staying. Then Hershel (Scott Wilson) finally lays down the line. Rick once said their group was “not a democracy” and that also comes with the responsibilities of said leadership implied.
Outside, trying to get his head right, Rick runs into his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), who says that he has to stop leading the group. He deserves to have a break, to rest. Not just body; his mind, most importantly. Perhaps out of anything this is what comes through to the man – from the mouths of babes.
IMG_0048For his part, the Governor is still brutal. Amongst his own people, as well. He says that “adolescence” is a “20th century invention” and why? Because he needs MEN and WOMEN to FIGHT. There’s a great parallel to be made between him and other likewise heartless modern Republicans. Willing to send anyone with a heartbeat and cognitive abilities to war. Milton (Dallas Roberts) clearly has reservations, and Andrea (Laurie Holden), well she is going to raise hell over the fact he’s planning to do more at the prison.
Over at the old building there’s trouble. Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) obviously don’t want Merle around, though Rick won’t offend Daryl by kicking his brother out. Surprisingly, Hershel says they shouldn’t underestimate Merle’s loyalty to Daryl. The old man talks with him, equally surprising is the fact the eldest Dixon knows the Bible, quoting scripture and finishing sentences for Hershel.
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl continue to get closer. She has an optimistic point of view, glad that he’s back. He believes the prison is a “tomb.” Carol only wants him to make sure he doesn’t fall prey to Merle’s bad influence. Daryl’s a good man, she knows it; they all do.
At Woodbury, Andrea asks Milton about the plans at the prison. Then reveals she’s going there to talk to her friends. She wants him to help her out, to prevent other deaths by talking with Rick. Will he aid her? Or is he too far under the thumb of his master? I’d say the latter for now. Meanwhile, we always get these tiny glimpse into the Governor’s psychosis. They’re terrifying moments, often brief. Here we see him hold a lit match close to the bare, wounded eye, as if he’s about to cauterise the thing. Nasty. Great makeup effects work to boot!
IMG_0052Milton, of course, caves and tells the Governor. He’s asked to help her, to keep up the charade. He does, which requires having to help Andrea make a zombie on a leash like Michonne once did. They go at the dirty work, and it is DIRTY! Love it. Shows off some of the excellent effects, giving us a nice taste of zombie blood and gore. Certainly in part due to Greg Nicotero of KNB fame directing this episode.
Then they run into Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and their crew – who look surprised at what they’re seeing, like you would. The new crew are happier to hear that Woodbury isn’t far, and Milton opts to bring them back while Andrea heads onward to her old pals.
In the prison there’s still tough times ahead. For instance, between Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Merle. He tries to clear the air, not necessarily apologising though relating it wasn’t anything personal. “Let bygones be bygones,” he hopes. This woman does not play that shit.
When Andrea arrives Rick & Co. come out to greet her at the gate, ready for anything. Weapons trained. They’re all worried, and Michonne is shocked to see Andrea, not exactly happy. She’s been in bed, literally, with a murderous animal.
Others receive her a little better, but Rick especially is hostile. Andrea’s caught up on the latest tragedies, who died, who’s lost limbs, so on. She also discovers more of the Governor’s lies. Still, they’re all fed up. “Were gonna kill him,” Rick tells her plainly. Whatever it takes. At the same time she’s sweet on him, calling him Phillip.
Back at Woodbury, Tyrese and his group relate they met a crazy man in a prison. This intrigues the Governor. Others in the group are keen to help with Rick. Although Tyrese and Sasha aren’t entirely comfortable, you can tell just by the look in their eyes.
IMG_0053When Andrea goes back to Woodbury she meets with the Governor, telling him they’re in squalor, that Michonne is there, too. He’s drinking, looking definitively sinister in the shadows of his apartment. I wonder, has the visit with her first post-apocalypse friends changed her mind? It doesn’t seem so, not right away. She falls right back into his arms again.
Beth (Emily Kinney) tries to keep spirits up, singing in the darkness of the prison. Giving the place a light bigger than any fire. It’s a teeny ray of hope. A ray of hope nonetheless. Meanwhile, Rick, Daryl, and Hershel weigh their options of what to do about their coming war. The leader says he’s going on a run, and also lays down the law about Merle; Daryl, the good man he is, understands. Everyone is at different places right now, stuck in the same location. Andrea could make a decision to kill the Governor, and doesn’t do it. It could end right there. Instead she allows more destruction to follow.
IMG_0057Always loved this episode. Such a juxtaposition of awful positions everyone is stuck in, from Rick and his mind, to Tyrese and Sasha hoping to fit in with a community, to Michonne and Merle in that prison, and so much more. Great writing from Angela Kang.
Next is “Clear” and there are many things poised to go down. But will they? Will the tension finally snap? Soon, my friends.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 10: “Home”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 10: “Home”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Suicide King” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “I Ain’t A Judas” – click here
IMG_0020Rick (Andrew Lincoln) watches the prison yard. In the distance he sees a woman in a white dress by the graves and their crosses. It’s Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), who isn’t really there at all. She stands in the white juxtaposed against the dirt of the graves, flies searching for the smell of corpses, buzzing in the air. Then Lori disappears. Suddenly, she’s outside of the gates. He goes running after her, which catches Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the others a little off guard. Because the man is literally losing his mind. Faith has to waver, even just a bit. They’ve put it all in this man, to lead them and protect them, to give them hope. And here he is hallucinating his dead wife. For someone like Michonne who’s only come to know them all recently, this is shocking. Rightfully so.
IMG_0021In Woodbury, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is trying to come to terms with how she feels about the Governor (David Morrissey), reconciling that with what she knows of him, the person he is after all she’s discovered. She worries about her friends back at the prison. He wants her to be the interim leader until he gets his shit together: “We need you
Out in the woods together are Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), alone and arguing. The older brother doesn’t want any part of Rick or the prison. He assumes they’re all dead anyways, once the Governor raises hell. Back at the prison Glenn (Steven Yeun) starts figuring out the reinforcements in the various wards, to prepare for an invasion. He wants to end the whole thing. Hershel (Scott Wilson) thinks otherwise, he thinks they ought to get out and worries Woodbury is now on alert, possibly even headed for them as they speak. Truly, there are no good options. Either way Glenn decides they’re “making a stand” and they’ve all got jobs to do now.
Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts) is always tinkering with some experiment or another. He gets a visit from the Governor wondering if he’ll stick around, praising his help. He’s surprised. Yet we can see what his leader is doing, he’s sizing Milton up. He also wants him to keep tabs on Andrea. Hmm, interesting. And not really the right guy for anything covert. For a smart, science-oriented guy, Milton’s both cowardly and kind of a weakling-type.
Glenn goes to see Maggie (Lauren Cohan), wanting to talk about their problems. About what happened during their invasion on Woodbury. She tells him what happened in that room with the Governor. It’s almost more about him than it is her; that’s the problem. He makes it like there’s some relief for HIM that she wasn’t raped. But it was never about him, it was always a threat to her. She was being used, and could’ve been assaulted viciously while Glenn was mostly concerned for how HE would feel if it did happen. Tsk, tsk, dude.
An excellent scene to follow is when Axel (Lew Temple) gets a lesson on how to load, cock, and handle a gun from resident bad ass Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). I love her. One of the greatest in the entire series. A great actress given the chance to shine through an especially well-written character.
On the road Merle and Daryl come across a family on a bridge in trouble with walkers. While the older of the two is content to make fun, laughing at them, the younger rushes in to help. Or try, anyways. Another show of Daryl’s good, honourable heart, as opposed to his ruthless brother. Goes to show that nature v. nurture doesn’t always turn out how you expect between two siblings. Fuckin’ Merle even wants to rob the family after his brother helps. Except Daryl ain’t having that. After it all we see the scars that the younger of them bears having been left alone with their abusive father all those years when Merle left.
Merle: “I tried to kill that black bitch. Damn near killed the Chinese kid.”
Daryl: “Hes Korean
Merle: “Whatever, doesnt matter, man. I just cant go with you.”
Daryl: “Im the one thats walkinaway. But youre the one thats leavin‘. Again.”


Glenn’s taking too much on himself and Hershel wants him to step back. He doesn’t want him to end up dead, especially when he trusts him with the life of his daughter. Can’t tell Glenn what to do, though. He’s headstrong, he wants to be a leader when Daryl is missing and Rick is “wandering crazy town.” Can’t blame him, he has those instincts. He’s a smart cookie, too.
Still pushing the limit of sanity, Rick walks along the outer grounds of the prison. Hershel calls to him from the other side of the fences, worried about Glenn, the whole place sort of going to shit without his influence. Rick admits to seeing Lori, hearing her and Shane on the phone before. Instead of making him feel crazy, the old guy reassures the former sheriff that things will be okay, but it won’t bring him back inside just yet.
Then from nowhere a bullet blows Axel’s brains out. The Governor has arrived, he and his men firing on the prison as Rick and the crew take cover, firing back. A truck comes flying in through the gate. The back opens and walkers come piling out into the field causing chaos. Before Rick gets bitten, Daryl puts an arrow into a walker’s head, as he and Merle emerge through the trees. The Governor and his boys back off leaving the chaotic mess, and the prison gang just barely make it out by the skin of their teeth.
What now? All hallucination and no protection makes Rick a mad boy.


An intense one. Particularly due to the relationship between the Dixon Bros, which I always love. On top of that this is one of the most psychological episodes, as we’re seeing the dark depths of what’s going on in Rick’s mind.
Next is “I Ain’t A Judas” and it’s my favourite-titled episode of this season. Also, another fun episode!

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 9: “The Suicide King”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 9: “The Suicide King”
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Written by Evan Reilly

* For a review of the previous episode, “Made to Suffer” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Home” – click here
IMG_0013And so the fight between Daryl and Merle Dixon (Norman Reedus & Michael Rooker) is ready to happen. The Governor (David Morrissey) sees fit to that. With Andrea (Laurie Holden) pleading for him not to have them fight “to the death” and cause more brutality.
Merle seems to initiate things. It’s just a ploy to start an escape with his brother. He’d do anything for him and that’s more than obvious time and time again.
It’s then that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the others push forward in their assault. The whole place is a mess of smoke, gunfire, screams. No longer are the streets of Woodbury safe, as once they were. People are killed, injured. Safety isn’t guaranteed, not when there are warring factions against one another. The mad Governor stalks through the place like a man now completely soulless. If he ever were anything different.
IMG_0014Rick and his crew gather up Merle and Daryl, then they all head off on the road again. Further up along that road in the morning, they meet Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn (Steven Yeun), neither of whom are too happy to see ole Merle with their friends. Things definitely aren’t going to go easy from here on in. Plus, Rick learns more about Michonne from Merle, who lets slip about her leashed walkers, et cetera. It isn’t until Rick pistol whips him does Merle shut his mouth.
In the prison, Hershel (Scott Wilson) helps patch up Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and his friends. Beth (Emily Kinney) looks after baby Judith, Carl (Chandler Riggs) watches over the cell block. The new group makes friends with Hershel and Co. but it’ll be a different story once Rick gets back. For damn sure. Not because Hershel or any of the others are stupid. It’s due to the fact former Sheriff Grimes has his lawman instinct still kicking, as well as the fact he’s sort of half insane at this moment in time.
The rest of them move their way back to home. Daryl decides he and Merle have to head off on their own, as the others obviously are conflicted over the oldest brother. Rick doesn’t want to see it happen. Although there isn’t a whole lot he can do to stop Daryl once his mind’s made up. Sad to see him go for now. Not so sure he’s all that well off with Merle. But he’s his own man.


Tyreese and his group are making their own decisions, too. They’ve got to figure out how to navigate the situation at the prison. He and his sister Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) try to impress, as well as keep their own people on the right path. Nothing’s ever easy.
On the road, Glenn and Rick are at each other. Nobody can get on the same page. At the same time, Woodbury is gone to the dogs, as well. Andrea roams the streets putting down walkers after everything goes south. She realizes the citizens are not like her, she is not like them. Unfortunately, she’s more like The Governor. Although even he’s not like her. He is another beast altogether.
Andrea soon finds out more than she can handle. The reality of who she’s dealing with, who The Governor is, finally comes to light. For her part, Andrea tries to keep the rest of Woodbury on the same side, giving them hope and a little strength.
At the prison, Rick arrives in one piece. Physically. His mental state is still not great, not after losing Lori tragically in the prison’s tombs. He’s got the baby crying, everything descending on him. How long can he keep it together?
Others are doing their best to keep it together, too. Hershel and Glenn talk about things; personal stuff. The father inspires his daughter’s man, even with only a few casual words. That’s how good the old man is for everybody. He cares about those around him: “Youre like my own son, Glenn.” He also talks to Maggie, encouraging her not to let silence rule between them. No good for any relationship, not before the zombie apocalypse, and not after, either.
IMG_0018Rick wants to get Michonne up and running again, though she isn’t quite ready to travel. They need more hands to help in the fight at Woodbury. So our fearless leader is introduced to Tyrese and Sasha, the rest of their group. He wants to know about them, how they “got this far.” He’s not entirely pleased they’re even in the building. They try to make themselves useful to Rick. He isn’t having it, even with Hershel pleading the case. He’s slowly losing part of himself, his humanity. By turning away others this is what happens, regardless of the situation, the worry of more mouths to feed and people to protect and ways to get infected.
Hershel: “Youve got to start givinpeople a chance
It all gets really tricky once Rick starts seeing dead Lori standing on the walkway, and he’s talking to himself. This worries everybody. When his gun comes out, they’re all scared, and Tyrese leaves with his people. Not a good sign.
IMG_0019What an intense episode. The end always gives me chills. Rick’s losing his grip and someone has to pull him back in.
Next up is “Home” and it promises big, exciting developments.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple, Angela Kang, & Matthew Negrete

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Something They Need” – click here
Pic 1Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is on the edge of life and death. I only hope she holds on. Will she? Or has she decided to choose death, once and for all? She has a dream, of being back with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). In their home at Alexandria. Quickly, she’s back with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). He’s brought her something to eat. And he has plans to use her to get things “back on track” – whatever that means, we’ll soon find out. She even gets a blueberry, smiley face pancake with eggs and fruit for breakfast. Yum. The sinister plot of Negan begins.
Pic 1ABack at Alexandria, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has his gun on Dwight (Austin Amelio), who says he only wants things with Negan and The Saviors to end. It’s all pretty tough, Daryl (Norman Reedus) doesn’t like it, neither does Tara (Alanna Masterson). Nobody really trusts him, even though he gives a passionate speech about why he’s done what he’s done. Except Daryl does know more than the others about him, about his wife, what happened with Negan. They also worry about Sasha, that Dwight may be their only lifeline to getting her back, as well as their best way to infiltrate the Sanctuary and end the reign of terror.
So they must prepare, one way or another, for Negan and his Saviors coming soon.
Poor Sasha, she keeps flashing back to Abraham. Not sure which existence is a dream. Flashing to Negan and his plan, his breakfast. Her mind is being absolutely tortured. She sees, more and more, there is no way forward with Negan other than “punishment” and death by Lucille. He wants three to die, but would settle for just one. And for now Sasha agrees: only one.
Negan (to Sasha): “Youve got me wrapped around your little finger, yknow that? And its not a man-woman thing. I mean, if you had a dick I would still have these feelings.”
Pic 2Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is figuring out what to do with Hilltop, with Gregory (Xander Berkeley) off elsewhere, and Jesus (Tom Payne) happy to help her with anything, glad to have her leading the place. What to do? They need to fight. Just depends on how, what they can contribute to help Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the rest at Alexandria in taking the fight to The Saviors and Negan. I have faith that Maggie can play a big part, she’s a force.
Then there’s another force of fucking nature – Carol (Melissa McBride). She and Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) and Morgan (Lennie James), her pals from the Kingdom are on the road together. Well, Morgan likes to go it alone, but they’re together in one sense. Ezekiel wants Morgan with them. Once again, the man cannot forgive himself or get past things long enough to help those around him. A trouble dude in troubled times. At least he has Carol and his pals from the Kingdom, and Shiva!
Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her people arrive, garbage trucks and all. They’re an odd bunch; Jadis says she wants to bang Rick later, which neither he nor Michonne like to hear. In other news, Daryl, Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are wiring an explosive they’ll put to good use soon enough. At the same time, Negan and Co are held up in the road, coming across the downed trees knocked over by Dwight.


Sasha’s decided not to take that pill after all. What she’ll decide in the end ought to be interesting. In the meantime, her friends at Alexandria have readied for the coming fight, even Carl (Chandler Riggs) has himself an assault rifle. Everybody’s braced for war. As The Saviors and Negan arrive, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is up in front with a megaphone greeting his old friends. Nobody’s impressed with that, particularly after he tells them: “Im Negan.” Rather than suffer any fools, they opt to set off their explosive. Instead nothing happens. Jadis and her crew turn their weapons on the Alexandrians, Dwight hops from the truck with Negan. No explosions. No surprise assault. Oh, fuck.
We win
The tables have turned, drastically. Rick is not happy, as Negan gloats with everyone on his side. He lays it on thick while the Alexandrians await whatever comes next. Then, Dwight and Simon (Steven Ogg) wheel out a casket. Inside is Sasha, says Negan. He’s going to take all the guns, whatever food they can get. Rick also much choose a victim for Lucille. Plus, Daryl and the pool table go, too. Or else Sasha and a few others die.


Rick demands to see her first. So, Negan opens the casket – we get another flash of Sasha and Abraham: “Its always for someone else,” he tells her; a resonant point about The Walking Dead as a series as a whole. We also see Eugene give Sasha an iPod for her ride in the casket. She still has that pill, too. And she takes Abraham’s words to heart, in the worst way possible. She swallows the pill.
When the door comes open, a zombie Sasha appears! She lunges at Negan, then Carl takes the first shot initiating total chaos amongst the crowds. Bullets fly everywhere. Michonne wrestles with the other sniper on the rooftop. Rosita takes a bullet as Tara helps her away from the action. Jadis and Rick face one another down at the wall’s top, then she fires a shot into his side, tossing him over.
With gunfire everywhere, the Alexandrians struggle to stay alive. Jadis brings Rick to Negan, dead bodies litter the streets. The Saviors have Carl, and it seems as if he’s the next target for Lucille. Furthermore, he wants to use the bat on Rick’s hands. “I guess I gotta start all over again,” he taunts Rick. In the distance he also believes he hears Michonne dying. Somehow he stands against the tide, strong: “Youre all already dead,” Rick tells Negan.
But before any more death can come, Shiva leaps in behind them and takes down a man, scaring The Saviors and Negan away. Ezekiel, Carol, Morgan, Maggie, they all appear to push back the villains. And though the biggest baddie’s run off, he’s taken aback by the tiger, the living widow of Glenn “guns blazin‘” and sent packing with his tail between his legs. Nice to see Morgan and Rick together again, as well. Fighting side by side.
Once the smoke clears, Alexandria still remains standing, though the threats likewise live on. And Michonne, she made it out alive, if not a bit worse for the wear. She hasn’t given up, either. Not one bit.
Pic 5Back at the Sanctuary, Negan’s wondering how Sasha actually died. Eugene bullshits saying it was probably suffocation in that casket, but the boss ain’t sold. Nevertheless, he’s prepared for war. Things in Season 8 will get fucking ugly.
Although with the force of The Saviors coming down upon them, Rick and Maggie and the rest are also prepared for war. They slipped this time, managing to regain their footing. Next time, I don’t think they’ll go in trusting another group. It’s all on them now. Alexandria is full of life, with all the groups in one place for a while, each ready to fight for the person next to them.


A great season. Loved this season finale, because we ended last season and began this one on a devastating note, a weak one for Rick and everyone around him. At the end of Season 7, they’ve all regained a strength, and some they didn’t know they had, which will serve them well. We needed this progression, and as Maggie points out in her ending monologue this all began so long ago, at the beginning when Rick and each of them decided to stand for the other, to help, to love, to protect, to fight on the one side

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 15: “Something They Need”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 15: “Something They Need”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Corey Reed

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Other Side” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” – click here
Pic 1ATara (Alanna Masterson) finally tells Rick (Andrew Lincoln) about Oceanside, finally. Unable to keep the promise. She already feels guilty, and worse Rick warns that things could go bad. Because, y’know, nothing’s ever easy. Not in the post-zombie apocalypse landscape. Not for anyone, Rick, Tara, or otherwise.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is fast becoming one of the better leaders around. She runs much of the production happening at Hilltop, despite Gregory (Xander Berkeley) playing the figurehead. Meanwhile, Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) play their part in the coming plan for Oceanside. Jesus (Tom Payne) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) set up their own part, too.
And now see Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), stuck in that same place where Daryl was at The Saviors compound. In a terrible position. A man tries to play quid pro quo, violently. To which she responds with an excellent headbutt. Before the guy gets to rape level, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) shows up. Rape is “against the rules” as you’d hope it would be, though I think he plays loose with that term when it comes to his own wives. So he puts a knife through the dude’s neck. Then they have a little chat, he and Sasha. About what’s next for her. She’s left in that dark cell with Rapey Davey, to either save herself and join up with Negan, or kill herself, or whatever she chooses.
Negan: “I just want you to understand, we are not monsters.”
Later, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) turns up with a few comforts, like a pillow (not hypoallergenic) and such. He wants her to accept the offer Negan came in with, as he did. He’s given up, on everything. On himself. There was hope he’d change his cowardly ways, now I’m not sure that’ll ever happen. Eugene is yellow, through and through. Not a great way to honour the legacy of Abraham, and Sasha sends him away.


Maggie and Gregory chat while she gardens. He’s such a crabby, impatient man who really does nothing for his people, except give everything over to The Saviors and not fight them. He wants to put up a “united front” in image to those under him at Hilltop, when she’d rather it were real. They plan on talking later, but I just don’t trust the guy. He’s conniving. He actually looks as if considering killing Maggie, even for just a moment. The thought crosses his mind. Then we see his cowardice, not wanting to be saved by Maggie from a walker then having to be saved, then getting attacked by another one in the meantime. What a sad, sad excuse of a leader. Although she treats him with dignity instead of ridicule. Shows what a good heart she has; I wouldn’t be so fucking nice to a guy like that. But she understands, deep down, what it is to be vulnerable. She still has so much humanity.
In Oceanside, Tara infiltrates the leader Tanya’s cabin. Enacting the plan. The women aren’t happy to see her, wishing they’d killed her instead. She offers the women to join them, telling them what happened to her group, all The Saviors have done. Now it’s time to fight. Tara tries convincing them to talk with Rick, only it’s too late. Michonne, Daryl, Jesus, they all storm Oceanside, setting off an explosion, firing shots. Nobody’s hurt. Yet. In the cabin, Tara gets taken down; revealing no bullets in her gone. All a distraction.
Outside the others have things under control. Then they discover Tara’s held hostage. Rick says he’s taking the weapons, one way or another. They try to convince the Oceanside survivors to fight with them against Negan, The Saviors. And the other women, they start to agree fighting might be better than hiding, waiting for more threats to come. As Tanya gets overcome and a truce looks likely, walkers crowd the woods. Rick’s group and the Oceansiders must band together against a horde of waterlogged zombies. And band together they do, aside from Tanya.


Sasha’s killed undead Rapey Davey. She’s one of the gang, at least for now. Negan still doesn’t trust her, not yet. Not fully. He says he’ll try to “make it fun.” Yikes, I don’t like where this is headed. She might become a pawn in his dangerous game in a way she’d never anticipated. Something scary is coming; know that.
At Hilltop, Gregory seems to be having a crisis. More people know now of his cowardice. He’s confronting his ugly self, that he nearly killed a pregnant woman because he doesn’t feel like top man in charge anymore. So it’s back home, to drink and read a map. He has places to go, apparently.
When Eugene goes to talk to Sasha, she makes apparent she won’t let Negan do whatever it is he plans to do. She doesn’t want to be a tool to hurt Rick and the others. “I have to die, its the only way,” she tells Eugene. She wants out. She begs. But is this something devised by Negan, to test her further by testing Eugene? Her reaction makes me wonder. He brings her back a pill full of poison he made. Painless, he says. The one he made for Negan’s wives originally. It appears she does really want to die. Makes me sad.
Pic 4Rick and the gang go back home to Alexandria where the others await.
And someone else. In the cell Morgan made, Rosita (Christian Serratos) has Dwight (Austin Amelio). This sends Daryl into a fit of rage. But Dwight comes wanting to help. Rick’s cool with that, then orders him: “Get on your knees.” Shiiiiiiiieeeet.
Is former Sheriff Grimes going to pull the trigger, send Negan back a body bag message? I don’t think so. Smarter not to. We’ll see.
Pic 5What a great episode. Love how we get a broad look at a lot of characters, from The Saviors and Negan, to Oceanside, to Rick and Sasha and everyone. Such good writing to juggle so many people and keep it interesting, dramatic, tense. Negan becomes a better character and less cartoonish as time goes by, too. Love Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Season finale “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” is next. Can’t wait to see what Greg Nicotero has in store for the last episode of Season 7; been a great one!

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hearts Still Beating” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “New Best Friends” – click here
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-1-46-30-amHere it is – the mid-season premiere!
Open on Alexandria. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) stands on watch at the top of the gate, everything is dark. He passes time reading the Bible. But it’s getting harder to read, you can tell by the look on his face. Soon he goes back to one of the houses, starts piling canned food into a box and looking through the inventory, most of which is going to The Saviors. He packs what he can into a car, gasses up, then heads out into the night.
Is he bringing things to them? No, I think he wants to hide things from them. That could turn things awful tricky.
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-1-49-37-amBack at Hilltop things aren’t so easy, either. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) argues with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his people, he isn’t so convinced the group can do what they say and take out Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or his Saviors. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and the rest try convincing Gregory, but he’s simply not buying it. “Youre either with us or you aint,” Daryl (Norman Reedus) reminds him.
After they’ve gotten nowhere with the fearful leader, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) brings a few people to speak with Rick and the group. One woman named Bertie (Karen Ceesay) tells Maggie that they’re willing to fight, long as they’re shown how to fight and defend themselves properly. This is a good turn of events, they don’t need Gregory when the people at Hilltop are ready to be part of the resistance. Jesus (Tom Payne) also says it’s time that the gang meets King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). Yes!
They go to the Kingdom – Jesus, Rick, Daryl, as well as Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Tara, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). And there they meet a couple guys on horses, one of whom is Richard (Karl Makinen).
It’s amazing to see Rick and the group when they witness the Kingdom. Even better once Morgan (Lennie James) strolls out to see greet them. He tells Rick and Daryl about Carol (Melissa McBride) wanting to be left alone, too. Afterwards they meet the King and Shiva, and it’s a big of a culture shock. Although Rick jumps on in for a chat. He brings up The Saviors, wanting to band together and bring them down. Everybody discusses Negan, his brutality, why he must be stopped. Jesus also chimes in to say that he once thought their deal was something they could all “live with” but that’s all quickly, horribly changed. On top of that we already know Richard doesn’t like The Saviors, he’s on board to get shit done.
Ezekiel: “And what plans have you, Rick Grimes of Alexandria?”
What comes out is Rick talks about his mother telling him a story when he was a boy, about a road to a kingdom. A little girl and her family went along the road, losing all they had after their wagon hit a rock in the road. The girl, determined never to let the rock hurt another, dug at it until eventually finding a bag of gold. Negan is the rock in the road, and if they’re able to dig him out then at the end of the line is their gold: a world at peace.


Out on his own, Benjamin (Logan Miller) runs into a gun-toting Carol. They talk about general badassery. They also talk about Ezekiel, a little. In this brief exchange, Benjamin instils a tiny smidgen of hope in Carol, somewhere deep down. The fact that this young man still holds hope for mankind, wanting to help others, it sort of goes against everything she’s started believing about the new world.
I love that we get a guy like King Ezekiel, too. Because for so long we went from either Rick’s group and their various people, some good and some bad in the end, then there’s The Governor, all those battles, and then it was Terminus, and so on. Once Negan turned it up you start to wonder, if you haven’t read the comics like many of us, if only the big baddies are kicking around. Finally, we get a guy who’s pure, or at least his intentions are of the purest sort. A little later Benjamin actually becomes the voice of reason for the King, in regards to helping the people of Alexandria: “My dad always said that if youre asked to be the hero, be a hero.”
We find out that Ezekiel has regrets about once sending some of his people into battle, which yielded many dead, many children orphaned. So this is part of why he’s so altruistic at this point in time. He wants to right his wrongs. But Rick has been there, as well. We’ve seen all that. He has demons, he also isn’t a total saint. In the end, Ezekiel won’t agree to help, though offers Daryl asylum from The Saviors. Hmm. Something needs to happen to change the King’s mind. Richard’s on the side of Rick and his friends. That’s not enough. At the moment Daryl’s left at the Kingdom with Rick asking him to try his best on swaying Ezekiel.
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-2-19-34-amOver the radio Negan’s voice is heard eulogising Fat Joey. Meanwhile, Rick and Co head onto the highway where they find a bunch of cars blocking the way. They move them with their vehicle while Michonne keeps her eye on the horizon; she spots a strange device. It’s a rope across the road rigged to an explosive device. Now, they’ve got to disarm the thing. Rosita has her hands into the trap’s inner workings, as they hear Negan call out over the radio for men to go searching for Daryl. Following that, Rosita gets the main component of the trap disarmed, and they all go about carefully unwrapping the dynamite and other explosives, watching the road for Saviors or walkers.
And sooner than later the undead come shambling from a distance. The group packs up what explosives are in good condition, scrambling to put the cars back in place on the road. A massive horde of zombies works its way up the highway faster than expected, forcing Michonne and Rick into a quick plan.
We get one of the coolest zombie killing scenes EVER, as Michonne and Rick use the wire between the cars from the trap to clothesline tons and tons of the walkers before climbing in with the rest of the crew and scooting to safety. Behind them an explosion goes off blasting more meat into the sky.
Michonne: “Were the ones who live


Once Rick makes it back to Alexandria they’re greeted by a Saviors convoy. Simon (Steven Ogg) arrives, coy as ever. They’re trying to find Daryl, of course. Simon wants to search the entire place and they go about their business, all the while trashing everything like pigs. The Saviors also come across the empty shelves in the storage garage, the stuff we saw Father Gabriel take in the opener. But they don’t care, not until pickup day. When the group is left on their own again people believe Gabriel ran off with their supplies. But what’s the truth? Rick, Tara, some of them don’t believe he’d do that to them.
Turns out they were left a message: BOAT. Mysterious how he knew where Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick had gone. So, another journey is at hand. When the crew make out for the boat on the lake they find footprints. They follow them to an old factory in a field where they encounter people with guns, many others with weapons; MANY.
But Rick smiles in the face of it all. Literally. A big shit-eating grin. Is it a ‘bring it on’ smile, or a ‘these people can help us’ grin?screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-2-41-24-amA great mid-season opener after the break. So many things to look forward to, and lots of character development going on, especially when we get a conversation between Aaron and his partner Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson). We see that everyone has issues, everyone has worries. This will only continue in the next episode “New Best Friends” and I’m excited.