The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 13: “Bury Me Here”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 13: “Bury Me Here”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Say Yes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Other Side” – click here
Pic 1An ominous beginning. Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Jerry (Cooper Andrews), and Richard (Karl Makinen) load a truck, but only with a small crate inside. Is this a ploy to mess with The Saviors? I hope so. If not, we’ll find out eventually, either way.
Note: episodes written by Scott Gimple are usually exciting to me, so I expect a good one!
After the credits we’re back with one of my favourites, Carol (Melissa McBride). She’s having some bad dreams. Even if she hadn’t ever killed anybody, just existing in the post-zombie apocalypse world is enough to make you have nightmares on a regular basis. But she struggles with the choices she’s made. She’s a REAL, GENUINE character, instead of having her be another uncaring clone we’ve seen time and time again. This is why she is one of my favourite characters on The Walking Dead.
Meanwhile, Morgan (Lennie James) – another of my favourites – is teaching more of his martial arts style to kids, making sure they’ve got an alternative to just hacking and slashing. And then there’s Carol, who shows up at the Kingdom, hacking and fucking slashing like a true bad ass. She wants to have a chat with Morgan. She wants to know the truth about what’s happened, to her friends in Alexandria, involving The Saviors, so on. But he won’t answer her questions because they’re not his to answer. THIS is a reason I love Morgan, under all his flaws he has a strict moral code, one from which he doesn’t want to stray. Sometimes he does. Overall, he abides by that code more than anyone else in the series, even to his own detriment at times, and foolishly that of others. Still he is an important character, and one who’s been with us since the very start. He’ll have bigger things to do as time goes on.


At the Kingdom, Ezekiel receives word from a woman named Nabila (Nadine Marissa) that their crops have weevils, some of them. They have to get rid of a certain amount to save the rest. A slight setback, though they all seem to have a positive outlook on life in their little corner of the zombie ridden world. Nevertheless, Ezekiel’s mind weighs heavy, definitely in part due to needing to pony up so much produce for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Perhaps the weevils are also symbolic, of the world outside never failing to work itself inside their Kingdom. Or in general, The Saviors are like weevils, and should Ezekiel choose not to help stamp out that pest, it may ruin everything.
Richard’s still trying to convince others they need to act, or forever deal with the repercussions. He leans on Morgan. Although Morgan’s trying to abide by that code as always it seems like he could sway. Eventually. Right now they’re headed out on a run. On the way they’re stopped by a blockage on the road, shopping carts lining the street. The crew head in to inspect. Out back of a store, they find a sign reading BURY ME HERE next to a grave waiting to be filled with a corpse.
Ezekiel: “It is mere luck we are not all insane
Benjamin: “It isnt luck, Your Majesty.”
Ezekiel: “Hows that?”
Benjamin: “The world does drive people crazy now. Butyouve made us another world.”
Nothing gets any better when they meet with The Saviors. Funny though, how those guys think they don’t bow to any king, president, prime minister. Yet they all say I AM NEGAN like a cult mantra. A standoff ensues once Ezekiel hasn’t brought enough for Negan’s men. Things get very tense. A lesson needs to be taught apparently. So now, one of The Saviors puts a bullet in Benjamin’s leg and sends them back to the Kingdom.


Carol receives them at her place. They put Ben on a table, but the blood is leaking out of him faster than anyone can move. Watching on, everyone, Morgan especially, fears the worst. Then, he’s dead and gone. This is really going to put Morgan’s worldview to the test. He’s on the brink of madness. He sits in the BURY ME HERE grave and nearly cuts his own wrist open wide. But chooses to live.
Turns out that Richard caused the whole thing, having tried to make a deal with Jared (Joshua Mikel) from The Saviors, backfiring when the guy chose to shoot Ben instead. Richard wasn’t able to put anything together, now he got one of his own killed. He tells Morgan the sad story of his days after the zombies took over. Everyone’s got one, it doesn’t make what he did any more sensible.
Can Morgan sit by idle? Can he let Richard use Ben’s death as a way to mobilise Ezekiel, the Kingdom? It isn’t right. This is something he can’t reconcile with his moral code. There’s just no telling what he’ll do with that in the long run.
When the crew bring their goods to The Saviors again, Morgan attacks Richard in front of everybody, choking him and beating him to death. A brutal, primitive moment from Morgan, the first in such a long, long time. Nobody even tries to intervene, for fear of what could happen. Afterwards, he reveals to them what Richard did, why he killed the man. But things can’t go on as they did before. Not for Morgan. This will irreparably change who he is, and in turn what he’ll do going forward. I can see it changing Ezekiel, too.


Morgan takes Richard’s body to the BURY ME HERE grave and buries him. After that he goes on a spree killing zombies with his staff relentlessly. He takes a detour, as well; down to see Carol. He tells her about killing Richard, about what Richard did to get Benjamin killed. Moreover, he offers to tell Carol the truth about what happened to the people in Alexandria – the vicious deaths of Glenn and Abraham, Spencer, Olivia; how Rick and the Alexandrians only live to satisfy Negan these days. He also reveals that Rick & Co are gearing up to fight Negan and his Saviors.
Morgan: “You wanted to know. Now you do.”
With Morgan on the road again, Carol goes to visit Ezekiel. She wants to live in the Kingdom. To get ready for the coming fight. But even just for a moment they’ll live peacefully. Until the time for more blood comes. And that’s very soon.

Pic 11Great episode! Probably one of my favourites in the back half of this season. I always love Morgan-centred episodes, or anything involving Carol. And I do love to see Ezekiel change, he’s an excellent character worthy of the series.
Excited for “The Other Side” next week!

Advertisements

A Guy Ritchie Retrospective: Snatch

Snatch. 2000. Directed & Written by Guy Ritchie.
Starring Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Rade Serbedzija, Alan Ford, Mike Reid, Robbie Gee, Lennie James, Ewen Bremner, Jason Flemyng, Ade, William Beck, & Andy Beckwith. Columbia Pictures Corporation/SKA Films.
Rated 18A. 104 minutes.
Comedy/Crime

★★★★★
POSTER It’s been at least 9 years now since I’ve watched Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. A one of a kind film. Except not really. Only in the sense of being set apart from other movies, as Ritchie writes stories that all seem to revolve around the same seedy criminal underbelly of London and the surrounding areas. There are some who say Ritchie is too much like Quentin Tarantino. To them I say it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Sure, they each tell tales set in the crime world, they each have a pulpy style, but they couldn’t be more different. Tarantino has this almost classic sensibility that translates into his own brand of filmmaking. Likewise, Ritchie has his own brand it’s just entirely another kind of exciting. And as much as I love Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, as well as his later work, Snatch. is always going to be the best example of his directing.
Weaving together a number of stands, Ritchie brings out an elaborate crime plot that encompasses a bunch of classic British humour, odd characters, and best of all everything seems to hinge on that nasty old bitch named Irony and a bastard named Fate. The pacing of the script keeps things interesting and the way Ritchie moves around with his style as director constantly holds the viewer’s attention.
Personally, I’m not a huge comedy fan. Not because I don’t like to laugh, in fact the opposite; I’m always laughing. There’s just never many films that speak to my fucked up, weird sense of humour. Somehow, Ritchie does. Perhaps it’s the relation Canadians have to British movies and television, and that’s why I enjoy this sort of comedy. Or maybe Ritchie and his wild writing appeals to me. In that sense, he and Tarantino are definitely similar. Either way, Snatch. is in a league all of its own.
Pic1
The dialogue throughout is downright amazing. Part of that is because I love the British accent and I feel like Ritchie uses this to his advantage. All around, though, it’s pitch perfect. It’s not even quirky, it feels so real. Love every last bit that comes out of Turkish (Jason Statham). Makes me sort of sad that Statham didn’t keep doing these types of movies, not that he has to do one thing forever – which he kind of does now anyway – I just love his comedic timing, as if Ritchie writes specifically for his talents. There are too many excellent scenes. Lots of actors with comedic timing for days, not just Statham. Brad Pitt does a fantastic bit of work as the gypsy bare knuckle boxer and there are times he has me in stitches, such as the quick “dags” exchange with Tommy (Stephen Graham). Together, Lennie James and Robbie Gee as Sol and Vinny respectively work wonders as a pair – their bits in the car with Tyrone (Ade) honestly fucking slay me. Finally, Alan Ford makes Brick Top into both a horrific British gangster, and also one of the most hilarious criminals with his tendency to talk down to everybody and those massive frames that make his eyes look like an angry fish. On paper, Snatch. is good enough. With this sort of cast the words are in more than capable hands.
The best of all? Vinnie Jones. His character here is even better than his previous one in Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. He nails it, right on the nose. He’s another one whose presence is imposing, in part due to his massive size. But also his acting is intense. Aside from that Jones injects a generous dose of laughter in amongst his scary delivery.
Pic5
If anything I’d compare Ritchie to Martin Scorsese. For many reasons. One is their use of music. Tarantino has his own thing, but Scorsese and Ritchie have a highly similar sense of how they use music. They use rock and popular music, though there’s less of an ironic or iconoclastic sense in the way Quentin often uses a soundtrack (think: Reservoir Dogs ear cutting scene to Stealers Wheel). Here, it’s like a part of the chaos, playing another role like how Scorsese often uses The Rolling Stones (among other bands and songs). For instance, there’s such a fitting, beautiful quality to the sequence when George gets knocked out by Mickey O’Neil (Pitt) and “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers plays. Then just the natural feel of some of the other songs works incredibly with so many of the various scenes.
Aside from Ritchie’s similarities to Scorsese in music, he also gets some influence for his frenetic sequences from the master. This is especially useful because of the large ensemble cast. With all the threads in the plot, Ritchie keeps things rolling with a steady pace. These chaotic moments help move the plot along and you never feel as if the movie drags. The big portions of what we need to know, as in the fine details, come in between the major sequences. After which we’re thrown into stylized segments where Ritchie uses more of the soundtrack to push the film’s energy. There’s one particular moment I love where we cut back and forth between Brick Top’s boys getting Tyrone and two wild dogs chasing a hare; the parallel is poignant, and the song on top makes it all feel lively. A major difference where Ritchie diverges from one of his obvious biggest influences is in the way he uses visual storytelling as opposed to narration. Of course Scorsese doesn’t always use a narrator. However, his popular crime stories which likely influenced Ritchie – GoodfellasCasino – relied quite a bit on a strong narrator. Instead of telling bits of the story through narration, Ritchie opts for a little bit. Then through other scenes he instead shows us what a narrator would only give you through exposition.
Pic4
The comedy and the crime comes in equal amounts throughout. Ritchie loves to show another side of crime that we don’t always see in stuff from someone like Scorsese. There are the good criminals who know what they’re doing. Then there’s the lot like these fellas. Most of whom can’t see far enough ahead of themselves to make sure they don’t fuck all their own plans up. Even Brick Top, in all his gangster wisdom, relies on a gypsy bare knuckle boxer to get the job done. Witnessing the constant, consistent ineptitude of many of these characters is spot on comedy.
Everything comes together on its own in the script. Yet the scene just before the final half hour begins shows us perfectly how fate brings everything to a central focus. As the three different cars drive, we see the one way it unfolds through all three perspectives, and it’s just so well written that I had to watch it again a couple times. May even be the best scene of the entire film, but that’s a hard choice to make.
In all, even after almost a decade of having not seen it, Snatch. is a modern masterpiece of crime cinema. Not only does it have the chops of an excellent crime film, the comedy makes every last inch worth it even more. The cast continually impresses from one scene to the next and Ritchie’s writing only gives them dialogue to chew on endlessly. His direction stylizes the film. Although it never glamorizes crime. The opposite, really. And with his stylish qualities Ritchie makes a riotous script leap off the page, grab you, keep you glued. By the finale, Snatch. further opts to get a little serious before cluing things up. So there’s an element of everything, from crime to drama to comedy to thriller. Point is, Ritchie is a versatile director even if he prefers telling stories about the British criminal underworld. Much as I enjoy the rest of his filmography recently, these are always the types of movies I love to see him making. This is a slice of film heaven I won’t ever forget, one that never ceases to make me laugh.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 15: “East”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 15: “East
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Channing Powell

* For a review of the last episode, “Twice As Far” – click here
* For a review of the Season 6 finale, “Last Day on Earth” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.42.17 PM
After the events of last episode, we’re given what seems like a brief flash forward. An ominous one.
Then we’re back to Carol (Melissa McBride), preparing to leave Alexandria. Tobin (Jason Douglas) comes to see her, talking about the recent death of Dr. Denise. As we know what’s happened already, Carol leaving, it’s obvious this death was yet another to take her by surprise, and a tough one.
So in the middle of the night, Carol slips away, off on her own. In the morning, everyone’s up to their usual routine. Glenn and Maggie (Steven Yeun/Lauren Cohan) shower together. Carl (Chandler Riggs) eyes the guns. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is very upset over Denise, obviously taking it to heart. Everybody’s doing their thing. All the while Johnny Cash croons that “It’s All Over” and it makes you wonder.
Up in bed, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wake up together, sharing an apple together, being much too adorable for a couple in the post-zombie world. They also share their thoughts, their worries. A great pair.


Rick: “The worlds ours. And we know how to take it. Everything we need is right here inside these walls. And were not losing any of it again. Im not.”
Michonne: “No youre not. Im not.”


Daryl takes off, as Michonne and Glenn head off to try find her. Afterwards, Tobin lets everyone know about Carol. This prompts Morgan and Rick to go looking for her. Uh oh. Divided up, heading in different directions.
Meanwhile, on the open road Carol gets her car shot at by some men in a vehicle headed her way. She ends up talking to a man named Jiro (Rich Ceraulo). He tries his best to get information out of her. The men even know about Alexandria down the road. Carol starts to freak out like she did when taken captive alongside Maggie. But she pulls a fast one and guns the men to death, having hidden one in her sleeve. Except one guy, whom Carol stabs through the heart. Wow. I guess Carol had no choice, though, it certainly goes against wanting to not kill people anymore.
This brings us back to the episode opener. Carol guns down Jiro, as he tries to stab her.


Heading towards anywhere Carol may be, Rick and Morgan are buddy-buddy again. At least by necessity. Morgan tries to get cryptic with Rick, and gets straight to the point simultaneously. He basically points out Carol didn’t want to go “West” and instead went the titular “East” because of a difference in opinion. Never have Rick and Morgan been so far apart in the sense of morality. Sure, Morgan’s done things to survive. He hasn’t infiltrated another group’s home and cut their throats while they sleep; Rick has, though. Either way, Rick could learn something right about now from Morgan and his philosophy.
They come across Carol’s massacre. Yet she is nowhere to be found. In other news, one of The Saviors survived her, and wanders off through the fields, likely back to home; to Negan.
Michonne, Glenn and Rosita (Christian Serratos) try their best to find Daryl. When they track him down he’s intent on doing what he ought to have done long before, to kill Dwight (Austin Amelio). It ends up with Rosita heading off, too. Everybody is splitting apart, going their own ways, different directions again.
Glenn and Michonne? They end up found by Dwight. Looks like he really should’ve been killed. One of Daryl’s few mistakes.


Morgan: “People can come back, Rick.”
Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.47.12 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.47.25 PM
On their journey, Rick and Morgan come across a man at a farm. He runs off when walkers crowd the place. As Rick takes a shot at him, Morgan knocks him off balance, so that the shot hits a walker instead. “I dont take chances anymore,” Rick says after they have a little argument. Morgan talks about the Wolf he met on the road, the one who lived and showed up in Alexandria. He spouts more “all life is precious” and Rick is fairly pissed at first. But then there’s a sort of understanding between them. Morgan decides to head off on his own looking for Carol, and reluctantly Rick lets him go. More and more, they separate.
In Alexandria, the group are still scattered, with Glenn and Michonne obviously still out on the road. Not by choice. For the time being, Rick and Abraham bond over having someone to love, that it scares them going into the hordes of zombies, but also makes them stronger in a way. Then Maggie starts to have pains, bad ones. Nothing’s good in Alexandria for too long.


When Daryl and Rosita find Michonne and Glenn, they walk directly into a trap.
Then, it appears as if Dwight, who steps out behind the two would-be rescuers, pulls the trigger on Daryl, a load of blood spurting out into the camera’s eye: “Youll be all right,” says Dwight, as the camera then goes to black. Wow. Is Daryl dead? Or will it just be a wound to match the one he likely has on his dick from Eugene’s chomp? We’ll have to see.
Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.49.34 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-28 at 8.50.03 PM
Come back with me for the season finale, “Last Day on Earth”, so stay tuned.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Start to Finish” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Next World” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.30.29 PM
Back from the midseason break, we begin as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) meet a group of bikers who claim all their things “belong to Negan” as of now. The three survivors are disarmed by the bikers, otherwise known as The Saviours. Of course, Abraham doesn’t immediately hand over his weapons, but after a tense moment he relinquishes his handgun. The Saviours don’t actually give up any information about themselves right away. Mostly they’re concerned with who Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are, what they have to give over, and so on. “Ding, dong, Hells bells,” taunts the main biker after Abraham asks “Whos Negan?”
This scene passes by slow and steady, until Daryl finds an RPG and blows the whole crew into the sky with one of its rockets. It almost appears an act of God at first before Daryl steps from behind their truck. A good save. But are they safe for long with Negan clearly scouring the Earth, or his proxies that is, looking for people, their guns, their things?
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.30.47 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.31.00 PM
Biker: “If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble: bite, chew, swallow, repeat. Goes quicker.”


Cut to where we last left Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Jesse (Alexandra Breckenridge), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and most of the others – covered in guts, blood, wandering through the walkers and hoping to make it through. As you remember, Jesse’s son Sam (Major Dodson) wasn’t doing so well mentally in “Start to Finish“, but none of them are particularly doing so hot now. Rick tries to get a new plan in order, as they cross through Alexandria, packed full of zombies, every which way. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) offers to do his best on his part and takes little Judith: “I want to. I have to.” Everyone else sticks to their guns, even young Sam, and Gabriel promises Rick sternly he will keep the baby safe. However, Rick is terrified, no matter how strong he appears on the outside.
They all forge on in a new direction, but the zombies are too thick. Tara (Alanna Masterson), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are still stuck inside, as well as a banged up Carol (Melissa McBride) and a knocked out Morgan (Lennie James), the latter of which wakes up not long after.
They’re all worried for Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) who was taken at the end of the last episode by the Alpha Wolf (Benedict Samuel), who moves her along through Alexandria, headed who knows where; a sinister air surrounds these two making Denise’s time alive a fickle thing at this point.
Meanwhile, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) end up at the church to take a moment and try regrouping their strategy. Enid’s trying to hold herself together and be strong, as Glenn tries keeping her hope up. They end up on the same page soon enough; I love the chemistry between Yeun and Nacon, they make a great and unlikely team.


With Rick, Carl and their small group heading past hordes of walkers in the streets, the group is no closer to safety than they were. Each corner there are more and more lining Alexandria. In the mist of it all, Sam sees a small child walking, zombified. Everyone tries to make him move, only a walker bites into his arm, another munches on his skull. Then the screams begin, as Jesse wails for her dead son still holding his hand. It all devolves. Jesse is taken next, as the zombies swarm. The rest of them try staying silent, but it is a tough thing to do. With Jesse’s dead hand still gripping Carl, axe in hand Rick is forced to chop her arm off to get them going.
Then Ron (Austin Abrams) pulls a gun on Rick. But before he can shoot, Michonne kills him with her sword. Everything’s fine. Or is it? Carl turns mumbling “dad” – his right eye shot out, blood spurting. He falls to the ground and Rick picks him up, as he and Michonne run for safety; somewhere, anywhere.
Everybody is in hiding except for Rick, Carl and Michonne. In a basement, the Alpha Wolf looks longingly out the window at the zombies crowding, pushing towards the gunfire. He seems pretty confident about himself, though, Denise reminds him their group is the reason why his “friends are dead“. Every moment that passes I worry for Denise. There’s no telling what this Wolf will do with her or to her after they escape; if they even do. Except right after that he gets bitten. And Denise tells him: “Come with meIll save your life.”


With Alexandria falling faster every frame, the group is in tatters. Carol and Morgan are inside debating the situation concerning the Alpha Wolf, how Morgan didn’t do anything to benefit the group, but only thought of himself. In turn, Carol believes she should have killed Morgan. These are two hard characters, each in their own right. They’ve both lost children, lots their loved ones, and now they are confronted with one another, at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Carol ends up saving Denise, shooting the Alpha Wolf in the streets and allowing her to get inside one of the houses where others such as Aaron (Ross Marquand) are hiding. Finally, Rick makes it inside with Carl and Denise begins to start makeshift surgery, doing the best she can to save the boy. At the same time, poor Rick Grimes constantly loses people in his life; he and Jesse were just starting to get close, now she and both her boys are gone. Worse, though, is the way Rick always handles these chaotic moments. He goes out on the street with an axe and starts mowing down walkers, one after one, no concern for anything or anyone, least of all himself. Soon, Michonne, Ross and a few others storm the street to help Rick try clearing out the hordes of undead. More people run out and Rick assures everyone: “We can beatem. We can beatem.”
I waited for an episode like this, in terms of a few things. For one, I wanted Father Gabriel to do something to redeem himself – first, he takes Judith to safety; second, he takes up a machete and tells the others God wants them to save Alexandria themselves, he has given them the strength. I mean, I don’t believe in God, but I love that Gabriel takes this stand! Also, the deaths in this episode were pretty damn wild. Even Morgan gives up his “life is precious” bit to put the zombie Alpha Wolf down.


Enid and Glenn do their best to try and save Maggie (Lauren Cohan) stranded up on the wall. However, Glenn finds himself backed into a corner with walkers bearing down on all sides. He fights and fights, pushing them away, firing off rounds.
Out of nowhere, Abraham and Sasha appear at the top of the wall. They gun down the walkers in front of Glenn. Daryl picks him up then things start to take shape. On the streets, Rick and the crew continue fighting. Tara, Eugene and Rosita are out, too; ole Eugene does his damnedest to redeem himself like Gabriel.
Daryl empties a ton of gas out of the army truck and sets a massive blaze with an RPG. The flames start drawing walkers away from the inner part of Alexandria. Rick and Co., with Carol and Morgan in addition, keep killing and killing. The editing in this sequence is absolutely incredible. We go back and forth between walkers setting on fire in the blaze, to all the survivors hacking, slashing, stabbing, slicing, to more walkers pushing through the streets. One of the greatest sequences ever on this series as a whole. Really impressive.


Once the smoke clears, both figuratively and literally, the group remains standing. Zombies lie smashed, chopped, lifeless (again) in the streets. At one of the houses, everybody waits to see how Carl is doing. Rick sits by his side, his son bandaged and resting asleep. The father talks to his boy about “rebuilding the walls, expanding the walls” and he realizes “everything Deanna was talking aboutits all possible.” He realized the potential of the group in that town; they are not weak, they are in fact strong, they can band together. “I wanna show you the New World, Carl,” says Rick. “I wanna make it a reality for you. Please, Carllet me show you.” And then Carl’s hand curls around Rick’s hand, he wakes up. For now everything is fine.


Let’s see how things go in the next episode, titled “The Next World”.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 4: “Here’s Not Here”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 4:
 “Here’s Not Here”
Directed by Stephen Williams
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Thank You” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Now” – click here
IMG_2245This is an episode I’ve looked forward to, unlike some – a nice long look at who Morgan Jones (Lennie James) has become, where he’s been and how he got back to Alexandria.
We open with him talking to the unseen leader of the Wolves (Benedict Samuel), but then quickly it transitions from NOW to THEN. Back at the house where Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) last saw him before their reunion.
Morgan is having a fairly animated conversation with himself. He’s pissed, ranting, raving. A fire starts and burns the place down. So out into the world he goes, once more. Honestly a lot of people complained about this episode because it’s so Morgan-centric. Me, I dig it. You can’t just explain away a guy going from a lunatic to zen so easily as to re-introduce him; they had to do this episode. I think it’s actually keen of the showrunners to do it this way. Everyone is dying for answers about Glenn (Steven Yeun). Me too, I can just wait – I like the slow burn.
Also, something many people forget: Morgan is the one who saved Rick’s life, all those seasons, all those days ago. So why wouldn’t we get to see more about him? I get it, the timing is what threw people. Again I say it’s a smart move on behalf of the show. Much as people will complain and gripe, which they already did all over social media last night/today, they’re going to hang in there, they’ll talk about it constantly, until the next episode come Sunday.
IMG_2246For the first little bit while Morgan is out in the woods, it’s zombie effects time. A couple real nasty looking customers wander out of the trees, another right through the fire. But then we see him murder two men, who seemed to be following him. He screams at one, strangling him with bare hands: “You know, you don’t!
Yet there’s still a reasonable aspect to him, under the madness. He builds himself a protective cocoon of trees whittled into spikes. Morgan survives somehow, on his own, all alone in the wilderness. He waves a big stick around at the voices in his head. There’s some tragic stuff happening. Lennie James is someone I’ve enjoyed long before now. He really does great stuff with the character of Morgan.
After a little while, though, Morgan comes across a cabin. Refusing to put down his gun – like you and I probably would in his situation, be honest – a man named Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) whacks Morgan a good one across the back of the head. Thus begins the cruel tutelage of Eastman.
IMG_2248 IMG_2249 IMG_2250 IMG_2251Something I wondered ever since Morgan first started to reappear, almost right at the heels of Rick & Co. – why does he all of a sudden fight with a staff, like a ninja or a samurai or whatever? Well, now we start to get some explanations.
I’ve long enjoyed John Carroll Lynch, ever since The Drew Carey Show. Always found his character on the show to be fairly progressive, in a way; say what you will. He’s been awesome in other things, most recently American Horror Story (playing Twisty the Clown in Season 4 + John Wayne Gacy in Season 5 for an episode) and he had a nice turn on Carnivale near its finish. So it’s pretty fun to have him here, if only for a one-off episode in Morgan’s storyline. Either way, he’s important, and he was absolutely the right fit for this character.
The exchange between Eastman and Morgan, once things settle down, is fairly interesting. Eastman happens to be a doctor, specializing in mental health. Such an intriguing perspective to see out of during the zombie apocalypse. Plus, Eastman is so damn chill. Even with all the shit Morgan ends up giving him, starting a fight when the guy’s only trying to be a good man, Eastman continues to give him a chance. Essentially what this man provides Morgan is a way to recognize the humanity in himself again. Much like Rick lost a lot of his humanity, Morgan has gone off the deep end. Worse than Rick ever did; seeing the ghost of Lori, and more, Rick still held it together when it mattered most, he still retained his foundational human spirit. Morgan is a broken man. What Eastman provides is a way to start admitting that, as well as the possibility of coming back from it and living again – some way, somehow.
IMG_2253 IMG_2255 IMG_2256Eastman: “That was Aikido. That’s how I kicked your ass earlier. Well, that’s how I redirected your ass.”
IMG_2257Through the teachings of Aikido, slowly Morgan begins to learn “all life is precious” again. Like it was before. It’s naturally a part of the post-zombies world, to begin feeling as if life means nothing any longer. So many of the survivors still on the show and living have fallen into the despair of this line of thinking. Morgan just happens to be the epitome of that feeling, he lost himself completely after his son died.
But it’s the story Eastman tells Morgan about his family which really breaks the heart. It’s right then I feel Morgan truly switches his mindset, he sees how vicious the world was even before and remembers that it’s human beings who are the worst of all, not even the zombies. It is us. And maybe he does not want to be that us anymore. This scene between Eastman and Morgan at the dinner table, the low light, the soft spoken dialogue, it’s one of my personal favourite scenes on The Walking Dead out of its entire run; definitely at the top. There’s so much going on within this scene and the situation between these two, a great bit of writing.
IMG_2259Very sad to see Eastman take a bite, stepping in to try and help Morgan after he begins to trip out while a zombie shambles towards him. Then, they have a fight with their staffs, which is pretty damn bad ass. Morgan is not fully in the zen zone as of yet, after he falls in their scuffle he once more begs Eastman: “Kill me – kill me!
Even after the bite, though, Eastman continually keeps in the zen perspective himself. Morgan heads back over the edge a bit, or totally, yet the big guy just sticks to his Aikido guns and doesn’t seem to be worried much about his current predicament. But DAMMIT – right as I was starting to love Eastman, he goes and has to get bit. Not like I expected him to be more than a one-time character, I just wanted more of him and didn’t want to see him go out like that.
IMG_2261 IMG_2262However, it’s through this event Morgan finally comes back around to himself. He briefly encounters a couple, one of them wounded, and he doesn’t kill them, or attack them, as he would have before meeting Eastman. Then he rushes back to his teacher. Eastman also reveals he starved the man who killed his family to death – it gave him “no peace“, putting him Morgan was all alone and raving mad, so then he vowed not to kill again. Touching stuff, really. So many well acted scenes between these two.
IMG_2263 IMG_2264The episode closes with Morgan again talking to the leader of the Wolves, who has a fairly nasty, infected wound. He believes he’ll die, but if not plans on killing Morgan, killing everyone in Alexandria even the children. So will Morgan continue with the all life is precious mantra? Or how will it work? He already let this guy live once and look what happened. If Morgan can’t break with the idea of killing another person, it could mean much more trouble than has already come down.
IMG_2265 IMG_2266Very much excited to see the next episode, “Now”. We’ll get back to all the main action in Alexandria, but there’s no guarantee we’re going to immediately find out about Glenn. Though, I have a sneaking suspicion he is very much still alive.
See you again for another one next week, Walking Dead-ites!

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 2:
 “JSS”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “First Time Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Thank You” – click here
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.00.00 PMAfter the terrifying ending of “First Time Again”, The Walking Dead‘s 6th season moves into its second episode with a devastating bang. A young girl named Enid (Katelyn Nacon) in a van with her parents ends up alone out in the forest and wandering the roads after her parents are obviously taken by the walkers. She continually writes JSS in the dirt on the ground and in dusty car windows. Pretty gnarly scene when she finds a tortoise crossing the road, then smash cut to her ripping it open, feeding on its bloody corpse like a walker would a human. Then, once more, she puts the leftover bones on the ground in front of her – spelling out JSS. Finally coming upon the suburb of Alexandria, she hesitates before approaching the gates and writes JSS once more on the dirt all over the back of her hand.
Honestly, this is one of my favourite openings to an episode in a long while.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.01.33 PMBack to present day, Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing more of her cooking. She talks about her old life: Ed, her “spring cleaning casserole“. I love her character, what a woman in every sense of the word – tough, caring, motherly, and so much more. She offers a sense of stability, especially to some of the women in the neighbourhood. She tells them they’re going to learn how to make pasta by hand. Everything she does, even her tough love side is out of a caring place in her heart.
Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) is trying best she can to keep her home in one piece after the death of her husband. Things with her son Ron (Austin Abrams) aren’t going so well. She’s finding it tough and for good reason.
Furthermore, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) is also having a rough go of things. Her partner is gone now, things have slightly shifted in beloved Alexandria, so no wonder. But Maggie (Lauren Cohan) lends a comforting shoulder, telling her the people in their town were there because of her. I also love Maggie because she’s another badass female character in the show who is well-rounded – strong, vulnerable at times, caring, and ultimately tough as hell after dealing with so much, the death of Hershel then only just awhile ago Beth; she’s got a hard edge with a sweet heart. Cohan is an excellent actress who really exemplifies all the important aspects of her character.
Panic strikes as an attack comes down on Alexandria!
First, Carol watches as the woman she told not to smoke gets machete’d while smoking on her front lawn. Then, Deanna and Maggie see molotov cocktails start to fly, a watcher on their wall gets burned to death. Absolute and utter chaos has struck. Are these the Wolves? You bet your ass.
Everyone is on high alert. Carol goes to start defending the neighbourhood, as Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Enid lockdown the house with little Judith alongside.
All the while, people are being hacked to bits, stabbed to death. The Wolves mark Ws on their foreheads in blood – same as the zombies were carved up a ways back, starting episodes and episodes ago, remember? Well, either way things are devolving into complete madness.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.13 PMThe horn from “First Time Again”, which leads all the walkers back from the quarry and away from where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Co. were funnelling them – starts to sound after a transport truck flies in towards Alexandria’s gate and smashes up against the wall.
Morgan (Lennie James) shows up back in town. Confronting a big Wolf (Lance Tafelski), about to showdown, Carol flies in disguised like a sheep in wolves’ clothing – literally – and stabs the man. Great little scene! Continually I am amazed by Carol, but she is a survivor, has been from the start. Dressed as one of the Wolves, she goes on to do some major killing. What a god damn ass kicker.
Jessie gets her chance to really protect her family when a female Wolf breaks inside their home, attacks her. An incredibly savage stabbing, which her son Ron walks in on, is a favourite out of this episode. Even amongst so much bloodshed, it’s a tense and wild scene.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.32 PMMorgan has a confrontation with several Wolves. Strangely enough, though, it’s almost like they know Morgan. Have they met before? Was he with the at some point before coming back in contact with Rick? The few Wolves leave and Morgan shuts the gate to Alexandria, a distant look in his eyes. This is intriguing to me. Scary, too. He has another encounter briefly with a Wolf inside his neighbourhood house – the Wolf and Morgan talk for a moment suggesting some kind of former relationship. Did he go back to Rick for devious reasons unknown? We’ll have to wait and see.
Additionally, Aaron (Ross Marquand) finds a satchel while stabbing the dead in the street through the head, to prevent more walkers. Inside the bag there are photos – they shot all the inside workings of Alexandria, the solar panels, the wall, et cetera. Creepy stuff.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.19 PMThis is easily one of the most, if not the top bloodiest sequence in The Walking Dead‘s entire history as a series. Even more than that it was intense. On top of everything, the people in Alexandria aren’t used to this sort of action. They’re not experienced in the real world outside their (relatively) safe walls, not in the way Maggie, Rick, Carol and Morgan have become hardened through their trials and tribulations. Hell, Carl’s turning into a true bad ass, which I thought would never happen (I used to hate him now he’s growing on me). So it’s interesting to see how the different pockets within the major group are reacting to everything that’s happening, it makes for good writing and a nice contrast as opposed to the good vs. evil we had happening most of the time between Rick/his group and The Governor/his group. I’m enjoying where this sixth season is starting to head, even only two episodes in so far. Starting to cook with gas now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.53 PMStay tuned. I’ll be back to review next week’s episode again – titled “Thank You”, directed by Michael Slovis and written by Angela Kang.