The Walking Dead – Season 5, Episode 4: “Slabtown”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 5, Episode 4: “Slabtown”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Four Walls and a Roof” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Self Help” – click here
IMG_0265A change of pace in this episode, as we segue into where Beth (Emily Kinney) was taken after she and Daryl (Norman Reedus) were holed up in the funeral home. She wakes up in a clean room. An actual working clock counts through the hours. Although she’s locked inside, unable to get out. A woman named Officer Dawn Lerner (Christine Woods) and a man called Dr. Steven Edwards (Erik Jensen) show up, saying some of the other police came across her on the road; “surrounded by rotters” and now in the debt of these people, supposedly.
Yikes, I don’t like the look of this place one bit. Don’t dig that officer, either.
Note: One of my favourite minor things about the series is how everyone has their own term for zombies, such as walkers, biters, now rotters. Some people think it’s dumb to not say the word zombies. I think it’s perfect, because this doesn’t take place in a world where zombie movies are part of the zeitgeist, as many films usually don’t. So shut up complaining, dummies.
IMG_0266The hospital still runs with power, machines pumping, clocks running. They’re taking care of people. But there’s also a sinister undercurrent. The remaining police force in the city seem to be running the place, under commander of Lerner, of course. There are other normal people, too. Such as Noah (Tyler James Williams), mopping floors and doing various jobs; other patients in rooms, none of them seemingly eager to say much about their life in the hospital.
Beth: “If you feel safe enough to be bored, youre lucky.”
Beth’s finding out that living at the hospital is a give and take situation, of the worst kind. Eating food, you’ve got to pay in work; or worse, if some of those male officers had their way, I bet. I fucking hope nothing nasty happens. Else there’s hell to pay.
That’s the last of things. Officer Lerner and Dr. Edwards have a contentious relationship at times. He takes pity on Beth in private, though plays the part in front of the boss. He’s also more stable than her. When he knows he can’t save an injured man she slaps Beth across the face drawing blood, like a psychopath.
In general the hospital’s not a nice place. Other than Noah, who leaves Beth a lollipop and tries explaining how things work there. It’s not exactly how Officer Lerner paints the picture. You’ve got to escape to get free. Right now our girl is feeling the pressure from Dawn as she acts like the saviour only doing good for others.
IMG_0267Later, Joan – a woman who’s had an arm amputated after a bite – makes clear to Beth there are bad things going on. The men there, they are devious. Scary. And the boss lady feels it’s easier not to keep them on too tight a leash. Officer Gorman starts harassing Beth, clearly an animal, and Dr. Edwards steps in. This cop is doing awful shit.
The doc tells Beth about a guy named Hanson, Dawn’s previous boss; he went a bit nuts, before she took things over. Beth can’t accept that staying there is better than anything else. She’d rather be on her own than in that hell, especially if she could find her sister and the others again.
Beth gives a patient an injection, helping Dr. Edwards. The guy ODs, after which Dawn has to put him down for good. Noah covers, saying he accidentally unplugged a machine. Beth gave him the wrong drug – did she? – but he took a beating for it. Dawn knows, either way. This woman is over the edge, though. She thinks they’re going to rebuild the world while many others are merely trying to survive the next day.
Dawn: “Some people just arent meant for this life
Now, Noah and Beth are planning on leaving together, getting away from the hospital. They start enacting their plan to leave. But she gets found by Officer Gorman as she sneaks where she shouldn’t be sneaking in Dawn’s office. Looks like the cop wants to get nasty, he’s a true predator. She pretends momentarily, as Joan – lying dead on the floor behind the desk – reanimates and chews into his throat. CHRIST! Great practical makeup effects here.
IMG_0269Beth sends Dawn unknowing to her office while she and Noah head for the elevator shaft to flee. He lowers her down; at the bottom in the basement is a pile of corpses. Both of them reach the floor, though he does so with a fall. On through the darkness the pair goes, slow and steady. They finally make it outside, only to find more of the dead wandering free.
As Noah manages to get away, Beth’s take back by Officer O’Donnell (Ricky Wayne). They’ve, of course, found Gorman, gutted in the office. Beth calls out Dawn for letting bad things happen while she pretends things are fine, like they’ll all be saved soon. All for nothing, these horrors. This woman is fucking insane, too.
How long can Beth last here? How long can she stay alive?
Well, there’s a familiar face that just came in on a stretcher: Carol (Melissa McBride), of all people.
IMG_0270Nice to catch up with Beth, I can’t imagine what’ll happen next. If Noah somehow comes across her people, it might lead them to the hospital. “Self Help” is the following episode, hopefully showing us more of Beth’s situation, as well as pointing towards a way out for her, somehow, some way.

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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.

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 14: “The Grove”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Alone” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
IMG_0197Even though Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), baby Judith, Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino), and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) are together, things aren’t well. There’s something decidedly wrong about Lizzie, whose treatment of the walkers is something beyond misunderstanding. She is fundamentally flawed, in some way. Mika understands the walkers, but her sister doesn’t seem to see the world in the same light.
For now they’re headed for Terminus, wondering what they’ll find at the end of the tracks. Hope is what it gives them at the moment. Poor Tyreese needs it, he can barely get a proper night’s sleep. Luckily he has Carol around to tend to his wound with some tree sap, help his fever. Still doesn’t know what she did, though. Could cause incredible problems later on.
IMG_0200Carol compares herself to “the Widow Douglas” from Tom Sawyer, as the girls debate which one of them is Tom, which is Huck. A sweet scene in the midst of all that ugliness. Love when the writers toss that in. Maybe some people feel it’s like a soap opera with zombies. Fuck those people; this is a great character study of humanity, that’s what this show does best.
When they’re alone, Carol and Mika talk about being able to kill. The little girl knows her sister is “messed up.” She just doesn’t want to have to kill people; she gets the walkers, but her morality won’t let her, under any circumstances, commit murder. Not ever, not in retaliation or anything else. What Mika illustrates to us is how humanity has changed. She recognises people who murder, for whatever reason now in the post-zombie apocalypse, many of them “werent like that before.”
The group come across a cabin in the woods. Carol suggests they rest a couple days before heading on the road longer to Terminus. On the horizon they see smoke rising, far away, some kind of fire. So they play it safe, checking the grounds thoroughly to make sure they can stay there a bit. Outside the cabin Mika puts down a zombie to save her sister and Judith, sort of proving herself. Meanwhile, Lizzie’s falling deeper into her own mind. And everyone around her, Mika included, can see it getting so much worse.
Mika: “Just look at the flowers like youre supposed to
IMG_0201At night they all settle down, in an actual house, in a warm living room. Even a doll for Mika to play with, a comfy chair where Tyreese can relax, as Lizzie helps Carol shell pecans. Could be longer of a stay than just a few days the way it looks.
The opening scene returns now, in context, with Lizzie shambling around in the yard with a zombie. “She wanted a friend,” the girl screams when Carol puts it down. The girl’s mind can’t handle this world. She’s all but broken in two psychologically. It’s actually horrifying to watch, some of the more emotionally straining moments of The Walking Dead as a whole. So different from the experiences of others we’ve seen thus far.
Tyreese talks about the trust he has in Carol, wanting to live in that cabin the four of them. But you can just see the look in her eyes, she knows that without telling him what she did to Karen then later on it will only be worse if it comes out.
Also, we finally discover – for certain, anyways – Lizzie is the one who was feeding the walkers the rats at the prison. We see more of the girl breaking down, her sister Mika trying to snap her out of it. Then a horde of burned up walkers breaks through the trees, roaming from wherever the fire’s raging. The group fight them off with guns, and even Lizzie starts shooting them. Although afterwards she has a bit of a cry. Maybe a turning point?
IMG_0202Lizzie: “I know what I have to do now
Later on, Carol and Tyreese bond together on a walk. When they get back to the cabin they find a shocking mess – Lizzie has killed her sister, leaving the brain untouched. She wants her to reanimate. To show the adults what she’s been talking about this whole time. Such a disturbing thing to watch, especially considering Judith is lying feet away. One of the most hardcore things we’ve seen on the series to date.
Tyreese and Carol discuss their options. She says maybe she ought to take Lizzie and leave. They can’t keep her around Judith. Tyreese doesn’t want that. Then they realise “she cant be around other people.” There’s only one way out of this predicament.
Out into the woods, Carol takes Lizzie to pick some flowers, for when Mika comes back. And she tells the young girl to look at the flowers, as her sister did before. She raises her gun, firing, putting the girl out of her misery while Tyreese watches tearfully from the window. Definitely the hardest thing Carol’s ever had to do, even above suffering through her marriage to an abuser. Her character is amazing, put through so much and she continues to survive, to thrive.
That night Carol and Tyreese sit quietly in the cabin together, and she reveals to him she killed Karen and David. She slides him the gun, telling him to do what he must. Instead, he forgives, choosing not to forget. But he knows she feels the guilt: “Its a part of you now. Me, too.” Then they decide it’s time to leave that place, to go on towards Terminus.
IMG_0204What a spectacular episode. So intense and emotional all around. One of my favourites of the series, definitely. A chilling chapter in the whole journey. “Us” is next and we’re coming up on another one of the most tense, brutally thrilling episodes of the whole show.

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!

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 16: “Last Day on Earth”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 16: “Last Day on Earth”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the previous episode, “East” – click here
* For a review of the Season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” – click hereScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 1.21.10 AM
So we’ve arrived at the end of Season 6.
Open on Morgan (Lennie James). He comes across a horse in a field. Towards him walks the man who survived Carol (Melissa McBride) previously.
Back at Alexandria, Carl (Chandler Riggs) is getting ready to roll, as Enid (Kately Nacon) doesn’t quite believe in what they’re all doing. Meanwhile, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is saddling up. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are going, too. Everyone wants to go, no matter what. Aaron (Ross Marquand) is game, as well. In other news, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is proving himself a proper savior in his own right. His character development is some of my favourite, honestly, outside of the very main cast.
Out in the woods people are whistling, unseen, and a man runs away, scared. They track him down and beat him. The Saviors? You bet. The tension of this opening, score and all, is impressive. Starts to set up an epic showdown.


On the road in the RV, Rick and crew are heading to Hilltop. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is having big time pregnancy troubles, and obviously worries. But Rick assures: “Everything weve done, weve done together.” No matter how bad things get he can always at least put a little faith in people, he’s a charming, charismatic leader. Can he save them all from what comes next?
Morgan tends to a wounded Carol. She’s in need of stitches. He wants to help more, though, she isn’t readily allowing any of that. She doesn’t want to go back.
Along the road, Rick and Abraham see The Saviors with the man they’re holding. Uh oh. It’s already starting. Out they go to meet in the middle of nowhere. The Saviors aren’t joking around and make it clear someone’s got to die. Instead, Rick has other ideas. They all slowly back off. For now, things are fine.
For now.


Rick: “You wanna make today your last day on earth?
Savior: “No, but that is a good thing to bring up. Think about it, what if its the last day on earth for you? For someone you love? What if thats true? Maybe  you should be extra nice to those people in that RV because you never knowjust like that. Be kind to each other. Like you said, like it was your last day on earth.”
Rick: “You do the same
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Morgan and Carol are alike, yet still at odds. She has to school him on how things are: we must kill if there are people around us. You don’t get to have people and have a normal life. You either get to be with people and kill, or be on your own and not have your hand forced. She pleads with Morgan to leave. “If you care about anyone theres a price, Morgan, and youre gonna have to pay it,” Carol tells him.
The most tense and unnerving part about what’s happening so far is that we know a big, tragic finale is coming, some way. Right now, they’re building up the happy moments, the emotional bits and pieces. Up until the moment The Saviors appear, once more, in the middle of the road. Always waiting, watching. Now the survivors are preparing to do whatever’s necessary. Very eerie atmosphere, as the group tries to figure out how best to get down the road.
Under his nose, Morgan finds himself deserted. Because Carol is adamant about not going back, she’s sick and tired of the new world and how it is to worry, care, love if another person is involved. I understand, sadly. Can’t be easy for anyone to exist. Aside from trying not to get bitten by zombies you’ve got to worry about all of the rest of ordinary life, too.


Another ways down the road the RV encounters a ton of walkers. They’re chained and left in the middle of the road – “a Red Rover,” as Eugene puts it. They discover things belonging to Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) attached to the zombies. Out of nowhere gunfire explodes at them from the hills. They respond and things get real tense. Luckily, they clear the road and get through. Heading deeper into the belly of the beast.
Rick is already dying with anticipation. Now he knows they’re being led in a particular direction. Worse, Maggie doesn’t seem to be doing too well. Then more trouble on the road – Saviors, everywhere. They’ve got nowhere else to really turn. At every last corner there The Saviors are, waiting for their arrival.
Morgan finds rosary beads in the street. Will there be a showdown between him and the Savior left after Carol’s massacre? Will the man find Carol? I’m terrified to find out. Not a second later does he show up. Carol finds herself at the mercy of this man. He puts one in her arm, planning to watch her die on the pavement.


Again and again we’ve been getting views of someone stuck inside a box, or somethng similar. Likely Michonne and Daryl? Who knows. Glenn? We’ll see.
The hardest part about the Maggie situation, for Rick, is watching another pregnant woman go through the post-apocalypse world. Even worse, she’s having a rough time. Hopefully she’ll last. Too many tragedies have fallen upon their group, and they’re no saints, but they don’t deserve all their hardships.
But for Carol’s part, she wants to die. Done with the world, she hopes to leave. Might come sooner than later, as the man puts yet another shot through her leg. Still, she keeps up her sarcasm under duress. Soon enough Morgan arrives. He shoots the man dead, going against his precious life philosophy. Although, it’s for a good purpose.
Afterwards, some armoured folk come out of the forest. They actually own the horse Morgan rode. The men agree to help them. Is this all it seems? Can’t trust anyone right off the bat.
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Carol: “The world doesnt decide, you decide. You dont get to walk away and get what you want.”


Through the forest stride Rick and his crew. A tree roadblock keeps them from going further, and then they witness the man from the road earlier being hung. He dies brutally in front of them before a fire starts in the roadblock. Such ominous stuff, as the Savior from earlier speaks from behind the slowly building fire, warning of the last days on earth and such. Spooky.
Everybody’s worried, obviously. I would be. At each turn they’ve encountered a literal roadblock. They decide to ditch the RV and head onward. Eugene first gives over a bullet “recipe“, one that will help them in the future. It’s a very goodbye-type moment. Touching. Plus, there’s a better one with Abraham and Eugene, an honest and beautiful moment between two friends. Definitely touches the heart, and scares me about what will happen in the last ten or fifteen minutes.
So Rick and the crew head out with Maggie, leaving the RV in the hands of Eugene. The score even tugs at the heartstrings, more than ever before on the series. It’s real epic sort of stuff. Again, this worries me. A strong setup for brutal tragedies.


In the woods, Rick and the group hear the whistles. It sends them deeper into the forest. Some of the creepiest stuff EVER on the show. When they run out into a massive gang of Saviors, things turn around quickly. The creep factor goes up, so does the pulse. Rick looks devastated already, as Eugene is seen kneeling on the ground nearby.
Welcome to where youre goin‘,” the Savior from earlier greets them all. For the first time in a long time, Rick is in a position of absolute weakness. Totally castrated, effectively. The games are about to begin. Last time Rick was made to get on his knees, he bit out a man’s throat. What will happen this time?
The light inside the box was the others, after all – Daryl, Michonne, Glenn, Rosita (Christian Serratos). The gang is all back together. Lined up for the big entrance. He has arrived – Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) walks out to see them all. He taunts them about “pee pee pants” and other juvenile phrases. Then he chats with Rick. Tides are about to turn, drastically. “You are so gonna regret crossinme in a few minutes,” Negan says plainly to Rick. The law is laid down.


Negan: “You ruled the roost. You built something. You thought you were safe, I get it. But, the word is out: you are not safe. Not even close.”
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In the end, there is punishment. Negan selects himself a victim, introducing everybody to Lucille, his barbed bat, using more juvenile phrases – this time some Eenie Meenie Minie Moe. The whole sequence is so intense you’ll find yourself racing, heart pumping, pulse ready to leap out of your body. The tension is drawn out perfectly.
Only problem is AMC has decided to stick a thumb in the viewer’s eye by not letting us in on who Negan decides to kill. We’re given POV that simply lets us in on the savagery of Negan, the bloody brutality he brings to this world. Not impressed, I must say.


Stay along for the ride. Or don’t. Many say they’ll stop watching because of the ending. Me, I fucking hate it. I do. But I’ll keep watching because I have to know. Although, that being said: Season 7 has to pick up and do some different things, take different routes, figure out a fresh new formula, because after this finale I’m starting to get sick of the predictability of the series. Much as I dig the show there are serious flaws. Here’s to hoping the writers start listening to the roar of fans and switching things up. Maybe that’s what Negan will do overall. We’ll have to wait and find out in October.

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
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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.”
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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.
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Come back with me for the season finale, “Last Day on Earth”, so stay tuned.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 14: “Twice as Far”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 14: “Twice as Far”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Same Boat” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “East” – click here
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With only two episodes after this left to Season 6, we’re all left wondering: when will Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) rear his terrifying head?
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and the rest of the gang are still holding on. After the tense episode last week, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride) are safe and sound. But how long are any of them safe, after massacring members of The Saviors in the past couple episodes?
In Alexandria, though, things are going on normally. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), everyone else goes about their business. Whereas Morgan (Lennie James) is doing cement work; he’s made a nice jail cell. When he and Rick talk again, the latter simply asks: “Why?” Morgan believes it’ll give them “some choices next time“, instead of flat out murder. But Rick doesn’t seem particularly interested. We watch the daily routine go on. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) watches the wall, Carol still holds her rosary beads. Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Spencer (Austin Nichols) are sleeping together. So, certain things change, others stay the same.
At least Daryl’s got his bike again. That’s one shining bit of light. He and Carol have a little chat together, and Daryl make it clear he’s not above killing, not anymore. This doesn’t sit well with the new woman Carol seems to be becoming.


Daryl: “Whatd they do to you?”
Carol: “To us? They didnt do anything.”
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Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) knows of a possible apothecary near Alexandria. She wants to check things out, seeing as how there are drugs likely there. Denise asks Daryl and Rosita to check it out on a run. They don’t want her to go, but she says it’s happening; with or without them. On the way, Denise criticizes Daryl’s standard shifting techniques – a hilarious little scene between a couple characters we don’t really see interact. We also see the difference in those from Alexandria who still aren’t perfectly independent and those from Rick’s group/Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and his little crew. Yet Denise is a hard ass and wants to push her limits. On she goes with Daryl, as Rosita bucks their plan and heads down some railroad tracks.
Meanwhile, we get a bit of Abraham and Eugene together. The first time in a long while. “Ive changed, adapted,” says Eugene: “Im a survivor.” For his part, Abraham isn’t exactly sold on that fact yet. Soon enough, Eugene finds the perfect place to “manufacture bullets” – this brings us into a real life situation people might find themselves in after a zombie apocalypse. We know that after so long, to have any weaponry useful, survivors would have to find a way to do just that: make bullets, or die. Or y’know, something with a little less hyperbole. Still, people would need to discover a way to find or produce bullets, else they be left with sticks and sharpened blades and the like. Between all this, Eugene lets Abraham know his “services are no longer required” and tries to take the reins of his own life. Doesn’t fly too hot with Abe. Right after he saved Eugene from a zombie with molten metal on top of his skull; one of the creepiest walkers in a good long time.


Abraham: “That son is some damn fine genuine outsidethebox thinking


Denise, Daryl and Rosita find the apothecary, and inside a pharmacy. The jackpot – tons of medication, pills, et cetera. Daryl decides they’ll “take it all” and they go about packing things up. Only the sound of walker comes nearby; Rosita and Daryl pass it off, but Denise is curious, perhaps too much so.
When Denise goes to investigate, she finds a zombie, emaciated on the floor with a cast on its leg; on the wall the word HUSH written over and over. In a sink sits a drowned baby, bloody water and all, with a cute little foot stuck out. This event really does Denise in, and though she tries putting up a tough front it obviously affects her deeply. The other two are gentle with her, but Rosita’s kind of raw. Daryl and Denise chat a bit and we glean she likely had a brother named Dennis. Something about him lingers with her.
I dig this episode because we get bits of the other characters, instead of constant focus on only Rick, Carol, the main survivor group. Denise is an interesting character who deserves more attention and recognition, which she gets here. Except often on this series, characters who get too much focus end up in a bad place, either dead or injured. She forbids Daryl and Rosita to help, instead stabbing a zombie when it nearly gets her. She wants to be bad ass, and does anything she can to prove it. Then she pukes a little.


Denise: “You wanna live, you take chances; thats how it works. Thats what I did.”


Out of nowhere Denise takes a arrow through the back of her head. From the woods come a group of people who have Eugene hostage – the one who stole Daryl’s bike all those days ago, Dwight (Austin Amelio). He’s still got that crossbow, too. His face is a little worse for wear, but he’s alive. They’re looking to make a trade, or do something, as they’ve got Eugene in tow. Along the fringes of the forest is Abraham. Yet Dwight wants “whatever and whoever” they want from inside Alexandria.


Daryl: “I shouldve killed you.”
Dwight: “Yeah, you probably should have.”


But Eugene pulls out a wild move, biting Dwight in the dick and balls; harder than hell. This allows Abraham a shot, as well as gives Daryl and Rosita a chance to grab some guns. A firefight ensues, and walkers emerge from out the forest.
The survivors walk away. Some of them. With Eugene injured, the remaining trio tries to pick him up and make off back home. Luckily Eugene’s not dead, but he’ll have a bit of an infection. “I apologize for doubting your skills,” Abraham says to him: “You know how to bite a dick.”
The episode finale sees Abraham admit his feelings for Sasha, deciding that even 30 years would be “too short.” At the same time, Carol and Daryl bury Denise near the wall; another death that has affected Daryl deeply, even while he tries not to show it. This episode has been all about the human relationships of Alexandria, as well as the routine of this life – threat, defend, threat, defend. Furthermore, Carol’s finally crumbling under it all and doesn’t want to have to kill for anyone, not anymore. And it seems she’s headed elsewhere. Will that same sentiment take Morgan away, too? The pacifists are coming out, most surprisingly in Carol. So is the choice stay and keep killing, or leave and take your chances? If so, that’s a tough one. For anyone.


Carol: “I cant love anyone because I cant kill for anyone. So Im going like I always should have. Dont come after me please.”
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Only two episodes left. The next one is titled “East”, and brings us one step closer to the finale. And also towards the ultimate threat: Negan.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 13: “The Same Boat”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 13: “The Same Boat”
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Twice as Far” – click here
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This episode opens with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) confronted by members of The Saviors. Then the group calls out to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and the others. They command over the radio, essentially opening a hostage negotation for the two women. Off in the distance, Rick says “well trade” and then needs confirmation Carol and Maggie are fine. Things go on from there, a little rocky on The Saviors’ side, but steady enough. Then The Saviors put bags over Carol and Maggie’s heads for transport.


A nice grim opening leads way to the women being taken to a facility, most likely a slaughter house as we can see KILL FLOOR written on the ground; the only perspective we’re allowed, as Carol and Maggie go through their kidnapping. Impressive directorial choices at the start of this scene, which forces us into their POV until finally inside.
While the others try and plan their next course of action, Carol steadily hyperventilates, looking terrified. McBride is an amazing actor, and the character of Carol’s become one of my favourites of any television series. But one of the leaders of the group, Paula (Alicia Witt) confronts Carol wondering: “Are you actually afraid to die?” They toss Carol rosary beads, which she holds onto tight.


This group, particularly the women, is tough, they seem hardened more than most people. Paula’s slightly scary. Her demeanour is of a broken woman, but one with a lot of power. She and Maggie go back and forth over life, the meaning, babies, et cetera. It’s clear the good faith of Maggie meets its match against Paula, and whatever horrors she’s seen personally along the way.
Paula says a “scout crew” are coming. Meanwhile, their group is breaking down a bit when the man Carol shot before being captured starts to lash out. He hits Polly, then Maggie gets a hit in. Finally, Paula pistol whips him to calm things down. A nice, exciting few moments, also a bit perilous when thinking of Maggie’s unborn child. Carol gets a good few kicks before the pistol whipping then lays there awhile. Something is certainly coming.
Another parallel aside from Carol and Paula is Maggie and Michelle (Jeananne Goossen). Michelle’s got a situation happening with her boyfriend, and so there’s a certain amount of her which resonates with Maggie. Yet they’re on opposing sides, different interests.
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More negotiation over the radio. Rick tries his best. Although, Paula’s clearly set in her ways, a determined person. Then there’s Carol who attempts to talk. Instead of her usual fighting nature. Except after a little while, she asks for a cigarette. Paula continues telling Carol she’s “weak” and unable to stick to her “own principles.” Then goes on about her life before as a secretary, her family, and how in the end she had to kill to life; “I stopped counting when I hit double digits,” she says re: her murder record.
Again, we’re seeing Carol and the rest of the group as what they’ve become, like everybody else: killers. Though they’ve definitely got better hearts in certain cases, Rick and the survivors still kill, they did last episode in relentless fashion. So while they think of themselves as better or more moral than others, they’re no better than most of the survivors of the zombie apocalypse.


Paula: “Are you going to kill me?”
Carol: “I hope not


Once a supposed deal with Rick begins to turn wheels, Paula and her haggard old lady friend head out leaving Carol by herself. Naturally, using the rosary beads, she gets free, and then releases Maggie. “We have to finish this,” says Maggie sternly. Some sort of crisis is happening for Carol in her head. It’s as if she’s lost her nerve. Meanwhile, Maggie is tougher than nails, and she picks up all the slack; even smashing one woman’s head into jam. A bit surprise for Paula when she comes back to find a bloody scene in the room where she’d last left Carol.
The two escapees come across a walker trap left for them. But Paula shows up firing bullets. She taunts Carol: “You have no idea, the things Ive done, what Ive given up.” This starts a big fight that ends when Carol shoots Michelle in the head for nearly slicing open Maggie’s stomach. Eventually, Carol kills Paula, too; something we knew had to come. The fighting survivor in Carol will only take so much, even if it wounds her inside.
Still, she and Maggie lure more Saviors to the kill floor where they’re lit on fire and locked in a room. Can we really still totally root for Rick, Carol, Maggie and the others? Are they still the good guys? Not according to Michelle from her conversation with Maggie earlier.


Out into the daylight Carol and Maggie go. They meet up with Daryl, Glenn, Rick and the rest. “Theyre all dead,” Maggie says with a fragile shake in her voice.
At the finale, Rick asks Primo (Jimmy Gonzales) to talk. He claims he’s Negan. Then Rick goes ahead and shoots the man in the head, as Carol watches on gripping her rosary beads until her hand drips blood.
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An exciting chapter in this sixth season. One that asks more questions about the nature of morality, as well as questions whether we can stay fully on the side of Rick Grimes & Company, while they rip and tear their way through the post-zombie apocalyptic landscape. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is sure to be a horrifically savage counter-balance to this group when he comes. Stay tuned with me for “Twice As Far” next week.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 12: “Not Tomorrow Yet”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 12: “Not Tomorrow Yet”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Knots Untie” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Same Boat” – click here


This episode begins with Carol (Melissa McBride) in the civilized society of Hilltop, getting food ready, looking through what food they’ve already got on hand. In the woods, she keeps her killing game strong. When she sprays herself with blood – no worries, there’s a bunch of fresh shirts at home. She brings some cookies to Tobin (Jason Douglas) made from beet and acorn: “Theyre amazing,” he tells her after being coaxed into one.In pulls Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the others. When Carol asks what’s happening, Rick only tells her: “Were gonna have to fight.”
Out comes Morgan (Lennie James). He and Carol have a chat about what he did, re: the last Wolf. She’s obviously more concerned about what Rick said than anything. The time for baking cookies is over.
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Rick holds an Alexandria town meeting. He lays out the problem with The Saviors, including their run-in with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Along with him is Jesus (Tom Payne). Rick talks about the deal, the food they’d receive. Nobody seems to object. Yet Morgan alone stands up and asks if Rick is “sure” whether or not they can beat this Negan and The Saviors. Democracy prevails, as Rick says it’s everyone’s choice. Aaron (Ross Marquand) says he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent another massacre in their town.
Carol sits alone with a book she keeps. Recorded with how many people she’s killed; she circles the number 18. We’re starting to see the other side of Carol we’ve not seen in a long time. One who is remorseful and pensive. Carol talks with Tobin who believes her strength comes from being a mother, taking care of others and capable of doing anything necessary; things he says “terrify” him. He cares for her, and they share a kiss.


Rick: “We kill them all
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Abraham and Rosita (Christian Serratos) argue, as he walks out on her. Harshly, he ends their relationship; clearly in love with Sasha. So sad Abraham handled it this way. Meanwhile, Tara (Alanna Masterson) says the three magic words to Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merrit Wever), and they’re simply afraid to lose each other with the upcoming journey and mission towards Negan.
At the same time, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl and Rick get a map drawn for them into Savior territory. The plan is set. Or is it?
With the group out on the road, little groups are splitting up to canvas the area. Rosita and Carol have a chat about the Wolf situation. But we know Rosita has other issues happening. Glenn and Heat (Corey Hawkins) talk about “killing someone“, getting more of the sense of how humanity changes the further people get into the zombie apocalypse.
Soon, Rick outlines what they’re about to do, and they agree to just have a look, check things out. If things look ripe for the taking, they go: “This is how we eat,” says Rick. To the side, Carol tells Rick that Maggie ought not be out there with them; at all. Probably a good point, Carol.
The plan involves bringing The Saviors the head of Gregory. They find a proper walker head, which Rick has to punch a good deal to make look appropriate. Then they’re off. We get a glimpse of The Saviors. Creepy, intimidating dudes. That is until Daryl slits one of their throats, and the operation really gets underway.


The savagery of this episode is incredible. Between the macabre Johny Depp-mold they used for  one of the fake Gregory heads, to the sequence where Rick and the others bust into the territory of The Saviors – tons of knives to the head. Everything is gruesome, yet so much is offscreen horror. Brutal and vicious, but not in the sense of showing everything. Worst of all is seeing Glenn first put a knife through a guy’s head, the look on his face is devastating. But like the man he is, prevents Heath from having to do the same, and takes another one for the team.
Abraham and Sasha get ambushed by a man. They kill him, but not before he throws the switch to an alarm. Out on watch, Carol refuses to let Maggie go and help; is this a different side of Carol emerging? One dedicated to life?
Inside the complex a gun battle erupts. Rick and his crew fight for their lives. Blood and bone flies. People are shot, stabbed, beaten to death. Corpses litter the corridors, blood stains everything.
In Alexandria, Morgan is busy building what looks like a cage. Is he going to do what was done to him? Will he try putting Rick in there? Or is possibly for Negan, intended to be a better alternative to murder? We’ll see.
Once the smoke clears, Michonne wonders “which one was Negan” and Rick sort of shrugs. One last person a motorcycle clues the group into someone watching, talking on a radio. And they’ve got Carol. Maggie, too.


The next episode, “The Same Boat”, is bound to be exciting. There could be some trobles ahead. Some very terrifying troubles at that.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 3: “Save the Last One”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 3: “Save the Last One”
Directed by Phil Abraham
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Bloodletting” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Cherokee Rose” – click here
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We start on Shane (Jon Bernthal), shirtless in front of the mirror, shaving his head in the sink. He looks dead on the inside. Cut to him and Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince) trying to escape the building where last we saw them in “Bloodletting”. Over the top in voice-over, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) tells his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) about the time Shane stole their principal’s car in high school, as they sit with their comatose son Carl (Chandler Riggs). The parents are obviously stressing, worried Carl won’t make it through. But most of all, Loris wants Rick to eat and stay strong for him. For all of them. Also, she doesn’t want to hear him talk about Shane and make her guilt any worse than it already is at the present moment in time.
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In the R.V. out on the highway, Daryl (Norman Reedus) can’t sleep. Between Carol (Melissa McBride) crying in bed and Andrea (Laurie Holden) loading bullet clips, there is no rest. Nobody is exactly tired. With Sophia out there and in who knows what sort of condition everybody is on edge and not quite right. Andrea and Daryl go to look for the girl. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) isn’t too pleased with their plan, but that’s no matter.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) arrive back at the ranch. They meet Maggie (Lauren Cohan) properly on the porch. She brings them inside and Glenn greets with “painkillers and antibiotics“. Things are fairly grim inside with Hershel (Scott Wilson) tending on Carl, as Rick and Lori still sit close with their son. Everybody is aimed at getting the boy better. “Whatever you need,” T-Dog tells them all. Things are tense waiting to see whether or not Shane and Otis get back, and with the proper equipment. Tough decisions may be on the horizon.
Bits of Daryl comes out. His rough childhood and such, through a conversation with Andrea as they search for Sophia. We can tell that Daryl grew up in a typically hillbilly fashion, absentee parents, almost dangerously. It’s nice to get things like that out of characters without a ton of exposition. Just little stories along the way rather than crowding each and every episode with too much character development. The characters grow organically, at the right pace, which is something I’ve enjoyed greatly up to this point now at Season 2’s first beginnings.


Lori and Rick are at odds. She seems to think death may be better than living in a terrible world with the zombies. Rick is never a quitter, under any circumstances. It’s discouraging for Rick, as a father, a parent. She talks about Jacqui, how she “doesnt feel it anymore” and it’s clear that Rick doesn’t “accept that“. More talk of what Jenner told Rick, though, it is subtle and brief. What was it? I know already, but still it intrigues me to see how Rick deals with knowing it the whole time and nobody else does.
Shane is still trying to make his way out of the high school, flooded with the living dead. His ankle in a bad way, backed up against a fence. There’s a feeling of everything falling down on top of him. Groans and grows on every side. Then Otis appears, shooting off a few walkers. Reunited they start making their way to safety. At the ranch, Carl wakes up and things are stable for only a few seconds before he fades off again, seizing savagely.
Maggie and Glenn have a talk together. This is the beginning of a relationship between the two, which starts with him trying to pray, and her interrupting. It’s a nice little talk between the two involving God and the human need to keep on surviving, “no matter what happens“.
Shane does whatever it takes to survive. But in the worst kind of sense.


Hershel decides they have to make a choice on Carl. Shane and Otis don’t arrive on-time, so things have to start going. The I.V is setup, Carl is moved onto a surgical table, and Hershel begins preparations for the surgery. Then Shane appears. He has everything required, all the equipment. No Otis; he died.
Maggie is upset by the death of Otis, as Glenn comforts her. They bond slightly over who they’ve lost and what has happened to each of them since the fall of mankind and society. Her mother is gone, step-brother. Everybody has lost someone and they take comfort in the fact so many of them are going through the same situation. Good news comes as Hershel announces Carl is stable, though, he feels at a loss as to how to break the news to Patricia about Otis. A tragic thing for anyone to have to do.


Shane is getting dark and scary, his eyes showing all the guilt and hate he feels inside; this brings us back to the scene from the opening where Shane shaves his head in the sink. Fitting enough, he is given clothes to wear: they belonged to Otis. I worry about where Shane is headed as a character and exactly what he’s fixing to do, where he is going to go, down which path. He flashes back to the moment where he left Otis, seeing it again. Otis is left behind for the zombies to chew on while Shane takes his opportunity to get away, letting them eat after putting a bullet in Otis’ leg. It is a vicious, cold-blooded moment where the true nature of Shane’s existence shows. He is a bad man who will do whatever serves him best, in that moment. There is nothing he won’t do, as evidenced already by his behaviour with Rick, Lori, and now with what he’s done to Otis. He shaved his head because part of his hair got ripped in the struggle between him and Otis. A disgusting act of cowardice by a twisted man. This is going places.


More and more, the second season of The Walking Dead gets intense. Stay with me and I’ll review the next episode, too: “Cherokee Rose”.

The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 6: “TS-19”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 6: “TS-19”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Frank Darabont & Adam Fierro; Based on comics by Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore.

* For a review of the previous episode, “Wildfire” – click here
* For a review of the Season 2 premiere, “What Lies Ahead” – click here
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The Season 1 finale “TS-19” shows us Officer Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) in the hospital where Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) lies motionless, stuck in a coma. The military has descended upon the building, killing people indiscriminately. Zombies wander the halls. Nobody worries about Rick, as he looks about dead anyways. They leave him, and lucky for Shane he isn’t noticed either. He tries his best to wake the comatose Sheriff, but to no such luck. Things slowly get worse and finally Shane does the only thing he can do: run. Can we blame him? I do. Maybe it’s too much to expect that Shane would take Rick, bad shape or not and get the hell out of there. Instead, he bars the door and leaves. Then tells Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) her husband is dead, taking over husband duties. I don’t know about anyone else, but the more I found out about those last moments, the more I hated Shane for it. Sure, maybe Rick would’ve died off the machines after awhile. Shane could have at least tried.
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Cut back to the CDC.
Rick and the gang are let inside by Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich). On edge, they have a tense first meeting with Jenner. Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) – everyone is sceptical. But then again, so is the doctor. He requires a blood test as “the price of admission“, to which Rick agrees heartily, and quickly.
Such a stark, striking contrast between the outside crumbling world and the inside, sterile, healthy environment of the Center for Disease Control. Everything is so white, so clean and orderly, as opposed to the absolute chaos outdoors. Stranger still is the dinner table scene where everyone sits around eating, drinking wine, laughing and generally having a good time. Yet in the background, Dr. Jenner is sitting morbidly quiet. He knows too much, that’s the problem.
We watch as the survivors lean back into normal life. If only for a moment. Andrea (Laurie Holden) ends up on the bathroom floor vomiting into the toilet. Dale comes to her aid, talking with her and trying to be there. Only she’s all doom and gloom, she does not see light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time, Lori browses through books, drinking more wine. She and a drunk Shane have a confrontation, one which reveals further and further how much he is hooked on Lori. A bit of a violent moment transpires between the two, changing things for the worse, as Shane almost rapes her. Hideous.
The next morning things are semi-normal. Everyone hungover, eating breakfast. Lots of chat and laughs. “You feel as bad as I do?” asks Rick – “Worse,” replies Shane. When Dr. Jenner arrives everyone, of course, has their questions. He shows them information on the TS-19 sample. It turns out TS-19 was infected, they gave themselves over to be willingly studied. The information Jenner shows includes lots of in-depth MRI data, scans of the subject’s brain. Even though there is a lot of talk about the virus, maybe some think it’s too much, I dig it because the way it’s presented is intense. Watching everyone slowly understand what Jenner is showing them can be emotional.
Things get scarier once Rick and the group discover not much time is left until the generators run out of power. The computer system says a facility-wide decontamination will begin after that time. It sounds ominous, especially considering Dr. Jenner leaves them all casually when asked about it himself.

Slowly, the building’s energy starts to shut down. Various lights and air conditioning systems begin powering off. Daryl, Rick, everyone is on edge. With a half hour left on the big red digital clock, it looks as if there are dark, dangerous times ahead. Rick and Shane start rounding everyone up to get going. Jenner starts his camera up again, as if conducting further experiments. The doors shut locking everybody inside. Jenner tells them all about what’s about to happen when the timer hits zero. And doesn’t it make sense for what the CDC is (at least in this series; it isn’t really like that)? Clearly the place would have intense, extreme and definitive measures for situations such as this, apocalypse and all. A foreboding few minutes pass while the survivors learn all this, clock ticking down in the foggy background. It is terrifying really.
The try to break down the doors, but that clearly isn’t going to work. Meanwhile, Jenner wants to convince them all instant death is better than being in this world, out there with zombies everywhere, the virus bearing down on everybody. “There is no hope,” says Jenner: “There never was.” The doctor sees the zombie virus as “our extinction event“.
In the end, we discover Jenner’s wife was TS-19. She wanted him to keep going, as long as possible. Rick and a few of the others convince him to open the door, to let them out. Despite his protest.
On the way out, Jenner tells Rick something none of us hear. No one else there does, either. What is it? Later this will be an intense revelation. For now, Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) decides to stay with Jenner and doesn’t want to leave, neither Dale nor T-Dog (Irone Singleton) can convince her. Even worse, Andrea says she wants to stay. Dale is terrified and tries to tell her the best option is to go. He refuses to leave without her, as the others are up top trying to get out of the locked down building.
Carol (Melissa McBride) proves to be crafty and provides a solution: a grenade she found in Rick’s pocket during his first day at the camp. A risky move, but one that needed to be made.

Andrea: “Dont pull this, Dale.”
Dale: “Im not pulling anythingif you stay, I stay, too.”
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When Rick and the others make it outside, it is a zombie wasteland. Far as the eyes can see. They get back into their vehicles and head out. Just as we watch Andrea and Dale crawl out the front of the building, as well. Inside, Jenner and Jacqui await the inevitable and hold hands before eternity comes in death. A massive explosion destroys the CDC and crumbles the building into bits, rocking the entire city block around it.
As Bob Dylan sings “Tomorrow Is a Long Time”, the survivors begin their journey. Headed somewhere, anywhere else. What is it that Jenner told Rick? He hasn’t told the rest of them yet, so what will Season 2 hold for Rick and the others? No telling (except I already know because I’ve seen the series too many three times over).

Stay with me. I’m heading into Season 2 again. Each review will be posted as I go along, so if you’re reading them thanks for sticking around, and I hope you enjoy the show as much as I do. Whether it’s your first viewing, or your fourth. Or tenth. Next episode is Season 2’s “What Lies Ahead“. See you soon.

The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 5: “Wildfire”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 5: “Wildfire”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara; Based on the comics by Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore.

* For a review of the previous episode, “Vatos” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “TS-19” – click here
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After the panic and blood of the previous episode’s finale, The Walking Dead lurches on into the zombie apocalypse with penultimate Season 1 finisher “Wildfire”.
This episode begins as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) tries to call Morgan Jones (Lennie James) on the police radio. Their connection is interesting, and something I found people seem to have forgotten by the time Season 6 rolled around. Sad, they have a great relationship and Morgan is an important figure in Rick’s life in the new wasteland of Atlanta. Rick holds onto this. Because really, there’s nothing making him call to Morgan, trying to help. He does it because Morgan helped him, helped Rick realize what this new world has become.
Then we remember Andrea (Laurie Holden) losing her sister. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) tries her best to comfort Andrea, but it’s a tough thing this early on in the world of zombies. Death and loss haven’t fully yet become an integrated part of their lives yet. So Andrea is reeling, naturally. Others like Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) get rid of the corpses, all the dead walkers. They burn the bodies. Meanwhile, Rick and Shane (Jon Bernthal) talk over how the death of her sister is driving Andrea a little crazy. But when Rick tries to talk with her, Andrea pulls a gun; she isn’t quite done.


Daryl wants to make sure Andrea’s sister doesn’t reanimate. The others aren’t as eager to just put one through her head. Still, they all go on about their business. Glenn insists their people are buried, not burned like the zombies. He even confronts Daryl over it, ensuring they retain some sort of humanity. Although, Daryl’s not happy: “Yall left my brother for dead. You had this comin‘.”
Then Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) discovers Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) has a bite. One of the zombies got to him. When people circle him, Jim gets defensive. They find the teeth marks around his ribs after lifting his shirt. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Rick and the others look on, not sure exactly what to do.
What’s interesting, going back through the series already knowing where everything is currently, is seeing the difference between the attitudes of human beings at the beginning, and seeing them where they are now. In Season 1, these people were still struggling with watching people come back from the dead. Despite zombie movies and all that, none of us would react too well witnessing any of that. So there’s a reluctance to simply put one through a person’s head at this moment in time. Later, they’ll begin to figure out there are necessary steps in this new world in order to secure one’s own survival, and the survival of others.
A scene between Andrea and Dale has him talking about losing his wife. She had a difficult, rough bout with cancer. She was able to get through and keep her spirit. He wasn’t and became angry, saying he “felt cheated“. Eventually, Dale tells Andrea she and her sister were special to him. The first people since his wife passed with which he connected. This is an important and emotional scene, as it sets up a relationship that exists between these two which lasts a long while. A friendly, caring relationship. One of my favourites early on in this series. More than that, Dale helps Andrea ease through the death of her sister. As best she can, anyways.
Brings me to something else I love about The Walking Dead: the human component. Yes, a zombie movie or show in this case is going to fixate on the actual undead. Obviously, right? But part of what makes any good zombie film properly enjoyable is that there are strong characters bringing human emotions, troubles and dreams into the mix. So Andrea and Dale, that’s one part of why I love the first season. Not to mention a little later, Carol decides to take the pick-axe from Daryl to finish off her dead husband, and she lays into him, over and over, splashing brain matter everywhere; one last chance to get in her licks on such a despicable, abusive man.
However, the most human of moments in this episode is when Andrea’s sister Amy comes back. The turn. Her almost milky-pupiled eyes open again, then it’s almost as if Andrea gets the chance to both let go and also simultaneously realize how people come back, as well as what must be done when that happens. It’s a semi-beautiful scene until sadly Andrea has to put her down.


Disturbing bits and pieces come with Jim, left alone in a camper. His mind is slipping into the deep darkness of the zombie virus. He sweats and shivers in the corner on his bed, pleading with his own brain: “No, no, no. Not this.” I hope nobody else gets taken because of the lack of willingness to put Jim out of his misery.
More interesting things are happening with Shane creating friction between himself and Rick – part jealousy, part genuine yet too much concern. Then there’s Rick trying to do his best for his family, as well as everyone else in their group. He is a leader. Naturally born that way. Further than that, he was a Sheriff. Before the collapse. Nevertheless, I find it intriguing to see Rick try and juggle all those human problems while dealing with the inhumane terror of their new lives. Lot of weight to carry on one set of shoulders, and it’s all bearing down on Rick, as if he were anointed the supreme leader after he came into the camp.
More and more, Shane is pushing the boundaries into what’s acceptable. He still wants Lori. And I get it, maybe the thought to tell her Rick was dead didn’t come as a malicious choice. But now Rick is back, he is alive. Shane ought to have the manhood to step back and leave everything alone. He can’t, though. Even when he and Rick are alone together he continually drives hard about Lori, Carl. Then, we see a brief moment where Rick is in the sights of Shane’s gun, and he almost goes to pull the trigger. Or does he? Coming up on him is Dale, and I’m pretty sure he understood what was just happening. Shane sweats it silently pretending it’s nothing. But boy, does Dale ever sense trouble.
After the decision to head out for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Rick calls out on the radio for Morgan. He even offers to leave a map there, in case Morgan comes. Everyone is getting ready to head out. Jim still sits alone, sweating and rocking in bed. Not everybody wants to go, such as Morales (Juan Pareja) and his family. The rest head out together. On the car Glenn stole in the city, Rick leaves his note for Morgan. Onward, and hopefully upward. Though, don’t count on any of that just yet.
These moments are fairly intense, especially with John Murphy’s “Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)” playing in the background. When the R.V. breaks down and the gang pull over, things slow down. And poor Jim sees his final minutes, asking to be left on the road rather than go on in excruciating pain. Tragic scene as they leave Jim next to a tree, where he wants to remain.


Jim: “Just leave me. I want to be with my family.”
Rick: “Theyre all dead. I dont think you know what youre asking. The fever; youve been delirious more often than not.”
Jim: “I know, dont you think I know? Im clear now. In five minutes I may not be. Rick, I know what Im asking: I want this. Leave me here. Now thats on me. Okay? My decision. Not your failure.”


The episode’s name comes to us in the form of an Operation Name at the CDC. We’re introduced to Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) on a self-recorded video. He is underground at the CDC, it seems. Things are certainly not going well, as we can imagine.
Here we’re treated to classical music. Jenner goes about his routine, hauling out a sample labeled TS-19; brain sections. He does lots of things in the lab, running a machine and taking out further, smaller cell samples of the TS-19 subject. After knocking over a beaker things go haywire and Jenner has to head into decontamination. Worse than that, his TS-19 sample is compromised and completely ruined – full decontamination all but nukes the laboratory, to Jenner’s dismay. Cut to him recorded again on the small camera. This time, drinking. Those TS-19 samples were valuable, “the freshest“. Perhaps the loss is massive, more than we could know. I like that this is only alluded to, not fully explained. The statement comes heavily after Jenner tells the camera: “I think tomorrow Im gonna blow my brains out. I havent decided yet.”
The heaviest part of this whole situation is that Rick and the others arrive right after we witness Jenner and his suicidal thoughts. They believe there’s something at the CDC worth coming for, right as we’re seeing the virtual death of the ambitions of the CDC, or at least that’s the feeling we get. With the survivors stepping up to the CDC’s doors, can Rick find any reason worth staying? Or will this push them further out into the zombified world? Standing at the doorstep, zombies approaching, Rick has to make a decision. Nobody else is really on his side, but he stands firm for the moment. He sees a camera moving and knows someone is inside. Before Shane can tear Rick away, the door opens, the episode ends.


Next episode is the Season 1 finale, “TS-19”. Stay tuned with me as I rewatch the series, another review is coming up soon!

The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 4: “Vatos”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 4: “Vatos”
Directed by Johan Renck
Written by Robert Kirkman; Based on the comics by Charlie Adlard, Kirkman & Tony Moore.

* For a review of the previous episode, “Tell It to the Frogs” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Wildfire” – click here
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After an intense third episode, “Vatos” starts with sisters Andrea and Amy Harrison (Laurie Holden/Emma Bell) fishing in a boat with We-no-nah on its side. They talk about their father a little. Their age differences created differences in how they were raised, specifically how their dear ole dad decided to show them each how to fish. Completely different, almost radically to them. They’re two separate identities, which provides us insight into where they’re headed on this series. What does Season 1 have in store for the Harrison sisters? I know already. Although, it’s great fun to go back and pick up more about everything on a third or fourth watch of the episodes. Bell and Holden play well as sisters and their bond only furthers with this opener.
Up on the R.V. stands Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) on watch, looking out over everyone else like Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) whose time is spent digging holes. He looks tired. A little crazy. I imagine they’re all tired and slightly crazy, in every way.
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Back on the rooftop in Atlanta there’s still more trouble. Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is a bit buckwild after finding his brother Merle (Michael Rooker) gone – not completely, his bloody hand is still sitting there. Drawing his weapon on T-Dog (Irone Singleton) quickly, Daryl is savage. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) puts a stop to all that with Glenn (Steven Yeun) watching on. After things calm down slightly Daryl takes his brother’s hand and puts it in Glenn’s knapsack for safekeeping. They make their way through the building, looking to see if Merle stayed put. But no sign yet.
Dale checks on Jim, who as I said is pretty tired. Or something. He isn’t well. Dale’s worried he might “keel over“, going too hard at the digging. I suppose everyone has their way of dealing with a terrifying world after the zombie apocalypse comes raining down. Only Dale brings Jim and his behaviour to the attention of everyone else, believing they’ve got a new problem on their hands. When Shane goes to Jim, everyone at his back, things become awkward. This prompts Jim being tackled to the ground and restrained by Shane. At least it sets the place at ease a little while. Or does it? Jim makes a shocking confession and puts everyone out of comfort once more.
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Daryl: “Toughest asshole I ever met, my brother. Feed him a hammer, hed crap out nails.”


On Merle’s trail, as well as looking for the guns, Rick, Daryl and the others try to stick together. They try to make a plan, one on the fly as usual. Glenn offers to make a run for the bag of guns. He draws up a little diagram on the floor, giving everyone their orders. When Daryl asks, almost admirably, what Glenn did before this he gets the reply: “I delivered pizzas. Why?” Amazing. Such a wonderfully written scene. Even better after when Daryl says he has “balls for a Chinaman” to which a wittier reply comes from Glenn – “Im Korean.”
They run into trouble when a bunch of Mexicans run them into a trap. Daryl is beaten down and Glenn gets taken hostage. The group is split. Only they’ve also got themselves a young Latino to hold hostage on their side.
At the camp, Jim is now tied to a tree. He may as well be on trial as a witch. But this is another instance of Shane needing total control. Perhaps if they left Jim alone nothing would’ve come of his nonsense. At the same time, who knows? He actually apologizes for possibly scaring the children, so that’s something. He still doesn’t remember why he was digging, though. “SomethinI dreamed last night,” Jim tells Dale.
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Shane: “Jim, nobody is gonna hurt youokay?”
Jim: “Thats a lie. Thats the biggest lie there is. I told that to my wife and my two boys. I said it 100 times. It didnt matter. They came out of nowhere. There were dozens of them. Just pulledem out of my hands. You know, the only reason I got away wascause the dead were too busy eating my family.”
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Trying to make a trade, Rick and Co. go to see the Mexican crew in the city who took Glenn. Their leader is a man named Guillermo (Neil Brown Jr). He’s willing to talk, a little bit. Rick and Daryl attempt to deal with the men. They’re after the guns in the street. Sheriff Grimes lays claim to the guns, but Guillermo and his people want them: “Ill take whats mine,” he says to Rick. But Rick is ready, if anyone ever was. He stands toe to toe with them. He says he owes Glenn and won’t back down.
Making the trade-off, Rick sends the young Latino back over to Guillermo. Though, the man steps to Rick viciously instead of acting sensible. Guns cock and the place is almost ready to light up. Out of nowhere, an old woman comes out into the bunch of men pointing guns at one another. Seems there are a ton of old people in there, all of them relying on Guillermo. Now, things have changed. The old woman who wandered into their fight brings everyone together in a moment of heart among the cold world of the undead outside. Genuinely love this whole scene, as it shows us compassion hasn’t completely gone out the window right away. Not in certain corners. And it goes to show, these Mexican guys are willing to put their lives at risk to keep these elderly people safe and healthy for as long possible. Even when the living dead have pretty much infested the world. Nice commentary thrown into the writing, which is always present when you take on zombies. Robert Kirkman does great things in that sense, over and over. The archetypal zombie story is perfectly poised for throwing in socioeconomic and political commentaries, so I’m glad the show has those bits and pieces instead of focusing solely on the horror. Further than that, we watch the characters grow. Episode by episode, like any other series. These characters, though? They’ve got a lot of growing to do in the new, shattered world.
We see Rick make a deal in mutual admiration of Guillermo after they talk: he gives them some guns. A nice choice in an ever hardening life. Afterwards, Rick and the crew head out and find their van gone. They assume it’s possible Merle did it and “took his vengeance back to camp“, as brother Daryl puts things eloquently.


A nice evening by the fire has Dale quoting William Faulkner – pretty well I might add: “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desireI give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”
Quickly, the fun is interrupted.
In his tent, Ed is bitten by a zombie. Worse still, Amy gets a bite, too. The entire camp is overrun, as Rick and the others just make it back. Everything is chaos, with baseball bats flying, skin and organs being eaten. Gunfire sounds everywhere. With Rick and the others back things clear out, but the damage is done. Lives have already been lost. One thing we can be sure of is that The Walking Dead will tug at the heartstrings. In her arms, Andrea watches Amy die and the episode finishes as Jim says: “I remember nowwhy I dug the holes.”


A very tough, equally as excellent episode with lots of developments. Digging this watch-through so much. Noticing things I didn’t the first couple times, finding more characters enjoyable in different ways. Looking forward to the next episode, penultimate Season 1 finisher “Wildfire”. Stay with me, friends and fans alike.

The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 3: “Tell It to the Frogs”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 3: “Tell It to the Frogs”
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by Frank Darabont/Charles H. Eglee/Jack LoGiudice; Based on the comics by Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore.

* For a review of the previous episode, “Guts” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Vatos” – click here
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This episode starts with Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) alone, going crazy on the rooftop where he was accidentally left. Handcuffed. Talking to himself. It’s fitting for a racist piece of shit, but at the same time terrifying. Putting myself in his place I imagine going insane would look pretty correct. Out of nowhere, it’s as if the reality of his situation sets in. Merle becomes savage trying to tear the pipe he’s cuffed to from its moorings. Worse yet, the undead are pushing through the door at the rooftop. The chains put in place by T-Dog (Irone Singleton) are barely holding, and Merle hasn’t much faith left in him. Only enough to give God one last prayer, hoping something, anything may come to his aid; that is before cursing God out, saying he won’t start begging now.
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Merle (to himself): “Thats right. You heard me, bitch. You got a problem? Bring it on if youre man enough, or take it up the chain if youre a pussy. You heard me, you pussyass noncom bitch. You aint deaf. Take it up the damn chain of command or you can kiss my lilywhite ass.”
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The others – Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), Andrea Harrison (Laurie Holden) and more – are headed back towards camp where Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), her son Carl (Chandler Riggs) and stand-in-dad Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), as well as Dale Hovarth (Jeffrey DeMunn), are all waiting for their friends to return. Everything seems like a family, as Shane talks about catching frogs with Carl, exchanging cutesy little moments with Lori. Then in the distance, the car alarm from Glenn’s vehicle. They’re headed home.
When Lori and Carl see Rick return, it’s an emotionally charged scene. They are finally reunited after a long trip, after Rick essentially came back from the dead. Even better is the fact nobody knew Lori was Rick’s husband, so the surprise is wild all around.
We also start understanding the deep relationship between Andrea and her sister Amy (Emma Bell). That’s an important one in the first little while here during Season 1, I like that we instantly sense their connection, even before as Amy worried where Andrea was near constantly. Later on, around the fire Rick talks to everybody about his experience, and we start to gain a sense of the whole group, what sort of people they are, if only for brief moments.


With everything stirred up, we come to understand Merle has a brother named Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). People are worried what may happen after he learns what happened to Merle, being left behind and all. T-Dog clearly feels bad and wants to take responsibility for what went down. “Thats on us,” he tells the group. And it’s true. They all had a hand in it, so to speak.
A tender scene sees Lori and Rick back together sexually. Although, the weight of everything else wears her down. She hasn’t told Rick about anything that happened. Outside, on watch, is Shane. And he is certainly wounded, too. Even if he doesn’t deserve to be, still, there is a lot of trouble here. Just wait for it to break out.
In the morning Rick figures out who everyone is, such as the kindly Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and others. And suddenly, Carl is yelling. A walker is nearby eating a dead deer. Rick and the rest beat the zombie down and kill it, as everybody else watches on. Dale gets the last swift chop to the head. After that, they talk about how they rarely get walkers so far up the mountain, and determine food is getting more scarce in the city.
Then up shows Daryl. He’s the one who shot the deer, but the zombie finished that fun. He’s an exciting character right off the bat, lots of life in him immediately. He’s a hunter, a tough guy. Plus, he tracked down some squirrels for dinner. Except when he comes to wonder about Merle the situation takes a turn. Except Rick wants to help, he agrees to go back to Atlanta with Daryl. Lori isn’t thrilled, but even more than that Shane has a problem: because he’s jealous and he doesn’t want to see Rick walk away after coming back. In a dangerous world, there’s no guarantee of coming back. Immediately we see Shane and Rick start butting heads slightly, with the former worried about putting lives at risk. Nothing will change the Sheriff’s mind. He wants to go back for Merle, as well as the bag full of guns on the street he dropped.


Sneaking back into the city, Andrea and the women stay behind. They each talk about what they miss: “I miss my vibrator,” says Andrea after they all list regular everyday items of which they’re fond. Only Carol’s husband Ed (Adam Minarovich) comes around acting like an emotionally, physically abuse husband often will. In other news, Shane and Lori are having issues, as she blames him for believing Rick was dead. I guess you could say, what else would Shane do in that situation? But there’s no reason for Shane to swoop in on the man’s wife after the fact. Either way, he straight up told Lori that Rick died. He didn’t know that, only his assumption. So I don’t see how anyone can feel on Shane’s side.
Ed continues to loom over the women. Andrea has no time for any of that and gets in his face, which draws a bit of mouth and dirty looks from Ed; he calls Andrea a “college educated cooze“. What a classy piece of work. He orders Carol around like a piece of meat before smacking her across the face. This prompts a pent up Shane to go primitive on him, beating Ed to a pulp in front of the women by the lake. Looks like Ed is about to be laid up a good long while. He deserved a beating. Yet even Shane and Carol both are a bit taken aback after the one-sided fight is finished.


The finale of the episode sees Merle’s hand found cut off on the top of the building, hacksaw next to it. Daryl is obviously upset, as the others look on in horror.
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Stay tuned. What will “Vatos” bring? Can’t wait to watch it again and experience it all over.

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.