The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Bury Me Here” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Something They Need” – click here
Pic 1So what about Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his search for escapee Daryl (Norman Reedus)? That fruit will come to bear soon enough. Right now at Hilltop, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is teaching everyone, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) included how to defend themselves properly. At home Enid and Maggie are like buddies, or almost a mother-daughter relationship. And Jesus (Tom Payne), he’s both a help to Maggie, as well as to others.
Because we can’t forget about Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), she’s preparing to go find Negan, to kill him. Jesus, he helps by drawing a map to show her what The Saviors’ compound looks like.
Note: The beauty of this opening sequence is that there’s not a word spoke, only the sound of breathing, if that, and the images telling a story. Really beautiful stuff. Powerful technical filmmaking on television.
Then Rosita (Christian Serrators) arrives, like the end of last episode. Now she and Sasha have a mission, together. But it’s very, very dangerous.
Pic 1AWe also discover that Jesus is gay. Or at least that’s how it sounds. He and Maggie have a heart to heart, which as usual, as any conversation in this new world does, leads to more of what’s next to do, in order to survive.
Jesus finds Sasha, looking for ammo. He and Enid both realise Rosita’s not there to train anyone. They’re going to kill Negan. But the other two try helping, they want Sasha to stick around and help. She’s a strong person, an asset to anyone she’s helping. Jesus also likes having her around, for many reasons not least of which is her strength and determination. Sasha is a great character. And so is Rosita.
This is why I get worried. When characters get a close focus, those other than Rick and Carl and a couple other key players, it’s often right before they’re killed. I hope this isn’t the case. I love Sasha and Rosita. They’re tough, smart.
Jesus: “‘Cause its a long life, and then it isnt.”
The Saviors show up unexpectedly. This sends the two women off on their escape. Likewise, Daryl and Maggie are hidden in a cellar as the men come invading Hilltop. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) does his duty, doing the dance when Simon (Steven Ogg) comes with, you guessed it, no good news. They’re only there to find somebody for Negan. In the meantime, Rosita and Sasha are on the road again, an unlikely yet understandable duo. They’re equally stubborn about the way forward. Each of them want revenge, and I get that. They just have to focus, otherwise it’s more and more likely they won’t make it; together or not. For now they kill zombies, going back and forth with what they think is best to do.


At Hilltop, Enid gets worried when one of The Saviors discovers the cellar. She does her best to keep him away. It’s no use. Except he doesn’t find anyone, only some fruit.
So it seems Simon and his boys have come to collect Dr. Harlan Carson. They’ve been sent by Negan to bring him back. “Congratulations, youre movinup in the world,” Simon says in that ugly charm of his, and then we realise that Dr. Carson’s brother is the one who was killed so violently as of late by Negan. Yikes. So on he goes, to the land of “cardamom gelato” and other delights. However, Gregory isn’t pleased with being so powerless. He tries currying favour with Simon, only getting a deal that he can come see the man at the compound; name at the gate and everything. Not exactly what he wanted. Then again, Gregory doesn’t have much of a spine. I wonder, will that change down the road?
Back to the man in the fruit cellar, Maggie stops Daryl from killing him, and then on he goes. They’re safe and sound. Only Daryl would rather kill every last one of them instead of waiting for the perfect time. He and Maggie wind up talking about Glenn’s death; he feels entirely responsible, apologising to her. She wants to kill The Saviors, just like Daryl. Only she wants to make sure they win.
Maggie (to Daryl): “Youre one of the good things in this world. Thats what Glenn thought. And he would know, ‘cause he was one of the good things, too.
Meanwhile, Hilltop’s left without a doctor. Not a good prospect in the post-zombie apocalypse world.


Rosita and Sasha start enacting a plan to get past a crowd of walkers and to another car. Lighting a separate car on fire, they draw a group of them away and hot wire the vehicle. It starts and they’ve got at least a drop of luck on their side. Rosita’s a bad ass driver to boot.
At The Saviors compound, Sasha and Rosita set up in an adjacent, abandoned building with the sniper rifle. They can see Eugene (Josh McDermitt) doing work. For the time being the two women actually bond over a bit of rigging while Sasha learns to tie knots on a piece of rope. They, of course, talk about Abraham soon enough. And Rosita admits to initially hating Sasha, though it was probably because he “figured his shit out first.” This is a great scene of dialogue between them, as the characters have all these unresolved issues with Abraham after his tragic death. After they come to terms with everything, it only makes their new bond stronger. If anything for the memory of their dead friend and lover who was struck down so cowardly by Negan, without a fighting chance.
Then Sasha sees that Dr. Carson, who was taking care of Maggie, has been taken to the compound. Just as Negan comes out to greet their newest addition. No clean shot with the sniper, particularly with the doc too near. The women hear Eugene over the radio; he mentions Negan will be in his room for a while, so this prompts them to want to head inside.


At Hilltop, Gregory calls Jesus in for a chat. Says he’s slacking, and there are too many people in his trailer. Everyone’s got to pull their weight now. Jesus sees through their fearful leader, which draws a perceived threat from Gregory. He makes clear they aren’t friendly anymore. Uh oh. I don’t like the dude’s ‘tude. And I love Jesus, so I’d hate to see anything uncool happen to him. But no matter – Daryl’s figured out that Sasha and Rosita have taken off, alerting Jesus.
Speaking of the kick ass ladies, they pop a guy in the head who’s out working with Eugene. They want to break him out. “Im not goinwith you,” he tells them. He’s brainwashed, willingly. Too full of cowardice to do anything for himself, or help those that once helped him so much.
The women go in. Well, Sasha does. She closes the fence behind her and goes on, telling Rosita it isn’t her time – the same said earlier of Abraham. So Rosita goes running away, as Sasha works her way violently into the compound. And in the shadows waiting for her is Daryl.
I wonder if he and Rosita will follow Sasha. And is it definitely Daryl? Could it be Dwight?
Pic 5What a great chapter in the last bit of Season 7! I can’t wait to see whatever excitement comes in the last couple episodes. So tense. So many sacrifices for Rick, Rosita, Sasha, Maggie, Daryl, all of them. Will they gain any ground? Or will the end of Season 7 provoke more devastation? You know someone’s dying, but who knows who’ll that be, either.

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

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

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


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


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

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 7: “Sing Me a Song”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 7: “Sing Me a Song”
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “Swear” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Hearts Still Beating” – click here
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I’m worried about Michonne (Danai Gurira). She found all those mattresses the Saviors burned on them and now she just can’t bring herself to believe what Rick (Andrew Lincoln) does about the way forward. And now, she’s beginning to revert to a few of her old ways again.
And Rick, he’s with Aaron (Ross Marquand), wondering about Michonne.
At the same time a few greasers sit along the road, driving the truck Jesus (Tom Payne) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are hiding inside. This is an interesting pair. Jesus is a young guy, though experienced, and a bad ass. I used to hate Carl and then he grew up, got a bit bad ass himself. They might be good together. Except Carl ditches him, very clever, and heads on by himself. This kid’s balls are too big for his own good.
When the Saviors roll into Negantown and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comes out to inspect the latest haul, Carl opens fire with an assault rifle. “I only want Negan, he killed my friends; no one else needs to die.” The man himself is impressed: “You are adorable,” says Negan. He is a saucy, mouthy bastard. They disarm the boy, but then the leader welcomes him as a guest. As Daryl (Norman Reedus) watches nearby. Fuck, this is maybe one of the most intense openers of any episode, at least in a long while. Plus we see how big Negan’s home is, and it’s massive.
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Carl is brought inside to see what things are like on Negan’s side. The kid’s also schooled in how to be a bad ass by maybe the ultimate bad ass himself; like him or not. Everyone in there kneels before him. Gross. It’s like he gives a sermon. Or a speech in the way of a dictator.
Back in Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) doesn’t want to give things over to Negan and his Saviors. She doesn’t like Spencer (Austin Nichols) and his bullshit, either. So she and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are going to head out. You know where: to find bullet making materials.
We see how Negan is trying to corrupt Carl. He wants to corrupt everyone he comes in contact with, and especially anybody he perceives as more helpless to his violence, such as women and children. He is really one disgusting man. He uses increments of violence to ensure further cooperation just by threat later, like reading straight out of portions of Machiavelli’s The Prince.
Did you notice Carl lean in quick while Negan turned for a second? Definitely said something. Either way, at this point I’m not willing to count out anything when it comes to Carl; whether it’s him getting killed tragically somehow, or doing something wild to get himself free.


We see more of Spencer literally hating Rick. He admits it to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). He has a lot of strong feelings. And I can see Spencer going the way of his character in the comics. For those who read them, you know what I’m talking about. Gabriel, though – he has faith in Rick. The priest holds onto Rick’s leadership, while Spencer all but wishes for his death.
Gabriel: “What youre saying doesnt make you a sinner. But it does make you a tremendous shit. Just for now. It doesnt have to be terminal.”
Negan likes the cut of Carl’s jib. He likes that the kid is smart, a bit ruthless. He also wants to see the hole in the kid’s face where that eye used to sit. “Its like talkinto a birthday present,” he taunts. Then Carl shows him. He shames the boy, asking to touch it. Being an all around piece of shit until Carl weeps a little. And this actually provokes a response in the man. He apologises, forgetting he’s been talking to a kid. Wow. Afterwards the title of the episode comes when Negan asks for Carl to sing him a tune. In return for the men he mowed down. And the kid sings “You Are My Sunshine” for the evil nutcase, as he swings Lucille wildly in the background. “Lucille loves beinsung to.”
Oh, my. Now comes something awful. There’s an iron in the fire, and somebody’s due to get branded. Negan preaches another sermon about The Saviors, out there to supposedly save the world. Right on, dude. Someone in their crew has gone against the pack; more so against Negan. So he must be branded for his transgressions. Just like Dwight (Austin Amelio). God, that’s vicious. At least they have a doctor to tend to the burn.


Already with supplies, Rosita and Eugene get back to the bullet making factory. But he doesn’t feel good being there. The memories of Abraham lingering at that place, as well as the fact he isn’t sure about barrelling into Rosita’s half-cocked plan. However, she is damn convincing.
We see Dwight and his former wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista), they obviously still care for each other and are only apart because of Negan. The nasty leader is up trying to “break” Carl, as he does with Daryl. The kid, like Daryl, is strong. He doesn’t give the motherfucker an inch. How will Negan deal with him? Especially when Carl threatens to kill him. So instead of anything else, Negan opts to go for a ride out to take Carl home. He doesn’t notice Jesus on top of their vehicle, nor that Jesus disappears quickly. He does notice that Daryl is ready to kill him if Carl is hurt.
Underneath the door in his closet, tucked in the dark, Daryl gets a message: GO NOW. Is it from Sherry? I’d bet on it. She is a good woman, forced into unimaginable horror.
On a road lays a pile of walkers blocking access any further. This is a pile Michonne has made. She disarms a woman and orders: “Take me to Negan.” Man, everybody is just out for going after the guy alone. Instead of listening to Rick – even though he’s not perfect – they all want to go try taking Negan out by themselves.

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In Alexandria, Negan strolls through with Carl. He wants to wait for Rick to come home. He goes on to insult Olivia and her weight, then trying to have sex with her; she slaps his face, though. Good woman! Fuck that guy and his bullshit. Luckily he just decides to sit there and wait. And drink a bit of lemonade.
What follows is a hilariously soundtracked montage of Negan settling in around the house, playing darts, feeling the carpet between his toes. He discovers Judith in her crib, despite Carl trying to prevent it. Weird seeing such a horrific pig like Negan holding an innocent child.
While her dad Rick and uncle Aaron are out on their own. They come across a sign, stating a man lives past that sign and he’s ready to kill anybody getting too close. Is he dead? Or is he still somewhere out there lurking? Nearby on the lake is a boat, supplies likely still aboard.
When Spencer, Eugene, and Rosita return to Alexandria they find Negan already there obviously. He’s taken up in the neighbourhood. “Oh, I like it here,” he says with a menacing smile, still holding Carl’s little sister. Thinking about whether he’ll murder Carl and his father.

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Fuck, this was an intense episode in places. A couple slow parts, but I can see they’re setting a few things up. Lots to look forward to in “Hearts Still Beating” next.

Whatcha Gonna Do When THE BOONDOCK SAINTS Come For You?

The Boondock Saints. 1999. Directed & Written by Troy Duffy.
Starring Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco, Billy Connolly, Brian Mahoney, Bob Marley, Dot-Marie Jones, Scott Griffith, Layton Morrison, Gerard Parkes, & Carlo Rota.
Franchise Pictures/Fried Films/Brood Syndicate.
Rated R. 108 minutes.
Action/Crime/Thriller

★★★★
POSTER Certain films are built on heart. A ton of it.
I remember when this originally came out. I saw this when I was about 14, so there’s a lot of nostalgia having not really watched this movie much in the past decade at least. One of those movies I did enjoy a great deal. Especially for a young teenage dude there’s a ton of testosterone, in a fun, action sort of way. Yet there’s a smart side, which also includes an interestingly written character that director-writer Troy Duffy wound up getting Willem Dafoe to play. If you’ve ever seen the documentary from 2003, Overnight, you may understand why I phrase it that way. Not because the material isn’t worthy, but because Duffy is an insufferable type of personality. The fact he managed to make this wonderful little slice of action cinema is beyond me. Mixed with doses of comedy, crime, and quite a few thrills, The Boondock Saints struck a chord. In a day and age where justice seems few and far between for victims the world could do worse than the MacManus brothers. 17 years ago as of this writing, the catharsis of watching two men take vigilante justice for their city on the evil men within took people by surprise. I can’t say exactly why the movie became a big success and gained a following of highly loving, devoted fans. Of which I’d consider myself one. Although I can’t stand the sequel. This one has a few blemishes, I can’t pretend it doesn’t. That doesn’t matter to me. The Boondock Saints is too much fun and joyfully quirky without going overboard. The entire movie is full of heart. If you find yourself bored we might not have been watching the same film.
Pic1 The tone is pretty much set in the credits when the MacManus brothers get in a fight with a big, butch woman at work. You know these guys are foolish, at the same time there’s no telling at all what they’ll do, or of what they may be capable.
Quickly things get exciting. Soon as Agent Smecker (Willem Dafoe) gets into the interrogation room with Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) MacManus we flashback to what Duffy previously set up. This an overall trend in the film that works to his advantage. He creates a situation, starts out showing us how things begin, then defers the action slightly. Afterwards, he goes back and tells the story while also moving the plot along. It’s honestly great writing. Another sequence I love in that fashion is when they go for the Russians at the hotel, coming in from the ceiling; this one works the best, I believe. Intense, funny, wild action. Can’t forget Rocco’s “catch you on the flipside” sequence. That one’s fairly bad ass. Fairly good for a chuckle here and there, too.
Pic2 Maybe some of the dialogue isn’t as great as it ought to be, some a bit cheesy – there are a couple moments that cheese it up, as well, such as when they each wake up on the cots in the jail, water dripping on them. Bit too much. Despite any of its faults, for the most part the screenplay is absolutely well written. The plot and the story are good fun. Even if Duffy never makes any other movies he can pride himself on knowing this is a fucking awesome script. As a director, Duffy mostly knows what he’s doing. Or, he knows what he wants to do. Not always successful. This movie’s a wild ride even in its weakest moments. A bit too much music in places where it wasn’t necessary. Certain scenes work perfectly, especially with classical stuff. Others, Duffy could have kept things without the little snippets of crap music – for instance, when Smecker stumbles out of a gay bar in the morning and heads to the Roman Catholic Church nearby, there’s a piece that plays, it’s awful, on top of the fact there’s no need. So these small portions take away from the good stuff, only in a slight way. Nothing too major.
Pic2 Characters like Rocco (David Della Rocco) and Agent Smecker don’t come along too often. While I do love the MacManus brothers, these other two are gold. When Rocco has to tell Yakavetta (Carlo Rota) the joke, it’s a perfect scene on paper, but Della Rocco plays the whole thing so well it’s hard to believe he’s not a regular actor. Maybe it’s a one time hit for him. Christ, though, you can’t not laugh at this guy. Not even just after the intimidating Yakavetta starts to laugh, finally. The whole thing is a riot. Then end of the scene is actually perfection, along with a well edited cut. That’s not the end for Rocco in terms of his time to shine. He gets a few moments to excel, and does he ever.
The star of the show for me is Willem Dafoe. I’d enjoyed him before seeing this, after catching Platoon late on television one night, uncut; might have been 10 or 11 then. So after experiencing his performance in this he automatically became one of my favourites, still to this day. He’s a versatile actor, one whose abilities lie in all kinds of eccentric roles. Agent Paul Smecker is a goldmine for a guy like him. Dafoe all but bounces off the walls, giving life to a totally atypical gay character, as well as an atypical FBI Agent character opposed to what we’re used to (one of my favourite FBI Agents in fiction next to Special Agent Dale Cooper), so refreshing to see.
Pic3 This is an unforgettable film. Even with the missteps and a couple bad directorial choices, Troy Duffy does a solid job in the chair. The Boondock Saints came along at a perfect time. It filled the gap for indie cinema (started out indie anyway), as other, bigger movies in 1999 came pumping out of Hollywood: The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, The Mummy, Toy Story 2, The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile. Same year Stanley Kubrick finished his final film, Eyes Wide Shut. The Blair Witch Project put horror back on the radar in a big way, launching a renewed interested in found footage (one that continues almost ad nauseam).
So it’s no stretch to say Duffy and his movie were up against big competition. A huge year for film, even aside from just the big names I mentioned. This smaller budget film (yes in Hollywood $7-million is still considered as such compared to the big productions) proved you didn’t need the groundbreaking effects, nor did you require ‘bankable’ stars. If a script is good enough, the director energetic and in this case brash, willing to get what he wants no matter the cost, perhaps the movie can find its legs. Naturally, it didn’t help that a movie featuring plenty gun play ended up coming out right after Columbine’s massacre, and Duffy himself clashed with producers, among other things. Still, you watch this and sticks with you. Forget its little negatives. There aren’t many. The positives are a resounding fresh breath of crime-thriller air, filled with action, and best of all this one will make you laugh. If you can’t have some fun with a flick like this, there’s no telling what you need. To me, The Boondock Saints is just damn good fun.

The Tense Line Between Cops and Criminals in John Hillcoat’s Triple 9

Triple 9. 2016. Directed by John Hillcoat. Screenplay by Matt Cook.
Starring Casey Afflec, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr, Michelle Ang, Terence Rosemore, Terri Abney, & Alexander Babara. Worldview Entertainment/Anonymous Content/MadRiver Pictures.
Rated 14A. 110 minutes.
Action/Crime/Drama

★★★★
POSTER Ever since I saw Ghosts… of the Civil Dead, director John Hillcoat was someone I found interesting. 17 years later, he made The Proposition, which is my personal favourite Western ever, and definitely one of the best contemporary Westerns of the past 20 years. Since then he pulled out a near perfect adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and also did the solid, fun Prohibition dramatic thriller Lawless. He is an interesting talent as a director, whose talent lies in getting down to the nitty gritty of his subject matter, whether that be prison, the end of the world, Prohibition heroes, or even the law.
Which is where Triple 9 comes in. Tackling a lot of different subplots at once, this is a pretty solid crime movie. Although, there are definitely a few faults. For one, the usually wonderful Kate Winslet is present giving us a Russian-American accent that is once or twice solid, then for the rest of the picture a truly abysmal element. But even with the few missteps, the screenplay from newcomer-screenwriter Matt Cook is interesting, it is suspenseful, and above all the world of dirty cops feels impressively real. The terror of being in the midst of renegade lawmen is very real in Triple 9. A good cop flick for our current times.
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A gang of corrupt cops and criminals including Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), Russell Welch (Norman Reedus), & Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr) all find themselves indebted to the Russian mob. Particularly, because of Michael’s son with Elena Vlaslov (Gal Gadot), he’s stuck with her sister Irina (Kate Winslet), big time mobster, over his shoulder. After a bit of a botched heist, they’re expected to do one more job. A high stakes job, which will require them to pull a Triple Nine; code for when an officer is down. This will pull all units away, allowing others in the crew to infiltrate their target.
With a new cop in his precinct and as his partner, Marcus offers him up as the one to take down – Chris Allen (Casey Affleck). Only problem is that his uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) is a big name around the city in the Police Department. And with too many loose threads, a plan, no matter how good, is bound to go wrong somewhere down the line.
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The action sequences are absolutely the film’s highlight. Right from the start, the opening robbery is super exciting. Especially after you see things going wrong for these guys, then figure out they’re cops. It’s a real whopper to start off the movie. Halfway through there’s a nice sequence where the police raid a Mexican gang and the action is stellar. Lots of great shots, very kinetic. On top of that, I love the film’s score from an awesome team including Bobby Krlic, Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Claudia Sarne. A nice electronic, subtle score that bubbles and boils up, bouncing around just like the action. Fits things well.
The cinematography overall is fantastic, from action sequences to the lower key scenes in various locations, all framed so beautifully, so dark and vibrant. Cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis is a favourite of mine. He is responsible for the look of a top film in my books, Bullhead, as well as The Drop and recent horror Cub. His eye is good, and the texture of his camerawork is so rich. Whereas the action scenes are definitely best, some of the others where the camera is very still, exquisitely framed, fill out the other portions of the film in a nice tapestry that takes us from the dangerous streets to dingy strip clubs, secret meetings under overpasses, to alleys and crack houses, and everywhere in between. The whole movie is atmospheric. It has a dark tone, a deep moodiness about it, most of which comes from Karakatsanis and how he captures everything. As the film wears on and we hit the climax, the cinematography is much more personal, close-up, and it hones tight on everything. Whittling down much like the characters do in number.
For the most part, Cook’s screenplay is good. There’s a hole or two now and then, which is fine. Nobody’s ever made an objectively perfect movie, and even the greatest screenplays all have little messes in them. But best of all, the plot and story come together with all their various threads nicely. For a film that has a lot of focus in different directions, Cook manages to keep our attention in the right spots. Never does one subplot ever overtake the whole film’s main plot because the whole thing shifts from one act to the next until we’re left with the aftermath of these cops and their decisions. Things weave around quite a bit at times. Without spoiling anything, the cops find their plans don’t exactly work out as they’d hoped. And once things begin spinning out of control there’s no turning back – the plot will whisk you away towards a violent finale.
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Triple 9 is able to stay so interesting despite its few flaws due in large part to the well rounded cast. Someone I’m huge on is Woody Harrelson, so to see him here in a nice little supporting role is great. Even his voice is fun, but the character itself is great; he is kind of sleazy, yet he’s one of the better of the lot. Just little bits make him so fun: meeting with a transsexual, played wonderfully by Michael K. Williams, and slapping her ass; picking a joint out of the garbage; snorting some drugs in the backseat of a cruiser.
Someone I love while not actually loving a whole of the movies he’s in is Anthony Mackie. I’m always rooting for him to get better roles. Here, he plays a dirty, dirty police officer. All the same, he’s not completely worthless, as his character’s at least partly conflicted sometimes. You can see him wanting to like Affleck’s character, they bond a little, and Mackie plays that role so right, with faint hesitation and plenty of emotion. On the other side is Casey Affleck, another actor I personally enjoy. He has this laid back sensibility about him, some take it as disaffected or boring, but to me it’s just his attitude. His behaviour works proper here because he’s supposed to feel apart from the other cops in the film; he’s sort of cocky, but not in a disingenuous way. Him and Mackie have nice chemistry together, as well as with Harrleson in their few scenes.
Aaron Paul is great, too. Part of his character is similar to Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, but not the entirety. This character, Gabe, was a cop who fell off the track, like crazy. He’s a hardcore addict. And still, there’s a tiny drop of humanity in him. Paul is the perfect casting for this role because he’s able to be a dirtbag drug head and simultaneously play the character as sympathetic, honest, raw.
In addition to these solid performances, the cast is filled up with other great actors. Ejiofor gives an uncharacteristically menacing performance, proving he is not only a nice guy actor. In his brief performance, Reedus is, as usual, charismatic in his rough and rugged way. Clifton Collins Jr is another guy I always love seeing, and here he puts off his gangster cop persona just the right amount. And yes, Williams as Sweet Pea, the glamorous transsexual, is a welcomed addition even if he’s only onscreen for about a single minute. The cast makes this movie what it is. Kate Winslet adds nothing with her bad accent because she doesn’t feel menacing to me – not like Ejiofor, who strikes the right amount of scary bastard. But if it weren’t for the rest of these actors, Triple 9 would be highly mediocre crime-thriller fare.FILM Triple 9 093414
Some reviews I’ve seen are unfair. This is definitely not one of the best crime-thrillers I’ve seen as of late. At the same time, this is still solid. The action is exciting, it will push your adrenaline in certain scenes. It is tense and rarely, if ever, lets up. Also, you have to admire some of the methods these criminals/cops use in their robberies. A few nice, innovative little pieces to add into the movie lexicon. Any decent movie about criminals, especially ones where the criminals are cops and ex-military, so on, is going to have some nice tidbits of criminal activity. For instance, just some of the small moments where they tried covering their tracks, even the fact they spoke Spanish during the first heist and those types of things were nice inclusions. One absolute positive – Hillcoat does a fine job directing here and offers up more with this feature than others will have you believe. Don’t expect the next Heat, but don’t write this off as mediocre. It’s better than that. For all its mistakes, Triple 9 is dark and engaging. Maybe in a day and age where dirty cops are all too prevalent in real life some don’t want for this type of movie. Doesn’t change the fact it’s enjoyable.

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 11: “Knots Untie”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 11: “Knots Untie”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Next World” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet” – click here


Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) give us a bit of enjoyable banter to start this new episode. Their relationship is a whole lot of fun, two very different yet like-minded individuals. A new watch post is starting, with Eugene (Josh McDermitt) taking Sasha’s place alongside Abraham. He doesn’t appear to want that at all. Then we cut to him waking up next to Rosita (Christian Serratos). Everything with the zombies going on, and then they’re all still dealing with real life issues from before: love, relationships, jealousy, falling out of love. The zombie apocalypse makes life shit, but even worse is the fact that humans are the worst part about it all, deep down.
In the garden, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) do some gardening. They’re hoping crops will grow. Meanwhile, there’s a panic on the street.
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Cut to Jesus (Tom Payne) sitting on the steps outside Rick and Michonne’s (Andrew Lincoln/Danai Gurira) room. Then Carl (Chandler Riggs) pulls a gun on him. The kid also learns about his “mom and dad” hooking up. Uh oh. Well, everyone shows up now, Rick shirtless, Michonne, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the rest arrive.
We find out now that Jesus is from a settlement. They grow crops, and they’re a lot like Rick’s group. Turns out they trade… with other people.
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Jesus: “Your worlds about to get a whole lot bigger
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Preparing to head out and see what Jesus has to offer, Rick tells Carl about him and Michonne, that he would have said something regardless, only it literally “just happened” that night. But Carl’s fine, like any understanding young fella.
On the ride out, Abraham asks Glenn, roundabout, whether or not him and Maggie were intending to make babies. Glenn tells him: “Were trying to build something.” Along the road, the crew find an overturned car, zombified corpses already hanging out the side, screaming. Rick immediately holds Jesus at gunpoint. Nobody is playing around at this point, not in any given situation. They’re always on guard. Although, Jesus looks worried for his people; Maggie stays behind holding a gun on him, hands tied behind his back, as the others investigate further inside a nearby building.
Inside, Rick, Abraham, Glenn, Daryl and Michonne find several people who they help out and into the R.V. The people have medication which they’re bringing back. One of them happens to be a doctor. This group also has their sad stories. Soon enough, though, Jesus brings them to their community: Hilltop. The perimeter is lined by large wooden posts, almost like an old pre-18th century settlement. Very cool.
Except at the gates, those guarding it get antsy about Rick’s group having weapons. Jesus calms the situation. Even convinces Rick to trust them, allowing them to keep their weapons rather than giving them over. Inside, it’s very much like a 1700s settlement, with a few modern touches. Supplies from a power company made things a little easier. Barrington House sits in the middle of it all, a historic house preserved, which they built Hilltop around. They’ve also got trailers on the land. We meet Gregory (Xander Berkeley), the boss of the whole operation. He tells them to wash up, then they’ll meet. On the way to get clean, Rick tells Maggie to go first then talk with Gregory – when she asks why, he advises: “I shouldnt.”


When Maggie does meet with Gregory, he talks about the museum, the historic site of the house. She grills him about how they’ve managed to survive. Jesus told Gregory about the group’s situation. Gregory comes on a little too strong, treating her like she’s got nothing to offer. Unfortunately, it seems like Gregory doesn’t want what they’re offering – mostly ammunition.
Jesus hopes to help the group. He wants “a few days“, which they agree to.
Then there’s problems with Negan. Gregory’s people come back, without a couple friends. Then one of them stabs Gregory. Hell breaks loose. Daryl breaks an arm. Abraham is almost choked to death. Rick has a knife to is throat, but manages to stab the guy holding it through his neck. More guns are drawn on Rick. Yet Jesus diffuses the situation.
Later Rick asks more about Negan – head of “The Saviors” and a nasty dude. Appears there’s no messing with Negan, a man who beat a 16-year-old kid to death in front of Jesus and their group, to make them “understand” immediately. Hilltop is forced to give half of their supplies (et cetera) over to Negan. Daryl is more than willing to go find and kill Negan, after meeting some of those bikers on the road. If done, Jesus agrees they’ll strike an agreement with their group.
In his bed, Gregory calls for Maggie. She tries to convince him they’re fit to do the job on Negan. He isn’t so hot on making a deal with them. But Maggie stress they’re “willing to work for it” and Gregory finally decides to go for it. She wants half, though, which Gregory wasn’t prepared to hear. She’s got him figured out.


Gregory: “You want anything else? Kidney, maybe?”
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Rick and the others seem to be taking this lightly. They feel invincible, almost. They’re willing to go up against a man about whom they’ve got no idea. Anyone who’s read the comics is aware. For those uninitiated, Negan is a terrifying individual. Michonne knows “its gonna be a fight” – Rick assuages her doubts: “Well win,” he tells her.
At the same time, Maggie and Glenn have Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) do an ultrasound. They see their baby for the first time. A rare gift in the post-zombie world. Everyone gets a glimpse as it’s passed around the R.V. There’s a certain light in Abraham’s eyes, looking to Glenn in understanding now.
Everyone drives off into the sunset. But rest assured, their world will not be sunny much longer. The approach of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan is coming. And there will be blood, no doubt. Plenty.
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Next episode up, getting closer and closer to the end of the 6th season, is titled “Not Tomorrow Yet” and I cannot wait.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 10: “The Next World”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 10: “The Next World”
Directed by Kari Scogland
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “No Way Out” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Knots Untie”  – click here
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This episode begins with everything settled in Alexandria. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are getting ready for the day. Carl (Chandler Riggs) is up on his feet, bandage over the new hole in his right eye. Outside, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is preparing for a run, while Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) asks him to pick up a few things.
Off go Daryl and Rick, as they hit the road in a nice car. “Todays the day,” says Rick. They’re going to find food, maybe people, too. For his part, Daryl isn’t so sure finding people is a great thing. For now Rick throws on a bit of Ronnie Dee and they travel.


Daryl and Rick go to look at an agricultural depot that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) marked on the map for them. The “law of averages” works out after Daryl and Rick find a truck filled with supplies, which they then head back with towards Alexandria. They stop at a rundown gas station where they find a vending machine tipped on its front. After they turn it over, a man runs out of nowhere and slams into Rick. Guns are drawn. The man says he was “running from the dead“. He introduces himself as Paul Rovia a.k.a Jesus (Tom Payne), asking if they’ve got a camp somewhere. But he doesn’t seem interested in them, taking off behind the station. When Jesus creates a distraction, they realize he’s leaving with the truck. Now, Rick and Daryl are left with no supplies, as well as no wheels to get themselves back home.
Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) is out in the woods walking, shovel in hand. Michonne notices him from the lookout and follows. She helps him discard of a walker coming at him. They talk of his mother a little, but Michonne mostly wants to know why he’s out there. So she keeps on going. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) are out in the woods, too. It seems Carl is going back to wanting to be a kid, after his injury. Although, Enid scoffs: “Were not kids.” She knows the difference.
But kids they are, at least for a moment, eating and reading comics. Enid says she doesn’t want to go out to what looks like their own little spot anymore. Carl agrees and walks off back towards town. On their way, they come across a zombie Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) in the trees. A terribly unfortunate turn of events.


On the road, Daryl and Rick finally catch up to Jesus, who stops to fix a tire. They sneak around flanking him then Jesus breaks some mad karate out on them. After a brief fight, Rick and Daryl both draw their guns. They tie Jesus up and get the keys back. Then they plan on leaving him in the road, heading for Alexandria again; finally.
A ways down the road, they discover Jesus made it onto the roof of the vehicle. They toss him off when Rick stops hard, then Daryl chases him down through a field. One thing leads to another and the truck ends up in a lake, sinking to the bottom. However, interesting to note Jesus saves Daryl from an oncoming walker, before he gets himself knocked out by the truck’s door. Daryl doesn’t want to help him, but Rick suggests they ought, seeing as how Jesus never drew a weapon on either of them the whole time.
Michonne is still busy following Spencer, who wants to have a new life in Alexandria yet has things to do first. In the woods, Michonne ends up spotting Carl being pursued by the undead Deanna. This is what Spencer came out there to do, he needs to put her to rest. A difficult, emotional scene, as Spencer puts a knife into her brain. He only wants to bury his mother, which is obviously why he brought a long a shovel for his walk. Michonne helps carve a D on a nearby tree where Spencer buries her in the soil.


Daryl and Rick go home. With Jesus in their care. Rick says he “finally listened” to what Daryl, Michonne, all of them were saying as they first reached Alexandria, so it’s only natural he now wants to try faith instead of fight at every turn. For those of us who’ve read the comics, you’ll know who Jesus turns out to be, but for those who haven’t? Stay guessing for now.
Michonne scolds Carl for not leaving or killing Deanna. He doesn’t like that, though. He says it had to be someone close to her who killed her once and for all, a person who loved her. For all that’s happened to him, to his mother and his family, Carl still has a lot of humanity. He tells Michonne: “Id do it for you.”
In Alexandria, Rick and Daryl bring Jesus in to be cared for, leaving him a little note and a glass of water. Lots of comedic bits here in this episode, which is fun after the intensity of “No Way Out“.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the final scene. Michonne and Rick sit together in the lamplight on the couch, chatting about their day like normal people might; like a family. Their relationship has progressed a ton since first they met, back when Rick almost sent her to The Governor, to a certain death. Now here they are together – and I mean together. They embrace one another, holding hands and kissing passionately. Maybe they’re exactly what the other needs, especially at this point in time.


Jesus has gotten out and broken into Rick’s place. He says he needs to talk.
Excited for the next episode and what will come after. Jesus is going to prove to be an interesting character, hopefully leading us further and further towards our date with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 8: “Made to Suffer”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 8: “Made to Suffer”
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the previous episode, “When the Dead Come Knocking” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Suicide King” – click here
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The mid-season finale starts off with a new, small group of survivors. They make their way through trees and forest, walkers, everything. Tyreese and Sasha Williams (Chad L. Coleman/Sonequa Martin-Green) lead the way with a couple others, one injured, following behind. Soon, they come across the prison and make their way inside. Will they come up hard against Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the others inside? Let’s find out.


In Woodbury, The Governor (David Morrissey) is further drawing Andrea (Laurie Holden) into his world. Aside from the world he doesn’t tell others about. The one with Penny, his dead, zombified daughter. He still shuts himself away in a secret room trying to get her to return to something normal, something human again. Somehow. Only she runs at him like any other piece of meat. He keeps her hooded and stuck in a caged, chained at the neck. But he still holds her and hugs into her as a child he loves. It is a tragic, sad, disturbing scene to watch. The little girl is a rabid undead monster, and still he tries to bring her back to something she’ll never ever be again.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) leads Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) into the town under cover of darkness. At the same time, Merle (Michael Rooker) tries to ensure The Governor’s plan to infiltrate the prison and kill anyone inside doesn’t get his brother killed.
Soon enough, the streets of Woodbury come alive. Glenn and Maggie mount their own escape, as gunshots blow up. This prompts Rick and Daryl into action, as well. They work their way through the town until coming across the place where their friends are being held. A tense few seconds see Maggie and Glenn being hooded, carried off, before Rick and the gang tear gas everybody and extract them to safety. On the streets, gunfire still pops off in the night. Andrea is trying to help, as The Governor scrambles to get things done: “You shoot to kill“, he tells a group of people. In the whole hustle of things, Michonne is cut off from the group, which doesn’t bother Rick as he’s mostly just concerned with getting Glenn and Maggie back to the prison. Glenn tells Daryl about what Merle did, that he’s a sort of “lieutenant” to The Governor; obviously the younger Dixon wants to try reconnecting with his brother, though, the others are eager to get out of Dodge.


Michonne sneaks her way into The Governor’s apartment and sits to wait for him, sword drawn. A confrontation is brewing. Whereas the comics had The Governor doing terrifying things to Michonne, their rivalry in the series is not near as heated. But nonetheless, their eventual stand-off is going to be something of epic proportions.
At the same time, Rick and Daryl and the others try to escape Woodbury. Bullets fly from every gun on the street, smoke covers the ground. One intensely hallucinogenic moment comes after Rick sees the vision of Shane (Jon Bernthal) walking up from out of the mist, a menacing, animal look in his eyes. Shooting him dead, Rick naturally finds it was only a dreamy image of his damaged, guilty mind. But an effective dream moment we don’t usually get from The Walking Dead.
Taking care of things at the prison, Carl (Chandler Riggs) tries to be the big tough man. While Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Beth (Emily Kinney) insist otherwise Carl goes down into the tombs. He hears voices far off somewhere. When he finds the source, it’s Tyreese, Sasha and their group. They try to fight off a pack of walkers, saved by Carl’s expert pre-pubescent gun skills. He brings the group back up near their cellblock, but smartly refuses to let them in where Hershel and Beth are staying.
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Finally discovering the worst, Michonne comes across Penny. At first she thinks the girl is being held captive. Then she figures out Penny is a little zombie. The scene is interrupted by The Governor who holds Michonne at gunpoint begging for his daughter not to be finished off. Our confrontation begins. And when Michonne ignores the pleas – “Dont hurt my little girl” – and puts a sword through her mouth, The Governor attacks. They fight one another brutally, as he first tries choking Michonne to death, to which she retorts with a chokehold of her own. The fight is a savage one, even seeing Michonne’s face smashed through the tanks holding walker heads, still chomping. A close call or two like that sees us hoping Michonne makes it out alive. Then she palms a shard of glass and puts it right through his eyeball. Right then and there, Andrea shows up holding a gun to Michonne; gun against sword they circle each other briefly. “What have you done?” asks Andrea, not knowing the kind of man she’s been bedding anyways. Eventually, though, away walks Michonne and Andrea goes to tend to her lover.
Watching Andrea look at the carnage, the walker heads and The Governor crying over his little girl, it is a strange sight. She can’t be stupid enough to keep drinking his Kool-Aid now. If you can imagine it, The Governor is now about to be more dangerous. His calm, thin veneer is drawn back and he is exposed to the world. Having one less eye has finally turned him into the monster he was inside, only this time he is that monster for all to see.


With Daryl separated from Rick and the others, Michonne offers to be the best help possible. Problem? Daryl’s been taken by the people of Woodbury.
The town gathers together, as The Governor gives them all a little speech about hard times, the old days, how rough things were once so rough when they sat “huddled scared in front of the t.v.” He truly is one of those Ronald Reagan types, spouting to the masses, acting and being a prop for all the bad things happening underneath. Now Merle is being called a traitor by his boss, the attack pinned on him, a perfect scapegoat. We’re further revealed the Dixon Brothers will face something nasty in the arena, for entertainment, for punishment, and for the sick mind of The Governor.


Next episode is “The Suicide King”, which originally picked up after mid-season break. Stay tuned, as I watch it over again and bring you another review.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 7: “When the Dead Come Knocking”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 7: “When the Dead Come Knocking”
Directed by Daniel Sackhelm
Written by Frank Renzulli

* For a review of the previous episode, “Hounded” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Made to Suffer” – click here
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This vicious entry in the third season starts with Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) interrogating Glenn (Steven Yeun). As Maggie (Lauren Cohan) listens on in the next room, strapped to a chair, her man is being tortured, as Merle looks to find where they’re living. He wants to find his brother Daryl (Norman Reedus), but wouldn’t mind getting his hands on Officer Friendly, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
Speaking of Rick, he’s watching Michonne (Danai Gurira) right outside the fence of the prison. The walkers finally tune in to her being around, so Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) stand there as she fends off a group of them. Her wound is getting worse then she passes out, which prompts the Grimes men to intervene finally. Or at least Carl does, anyways, surprising his father. They both head out and clear a path, hauling Michonne to safety and taking in the goods she brought. Best of all, they determine she was shot and not bitten by walkers. They take her inside. At least for now. Rick has her locked out of the cellblock for the time being.
Then, Daryl reveals to them all that Carol (Melissa McBride) is alive. She is happy to see them all, receiving hugs and all sorts of love. But also she discovers the baby without Lori, as she and Rick and Carl each share a few tears. Emotionally charged scene with a whole lot going on, which is something Michonne sees and you can tell it affects her. Perhaps this is a group she might someday be able to belong to, in her own mind.


Slippers and a robe on, The Governor (David Morrissey) receives Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts) at the door. Apparently Mr. Coleman is ready – whoever that is.
At the prison, Michonne reveals Glenn and Maggie were taken and that’s why she had the formula when she arrived. Nobody trusts her, which is understandable. We do because we’re privileged with all the information. Slowly, she reveals the presence of survivors in the town of Woodbury, talking of The Governor and even calling him a “Jim Jones type“.
Swing back to Merle, who has Glenn’s face beat in, bleeding, purple and puffy. Except Glenn is one tough cookie. He warns of Rick coming to find them, what he’ll do. Merle isn’t afraid, but Glenn says: “Weve been on the road. Not hiding in some dungeon.” Problem is he doesn’t know about Andrea, which gives Merle a slight advantage he’ll use in some way.
The plan at the prison is for Rick and a few others to go to Woodbury and find the lost couple. Even the remaining prisoners agree to help, as best they can. Carl and Beth (Emily Kinney) are ready to do their part, too. Everybody is helping and doing what they can. Another brief father-son chat happens between Carl and Rick, starting out surrounding the boy having to finish off his mother; Rick trusts his boy to protect the people at the prison, which is a great thing to see. They end up deciding on a name finally, coming from Carl’s third grade teacher: Judith. A touching moment in between the harshness of their world.


Milton is experimenting in his little lab at Woodbury. The Mr. Coleman he spoke of is a subject they’re using to test where reanimation happens, how it does, and so on. Apparently the older gentleman is doing Woodbury “a great service“, or so The Governor fawns over him. Andrea’s brought in to help things along with Milton, which involves the playing of a record, the slight ringing of a bell and specific commands and statements from Milton. It is all meant to test the boundaries of the zombie virus, the functions of the brain after death and going into the void of the undead. All sorts of scientific stuff Milton hopes to understand. See, Mr. Coleman is dying and they’re trying to figure out more about walkers.
More disturbing things are happening in the room where Glenn is held. Merle lets a walker loose in the room with him. Glenn fights it off, still duct taped to a chair. He manages to bust out slightly and keep the thing from biting him. Very cool scene with an interesting zombie kill, also showing how resourceful Glenn is, and what a survivor he has become over time.
The most disturbing is when The Governor goes to see Maggie, tied to the chair. For a moment I was sure he would inflict some terrible kind of treatment, sexual abuse, on her. It is an ominous few moments between the two, as he puts a terrible fear in Maggie. And us. But she is defiant and refuses to give in to any of his tactics, telling him to do what he wants and to “go to hell“.


Out on the road, Michonne leads Rick and Daryl towards Woodbury. A large horde of walkers comes from the woods to keep everyone busy. With too many bearing down the group slips further into the trees where they find a lodge of some sort. Inside, a rotten dead dog stinks the place up. Better than outside where the dead line every inch of the lodge’s exterior. Rick finds a crazy man sleeping under a blanket on a bed. He threatens everybody’s safety ending in a shot fired and then Michonne putting her sword through the man to prevent walkers getting in. “Remember the Alamo?” quips Daryl looking out at the thicket of walking corpses crowding them inside. They feed the dead man to the walkers out front and sneak through the back, as the distraction works perfectly.
The heat turns up in Woodbury with The Governor threatening death against Glenn in order to illicit a response from Maggie. She obviously gives up the prison, its location, how many survivors are left there, and anything else they need. Sad to hear the information given up, but what else would you do? Maggie clearly doesn’t want to watch the love of her life die, not after everything. And Glenn almost explodes seeing a topless Maggie being treated how she is by The Governor. They’re left alone. Except now things are getting wilder, as The Governor’s paranoia sets in. At the very same time, Rick and his small crew have arrived at the gates of Woodbury. They stand ready to take back their people, to infiltrate.
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The episode ends with Andrea strolling back to the new place she seemingly sleeps at night, everything appearing fine, The Governor wringing his hands and worrying about the next step, and just outside Rick Grimes poises to mount his offensive on the sleepy town of Woodbury.
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Next episode is titled “Made to Suffer” and is sure to bring plenty of madness, excitement, paranoia, and naturally… death.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 6: “Hounded”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 6: “Hounded”
Directed by Daniel Attias
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Say the Word” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “When the Dead Come Knocking” – click here
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Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) is leading the charge searching for Michonne (Danai Gurira). He’s got a couple people from Woodbury with him, including a young guy he calls Neil (Dave Davis). Out of the woods Michonne comes killing the others, leaving Merle and Neil alive. After the confrontation, Merle stands defiant: “Are we having fun yet?” he calls out into the forest, as she slips away after their fight.
Back to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in the tombs of the prison, among the dead walkers, in the place where his wife dead. He received a phone call from someone who won’t say where they are, who they, who is with them. Rick pleads with them for help, but the woman on the other hangs up. Meanwhile, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and the others eat together. When they do see Rick again he’s slightly better. But not near well. Glenn (Steven Yeun) talks about making a run for supplies, Daryl gives Rick an update on other plans. Yet off Sheriff Grimes goes again, by himself. Into the tombs.
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In Woodbury there’s a better relationship brewing between Andrea (Laurie Holden) and The Governor (David Morrissey). She wasn’t impressed with their big show the night before, having Merle give off a big three-ring circus style act with walkers. Although, she wants to stay, and to contribute. The Governor agrees to have her.
Rick continues to talk to other voices on the phone. This time, a man. Again he gets hung up after a bit of conversation. Frustrating, no? Or is it all in Rick’s head?
Andrea proves her worth in the new town by taking down a walker, jumping over the Woodbury wall to get it. Only the girl she’s on guard with doesn’t seem too impressed. “This isnt a game,” she tells Andrea, who only looks confused. And she ought to be, having turned the world outside into just as much of a game, a “release” as she put it, as the circus Merle was putting off the night before.
Hershel finds Rick in the prison tombs. He tries to talk with the distraught father and widower. Rick reveals the call he received and Hershel tries listening to the phone; we don’t hear any dial tone, does he? Either way, Rick sends Hershel off and wants to stay alone.


Coming across Michonne, the team of Merle and Neil find Michonne. Then a zombie attack breaks out. Everyone fends for themselves, as poor Michonne slices one walker open and its guts pour onto her stomach, chest, face. Nasty, and amazing makeup effects done by the KNB wizards.
At the prison, Daryl talks with Carl (Chandler Riggs), as he and a couple others explore the tomb-like tunnels. We get the story of Mama Dixon burning herself to death in bed after falling asleep with a cigarette. Then Carl tells Daryl about having to kill his mom: “I ended it. It was real. Sorry about your mom.” “Im sorry about yours,” replies Daryl.
Meeting with The Governor, we hear Andrea admit to enjoying the fights, as opposed to her earlier sentiments. He seems to have her pegged, to know what she’s all about. He also believes he’s “growing” on her. In other news, Merle is trying to get Neil back to Woodbury. The younger guy is giving Merle a bit of hell over what they have to tell The Governor re: Michonne. She’s been shot by Merle, and he’s sure she’ll die. Nevertheless, the oldest Dixon puts a bullet between Neil’s eyes and leaves it at that. Always a survivor.
Michonne is covered in the walker guts after crossing paths with Merle. Lucky for her: the zombies don’t even notice her.


While on their run, Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) end up being watched from afar by Michonne. For her part, Andrea’s lounging in a lush green garden drinking booze with The Governor. They’re becoming closer and closer with each passing scene.
The most interesting is when Merle shows up where Glenn and Maggie are scavenging, Michonne still waiting in the wings. When Merle starts a fight things get tense. He makes Glenn drop his gun, Maggie at gunpoint in his own grip, all with Michonne watching. When they drive off she’s left alone, shot, and wondering what to do next.
Another call for Sheriff Grimes. He picks up the receiver and hears a familiar voice – Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). The whole time he’s been talking to Amy, Jim, Jacqui. All their dead friends. This is a devastating scene for Rick, as he sort of compounds all his failures, crying and telling Lori: “I couldnt put it back together.” His breakdown is tough to witness. He’s meant to be that never-wavering alpha leader. But that’s also why Rick is a well written character, whose faults and stumbles are present, always. Yet further he soldiers on in the hardest, most trying times of this new life in the post-zombie apocalypse world.


With Andrea in bed, The Governor’s successfully conned her into his life. Sad, as she’s one smart character. Usually. At the door Merle tells his boss about losing the three people in his search party, or, he lies about what happened. He says Michonne is dead, claiming the head and her sword were “torn up” in the scuffle. Things are lightened when The Governor is made aware of the new hostages, Glenn and Maggie. Merle is apparently getting ready to extract a little info.
Finally, Rick goes back to his son, his daughter, and the rest of the group. He looks long at his new child before picking her up out of Hershel’s arms. The light slowly returns to his eyes and brightens his soul a bit. We can sense a change in that moment, more of the incredible acting talent Andrew Lincoln brings to the role.
In the tombs, Daryl holds the knife belonging to Carol (Melissa McBride). He gets angrier and angrier, opening the door they’d noticed earlier was pushing open slightly and finds Carol herself, right there. A happy reunion in all of the bitter brutality. Outside, Rick notices something off in the distance. He gives the baby to Carl and heads down to the fence where he finds Michonne, carrying formula in a small handcart Maggie and Glenn were stocking up. They lock eyes before the episode cuts to back.


Next up is “When the Dead Come Knocking”. Stay with me.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 5: “Say the Word”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 5: “Say the Word”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “Killer Within” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Hounded” – click here
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We start by seeing The Governor (David Morrissey) with a small girl, a walker. Her name is Penny. He’s obviously caring for his daughter even after death has come for her, then brought her back. It is a creepy, unsettling sight. Then, from his window, he sees Michonne (Danai Gurira). She is always watching now, waiting. She knows something is rotten in the town of Woodbury.
Over at the prison, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is having a tough time dealing with the loss of his wife. Carl (Chandler Riggs) handles it like a tough young man. Everyone else is trying to help the new baby. Hershel (Scott Wilson) says they need baby formula soon, so Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) agree to go on a run. Glenn (Steven Yeun) tries his best to take charge.
But Rick goes back inside the prison on a warpath, chopping down zombie after zombie. He is loosening at the seams, no doubt. And who wouldn’t be at that point?


The Governor’s busy not worrying much about other things in the new post-apocalypse life. He toasts his town on the doorstep, reminiscing on times of “Spam and saltine crackers“. Upstairs, though, Michonne slips into his apartment to get her samurai sword back. She finds a book with a bunch of names marked down. The final one? Penny, underlined. Followed by pages of small ink strokes. By the hundreds. She has to hide away before slipping out of the apartment as Merle (Michael Rooker), Milton (Dallas Roberts) and The Governor come in to grab a few supplies. Seems there’s a big party of some sort planned for that night, although Milton isn’t impressed; his experiments need power these little shindigs are leeching.
We see Michonne out investigating other areas of Woodbury. She finds a big cage locked up and full of walkers. Letting them out, one by one they fall by her sword. A bad motherfucker. This puts her in trouble with The Governor, as he scolds her for “poking around other peoplesthings“. Their moments get tense after she brings up Penny, nearly stopping his heart cold. Only that leadership attitude and demeanour comes out, he fawns like some zombie apocalypse Ronald Reagan, smiling for the cameras and doing quite another thing behind closed doors. Maybe even more like a Nixon. Or any number of nasty U.S. Presidents. Either way, he is a politician. Just a different kind in the new wasteland. He and Michonne have their confrontation, which puts strain not only on her whole existence but also her friendship with Andrea (Laurie Holden), who still remains consistently blind to what The Governor is underneath it all.


Digging graves, Glenn is busy working. He and Hershel mourn the life of T-Dog. They also worry for Maggie sharing a beautiful moment together, embracing hands through the prison yard’s fence. It is sad to see them always having to lose someone. The new life of the wasteland is unfair and cruel.
Andrea and The Governor are having a few words now. She doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with the man, but there is a part of her which doesn’t fully trust Michonne either. Even though Andrea owes her life to that woman, for saving her among the vast loneliness of the forest. Michonne knows there is something else behind the facade of Woodbury, and Andrea won’t simply leave. She says “I think we need this“. “This place is not what they say it is,” replies Michonne.
In the tomb-like tunnels of the prison Glenn searches for Rick. Only walker bodies lay strewn along the floor. He finds Rick standing in the dark, bloody axe by his side. Blood everywhere. Rick looks terrifying. Glenn tries talking to him, reasoning, to save the man from any further grief. But when Glenn touches his arm Rick loses it for a second and throws him against a wall. Actually frightened me for a second. He tosses Glenn aside before heading back into the dark hallway nearby.
Merle has Milton out hunting for new walker specimens. They take one down, then start pulling out its teeth. What’s the deal here? Are these just for experiments, or what were all those “captive biters” for earlier – the ones Michonne found?


On the road, Maggie and Daryl find a nursery with some supplies: bottles, diapers, all sorts of things. Even a possum for dinner.
In Woodbury, we watch as Michonne and Andrea begin to leave. Only they aren’t on the same page. Then there’s Merle trying to sweet talk them into staying. Andrea says she’s tired, she doesn’t want to go out on the run surviving like they did. Their dream once upon a time was “a refuge”, but Michonne knows there are hideous things lurking beyond the periphery there in that makeshift town. The Governor is a dangerous man. Michonne leaves saying “Youd just slow me down anyway“.
When Daryl and Maggie return to the prison they bring formula, which calms the baby down. He even cradles the child, feeding her. Carl suggests naming her Sophia, maybe Andrea, Jacqui, Patricia. Only Daryl suggests “LilAss Kicker” sounds better.
At the same time Rick is down in the spot where Lori died. His mind is unraveling. He finds a a walker, shoves his gun in its mouth and pulls the trigger. It’s a real visceral, nasty kill.


Finally, some of the dirty undercurrent of Woodbury comes out when The Governor takes Andrea to a large arena style show they’ve got going on. Music is playing, fire blazes and everyone is sitting in stands clapping, yelling. Then the lights come up on several chained walkers. Out comes Cesar Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Merle Dixon. They’re fighting, surrounded by the zombies. In the stands a man hoists his little boy up on his shoulders to watch the show. Merle and Cesar square off in the ring looking like they’re having the time of their lives. When Andrea is sickened by the spectacle The Governor says it’s how they “blow off steam” in Woodbury. He reveals it’s all staged – that is what the teeth pulling earlier was, as if ‘sports entertainment’ is a required part of their camp. Maybe it is, but the whole thing seems a tad morbid to me.
In the boiler room where Rick sits by the dead walker he brutalized, a phone begins to ring. It’s sitting nearby and Rick goes to it, confused. “Hello?” he answers, as the episode cuts to black.


Interesting development. Next up is “Hounded” where we’ll see Michonne more, as well as the new state of mind in which Rick finds himself.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Sang Kyu Kim

* For a review of the previous episode, “Walk with Me” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Say the Word” – click here
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This episode starts with a dead deer carcass being dragged off by someone also holding a jerrycan. Two walkers end up coming across bits and pieces of the deer. Then across the concrete someone runs, axe in hand. They chop the lock from a gate then lay a fresh heart on the ground before running off. Mysterious, eerie. Foreboding.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) are doing some work in the prison yard. They need help, but Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are busy having sex up in the guard tower. Lighthearted moment when Daryl calls out to them, breaking up their little time alone. But things get back to seriousness, as prisoners Axel (Lew Temple) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) come outside. This breaks their previous pact. But the two men are sick of being stuck inside with all their dead former friends. It’s tough with bodies everywhere, blood, guts. People they were locked up with in there for years. Most of them don’t want to let the prisoners in with them. Although, T-Dog is a little more willing to work on it instead of essentially letting these men die. A bit of talk happens before things are settled.


Back at Woodbury, we find Michonne (Danai Gurira) checking the place out. She investigates everything. Including one of the National Guard vehicles, which still has blood on it. The Governor (David Morrissey) appears, constantly trying to sell the place: “We could use a soldier like you.” She is not at all impressed or convinced. Further than that, she’s suspicious already of what exactly happened with the National Guardsmen. Also, Michonne points out the bullet holes in the vehicle. Of course The Governor has an answer for everything. He’s a sly, greasy man. We know that there’s something wrong, underneath it all, having seen his virtual wall of floating walker heads. Nasty stuff. He’s all about the surface – appearance, identity. Whatever works is The Governor’s game.
The prison is stable for the time being. And so is Hershel (Scott Wilson). Inside, Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Beth (Emily Kinney) try to help the older fella adjust to his new situation on one leg. Things aren’t exactly peachy, though, they could be far worse. That group, Rick, Daryl, all of them, they are a special breed of survivor.
At the same time, Andrea and Michonne are both survivors in their own right. It seems like Andrea is sliding into believing Woodbury might be a good place to stay after all. Michonne does not agree. Are they going to reach an agreement somehow? They’re better together, not apart.


Rick, Daryl and Glenn are leading some improvements on the prison yard. The plan is to, someday soon, plants crops in the soil; first, the bodies must be cleared. Getting fresh air Hershel admires their latest home. This is a refreshing sight to see. Not only does Maggie enjoy watching her father up on his own, there’s also a reaffirming look between Lori and Rick.
Then behind Carl and his mother, Hershel and Beth, a pack of walkers appear. Out by the fences, Daryl, Rick and Glenn rush fast as they can to help the others. All of a sudden, as is in the new zombie wasteland, a normal day has turned into the savage fight to survive we see now. Never can a day just go by without having to fight for your life, which is a brutal lesson these people are learning all over again. Worst of all? T-Dog gets bitten in the shoulder trying to secure a fence. His fate is sealed.
Meanwhile, there’s Merle trying to get information out of Andrea. He makes The Governor and Woodbury out to be the be-all end-all of human civilization, of course, but that’s to be expected. He rags on Daryl for becoming a part of the other group, following Rick, yet there Merle is sucking up to The Governor every chance he gets, to his face or to someone else.


The prison’s become a mess. Chaos and tragedy. In the tomb-like tunnels, T-Dog shuffles along bit promising to get Carol out of there, one way or another. Simultaneously, Carl manages to protect his mother for a little while with Maggie helping. But Lori’s pregnancy is about to make things fairly difficult.
Stark contrast with The Governor back at Woodbury, up on one of the walls cracking golf balls into the road down the way. One ball smacks a zombie in the face. Merle admires The Governor’s drive, again puckering up. Merle also suggests a scouting mission: he wants, needs, to find Daryl. Only the leader doesn’t find it that attractive of a plan. He doesn’t want to spare the men, nor does he want Merle gone either when a solo trip is suggested. Is this really under the guise of protecting Merle? Or is it selfish? The Governor feels threatened, thinking maybe Merle would run off and leave Woodbury. Shows how fragile of a leadership there is in him. A little later, The Governor meets privately with Andrea. Though she says they’re leaving, definitely. Goodbyes are said. Only I don’t feel like the two women are going anywhere. Not Andrea, anyways.
Rick is trying to track down his family. Him, Daryl, Glenn and the two prisoners rush through the prison to look for a way to shut down the alarm, ringing loud, drawing walkers from out of the woods towards the building. And Lori is stuck in a boiler room, Maggie and her son alongside, ready to give birth. The oldest Greene daughter is now tasked with helping to deliver a baby, a partially traumatized Carl trying his best to stay strong, on watch with his gun in hand. This is one of the most intense and rough scenes in The Walking Dead history. Quickly, things start to go wrong.
A sacrifice is made by T-Dog as he and Carol try getting through the prison tunnels. He suppresses several walkers, taking bite after bite in the arms, then the neck, all for Carol to run free and make it back outside. Always tragic character deaths in this series. Sad. I loved T-Dog; Irone Singleton does a great job with him, even if he doesn’t always get enough time onscreen. Either way, too bad to see him go.


Rick finally tracks down the culprit of all the mayhem in the prison – the prisoner he’d told to run after their confrontation with Tomas ended bloodily. After a bit of wrestling and fighting, Oscar ends up with the gun. Instead of shooting Rick, he shoots his former friend then hands the gun over to Sheriff Grimes. Unexpected, yet excellent. They’ve developed at least a tenuous bond to stay alive, as long as they’re in the same walls.
Troubled times ahead for the Grimes family, though.
Things aren’t going well for Lori and her birth. She needs the baby saved, there are complications, and insists on it, to Maggie’s dismay. It looks as if the mother may not necessarily make it out of this alive. She tells Carl “you take care of your daddy for me“, telling him he’s “so brave“. An emotionally terrifying scene to watch a young son and his mother in this situation. The advice she gives him breaks my heart. I don’t actually love Lori as a character, but these moments will kill you, unless you’re dead inside. Their goodbye is tender, full of tears. Lori doesn’t want Rick to have to kill her when everything is over, as she once said to Hershel; she asks Maggie to do the deed. And then Maggie cuts into her stomach, opening it up to get the baby out. It is a bloody, visceral minute or so before the baby starts to cry, alive and well.
Even worse is afterward when Carl has to shoot his mom in the head. He flashes back to when Rick told him about death, and “no more kid stuff“. The shot rings out while Maggie is around the corner, then Carl walks away emotionless. Such a savage world in which to grow up.


The mangled body of T-Dog is found by Rick and Daryl. They find Hershel and Beth safely, assuming Carol might have been killed, as well. And just as they stop talking, Rick hears a baby crying. Out Maggie and Carl come with the newborn child. No Lori. This prompts one of the most emotionally devastating scenes in the entire series; to date. Rick breaks down, literally crumpling on the ground. Everyone is shocked to their core. The end, for another chapter.


Next episode is “Say the Word”. More blood, death, despair. And what else?

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by Nichole Beattie

* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “Seed” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Walk With Me” – click here
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This second episode of Season 3 starts with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) trying to save Hershel (Scott Wilson), having cut off his leg at the end of the premiere. Everyone works to get him back to a bed, to safety. Carl (Chandler Riggs) lets them back in, where Beth (Emily Kinney), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carol (Melissa McBride) try their best to help save the old man. Everyone is, rightfully, in a panic.
At the door, Daryl (Norman Reedus) waits for the prisoners to show up. The ones who appeared in the cafeteria. They’re obviously curious about what’s been happening. Further than that they have no idea about the world has become outside. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) helps keep them at bay, for now. Rick tasks Glenn (Steven Yeun) with being by Hershel’s side, in case the worst happens. Meanwhile, Sheriff Grimes heads to tackle the prisoner problem head-on. He wants to resolve things amicably, though, keeps a tough edge. He has to give the grim news of the post-zombie apocalypse world to these guys. They’ve only heard the crazy rumours and stories, locked in the prison for “294 days“.


Rick allows the prisoners outside, but their leader Tomas (Nick Gomez) isn’t being easy to get along with, in the slightest. Others like Axel (Lew Temple) and Big Tiny (Theodus Crane) are more willing to go along to get along. Even with all the news Rick breaks to them Tomas is bent on doing things his way. Except Rick tells them how things are now in the prison: “We took it, set you free; its ours! We spilled blood.” Soon, Tomas bows down. Reluctantly and for now. A deal is struck – guns and ammo for food, they each take their own cell block. Rick further agrees to help clear another block for them.
The chopped stump of Hershel is stable. He’s passed out, resting. Carol and Lori try their best to get one another through everything, even joking candidly with each other. Rick, Daryl and T-Dog try to settle things with the prisoners, to ensure more safety going forward. They get their hands on some of the food the prisoners had stashed away. At the moment, things are going steady and looking clear. Although, Maggie is worried for her father while Beth even starts preparing a new pair of pants for her father, one with a leg sewn up. Hershel isn’t out of the choppy water yet, but he’s alive. That’s the best they can ask for now.
Things with Rick and Lori aren’t exactly on the up and up. He doesn’t feel supported by Lori, after the way she seemed to handle the situation with Shane. But now she tries to assure him that she is on his side. All the same, Rick doesn’t exactly feel confident in any of that. The two of them are on shaky ground. Worst time to be, as she prepares to have a baby some time down the road, not too far away.


Lori: “I thought, maybe, you were coming out here to talk about us. Maybe theres nothing to talk about anymore.”
Rick: “Were awful grateful for what you did.”
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Maggie says her goodbyes to Hershel with him lying sickly in bed, surely near death. “Be peaceful,” she weeps, “if its time to go thats okay.” It is so heartbreaking to watch, not knowing whether or not Hershel will pull through.
Simultaneously, we’re back in the darkened tomb-like halls of the prison. This time it’s with Rick, Daryl, T-Dog and the prisoners. Seeing Rick and his group juxtaposed with other groups is always so striking. Because they were once so innocent and didn’t know what they know now. They stand back and watch as the prisoners go hacking and slashing at the zombies, not doing anything Rick suggested, such as go for the head, the brain. Almost funny, really.
Back to the cell block, Carl strolls in with a ton of supplies. He went on a run himself, even “killed two walkers“. The boy is trying to take on a bigger role, to be the man. Instead he gets no praise and only crap from his mother, even Beth who suggests he shouldn’t talk back to Lori the way he does. Sad, even though I get the concern. He’s only trying his best to grow up in a tough world, trying to take care of his people, and above all else his mother. In the other block, Big Tiny gets attacked by zombies, stabbed by one of their broken boned hands and bitten. Things with the prisoners then start to deteriorate by the second. But Rick and Daryl are prepared.
When things go to shit in the laundry room, Tomas almost takes Rick out. A little conversation afterwards turns quickly into murder when Rick plants a machete directly in the skull of Tomas. The other prisoners soon agree to let bygones be bygones, and a further deal is struck. Luckily, it looks as if the big trouble with the prisoners is over after Tomas bit the dust. One super tense scene has Rick locking a prisoner outside after he runs, advising: “You better run.” The screams from him outside are bloodcurdling.


My favourite scene is actually when Maggie and the others think Hershel is dead, after it appears his breath stops. For a second, you star to think Hershel might actually come back as a zombie. A few moments pass, after Lori tries giving CPR. Then he comes back: as himself. Dear ole Hershel managed to make it through to the other side and survived his injuries. Not without scaring Lori, the ladies and Carl – who points his gun shakily – near to death.
Rick and the others arrive back at their cell block, everyone crowded around Hershel. And then his eyes open slowly. He wakes again and the light in the eyes of everybody else returns. A glimmer of hope appears in them all, even a hardened Rick who unlocks handcuffs they put on Hershel, in case he did turn. Hershel reaches out for Rick’s hand saying nothing, but the look on his face saying everything. He is thankful for a man like Rick Grimes, who went to extreme lengths in order to save his life. A fitting moment between the two characters.
Also, Carol realizes with Hershel temporarily out of the game, child birth falls on her. She is responsible to make sure Lori’s baby is delivered, and appropriately. She takes to using walkers as practice, using the Cesarean section. But then someone watches her from afar, out in the woods; we see only their perspective. Who is it lurking? A new enemy, a threat?
And Lori still won’t stop giving Rick a hard time. He keeps trying his best, she continually second guesses him, even after he took charge and protected his family at all costs. They are clearly having troubles. Yet these aren’t the days of sitting on the couch, talking out problems. They aren’t going to just get past their differences, but still, Lori harps on their relationship too hard, at every turn. She can never let Rick be, let him get on with everything. Their strain will become the group’s, at some point. Now or later.


The next episode is titled “Walk With Me” and it really begins to amp things up, as a community of survivors elsewhere emerges, and we get more of Andrea/Michonne.