The Walking Dead – Season 8, Episode 4: “Some Guy”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 4: “Some Guy”
Directed by Dan Liu
Written by David Leslie Johnson

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Monsters” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Big Scary U” – click here


We see Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) transform in front of the mirror, from a regular man to a King. He heads out ready to walk into battle as the Kingdom joins the Hilltop, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), to fight against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors. People may find the King a bit odd in this post-zombie apocalypse, however, he does bring hope to others in a dark time.
We will fight, and we will bleed, and yet I smile.”
Cut to the aftermath. Bodies, blood everywhere. Many from the Kingdom dead, including those who toppled on the King to keep him safe. He emerges from a pile of his dead friends, wounded, yet alive. He’s left in the wreckage. Some of them start reanimating. Will the wasteland finally break his spirit after such sacrifice? Will he survive with that fucked up leg? Our King is in a tough spot.
Luckily he makes it to a weapon, though that only lasts so long. Zombie friends everywhere. One of his men is still around and helps him out before anything worse happens. Meanwhile, in the towers nearby, the machine guns are packed up after a successful massacre. Sneaking in behind the men there is my lady Carol (Melissa McBride). She waits for the perfect time and pumps them all full of holes from the ceiling. Yeah, she bad! She escapes just in time before more men show up.
Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 2.30.10 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-13 at 2.33.15 AMOne of the Saviors comes across the King taking him back. Oh, damn. They get back to the compound, as Carol starts a war inside the fences, firing on everybody, though she’s a bit in over her head. Ezekiel tries getting free of his captor, but it’s to no avail. And when it’s convenient, the guy leaves the King to the horde of walkers nearby. He’s about to kill him, before Ezekiel’s saved by his main man Jerry (Cooper Andrews). But the King is still shaken by his captor, who challenged the authority of his little ruse of royalty. He tries to regain his confidence fighting the horde side by side with Jerry as they laid siege upon by the dead.
Carol gives herself up to the Saviors, coming out from cover unarmed. When one man gets close enough she takes him by knifepoint at the throat. The other Saviors shoot him, and Carol manages to hit the gate’s button, letting zombies in at the Saviors.
Zombies, zombies, everywhere! Everyone is surrounded. Carol’s got the men outside in a predicament., She wants the weaponry, the ammo, and she’s pushing to see if they’ll walk away, if she can keep them scared. But then she also sees Ezekiel and Jerry, nearly swallowed whole by all those walkers. Will she leave them to die and go for the weapons? Nah. I don’t think so.
We quickly cut back to before the madness, with Ezekiel and Carol talking. She questions if he’s fought much before. He says that he’ll will himself into what is required. The catalyst of his becoming is borne of when he saw Shiva trapped, needing help: “I wanted to be the one who leapt.” There are big similarities between Carol and Ezekiel; she, most certainly, went through SO MUCH to become the person she is now at this point, and she is tougher than most of the men around her.
Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 2.43.05 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-13 at 2.51.57 AMCarol chooses to save her friend rather than get the guns. Morals over necessity; good woman. Jerry, Ezekiel, and Carol get away, and she’s got a good feeling those guns aren’t getting away. Because Daryl (Norman Reedus) is on those guys, with Rick not far behind. They don’t anticipate a machine gun in the back, and Daryl nearly gets gunned down. Former sheriff Grimes doesn’t fuck around, he goes after them. Balls to the wall. He and Daryl are a great team, taking out machine guy dude and throwing the driver off his game. Rick pulls a sick action movie move, jumping into the vehicle as they drive, stabbing the driver and trying to take the wheel. This sends him flying off the road. Not as slick as possible; effective, nonetheless. They’ve got themselves some guns, baby!
On the road, Carol and her buddies are going strong. Except there’s a nasty spill of sewage from a drain pipe along a canal, a bunch of gross zombies. They get past, except Ezekiel believes he’s got to face a bunch of them alone. He’s having a crisis of identity, a breakdown. Well, that is before Shiva shows up tearing a bunch of walkers to bits, letting her friends get free. She dies underneath a pack of them; and I cried a bunch, honestly.
I aint no King. Im just some guy.”
Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 2.55.30 AMWhat a whopper of an episode. So sad Shiva died, that truly broke me up hard. What a beast, a beautiful creature who died defending her friend. A heartbreaking moment, especially for Ezekiel, whose crisis of identity will only get worse. Wow. Emotionally heavy and a bunch of action.
“The Big Scary U” is next week, looks like a familiar face may return for a flashback? Maybe? We’ll see.

Advertisements

The Walking Dead – Season 8, Episode 3: “Monsters”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 3: “Monsters”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Damned” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Some Guy” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.22.39 AMEzekiel (Khary Payton), Carol (Melissa McBride), and their trusty friends move through the forest. They eventually hear the whistles of the Saviors who surround them at all angles, guns drawn. But it isn’t all of them. Ezekiel and the others put their hands up, as Carol and the others gun down the threat.
We will lose not one of our ranks
Back to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), at the end of a gun Morales (Juan Pareja) is holding. He’s surprised to see the man he once knew in Atlanta. They’ve both been through some shit. We discover Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) orders are to leave several of them alive, including our former sheriff, the widow Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and the king. Meanwhile, outside the guns are still raging, as people from Hilltop and the Kingdom continue laying down fire. Poor Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) has been shot, he isn’t doing well, and Aaron (Ross Marquand) doesn’t want to leave his boyfriend alone, bleeding. Yet in the post-zombie apocalypse, everybody’s gotta do what they gotta do.
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.26.11 AMOn the road, Tara (Alanna Masterson) is helping Morgan (Lennie James) and the gang march their Saviors prisoners towards Hilltop. Jesus (Tom Payne) is continually determined on not killing these men, whereas Morgan isn’t conflicted; he’s just towing the line, for now. They’re waiting to get back to Maggie, to see what she intends on doing.
Jesus: “Theres many kinds of dangers, many kinds of dying. I kill, Ive killed. You do, you have. But we dont execute.”
Morgan: “I have
Alone in that room together, Rick tells Morales about his own journey, the deaths of Lori, Shane, and Glenn – the last surprises his old buddy, especially considering he’s the death that made Lauren become a widow. We hear about Morales waiting to die, he believes they saved him, thought him worthy of something. He “is Negan.” Just like everyone else around that place. So, what matters ultimately to people in the wasteland: morality, or necessity? Morales, he chose necessity. Before he can do anything worse, Daryl (Norman Reedus) saves him. Of course Rick isn’t sure how he feels about it, but his close friend knows it was the right decision. And just as back-up is coming for them, too.
More on the road, when a ton of walkers scramble over a nearby hill and roll into the road. The tied Saviors are terrified, some of them are eaten alive. Morgan and friends do their best gunning down and stabbing whatever zombies they can manage. This also gives some of the Saviors time to try making a getaway, so Morgan gives chase. He kills one before Jesus stops him, convinced they’ve got to keep these people alive. For what reason? Why would Maggie want to keep these men alive after what Negan and his pals allowed to happen to their people?
This argument between the men turns into a violent confrontation when Morgan pulls his staff from its sheath to fight Jesus. Simultaneously, Carol, Ezekiel, and their crew move deeper into Saviors territory. One victory to the next. Just as Rick and Daryl are laid siege upon by Negan’s lads. We cut back and forth between the various fights. Nobody’s backing down, either. Not Jesus or Morgan. Not the Saviors bearing down on Rick and Daryl, both of whom are getting low on ammo; they’re able to get the upper hand until Aaron shows up. When things calm down between Morgan and Jesus, the former’s clearly having mental troubles, even he knows that: “Im not right, I know that, but that doesnt make me wrong.” At least Tara’s got his back.
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.48.35 AMBack at Hilltop, Gregory (Xander Berkeley) shows up at the gates, asking for help. Not sure anybody’s inclined to be too helpful. They may let him in, eventually, though I’m not sure Maggie’s happy to see him. She wonders why Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) isn’t along for the ride while his car’s arrived with Gregory. Doesn’t look too good for the ole lad. He gives Maggie a bunch of horse shit talk about trying to save lives. Although she soon agrees to let him inside: “Hes not worth killing. Not yet, anyway.”
Right behind is Jesus and all those Saviors hostages. Maggie doesn’t see any safe option for keeping those people there. Jesus still insists they don’t execute them. But you just know there’s only a bad situation that can come from keeping them alive. Undeniable.
In the wreckage left behind at the battle, Daryl and the rest clean up, gather ammo, and Rick takes a few Polaroids of the dead for good measure; eerily similar to how Negan took pictures of those he bashed. Wonder exactly what these photos are for, Sheriff Grimes. Saddest is Aaron, who can’t find Eric’s body where he left him at the tree; and he sees it, reanimated, heading towards a horde of the undead in the distance. A nice moment? Rick saves the baby Gracie he found in that building, and Aaron agrees to take her to safety at Hilltop.
When Daryl and Rick are about to leave, a shot rings close. The latter asks the person to surrender and they can have a vehicle, just go their separate ways. It’s a young man who tells Rick about where all their weapons went, recently sent to another outpost. Instead of letting him live Daryl puts a bullet in his head. We keep seeing Rick give him that look, but what he needs to realise is everyone’s fed up, they’re not going to be killed, not anymore. Not if they can help it, and certainly not Daryl!
And just when Ezekiel thinks they’ve completed their mission, no one dead, guns begin shooting at them from a nearby building. Several men jump on him to protect the king; will they die, or will he?
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 1.53.20 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-06 at 2.00.23 AMEnjoyed this episode, especially some of the quieter moments. Great little cliffhanger; saw it coming, but still loved it. There’s also an interesting dynamic happening between Rick and Daryl that I hope we see play out, because it’d help switch things up to have a couple close friends sort of warring over morality, et cetera. Can’t wait for more.
“Some Guy” comes next Sunday.

The Walking Dead – Season 8, Episode 2: “The Damned”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 2: “The Damned”
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the Season 8 premiere, “Mercy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Monsters” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.56.28 AMJesus (Tom Payne) and Morgan (Lennie James), Tara (Alanna Masterson) and the others all stand in the trees close one of the Saviors’ compounds. They begin heading into the building, as Morgan goes off on his own to do the zen warrior shit.
Morgan: “I dont die
In the meantime, Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Carol (Melissa McBride), they’re caught in the road and the wreckage. They fight by sword and pistol alongside others from the Kingdom as “the damned” come down upon them. They manage to get out alive, heading onto the next step of their insurrection. Although Carol doesn’t seem like she’s too happy, always getting her cynic on, especially when everybody else is too confident.
Our friends keep moving further. Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and a few others lay siege to one of the main buildings, searching for weaponry, ammo. Outside, gunfire continues erupting. Seemingly the place is surrounded, everybody from Rick’s  group, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom are at the exterior, as well as the interior. Saviors fall at the end of more bullets, and soon enough they’re within the inner sanctum.
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.05.43 AMBullets fly. Aaron (Ross Marquand), Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson), and others push hard on the outside, tightening their grip on the Saviors. Jesus and Morgan lead an assault deeper into the building. Except Morgan and a couple other men are met with a hail of bullets themselves behind one door. Could the zen warrior have jinxed himself with earlier, near superheroic statement? I hope not.
Tara and Jesus find a guy named Dean (Adam Fristoe) in a closet, hiding, hangs in the air. She wants to kill him, but Jesus disagrees. He lets Dean out, as the rest keep fighting. Dean insists he isn’t a Savior, just a guy working for them, cleaning, the grunt work. Jesus doesn’t want it to be “about revenge.” And he near pays the price when the guy grabs a gun, puts it to Jesus’ head, stomping on prenatal vitamins just in case we weren’t sure Tara’s right. They disarm him, but it’s clear that our long haired buddy has a ways to go before he’s come to grips with how the world is now, in post-zombie apocalypse life. He still won’t kill the guy, choosing to tie him up. Another fucking mistake, guaranteed.
And rejoice! Morgan is alive. He doesn’t die; not yet, anyway. Lying next to dead bodies isn’t exactly a novelty in this new world. But at least now he’s got more motivation to drop the zen nonsense, and get back to killing when killing’s needed.
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.13.35 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.17.31 AMThings are getting dicey outside, after people are dying and reanimating. This helps with the Saviors a bit, though it makes for a messy situation for anybody out in the surrounding areas of the compound. Then there’s Ezekiel and Carol and the crew, moving through the woods. “Fake ittill you make it, baby,” the King gives his fierce friend advice while they push towards a perhaps impossible goal that she keeps questioning every step of the way. “Therell be no fantasies of failure this day,” he tells her.
Ezekiel: “We move forward, as we move the very world forward.”
Rick stumbles onto a Savior, they fight viciously, neither able to grab a weapon quick enough, it’s fist to fist. They slam one another around the room. Our man wants to know where the guns are kept, but the guy won’t give him an answer. So the former sheriff chokes him near lifeless before impaling him at the wall. Meanwhile, Morgan’s having more troubles with killing. He gets it done, but it’s having an adverse effect on his psyche.
We’re getting further divide between Jesus and Tara, as he still insists on going against the group mandate, letting Saviors keep living rather than putting them down. This is where there’s another level of cognitive dissonance for Morgan, who comes upon Jesus letting all those guys stay alive. So, where does the line get drawn? Is Morgan going to keep killing? Does he slip back into his wannabe zen living? And what about Jesus, how does he fit into the overarching plan Rick and the others are going through with if he isn’t willing to do what must be done?
A brutal reckoning comes for Rick. In the room next to where he violently killed a Savior is a crib, little baby Gracie lying in it left alone. A mirror on the wall juxtaposes a child’s mobile with a bloody Rick; two starkly different images, of life and death.
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.24.11 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.32.02 AMUnfortunately, outside Eric is hit with a bullet, and Aaron tries getting him to safety. Whereas inside Rick further sees the cost of human life in what they’re doing. But he also finds himself confronted with someone he hasn’t seen in a long time: Morales (Juan Gabriel Pareja), from back in Atlanta. He’s called the Saviors back to take Rick. Everybody’s in a bad way, even those safe are only safe for this moment. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors won’t take any of this lying down, you can be sure.
Big, bad things are coming.
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.39.14 AM“Monsters” is next week. Should be interesting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Curtis Gwinn

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Still” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Grove” – click here
IMG_0188Here we get a look at Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) on the road before he met the big group. He was all by himself, wandering the wasteland in search of food, the next place to stay and rest. It went this way a long time. He’d stop and hole up someplace where the walkers couldn’t get him, drink a bit of cough syrup or whatever booze he could scavenge. A hard existence in the zombie apocalypse, being an alcoholic. Easy to try and block it all out with the aid of booze. Easy to get lost in your own head then, too.
Then came the day he met Daryl (Norman Reedus), riding on his bike down the road, Glenn (Steven Yeun) in a truck. They ask how long he’s been by himself, though he can’t exactly keep track. They ask him the “three questions” and Bob answers honestly. Daryl offers for him to come along, he gladly accepts. Because this, in a way, is saving him from himself. Even if he has a few alcoholism-related bumps over time.
IMG_0189In the present, Bob is with his Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), but they’re definitely not in a safe place. Walkers come from out the fog, unseen until so near. The three friends fight against them, taking each down. Except Bob winds up getting bitten. But lucky enough it didn’t pierce the bandage he already has on his previous wound.
Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl are doing better. He’s teaching her to track in the woods, to shoot the crossbow, all those sort of things. She ends up stepping in a trap. It doesn’t hobble her, though it isn’t helpful. No injury in this new world is helpful because you never know if you’ll find the medicine/First Aid materials to fix it, if it can even be fixed.
First mention of the word Terminus, the place up the tracks. Signs everywhere point to its direction. Sasha worries it’s “too good to be true” but both Bob and Maggie believe it’s worth the chance, the latter knowing Glenn would go there in search of her if he saw one of those signs.
Across a field Daryl and Beth find themselves a nice plantation-style home. Nobody inside, no walkers. Although they notice how clean it is there, that someone’s been staying. In fact, it’s a funeral home. There are bodies laid out, dressed, makeup done for a showing. Beth finds it’s beautiful, that somebody still cares about the dead.
IMG_0191In conversation together, Bob and Sasha talk about what’s best going forward. She wants to find a place to stick it out awhile; higher ground someplace. He’d rather go on, hoping there’s community at Terminus for them. A destination, a goal to reach. We see that Bob doesn’t like being on his own, nor does he like isolation, of any kind; even in a group. He’d rather be tight knit with others, Sasha doesn’t yet understand how low he sank by himself.
Beth: “Its like I said, theres still good people.”
Beth and Daryl settle in at the funeral home, even though it seems someone’s been staying there before. She plays a bit of piano by candlelight, he lays down in a coffin for a little relaxation. They’re comforted, even if only for the time being. Like life is normal, as it was once. You’ve got to take the little things when they come.
In the morning, Bob and Sasha wake to find Maggie’s gone on her own, not wanting them to risk their lives for her cause. He wants to run on, find her; Sasha feels otherwise. Regardless, they go together. Maggie’s on up the tracks, she finds another Terminus sign and decides on leaving a note for Glenn, in case he happens to come by the same route.
IMG_0193Suddenly, Daryl and Beth are crowded by a horde of zombies in the funeral home, breaking through the door. They run for outside quickly, teeth gnashing at their heels. He gets locked into the room downstairs, facing a load of the dead, but gets himself out with a bit of quick thinking.
But it’s too late. Someone’s taken Beth away in a car, her things scattered in the road; a black car, with either a cross or a First Aid symbol in the window. Leaving the last Dixon brother on his own once more. And he’s devastated, already feeling the people he lost were partly his fault. Now another one gone. Heartbreaking.
IMG_0194Sasha decides she doesn’t want to go on to Terminus. Then Bob lays a kiss on her, not wanting them to split on their journey. He heads off on his own like before and refuses to let Maggie go forward without him. Sasha looks for a place to stay, for however long she can. Funny enough, she comes across Maggie, who’s hiding from the dead. Noise wakes them up.
The women are back together, fighting off a group of walkers. When they’re done Maggie tells Sashs she’s needed, that they must stay as one. Not far up the tracks they find Bob again, too.
Along the road, Daryl comes across a familiar face: Joe (Jeff Kober), the one Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost ran into in the house a ways back. These boys are the Claimers, a group who take what they can amongst themselves, claiming what’s theirs along the way. These are rough dudes, but right now Daryl would probably go on with anybody, if only to feel a part of something again.
IMG_0196Lots going on in this episode. We’re seeing the beginning of many things, from Terminus to the Claimers and their whole racket. Can’t wait to watch them all come together more. “The Grove” is next.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Claimed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone” – click here
IMG_0179On the road together, just the two of them, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) face harder times than a lot of their friends. They seek refuge wherever and whenever they can, walkers everywhere outside. It’s never easy, though this is a new level even for them.
Beth is giving it her all. She’s come a long way from the girl who once wanted to kill herself and be done with the world. She starts her own fires, rigs a line of hubcaps to use as a signal for intruders. Daryl kills a rattlesnake for them to eat for dinner; he’s a bit more eager to chow down than she is, and I don’t blame her.
She’s getting restless. She wants to go have a drink, like in a bar. He doesn’t pay much mind to it, believing she’s just rambling. But she’s serious, and she is going with or without his help. He tries bringing her back to their camp. She just won’t have it, sitting around doing nothing except surviving. It’s hard to take, especially for young people who’ve barely lived their lives outside a farm.
Beth: “Im not staying in this suck ass camp!”
IMG_0180They find a golf course and head into the country club attached. Inside is dark and full of walkers. Beth is almost chomped by one before she stabs it in the head. Daryl scavenges anything and everything he can find. In the pro shop they find new clothes among other things, including a female zombie, bloody, dressed in clothes with a sign reading RICH BITCH across her chest. Beth insists they cover her up, for dignity’s sake. Long after dingnity has ceased to walk the Earth.
Further on they run into a grandfather clock that starts sounding; not a good sign, as it draws walkers to their position. They move on, fighting off a few of the dead while they go. Daryl messes up Beth’s brand new white t-shirt when he whacks a head to bits all over her. They manage to get to the bar, where she finds a bottle of peach Schnapps. Shitty booze, but you take what you can get! Daryl says fuck that, they need to find a better drink for her first one.
IMG_0183He knows the backwoods, he’s a hunting, tracking machine. They head out into the woods in search of a cabin, one Daryl found before with Michonne. Inside he knows there’ll be moonshine, somewhere. Just like back home with daddy. This is where things start to take a little turn. Because we already know Daryl Dixon didn’t have it easy, we’ve sen the lash marks on his back, dug deep in his skin. He’s been to a terrible place as a boy, lucky to have escaped, I imagine. Being in a place reminiscent of home, drinking shine, it brings up emotions he probably didn’t plan on experiencing.
Before Daryl can go over the edge as their drinking game goes wrong, he sees himself clearly. He takes pleasure in killing the already dead. Then she points out that not everybody is like him, they can’t shrug it all off. She doesn’t think he cares about those they’ve lost.
He doesn’t want to be that man. He feels responsible for what happened at the prison, for Hershel’s death, for the place going to ruin, and he feels that their friends are all dead. And Beth can only think to hug him, hold him close.
Beth: “Killing them is not supposed to be fun
IMG_0184 The two of them get closer, they talk more about life before the turn. Daryl talks about a stupid situation with Merle at a tweaker’s house, and he reveals he didn’t have a job before everything went to hell. He and his older brother were drifters, essentially. He was just “some redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother.”
Their bonding helps them feel better about the world. And they’re becoming better friends, as well. Later, they decide to burn the little cabin down. To leave the bad memories with it, to start fresh and let the fire signal a new beginning. In a way, it’s Daryl leaving part of his ugly past behind, a way to symbolically tear down that part of his life that’s useless to keep around even in memory. They head onto the road, again, and the cabin burns behind them. Flipping the bird as they go.
IMG_0186A quiet, more subdued episode. I did enjoy it. First time I saw this one I didn’t find it as engaging. This time around, I pick out more nuance than before. It’s a great look at Daryl, as it is Beth, too. They’re both on show in their own respects. Love it.
“Alone” is next and we’ll see more of our survivors trying to get down the road in one piece.

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

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

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