Outcast – Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 3: “Not My Job to Judge”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Jeff Vleming

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Day After That” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The One I’d Be Waiting For” – click here
Pic 1Sidney (Brent Spiner) is taking care of his burned, young friend, who asks about if what Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) says of him is true. And the mysterious man says that the rev’s book calls him a “dragon” and he’s been called many other things by humans of flesh and blood. He has big plans for the kid, that’s why he saved him from the fire.
Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson) shows up, always helping, along with Peter, who’s eager to be part of their nastiness. Only Sidney’s got no time for that shit, so he dispatches him. No more prying eyes. And the devilish man doesn’t have time for lingering attachment between humans, he doesn’t understand it; one of the most interesting traits of his character in the series, he’s dumbfounded by human beings and their emotion for one another. Exactly how you’d expect the devil to be were he personified in a body.
Pic 1ADealing with the consequences of her husband’s death, Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) has reached the lowest depths of herself. She’s dragged from the water by Rev. Anderson. He makes clear he wouldn’t judge her; not in the places he’s been himself.  Even quotes a bit of Dr. Seuss. Meanwhile, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) takes Amber to go see her mother, Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), at the hospital. Things aren’t well between the estranged husband and wife. While Amber waits for her parents to chat, a man approaches her in a creepy manner, though a hospital attendant shows up. However, there’s something odd about her. She and the man corner Amber, and the little girl uses her own powers to fend them off; she’s just like her papa.
While she’s out on the town, Patricia (Melinda McGraw) is abducted suddenly by a man (M.C. Gainey) and taken away, to who knows where.
Anderson meets Kyle on the road to tell her Megan took off, after her near suicide attempt. She also took her daughter Holly. They’ve gone back home, apparently. Mom wants to make the house a nice place again, to live like before. Only her daughter’s sure that dad dying wasn’t “an accident” like she’s being told. I’m betting Megan is headed towards taking responsibility, in some way, which could change things irreparably for her, and maybe others, too.
And back with Sidney, Patricia’s son Aaron is being given the opportunity to “fuck this world and all the pathetic creatures in it” – first, by having to cut up a body with a pocket knife. He can’t do it, though. Yet. And Patricia, she’s not getting any answers from Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), threatening to make waves in town if nothing more’s done, especially with Anderson let out after confessing to what he thought he’d done.


Poor little Holly, she can’t get over the trauma of her father dying. Worst of all, back in that bathroom where she stands, her mother comes in and starts having fragmentary flashbacks of when she killed her husband. Also, Holly’s got a bit of a premonition skill; is she experiencing any effects of possession? Kyle ends up finding Megan, trying to figure out her state of mind. She’s starting to believe in the demons. Not just that: she’s pregnant. Whoa.
At the hospital, Allison is befriended by Kirby, the man who approached her daughter. He talks and talks to her, as patients are making crafts. It’s clear there are more possessed inside the walls of the mental health ward. A terrifying consequence of people being seen as insane, rather than for their demonic sickness; they’re all being piled into these places. Kyle and Anderson are trying to figure out what Sidney’s plan is, and it doesn’t prove easy.
In the meantime, out on his own, the man who abducted Patricia looks to be digging a grave. Ohh, shit. And he seems crazy as hell, too.
Megan’s having more and more trouble. It isn’t a great idea that she’s back in that house, where the demon took hold of her and killed her husband. It’s bringing up darkness. Maybe more than she can handle. She finds her husband’s gun, then before she can do anything crazy with it she runs outside to try getting rid of it. Where a woman’s waiting to give her a flyer for the Beacon.


Anderson and Kyle go back to the Austin place. Great inverted shot as they walk in, as if the world is literally turning upside down and they’re entering some foul, hellish place; superb cinematography, and this lines up with the opening titles where the camera flips around and we see the upside down world in front of us. When the pair are inside, they find Joshua’s mother in distress, talking about the man from the junkyard; the one who took Patricia.
So the two track the man to the junkyard. They find Giles there, too. The man, Bob, is helping out with things. They’re trying to stop the demons by putting them into the ground, burying the problem. Now that’s a solution, I guess. They’re not all on the same page about it. Kyle finds out later that Bob and his mother were in league together, and that his “old man” was part of the trouble years ago; he isn’t the first to try stopping the demons.
Sidney goes to see someone, for help. Looks like young Joshua, though could be someone else, who pours more of that black essence into him, as the devilish dude breathes in deep.
Pic 4What a great episode! This series gets exponentially better, as well as the fact it has a great score and soundtrack alike. Lots of things to look forward to, particularly “The One I’d Be Waiting For” next week. More demons, more Sidney, more mystery.

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Outcast – Season 2, Episode 2: “The Day After That”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 2: “The Day After That”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Bad Penny” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Not My Job to Judge” – click here
Pic 1With a car in a ravine, a police officer checks the scene. Inside is the dead body of Megan Holter’s (Wrenn Schmidt) husband Mark (David Denman). Now begins an interesting strain of the story, where we have to wait and watch as Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) and his sister Megan deal with the fallout of demonic possession in the rest of their lives.
Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) and Kyle are off to do their work. They visit Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson), who’s been possessed awhile. They want to know where Sidney’s been prowling. We watch as Kyle breaks out the big guns, cutting himself to draw blood, threatening the demon with his essence. Turns out that Sidney has a “partner” in all this madness. Problem is Kyle’s had enough of all the viciousness, the heavy handed way they’ve had to go about their business. Takes a toll. All the while Sidney (Brent Spiner) is off recuperating somewhere.
Pic 1AIn jail, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) sits in his bunk patiently. Watching the world around him. I wonder to what length he’ll go, or fall, in Season 2. Seems like he’s poised for something large. A little later Patricia (Melinda McGraw) goes to see him, and he confesses to burning down the trailer where her son was supposedly staying.
Then there’s poor Megan, having terrible visions of blood at her feet, her wrists cut. Traumatising stuff that she can’t stop herself from seeing. And little Amber (Madeleine McGraw) stays wary of her aunt, knowing what she’s seen of her mother’s possession.
Kyle picks up Mark’s things at the morgue, seeing his body for the last time. Also in the morgue is a severely mangled corpse, its mouth sewn shut, insides and out decomposed and soupy. To the floor drips a similar green substance that we saw Sidney cough up earlier. Uh oh.
At the station, Giles takes flack from the Mayor (Toby Huss), about his run-in with Evelyn, Sidney, Rev. Anderson sitting in jail. The Mayor wants Giles to take a rest, let someone else take charge. But the guy wants to do some good, and bureaucracy of any kind isn’t going to help anybody; especially not himself or Kyle.


Megan is devastated by what she’s done to her husband, that she stood there watching as he bled on the floor. When Kyle tries explaining her possession, something “controlling” her – like his mom, like Alison – it isn’t easy to hear. She doesn’t really want to hear that, though. It seems like a load of shit, a way to pass off guilt. She hasn’t yet seen, or understood, the things Kyle’s seen before. He’s likewise got to try shielding his daughter Amber from what she’s seen; the girl worries about whether the “monster” will go back inside of aunt Megan, her mother. This does nothing to quell her dad’s worries, either.
At the morgue, Sidney visits the nasty corpse. He finds the drippings on the floor, and it’s as if he’s got his own worries. Down in the cell block, the Rev tries helping the prisoner next to him who’s going through withdrawal; just another way for Anderson to try patching up his own soul. Then the guy flops around on the floor a bit. Is it a junkie’s last moments? Or is it a demon awakening? “Kyle Barnes isnt here to save you,” it tells the reverend before slamming itself into the bars to get at him, until dropping bloodied to the floor.
At the hospital, Kyle goes to visit his mother. He talks briefly with Dr. Park (Hoon Lee). His mom’s body is shutting down for good. Gradually slipping away with only months, probably days, left to live. The doc expresses concern for Kyle, though he starts wondering about what Dr. Park is up to; he watches him in the parking lot. Then gets a call that Amber’s run off, just as the good doc attacks his car with a tire iron. Christ, that was creepy!
As for the Rev, he didn’t kill Patricia’s son. The body from the morgue was under the trailer for three decades. A woman killed in ritualistic fashion. But you know it’s all connected. You know it.


In the morgue the old decomposing corpse is taken by someone under the cover of night. And though I want to know why, I don’t want to know, too.
Looking through her husband’s things Megan laments her tragic loss. Although something continues calling her, out into the darkness. Ultimately, will the darkness win? Can she overcome it, so as not to let the demons conquer her?
Dr. Park and Sidney are familiar with each other. The doc is all part of the plot, and Sidney – he’s sure that Kyle is going to suffer for what he’s done.
Oh, there is so much evil afoot.
Pic 4ASeason 2 is going so well. Very dark, lots to look forward to on the horror front and the drama, as well. Fugit, as always, is spectacular, and his Kyle Barnes is a character that reels me in.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Rock in the Road” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hostiles and Calamities” – click here
pic-1After the Kingdom, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his fellow Alexandrians searched for Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). Only to come across another group entirely.
Meanwhile, King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Morgan (Lennie James), Richard (Karl Makinen) and some others meet with a few of The Saviors for a pickup. Although the men from Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) camp make a fuss, the King assures them all is well. Then a standoff between Richard and one of the idiot Saviors breaks out of nowhere.
Where do we go from here?” asks Richard. To which his King replies to hand over his gun. A little bit more violence breaks out when the man oversteps his boundaries, then Morgan and Benjamin (Logan Miller) step in until things even out.
Expect things to get more “visceral” eventually, though. On top of everything Morgan’s lost his staff. Back at the Kingdom, Daryl (Norman Reedus) isn’t happy staying cooped up, particularly with everybody just laying down for the Saviors. “You know what they are,” he scolds Morgan, and wishes Carol (Melissa McBride) knew about Glenn and Abraham. Because if so they’d be headed for Negan to kill them all.
And damn, if that isn’t the truth.
One thing I love is that we’ve got guys using bow and arrow, which is only a step from the crossbow Daryl so excellently wielded. Richard and Daryl could prove to become an exciting team.
pic-2See, Richard has a plan, and he’s looking for help from Daryl. In his trailer he has weapons. They grab some things then head out to the open road. Note: I don’t say it enough, though everyone who loves the series knows it – the production is all around spectacular, the locations and the props and the cars off the road, they make everything look damn believable.
Turns out that Richard is leading Daryl right to Carol. He’s gone insane wanting to try and turn Ezekiel towards fighting. He wanted to go out there, kill her, use that as a catalyst. Seriously, man? Whoa. In general that’d be horrific, even worse that they had a brief thing together, too. At least Daryl’s there to protect her, while she sits unsuspecting in that cabin.
Daryl: “Anything happens to her, Ill kill ya.”
Richard: “Id die for the Kingdom
Daryl: “Then why dont you?”
Returning to Rick & Co, they’ve wound up in an odd place. Just as strange as the Kingdom. The Alexandrians are surrounded by people. Led by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). So, she goes back and forth with Rick. Although allowing them to see Gabriel, who looks frightened but no worse for wear. Rick tells Jadis and her group of The Saviors, asking for help to fight. She flat out refuses with a simple, direct “no.” Shit goes sideways. Soon, Gabriel has a woman named Tamiel (Sabrina Gennarino) at knife point. All is well once the former priest talks his, and the Alexandrians’, way out of their predicament. He talks up Rick, the group, their abilities. After awhile they take Rick to the “up up up” where Jadis explains their community, a tad, offering their help if he’s worth their time.
pic-3Which means Rick gets tossed into a pit of filthy garbage. Suddenly an insanely medieval-looking walker appears, blades coming out of it everywhere, in the skull and through the torso. He fights against it with whatever he can. And to stop it he has to pierce his own hand with one of the blades. Then, his foot. As Rick struggles, Michonne (Danai Gurira) tells him to use the walls. When he does he gets the zombie down and stabs its brains in with a shard of glass. HARDCORE, BABY! Rick Grimes. All day.
Rick (to Jadis): “Believe us now?”
Their leader wants guns. A bunch. Then they’ll all rally together, fight the good fight.
And as quick as the community gathered, they disappear. Leaving the Alexandrians to their work ahead. There’s a bit of that old cocky Rick still kicking. I think as much as it helps him to be confident, Michonne and the others feel better when they can see he’s level-headed and fighting instead of spaced out and near insane after some of the more devastating moments in their history. Right now, the team are ready for anything.
Carol receives a visit from King Ezekiel and a few of the Kingdom’s residents; even a cobbler from Jerry (Cooper Andrews). She reluctantly takes the delicious treats, beckoning for them all to leave. She’s busy reading, trying to get on with… life. Not long passes and Daryl comes to the door. A crazy emotional moment. The one person she does want to open the door to see, even if Daryl’s sad that she left, to be on her own.
Later on, Rick tells Gabriel “enemies can become friends” (as they themselves did once) and that’s why, in a world with The Saviors pushing their will onto others, he knew that finding Jadis and their community was more an opportunity to find the enemy of my enemy, that kind of thing, y’know? Regardless, this strange community warns that they better receive guns. Soon. Or else.


Over in the cabin, Carol tells Daryl she couldn’t kill anyone else, she couldn’t watch anyone else be killed. She then asks if everyone’s okay, if they’re hurt. She almost knows the answer without a word. Only Daryl lies: “Everyones all right.” Oh, Carol’s gonna be mad when she finds out the truth. She will, down the road, because you know she’s not staying out of everything permanently. For the time being, she and Daryl sit together as he eats soup, and life is normal life.
That never lasts long. They know it, so when they get those normal minutes in the day they take them, cherish them. Afterwards, Daryl plans on heading for Hilltop, which he does the next morning. To prepare.
Will the Kingdom come to its senses? Will the addition of another community and the power Jadis wields help convince Ezekiel? Will Rick even get the guns for her?
pic-10pic-11An awesome chapter in the back half of Season 7! Really loved this episode. Fun, gnarly zombie, Rick being a bad ass, Pollyanna fucking McIntosh! Doesn’t get much better.
Next up is “Hostiles and Calamities” and I bet Negan will return. With a bang.

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 4: “A Wrath Unseen”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 4: “A Wrath Unseen”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the previous episode, “All Alone Now” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Road Before Us” – click here
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Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) presides over a very small funeral for poor Norville, after Kyle (Patrick Fugit) found him bloody and murdered at the end of last episode. And then Sidney (Brent Spiner) shows up, claiming himself as a “friend” and claiming Norville must have been distraught over the loss of his wife. Sidney says he’s in town to take care of Norville’s affairs, all that stuff. What a god damn liar. Although I can’t wait to see more of his character. He’s sinister, as we know it was him to have done the need. Or at least it’s highly likely, anyway. So I want to know his full deal. I suspect he’s a demon, but won’t jump to say anything. I’ve never read the source material, I wouldn’t know where this is headed. I can only judge by what we’re given. And I dig the slow burn nature of the plots coming together.
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Anderson is an interesting character, too. He has a bunch of keepsakes at home. Little trinkets he keeps from the exorcism work he performs. When he touches them the memories come flooding back, of the demonic possession he’s seen, the victims of said demons. Tragic life to live. In other parts of town, Mark and Megan Holter (David Denman/Wrenn Schmidt) are happy. At least they seem to be, even if she’s got other things happening in her life that he doesn’t know about – Donnie Hamel (Scott Porter) kicking around town and all. He actually shows up while they’re out at dinner. He brings up awkward conversation  and while Mark does his best to be polite, his wife is rocked by his presence. There’s a very aggressive element to his presence. More plot and character development/history to come out. I’m sure there’s something deep lying behind their relationship.
Then we get more of Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey), this time at home with his wife and friends, Mr and Mrs. Ogden (Peter Burris & Debra Christofferson). When they’re alone, Giles passes the gold watch over to his buddy. With that, this plot thickens.


At a bar, Kyle runs into Donnie. The whole family clearly has a connection to him. That comes up quick and violent after Kyle attacks him right off before they’re both tossed out of the bar. They fight some more outside. Mostly, Kyle gets his ass beat down. “Always playing the guardian angel,” Donnie smirks above him: “Havent you figured out they dont exist?” Next morning Kyle calls his sister. He’s not willing to “ignore” whatever it is that’s happening(/has happened) between them. For the time being he promises not to do anything too drastic. Something big is behind all this and I’m intrigued as hell.
Later on Kyle goes to see Anderson, who’s busy cleaning up the cemetery, picking up trash. The Rev lays it on his younger friend, saying that to get into this whole thing and help people, to fight those demons while using that gift of his there’s a need for people to trust him. They don’t right now. Lots of talk, then his dust up with Donnie. No matter what’s going on there is a good bond between these two. Because really, they’re the only two who know for sure that there’s something dark going on, that the devil is more real than many are willing to believe. And it’s no big religious thing, at least not to Kyle. It’s merely a stand between good and evil. Well the exorcist duo head over to another house, the door has a German “Willkommen” on the door. Inside Anderson sees a few ceramic boys on the window ledge and starts to have flashes of what he’d thought of earlier while touching the trinkets he keeps as souvenirs. Meanwhile, Kyle goes in to see Mildred (Grace Zabriskie). She knows all about Kyle. She alludes to him beating his wife, and in general having a problem with violence. Mildred has trouble sitting down, but when Kyle goes to help her it all but sears her skin. The whole thing is incredibly unsettling, which sends Kyle out fast. We discover more about Mildred, how she’d supposedly been exorcised. And Anderson says she’s been in church for the past couple years, singing, praising Jesus. Could he maybe be a bit too naive? Perhaps the fresh eyes of Kyle Barnes are really needed to figure out exactly how devious the devil can get in his work.
Out on his own, Giles is suited with rifle in tow for a trek in the woods. He’s back at that dirty old trailer trying to find out more about what’s going on out there.


Poor Megan is twisted up over the appearance of Donnie in her life again. Her husband’s worried, and their life is being affected. She can’t even think of anything related to Donnie without getting upset. Then we get a flashback from Megan, she peeks through a bathroom door before running to her room, towel on, and then who I can only assume is a young Donnie corners her, crushing the tail of her white stallion toy on the floor. In the present, Megan takes out a gun and holds it with a look of intent in her eyes.
On the street Mark picks up his brother-in-law Kyle, who reluctantly gets in the cruiser. They go for a beer. Mark wants to talk about Donnie. Right away you can see the look on Kyle’s face change, his entire body language and demeanour becomes more tense. “Is that him?” asks Mark. He obviously knows about whatever happened, just not who did it. We find out Donnie was a foster kid that their family took in and he abused Megan. Yowzah. Lots of explosive stuff about to happen. Disgusting that Mark had to figure it all out this way. Furthermore, Kyle tells Mark about how when he found out what Donnie was doing, he started sleeping on the floor of Megan’s room. So more and more he’s painted as less of a bad guy, and even Mark comes to see him a bit differently, even after all the stuff with Kyle, his wife, his child – something we still have yet to fully discover ourselves.
At the hotel, Megan confronts Donnie. She wants him to leave and he tries saying that he’s changed, that he was a “fucked up kid” and nothing like that anymore. Not sure how this will all play out. I’d like him to get shot, Megan definitely has her gun. Though I doubt she’ll do that.

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Anderson is back to visit with Mildred. After the incident with Kyle he wanted to be sure she was all right. Truthfully, he’s doubting his own work. He believes Kyle may be right, underneath it all. He questions Mildred about her grandchildren, the fact she doesn’t want to be around them these days. This is a truly eerie scene. I love it. “What if we like who we become?” Mildred ponders out loud to the Reverend. It becomes clearer by the second there is still something demonic, something evil lurking inside that woman, and it’s obviously gotten better at concealing itself beneath her skin. The Rev finally admits to Kyle he didn’t get the job done on Mildred. Off they go on their merry way, exorcism kit in hand and ready to fend off evil once more. Only Mildred’s daughter won’t allow them in, she knows what Anderson did to try and get the devil out of the old woman before – the demon tells lies, of course.
In the woods, Giles sees his old pal Ogden throw a load of gas over the trailer then proceed to burn it down. Ah, more developments.
Out on the highway Mark pulls Donnie over. He orders the man out of his car, and you can feel the tension fatten up, so thick you could cut it with a knife. And in this day and age you can be sure the dash cam catches Mark beating the hell out of Donnie, throwing him to the roadside, laying into him. At home later that night, Mark gets a call from the Chief to run all that evidence he collected previously down at the trailer. But now Mark has to deal with his own morality, he has to live with himself. No doubt Donnie deserves all he gets, though this whole thing has definitely damaged Mark’s moral core.
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The worry in Kyle for the mistakes Anderson has made mounts. He worries now for his own wife Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil), even if she’s got a restraining order on him. What if the Rev has failed to exorcise many demons, not just Mildred? Might mean a ton of dark souls are out there waiting to be saved, or trying hard not to be.
In the trees somewhere, Megan sets up a bunch of glass. She smashes it with a hammer taking out her rage in the privacy of the forest. The pain inside her has to come out, and luckily she isn’t doing anything nuts. I thought she’d have killed Donnie, or maybe she was heading down to do some target practice in preparation. However, I think what we’re seeing is that she is a good person, she’s been degraded and abused terribly yet she chooses to take out her aggression without hurting anyone, putting her in juxtaposition with her husband. Here, the person that was abused isn’t the one wanting the revenge, or at least she isn’t taking it herself. The man always has to step up and make it about his own feelings and his own rage. At the same time there’s a division between people willing to step over the line when necessary and those who will never step over it on principle. Mark is a good man, but this episode sets up a big duality between those who choose to take care of evil firsthand and those who would simply rather try to get past it, however they can.
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A great episode. Love this series so much already. Some think it’s too slow, I find the pace extraordinary. It sets things up well and gives us a chance to speculate, before the plots and the characters develop. Lots of surprises, lots of creepiness. Can’t wait for the next episode!

Outcast – Season 1, Episode 1: “A Darkness Surrounds Him”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 1, Episode 1: “A Darkness Surrounds Him”
Directed by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, The Guest)
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the next episode, “(I Remember) When She Loved Me” – click here
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Cinemax has blessed us. Let us indulge in the Adam Wingard-directed pilot of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, shall we?
Even the credits sequence here is awesome, a nice ambient and unsettling bit of music over eerie imagery. This first episode begins with a boy that’s definitely not quite right. When he smashes a bug to death with his head (/face?) this only confirms suspicions. Downstairs his family is arguing. When he pops down to see them, covered in blood, they’re too busy arguing to notice at first. The way the boy moves is so creepy, you can tell his head is messed up. Finally, his mother notices he’s not eating chips like he was at first. Now it’s his finger.
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Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is playing some cards with some colleagues from the local fire department and the local holy man Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), too. They get interrupted by an urgent phone call from a Mrs. Betsy Austin (Lacy Camp). She owns the little boy, Joshua, whose body’s definitely being possessed by something.
At a rundown-looking house, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) is sleeping. He dreams of another time before the nasty dilapidation of his current situation. He sees a woman, himself with her. But a knock comes at his door, he snaps back. In a room nearby there looks to be some things belonged to a woman. Instead of answering the door Kyle wanders around his home ignoring it. Finally, he opens the door and it’s Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). Clearly a friend, but he is at a distance. She thinks he’s “punishing” himself. He doesn’t want any of her shit, or her charitable friendship. The house is his childhood home, he doesn’t feel like leaving.
Yet it isn’t all roses in his memories. Living with his mother there did not always feel like family time. By the looks of it his mother was possessed, similar to young Joshua. She’d lock him in the closet and that’s where he’d stay, for who knows how long. A traumatized young man. Why does Kyle want to stick around, though? How is it healthy? Or might there be unfinished business, a reason to stay close?


We discover Kyle shouldn’t be calling somebody. The woman in his dream. For her part, Megan does her best to encourage him positively. While they’re out shopping Kyle runs into some people who knew him. They also suggest he head back to church for a good rip roarin’ sermon. They further tell him about Joshua, who’s “fallen prey to dark forces“, which starts intriguing Kyle.
At the Austin house, Father Anderson is calling out the dirty demon. It starts kicking the shit out of everybody. Brutally. One awesome exorcism scene that both calls on films we know, plus adds its own creepy stuff.
Furthermore, it seems as if Kyle was once under the influence of Anderson. Yet now we know Anderson ain’t full of shit. Megan wants to have him over for dinner, though he isn’t so keen. He’s her adopted brother. And apparently people have… ideas about him, particularly nowadays. She’s married to Mark (David Denman) and he definitely does not want Kyle around. This is obviously a point of contention between the married couple. Surely we’ll see that develop the more this season goes on, as Kyle’s being around will impact a lot going forward. His little niece reveals a possible clue: she says he hurt his little girl, now Kyle isn’t her daddy. This upsets him, then he leaves. If this is really the case, that’s a devastating, heavy thing, and certainly paints Kyle as a character in a wholly new light within this first episode.


Kyle calls the woman he isn’t supposed to. She knows it’s him without his saying a word, and it unnerves her. He borrows his neighbour’s car, a man named Norville (Willie C. Carpenter). He heads over to the Austin household, asking for Reverend Anderson. Then inside he goes. Evidently to help. Anderson believes Kyle stopped whatever was happening to his own mother, so apparently he’s got a gift. Possibly.
Within the room, Kyle comes face to face with evil: “I know you,” says the thing inside Joshua. The way Kyle approaches it is from a rational, adult perspective. He sees it as nothing more than a kid pretending to get out of school. But the demon in the boy talks more about things he shouldn’t know, about the pictures in the pantry on the door, all those things. It’s terrifying. He evens scratches like Mrs. Barnes. “So long have we tried to find you Outcast,” the demon explains. Then it jumps Kyle, sucking something out him as Kyle flashes back to when his mother seemed to have done the same. What a god damn unsettling moment.
Afterwards, Kyle only has one bit of advice: run. He doesn’t have any faith or belief in a higher power. Pretty much the very opposite. However, it was what happened in the Barnes house that turned Reverend Anderson into an exorcising machine. So they’re at two different places, which is an interesting juxtaposition between the characters. Look forward to more of their relationship.


The tortured childhood of Kyle is awful. We get more flashbacks, as he goes to visit his catatonic mother in the hospital. He remembers being locked in that closet, similar to how she’s now locked inside herself, imprisoned in her own body. Some justice, I suppose, for all that terror. Later, he and Norville chat together, eating some stew. We discover Norville knew something terrible was happening when Kyle was a boy. The crew of characters that we’re being introduced to is excellent. I’ve never read the comics, though I certainly will not. And I’m already intrigued to see where a lot of these plots and threads end up weaving.
Kyle goes back over to the Austin place with Anderson. He starts to figure out further similarities between Joshua and his mother. First it’s the light that burns their skin. Then they begin to torture the demon, trying to hurt it. But the thing is strong and it fights hard. Sucking more of the essence out of Kyle, at least until he gets the upper hand and starts beating Joshua a bit. Love that this show has a grown man beating a little kid, evne if there’s a demon inside him. He goes a bit too far, but then the demon bites him, and Kyle’s blood burns him badly. Ah, interesting. The Outcast has power. Because this sends projectile, black vomit spewing out of the kid before dissipating into smoke-like fog. Luckily, back to the real world comes the boy, a little worse for wear but alive.
Of course Kyle ends up in cuffs after the whole ordeal. Although, he’s let go and Mrs. Austin doesn’t want charges pressed. Thankfully. That’d open up tons more cans of worms in Kyle’s life. As if he needs anything tougher to push through.


At the end of the episode, Kyle goes back to his house alone.
Then we flash back to a time before. Something had been possessing his wife, hurting his child. Love that we’re only getting bits and pieces, so as to draw it out. Keeps me wanting more. “Come and get me,” Kyle speaks into the dark sky at whatever darkness is surrounding him, right before the credits roll. Gnarly. Dig that line so hard.
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Stay with me. When the series officially airs, as Cinemax has only given us a taste just yet, I’ll be continuing on following this series. Adam Wingard is a favourite director of mine, so I wish he were sticking around (at least he isn’t that I know of other than directing the first episode). Nevertheless, I have faith in Robert Kirkman, as well as Cinemax after The Knick and Banshee.
This one’s going to be a wild ride.

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 2, Episode 13: “Beside the Dying Fire”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 13: “Beside the Dying Fire”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Robert Kirkman & Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the previous episode, “Better Angels” – click here
* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “Seed” – click here
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Here is the Season 2 finale. What will the consequences of Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) actions in “Better Angels” bring? How will Carl (Chandler Riggs) move on emotionally from this point? Will Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) find a way to hate Rick for what he’s done, or will she stand true to her belief that Shane (Jon Bernthal) was dangerous? Not a whole lot matters with all those zombies moving towards Rick, Carl, and in turn the camp.
This episode begins with a helicopter flying overhead of Atlanta. Walkers look up and start to move towards the noise. They make their way out of the city, into the fields, the wide open spaces of America’s South. Soon, they come up against a fence. After pushing against it a horde of them manage to break it down. They continue on ahead. Into the woods, through the night. Always walking.
It’s then they hear a shot. The one that killed Shane. And now we’re back watching them move towards the farm, as Rick and Carl head back.
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At the house, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) tell the group what they found, in terms of Randall. Daryl tells them about how Shane was walking with him. Lori’s too concerned about Rick, though.
Carl is asking how Shane died, if he was bit. Then Rick is about to tell him, but walkers interrupt their talk. They’re moving in further to the ranch. On the porch, Daryl and Andrea (Laurie Holden) also begin to see them close in. This is the beginning of a wildly chaotic season finale. Hershel (Scott Wilson) starts to get things prepared, as Daryl and the others try to figure out their next move. Meanwhile, Rick and Carl hide in the barn; ironic how now the barn is hiding the living, instead of when it housed the dead. Finally the guns are brought out again, big time. All of them load up.
Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) take a vehicle, as do T-Dog (Irone Singleton) and the others, then circle around the farm shooting any and all zombies they can. It’s a shootout for a while with Daryl, Glenn, even Jimmy (James Allen McCune) firing off round after round after round. When Carl and Rick light the barn on fire to save themselves, it’s clear the farm will never be the same again. Poor Jimmy ends up getting torn apart, eaten alive, as father and son are rescued from the barn. That’s going to hit poor Beth (Emily Kinney) hard; sad after all she’s seen so far.


The ranch is being abandoned, even with Hershel making a last stand firing a shotgun at the walkers bearing down on his house. Patricia (Jane McNeill) is also ripped to pieces by zombies on her way to try and escape. Maggie and Glenn are forced to leave the farm, not knowing for sure what’s happening to the others. Back with Hershel, he finds himself saved by Rick before a walker bites him. Lori is off in one direction. Rick and Hershel and Carl have to go in another, Daryl finds Carol (Melissa McBride) on his bike heading in another direction. Everyone is separated. Almost epic tragedy to watch Hershel see his ranch in the rear window of the truck, speeding away, fire engulfing almost everything now and the living dead stumbling after them. Insane sequence. Craziest yet: Andrea is left behind. Somehow in the shuffle she never made it to a vehicle, and off everyone went leaving her in the dust with all the zombies.
Awhile later, Carl, Rick and Hershel pull up to where they were on the highway at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of this season. Where they waited for Sophia. The plan is to stay together now. Hershel isn’t as optimistic as Rick, though, even he is pretty tense at the moment. Out on the road, T-Dog, Beth and Lori drive in a truck together, but soon they also head back to the highway. So do Daryl and Carol, too. The group is reunited once more, thankfully. All the remaining survivors are able to survive together a little longer. Handshakes, hugs, kisses. It’s a happy, brief reprieve in a cold and lonely world of death. The one sore spot: Andrea is lost, somewhere behind them. Their plan now is to head out east, somewhere. Anywhere else. They can only hope Andrea is either moving on herself, or passed to a better, less painful place; yeah, right.


Rick: “Youre a man of God. Have some faith.”
Hershel: “I cant profess to understand Gods plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind.”


Andrea’s alive, at least. She sprints through the forest all on her own, guns and ammo in tow. She will definitely become a better shot, a better all around hunter and fighter and survivor. A bit of time alone in the zombie apocalypse certainly can prove to either be death, or an incredibly brutal regime of survival. Here’s to hoping Andrea can use it as the latter and come out on top.
With gas running low Rick and the crew stop on the road a while. Nobody can seem to agree on a perfect plan. Although, Rick tries his best to lead things keep coming up against him. Then he’s forced to tell the group “Were all infected“. This is what Dr. Jenner told him at the CDC before they left. He kept it a secret all this time; everyone carries the virus, it comes on after death. A devastating blow to hear at this point, causing everyone to question Rick’s leadership. Also, Rick tells Lori he killed Shane, which rocks her world a little, too.
In the forest, Andrea is saved by a hooded figure wielding a samurai sword and holding two armless-jawless walkers on chain link leashes. Amazing. Another exciting character arrives. We’ll see her more next season, a ton.


Rick: “I am doing something! Im keeping this group together. Alive! Ive been doing that all along, no matter what; I didnt ask for this! I killed my best friend for you people, for Christ sake! You saw what he was like. How he pushed me, how he compromised us, how he threatened us. He staged the whole Randall thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back. He gave me no choice! He was my friend, but he came after me. My hands are clean. Maybe you people are better off without me. Go ahead. I say theres a place for us, but maybemaybe its just another pipe dream. Maybemaybe Im fooling myself again. Why dontwhy don’t you go out and find yourself. Send me a postcard! Go on, theres the door. You can do better. Lets see how far you get. No takers? Fine.”


With Rick ready to lead everyone, he states firmly: “This is not a democracy anymore
The season finishes, as we see a craning shot of a prison not far from where the group stays the night. Surely, they’ll make their way to it next season. Lots of excitement in store!
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Stay tuned for a review of the Season 3 premiere, titled “Seed”.

The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 1: “What Lies Ahead”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 1: “What Lies Ahead”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson & Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by Frank Darabont & Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the previous Season 1 finale, “TS-19” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Bloodletting” – click here
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After Season 1’s finish and the destruction of the CDC, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew of survivors are on the road. Up on a rooftop, Rick talks into the radio again. Trying to reach Morgan Jones (Lennie James), whose fate is – as of this point – unknown. He tells Morgan, if he’s listening, that the CDC is gone. We almost get what Dr. Jenner (Noah Emmerich) told Rick at the end of the first season. But still, he conceals the information and even we as the audience know nothing. Sly and solid writing.
Everyone else tries their best to keep going – Shane (Jon Bernthal), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl (Chandler Riggs), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Andrea (Laurie Holden), T-Dog (Irone Singleton), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Carol (Melissa McBride). They pile in and out of the big R.V., their other vehicle, they head out into a great and diseased unknown, somewhere away from the city. Because now, the big cities have fallen. They’re infested like rat nests with zombies, far as the eye can see.
Where will Season 2 take the survivors? It’ll be exciting to ride alongside.
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Rick: “I guess Im losing hope that you can hear mebut theres always that chance, isnt there? That slim chance. Its all about slim chances now.”
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Speaking of ride, we get good shots of Daryl cruising down the road on his motorcycle. Even if there’s a bit of Nazi insignia. Though, I’m pretty sure it’s not actually his bike. This whole sequence at the start is a transition. We’re seeing them all start to settle down for a bit after the whole CDC debacle. Andrea and Shane bond slightly over gun maintenance. Rick and Lori and Carl remember a trip to the Grand Canyon.
Everything’s peachy until the group come across a massive blockage of cars across the highway. Weaving in and out between sections, there doesn’t seem to be much of a way through. The entire place reeks of death and decay. Something I have to mention: production design. Overall, there is an amazing amount of work put into this show. From the zombie makeup to the stunts, all of it is fun. But the production design, the massive job it must take to make this show look appropriately wasteland-ish is impressive. Even just seeing the interstate with all the cars and everything spread out, the scope of the production is wild.
After the R.V. steams out, everybody takes to the road and tries to gather as much as they can, from gas to random items, to hopefully car parts. Except Lori isn’t too keen, calling the highway itself “a graveyard“. Although, I can already feel an air of uneasiness, an ominous tone. Rick and Dale look through binoculars sharing an odd glance, Andrea finds a stray baby bottle on the roadside and looks at it, almost scared. Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Carol’s daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz) stay off to the side, but Lori tells her son to stay within sight. It feels like being on the edge of a cliff and waiting to drop off the side.
First, some walkers wander close to the area where everyone is scavenging. Not just some: a ton. A horde of them, extending back along the highway. Everybody does their best to hide, going underneath the cars, as Dale lays flat on top of the R.V. with Andrea inside on the floor. The massive pack of living dead shambles on ahead with the survivors attempting to stay quiet, and out of the reach or bite of the walkers. T-Dog gets himself a nasty, deep cut, which puts him in jeopardy while Andrea gets stuck in the motorhome bathroom with a zombie just outside, clawing to find her. I won’t spoil everything; an intense and at times pretty creepy, scary sequence.


When Sophia runs into the woods with zombies after her, Rick heads in. He ends up asking her to hide while he takes care of the walkers. Only when he goes back for the girl she isn’t there. For all he does, Rick is a good man. Now this one time, trying to help someone, it sort of backfires on him. Will that affect his standing in the group? Will people doubt him? They’re all searching now, hoping to find Sophia before the worst imaginable thing happens.
Rick clearly takes the guilt on himself. Perhaps he should in a sense, but he only tried to help, to do the best he could. And still there’s doubt in his own mind. He and Daryl go so far as to sift through the guts of zombies to try and determine if Sophia was eaten. He willingly dives into them, as if trying to make himself sure that he will do what it takes. In any and all cases. Back on the road, Rick has to tell Carol they still can’t find Sophia. The night is coming and the search has to stop, though, it does nothing to make her mother feel better.
Next morning Rick heads out again to search. Andrea and Dale are at odds; he won’t give her back the gun, afraid she has a death wish and wants to commit suicide. She only resents Dale for making her essentially save him at the CDC, after he stayed put with her. Sad to see, as Dale only felt a connection to her and didn’t want Andrea giving up on life. For now, Dale is left behind with T-Dog who awkwardly tries to pretend he didn’t hear everything.
Out in the woods, Shane is still playing would-be-dad with Carl. Except he’s acting like a child himself, wounded from his semi-relationship with Lori. This causes strain on them all. Everybody stumbles onto a tent in the woods, hoping maybe Sophia found her way into it during the night. No such luck. And so on they press.
At one point they find a church. Inside are only zombies, sitting in the congregation. Up they rise, not for a sermon, but for human flesh. Easily taken down, though, it is a super creepy scene. Along with a nice couple zombie kills and excellently executed makeup effects, as always. This series really gives us a lot of good stuff in that sense, with the makeup wizards at KNB – Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero – showing us their skills. They consistently do expert and fascinating work, from television to the big screen.
What happens afterwards is Andrea hears a conversation between Shane and Lori. An intimate one about their relationship, as Shane discusses leaving the group, striking out on his own. What will that bring about? More importantly, Carol has to bear the loss of her daughter. It’s likely the girl won’t survive on her own, yet still there is hope. Watching Carol have to deal with Sophia lost in the wilderness is touching, breaks the heart. And Andrea, she wants to leave with Shane. She wants to get away: “I see two people who dont belong,” Andrea tells him.


With some heading one way, Rick wants to stay put for now. For Sophia.
Rick has a heart to heart with a statue of Jesus in the church. He’s looking for a sign, an “indication Im doing the right thing“. I’m personally not a follower of any faith, but I love this scene. To know Rick has a deep faith of any sort, something to keep him going is interesting. It isn’t just his family, his wife and child. He has a deeper purpose in life, or so that’s what he feels. The contrast between him and Shane has never been more evident: “Get whatchu needed?” Shane asks Rick after the latter comes out of the church. I don’t believe in God, but those who follow, especially silently and faithfully, I admire and say: do as you will. Here, we see Shane is a lawless man and lacking in morals, even though before the fall of the world he worked as police officer. The divide between him and Rick is huge.
As the rest of the group moves on, Lori makes a passionate speech about Rick, hoping to take away some of the bad feelings, if any, about her husband over Sophia being lost. Although, I’m pretty sure most of those people realize how essential Rick is already. Even in Season 2. They’ll damn sure learn it better as time progresses.
The end of this episode is a shocking, brutal shot in the dark – almost literally. Carl is hit with an errant bullet that was headed for a deer. In the middle of the woods, cut off from society as it is to begin with in the zombie apocalypse, Rick and Shane panic as Carl begins to bleed out.


Excited to watch and review the second Season 2 episode, “Bloodletting”. Things are intense right off the bat with this season and it gets better with each passing episode. Stay with me, fellow fans!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

The Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 1: “Days Gone Bye”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 1: “Days Gone Bye”
Directed by Frank Darabont
Written by Frank Darabont; Based on the comics by Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore.

* For a review of the following episode, “Guts” – click here
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The very first episode of The Walking Dead begins almost exactly like the comics. Almost.
Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) stops his car on a deserted stretch of road. Cars are overturned everywhere, left in any place here or there. With a Jerry can in hand, Rick heads through a quasi-tented city made of tarp and cars. Then he sees a bunny slippered young girl in a bathrobe shuffling along the street. He calls – “Im a policeman” and “dont be afraid” – but when she turns around, it’s a zombified little creature, half a mouth. Still dragging a teddy bear.
So the initial scene with Rick Grimes, where we’re introduced to him, takes a little step back from the comics. Then shifts gears after watching Rick blow a little zombie girl away. Amazing, intense opener for this series when it first premiered. I remember it really got my attention.
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Afterwards, we cut back to Sheriff Rick actually working. In the seat next to him is Officer Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal). They talk about women, as men often do when they’re alone. This is now pretty much where the first comic started out. We get Frank Darabont elaborating these opening moments, drawing out the relationship between Shane and Rick before the world goes to shit. Nice move. Soon we move to the gunfight, where Sheriff Rick and his second-in-command Shane come up against fleeing criminals.
And then Rick takes a bullet, putting him down. The first one doesn’t do the trick. Another one from behind misses the vest and nearly blows a hole through his side. Here commences The Walking Dead.
We watch as Rick sees Shane hover above him. Eventually, Rick wakes up thinking he’s there. Only the flowers Shane brought are dried, dead.Something terrible has happened. The clock doesn’t even work anymore. Stumbling out into the halls, he discovers the entire hospital deserted. Not a soul is there. He’s also aware of having grown a beard. The world is different now, only it seems Sheriff Grimes was the last one to figure it out. Not to any fault of his own. In a hallway, the mutilated body of a woman sits on the floor and Rick realizes life has changed drastically. Bullet holes line the walls. A door is barricaded at the end of a hallway with the inscription DON’T OPEN, DEAD INSIDE scrawled across it in spray paint.
Seeing Rick outside in the world, walking past rows of covered bodies, then panning out to a wide shot of the hospital where we can see him lost among an almost-field of them. A little further and he finds evidence of a military operation. Abandoned. The world is truly done. His first confrontation with a zombie sees him taking a bike, the half-body crawling towards him in a disgusting heap. Back at the Grimes house, Rick finds nobody. And the world gets a little worse again, at least for him.
The most difficult is when Rick isn’t sure whether or not he’s dreaming. It’s tough to imagine waking up to a world like that.


A man named Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and his son come across Rick. The boy actually cracks him with a shovel. Waking up, for the second time in an unfamiliar place, Rick is tied to a bed back at Morgan’s place. Or the spot where he and the boy are holed up currently. It’s clear Morgan does not trust too many people. Not nowadays. “Did you get bit?” he asks Rick, who for his part doesn’t understand what any of that means. Things get friendly after awhile. Morgan appears to still have a civil nature, correcting his son speaking improper English, his son insisting on saying a blessing before eating supper. Rick couldn’t have been jumped by better people. Especially considering he needs to be explained a bit about the world, as it is now. Here we get the first time “walkers” is used – from Morgan. Rick learns about how to handle the zombies, particularly the need to take out the head. Of course it’s not an easy adjustment, learning to kill people. Even if they’re not actually people any longer.
One creepy sequence sees a zombified Mrs. Jones come to the door, slowly, trying to turn the knob. It’s not their home, but she died there after things went bad. Morgan believes he “shouldve put her down“. Who could do that, though? Not as easy as it seems for those of us watching zombie films and reading the comics. If it were real, the decisions would come harder.


When Rick and Morgan part ways, he gives the latter a police radio. This will become an important link between these two for a while to come. Their moment of departure is a nice one, on amicable terms, and it’s clear they’ve bonded. One of the first important relationships of the series to come.
Rick heads out on his own. First, back to find the half-zombie from earlier and put her down: “Im sorry this happened to you,” he tells her. Morgan starts target practice from the upstairs window, as his terrified son Duane hides downstairs. Until suddenly he sees his wife in the crosshairs, almost looking into his eyes; Morgan can’t manage to pull the trigger, though. It’s not something he can do just yet, if ever.
On the highway outside Atlanta, former Sheriff Grimes tries to reach someone, anyone on the police radio. At a nearby camp some people pick him up – several wide-eyed people are clearly astounded to hear his voice, including Dale Horvath (Jeffrey DeMunn), and former Officer Shane Walsh. Although, they can’t exactly get Rick on the radio, only static keeps coming through.
It also happens to be that Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs) are also at the camp site. Unfortunately, Shane seems to have everybody locked down and plans of going to search for the voice on the radio are vetoed. Turns out Shane and Lori are involved now. A tragic thing we’ll be dealing with for seasons.


On the road, Rick comes across more macabre sights including a family dead by murder suicide, GOD FORGIVE US scratched on the wall behind them. To see the strain of this type of situation bear down on a man who, until the past couple days, was in a coma and unaware of the crisis, it’s a wild ride. Emotionally we’re seated right alongside Rick.
Perhaps my favourite part of “Days Gone Bye” is near the end where he comes across the horse. Aside from Morgan and Duane, this is the only living creature Rick has encountered that wasn’t trying to eat his flesh right off the bone. So it’s a fun, tender moment. Not only that, we’re also brought back to the Wild West, the Frontier Days, as Rick hops backwards in transportation, to an earlier time. And it’s fitting because the world is wiped out. Humanity takes a step back, so may as well put Sheriff Grimes on a horse and ride him into Atlanta.
In the city the streets are deserted. Like everywhere else.
But a horde of the undead stop Rick, his horse, around the corner of a city block. They swarm him. The poor animal doesn’t make it out. Although Rick does. Just barely. Hopping into a tank on the street, he manages to find temporary refuge. When things seem to have gone as far as they’re about to go, a voice comes over the radio: “Hey you. Dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank. Cozy in there?”


Excited to rewatch the rest of these episodes. Up next is “Guts” where we’ll find more characters, more zombie apocalypse and plenty of horrific action.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the previous episode, “Heads Up” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “No Way Out” – click here
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After last episode, we’re all eager to see how the Alexandrians band together once the wall came crashing down.
This episode begins with young Sam (Major Dodson) up in his room, listening to Tiptoe Through the Tulips on a vinyl, as tons of ants crawl around the window and down to food he’s left rotting. Strange, though, the fact he lays an empty plate at the top of the stairs.
Meanwhile, outside the tower has fallen into Alexandria and torn one of the walls down completely. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is on the frontline, alongside Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) who seems determined to help him. Then there’s Maggie (Lauren Cohan), she manages to climb the ladder up to one of the watch posts, but halfway up the dead almost take her. She gets there, though.
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) almost gets eaten, except for Rosita (Christian Serratos) who blasts him out of it. Even Rick and Deanna, plus others, get saved by Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). After they’re all inside, what’s meant to happen next?
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Watching on in horror, Glenn (Steven Yeun) continually has to try and talk Enid (Katelyn Nacon) into not leaving. But Glenn goes on regardless, whether or not she does too is left to be seen.
I’m wondering what’s going to happen with Sam. As the carnage comes back to his house, Deanna injured and general chaos boiling over, the poor kid looks messed up. He’s barely been outside, let alone seen any of the “monsters“, as he calls them.
Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) end up back at his place during the onslaught. She does not particularly trust him, and wants to find out what’s happening in his basement. Downstairs, with Morgan staving off Curious Carol, there’s Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) having an eerie conversation with the remaining Wolf (Benedict Samuel). He’s pretty much at their mercy, but doesn’t appear to care about any of them. Still, Denise starts out to help him.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) is tending to Deanna’s wounds at the Anderson house when she and Rick discover a bite on her waistline. All Deanna has to say: “Wellshit.” Sad to see her go, honestly. Some may not enjoy her character. I liked the way she was envisioning a future for Alexandria, whether or not its entire structure survived ‘whatever comes after this’. There’s a great little scene with Deanna and Michonne, which gives more depth to Deanna as a character, even on her deathbed(/couch). You can see how much she cared, as the life literally slips out of her.


In the Anderson garage, Carl (Chandler Riggs) goes to talk to Ron (Austin Abrams). As always, dickhead Ron comes on with aggression. He tries to go for his gun, but Carl smartly counters before anything can happen. They wrestle for a bit until Rick and Jesse make their way inside. All the noise makes the zombies take notice, and Ron has doomed his own house. The dead come crashing through the gate and into the garage. Even after all that, though, Carl lets it slide. But he speaks plainly to Ron in private, after taking his gun: “Look man, I get itmy dad killed your dad. But you need to know somethingyour dad was an asshole.”


Deanna and Rick have a very intense, deep conversation. She explains a few things to Rick, about how they’re all HIS people out there. He is them, they are them together. It’s a hard thought for Rick, I think. Because he’s already shouldering everything, all the time. It’s almost as if Deanna places the survival of society as a whole on Rick.
Back at Morgan’s place, Carol pulls a little bait-and-switch tricking him. She runs downstairs to find out what’s going on. But we quickly cut to the Anderson house, as Rick, Michonne and everyone else are pushed upstairs. They bar off the stairs while Rick starts getting a couple zombie corpses to smear themselves with to get over to the armory. We cut back and forth between the people in the Anderson house to a showdown between Carol and Morgan – he will not let her kill the last Wolf, he keeps spouting off how “life is possibility” and so on, all those things he was indoctrinated into while captive a long way back on the road. It’s a tense situation.


Deanna: “Someday this pain will be useful to you. They need you: go.”
Michonne: “Thank you
Deanna: “For what?
Michonne: “For believing
Deanna: “I still believe. I cocked it all up, but I figured it outwhat do you want? Now you figure it out
Michonne: “I will
Deanna: “Good. Giveem hell.”


The final Wolf keeps telling Carol and the others: “You’re not supposed to be here.” We all know he needs to die, Carol knows that. However, Morgan’s not willing to let that happen. He and Carol have a fight, he knocks her out. Then the Wolf knocks him out, pulling a knife off Carol and holding Denise at the end of his blade. As the others at the Anderson house smear dead human blood and meat all over themselves, the Wolf is interrupted by Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Rosita with their guns drawn. He now has Denise as a hostage, backing out into the nasty zombie apocalypse. That’s a bummer, I really like her. I hope she gets away from him.
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Then we get another scene where Rick and the survivors make their way out of a horde with zombie guts all over them. A really great montage with excellent music from Bear McCreary. Very inspired sounding stuff, as well as ominous; great electronic sound happening, fitting for the vibe intended. Plus, we also see Deanna take a final stand upstairs, opening the door to willingly face the walking dead down with her gun instead of committing suicide.


The end of this episode is sort of low-key. While the last montage is pretty intense overall, we end with Sam calling out to his mom before things go to black. Sort of a bittersweet ending, as we barely saw any of Glenn/Enid, nor did we get ANY look at Daryl (Norman Reedus) & Co. Either way, I loved this episode, and I don’t think it’s deserving of people whining saying nothing happened, et cetera. Lots happened. Also, what do you expect in the post-zombie world? Mostly struggle ahead. Nevertheless, the teaser for the second half of the season wets our appetite Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan and hard times ahead for the group. Lots to look forward to! And we do at least see Daryl, Abraham and Sasha run into some of Negan’s crew, an ominous tease for the second half of Season 6.


I’ll see you all again on Valentine’s Day, when The Walking Dead returns in all its horrifically oozing glory.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 6: “Always Accountable”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 6: “Always Accountable”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Heather Bellson

* For a review of the previous episode, “Now” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Heads Up” – click here
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Another episode keeping the group divided, “Always Accountable” begins with walkie talkie chatter between Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). They cruise down the road, even a little chummy in their disposition over the radio.
Then out of nowhere, some other group attacks them. Daryl ducks under fire over the road. Abraham and Sasha take fire in the care.
But still, these tough sons and sister of bitches are downright bad ass. After Daryl hits the pavement, some zombies descend upon him. He makes it out while Sasha and Abraham gun down men in the car chasing after them. Separated slightly from his two friends, Daryl ends up collapsing on a forest road, surprisingly enough next to a corpse wearing a motorcycle helmet; all the while, Daryl wears nothing except the clothes on his back.
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Problem is, now Daryl’s off on his own in the woods somewhere. He’s a little beat up after taking a skid on the bike back with the trigger happy maniacs and the zombies. Something I don’t mention often enough is Norman Reedus, in terms of his acting skill. Even just himself, on his own, the pain he feels comes across as so real. I’ve loved him since I first saw him in Mimic, such a small yet impressionable role – loved him more once Boondock Saints came out. But as Daryl, he plays a rare role – with greatness – in which he’s both a hard, backwoods type of man, and at the same time there is a true, and often, glitter of kindness in his heart. There’s a reason the role was made for Reedus, literally; Darabont loved his audition for Merle, and so created the character specifically for him.
The worst comes when Daryl finds two women following him. Then a guy knocks him out. He gets taken captive by the three, at gunpoint. In the face of possible death, Daryl doesn’t flinch. How many times before AND after the zombie apocalypse happened has Daryl had a gun pointed in his face? Too many to count.
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When Daryl does make it away, running off into the woods, he takes an army duffle bag. Once far enough he has to fend off a zombie, then realizes the bag contains insulin. One of the women of the trio who took him captive seemed to have fainted right before Darly ran. Will this affect his good conscience? Or has the new wasteland finally turned him away from having that conscience when danger is too near?
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On down the road, Sasha and Abraham scrawl DIXON on a door in case Daryl is trailing behind. They head inside an office building. First, Abraham finds a military man’s uniform decorated with medals, a family photo. You can see a part of his former self, in the good sense, flicker behind his eyes. Afterwards he and Sasha have a bit of a confrontation. Both of them talk about being in control. Each has had a good deal of mental strain over the past while, though, they’re sort of returning to themselves. Surprisingly, it’s Sasha – who at once wanted to basically die – who has her head on the straightest. In some sense, she does get through to Abraham. Although he still puts up such a hard, rigid front.
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Sasha: “Without walkers and bullets and shit hittin’ the fan, you’re always accountable.”
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Going back to give the trio their bag, Daryl finds himself in a bad situation. Into the forest rolls a huge truck, out come a group of armed men looking for the three people. In a moment of even further conscience, possibly to his own detriment, the backwater cowboy Dixon helps the people who had once  treated him harshly. Off they run, hiding for a while. Until Daryl draws one of the men into getting bit by a zombie. The truck and men withdraw, not wanting to pursue any further because “he only wants ass that’s willing, y’know?” – pretty ominous. Is this what I think it is? Are we beginning to see slight introductions to a well-known character coming to the show later this season? Or is it merely another little villain for our heroes to overcome? We’ll see. I can’t remember half of the comics I’ve read up to this point, so some of what’s coming in terms of the adaptation I’m not even sure of anymore.
Abraham is still having his own trouble. He finds a box of cigars, as well as a soldier hanging from a rooftop and some knocked down fence. The soldier’s got an RPG strapped on his back. After a drawn out, tense scene, he ends up watching the zombified man rip apart and fall… but the RPG still hangs off the fence, anyways. Heading back inside with a newfound optimism, Abraham “makes some plays” in order to possibly get to know Sasha “a whole lot better“. Funny, sort of cute little scene between these two.
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Back with the trio and Daryl, things turn to terror. The young diabetic girl (ends up being bitten, once they return to a camp where they’d obviously once been. After they head into the forest, things seem to turn fine. Daryl begins the recruitment process, asking the THREE QUESTIONS they used to ask new people on the road.
But not too long passes before the two others turn on Daryl. They take not just his bike, also his crossbow. Alone in the woods, he’s again in a vulnerable position. Worse than when the episode began, in fact. Even so he comes to find a truck in the forest, a fuel company truck.
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For a moment when he pulls up to where Abraham and Sasha are staying, you think they’re in danger. We don’t even see Daryl, or the truck at first. Only the smiles on their faces.
As the episode closes, over the radio we here someone say: “Help. Help.” It sounds like Rick, possibly. Next week, I anticipate everyone will find their way back to Alexandria and once again they’ll all band together in order to move forward.
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Stay tuned with me for the next episode, “Heads Up”. Will we soon find out about Glenn? I’m loving the anticipation.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 5: “Now”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 5: “Now”
Directed by Avi Youabian
Written by Corey Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Always Accountable” – click here
Picture 1After a GREAT Morgan (Lennie James) centered episode, the series moves on with Episode 5 of the sixth season – “Now”
We start with Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh). She goes to the place where her husband Reg put up the first panel of Alexandria’s walls. After reminiscing shortly, sadly, she looks out towards the road where the walkers are shambling towards their safe haven. Meanwhile, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) comes barreling through, screaming for the gates to open. One of the more intense slow motion scenes yet on The Walking Dead. Even worse, Deanna looks as if the entire world has collapsed around her. In a sense, it has.
Picture 2Once the credits clue up, Rick is lining everyone up. He’s saying things to reassure them, trying to keep the morale high. They’re going to band together, seal Alexandria up and make it safe, quiet, subtle. Can they do it? Will the people of Alexandria step up? Aaron (Ross Marquand) puts his hat in the ring for Rick, speaks highly of Daryl (Norman Reedus). He admits to, essentially, not knowing as much as Rick, Daryl and their entire group. But still, Deanna appears to have gone off the edge.
Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is busy cleaning up her house. There’s a pile of dead Wolves out in the yard she plans to bury. Though, Rick shows up and tells her: “We don’t bury killers inside these walls.” At the same time, Olivia (Ann Mahoney) has troubles with everyone over at the food dispensary. All the residents say fuck it, taking what they will. Spencer (Austin Nichols) lays down the law and tells them going down that sort of path will make them the type of people they don’t want to become.
Picture 3 Picture 4I really feel for Aaron. It took me a rewatch of a couple episodes lately to revisit some of his great moments. The fact those pictures ended up in the hands of the Wolves is such a tragic misstep. You can see how horribly it hurts him to have inadvertently played a part in The Wolves’ assault on Alexandria. Maybe redemption is coming for him? He and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are heading out together in search of Glenn (Steven Yeun), whose fate is still not set in stone.
Picture 5 Picture 6Then we watch as Deanna scribbles away, noting on a big map places for ALFALFA, BARLEY, all sorts of crops, and buildings for education, et cetera. Furthermore, she jots down an Ovid quote: “dolor hic tibi proderit olim” (Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you). Afterwards, though, she and Spencer have a clash. They’ve got all sorts of rations over at their place, so Spencer only did what he did earlier to make it appear proper. What a snake.
Carl (Chandler Riggs) is hoping to find Enid (Katleyn Nacon). He has a bit of a showdown with Jessie’s son Ron (Austin Abrams). Little Carl has grown up. He knows his shit, while Ron is a dummy who knows nothing only that danger exists out there. Unlike Carl, he’s never had to shoot his mother, who just gave birth to his sister, right in her head.
Picture 7 Picture 8A very sad yet empowering scene at the same time comes when Jessie finds a neighbour in a house nearby. The woman slit her wrists, trying to escape the zombie apocalypse coming down on their heads. But of course she came back. So it’s a depressing zombie moment, yet Jessie proclaims – after putting the lady zombie down for good: “This is what life looks like now; we have to see it, we have to fight. If we don’t fight, we die.” Excellent moment, which not only gives Jessie more power, she impresses some of the others. Namely Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever); she’s been wavering a little, such as in an earlier scene with Tara (Alanna Masterson). A look runs across Denise’s face that speaks volumes.
Back to Aaron and Maggie, making their way out of Alexandria on their quest to try and track down lost Glenn. AMAZING ZOMBIE EFFECTS! In a sewer, they run into a couple soggy living dead specimens. Such perfect makeup works, love the practical work here, as always. Even further, I find Maggie and Aaron have a nice dynamic going already. I’m excited for more of them, they’re both damn tough.
Picture 10 Picture 11 Picture 12Ron goes to Rick and starts telling him about Enid, who’d sneak out from inside the walls to explore the outside world. The little shithead. He’s not doing this for any other reason than to stir things up. Not sure exactly what is going on with him, but I don’t like the way Ron acts. Rick starts teaching him how to shoot. I just do not like where this kid and his attitude are heading.
Surprise! Dr. Cloyd gives Tara a big smooch for helping out with a patient, giving her the confidence to keep going and push through the fear.
Then we finally get confirmation from Maggie: she is pregnant. At the last moment, she stops Aaron from opening the grate to head out into the wilderness outside Alexandria. Passionate speech from Maggie, great acting by Cohan. This entire scene is so intense and I found myself near tearing up. At the same time, I’m devastated because Maggie doesn’t have much, if any, hope left at all. She’s seen too many people die, especially her own family. No wonder. But she and Aaron embrace, they’ve got a bond. I feel as if he’s going to be a good friend to her from now, watching out, helping where he can. He is a good man who wants to do right by others. Again, their chemistry is awesome.
Picture 13 Picture 14Deanna stumbles through the streets, hearing voices of past arguments, all sorts of things. Out from under one of the houses comes a Wolf zombie, one Carol (Melissa McBride) couldn’t find after she killed him in the attack. Deanna GOES TO TOWN on the zombie with a broken bottle, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Finally, Rick rushes out of the darkness to kill it off. She looks at him dead in the eye and says: “I want to live.” So this episode has really been a turning point. Seeing Rick and his group go through traumatic events alongside them, the Alexandrians have hit a corner, they’re coming through to discover they do have what it takes. At least when it comes down to the nitty gritty of it all.
Picture 15 Picture 16My favourite scene comes when Maggie hops down off the wall with Aaron. They go to the panel where all the IN MEMORIAL names have been marked – of which Glenn is one, as is Nicholas. While we know the latter is dead, Glenn – I don’t think – is actually finished. But Maggie wipes his name off. In contrast to what I said before, Maggie does have hope. Aaron proves to be that good friend already by adding to her hope, encouraging her.
Picture 18The finale sees Deanna getting her groove back, as well as Rick and Jessie getting much closer. And a final drip of blood running through a hole in the wall closes things off.
Excited to see the next episode, “Always Accountable”. Stay tuned for another one next week!

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

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

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

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

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 3:
 “Thank You”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode “JSS” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Here’s Not Here” – click here
IMG_2192Back at it again, we’re coming round to see where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang are on their way home to Alexandria from the quarry.
He and Glenn (Steven Yeun), plus a bunch of their crew, run through the woods frightened for what is coming behind them, all the walkers loose from the quarry. Rick radios back out to the road where Daryl (Norman Reedus), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are slightly unaware of the trouble at hand.
Naturally, former Sheriff Grimes has a plan. He makes it very clear they need to only worry about themselves. Problem is the original Alexandrians are a bit uneasy about things. Michonne (Danai Gurira) does her best to quell the fears, though, Rick is fairly vocal about things and many of the others, such as Heath (Corey Hawkins), are pretty worried for their safety. Off Rick goes on his own like the superhero he is, or wishes to be. Everyone else heads back towards home.
IMG_2193In the woods, Glenn and Michonne try leading everyone back. Unfortunately a couple people are overcome by zombies, bitten or otherwise. An errant shot by a scared group member hits someone else creating more mayhem.
Back out on the road, Daryl has a plan of his own. Always thinking, always ready. He speeds off leaving Abraham and Sasha driving in the car. “I’ll be back,” he yells driving up the road.
It’s too bad David (Jay Huguley) was bitten. He and Michonne talk on the road, he tells her about the woman he’s with – Betsy – and how they met, so on. Touching moment made even worse by the fact we know he’s going to turn, or die before that happens.
Then Glenn tells Michonne how badly he has to get home. I feel bad because something is going to happen, all due to Nicholas (Michael Traynor). Earlier on there’s a moment when he almost goes into shell-shock, PTSD, something; he quakes and his vision went blurry. Each time he comes into the frame I can’t help wonder: how will he fuck the group over this time? I hope he proves me wrong, in the best ways, but I doubt it. Highly.
Super creepy scene when Glenn-Michonne group stumble into a pet store. All the animals are dead in their cages, starved and likely dehydrated. One of those strange hit you in the chest moments. You imagine all the different little situations people (and animals) found themselves in after the zombie apocalypse came raining down. Sad, tragic, chilling.
IMG_2194 IMG_2195 IMG_2197Glenn has a plan, and I do not like it – he wants to go light a building on fire. Can’t get any worse? Nicholas offers to draw a map to a feed store, something best fit for a blaze. I’m just not at all sure of this guy, I know he’ll eventually either die or cause death because of his messed up mental state. When Glenn pulls out Hershel’s watch, I cringed a bit. A bad, bad omen. Off on his own and everything, like some ritual.
Another lone wolf on the road, Rick meets up with a small crowd of walkers. He pulls out a knife, nonchalant, then the animal Rick is back in his eyes. He takes them down bloodily, easily. I love Rick Grimes.
Heath and Michonne have a confrontation. Out comes the truth for Heath, the hard reality. She impresses on him the fact sometimes you have to do things which “make you afraid of yourself“. And it’s true, Rick and Michonne, most of their group, they’ve all had to terrible things, awful and unspeakable actions that changed the very fiber of their DNA. None of them are the same, and those people in Alexandria have not experienced anything close to that.
IMG_2198Gunfire starts to ring out back in Alexandria. This sends Glenn and Nicholas, who tags along despite my best hopes, on the run a bit faster. Meanwhile, walkers are on the move down the street, so Michonne and everyone in the pet store have to stay put at least for the time being. But soon enough a few zombies appear in a closet, Michonne chops them and causes a bit of noise. Outside, a wall of walkers keeps lurching towards them literally covering the entire street. They begin a fight to move forward, blasting out the doors and heading down the street. One of the girls gets nabbed by the living dead, her guts chomped into and fed off eagerly, zombie after zombie.
Rick made it back to the big camper near one of the sheet metal walls. His intensity is unmatched in “Thank You”. Even when he bit into that man’s neck near the end of the fourth season, even in many of the insane moments he’s found himself, Rick has never been so primal. Each time we see him, he’s getting more and more vicious. Might as well be frothing at the mouth.
IMG_2199The intensity in the episode rises further, as the separate groups – Michonne and friends, Glenn and Nicholas – rally to corners of the small town they’re in, trying to discover some way, any way out.
Glenn and the idiotic Nicholas end up trapped in an alley, backed up against a fence and awaiting the onslaught of walking corpses. They each fire into as many brains as possible, then haul out their knives for close combat. Can it get ANY SWEATIER? Shit, man. The suspense and the tension had my heart racing. Not to mention their moments are inter-cut with Michonne nearly getting swamped and bitten. Though, luckily she makes her way up and over a fence. The already bitten David is eaten alive by the horde and everyone else makes it out alive.
IMG_2206But Glenn and Nicholas have to get up on top of a dumpster in order to keep away from the rabid walkers. It’s at this moment when the PTSD swells up inside Nicholas, everything slowing down, his hearing just about gone – he tells Glenn, “Thank you“, and shoots himself in the head. They both topple into the zombie crowd and immediately find themselves engulfed.
It’s tough to tell exactly because there’s a possibility it was Nicholas… but the scene as it stands makes us see/believe Glenn is being eaten. Blood spurts out, guts are ripped with hungry hands into hungrier mouths, and Glenn screams into the air. Heart wrenching scene. I almost couldn’t take it. Is this truly the end for Glenn? If so, I don’t know… I’m pretty broken, honestly. His character has been great, amazing dynamic with several of the others, and it’ll be sad if this is his fate.
IMG_2207 IMG_2209 IMG_2210 IMG_2213Later on, Rick calls on the walkie back to Glenn, not knowing what’s happened. Of course, he gets no answer. In fact he gets no answer from anyone, except for Daryl and the road crew. He tries instilling them all with more courage, telling them not to be afraid; Abraham confirms over the radio they indeed are not. Tough bunch of people. They basically have to trust, as Rick says, the fact everyone back at Alexandria can handle themselves properly in such a situation.
Out of nowhere Rick is attacked in the camper. Two men are on in him, after wild gunshots he knocks them down, pumping two shots of his own into them respectively. He finds a jar of baby food on one of them in a sort of bittersweet moment. Then up along the side of the camper he spies people sneaking. Firing an assault rifle through the sides he annihilates them, presumably anyways. In the side mirror, it looks to us like at least one of the dead people is a kid. Things get mentally worse for Rick before the vehicle won’t start, and out of the forest come a ton of walkers.
And then, with zombies coming from every which way, an aerial shot shows the scene from way above, we come to an end.
IMG_2216 IMG_2219So god damn excited for the next episode, titled “Here’s Not Here”. Head back over here next week and I’ll have a review queued up. Until then, Walking Dead-ites!

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 1: “First Time Again”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 1:
 “First Time Again”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the next episode, “JSS” – click here

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.49.17 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.49.26 PMBack to Alexandria once more. I’m only now just starting to review The Walking Dead, jumping in on the newest season. So look out: I’ll get back to the first season, as soon as possible.
With this new beginning, Season 6 starts as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) gives a speech to get everyone prepared – well, after a quick black-and-white flashback to the first time Rick has heard Morgan Jones (Lennie James) in a long time.
Things get dicey pretty quick once a tractor trailer slips off a cliff and throws a wrench into Rick’s whole plan.
Immediately there are hordes and hordes of zombies just pushing their way towards Rick and the crew. Loving the walkers already! Greg Nicotero – legendary makeup artists and effects man alongside partner Howard Berger – directed this season opener, so there’ll be plenty of this to come.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.49.44 PMMore black-and-white flashbacks to more of what we saw at the end of Season 5, after Rick finally went ahead and fought for him, his group, without worrying for the lives of everyone else, as he so often found himself doing.
Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) pours a little liquor out for the dead man he carries. Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) somehow manages not to kill Nicholas (Michael Traynor), bringing him back safely after all; this plays out more through the episode, showing us the compassion of Glenn and their group, as he’s not willing to totally lose himself in the madness of the zombie apocalypse. Smart, or naive? We’ll see as the season gets into gear. So far, though, so good.
Then we’re able to get a look at Morgan’s return. He sits eating with good ole Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), having another little talk with Rick now that they’re reunited. Of course, Rick has changed a lot since their last meeting; Morgan understands, because so has he, no doubt.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.50.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.50.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.51.13 PMBack in the present, Rick has everyone running like clockwork. They’re systematically working their way down roads, past rows of cars, shooting flares to create diversions for the rows of undead traipsing around.
More black-and-white flashbacks. Rick and Daryl talk about Morgan a little, about what he told them concerning the outside world, the mysterious zombies marked on their foreheads, and so on. We get more and more of a sense Rick is turning cold, colder than ever before. Or maybe he’s simply getting more rational, back to the basics. He and Morgan are slightly at odds simply for the fact Morgan is able to recognize one thing: everyone’s a killer in post-apocalyptica with the walkers.
At the same time, Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) gets to meet a few people he and the others haven’t had the chance to meet yet, other Alexandria residents, such as Heath (Corey Hawkins) who seems nice enough; he and Eugene bond awkwardly over hair, kind of.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.51.33 PMMorgan: “That’s not who you are. I know.
Rick: “Hey – you don’t
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.51.48 PMThere’s a refreshing aspect to having Rick and Morgan back in the same place, at the same time, and more or less on the same page. Because what this allows is a sort of mirror-like reflection of the two men. They’re both very similar, but again – Morgan has a strange type of clarity. Most likely gained after spending so much time alone, withdrawn from the world outside. Unlike Rick, whose entire existence since the fall of civilization has consisted of fighting for others, taking care of others, et cetera. Not to say Morgan hasn’t fought, but Rick has shouldered far too much weight he didn’t necessarily have to to all in the name of being a ‘good man’. Whereas Morgan accepts that part of being a good man sometimes in this new world is also being a bad guy, when necessary; Rick still has a hard time understanding that, reconciling the two sides of himself. Always Sheriff Grimes thinks it can only be one or the other.
Such greatness when Daryl rides his bike up over a hill, so simple: we can see back behind him on the road there are about a hundred or more zombies headed his way, following the sound of his engine rumbling. Incredible little moment! Such a wild and exciting, albeit brief shot.

A big part of this season opener is the quarry – Rick and Morgan stumble across it when they go out to bury the piece of shit Rick killed in the Season 5 finale. This is where Rick’s massive plan goes down, where the episode started. That truck which plummeted off the cliff earlier? It was holding back walkers from pouring into the surrounding area and Alexandria itself. Rick, as well as trusty Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), tries to tell everyone it’s best to take care of the problem and get it done; only a matter of time before the worst happens. Luckily, most everyone agrees. Carter (Ethan Embry) would prefer to reinforce the wall, having worked on the original structure. Daryl, Abraham and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are each game for the plan, as well as all the other regulars like Glenn and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan). Though, Carter seems to be a little apprehensive about Rick, after the incidents of the finale. However, lots of others from Alexandria soon pipe up to offer their help in hopes of banding together to stop an invasion of walkers from tumbling in through the walls. So Rick lays out the plan in detail for Carter and the others, even if not everyone is totally thrilled with it. Luckily, either way, Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), head honcho in charge agrees with Rick and almost all of his ideas/plans.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.52.33 PMAgain, LOTS OF AWESOME ZOMBIE ACTION! Heads crushing, and so on. When Rick and Co. are leading the hordes down the road, Daryl on his bike holding up the front lines, there are a couple excellent bits of nasty gore. Zombies running into the sheet metal, smashing their brains. Others walking through the bits of face and brains and teeth on the ground, slopping through a tiny pool of blood. So, so fun in a gross way! Always love this sort of stuff. Nicotero has mostly only directed on The Walking Dead, including the Webisodes (plus a TV movie and a short), so he usually does some solid work in his episodes when it comes to showing off awesome special makeup effects.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.53.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.53.41 PMTurns out Carter (Embry) has been talking about mutiny, taking Alexandria back from Rick. They think he’s dangerous, or at the least Carter does, anyways. In a flashback, we see Eugene spy on Carter + others talking about the mutiny; Carter is about to put him away with a shot to the head when Rick, Daryl and Morgan show up. Instead of returning the favour and blasting Carter, Daryl’s appeal to Rick shows mercy. More, we get to see how Morgan is a much more dual-natured soul, while Rick remains one or the other: feast or famine, live or die, good or bad.
In the present, though, Carter and Rick reconcile, as the former admits: “You were right” as the plan plays out properly after all. Well, Carter ends up getting chewed by a walker, but everyone else appears fairly safe as it stands. Too bad, I actually love Ethan Embry and hoped he might be sticking around; not the case.
But can Rick begin to accept his own dual nature instead of leaning too far on one side, or will his inability to do so prove fatal for him/those around him at some point, too? There’s no telling where anything will go in the world of The Walking Dead. I have a feeling something tragic and devastating will happen at some point in this season.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.53.49 PMRick: “I know this sounds insane, but this is an insane world.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.54.22 PMAt the finale of “First Time Again”, what sounds like a truck horn sounds in the distance. Everyone stops, their eyes full of fear. The walkers start to move in through the woods, off the roads and where they were being coaxed into going by the crew. A great satirical little moment when the walkers head back towards Alexandria – one of those new sub-division signs pointing towards the little town, saying “You’re almost home”. Amazing final shot pulling back over the highway to reveal the masses and masses, unending, of zombies heading to the quaint little suburb where Rick and the group are fleeing home.
Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.55.06 PMThe next episode, titled “JSS” (directed by the amazing Jennifer Chambers Lynch; daughter of David), should be extremely interesting. Stay tuned as I go into Season 6 with you all, Walking Deadites!

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Good Man”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 1, Episode 6:
“The Good Man”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Dave Erickson & Robert Kirkman

* For a review of the Season 2 premiere, “Monster” – click here
* For a review of the previous episode, “Cobalt” – click here
fear-the-walking-dead-episode-106-nick-dillane-935Madison (Kim Dickens) and Travis (Cliff Curtis), along with Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), are getting ready to leave so they can try and retrieve the lost family members – while Nick is alive, unfortunately Griselda has already died and been shot in the head to prevent her zombifying.
Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) and her father Daniel (Rubén Blades) are at odds because of what happened years ago in their home country, El Salvador; Daniel lied to her about it all, placing himself as victim when in fact he tortured people. This causes a rift at a terribly important time, when they need to be on the same page especially once they find out what happened to Griselda.

At the big lab, Dr. Bethany Exner (Sandrine Holt) is preparing to haul ass out of Los Angeles along with everyone essential to the operation. Liza Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez) is concerned about her son, but also tries to negotiate as best she can to have Travis also go along. Tentatively, this seems like a deal. However, you can be sure Travis will not go without Madison. I can already feel the tension mounting.
fear-walking-dead-6Back at the house, as everyone prepares to roll out, Andrew Adams (Shawn Hatosy) – still in the group’s custody – pleads with Travis to be taken along with them, as there’ll be maneuvering needing to be done once inside the facility where the family members are being kept.
The lively Daniel concocts a plan to make a diversion: he lets out the zombies contained inside the arena from the end of the previous episode. While the National Guardsmen are battling hordes of the undead, far as the eye can see, Daniel is pissed with Travis for trying to do the right thing and bringing Adams along.

Caged up still, Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) talks with his new friend Nick Clark (Franke Dillane). Then, all of a sudden, out go the lights. Things are starting to break down. Bullets fly out in the background, the noise of people shouting, scrambling, everything gets louder.
I’m really enjoying the brief bond between Strand and Nick, there’s something real sly and greasy about Strand yet I feel like he might be an important character in the second season. Whatever happens, I do think he’s going to be of use in terms of the show’s plot. Already he starts to give Nick advice, telling him that helping others could actually hurt them; tragic to have to say so, yet in the new post-apocalyptic landscape certainly a true statement.
Dr. Exner is trying to have her patients and staff extracted, but the infected have began to lay siege to the building. The entire operation all but literally crumbles right in front of Exner, poor Liza along for the ride realizes she may have to leave behind her family. Even worse, Exner is left with a room full of patients who won’t be leaving the facility alive, or so it appears.
At the car, waiting for the rest of the group, Chris and Alicia are harassed by some National Guardsmen who want their vehicle. When one of them makes lewd, suggestive comments at Alicia, Chris steps in to defend her and gets knocked out. Good on him, though, protecting his step-sister.
Fear-the-Walking-Dead-The-Good-Man-645x370There is a ton of excellent tension and atmosphere in general happening in this whole sequence. As the entire facility starts to go down in figurative flames, the horror and action pick up. Liza witnesses a National Guardsman get a savage bite in the neck, blood gushing from the wound, then kill himself by running into the rear blades on the tail of a helicopter; GNARLY!
My favourite bits here come when Nick and Strand make their way through the halls of the hospital facility – which is actually a local college – they see a bit of nasty zombie gut munching. But we can already tell what sort of character Strand is, how conniving in a good way he’s already proving to be, just in the way his head is totally on straight in terms of their current situation. Even in the casual way he acts from moment to moment, even in danger, it shows him as to be incredibly slick, and wildly fun.
For those who’ve been complaining about the lack of horror/zombie presence, this episode kicks things up a notch. When the group all ends up together – Travis and Madison, Daniel, Ofelia, Liza, then Nick and Strand – the horror action comes alive with skull cracks, forehead shots, hammer smashes, and more! You can already tell there’s going to be more of this next season, once the epidemic truly gets underway and things become more and more desolate zombie-wise with every passing day, each week. The grim, macabre second half of this finale gives us a preview of the horror we’ll surely be able to expect when Fear the Walking Dead returns next year.
fear-the-walking-dead-s01e06-review-750x400I think I was most chilled when Dr. Exner is found alone with all the patients, hydraulic cattle gun by her side, all of the remaining ill with holes in their heads. Just the way she’s sitting there, finishing her ‘work’, the blank and disaffected look in her eyes, the lack of any humanity remaining in her face… it is scary stuff. At first, I thought she was mostly a real bitch, but seeing her take up the gun while all the others leave, I honestly feel bad for her. It’s tragic to have to see a doctor, someone who swore an oath to try and sustain the lives of her patients, ultimately resign herself to – what appears to be – suicide.
Outside, the group witnesses a huge stack of ashes and dust, consisting of the dead from the makeshift hospital facility. Big heaps, two piles, sit in the parking lot with a bulldozer next to them. Almost as intensely frightening as the previous scene with Dr. Exner.
But UH OH – Andrew Adams crops up again, gun drawn and pointing it at Daniel. Only he doesn’t shoot Daniel; he blasts Ofelia with one shot. Reeling from that? When Travis pins Adams to the ground and beats him into bloody chunks of pulp, you’ll be jaw agape. I was, anyways. It wasn’t shock, merely the fact I was amazed at Travis, his character – there’s a switch which happened in him from the guy who was optimistic, trusting the military and the government to set things right and work it out, to the man now who is embracing the crossover to humankind becoming more primitive, more animalistic, something everyone will need to learn to do in the coming weeks, months, years. Just to see Travis so quickly turn himself into a beast, it was really something, and totally necessary.
AMC_FEAR_S1_106_TAS-800x450Strand takes everyone back to his grand home to decompress. He’s upstairs packing when Nick asks where he’ll be going; no direct answer, only that he’s going to stay in constant motion. He tells Nick nobody can stay there, though. Then he shows Nick an ocean liner out on the sea, where they’re headed: Abigail.
Liza takes a stroll down to the beach by the water, Madison following along behind her. Turns out, Liza is infected with a terrible scratch on her stomach. She wants Madison to do the job and get it over with, as Travis shows up right in time. I mean, what an emotional moment! Terribly tragic moment to see Travis, with the women he loves and the woman he once loved, and having to watch one of them literally go away; forever.
The moment when the shot rings out is unbelievably sad. So weighty. Juxtaposed with a shot of Chris and Alicia smiling, eating popsicles together and laughing, there’s a wave of emotion that hits with great impact. Such a quiet moment when the shot blasts into the air, then the aftermath unfolds with a quiet song underneath, and I honestly can’t think of a better, more emotional way to finish the season. Particularly, again, having to see Travis sort of turn around from the person he was at the start of the season to become a man who will be able to last through the hard times ahead is a very interesting, intriguing point for Season 1.
AMC_FEAR_S1_106_Inside_TheGoodMan-800x450 fear-the-walking-dead-episode-106-travis-curtis-935To be honest, I won’t apologize – I loved this first season. Others found it uneven, or flat-out did not enjoy the whole thing. Not sure why, maybe it wasn’t what they wanted in terms of zombies, but I came into this assuming it would be a prequel and we’d see the before, then move into the full-on zombie epidemic. So perhaps the marketing of the show wasn’t clear enough? I don’t know. I thought the family dynamics happening in this season were excellent, getting bits and pieces of a bunch of different stories. Not only that, I’m finding already in the first season the contrast people who people were before the infection started and after has already begun to feel really exciting and interesting. Like I’ve already mentioned, the metamorphosis of Travis specifically throughout Season 1 has brought out a quality of all people, in him a microcosm – how we’ll all eventually devolve and revert to primitive human behaviour after the apocalypse, whether willingly or pushed over the edge such as Travis was after seeing Adams shoot Ofelia.
So come back for the new season of The Walking Dead which I’ll be reviewing, as well as other series’ on television like American Horror Story if that’s your cup of tea. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here again next year for another season of Fear the Walking Dead!