One of the best intertextual horror films out there: a deconstructionist look at the slasher sub-genre.
The Governor convinces his new group to attack the prison. With grim results.
After a boy dies and turns, the prison nearly falls. But even after the walker threat is contained, a sickness spreads quickly, and a quarantine is in order.
Season 1, Episode 9: “The Devil You Know”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Written by Glen Mazzara & K.C. Perry
* For a review of the previous episode, “Here Is Wisdom” – click here
* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “Ave Satani” – click here
After the shocking events of last episode, the penultimate Season 1 episode is here! I desperately hope this gets a second season. Damien Thorn (Bradley James), Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) – they all need more time.
We start here as Ann meets with someone trying to track down her daughter. Little does she know. Of course this will cause some major mayhem when Ann figures out what’s happened. No telling what kind of reaction a woman like that might have in the face of personal tragedy. Although, she is sort of like the devil’s lover, or well… she wants to be his lover. Or something weird.
Sister Greta (Robin Weigert) and Simone (Megalyn E.K.) are busy with the aftermath of what’s happened with Veronica. She isn’t dead, surprisingly, but on her way. Greta decides on holding her. Possibly for her own good. Meanwhile, Damien and Amani (Omid Abtahi) are talking about the possibility of the Antichrist, the idea that Damien is the heir to that throne. Certainly it’s nonsense to Amani, intent on rationality. At least their way forward is together despite whatever else is going on, reality or otherwise. Damien needs all the friendship he can get. He wants Amani to get close with Veronica more now in order to get information.Damien wants to get to the bottom of the whole corporation with Lyons (Scott Wilson) and Ann at the forefront, knowing there is absolutely more than meets the eye. The good friend agrees to do his best.
And then there’s Detective Shay (David Meunier). He looks like a madman when bringing up the strange things that happen around Mr. Thorn. Nobody believes him, but Shay knows there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes. He doesn’t know the extent, though suspects a great deal. His bosses have him turn over his gun and badge citing mental health as the problem. Sadly, we’re aware of the truth. I see danger in Shay’s future especially now with a suspension. He might choose to go after Damien, investigating more on his own, which will only throw him right under the bus.
Finally, Veronica reveals Ann knows about the church’s involvement, Simone getting them into the whole mix. Greta talks a good game to try convincing Veronica of her mother’s evil. “Is that a mother‘s love?” asks Greta. “You don‘t know shit about me,” replies Veronica. Not much more information is coming out of this one. She is fiesty.
Another detective comes knocking at Damien’s place. He brings the news about Charles Powell, the therapist. Suspicion is growing around the Antichrist, more and more, even without Shay on the case officially now. Because all the little bits add up. And that’s why I dig this series and why Glen Mazzara has done a great job, along with all the various writers, because you wonder – in a real type setting, a real world, how would these events so obviously linked together somehow be explained? Well having these cops involved is one way of tackling that issue.
Back to Damien. He wants to meet with Sister Greta: “I have nowhere else to go,” he quietly pleads with Simone. Amazing to see the nun meet with the Antichrist. She asks to see the Mark of the Beast. He obliges. But she does not recoil, Greta understands his struggle. “You are God‘s child,” she assures him and recognizes his suffering. He lets her know about the incidences at the VA hospital, his visions and so on. Turns out those seven people at the hospital he came across represented the Seven-Headed Beast of Revelation. On top of that, Simone now finds out her sister was taken by something… otherworldly, something evil. An intense few moments and a great instance of solid writing. Earlier aspects get explained in a way that isn’t forced, very organic to the plot. Dig it.
Poor Amani gets taken by some masked men while everything else is going on. Now I’m quite worried for him.
Greta later takes Damien by herself, sending Simone upstairs – and she gets locked in with Veronica. Uh oh. Is the renegade nun planning something? In the meantime, Ann’s got Amani in her custody. They’re having a little chat. Or more like she calls him down to the dirt with an eloquent almost Shakespearean jab. She further wants information about the nun, though Amani plays it cool. Until she convinces him Greta will kill Damien, which finally breaks his stand. There may be a big showdown coming. Yet things feel strange, uneasy. Highly unpredictable.
Damien: “What if I really am the Antichrist?”
Greta: “Then that is God‘s will”
Alone together, Greta and Damien talk more about his being the actual Antichrist. Resulting in her using one of the daggers of Megiddo to stab him. Cut to her wrapping him in thorns on an altar-like slab. SHIT. Greta, you bad motherfucker. That is some raw biblical vengeance, for sure.
Detective Shay is literally sweating the case out. I knew it – he’s at home, studying pictures, looking over crime scenes, and trying to figure out what is going on with Damien. He knows the murders, the events around him – the dogs, the burning car, the therapist killing Powell – are all being heavily influenced by Thorn. Somehow. “There are monsters,” Shay tells his little boy. And his boy creepily whispers in his ear: “The devil did it.” From the god damn mouths of babes. No sooner does Shay’s husband whisk their kid away do more visions plague the crumbling detective.
Over at the rectory, Simone mounts an escape from the room with Veronica. But down at the altar, Damien’s held in thorns, his 666 being cut into by Greta as some dark figures in black watch on behind her. Wicked little bit of gore here! Also, we see that 666 is literally carved right into the poor guy’s skull. Gnarly as all hell. The group then proceeds to lower Damien into a hole in the ground, so he can be “reborn” apparently. His screams echoing through the woods are viciously chilling. Once he’s in the hole it is just more ghostly, haunting hallucinations for Damien, as he envisions demons poking through the ground trying to get at him, themselves wailing and gnashing away. A truly terrifying little sequence. Simultaneously, Veronica ends up getting an Evil Dead-style death via tree, except without any penetration – well, sexual penetration. So this is one fucked up, awesome episode. Horrifically pleasing.
Shay winds up sneaking himself into Damien’s place. Then he hears his son out of nowhere, voices whispering. A small figure appears behind him. From the sink in Damien’s photo lab he hears the boy’s voice before being startled by a creepy image. This sends him rightfully running back out the door.
But Damien doesn’t get to do that. He’s trapped in that hole, the visions of those seven people from the hospital attacking him, nowhere else to go except stay put. Up above the hole, Simone shows up, but the damage is done. Down there Damien goes absolutely mental. A bloodcurdling noise emanates from the hole, as does Damien. He rises up while everybody watches on. Ominous music makes the scene even more heavy. Is he reborn now? Greta tries stabbing him again, only he stabs her. Without any feeling, any remorse.
The Antichrist has risen. Or has he? Safe to say the evil is flowing in him, and he’s starting to give in to the pulsing hell inside him.
Excited for the Season 1 finale, “Ave Satani”, and can’t wait to see how the team ends things. My hope is that Season 2 will get a greenlight. Mazzara and Co. deserve the chance to flesh this out for at least another season, possibly with another couple episodes – 13 would be a perfect little fitting number. Regardless, they got better and better every episode here and made this into a good one. Let’s have a devilish finale together, fellow fans!
Season 1, Episode 8: “Here Is Wisdom”
Directed by Tim Andrew
Written by Sarah Thorp
* For a review of the previous episode, “Abattoir” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Devil You Know” – click here
So many things happening on Glen Mazzara’s excellently macabre series Damien. First, there’s the Antichrist himself, Damien Thorn (Bradley James), whose search for the truth is bringing him further into madness. Then there’s everyone around him.
Simone Baptiste (Megalyn E.K.) is off on her quest for truth, too. After speaking to Sister Greta Fraueva (Robin Weigert) in the last episode, Simone’s further energized to find out exactly what’s going on with Damien. Simone and Greta track down the dagger of Megiddo that the assassin dropped in the sewers. But what does this mean? Will they just have to kill Damien, is that the only way? Surely it is.
Speaking of Damien, he’s in therapy. He picks up a copy of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre briefly. Mostly, he feels like he’s “whining“, and his therapist says he’s got PTSD. What’s most fun about this scene, to me, is that we’ve got the actual Antichrist here. That’s part of the premise. Regardless of where things go, how well they get there, Damien is the Antichrist. And here he is, sitting with a therapist and talking about his feelings. Amazing. At once it’s dark and disturbing, as well as darkly hilarious. Damien and his therapist talk about existential crisis, the toughness of making choices, mentions of Sartre.
Meanwhile, Detective James Shay (David Meunier) is getting shit on even though he knows there’s something shady about Damien. Yet there is the fact Charles Powell (Joe Doyle) just murdered a man, on his own (or was it?), and quite brutally at that. So for now, eyes are off Mr. Thorn.
For his part, Damien is dealing with a little boxed up gift left at his door. It contains a bloody little present. A tongue. Inside it, a roll of film. He’s interrupted by Detective Shay – wow, what timing! This is a tense scene, especially when Damien realizes the very person Shay is talking about, Cray Marquand, had his tongue removed. And it’s right there on the table, barely hidden from the cop. Great writing here. Plus, more intrigue concerning Powell. I’m excited to see how his crazy ass is going to play further into Damien’s story from here on out. As if there’s not enough going on for the poor Antichrist.
Cut to Amani (Omid Abtahi). He’s figuring out some things about Damien’s place getting trashed. With a favour from a buddy, he sees Veronica Selvaggio (Melanie Scrofano) outside the apartment. Uh oh.
And then there’s Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). She’s looking to have a dagger of Megiddo destroyed. A friend breaks out his welding torch. Except the dagger is completely resistant. It will not be burned. Those are some powerful blades.
Now Amani is meeting with Simone and Sister Greta. All their heads are put together now. Greta mentions they’ve suspected someone has been looking out for Damien for years, likely now she believes it to be Rutledge. Also, Amani reveals he’s sleeping with Veronica. But going back to try and get information from her? Is that really smart? I doubt it. Because he’s not subtle enough. And if she sniffs out that he knows more than he should it is bye-bye Amani.
Now Damien is developing the film from the tongue of Cray. When he shines the film under his infrared bulb, every frame is the same but for the last: a solid black frame with the word REMEMBER scratched in. Off Damien goes, followed by Shay. But then the detective’s car shuts down. He’s back in the way of evil. The car locks itself. It catches fire, trapping Shay inside. He just barely manages to escape before the whole thing goes up. Narrowly escaping death. Again. Wonder if this guy will end up getting the axe. I hope not because he’s pretty bad ass.
Damien has officially remembered. He goes to see Powell in a little trailer in the woods. They’d cut classes and go down there back in the day. Charlie’s convinced Damien has killed people, intentionally. “I‘ve always believed in you,” says Charles. Of course Damien doesn’t see the burning of Powell the same as the burned man himself. And it turns out there are “others“, “nobodies” that Charles murdered… all for Damien. “So, who should we kill next?” he asks a visibly distraught Damien.
The Antichrist almost fully comes out of Damien when he nearly beats the life completely out of Charles, raging, punching him. Now, he may actually become a murderer.
At the same time, Shay is falling apart at home. His son’s drawing a car fire and that freaks him out, naturally. He’s been lying to his husband, though. That’s not cool. Bigger issues on his plate for the time being. He’s a brave dude, heading out into the dark of the forest after all the creepy events starting to cloud around him. He ends up out at the place where Charles and Damien met. He finds Charlie, beaten and raving: “The Devil did this.”
More and more, Damien falls apart, as well. He lets all the anger inside him out to his therapist. She does her best to convince Damien he’s still a human being, that he has a handle on his life, his choices. But the spiral of Damien’s life and delusions are plummeting faster towards something intense.
Damien: “Is that not our responsibility? When we encounter evil, shouldn‘t we destroy it?”
Amani finally confronts Veronica, about her mother Ann, her boss. He outright threatens her over Damien, saying he’ll kill for his best friend. She says that their relationship is real. How can you trust her? Well, Amani doesn’t know exactly what’s been going on at the top of all this insanity. Either way, he is pretty serious about it all ending. Not just them, but the whole thing. Only now he’s a part of the whole mess.
Back to Ann goes her daughter. Now that’s another secret out in the wind. So now Ann has got to get some work done. “No more carelessness,” she tells her daughter and puts away the dagger of Megiddo she now knows cannot be destroyed simply by fire.
Greta and Simone do a little bit of bonding. Looks like Greta is pretty on the level. Only I fear for both their safety. Problem is a whole lot more good people are going to die before this is all over. I spoke almost too soon.
Veronica is out looking into Greta, following her in the dark, which attracts Simone’s attention. A very suspenseful sequence shot in the shadowy hallways, lit by stained glass windows. Finally, it’s Veronica who ends up with a bullet in her. Yikes! What will Mama Rutledge do about this now? I can only imagine what wrath that’ll unleash.
Over at Damien’s place, Amani comes to lay bare the truth. He was an unwitting pawn in their game. He also lets Damien know about Ann’s daughter. But further than that Damien realizes it’s his fault Amani is even caught up in this entire debacle.
Worse than anything, in jail Charles receives a therapist. The same one as Damien. She lets slip, very purposefully, that Damien wishes he was dead. She’s a part of it clearly. It all upsets Charles, believing Damien loves him. “You‘re not a true servant, you‘re a liar,” she tells Charles before stabbing him in the neck violently, relentlessly, with a nice sharp pen. Blood everywhere. Did not see this coming all around. Great, gory horror for a few moments.
Anybody who didn’t make it past the pilot episode has been missing out on the all the true horror scenes. This one was a doozy. Dig it. And Dt. Shay is too late to save Charlie, but puts a few bullets in the psychotic therapist. The title of the episode? Right on the pad she’d used for scribbling before murdering Mr. Powell.
What a great chapter in this series. Next up is “The Devil You Know” and it’s the penultimate Season 1 episode! Very exciting. Mazzara and Co have only improved since the beginning. I do hope A&E will give this a chance to develop even further. Season 2 is needed.
Season 1, Episode 7: “Abattoir”
Directed by T.J. Scott
Written by Mark H. Kruger & Glen Mazzara
* For a review of the previous episode, “Temptress” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Here Is Wisdom” – click here
This latest episode starts off with Damien Thorn (Bradley James) waking in his hospital bed to a raving lunatic above him. Perks of being in psychiatric care. In the halls, things are no better. Everything is dark, scary, unknown. Damien wanders aimlessly hearing the sounds, seeing the sights, of madness.
Damien goes through the motions. He heads to the cafeteria and gets something to eat, again joined by the psychotic who hovered over him as he woke. Amazingly, the Antichrist is stuck between two people who believe they’re Jesus Christ. He’s sort of going a little crazy himself.
At home, Detective James Shay (David Meunier) remembers the supernatural attack he experienced recently. He tries making sense of what it was that actually happened; surely an explanation can be found. In the bushes of his yard something stays low, growling, watching. Shay may not find anything in the pool, but that’s the least of his worries. All around him the forces of evil are gathering. No telling how long he’ll manage to survive being anywhere near Damien.
Finally released from the psychiatric ward, Damien is off into the world once more. The resident Jesus pleads “Kill yourself” in order to spare them all ruination after the Antichrist fully comes into being. That’s some spooky shit right there.
Shay’s partner worries for his sanity. And that’s the worst part of all this supernatural terror, nobody will believe the person whose claims speak to otherworldly presence. At least Shay does get confirmation from his son about a dog lurking nearby. The hounds of Hell are never far. At the same time, Simone (Megalyn E.K.) is worried about the men that recently tossed Damien’s place. Both she and Amani (Omid Abtahi) are concerned for their friend. Except Damien saw Amani with Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey). His paranoia has set in. He trust nobody, neither Amani, nor Simone who broke into his apartment. So with everything whirling around him Damien is caught up in the conspiracy, the paranoid delusions. Exactly what people like Ann, and more importantly John Lyons (Scott Wilson), truly want.
Speaking of Lyons, he’s having lunch with his creepy friends. And then Damien arrives, too. He seems to be thinking clearly at least. Because now he knows about John and Ann, their business relationship, and so on. Then a woman in a wheelchair nearby starts exclaiming things to Damien, her love for him: “I serve you, my master,” she shouts as Lyons wheels her off. Damn, that’s a chiller.
Tracking down people related to Damien, Dt. Shay comes across Charles Powell (Joe Doyle) who roomed with Thorn at Preston Hall. The vigilant detective is trying everything and anything to root out Damien, what he’s all about. And even though Charles gives over nothing, he looks as if a dark cloud crowds over his head when the cop leaves his little flower shop. Hmm, more to come?
And more investigations come at the hand of Simone. She finds footage of the old woman in Damascus with Damien, she compares it to the pictures from Damien’s place, and finds the same old woman staring back at her. The closer she gets, the worse things could look for her.
Shay finds other people related to Damien, such as Cray Marquand (Cody Ray Thompson). He informs Shay of Powell’s idea that Thorn is the “second coming” – a strange, suspicious term to be used. There’s a story about Powell who was convinced, by the Antichrist, to essentially burn himself. An eerie moment.
So Ann and Lyons meet to discuss the new developments. She sees his survival of a suicide attempt as being proof of his strength, of their efforts. Although, Lyons and Rutledge do differ on their approach – he doesn’t see the need to isolate Damien, but rather to bring him, keep him close. They also discuss the daggers of Megiddo.
But more importantly, Damien sneaks in to see that old woman in the wheelchair. Seems that lady is Margot Lyons (Nicky Guadagni). She reveals more to the chosen one, about John, his intentions. “He slithers before the beast,” she tells Damien. On she goes about the ten crowns for “ten horns“, and more biblical madness. Extremely unsettling scene that makes things all the more frightening. That Margot knows quite a deal.
Her words set Damien off to look for a supposed black church. In the nearby woods he finds a dingy dungeon-like cavity in the earth filled with tools, the stains of blood, so many strange things. A sacrificial chamber, maybe? Nevertheless, he finds a useful tool and then heads back up to see Margot.
Sister Greta Fraueva (Robin Weigert) has arrived in town. She follows Simone in the street, not unnoticed. At the very same time Simone thinks she sees the woman from Damascus. This prompts Greta to introduce herself, already knowing Ms. Baptiste by name. And they’re also being watched by someone in the distance. Greta wants to know more about anything Simone’s seen, the visions passed off as nonsense by others. More are on the case! Is this good? Likely bad. For them.
Back to the flower shop goes Shay. He questions Powell further on his relationship with Damien. On the outside it seems like love. On the inside, Powell was sucked in by the lure of the Antichrist and his persuasion. Damien burned Powell’s hands all those years ago, an awful act, which the latter hoped would keep him away from the eye of the Antichrist. Well, I’d bet money that evil is about find Charles again after all these years.
And when Lyons comes home he finds Margot, the bloody tool in her hands. A veritable omen. Later on down in that chamber, Lyons and his terrifying friends sacrifice a goat on their altar. To appease the beast. They cut its throat, drain the blood. Their ritual continues.
At Damien’s place, Ann shows up. She has one of the daggers of Megiddo, revealing John came looking for it earlier. She tells him about how the daggers, used together all seven, will destroy the Antichrist. Only one would just take his life; all seven rid the world of that evil altogether. But if Damien dies, another simply takes his place, next in line. Ann bares her soul to him. Her commitment is staunch, unwavering. With the option of death now, once and for all right in front of him, Damien chooses not to die, or Ann decides not to help him. One or the other.
In a bathroom, Powell comes face to face with Marquand. The scars all over Charles are savage. The two men have a brief chat. Before Powell heads into the shower behind Marquand and stabs him with a large pair of scissors, over and over. A brutal, bloody death. Has the Antichrist still got a hold on Charlie?
This was a wild and at times devastating episode. Great writing, great direction. Lots to build on heading into the next episode, titled “Here Is Wisdom”, so stay tuned with me.
Season 1, Episode 6: “Temptress”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Richard Hatem
* For a review of the previous episode, “Seven Curses” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Abattoir” – click here
After the emotionally devastating “Seven Curses”, Damien Thorn (Bradley James) is being transported to the hospital following his suicide attempt. He wakes to Simone (Megalyn E.K.). She genuinely cares and wants to help. Also kicking around is Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) trying to make things go smoother for the Antichrist.
Except for now he’s under observation. Detective Shay (David Meunier) is on his way. So Damien slips out, nice and quiet. He heads off to meet Amani (Omid Abtahi) in some sketchy alley, heading down into a below ground club. Someone wants to meet Damien. Very secretive. They meet with a tattoo artist who says two men came and roughed him up, asking for a tattoo to be done on someone who’s passed out. Turns out it was Damien. He apparently tattooed the 666 on his scalp. Or so he claims. Is this true? I don’t think it is. Could it really be the case?
This is one of the best openers of any episode yet. Dig it, hard. Makes it all quite exciting.
Love the whole aesthetic of this show. Dark, dreary, though vibrant.
Amani is shown the tattoo. He explains the artist came looking for him, after seeing Damien at the VA hospital. Too convenient. Everything around Damien’s becoming more and more slippery, in terms of reality. He sees people in the distance, a hooded figure. Now all this about his supposed birthmark being faked. He has no way to latch onto anything real, so the world only becomes further confused.
Doesn’t help that John Lyons (Scott Wilson) muddies the waters. He’s in league with Ann, yet there he is telling Damien all about her, the danger he’s in because of her presence. John gives over a big file filled with countless bits of information.
Damien discovers, from a doctor at the hospital, he was given a dose of some incredibly powerful psychedelics. Wild shit. But Lyons is quick to keep things silent. The doctor wants to let police know. Lyons would rather handle it himself. “We don‘t bring in outsiders to clean up our messes,” he tells Damien.
As the unknowing Antichrist walks the streets, a hooded figure hovers not far away. He ends up meeting with Ann who says she wants to chat. With all the belief instilled by Lyons about Ann waging “psychological warfare” on him, Damien has got his back up. If only he knew. He’s being played on all sides. It really is a setup for complete mental breakdown, as well as the possible emergence of a vicious evil. For now, he rips Ann a new one, even going so far as to verbally threaten her. Yikes.
So Damien goes ahead and tosses out all his food. Until Amani arrives. He captured the meeting with Ann as planned. Then he followed her to a meeting with Lyons. Now Damien’s world, his reality, all those truths are slipping even faster. He manages to sneak his way into Lyons’ office under the pretense of a forgotten phone. He locates a file with his name on it and gets it out undiscovered. Inside is everything from pictures to documents and tons of other things. Including pictures of a woman, which intrigue him.
And then he meets her: his mother, Mrs. Thorn (Bess Armstrong). She’d been in hospital when her husband tried to kill Damien, then under the impression they’d both died.
Although, is this all too convenient? Would Lyons really keep a file on Damien with such important, damning evidence right in his desk? All of a sudden, his mother pops up and claims there was nothing ever wrong with him, that she was sucked into thinking all those Antichrist-like things about him by Mrs. Baylock and the like. This feels like an elaborate scheme. Because nothing good can ever come to the Antichrist, can it?
Of course Ann arrives. Then she and Mrs. Thorn have a pretty tense argument. An accident, on Damien’s part, causes his mother to fly down a staircase, cracking her skull along the way. Too good to be true. Ann says she’ll keep his actions a secret, pissing him off enough to strangle her. He ends up having to wrestle her henchmen. We get to see Damien kick some ass here, too. He’s pretty tough when he wants to be, taking them down and getting the hell out of Dodge.
But what did Ann mean when she asked if Damien’s mother would tell him who she really is? Who is she truly? Another ruse on Lyons’ part?
When Damien goes to see Simone, something is not right. Everything feels wrong. He heads back out to the streets, and sees smoething even stranger: Amani meeting with Ann. They sit together at a fancy restaurant outdoors. Or at least that’s what Damien thinks he sees. Detective Shay comes out of nowhere and picks him up, wondering exactly what happened with Damien’s mother, wondering what the hell is going on at all; especially after the events he experienced at home a couple episodes. Pleading to be taken seriously, Damien brings Shay to meet the tattoo artist. Problem being the man is dead, murdered, driven through with a bunch of daggers. The plot thickens.
Things are very complicated for Damien. Everything he says is like a dead end because there are too many questions about his mental health involved. He seems absolutely crazy. Right down to a bit of blood Simone smeared on his shirt, actually from a steak, which does him no favours. At all.
And life only gets stranger. Shay drives Damien in a cop car, they stop in the dark and then Lyons gets in. He doesn’t seem too happy with Damien and what’s been going on. But what is it that’s happening here? Is this reality? Outside, something attacks both Lyons and Shay. A bunch of somethings. They climb inside the car, terrorizing Damien.
Then he wakes up in an ambulance right after his suicide attempt. The EMTs look like the two henchmen from earlier. Was it all a dream?
He’s awake again, for real this time. In the hospital, Ann waits by his side, comforting him. The whole dream crushes him. He’d hoped none of the Antichrist business was real. And he really hoped Ann was actually dead. Too bad, so sad. He drives her away for now. The emerging Antichrist in him is causing everything to crumble. How can he ever be sure what’s real and what isn’t? His waking life is filled with nightmares, so is his sleep.
Solid, creepy episode. Very excited for the next episode to see what’s about to happen, as more revelations, more nightmares, more truths come out of the woodwork. Next up is “Abattoir”, so stay tuned with me!
Season 1, Episode 4: “The Number of a Man”
Directed by Bronwen Hughes
Written by Nazrin Choudhury
* For a review of the previous episode, “The Deliverer” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Seven Curses” – click here
What will Damien Thorn (Bradley James) encounter next? Last we left him, Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey) was working her wiles against his fragile mind. And it turns out she is more than just obsessed.
Simone Baptiste (Megalyn E.K.) is trying her hardest, too. In order to stay away from an evil approaching. Can she manage to keep free of it? She digs up some sort of chicken fetus-like creature from her bathtub, and it’s no doubt an ominous moment.
Damien’s busy fighting with whatever is inside him. Having a shave, he nearly feels like cutting his own throat. But the feeling passes. In his bathtub, he finds a tie clogging the drain – of course, the tie of the man from last episode. Which he then brings to John Lyons (Scott Wilson), whose council is no good. As we now know the older man, posing as a dear friend, is merely one of those watching along as Damien slouches towards his destiny as Antichrist.
Detective James Shay (David Meunier) gets some footage of Damien’s chase in the subway, which produces a strange, ghostly effect while being watched. More to be curious about. Meanwhile, Amani (Omid Abtahi) tries to convince Damien into taking a break from everything, taking it easy. Everyone’s worried. Even Shay arrives later to talk more with Damien about all the events surrounding him lately.
Damien and Shay head down to the cop shop for a longer chat. The cat and mouse thrill of the plot picks up, as the detective knows there’s something going on. But due to all the supernatural madness, he can’t exactly place everything correctly. Yet there’s Damien on CCTV, running after the man who died on the escalator. His proximity to the nastiness as of late, consuming those around him.
In the boardroom, Lyons addresses his staff. He even has Ann “say a few words“, in all the irony. She talks a good one about togetherness, compassion, and all sorts of similar things. Nice speech by a woman no doubt well versed in watching people die. “Nature of the beast,” she tells Lyons: “Pardon the pun.” Turns out afterwards that Ann didn’t leave the tie, but either way, she and John form a sort of partnership. For the time being, Ann goes along.
Shay is getting closer and closer to a theory of what’s going on. He knows Damien’s pulling “some freaky shit“, and that involves dogs. He shows Damien the hall where he was also attacked, right in the station. But the cop’s more concerned with trying to push the young man into a confrontation. Poor damn fella has no idea what he’s up against. Plenty of tension between these two. Something intense is certainly rearing its head, and soon there’ll be trouble. Lots.
Damien: “People who come after me don‘t fare so well”
In the police station, a man confronts Damien, calling him a serpent, “The Destroyer“, and when he grabs some scissors Damien attempts to stop him from stabbing someone. Seems he only wanted to stab himself. In the groin. Whoa, what a vicious moment! Bloody, creepy, and foreboding.
With lighter things to worry about, Amani’s trying to get Damien a job. He is a true friend, one who knows his partner is a great photographer. So he kicks a little ass in an interview for him.
Ann receives Detective Shay at her place. He’s suspicious about the “special room” Damien told him about. The whole thing sounds like something from a mystery-thriller novel, a bad one, though, she leads the cop to her supposed panic room: “I never use it. I never panic,” Ann tells him. Well, she cleaned out the basement and there’s nothing to be found, which obviously paints Damien in a worse psychiatric light.
But now Amani is running into trouble. The protege of Ann Rutledge, Veronica Selvaggio (Melanie Scrofano), is circling around like a vulture. No doubt readying herself to clear Amani from the life of Damien. Convenient for Ann, too. Whom will escape any scrutiny for anything that may happen.
As for Simone, her mother is getting some voodoo-style witchery going on to help with her latest fetus in the bathtub troubles. She doesn’t feel too into it, but her mother and the witch doctor are awfully serious. And things get… pretty wild.
A little while later, Ann collects Damien from the station. Though he’s clearly not happy with that situation. Damien gets violently serious with Ann, threatening to kill her if that’s what’s required. Don’t forget – Ann has a serious BDSM thing happening, so who knows what she’d be into. “The day will come,” she tells Damien before walking off into the night. You creepy, sly bitch.
Damien gets a visit from Simone. More of the 666 prophecies. She brings up the visions since her sister died, the prevalence of the birds, and more. They’re both being torn apart, in different ways. He talks about the things he’s seen, in war photography, and that suffering happens; that’s it. There is no higher power with a purpose. Hard to hear, though, necessary. Only Damien will soon realize there is something else behind it all. a great, dark power.
Damien: “Kelly died. And a bird is just a bird.”
At home, Detective Shay and his husband have a nice little life together. Except up shows another hound of Hell, and it’s got an eye on their little boy. It lures the child out towards the swimming pool. Uh oh.
Then Shay finds the boy underneath the pool cover, dragged about by some mysterious force. The whole sequence is terrifying, as something evil tries to drown the boy. But Shay, he fights back. One of the most unnerving scenes out of the series so far, and certainly doesn’t help a kid is involved. However, Shay now knows there’s something bigger, something more horrific at play than simply Damien.
Next episode, “Seven Curses”, should be another exciting one. This was a fun episode and I’m enjoying with Glen Mazzara and Co. are doing, as the show gets better with time. Stay tuned for me with me.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Sang Kyu Kim
* For a review of the previous episode, “Walk with Me” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Say the Word” – click here
This episode starts with a dead deer carcass being dragged off by someone also holding a jerrycan. Two walkers end up coming across bits and pieces of the deer. Then across the concrete someone runs, axe in hand. They chop the lock from a gate then lay a fresh heart on the ground before running off. Mysterious, eerie. Foreboding.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) are doing some work in the prison yard. They need help, but Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are busy having sex up in the guard tower. Lighthearted moment when Daryl calls out to them, breaking up their little time alone. But things get back to seriousness, as prisoners Axel (Lew Temple) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) come outside. This breaks their previous pact. But the two men are sick of being stuck inside with all their dead former friends. It’s tough with bodies everywhere, blood, guts. People they were locked up with in there for years. Most of them don’t want to let the prisoners in with them. Although, T-Dog is a little more willing to work on it instead of essentially letting these men die. A bit of talk happens before things are settled.
Back at Woodbury, we find Michonne (Danai Gurira) checking the place out. She investigates everything. Including one of the National Guard vehicles, which still has blood on it. The Governor (David Morrissey) appears, constantly trying to sell the place: “We could use a soldier like you.” She is not at all impressed or convinced. Further than that, she’s suspicious already of what exactly happened with the National Guardsmen. Also, Michonne points out the bullet holes in the vehicle. Of course The Governor has an answer for everything. He’s a sly, greasy man. We know that there’s something wrong, underneath it all, having seen his virtual wall of floating walker heads. Nasty stuff. He’s all about the surface – appearance, identity. Whatever works is The Governor’s game.
The prison is stable for the time being. And so is Hershel (Scott Wilson). Inside, Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Beth (Emily Kinney) try to help the older fella adjust to his new situation on one leg. Things aren’t exactly peachy, though, they could be far worse. That group, Rick, Daryl, all of them, they are a special breed of survivor.
At the same time, Andrea and Michonne are both survivors in their own right. It seems like Andrea is sliding into believing Woodbury might be a good place to stay after all. Michonne does not agree. Are they going to reach an agreement somehow? They’re better together, not apart.
Rick, Daryl and Glenn are leading some improvements on the prison yard. The plan is to, someday soon, plants crops in the soil; first, the bodies must be cleared. Getting fresh air Hershel admires their latest home. This is a refreshing sight to see. Not only does Maggie enjoy watching her father up on his own, there’s also a reaffirming look between Lori and Rick.
Then behind Carl and his mother, Hershel and Beth, a pack of walkers appear. Out by the fences, Daryl, Rick and Glenn rush fast as they can to help the others. All of a sudden, as is in the new zombie wasteland, a normal day has turned into the savage fight to survive we see now. Never can a day just go by without having to fight for your life, which is a brutal lesson these people are learning all over again. Worst of all? T-Dog gets bitten in the shoulder trying to secure a fence. His fate is sealed.
Meanwhile, there’s Merle trying to get information out of Andrea. He makes The Governor and Woodbury out to be the be-all end-all of human civilization, of course, but that’s to be expected. He rags on Daryl for becoming a part of the other group, following Rick, yet there Merle is sucking up to The Governor every chance he gets, to his face or to someone else.
The prison’s become a mess. Chaos and tragedy. In the tomb-like tunnels, T-Dog shuffles along bit promising to get Carol out of there, one way or another. Simultaneously, Carl manages to protect his mother for a little while with Maggie helping. But Lori’s pregnancy is about to make things fairly difficult.
Stark contrast with The Governor back at Woodbury, up on one of the walls cracking golf balls into the road down the way. One ball smacks a zombie in the face. Merle admires The Governor’s drive, again puckering up. Merle also suggests a scouting mission: he wants, needs, to find Daryl. Only the leader doesn’t find it that attractive of a plan. He doesn’t want to spare the men, nor does he want Merle gone either when a solo trip is suggested. Is this really under the guise of protecting Merle? Or is it selfish? The Governor feels threatened, thinking maybe Merle would run off and leave Woodbury. Shows how fragile of a leadership there is in him. A little later, The Governor meets privately with Andrea. Though she says they’re leaving, definitely. Goodbyes are said. Only I don’t feel like the two women are going anywhere. Not Andrea, anyways.
Rick is trying to track down his family. Him, Daryl, Glenn and the two prisoners rush through the prison to look for a way to shut down the alarm, ringing loud, drawing walkers from out of the woods towards the building. And Lori is stuck in a boiler room, Maggie and her son alongside, ready to give birth. The oldest Greene daughter is now tasked with helping to deliver a baby, a partially traumatized Carl trying his best to stay strong, on watch with his gun in hand. This is one of the most intense and rough scenes in The Walking Dead history. Quickly, things start to go wrong.
A sacrifice is made by T-Dog as he and Carol try getting through the prison tunnels. He suppresses several walkers, taking bite after bite in the arms, then the neck, all for Carol to run free and make it back outside. Always tragic character deaths in this series. Sad. I loved T-Dog; Irone Singleton does a great job with him, even if he doesn’t always get enough time onscreen. Either way, too bad to see him go.
Rick finally tracks down the culprit of all the mayhem in the prison – the prisoner he’d told to run after their confrontation with Tomas ended bloodily. After a bit of wrestling and fighting, Oscar ends up with the gun. Instead of shooting Rick, he shoots his former friend then hands the gun over to Sheriff Grimes. Unexpected, yet excellent. They’ve developed at least a tenuous bond to stay alive, as long as they’re in the same walls.
Troubled times ahead for the Grimes family, though.
Things aren’t going well for Lori and her birth. She needs the baby saved, there are complications, and insists on it, to Maggie’s dismay. It looks as if the mother may not necessarily make it out of this alive. She tells Carl “you take care of your daddy for me“, telling him he’s “so brave“. An emotionally terrifying scene to watch a young son and his mother in this situation. The advice she gives him breaks my heart. I don’t actually love Lori as a character, but these moments will kill you, unless you’re dead inside. Their goodbye is tender, full of tears. Lori doesn’t want Rick to have to kill her when everything is over, as she once said to Hershel; she asks Maggie to do the deed. And then Maggie cuts into her stomach, opening it up to get the baby out. It is a bloody, visceral minute or so before the baby starts to cry, alive and well.
Even worse is afterward when Carl has to shoot his mom in the head. He flashes back to when Rick told him about death, and “no more kid stuff“. The shot rings out while Maggie is around the corner, then Carl walks away emotionless. Such a savage world in which to grow up.
The mangled body of T-Dog is found by Rick and Daryl. They find Hershel and Beth safely, assuming Carol might have been killed, as well. And just as they stop talking, Rick hears a baby crying. Out Maggie and Carl come with the newborn child. No Lori. This prompts one of the most emotionally devastating scenes in the entire series; to date. Rick breaks down, literally crumpling on the ground. Everyone is shocked to their core. The end, for another chapter.
Next episode is “Say the Word”. More blood, death, despair. And what else?
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 2: “Sick”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by Nichole Beattie
* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “Seed” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Walk With Me” – click here
This second episode of Season 3 starts with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) trying to save Hershel (Scott Wilson), having cut off his leg at the end of the premiere. Everyone works to get him back to a bed, to safety. Carl (Chandler Riggs) lets them back in, where Beth (Emily Kinney), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carol (Melissa McBride) try their best to help save the old man. Everyone is, rightfully, in a panic.
At the door, Daryl (Norman Reedus) waits for the prisoners to show up. The ones who appeared in the cafeteria. They’re obviously curious about what’s been happening. Further than that they have no idea about the world has become outside. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) helps keep them at bay, for now. Rick tasks Glenn (Steven Yeun) with being by Hershel’s side, in case the worst happens. Meanwhile, Sheriff Grimes heads to tackle the prisoner problem head-on. He wants to resolve things amicably, though, keeps a tough edge. He has to give the grim news of the post-zombie apocalypse world to these guys. They’ve only heard the crazy rumours and stories, locked in the prison for “294 days“.
Rick allows the prisoners outside, but their leader Tomas (Nick Gomez) isn’t being easy to get along with, in the slightest. Others like Axel (Lew Temple) and Big Tiny (Theodus Crane) are more willing to go along to get along. Even with all the news Rick breaks to them Tomas is bent on doing things his way. Except Rick tells them how things are now in the prison: “We took it, set you free; it‘s ours! We spilled blood.” Soon, Tomas bows down. Reluctantly and for now. A deal is struck – guns and ammo for food, they each take their own cell block. Rick further agrees to help clear another block for them.
The chopped stump of Hershel is stable. He’s passed out, resting. Carol and Lori try their best to get one another through everything, even joking candidly with each other. Rick, Daryl and T-Dog try to settle things with the prisoners, to ensure more safety going forward. They get their hands on some of the food the prisoners had stashed away. At the moment, things are going steady and looking clear. Although, Maggie is worried for her father while Beth even starts preparing a new pair of pants for her father, one with a leg sewn up. Hershel isn’t out of the choppy water yet, but he’s alive. That’s the best they can ask for now.
Things with Rick and Lori aren’t exactly on the up and up. He doesn’t feel supported by Lori, after the way she seemed to handle the situation with Shane. But now she tries to assure him that she is on his side. All the same, Rick doesn’t exactly feel confident in any of that. The two of them are on shaky ground. Worst time to be, as she prepares to have a baby some time down the road, not too far away.
Lori: “I thought, maybe, you were coming out here to talk about us. Maybe there‘s nothing to talk about anymore.”
Rick: “We‘re awful grateful for what you did.”
Maggie says her goodbyes to Hershel with him lying sickly in bed, surely near death. “Be peaceful,” she weeps, “if it‘s time to go that‘s okay.” It is so heartbreaking to watch, not knowing whether or not Hershel will pull through.
Simultaneously, we’re back in the darkened tomb-like halls of the prison. This time it’s with Rick, Daryl, T-Dog and the prisoners. Seeing Rick and his group juxtaposed with other groups is always so striking. Because they were once so innocent and didn’t know what they know now. They stand back and watch as the prisoners go hacking and slashing at the zombies, not doing anything Rick suggested, such as go for the head, the brain. Almost funny, really.
Back to the cell block, Carl strolls in with a ton of supplies. He went on a run himself, even “killed two walkers“. The boy is trying to take on a bigger role, to be the man. Instead he gets no praise and only crap from his mother, even Beth who suggests he shouldn’t talk back to Lori the way he does. Sad, even though I get the concern. He’s only trying his best to grow up in a tough world, trying to take care of his people, and above all else his mother. In the other block, Big Tiny gets attacked by zombies, stabbed by one of their broken boned hands and bitten. Things with the prisoners then start to deteriorate by the second. But Rick and Daryl are prepared.
When things go to shit in the laundry room, Tomas almost takes Rick out. A little conversation afterwards turns quickly into murder when Rick plants a machete directly in the skull of Tomas. The other prisoners soon agree to let bygones be bygones, and a further deal is struck. Luckily, it looks as if the big trouble with the prisoners is over after Tomas bit the dust. One super tense scene has Rick locking a prisoner outside after he runs, advising: “You better run.” The screams from him outside are bloodcurdling.
My favourite scene is actually when Maggie and the others think Hershel is dead, after it appears his breath stops. For a second, you star to think Hershel might actually come back as a zombie. A few moments pass, after Lori tries giving CPR. Then he comes back: as himself. Dear ole Hershel managed to make it through to the other side and survived his injuries. Not without scaring Lori, the ladies and Carl – who points his gun shakily – near to death.
Rick and the others arrive back at their cell block, everyone crowded around Hershel. And then his eyes open slowly. He wakes again and the light in the eyes of everybody else returns. A glimmer of hope appears in them all, even a hardened Rick who unlocks handcuffs they put on Hershel, in case he did turn. Hershel reaches out for Rick’s hand saying nothing, but the look on his face saying everything. He is thankful for a man like Rick Grimes, who went to extreme lengths in order to save his life. A fitting moment between the two characters.
Also, Carol realizes with Hershel temporarily out of the game, child birth falls on her. She is responsible to make sure Lori’s baby is delivered, and appropriately. She takes to using walkers as practice, using the Cesarean section. But then someone watches her from afar, out in the woods; we see only their perspective. Who is it lurking? A new enemy, a threat?
And Lori still won’t stop giving Rick a hard time. He keeps trying his best, she continually second guesses him, even after he took charge and protected his family at all costs. They are clearly having troubles. Yet these aren’t the days of sitting on the couch, talking out problems. They aren’t going to just get past their differences, but still, Lori harps on their relationship too hard, at every turn. She can never let Rick be, let him get on with everything. Their strain will become the group’s, at some point. Now or later.
The next episode is titled “Walk With Me” and it really begins to amp things up, as a community of survivors elsewhere emerges, and we get more of Andrea/Michonne.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 1: “Seed”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara
* For a review of the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sick” – click here
This Season 3 premiere sees Carl (Chandler Riggs), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) looking for supplies. Afterwards, they all sit around in the living room of a bare, ransacked house. Carl gets ready to open a bunch of dog food. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Beth (Emily Kinney), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and the rest look on dismal, disgusted, but starving. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) soon hears a walker, then the group is forced to flee their momentary squat house.
Out on the road they’re looking for another place to stay. While going for a little hunt, Daryl and Rick find a prison, the one we saw at the end of last season. In the yard are zombies walking around every which way. But there is possibly a place for them to stay. Especially considering they need one badly, with Lori very pregnant, tired, and everyone needing a bit of a rest. They cut their way through the fences towards the prison buildings, using wirecutters, then closing up the hole behind them systematically. Their time on the road, obviously a good few months, has hardened them. Given them order. They’re following Rick in their new system of something other than democracy. It’s working because they seem definitely as a team, particularly without Shane (Jon Bernthal) to throw a wrench into things. Rick has them all setup at the entrance of the prison and ready to execute a plan in order to take the prison for their use.
The plan goes well. Everyone helps to clear the yard of walkers, gunning a ton of them down one after another: “We haven‘t had this much space since we left the farm,” says Carol (Melissa McBride) rejoicing. In the evening, everybody settles down a while and has something to eat. Rick and Daryl patrol, as T-Dog and Hershel talk about plans for the prison yard going forward. They all hope it’ll be a good place for Lori to give birth eventually, too. That’s a major plus, and something they need to be thinking of, as having a child in this wasteland could easily prove to be deadly. Carol and Daryl have a nice, fun little moment together where he massages her shoulder, and she quips it “could be romantic – wanna screw around?” It’s an excellently lighthearted moment in the middle of all the action. Afterwards, Beth also sings a song around the fire, putting everyone in a nice mood for once. Funny – you’d never have seen something like that happen with Shane around, would you? For some reason that’s what comes to mind at the time. Maggie joins Beth soon and the group feels at ease, if only for a short time.
Rick wants to push a bit more and get inside the prison. There’d be a ton of goods left inside: “weapons, food, medicine.” Looks like a tough job ahead, but Rick believes in his people, that they have the fortitude to through with it and make themselves a new home for however long they can.
Now we’re introduced to Michonne (Danai Gurira) – the hooded figure who came across Andrea (Laurie Holden) at the last of the season premiere. But briefly. We’ll come back to her later.
At the prison, the group heads in back-to-back through the yard, up towards the buildings. Lori, Carol, Carl stick back by the fences to lure away as many walkers as possible. There are a ton of walkers in the courtyard, some with body armour having obviously been guards. A tough fight talks the survivors awhile to get through several waves of the living dead. Maggie stabs a zombie trying to kill her then happily looks to Glenn and says: “See that?” Plenty of great practical makeup effects here in “Seed”, showcasing the always amazing work of KNB – the wizards of gore in the past 30 years of horror television and film, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. Best one: Rick tears the mask of a guard and his dead face comes off with it, eyeballs rolling around and gunky skin hanging around the skull. Fucking incredible.
Once Rick and Co. make it inside the prison appears fairly deserted. No noise. Not a sound or a soul, anywhere. They move further in, getting the keys from a corpse which lets them into another cell block. Still, no signs of life, or of the undead either. Lots of corpses, gunshot to the middle of the head and the like. Once things are officially cleared the whole gang moves in, settling rooms for themselves and getting prepared to nest a while. Things, for now, are looking good.
We arrive back to Michonne again. She’s taking care of Andrea who is pretty damn sick. Fairly sick herself, Michonne’s zombies are creepy as all hell. They’re on leashes, no arms, no jaws. Weird thing to do. But part of why her character is interesting. Seems like something an insane person would do, yet there she is looking after Andrea, nursing her back to health. She wants to find them a place to stay, somewhere Andrea won’t get sicker, won’t die. They have a tenuous relationship, though, clearly a decent one after months on the road together. Michonne says she’ll “go in a few days“, but hopefully they stick together as a team. Not too long after they head out into the world once more; all four of them. At least Andrea’s not on a leash.
The gang at the prison are loading up on supplies. Plenty of security gear, as well as guns, ammo, flashbangs, et cetera. At the same time, Lori worries about the virus – if the baby is stillborn, it could tear out of her. She wants to discuss with Hershel what happens if she dies in child birth, reminding him many women died before modern medicine much like the situation in which she finds herself. But she asks more of Hershel – to be put down if something like that comes up, to not make Rick do it, as he may never recover. Remember this moment because a situation down the road calls this back to mind.
Heading further into the prison, Rick leads a crew of the survivors and leaves Carl in charge back with a few of the women, including his mother. The depths of the building aren’t as clear as the outer region. Not only are there walkers, the electricity isn’t on anymore, so the place is like a tomb. Glenn smartly spray paints arrows on the wall to mark their walk, almost like an urban Hansel and Gretel. Blood and gore line most of the halls. Bodies lie hacked to pieces. Finally, around one corner is a pack of zombies. The group push back and find themselves on the run.
The horrifyingly unexpected soon happens. First, Glenn and Maggie end up cut off from Hershel, T-Dog, Daryl and Rick. The two hide in a closet together escaping an onslaught of the living dead. Then, while moving along a hall Hershel gets one big bite in his leg. A panic breaks out, as Maggie stumbles onto her father. Rick and Glenn get Hershel out of there. But to what end?
In a split-second decision, Rick decides “Only one way to keep you alive” and hacks off Hershel’s leg above the bite in his calf. Everyone understands, but justifiably are horrified. Blood everywhere. Though, Rick gets the leg off. And up behind them appear several prisoners behind a cage in the cafeteria. Uh oh.
Moving on into the new season, up next is “Sick”.
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
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.
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: “You‘re a man of God. Have some faith.”
Hershel: “I can‘t profess to understand God‘s 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 “We‘re 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! I‘m keeping this group together. Alive! I‘ve been doing that all along, no matter what; I didn‘t 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 there‘s a place for us, but maybe– maybe it‘s just another pipe dream. Maybe– maybe I‘m fooling myself again. Why don‘t– why don’t you go out and find yourself. Send me a postcard! Go on, there‘s the door. You can do better. Let‘s 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!
Stay tuned for a review of the Season 3 premiere, titled “Seed”.