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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 16: “A”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 16: “A”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
IMG_0212Flashback to the prison, when Hershel (Scott Wilson) was still alive. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rick (Andrew Lincoln) return from a run out on the road. This is where we see a softer, more gentle Rick, as he was when trying to live the live of a farmer, moving away from all the violence. At least as far as possible.
Flash-forward to Rick after some brutal moment, his face and hands stained in blood. All by himself on a road, sitting against a vehicle. What’s happened to him? This opener is a juxtaposition of Rick in a safe place, to Rick on the road, unsure, unsafe, not knowing what’s coming next.
IMG_0214Flash just a little back from the current moment. Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are at their latest camp. They go out hunting, looking for something to fill their empty stomachs. Still on the way to Terminus.
Suddenly they hear screams in the forest. Without thinking, Carl rushes toward them. It’s a man in the middle of a pack of walkers. Rick stops his boy from shooting, they can’t save him. The man’s eaten alive, though not before a couple of the walkers notice the trio nearby. They rush away, finding nothing but walkers. After they kill them, they’re further on down the road. Where they come across that truck against which Rick sits in the opening.
IMG_0215 That night they camp on the road, using the truck to sleep. Rick and Michonne sit by a fire, talking together, planning on the last leg of their journey. Then come noises in the dark. Soon, men are upon them – The Claimers, Joe (Jeff Kober) leading them. Now the trio are in a terrifying place, at the end of guns belonging to men looking for revenge against Rick, for their dead friend. When Daryl turns up with them, Rick’s surprised. Of course he doesn’t want his old friends hurt; he offers himself up to them for “blood.”
But the Claimers don’t care. They beat the shit out of Daryl, planning ugly things for both Carl and Michonne while forcing Rick to watch. However, our trusty sheriff will not let this violence pass. When pushed to the limit, he bites out Jeff’s throat – raw, primal, vicious. Blood everywhere. Our survivors turn the tables fast, killing the rest. Except for the man who was about to rape Carl, for whom a special stabbing is in order. The son watches as his father guts and slices the guy to sloppy pieces right there.
THIS IS THE EVOLUTION OF RICK GRIMES! He realises that being a farmer can never be his identity, no matter how safe the world can feel. He must retain all sides of himself, particularly that brutality. In order to survive in a world full of primitive cavemen.
IMG_0217Flashback to Hershel, taking Rick out to the yard. He’s showing them where they’ll build a farm, raising pigs and farming the land, planting seeds, growing crops. This is when Rick decided on giving up his gun, for so long. Before now, realising that – unfortunately – the war isn’t over, not like then with Hershel. The time of the old man is over, which is sad. But it is, and it’s a lesson Rick nearly learned at the price of his boy’s life.
Current day, we’re back to the opener. Rick sitting by the truck, stained in blood; inside Carl sleeps after all the terror, Michonne soothing him. Daryl explains to Rick what happened on the road, losing Beth (Emily Kinney) to a kidnapping, falling in with the Claimers, et cetera. “I didnt know what they were,” he tells Rick.
The gang keep heading for Terminus, though they cut through the forest instead of going straight on. To get themselves a sneaky look into the place, unsure of what they’ll find. Alone together, Michonne tells Carl about her little boy died; her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry got high as the refugee camp fell, getting bitten, so she let them turn and turned them into dogs on leashes: “It was insane. It was sick. It felt like what I deserved, dragginthem around so Id always know.” She credits Andrea, Rick, and Carl for each bringing her back from becoming a monster.
Heading into Terminus, Rick buries guns. Just in case. They go forward and their initial impression isn’t totally warm. They surprise the locals by walking on into the main building, meeting a man named Gareth (Andrew J. West) and another named Alex (Tate Ellington). They welcomes them, they introduce themselves. But then trust is the issue. They want to see the group’s guns. Things go well, no weapons are taken only inspected.
When they’re shown the rest of the place, Rick notices items which seem familiar – a poncho, riot gear, a watch like that belonging to Hershel and after that Glenn, among other belongings. Rick pulls his gun, not wanting his group to eat any of the food or do anything until they’ve figured the place out wholly.
IMG_0219Flash to the prison once more. Rick sees the difference between Carl and the other kids; he cleans and takes apart a gun while another plays with Lego. This is where he tried to show Carl how to be another way, to farm, to live a less violent life. Leaving their guns while they garden.
A great cut goes right to Carl, holding his gun trained on the people of Terminus, following his dad’s lead. Rick demands to know about the watch, the riot gear, so on. Eventually, a gunfight erupts, but they’re outnumbered and definitely outgunned. Coming to a point where they negotiate for their lives, which puts them in a railway car in the Terminus lot. A defeat.
But inside the car they find more familiarity – Glenn and the rest of the survivors and Abraham’s people. Back in the one place, everybody in solidarity. No longer a defeat, a strength that will build to the next season.
Rick: “Theyre gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out
Abraham
: “Find out what?”
Rick
: “Theyre fuckin with the wrong people
IMG_0220Season 4 is one of my favourites, because we move out into wider territory, as well as see that evolution in Rick from where he’s been to the person he realises he must be/become to survive the post-apocalypse landscape. That last line by Rick, unedited on the home release Blu ray/DVD, is perfect. Genuinely awesome writing, a pumped up way to close out the season.
Season 5 is great, too. Lots of intensity, character development, and more ahead.

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 14: “The Grove”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie & Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Inmates” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Still” – click here
IMG_0169Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and his people have picked up Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) on the road; they’ve got a large military truck. The Sarge is a tough motherfucker, a real slick talker, too. Tara finds it strange that he was smiling while he killed. His response? “Well, Im the luckiest guy in the world.”
Oh, he’s a treat! Not only is Abraham a solid character, Michael Cudlitz is a fantastic actor whose role on Southland is one of the all-time greats on television. A welcomed addition on The Walking Dead.
IMG_0170In a house together, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) sit together at a table eating cereal. They have a nice morning, until he remembers Judith, imagining the worst. Nice that we know the truth, though painful to watch them not know.
Michonne is more committed to staying with people, she knows the depths of depravity to which her own mind sinks when she’s isolated; as we saw recently. At the same time, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is worried, faltering in his own confidence. He doesn’t know what the best pay forward is anymore. This is perhaps his lowest point yet, and he’s seen some shit. But there’s much more at play at this juncture, after the war with the Governor, the fall of the prison. He’s got some personal development to do. And Season 4 takes him to an extraordinary place. Starting with his day at home alone while Carl and Michonne go out scavenging together.
The pair head off through the neighbourhood, they get to know one another more than before. I like seeing them together because they’re friends. He also sees her, slightly at times, like a mother figure. She’s super bad ass, so it’s only naturally he feels comfort in being around her. She agrees to answer questions about her old life after they’ve cleared a room in the house; on they go, as he discovers her boy’s name was Andre, among other tidbits. They also stumble upon an ugly end to a once happy family in their home.
IMG_0176Then suddenly Rick wakes in his bed to voices downstairs. A bunch of men. Dangerous sounds. WHO ARE THEY? He can’t find his gun, so he rolls out of bed and hides underneath it. A man with a gun walks through the upstairs hallway, searching the rooms. Then into Rick’s room. The man lays down on the bed.
How the fuck is our sheriff getting out of this one? The man falls asleep and another one comes in, angry, wanting to lie down. They fight, the man in the bed sees Rick under it but is choked out by the other. Still not getting anywhere fast.
Once Glenn wakes up, again, he’s riding on the truck with Tara and their new friends. He isn’t exactly thrilled, he wants to be searching for Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Abraham is on his own mission. He doesn’t particularly want to let Glenn leave, either. He says they’re on a mission to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington, he knows what started the zombie plague. They want Glenn’s help, he’s a fighter. But he needs to find his wife. They wind up having a proper fist fight before anything else happens. Like walkers coming out of the trees. We also see Dr. Porter’s uselessness, too. He puts a hole in the gas tank firing at walkers.
More importantly, back to Rick – he waits until the latest man in the bed sleeps, then crawls out slowly. He makes it to another room before Joe (Jeff Kober) walks by, tossing a tennis ball around leisurely. Rick tries to find a way out, hearing that they’ve found evidence a woman’s been staying in the house. The men start gathering downstairs. In the bathroom, Rick runs into a man on the toilet, whom he strangles to death.
IMG_0173Abraham can’t figure out how to fix the truck, the tank is busted. Rather than stick around Glenn leaves, and Tara can’t leave his side. The Sarge doesn’t want to leave, though his friend Rosita (Christian Serratos) decides they’ll go, as well. Nowhere else to be, right? A destination is a destination, you can’t stop for long on the road in the post-apocalypse world.
Rick gets himself out the window before anyone can find him in the house, down to the ground and in time to meet with Michonne and Carl, so they don’t walk into a house of horrors. They get away without anyone knowing they were there. Except, is the gang’s dead buddy in the bathroom reanimating? Yikes, that’s brutal. Could mean trouble if they were able to track Rick.
On the train tracks, Rick, Carl, and Michonne come across a sign pointing to a destination further down the road. A sanctuary, a community, directions on a map. They decide to head onward. Will it be what they hope?
IMG_0178A great episode, introducing more stories and characters. As well as sets up a few different things we’ll find coming back into play the more we get towards the end of Season 4. “Still” is next.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “After” – click here
IMG_0162The Governor (David Morrissey) is bringing his vengeance to the new group which he’s been leading. He tells them all about the prison, that they’ve got to go and get themselves a new place to live. Mostly, he wants to kill Michonne (Danai Gurira), to take everything Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has done for his own. He makes the group out to be monstrous. Like it’s their duty to go and take the place.
We also see the Governor get a jump on Michonne and Hershel (Scott Wilson), taking them hostage. People get worried when he tells his group, this is all very new to them. He makes clear: there are no rules anymore, not in this war to which they’re headed.
IMG_0164The Governor makes himself out to be a saint, mutilated and ruined by those people at the prison. He talks a good game. Although Tara (Alanna Masterson), Alisha (Juliana Harkavy), they’re reluctant at first, they all come around fast. Ready to follow him into a battle of which they know nothing. Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) doesn’t like this side of the man she knows as Brian. He’s blinded by both vengeance and a want to relive his old life anew with a defacto wife and child.
Lilly: “Killing people?”
The Governor: “Killing killers
Michonne only threatens to kill the Governor, not willing to talk with him like a regular chat. For his part, Hershel offers to work together. To live as communities side by side. This is not an option, though. This man is set in his ways, he will not back down.
At the prison, the flu has finally passed. Glenn (Steven Yeun) is doing well, nursed back to health by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). They have no idea what’s coming. They’re merely living their lives, one day at a time. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is livid with Rick over what he did, without consulting anyone, with Carol (Melissa McBride). I knew this would cause grief between them. Except I agree with Rick on what he did. Then they’ve got to talk to Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and tell him, though he’s got other worries – he’s found a disturbing scene, an animal torn open and displayed in a dark hallway. Psycho shit.
Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) sees Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) for the first time since getting back. There’s a connection between the two. She thanks him for helping with the medicine. But Bob doesn’t feel worthy, for having put people in danger over the booze he wanted so badly. Maybe he’ll get a chance to prove himself soon.
IMG_0165Bigger fish to fry now for all of them. The Governor’s arrived with reinforcements, and that tank is just waiting to tear the walls down if things go wrong. When Rick sees his nemesis has Michonne and Hershel, he’s pissed. Everybody is, they don’t want anything nasty to happen. Meanwhile, the one-eyed bastard is leading people into a battle they never started, never were a part of, and the consequences will be dire.
Rick goes down to talk with the Governor, as Daryl rallies the others on their side. The sheriff asks for his people to be released, his enemy states they must leave. Or else die. “We need this prison,” he tells Rick. The other people with him slowly start wondering if the monsters they heard of were mere fiction created by their new leader.
Waiting for her people to come back, Lilly sits watching the woods letting Meghan play nearby. A walker starts making its way across the river towards them making mom nervous. It falls into the undertow and washes away. Soon, her little girl digs up a walker in the ground where she’s playing. And you can guess what’s coming next… a big chomp!
IMG_0166So what will happen at the prison? Rick pleads for them to “live together” in harmony, no matter what went on before that moment. But that’s not going to fly. Rick tries giving them a good speech, explaining they took in people from Woodbury who’ve become leaders in the prison. The Governor decides on a different course of action than he’d originally planned – he slice Hershel’s neck open wide. This begins an all-out battle.
Michonne runs for cover, as does Rick, and bullets fly every which way. Hershel crawls for cover, but doesn’t get far until the Governor hacks his head clean off like a neanderthal. Right then is when Lilly shows up, dead daughter in her arms. There’s no human left in this man now. Tara throws down her gun, unwilling to fight anymore, and the others charge the prison, tank leading the way.
Rick’s crew start retreating a little while the Governor gains ground. People head for the busses to start fleeing. Everyone gets split up – Glenn, Maggie, Beth, Bob, Sasha; all separated. Tyreese ends up with Lizzie and Mika after they save him from certain death.
Out on the fields, Rick fights with his nemesis, fist to fist. They beat the living shit out of one another, headbutts and punches and kicks and all. As the Governor gains the upper hand, Michonne puts a sword right through his heart helping Rick to his feet.
IMG_0167Beth and Daryl take off together. Rick looks all over for his boy, finding Carl (Chandler Riggs) safe and sound with a gun in his hands. But what about their little girl? Where’s Judith? They find her car seat on the ground empty, fearing the worst. However, last we saw Lil’ Ass Kicker she was with Lizzie and Mika, so there’s hope yet that she made it through with them. For now, the Grimes’ mourn her as if she’s gone forever. Enough to break your fucking heart in pieces. And on they go, headed away from the prison.
Fittingly enough, the Governor is shot in the head by Lilly instead of left to die in the field. We see a familiar face, Clara (Kerry Condon), wandering through the field; the one Rick left with her husband. A sort of sad testament of the dead taking over the prison, just as they do with the rest of the world.
IMG_0168What an impressive mid-season finale! Such an intense bunch of moments, particularly with the death of Hershel, and in such brutal fashion.
The season returns with “After” next. And boy, have things ever changed.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 7: “Dead Weight”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 7: “Dead Weight”
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa
Written by Curtis Gwinn

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Live Bait” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Too Far Gone” – click here
IMG_0151New man Brian (David Morrissey) has found himself back with old pal Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who’s moved on to other places, made new friends himself. The one formerly known as the Governor reveals bits and pieces of himself to young Meghan. Speaking briefly of his father, playing chess together.
But how will he survive in this new place, with all that Caesar knows about him? Long as he goes along, they’ll get along. So in the name of helping Meghan, Tara (Alanna Masterson), and Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) he agrees to make things work.
What’s scariest? There’s a tank involved now. If he wanted to obliterate anything, he’s got the fire power to do it. Yikes. Let’s hope he can stay satisfied with this little slice of life.
IMG_0153Brian has to go on a supply run with Caesar and the Dolgens – Mitch (Kirk Acevedo) and Pete (Enver Gjokaj). They’re army boys, which is obviously where the tank came from; I wonder if they’ll butt heads with the former Governor. Out in the woods the group looks for a survivalist’s camp, to hopefully locate supplies he might’ve left behind. They come upon a decapitated body with a sign strapped across the chest: LIAR.
Back at the camp another army girl named Alisha (Juliana Harkavy) gets into the military talk with Tara, who’s eager to get a bit of romance going wherever she can. I love her character, and want to see more already.
There are more decapitated bodies with signs – RAPIST, et cetera – along the path as Caesar leads his men to the cabin for which they’ve been searching. The owner blasted his brains over the front of the place. Inside, more walkers to put down. Later when they’re alone, Caesar tells Brian he wouldn’t have let him in if it weren’t for the girl and the sisters. He wonders if the old Governor has changed.
They sit around and drink beer, like back before the fall. Brian avoids talking too much about himself, as the others chat about what happened before the apocalypse came down on their heads.
IMG_0157Things go on as if they were normal at the camp. Over dinner, Caesar tells the women about how he wanted stability, like they had once in Woodbury. Tara and Alisha go off together for a bit of fun. Awhile later, Caesar and Brian go for a few more drinks, smacking golf balls out in a field. We see and feel the resentment, for what the Governor did before.
Not everything changes, no matter how hard he’s tried to turn into somebody new. When Caesar expresses a desire to have him take a bit of leadership, Brian whacks him on the head and tosses him to the walker pit.
The Governor: “I dont want it
Things get nasty when Pete decides to take leadership, he and Mitch are pretty forceful; the latter most of all. But it doesn’t sit well with everybody, others want to vote for who leads. For now it’s left as is, and the day proceeds as usual. Out on a run, Brian faces more pressure to help lead, as well as to abandon his morality like he did as the Governor. It’s not the life he wants to be living. Luckily, Pete is more of a good guy than his brother who doesn’t have many morals left himself.
Afterwards, Brian tells Lilly they need to go. He starts packing in a rush, he knows they’re not safe with the brothers. They head into the night, along with Alisha. Not far, though. On the road out they find a muddy pit of walkers blocking the way. A hideous and crushing sight. They have to turn back, find another way out of their predicament.
IMG_0159Lilly: “What are you doing?”
The Governor: “Surviving
Brian goes to see Pete for a talk. Or rather, to kill him. When that deed’s done he goes to see Mitch with a gun. They talk a bit. We see the old Governor slip out of Brian’s skin, the lack of morals and his ruthlessness. He reveals more of his past, about his father and brother. Those tiny morsels of his character come to us in the strangest of ways, which I love. Great writing.
At this point, Brian takes over. He offers Mitch the chance to be at his side, to not worry about doing the “right thing” any longer; to just do what needs to get done in order to live. The brother agrees to cover up Pete’s death, using a noble story of his saving them on a run. A nasty guy, two nasty guys. Maybe even the NASTIEST.
Life continues at the camp, as Brian exerts his influence and Mitch plays along. Everything goes smooth. But essentially, he killed Caesar for nothing. He’s now in power, which he could’ve had with his former friend. Instead he’s chosen another dark path. No surprise. It’s gonna get darker.
We end as the Governor wanders up to the prison. His eye set on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group, their home like once before. More so it’s trained on Michonne (Danai Gurira). He hasn’t changed one goddamn iota.
IMG_0161As I said before, don’t like the Governor. His character is excellent, though; as a brutal villain. David Morrissey plays him well, and seeing parts of his backstory, as well as character development in him is awesome.
Mid-season finale “Too Far Gone” is next. BE prepared for something shockingly intense.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Nichole Beattie

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Internment” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
IMG_0142The Governor (David Morrissey) is left with only a few men at his side, after the massacre following their failed attempt at taking the prison. He wakes in the morning to find they’ve left him now. He’s all alone in the wasteland. Rightfully so, considering they might’ve been next after a little bit of time.
He goes back to Woodbury, burning the place and watching it fall. He goes on the road for months by himself. Then he runs into others, to whom he tells his story; the abridged and heavily edited version.
Something’s changed in the man. Perhaps realising how much he needs others to survive, in more ways than one. What he sees ahead of him now is the possibility to start another life, to become another person.
IMG_0144The people he meets are the Chamblers – Lilly, Tara (Alanna Masterson), David, and Meghan. They reluctantly take him in and find he’s not huge on talking. Tara’s done some service in the army, this is clear. She does not fuck around having a new man kicking around, particularly a scruffy one with an eye patch.
He’s no longer the Governor, or Phillip. He’s Brian Heriot; new identity, fresh new life.
The Chamblers have been getting by well enough. They live in the little apartment, scavenging food, staying safe as possible. Lots of cured meat on hand after they raided an Italian food truck. Although their father David has medical problems – respiratory. And there’s only so long his oxygen tanks can last before a refill’s needed.
David asks Brian for a favour – a backgammon set upstairs. He wants his granddaughter Meghan to talk again, to feel normal. This strikes a chord with the former Governor; thoughts of Penny. So upstairs he heads to an apartment where a neighbour of David’s supposedly keeps a set under his bed. Brian also finds the old fella who owns the place, nothing but a living corpse in the bathtub waiting to be put down.
IMG_0145Returning with the backgammon set, he’s a hero to the Chamblers. Maybe not Tara, who remains suspicious. Really though, deep down there’s a sadness in this man. He’s done terrible things, for which he can never be forgiven. Yet there’s still something awfully tragic about his story. He can’t even look at his face in a family picture anymore, folding the corner over himself.
The next day Brian’s getting ready to head out. However, Lilly wants another bit of help – they need more supplies for her father, to keep him going until the last possible moment; if only for her daughter. Brian heads out to an old folk’s home nearby in search. He stumbles onto a cart of oxygen tanks. They make too much noise, and when walkers come for him he only gets away with one. Better than nothing!
Alone together, Brian and Meghan bond a bit. They do a “pink swear” and talk a bit. Telling secrets. Despite his being a monster as the Governor, this side of him is tender. Being around a little girl again like when he was with his daughter, ages ago. He decides on teaching the girl chess. He’s even decided to shave his beard, getting back to a more clean look, no longer a homeless man roaming the world.
Then the worst happens – David slips away into death, no longer able to fight the cancer. You know what has to be done, so that the man doesn’t turn. Can’t take long to mourn. He comes back fast, prompting Brian to smash his head in with an oxygen tank in front of the women.
IMG_0148Brian turns his back on is old life, even the memory of his wife and daughter. He burns the picture he’s been keeping. Now, he decides to leave the apartment building. But the Chambler sisters want to go with him, they don’t want him to go on his own.
When they do go on the road, all of them, Brian and Lilly begin getting closer. In the night, they hug close to one another. And they become intimate.
He also becomes an impromptu father again, to Meghan. He saves her from walkers, then they fall into a pit in a field full of them. Where he again saves her, brutally. But wait – we’ve seen this type of pit before. Oh yes, you guessed it. He’s come across his old friend Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo). Whoa.
IMG_0149I don’t like the Governor, though I dig seeing his story. Gives a humanity to his otherwise despicable character. He’s found himself in quite an interesting situation here. Next episode is “Dead Weight” and we’ll see how he plays things off now that he’s found Caesar.

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Infected” – click here
IMG_0123Season 4’s premiere starts several months on from the finale of Season 3 when all hell broke loose, and the group lost Andrea. They’re still in the prison, still together. Trying to live whatever kind of normalcy is available to them. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) spends his day out in the garden tending to the crops. He finds a gun buried deep in the soil, like he’s tried to bury the violence with it. Is he just kidding himself? Yeah, I think so. If you’ve watched the series all the way to where it’s currently at, as of the time of this writing (end of Season 7), then you know pretending violence isn’t part of the equation is merely fooling oneself.
IMG_0124One thing that’s improved since last we left the group is the relationship between Rick and his boy Carl (Chandler Riggs). They do the farming together, looking after the field and their pig, Violet. Dad gives out an important lesson, though: don’t name the animals they’re preparing to slaughter for food.
Everyone else is doing well, a bigger family at the prison now with those they saved from Woodbury. Funny to see how people look up to Daryl (Norman Reedus), thanking him for the food he hunts, et cetera; he’s like a folk hero in their community. Carol (Melissa McBride) is taking on more and more responsibility, an active role in looking after their home. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) become further attached after their engagement; he worries worse than ever about her safety, the stakes somehow higher for the now. And new people like Karen (Melissa Ponzio), they’re adjusting to life and being productive members of the prison community. A man named Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) ingratiates himself to the group, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) particularly. Trying to make himself useful to them for giving him shelter.
Also, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Karen are clearly a full-on item, plus Beth (Emily Kinney) and Zach (Kyle Gallner) are together. Exciting to see because it means different stories for the group as a whole. One story I’m glad is continuing? That of Michonne (Danai Gurira). She comes back from a run on her own with comic books for Carl; she’s definitely staying as part of the prison crew. And as always, there’s a ton of work to do. Everybody has their thing, their chores, various responsibilities to make their tight-knit community work. Hershel (Scott Wilson) keeps assuring Rick that transitioning into a more farmer-like existence isn’t a bad thing. Although people worry he doesn’t carry a gun anymore: “We want you to be safe.” He doesn’t listen, and it’s because – as I mentioned – he is literally trying to bury the violence inside him, or at least he’s trying to pretend it doesn’t exist; out of sight, out of mind.
IMG_0128Later, out past the walls of the prison, Rick comes across a hungry woman in the woods. She’s found a deer carcass. She needs to get food back to her husband, they’ve been starving for days on end. Rick offers up food he has with him. Her name is Clara (Kerry Condon), she wants to know if he has a camp. Life’s been rough for her, it’s obvious by the layers of dirt caked onto her skin. Rick also mentions “three” questions he needs to ask the couple before they can possibly come back to his people. So she leads him on to wherever her husband is waiting.
Kids at the prison fence are naming the walkers. Carl finds some of them doing it, he chastises them as his father did when he was naming the pig. Moreover, we see the difference between him and the others. He’s grown in a way they aren’t yet. They’ve been relatively shielded from the horror of the world, while he’s had to shoot his own mother to prevent her from turning.
Daryl leads a group of people in town. One fun thing is watching Zach try guessing what Daryl “did before the turn.” Today, he guesses homicide cop, which gives Michonne a damn good kick. The group get into a store, only they don’t realise up on top of the building an army helicopter’s already crashed. And I’d be willing to bet that’ll cause a bit of shit. Doesn’t look like the roof is too stable.
Clara leads Rick on through the trees, explaining where she was when the apocalypse began and how she got herself to that moment. She talks of her husband, how he saved her life, so on. She talks of survival, by any means necessary.
IMG_0129In the store, Bob and others load up on supplies. He goes to the wine section. Above him, the ceiling leaks. Then a rack of wine tips over on top of him. Walkers on the roof notice the sound, walking further towards the helicopter. They start sinking through the weakened structure, falling inside one by one. A terrifying sequence, very unique! Lots of good blood and guts, too. An absolute shitshow. Bob nearly gets the chomp before Daryl saves him. Unfortunately, young Zach gets bitten and chowed down on by a nibbling zombie.
When Rick gets back to Clara’s husband, he finds something incredibly disturbing. First, she attacks him with a knife. After that she stabs herself in the gut, demanding to become undead. Like the husband she couldn’t bear to let go. She finds out the three questions, as well: 1) How many walkers have you killed? 2) How many people have you killed? and 3) Why? And we don’t see it, but the husband’s decapitated zombie head lays not far from the dying wife.
Carl finds that there’s not really any reading time for the kids. It’s a ruse, so that Carol can teach the kids how to use knives, to defend themselves. We also see one of them is feeling sick. Carl isn’t happy when he sees what Carol is up to, though she begs him not to tell his father.
IMG_0130Another taste of unhappiness comes to Beth, more loss as she finds out that Zach has died. “I dont cry anymore,” she tells Daryl. Glad for the time she had with him, rather than sad for not having him around. The two bond over loss, as he mentions he hates losing people. Something that won’t ever change in this new world.
Worse things are brewing in the prison’s darkness. That sick boy, he’s got something bad. And he ain’t doing so hot. As in death, and once he comes back there’s no telling how many others will get bitten, infected, sick, or who knows what.
IMG_0131Stellar episode. Love this one because it’s a solid season premiere, as well as the fact it leads into more stories, more intensity and emotion, more action, MORE EVERYTHING for the beginning bits of Season 4. Next is “Infected” and, you guessed it: there’s trouble!

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
IMG_0115The Governor (David Morrissey) is having his twisted fun. He’s got Milton (Dallas Roberts) at his mercy, beating him for burning up the walkers. And he has more than that planned. Much more. While he’s got Milton there, he admits to his love of war, of conflict. Like a thirst.
Then he brings his captive in to see where Andrea (Laurie Holden) is tied. He tells them both how he’s essentially lied to the people of Woodbury, to prime them for war with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people. Before they leave, the Governor wants Milton to kill Andrea. When Milton tries to kill him instead he’s the one who’s stabbed to death.
And then he’s left to do the deed, once he dies and comes back to life again. To feed on her.
The Governor: “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
IMG_0116At the prison, everyone is busy. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t overly impressed with his dad, and they all notice. Although Rick just hopes he’ll forget; not so easy. At the same time he’s still seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a vision. Daryl (Norman Reedus) can at least rest well knowing that his brother Merle tried to do right for once in his life. Generally, there’s an air of unease but a glimmer of hope amongst the group.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) forgives Rick for thinking about taking the deal, she understands the complexities of life in this new world. She also knows he didn’t ultimately make the choice, Merle did before his change of heart. Now, she thanks Rick for taking her in that while back. He confesses it was Carl who made that call.
Meanwhile in Woodbury, the Governor amps everybody up to go to the prison. To end the war between their camps. Before heading out, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) make clear they won’t go. They’ll protect the kids until everyone’s home, that’s it; if they’re not need afterwards, they’ll leave. He accepts with a grim thank you, handing over a weapon. That could’ve went either way. He’s on a fucking warpath.
Thus begins the assault. Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the other men open fire with the Governor, blasting away the walkers on the perimeter of the prison before heading in further on foot. Except all is quiet, nobody moving anywhere visible. They open up the gate and get themselves inside. They find not a soul, just empty cell blocks. The Govern finds nothing but a Bible. John 5:29 is highlighted, by Hershel (Scott Wilson). Minds games, son. Psychological warfare!
IMG_0118Back at Woodbury, Milton is dying. He dropped a tool for Andrea, though she’s still tied. She tries to get a pair of pliers nearby, dragging it with her foot. Trying to keep his morale up. But he only wants her to stab him in the brain: “Keep trying,” he cheers her on weakly while losing more blood by the second. He fades away, as she tells him of her regrets, having not killed that piece of shit Governor when she had the chance.
In the prison, the Governor leads his men into the tombs below. Ohhhh, god damn. Are they headed for what I think they are? All hell breaks loose. An alarm goes off, gunfire erupts. When people escape, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – clad in riot gear – open fire on them, driving people out. Trucks take off, and soon the Governor runs, too. Tail between their legs. For the time being, anyways.
Out in the woods, Carl and Hershel come across a young man with a gun. He goes to put it down, and Carl puts a bullet in him. To the utter shock of the old man. Everyone regroups inside. Hershel expresses his worry that Carl “gunned that kid down” and it’s not something Rick wants to hear; but he needs to hear it.
On the road the Governor pulls his people over for fleeing. Then he does his own gunning, slaughtering all of those opposing him. This terrifies his own men, Caesar and the others. But when one dissents, he kills him, as well. Putting an end to any further rebellion. He’s gone full dictator, murdering anyone in his way. Only a single woman manages to escape his bullet, lying underneath another corpse.
IMG_0119Rick asks Carl about what actually happened in the woods. The boy thinks he had to do what he did, or else something else worse would happen. He’s disappointed, ultimately, in his father not doing what HE should have done, several times before. This time, Rick heads out with Daryl and Michonne. On the road they find the woman who escaped the Governor, alive and hiding in a truck. A-ha! I wondered how she’d come back into the action.
Time’s running out for Andrea, with Milton expired on the floor in front of her.
Fuck. She’s in a heap of trouble. He’s come back from the dead and is lurching towards her in that chair. She gets free as he opens his mouth to take a bite. But we don’t immediately see the result. EVEN CREEPIER!
Moving on Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Michonne encounter gunfire from Tyreese and Sasha. The woman, Karen, explains to them what the Governor’s done, so on. The two groups reunite, now with Rick in a better frame of mind than the last time. Rick likewise reveals Andrea never made it back to the prison, that she may still be held captive there somewhere.
And inside, they find her. Bitten, on the way to turning eventually. She asks to do it on her own, put herself out of the misery that’s coming. No matter if it’s tough for Rick, Michonne, and Rick to deal with the request. Michonne refuses to leave, wanting to be there while she goes. So Rick hands over a gun to mercifully let her commit suicide.
Andrea: “I tried
Rick: “You did
IMG_0122Another one of the more intense finishers of any episode in this series. I hated seeing Andrea go, and the way it was filmed, written, presented, it’s a quality chapter. Right up to that final gunshot. This season was a killer, in so many ways. As we head into Season 4, there’s hope. Yet it isn’t shining, glimmering hope as there’s been in the past. There’s a lot of darkness ahead for Rick and the group at the prison. One of those dark spots is which way Carl will head: will he become a force of good, or will he let this world taint him?
Their time at the prison is going to come to an end, one of these days soon. For now the group are back with more people, the good ones from Woodbury, adding to the population. And for the first time in so long, Rick isn’t seeing ghosts.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Prey” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
IMG_0105Back at the prison, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) talks with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl (Norman Reedus). He tells them about the deal with Michonne (Danai Gurira), having to give her over to the Governor (David Morrissey) if they want to call a truce. The two of them don’t think it’s right. But they understand the stakes, too. A lose-lose, either way. This way they lose morality. The other way, they lose lives. It isn’t an easy choice, certainly nothing is in this post-apocalyptic landscape.
Rick then goes to talk with Merle (Michael Rooker). They need him to help out, coincidentally. Rick tells him the deal and how they need to keep their transfer of Michonne quiet. This makes Merle feel like part of the group, in a dark, dark way. At the same time he relays the savagery of the Governor, the sickness in him. If any of them’s good for this job though, it’s the older Dixon. He’s not quite THE bad guy, but he is certainly a bad fuckin’ guy.
Merle: “Youre cold as ice, Officer Friendly.”
IMG_0106So now it’s play along for everyone, particularly Michonne, until the dirty deed is done. Carol (Melissa McBride) starts questioning Merle: “Are you with us?” He doesn’t show any specific loyalty, only to his brother. Like she makes clear, though – Daryl’s one of them. It’s interesting to see Merle notice the change in Carol since last they were together as a group. She’s grown, for the better. She also knows everyone deserves a chance. Maybe Merle will have his; to prove he’s still human, unlike the Governor.
Nice moment with Glenn (Steven Yeun) as Daryl asks if his brother’s apologised. Yeah, like that’ll happen. When Glenn talks about what Merle did, not to him but to Maggie (Lauren Cohan), it’s clear the damage is much too deep for an apology to fix. Daryl is a good man and despite his brother being a pile of garage it can’t be easy to hear that from someone he considers a friend.
Merle gives it to Daryl hard when they’re alone, chastising him for going soft in his eyes. The younger brother’s not impressed with what Glenn told him, of what Merle did and nearly let happen to Maggie. “People do what they gotta do, or they die,” he tells Daryl. The older of the two sounds like a zombie king Scarface echoing “Say goodnight to the bad guy” as he takes credit for being the type of guy they need around to do the dirty work.
Although I’m not religious, whatsoever, I actually admire Hershel for the way he holds to his faith. After all he’s been through, what he’s seen close up, all they’ve managed to survive, somewhere deep inside him that faith clings. And there’s an admirable quality about that, because he still, even with one leg, kicks ass.
IMG_0107It looks like the plan’s in motion at the hands of Merle. He and Michonne are in one of the prison corridors alone, and he takes the chance to knock her out, tying then dragging her away. Back to Woodbury. When she’s awake he walks her toward death, through the barren streets of the wasteland. All the while he cackles, taunts, and tries out her sword for fun. At the prison, Daryl and Rick find out what’s happened. The brother insists he’s the one to go find them.
Glenn sits with Hershel and talks about the watch he was given.  He’s understanding the responsibility the old man is giving him, and asks for her Maggie’s hand in marriage. Of course, he gets the blessing. A bit patriarchal, if not still sweet.
On the road trying to steal a car, Merle sets off an alarm. This brings out a bunch of walkers. A tied Michonne manages to fight off a few before he notices. They get in the car before it’s too late and speed off together. But he’s still bringing her to a horrible fate.
She tries getting under his skin on the trip to Woodbury. She asks him question after question. Until he reveals a few of his genuine emotions, that he can’t go back to that prison. Then he cuts her loose, tells her to go back instead: “I got somethinI gotta do on my own.” So he IS a human after all. She walks on back over the road while he drives over the horizon, heading for his old pal the Governor.
IMG_0109IMG_0110Michonne runs into Daryl on her way, and he speeds on after his brother – who’s busy listening to some Motörhead and drinking a bottle of booze, sitting in a car surrounded by walkers. He drives slowly forward, stops. Letting them crowd the car again. He moves like this on and on and on until he reaches abandoned buildings. He hops out letting the car roll on with Ted Nugent’s “Turn It Up” playing loud on the speakers. This draws the walkers on further, as well as alerts Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and his men who find the zombies approaching. This lets Merle pick a bunch of the boys off from afar.
Then the Governor appears. The oldest Dixon tries getting a line of sight on him, but a walker stumbles in distracting him. Then the Governor and the lads find Merle, too. A fight breaks out. We see the viciousness of the Governor even more, as he bites off two of the digits on Merle’s good hand. Before putting a bullet in him.
In better news, Glenn pops the question to Maggie with a ring. She says yes, and at least SOMETHING is good in the world. Amongst death and tragedy and pain everywhere else. They all gather together in the prison where Rick tells them about the Governor’s deal, if they gave over Michonne. He admits to wanting to take that deal for their safety. He tells them what Merle did, that Daryl went after him.
Rick: “I couldnt sacrifice one of us for the greater good, because we are the greater good.”
IMG_0112Daryl gets to where all the carnage went down after Merle showed up, finding walkers and blood and guts everywhere. Worst of all, he finds his brother. Reanimated. Eating a corpse. Such a horribly tragic moment for Daryl, as dead Merle walks toward him. He pushes the zombie away, not wanting to have to put one in his head. But he does, he takes out all kinds of aggression, stabbing him in the head, weeping as he does it. So goddamn sad. Poor guy.
IMG_0113Such an intense ending, one of the most emotionally shattering things character-wise that comes along. Daryl is a great character, and just as Merle was turning a corner, in such a selfless, brave way after all he’s done, he meets his end. Nicotero directs some of the best episodes! Next is “Welcome to the Tombs” and it’s the finale for this season. Prepare for a life changing episode to follow this heart breaker.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Glen Mazzara & Evan T. Reilly

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Arrow on the Doorpost” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
IMG_0095We see Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) in the forest, before, when they were travelling together. Andrea starts asking about the leashed walkers, asking if she knew them, which Michonne confirms: “They deserve what they get, they werent human to begin with,” she says.
Back in Woodbury, the Governonr (David Morrissey) prepares his own chains, to hold and keep someone firmly in place. For some of his darkest plans yet.
IMG_0096Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) is doing his boss’ bidding, assembling weapons and people to head for the prison. Milton (Dallas Roberts) thinks it’s a “show of force.” For her part, Andrea believes otherwise. She knows there’s something not right. But then again, so does Milton. He sees the Governor falling apart in terrifying shambles. Likely with no way to stop it, either.
What Milton discovers is that Michonne is slated to be put in that chair, and much worse. When Andrea finds out she’s rightfully shocked. Milton shows her the room, the chair, all the nasty tools prepared for her friend. He asks her to go tell the people at the prison to get away. She’d rather kill the Governor, when she’s had so many chances before.
Andrea winds up slipping past Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) while they watch the wall, shooting walkers. They’re good people, which is already clear, so they don’t give her too much grief; they’re not the authoritarians in Woodbury. When the Governor finds out Andrea’s gone he tries making out he’s only concerned for her, though he worries she’s up to something else. He tries not to worry Tyreese and Sasha. It’s clear they know Woodbury isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Alone, Andrea makes her way for the prison, as she hears vehicles scouring the road to locate her. If anybody’s good at surviving on her own, it’s her.
IMG_0097Tyreese and Sasha find out more about Woodbury when they go help Caesar. They see a pit of walkers in a field. A preparation for when they head for the prison, apparently. More to release upon Rick and his people. “This is sick,” says Tyreese. He refuses to take part while one of the others from his group hops on board real quick. The two men end up fighting and Tyreese nearly feeds him to the pit, before letting him go. More and more, the brother and sister pair see things they don’t like in their new camp.
Out on the plains Andrea is nearly found by another patrol. She hides as best she can before anyone sees her. But the Governor comes a-callin’, trying to stop her from running back to her former group. She makes away into the trees before he can catch up. After another while she comes to a set of buildings where she hides. He almost finds her, he begs her to come back to Woodbury, pleading in the dark. I don’t see that working, buddy. Instead of wait patiently he smashes anything he can find to try flushing her out. They come face to face after not too long. She doesn’t decide on going home. She locks him in a room with a horde of walkers, leaving him behind.
IMG_0101After so much bullshit, Andrea gets back to the prison. In the tower Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost spies her, before the Governor sneaks up. He’s caught her, and so close to where she was headed. Meanwhile, the walker pits near Woodbury are scorched, the zombies melted in a pile. Someone’s been naughty.
The Governor arrives back at Woodbury to hear Tyreese and Sasha are under suspicion. He also curiously doesn’t tell Caesar he found Andrea. He heads over to talk with Tyreese and their group, smoothing things out, placating with lies. For now, they agree to stay and not cause any trouble. Because they didn’t cause any to start. Hmm; my guess is Mr. Milton Mamet.
The chair, lacking Michonne, has now been occupied by Andrea. Oh shit.
IMG_0104A gritty, creepy, intense episode. Love it. Next is “This Sorrowful Life” and there’s a ton more intensity to come as we get closer to the Season 3 finale.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 13: “Arrow on the Doorpost”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 13: “Arrow on the Doorpost”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Ryan C. Coleman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Clear” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Prey” – click here
IMG_0084Daryl (Norman Reedus), Hershel (Scott Wilson), and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) head to Woodbury. The former sheriff and resident crossbow expert go in, as the old man waits outside; equipped with a sneaky weapon on his knee’s stump. Tricky stuff. At a dark, quiet barn, Rick meets the Governor (David Morrissey). They’ve got a table and chairs setup for a proper meeting.
But can these men meet face-to-face like two people who’ve not been trying to murder one another and their respective people for the past long while? Hard to tell.
IMG_0085The situation’s tense, at first. Slowly but surely both of the men relax. Weapons go down, even as the egos stay up. Hershel and Daryl are on edge outside, which doesn’t change as Milton (Dallas Roberts) reluctantly shows up alongside Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo). Inside, Andrea hears a quick quip about something happening to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) courtesy of her dear Phillip, though he tosses it off fast. No good. She shouldn’t be on his side in any way, regardless.
Back at the prison Glenn (Steven Yeun) tries keeping the place going and organised, while Merle (Michael Rooker) wants to ride in on the Governor, hard and heavy. Especially with Daryl out in the shit. Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn want to stick around their makeshift home, and nobody’s really thrilled with Merle running his mouth.
Rick offers boundaries – the prison and Woodbury each take their portions of land where they’ll operate. Only the Governor wants “surrender” and doesn’t need or want a deal. Then they shoo Andrea outside, to speak alone. There’s even a bit of whiskey. Outside, Daryl and Milton butt heads a little, as Caesar laughs. They all kill walkers together, too. Like an exercise in bonding. Well, Andrea kills them instead of listening to the men have a pissing contest.
A bit of tension arises when Milton inquires about Hershel’s leg. He wants to see the stump, the amputation and such. For medical reasons. “I just met you, at least buy me a drink first,” Hershel says and laughs it away. Little does the nerdy dude know the old guy’s hiding that weapon in case shit goes sideways.
IMG_0087Hashing out their issues Rick and the Governor speak of choice – destroy it all, or find a way out? The former Sheriff Grimes won’t back down, and the eye-patched villain won’t be perceived as weak by his people in Woodbury. The Governor tells a story about his wife dying in a car crash, how quickly life changes. They have loss in common, if only one thing. They haven’t killed one another yet. That’s something at least.
Glenn continues taking charge at the prison. He finds Merle packing up to head out on the road, not wanting his brother out there without him. A fight breaks out. Surprising enough, Beth (Emily Kinney) is the one to break it up with a gunshot in the air.
The Governor tells Rick he wants Michonne. That’s the deal. He gets her and the whole thing “goes away.” Rick is left with a tough, dark choice to make, or not to make. Is selling his soul worth keeping his people at the prison safe? I don’t think so. Speaking of Michonne, she and Merle have their own talk. About sneaking into Woodbury, ending the fight for good. She has no time for him, though. She has faith in the new group who accepted her.
Since their capture Glenn and Maggie have been troubled. It was a traumatic thing, especially when Glenn felt he couldn’t protect her. He finally admits he made it about him, not her and what nearly happened at the hands of that horrible man. Then they sneak off to make love for the first time in so long.
IMG_0088At the table, Rick questions why the Governor would be so petty over a “vendetta” when he’s supposed to be the big saviour of it all. He isn’t sure to trust the man at his word. Offer is good for two days. What will Rick choose? The groups part ways, but soon they’ll meet again.
Woodbury is poised to kill the prison crew. The deal is bullshit, though the Governor still wants Michonne alive. What we see now is Milton diverging from the path his master is setting forth, so he has his own choices to make. As does Andrea. Although she’s kept at arm’s length and doesn’t know the terms of the deal.
Rick tells his people the Governor wants them dead: “Were going to war.” Afterwards, he tells Hershel the full truth about Michonne. The old guy doesn’t like the sound of it, not after she’s done so much for them all.
But right now, Rick doesn’t see any other way.
IMG_0089An intense yet somehow laid back episode at once. Great build up to the chaos that’s coming, starting with “Prey” up next.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 12: “Clear”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 12: “Clear”
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “I Ain’t A Judas” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Arrow on the Doorpost” – click here
IMG_0069On the road, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is with Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). They see someone on the road, somebody alive. But they choose not to stop. Carl doesn’t really understand, or he does and would rather not. Further up the road they find a bunch of smashed up cars, zombies inside, stuck under wrecks, and so on. The trio get stuck in the car, then they ‘re crowded by a horde of undead.
Rick shows his son a few tricks to get a car out of the mud, in case he ever finds himself in that situation by himself. The kid is a bit of a nag, though it isn’t for nought. Rick explains their “common interests” and that it’s all only temporary, as Michonne listens sitting in the car. The man from the road gets near, so they get going, leaving him calling to them in the road.
You can never be too careful. Each time is worse when Rick & Co. find other humans. Easier to avoid any new ones altogether.
IMG_0071They head into town and start looking for supplies. The armoury at Rick’s old station is cleaned out. Like, licked clean. Barely a single bullet rolling on the floor. They’ve got to figure out something else. Either that or they go up almost naked against the Governor (David Morrissey) and his army of men, women, and children at Woodbury.
The whole place is rough. Charred bodies and tanks of gasoline. Markings, warnings, mantras on the walls and arrows pointing along the sidewalks guiding a path. In the middle of town there are a number of obstacles setup, wooden poles fashioned into spikes, more warnings spray painted everywhere. Someone highly prepared, and maybe unstable, is camping out there, someplace.
From a rooftop someone fires at a walker, alerting the trio to his presence. He calls down and asks for them to drop their weapons and leave. Rather than that Rick fires, he and Carl hide, and Michonne, she makes her way up towards the roof flanking. The man, disguised in a helmet, comes after Rick then Carl drops him with a hard shot. Another bad ass Grimes in the family.
And who is the mystery man, covered in body armour? None other than Morgan (Lennie James). He’s booby trapped that section of town, including his hideout. Since last Rick saw him the guy’s gone crazy, that much is clear. The entire place is like a piece of tribal land, pitfalls and other nasty bits await. They make it through and put the unconscious Morgan in his apartment. Moreover, they find all the stuff from the armoury.
IMG_0076But Rick pities the guy who saved his life. His son isn’t around, that much is obvious; he turned. Morgan snapped somewhere along the way. The walls are covered in mad ramblings, as if the apartment is more a cell than a place to live. Remembering their past, what the guy’s done for him, Rick opts not to take all his things and leave. He wants to wait for Morgan to wake up. And so he isn’t a danger, they zip tie his hands and feet.
Poor Carl. Lots of people shit on him, and for a point when I first watched the series through as it aired I didn’t like his attitude. The more I watch, the more I realise he and other kids don’t get to be kids anymore. If you were a kid, no matter how serious the zombie threat, you wouldn’t just automatically become a ruthless killer of the undead. Not even after you’ve had to kill your own mom, either. Takes an adjustment. So what we see here, particularly after Carl looks at a map Morgan drew of the town – including their house, which is now BURNT OUT according to the drawing – is the loss of innocence, the loss of his childhood and his past. Not only is Lori dead, so are the memories of her, literally. The only memories of family which exist now for Carl Grimes is in his mind.
The kid and Michonne go off to find supplies, hopefully baby stuff. He tries to take too much responsibility while she is looking out for his best interests. Most of all, he’s trying to make that adjustment, he doesn’t want to be a helpless kid for others to save or take care of; this is a boy who wants to do his part. Even if he’s a bit stupid about it at times.
Back at the apartment, Morgan’s got a sneaky knife hidden under the bed and gets himself free. Rick fights him off trying to get through his psychosis. He gets stabbed for his trouble, but then Morgan begs to die. That’s fucking sad.
Rick: “You know me!”
Morgan: “I dont know anyone anymore!”
There’s a goodness we see here shine through more than ever in Rick. Despite everything, he still tries getting through to the crazy bastard. Once he holds up the walkie talkie Morgan remembers. He’s pissed Rick wasn’t there when he needed him.
IMG_0077Carl gets mouthy with Michonne, but she won’t quit. She’s determined to help him on his quest for whatever he needs. So they work together, using skateboard critters to distract zombies. When things don’t go as planned Carl lashes out. Then we see that snagged what he wanted – a picture of his family, with Lori, so that his sister will know her mother’s face. Plus, Michonne needed a multi-coloured cat statuette that looks hilariously awesome.
Then there’s Rick, who wants Morgan to come with them. Only the guy doesn’t want to go: “I have to clear,” he says, as if called to it by duty. He’s taking the death of his son, extrapolating, and then sort of letting the world rest all on his shoulders. Punishing himself, in a way. He wants to clear his mind.
The trio get back on the road again heading for home, some things for the baby, weapons, and a stab wound for Rick. More than that we find out he and Michonne have things in common; she used to see her dead boyfriend, just as he’s been seeing Lori. The start of a strong relationship, in many ways. On the road they see the man they left behind, now only a reanimated corpse
Rick (re: Michonne): “Everything okay with her?”
Carl: “I think she might be one of us
IMG_0083Love this episode, and love Morgan as a character! Very important to the series, then, now, again in the future.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Home” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Clear” – click here
IMG_0047Rick (Andrew Lincoln) won’t run, neither with Glenn (Steven Yeun) or Daryl (Norman Reedus). But Merle (Michael Rooker) advises of the power of the Governor (David Morrissey). They could get starved out if they try staying. Then Hershel (Scott Wilson) finally lays down the line. Rick once said their group was “not a democracy” and that also comes with the responsibilities of said leadership implied.
Outside, trying to get his head right, Rick runs into his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), who says that he has to stop leading the group. He deserves to have a break, to rest. Not just body; his mind, most importantly. Perhaps out of anything this is what comes through to the man – from the mouths of babes.
IMG_0048For his part, the Governor is still brutal. Amongst his own people, as well. He says that “adolescence” is a “20th century invention” and why? Because he needs MEN and WOMEN to FIGHT. There’s a great parallel to be made between him and other likewise heartless modern Republicans. Willing to send anyone with a heartbeat and cognitive abilities to war. Milton (Dallas Roberts) clearly has reservations, and Andrea (Laurie Holden), well she is going to raise hell over the fact he’s planning to do more at the prison.
Over at the old building there’s trouble. Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) obviously don’t want Merle around, though Rick won’t offend Daryl by kicking his brother out. Surprisingly, Hershel says they shouldn’t underestimate Merle’s loyalty to Daryl. The old man talks with him, equally surprising is the fact the eldest Dixon knows the Bible, quoting scripture and finishing sentences for Hershel.
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl continue to get closer. She has an optimistic point of view, glad that he’s back. He believes the prison is a “tomb.” Carol only wants him to make sure he doesn’t fall prey to Merle’s bad influence. Daryl’s a good man, she knows it; they all do.
At Woodbury, Andrea asks Milton about the plans at the prison. Then reveals she’s going there to talk to her friends. She wants him to help her out, to prevent other deaths by talking with Rick. Will he aid her? Or is he too far under the thumb of his master? I’d say the latter for now. Meanwhile, we always get these tiny glimpse into the Governor’s psychosis. They’re terrifying moments, often brief. Here we see him hold a lit match close to the bare, wounded eye, as if he’s about to cauterise the thing. Nasty. Great makeup effects work to boot!
IMG_0052Milton, of course, caves and tells the Governor. He’s asked to help her, to keep up the charade. He does, which requires having to help Andrea make a zombie on a leash like Michonne once did. They go at the dirty work, and it is DIRTY! Love it. Shows off some of the excellent effects, giving us a nice taste of zombie blood and gore. Certainly in part due to Greg Nicotero of KNB fame directing this episode.
Then they run into Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and their crew – who look surprised at what they’re seeing, like you would. The new crew are happier to hear that Woodbury isn’t far, and Milton opts to bring them back while Andrea heads onward to her old pals.
In the prison there’s still tough times ahead. For instance, between Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Merle. He tries to clear the air, not necessarily apologising though relating it wasn’t anything personal. “Let bygones be bygones,” he hopes. This woman does not play that shit.
When Andrea arrives Rick & Co. come out to greet her at the gate, ready for anything. Weapons trained. They’re all worried, and Michonne is shocked to see Andrea, not exactly happy. She’s been in bed, literally, with a murderous animal.
Others receive her a little better, but Rick especially is hostile. Andrea’s caught up on the latest tragedies, who died, who’s lost limbs, so on. She also discovers more of the Governor’s lies. Still, they’re all fed up. “Were gonna kill him,” Rick tells her plainly. Whatever it takes. At the same time she’s sweet on him, calling him Phillip.
Back at Woodbury, Tyrese and his group relate they met a crazy man in a prison. This intrigues the Governor. Others in the group are keen to help with Rick. Although Tyrese and Sasha aren’t entirely comfortable, you can tell just by the look in their eyes.
IMG_0053When Andrea goes back to Woodbury she meets with the Governor, telling him they’re in squalor, that Michonne is there, too. He’s drinking, looking definitively sinister in the shadows of his apartment. I wonder, has the visit with her first post-apocalypse friends changed her mind? It doesn’t seem so, not right away. She falls right back into his arms again.
Beth (Emily Kinney) tries to keep spirits up, singing in the darkness of the prison. Giving the place a light bigger than any fire. It’s a teeny ray of hope. A ray of hope nonetheless. Meanwhile, Rick, Daryl, and Hershel weigh their options of what to do about their coming war. The leader says he’s going on a run, and also lays down the law about Merle; Daryl, the good man he is, understands. Everyone is at different places right now, stuck in the same location. Andrea could make a decision to kill the Governor, and doesn’t do it. It could end right there. Instead she allows more destruction to follow.
IMG_0057Always loved this episode. Such a juxtaposition of awful positions everyone is stuck in, from Rick and his mind, to Tyrese and Sasha hoping to fit in with a community, to Michonne and Merle in that prison, and so much more. Great writing from Angela Kang.
Next is “Clear” and there are many things poised to go down. But will they? Will the tension finally snap? Soon, my friends.