The Walking Dead – Season 8, Episode 5: “The Big Scary U”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 5: “The Big Scary U”
Directed by Michael E. Strazemis
Written by David Leslie Johnson & Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Some Guy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The King, the Widow, and Rick” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.16.56 AMIn the dark of that trailer where we last left him, Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) is living out who knows what sort of terror. We skip back to a time before, when he prayed at his church for God to show him the way.
What I fear is a fruitless death. And what I ask for, after you have given me so much, is purpose.”
Back at the compound, Simon (Steven Ogg) treats Gregory (Xander Berkeley) to a decent breakfast. He’s always poking, though. He worries about the problems at Hilltop, Alexandria, the Kingdom. He presses the weaker man, the former leader at Hilltop, who’s so easily manipulated.
A little while later Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors sit at their table, listening to Gregory ramble on about “the big scary U,” as in “the unknown.” He does what he can to stay in the favour of the man holding Lucille. They talk about killing; Negan digs killing, long as it’s the right people. This is before Gregory went back to Hilltop, trying to “exile people” if they don’t agree to work with Negan and the Saviors. But the leader believes he’s a “thin dicked politician” offering nothing but lip service. And he doesn’t take too kindly to Simon trying to stick up for his cowardly buddy.
Therefore, he says they need to get the widow – Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – King “Assface” Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Rick (Andrew Lincoln). Kill them in a horrible way for all to see. Make an example. Yikes.
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.20.02 AMAnd now we’re back to a different perspective of what occurred after Rick and the rest of them came crashing down.
Skip ahead to Negan and Gabriel in that trailer. The latter’s rushed by the former, though there isn’t a lot of fight. They’re stuck in there together, so I guess at least until they’re out of the predicament the horde of zombies is posing right outside, Negan might do well to keep an extra pair of hands around. Very compelling to see a sort of ‘big evil’ stuck in close quarters with a devout, righteous sort of character like Father Gabriel.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick interrogate the Savior they’ve run down on the road, who tells them it was a massacre, everyone is dead. This leads them to believe their friends have been killed, as well. Meanwhile, Simon and the gang are inside the compound wondering whether their leader’s been killed. This leads us to wonder, as Negan suggests to Gabriel, if the leader is, in a sick sense, a safeguard against even worse atrocities? If he wasn’t around, would they devolve into utter chaotic violence? Well the Saviors are also starting to suspect a rat in their midst helped the assault from Rick and his friends. This puts Dwight (Austin Amelio) on the offensive, suggesting he’ll lead their people out of there; he’s not suspected, of course, it’s mostly Eugene (Josh McDermitt). Mr. Smarty Pants stops by later with a thank you for Dwight, for getting the heat off him. What an odd little situation.
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.34.13 AMScreen Shot 2017-11-20 at 1.41.50 AMIn that trailer, Negan rants about his strengths, his leadership qualities. This prompts Gabriel to reveal he was at the satellite station when Saviors were murdered. The priest pushes more, wanting the man to confess and beg forgiveness of God, of his fellow man. He pleads to whatever humanity’s left in him. “I havent killed anyone who didnt need it,” Negan says. He’s a microcosm of the leaders people let rule them out of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of something else, fear of the other; he saves people by using them, bending them to his will, by force yet pretending it isn’t by force at all. Soon we end up with Gabriel attacking Negan from behind, slipping away into the back of the trailer with a gun.
On the road Daryl and Rick search the truck run off the road, finding dynamite. Daryl wants to blow a whole in the compound, let walkers do the job. But Rick is afraid it’ll cause families to die, people stuck under the thumb of the Saviors and their leader. He doesn’t want to risk.
We see more of the divide between Daryl and Rick, the former not willing to let people die anymore, he wants to kill first. The two friends get into a fight of their own. Now THAT is a goddamn fist fight right there, two tough bastards. They nearly blow each other up after Rick tosses the dynamite and the truck explodes. All that for, essentially, nothing. Plus now they’re both pissed off.
Most intense is that trailer, where Negan tries coaxing the priest out of that room. Gabriel confesses about what he did at his church, locking people out during the beginning of the zombie epidemic. He knows redemption is possible, he’s living it every single day. I don’t think there’s any redemption for Negan. Although he talks about his first “real wife.” She got sick, before the fall of society. And when she died he couldn’t put her out of her misery. This gets Gabriel out of the room. Two men against a horde of zombies. They’re doing the old cover-yourself-in-guts-routine; when in doubt!
They get outside and the dead are everywhere. The place is covered, completely. Like a rock concert, bodies mashed together. Things get dicey, then they’re forced to start swinging and firing to make it out alive, each protecting the other as much as possible.


Inside, the Saviors are still arguing about what’s gone on. They’ve got bigger problems, all the workers are gathering and near rebellion. Without Negan around, who’s to stop them? Things are shit. Nobody has any answers, and it’s starting to make the class division amongst this little society more clear than ever.
It all changes once the leader himself arrives, his signature whistle putting everyone on their knees bowing. He’s arrived. Negan and Gabriel together. The whole situation with how things got like this is going to be a lot scarier, too. I know Eugene’s pissing his pants pretty right about now. What’s worse is Gabriel is looking very sick; is he bitten, or just ill? Shit, I didn’t expect that.
Well, heres a little refresher on who the hell I am: I wear a leather jacket, I have Lucille, and my nutsack is made of steel. I am not dyinuntil Im damn good and ready.”
Out in the woods, Rick thinks he sees a helicopter in the air. Does he? Or is it him hallucinating? Hard to tell. He’s heading to speak with Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her trash people in the nihilist garbage dump.
Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 2.06.16 AMMAAAAN, this was a lowkey episode, yet it was incredible. Loved seeing a different side of Negan, even if only for a brief few moments. He showed a tiny bit of vulnerability, and somehow that makes him really unsettling, knowing there WAS a human down in there somewhere, at some point.
“The King, the Widow, and Rick” is next week. Bring it on.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 8, Episode 1: “Mercy”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 8, Episode 1: “Mercy”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 7 finale, “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”  – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Damned” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 12.37.20 AMRick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) daydreams, he imagines a place filled with light, the image of a cane resting in a doorway and what sounds like “Another One Rides the Bus” by Weird Al Yankovic. He’s old, as well. But he’s very much rooted in reality, preparing for whatever comes next in the escalating war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Rick speaks to his people, cobbled together with his longtime friends like Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and those from the Kingdom, the friends of Ezekiel (Khary Payton). He rallies them under the banner of doing what is necessary: no need to “celebrate” and no “shame” in it, either. They must “end them” – Negan, the Saviors, all those who want to take the world only for themselves, leaving nothing for anyone else. Maggie and Ezekeil say their piece, too.
What’s clear is they’re all coming together, as one united front, in order to take what is theirs, and to destroy Negan’s effect on the post-zombie apocalypse world.
And then we keep making the world bigger, together.”
But everything’s not perfect. It never is on The Walking Dead.
Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 12.43.47 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 12.44.04 AMBig Carl (Chandler Riggs), still wearing that stinky old sheriff’s hat, is out looking for fuel with his gas can. He hears someone call out from near a gas station. The guy doesn’t shut up, yapping and yapping about what he’s been through. Carl gets the jump on him, then shots come out of nowhere – it’s dad, of course, running the dude off. Can’t be too careful, the Saviors will do anything to lure prey into their web.
My man Daryl (Norman Reedus) is systematically taking down Saviors, as is Morgan (Lennie James), getting the road clear of various posts along the way where Negan has his men waiting, watching. Back home, Rick is gearing up for the next phase of their plan. Out on the highway, Daryl links up with Morgan – who looks like he’s having trouble getting back to killing people again, even if it’s a necessity – Carol (Melissa McBride), and Tara (Alanna Masterson). Michonne (Danai Gurira) has to stay behind, putting her faith in Carl that he’s running the show while his dad is gone.
Father Gabriel: “It always starts with one person
While Dwight (Austin Amelio) does his part on the Saviors’ side, Daryl, Rick, and the others roll up with their armoured vehicles. They fire off shots to draw attention. Soon enough, Negan appears through the doors to greet them.
Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 12.50.32 AMRick dreams of waking up to Weird Al, a slightly older man, Michonne and Carl happily listening to the Queen cover, going about their morning; Rick slept in, they playfully shut off his alarm, everyone is “playing hooky.”
Quickly, back to reality. Negan speaks with Rick, the latter telling the former and his people they can live. Except it’s a one-time offer, expires momentarily. Naturally the leader of the Saviors talks a good game, now and then speaking actual sense. Yet the kicker is Gregory (Xander Berkeley), even if Jesus (Tom Payne) isn’t surprised. The cowardly leader bows to Negan in the name of Hilltop. Everyone must follow suit, else they’re tossed out into the wasteland. Jesus then declares, in defiance: “The Hilltop stands with Maggie.” Daaaamn, Jesus. Boy is representing.
Eventually, Saviors head back towards their compound. On the road, they meet with the traps set by Daryl and friends. An explosion in the road, visible all the way up to where Rick and Negan face off, only sheet metal dividing them. For the first time in a long while it feels as if, even for a moment, Rick and Co. have the upper hand. So he gives Negan and his crew to the count of ten to decide what they’ll do. He only counts from 10 to 7 before firing at them, a vicious look on his face. They pelt the whole compound with bullets, relentlessly.
On the road, Carol, Daryl, and the others prepare for their next tasks, going their own ways. Our lad on the bike has the pleasure of diverting the horde drawn by the explosion.
Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 1.09.12 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 1.13.34 AMRick sets off an explosion using their RV, crippling the gates and the front of the compound. He gets a bit lost in the gunfire, in his quest for revenge, until Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) calls him back to reality; something Rick requires now and then. Before leaving, Gabriel sees Gregory, injured and lost on his own, so he feels compelled to help. But the cowardly asshole fucks the priest over, taking the car from him and driving off. I hate Gregory.
The others regroup, Rick and Daryl head in further. Carol and Ezekiel go another route with their group only to meet with nearly getting blown up with a grenade. And at the main Saviors compound the place swarms with the dead, Father Gabriel forced to find shelter in a nearby trailer.
Who else is in there? Oh, you know it’s Negan. He hopes the priest has his “shittinpants on.” Because he’s “about to shit” them. Oh, god. Is Gabriel going to die? Will he make it out of there alive?
Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 1.25.28 AMGreat opener. Interesting to see Negan stuck, even if it puts Gabriel in a precarious situation. Usually it’s Rick or Daryl or someone we love. Now, we see Negan between the rock and the hard place. “The Damned” comes next week, excited to see where things head from here.

Ossorio’s Templar Zombies Return in THE GHOST GALLEON

The Ghost Galleon. 1974. Directed & Written by Amando de Ossorio.
Starring Maria Perschy, Jack Taylor, Bárbara Rey, Carlos Lemos, Manuel de Blas, & Blanca Estrada.
Ancia Century Films/Belén Films
Rated R. 89 minutes.
Horror

★★
Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 2.10.03 PMAmando de Ossorio‘s Blind Dead series is one of the more unique of the horror genre, specifically in the zombies/undead category. We’ve seen lots of variations on people risen from the dead, whether it’s George A. Romero and his own Dead series, Haitian voodoo from Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow, or the Umberto Lenzi classic which brought the fast moving zombie to the mainstream, Nightmare City.
What’s so enjoyable about de Ossorio is that he took zombies and mixed them with pseudohistory, using the very real Templar Knights and transforming them into Satan worshipping mad men (in real life they did dissolve after charges of heresy) who crawl from their tombs at night to stalk the Spanish countryside, searching for victims to quell their blood lust.
Although The Ghost Galleon isn’t one of the best films out of the series, it’s still a weird, eerie trip through a fog-laden landscape, going from land to the desperate darkness of the sea. The Knights themselves are always great, but in this instalment of de Ossorio’s series there isn’t a whole lot else to enjoy. With a couple lofty themes floating around, the film could’ve been better. But it’s still probably good enough for a Halloween Horrorthon.
Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 3.01.59 PM

The Good

De Ossorio works up plenty of eerie atmosphere, as usual. The mood’s established early on, as we’re drawn into the Old World feel of Spain, an unsettling fogginess surrounding everything, particularly the titular galleon. Part of the fog is also more than just atmosphere, it helps get across the otherworldly feel of the Templar Knights, like their world beyond the grave is literally a whole other world, an entire dimension unto itself.
Moreover, the score does a fantastic job at elevating the atmosphere. Once on the ship, things get impressively spooky with a hypnotic swirl of synthesizers taking us through to that other realm, guiding us, with buoying timpani notes discombobulating us; the feeling of heading into a dream is palpable, the fog like that barrier between sleep and rest. The score, from start to finish, is one of the biggest reasons the atmosphere ultimately works.
Apart from the technical side of the production, there are lost themes that could’ve been used to de Ossorio’s advantage. For instance, there’s a setup of the Old World v. the New World, starting with the capitalist businessmen exploiting women and their bodies – i.e. New World – only concerned with their money than with human safety. They walk themselves right into the hands of the Knights Templar – i.e. Old World – and this is their undoing. That’s what you get, capitalist scum! The concern of the businessmen solely for economics and image (view in the media, et cetera) leads them towards a dangerous resolution. This is all present underneath, it just isn’t used any further than surface level optics. Too bad, because a zombie film of any sort can always become more than the sum of its parts when there’s an additional plot/story/thematic level.
My favourite part of the film is when the cross is used against the Knights Templar. A clever subversion of Christian iconography for which the knights originally stood. In their turn to Satan, they expelled Christ from themselves, which is then used against them as a repellent. Neat little moment.

The Bad & the Ugly

A major aspect of why The Ghost Galleon doesn’t hold up to the other, better entries in the series is the acting. Not everyone is awful; most are, sadly. This doesn’t need a Laurence Olivier, nor does it need a Vincent Price. But it could’ve used much better performances. Think of Dawn of the Dead with Ken Foree, beloved to the genre, Gaylen Ross, and even the rest of the cast who were fantastic. A couple decent performances could’ve turned this into a good zombie film.
The pacing is slow, and that’s fine; if it weren’t for the fact the plot feels boring. All these Blind Dead films are similar, there’s no reinventing of the wheel here as far as writing goes, not in any of them. However, de Ossorio’s other undead Templar films – particularly the first, Tombs of the Blind Dead – have a great pace, keeping you engaged, waiting for the next scare or the next kill or whatever weird follows.
It’s the pacing, above all, which makes this a hard film to sit through without wanting to fast forward. I watched it all, and until the finale, there’s really nothing special to talk about outside the general atmosphere, plus the zombie Templars themselves. Sure, there’s a couple gnarly deaths, a decapitation, it just never amounts to anything better than that.
Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 2.47.59 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-15 at 3.00.52 PMIt’d be hard to argue de Ossorio had no influence on the zombie sub-genre of horror. Certainly not as deep as Romero, probably not even close to Lucio Fulci, either. But there’s no doubt certain elements in the Blind Dead lingered on, inspiring other filmmakers along the line in subtle ways.
Such as the iconic scene later in this film where the zombie Templars emerge from the ocean waters, relentlessly chasing their intended prey from the galleon to land. This watery rise precedes Shock WavesLand of the Dead, and others (in fairness Luci’s Zombi had some good water zombie action; this one has a horde of them instead of just one). Just great to see this kind of thing, knowing de Ossorio’s films aren’t lost to time or relegated to the realm of admiration only amongst the most ardent genre fans. They’ve certainly influenced a few horror filmmakers out there.
This isn’t one of the best Blind Dead films, not even close. It’s barely a mediocre bit of cinema, honestly. A two out of five star affair. Yet, as previously mentioned, it has some enjoyable moments in between the languid pacing and a lot of bad acting, some good practical effects and weird images. And for a near Halloween, this is a nice addition to any zombie movie night.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 15: “Things Bad Begun”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “Things Bad Begun”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jami O’Brien

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “El Matadero” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Sleigh Ride” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.12.36 AMNick (Frank Dillane) has a shopping cart full of zombie heads. He’s cleaning the place up in front of the Bazaar. Why? He’s helping the man in the bar come up with more brain stem, y’know, for the local economy. And it helps their people fight harder, needing no sleep. But who are they fighting? Nick’s curious. Right now, he only cares about the cash.
There’s also Troy (Daniel Sharman) trying to fit in, trying to figure out what’s about to go down. He goes to find his buddy, telling him: “Your mothers in trouble, Nick.” Oh, shit.
Over at the dam, Madison (Kim Dickens) and Strand (Colman Domingo) talk, he tries convincing her of something bigger, better than right now. She wanted a future for her children, maybe grandchildren, a normal life again somehow. Only she’s there without her kids. Still, Strand believes they can make that life, if they want it bad enough. They even drink to it.
And elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is driving around with Diana (Edwina Findley Dickerson). Out of nowhere, they’re smashed into by another vehicle. They take on the men, not allowing them to steal any of their things. Alicia manages to get a gun, but lets the men live, a foolish move. Diana’s leg gets broken in the scuffle, so her new friend has got to try and help her out.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.22.30 AMDaniel (Rubén Blades) gets a visit from Walker (Michael Greyeyes), returning a cross necklace Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) had worn. The grieving father feels guilt over not having stopped his daughter’s death. He discovers Walker feels the same way, too, and he has no answers, nobody does. This is life in the post-zombie landscape, nothing is forever, nothing is for sure. Ever.
Deny Odysseusjourney and who the hell is Odysseus?”
Drinking together, Madison and Strand ruminate on the future of the world, the future of stories, how long until The Iliad and other classics are forgotten in this undead world. The conversation turns to murder. She admits having to kill, whereas Strand hasn’t had to do that quite yet. Not cold blooded murder.
At the dam, Nick arrives to fill his mother and others in on the plan at the Bazaar. There are boats, guns, all sorts of weaponry, equipment. Lola (Lisandra Tena) knows a “siege” is coming, a brutal one, Efrain (Jesse Borrego) fears their cruelty. However, everyone has ideas. Nobody wants to desert the place. If they stay, they must fight. On top of everything, Madison worries about Nick, his being back on drugs, and he keeps warning the people coming are worse than anything they’ve come across this far. In the meantime, Walker and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) are heading their own way.
We also find out Strand made a deal with the Proctors. He’s supposed to let them in, to be able save people and let the Proctors have things easily, under Daniel’s nose. Now, the whole thing’s fucked up, and he wants Nick to take Madison, to leave. Simultaneously we see Daniel becoming suspicious, his behaviour feeling dangerous. He asks Nick questions, quickly figuring out he’s lying. This is making things a little scary. “This is not a way to grieve,” the young man pleads. Nevertheless, he sits for a longer talk with the old dude.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.41.32 AMPeople dont change. We just walk in circles.”
Setting explosives as a last resort, Troy talks to Madison about feeling fear for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, when he was with Nick at the Bazaar, when they had their wild night. She asks that he look out for her son, he needs somebody. I wouldn’t exactly put all my trust in him, though.
Locked in a room together, Daniel presses Nick for information, on how the horde wound up at the pantry bunker. He gets nothing. And this is starting to make the treacherous old bastard. He’s convinced someone caused the horde, in turn causing Ofelia’s death. Soon enough Nick lies, pinning it on Jake (Sam Underwood).
Daniel accepts his lie. For now.
Alicia gets Diana to a man with medical experience named Eddie (James Le Gros). She’s brought to a man in a wheelchair, none other than the infamous Proctor John (Ray McKinnon). The Proctors were a humble motorcycle club. At this point, they’re doing all they can in the this new world. Unfortunately, Proctor John’s got a growth on his spine, rendering his legs fucked up. The man wants Alicia to help Danny in the medical department, to go on to Texas with them. If they fail, they die. Great “incentive,” right?
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.49.58 AMIn surgery, Eddie cuts Proctor John open, digging for the growth. Alicia talks to her patient, who won’t be put under, she tries keeping his mind busy, getting him chatting about his life. And he admires her “tough skin.”
Things aren’t well at the dam, not with Daniel paranoid and Strand scheming behind his back. Nick catches up to mom, telling her they need to leave, and then the truth about Troy comes out. The relationships deteriorate, as the last standing Otto rants about the ranch. Until Madison plants a ball peen hammer in the side of his head and busts his skull open in front of Nick who’s horrified. They leave his corpse to be swallowed in the likelihood of the explosion; you know it’ll come to that.
With the surgery complete, Proctor John is able to wiggle his toes. A sigh of relief around the room. No murder; today, anyway. At the same time, troops are moving for the dam – where Strand has pulled a gun on Lola and Daniel, the latter not believing anything will happen. The two men wrestle. Strand gets the gun under Daniel’s face and pulls the trigger, blowing a hole through his cheek.
Bigger things are going down – the Proctors have invaded the dam, shots are fired, everyone’s running or fighting or both. All out warfare commences. Strand finds Madison and Nick, stashing them away someplace safe. He takes the detonator, promising he’ll help. You can never tell with him.
Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.55.22 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-16 at 12.59.14 AMVisions of the Clark household at the holidays, Christmas music playing. The table’s set, the turkey’s being basted, everything is wonderful. A vision of festive happiness. It’s in the middle of the wasteland, and there’s no real happiness. Alicia’s dead, the Ottos are still dead. Nick has a child with Luciana (Danay Garcia), but they leave her behind, all alone.
What a great lead-up to the finale. “Sleigh Ride” – fittingly titled after this ending, is next. Giddy up.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “El Matadero”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Alan Page

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Land Is Your Land” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Things Bad Begun” – click here


Strand (Colman Domingo), Madison (Kim Dickens), and Walker (Michael Greyeyes) are headed back to the damn. They have Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) in tow, the latter of whom isn’t doing so well. She suddenly faints hitting the pavement. They stop the truck, but she says she’s okay, she only lost her grip.
But it’s more than that. She has a bad wound at her shoulder… a bite.
Out on her own elsewhere, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) hears a vehicle stop nearby in the night. She readies herself, nearby she sees people stop. But it’s only Nick (Frank Dillane) and Troy (Daniel Sharman). Her brother thinks she’s “crazy.”
At the Bazaar marketplace, Madison and the rest go through the gates, as Ofelia must do her best to keep her bite and burgeoning illness under wraps until they can meet with her father Daniel (Rubén Blades). They get inside, managing to stow away in Strand’s old hiding place. But the poor girl is getting sicker by the minute.
Madison: “Smile. Your life depends on it.”
Things aren’t so great, though. Madison and Colman are at odds over her decision to hand over a bunch of weaponry for entry. Believing when the time comes to make the deal for the water, they’ll be up the creek once Ofelia most likely dies and they have nothing else to offer.


After Troy and Nick leave Alicia, they head for the marketplace. The former also speaks about how similar they are, the “black sheep” of their families. Difference being he accepts his status, whereas Nick fights against it. But that IS the major difference: Nick is, beneath it all, a good man.
Walker and Madison try making Ofelia comfortable, it’s all they can do. They talk about loss. And Walker, tough as he is, all he’s been through, recognises sometimes there is too much of it. Everyone has a threshold. However, he thinks Madison must do right by Daniel, reunite him with Ofelia. No matter if it ends in violence.
On the road Alicia stops at an On-the-Go Burger joint. Inside are the remains of old meals, a ransacked building, flies and other insects. A customer or two left as withering corpses. While she looks for anything usable, locating a batch of instant potatoes, a walker creeps up. She quickly puts it down, only to notice a group of the undead shambling near the entrance. So she gets into the ball pit, waiting for any of them to make their way inside.
BUT SHE FORGETS WHAT COULD BE UNDER THE BALLS! A zombie kid attacks. She gets a knife in its brain, though the others come in the door. She hides under the balls as they pass. Soon, a woman (Edwina Findley Dickerson) with a pick-axe bursts in slaying them. She cuts off fingers for any rings, even using pliers to pull out gold teeth. This is a bad ass. The mysterious woman likewise steals the potatoes and gets away in a vehicle. Alicia follows her to a parking lot where they face each other. Eventually they come to a compromise: sharing is caring.
At the marketplace, Nick gives his mom a break. When she’s gone he finds the pain medication laying near Ofelia. He takes one; so much for sobriety. Dammit, Nick! I didn’t want this to happen. This is the last thing he, or any of them, needs right now. Troy’s out getting a bite to eat, freaked out by “all the Mexicans” and unsure about what meat is in the quesadillas. Immediately, he notices something a bit off about Nick, as well. Either way, they’re both on the pills, and drinking, too.
Meanwhile, Strand is looking for Proctor John. Wants to make a deal for… something special. Hmm.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.03 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.31.46 AMIt’s time for Ofelia to go to her father. Madison asks Walker to stay behind, not knowing what Daniel might do if he’s there. So, he says his goodbye to his close friend, for the last time. The two women head outside together, waiting. As they talk, about parents, children, just as Daniel comes across the parking lot, Ofelia dies. The reunion lost. He goes mad, pulling a gun on Madison, believing it a “sick joke.”
I hate this dude. Used to feel there was redemption for him, but he only lashes out at everybody when he’s lived a lifetime of shit. So, I don’t know where they’re taking this character. I hope he does something major to redeem himself, otherwise he’s a horrible man. Later, Madison tries giving him hope. Although he deserves none of it.
Inside, Nick and Troy are buzzed, roaming around in a state of intoxication. Nick finds a place called El Matadero, and the man “with the things.” There’s everything from cocaine to morphine to heroin, to a bit of “locus coeruleus.” Some brain stem. It’ll take you higher than you ever imagined. Nick slugs it back, ready for a trip, as does Troy. Blast off, baby!
Alicia and her new friend eat together, the former talking briefly about the place she and Jake (Sam Underwood) talked about going, before he died. The woman warns it’s all endless ghost towns on the road, nothing to find. But Alicia’s determined, she wants to go her own way or perish. They get one chance to bond again, when they take on a group of walkers together.
Out on their hallucinatory trip, Nick gets wild. He covers himself, and Troy, in blood. Then he runs for a group of walkers, deciding on walking through them. Like he used to do. This time it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous. Yet when Troy sees how it works, he’s mesmerised. They both stand in the midst of a horde and Nick almost sees it as a reminder, that he can’t go his mother’s way anymore.
And this leaves the Clark family divided further, all over again.
Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.44.50 AMScreen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.58.53 AMLoved this episode. Season 3’s been pretty stellar all around, so I’m looking forward to seeing where we go in these last few episodes. Very interesting things happening with many of the characters.
“Things Bad Begun” comes next week, our penultimate Season 3 finisher.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 12: “Brother’s Keeper”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 12: “Brother’s Keeper”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Wes Brown

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “La Serpiente” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “This Land Is Your Land” – click here
Pic 1Out in the wilderness, Troy (Daniel Sharman) writes away in his little book, he eats whatever snakes and other animals he can find to quell the hunger. He’s surviving. But for how long? He has one bullet left in the chamber of his gun, nothing else. He goes back to an old ranch, where they found the old man having his brain pecked out by crows awhile back. In the shed he finds a bit of canned food, some normalcy. Behind a false wall he finds weaponry, as well.
So, for now, it’s a life for Troy. A sense of being back in the world. Except he’s still alone, there’s nobody else. No mother, no father. Not his brother. Not even Nick (Frank Dillane), or Madison (Kim Dickens), either. He’s got solitude and nothing more.
Until he fires off a shot and hears the faint sound of zombies in the distance. At least he has the dead. A super creepy moment.
Pic 1ABack on the ranch, Nick and Crazy Dog (Justin Rain) are actually working together, as well as the rest of the two camps. Our boy’s getting pretty comfortable with a gun. They’ve got to put down a herd of cattle, they’re not well. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is doing her best to keep Jake’s (Sam Underwood) head in the right place, he’s lamenting the loss of everything the ranch was in the beginning. Then it turns out he knows there are other places like the ranch, it wasn’t “a monopoly.” However, they can’t take everyone, it’d only be them.
Jake: “It was supposed to be more
Regardless of what’s going on, Crazy Dog sits uneasy, as Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) keeps his confidence up. But they’re always watching. Best is they do trust Nick, as does everyone. Why wouldn’t you? His character development’s been incredible since the first episode. Such a unique character, Dillane’s brought out the idiosyncrasies and the most impressive qualities of him and the writing.
The question in this season becomes, how far do you go to destroy a monster, or monsters? The human ones, not the walkers. To what extent must a person change, throw away their morality in order to save themselves, and save others? Alicia seems more inclined to be like her mother. Nick has doubts, even if he did kill Jeremiah.
Who turns up that night? Troy himself. No longer in exile. He claims he’s “on a mission.” Says he’s there to return the favour, believing Nick saved him; this IS true. Yet we can see with his talk of “Biblical” nonsense his mind has warped even further than it was already. He says the place will soon be obliterated, and that Jake needs to bear witness, too. Holy fuck. That’s ominous.
Pic 2Things are getting nasty between Jake and Alicia, their relationship breaking down a bit. All before Nick turns up to tell them about his visitor, all the weird shit he was talking. Alicia believes they’re being lured, though it doesn’t deter Jake. He wants to face his brother, after all that’s happened. When he and Nick go out looking for him, he tells a story about having to put down an animal. This is what he intends to do with his brother. A primitive parallel.
Soon after they discover an enormous dust cloud on the plains. Kicked up by a sprawling horde of the dead. So, the lads decide on trying to change their path. They can’t, because Troy is shooting off rounds in the grenade launcher he found up at the abandoned ranch. Alicia gets words back at the ranch, she talks to Ofelia about what’s going on, even about Troy. She wants help in helping to stop the approaching horde.
Nick wants to talk to Troy; big brother would rather kill him. He talks to the lunatic, who watches on as his “cleansing” goes on before him. He’s bonded with the zombies. He feels like them in a way. He pumps out another grenade, the explosion letting people at the ranch know something’s very wrong. In the meantime, Troy reveals to Jake what truly happened to their father, what Nick did, and what Alicia knows about.
Except Jake doesn’t care. Before he can kill his brother, though, Nick knocks him over the hill where he’s bitten by a zombie. This prompts Nick to cut his forearm off in an effort to save him.
This is evolution. This is Darwinian.”
No, this is murder, Troy. Nothing more.”
Murder. You really wanna go there, Nick?”
Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.30.41 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.33.33 AMThe ranch gears up, militia and the tribe together. For better or worse. Crazy Dog allows the weapons to go free, hoping they can fight off any coming attack. At the same time, Nick rushes past the zombies to try getting help for Jake. At the ranch, everyone lines up the trailers and RVs to form a path for the dead. The living hide on one side, pushing the horde further down. They just underestimated exactly how huge the horde was, how many of them were headed for the ranch. Zombies being crawling under the blockade, people chop and stab and slice.
From a nearby hill, Nick watches on, as Troy holds his bleeding brother. Our main man is sick of Troy, whose idiocy has led the ranch to utter destruction, his brother’s likely death and the possible deaths of many others between the ranchers and the Natives. Things are looking grim. Alicia orders everybody into the pantry, as one RV topples, and the dead crawl over the living. She’s left in the midst of it all with Ofelia, forced to put a bullet in one of the militia men’s heads to save him from being eaten alive, reanimated.
Just like Troy must put down his brother after he comes back as a zombie.
We see the resiliency of the human spirit, as Ofelia, Crazy Dog, Alicia, they fight tooth and nail against the walkers even as they’re surrounded by dozens of them. Luckily, many of them make it inside the bunker. Now they’re all trapped together, surrounded outside by walkers.
Troy: “I need some sleep
Nick: “No, we gotta find a way to save everyone you tried to kill. You can sleep when youre dead.”
Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.45.03 AMOne of the best episodes of the series! Just unexpected, good character work as usual. Lots to enjoy, to look forward to, and a bit to weep over. Really love Sam Underwood, too bad his character is gone. Yet in a way, I love they did that. Never saw it coming, plus Troy’s left and his morally ugly character will provide more plots to spring up, especially if he and Nick save everyone in the pantry.
“This Land Is Your Land” comes next week.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 11: “La Serpiente”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 11: “La Serpiente”
Directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka
Written by Lauren Signorino & Mark Richard

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Diviner” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Brother’s Keeper” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 2.33.53 AMMadison (Kim Dickens), Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes), and Strand (Colman Domingo) are now on the road together, heading for the dam. Before that Over the highway, they come across a group of walkers and overturned cars in the way, a jam nearly the whole way up, far as the eye can see.
So, what’s Strand’s plan? “Jesus saves.” He tosses an electronic device out the window, letting it beep and draw the zombies out. This gives Walker room to use the eighteen-wheeler to push some of the wreckage out of the way. Then they’re through, they pass a large gate into a junkyard. Safe, if only for a while.
Strand is searching for a car, which he’s found. A beat up old Bug. Madison and Walker aren’t sure why he’s concerned with a shitty little vehicle. It’s because it hides a tunnel underground. When the Native leader worries for the truck, Victor reminds him: “The dead dont drive.” And so it’s down into the shitty sewers of America’s southern reaches for the trio, the best way forward.
Hold you breath.
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 2.44.25 AMThe further they go, the less Qaletqa trusts this man Madison used all his gold to free. He believes Strand is lost. Certainly, it isn’t altogether out of the realm of possibility. The dark stretches of tunnel go on for what feels like forever; walkers overhead occasionally, some in the tunnels themselves. Danger at every blind turn.
Soon, Strand admits to Madison he’s lost. He was searching for a symbol, the Proctor’s Eye(s). But he can’t find it. He also tells her about Daniel (Rubén Blades), his lie concerning Ofelia (Mercedes Mason). Although he’s pleasantly surprised when Madison tells him she’s at the ranch. They’ve got bigger worries, though. Walkers are coming.
Victor: “Ah, hope springs from darkness.”
This claustrophobic scene puts the trio in a tight pipe where they run into a stuck, bloated, rotting zombie. Madison puts a hatchet in its brain, then they’ve got to take the thing apart in pieces, passing it back, getting rid of the limbs, so on. A truly yuck task they share in all its gut sick glory.
Meanwhile, Daniel deals with fallout after firing on people when they riot over the water. Afterwards he finds Madison, Strand, and Walker coming out of a drainpipe. He finally discovers his daughter’s alive. Madison tells him about their water troubles at the ranch. However, this man is dangerous, this post-apocalypse zombie landscape has done nothing for mental state. No telling what he’ll do, what he’s thinking. He speaks with Lola (Lisandra Tena), just as Madison and Walker clash over how to handle the negotiations. Then they all meet, chat. Yet the answer is, no water for the ranch. No trading. Lola don’t play that shit.
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 2.53.18 AMWill the former relationship Daniel and Madison had, before the split of the group help? Will Daniel’s desire to see his daughter again aid the ranch in getting what they need? Lola clearly knows he’s a dangerous man, but he’s helped her a great deal, she has a sort of respect or care for him. Simultaneously, Walker isn’t happy with Strand, telling him that if Madison can’t make this deal for the water, the ranchers will suffer. Because the tribe comes first, and there ain’t enough water for everybody!
There are those who want chaos, but violence begets violence.”
Strand starts uncovering the fact people don’t trust Daniel, that the man is also paranoid. There’s a scratch in the armour, and Efrain (Jesse Borrego) wishes that Lola would simply be done with the dam, “open the flood gates, let the river flow to the people.” He sees the power corrupting everybody in its own way.
Together, Walker and Daniel speak of Ofelia, the former telling of her bravery. The father hears about what she did at the ranch, poisoning people to supposedly save lives. This does nothing for the old man, knowing that his own violent genes have infected his daughter. Suddenly, he isn’t as happy to know where she is, knowing that when they come back together neither of them will be the same person they were before.
Now, Lola and Daniel are at odds, too. She isn’t sure about him anymore, knowing he’s a killer. She doesn’t like ruling through fear, she isn’t prepared to give up that “part of herself,” as Madison said. Then, she gives Daniel an ultimatum: do what she wants, or leave. He’s prepared to stay, right now.
And why? He also has an ultimatum, of sorts, for Victor – whatever the guy’s planning, it’s got to help them both, or else things are gonna get real fucking bad.
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 3.16.15 AMWalker’s already done. He’s kicking himself for listening to Madison, he’s leaving. Also says the ranchers must leave. Not enough water, no deal on the horizon. It’s over. This is putting Madison in a hard corner. She pushes Daniel, telling him Ofelia needs him. But that doesn’t work, not on a guy with a blackened, bitter soul.
Only the two of them left, Victor and Madison are going to head out. Well, after they watch a bomb blow up the water truck, busting the gates wide. After that the two of them, as well as Daniel, put down the walkers trying to enter the dam. “Down with the Water Queen” chants come from outside, people are also coming to make their way inside. Perhaps Daniel wasn’t so paranoid after all. Or, y’know, Strand made it happen.
Lola’s prepared to deal for guns, ammo, even with Efrain cautioning against violence. She wants to make the deal. Madison and Walker are headed to set things in motion, hopefully heading off any further nastiness. In five days, the pair must be back with the goods, plus Ofelia. They find Walker on the way, to his happy surprise. A rare happy end to an episode. Calm before the storm.
Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 3.24.44 AMAnother solid chapter in Season 3, pushing forward several plots, giving us more character development, and much more. Just great writing. Truly love some of these characters, especially Strand, Madison, and Walker, all of whom are getting lots of time. Daniel is interesting, too. In a dark way.
“Brother’s Keeper” comes next. Wonder if we’ll see more of Troy. Hmm.