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.

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Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 10: “The Diviner”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 10: “The Diviner”
Directed by Paco Cabezas
Written by Ryan Scott

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Minotaur” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “La Serpiente” – click here
Pic 1Nick (Frank Dillane) is being punished for his role in helping Troy (Daniel Sharman), even if he did talk the guy out of some crazy shit. He’s being kept out in a can, a little slot to see outside; the hot box torture. Where he sees Troy talking to him, taunting. Afterwards he’s let out.
Or is he? No, it’s all a vision. No Troy, no getting out of his punishment.
Elsewhere, Qaletqa (Michael Greyeyes) and Madison (Kim Dickens) talk about things. What’s next for their shared group going forward. First thing to think about is collecting water, the survival elements. Walker’s taking care of the weaponry just fine, now that Troy is out of the picture.
At the same time, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) keeps an eye on her brother, on Jake (Sam Underwood), and her mother trusts her to keep the secret that they only have “6 weeks worth of water left.” Oh, damn. That’ll turn things bad. Nobody knows currently, except Madison, her daughter, and Walker.
Pic 1AMom goes off with Walker, while her kids stay at the ranch. Nick is out of his little tin can, a bit of water, cut free. The kids head home and Alicia tries keeping her secret, even from her brother. Upstairs, Jake is dealing with unhappy people concerning the rationing of the water. We see Alicia doing her best to speak strongly, convincing them to trust in the remaining Otto, that he has their best interests at heart.
On the road, Madison is dealing with her own shit. Like Walker mansplaining how to deal with children when he only has dogs of his own. Bless her heart, she gives him that biting sarcasm to shut it down.
Meanwhile, Nick receives a visit from the militia men still kicking. They’re happy he stepped up, even if it isn’t exactly what he was doing at the time. Right now, they’re looking to him for guidance. Leadership, even. Without guns he feels nothing is worth doing. So the lads have brought him “a gift.” A gun not under lock and key, controlled by the tribe. Fuck. I love Nick, but lord, is his judgement ever suspect at even the best of times. I’m afraid what might happen if he becomes the militia’s leading man, and more so if he’s unable to control them.
Along the street, Madison and Walker come across a large outpost, the Bazaar. They have to hand over weapons. They can trade items for time inside, which prompts Madison to reluctantly use her walkie as credit. No contact with her daughter, sort of a scary thing for any parent in this post-zombie apocalypse. Inside the Bazaar, they find every sort of item for sale and for trade, from basic threads, handbags, to motorcycles and tattoos. Just as it was once upon a time in America.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.15.25 PMAlicia’s discussing with Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), Crazy Dog, the issue of people possibly taking twice their ration of water. Something a militia man claims. Things are uneasy, getting worse by the day. “Control your own people first,” says Ofelia; maybe bargaining with the woman who tried poisoning everyone on that land ain’t such a hot idea.
In secret, Nick and militia are talking over a possible attack to take back the land. He advises waiting, though everyone else is hot to trot. At least he’s got a brain, despite whatever course of action he’ll decide on eventually. Worse, Alicia’s found his gun, not happy. He tells her it’s mostly just to keep the militia in line, they listen to what he says. But there’s a divide between even family members, as the little sister clearly has problems with her older, former junkie brother being the favourite. Moreover, she feels that mom is “broken” and that they’re only following after her mad plans to make her love them, to be the good kids she expects.
Sad to see this scene juxtaposed with Alicia then calling over the radio, not realising her mother’s intentionally sold off the radio. She fucks up later, too. Telling everyone about the truth of the water situation. Yikes.
Nobody is happy, then a slight riot breaks out before Crazy Dog fires a gun, forcibly taking over the well. That doesn’t work – Nick stands his ground, others stand with him. Getting tense as hell up in HERE!
Alicia: “There is no them and us.”
At the Bazaar, Madison and Walker are angling to get a massive amount of water to keep the ranch going as long as they can. While the Native leader tries bargaining, Madison runs into none other than Victor Strand (Colman Domingo). He’s in a bit of trouble, as usual. She winds up helping, as does Walker, to get him out of a jam. Also sacrificing the possible water deal. Best thing is they’ve got Strand, who knows a place for water. When they get away and hide, he talks to the pair about the dam briefly.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.25.01 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.28.29 PMThings aren’t so great for Strand, he has a debt that needs paying to the proctor of the Bazaar. He’s in chains until the debt’s paid off. Madison doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her friend. “The whole world is lost,” Victor tells her, pleading that she just leaves and goes back to her kids again. So nonchalant in the face of danger, always.
And in the meantime Walker’s fixed the water deal.
My mother named me Victor because she knew Id always win
Victor and other debtors are put out in the streets, where they’ve either got to clear out walkers, or perish. But someone’s paid his debt, leaving Walker vicious when he discovers what he was using to pay for the deal. Madison has plans, though. She wants to use her old buddy’s connections to find a more permanent solution to their water woes.
Nick and the militia have been gathering whatever weapons they can, from bow and arrows to hatchets and everything else in between. They’ve sneaked onto the tribe’s portion of the land. Alicia’s working with the Natives, having seen a diviner that sparked her interest. Simultaneously, Crazy Dog and Co. are about ready to start firing.
Will this spark violence?
No. Nick goes to see Alicia, the tribespeople working to save the land, to find a better water source. And this gives even Crazy Dog, the militia, the boost to perhaps come together. Maybe all they ALL need is to see there’s another way; a path to survival, for everybody.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.44.16 PMExcellent first two episodes after the mid-season break. The whole Native storyline mixed in with the post-zombie wasteland is very interesting, as is the idea of the border, the whole concept of the water supply (a genuinely real world concern if the apocalypse of any kind does ever come). Love the writing.
“La Serpiente” is next. Can’t wait to see more of Daniel, Strand, and more of Madison being an ass kicker.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 9: “Minotaur”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 9: “Minotaur”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Mike Zunic

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Children of Wrath” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Diviner” – click here
Pic 1“Death is Not the End” plays as we see how things are now at the ranch, since last we were with Madison (Kim Dickens) and her family, the remaining Ottos, Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood). And while things are okay, they’re certainly not great. They never are, not in the post-zombie apocalypse wasteland of America. Only gets so good. Nick (Frank Dillane) is getting closer and closer to Troy, fitting further into the militia-style living and I’m actually a bit worried about his mental state. Meanwhile, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Jake are living together, getting by, though he’s not feeling well; I wonder if his illness is serious.
The power structures at the ranch have changed, certainly. With the Otto patriarch gone, Madison is taking on bigger responsibilities, more leadership. Right now there’s trouble, and the tougher their group the easier things might go with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) and his tribe.
The trailers are arriving, Walker’s leading his people onto the land. But what will happen next?
Pic 1ATroy isn’t ready to “accept” only “tolerate” the tribe. His brother’s more willing to work with Walker, in order to make the transition smoother; Jake wants them all to survive, rather than a large number of them dying in a fight over the land. They’ve got the weapons and ammunition setup so that it takes both Jake and Walker to unlock the storage. They’ll attempt to co-exist.
My favourite thing about Season 3 is the dynamics of families. There are all sorts of father issues, mother issues, other familial issues plaguing characters. Nick and Troy talk about fathers, discussing their resentments for their own, their ends, so on.
South of the border, Daniel (Rubén Blades) is helping keep things on track, helping Lola (Lisandra Tena) take over as leader. I’m imagining he’s headed elsewhere, soon enough. Or perhaps he’ll surprise us. There’s of course more to come with Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) eventually, as well. If they ever come together again.
Rallying his group at the ranch, Jake makes the case to forgive, forget, to move on and try finding a way to live as one with Walker. “Fear creates fury, fury lets blood,” says the Native leader. He also says that Jeremiah’s “sacrifice” took away his grudge. Now, he’s ready and willing to fight the “hell outside” that lurks around them everywhere. And so all raise a drink with him.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.42.04 PMYet all is not well. Because as long as Troy’s alive, and his lie about Walker’s tribe killing the Trimbles is allowed to live on, too, then there’s never going to be full peace. Never.
Out burying those old bones, Walker talks with Alycia. She doesn’t want him and her mother talking too much, believing it’s creating discord and mixed messages. The man knows Madison enough now to realise she’ll do what needs doing.
And there’s some nasty business brewing. A kid named Terrance (Phillip Fallon) takes issue with the death of Gretchen, supposedly at the hands of the tribe. He tries shooting someone, though he gets wrestled away, only injuring a man. Then a tribesman puts Terrance in a headlock, crushing his throat. The kid’s as good as dead.
Things have become very tense. Not only that, there’s two lies floating around: the lie about Walker, as well as the lie being kept about how Jeremiah officially died. Could get wildly ugly should the truth soon slip free.
Guns are being handed over at this point. Jake tries keeping the peace, and safety – “one pussy ass rationalisation,” says his brother – so he agrees to let Walker have control over the arsenal. Only problem is getting the guns from everyone, particularly Troy. That doesn’t go over. He pulls a gun, and while Nick tries calming things down nothing’s easy. This puts them in a terrible position. Walker believes it’s a lost cause. Madison wants to try talking him out of anything fucking crazy.
What we have now is an utterly insane moment for Troy. He’s ready to start popping heads with a sniper rifle from the top of his house. His new buddy Nick, despite his previous feelings, actually doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. But lord, it’s looking scary.
Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 10.00.47 PMBefore Madison can talk the guy down shots rain down on the house, with Nick still inside. Men lay siege to the place, as Troy returns fire. When one of the tribesmen goes to stab Nick, guess who’s there to take the blade right through his hand? You guessed it. This puts the two young men in even further cramped situations. At the same time, Nick is seeing the path he’s almost set himself on, falling into the militia thinking that’s taken the younger Otto into dark, dark territory.
Finally, Nick pulls Troy to the floor, fighting with him to surrender. What stops everything? He admits to killing Jeremiah. This rocks Troy, allowing time for the men to break in the door and put an end to the gunfight. Simultaneously, Madison and Walker discuss what justice will come to settle things. Troy will receive exile. They want to punish Nick for joining him, but he only did it to keep peace amongst the groups.
Then there’s the relationship between Troy and Jake. It isn’t great. Especially not since the older brother has to tell little brother he’s being sent out into the wasteland on his own. All he asks is for Madison to take him out there on his final ride, so he can be sure nobody kills him instead: “I trust her.” A surprisingly easy goodbye.
Troy still doesn’t go easy. On the truck ride, before he’s let loose, he does some hardcore shit then kills one of the Native men. Madison aims the gun, pleading that he just leaves. Then they have a little discussion about his dear ole pa. Before she can pull the trigger, he knocks the gun from her hand. She manages to get it back, headbutting herself out of his grip.
In the end, he walks into the horizon. Gone. For now.
Pic 4Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 10.08.36 PMGreat way to jump back into Season 3 after the mid-season finale! Love this series, almost at times more than The Walking Dead. Mainly because there’s a very desperate feeling of humanity slowly draining away in the earliest weeks and months of the zombie apocalypse.
“The Diviner” is next. Hope to see some more wildness, I’m sure we will.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 7: “The Unveiling”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 7: “The Unveiling”
Directed by Jeremy Webb
Written by Mark Richard

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Red Dirt” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Children of Wrath” – click here
Pic 1Out on his own, Jake (Sam Underwood) heads out in hopes to talk with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) about their problems. On the way he hears noises behind him: it’s Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). She tells him about the Trimbol family being killed, that it was Walker and his people. Except we know the nasty truth. Of course it shocks Jake, though he wants to keep going, to try fixing things.
They arrive to the Native land, “ten miles” around either side of a gas station where the tribe’s headquarters is located. The place is intimidating, certainly. Particularly due to the fact Walker’s butchering a hog and is covered in blood. What a time for them to show up.
Walker: “Youre 200 years too late for peace, Jake. But youre just in time for lunch.”
Pic 1AMadison (Kim Dickens) worries when Alicia isn’t around in the morning, though Nick (Frank Dillane) says to leave it be, she’s a grown woman. Then there’s Jeremiah (Dayton Callie), he isn’t so worried. And he’s egging Nick on, further towards a violent edge, in the same way of Troy (Daniel Sharman).
On Native land, Jake and Alicia talk to Walker about stopping any further issues between them. But Qaletqa makes clear “the days of the white mans courts are over” now that the zombie apocalypse has commenced. It is the time for the “First Humans verdict” and time for the white people to get the fuck off their land. Oh, guess who’s kicking around with the tribe? Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason). Whoa!
Alicia’s not that happy to see her, seeing as how she left them for near dead. Moreover, when the two talk Alicia discovers Walker and his people did not go out the night the Trimbols died. A deal may be worked out, a parley. This requires a swap of hostages, amongst other things. When Jake wants to send Alicia back to the ranch, she’d rather stay.
Sad when Alicia has to see the chopper that was shot down, being repaired by the tribe. The event which killed Travis. She confronts Walker with this fact. But he tells her “magnify that hate a thousand times” and you’ve got what he feels for the Ottos. Yet it’s still murder. She won’t accept his bullshit, either. Calling him a murdering hypocrite. At the same time Jake talks with his father about what to do, the deal they’re trying to work out with the Natives. Jeremiah isn’t keen on working with them.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.47.42 AMWalker shows Alicia the bones of his great grandfather. He had to take them from his grave, so as not to be desecrated by the Otto family and their plans for the ranch. This gets the two of them into talking about the afterlife. The Native leader he believes there’s a “grand plan” and that the apocalypse is merely the “Great Unveiling” to him. He believes it’s the “dawn of a New Age” where the impure are shed like snake skin. The First Humans will once again inherit the Earth.
Madison is pressing Troy to go into Native territory, to get Alicia out of there. That’s bad news, though. I’m worrying that her manipulation of Troy’s getting out of hand already. If she lets him loose there’s no telling what could be the result. Simultaneously, Jeremiah’s trying to smooth things over quietly with Ofelia; remember, they stumble onto one another at the end of Season 2. What exactly happened? Something not good in the least.
On tribal land Alicia is surprised when Troy and some men show up for her under cover of the night. Nick and Madison waiting with a truck for the escape. This sets into motion a violent series of events, as gunfire explodes in the dark and bullets fly every which way. Not exactly the clandestine mission for which they’d planned. Things are about to get downright ugly after the parley’s been broken. Furthermore, I worry about Troy’s bloodlust, how far Madison is willing to let it run wild. What the consequences are of that down the road.
Jeremiah: “Them that dont listen have to be brought to heel someday
There’s more division between the Ottos, too. Specifically the brothers, while dad is getting drunk and letting responsibility fly to the wind. Troy warns that Jake might not come back from the tribe’s land this time if he goes. I’m beginning to feel there’s an ultimate showdown that’s heading for these two, in one way, shape, or form. Ofelia also warns Alicia not to stay at the ranch. She knows that some of the Ottos are really bad people.
Jake indeed does get an ass kicking back at Walker’s place. After that he’s set to be killed, scalped. If not for Ofelia; she talks the man down. He says much violence, brutal and unforgiving is headed their way.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.06.59 AMBut Ofelia is cast out, as well. Beaten. She and Jake are dropped back home. Things are more unsure than ever before, for everybody. We also see the strength of Nick, saying he’s “suicide proof” and volunteering to stay behind to fight if things go haywire. Troy doesn’t dig that. It’s like he’s trying to create a whole new family, feeling protective over Madison and Nick, even if he sorta wanted to kill them at one point.
Alicia starts bringing her doubts about the Trimbols to Madison. I can only imagine how she’d feel if she knew Madison knows the truth of what Troy’s done. She might not be as forgiving as her brother.
One of the soldiers at the gate starts having troubles, his guts tearing him apart. Then another one. They’re throwing up, screaming in pain; dying. And they’re reanimating. The ranch is going wild, too. More people are convulsing, puking, until they’re dead and zombified. The place becomes overrun with the dead. Madison, Alicia, Nick, they band together, as do the militia men. But it may be a lost cause. The culprit of the whole mess? Ofelia, and she’s taking off into the shadows while hell breaks loose. Even worse is that Nick is sick, throwing up. Uh oh.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.17.05 AMA solid episode leading up to the mid-season finale. “Children of Wrath” is next and there’s a war about to go down.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 6: “Red Dirt”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 6: “Red Dirt”
Directed by Courtney Hunt
Written by Wes Brown

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Unveiling” – click here
Pic 1At the ranch, Nick (Frank Dillane) is doing a bit of shooting with his new buddy Jeremiah (Dayton Callie). In bed, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) worries about her mother Madison (Kim Dickens), not back from her search with Troy (Daniel Sharman) to find out who took down their chopper. Jake (Sam Underwood) assures her nothing will happen, his brother promised to take care of Madison.
Then the crew arrive, shoe-less, feet bleeding. Some of them worse than others. Some of them having witnessed things about Troy that are… troubling. Meanwhile, Troy and Jeremiah want to talk together, “in private” – doesn’t sit well with a few of the guys who were there, too. Neither do people at the ranch like this secrecy. Mike, brother to Gretchen (Rae Gray), the one most injured on the outing, won’t let it slide. He tells everyone what happened: “If we stay, we die.”
Things are shaken up, Jeremiah isn’t happy with his boy. Madison actually picks up for him, saying they were cautious. All the stuff about the land of the ranch being stolen from the indigenous people of that region comes out. Jeremiah chastises Madison for her “liberal judgement” when she speaks of Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes). The old man is full of piss and vinegar and misogyny. Starting to wear thin on Madison.
At least she gets to relax for now, not on the road anymore. Nick and Alicia take care of her, tending to her wounds. We also see the influence of the old fella on her son, he’s carrying a gun regularly now in a holster.
Pic 1AJake: “Most people here are libertarians, they dont take orders very well.”
Above all, I’m wondering how long until Jake completely breaks from his family. He isn’t like his brother, and it’s increasingly clear he isn’t totally like his father, either. He’s got the whole military stance, something bred into him by Jeremiah, he can handle guns and he’s partly, because of his upbringing, a survivalist. But that’s where the similarities end. His legacy is tied up in the ranch, his dad and the whole TEOTWAWKI philosophy. However, it’s evident with every scene he’s in that there’s a different destiny, a wholly other fate from that of his family towards which Jake is headed.
Gretchen talks with Madison, her family’s starting to feel the ranch isn’t safe anymore with everything that’s happening. Her dad knows of a “colony in Colorado” and thinks the Rockies are where they ought to be; them, along with others, anyone who’ll hear him out. Madison doesn’t like the sounds of that, she’s becoming a semi leader, though not openly. She wants to try keeping the good they’ve got.
Problem is, much as we want to believe it, one bad apple DOES spoil the whole bunch. And I think there’s more than just one bad apple at this place. That night, a fire starts; several fires on the horizon near the gates of the ranch. A message from Walker and his tribe. Yet ole Jeremiah’s dragging his feet. Still.
Pic 2Down in the storage room, Troy finds a couple of the Trimbol family looking to take a few things and leave the ranch. Things get tense, as Nick watches on. Although they defuse themselves, just barely. Outside, Gretchen’s dad Vernon (Hugo Armstrong) talks to Jeremiah about leaving. He wants to get out of there, Madison tries talking him out of it while Jeremiah couldn’t care less. More and more we’re privy to the real Jeremiah, as well. He’s getting a bit crazier.
At the same time he’s losing control of Troy, who’s refusing to let the Trimbols go. This puts the two Otto brothers at odds, they throw fists, and Jeremiah even punches Troy in the face. Holy shit, what a mess of a family. Finally, the Trimbols are allowed to leave, safe on their own terms. Everyone else left behind in ruins.
Jeremiah: “Some men have kids, turnsem into women.”
Madison is still watching Troy, keeping a close eye on him using trust to her advantage. The young man is damaged. Deeply. He has issues with people leaving, whether friends or family. Seeing Mike leave has him unsettled. Madison plays mother figure, trying to guide him to where she feels will be safest for everyone. Yet he’s unpredictable. Not sure how long this tenuous relationship will last.
We almost see a microcosm of the idea of open borders epitomised in this fictional apocalypse. Troy sees people leaving, those wanting to get in – even though the land IS native land, surely – and he feels cracking down, setting an “example” for everyone else, militarising further is the answer. I can’t be positive Madison’s able to control him past this point. He’s feeling power, a small army behind him. Could be a struggle seeing as how his father would rather the other brother in that position.
Pic 3Jeremiah’s back on the bottle, too. He fell off the wagon, hard. He’s real drunk, offering Nick some; the former addict refuses. This shows us how Otto is falling apart inside, the composed outer shell beginning to slip. Nick is sort of like a third son, from outside able to see inward where the other two have their heads wrapped up in other things. I wonder where their relationship goes, the endgame. Right now it’s friendly, a kind of comfort for the old guy.
When he wakes in the morning there’s a horse in the field, it belongs to Vernon. Uh oh. So he, Madison, and Nick head out in a truck. “Theyre dead, I know it,” says Jeremiah. Did Walker do it? Or just the ugliness of the post-zombie apocalypse life?
Simultaneously, Jake wants to go talk to the tribe, having known Walker for years because of the family’s legal battles with the tribe. This is where we’re able to see the attachment Alicia’s forming for the Otto brother, pleading for him not to leave.
Jeremiah, Madison, and Nick find the Trimbol vehicle; bullet holes in the windshield. They discover the whole family, zombified, several of them feeding on one of the horses. Old man believes it’s his son, as does Nick. Madison isn’t particularly sure. I would not put it past him. Not for a second.
They get back to the ranch, showing everyone the bodies of the Trimbol family. Madison takes a lead and implicates Walker, his tribe in taking down the chopper AND killing the Trimbols. This scares me. I worry for what this place is doing to Madison, urging trust in the ranch’s militia, siding with the Ottos in all their various ideals. And I know Nick isn’t so hot on it, regardless if he’s been playing with guns a bit more. I guess it’s mostly about staying safe, doing what it takes. She talks to Nick after, telling him it’s all just necessary. Problem is she isn’t trusting in her son enough. He wants her not to forget that Troy is a monster, despite how they might need him for the moment.
Later, the monster admits to his stand-in mother that he went out there and murdered the Trimbol family. She trusts he can control it, that she can from behind the scenes. Again: he can’t, nor can she. And there’s a strange psychosexual thing between them, coming solely from his side, that I worry about every step of the way; others say it isn’t implied, yet I’ve been scared of it since Troy first watched her sleep. He’s got mommy issues, and then some.
Nick: “How do you tell a lie that big and sleep at night?”
Pic 4Another fascinating chapter in Season 3. I mean, wow! I’ve loved this show since day one, but they keep on surprising me, making it deeper and more relevant and compelling all the time. Truly worthy of more praise than it gets. “The Unveiling” is next week, I’m wondering if something big is about to happen. I’d bet on that.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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