Tagged Alexandra Breckenridge

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

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

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

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The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 2:
 “JSS”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “First Time Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Thank You” – click here
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.00.00 PMAfter the terrifying ending of “First Time Again”, The Walking Dead‘s 6th season moves into its second episode with a devastating bang. A young girl named Enid (Katelyn Nacon) in a van with her parents ends up alone out in the forest and wandering the roads after her parents are obviously taken by the walkers. She continually writes JSS in the dirt on the ground and in dusty car windows. Pretty gnarly scene when she finds a tortoise crossing the road, then smash cut to her ripping it open, feeding on its bloody corpse like a walker would a human. Then, once more, she puts the leftover bones on the ground in front of her – spelling out JSS. Finally coming upon the suburb of Alexandria, she hesitates before approaching the gates and writes JSS once more on the dirt all over the back of her hand.
Honestly, this is one of my favourite openings to an episode in a long while.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.01.33 PMBack to present day, Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing more of her cooking. She talks about her old life: Ed, her “spring cleaning casserole“. I love her character, what a woman in every sense of the word – tough, caring, motherly, and so much more. She offers a sense of stability, especially to some of the women in the neighbourhood. She tells them they’re going to learn how to make pasta by hand. Everything she does, even her tough love side is out of a caring place in her heart.
Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) is trying best she can to keep her home in one piece after the death of her husband. Things with her son Ron (Austin Abrams) aren’t going so well. She’s finding it tough and for good reason.
Furthermore, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) is also having a rough go of things. Her partner is gone now, things have slightly shifted in beloved Alexandria, so no wonder. But Maggie (Lauren Cohan) lends a comforting shoulder, telling her the people in their town were there because of her. I also love Maggie because she’s another badass female character in the show who is well-rounded – strong, vulnerable at times, caring, and ultimately tough as hell after dealing with so much, the death of Hershel then only just awhile ago Beth; she’s got a hard edge with a sweet heart. Cohan is an excellent actress who really exemplifies all the important aspects of her character.
Panic strikes as an attack comes down on Alexandria!
First, Carol watches as the woman she told not to smoke gets machete’d while smoking on her front lawn. Then, Deanna and Maggie see molotov cocktails start to fly, a watcher on their wall gets burned to death. Absolute and utter chaos has struck. Are these the Wolves? You bet your ass.
Everyone is on high alert. Carol goes to start defending the neighbourhood, as Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Enid lockdown the house with little Judith alongside.
All the while, people are being hacked to bits, stabbed to death. The Wolves mark Ws on their foreheads in blood – same as the zombies were carved up a ways back, starting episodes and episodes ago, remember? Well, either way things are devolving into complete madness.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.13 PMThe horn from “First Time Again”, which leads all the walkers back from the quarry and away from where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Co. were funnelling them – starts to sound after a transport truck flies in towards Alexandria’s gate and smashes up against the wall.
Morgan (Lennie James) shows up back in town. Confronting a big Wolf (Lance Tafelski), about to showdown, Carol flies in disguised like a sheep in wolves’ clothing – literally – and stabs the man. Great little scene! Continually I am amazed by Carol, but she is a survivor, has been from the start. Dressed as one of the Wolves, she goes on to do some major killing. What a god damn ass kicker.
Jessie gets her chance to really protect her family when a female Wolf breaks inside their home, attacks her. An incredibly savage stabbing, which her son Ron walks in on, is a favourite out of this episode. Even amongst so much bloodshed, it’s a tense and wild scene.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.32 PMMorgan has a confrontation with several Wolves. Strangely enough, though, it’s almost like they know Morgan. Have they met before? Was he with the at some point before coming back in contact with Rick? The few Wolves leave and Morgan shuts the gate to Alexandria, a distant look in his eyes. This is intriguing to me. Scary, too. He has another encounter briefly with a Wolf inside his neighbourhood house – the Wolf and Morgan talk for a moment suggesting some kind of former relationship. Did he go back to Rick for devious reasons unknown? We’ll have to wait and see.
Additionally, Aaron (Ross Marquand) finds a satchel while stabbing the dead in the street through the head, to prevent more walkers. Inside the bag there are photos – they shot all the inside workings of Alexandria, the solar panels, the wall, et cetera. Creepy stuff.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.19 PMThis is easily one of the most, if not the top bloodiest sequence in The Walking Dead‘s entire history as a series. Even more than that it was intense. On top of everything, the people in Alexandria aren’t used to this sort of action. They’re not experienced in the real world outside their (relatively) safe walls, not in the way Maggie, Rick, Carol and Morgan have become hardened through their trials and tribulations. Hell, Carl’s turning into a true bad ass, which I thought would never happen (I used to hate him now he’s growing on me). So it’s interesting to see how the different pockets within the major group are reacting to everything that’s happening, it makes for good writing and a nice contrast as opposed to the good vs. evil we had happening most of the time between Rick/his group and The Governor/his group. I’m enjoying where this sixth season is starting to head, even only two episodes in so far. Starting to cook with gas now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.53 PMStay tuned. I’ll be back to review next week’s episode again – titled “Thank You”, directed by Michael Slovis and written by Angela Kang.

American Horror Story – Murder House, Episode 7: “Open House”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 1, Episode 7: “Open House”
Directed by Tim Hunter (River’s Edge)
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Piggy Piggy” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Rubber Man” – click here
screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-10-49-21-pmNice open from when Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) and Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare) were together, living in Murder House amongst their dark bliss. Constance tells him to do it, like he said he would. First, I thought it would be the first we know eventually burns Larry. However, he heads upstairs to their son Beau who lives in the attic. He’s terribly deformed, something is wrong with him beyond a mere disability; he looks similar to Victor Crowley in Adam Green’s modern slasher Hatchet. Then, as papa Larry tells him it’s time for bed, instead of a gentle goodnight poem for Beau, his father instead chokes/smothers him to death.
screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-10-49-32-pmIn present day, Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) is trying hard as she can to sell off Murder House. Marcy (Christine Estabrook), the real estate agent, isn’t quite cutting it, but mostly it’s the history of the house putting things into chaos. Joe Escandarian (Amir Arison) has shown up to see the place; he’s a sleazy land developer type, more interested in the young looking Moira (Alexandra Breckenridge) than the house itself. He only wants to turn it all into a block of complexes, apartments or some other such development.
Of course, any work like that might pose a problem for the ghosts of the house. As well as anyone else involved with them, attached, anyone family to the deceased who are left roaming around the property of the house. Then they’d be stuck in some big complex, forced to live with others instead of able to stay around with their own family, their own friends.
The relationship between Tate (Evan Peters) and Violet (Taissa Farmiga) is deepening. She clearly only wants to help him, but still he’s oblivious to the afterlife. He even outright asks Violet if she believes in ghosts; Tate simply believes that there must be somewhere else better than right here, right now. If only he understood.
Even more, Violet can’t stand her parents, they’re making her feel neglected. Both Vivien and Ben (Dylan McDermott) care that she does not want to leave Murder House – for reasons they know not – however, most of all Ben just wants to get it sold and try to “pick up the pieces” because he obviously feels everything slipping away, trickling out of his grasp. Unfortunately for him, Vivien is resistant. She doesn’t particularly care what Ben wants, nor should she, still – it’s in everyone’s best interest to get out of there.
We know, though, the house is not going to up and let them off without struggle.
Mr. Escandarian is being lured in by the young Moira. Reason being, she wants him to dig up the backyard for a pool. She uses her sexuality to bring him closer, like all the weak men who see her as a twenty-something. But it isn’t only a pool – she wants her bones dug up, so that maybe she might get away from the house. I feel bad for Moira because her sexuality, sadly, is what killed her; Constance punished her fatally for it. At the same time, sexuality is one of her only weapons beyond the grave – I love the angle that men, weak and frail, cannot resist her, seeing the sexy young lady while women see kind and orderly, older Frances Conroy. Great and telling twist.
More of Larry Harvey’s backstory comes out here. He had a wife, but fell in love extramaritally with Constance Langdon next door; she lived in Murder House before them. Turns out, his wife Lorraine (Rebecca Wisocky) set the fire which ultimately killed his family and left him a half-burned man.
So his love for Constance and dedication to her is what drives Larry to try and keep the house in his possession, or at the very least in some way under possession of all the souls on its grounds.screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-10-53-57-pmOn the Murder House tour, Vivien and Marcy discover more of the history.
Back to the 1920s with Charles and Nora Montgomery (Matt Ross & Lily Rabe). Now there is further macabre and grisly stuff to discover. Nora prepares herself to say goodbye and have a funeral for their murdered baby. However, Charles has pieced it back together using all that Frankenstein-like power of his he’d been perfecting in the basement.
When Nora goes upstairs to say hello to the little thing, she tries to breastfeed it. Downstairs with her husband, claw marks all over her chest make it clear the baby needs something else. As Nora says: “It wasnt milk he was craving.” Such a spectacularly creepy scene! Charles brought to life a half-baby, half-animal, something not entirely human. It’s more than macabre, it’s downright horrific.
But then Nora does them all a favour – she blasts her husband in the back of the head with a revolver before eating the barrel herself. WHOA! I mean, it was dark to begin with; this came on nasty, and like Gang Busters.
What I most enjoy about “Open House” is how all the ghosts, as well as the still living Constance and half-living Larry, come together in a kind of pact. In order for them all to get what they want, the house must remain in tact. Therefore, Mr. Escandarian is a bit of trouble in terms of keeping it in their possession, under their control. Constance tries to go talk with him reasonably on her own terms, however, he is not the nice businessman-type; he is arrogant and misogynistic and a real douchebag. He all but seals his own fate by brushing Constance off so rudely.

 


Again, reference to Peter Medak’s The Changeling, as Violet heads up to the attic where she comes across Beau; naturally, dying at the hands of his own father in the house he too is a part of its structure. Why, all of a sudden, is Violet seeing this? Tate tells her she has “evolved“, but there is more to it, I think.
Regardless, I love how the little red ball comes out of the darkness to Violet before she sees anything else. Great little reference, there’s no way it isn’t alluding to Medak’s masterpiece starring George C. Scott.
We’re seeing the veil drop for Violet now in the house. There’s something more to what’s happening with her and each episode brings us closer to whatever realization lies beyond that veil.
Pretty solid episode, once more. Particularly I love how the ghosts are coming together to try and protect the house, as well as themselves. Ultimately, family is a big theme of the season, but also survival – while the family, Ben, Vivien, Violet alike, are all trying to survive in their own rights, the ghosts and the house are trying to survive in their own ways. Their unfinished business carrying them on and on.
Also a nice little end as Violet shows her mother older pictures from her adventure in the attic with Tate. In one of them, Vivien sees the woman who came to her house recently: long since deceased Nora Montgomery.

 

Next episode is titled “Rubber Man”, directed by Miguel Arteta (Chuck & BuckYouth in Revolt) and by the name of the episode we can bet there will be revelations concerning the latex Rubber Man creeping about Murder House, the one who most likely impregnated Vivien.
Stay tuned for yet another review, moving along swiftly through Season 1!