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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 12: “Say Yes”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 12: “Say Yes”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Matthew Negrete

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hostiles and Calamities” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bury Me Here” – click here
Pic 1Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are a great team, both in intimate relationship terms and also on physical ass kicking (etc) terms. They’re out on the road, finding supplies, scavenging what and where they can.
Michonne: “We gonna win today?”
Rick: “Oh yeah
Although they don’t find much there’s a positivity in them that didn’t exist before. Then they come across a couple guys whacking golf balls, making away with their stuff. Afterwards, Michonne wants to go back to Alexandria after being gone two days already. But Rick wants to stay on the road a little longer.
Pic 2At home in Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) stitches up a cut while Tara (Alanna Masterson) tries convincing her things will turn out fine. Rosita doesn’t buy that, she feels like it’s a losing battle. And who knows? Maybe it is, for some of them.
In the meantime, Rick and Michonne keep searching in the wilds of the apocalypse. They come across a deer in the woods, but it runs off before they can kill it. They track it and find an old high school. There also a military man, with a military gun and a bit of ammo. More than that a crazy event went down some time ago on those same grounds. Perhaps there’s “serious” guns and ammo laying around elsewhere. They get up on top of the school and discover a field out back, a carnival setup. Tons of walkers, as well as guns, lying in wait. Then Rick and Michonne have a few laughs, from falling through a roof to shooting down cans on a carny’s attraction.
But when they go through the roof, they stumble onto a few pallets of wrapped food. Score!
Note: Nicotero slips in a nice Creepshow reference with the zombie in the CASH ONLY ticket booth.

Pic 5Rosita can’t let go of all the people dead. She blames it all on listening to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). He doesn’t have much time for her chastising. I don’t feel that it’s fair she takes it out on him. He’s come a long way compared to many of those in the group, having done a 180-degree turn from who he was in the beginning; no longer a coward, now a noble man and one who does whatever he can in his power to help the people around him.
Gabriel: “Anythings possible until your heart stops beating
Over a little dinner, Michonne asks Rick about what next – after they kill Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), take their world back. She believes they’ll have to put the world back into order then, once Negan’s rule is finished. She also thinks Rick is the man to do it. He’d rather be “reordering things together.” And she’s just fine with that.
More and more, Tara struggles with telling Rick about Oceanside, all those guns. A tough decision. Based on the greater good.
In the field behind the school, Rick and Michonne go about clearing a path through all the walkers. She takes the bulk of the walkers, as he commandeers a nearby car to help with their plan. When a military zombie’s gun starts firing, she hops into the trunk of the car while Rick hides up front, and the vehicle is swarmed by the dead. They manage to crawl out through a sunroof, which gives them a few moments to kill a few until the fence they’re inside caves. Further they’re backed up, then ingenuity strikes, as it does so often. They go about slicing and slashing and crushing more heads; the fucking Dream Team, baby! What an awesomely edited sequence, just quick cuts between each of them killing, one after another.
Out of nowhere, the deer. Rick spies it feeding on some grass. Before he can shoot it, a bunch of zombies move toward it. Not before he takes a spill and lands right in their midst. Michonne runs to him, as his gun clicks dry. Then she thinks they’ve eaten Rick. But it’s the deer. Thus begins a beastly round of killing by the ever excellent duo.


They collect a bunch of guns from the field, racking up a nice little collection, too. Then it’s on back to Alexandria. Poor Michonne’s been through a lot. I think it’s scared her, how devastating it’d be to lose Rick. She went through the emotions already in that moment. Then he admits to not sleeping lately, thinking of “everything we lost” such as Glenn, who saved him in the beginning and who he couldn’t save in the end. He reassures Michonne they’re going to fight Negan and his Saviors. He knows they’ll lose people, possibly even each other. “Even then itd be worth it,” he says. She doesn’t want to lose him. Although Rick makes clear they’re going to live from now on, not worry about just themselves, and that if he dies she’ll be the one to carry them all forward: “Its about our future.” A truly sweet, tender moment for them together.
Rick heads to see Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) with the guns – sixty-three, to be precise. She isn’t satisfied. They need more, about twice as much. A bit of haggling, then Jadis and Rick come to an agreement. Even if she and those garbage people are fucking weird as hell. I think they’ll prove to be helpful, ultimately.
Pic 10At Alexandria, Tara says she has something to tell Rick. Will she let on about Oceanside?
Meanwhile, Rosita is on a mission. She goes to Hilltop, to see Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). She wants her help: to kill Negan. Seems like everyone’s on the same page, some are just turning their pages to get there faster.
Sasha: “One conditionI get to take the shot.”


Whoa, man. I’m afraid one of them will get killed, though I’m simultaneously happy the women are taking charge. Not that I don’t feel Rick and Michonne have a good plan, they do. It’s simply nice to see a couple female characters taking the fight to Negan. He deserves it, and so much more!
Next up is “Bury Me Here” and I anticipate an intense chapter.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 9: “Rock in the Road”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hearts Still Beating” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “New Best Friends” – click here
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-1-46-30-amHere it is – the mid-season premiere!
Open on Alexandria. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) stands on watch at the top of the gate, everything is dark. He passes time reading the Bible. But it’s getting harder to read, you can tell by the look on his face. Soon he goes back to one of the houses, starts piling canned food into a box and looking through the inventory, most of which is going to The Saviors. He packs what he can into a car, gasses up, then heads out into the night.
Is he bringing things to them? No, I think he wants to hide things from them. That could turn things awful tricky.
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-1-49-37-amBack at Hilltop things aren’t so easy, either. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) argues with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his people, he isn’t so convinced the group can do what they say and take out Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) or his Saviors. Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and the rest try convincing Gregory, but he’s simply not buying it. “Youre either with us or you aint,” Daryl (Norman Reedus) reminds him.
After they’ve gotten nowhere with the fearful leader, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) brings a few people to speak with Rick and the group. One woman named Bertie (Karen Ceesay) tells Maggie that they’re willing to fight, long as they’re shown how to fight and defend themselves properly. This is a good turn of events, they don’t need Gregory when the people at Hilltop are ready to be part of the resistance. Jesus (Tom Payne) also says it’s time that the gang meets King Ezekiel (Khary Payton). Yes!
They go to the Kingdom – Jesus, Rick, Daryl, as well as Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Tara, Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). And there they meet a couple guys on horses, one of whom is Richard (Karl Makinen).
It’s amazing to see Rick and the group when they witness the Kingdom. Even better once Morgan (Lennie James) strolls out to see greet them. He tells Rick and Daryl about Carol (Melissa McBride) wanting to be left alone, too. Afterwards they meet the King and Shiva, and it’s a big of a culture shock. Although Rick jumps on in for a chat. He brings up The Saviors, wanting to band together and bring them down. Everybody discusses Negan, his brutality, why he must be stopped. Jesus also chimes in to say that he once thought their deal was something they could all “live with” but that’s all quickly, horribly changed. On top of that we already know Richard doesn’t like The Saviors, he’s on board to get shit done.
Ezekiel: “And what plans have you, Rick Grimes of Alexandria?”
What comes out is Rick talks about his mother telling him a story when he was a boy, about a road to a kingdom. A little girl and her family went along the road, losing all they had after their wagon hit a rock in the road. The girl, determined never to let the rock hurt another, dug at it until eventually finding a bag of gold. Negan is the rock in the road, and if they’re able to dig him out then at the end of the line is their gold: a world at peace.


Out on his own, Benjamin (Logan Miller) runs into a gun-toting Carol. They talk about general badassery. They also talk about Ezekiel, a little. In this brief exchange, Benjamin instils a tiny smidgen of hope in Carol, somewhere deep down. The fact that this young man still holds hope for mankind, wanting to help others, it sort of goes against everything she’s started believing about the new world.
I love that we get a guy like King Ezekiel, too. Because for so long we went from either Rick’s group and their various people, some good and some bad in the end, then there’s The Governor, all those battles, and then it was Terminus, and so on. Once Negan turned it up you start to wonder, if you haven’t read the comics like many of us, if only the big baddies are kicking around. Finally, we get a guy who’s pure, or at least his intentions are of the purest sort. A little later Benjamin actually becomes the voice of reason for the King, in regards to helping the people of Alexandria: “My dad always said that if youre asked to be the hero, be a hero.”
We find out that Ezekiel has regrets about once sending some of his people into battle, which yielded many dead, many children orphaned. So this is part of why he’s so altruistic at this point in time. He wants to right his wrongs. But Rick has been there, as well. We’ve seen all that. He has demons, he also isn’t a total saint. In the end, Ezekiel won’t agree to help, though offers Daryl asylum from The Saviors. Hmm. Something needs to happen to change the King’s mind. Richard’s on the side of Rick and his friends. That’s not enough. At the moment Daryl’s left at the Kingdom with Rick asking him to try his best on swaying Ezekiel.
screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-2-19-34-amOver the radio Negan’s voice is heard eulogising Fat Joey. Meanwhile, Rick and Co head onto the highway where they find a bunch of cars blocking the way. They move them with their vehicle while Michonne keeps her eye on the horizon; she spots a strange device. It’s a rope across the road rigged to an explosive device. Now, they’ve got to disarm the thing. Rosita has her hands into the trap’s inner workings, as they hear Negan call out over the radio for men to go searching for Daryl. Following that, Rosita gets the main component of the trap disarmed, and they all go about carefully unwrapping the dynamite and other explosives, watching the road for Saviors or walkers.
And sooner than later the undead come shambling from a distance. The group packs up what explosives are in good condition, scrambling to put the cars back in place on the road. A massive horde of zombies works its way up the highway faster than expected, forcing Michonne and Rick into a quick plan.
We get one of the coolest zombie killing scenes EVER, as Michonne and Rick use the wire between the cars from the trap to clothesline tons and tons of the walkers before climbing in with the rest of the crew and scooting to safety. Behind them an explosion goes off blasting more meat into the sky.
Michonne: “Were the ones who live


Once Rick makes it back to Alexandria they’re greeted by a Saviors convoy. Simon (Steven Ogg) arrives, coy as ever. They’re trying to find Daryl, of course. Simon wants to search the entire place and they go about their business, all the while trashing everything like pigs. The Saviors also come across the empty shelves in the storage garage, the stuff we saw Father Gabriel take in the opener. But they don’t care, not until pickup day. When the group is left on their own again people believe Gabriel ran off with their supplies. But what’s the truth? Rick, Tara, some of them don’t believe he’d do that to them.
Turns out they were left a message: BOAT. Mysterious how he knew where Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Rick had gone. So, another journey is at hand. When the crew make out for the boat on the lake they find footprints. They follow them to an old factory in a field where they encounter people with guns, many others with weapons; MANY.
But Rick smiles in the face of it all. Literally. A big shit-eating grin. Is it a ‘bring it on’ smile, or a ‘these people can help us’ grin?screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-2-41-24-amA great mid-season opener after the break. So many things to look forward to, and lots of character development going on, especially when we get a conversation between Aaron and his partner Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson). We see that everyone has issues, everyone has worries. This will only continue in the next episode “New Best Friends” and I’m excited.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 12: “Not Tomorrow Yet”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 12: “Not Tomorrow Yet”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Knots Untie” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Same Boat” – click here


This episode begins with Carol (Melissa McBride) in the civilized society of Hilltop, getting food ready, looking through what food they’ve already got on hand. In the woods, she keeps her killing game strong. When she sprays herself with blood – no worries, there’s a bunch of fresh shirts at home. She brings some cookies to Tobin (Jason Douglas) made from beet and acorn: “Theyre amazing,” he tells her after being coaxed into one.In pulls Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and the others. When Carol asks what’s happening, Rick only tells her: “Were gonna have to fight.”
Out comes Morgan (Lennie James). He and Carol have a chat about what he did, re: the last Wolf. She’s obviously more concerned about what Rick said than anything. The time for baking cookies is over.
Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.05.03 PM
Rick holds an Alexandria town meeting. He lays out the problem with The Saviors, including their run-in with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), and Daryl (Norman Reedus). Along with him is Jesus (Tom Payne). Rick talks about the deal, the food they’d receive. Nobody seems to object. Yet Morgan alone stands up and asks if Rick is “sure” whether or not they can beat this Negan and The Saviors. Democracy prevails, as Rick says it’s everyone’s choice. Aaron (Ross Marquand) says he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent another massacre in their town.
Carol sits alone with a book she keeps. Recorded with how many people she’s killed; she circles the number 18. We’re starting to see the other side of Carol we’ve not seen in a long time. One who is remorseful and pensive. Carol talks with Tobin who believes her strength comes from being a mother, taking care of others and capable of doing anything necessary; things he says “terrify” him. He cares for her, and they share a kiss.


Rick: “We kill them all
Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.06.17 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.07.00 PM
Abraham and Rosita (Christian Serratos) argue, as he walks out on her. Harshly, he ends their relationship; clearly in love with Sasha. So sad Abraham handled it this way. Meanwhile, Tara (Alanna Masterson) says the three magic words to Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merrit Wever), and they’re simply afraid to lose each other with the upcoming journey and mission towards Negan.
At the same time, Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl and Rick get a map drawn for them into Savior territory. The plan is set. Or is it?
With the group out on the road, little groups are splitting up to canvas the area. Rosita and Carol have a chat about the Wolf situation. But we know Rosita has other issues happening. Glenn and Heat (Corey Hawkins) talk about “killing someone“, getting more of the sense of how humanity changes the further people get into the zombie apocalypse.
Soon, Rick outlines what they’re about to do, and they agree to just have a look, check things out. If things look ripe for the taking, they go: “This is how we eat,” says Rick. To the side, Carol tells Rick that Maggie ought not be out there with them; at all. Probably a good point, Carol.
The plan involves bringing The Saviors the head of Gregory. They find a proper walker head, which Rick has to punch a good deal to make look appropriate. Then they’re off. We get a glimpse of The Saviors. Creepy, intimidating dudes. That is until Daryl slits one of their throats, and the operation really gets underway.


The savagery of this episode is incredible. Between the macabre Johny Depp-mold they used for  one of the fake Gregory heads, to the sequence where Rick and the others bust into the territory of The Saviors – tons of knives to the head. Everything is gruesome, yet so much is offscreen horror. Brutal and vicious, but not in the sense of showing everything. Worst of all is seeing Glenn first put a knife through a guy’s head, the look on his face is devastating. But like the man he is, prevents Heath from having to do the same, and takes another one for the team.
Abraham and Sasha get ambushed by a man. They kill him, but not before he throws the switch to an alarm. Out on watch, Carol refuses to let Maggie go and help; is this a different side of Carol emerging? One dedicated to life?
Inside the complex a gun battle erupts. Rick and his crew fight for their lives. Blood and bone flies. People are shot, stabbed, beaten to death. Corpses litter the corridors, blood stains everything.
In Alexandria, Morgan is busy building what looks like a cage. Is he going to do what was done to him? Will he try putting Rick in there? Or is possibly for Negan, intended to be a better alternative to murder? We’ll see.
Once the smoke clears, Michonne wonders “which one was Negan” and Rick sort of shrugs. One last person a motorcycle clues the group into someone watching, talking on a radio. And they’ve got Carol. Maggie, too.


The next episode, “The Same Boat”, is bound to be exciting. There could be some trobles ahead. Some very terrifying troubles at that.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 11: “Knots Untie”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 11: “Knots Untie”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete & Channing Powell

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Next World” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet” – click here


Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) give us a bit of enjoyable banter to start this new episode. Their relationship is a whole lot of fun, two very different yet like-minded individuals. A new watch post is starting, with Eugene (Josh McDermitt) taking Sasha’s place alongside Abraham. He doesn’t appear to want that at all. Then we cut to him waking up next to Rosita (Christian Serratos). Everything with the zombies going on, and then they’re all still dealing with real life issues from before: love, relationships, jealousy, falling out of love. The zombie apocalypse makes life shit, but even worse is the fact that humans are the worst part about it all, deep down.
In the garden, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) do some gardening. They’re hoping crops will grow. Meanwhile, there’s a panic on the street.
IMG_3394
Cut to Jesus (Tom Payne) sitting on the steps outside Rick and Michonne’s (Andrew Lincoln/Danai Gurira) room. Then Carl (Chandler Riggs) pulls a gun on him. The kid also learns about his “mom and dad” hooking up. Uh oh. Well, everyone shows up now, Rick shirtless, Michonne, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the rest arrive.
We find out now that Jesus is from a settlement. They grow crops, and they’re a lot like Rick’s group. Turns out they trade… with other people.
IMG_3395IMG_3397
Jesus: “Your worlds about to get a whole lot bigger
IMG_3400IMG_3401
Preparing to head out and see what Jesus has to offer, Rick tells Carl about him and Michonne, that he would have said something regardless, only it literally “just happened” that night. But Carl’s fine, like any understanding young fella.
On the ride out, Abraham asks Glenn, roundabout, whether or not him and Maggie were intending to make babies. Glenn tells him: “Were trying to build something.” Along the road, the crew find an overturned car, zombified corpses already hanging out the side, screaming. Rick immediately holds Jesus at gunpoint. Nobody is playing around at this point, not in any given situation. They’re always on guard. Although, Jesus looks worried for his people; Maggie stays behind holding a gun on him, hands tied behind his back, as the others investigate further inside a nearby building.
Inside, Rick, Abraham, Glenn, Daryl and Michonne find several people who they help out and into the R.V. The people have medication which they’re bringing back. One of them happens to be a doctor. This group also has their sad stories. Soon enough, though, Jesus brings them to their community: Hilltop. The perimeter is lined by large wooden posts, almost like an old pre-18th century settlement. Very cool.
Except at the gates, those guarding it get antsy about Rick’s group having weapons. Jesus calms the situation. Even convinces Rick to trust them, allowing them to keep their weapons rather than giving them over. Inside, it’s very much like a 1700s settlement, with a few modern touches. Supplies from a power company made things a little easier. Barrington House sits in the middle of it all, a historic house preserved, which they built Hilltop around. They’ve also got trailers on the land. We meet Gregory (Xander Berkeley), the boss of the whole operation. He tells them to wash up, then they’ll meet. On the way to get clean, Rick tells Maggie to go first then talk with Gregory – when she asks why, he advises: “I shouldnt.”


When Maggie does meet with Gregory, he talks about the museum, the historic site of the house. She grills him about how they’ve managed to survive. Jesus told Gregory about the group’s situation. Gregory comes on a little too strong, treating her like she’s got nothing to offer. Unfortunately, it seems like Gregory doesn’t want what they’re offering – mostly ammunition.
Jesus hopes to help the group. He wants “a few days“, which they agree to.
Then there’s problems with Negan. Gregory’s people come back, without a couple friends. Then one of them stabs Gregory. Hell breaks loose. Daryl breaks an arm. Abraham is almost choked to death. Rick has a knife to is throat, but manages to stab the guy holding it through his neck. More guns are drawn on Rick. Yet Jesus diffuses the situation.
Later Rick asks more about Negan – head of “The Saviors” and a nasty dude. Appears there’s no messing with Negan, a man who beat a 16-year-old kid to death in front of Jesus and their group, to make them “understand” immediately. Hilltop is forced to give half of their supplies (et cetera) over to Negan. Daryl is more than willing to go find and kill Negan, after meeting some of those bikers on the road. If done, Jesus agrees they’ll strike an agreement with their group.
In his bed, Gregory calls for Maggie. She tries to convince him they’re fit to do the job on Negan. He isn’t so hot on making a deal with them. But Maggie stress they’re “willing to work for it” and Gregory finally decides to go for it. She wants half, though, which Gregory wasn’t prepared to hear. She’s got him figured out.


Gregory: “You want anything else? Kidney, maybe?”
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Rick and the others seem to be taking this lightly. They feel invincible, almost. They’re willing to go up against a man about whom they’ve got no idea. Anyone who’s read the comics is aware. For those uninitiated, Negan is a terrifying individual. Michonne knows “its gonna be a fight” – Rick assuages her doubts: “Well win,” he tells her.
At the same time, Maggie and Glenn have Dr. Carson (R. Keith Harris) do an ultrasound. They see their baby for the first time. A rare gift in the post-zombie world. Everyone gets a glimpse as it’s passed around the R.V. There’s a certain light in Abraham’s eyes, looking to Glenn in understanding now.
Everyone drives off into the sunset. But rest assured, their world will not be sunny much longer. The approach of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan is coming. And there will be blood, no doubt. Plenty.
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Next episode up, getting closer and closer to the end of the 6th season, is titled “Not Tomorrow Yet” and I cannot wait.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 10: “The Next World”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 10: “The Next World”
Directed by Kari Scogland
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “No Way Out” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Knots Untie”  – click here
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This episode begins with everything settled in Alexandria. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are getting ready for the day. Carl (Chandler Riggs) is up on his feet, bandage over the new hole in his right eye. Outside, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is preparing for a run, while Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) asks him to pick up a few things.
Off go Daryl and Rick, as they hit the road in a nice car. “Todays the day,” says Rick. They’re going to find food, maybe people, too. For his part, Daryl isn’t so sure finding people is a great thing. For now Rick throws on a bit of Ronnie Dee and they travel.


Daryl and Rick go to look at an agricultural depot that Eugene (Josh McDermitt) marked on the map for them. The “law of averages” works out after Daryl and Rick find a truck filled with supplies, which they then head back with towards Alexandria. They stop at a rundown gas station where they find a vending machine tipped on its front. After they turn it over, a man runs out of nowhere and slams into Rick. Guns are drawn. The man says he was “running from the dead“. He introduces himself as Paul Rovia a.k.a Jesus (Tom Payne), asking if they’ve got a camp somewhere. But he doesn’t seem interested in them, taking off behind the station. When Jesus creates a distraction, they realize he’s leaving with the truck. Now, Rick and Daryl are left with no supplies, as well as no wheels to get themselves back home.
Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) is out in the woods walking, shovel in hand. Michonne notices him from the lookout and follows. She helps him discard of a walker coming at him. They talk of his mother a little, but Michonne mostly wants to know why he’s out there. So she keeps on going. Meanwhile, Carl and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) are out in the woods, too. It seems Carl is going back to wanting to be a kid, after his injury. Although, Enid scoffs: “Were not kids.” She knows the difference.
But kids they are, at least for a moment, eating and reading comics. Enid says she doesn’t want to go out to what looks like their own little spot anymore. Carl agrees and walks off back towards town. On their way, they come across a zombie Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) in the trees. A terribly unfortunate turn of events.


On the road, Daryl and Rick finally catch up to Jesus, who stops to fix a tire. They sneak around flanking him then Jesus breaks some mad karate out on them. After a brief fight, Rick and Daryl both draw their guns. They tie Jesus up and get the keys back. Then they plan on leaving him in the road, heading for Alexandria again; finally.
A ways down the road, they discover Jesus made it onto the roof of the vehicle. They toss him off when Rick stops hard, then Daryl chases him down through a field. One thing leads to another and the truck ends up in a lake, sinking to the bottom. However, interesting to note Jesus saves Daryl from an oncoming walker, before he gets himself knocked out by the truck’s door. Daryl doesn’t want to help him, but Rick suggests they ought, seeing as how Jesus never drew a weapon on either of them the whole time.
Michonne is still busy following Spencer, who wants to have a new life in Alexandria yet has things to do first. In the woods, Michonne ends up spotting Carl being pursued by the undead Deanna. This is what Spencer came out there to do, he needs to put her to rest. A difficult, emotional scene, as Spencer puts a knife into her brain. He only wants to bury his mother, which is obviously why he brought a long a shovel for his walk. Michonne helps carve a D on a nearby tree where Spencer buries her in the soil.


Daryl and Rick go home. With Jesus in their care. Rick says he “finally listened” to what Daryl, Michonne, all of them were saying as they first reached Alexandria, so it’s only natural he now wants to try faith instead of fight at every turn. For those of us who’ve read the comics, you’ll know who Jesus turns out to be, but for those who haven’t? Stay guessing for now.
Michonne scolds Carl for not leaving or killing Deanna. He doesn’t like that, though. He says it had to be someone close to her who killed her once and for all, a person who loved her. For all that’s happened to him, to his mother and his family, Carl still has a lot of humanity. He tells Michonne: “Id do it for you.”
In Alexandria, Rick and Daryl bring Jesus in to be cared for, leaving him a little note and a glass of water. Lots of comedic bits here in this episode, which is fun after the intensity of “No Way Out“.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the final scene. Michonne and Rick sit together in the lamplight on the couch, chatting about their day like normal people might; like a family. Their relationship has progressed a ton since first they met, back when Rick almost sent her to The Governor, to a certain death. Now here they are together – and I mean together. They embrace one another, holding hands and kissing passionately. Maybe they’re exactly what the other needs, especially at this point in time.


Jesus has gotten out and broken into Rick’s place. He says he needs to talk.
Excited for the next episode and what will come after. Jesus is going to prove to be an interesting character, hopefully leading us further and further towards our date with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Beautiful Black Cinema in Mother of George

Mother of George. 2013. Directed by Andrew Dosunmu. Screenplay by Darci Picoult.
Starring Danai Gurira, Isaac de Bankolé, Anthony Okungbowa, Bukky Ajayi, Yaya DaCosta, Klarissa Jackson, Ishmael Omolade, Roslyn Ruff, Chinaza Uche, Florence Egbuchulam, Mutiyat Ade-Salu, Atibon Nazaire, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, & Susan Heyward. Parts and Labor/Loveless/Maybach Film Productions/SimonSays Entertainment/Fried Alligator Films.
Rated R 107 minutes.
Drama

★★★★1/2
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We all – meaning those of us with any sense – know that the mainstream Hollywood system largely ignores stories about people of colour, apart from the civil rights pictures and slave narratives. It’s obvious, if you take the time to look at it. Rarely do we just simply get to look inside the culture of others aside from the perspective of white people, at least when it comes to the mainstream films in the West. Even more rare is a film starring solely black people.
So Mother of George is a unique piece of cinema for a film set in the U.S. Although, it is most certainly a Nigerian film. The story is all about the cultural expectations within a Nigerian neighbourhood in Brooklyn, involving a married couple. Plus, Nigerian director Andrew Dosunmu leads the movie, as well as adds his unusual style to the mix. It is a refreshing story, Dosunmu presents it gorgeously with the added help of cinematographer Bradford Young, and the main performances of Danai Gurira and Isaac de Bankolé root the drama in such a wonderful yet tragic humanity.
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Ayodele (Isaac de Bankolé) and Adenike (Danai Gurira) are married in a grand traditional Nigerian ceremony. Ayodele has been in America a little while, whereas Nike is newer. She’s still trying to adjust, stuck in the old school role of wife at home her husband works during the day. She tries to get a job cleaning, though, this angers Ayodele whose culture demands of him masculinity; part and parcel of which is providing for his wife and not needing her to work. Between the culture clash and her marriage, Nike has a million different things on her plate.
Meanwhile, her mother-in-law is pressuring her – in their culture it is proper for a woman to get pregnant soon after the marriage, and unfortunately Nike and Ayodele can’t seem to get pregnant, though. When the situation becomes more and more dire, with Ayodele refusing to go against traditional, conventional methods, and his mother insisting he take another woman, Nike soon makes a decision which will have huge repercussions for her, her husband, and everyone around them.
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The first thing you’ll notice is the extremely rich, vibrant colour palette of the film. Bradford Young brings a unique and beautiful look to Mother of George. Some of his other work includes Pariah, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, as well as most recently A Most Violent Year and Pawn Sacrifice. Young’s visual flair through the lens adds a true gorgeous quality to every single frame of the film. Added to that, Dosunmu has a different style of direction, which I’ve seen some people say detracts from the performances and the screenplay. Not at all, I say. In fact, the way Dosunmu and Young capture everything together in their respective ways it draws me tight. I felt as if I were right next to Nike (Gurira), going through the motions. The tight frames on the characters helps their world absorb into you, the colours reach out and touch you. There’s never a moment where I felt outside of the story, or the characters, even if the film moves at a slow pace much of the time.
Brings me to another portion of the movie I love: the screenplay. The script doesn’t have much dialogue throughout, which places a special significance on the performances. At the same time, the lack of massive pieces of dialogue lends itself to a film with a main concern for aesthetic and tone. With a lot of subtle, quiet scenes, the actors are left carrying so much of the weight – like a complete counterbalance between style and performance.
Isaac de Bankolé, whom I knew originally from Jim Jarmusch films specifically (as well as the impressive White Material from director Clair Denis), plays a very strong, if not fairly flawed character in Ayodele. He portrays the vulnerability and masculinity, both tied together most of the time, with such an ease. You feel for the man while also wishing he might let go of a little of his boisterous pride, instead it pushes his wife to a point of no return. Bankolé is a reserved and thoughtful actor whose presence is large in this film.
But mainly, it is Danai Gurira I love here. She is a strong and powerful actor. Her presence is equally enormous, if not more so than Bankolé. Gurira is tough, she is also flawed, but above all she bears the weight of a relationship on her shoulders. The way she has to navigate the trappings of her Nigerian culture, stuck between what she wants and what is expected of her, it is a difficult life. Gurira brings out Nike’s pain, her desire, everything with such a subdued and commanding performance. She and Bankolé work very well as a couple onscreen, their chemistry helped their relationship seem natural. Further than that, Gurira presents a woman who struggles to both adapt to living in America and adapt to marriage, plus its requirements, all the while – even in her rash decisions – making us feel for her every step of the journey.
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There are not enough films set in the U.S. which celebrate the other cultures among Western culture. It is a melting pot, even if the cities become, at times, broken into ethnic enclaves. Still, this is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of two worlds coming together, as one woman tries to hold her own together. A 4&1/2-star film that succeeds because of Bankolé and Gurira acting their hearts out, as well as the combo of director Dosunmu and Young’s cinematography. Everything in this film speaks volumes, from the wonderfully sparse screenplay to the vibrancy of the visual style. All these elements are so important to Mother of George. This is not the conventional black narrative we’re offered in mainstream Western films, but as I said, this is totally a Nigerian film regardless of its Brooklyn, New York setting. We need to see more of this, and hopefully with all the talk of diversity re: Oscars in 2016 we may see a shift; somehow, some way. Studios need to take the chance and tell more stories like this one, affording different cultures a look, giving them an avenue to touch peoples hearts and minds. This is a piece of art, not simply a movie. Mother of George should be seen by everyone, especially those who love powerhouse acting and a unique sense of visual storytelling; all of which you’ll find here, in spades.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 8: “Made to Suffer”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 8: “Made to Suffer”
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Written by Robert Kirkman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “When the Dead Come Knocking” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Suicide King” – click here
IMG_3334 The mid-season finale starts off with a new, small group of survivors. They make their way through trees and forest, walkers, everything. Tyreese and Sasha Williams (Chad L. Coleman/Sonequa Martin-Green) lead the way with a couple others, one injured, following behind. Soon, they come across the prison and make their way inside. Will they come up hard against Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the others inside? Let’s find out.


In Woodbury, The Governor (David Morrissey) is further drawing Andrea (Laurie Holden) into his world. Aside from the world he doesn’t tell others about. The one with Penny, his dead, zombified daughter. He still shuts himself away in a secret room trying to get her to return to something normal, something human again. Somehow. Only she runs at him like any other piece of meat. He keeps her hooded and stuck in a caged, chained at the neck. But he still holds her and hugs into her as a child he loves. It is a tragic, sad, disturbing scene to watch. The little girl is a rabid undead monster, and still he tries to bring her back to something she’ll never ever be again.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) leads Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) into the town under cover of darkness. At the same time, Merle (Michael Rooker) tries to ensure The Governor’s plan to infiltrate the prison and kill anyone inside doesn’t get his brother killed.
Soon enough, the streets of Woodbury come alive. Glenn and Maggie mount their own escape, as gunshots blow up. This prompts Rick and Daryl into action, as well. They work their way through the town until coming across the place where their friends are being held. A tense few seconds see Maggie and Glenn being hooded, carried off, before Rick and the gang tear gas everybody and extract them to safety. On the streets, gunfire still pops off in the night. Andrea is trying to help, as The Governor scrambles to get things done: “You shoot to kill“, he tells a group of people. In the whole hustle of things, Michonne is cut off from the group, which doesn’t bother Rick as he’s mostly just concerned with getting Glenn and Maggie back to the prison. Glenn tells Daryl about what Merle did, that he’s a sort of “lieutenant” to The Governor; obviously the younger Dixon wants to try reconnecting with his brother, though, the others are eager to get out of Dodge.


Michonne sneaks her way into The Governor’s apartment and sits to wait for him, sword drawn. A confrontation is brewing. Whereas the comics had The Governor doing terrifying things to Michonne, their rivalry in the series is not near as heated. But nonetheless, their eventual stand-off is going to be something of epic proportions.
At the same time, Rick and Daryl and the others try to escape Woodbury. Bullets fly from every gun on the street, smoke covers the ground. One intensely hallucinogenic moment comes after Rick sees the vision of Shane (Jon Bernthal) walking up from out of the mist, a menacing, animal look in his eyes. Shooting him dead, Rick naturally finds it was only a dreamy image of his damaged, guilty mind. But an effective dream moment we don’t usually get from The Walking Dead.
Taking care of things at the prison, Carl (Chandler Riggs) tries to be the big tough man. While Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Beth (Emily Kinney) insist otherwise Carl goes down into the tombs. He hears voices far off somewhere. When he finds the source, it’s Tyreese, Sasha and their group. They try to fight off a pack of walkers, saved by Carl’s expert pre-pubescent gun skills. He brings the group back up near their cellblock, but smartly refuses to let them in where Hershel and Beth are staying.
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Finally discovering the worst, Michonne comes across Penny. At first she thinks the girl is being held captive. Then she figures out Penny is a little zombie. The scene is interrupted by The Governor who holds Michonne at gunpoint begging for his daughter not to be finished off. Our confrontation begins. And when Michonne ignores the pleas – “Dont hurt my little girl” – and puts a sword through her mouth, The Governor attacks. They fight one another brutally, as he first tries choking Michonne to death, to which she retorts with a chokehold of her own.
The fight is a savage one, even seeing Michonne’s face smashed through the tanks holding walker heads, still chomping. A close call or two like that sees us hoping Michonne makes it out alive. Then she palms a shard of glass and puts it right through his eyeball. Right then and there, Andrea shows up holding a gun to Michonne; gun against sword they circle each other briefly. “What have you done?” asks Andrea, not knowing the kind of man she’s been bedding anyways. Eventually, though, away walks Michonne and Andrea goes to tend to her lover.
Watching Andrea look at the carnage, the walker heads and The Governor crying over his little girl, it is a strange sight. She can’t be stupid enough to keep drinking his Kool-Aid now. If you can imagine it, The Governor is now about to be more dangerous. His calm, thin veneer is drawn back and he is exposed to the world. Having one less eye has finally turned him into the monster he was inside, only this time he is that monster for all to see.
With Daryl separated from Rick and the others, Michonne offers to be the best help possible. Problem? Daryl’s been taken by the people of Woodbury.
The town gathers together, as The Governor gives them all a little speech about hard times, the old days, how rough things were once so rough when they sat “huddled scared in front of the t.v.” He truly is one of those Ronald Reagan types, spouting to the masses, acting and being a prop for all the bad things happening underneath. Now Merle is being called a traitor by his boss, the attack pinned on him, a perfect scapegoat. We’re further revealed the Dixon Brothers will face something nasty in the arena, for entertainment, for punishment, and for the sick mind of The Governor.


Next episode is “The Suicide King”, which originally picked up after mid-season break. Stay tuned, as I watch it over again and bring you another review.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 6: “Hounded”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 6: “Hounded”
Directed by Daniel Attias
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Say the Word” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “When the Dead Come Knocking” – click here
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Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) is leading the charge searching for Michonne (Danai Gurira). He’s got a couple people from Woodbury with him, including a young guy he calls Neil (Dave Davis). Out of the woods Michonne comes killing the others, leaving Merle and Neil alive. After the confrontation, Merle stands defiant: “Are we having fun yet?” he calls out into the forest, as she slips away after their fight.
Back to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in the tombs of the prison, among the dead walkers, in the place where his wife dead. He received a phone call from someone who won’t say where they are, who they, who is with them. Rick pleads with them for help, but the woman on the other hangs up. Meanwhile, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and the others eat together. When they do see Rick again he’s slightly better. But not near well. Glenn (Steven Yeun) talks about making a run for supplies, Daryl gives Rick an update on other plans. Yet off Sheriff Grimes goes again, by himself. Into the tombs.
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In Woodbury there’s a better relationship brewing between Andrea (Laurie Holden) and The Governor (David Morrissey). She wasn’t impressed with their big show the night before, having Merle give off a big three-ring circus style act with walkers. Although, she wants to stay, and to contribute. The Governor agrees to have her.
Rick continues to talk to other voices on the phone. This time, a man. Again he gets hung up after a bit of conversation. Frustrating, no? Or is it all in Rick’s head?
Andrea proves her worth in the new town by taking down a walker, jumping over the Woodbury wall to get it. Only the girl she’s on guard with doesn’t seem too impressed. “This isnt a game,” she tells Andrea, who only looks confused. And she ought to be, having turned the world outside into just as much of a game, a “release” as she put it, as the circus Merle was putting off the night before.
Hershel finds Rick in the prison tombs. He tries to talk with the distraught father and widower. Rick reveals the call he received and Hershel tries listening to the phone; we don’t hear any dial tone, does he? Either way, Rick sends Hershel off and wants to stay alone.


Coming across Michonne, the team of Merle and Neil find Michonne. Then a zombie attack breaks out. Everyone fends for themselves, as poor Michonne slices one walker open and its guts pour onto her stomach, chest, face. Nasty, and amazing makeup effects done by the KNB wizards.
At the prison, Daryl talks with Carl (Chandler Riggs), as he and a couple others explore the tomb-like tunnels. We get the story of Mama Dixon burning herself to death in bed after falling asleep with a cigarette. Then Carl tells Daryl about having to kill his mom: “I ended it. It was real. Sorry about your mom.” “Im sorry about yours,” replies Daryl.
Meeting with The Governor, we hear Andrea admit to enjoying the fights, as opposed to her earlier sentiments. He seems to have her pegged, to know what she’s all about. He also believes he’s “growing” on her. In other news, Merle is trying to get Neil back to Woodbury. The younger guy is giving Merle a bit of hell over what they have to tell The Governor re: Michonne. She’s been shot by Merle, and he’s sure she’ll die. Nevertheless, the oldest Dixon puts a bullet between Neil’s eyes and leaves it at that. Always a survivor.
Michonne is covered in the walker guts after crossing paths with Merle. Lucky for her: the zombies don’t even notice her.


While on their run, Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) end up being watched from afar by Michonne. For her part, Andrea’s lounging in a lush green garden drinking booze with The Governor. They’re becoming closer and closer with each passing scene.
The most interesting is when Merle shows up where Glenn and Maggie are scavenging, Michonne still waiting in the wings. When Merle starts a fight things get tense. He makes Glenn drop his gun, Maggie at gunpoint in his own grip, all with Michonne watching. When they drive off she’s left alone, shot, and wondering what to do next.
Another call for Sheriff Grimes. He picks up the receiver and hears a familiar voice – Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). The whole time he’s been talking to Amy, Jim, Jacqui. All their dead friends. This is a devastating scene for Rick, as he sort of compounds all his failures, crying and telling Lori: “I couldnt put it back together.” His breakdown is tough to witness. He’s meant to be that never-wavering alpha leader. But that’s also why Rick is a well written character, whose faults and stumbles are present, always. Yet further he soldiers on in the hardest, most trying times of this new life in the post-zombie apocalypse world.


With Andrea in bed, The Governor’s successfully conned her into his life. Sad, as she’s one smart character. Usually. At the door Merle tells his boss about losing the three people in his search party, or, he lies about what happened. He says Michonne is dead, claiming the head and her sword were “torn up” in the scuffle. Things are lightened when The Governor is made aware of the new hostages, Glenn and Maggie. Merle is apparently getting ready to extract a little info.
Finally, Rick goes back to his son, his daughter, and the rest of the group. He looks long at his new child before picking her up out of Hershel’s arms. The light slowly returns to his eyes and brightens his soul a bit. We can sense a change in that moment, more of the incredible acting talent Andrew Lincoln brings to the role.
In the tombs, Daryl holds the knife belonging to Carol (Melissa McBride). He gets angrier and angrier, opening the door they’d noticed earlier was pushing open slightly and finds Carol herself, right there. A happy reunion in all of the bitter brutality. Outside, Rick notices something off in the distance. He gives the baby to Carl and heads down to the fence where he finds Michonne, carrying formula in a small handcart Maggie and Glenn were stocking up. They lock eyes before the episode cuts to back.


Next up is “When the Dead Come Knocking”. Stay with me.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 5: “Say the Word”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 5: “Say the Word”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “Killer Within” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Hounded” – click here
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We start by seeing The Governor (David Morrissey) with a small girl, a walker. Her name is Penny. He’s obviously caring for his daughter even after death has come for her, then brought her back. It is a creepy, unsettling sight. Then, from his window, he sees Michonne (Danai Gurira). She is always watching now, waiting. She knows something is rotten in the town of Woodbury.
Over at the prison, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is having a tough time dealing with the loss of his wife. Carl (Chandler Riggs) handles it like a tough young man. Everyone else is trying to help the new baby. Hershel (Scott Wilson) says they need baby formula soon, so Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) agree to go on a run. Glenn (Steven Yeun) tries his best to take charge.
But Rick goes back inside the prison on a warpath, chopping down zombie after zombie. He is loosening at the seams, no doubt. And who wouldn’t be at that point?


The Governor’s busy not worrying much about other things in the new post-apocalypse life. He toasts his town on the doorstep, reminiscing on times of “Spam and saltine crackers“. Upstairs, though, Michonne slips into his apartment to get her samurai sword back. She finds a book with a bunch of names marked down. The final one? Penny, underlined. Followed by pages of small ink strokes. By the hundreds. She has to hide away before slipping out of the apartment as Merle (Michael Rooker), Milton (Dallas Roberts) and The Governor come in to grab a few supplies. Seems there’s a big party of some sort planned for that night, although Milton isn’t impressed; his experiments need power these little shindigs are leeching.
We see Michonne out investigating other areas of Woodbury. She finds a big cage locked up and full of walkers. Letting them out, one by one they fall by her sword. A bad motherfucker. This puts her in trouble with The Governor, as he scolds her for “poking around other peoplesthings“. Their moments get tense after she brings up Penny, nearly stopping his heart cold. Only that leadership attitude and demeanour comes out, he fawns like some zombie apocalypse Ronald Reagan, smiling for the cameras and doing quite another thing behind closed doors. Maybe even more like a Nixon. Or any number of nasty U.S. Presidents. Either way, he is a politician. Just a different kind in the new wasteland. He and Michonne have their confrontation, which puts strain not only on her whole existence but also her friendship with Andrea (Laurie Holden), who still remains consistently blind to what The Governor is underneath it all.


Digging graves, Glenn is busy working. He and Hershel mourn the life of T-Dog. They also worry for Maggie sharing a beautiful moment together, embracing hands through the prison yard’s fence. It is sad to see them always having to lose someone. The new life of the wasteland is unfair and cruel.
Andrea and The Governor are having a few words now. She doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with the man, but there is a part of her which doesn’t fully trust Michonne either. Even though Andrea owes her life to that woman, for saving her among the vast loneliness of the forest. Michonne knows there is something else behind the facade of Woodbury, and Andrea won’t simply leave. She says “I think we need this“. “This place is not what they say it is,” replies Michonne.
In the tomb-like tunnels of the prison Glenn searches for Rick. Only walker bodies lay strewn along the floor. He finds Rick standing in the dark, bloody axe by his side. Blood everywhere. Rick looks terrifying. Glenn tries talking to him, reasoning, to save the man from any further grief. But when Glenn touches his arm Rick loses it for a second and throws him against a wall. Actually frightened me for a second. He tosses Glenn aside before heading back into the dark hallway nearby.
Merle has Milton out hunting for new walker specimens. They take one down, then start pulling out its teeth. What’s the deal here? Are these just for experiments, or what were all those “captive biters” for earlier – the ones Michonne found?


On the road, Maggie and Daryl find a nursery with some supplies: bottles, diapers, all sorts of things. Even a possum for dinner.
In Woodbury, we watch as Michonne and Andrea begin to leave. Only they aren’t on the same page. Then there’s Merle trying to sweet talk them into staying. Andrea says she’s tired, she doesn’t want to go out on the run surviving like they did. Their dream once upon a time was “a refuge”, but Michonne knows there are hideous things lurking beyond the periphery there in that makeshift town. The Governor is a dangerous man. Michonne leaves saying “Youd just slow me down anyway“.
When Daryl and Maggie return to the prison they bring formula, which calms the baby down. He even cradles the child, feeding her. Carl suggests naming her Sophia, maybe Andrea, Jacqui, Patricia. Only Daryl suggests “LilAss Kicker” sounds better.
At the same time Rick is down in the spot where Lori died. His mind is unraveling. He finds a a walker, shoves his gun in its mouth and pulls the trigger. It’s a real visceral, nasty kill.


Finally, some of the dirty undercurrent of Woodbury comes out when The Governor takes Andrea to a large arena style show they’ve got going on. Music is playing, fire blazes and everyone is sitting in stands clapping, yelling. Then the lights come up on several chained walkers. Out comes Cesar Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Merle Dixon. They’re fighting, surrounded by the zombies. In the stands a man hoists his little boy up on his shoulders to watch the show. Merle and Cesar square off in the ring looking like they’re having the time of their lives. When Andrea is sickened by the spectacle The Governor says it’s how they “blow off steam” in Woodbury. He reveals it’s all staged – that is what the teeth pulling earlier was, as if ‘sports entertainment’ is a required part of their camp. Maybe it is, but the whole thing seems a tad morbid to me.
In the boiler room where Rick sits by the dead walker he brutalized, a phone begins to ring. It’s sitting nearby and Rick goes to it, confused. “Hello?” he answers, as the episode cuts to black.


Interesting development. Next up is “Hounded” where we’ll see Michonne more, as well as the new state of mind in which Rick finds himself.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 9: “No Way Out”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “Start to Finish” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Next World” – click here
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Back from the midseason break, we begin as Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) meet a group of bikers who claim all their things “belong to Negan” as of now. The three survivors are disarmed by the bikers, otherwise known as The Saviours. Of course, Abraham doesn’t immediately hand over his weapons, but after a tense moment he relinquishes his handgun. The Saviours don’t actually give up any information about themselves right away. Mostly they’re concerned with who Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are, what they have to give over, and so on. “Ding, dong, Hells bells,” taunts the main biker after Abraham asks “Whos Negan?”
This scene passes by slow and steady, until Daryl finds an RPG and blows the whole crew into the sky with one of its rockets. It almost appears an act of God at first before Daryl steps from behind their truck. A good save. But are they safe for long with Negan clearly scouring the Earth, or his proxies that is, looking for people, their guns, their things?
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Biker: “If you have to eat shit, best not to nibble: bite, chew, swallow, repeat. Goes quicker.”


Cut to where we last left Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Jesse (Alexandra Breckenridge), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and most of the others – covered in guts, blood, wandering through the walkers and hoping to make it through. As you remember, Jesse’s son Sam (Major Dodson) wasn’t doing so well mentally in “Start to Finish“, but none of them are particularly doing so hot now. Rick tries to get a new plan in order, as they cross through Alexandria, packed full of zombies, every which way. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) offers to do his best on his part and takes little Judith: “I want to. I have to.” Everyone else sticks to their guns, even young Sam, and Gabriel promises Rick sternly he will keep the baby safe. However, Rick is terrified, no matter how strong he appears on the outside.
They all forge on in a new direction, but the zombies are too thick. Tara (Alanna Masterson), Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are still stuck inside, as well as a banged up Carol (Melissa McBride) and a knocked out Morgan (Lennie James), the latter of which wakes up not long after.
They’re all worried for Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) who was taken at the end of the last episode by the Alpha Wolf (Benedict Samuel), who moves her along through Alexandria, headed who knows where; a sinister air surrounds these two making Denise’s time alive a fickle thing at this point.
Meanwhile, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) end up at the church to take a moment and try regrouping their strategy. Enid’s trying to hold herself together and be strong, as Glenn tries keeping her hope up. They end up on the same page soon enough; I love the chemistry between Yeun and Nacon, they make a great and unlikely team.


With Rick, Carl and their small group heading past hordes of walkers in the streets, the group is no closer to safety than they were. Each corner there are more and more lining Alexandria. In the mist of it all, Sam sees a small child walking, zombified. Everyone tries to make him move, only a walker bites into his arm, another munches on his skull. Then the screams begin, as Jesse wails for her dead son still holding his hand. It all devolves. Jesse is taken next, as the zombies swarm. The rest of them try staying silent, but it is a tough thing to do. With Jesse’s dead hand still gripping Carl, axe in hand Rick is forced to chop her arm off to get them going.
Then Ron (Austin Abrams) pulls a gun on Rick. But before he can shoot, Michonne kills him with her sword. Everything’s fine. Or is it? Carl turns mumbling “dad” – his right eye shot out, blood spurting. He falls to the ground and Rick picks him up, as he and Michonne run for safety; somewhere, anywhere.
Everybody is in hiding except for Rick, Carl and Michonne. In a basement, the Alpha Wolf looks longingly out the window at the zombies crowding, pushing towards the gunfire. He seems pretty confident about himself, though, Denise reminds him their group is the reason why his “friends are dead“. Every moment that passes I worry for Denise. There’s no telling what this Wolf will do with her or to her after they escape; if they even do. Except right after that he gets bitten. And Denise tells him: “Come with meIll save your life.”


With Alexandria falling faster every frame, the group is in tatters. Carol and Morgan are inside debating the situation concerning the Alpha Wolf, how Morgan didn’t do anything to benefit the group, but only thought of himself. In turn, Carol believes she should have killed Morgan. These are two hard characters, each in their own right. They’ve both lost children, lots their loved ones, and now they are confronted with one another, at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Carol ends up saving Denise, shooting the Alpha Wolf in the streets and allowing her to get inside one of the houses where others such as Aaron (Ross Marquand) are hiding. Finally, Rick makes it inside with Carl and Denise begins to start makeshift surgery, doing the best she can to save the boy. At the same time, poor Rick Grimes constantly loses people in his life; he and Jesse were just starting to get close, now she and both her boys are gone. Worse, though, is the way Rick always handles these chaotic moments. He goes out on the street with an axe and starts mowing down walkers, one after one, no concern for anything or anyone, least of all himself. Soon, Michonne, Ross and a few others storm the street to help Rick try clearing out the hordes of undead. More people run out and Rick assures everyone: “We can beatem. We can beatem.”
I waited for an episode like this, in terms of a few things. For one, I wanted Father Gabriel to do something to redeem himself – first, he takes Judith to safety; second, he takes up a machete and tells the others God wants them to save Alexandria themselves, he has given them the strength. I mean, I don’t believe in God, but I love that Gabriel takes this stand! Also, the deaths in this episode were pretty damn wild. Even Morgan gives up his “life is precious” bit to put the zombie Alpha Wolf down.


Enid and Glenn do their best to try and save Maggie (Lauren Cohan) stranded up on the wall. However, Glenn finds himself backed into a corner with walkers bearing down on all sides. He fights and fights, pushing them away, firing off rounds.
Out of nowhere, Abraham and Sasha appear at the top of the wall. They gun down the walkers in front of Glenn. Daryl picks him up then things start to take shape. On the streets, Rick and the crew continue fighting. Tara, Eugene and Rosita are out, too; ole Eugene does his damnedest to redeem himself like Gabriel.
Daryl empties a ton of gas out of the army truck and sets a massive blaze with an RPG. The flames start drawing walkers away from the inner part of Alexandria. Rick and Co., with Carol and Morgan in addition, keep killing and killing. The editing in this sequence is absolutely incredible. We go back and forth between walkers setting on fire in the blaze, to all the survivors hacking, slashing, stabbing, slicing, to more walkers pushing through the streets. One of the greatest sequences ever on this series as a whole. Really impressive.


Once the smoke clears, both figuratively and literally, the group remains standing. Zombies lie smashed, chopped, lifeless (again) in the streets. At one of the houses, everybody waits to see how Carl is doing. Rick sits by his side, his son bandaged and resting asleep. The father talks to his boy about “rebuilding the walls, expanding the walls” and he realizes “everything Deanna was talking aboutits all possible.” He realized the potential of the group in that town; they are not weak, they are in fact strong, they can band together. “I wanna show you the New World, Carl,” says Rick. “I wanna make it a reality for you. Please, Carllet me show you.” And then Carl’s hand curls around Rick’s hand, he wakes up. For now everything is fine.


Let’s see how things go in the next episode, titled “The Next World”.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “Killer Within”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Sang Kyu Kim

* For a review of the previous episode, “Walk with Me” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Say the Word” – click here
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This episode starts with a dead deer carcass being dragged off by someone also holding a jerrycan. Two walkers end up coming across bits and pieces of the deer. Then across the concrete someone runs, axe in hand. They chop the lock from a gate then lay a fresh heart on the ground before running off. Mysterious, eerie. Foreboding.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) are doing some work in the prison yard. They need help, but Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) are busy having sex up in the guard tower. Lighthearted moment when Daryl calls out to them, breaking up their little time alone. But things get back to seriousness, as prisoners Axel (Lew Temple) and Oscar (Vincent Ward) come outside. This breaks their previous pact. But the two men are sick of being stuck inside with all their dead former friends. It’s tough with bodies everywhere, blood, guts. People they were locked up with in there for years. Most of them don’t want to let the prisoners in with them. Although, T-Dog is a little more willing to work on it instead of essentially letting these men die. A bit of talk happens before things are settled.


Back at Woodbury, we find Michonne (Danai Gurira) checking the place out. She investigates everything. Including one of the National Guard vehicles, which still has blood on it. The Governor (David Morrissey) appears, constantly trying to sell the place: “We could use a soldier like you.” She is not at all impressed or convinced. Further than that, she’s suspicious already of what exactly happened with the National Guardsmen. Also, Michonne points out the bullet holes in the vehicle. Of course The Governor has an answer for everything. He’s a sly, greasy man. We know that there’s something wrong, underneath it all, having seen his virtual wall of floating walker heads. Nasty stuff. He’s all about the surface – appearance, identity. Whatever works is The Governor’s game.
The prison is stable for the time being. And so is Hershel (Scott Wilson). Inside, Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Beth (Emily Kinney) try to help the older fella adjust to his new situation on one leg. Things aren’t exactly peachy, though, they could be far worse. That group, Rick, Daryl, all of them, they are a special breed of survivor.
At the same time, Andrea and Michonne are both survivors in their own right. It seems like Andrea is sliding into believing Woodbury might be a good place to stay after all. Michonne does not agree. Are they going to reach an agreement somehow? They’re better together, not apart.


Rick, Daryl and Glenn are leading some improvements on the prison yard. The plan is to, someday soon, plants crops in the soil; first, the bodies must be cleared. Getting fresh air Hershel admires their latest home. This is a refreshing sight to see. Not only does Maggie enjoy watching her father up on his own, there’s also a reaffirming look between Lori and Rick.
Then behind Carl and his mother, Hershel and Beth, a pack of walkers appear. Out by the fences, Daryl, Rick and Glenn rush fast as they can to help the others. All of a sudden, as is in the new zombie wasteland, a normal day has turned into the savage fight to survive we see now. Never can a day just go by without having to fight for your life, which is a brutal lesson these people are learning all over again. Worst of all? T-Dog gets bitten in the shoulder trying to secure a fence. His fate is sealed.
Meanwhile, there’s Merle trying to get information out of Andrea. He makes The Governor and Woodbury out to be the be-all end-all of human civilization, of course, but that’s to be expected. He rags on Daryl for becoming a part of the other group, following Rick, yet there Merle is sucking up to The Governor every chance he gets, to his face or to someone else.


The prison’s become a mess. Chaos and tragedy. In the tomb-like tunnels, T-Dog shuffles along bit promising to get Carol out of there, one way or another. Simultaneously, Carl manages to protect his mother for a little while with Maggie helping. But Lori’s pregnancy is about to make things fairly difficult.
Stark contrast with The Governor back at Woodbury, up on one of the walls cracking golf balls into the road down the way. One ball smacks a zombie in the face. Merle admires The Governor’s drive, again puckering up. Merle also suggests a scouting mission: he wants, needs, to find Daryl. Only the leader doesn’t find it that attractive of a plan. He doesn’t want to spare the men, nor does he want Merle gone either when a solo trip is suggested. Is this really under the guise of protecting Merle? Or is it selfish? The Governor feels threatened, thinking maybe Merle would run off and leave Woodbury. Shows how fragile of a leadership there is in him. A little later, The Governor meets privately with Andrea. Though she says they’re leaving, definitely. Goodbyes are said. Only I don’t feel like the two women are going anywhere. Not Andrea, anyways.
Rick is trying to track down his family. Him, Daryl, Glenn and the two prisoners rush through the prison to look for a way to shut down the alarm, ringing loud, drawing walkers from out of the woods towards the building. And Lori is stuck in a boiler room, Maggie and her son alongside, ready to give birth. The oldest Greene daughter is now tasked with helping to deliver a baby, a partially traumatized Carl trying his best to stay strong, on watch with his gun in hand. This is one of the most intense and rough scenes in The Walking Dead history. Quickly, things start to go wrong.
A sacrifice is made by T-Dog as he and Carol try getting through the prison tunnels. He suppresses several walkers, taking bite after bite in the arms, then the neck, all for Carol to run free and make it back outside. Always tragic character deaths in this series. Sad. I loved T-Dog; Irone Singleton does a great job with him, even if he doesn’t always get enough time onscreen. Either way, too bad to see him go.


Rick finally tracks down the culprit of all the mayhem in the prison – the prisoner he’d told to run after their confrontation with Tomas ended bloodily. After a bit of wrestling and fighting, Oscar ends up with the gun. Instead of shooting Rick, he shoots his former friend then hands the gun over to Sheriff Grimes. Unexpected, yet excellent. They’ve developed at least a tenuous bond to stay alive, as long as they’re in the same walls.
Troubled times ahead for the Grimes family, though.
Things aren’t going well for Lori and her birth. She needs the baby saved, there are complications, and insists on it, to Maggie’s dismay. It looks as if the mother may not necessarily make it out of this alive. She tells Carl “you take care of your daddy for me“, telling him he’s “so brave“. An emotionally terrifying scene to watch a young son and his mother in this situation. The advice she gives him breaks my heart. I don’t actually love Lori as a character, but these moments will kill you, unless you’re dead inside. Their goodbye is tender, full of tears. Lori doesn’t want Rick to have to kill her when everything is over, as she once said to Hershel; she asks Maggie to do the deed. And then Maggie cuts into her stomach, opening it up to get the baby out. It is a bloody, visceral minute or so before the baby starts to cry, alive and well.
Even worse is afterward when Carl has to shoot his mom in the head. He flashes back to when Rick told him about death, and “no more kid stuff“. The shot rings out while Maggie is around the corner, then Carl walks away emotionless. Such a savage world in which to grow up.


The mangled body of T-Dog is found by Rick and Daryl. They find Hershel and Beth safely, assuming Carol might have been killed, as well. And just as they stop talking, Rick hears a baby crying. Out Maggie and Carl come with the newborn child. No Lori. This prompts one of the most emotionally devastating scenes in the entire series; to date. Rick breaks down, literally crumpling on the ground. Everyone is shocked to their core. The end, for another chapter.


Next episode is “Say the Word”. More blood, death, despair. And what else?

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 3: “Walk With Me”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 3: “Walk With Me”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Evan T. Reilly

* For a review of the previous episode, “Sick” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Killer Within” – click here
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We start out with a military helicopter chopping through the sky; it’s in trouble. The serious kind. With soldiers inside the thing goes down hard into the forest.
Cut to Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) on the road, miles away. They see it crash, then begin to make their way into a field out towards the site. Of course, Michonne has her two pet zombies on a leash with them. When they get to the crash, Andrea has to rest a minute, still not feeling top notch after her bout of the flu, or whatever. Michonne goes to see if there are any survivors, but mostly it’s just death. One soldier is cut in half completely by the chopper’s remaining blade.
And then in the road a little further comes a truck. Michonne and Andrea hide, checking out the people who emerge from the vehicles. They’re a crew of men there to investigate the crash, as well as see if there’s anything worth scavenging. A few walkers come out of the forest and are quickly dispatched by this new group, with bow and arrows, baseball bats. The men discover a soldier in the helicopter is still breathing, so they get him out. They only end up killing more people, the dead coming back. Essentially putting people out of their misery, yet there’s still something about these guys that feels… military. Strongly so, and in the wrong sense.


But out of the woods behind Michonne and Andrea comes a familiar face, to us, and Andrea, too. It is “your old pal Merle” – Mr. Michael Rooker himself. After all he’s been through, the older Dixon brother survived. He now has a nice little rig on his arm, extending out into a blade. Good for the post-zombie apocalypse.
Now the two women are being shuffled off, blindfolded in the night. Brought to some place where they have no idea how to get, or get back from. Although, once they’re in this new camp Andrea’s being cared for with medicine. Merle shows up and explains a few things. Shows off his bloody, nasty stump. He has a few choice words, particularly about Rick Grimes (Andrea Lincoln). Their reunion is not exactly cheery, but Andrea doesn’t seem in danger. For now.
The man who runs the community is called The Governor (David Morrissey). He also gives Andrea and Michonne some knowledge – no matter how people die, they turn. Shocking for these two to learn it, especially from a man neither of them know. But either way for the time being they’re welcomed into the quaint, walled little town named Woodbury.
The place is almost too good to be true. Neither Andrea nor Michonne is too keen on staying, though, eventually they’re convinced to stay a while. Their streets are protected, men always on guard and others making runs for supplies, et cetera. A few people with obvious medical experience take care of the sick and unhealthy. Walkers never make it inside the town walls, but are shot by lookouts posted around Woodbury. Seems as if The Governor has everything all figured out, right?


In a makeshift laboratory, Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts) is doing a few experiments. He and Merle aren’t really pals, they don’t work well together. But Milton gets on with his tests. The Governor is interested in the previous relationship between Merle and Andrea, from their old group; he wants more information, specifically asking if Andrea knew anything about his brother Daryl (Norman Reedus).
Milton dissects and studies the walkers Michonne was hauling along with her on the leashes. Turns out, if you take away the zombie’s ability to eat eventually it stops wanting to, or caring for food. As we know they were used as repellent, to help Michonne walk among the dead without much attention paid to her. The Governor has Milton fairly wrapped around his finger, as it seems the rest of Woodbury’s citizens are, too.
The next morning, Andrea and Michonne have breakfast with Milton and The Governor. Not totally without unease. Michonne eyes her samurai sword placed in a cabinet in the apartment where they sit. All the while, tea is served and things are as if nothing ever changed. Except every single thing has changed. Personally, the idea of Woodbury and trying to make things seem normal is almost too forward a step. Too forward thinking, at least for the time being. While most of the world is overrun with living corpses.
The soldier saved earlier gives The Governor a location for the rest of his men, a National Guard convoy. He heads out to meet them waving a white flag to make sure they don’t take it as an assault. He tells the men about their survivor, but soon things turn into a bloodbath. The Governor initiates an all-out one sided gunfight, kill the soldiers and commandeering all their guns, ammo, vehicles. It is a chilling moment. To watch this Governor go from being a friendly leader welcoming new citizens into his safe haven suburb, to a cold blooded killer who takes down a bunch of military men who were probably willing to become part of their larger group, perhaps help with keeping things safe. A very defining scene, which will resonate further.
So back to town goes The Governor and his men, new vehicles and other goods in tow. Just another day out scavenging the wastelands. He boldfaced lies to everyone in Woodbury, saying the National Guard soldiers were taken down by “biters”, as they call them in this camp. Is this how things usually go, will always go? Probably. He seems like a two-faced sort already within the first episode of his appearance. Those who’ve read the comics know all about his danger.
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Andrea: “So whats your real name? If its not asking too much.”
Governor: “I never tell
Andrea: “Never say never
Governor: “Never


But it’s the final couple minutes of the episode which tell the full tale. The Governor, with a naked woman splayed on his bed sleeping, slips into a secret room he keeps. He drinks and sits in his big leather chair, thinking. Watching. In front of him stands a large encasement of aquarium tanks, all of them holding dead walker heads, including the National Guard soldier who survived; at least until he arrived in Woodbury. More will come. Let’s see how this new town affects both Andrea and Michonne.
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Stay tuned. Next episode is titled “Killer Within”.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 8: “Start to Finish”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the previous episode, “Heads Up” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “No Way Out” – click here
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After last episode, we’re all eager to see how the Alexandrians band together once the wall came crashing down.
This episode begins with young Sam (Major Dodson) up in his room, listening to Tiptoe Through the Tulips on a vinyl, as tons of ants crawl around the window and down to food he’s left rotting. Strange, though, the fact he lays an empty plate at the top of the stairs.
Meanwhile, outside the tower has fallen into Alexandria and torn one of the walls down completely. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is on the frontline, alongside Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) who seems determined to help him. Then there’s Maggie (Lauren Cohan), she manages to climb the ladder up to one of the watch posts, but halfway up the dead almost take her. She gets there, though.
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) almost gets eaten, except for Rosita (Christian Serratos) who blasts him out of it. Even Rick and Deanna, plus others, get saved by Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). After they’re all inside, what’s meant to happen next?
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Watching on in horror, Glenn (Steven Yeun) continually has to try and talk Enid (Katelyn Nacon) into not leaving. But Glenn goes on regardless, whether or not she does too is left to be seen.
I’m wondering what’s going to happen with Sam. As the carnage comes back to his house, Deanna injured and general chaos boiling over, the poor kid looks messed up. He’s barely been outside, let alone seen any of the “monsters“, as he calls them.
Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) end up back at his place during the onslaught. She does not particularly trust him, and wants to find out what’s happening in his basement. Downstairs, with Morgan staving off Curious Carol, there’s Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) having an eerie conversation with the remaining Wolf (Benedict Samuel). He’s pretty much at their mercy, but doesn’t appear to care about any of them. Still, Denise starts out to help him.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) is tending to Deanna’s wounds at the Anderson house when she and Rick discover a bite on her waistline. All Deanna has to say: “Wellshit.” Sad to see her go, honestly. Some may not enjoy her character. I liked the way she was envisioning a future for Alexandria, whether or not its entire structure survived ‘whatever comes after this’. There’s a great little scene with Deanna and Michonne, which gives more depth to Deanna as a character, even on her deathbed(/couch). You can see how much she cared, as the life literally slips out of her.


In the Anderson garage, Carl (Chandler Riggs) goes to talk to Ron (Austin Abrams). As always, dickhead Ron comes on with aggression. He tries to go for his gun, but Carl smartly counters before anything can happen. They wrestle for a bit until Rick and Jesse make their way inside. All the noise makes the zombies take notice, and Ron has doomed his own house. The dead come crashing through the gate and into the garage. Even after all that, though, Carl lets it slide. But he speaks plainly to Ron in private, after taking his gun: “Look man, I get itmy dad killed your dad. But you need to know somethingyour dad was an asshole.”


Deanna and Rick have a very intense, deep conversation. She explains a few things to Rick, about how they’re all HIS people out there. He is them, they are them together. It’s a hard thought for Rick, I think. Because he’s already shouldering everything, all the time. It’s almost as if Deanna places the survival of society as a whole on Rick.
Back at Morgan’s place, Carol pulls a little bait-and-switch tricking him. She runs downstairs to find out what’s going on. But we quickly cut to the Anderson house, as Rick, Michonne and everyone else are pushed upstairs. They bar off the stairs while Rick starts getting a couple zombie corpses to smear themselves with to get over to the armory. We cut back and forth between the people in the Anderson house to a showdown between Carol and Morgan – he will not let her kill the last Wolf, he keeps spouting off how “life is possibility” and so on, all those things he was indoctrinated into while captive a long way back on the road. It’s a tense situation.


Deanna: “Someday this pain will be useful to you. They need you: go.”
Michonne: “Thank you
Deanna: “For what?
Michonne: “For believing
Deanna: “I still believe. I cocked it all up, but I figured it outwhat do you want? Now you figure it out
Michonne: “I will
Deanna: “Good. Giveem hell.”


The final Wolf keeps telling Carol and the others: “You’re not supposed to be here.” We all know he needs to die, Carol knows that. However, Morgan’s not willing to let that happen. He and Carol have a fight, he knocks her out. Then the Wolf knocks him out, pulling a knife off Carol and holding Denise at the end of his blade. As the others at the Anderson house smear dead human blood and meat all over themselves, the Wolf is interrupted by Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Rosita with their guns drawn. He now has Denise as a hostage, backing out into the nasty zombie apocalypse. That’s a bummer, I really like her. I hope she gets away from him.
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Then we get another scene where Rick and the survivors make their way out of a horde with zombie guts all over them. A really great montage with excellent music from Bear McCreary. Very inspired sounding stuff, as well as ominous; great electronic sound happening, fitting for the vibe intended. Plus, we also see Deanna take a final stand upstairs, opening the door to willingly face the walking dead down with her gun instead of committing suicide.


The end of this episode is sort of low-key. While the last montage is pretty intense overall, we end with Sam calling out to his mom before things go to black. Sort of a bittersweet ending, as we barely saw any of Glenn/Enid, nor did we get ANY look at Daryl (Norman Reedus) & Co. Either way, I loved this episode, and I don’t think it’s deserving of people whining saying nothing happened, et cetera. Lots happened. Also, what do you expect in the post-zombie world? Mostly struggle ahead. Nevertheless, the teaser for the second half of the season wets our appetite Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan and hard times ahead for the group. Lots to look forward to! And we do at least see Daryl, Abraham and Sasha run into some of Negan’s crew, an ominous tease for the second half of Season 6.


I’ll see you all again on Valentine’s Day, when The Walking Dead returns in all its horrifically oozing glory.