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

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

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

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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 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 16: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple, Angela Kang, & Matthew Negrete

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Something They Need” – click here
Pic 1Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is on the edge of life and death. I only hope she holds on. Will she? Or has she decided to choose death, once and for all? She has a dream, of being back with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). In their home at Alexandria. Quickly, she’s back with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). He’s brought her something to eat. And he has plans to use her to get things “back on track” – whatever that means, we’ll soon find out. She even gets a blueberry, smiley face pancake with eggs and fruit for breakfast. Yum. The sinister plot of Negan begins.
Pic 1ABack at Alexandria, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has his gun on Dwight (Austin Amelio), who says he only wants things with Negan and The Saviors to end. It’s all pretty tough, Daryl (Norman Reedus) doesn’t like it, neither does Tara (Alanna Masterson). Nobody really trusts him, even though he gives a passionate speech about why he’s done what he’s done. Except Daryl does know more than the others about him, about his wife, what happened with Negan. They also worry about Sasha, that Dwight may be their only lifeline to getting her back, as well as their best way to infiltrate the Sanctuary and end the reign of terror.
So they must prepare, one way or another, for Negan and his Saviors coming soon.
Poor Sasha, she keeps flashing back to Abraham. Not sure which existence is a dream. Flashing to Negan and his plan, his breakfast. Her mind is being absolutely tortured. She sees, more and more, there is no way forward with Negan other than “punishment” and death by Lucille. He wants three to die, but would settle for just one. And for now Sasha agrees: only one.
Negan (to Sasha): “Youve got me wrapped around your little finger, yknow that? And its not a man-woman thing. I mean, if you had a dick I would still have these feelings.”
Pic 2Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is figuring out what to do with Hilltop, with Gregory (Xander Berkeley) off elsewhere, and Jesus (Tom Payne) happy to help her with anything, glad to have her leading the place. What to do? They need to fight. Just depends on how, what they can contribute to help Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the rest at Alexandria in taking the fight to The Saviors and Negan. I have faith that Maggie can play a big part, she’s a force.
Then there’s another force of fucking nature – Carol (Melissa McBride). She and Ezekiel (Khary Peyton) and Morgan (Lennie James), her pals from the Kingdom are on the road together. Well, Morgan likes to go it alone, but they’re together in one sense. Ezekiel wants Morgan with them. Once again, the man cannot forgive himself or get past things long enough to help those around him. A trouble dude in troubled times. At least he has Carol and his pals from the Kingdom, and Shiva!
Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her people arrive, garbage trucks and all. They’re an odd bunch; Jadis says she wants to bang Rick later, which neither he nor Michonne like to hear. In other news, Daryl, Rosita (Christian Serratos), and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are wiring an explosive they’ll put to good use soon enough. At the same time, Negan and Co are held up in the road, coming across the downed trees knocked over by Dwight.


Sasha’s decided not to take that pill after all. What she’ll decide in the end ought to be interesting. In the meantime, her friends at Alexandria have readied for the coming fight, even Carl (Chandler Riggs) has himself an assault rifle. Everybody’s braced for war. As The Saviors and Negan arrive, Eugene (Josh McDermitt) is up in front with a megaphone greeting his old friends. Nobody’s impressed with that, particularly after he tells them: “Im Negan.” Rather than suffer any fools, they opt to set off their explosive. Instead nothing happens. Jadis and her crew turn their weapons on the Alexandrians, Dwight hops from the truck with Negan. No explosions. No surprise assault. Oh, fuck.
We win
The tables have turned, drastically. Rick is not happy, as Negan gloats with everyone on his side. He lays it on thick while the Alexandrians await whatever comes next. Then, Dwight and Simon (Steven Ogg) wheel out a casket. Inside is Sasha, says Negan. He’s going to take all the guns, whatever food they can get. Rick also much choose a victim for Lucille. Plus, Daryl and the pool table go, too. Or else Sasha and a few others die.


Rick demands to see her first. So, Negan opens the casket – we get another flash of Sasha and Abraham: “Its always for someone else,” he tells her; a resonant point about The Walking Dead as a series as a whole. We also see Eugene give Sasha an iPod for her ride in the casket. She still has that pill, too. And she takes Abraham’s words to heart, in the worst way possible. She swallows the pill.
When the door comes open, a zombie Sasha appears! She lunges at Negan, then Carl takes the first shot initiating total chaos amongst the crowds. Bullets fly everywhere. Michonne wrestles with the other sniper on the rooftop. Rosita takes a bullet as Tara helps her away from the action. Jadis and Rick face one another down at the wall’s top, then she fires a shot into his side, tossing him over.
With gunfire everywhere, the Alexandrians struggle to stay alive. Jadis brings Rick to Negan, dead bodies litter the streets. The Saviors have Carl, and it seems as if he’s the next target for Lucille. Furthermore, he wants to use the bat on Rick’s hands. “I guess I gotta start all over again,” he taunts Rick. In the distance he also believes he hears Michonne dying. Somehow he stands against the tide, strong: “Youre all already dead,” Rick tells Negan.
But before any more death can come, Shiva leaps in behind them and takes down a man, scaring The Saviors and Negan away. Ezekiel, Carol, Morgan, Maggie, they all appear to push back the villains. And though the biggest baddie’s run off, he’s taken aback by the tiger, the living widow of Glenn “guns blazin‘” and sent packing with his tail between his legs. Nice to see Morgan and Rick together again, as well. Fighting side by side.
Once the smoke clears, Alexandria still remains standing, though the threats likewise live on. And Michonne, she made it out alive, if not a bit worse for the wear. She hasn’t given up, either. Not one bit.
Pic 5Back at the Sanctuary, Negan’s wondering how Sasha actually died. Eugene bullshits saying it was probably suffocation in that casket, but the boss ain’t sold. Nevertheless, he’s prepared for war. Things in Season 8 will get fucking ugly.
Although with the force of The Saviors coming down upon them, Rick and Maggie and the rest are also prepared for war. They slipped this time, managing to regain their footing. Next time, I don’t think they’ll go in trusting another group. It’s all on them now. Alexandria is full of life, with all the groups in one place for a while, each ready to fight for the person next to them.


A great season. Loved this season finale, because we ended last season and began this one on a devastating note, a weak one for Rick and everyone around him. At the end of Season 7, they’ve all regained a strength, and some they didn’t know they had, which will serve them well. We needed this progression, and as Maggie points out in her ending monologue this all began so long ago, at the beginning when Rick and each of them decided to stand for the other, to help, to love, to protect, to fight on the one side

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 1: “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 1: “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the Season 6 finale, “Last Day on Earth” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The Well” – click here
screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-1-39-29-am
Our episode’s title comes from Dr. Jenner at the CDC, way back when Rick said he was thankful for all the man had done for them. To which the doc replied: “The day will come when you wont be.”
Today is that day.
We start on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his face spattered with blood. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) taunts him. But Rick replies: “Im gonna kill you.” The nastiness of Negan’s demeanour is so perfectly awful. He digs into Rick, already having taken his victim from the group. He takes the hatchet Rick arrived with and brings Rick into the RV with him nearby. Behind them, a pile of blood and gore.
Who was killed?
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Inside the RV, Rick cowers like we’ve never seen him do before. Hiding in the shadows. And Negan tries to clue him into the new rule of things. He challenges Rick to take the axe and do him in. But you know it ain’t going down like that. He knocks Rick to the ground, dominating him. Proving a point. “Think about what happened, and think about what can still happen,” Negan all but cackles in the driver’s seat, taking Rick for a ride somewhere.
Then we flash throuh Rick’s mind, as he sees memories of everyone in their group. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Enid (Kately Nacon), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus) , Michonne (Danai Gurira) – while Negan throws his axe from the RV into a foggy road of walkers, beckoning Rick to go get it. Our trusty leader, the onetime Sheriff Grimes, manages to get on top of the RV, hatchet and all. Although as he stares into the distance either way you can see the hope starting to fade. For the first real time, he’s a broken man. “I bet you thought you were all gonna grow old together,” Negan pokes at him more from inside.


Now we’re back to the eenie meanie miney moe. Negan goes around the line. We watch Rick’s eyes. We see the terror in the eyes of every single person. The taunting of Negan and his bat land on: Abraham. He savagely beats the brains out of Abraham’s head, smashing him over and over. Everyone watches in sickly disgust, as nothing is left of the skull and brains. Nothing. “Look at my dirty girl,” Negan calls to them horrifically. He even taunts Rosita (Christian Serratos) with the bloody end of Lucille. Then Daryl breaks loose, punching Negan.
Will he get the bat, too? No. Even Dwight (Austin Ameli) rushes in to try putting an arrow in Daryl’s skull. Negan won’t allow that. Not right yet: “Thats not how it works.” No, no, no. Another victim for Lucille comes next.
Glenn’s head is smashed in. The front caves. So suddenly. Everybody is brutalised by the sight of Glenn, his eye popping out, trying to speak to Maggie in his last moments. Negan goes on whacking away until there’s only blood and hair left on the end of Lucille. The group is left devastated.
Rick lies on top of the RV, remembering what’s happened. All to well. This is the worst and most wounded we’ve ever seen him.

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In a crazy moment, Rick jumps from the RV, using the hanged man from the bridge as a grip. With zombies clawing at him, walkers of all kinds trying to rip him apart, Negan pops them all off and saves him. He urges Rick: “Think about what can still happen.” And Rick does. He sees the rest of his group smashed by Lucille, one by one.
Back in the RV, hatched in hand, Rick makes it to Negan. A real sick game, all around. The man with the bat continues his cerebral assault, in such a villainous, nonchalant way that it’s sickening how good Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the role. When they get back to the group, Negan has Rick kneeling in the middle of his remaining friends. The Saviors put guns to the back of their heads and the wretched Lucille-holding monster calls Carl (Chandler Riggs) to the centre. He wraps a belt around the boy’s arm, puts him to the ground next to dad. Negan proceeds to mark off a spot on Carl’s arm with a marker.
Rick has to cut an arm off his son. With his hatchet. Or else everyone dies.
So, what does Sheriff Grimes do? It’s all a psyche out. Rick has been broken, in front of everyone – The Saviors, his own people, his son. He’s torn every bit of Rick apart, his soul, his manhood, his power. What a vicious cycle. Because you know it’s a cycle. Broken as he is, Rick will be coming back. He will not let this rest, not forever. For now, sure. But not forever.
Things have changed. Whatever you had going for you, that is over now,” says Negan to the crowd. He takes Daryl in the back of their van. Property of Negan. They’ve got a week to start getting supplies together for him. A new day. A new deal. Minus two strong people from their crew. People they’ll never get back, ever again. Literally left in Negan’s dust, the rest of the survivors struggle to figure out how to move on from there.

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Maggie’s the first to get up. She wants to keep fighting, even if Rick is beaten to a pulp emotionally. He also understands how bad things are right now, she isn’t acting or thinking rationally. But sadly, Rick has also lost control. He has no more power. And Maggie, she’s in a depression spiral, unable to accept that they’ve just got to go back home, pick up the pieces. Now, they take their dead friends with them and do what they can for them.
In a vision, we see all the group, happy, healthy, a baby on Glenn’s lap. As if there weren’t enough tears shed. Negan’s voice rings in the ears of Rick as they load up the RV to leave. He thought they’d all be sitting around, as in the vision, that dreamy world. These days that vision is a far cry, and Rick is realising it. Around him he’s also watching the walkers die off. Everything is dying. Everyone and everything dies.
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What a savage episode. Completely numbing. I expected Glenn’s death, but didn’t anticipate such a wildly effective execution. Love how the power dynamics are shifting. No longer is Rick the big, tough guy he was once. Although he’ll get back there it’s going to take a major event, or series of them.
Looking forward to the next episode “The Well” and what it’ll bring!

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 16: “Last Day on Earth”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 16: “Last Day on Earth”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Matthew Negrete

* For a review of the previous episode, “East” – click here
* For a review of the Season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” – click hereScreen Shot 2016-04-04 at 1.21.10 AM
So we’ve arrived at the end of Season 6.
Open on Morgan (Lennie James). He comes across a horse in a field. Towards him walks the man who survived Carol (Melissa McBride) previously.
Back at Alexandria, Carl (Chandler Riggs) is getting ready to roll, as Enid (Kately Nacon) doesn’t quite believe in what they’re all doing. Meanwhile, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is saddling up. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are going, too. Everyone wants to go, no matter what. Aaron (Ross Marquand) is game, as well. In other news, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is proving himself a proper savior in his own right. His character development is some of my favourite, honestly, outside of the very main cast.
Out in the woods people are whistling, unseen, and a man runs away, scared. They track him down and beat him. The Saviors? You bet. The tension of this opening, score and all, is impressive. Starts to set up an epic showdown.


On the road in the RV, Rick and crew are heading to Hilltop. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is having big time pregnancy troubles, and obviously worries. But Rick assures: “Everything weve done, weve done together.” No matter how bad things get he can always at least put a little faith in people, he’s a charming, charismatic leader. Can he save them all from what comes next?
Morgan tends to a wounded Carol. She’s in need of stitches. He wants to help more, though, she isn’t readily allowing any of that. She doesn’t want to go back.
Along the road, Rick and Abraham see The Saviors with the man they’re holding. Uh oh. It’s already starting. Out they go to meet in the middle of nowhere. The Saviors aren’t joking around and make it clear someone’s got to die. Instead, Rick has other ideas. They all slowly back off. For now, things are fine.
For now.


Rick: “You wanna make today your last day on earth?
Savior: “No, but that is a good thing to bring up. Think about it, what if its the last day on earth for you? For someone you love? What if thats true? Maybe  you should be extra nice to those people in that RV because you never knowjust like that. Be kind to each other. Like you said, like it was your last day on earth.”
Rick: “You do the same
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Morgan and Carol are alike, yet still at odds. She has to school him on how things are: we must kill if there are people around us. You don’t get to have people and have a normal life. You either get to be with people and kill, or be on your own and not have your hand forced. She pleads with Morgan to leave. “If you care about anyone theres a price, Morgan, and youre gonna have to pay it,” Carol tells him.
The most tense and unnerving part about what’s happening so far is that we know a big, tragic finale is coming, some way. Right now, they’re building up the happy moments, the emotional bits and pieces. Up until the moment The Saviors appear, once more, in the middle of the road. Always waiting, watching. Now the survivors are preparing to do whatever’s necessary. Very eerie atmosphere, as the group tries to figure out how best to get down the road.
Under his nose, Morgan finds himself deserted. Because Carol is adamant about not going back, she’s sick and tired of the new world and how it is to worry, care, love if another person is involved. I understand, sadly. Can’t be easy for anyone to exist. Aside from trying not to get bitten by zombies you’ve got to worry about all of the rest of ordinary life, too.


Another ways down the road the RV encounters a ton of walkers. They’re chained and left in the middle of the road – “a Red Rover,” as Eugene puts it. They discover things belonging to Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) attached to the zombies. Out of nowhere gunfire explodes at them from the hills. They respond and things get real tense. Luckily, they clear the road and get through. Heading deeper into the belly of the beast.
Rick is already dying with anticipation. Now he knows they’re being led in a particular direction. Worse, Maggie doesn’t seem to be doing too well. Then more trouble on the road – Saviors, everywhere. They’ve got nowhere else to really turn. At every last corner there The Saviors are, waiting for their arrival.
Morgan finds rosary beads in the street. Will there be a showdown between him and the Savior left after Carol’s massacre? Will the man find Carol? I’m terrified to find out. Not a second later does he show up. Carol finds herself at the mercy of this man. He puts one in her arm, planning to watch her die on the pavement.


Again and again we’ve been getting views of someone stuck inside a box, or somethng similar. Likely Michonne and Daryl? Who knows. Glenn? We’ll see.
The hardest part about the Maggie situation, for Rick, is watching another pregnant woman go through the post-apocalypse world. Even worse, she’s having a rough time. Hopefully she’ll last. Too many tragedies have fallen upon their group, and they’re no saints, but they don’t deserve all their hardships.
But for Carol’s part, she wants to die. Done with the world, she hopes to leave. Might come sooner than later, as the man puts yet another shot through her leg. Still, she keeps up her sarcasm under duress. Soon enough Morgan arrives. He shoots the man dead, going against his precious life philosophy. Although, it’s for a good purpose.
Afterwards, some armoured folk come out of the forest. They actually own the horse Morgan rode. The men agree to help them. Is this all it seems? Can’t trust anyone right off the bat.
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Carol: “The world doesnt decide, you decide. You dont get to walk away and get what you want.”


Through the forest stride Rick and his crew. A tree roadblock keeps them from going further, and then they witness the man from the road earlier being hung. He dies brutally in front of them before a fire starts in the roadblock. Such ominous stuff, as the Savior from earlier speaks from behind the slowly building fire, warning of the last days on earth and such. Spooky.
Everybody’s worried, obviously. I would be. At each turn they’ve encountered a literal roadblock. They decide to ditch the RV and head onward. Eugene first gives over a bullet “recipe“, one that will help them in the future. It’s a very goodbye-type moment. Touching. Plus, there’s a better one with Abraham and Eugene, an honest and beautiful moment between two friends. Definitely touches the heart, and scares me about what will happen in the last ten or fifteen minutes.
So Rick and the crew head out with Maggie, leaving the RV in the hands of Eugene. The score even tugs at the heartstrings, more than ever before on the series. It’s real epic sort of stuff. Again, this worries me. A strong setup for brutal tragedies.


In the woods, Rick and the group hear the whistles. It sends them deeper into the forest. Some of the creepiest stuff EVER on the show. When they run out into a massive gang of Saviors, things turn around quickly. The creep factor goes up, so does the pulse. Rick looks devastated already, as Eugene is seen kneeling on the ground nearby.
Welcome to where youre goin‘,” the Savior from earlier greets them all. For the first time in a long time, Rick is in a position of absolute weakness. Totally castrated, effectively. The games are about to begin. Last time Rick was made to get on his knees, he bit out a man’s throat. What will happen this time?
The light inside the box was the others, after all – Daryl, Michonne, Glenn, Rosita (Christian Serratos). The gang is all back together. Lined up for the big entrance. He has arrived – Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) walks out to see them all. He taunts them about “pee pee pants” and other juvenile phrases. Then he chats with Rick. Tides are about to turn, drastically. “You are so gonna regret crossinme in a few minutes,” Negan says plainly to Rick. The law is laid down.


Negan: “You ruled the roost. You built something. You thought you were safe, I get it. But, the word is out: you are not safe. Not even close.”
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In the end, there is punishment. Negan selects himself a victim, introducing everybody to Lucille, his barbed bat, using more juvenile phrases – this time some Eenie Meenie Minie Moe. The whole sequence is so intense you’ll find yourself racing, heart pumping, pulse ready to leap out of your body. The tension is drawn out perfectly.
Only problem is AMC has decided to stick a thumb in the viewer’s eye by not letting us in on who Negan decides to kill. We’re given POV that simply lets us in on the savagery of Negan, the bloody brutality he brings to this world. Not impressed, I must say.


Stay along for the ride. Or don’t. Many say they’ll stop watching because of the ending. Me, I fucking hate it. I do. But I’ll keep watching because I have to know. Although, that being said: Season 7 has to pick up and do some different things, take different routes, figure out a fresh new formula, because after this finale I’m starting to get sick of the predictability of the series. Much as I dig the show there are serious flaws. Here’s to hoping the writers start listening to the roar of fans and switching things up. Maybe that’s what Negan will do overall. We’ll have to wait and find out in October.

Texas Chainsaw 3D: Blood, Sex, and the Saw

Texas Chainsaw 3D. 2013. Directed by John Luessenhop. Screenplay by Adam Marcus, Kirsten Elms, & Debra Sullivan.
Starring Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Thom Barry, Paul Rae, Richard Riehle, Bill Moseley, & Gunnar Hansen. Lionsgate/Millenium Films/Mainline Pictures/Leatherface Productions/Nu Image/Twisted Chainsaw Pictures.
Rated 18A. 92 minutes.
Horror/Thriller

★1/2
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For anyone who doesn’t know me, or hasn’t read many of my reviews, I’m a huge fan of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The original film is still, and always will be, one of the scariest movies to me. Always. Sheer terror and absolute chaos that rarely, if ever, lets up until the end of the last reel. It was a movie my mother even told me about before I’d seen it, likewise frightening her when she was young. So despite the varying quality of the series, I’m always interested in seeing any films bearing this title. Just to see.
Texas Chainsaw 3D begins with a great premise – to start with the events after the original film, then hop ahead a couple decades. But it’s the execution of the film that really draws my ire, and that of many other hardcore franchise fans. No longer is the horrific nature of Leatherface and his clan built on anything the first two original films had going for them. In this one, it’s all about sexy young bodies, a screenplay that doesn’t think hard enough to justify its aims, and above all else a plot that goes to a ridiculous extreme, so much so it destroys any of my interest in what might happen next. Because that’s the other thing – this semi-sequel to the original still can’t cut off and cauterize the Leatherface wound. It leaves things on a note that could quite possibly spawn a sequel, y’know, later on down the road when they need a quick buck.
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Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario) was taken as a baby from the Sawyer home, after Burt Hartman (Paul Rae) and a crew o men disobeyed the orders of Sheriff Hooper (Thom Barry) and laid siege to the infamous house of horrors.
A couple decades later, Heather’s grandmother Sawyer dies. She leaves an old Texas plantation-style house to Heather, on the strict orders she will not sell the place.
Well after Heather and some of her friends head down there for a housewarming expedition, she starts to understand why the house ought not be sold. That’s because down in the basement there’s a special room. And inside that special room there’s a really, really special person.
So put a smile on your face: the saw is back, and the saw is most definitely family.
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This semi-sequel follows a Michael Bay-ish trend of making horror try to look sexy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a nice dose of blood and gore in this one. They didn’t sanitize anything particularly. But they did load the cast down with a bunch of late-20s-looking young men and women, the kind who wear tight and revealing clothes, the sort who look good from behind in a close-up, and so on. Some of the shots in the movie defy logic, as I don’t understand why they’re included, other than to make things tantalizing for dreary, mopey moviegoers who require ‘eye candy’. And then there’s the typical writing of boyfriends cheating with the best friend, just so Trey Songz and Tania Raymonde can get half naked, greased up with Crisco so all of their curves and creases show off well under the lighting. So I’m not knocking the main cast. In fact, Daddario particularly is a talent, she was good in her tiny role on True Detective (when she didn’t have to take clothes off). Even Songz isn’t that bad for the role he plays. There’s just a bunch of character fodder sitting around Daddario’s Heather; I can even let slide some of the nonsense shots of her here because she actually plays the character nicely. The only other person in the film that doesn’t come off as overacted, hammy, or downright stupid, is Thom Barry. His Sheriff Hooper is good, conflicted, and Barry gives us a nice performance for what little time he’s really in there. Mostly, though, the blame is on the writing. This is another Texas Chainsaw movie rushed into production, using the same formula, doing the same things, repeating history. Yes, there is a little twist to the story, and I dig the family angle. But so many things could be done better.
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Let’s talk about the 3D. Totally unnecessary. Some shots really play up the whole format, such as the chainsaw getting tossed and moments similar to that. I’ve always hated 3D in horror. It’s gimmicky anyways, but even worse in the horror genre. Practical effects are always the last bastion of any mediocre to crappy horror flick. Even some of the worst written screenplays can come across as decent if practical makeup effects help the horrific elements look properly scary. There are scenes in this one where practical effects make the blood and the nastiness look rightfully gross, disturbing even now and then. But relying on ways to push the 3D, the filmmakers ignore the good effects. The worst part is that Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, masterminds of horror for the past few decades with their shop KNB, do the special effects here, and they’re totally underused. They don’t get to really pull out all the stops. Some of the best stuff is when Heather flicks through old crime scene photos and we get a couple burned bodies, et cetera. Berger and Nicotero shine in these pieces. On the contrary, so many other moments are marred by the ugliness of CGI rearing its head and this does nothing to help the film overall.
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For the blood and gore we do get, and the terrifying savagery of Leatherface (he’s still got it even in this turd of a film), Texas Chainsaw 3D gets a 1&1/2-star rating. There isn’t a whole lot of anything to enjoy here. The unnecessary dialogue at many points, the dumb script and its many holes, the ridiculous need to try and flash Alexandra Daddario’s body (and others, too) – all this adds up to a movie that just can’t hold its own in a franchise that already has some stinkers. While it’s not the absolute worst of the whole series – that honour is saved for the entry graced by the presence of Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger – this is one modern horror that can’t possibly cut the mustard. Not even with Leatherface’s big, bad chainsaw.

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.
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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
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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 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 3, Episode 1: “Seed”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 1: “Seed”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a review of the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Sick” – click here
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This Season 3 premiere sees Carl (Chandler Riggs), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) looking for supplies. Afterwards, they all sit around in the living room of a bare, ransacked house. Carl gets ready to open a bunch of dog food. Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Beth (Emily Kinney), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and the rest look on dismal, disgusted, but starving. T-Dog (Irone Singleton) soon hears a walker, then the group is forced to flee their momentary squat house.
Out on the road they’re looking for another place to stay. While going for a little hunt, Daryl and Rick find a prison, the one we saw at the end of last season. In the yard are zombies walking around every which way. But there is possibly a place for them to stay. Especially considering they need one badly, with Lori very pregnant, tired, and everyone needing a bit of a rest. They cut their way through the fences towards the prison buildings, using wirecutters, then closing up the hole behind them systematically. Their time on the road, obviously a good few months, has hardened them. Given them order. They’re following Rick in their new system of something other than democracy. It’s working because they seem definitely as a team, particularly without Shane (Jon Bernthal) to throw a wrench into things. Rick has them all setup at the entrance of the prison and ready to execute a plan in order to take the prison for their use.


The plan goes well. Everyone helps to clear the yard of walkers, gunning a ton of them down one after another: “We havent had this much space since we left the farm,” says Carol (Melissa McBride) rejoicing. In the evening, everybody settles down a while and has something to eat. Rick and Daryl patrol, as T-Dog and Hershel talk about plans for the prison yard going forward. They all hope it’ll be a good place for Lori to give birth eventually, too. That’s a major plus, and something they need to be thinking of, as having a child in this wasteland could easily prove to be deadly. Carol and Daryl have a nice, fun little moment together where he massages her shoulder, and she quips it “could be romanticwanna screw around?” It’s an excellently lighthearted moment in the middle of all the action. Afterwards, Beth also sings a song around the fire, putting everyone in a nice mood for once. Funny – you’d never have seen something like that happen with Shane around, would you? For some reason that’s what comes to mind at the time. Maggie joins Beth soon and the group feels at ease, if only for a short time.
Rick wants to push a bit more and get inside the prison. There’d be a ton of goods left inside: “weapons, food, medicine.” Looks like a tough job ahead, but Rick believes in his people, that they have the fortitude to through with it and make themselves a new home for however long they can.


Now we’re introduced to Michonne (Danai Gurira) – the hooded figure who came across Andrea (Laurie Holden) at the last of the season premiere. But briefly. We’ll come back to her later.
At the prison, the group heads in back-to-back through the yard, up towards the buildings. Lori, Carol, Carl stick back by the fences to lure away as many walkers as possible. There are a ton of walkers in the courtyard, some with body armour having obviously been guards. A tough fight talks the survivors awhile to get through several waves of the living dead. Maggie stabs a zombie trying to kill her then happily looks to Glenn and says: “See that?” Plenty of great practical makeup effects here in “Seed”, showcasing the always amazing work of KNB – the wizards of gore in the past 30 years of horror television and film, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. Best one: Rick tears the mask of a guard and his dead face comes off with it, eyeballs rolling around and gunky skin hanging around the skull. Fucking incredible.
Once Rick and Co. make it inside the prison appears fairly deserted. No noise. Not a sound or a soul, anywhere. They move further in, getting the keys from a corpse which lets them into another cell block. Still, no signs of life, or of the undead either. Lots of corpses, gunshot to the middle of the head and the like. Once things are officially cleared the whole gang moves in, settling rooms for themselves and getting prepared to nest a while. Things, for now, are looking good.


We arrive back to Michonne again. She’s taking care of Andrea who is pretty damn sick. Fairly sick herself, Michonne’s zombies are creepy as all hell. They’re on leashes, no arms, no jaws. Weird thing to do. But part of why her character is interesting. Seems like something an insane person would do, yet there she is looking after Andrea, nursing her back to health. She wants to find them a place to stay, somewhere Andrea won’t get sicker, won’t die. They have a tenuous relationship, though, clearly a decent one after months on the road together. Michonne says she’ll “go in a few days“, but hopefully they stick together as a team. Not too long after they head out into the world once more; all four of them. At least Andrea’s not on a leash.
The gang at the prison are loading up on supplies. Plenty of security gear, as well as guns, ammo, flashbangs, et cetera. At the same time, Lori worries about the virus – if the baby is stillborn, it could tear out of her. She wants to discuss with Hershel what happens if she dies in child birth, reminding him many women died before modern medicine much like the situation in which she finds herself. But she asks more of Hershel – to be put down if something like that comes up, to not make Rick do it, as he may never recover. Remember this moment because a situation down the road calls this back to mind.


Heading further into the prison, Rick leads a crew of the survivors and leaves Carl in charge back with a few of the women, including his mother. The depths of the building aren’t as clear as the outer region. Not only are there walkers, the electricity isn’t on anymore, so the place is like a tomb. Glenn smartly spray paints arrows on the wall to mark their walk, almost like an urban Hansel and Gretel. Blood and gore line most of the halls. Bodies lie hacked to pieces. Finally, around one corner is a pack of zombies. The group push back and find themselves on the run.
The horrifyingly unexpected soon happens. First, Glenn and Maggie end up cut off from Hershel, T-Dog, Daryl and Rick. The two hide in a closet together escaping an onslaught of the living dead. Then, while moving along a hall Hershel gets one big bite in his leg. A panic breaks out, as Maggie stumbles onto her father. Rick and Glenn get Hershel out of there. But to what end?
In a split-second decision, Rick decides “Only one way to keep you alive” and hacks off Hershel’s leg above the bite in his calf. Everyone understands, but justifiably are horrified. Blood everywhere. Though, Rick gets the leg off. And up behind them appear several prisoners behind a cage in the cafeteria. Uh oh.


Moving on into the new season, up next is “Sick”.