Adam MacDonald's latest movie discusses mental illness and grief through a lens of modern witchcraft.
Tragedy strikes when the Governor does the unthinkable, as Rick, Daryl, and Michonne try to find Andrea.
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
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.
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 isn‘t 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.” “I‘m 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 couldn‘t 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.
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
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 peoples‘ things“. 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 “You‘d 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 “Lil‘ Ass 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.
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
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.
Andrea: “So what‘s your real name? If it‘s not asking too much.”
Governor: “I never tell”
Andrea: “Never say 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.
Stay tuned. Next episode is titled “Killer Within”.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 11: “Judge, Jury, Executioner”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang
* For a review of the previous episode, “18 Miles Out” – click here
* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 finisher, “Better Angels” – click here
The top of this episode begins with Randall (Michael Zegen) being tortured in the barn by Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). He talks about the group he was with before, the savagery they were involved in; includes a very subtle, passing reference to a brutal rape situation. Randall tells Daryl he isn’t like them. Though, how can anyone be sure? In this new world, nobody is what they seem. Nobody.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) informs everyone they’ll have to kill Randall. Knowing about his large group, their weaponry and vicious nature, now the decision is all but made. Unfortunately, Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) doesn’t like it. He believes there must be a method, a process, instead of simply sentencing someone to death, as guilt by association. He pleads with Rick for another twenty four hours, to talk with everyone about what should happen. At sunset the decision will be made.
First, Dale goes to Andrea (Laurie Holden). He wants her to guard Randall for now, in case Shane (Jon Bernthal) decides otherwise. Glad to see there is still humanity left in Dale, not willing to just jump in and kill somebody all of a sudden. He wants to keep their human nature. Others aren’t so sold on being “civilized anymore“. Dale replies: “But keeping our humanity? That‘s a choice.” Reluctantly, Andrea agrees to look after the prisoner. But Shane is ready for what’s coming. He isn’t confused in the slightest, nor is he conflicted: murder is his business. Furthermore, his run-in with Carl (Chandler Riggs), who sneaks into the barn and talks to Randall, shows Shane is NEVER going to let go of his time with Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). He wants what Rick has; all of it.
Later on, Dale goes to see Daryl (Norman Reedus). The latter has no real problem with what’s about to happen. All the same, Dale tries reaching out. He knows Daryl is a “decent man” and appeals to his better sense, putting in more hints about Otis – Daryl knows Shane killed him, he showed up with the dead man’s gun after all. For his part, Daryl thinks Rick is slightly blind to Shane.
Speaking of Rick, he’s in the barn trying to find a good place for a hanging. Knot tied and everything. He and Lori start looking ahead to the future, the winter specifically. They need to start thinking of warm lodgings and so on. “I know how you feel about the death penalty,” Rick says to Lori, as she wonders if hanging is the best option. She always trust her husband, no matter what. But Rick is still overlooking Shane and the problem of his obsession. It’ll come to a head eventually.
Carol (Melissa McBride) tries comforting Carl about Sophia’s passing, who responds by saying if she believes in Heaven then “you‘re an idiot“. We also get a closer look at Carol. She feels discarded by the group, treated like a crazy person or a wounded grieving mother who will never get over it. True. She can be a valuable member of the group like anyone else, but they all patronize her mostly. Rick has a talk with Carl about what he said, and they have a bit of a real chat for the first time; his son asks about the hanging, but Rick sticks to him having to apologize to Carol.
But Carl wants to strike out on his own. He lifts a gun from Daryl’s motorcycle bag then heads out to the woods. Down by a small creek, Carl finds a walker standing in the open. It turns slowly and stares at the boy, who starts to run. Then he realizes the walker is stuck in the mud. So a closer look is needed.
Hershel and Glenn (Steven Yeun) have a moment together. The older man shows his pocket watch, given to him by his father; he pawned it after a hard night of drinking, then Maggie’s mother bought it back, giving it to him once he got sober. “No man is good enough for your little girl,” says Hershel, “until one is.” With that he hands the watch over to Glenn, a beautiful and touching scene between these two characters. Their bond will also grow stronger, tougher as the series progresses.
Back with Carl and the walker. He’s still throwing things at it, point his gun. He wants to be a man and wants to evolve in this new world. Only he’s still a boy and has things to learn. The zombie gets loose from the mud grabbing Carl by the ankle, sending the boy running. Thankfully he got away. Could’ve easily turned tragic for another child member of the group.
Sunset has come. Everyone gathers to talk about whether Randall ought to be killed, or not. Dale obviously believes it shouldn’t happen. Others approve; even Glenn drops off Dale’s side saying “he‘s not one of us“. Not everybody wants to kill him, but nobody except Dale is adamant about saving the young man. Carol doesn’t want to be a part of the vote, no matter what transpires.
Problem is civilization is collapsing, humanity has become lost. Dale is right. Nobody else sees that, but Dale understands they’re losing humanity quite quick. At a wild rate. They’re becoming the people they are afraid of, those monsters out there on the road they assume will come and pillage the camp. “This new world is ugly, it‘s harsh, it‘s survival of the fittest: that‘s a world I don‘t wanna live in,” Dale pleads with the group. And the only single person to stand by his side in the end? Andrea. He further tries to shame everyone asking if they’ll all watch the execution and nods to Daryl on his way out of the house: “This group is broken.”
So the execution time has come. Rick has Randall blindfolded, on his knees. With Shane and Daryl by his side, Rick asks if he has any “final words“. In the midst of it all Carl shows up and tells him to “do it“. But Rick can’t get the job done with his son watching, he has Randall taken away and tied up again, putting his gun back in its holster.
When Dale goes off on his own there is one of the most tragic scenes yet on The Walking Dead. Had he not been pushed away, disregarded by his group, Dale might live to see another episode. Sadly, he is blindsided by a walker, as he finds a cow torn open and gutted in the field. Dale gets torn open and now we’ve lost yet another good man. So damn busted up to know we won’t get any more Dale in this series. A great character whose time came far too soon. He wasn’t even bit, just disemboweled. If they had a hospital maybe there’d be options. Not out in a field, on a farm, in the middle of the zombie wasteland.
Rick tries to put Dale out of his misery, but can’t bring himself to do it. Daryl does Dale a solid, saying “Sorry, brother” before putting a bullet in his head. Right before it comes Dale nods in solidarity. A heart wrenching, gut churning (literally) scene that took me by surprise. Still does, even after seeing the series over a few times. Worst of all? Carl sees the walker who attacked Dale is the one he didn’t kill down by the water, stuck in the mud. This will only make him feel responsible, which is brutal for a boy his age.
The next episode, Season 2’s penultimate ender, is titled “Better Angels”. Let’s see how this one turns out after a tragic end here.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 10: “18 Miles Out”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Glen Mazzara
The start of this episode commences with Shane (Jon Bernthal) trapped alone in a bus. Walkers attempt to get inside, clawing and growling. He closes the doors tight, backs against them and tries to hold out. Long as possible.
Cut back to Shane on the road with Rick (Andrew Lincoln). They stop abruptly on an open, desolate stretch. Rick decides they have to chat together. He brings up Otis, the fact Shane believes he can’t protect Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Carl (Chandler Riggs), his unborn child. There’s lots of tension here. Rick tells him “you‘re not going to be dangerous anymore“. The past between Lori and Shane comes up briefly, but the bigger man – Rick – shows us his strength, as a man, as a human being. He lays claim to his family, as if it had to even be done. Although, there is still something in Shane which won’t let go. Not all the way.
In the trunk they have Randall (Michael Zegen). What are they doing with him?
At the ranch, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) chats with Lori about Glenn (Steven Yeun). A bit of enlightening talk comes from Mrs. Grimes, but at the same time she has a bit of a male-female view of the world, at least in this new post-zombie apocalypse. Either way, it’s comforting for Maggie, at least some of their talk.
Trying to find a place to give Randall “a fair shake“, Rick and Shane stop off in a quiet area. Only a scattered walker moves around. Rick is determined to try using their knives more, instead of wasting bullets, as well as causing noise to draw them. He lures one in with his own blood on a fence then stabs it right in the forehead. Good plan, and something which will continue throughout the entire series. They’re slowly learning how to adapt in this savage new world.
Something I have to mention again – amazing practical makeup effects on the part of KNB, specifically Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. There are so many instances of this, including when Rick walks up on a pile of burned walker corpses. Tons more. Each episode you get at least a couple awesome zombies, nasty blood and gore and all.
Also, we briefly see Shane and Rick talk about whether or not a couple bodies were bitten. Rick says they must’ve gotten scratched somehow. For those of us further into the series, we know what’s coming. For the time being Shane and Rick agree – must be a scratch.
Beth presents as suicidal. She even takes the knife off a plate Lori brings in the room, hoping to maybe end it all. Lori does her part and tries to track down the other Greenes. This is definitely a situation they need to keep under control. Last thing either Maggie or Hershel (Scott Wilson) needs is to lose Beth, too. And to suicide, even worse.
Leaving Randall out on his own, Rick and Shane head off back for the farm. The young guy cries out for help hoping to be saved. He lets slip he “went to school with Maggie“, which shows he knows about the farm anyways. No matter what they do. Now, Shane is worried he might get back to his group and that this might cause something terrible down the road. Immediately, Shane goes for the kill, but Rick stops him.
More breakdown with Shane. He’s gone insane, he can’t follow Rick without having something to say. After a bit of back and forth, Rick throws the first punch and misses. He and Shane end up rolling around on the ground, grunting, throwing more punches, headbutts. Their friendship has officially taken a wrong turn, their problems devolving into violence. The struggle goes on for a while, to the point of Shane almost killing Rick with a massive wrench – this brings on a horde of zombies hiding in the surrounding buildings, only creating further trouble. Good one, Shane. This is what prompts him climbing into the bus where we found him at the episode’s outset.
Andrea and Lori are in each others faces. The latter thinks the men don’t need her help out watching the camp, showing us a pretty old school view of things. At the same time, Lori tries to tell her “we are trying to create a life for the living” and I do agree, in a certain sense. But Andrea is a bit stubborn and hard-headed. She thinks Lori sort of glides by and everything is fine for her. They’re at one another’s throats because of Beth. Andrea thinks they don’t need to do anything for her, Lori wants to assure Beth that life is worth living. Is it? Or can it be, somewhere in the future? At least, for all her faults, Lori hasn’t given up on a normal life. Someday.
Finding himself in a tricky situation, Rick uses a walker head almost like a silencer. Out of another jam. He is one hell of a tough bastard. At the ranch, Beth is more determined to go out on her own terms, asking Maggie to go with her into death. Such a contrast between Rick’s groups and the Greenes. They are far apart in thought. But there’s also part of me that doesn’t disagree with Beth, who feels it isn’t worth living if life is being gutted, hauled apart by zombies eventually.
Rick is about to get away from the hordes of walkers nearby. He even has Randall with him. Then, it appears as if he’s about to leave Shane in the bus, trapped with all the zombies outside. Is this where Shane finally gets what’s coming to him?
Of most concern is Beth. She locks herself in a bathroom and opens up her veins with broken glass. Maggie and Lori get in there to find Beth bleeding everywhere: “I‘m sorry,” she weeps. At least they found her in time.
At the bus, Shane is saved when Rick comes back. He didn’t plan on leaving his former best friend after all. Rick diverts the walkers so Shane can get out the back of the bus and into their vehicle, Randall at the wheel and duct taped at the neck around his seat. Off they go, the three amigos. Alive and well, out of another terrifying few moments.
Andrea’s optimistic about Beth and her suicide attempt saying “she wants to live“. But nobody is happy with Andrea for leaving the young girl alone, letting her almost kill herself. Likewise, Lori does agree there’s some truth in what Andrea said, that Beth does hope to keep living. It was simply a cry for help.
Headed back to the Greene farm, Rick puts Randall back in the trunk again, hood over his head. No matter what happens, Rick is taking precautions. Still, though, he tells Shane: “If you wanna kill me you‘re gonna have to do better than a wrench.” He further goes on to say he needs time to think about what they’ll do with Randall, that if murder is on the table it can’t be done in split-second decisions. He also lays claim, once more, to his family. Making Shane realize it’s either fall in line, or fuck off. Or possibly worse. For now Shane has a second chance with Rick.
The next episode, nearing closer to the Season 2 finale, is “Judge, Jury, Executioner”. Stay with me and I’ll recap/review another one soon.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 9: “Triggerfinger”
Directed by Bill Gierhart
Written by David Leslie Johnson
The brief opening of this episode sees Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) overturned in her car. Crashed. Pregnant. And worst of all, walkers are trying to get in at her.
Cut back to the bar where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) remain. They decide to leave after the encounter with two men, which left the same men dead at the end of Rick’s gun. Only a vehicle shows up before they can make it out; people exit calling for Dave and Tony, the two now dead corpses on the floor. It’s obvious now they were part of a bigger group, probably trying to find another group to push out of an encampment. The human threat in this new post-zombie apocalypse world is very clear, and getting clearer.
Meanwhile, Lori tries to get herself out of the smashed up car before a walker breaks through the windshield and takes a bit out of her, as well as the unborn baby in her belly. A frightening moment as is, but add to the fact Lori’s pregnant then it becomes even more scary. Luckily, she is a bit of a bad ass and manages to kill the zombie in the window then escape onto the road. Where more walkers find her.
Back at the ranch, Shane (Jon Bernthal), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and all the rest are sitting down for a meal. When Carol (Melissa McBride) calls for Lori, they all discover she’s nowhere to be found. Andrea (Laurie Holden) mentions seeing her earlier, Carl (Chandler Riggs) can’t remember the last time he saw his mother. Everyone gets fairly worried damn quick. Carol tries enlisting Daryl (Norman Reedus); he’s not having any of it, sick of being the go-to-guy for heading out on the search. Above all else, Shane is adamant on going to find Lori. Even if it’s on his own.
In the bar, Rick finds himself, Glenn and Hershel pressed down on by the group looking for Dave and Tony. Eventually, Rick tells the men outside their friends “drew on us“. It’s evident they had to do what needed to be done, but the guys outside don’t seem keen on just walking away. Soon enough gunfire breaks the air and things are more tense than ever. Guns blazing, Rick, Glenn and Hershel do their best to make it out alive.
The situation changes when one of the men trying to avenge Dave and Tony doesn’t get away with the others. He’s partly impaled on a fence, but Hershel and Rick don’t want to leave the boy. He’s only a young guy and neither of them want to leave the kid to be eaten. Hershel suggests maybe they ought to “put him down“. Instead, they decide to try amputating part of his leg; the only way out. Although, in a sticky situation Rick hauls the leg up and off the fence and gets them back out on the road.
Hershel: “You want me to cover Glenn?”
Rick: “You missed all that gun training. It could‘ve come in handy now.”
Hershel: “Nah, I can shoot. Just don‘t like to.”
Shane finds Lori out on the road, bleeding and injured. She wants to find Rick and does not want to go back, so Shane lies telling her they’re all home at the farm again. Uh oh; he’s going to regret that. You’d think he might do anything possible to get her back, or win her over, something. Rather than that Shane’s digging himself more holes.
The tenuous relationship between Carol and Daryl continues on. He’d rather be alone and off on his own. He feels unappreciated and yells at Carol. She’s seen worse than that; her now dead husband was a vicious, brutalizing bastard. The way Daryl lashes out says more about him than anyone else. But in a moment when Carol flinches we can see him shift a little inside, and Daryl perhaps understands he’s overstepping boundaries.
When Lori figures out Shane lied there is more anger, more fighting. In front of everyone, Shane lets out the fact Lori is pregnant, which shocks everybody. Particularly Carl (Chandler Riggs) who feels left out not knowing about his potential new brother or sister. Afterwards, he is happier about knowing of the baby and being included in everything: “Big brother Carl, that‘s pretty cool, huh?” he remarks.
More than that, we see continually how Shane cannot let her go. He’s going to cause more issues, just wait. He and Lori have more confrontation once everybody leaves the room. She’s tired of his lying, from the first lie he told about Rick, to this one. And so on. The anger in her cannot be overcome now, Shane has nothing to fall back on. “What happened with Otis happened because I love you,” Shane says to Lori. After which she tells him she told Rick about their relationship.
In other news, Beth (Emily Kinney) is still catatonic. Comatose. Andrea (Laurie Holden) tries to comfort her sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan), whose worry is strong for both Beth and her father Hershel. Everything before the Greenes is falling apart, from the farm to their family, to the world. It is excruciating to see them go from sheltered to worldly, in a matter of a few episodes. They’re slowly becoming more like Rick and the other survivors.
Dale is still worried about Andrea. She can’t see the true nature of Shane, doubting in Rick at the same time. I wish she’d finally understand that Dale is only looking out for her, he isn’t trying to bang her. Sure, I have no doubt he’d have sex with her if she wanted to, but that’s not why he cares. He bonded with her, and her sister. Andrea just feels too scared of this new world, of everyone in it.
Not long after, Rick, Glenn and Hershel arrive back at the farm. They’ve still got the injured young man in tow, Randall (Michael Zegen). This is another source of contention for Rick and Shane, as well as Rick and some of the others. Nobody wants an outsider in their camp. Yet Rick and Hershel want to fix him up and help him out. Others are not so sure. Hershel finally has words with Shane, too. Long time coming.
Maggie and Glenn talk again. He’s afraid because of what their love does to him. He hid in the bar because he thought of her, his love for her. It made him weak. Sadly. Here’s to hoping this won’t tear them apart. The love should lift him up, not make him less strong. Furthermore, Maggie is slightly upset by Hershel leaving, getting drunk, especially considering the state of her sister. Everyone and their relationships are in shambles now, for the current moment.
The more Rick and Hershel do things their way, the more Shane dissents. He tries to latch onto Andrea saying “I should‘ve left with you when I had the chance” and talks about how the situation with Randall may bring on more destruction, war, “something worse“. Is their bond headed anywhere? Or will Andrea soon figure out how vicious and brutal Shane is? I’m not sure she will. At least not until it’s too late.
In their tent, Lori tells Rick that Shane believes he is the father of her child. This is only more stress and tension for Sheriff Rick. Lori tries to tell her husband Shane is “delusional” and scaring others. She also shares her thoughts about what Shane did concerning Otis. This situation is quickly becoming out of control, with Shane transforming into a monster. When Lori puts a thought in Rick’s head, he realizes how dangerous Shane is, and what may have to be done to put an end to that danger.
Excited for the next episode, “18 Miles Out”. Lots of new developments, lots more tension and wildness to come.
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 7: “Pretty Much Dead Already”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple
* For a review of the previous episode, “Secrets” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Nebraska” – click here
Beginning at the farm, the seventh episode of The Walking Dead‘s Season 2 gets underway.
Tensions are high. For Glenn (Steven Yeun) there’s the new tension with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), after he spilled the beans about the barn to Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn). Even more than that, Glenn decides he has to tell the whole group. When Daryl (Norman Reedus), Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal) and the rest hear about it, trouble begins.
Instead of going to Hershel (Scott Wilson) they head down to the barn. Inside, naturally, they find a bunch of walkers. Shane wants to leave and get away from the danger. Carol (Melissa McBride) doesn’t want to leave on account of her little girl, neither does Daryl. Rick doesn’t want to leave, but only Dale and Glenn know his motives. An infight is brewing, with Shane already questioning Rick’s leadership before now.
Who will win out? They have to tell Hershel. If not bigger trouble is on the horizon.
Glenn tries talking with Maggie. She’s pissed and does not want to talk much. Their newly founded relationship is on the rocks for now. In other news, Carl (Chandler Riggs) is asking if Sophia’s dead and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) tries her best to keep his spirits up. For his part Carl says “I‘m not leaving until we find Sophia“, and in general he doesn’t want to leave the farm. His mother isn’t sure how to exactly react. She knows they may not be there much longer.
Daryl’s busy trying to get back out on the road to do more searching, even though he needs to rest up his injury. He and Carol draw closer, though, not in a romantic way. They’re very friendly and are becoming even more so, but it isn’t a sexual relationship. They have a strong friendship budding. Talking together, he misunderstands her concern and calls her a “stupid bitch” momentarily sidetracking their bonding.
Andrea (Laurie Holden) plans on heading out to look for Sophia. She and Dale are still having their own friendship issues. He’s concerned about her and the semi-relationship she has with Shane; he knows more about the man than anyone else right now. “Is that how you wanna be – like him?” asks Dale. Andrea thinks she knows the guy, but Shane is a bad, bad dude. After their conversation Dale seems to be planning something with the bag of guns in the R.V., but what exactly?
At Hershel’s dinner table, Rick comes to have a chat. The older man is a tough, solid man, and also stubborn. Rick tells him about their discovery of the barn. Except it doesn’t lead to much productive talk: “I need you and your group gone by the end of the week,” Hershel says. They have more talk of walkers, what they are, what they were and what they’ve become now. Sheriff Rick tries leveling with Hershel about how the farm is sheltered and hasn’t seen exactly what the world has turned into beyond its grassy fields.
However, the turning point comes when Rick drops the bomb of Lori’s pregnancy on Hershel. Their little rendezvous ends on intense, angry terms.
Wilder still, Rick reveals the pregnancy to Shane whose reaction nearly drops his face to the ground. He congratulates Rick, but there’s something else there, something behind the facade. Has Rick ever considered Shane could be the father? I can guarantee Shane is thinking it right now.
In the kitchen, Maggie doesn’t look very happy about her father deciding to cast Rick, Glenn, Lori and all the others out in the road. He tries to tell Maggie the group will be fine. Although, she warns him things aren’t as he sees them. She is beginning to see all that herself.
A confrontation between Lori and Shane sees more of his animosity. He questions how fit Rick is for this new world. How many times he’s saved her life, Carl’s life. Shane seems to be intent on having a life with her, one way or another. Is he going to eventually try and kill Rick, like the moment he had his gun sighted on him? Shane ends up talking to Carl, too. Agreeing they need to stay and such. But the darkness under Shane is always there, ever present. He’s willing to do whatever they need to in order to keep Lori safe. He is turning coat now because of that, only that. And if he’s got to take charge of the place himself, I believe that’s exactly what Shane will do.
He ends up back at the R.V. looking for the guns. They’re gone. With Dale, we assume. Shane heads out to look for him, veins popping out of him everywhere.
Hershel takes Rick out into the woods to show him something. Down by a little pond, two zombies are stuck in the water. Hershel wants to turn back time, to cure the sick. He has a couple rods for grabbing animals, likely from his vet work. He tells Rick this is how it is if they’re to stay on the farm: no more killing.
Glenn and Maggie finally have a real talk. He tells her “secrets get you killed” and hammers home the point that he cares for her, as well as his people. He’d rather her be alive and hating him. But that’s not the case. She does have feelings, they both do. Seeing them both come together is a beautiful thing I hope will last.
Somewhere in the forest, Dale is hiding the guns. He and Shane have a bit of a rigid conversation. The older of the two obviously wants to protect people from Shane. In his mind, Shane is the saviour of the group. The true leader. He wants to take everything by force, deal with consequences later. Dale points a gun at him, but Shane walks right to the gun barrel, letting it press against his chest. A small speech from Dale makes us realize exactly the type of people they both are, if we didn’t already.
Shane: “Hell man, if you think about it, in the cold light of day, you’re pretty much dead already.”
With everybody up at the farm, Shane arrives and puts guns in everybody’s hands. He has decided the rules for himself believing the place to be dangerous. Then, as T-Dog (Irone Singleton) exclaims “Oh shit“, Rick shows up. He and Hershel have the two walkers in tow. Shane, obviously, goes absolutely mental.
This whole preamble leads into one of the most intense, wild sequences of the entire series so far. Only two seasons in, but this show brings it! Shane first fires on one of the walkers they brought back; a couple in the body, finally working up to a bullet in the head. Time slows down. Hershel has clearly had enough and drops to his knees. Shane takes charge then opens up the barn, which lets all hell loose.
Out stumbles walker after walker after walker. Bullets fly, each person with a gun taking down the living dead.
And then the worst of all imaginable happens: from the barn comes one last walker, Sophia Peletier (Madison Lintz). The devastation in Carol is evident, having been there next to the barn all that time, looking for Sophia when she was already dead. Surprisingly, though, it is Rick who owns up and fires the bullet which kills the little girl for good. A brutal, effective moment. Rick does have what it takes, he just thinks more than someone like Shane. Still a very emotionally charged moment, even more so with the way this was filmed. Excellent finish to the episode.
Next up is “Nebraska”, another exciting chapter in AMC’s Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Stay with me, fellow Deadheads!
AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 6: “Secrets”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Angela Kang
At the start of “Secrets”, we watch Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) together. Simultaneously, Patricia (Jane McNeill) break the legs of a chicken, throw it in a bag, then head down to the barn to feed it to a pack of walkers inside. This is the same barn Glenn (Steven Yeun) discovered at the end of the previous episode, “Chupacabra”. An ominous beginning to this one seeing Patricia with Carl and Lori right before. As if it were another everyday chore.
Now Glenn is also being told to keep quiet about it all by Maggie (Lauren Cohan). She begs him to keep it a secret, even with Glenn begging her not to make him keep it a secret. Around Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) he’s troubled and a bit obvious, but nothing comes of it.
Resting in his tent, Daryl (Norman Reedus) gets an apology from Andrea (Laurie Holden). It’s a respectable moment, as Daryl admits to knowing she was “protecting the group“. He quips that if she shoots him again she “best pray” he dies. Out by the fire, a less friendly conversation happens when Glenn confronts Lori once more. She tells him to back off and he reluctantly agrees. The titular secrets of this episode concern all the little quiet things Glenn is tasked with holding onto.
Rick (Andre Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) are busy coming up with plans. They only laugh off Glenn and his awkward behaviour. Then there’s Patricia and Beth (Emily Kinney) who want gun training. They tell Rick that Hershel (Scott Wilson) gave them permission, though, I’m sure he’d rather wait to hear it from the man himself.
Speaking of guns, Shane finds Carl carrying one in his pants. Lori is upset about the boy having one. Rick thinks it’s better than him being scared of guns, bullets, after getting shot. Growing up in a world with zombies, isn’t it only natural for a child of appropriate age to have a gun? At the same time, Shane is still being the would-be-father to Carl, offering to give him training and lessons with a gun. Unknowingly, Rick thinks it’s a great idea. Only another way for Shane to worm into Lori’s life.
Glenn goes to Dale about both Lori being pregnant and the walkers in the barn. He blurts it out from nowhere. Not good at keeping secrets is right. Regardless, he shouldn’t have to in a world rife with danger. Secrets should be the last of anybody’s worries. Everybody else is getting lessons with a gun while Glenn is busy trying to hold in the secrets of others. Not even his own.
Meanwhile, Dale goes to see Hershel. He says he “heard the moans” out of the barn and takes it to Hershel as if he were the one to discover the walkers inside it. Hershel is clearly stuck to his notion that zombies are still people, that there is a cure. Dale tries to make it even clearer they have been “cut off from the outside world“. The stakes here are higher: Hershel’s wife and stepson are in there. Most of all, Hershel doesn’t want the others to know because he isn’t sure about the others, aside from Rick. Particularly, you can imagine what Shane would do immediately if he were to find out what’s in the barn. Guns blazing.
Lori is scared about having to leave the farm. Hershel wants them out, soon enough. Trying to get Rick to take care of things, Lori chastises him for knowing about Hershel sending them back out into the world and not telling her, or anybody. Hypocritical? I think so. At the same time, Shane and Andrea have some conflict after he pushes her hard when doing gun training. They form a slight bond over the entire situation.
Most interesting, Dale knows that Lori is pregnant. His wife was pregnant once, though they lost the child later. She was similarly sick. But Glenn already told him, anyways. There’s an emotional scene where Lori talks about being with Shane, something Dale already figured out, too. They discuss a few things and she assures Dale the child belongs to Rick. “Memories are what life used to be,” Lori says near tears. She is extremely scared of the world ahead, she isn’t sure of bringing a child into this new, decrepit world. Dale does his best to reassure her, but it isn’t enough for her. A little later, Lori asks Glenn for help on his next run. She seems to have made decisions about the pregnancy, despite having not told Rick yet.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) heads into town on horseback with Glenn once more. But she is pissed. He betrayed confidence and her father is also not pleased with her. Maggie still has a warped notion of how things are, due to her father. She doesn’t see the zombies as dead. Rather they’re still people, like her mom and stepbrother. I suppose it’d be hard at the beginning, though, it may only have to do with their seclusion. The Greenes haven’t yet truly seen and understood what the world has become. They’re still working through it.
In a pharmacy, Maggie is attacked by a walker. Glenn saves her quickly. They both embrace. A bond between them was already evident. Now, it only gets stronger. Furthermore, Maggie is slowly beginning to see the danger of the walkers. They aren’t just mothers and stepbrothers anymore. They’re dangerous creatures out to eat, to kill. A world with them surrounding the living is not a safe one. But back at the ranch, Maggie freaks out. She blames Lori and her “abortion pills“. Not fair. Glenn willingly went out on a run. It isn’t the danger so much as it is Maggie’s worry for the people she loves. “You‘re walker–bait,” she tells him. She doesn’t want his group treating him like an expendable body. She’s starting to love him.
Andrea and Shane come across a grim scene while searching through a suburb. In a garage there are a ton of corpses, burned, death everywhere. Out in the streets a bunch of walkers close in on the two of them. They fire, keeping back the dead. When Andrea has trouble reloading Shane lets a walker come for her; only to teach a lesson. Following this moment, Andrea discovers an inner calm. Now she’s able to focus, to shoot, no matter the circumstances. A warrior in the making. Excellent few minutes in this sequence.
Later on, Glenn brings Lori other pills: prenatal vitamins. He also suggests not making her choice alone, to include Rick. It’s only fair. While it is Lori’s body, as the father Rick deserves to hear about it.
At the same time, Shane and Andrea have a heated journey back towards the farm. They stop in the middle of the road after she grabs hold of his crotch. The two of them let loose and let off some steam.
Back to Lori – she swallows a bunch of the pills. Not a second later regret shows up on her face. She runs into the woods and forces herself to vomit. Her choice is now a different one, at least for the present time. Arriving at the farm, Shane and Andrea are certainly both feeling better, except for having to tell Carol (Melissa McBride) there’s no sign of Sophia.
Dale doesn’t like Shane, though. He wants him to leave. The intelligence of Dale always shows, he can read people. He sees them as they are, without pretense. Further than that he says “I know what kind of man you are” and brings up when Shane had Rick locked in his gun’s sights. Leads to an intense, subtle conversation.
In his tent, Rick discovers the Morning After Pill package torn up, the medication gone. Obviously a devastating thing to find. He tracks Lori down and asks her about the pregnancy. He’s naturally upset about not knowing before she decided to try aborting their child. Lori has a few good, rational points about bringing a child into the post-zombie apocalypse world. At the same time, Rick makes a good point about never giving their family a chance. It’s essentially giving up, in a way. Sure, it would be incredibly difficult. But giving up giving life is admitting the world is finished.
The final bomb drops, as Lori tells Rick about her and Shane. He already sort of understood, he comes to terms with it. “The world went to shit and you thought I was dead, right?” says Rick. Not loving it exactly, he doesn’t get angry. It’ll be interesting to watch the dynamics shift now that Rick knows all the secrets.
Next episode coming up is “Pretty Much Dead Already”. Another exciting and bloody chapter in this wonderful AMC adaptation. Stay tuned.
What Rick and the others discover at the CDC is not exactly what they imagined
Rick and his friends make it to the CDC