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

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

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Claimed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone” – click here
IMG_0179On the road together, just the two of them, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) face harder times than a lot of their friends. They seek refuge wherever and whenever they can, walkers everywhere outside. It’s never easy, though this is a new level even for them.
Beth is giving it her all. She’s come a long way from the girl who once wanted to kill herself and be done with the world. She starts her own fires, rigs a line of hubcaps to use as a signal for intruders. Daryl kills a rattlesnake for them to eat for dinner; he’s a bit more eager to chow down than she is, and I don’t blame her.
She’s getting restless. She wants to go have a drink, like in a bar. He doesn’t pay much mind to it, believing she’s just rambling. But she’s serious, and she is going with or without his help. He tries bringing her back to their camp. She just won’t have it, sitting around doing nothing except surviving. It’s hard to take, especially for young people who’ve barely lived their lives outside a farm.
Beth: “Im not staying in this suck ass camp!”
IMG_0180They find a golf course and head into the country club attached. Inside is dark and full of walkers. Beth is almost chomped by one before she stabs it in the head. Daryl scavenges anything and everything he can find. In the pro shop they find new clothes among other things, including a female zombie, bloody, dressed in clothes with a sign reading RICH BITCH across her chest. Beth insists they cover her up, for dignity’s sake. Long after dingnity has ceased to walk the Earth.
Further on they run into a grandfather clock that starts sounding; not a good sign, as it draws walkers to their position. They move on, fighting off a few of the dead while they go. Daryl messes up Beth’s brand new white t-shirt when he whacks a head to bits all over her. They manage to get to the bar, where she finds a bottle of peach Schnapps. Shitty booze, but you take what you can get! Daryl says fuck that, they need to find a better drink for her first one.
IMG_0183He knows the backwoods, he’s a hunting, tracking machine. They head out into the woods in search of a cabin, one Daryl found before with Michonne. Inside he knows there’ll be moonshine, somewhere. Just like back home with daddy. This is where things start to take a little turn. Because we already know Daryl Dixon didn’t have it easy, we’ve sen the lash marks on his back, dug deep in his skin. He’s been to a terrible place as a boy, lucky to have escaped, I imagine. Being in a place reminiscent of home, drinking shine, it brings up emotions he probably didn’t plan on experiencing.
Before Daryl can go over the edge as their drinking game goes wrong, he sees himself clearly. He takes pleasure in killing the already dead. Then she points out that not everybody is like him, they can’t shrug it all off. She doesn’t think he cares about those they’ve lost.
He doesn’t want to be that man. He feels responsible for what happened at the prison, for Hershel’s death, for the place going to ruin, and he feels that their friends are all dead. And Beth can only think to hug him, hold him close.
Beth: “Killing them is not supposed to be fun
IMG_0184 The two of them get closer, they talk more about life before the turn. Daryl talks about a stupid situation with Merle at a tweaker’s house, and he reveals he didn’t have a job before everything went to hell. He and his older brother were drifters, essentially. He was just “some redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother.”
Their bonding helps them feel better about the world. And they’re becoming better friends, as well. Later, they decide to burn the little cabin down. To leave the bad memories with it, to start fresh and let the fire signal a new beginning. In a way, it’s Daryl leaving part of his ugly past behind, a way to symbolically tear down that part of his life that’s useless to keep around even in memory. They head onto the road, again, and the cabin burns behind them. Flipping the bird as they go.
IMG_0186A quiet, more subdued episode. I did enjoy it. First time I saw this one I didn’t find it as engaging. This time around, I pick out more nuance than before. It’s a great look at Daryl, as it is Beth, too. They’re both on show in their own respects. Love it.
“Alone” is next and we’ll see more of our survivors trying to get down the road in one piece.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 11: “I Ain’t A Judas”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Home” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Clear” – click here
IMG_0047Rick (Andrew Lincoln) won’t run, neither with Glenn (Steven Yeun) or Daryl (Norman Reedus). But Merle (Michael Rooker) advises of the power of the Governor (David Morrissey). They could get starved out if they try staying. Then Hershel (Scott Wilson) finally lays down the line. Rick once said their group was “not a democracy” and that also comes with the responsibilities of said leadership implied.
Outside, trying to get his head right, Rick runs into his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), who says that he has to stop leading the group. He deserves to have a break, to rest. Not just body; his mind, most importantly. Perhaps out of anything this is what comes through to the man – from the mouths of babes.
IMG_0048For his part, the Governor is still brutal. Amongst his own people, as well. He says that “adolescence” is a “20th century invention” and why? Because he needs MEN and WOMEN to FIGHT. There’s a great parallel to be made between him and other likewise heartless modern Republicans. Willing to send anyone with a heartbeat and cognitive abilities to war. Milton (Dallas Roberts) clearly has reservations, and Andrea (Laurie Holden), well she is going to raise hell over the fact he’s planning to do more at the prison.
Over at the old building there’s trouble. Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) obviously don’t want Merle around, though Rick won’t offend Daryl by kicking his brother out. Surprisingly, Hershel says they shouldn’t underestimate Merle’s loyalty to Daryl. The old man talks with him, equally surprising is the fact the eldest Dixon knows the Bible, quoting scripture and finishing sentences for Hershel.
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl continue to get closer. She has an optimistic point of view, glad that he’s back. He believes the prison is a “tomb.” Carol only wants him to make sure he doesn’t fall prey to Merle’s bad influence. Daryl’s a good man, she knows it; they all do.
At Woodbury, Andrea asks Milton about the plans at the prison. Then reveals she’s going there to talk to her friends. She wants him to help her out, to prevent other deaths by talking with Rick. Will he aid her? Or is he too far under the thumb of his master? I’d say the latter for now. Meanwhile, we always get these tiny glimpse into the Governor’s psychosis. They’re terrifying moments, often brief. Here we see him hold a lit match close to the bare, wounded eye, as if he’s about to cauterise the thing. Nasty. Great makeup effects work to boot!
IMG_0052Milton, of course, caves and tells the Governor. He’s asked to help her, to keep up the charade. He does, which requires having to help Andrea make a zombie on a leash like Michonne once did. They go at the dirty work, and it is DIRTY! Love it. Shows off some of the excellent effects, giving us a nice taste of zombie blood and gore. Certainly in part due to Greg Nicotero of KNB fame directing this episode.
Then they run into Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and their crew – who look surprised at what they’re seeing, like you would. The new crew are happier to hear that Woodbury isn’t far, and Milton opts to bring them back while Andrea heads onward to her old pals.
In the prison there’s still tough times ahead. For instance, between Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Merle. He tries to clear the air, not necessarily apologising though relating it wasn’t anything personal. “Let bygones be bygones,” he hopes. This woman does not play that shit.
When Andrea arrives Rick & Co. come out to greet her at the gate, ready for anything. Weapons trained. They’re all worried, and Michonne is shocked to see Andrea, not exactly happy. She’s been in bed, literally, with a murderous animal.
Others receive her a little better, but Rick especially is hostile. Andrea’s caught up on the latest tragedies, who died, who’s lost limbs, so on. She also discovers more of the Governor’s lies. Still, they’re all fed up. “Were gonna kill him,” Rick tells her plainly. Whatever it takes. At the same time she’s sweet on him, calling him Phillip.
Back at Woodbury, Tyrese and his group relate they met a crazy man in a prison. This intrigues the Governor. Others in the group are keen to help with Rick. Although Tyrese and Sasha aren’t entirely comfortable, you can tell just by the look in their eyes.
IMG_0053When Andrea goes back to Woodbury she meets with the Governor, telling him they’re in squalor, that Michonne is there, too. He’s drinking, looking definitively sinister in the shadows of his apartment. I wonder, has the visit with her first post-apocalypse friends changed her mind? It doesn’t seem so, not right away. She falls right back into his arms again.
Beth (Emily Kinney) tries to keep spirits up, singing in the darkness of the prison. Giving the place a light bigger than any fire. It’s a teeny ray of hope. A ray of hope nonetheless. Meanwhile, Rick, Daryl, and Hershel weigh their options of what to do about their coming war. The leader says he’s going on a run, and also lays down the law about Merle; Daryl, the good man he is, understands. Everyone is at different places right now, stuck in the same location. Andrea could make a decision to kill the Governor, and doesn’t do it. It could end right there. Instead she allows more destruction to follow.
IMG_0057Always loved this episode. Such a juxtaposition of awful positions everyone is stuck in, from Rick and his mind, to Tyrese and Sasha hoping to fit in with a community, to Michonne and Merle in that prison, and so much more. Great writing from Angela Kang.
Next is “Clear” and there are many things poised to go down. But will they? Will the tension finally snap? Soon, my friends.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 10: “Home”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 10: “Home”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Suicide King” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “I Ain’t A Judas” – click here
IMG_0020Rick (Andrew Lincoln) watches the prison yard. In the distance he sees a woman in a white dress by the graves and their crosses. It’s Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), who isn’t really there at all. She stands in the white juxtaposed against the dirt of the graves, flies searching for the smell of corpses, buzzing in the air. Then Lori disappears. Suddenly, she’s outside of the gates. He goes running after her, which catches Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the others a little off guard. Because the man is literally losing his mind. Faith has to waver, even just a bit. They’ve put it all in this man, to lead them and protect them, to give them hope. And here he is hallucinating his dead wife. For someone like Michonne who’s only come to know them all recently, this is shocking. Rightfully so.
IMG_0021In Woodbury, Andrea (Laurie Holden) is trying to come to terms with how she feels about the Governor (David Morrissey), reconciling that with what she knows of him, the person he is after all she’s discovered. She worries about her friends back at the prison. He wants her to be the interim leader until he gets his shit together: “We need you
Out in the woods together are Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), alone and arguing. The older brother doesn’t want any part of Rick or the prison. He assumes they’re all dead anyways, once the Governor raises hell. Back at the prison Glenn (Steven Yeun) starts figuring out the reinforcements in the various wards, to prepare for an invasion. He wants to end the whole thing. Hershel (Scott Wilson) thinks otherwise, he thinks they ought to get out and worries Woodbury is now on alert, possibly even headed for them as they speak. Truly, there are no good options. Either way Glenn decides they’re “making a stand” and they’ve all got jobs to do now.
Milton Mamet (Dallas Roberts) is always tinkering with some experiment or another. He gets a visit from the Governor wondering if he’ll stick around, praising his help. He’s surprised. Yet we can see what his leader is doing, he’s sizing Milton up. He also wants him to keep tabs on Andrea. Hmm, interesting. And not really the right guy for anything covert. For a smart, science-oriented guy, Milton’s both cowardly and kind of a weakling-type.
Glenn goes to see Maggie (Lauren Cohan), wanting to talk about their problems. About what happened during their invasion on Woodbury. She tells him what happened in that room with the Governor. It’s almost more about him than it is her; that’s the problem. He makes it like there’s some relief for HIM that she wasn’t raped. But it was never about him, it was always a threat to her. She was being used, and could’ve been assaulted viciously while Glenn was mostly concerned for how HE would feel if it did happen. Tsk, tsk, dude.
An excellent scene to follow is when Axel (Lew Temple) gets a lesson on how to load, cock, and handle a gun from resident bad ass Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). I love her. One of the greatest in the entire series. A great actress given the chance to shine through an especially well-written character.
On the road Merle and Daryl come across a family on a bridge in trouble with walkers. While the older of the two is content to make fun, laughing at them, the younger rushes in to help. Or try, anyways. Another show of Daryl’s good, honourable heart, as opposed to his ruthless brother. Goes to show that nature v. nurture doesn’t always turn out how you expect between two siblings. Fuckin’ Merle even wants to rob the family after his brother helps. Except Daryl ain’t having that. After it all we see the scars that the younger of them bears having been left alone with their abusive father all those years when Merle left.
Merle: “I tried to kill that black bitch. Damn near killed the Chinese kid.”
Daryl: “Hes Korean
Merle: “Whatever, doesnt matter, man. I just cant go with you.”
Daryl: “Im the one thats walkinaway. But youre the one thats leavin‘. Again.”


Glenn’s taking too much on himself and Hershel wants him to step back. He doesn’t want him to end up dead, especially when he trusts him with the life of his daughter. Can’t tell Glenn what to do, though. He’s headstrong, he wants to be a leader when Daryl is missing and Rick is “wandering crazy town.” Can’t blame him, he has those instincts. He’s a smart cookie, too.
Still pushing the limit of sanity, Rick walks along the outer grounds of the prison. Hershel calls to him from the other side of the fences, worried about Glenn, the whole place sort of going to shit without his influence. Rick admits to seeing Lori, hearing her and Shane on the phone before. Instead of making him feel crazy, the old guy reassures the former sheriff that things will be okay, but it won’t bring him back inside just yet.
Then from nowhere a bullet blows Axel’s brains out. The Governor has arrived, he and his men firing on the prison as Rick and the crew take cover, firing back. A truck comes flying in through the gate. The back opens and walkers come piling out into the field causing chaos. Before Rick gets bitten, Daryl puts an arrow into a walker’s head, as he and Merle emerge through the trees. The Governor and his boys back off leaving the chaotic mess, and the prison gang just barely make it out by the skin of their teeth.
What now? All hallucination and no protection makes Rick a mad boy.


An intense one. Particularly due to the relationship between the Dixon Bros, which I always love. On top of that this is one of the most psychological episodes, as we’re seeing the dark depths of what’s going on in Rick’s mind.
Next is “I Ain’t A Judas” and it’s my favourite-titled episode of this season. Also, another fun episode!

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 14: “The Other Side”
Directed by Michael E. Satrazemis
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Bury Me Here” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Something They Need” – click here
Pic 1So what about Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his search for escapee Daryl (Norman Reedus)? That fruit will come to bear soon enough. Right now at Hilltop, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is teaching everyone, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) included how to defend themselves properly. At home Enid and Maggie are like buddies, or almost a mother-daughter relationship. And Jesus (Tom Payne), he’s both a help to Maggie, as well as to others.
Because we can’t forget about Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), she’s preparing to go find Negan, to kill him. Jesus, he helps by drawing a map to show her what The Saviors’ compound looks like.
Note: The beauty of this opening sequence is that there’s not a word spoke, only the sound of breathing, if that, and the images telling a story. Really beautiful stuff. Powerful technical filmmaking on television.
Then Rosita (Christian Serrators) arrives, like the end of last episode. Now she and Sasha have a mission, together. But it’s very, very dangerous.
Pic 1AWe also discover that Jesus is gay. Or at least that’s how it sounds. He and Maggie have a heart to heart, which as usual, as any conversation in this new world does, leads to more of what’s next to do, in order to survive.
Jesus finds Sasha, looking for ammo. He and Enid both realise Rosita’s not there to train anyone. They’re going to kill Negan. But the other two try helping, they want Sasha to stick around and help. She’s a strong person, an asset to anyone she’s helping. Jesus also likes having her around, for many reasons not least of which is her strength and determination. Sasha is a great character. And so is Rosita.
This is why I get worried. When characters get a close focus, those other than Rick and Carl and a couple other key players, it’s often right before they’re killed. I hope this isn’t the case. I love Sasha and Rosita. They’re tough, smart.
Jesus: “‘Cause its a long life, and then it isnt.”
The Saviors show up unexpectedly. This sends the two women off on their escape. Likewise, Daryl and Maggie are hidden in a cellar as the men come invading Hilltop. Gregory (Xander Berkeley) does his duty, doing the dance when Simon (Steven Ogg) comes with, you guessed it, no good news. They’re only there to find somebody for Negan. In the meantime, Rosita and Sasha are on the road again, an unlikely yet understandable duo. They’re equally stubborn about the way forward. Each of them want revenge, and I get that. They just have to focus, otherwise it’s more and more likely they won’t make it; together or not. For now they kill zombies, going back and forth with what they think is best to do.


At Hilltop, Enid gets worried when one of The Saviors discovers the cellar. She does her best to keep him away. It’s no use. Except he doesn’t find anyone, only some fruit.
So it seems Simon and his boys have come to collect Dr. Harlan Carson. They’ve been sent by Negan to bring him back. “Congratulations, youre movinup in the world,” Simon says in that ugly charm of his, and then we realise that Dr. Carson’s brother is the one who was killed so violently as of late by Negan. Yikes. So on he goes, to the land of “cardamom gelato” and other delights. However, Gregory isn’t pleased with being so powerless. He tries currying favour with Simon, only getting a deal that he can come see the man at the compound; name at the gate and everything. Not exactly what he wanted. Then again, Gregory doesn’t have much of a spine. I wonder, will that change down the road?
Back to the man in the fruit cellar, Maggie stops Daryl from killing him, and then on he goes. They’re safe and sound. Only Daryl would rather kill every last one of them instead of waiting for the perfect time. He and Maggie wind up talking about Glenn’s death; he feels entirely responsible, apologising to her. She wants to kill The Saviors, just like Daryl. Only she wants to make sure they win.
Maggie (to Daryl): “Youre one of the good things in this world. Thats what Glenn thought. And he would know, ‘cause he was one of the good things, too.
Meanwhile, Hilltop’s left without a doctor. Not a good prospect in the post-zombie apocalypse world.


Rosita and Sasha start enacting a plan to get past a crowd of walkers and to another car. Lighting a separate car on fire, they draw a group of them away and hot wire the vehicle. It starts and they’ve got at least a drop of luck on their side. Rosita’s a bad ass driver to boot.
At The Saviors compound, Sasha and Rosita set up in an adjacent, abandoned building with the sniper rifle. They can see Eugene (Josh McDermitt) doing work. For the time being the two women actually bond over a bit of rigging while Sasha learns to tie knots on a piece of rope. They, of course, talk about Abraham soon enough. And Rosita admits to initially hating Sasha, though it was probably because he “figured his shit out first.” This is a great scene of dialogue between them, as the characters have all these unresolved issues with Abraham after his tragic death. After they come to terms with everything, it only makes their new bond stronger. If anything for the memory of their dead friend and lover who was struck down so cowardly by Negan, without a fighting chance.
Then Sasha sees that Dr. Carson, who was taking care of Maggie, has been taken to the compound. Just as Negan comes out to greet their newest addition. No clean shot with the sniper, particularly with the doc too near. The women hear Eugene over the radio; he mentions Negan will be in his room for a while, so this prompts them to want to head inside.


At Hilltop, Gregory calls Jesus in for a chat. Says he’s slacking, and there are too many people in his trailer. Everyone’s got to pull their weight now. Jesus sees through their fearful leader, which draws a perceived threat from Gregory. He makes clear they aren’t friendly anymore. Uh oh. I don’t like the dude’s ‘tude. And I love Jesus, so I’d hate to see anything uncool happen to him. But no matter – Daryl’s figured out that Sasha and Rosita have taken off, alerting Jesus.
Speaking of the kick ass ladies, they pop a guy in the head who’s out working with Eugene. They want to break him out. “Im not goinwith you,” he tells them. He’s brainwashed, willingly. Too full of cowardice to do anything for himself, or help those that once helped him so much.
The women go in. Well, Sasha does. She closes the fence behind her and goes on, telling Rosita it isn’t her time – the same said earlier of Abraham. So Rosita goes running away, as Sasha works her way violently into the compound. And in the shadows waiting for her is Daryl.
I wonder if he and Rosita will follow Sasha. And is it definitely Daryl? Could it be Dwight?
Pic 5What a great chapter in the last bit of Season 7! I can’t wait to see whatever excitement comes in the last couple episodes. So tense. So many sacrifices for Rick, Rosita, Sasha, Maggie, Daryl, all of them. Will they gain any ground? Or will the end of Season 7 provoke more devastation? You know someone’s dying, but who knows who’ll that be, either.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 10: “New Best Friends”
Directed by Jeffrey F. January
Written by Channing Powell

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Rock in the Road” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hostiles and Calamities” – click here
pic-1After the Kingdom, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his fellow Alexandrians searched for Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). Only to come across another group entirely.
Meanwhile, King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Morgan (Lennie James), Richard (Karl Makinen) and some others meet with a few of The Saviors for a pickup. Although the men from Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) camp make a fuss, the King assures them all is well. Then a standoff between Richard and one of the idiot Saviors breaks out of nowhere.
Where do we go from here?” asks Richard. To which his King replies to hand over his gun. A little bit more violence breaks out when the man oversteps his boundaries, then Morgan and Benjamin (Logan Miller) step in until things even out.
Expect things to get more “visceral” eventually, though. On top of everything Morgan’s lost his staff. Back at the Kingdom, Daryl (Norman Reedus) isn’t happy staying cooped up, particularly with everybody just laying down for the Saviors. “You know what they are,” he scolds Morgan, and wishes Carol (Melissa McBride) knew about Glenn and Abraham. Because if so they’d be headed for Negan to kill them all.
And damn, if that isn’t the truth.
One thing I love is that we’ve got guys using bow and arrow, which is only a step from the crossbow Daryl so excellently wielded. Richard and Daryl could prove to become an exciting team.
pic-2See, Richard has a plan, and he’s looking for help from Daryl. In his trailer he has weapons. They grab some things then head out to the open road. Note: I don’t say it enough, though everyone who loves the series knows it – the production is all around spectacular, the locations and the props and the cars off the road, they make everything look damn believable.
Turns out that Richard is leading Daryl right to Carol. He’s gone insane wanting to try and turn Ezekiel towards fighting. He wanted to go out there, kill her, use that as a catalyst. Seriously, man? Whoa. In general that’d be horrific, even worse that they had a brief thing together, too. At least Daryl’s there to protect her, while she sits unsuspecting in that cabin.
Daryl: “Anything happens to her, Ill kill ya.”
Richard: “Id die for the Kingdom
Daryl: “Then why dont you?”
Returning to Rick & Co, they’ve wound up in an odd place. Just as strange as the Kingdom. The Alexandrians are surrounded by people. Led by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh). So, she goes back and forth with Rick. Although allowing them to see Gabriel, who looks frightened but no worse for wear. Rick tells Jadis and her group of The Saviors, asking for help to fight. She flat out refuses with a simple, direct “no.” Shit goes sideways. Soon, Gabriel has a woman named Tamiel (Sabrina Gennarino) at knife point. All is well once the former priest talks his, and the Alexandrians’, way out of their predicament. He talks up Rick, the group, their abilities. After awhile they take Rick to the “up up up” where Jadis explains their community, a tad, offering their help if he’s worth their time.
pic-3Which means Rick gets tossed into a pit of filthy garbage. Suddenly an insanely medieval-looking walker appears, blades coming out of it everywhere, in the skull and through the torso. He fights against it with whatever he can. And to stop it he has to pierce his own hand with one of the blades. Then, his foot. As Rick struggles, Michonne (Danai Gurira) tells him to use the walls. When he does he gets the zombie down and stabs its brains in with a shard of glass. HARDCORE, BABY! Rick Grimes. All day.
Rick (to Jadis): “Believe us now?”
Their leader wants guns. A bunch. Then they’ll all rally together, fight the good fight.
And as quick as the community gathered, they disappear. Leaving the Alexandrians to their work ahead. There’s a bit of that old cocky Rick still kicking. I think as much as it helps him to be confident, Michonne and the others feel better when they can see he’s level-headed and fighting instead of spaced out and near insane after some of the more devastating moments in their history. Right now, the team are ready for anything.
Carol receives a visit from King Ezekiel and a few of the Kingdom’s residents; even a cobbler from Jerry (Cooper Andrews). She reluctantly takes the delicious treats, beckoning for them all to leave. She’s busy reading, trying to get on with… life. Not long passes and Daryl comes to the door. A crazy emotional moment. The one person she does want to open the door to see, even if Daryl’s sad that she left, to be on her own.
Later on, Rick tells Gabriel “enemies can become friends” (as they themselves did once) and that’s why, in a world with The Saviors pushing their will onto others, he knew that finding Jadis and their community was more an opportunity to find the enemy of my enemy, that kind of thing, y’know? Regardless, this strange community warns that they better receive guns. Soon. Or else.


Over in the cabin, Carol tells Daryl she couldn’t kill anyone else, she couldn’t watch anyone else be killed. She then asks if everyone’s okay, if they’re hurt. She almost knows the answer without a word. Only Daryl lies: “Everyones all right.” Oh, Carol’s gonna be mad when she finds out the truth. She will, down the road, because you know she’s not staying out of everything permanently. For the time being, she and Daryl sit together as he eats soup, and life is normal life.
That never lasts long. They know it, so when they get those normal minutes in the day they take them, cherish them. Afterwards, Daryl plans on heading for Hilltop, which he does the next morning. To prepare.
Will the Kingdom come to its senses? Will the addition of another community and the power Jadis wields help convince Ezekiel? Will Rick even get the guns for her?
pic-10pic-11An awesome chapter in the back half of Season 7! Really loved this episode. Fun, gnarly zombie, Rick being a bad ass, Pollyanna fucking McIntosh! Doesn’t get much better.
Next up is “Hostiles and Calamities” and I bet Negan will return. With a bang.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 7: “Sing Me a Song”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 7: “Sing Me a Song”
Directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
Written by Angela Kang & Corey Reed

* For a review of the previous episode, “Swear” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Hearts Still Beating” – click here
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I’m worried about Michonne (Danai Gurira). She found all those mattresses the Saviors burned on them and now she just can’t bring herself to believe what Rick (Andrew Lincoln) does about the way forward. And now, she’s beginning to revert to a few of her old ways again.
And Rick, he’s with Aaron (Ross Marquand), wondering about Michonne.
At the same time a few greasers sit along the road, driving the truck Jesus (Tom Payne) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are hiding inside. This is an interesting pair. Jesus is a young guy, though experienced, and a bad ass. I used to hate Carl and then he grew up, got a bit bad ass himself. They might be good together. Except Carl ditches him, very clever, and heads on by himself. This kid’s balls are too big for his own good.
When the Saviors roll into Negantown and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) comes out to inspect the latest haul, Carl opens fire with an assault rifle. “I only want Negan, he killed my friends; no one else needs to die.” The man himself is impressed: “You are adorable,” says Negan. He is a saucy, mouthy bastard. They disarm the boy, but then the leader welcomes him as a guest. As Daryl (Norman Reedus) watches nearby. Fuck, this is maybe one of the most intense openers of any episode, at least in a long while. Plus we see how big Negan’s home is, and it’s massive.
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Carl is brought inside to see what things are like on Negan’s side. The kid’s also schooled in how to be a bad ass by maybe the ultimate bad ass himself; like him or not. Everyone in there kneels before him. Gross. It’s like he gives a sermon. Or a speech in the way of a dictator.
Back in Alexandria, Rosita (Christian Serratos) doesn’t want to give things over to Negan and his Saviors. She doesn’t like Spencer (Austin Nichols) and his bullshit, either. So she and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) are going to head out. You know where: to find bullet making materials.
We see how Negan is trying to corrupt Carl. He wants to corrupt everyone he comes in contact with, and especially anybody he perceives as more helpless to his violence, such as women and children. He is really one disgusting man. He uses increments of violence to ensure further cooperation just by threat later, like reading straight out of portions of Machiavelli’s The Prince.
Did you notice Carl lean in quick while Negan turned for a second? Definitely said something. Either way, at this point I’m not willing to count out anything when it comes to Carl; whether it’s him getting killed tragically somehow, or doing something wild to get himself free.


We see more of Spencer literally hating Rick. He admits it to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). He has a lot of strong feelings. And I can see Spencer going the way of his character in the comics. For those who read them, you know what I’m talking about. Gabriel, though – he has faith in Rick. The priest holds onto Rick’s leadership, while Spencer all but wishes for his death.
Gabriel: “What youre saying doesnt make you a sinner. But it does make you a tremendous shit. Just for now. It doesnt have to be terminal.”
Negan likes the cut of Carl’s jib. He likes that the kid is smart, a bit ruthless. He also wants to see the hole in the kid’s face where that eye used to sit. “Its like talkinto a birthday present,” he taunts. Then Carl shows him. He shames the boy, asking to touch it. Being an all around piece of shit until Carl weeps a little. And this actually provokes a response in the man. He apologises, forgetting he’s been talking to a kid. Wow. Afterwards the title of the episode comes when Negan asks for Carl to sing him a tune. In return for the men he mowed down. And the kid sings “You Are My Sunshine” for the evil nutcase, as he swings Lucille wildly in the background. “Lucille loves beinsung to.”
Oh, my. Now comes something awful. There’s an iron in the fire, and somebody’s due to get branded. Negan preaches another sermon about The Saviors, out there to supposedly save the world. Right on, dude. Someone in their crew has gone against the pack; more so against Negan. So he must be branded for his transgressions. Just like Dwight (Austin Amelio). God, that’s vicious. At least they have a doctor to tend to the burn.


Already with supplies, Rosita and Eugene get back to the bullet making factory. But he doesn’t feel good being there. The memories of Abraham lingering at that place, as well as the fact he isn’t sure about barrelling into Rosita’s half-cocked plan. However, she is damn convincing.
We see Dwight and his former wife Sherry (Christine Evangelista), they obviously still care for each other and are only apart because of Negan. The nasty leader is up trying to “break” Carl, as he does with Daryl. The kid, like Daryl, is strong. He doesn’t give the motherfucker an inch. How will Negan deal with him? Especially when Carl threatens to kill him. So instead of anything else, Negan opts to go for a ride out to take Carl home. He doesn’t notice Jesus on top of their vehicle, nor that Jesus disappears quickly. He does notice that Daryl is ready to kill him if Carl is hurt.
Underneath the door in his closet, tucked in the dark, Daryl gets a message: GO NOW. Is it from Sherry? I’d bet on it. She is a good woman, forced into unimaginable horror.
On a road lays a pile of walkers blocking access any further. This is a pile Michonne has made. She disarms a woman and orders: “Take me to Negan.” Man, everybody is just out for going after the guy alone. Instead of listening to Rick – even though he’s not perfect – they all want to go try taking Negan out by themselves.

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In Alexandria, Negan strolls through with Carl. He wants to wait for Rick to come home. He goes on to insult Olivia and her weight, then trying to have sex with her; she slaps his face, though. Good woman! Fuck that guy and his bullshit. Luckily he just decides to sit there and wait. And drink a bit of lemonade.
What follows is a hilariously soundtracked montage of Negan settling in around the house, playing darts, feeling the carpet between his toes. He discovers Judith in her crib, despite Carl trying to prevent it. Weird seeing such a horrific pig like Negan holding an innocent child.
While her dad Rick and uncle Aaron are out on their own. They come across a sign, stating a man lives past that sign and he’s ready to kill anybody getting too close. Is he dead? Or is he still somewhere out there lurking? Nearby on the lake is a boat, supplies likely still aboard.
When Spencer, Eugene, and Rosita return to Alexandria they find Negan already there obviously. He’s taken up in the neighbourhood. “Oh, I like it here,” he says with a menacing smile, still holding Carl’s little sister. Thinking about whether he’ll murder Carl and his father.

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Fuck, this was an intense episode in places. A couple slow parts, but I can see they’re setting a few things up. Lots to look forward to in “Hearts Still Beating” next.

The Walking Dead – Season 7, Episode 3: “The Cell”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 7, Episode 3: “The Cell”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Angela Kang

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Well” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Service” – click here
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This week, we’re back with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his captive, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). Will we see a confrontation? Doubtful. I worry mostly for Daryl because he cares too much. Seeing as how, technically, he’s the reason Glenn took a barbed wire bat to the dome – over and over until his brains were mush – I feel as if Daryl’s going to take that on heavily, and psychologically he might never be the same again. It’ll be most interesting because Daryl’s not a comic book character, so his reaction to and involvement with Glenn dying comes totally from the writers here on the series. Let’s hope they do him right.
With Daryl in the clutches of Negan’s Saviors he witnesses how they live, which involves alcohol, lots of fresh food, even watching old tapes of Who’s the Boss? or at least that’s how it is for Dwight (Austin Amelio). Not everyone is so privileged. The Saviors have free run of everything within their grasp. Everyone in sight kneels for Negan, though. What a sad, sorry lot. Dwight pillages food to make himself a sandwich, as Daryl gets fed dog food between two buns. He’s already been down to eating dog chow. Stuck in a dark hole he’ll take what he can get. No less humiliating.
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Poor Daryl, he has to listen to awful music, tortured how they liked to do in Guantanamo. He’s fed dog food, woken up constantly by the same song. No idea how much time is passing. They’re trying to break him down. The want to make him a Savior, from what I can tell. At one point he’s brought – wearing a sweatshirt bearing a large orange A – to a room where Dr. Carson (Tim Parati) checks him out. They run into Sherry (Christine Evangelista), who’s recently tested negative for pregnancy. Hmm, interesting. Does she belong to Negan? Or are she and Dwight an item? Hard to tell. But you can be sure women are probably closet to second class citizens in this type of society. The doctor has nothing for Daryl other than: “Negan will take care of you.” They run into the man himself. He wants to chat with Dwight. The saddest is seeing Daryl stare at a real room, one with a bed, a chair, books, so on.
Meanwhile, he’s brought outside where a ton of walkers are behind a chain link fence. Other men with sweatshirts, numbers spray painted on them, are in the pen. Dwight threatens Daryl, as if he’s not aware of the danger around him already. Then he gets tossed back in the dark little room to rot. “I aint ever gonna kneel,” Daryl tells his captor. If he doesn’t though, what exactly will happen? Dwight seems to think he’ll kneel. Sooner or later. And the music starts all over again. Enough to drive any normal person totally insane. Negan’s happy with the progress, all said. We get a bit of saucy talk from the leader, mentioning “you know who” – I assume that’s Sherry. I can see somewhere down the line somebody will take inspiration from the coming rebellion against Negan, and one of his own men is someday going to be part of his downfall. That’s my take. One thing’s for sure: Negan has Dwight wrapped around his fist, not even just a finger.

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Daryl gets himself out of the dark closet and makes it down one of the equally dark hallways nearby. At the same time, Dwight is on the road headed somewhere, trying to move through a crowd of zombies left splattered along the highway. Parts are caked with guts, and then Dwight is nearly taken out once a walker comes flying down off the overpass. Whoa.
In the hallways Sherry finds Daryl. She warns him: “Theres always more. You wont get away. And when youre back, itll be worse.” Negan and his boys find him, too. They crowd around our hero. “Who are you?” Negan asks the guys around him: “Negan,” they all reply in creepy cult fashion. “I am everywhere,” he explains to Daryl. He makes clear that there is no way forward, alive, except to follow him. He even throws back to the bat, about to smash another head. Daryl flinches not even an inch. That doesn’t impress Lucille, though it does Negan. He’s one sick bastard, this guy. The Saviors beat Daryl down on their own like a bunch of bitches. Once he’s put back in the hole, Sherry comes to talk. About the last time she saw Daryl, when they stole his bike. And she admits to being sorry, finally.
On his way home Dwight looks rough. He happens across a man being attacked by a walker, he tackles him. It’s a stray from the flock. He doesn’t want to be a part of what Negan has going on there, not anymore. We discover that Dwight had a wife – Sherry – and that Negan did something bad, to them both; did he claim Sherry as his own? I think so. Either way, being on Negan’s side doesn’t always guarantee safety. Not fully. That’s what we’re coming to understand gradually. Isn’t that the general rule for cults? Because make no mistake: his commune is a cult. This man isn’t allowed to walk away, though. Dwight makes sure of it.

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More dog food sandwiches for Daryl, more mental abuse. He’s left with one of those Polaroids, y’know, the ones we saw Glenn looking at near the end of last season when they came upon The Saviors’ lair. Sadly, this one is of Glenn’s smashed brains. Daryl gets left in the dark with having to see what he, accidentally, caused for his friend. It is horrific, and breaks his heart into pieces. Plus, more music to drive him mad (Roy Orbison’s “Crying” I believe).
Note: a silently amazing performance in this episode out of Reedus; an actor’s actor right now.
Later, Daryl’s brought to see Negan in that nice room the former stared into earlier. The fearful leader tells the tale of Dwight, his former wife, her ill sister. Seems that Negan wanted to make her his wife, then Dwight ran off with the ladies and stolen medication. We further discover Lucille had to take a victim. Then Sherry agreed to marry Negan, in order to save her husband. Dwight still had to take his punishment, all the same. Yikes, what a fucking horrorshow.
He finally asks Daryl: “Who are you?” No reply.
Will he break?
He asks once again and the nearly broken man replies: “Daryl.” So into the hole, more torture. They won’t kill him. Yet. But before Dwight leaves him alone, Daryl appeals to any bit of humanity left inside the guy. He makes clear that it isn’t only about him. He can’t give up. Not for Negan; not for anybody. I can see a glimmer of hope left deep in Dwight, I’d like to think he can change. However, it’s unclear if that can ever happen. If he could ever live through it. What’s interesting is he wears the old biker cut Daryl wore, wings and all. Sort of speaks hope in itself.


I am loving Season 7! They are stepping up, in big ways. Lot of different avenues for storytelling and different plots from various characters, many angles. Negan allows for plenty of that, as does the opening up of communities in the zombie apocalypse.
Next episode is titled “Service” and I believe we’ll begin to see the communities interact more. Will we see Rick Grimes and the crew, as well?

Whatcha Gonna Do When THE BOONDOCK SAINTS Come For You?

The Boondock Saints. 1999. Directed & Written by Troy Duffy.
Starring Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco, Billy Connolly, Brian Mahoney, Bob Marley, Dot-Marie Jones, Scott Griffith, Layton Morrison, Gerard Parkes, & Carlo Rota.
Franchise Pictures/Fried Films/Brood Syndicate.
Rated R. 108 minutes.
Action/Crime/Thriller

★★★★
POSTER Certain films are built on heart. A ton of it.
I remember when this originally came out. I saw this when I was about 14, so there’s a lot of nostalgia having not really watched this movie much in the past decade at least. One of those movies I did enjoy a great deal. Especially for a young teenage dude there’s a ton of testosterone, in a fun, action sort of way. Yet there’s a smart side, which also includes an interestingly written character that director-writer Troy Duffy wound up getting Willem Dafoe to play. If you’ve ever seen the documentary from 2003, Overnight, you may understand why I phrase it that way. Not because the material isn’t worthy, but because Duffy is an insufferable type of personality. The fact he managed to make this wonderful little slice of action cinema is beyond me. Mixed with doses of comedy, crime, and quite a few thrills, The Boondock Saints struck a chord. In a day and age where justice seems few and far between for victims the world could do worse than the MacManus brothers. 17 years ago as of this writing, the catharsis of watching two men take vigilante justice for their city on the evil men within took people by surprise. I can’t say exactly why the movie became a big success and gained a following of highly loving, devoted fans. Of which I’d consider myself one. Although I can’t stand the sequel. This one has a few blemishes, I can’t pretend it doesn’t. That doesn’t matter to me. The Boondock Saints is too much fun and joyfully quirky without going overboard. The entire movie is full of heart. If you find yourself bored we might not have been watching the same film.
Pic1 The tone is pretty much set in the credits when the MacManus brothers get in a fight with a big, butch woman at work. You know these guys are foolish, at the same time there’s no telling at all what they’ll do, or of what they may be capable.
Quickly things get exciting. Soon as Agent Smecker (Willem Dafoe) gets into the interrogation room with Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) MacManus we flashback to what Duffy previously set up. This an overall trend in the film that works to his advantage. He creates a situation, starts out showing us how things begin, then defers the action slightly. Afterwards, he goes back and tells the story while also moving the plot along. It’s honestly great writing. Another sequence I love in that fashion is when they go for the Russians at the hotel, coming in from the ceiling; this one works the best, I believe. Intense, funny, wild action. Can’t forget Rocco’s “catch you on the flipside” sequence. That one’s fairly bad ass. Fairly good for a chuckle here and there, too.
Pic2 Maybe some of the dialogue isn’t as great as it ought to be, some a bit cheesy – there are a couple moments that cheese it up, as well, such as when they each wake up on the cots in the jail, water dripping on them. Bit too much. Despite any of its faults, for the most part the screenplay is absolutely well written. The plot and the story are good fun. Even if Duffy never makes any other movies he can pride himself on knowing this is a fucking awesome script. As a director, Duffy mostly knows what he’s doing. Or, he knows what he wants to do. Not always successful. This movie’s a wild ride even in its weakest moments. A bit too much music in places where it wasn’t necessary. Certain scenes work perfectly, especially with classical stuff. Others, Duffy could have kept things without the little snippets of crap music – for instance, when Smecker stumbles out of a gay bar in the morning and heads to the Roman Catholic Church nearby, there’s a piece that plays, it’s awful, on top of the fact there’s no need. So these small portions take away from the good stuff, only in a slight way. Nothing too major.
Pic2 Characters like Rocco (David Della Rocco) and Agent Smecker don’t come along too often. While I do love the MacManus brothers, these other two are gold. When Rocco has to tell Yakavetta (Carlo Rota) the joke, it’s a perfect scene on paper, but Della Rocco plays the whole thing so well it’s hard to believe he’s not a regular actor. Maybe it’s a one time hit for him. Christ, though, you can’t not laugh at this guy. Not even just after the intimidating Yakavetta starts to laugh, finally. The whole thing is a riot. Then end of the scene is actually perfection, along with a well edited cut. That’s not the end for Rocco in terms of his time to shine. He gets a few moments to excel, and does he ever.
The star of the show for me is Willem Dafoe. I’d enjoyed him before seeing this, after catching Platoon late on television one night, uncut; might have been 10 or 11 then. So after experiencing his performance in this he automatically became one of my favourites, still to this day. He’s a versatile actor, one whose abilities lie in all kinds of eccentric roles. Agent Paul Smecker is a goldmine for a guy like him. Dafoe all but bounces off the walls, giving life to a totally atypical gay character, as well as an atypical FBI Agent character opposed to what we’re used to (one of my favourite FBI Agents in fiction next to Special Agent Dale Cooper), so refreshing to see.
Pic3 This is an unforgettable film. Even with the missteps and a couple bad directorial choices, Troy Duffy does a solid job in the chair. The Boondock Saints came along at a perfect time. It filled the gap for indie cinema (started out indie anyway), as other, bigger movies in 1999 came pumping out of Hollywood: The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, The Mummy, Toy Story 2, The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile. Same year Stanley Kubrick finished his final film, Eyes Wide Shut. The Blair Witch Project put horror back on the radar in a big way, launching a renewed interested in found footage (one that continues almost ad nauseam).
So it’s no stretch to say Duffy and his movie were up against big competition. A huge year for film, even aside from just the big names I mentioned. This smaller budget film (yes in Hollywood $7-million is still considered as such compared to the big productions) proved you didn’t need the groundbreaking effects, nor did you require ‘bankable’ stars. If a script is good enough, the director energetic and in this case brash, willing to get what he wants no matter the cost, perhaps the movie can find its legs. Naturally, it didn’t help that a movie featuring plenty gun play ended up coming out right after Columbine’s massacre, and Duffy himself clashed with producers, among other things. Still, you watch this and sticks with you. Forget its little negatives. There aren’t many. The positives are a resounding fresh breath of crime-thriller air, filled with action, and best of all this one will make you laugh. If you can’t have some fun with a flick like this, there’s no telling what you need. To me, The Boondock Saints is just damn good fun.