Tagged The Wolves

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

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

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

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The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 4: “Here’s Not Here”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 4:
 “Here’s Not Here”
Directed by Stephen Williams
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a review of the previous episode, “Thank You” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Now” – click here
IMG_2245This is an episode I’ve looked forward to, unlike some – a nice long look at who Morgan Jones (Lennie James) has become, where he’s been and how he got back to Alexandria.
We open with him talking to the unseen leader of the Wolves (Benedict Samuel), but then quickly it transitions from NOW to THEN. Back at the house where Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) last saw him before their reunion.
Morgan is having a fairly animated conversation with himself. He’s pissed, ranting, raving. A fire starts and burns the place down. So out into the world he goes, once more. Honestly a lot of people complained about this episode because it’s so Morgan-centric. Me, I dig it. You can’t just explain away a guy going from a lunatic to zen so easily as to re-introduce him; they had to do this episode. I think it’s actually keen of the showrunners to do it this way. Everyone is dying for answers about Glenn (Steven Yeun). Me too, I can just wait – I like the slow burn.
Also, something many people forget: Morgan is the one who saved Rick’s life, all those seasons, all those days ago. So why wouldn’t we get to see more about him? I get it, the timing is what threw people. Again I say it’s a smart move on behalf of the show. Much as people will complain and gripe, which they already did all over social media last night/today, they’re going to hang in there, they’ll talk about it constantly, until the next episode come Sunday.
IMG_2246For the first little bit while Morgan is out in the woods, it’s zombie effects time. A couple real nasty looking customers wander out of the trees, another right through the fire. But then we see him murder two men, who seemed to be following him. He screams at one, strangling him with bare hands: “You know, you don’t!
Yet there’s still a reasonable aspect to him, under the madness. He builds himself a protective cocoon of trees whittled into spikes. Morgan survives somehow, on his own, all alone in the wilderness. He waves a big stick around at the voices in his head. There’s some tragic stuff happening. Lennie James is someone I’ve enjoyed long before now. He really does great stuff with the character of Morgan.
After a little while, though, Morgan comes across a cabin. Refusing to put down his gun – like you and I probably would in his situation, be honest – a man named Eastman (John Carroll Lynch) whacks Morgan a good one across the back of the head. Thus begins the cruel tutelage of Eastman.
IMG_2248 IMG_2249 IMG_2250 IMG_2251Something I wondered ever since Morgan first started to reappear, almost right at the heels of Rick & Co. – why does he all of a sudden fight with a staff, like a ninja or a samurai or whatever? Well, now we start to get some explanations.
I’ve long enjoyed John Carroll Lynch, ever since The Drew Carey Show. Always found his character on the show to be fairly progressive, in a way; say what you will. He’s been awesome in other things, most recently American Horror Story (playing Twisty the Clown in Season 4 + John Wayne Gacy in Season 5 for an episode) and he had a nice turn on Carnivale near its finish. So it’s pretty fun to have him here, if only for a one-off episode in Morgan’s storyline. Either way, he’s important, and he was absolutely the right fit for this character.
The exchange between Eastman and Morgan, once things settle down, is fairly interesting. Eastman happens to be a doctor, specializing in mental health. Such an intriguing perspective to see out of during the zombie apocalypse. Plus, Eastman is so damn chill. Even with all the shit Morgan ends up giving him, starting a fight when the guy’s only trying to be a good man, Eastman continues to give him a chance. Essentially what this man provides Morgan is a way to recognize the humanity in himself again. Much like Rick lost a lot of his humanity, Morgan has gone off the deep end. Worse than Rick ever did; seeing the ghost of Lori, and more, Rick still held it together when it mattered most, he still retained his foundational human spirit. Morgan is a broken man. What Eastman provides is a way to start admitting that, as well as the possibility of coming back from it and living again – some way, somehow.
IMG_2253 IMG_2255 IMG_2256Eastman: “That was Aikido. That’s how I kicked your ass earlier. Well, that’s how I redirected your ass.”
IMG_2257Through the teachings of Aikido, slowly Morgan begins to learn “all life is precious” again. Like it was before. It’s naturally a part of the post-zombies world, to begin feeling as if life means nothing any longer. So many of the survivors still on the show and living have fallen into the despair of this line of thinking. Morgan just happens to be the epitome of that feeling, he lost himself completely after his son died.
But it’s the story Eastman tells Morgan about his family which really breaks the heart. It’s right then I feel Morgan truly switches his mindset, he sees how vicious the world was even before and remembers that it’s human beings who are the worst of all, not even the zombies. It is us. And maybe he does not want to be that us anymore. This scene between Eastman and Morgan at the dinner table, the low light, the soft spoken dialogue, it’s one of my personal favourite scenes on The Walking Dead out of its entire run; definitely at the top. There’s so much going on within this scene and the situation between these two, a great bit of writing.
IMG_2259Very sad to see Eastman take a bite, stepping in to try and help Morgan after he begins to trip out while a zombie shambles towards him. Then, they have a fight with their staffs, which is pretty damn bad ass. Morgan is not fully in the zen zone as of yet, after he falls in their scuffle he once more begs Eastman: “Kill me – kill me!
Even after the bite, though, Eastman continually keeps in the zen perspective himself. Morgan heads back over the edge a bit, or totally, yet the big guy just sticks to his Aikido guns and doesn’t seem to be worried much about his current predicament. But DAMMIT – right as I was starting to love Eastman, he goes and has to get bit. Not like I expected him to be more than a one-time character, I just wanted more of him and didn’t want to see him go out like that.
IMG_2261 IMG_2262However, it’s through this event Morgan finally comes back around to himself. He briefly encounters a couple, one of them wounded, and he doesn’t kill them, or attack them, as he would have before meeting Eastman. Then he rushes back to his teacher. Eastman also reveals he starved the man who killed his family to death – it gave him “no peace“, putting him Morgan was all alone and raving mad, so then he vowed not to kill again. Touching stuff, really. So many well acted scenes between these two.
IMG_2263 IMG_2264The episode closes with Morgan again talking to the leader of the Wolves, who has a fairly nasty, infected wound. He believes he’ll die, but if not plans on killing Morgan, killing everyone in Alexandria even the children. So will Morgan continue with the all life is precious mantra? Or how will it work? He already let this guy live once and look what happened. If Morgan can’t break with the idea of killing another person, it could mean much more trouble than has already come down.
IMG_2265 IMG_2266Very much excited to see the next episode, “Now”. We’ll get back to all the main action in Alexandria, but there’s no guarantee we’re going to immediately find out about Glenn. Though, I have a sneaking suspicion he is very much still alive.
See you again for another one next week, Walking Dead-ites!

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

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

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