Posted in Television

TWD: “Go Getters” & “Swear” thoughts

“Go Getters”

the-walking-dead-605-go-getters-and-whats-causing-the-huge-ratings-drop-2016-images-400x240We finally get a resolution for the health of Maggie and her unborn baby. They’re fine. But Carson, the Hilltop’s MD, wants Maggie to stay at Hilltop in case she experiences more complications. Jesus is all for it of course, but Gregory, being the consummate prick that he is, wants no part of Maggie and Sasha’s residence.

Gregory is super mad that Maggie and the Alexandrians lied about killing all the Saviors. If you recall last season, Rick and the gang made a pact with Hilltop promising to kill all the Saviors if Hilltop gave Alexandria a whole bunch of supplies up front. The problem, as we have come to find out, is that Rick and his group aren’t the biggest bad asses in the zombie apocalypse anymore. Gregory has a legitimate fear that if the Saviors find Alexandrians at Hilltop, they’ll know the two communities conspired and some skull bashing action will take place.

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Though Gregory is a large a-hole and a coward, he’s right. Maggie didn’t follow through on her side of the bargain. Technically, he has every right to be angry and kick her out. But, in a world consumed by death, it’s no less than monstrous to oust a girl out who’s carrying life. Jesus confronts Gregory in private to plead Maggie and Sasha’s case.

In the mean time, we get a look at what’s happening at Alexandria. Rick and Aaron pack up and leave on a supply run, trying to scrounge up whatever they can before Negan returns. Michonne goes off on her own expedition saying that she needs to “figure some things out.”

Carl sees Enid climbing the fence of Alexandria to leave and tries to stop her. She reasons that she needs to go find Maggie, see if she’s alright. Lets her go, but as she gets farther down the road, he drives a car over to meet her. Unfortunately because of the whole one eye thing, he crashes that car and they continue on foot together.

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They’re interactions with each other are very high school drama, right down to the romance of it. They talk about killing people with a certain naiveté. Carl’s been through a lot, sure, but he’s only killed one person in his zombie apocalypse career. He wants to kill Negan as soon as see him, but he doesn’t understand that his dad is holding back for a good reason. Carl and Enid exchange superficial aphorisms to each other, which they hold as cornerstone maxims for their inexperienced lives. It’s the type of shallow confidence that most teenagers have, thinking that things they hear and say in Philosophy class are deep and world-changing.

They find roller skates on the road, which provides faster mobility and a smidgen of enjoyment out of their misery-filled lives. Once they arrive at Hilltop, the two decide to depart – Enid to go see Maggie, and Carl on his own mission of sorts. The two swap sweet nothings to each other, as teenagers are want to do, and end their encounter with a kiss.

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Going back to Maggie and Sasha’s story, they’re awoken in the night by loud music playing out of a burning vehicle in the middle of Hilltop’s courtyard. The doors are busted open, letting dozens of zombie into the community, presumably done by the Saviors for an unknown reason. Jesus, Sasha and Maggie, even in her weakened state, spring to action, closing the gate and destroying the burning vehicle. We see Gregory look out his window, but slowly withdraws back into his room, like the coward we know him to be.

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The following day, a band of Savior, lead by Negan’s proclaimed right hand man Simon, storm into Hilltop to claim their “half” of Hilltop’s good. Simon informs Gregory that his squad will be handling the Savior’s and Hilltop’s transactions from now on because the previous group wasslaughtered by the Alexandrians, a fact that Gregory acts incredulous about upon hearing it. He, of course, still doesn’t want the Saviors to know of his involvement with Alexandria. Then, Gregory tries to sell out Maggie and Sasha who are hiding, but fails. He things by giving them up, the Saviors would go easier on their the-walking-dead-7x05demands from Hilltop. The Saviors get what them came for and start to pack up. Before they leave however, Sasha asks Jesus to find out where their main compound is: still a heavily guarded secret. Jesus agrees and as the Saviors drive away, he hops in the back of one of their open trucks. He’s surprised to see Carl already hiding back there, on his way to “kill Negan.”

Maggie and Sasha ultimately get to stay at Hilltop by asserting their dominant personalities over Gregory. Gregory acts tough, and he has a right to be angry with Maggie, but of course, he’s a coward, so when push comes to shoves he’s backing down no matter who he’s up against. It’s clear all the trauma Maggie’s gone through has made her an extremely strong person, and possibly a fit leader. Her residence at Hilltop will undoubtedly help Rick in any rebellion attempts over Negan.

It looks like we’ll get a deeper glimpse inside the Savior’s compound with Carl tucked away in that truck, waiting to make his move. I wish the showrunners would have waited to give us our first look at life inside the Sanctuary instead of showing us a little bit in episode 703, but let’s not forget, this is, at its core, an awful show. I’m still excited to see what Negan’s reign looks like in his own house, but it could have been handled better.

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Also, if it were up to me, Carl would have jumped into the back of the Savior’s truck when they were at Alexandria is episode 704, because that would have made a lot more sense, but whatever I guess…

“Swear”

the-walking-dead-7-06-swear-taraThis was one of the worst episodes of TWD in its history, if not the worst. It stops all the momentum we’ve been slowly, but surely gaining learning about the Saviors and plops us back into Tara and Heath’s unremarkable story.

We don’t care about these boring, out-of-touch characters! This episode only exists because the writers were creating this season and thought, oh shit, we have to bring Heath and Tara back somehow. Uhhhhhh…

And, by the end of it, Heath is still missing! We still have to have story, probably a full episode knowing this group of incompetent assholes, explaining how stupid Heath did something stupid and how he stupidly gets back to Alexandria only to die probably.

Quick synopsis, Tara meets this group of people who have a lot of guns, and are facing the same moral conundrum we’ve seen out of literally every fucking group TWD has introduced: when is it ok to kill? These people don’t like outsiders, but let Tara in anyways, then Tara runs away back to Alexandria. End of episode.

Since the Saviors take all of Alexandria’s guns in episode 704, it’s obvious what’s going to happen here.

Truly, I wish I wasn’t a fan of TWD. If you decide to stop watching after this shit, I wouldn’t blame you.

 

 

Posted in Television

TWD: “Service” thoughts

twd704gp06090383-rtjpg-f9b538_765wJeffrey Dean Morgan continues to captivate me as the villainous, yet charming leader of the Saviors. On my second and third watches of “Service,” I continually skipped through the “boring” stuff to get to Negan’s dialogue scenes with Rick. He’s a little long-winded at time, needlessly drawing out sentences in a faux-comical way instead of getting straight to his point, but it’s his presences on-screen that draws my attention.

He’s so overpowering both physically and spiritually, with the latter being Negan’s most important trait. Rick’s already a broken man before Negan comes knocking at Alexandria’s gate, but by the end of the episode, when he’s lost all Alexandria’s guns, a bunch of supplies, almost got Olivia killed and failed to get Daryl back into his community, not only is Rick’s leadership called into question, but also his manhood. Negan’s a mental terrorist above all else and if he breaks Rick’s will to rebel, he knows that’s more valuable than killing somebody or taking their things.

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So the gist of the episode is Negan and the Saviors visit Alexandria for the first time and take a bunch of their stuff – most importantly their guns. I don’t believe this needed to be an extra long episode, especially since it focuses on a singular plot line. I think the regular hour time slot would have been sufficient, but episode 704 does accomplish its number one goal effectively: making us hate the Savior more than we already do – specifically Negan and Dwight.

I really love that the Negan’s show dialogue is taken almost word for word right from the
page. His introduction is much the same way, minus a fuck-ton of swears of course. JDM blends Negan’s comic book lines with original show lines tremendously well, making the larger-than-life character that much more believable on-screen.

Spencer’s incompetents and petulance continues to show in this episode. Negan makes his presence know with three solid raps with Lucille against Alexandria’s front gate. Spencer rolls back the cover and asks the very dumb (and possible life threatening) question, “uh, who are you?”  to which Negan gleefully replies, “Oh you better be joking!” This scene is one of those I like, ripped right off the page as it was written and slapped onto out television screens.

Rick arrives at the gate to let Negan in still with a look of defiance on his face, though still not as defiant as the “I’m gonna kill you” scene from the premiere. Negan hands Rick Lucielle as he walks in – clearly an act of power over Rick, handing him the tools he used to kill two of Rick’s closest friends.

Dwight comes up swinging this episode in the “Biggest Walking Dead Douche Bag” competition. As Rosita and Spencer are about to leave on a supply run, Dwight stops them and proceeds to get all up in Rosita’s face. He commands them to go get Daryl’s bike at the spot where he dropped it – the same spot where Dwight shot and killed Denise last season. Before they leave, as deliberately as possible, he takes Rosita’s and Spencer’s weapons, leaving them with nothing to defend themselves. He then takes Rosita’s hat for no apparent reason and her full canteen, which he immediately pours out while she watches in a cold rage.

The Saviors ransack the town, going through everybody’s homes, taking “half” of whatever they want. One of them finds the video camera that former leader Deanna uses to interview Rick and the gang when they first arrive in Alexandria. This peaks Negan’s interest; he hopes to find “a little freaky deaky” on film. What he sees instead is a very grizzled, a very dangerous-looking Rick, who we all remember is the ultimate bad ass through season 5. Negan says to Rick, “Jesus, is that you, Rick, underneath all that man-bush? Shit, I would not have messed with that guy!” He then points the camera at the despondent Rick we’ve come to know in season 7, “But that’s not you anymore is it?”

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And it’s not. Rick isn’t the shoot first, ask questions later, borderline psycho we knew from the past. He’s a diplomatic leader, trying to restore a sense of normalcy and peace in this apocalyptic world. He cherishes every life he’s been given dominion over in Alexandria – a far cry from the “how many of you will I have to kill” Rick that arrived in season 5. He’s so afraid the Negan will kill even one more person that he completely gives up his own free will and the life he’s built-in order to appease this fascist asshole.

However Carl doesn’t share Rick’s mindset. In the face of assured death, Carl pulls a gun on the Saviors trying to take his stuff out of his house. He looks Negan straight in the eye with, as Negan says it, his “giant man-sized balls,” and tells them to leave before they find out how dangerous they all are (another scene straight from the comic). Negan respects this enormously, but he can’t abide this kind of behavior out of someone he rules over. He lets it slide since Carl gives up right away, but the incident reminds Negan of how many guns Alexandria has stockpiled. He takes every rifle, every handgun and every bullet Rick and the gang had in their possession.

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This instance never happens in the comic. On the page, Negan somehow passes over Alexandria’s guns as the Saviors pillage their houses. The show is definitely more believable, but it’s interesting now because I have no clue how Rick eventually plans to fight back without a single rifle in hand. He could hook up with the Kingdom, but it’s unknown how many guns they have – some of their warriors carry around spears still. The Hilltop we know doesn’t have any weapons other than knifes and other sharp, close combat tools. So I can’t imagine how Rick can get out of this predicament with Negan, though we know a huge showdown is on its way.

Negan makes it a point to tell Rick that him and his boys aren’t taking any food away from the Alexandrians. He expects a thank you from Rick, but Rick stands in silent defiance. Negan expressed his power over Rick again by getting right in his face and demanding gratitude for his “act of kindness.”

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If I was Negan, the quiet contempt Rick shows in this instance and many other instances that day probably warrants a barbed baseball bat to the head of somebody in the community. I found this a little inconsistent with Rick and Negan’s established relationship dynamic, especially after the fireworks in their first meeting.

As Negan is about to leave, Michonne comes back from her long walk to accomplish whatever she wanted to accomplish, undocumented rifle in hand. As it is undocumented, Negan has no way of knowing about it. But, during a private meeting between Rick and Michonne, he pitifully convinces her that she must give the rifle to Negan. He can’t afford Negan finding out they have even one gun and someone dying over it. Michonne can’t believe how Rick is acting, but she gives it up willingly.

On the surface, it looks like Negan accomplishes his goal: instilling fear in Rick to foster absolute obedience. I really want to believe that Rick isn’t completely broken at this point. We’d expect Rick and the gang to be plotting something in the background to get overthrow their oppressor and take the power back for themselves, right? My theory is, Rick’s trying to gain trust with Negan so he lowers his guard a little. Rick can’t tell anyone in fear something might spill to Negan. Is that what happens in the comic – yes. But, the show is sometimes different from the comic.

Finally Negan decides to take off, but before he goes, he want to hear “those two magic words” from Rick. Rick “thanks” him, then Negan leans in and whispers another line exactly from the comic, “In case you haven’t caught on, I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it.”

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As Rick walks away, Spencer has the gall to act like a tough guy, exclaiming why Rick’s been a bad leader and that he got Abraham and Glenn killed. Rick stops, doesn’t turn around, but says to Spencer in a calm, bad ass tone we used to know, “You say anything again like that to me, I’ll break your jaw and knock your teeth out.” Naturally, Spencer tenses up, being the pussy that he is.

We knew Negan held the power over Alexandria before episode 704, but now we understand how overbearing his grip actually has become. Rick is outwardly a completely broken man. He’s not willing to put up any kind of fight against Negan. He tells Michonne that this is just their life now and that he can’t bear to see anyone else killed, close friend or distant acquaintance because of him. He says, “We play by their rules, we get some kind of life.”

The episode closes with Rosita going to Eugene, telling him to make her a bullet for a gun she found. At least not everyone’s lost their will to fight.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Television

TWD: “The Cell” thoughts

the-walking-dead-season-7-episode-3-trailer-preview-clip-2016-amc-seriesRight off the bat (no pun intended) I want to say one thing: there’s no reason for this episode to be a full episode. It could have fit just fine as the B-plot to some other Negan-centric story line.

This episode shows me the showrunners are back to their old practices of elongating a plot line just to fill-up a season, like they did with Hershel’s farm and the Prison.

I say this because nothing huge is gained in “The Cell.” I certainly don’t need action every episode to keep me interested; some of my favorite TWD moments are in the second half of season 4, when absolutely nothing happens expect a lot of walking and talking. But if the episode is focusing on character building, I want to learn something new about a major character or see a significant change in someone we care about by the end.

But anyways…

Episode 703, “The Cell,” takes place in Negan’s compound (which I believe is called The Sanctuary if I remember the comics correctly) soon after Negan and Rick’s first meeting. Daryl is Negan’s prisoner and is locked in a small, cement closet in an effort to break his spirit. Of course Negan can’t be bothered to do the dirty work himself, so he has Dwight work on Daryl to get him ready for full, head-bashing action. This being the case, we get a long look at who Dwight is, why he’s in The Sanctuary and what happens after wedaryl-the-cell-walking-dead see him in episode 606, “Always Accountable.”

Returning to my thoughts a couple of paragraphs ago, the only character we have any investment in up to this point is obviously Daryl. We’re anxious to see the resolution to his current predicament because we want to know if he’ll break and become a Savior or stay true to Rick, and most likely die opposing Negan. We already know he’s defiant; we know he’s strong-willed and tough; and we know he’s going to take a lot of shit before he cracks. We’ve known these things about Daryl for 6 seasons now. He’s in a shitty predicament, and we want to see how he gets out of it. This episode does nothing to resolve that shitty predicament or show us how his shitty predicament might be resolved in the future. We see Daryl being defiant, strong-willed, tough and take a lot of shit – even if we never see him in episode 703, it’d be assumed that is the situation happening to him at the moment. For our favorite bad ass, “The Cell” is a wash.

So who or what is “The Cell” really centered around? I would have liked it to center around Negan; a day in the of the king around the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, it’s centered around Dwight. We know Dwight a little bit from season 6, but there’s been no character background or development around him until now.

Dwight factor

b2789784317d270ff9c199519fb6Right now we think Dwight’s a prick, having killed Denise with an arrow through the eye and shot Daryl in the back like a bitch. He’s a top dog among the Saviors these days, having worked his way up, doing dirty work for Negan and earning his trust. But there’s a reluctant side to Dwight.  Although he’s Daryl’s persecutor, he keeps telling Daryl to listen to Negan and to make it easy on himself and that Daryl can have a cushy life-like him. Deep down, he doesn’t like to be the bad guy, but it affords him a painless life under the worse apocalyptic dictator TWD has ever seen. Dwight’s seen up close and personal the heinous things Negan can do to a person or the people they care about. He refuses to show even the slightest sign of misbehavior around the Sanctuary because Negan’s scared him into that mindset.

We find out (of course through telling not showing)  that it is the Savior’s Dwight and his wife Sherry try to evade in episode 606. Back then, life was bad – Dwight was a bottom dweller around the Sanctuary, basically a slave working for the minimalist amount of food to survive. He, Sherry and Sherry’s sick sister Tina, who Negan was promised to marry, run away with a big bag of medicine in hand. As we see in that episode, Tina dies, but Dwight and Sherry get away by stealing Daryl’s bike. What we don’t see is them getting caught, returning to the Sanctuary, Sherry marrying Negan to save Dwight’s life and Dwight getting an iron to his face as a punishment.

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And after all that misery, Dwight stands beside Negan as a top soldier in his army. Negan recants the whole story to Daryl, in front of Dwight and we see Dwight slightly cringe with each awful detail. Though he’s been neutered by Negan, he’s only obedient to ensure Sherry stays safe. If or when he has the power, he’ll rip Negan’s throat out without a second thought.

I hate that the Scooter Gimple thinks so little of his audience that he has to verbally tell us the awkward dynamic between Negan and Dwight rather than let it play out on-screen and have us fill in the blanks accordingly. Negan’s whole story should have been summed up in one simple scene with Negan, Dwight and Sherry in the same room together utilizing the smallest amount of dialogue. We already know Sherry was with Dwight before, we walking-dead-season-7-comic-con-trailer-breakdown-sherry-sanctuaryknow she’s not now because of the scene in the doctor’s office and we know Negan has ultimate power over everyone he comes in contact with. We would see a visibly cowering and shy girl trying to reach out to Dwight, but deciding against it because of the intimidating shadow Negan’s presence casts over everyone.

Final thoughts

The Sanctuary seems like an awful place to live if you’re not a Savior. With the right spark, that place is rife for revolution.

Dwight isn’t the bad guy we maybe thought he was. He wants Sherry back, how could be now. But with Negan in power, that’ll never happen.

I wish we got to see more of daily life in the Sanctuary. It looks like a small place, whereas in the comic, it’s a huge factory-looking facility. My guess is we’ll see more of it very soon.

Also, this song is so damn catchy!

 

Posted in Television

TWD: “The Well” thoughts

the-walking-dead-episode-702-carol-mcbride-2-935After such a heavy episode, it’s nice to be reminded that not everything in TWD is dark and depressing. Some of it is still vibrant and cheery.

In episode 702, “The Well,” we’re introduced to the Kingdom, a lavish, well-off community with generally agreeable people. It’s the largest settlement we’ve seen so far in TWD (save for maybe Woodbury) and it’s lead by royalty.

For the most part, the show takes King Ezekiel right off the page, bombast and all. Characters like the Governor and Negan, to a certain extent, need to be tweaked to fit the overall vibe of the show, but being that the Kingdom and Ezekiel are meant to be larger than life in any format, he contrasts nicely against the somber personalities of our heroes.

We discover the Kingdom through Carol’s eyes. As we recall, Carol tries to run away from Alexandria near the end of season 6 because she all of a sudden doesn’t want to kill. Unfortunately, that resolve follows her into season 7, more contrite than ever to leave the chipper confines of the Kingdom to blaze her own trail across the zombie wasteland. Good thing her best friend Morgan there to help think through her decision. He ends up traveling to the Kingdom with Carol and makes friends with Ezekiel and a bunch of Ezekiel’s subjects.

Although I don’t like why it happened (I think Carol suddenly refusing to kill after she’s been a huge badass for so long is stupid and more contrived storytelling), I like that Morgan stumbles on this new group. I had hypothesized before that Tara and Heath would happen upon the Kingdom in their long supply run and come back to Alexandria with new allies right as Rick’s balls were tightest in Negan’s vice, but I guess I was close.

That’s one bit I like the show better for at this point rather than the comic. On the page, after Rick meets Negan, Jesus introduces him to the Kingdom – them and the Hilltop had been buds for a while. That way’s sort of bland; I like that the show saved the Kingdom storyline for a different character and can do a B plot based on them.

Carol has an audience with King Ezekiel in what I call his “throne room,” but is really a middle school auditorium. He sits on a throne, accompanied by his manservant Jerry and best friend, Shiva, a Tiger. Ezekiel speaks in loud, baritone, Shakespearian sentences, keeping with his regal aesthetic. He’s a kind man, offering Carol anything she need as she recovers from her injuries. Carol echoes what everyone at home must be thinking at this moment when she exclaims, “I don’t know what’s going on in the most wonderful way!”

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In many aspects, Ezekiel and Negan are very similar. They both have indefinite rule over their communities, they both are highly respected by the people they rule and both of their communities are thriving. But, their main difference is huge and obvious. Ezekiel governs the Kingdom with love and compassion for every single person who contributes. He’s welcoming and accepting of his subjects’ weaknesses, and because of all this, the Kingdom is prosperous. Negan, of course, rules with an iron fist. Though his people respect him, it’s out of fear that they give their respect. Negan’s manufactured the Saviors by stealing, threatening, intimidating and killing all other peoples he’s encountered. King Ezekiel’s Kingdom grew organically. People flocked to Ezekiel because he is a wonderful human and he does tolerate everybody as they are… and he has a tiger.

It’s later in episode 702, when Carol is well enough to hit the road again, Ezekiel has a one-on-one conversation with her to discover just who she really is and express to her who he truly is underneath his grandiose persona. Turns out, he’s just an average guy – a zookeeper before the apocalypse. He rescued Shiva from the zombie-infested zoo and they’ve been together ever since. People saw Ezekiel as some sort of amazing leader because of Shiva by his side, so he adapted to the part. Since the world had gone banana land anyways, Ezekiel and his people decide to cope with tragedy by fawning fantasy.

Unfortunately, the Saviors have their grip on the Kingdom too. Same deal as the Hilltop and Alexandria: produce enough goods and the Saviors won’t kill anybody. Only Ezekiel and his inner circle know about these transactions, though. Ezekiel doesn’t want his community worried that a hostile group is threatening the Kingdom and he’s been twdrichardmanaging the threat well so far. They round-up and slaughter wild pigs roaming the nearby town – easy offerings for the Saviors that don’t dip into their community’s supplies. However, before the pigs are killed, Ezekiel’s top knight Richard makes sure the pigs are well fed… with zombie meat. It’s in this small way that we learn the Kingdom isn’t exactly thrilled with theirs and the Savior’s “arrangement.”

The Knights (what I’ve decided to call the Kingdom’s warriors) are ready to fight. There’s a skirmish at the transaction point between Richard and an asshole Savior and they all immediately raise their weapons to the Saviors. As we’ve come to learn from episode 701, even speaking badly towards the Saviors can get you in a whole mess of trouble. It’s Ezekiel who’s holding the Knights back from taking action, but for good reason. The Kingdom is getting along just fine even with the Saviors’ weekly business looming over their heads. Ezekiel won’t disturb the quiet life of his people unless he knows he can win.

Wrap-Up Thoughts

Carol leaves the Kingdom to move into some random house away from everybody. I guess she got what she wanted, but is in arm’s length just in case our heroes inevitably need her back. I’m super looking forward to seeing how Rick and the rest of our morose main characters reacts to Ezekiel’s outlandish and optimistic temperament. It’s unknown yet how many fighters the Kingdom has, but it’ll have to be a hell of a lot to help out Rick in the wars to come.

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Posted in Television

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

7x01-the-day-will-come-when-you-won-t-be-rick-the-walking-dead-39971299-500-375Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first…

Most of what happened this episode SHOULD have happened to end last season.

The “cliffhanger” was bullshit and Scott Gimple needs to check himself before he wrecks the show.

The skull bashing scenes should have had me in tears, but coming into a fresh season, I felt almost no emotional connection with any of our heroes like I had going through all of season 6 with them.

It would have been such a better premiere had I known how bad Negan was and was biting my nails wondering what he’ll do next instead of not knowing who Negan is at all and only thinking he’s bad because commercials told me so.

BUT ANYWAYS…

abraham-dead-negan-walking-dead-twdAbraham, and more importantly, Glenn are gone now – dead in the most brutal way possible.

The POV shot we see at the end of season 6 is from Abraham’s perspective. He’s the only member of the group who should have died Sunday night.

Unfortunately, Daryl has to release the beast when Negan begins waving Lucille,  gloating to Rosita about killing Abraham, so Daryl punches him square in the jaw. A huge dumb ass move, especially considering what he just saw happen and how many men Negan has backing him. Negan “shuts that shit down” by giving Glenn the bat next.

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Luckily, I avoided most rumors about who died over the long break. However, it was safe to assume Abraham was in the kill zone given his short but sweet history on the show. Glenn was also a sound bet because of the emotional impact on fans his death would bring and the comic book provenance behind his death at the hands of Negan.

I was still hoping they’d remix this instance by killing off Daryl instead of Glenn. There could be no bigger emotional moment or more bombastic villain introduction in TWD show than killing off everyone’s most beloved character in such brutal, senseless fashion. But, Gimple didn’t have the balls or the narrative confidence to kill off a main attraction, so he went with the obvious choices.

Some people will say that it’s overkill (no pun intended) for Negan to execute two of our heroes instead of just Glenn, like the comic did; that they wrote the scene that way for shock value. But, I don’t hate how it happened. I really like it in fact. It’s fully within Daryl’s character to jump up out of rage and try to do something drastic – that bit didn’t feel contrived. Plus, he’ll have to carry Glenn’s death with him throughout the rest of the series, so it adds an extra layer to his brooding persona.

The-Walking-Dead-7.01-The-Day-Will-Come-When-You-Wont-Be-HATE.pngAfter the “big reveal,” the rest of “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” is just about introducing us to Negan, exhibiting how brutal but calculating he is, and showing us that Rick and the gang are totally fucked. No other villain that our heroes have encountered up to season 7 had totally petrified Rick like Negan does. In his arrogance, Rick whispers to Negan “I’m gonna kill you,” a threat that used to hold weight with the viewers.But Negan disregards Rick as a petulant child and by the end of the episode, has Rick groveling at his feet, snot bubbles and all. It’s a look for Rick we haven’t seen before. Always in the face of death,  Rick’s stepped up to the plate and been the bad ass leader we know him to be. But even the thought, even a tiny glimmer of disdain against Negan’s authority absolutely will not fly with this new tyrant.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan is fan-fucking-tastic as Negan, way better than his comic counterpart from what I remember. Comic Negan too many times spouts off on swearing tangents that render his speeches meaningless and really annoying. Morgan’s Negan commands attention when he speaks. He’s physically imposing, standing at 6’2″, so when he’s on screen, you have no choice but to look at him. He reminds me of the Joker in that you don’t know if he’s going to give a smooth, harmonious dialogue or murder someone on the spot. And when he’s speaking aggressively, he’s super intimidating. Like, I’m sitting at home safe and sound and I feel like Negan’s going to break in and take all my stuff. I felt Rick’s anguish as he knelt over Carl with his ax in hand, Negan’s frightening presence forcing him to make a terrible decision. I’m excited to see where Morgan takes this character and what twists he can put on him to make it his own.

Where we stand now

Negan admires Daryl’s ferocity in the face of his ultimate authority, so he loads Daryl up into his van and takes him back to the Savior facility. I’d normally say Rick and the gang are already working on ways to get Daryl back, but when Negan and the Saviors clear out, our heroes are left with nothing but broken looks on their faces. Maggie of course wants revenge, but Rick has seen the light. Negan left a huge impact on him and there’s no way Rick’s questioning Negan’s authority again in the current state of things.

BTW: The title of this episode comes from episode 6 of season 1 entitled “TS-19.”

(Minus the last 15 seconds :P)

 

Posted in Television

6 cools shots from The Walking Dead Season 7 trailer

The-Walking-Dead (1)The first footage from season 7 of The Walking Dead was shown this past weekend at SDCC met with generally good responses. We get a look at new characters, new locations, new deadly scenarios for our heroes to deal with, but, unsurprisingly, nothing on who exactly will be dealing with these deadly scenarios.

Now, I don’t need to go into a rant about how awful season 6’s finale was. I don’t need to tell you how misguided leaving season 6 on THAT cliffhanger was and how good story telling revolves around characters dealing with tragedy, not a tragedy itself… Ok, humor me for a moment. Scott Gimple should have simply watched season one of Game of Thrones to figure out how to best deal with a major death. Of course killing off an important character is a huge moment for any long running series. I’m not saying Negan shouldn’t kill anybody. It’s a huge moment in the comic and should be masterfully adapted for live action. But, what I am saying is they didn’t need to telegraph the death and make it a cliffhanger for next season. Our heroes have escaped deadly junctures time and time again in the series, so the audience shouldn’t have thought any different in this scenario. The death should have come as a surprise and gone just as fast, only leaving us to wonder how Rick will take down this clearly more powerful force, as Negan and the Saviors are.

So any marketing or new footage from season 7 won’t show any of our main characters doing anything worthwhile other than making eye contact with Negan’s dick hole. Which is completely fine with me, there’s plenty cool things happening in season 7 without Rick and the gang.

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Yes, Negan does indeed kill someone as we can see from this very bloodied up Lucille. Negan comes to the plate hacking and apparently hits a home run. At whose expense? I begrudgingly cannot say yet. Mostly likely not Rick or Carl though.

 

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Speaking again of Negan, he must hold a lot of weight around the area. These hardened men kneel to him just as he walks in their direction. Until the final 10 minutes of season 6, we’ve only heard rumors of how powerful and feared he is, mostly from the Hilltop. This shot’s cool because we get a brief look at a day in the life of this malevolent tyrant and we can speculate at the depths his citizens will go to just to not piss him off.

 

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For some reason (I actually know the reason because I’m an avid comic reader) Dwight figures a lot into the season 7 trailer. Here we see him look up at something larger and daunting – maybe a wall of some kind. At first I thought he was at Alexandria’s walls, but their gates aren’t very large or overly oppressive to anyone trying to break in. Like I said before, there’s cool, new characters coming into the picture that will rise to the level of our known heroes at some point in season 7. Definitely keep one melted eye out for Dwight.

 

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Enemy at the gate! Looks like Negan knows exactly where Alexandria is and judging by how Rick treated the Saviors the first time he showed up at their compound, I’m thinking Negan’s not there to make friends. This place of refuge for Rick and the gang that looked like heaven just one season ago, now feels more like purgatory as Negan and the Saviors impose their unfair and absolute rule over another community. Alexandria’s “deal” with the Saviors is probably the same as the Hilltop’s: the Saviors get half of everything and nobody dies.

 

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Expanding the world further, we finally meet King Ezekiel in his community called the Kingdom. He’s a larger than life character in the comic and it’ll be interesting to see how Khary Payton brings him to life on screen. I’m so far very pleased with the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan for Negan, so I have no doubt Payton can bring this regal gentleman to the real world.

What I’m not too thrilled with is our first look at Shiva, Ezekiel’s pet tiger. Again, it’s just our first look, but Shiva looks real fake – noticeably GCI. Of course, it would be a monumental and dangerous task to tame a real tiger for the show, but I hope every scene where Shiva takes down a group of zombies or interacts with TWD actors doesn’t completely take me out of the episode. It’s an unbelievable world with unbelievable circumstances and personalities, but everything in the show still looks so real. It’ll be a huge shame if they can’t get Shiva’s action scenes spot on, or even worse, under utilize her for that sake.

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Anytime TWD expands the breadth of living civilization, giving us more survivors in organized, thriving communities with different ways of life, I’m a happy camper. The Kingdom definitely has its quirks – it’s run by a damn king and it’s warriors wear armor. Luckily, this king is not a dictator, but rather a benevolent ruler. We saw his “subjects” briefly in the season 6 finale, coming to the aid of Carol and Morgan as Carol was badly hurt. While the way they find the Kingdom seems contrived to me, I like that Carol and Morgan end up together sharing this experience. I’m thinking sometime later in the season, before the break, Carol and Morgan will burst through Alexandria’s gates bearing with them the support of the Kingdom to fight the war against the Saviors.

Season 7 promises to be the biggest in TWD. If it’s anything like the immaculate comic it take direction from, there will be more action this season than from any season of any show in the history of television. It’s a new chapter for TWD, one that I pray to Oden will get the bad taste of season 6 out of my mouth.

Posted in Television

We are Jon Snow

battle_of_the_bastardsBattle of the Bastards” is by no means the best episode of Game of Thrones the Double D’s have ever given us. It’s probably not even top five. It has it’s flaws, like Sansa leaving before she could hear Ramsay say he hadn’t fed his dogs in seven days, or like Jon’s clearly rubber sword as he’s jumping on his horse, but it’s battle scenes are no less than an achievement in cinema and it does deliver one of THE most satisfying moments in television history.

The most important aspect of any long-running television series is its characters. It’s imperative we connect emotionally to our supposed heroes before we can get behind a whole story revolving around their lives. No show’s ever accomplished that better than Game of Thrones. For almost six full seasons, we’ve seen our heroes develop personality, change morally, adapt to their brutal surroundings and, in some cases, meet their demise. But, most importantly we’ve experience heart break and sorrow with our most beloved characters. Between Sansa being perpetually manipulated by malevolent male villains and Jon Snow always reminded of how much a Stark he isn’t and then, you know, the whole dying thing, we’ve rarely enjoyed a pleasing moment amid our favorite people.

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But the “feel goods” have been amassing in season 6. The aforementioned Jon Snow came back from from the dead against all odds; Sansa broke free of Ramsay and met up with Brienne of Tarth; Dany took a massive step towards proving her family reputation by burning all the Khals alive in one fell swoop. For better or worse, our heroes win battle after battle in season 6, all building to season 6’s penultimate episode, “Battle of the Bastards.”

To be fair, we all knew how the battle was probably going to turn out. Surely the Double D’s, advised by George R. R. Martin, aren’t as malicious as to bring our favorite hero back, just to kill him again and have the villain win the day as it’s been for almost 6 full seasons! It was time to stop the buck and let the good guys have their day.

In the moment, I thought Jon wasn’t going to make it. The shot of him held down in the mud by dozens of his own dead soldiers made me feel super claustrophobic and physically scared for him. When the Knights of the Vale led by Little Finger and Sansa rode up to save the day (deus ex machinas are pet peeves of mine), I felt relief knowing the battle was all down hill from that juncture. Jon had it in the bag, but he had to finish the job.

In the two days since “Battle of the Bastards” aired, I must have watched that 2-minute scene with Jon and Ramsay one-on-one about twenty times. That’s the cathartic moment we’ve needed for six long years of rape, torture and evil deeds. That’s the climax we’ve wanted for our heroes since Jamie Lannister drew his sword against Ned Stark in season one. And when it came, boy, did it come!

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In this moment, when Jon’s eyes fill with madness, staring down Ramsay Snow thinking of all the evil things he could unleash back on this young psycho, we become Jon Snow. Ramsay isn’t simply Ramsay Snow any longer. He represents all the evil of ice and fire, all the heroes we’ve lost, all the occasions where the good guys – the men and women trying to do the just thing – failed because some tyrannical opposition cheated to get the upper hand. Ramsay is Ned Stark’s execution, he is the Red Wedding, he is the entirety of Joffrey’s shittiness, he is Tyrion’s unfair trial, he is Oberyn Martell’s brutal death at the hands of the Gregor Clegane, and he is Lord Commander Jon Snow betrayed by his own brothers at Castle Black. Every bit of pent-up revenge we’ve wanted so dearly to give back indeed is released in the most brutal, savage, bloodthirsty scene possible, and it’s everything we could have wanted. No one wanted Jon and Sansa to live above their enemies. No one wanted to see Ramsay without a scratch on him, in the dungeons awaiting trial. All we wanted was cold, hard revenge. Our victory was dirty, it was untidy, it was hard fought, it came at great costs, but it’s a victory.

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Posted in Television

TWD: season 6 wrap up thoughts

The-Walking-Dead-Negan-Cast-Season-6-Last week I had zero time to write a proper “East” post, so instead I’ve decided to combine the penultimate episode with the season 6 finale. Don’t be angry with me!

A simple wrap-up of “East” is as follows: Carol leaves, Daryl leaves, people go looking for them. Maggie has pregnancy pains setting up the plot for “Last Day on Earth.”

I’ll expound on “East” a little more. Daryl feels bad about what happened to Denise, especially since he knows he could have killed Dwight way back when. He goes out on his own looking for Dwight’s group, which obviously isn’t a great idea in a time of heightened threats. Knowing this, more people leave Alexandria to get him back… what? I get the the-walking-dead-episode-615-daryl-reedus-935-850x560“nobody left behind” thing, but our heroes know The Saviors are a big threat, they know The Saviors aren’t close to being all dead and they know that Dwight at least knows where Alexandria is located. Leaving home base now is frankly real dumb and I don’t get why three of their best soldiers – Glenn, Rosita and Michonne – have to go looking for one guy.  Especially Glenn with his pregnant wife in Alexandria and knowing he narrowly escaped death once before. Short of Judith, he should be the last person trying to leave Alexandria. They leave, Daryl won’t come back to Alexandria quietly and at the end of the day, Dwight gets the drop on them all and their all captured. And Daryl gets a shot to presumably the shoulder leaving him weaken.

Carol-Abandons-Her-Family-on-The-Walking-Dead-EastOn the other side of thing, Morgan feels responsible for Carol’s leaving and he resolves to go after her. This is fine to me; Morgan doesn’t want to kill anyone anyway so he’s expendable to this group. In contrast to Glenn, Morgan should be the first survivor to leave Alexandria given his lack of killer instinct. But, again for some dumb reason, Rick decides to go with Morgan and I have no idea why. He’s the frickin’ leader for Odin’s sake! Why is he so cavalier about leaving his people, two of which are his own flesh and blood, to go on a scavenger hunt with Morgan?! It makes no sense, but it’s an easy way to push on us the threat of The Saviors. Bad writing? Probably. By the end, Rick thankfully goes back to Alexandria and leaves Morgan to look for Carol.

End of “East”

As a way to make our heroes leave Alexandria yet again (this time for an admittedly good reason), Maggie is having pregnancy pains, so Rick along with Abraham, Eugene, Aaron, Sasha and Carl decide to head to The Hilltop’s doctor, the only doc they know of now that Denise is dead.

I don’t hate this plot point. I don’t love it, but it’s reasonable and it gives the whole episode a sense of urgency as our heroes are trying to avoid The Saviors. And I love that this episode is set up like a horror movie, with each encounter with The Saviors getting worse and worse.

Rick rolls up on the first group of Saviors blocking the road. There’s only a handful of them, so Rick feels confident he can swing his dick around without any consequences. The main Savior of this group, who we see for the rest of the episode and who I hope stays around for a while, tells them how it’s going to be – they’re probably going to kill someone in Rick’s group and then Rick is going to give The Saviors Alexandria’s stuff. Obviously, Rick doesn’t like this plan, counters with the same swagger that the Savior just did feeling hopeful that he has the upper hand. I mean it’s Rick, c’mon, everything always turns out alright for our favorite Georgia sheriff right? They back the RV up and head in a different direction.

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Each road our heroes go down is ultimately blocked by Saviors. They know where Rick is trying to get and they know the land better than Rick and co. On each encounter, it becomes obvious that Rick doesn’t have the upper hand this time. And The Saviors aren’t hostile initially. They only stand there menacingly, weapons in hand, only meant to look intimidating, knowing full well they could take Rick’s group down at any moment. This fact is becoming clearer and clearer to Rick at each barrier and the fear grows inside him. Meanwhile the urgency of Maggie’s ill state is wearing on him and us, the viewer.

While some could argue that there are too many road blocks and they become a drag for the viewer after like the 4th one, I think the message is well conveyed that Rick is up shit’s creek with The Saviors. For non-comic book readers, this realization is even more shocking because they find out at the exact time Rick realizes that he’s drastically underestimated the enemy. This episode does well in worrying the audience as Rick becomes visibly shaken and even begins to tear up when he’s speaking with a very sickly looking Maggie. Knowing full well how this story ends up, my palms were even sweating during the final half-hour or so during my first viewing. However, the buzz that the first 89 minutes of “Last Day on Earth” gave me was stomped on in the final minute. But before I get to that, let’s talk about the B plot a little bit.

carol-last-day-on-earthContinuing last episode’s hunt, Morgan finds Carol is rough shape, but she refuses to return to Alexandria, even after Morgan gives another one of his holier than thou speeches. They stay in a library overnight and Morgan awakes to find Carol gone, obviously trying to get away from another speech. She runs into a Savior who she neglected to kill last episode and he shoots her a bunch in nonfatal body parts to watch her die slowly. His whole presence is contrived, meant only for Morgan to kill him later, which he does. Not the only instance of terrible story telling this episode. Two more people armor-clad gentlemen show up to investigate the gun fire and they offer to bring Carol back to their settlement to give her aid.

This Savior’s been shot a bunch, acknowledges that he’s going to die slowly, but instead of heading back to The Savior’s compound to maybe live some more, he decides to follow miles and miles of track to catch Carol so he can watch her die along with him… what?! Bad, bad, bad, bad storytelling by Scott Gimple and the gang, YET AGAIN keeping a character around and drawing out his existence (in essence, wasting our time to give unneeded length to the episode) only for a small payoff later that doesn’t justify the the-walking-dead-s06e16-last-day-on-earth-curiosidades-002length of time they spent on him or her. I’m truly sick of TWD writers and AMC thinking were sheep and we’re going to blindly follow everything they throw at our eyes; that we can’t recognize phony, uninspired, loose plot lines when we see them. Stay tuned for a larger rant later in this post.

But for as unnecessary this scene is, it did finally introduce us to The Kingdom. We’ll have to wait until next season to get a fully introduction to their community, but I’m glad AMC is going ahead with the comic story and including The Kingdom, hopefully expounding on it further than the comic does. I’m also glad that Carol’s disappearance (as stupid as it looked at the time) leads the viewers to the introduction of The Kingdom. It puts two of our heroes who don’t want to kill safely away from The Savior action for now, but lets us know that we’ll see them again.

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In the source material, the altercations with The Savior and the eventual confrontation with Negan is called “Something to Fear.” Until now, the viewers thought Rick’s gang handled The Saviors well, winning every confrontation, and that they were just another enemy like the Termites or Woodburians. This episode gives the viewers, possibly for the first time in the series, something to fear. As a last-ditch effort, they set out on foot thinking they can sneak past The Saviors. Wrong. They run right into The Savior’s trap, where from complete darkness, blinding lights engulf our terrified heroes, revealing to them dozens of hard, pipe-hitting soldiers who all look like they want to kill Rick. Completely powerless, they drop to their knees and Negan steps into picture. Rick is uber The-Walking-Dead (1)nervous, sweating bullets are he looks around wildly in disbelief. Then, starts the long, drawn out introduction of Negan and his selection process of who he wants to kill.

The payoff at the end of his speech isn’t worth the 10 plus minutes he takes to make it.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan commands the screen as soon as he steps into picture. And that’s saying a lot given how long we’ve been with our heroes; the personalities we’ve become greatly familiar with. We forget all about them when Negan begins to speak in his placid, almost soothing tone about who he’s going to kill and how he’s basically enslaving Alexandria. He stays calm, cool, collected through the scene, but there’s a definite under current of viciousness, quite the same that we know Rick is capable of. I loved Morgan’s performance and I really can’t wait to see a whole lot more of him in season 7, but his introduction into the series was waaaaaaay ruined by the god damn anti-climactic, POV shot of one of our heroes getting Lucille to the dome.

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All season I’ve put up with Gimple’s contrived stories and bullshit suspense pulls knowing that this scene was coming up and things would get interesting going into season 7. And they will, but to START a season with a major character death is, as plain as the nose on my face, horrible storytelling. They did this to start the second half of season 6 where Carl gets shot, Jessie get’s dead and we’re left to wonder where Alexandria goes from there. A great end to the half season right?!!!!! NOPE! MAKE IT THE FIRST EPISODE COMING BACK! So we weren’t at the time wondering for too long what comes next for Alexandria, because the very next week we found out and a whole new storyline started in the second episode of this half season. WHAT?! Same thing will happen in season 7 next October. Instead of fearing The Saviors and wondering how Rick is going to defeat these new villains, we’re stuck in season 6 wondering who was killed. We’re still back at that one scene in the woods, hoping and wishing we knew who got the bat so we can move on to heavier matters. At this point, I don’t even care what major character died because it’s not the most important point of next season. It most certainly would have been the most talked about point and most emotional point of season 6, heading into the offseason on a high note. NOPE NOPE NOPE! Gimple and AMC strike again, pulling us out of the moment, treating us like fucking idiots because at the end of the day, they know this is bad storytelling. They know we’ve all been waiting for this big moment, putting up with their happy horse shit because we’re all excited for this one scene. They fuck with us because they know they can. They know we’ll be rip shit now, but in October, like moths to a fucking flame, we’ll be back for more; paddling up shit’s creek with our mouths open.

I just don’t understand why it has to be this way. Constant shit being tossed at us and we eat it up blindly, hoping that it’ll get better somehow. It’s like a dead-end relationship where neither party knows how to end it properly. It’s a crying shame because the source material that they’ve based the series on is a masterpiece. The comic is iconic in the medium, and maybe TWD show was like that when it started, but I fear that it’s lasted too long. The writers don’t know how to sustain the greatness and it’s dying a slow death, a few million viewers at a time.

Season 7 is going to be great… just you wait…

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Posted in Television

TWD: “Twice as Far” thoughts

dxr4qyesfnaqqmnkheaui5uw89ypiqp6-175170Playing the waiting game…

That’s what it’s felt like the past couple week on TWD. Now that the television universe established The Saviors as a threat, seems like the writers are biding their time until Negan’s ready to be revealed, which looks to be soon. Not to say nothing important happened this episode; we lost a fairly loved character, plots were set in motion to better the future of Alexandria, a random character who we thought inconsequential makes a return and the episode ends with a new stupid plot point deviating further from the comic. Was this the best episode? Absolutely not, especially following really goods ones from this second half of the season. But was it an important episode? Yeah, I like it good enough. Plus the banter between Abraham and Eugene was top notch!

This was a mostly Rick-free show. As Morgan’s putting the last concrete block in Alexandria’s newly fortified jail cell, Rick looks around and simply asks Morgan, “Why?” Morgan responds, “It’ll give you some choices next time.” Rick doesn’t immediately understand upon entering the new cell, but the look on his face when he’s leaving shows he accepts what Morgan’s trying to do. Since Morgan refuses to kill again, this is his way of protecting Alexandria. He knows the “new world” needs rehabilitation rather than life or death. Morgan’s hoping that with a secure solution to bad guys, Rick learn to see it his way too.

I’ll talk about Carol’s plot points early on so we can get them over with. So following last week’s episode where Carol was hesitant to kill even when she knew she had to, Carol cuts and runs from Alexandria because she feels like she can’t protect anyone anymore because she doesn’t want to kill. I don’t hate this decision by her or hate that she left for that reason. What I do hate is how it’s handled – sort of brushed off like hey guys, Carol’s gone now ! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It takes away from the real troubles the group faces this episode and sets up yet another “waiting game” episode where now they have to go find Carol. I hope they don’t just find her next episode and the whole issue’s resolved as if it never happened. This better have long lasting repercussions down the line with The Saviors or with some other group our heroes find. But even then, they’ve done with before! Carol’s been banished and come back to save the day already! If they remix that old chestnut and expect us to bite hook, line and sinker I’ll be damn near close to shutting down on TWD.

4y9psdoyd5w5curncj2xg5p1zgbftjfs-175159Two groups set out to resupply Alexandria, both with less than perfect soldiers to babysit. Eugene and Abraham have a Rick and Daryl-esq brofest out looking for a factory where they can make bullets. Sticking very closely to the comic this time, Eugene reckons that if they can produce their own bullets, they can stockpile against The Saviors and have currency to trade with. A great plan through and through. With Rick planning defense for Alexandria, he needs an engineer to build its infrastructure. Looks like Eugene found his place.

While on the trip, Eugene and Abraham get into an argument over a walker in the new munitions factory. Eugene “calls dibs,” but Abraham eventually downs the zombie. Eugene gets angry with Abraham, insisting he’s a full survivor now and doesn’t need Abraham to protect him. They split up in a tizzy, however Abraham doesn’t actually go back home. He sticks out of eye shot of Eugene protecting him like a watchful parent, which we find out later.

I like weak characters becoming strong and on TWD, we’ve had so many of those kinds of arcs. While I think a little more fleshing out of “Strong Eugene” was needed before he could officially go Abraham-less, I like that he’s contributing something to the group after so long being a leach on our heroes. If anyone was going to die next, I might have suspected it be him, but now I think he’s set to be with the show for much longer.

aorm7831x1qbo3wnjoagvy4o9vk6n4xn-175167The other group on a supply run is Rosita, Daryl and doctor Denise, who has absolutely zero business being outside Alexandria’s walls. While Eugene is better set in a protected environment, at least he’s been out in the horrific zombie-filled world, so he knows what to expect. Denise want to head to an apothecary shop that she finds out about through a newspaper ad she somehow found in her pocket. However, she doesn’t trust Daryl and Rosita to bring back the right meds, or maybe she does, but she wants to play the stubborn child and go with mommy and daddy this time. They both advise her the outside’s no joke and that they don’t want to babysit, but Denise won’t take no for an answer. She goes out, sees some horrific shit she wasn’t ready for and unsurprisingly reacts the way we’d expect her to. To her credit though, she doesn’t get bitten…

We learn a lot more about Denise’s back story during time on the road. We learn she had alcoholic parents, she had a twin brother named Denis, that she had oatmeal for breakfast that morning. Most importantly, we learn about Denise that she has had a little bit of training fighting walkers and that she’s not afraid to take chances. In yet another monologue about yet another character’s philosophy about life in this cold, dead world, she explains it’s stupid to be afraid; it’s stupid to stay behind the walls and to not take chances in the zombie infested world. When Daryl and Rosita think she’s an idiot for taking risks against walkers, Denise puts them in their place, explaining they’re the idiots for not letting her grow as a survivor. She respects Daryl because he’s strong and reminds her of her brother and she respects Rosita because she’s alone and gives her hope for the future. Denise’s lecture reaches a fever pitch when she scolds the two soldiers for not waking up and facing their…

An arrow goes right through the back of her head and out her right eyeball.

eh9gmhb3mhpwgnnzs6uz4kuehdb6f91z-175171In retrospect, I should have known something was up. Whenever a B level character becomes too big for their breeches and develops any type of interesting personality, TWD historically kills them off – see Beth, T-Dog, Axel, Merle and Noah. It’s a shame for story reasons – Alexandria looses its one doctor – and for personal reasons – I really liked Merritt Wever in her role. She delivered her lines without so much stoicism like every other badass character seems to always do, Rick especially. She felt like a normal person caught in between a bunch of abnormal survivors just trying to keep up with them. She was even built like a normal fat person; there was nothing too remarkable about her. But that’s what I loved; her awkward exchanges with the likes of Daryl, Michonne and other soldiers. She represented us better than any character on TWD ever has.

So most comic readers know who shot the bolt that originally is meant to go through Abraham’s eye during his outing with Eugene – it was the blonde-haired dude from “Always Accountable” that made off with Daryl’s bike and crossbow after Daryl tried 46m2qmq1wjprpfikzm3gabnwkrj2a6vc-175162to bring him back to Alexandria. Turns out, this guy is Dwight, a Savior who is heavily involved in the coming war between Negan’s men and our heroes. He along with a group of more Saviors ambush Daryl and Rosita with Eugene already having been captured. We get a good look at Dwight’s very recognizable burn mark on his face which we’ll learn about later next season. Daryl looks pissed. He already was kicking himself over not killing that guy in the woods before, but not he just used Daryl’s own weapon to kill Denise! Not only that, but Dwight reveals that he’s been scoping out Alexandria for a bit now. The Saviors know where Alexandria is! Daryl wants his revenge, but with so many Saviors swarming just the two of them, he doesn’t let his emotions run away too quickly.

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Like I said before, Abraham is following Eugene this whole time, waiting in the wings to make his move to help. Eugene sees Abraham hiding in the distance and strategically tattles on Abraham so Dwight would send solider out of position long enough for Abraham to engage them in 1776-style guerrilla warfare. Then, Eugene commits one of the most heinous acts ever committed on TWD – on his knees still, he bits Dwight as hard as he can in the dick! Not only for a second either, Eugene latches on there for a solid could minutes while Dwight’s trying to get him off. This give Rosita and Daryl enough time to grab weapons and kill as many Saviors as they can until they run back to Negan with their tails between their legs. Daryl want to go after them, but thinks better of it. Another Savior conflict the Alexandrians come out on top of. They’re building quite a report with The Saviors. With so many victories, we have to think some retribution is coming soon.

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Posted in Television

TWD: “The Same Boat” thoughts

th (3)With all the action and constant plot progression happening in the first four episodes of this half-season, we had to come to a slow down eventually. A lot of you may think that this is a throw away episode, used as filler to lengthen the season. You’re probably right, but that’s not all this episode accomplishes. For me, “The Same Boat” does three important things. One, we get a further look into who the big bad Saviors really are. Two, it shows us the states of mind Maggie and Carol are in mentally – they’re not in the same boat. Three, our heroes kill more Saviors, furthering Negan’s potential blood lust for Alexandria.

I have to admit, I like the remix Gimple and the gang are throwing into The Saviors storyline. In the comic, The Saviors show up to Alexandria one day demanding supplies and the Alexandrian fight them off in defense. We know clearly that these people who are attacking our heroes are bad guys, as with everyone who’s attacked them in the past. We’re on our heroes side unwaveringly because someone else shot first. Take it back to the television show, Rick picks a fight with The Saviors, killing them before he’s even really The-Walking-Dead-The-Same-Boat-Preview-and-VIDEOgotten to know them. He killed a bunch of people in their sleep and gunned a whole bunch more people down that he knew nothing about. That’s why this episode is so important. Rather than throwing the collective “Saviors” at us and saying these are the bad guys now, we pull out a small group, not unlike some personalities we’ve come to know and love from our heroes, and learn a little bit about their backstory, about how they survived in the apocalypse. We sympathize with them; as far as we know, they did savage things beyond what our “heroes” have done to survive. So back to my original point, I like that the line between good and bad, the like between Savior and Alexandrian is blurred on the screen more than it is in the comic.

The basic plot of the action goes like this: Maggie and Carol get captured during the siege seen in “Not Tomorrow Yet,” they are taken to another Savior facility, like a holding cell, and Maggie and Carol eventually best their captor and free themselves. That’s not important.

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I didn’t care to learn The Saviors’ names because they die as soon as they’re introduced, so to differentiate they’ll be known at Red Head, Brunette, Ms. Nasty and Guy.

Red Head is the orchestrator of the capture, speaking to Rick over the walkie and prolonging Maggie and Carol’s lives when she could have simply offed them to save a lot of trouble. Multiple times it seems like she’s going to make a deal to get her man back and multiple times it seems like she’s going to kill Carol. I couldn’t get a read on how crazy she actually is, but I explain that pretty easily – she’s human. She makes mistakes. She’s not this malevolent villain looking to do bad for the sake of doing bad; she’s a survivor. Carol does her Carol thing in acting like the helpless house wife so her captors can’t get a read on what she’s really about. She grabs rosary beads from a nearby corpse, which she looks like she’s using to pray with. She’s really sharpening the metal crucifix at the end to use to get free.

Carol-and-a-Savior-The-Walking-Dead-613Although she’s acting a fool, she is genuinely experiencing some emotional distraught brought on by either Morgan getting to her or just living in peace for an extended period of time, I can’t tell, but she all of a sudden hates the idea of killing people, even if it’s doing what’s needed. I can’t say I blame her. No matter what anyone who watches TWD says – how they’d have the balls to kill The Saviors no questions asked – it’s always tough to take a life. Maybe’s Morgan’s position on life is one of enlightenment, but he’s just ahead of his time. I think if Carol lives through the fight with The Saviors, her apprehension to kill will be welcomed.

Maggie, on the other hand, is trending in the opposite direction. She’s as brutal as they come these days, first wanting to rush in to kill some people when the alarms sound during the siege, then knocking Ms. Nasty in the head and proceeding to pound her face into the cement even when she’s clearly dead. She, like Rick, is greatly influenced by her past losses and helplessness – first her family on the farm, then her father, then Beth, then Glenn who she wasn’t sure was dead, but still couldn’t do anything about. If she’s not already there, she’s developing into a great leader to stand beside Rick in the new world. She’s reckless at time, sure, but she doesn’t want to feel helpless trying to defend her new baby; she’s fighting back against apocalyptic treachery that she’s experienced way too much of already.

the-walking-dead-saison-6-episode-13-twdSo none of our heroes die this day. Unbelievable considering how many Saviors were put down and how many bullets flew back and forth. Not one of our supposed “good guys,” not even a peripheral character, died during the skirmish. I’ll swallow that for now because much more death is not far away. Before Carol and Maggie leave the facility (I think it used
to be a slaughter house) they have to finish off the last few Saviors called in by Red Head. In brutal fashion, they manage to coat the kill room floor with gasoline, lure The Saviors into that room, ignite the gasoline, then let their victims burn alive. When they leave, they’re greeted by the rest of the badasses who were about to break in to save the two fearsome females. Without need of their hostage, Rick shoots Primo (who called himself Negan) point black in the face – Carol is disturbed by this. I have to admit, for as savage as Rick can be, this moment was classic badass Rick. Some of his moments lately have tilted towards barbaric rather than cool, but this moment I couldn’t help but love because without hesitation, Rick does what he needs to do. Soon, with so many of his soldiers dead in less than one day, Negan will do what he needs to do.

War is coming…

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