Two Men and a Goat

Season 6 Episode 4 “Here’s Not Here”

The Episode

Why is every episode that focuses on Morgan Jones so amazing? Well, Lennie James is a fantastic actor for one. With a story involving just two people, you would think maybe there would be some boring parts. But that is simply not the case. This is an amazing tale of Morgan’s backstory that affects us on so many levels. This is one of those classic episodes that stands all on its own.

We’ve had Morgan back for a few episodes now and noticed he was definitely not the same man we last saw in Season 2. The blanks get filled in for us now as we see what Morgan went through after Rick and him last parted ways. The real emphasis is on the recovery he went through after meeting a man in a cabin named Eastman and his pet goat Tabitha.

wood fence framing a path through the woods

Morgan’s recovery is an incredible one. He starts off with just being a wild crazy person talking to himself and repeating the same sentences over and over again. He spends his days killing walkers and burning the bodies. He also kills people. Anyone encountering him would be best to stay away. Until he hears a goat and finds Eastman’s cabin. Eastman really has his hands full with Morgan. But I love how patient he is with him. He calls him on his bullshit. He tries to tell Morgan what’s happening to him. One of my favorite parts is when Eastman is explaining that Morgan’s mind has him stuck in a room with a bad memory and every time he tries to leave the room the door he goes through puts him right back in. I think that resonates for a lot of people who go through trauma. There’s that choice you have to make over and over again when you are trying to heal and sometimes that door you go through doesn’t make it any better. But the idea that you just keep trying is very powerful. And even though Morgan may have seemed too far gone, Eastman gets him through it. I also love that moment when he tells Morgan the cell isn’t locked. It’s never been locked. Mind blown. We owe a lot to Eastman even though we’ve never even heard of him until this episode. He gave us our Morgan back.

Eastman has a bit of a wild backstory himself that comes out after Morgan has been with him for awhile. He was a forensic psychiatrist and responsible for assessing prisoners up for parole. One evil man, Crighton Dallas Wilton (CDW), first tries to kill Eastman and then later seeks revenge on Eastman by breaking out of jail and killing his family. This is a horribly tragic story but it doesn’t even end there. Eastman in turn seeks revenge on CDW and starves the man to death for 47 days in a homemade cell he makes in his cabin. As this story comes out, we are just shocked that this very patient man who has been saving Morgan’s life could commit such a torturous crime. But what’s really special about this story is what happened to Eastman after he does this. He unexpectedly feels no relief and has to learn how to process everything that’s happened another way. He finally felt better after committing to himself that he’d never hurt another human being again. That’s some powerful stuff right there. Easier said than done as well. I’m not sure how many people, including myself, have the strength to follow a path like that. I could see it being very easy when something truly heinous happens to want revenge. But I think that brings us back to something we’ve learned long ago. Revenge would be easy, and easy choices are not always the right choices.

The conversations Eastman and Morgan have drive this story. And a lot of great sayings come from this episode as well. At first it is just Eastman talking to Morgan. All Morgan can say at first is “kill me”, sometimes screaming it. But Eastman takes it all in stride and keeps sharing his thoughts and stories with him. I think that’s a big reason why Morgan is able to change. Eastman isn’t focusing on Morgan’s trauma. He’s treating him like a normal human being. Morgan is like a toddler screaming for attention, but when he doesn’t get it and runs out of steam, that’s when Eastman knows he can get through to him. As far as sayings go, we get a lot of Morgan’s classics this episode. Some of which he got from Eastmean. “All life is precious” and  “everything gets a return” come from Eastman and the aikido training. “You know what it is” is something we still hear come up a lot from Morgan during his bad moments. “Here’s not here” “clear” and “pointless acts” are things he likes to write. He sure does have a lot of phrases.

We can’t help but wonder though if now Morgan is making a mistake with the Wolf he’s captured. Morgan appears to be trying to save the Wolf like Eastman saved him. But is the Wolf one of those truly evil men like CDW was? Is this going to backfire somehow? I don’t think Morgan fully believes either but he wants to try. As he leaves the Wolf in the basement, he pauses for a moment before locking the door. I think he pauses because he’s not sure if he should do what Eastman did to him at the cabin with leaving it unlocked. And he doesn’t. He’s not ready to take that chance. It does have one big different though. There was no one at the cabin to get hurt except for Eastman, but Morgan has a whole community that he’d be putting at an even greater risk than he is already if he left it unlocked. I don’t think Morgan would be happy if he took a chance like that.

This episode was probably the last thing we were expecting right after Glenn “died”. I remember being thoroughly disappointed we weren’t sticking with all the excitement from the week before. I needed to know what happened dammit! However, the episode quickly won me over. Amazing acting, incredible story, it’s just one of those perfect episodes that leaves us all with a lot to think about.

Best of the Episode

Morgan slips. After all that hard work Morgan and Eastman did, it all ends tragically when Eastman gets bit saving Morgan. It only takes seconds for Morgan to slip back into that animal that was screaming “kill me”. For a few minutes it seems like we are starting all over again. But Morgan runs into two harmless travelers scared out of their gourds at Morgan coming after them. This time though Morgan doesn’t hurt them. He lets them continue on. And then we know Morgan’s gonna be okay….for now.

goat looking at camera

Tabitha. I mean how cute is that goat. One of the cutest goats I’ve ever seen. She almost steals the show. And then they kill her! They being a couple of walkers. I’m almost more sad about the goat then about Eastman.

The spear becomes a staff. It’s a very symbolic gift that Eastman gives Morgan. He takes his pointy killing spear and chops the top off and sands it down to a round staff. Morgan has changed so why not his weapon as well. What makes this even more powerful is down the road when the staff changes back….oh my! But that’s much much much farther away.

A lovely prediction. It’s a small moment but it brought me to tears, both then and rewatching. Morgan gets upset talking about his family to Eastman. Eastman tells him to do his aikido moves and then after Morgan calms down he very softly tells Morgan he’s going to hold a baby again. And it’s true! We know a few episodes back that Morgan held baby Judith and it made him smile. I love it when that stuff comes true!

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Discord

Season 6 Episode 3 “Thank You”

The Episode

I have actually kind of dreaded talking about this episode. Re-watching is hard enough but writing about it is even harder. This episode ripped my heart out when it aired. It was so devastating for me that I can recall every feeling I had at the time. After the episode was over I watched a good half hour of the show after with tears running down my face. I had to tell myself to pull it together….out loud! So with that being said, let’s begin.

small town empty road

Our friends face a harrowing journey back to Alexandria. Herds of walkers are everywhere. When you think about the level of chaos happening, its immense. This day started out with what was supposed to be a dry run of a hefty undertaking and it went to shit in every way imaginable. Rick goes off on his own to get an RV, leaving Michonne and Glenn to lead the supporting players back to Alexandria until he can catch up with them. Through no fault of their own, Glenn and Michonne lose the majority of the group pretty quickly. One guy runs off after shooting another in the leg by accident. Another guy who thought he knew better than everyone got bit. Three of the folks still alive are injured, one bit, one twisted ankle and one shot in the leg. Problems are stacking up. Everything happening in this episode is just torturous to watch. When you want them to move quickly, they seem to take their time talking about their problems. When you want things to go right they just get worse. There is no point in this episode where you get to collect yourself.

I enjoyed the dynamic between Heath and Michonne. Heath is upset after overhearing Rick tell Glenn and Michonne to save themselves above everyone else. Heath gets pretty passive aggressive about this with Michonne while they were holed up in the pet store (which Rick did specifically tell them not to do). But Michonne’s not gonna let Heath get away with that. She really puts him in his place with her speech about how he’s clueless. How he’s never been covered in so much blood that he can’t tell if it’s his own or walkers or his friends. That last bit really comes full circle as Heath catches a reflection of himself later on when they are close to Alexandria and he actually is covered in blood. That message really sinks in right then. If this episode just ended with Michonne making it back to Alexandria with just two people out of the entire group that went out was the end of this episode, it would have still been pretty heavy. But it’s not.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Glenn dies. Not really but I certainly thought he was dead. Were you surprised? I sure was. I had always assumed Glenn was going to go like he did in the comics and then just out of nowhere, they kill him before they even get to introducing Negan. I know a lot of fans were suspect of this dumpster death, but I wholeheartedly believed the show had just killed off Glenn without any warning. And I was crushed. To be honest, it was a really stunning way to go and I almost wish it had been true. If you think about the tragedy of Glenn dying because he couldn’t stop trying to save Nicholas from himself would have actually been really beautiful. I loved how they interspersed moments of Nicholas slipping away to some other place in his mind throughout the episode. They did it in previous episodes too, but we should have known something was going to happen with him when it kept happening over and over again. His repeated zoning out was a sign that he could not handle what was happening. Would I go as far as to say Glenn should have known better? Yeah, actually I might. Nicholas was barely beginning to show he was changing. I think it was a real mistake for Glenn to rush him into relying on him so much. But I mean, it’s not like they had a lot of options.

And then to top it all off, it’s not even the end of the episode. We had to sit there watching in shock and teary eyes for the rest of the episode, which wasn’t even remotely calm. At one point, Rick really hurts his hand on a knife stuck in a walker. That would probably be insignificant to most but I’ve had this wish that Rick would lose his hand at some point. He loses it in the comics back during The Governor days. So it’s been a special wish of mine that they’d cut it off. So every time Rick has ever hurt his hand on the show, I think “this is it”. And they kind of played it up too this time with a lot of scenes of him holding it. Big letdown for me.  Rick also has to take on the Wolves that Morgan let live. At one point I said to the television, “Stop I can’t take anymore!” We’re left wondering if Rick is even gonna get out of the broken RV as walkers start surrounding it.

black and white upshot of a bare tree

This episode really messed with me. I was far from ready to deal with Glenn dying. The danger is coming from every direction, and quite literally all heading towards Alexandria. As exciting as it is as a story, as a person I don’t appreciate leaving us hanging like this! And I want Glenn back! Next week is another great episode and also one I have been waiting to talk about for some time. It will be good.

Best of the Episode

Glenn’s dumpster death. Of course this makes the best of the episode. It was a beautiful death. Not many people get to die twice on a show, but Glenn’s special. When Nicholas can’t take it anymore and sees no way out of them trapped on that dumpster, he politely tells Glenn, “Thank You”, and then blows his brains out all over Glenn. That choice of last words is brilliant. Nicholas knows what he is and knows Glenn did more to help him than anyone even though he didn’t deserve it. He knows he was letting Glenn down one last time in a really big way. That thank you said a lot. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that he also almost really got Glenn killed! The music playing over the scene with no sounds, just watching Glenn crash to the cement and then thinking we were watching our beloved Glenn have his guts eaten out of him is just crushing. Absolutely crushing. It still upsets me. P.S.-Why did they not get in the dumpster and close it?

Michonne’s close call. To escape the herd, the few remaining group members have to climb a fence. Two get over and Michonne and the guy who got bit are being pulled down by walker hands. It’s not looking good. But even though Heath had ran his mouth and could have easily left Michonne on that fence, he didn’t. He stays and shoots at the walkers so Michonne can get over. The bitten guy pretty much sacrifices himself which is cool cuz he was dead anyway. But it’s sad to me that the note he wrote for his wife gets left behind. Earlier in the episode, Michonne had written “You’re getting home” on her arm for the bitten guy to read. But it becomes much more than that when she looks at her arm later on and it seems much more like she wrote it to remind herself that she was going to get home. Heavy.

Rick vs. Wolves. This episode really breaks the bank when they put three of the biggest characters on the show in danger in one episode. We think Glenn’s dead, Michonne has barely made it back to Alexandria and now we have to deal with Rick up against a pack of Wolves on his own. Geez Louise! Before Rick even gets to fighting them I really like the speech he gives on the radio to whoever is listening (pretty much just Daryl at this point).  Rick talks about how they must continue on with the mission and how they have to trust that everything is going to work out back in Alexandria. But then the Wolves attack and he finds a jar of baby food in one of their pockets. Now he knows his family is in trouble and you can tell Rick is thinking about forgetting everything he just said. Not quite the same when it’s your own family is it Rick? I also enjoy how Rick shoots up the RV from the inside to take out Wolves on the outside. And then of course the RV won’t start. Uh duh Rick, you just shot up the place. You could have snuck up on them from the outside and then maybe your ride would still work. Come on dude.

No Days Off

Season 6 Episode 2 “JSS”

The Episode

When this episode first aired, I was taken by surprise by all of it. We are transported away from the action on the road and brought back to the events that are simultaneously unfolding at Alexandria. Including that damn horn. At first, it seems slow and like we are in for a filler of an episode. But that changes very suddenly and dramatically. There’s no days off in the zombie apocalypse.

woman with knife

The Wolves have finally made their appearance in full force. They are all about the killing. Watching Mrs. Neidermeier get taken down as she smokes a cigarette made me sit up out of my seat and go, “oh shit”. To me, this would be one of the scariest types of people to encounter. The take-no-prisoners, kill everyone, no time for talking kind of people. If you can’t respond in kind to that, you don’t stand a chance. We lose a lot of people this episode, but at least no major players. The attack The Wolves bring down upon Alexandria is just brutal. Some of them are so crazy they are just slashing away at already dead people. But what The Wolves don’t know is Alexandria has Carol and Morgan.

How great are Carol and Morgan this episode? They are the stars of the show right here. Carol morphs into a one woman army. After watching her neighbor become the first victim of The Wolves, she goes out there and starts taking them down one by one. Even putting a W on her forehead and pretending to be like them to gain an advantage. So smart! Morgan also wields great power with his staff but he doesn’t so much want to kill them as just make them leave. As much as that’s the nice thing to do, we aren’t watching for nice. Although Carol and Morgan both kick ass, they are not coming from the same place mentally. And this is the beginning of their struggle together. Which is really one of my favorite story arcs that we get to see to fruition through the coming seasons. They have so much in common and yet are in completely different places. Both have lost their only child. They have both had to struggle through some dark times of their own minds. Carol is kind of still in that place right now. Morgan has been through it and will go through it again. I love how these two battle with each other and their ideologies and ultimately learn from each other. It’s fantastic and can’t wait to talk more about it as it develops.

close up of a girl's lower face with hand on chin

In the opening scene, we get a bit of backstory on Enid. Poor Enid. She’s been through hell. All she had before Alexandria was her parents and they managed to get themselves killed pretty stupidly. Enid had to watch them get eaten while trapped in a car and from there on out she was alone. She was alone for a long time it would seem. Just wandering the road and eating turtles. Her mantra, “Just Survive Somehow”, comes from this time alone. JSS. It’s kind of dark that that is what this poor young girl has to tell herself to stay alive. But I’m left wondering what she’s surviving for? Is she hoping that things will get better? Doesn’t there have to be something to live for? You can’t just keep going without any hopes or expectations can you? One of the bits of this episode I really like is Enid’s understanding of The Wolves. She says to Carl that they are just people. She says it like they should be forgiven for what they do. I think she believes that they are also just trying to survive somehow and that makes sense to her. Another interesting part of Enid is the fact that she so easily is ready to leave when things go bad. We watched her draw a JSS on the day she first entered Alexandria. To me this says that she’s not so much looking for a community and people as she is just trying to stay alive. And her desire to exit so quickly when she doesn’t think she is safe anymore really says that she hasn’t left that place in her head.

We also get a new character that seems to have come from nowhere, Denise. Denise is a psychiatrist who is now being forced into the spotlight because Pete is dead. She’s the closest thing they’ve got to a doctor now. I like Denise. Denise is very smart but lacks confidence. She seems to grasp what her strengths are and her weaknesses but responds well to being pushed out of her comfort zone. She is likeable to say the least. I think we can forgive her for being a bad medical doctor….for now.

This was indeed a really superb episode. It’s nice to see that even when our friends are separated, they can still take care of business. Alexandria is having a really bad day, but with a little luck and the right people in the right places it’s all going to turn out okay. Is that too positive? Probably.

Best of the Episode

The Wolves attack. Yes, I know the attack was the majority of the episode but high-level overview it was great. It was surprising, chaotic and violent. Not to mention the beautiful detail put in with Carol putting her casserole in the oven, setting the timer and then coming back to that at the end with the timer going off. I absolutely love this detail. That all this madness could occur in the 45 minutes it took to make the casserole. It really puts things in perspective in an amusing way.

Morgan’s one-liners. He gets a couple of good ones in. When Spencer acts like a wimp and doesn’t want to go help inside, Morgan just says one-word, “hide”. I love that. He says it like he gets he’s talking to a coward. Then Morgan takes on a big axe wielding man. The guy says to Morgan, “quick, slow”, which is basically asking him how he wants to die. But Morgan responds in kind with, “leave, please”.  And then my favorite subtle hint when Gabriel asks him where he learned to use his staff, Morgan just says, “from a cheesemaker”. Makes absolutely no sense right now but we will learn soon enough.

One last Wolf. After we think the attack is over and we think all The Wolves are either dead or run away, Morgan finds one last suspicious open door and walks in. All is quiet and Morgan slowly walks further into the house. And then the camera pans over to reveal one last Wolf waiting to attack. It is so creepy to see him revealed because it is so silent and he is so very close to Morgan that you just want to bite your fingernails or scream at the tv for Morgan to look out. Of course Morgan kicks the guys ass and we suspect he’s killed him but that wouldn’t really be Morgan’s style now would it.

Grand Plans

Season 6 Episode 1 “First Time Again”

The Episode

brownie wrapped in string with a lit candle on top

I’m super excited to be talking about this episode today. I absolutely love all the stuff that happens. Season 6 has perhaps one of the biggest premier episodes in the series. In size alone, we cover a lot of ground. But they also take some big cinematic moves as well. And well, the cast is just always top notch.

The overall concept of the episode is part catching us up with what happened after Reg and Pete die and part current day where a dry run for a huge mission turns into reality. To separate the two, the flashbacks are all in black and white. I love that they do this because it feels very much like a nod to the comics. It’s important to do that now and then. I also enjoy it because they really pick out the important pieces and don’t spend a lot of air time carrying on everything in slow-mo. That’s kind of what it felt like when our group first arrived in Alexandria. Everything was a long conversation and it took forever to get to the point. But they really just give us the highlight reel and that’s refreshing.

The big takeaways from the flashbacks were around Rick and Morgan’s relationship, Abraham, Sasha and Glenn and Nicholas. Oh, plus our one episode friend Carter played by Ethan Embry!  I’m gonna start with that last one first because who was expecting that?!?!? Carter is unfortunately picking up right where Pete left off and making a fuss about everything Rick wants to do. Not for nothing, but people really need to stop getting in Rick’s way. It’s one thing to question him but Carter tries to stage a darn mutiny in the armory and threatens Eugene with a gun. But Carter’s just a tool for us to see how far Rick is going to take things. When Rick catches Carter threatening Eugene, he very easily overpowers him and could kill him for this treachery. But he doesn’t. What Rick says about this little situation later should remind some of a previous talk with Lori. Rick says he just wanted it to be over with Carter. Carter was getting in his way and making trouble and Rick says it would just be easier if he wasn’t around. Rick also said something similar about Shane. He was tired of Shane always questioning him and he just wanted it all to stop. It would seem Rick has a major problem with long-standing annoyances.

The journey Rick and Morgan take this episode is also noteworthy. These two started this show together, but time-wise they really have not spent as much time together as it would seem. People seem to bond much quicker in these turbulent apocalyptic times. But the fact remains they don’t really know each other. Now that they both have found Alexandria, that seems to be changing. The beautiful thing about these two is the respect they have for each other. They don’t agree on everything, but they are honest with each other. There’s several moments to choose from but I like when the two of them are off in the woods to bury Pete and also when Morgan calls bullshit on Rick not taking chances. Rick just wanted to throw Pete away in the woods, but Morgan pushes him to bury him. And Morgan again tries to bring out the best in Rick after Rick lets some walkers go after Alexandrians and tries to save themselves even though they clearly can’t. Morgan presses him on his statement about “not taking chances.” Rick really just meant he doesn’t take chances with his group. He is still willing to sacrifice those he doesn’t see fitting in. They are supporting each other even though they may want to handle things differently. It’s really exciting to watch these two damaged men lean on each other and work through things.

Abraham does some interesting stuff this episode. We see the beginnings of something stirring up in him. He stares really hard at Reg’s wedding ring. What’s he thinking? And in the car with Sasha he hops out to get a few walkers back on the path. He looks like a crazy man and rambling on about getting Reg’s brains in his ear. Gross. Is he being gross on purpose? I want to know what’s going on in that big red head of his. Sasha seems to be tolerating it but doesn’t approve. Sasha seems to be doing better after her breakdown. I like how Abraham asks her if she’s doing the car trip because she wants to die. She smiles and says no. It’s good to hear her say that.

And then there’s Glenn and Nicholas. Nicholas actually steps up for once. Glenn still doesn’t trust him when they go together to kill walkers in a building. But Nicholas does good by vouching for Glenn in front of new guy Heath who doesn’t know Glenn very well. Nicholas gives Glenn the respect he deserves. And then Nicholas does good a second time by stepping in and killing a walker even though Glenn told him to stay back. Glenn gives him a nod of approval to kill another one. I had absolutely no faith in Nicholas turning over a new leaf but as always, Glenn has more faith than the rest of us.

So let’s talk about the quarry. I mean it wouldn’t be a zombie show if we didn’t get a massive injection of zombies once in awhile. But this may be too much. Rick and Morgan stumble upon a giant quarry that walkers have been falling into since the beginning. At first sight, this is an outrageous amount of walkers that should scare everyone away. Letting them out would be the last thing on our minds, but that’s just what Rick wants to do. His logic for wanting to do it is solid but it still seems unbelievable. And then you add in the fact that the day we are following them is just supposed to be a rehearsal for the next day, now you are adding an extra layer. Last minute checklist items are now too late, it’s go time.

autumn country road

An amazing premier episode wouldn’t be as amazing without a surprise ending. Watching this plan go off without a hitch was enthralling. I was into it. It’s a longer episode too and there was no lack of suspense and anxiety of what might go wrong the entire time. But really the only thing that goes wrong is Carter gets bit in the face. Well, that is until the very last minute of the episode when a horn starts blaring out of nowhere. Oh that horn. The sound is everywhere and no amount of distraction can keep the walkers from heading towards it. And it just keeps blaring. I’m jumping out of my seat going “What is that!?!?! Where is it coming from?!?!?” And it keeps blaring as the camera pans out and flies over the walkers now heading right towards Alexandria. The scene goes black and the horn is still going. Oh man do I love that ending. Leaving us on the edge of our seats with so many questions and so much to worry about for all our friends.

Best of the Episode

The little moments. These are my favorites at this point in the series. Things like Gabriel saying he wants to help and Rick shutting him down without even a second’s hesitation. Just no Gabriel, we’re all sick of your shit. Also Rick when he says over the radio that the noise they heard was Carter screaming because he got “bit right in the face.” The way Rick says it is like he’s almost annoyed that that’s how Carter got bit. And p.s.- Rick trying to muffle Carter’s screams and telling him to be quiet after he gets bit in the face, so cold and so Rick. Morgan gets a good one in when he asks Michonne if she took one of his protein bars way way back in the episode Clear. She definitely did but says no and Morgan says he could have sworn he had another peanut butter and Michonne completes the exchange with “that’s always how it goes, you think there’s one more peanut butter.” Eugene compliments Heath’s “hair game”. Abraham and Sasha share their first peace sign with each other.

Daryl rides again. Daryl doesn’t have to do much at this point to make us swoon. All he does this episode is ride his motorcycle. But he does have a few hundred or so walkers following him. And that makes it pretty damn sexy.

Surprises All Around

Season 5 Episode 16 “Conquer”

The Episode

This is one of the most jam-packed season finales of the series. There are more surprises than I can handle. Breakdowns, fights, great quotes. I don’t even know how I can address it all but I’m going to try.

First of all, we are blessed with the return of Morgan. And it seems like he’s going to stick around for more than just a cameo this time. His opening scene at the start of the episode is one of my favorite interactions between two characters ever. As excited as I am to see Morgan, it’s enhanced by who he meets out in the woods alone. We are introduced to the leader of The Wolves. The man behind the Ws we’ve been seeing. As the wolf and Morgan talk, we get some insight into what they are all about. The Wolves want everything. They want to kill. They want to take. They want to destroy. The persona of the lead wolf is so creepy. He’s calm and even says he’s enjoying talking to Morgan before he kills him. That to me is a real sign of someone who has lost touch with reality. When you can simultaneously want to kill someone but also take pleasure from having a conversation with them, something is not right. But just encountering Morgan again is not the total surprise. He seems to have picked up some real ninja turtle style skills. He’s got a staff and he knows how to use it. He’s definitely been up to some major training since the last we saw of him.

I love that Morgan has been turned into a badass. But not just a badass. He’s got a new moral code. He doesn’t want to kill, he just doesn’t want to be killed. As evidenced by what he does with the two Wolves who attack him. Instead of killing them, he takes their unconscious bodies and puts them in a car so not even walkers can get them. When we actually get to the journey of how it happened it’s even better. His evolution is one of the more amazing on the show.

dew dropped flower lying on wood

Morgan and Carol definitely have the most major changes of anyone. Speaking of Carol, she’s really throwing her weight around this episode. She takes a big risk in threatening Pete. She pulls a knife on him and points it at his throat and basically tells him no one will believe he didn’t try to attack her if she kills him. Her words to him when she’s calling him names and such feel a lot like they are something she wanted to say to Ed but didn’t get the chance to. I love that Carol is now able to confront an abuser even if it’s not her own.

The Wolves are such a unique group in the show. As time goes by in the series, the bad guys get weirder and weirder. That seems very much like what would really happen. As people get separated from civilization and following rules of order, you see more and more animalistic behavior come out. These people are bad news and pose a real threat to Alexandria.

But right now, Rick poses a threat to Alexandria. This episode he spends his time trying to figure out what he’s doing here and how to make it work. Unfortunately he’s got people on both sides trying to manipulate him. Carol wants to keep playing games and I think if Rick kept listening to her, she would have been there end. Sorry, as much as I love Carol, playing this game of secrets is not a good idea. Luckily he has Michonne and Carl on the other side to balance it out. He also figures some of it out on his own. His run in with a walker really puts things in perspective for him. But I do have a problem with Deanna telling Rick to kill Pete. Her husband was dying in her arms and she was already grief stricken and under stress. This was not the time to be listening to her. She told Rick the day before “we don’t kill.” Well, that always ends up being untrue because there’s always going to be an exception. Deanna drew the line at her husband. Seems a bit selfish to me that her rules should change when it comes to her family. Not the sign of a great leader in my opinion.

Let’s talk about other surprises that happen. Daryl and Aaron run into major issues at a canned food facility. Instead of finding trucks full of canned goods, they find walkers. They get overtaken quickly and have to hide in a car. I really truly thought this was Daryl’s final moments. I was so prepared to mourn. He lights a cigarette like it’s going to be his last and prepares for the worse.  I thought it felt a lot like he was sacrificing himself but it’s hard to get into Daryl’s head. Maybe he actually thought he’d make it out alive somehow. I was so relieved though when Morgan shows up and rescues them. Another surprise!!! What a small world it is that Morgan could run into someone that can lead him right to the person he’s looking for.

Glenn gets a big surprise when Nicholas shoots him in the woods. I mean how many of our friends are they gonna make us think are about to die this episode? The drama between Glenn and Nicholas continues as they fight out their issues in what seems to be a battle to the death. Of course I’m really hoping Glenn kills Nicholas but that ain’t Glenn’s way. Glenn passes on the chance to kill him and they go back to Alexandria together. In my head I’m hoping that something really great is going to come out of this turmoil between them. Are they going to become best friends? Maybe Nicholas will save Glenn some day? I’m really hoping they’ve hit rock bottom and it gets better.

And the saddest surprise of the evening is Pete killing Reg. Pete takes Michonne’s sword and shows up at the town meeting in a fit of anger. That should really calm everyone down, right? When Reg tries to stop him, Pete pushes him away but ends up slicing Reg’s throat. Was it an accident or on purpose? I’m sure Pete has never used a katana in his life so it’s very possible that he was just holding it wrong. But I also don’t think he cared who he killed at this point. He’s lost so much control that lashing out is all he’s got. So I think it would not have mattered one bit who was in front of him, he would have hurt them regardless. In this case it just happened to be poor Reg.

purple and yellow lights through window

Father Gabriel is as annoying as ever. But he does give me a good chuckle when he goes for a walk and decides to committ suicide by walker and he chickens out. And then miracle of miracles, kills the walker and doesnt get a drop of blood on his all white shirt. I think he would attribute that to god’s protection but to me it’s just irritating. He does really lose his shit this episode though and it really irks me that he ends up taking it out on poor Sasha. Sasha who has spent her day lying in a mass grave of walkers. Gabriel is not in the right mindset to help her and she almost kills him because of it. But in the midst of this seriousness I can still find some humor. Sasha thinks Father Gabriel is trying some sort of reverse psychology on her by being mean. It’s sad and its funny all at the same time. But it really does suck that Sasha can’t get the help she needs right now. Screw Gabriel though.

The cowards we’ve talked about previously all seem to come to a resolution of sorts. Nicholas gets his millionth shot at redeeming himself. Only time will tell. Gabriel as well gets another chance with the help of Maggie. But Pete loses his shot. It’s interesting to look at the differences between these three. Gabriel gets another chance because Maggie stops Sasha from pulling the trigger. Nicholas gets another chance because Glenn is the good guy through and through. But Pete doesn’t get another chance because no one really wants to stop Rick, in fact he’s got someone telling him to do it. And Rick is not that good guy that Glenn is. He’s the guy to end things.  I don’t know if any particular way is correct or better. Down the road we see what Glenn’s compassion gets him into. We also see what Rick’s way gets them into. But here we are, one less coward to deal with.

As much as the action was all around this episode, so was the dialogue. Great conversations all around. I can’t even talk about all the great lines without this being ridiculously long and unreadable. But here are some of my favorites. Morgan gives us “Everything gets a return” and “All life is precious”. He’s really gotten very spiritual it seems. I love the “all life is precious” line though. I don’t exactly live it but I use it in real life at times. Abraham says, “There is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about. Rick knows every fine grain of said shit and then some.” Very poetic use of the word shit. Michonne tells Rick, “Something’s gonna happen, just don’t make something happen.” Good advice. And they all should have kept this in mind down the road before they….well, we’ll get to that later. Rick gives a great self-assessment when he says, “I was thinking how many of you do i have to kill to save your lives.” Wow, that’s a head turner. Rick blew my mind at this line. He’s so right. That’s exactly what he was doing. And Reg gives us one final word of wisdom when he tells Maggie, “Civilization starts when we stop running.” Thanks Reg.

Alright let’s wrap this up nice and pretty before we move on to Season 6 next week. Rick has just murdered Pete at Deanna’s request but he’s also declared he’s going to help everyone become stronger. Ok Rick. Morgan has returned with a new found respect for life but just witnessed the friend he was searching for murder someone. Morgan’s gonna have his work cut out for him. Deanna has lost her husband and son and now letting people murder each other. Government at its finest. The Wolves are out there and it would seem Alexandria is far from safe thanks to Aaron losing his stupid backpack. Things are going great!

Best of the Episode

Daryl whips it good. Daryl can literally do anything. When him and Aaron have to fight a massive amount of walkers, he finds a chain and uses it on three walkers in a row to knock their heads off. He is so amazing.

Carol’s still got manners. Even though she threatens Pete’s life, she brings food! And makes it very clear she expects to get her dish back clean. Carol is awesome.

Rick pops off. When he finds the gate left open by Father Gabriel (oy!) he knows a walker got in and he chases it down. He fights it but they fall to the ground and the only weapon Rick has is his hands. He squeezes the head of the walker until it pops. Blood and brains shower down on him. It’s disgusting and brilliant. And then he takes it a step further by bringing it to the town meeting and throwing it down in front of everyone. Rick knows how to get everyone’s attention.

Echoes

Season 5 Episode 15 “Try”

The Episode

I can’t help but see a lot of reminders from the past coming up in this episode. Some of the characters experience them as well. It seems no matter who we are watching on screen, these echoes of the past are everywhere.

tree trunk with heart carved in it

Carl and Enid realize they have a lot in common out in the woods. They both have dreams, or more likely nightmares, of the woods. Enid has lost both her parents and Carl has lost his mother. It’s tough for them to be around other kids their age because they’ve been through so much grief and pain. Enid worried me a bit here during this episode. At first it seems like she might be bad for Carl. She seems much more in pain than him and has some wacky views on walkers. There were a couple of times where I thought the show might turn her into Lydia, but we now know that didn’t happen. But the two seem to actually appreciate each other and I really wish they had had their first kiss in that tree!

Sasha does a good job of reminding Michonne about her past. As Sasha shoots and slashes an onslaught of walkers, Michonne is reminded of her early days of doing the same. Nothing to do but kill. I think it hurts Michonne a bit when Sasha doesn’t want her help and thinks Michonne’s “made it” in some way. Michonne went through hell and didn’t have much of anyone to lean on until Andrea came along. It took Michonne a heck of a lot longer to recover then maybe Sasha is even aware of. But right now Sasha seems blind to anyone’s feelings except her own.

I’m sure Deanna is hearing the words of Father Gabriel in her head right now. Her son has just been killed and because of Nicholas she doesn’t know who to believe or blame right now with that. Without knowing it, Nicholas even gives Deanna the same advice and says she should make them leave. Now she witnesses Rick lose his mind and try to kill Pete after she just told him not to.  

Side note- Deanna doesn’t display the kindest judgement when she tells Rick she knew about Pete abusing Jessie. She basically says she turned a blind eye to it because Pete’s a surgeon. What the heck Deanna? I don’t like to think that’s what passes for acceptable around Alexandria. Jessie has to sacrifice her body and possibly her life because Pete’s skills are valuable? That is one of those details about this world that make my skin crawl.

I’m sure Rick’s little speech about doing things his way now isn’t sitting well with Deanna either. All this basically right after Gabriel tells her she made a bad decision letting them in. I would have to agree at this moment in time. In fact, I kind of still agree. As much as I hate to say it, Rick doesn’t exactly do Alexandria much good in the beginning. Things definitely get worse before they get better because of him. And it doesn’t turn out too well for anyone in Deanna’s family. Maybe she really should have listened to Father Gabriel.

Rick Grimes is perhaps our biggest offender this episode as we’ve just begun to recognize. We see a little bit of The Governor and Shane come out in his words and actions. When he talks to Deanna about taking care of Pete, his words sound very familiar. He tells her she has to decide what to do or it will be decided for her. Sounds an awful lot like The Governor’s, “You kill or you die, or you die and you kill.” And if Rick’s little crazy speech at the end didn’t spark memories of Shane nothing will. Rambling on about how they all sit around trying to make decisions when action is needed. It’s almost identical to one of Shane’s major frustrations with Rick back in Season 2. It makes me really wonder if this is how it has to be. Shane said it and we didn’t want to believe it had to be that way. But here we are again in Season 5 and now Rick is saying it. Was Shane right all along? Is killing people who get in your way or pose a danger the only way to deal with things now?

Thankfully we have Glenn and Michonne trying to point Rick in the right direction. Carol is basically the devil on his shoulder right now. She knows riling Rick up with stories from Sam about what’s going on behind closed doors is going to  convince Rick to do something about it. Glenn continues to be the good guy as always. Trying to help people and always willing to give them a chance. Even that stupid dummy Nicholas. And Michonne is out there trying to save Sasha from herself and also handling Rick as he loses his shit in front of everyone.

Best of the Episode

forest of trees

Daryl and Aaron recruiting mission. They don’t find any living people yet but they sure do come across some interesting dead ones. They continue to find more bodies with Ws on their foreheads. In fact, several people did this episode. But one really cranks up the creep value when Daryl and Aaron find a dead woman tied to a tree. We really get a good look at her as they evaluate the scene. Someone tied a woman to a tree and let walkers eat what they could reach of her. It’s pretty gross and the two are alarmed by it. We need a little gross now and then to wake us up. What makes it even more interesting when they see the W on her forehead. At this point, we can’t help but wonder what it stands for and who is doing it. Walkers? Winning? Wolves? One crazy person or a bunch of crazy people? Something is coming and we have no idea what. I love the suspense of it all.

Jessie makes a choice. At first Jessie pushes Rick’s help away. But when Rick comes back into her house and he lays it out for her, she asks him a question I find really interesting. She asks him if he would do this for anyone. She likes his answer which is no but I don’t particularly think that’s the right answer. No is what Jessie wants to hear because it says to her that Rick thinks she’s special and he cares about her. But really Rick should be willing to protect everyone in Alexandria like this, not just someone he’s attracted to. I love this scene anyway though because Rick has such trouble with even admitting his feelings and Jessie is so reluctant to accept his help that it’s kind of a sweet falling in love moment. Even though it’s not cool at all what they are doing. Love is complicated right?

Rick vs. Pete (round 1). This is an epic fight that rolls into a great Crazy Rick speech. Rick decides he’s going to be a better husband for Jessie than Pete and basically gets Jessie’s go ahead. Pete unsurprisingly doesn’t take the news well and starts a fight with Rick. I love that Rick is not the greatest fighter as witnessed in previous tussells, but he sure can take a punch and keep on going. I love that moment when Rick tosses Pete out his front window and they take the fight to the street. Nobody can break this fight apart as the two are bent on finishing each other. But Rick shows mercy at the end and releases Pete before he chokes him to death.  But Rick ain’t done yet. He releases his inner Shane on the crowd as he flails a gun around like a crazy person. It looks like the Ricktatorship might be back until Michonne comes out of nowhere with a punch to the face that puts him out. I love that punch! I was so wrapped up in Rick’s crazy talk that I wasn’t even thinking about how this is gonna end and then she gives him one big ass punch in the face and it’s just perfect.

Cowards

Season 5 Episode 14 “Spend”

The Episode

black rose

Fear can make people do some crappy things. Everyone in this episode is afraid of something. Mostly death from zombies but there’s some other stuff too just to keep it balanced. What do we do when we are afraid? That’s the question we’re asking this week.

There’s a lot of people vying for Coward of the Week. Father Gabriel stabs all of our friends in the back by telling Deanna she shouldn’t have let them in and they’ll destroy everything she’s built. Nicholas abandons Glenn and Noah which gets Noah killed. Tobin abandons Francine on the job site when walkers attack. But I’m proud to say for once Eugene is not even close to being Coward #1. I am so proud of him for stepping up. When Tara is knocked unconscious by an exploding grenade, he’s the one to get her back to the van to safety. Of course he’s a reluctant hero but that’s the best part of watching him. He looks so out of his element and so terrified that it really makes it sink in he’s trying to do the right thing. Only Tara could bring this out of him in this moment. She’s been his confidante for a while now and her words definitely bear weight with him. I don’t think if it was anyone else he would have stepped up. Also really proud of Eugene not just saving Tara but also using the van to distract walkers away from the revolving doors that Glenn, Noah and Nicholas are trapped in and making it easier for them to get out. He really has impressed me this episode.

On the other hand, Father Gabriel is a major letdown. How dare he secretly go to Deanna and say terrible things about our group. They saved his life numerous times. He owes them a little loyalty and this is a complete betrayal. I wonder how he thinks this is going to go. Deanna is very diplomatic in her response as she takes the info in, but what if she hadn’t been. She could have either believed every word of it and then what? She confronts them all and kicks them out? That doesn’t seem like it will go well. Or, she doesn’t believe Gabriel at all and then what happens? Would she make him leave or would he leave on his own? He’s too much of a wimp to leave on his own. Would he try to do something else or just slink off and hide in his church? I hate it when people don’t think things through.

I don’t even want to get going on Nicholas but I guess I must. First, he tries to abandon his last remaining friend Aiden who has been run through and stuck to a wall after the grenade went off. Second he freaks out in the revolving doors and sends Noah to his death when he abandons them. And third, he runs away to find the van and threatens to leave Eugene behind. We also learn that it was Nicholas and Aiden who got their last crew killed by abandoning them. And I hate to say it but Nicholas is just getting warmed up. We are about to watch Glenn and Nicholas entangle themselves together in some sort of hero tries to save coward drama which culminates in one of the most devastating of moments on the show. I cannot stand Nicholas and his stupid facial hair and pointy nose. I just want to kick him in the face.

In other acts of cowardice, we have Pete day drinking and being menacing towards Rick and Carol. Outside of college, showing up drunk with a beer for someone isn’t exactly how you make friends. I think Rick saw it for what it was. Pete was trying to intimidate him. He said he wanted to be friends but really he wanted to show Rick he’s not afraid of him. Then he blows off Carol and says she can’t see Jessie because it’s “a bad time”. I think Carol is all too familiar with what that means.

notepad with the word ideas written down

Unfortunately though, all these cowards live to see another day, but Noah doesn’t. Noah wasn’t the strongest person physically. Or the biggest. But he was smart and he was a team player. He had heart. At the beginning of the episode, Noah asks Reg to mentor him and teach him about architecture. Noah was thinking positive and thinking of a future. That moment when we see the notebook in the van and Noah hadn’t even got a chance to write anything in it yet really pains me. Rest in peace Noah.

Deanna’s really going to be thinking about Father Gabriel’s words next episode since she’s about to find out her son is dead. It’s scary to think that maybe F.G. is right. Right now Carol and Rick are talking about murdering Pete. And Rick’s already expressed interest in taking over if the Alexandrians don’t live up to their expectations. The fear is alive in all of them. We’ll continue to see where it takes them.

Best of the Episode

Revolving doors from hell. This is a really original moment for the show. Another demonstration of how everyday things can become nightmares. We’ve got Glenn and Noah trapped in one section and stupid Nicholas trapped in another. They are forced into a balancing act to keep the doors steady from letting walkers in. Sometimes the doors would move a little and you’d see walkers trying to grab them and it’s super intense. It gets even worse when Nicholas totally freaks out and pushes the doors enough for him to get out which now makes it possible for walkers on the inside to grab Noah. Glenn is forced to watch the walkers as they rip young Noah’s face off. How horrible is that!

Cooking with Carol. Carol is now entangled with Sam who won’t leave her alone about freaking cookies. Carol’s motherly instincts are gone at this point. She tells Sam to steal chocolate to make them and if he gets caught and snitches she’ll do something terrible to him. I love this new mean to children Carol we’ve got going on. She doesn’t even want to talk to him when they make the cookies.  But it turns out to be very revealing as Sam reveals some details about his home life to her. Enough so that Carol basically sees that he’s living with an abusive father. Now this is when it gets real good. Because Carol doesn’t just tell Rick about it. She tells Rick what to do about it. She tells Rick that the only option is going to be to kill Pete. Wait what?!?!?! Carol my dear, I think we have a few other options before we jump to premeditated murder.

looking down at feet with boots on

Abraham at work. Our big red-headed friend gets to show off his skills out on the construction site. When everyone else wimps out, he saves Francine and stands alone against a herd of walkers surrounding him. His heroism spreads to others though and pretty soon everyone steps up to help. The current construction site leader, Tobin, is so impressed that he relinquishes his job to Abraham. That’s our Abe!