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.


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.

Choose to Live

Season 5 Episode 9 “What Happened and What’s Going On”

The Episode

If there’s one word of advice I could give about The Walking Dead it would be don’t binge watch season 5 without taking a break between 5.8 and 5.9. It will destroy you. I made this mistake once re-watching with my mother and after this episode was over we both were in tears and wondering what to do with our lives. Even a week in between seems to not be enough for me as I try to write this.

black roseWhat I find peculiar about my reaction to this episode is that Tyreese is not one of my favorite characters. He’s an excellent character but I just have never felt any real connection to him. But I find his final episode here, one of the most beautiful farewell tributes to ever be given a character. The entire episode is just dedicated to what has happened through Tyreese’s journey on this show. No one else has gotten that and no one else will until season 9. Tyreese’s goodbye draws you in slowly and then surprisingly and heartbreakingly ends that it is just overwhelming to the soul. So even those of us who haven’t connected with Tyreese are so overcome with emotion that we shed a sea of tears over losing him.

Let’s talk about some of the beauty of this episode. The opening is a string of moments in no particular order. It starts with a burial that we all assume is Beth’s. Photo of a house. Maggie crying. People running. Pictures of twins. The prison. Bones in the forest. And then Lizzie and Mika. That’s the weirdest part of all. What are they doing here? But all of these scenes begin to unravel through the episode and it starts making sense. And it all winds back up at the burial which we now realize is Tyreese’s. It’s a strange way of preparing us but still allowing us to be surprised later on in the episode.

Tyreese’s final moments in the bedroom after he gets bit is also quite riveting. We find ourselves in Richmond, Virginia inside Noah’s family home. The group has trekked 500 miles to get Noah here, which on its own is a beautiful tribute to Beth. But we find the community destroyed and Noah’s family is dead. While Tyreese is distracted by pictures on the wall of Noah’s twin brothers, he is surprised by one of those twins who bites him on the arm. Noah runs off to get the others and while he is gone Tyreese experiences some hallucinations. The first hallucination is Martin. Martin is his usual pessimistic self. Then Bob shows up to counteract him and call bullshit to what he is saying. Then The Governor and Lizzie and Mika.

What these people all have in common is that Tyreese feels guilt over their deaths. He’s been carrying them all through his journey. That gentle giant has never wanted to kill people without it being completely necessary. Martin says if Tyreese had killed him then Gareth would never have been able to find them and kill Bob. Or put Rick’s group in the position of having to kill all of Gareth’s group. Tyreese blames himself for The Governor because he joined up with them at first and maybe if he hadn’t or done more against The Governor then just say he wasn’t going to fight that Woodbury wouldn’t have come crashing down. And there’s not much explaining to do when it comes to Lizzie and Mika. From the outside looking in, there’s no way Tyreese could have known all the maybes and what ifs. But that doesn’t make it any easier for the individual. He carries the guilt of what happened to these people like any thoughtful and caring human being would.

Through most of this hallucinating, it feels like maybe there’s still a chance that Tyreese may live. If the others come cut off his arm soon then he could make it out of this. There’s that optimistic side of me coming through again. I think it is when Beth shows up in his hallucinations that I start to realize this isn’t going to turn out well. Nothing in particular about her says “this is the end for Tyreese”. It just feels more like a goodbye then the others.  Maybe it’s the music she plays on the guitar. Tyreese does seem to start fighting to live more after Beth which is another way this becomes absolutely devastating. He is fighting to live but its just been too long now. He stands up to yell at The Governor but he just gets knocked back down.

The final rescue attempt cements the utter sadness of this episode. Tyreese is hallucinating that Lizzie and Mika are holding his arm, but it turns into Rick holding it while Glenn and Michonne cut his arm off. It turns into a race against time to get him back to the vehicle and then back to the others to cauterize his arm before he bleeds to death. Just like Tyreese was trying so hard to fight to live, so are Rick and the group in trying to get him back. You could tell on their faces that they all wanted to save Tyreese desperately. But with walkers attacking them, fences in their way and Tyreese’s size alone they struggle and fail to save him. We know it’s over when we see Tyreese riding in the car with Beth driving, Bob in the front passenger seat and Lizzie and Mika beside him. They are shepherding him to what’s next. And he simply says to turn off the radio. He’s done listening now, he has no need anymore.

Sasha wasn’t in this episode until we see her at the funeral. Sasha just lost Bob and now her big brother is gone. She has no one left. I think that’s when it gets harder for most on field with tree on sunny daythis show. When you’ve got no family left, no blood relatives, these characters really go through some stuff. Carol lost Ed and then Sophia and now she’s not even close to resembling her former self. Daryl lost Merle twice and its very clear that Daryl is a much better person without his brother around. Now we will see what happens to Sasha. I worried for her a lot after this loss of Tyreese but I think we really get some of the best of her going forward.

This episode brought some foreshadowing with it. At Noah’s community, one of the brick walls has “Wolves Not Far” written on it. This would make absolutely no sense to anyone at the time. The Wolves don’t come up for a while on the show and weren’t in the comics. But we get to see their handy work. It looks like they are the ones who destroyed Noah’s community and Michonne finds a field of human legs. Bodies just from the waist down. We see the top halves at the end of the episode where the truck is parked. Who on earth would cut bodies in half and just take the tops? Super weird. Another bit of foreshadowing is Glenn holds a bat. Glenn’s already had one close call with a bat back at Terminus, now he holds one in his hands. Strike three is next.

Our poor friends are in a real low point right now. They’ve lost Washington, they’ve lost Beth and Tyreese and they are losing hope on finding a place to live. This journey to Richmond was in hopes of finding a place to start over again. Michonne’s reaction to this latest setback is the most telling of where our groups is mentally. Michonne is visibly upset they find Noah’s community destroyed. She’s even more upset when she hears Glenn talking about killing Dawn if he had been there. That’s not like Glenn at all and Michonne doesn’t like it. She wants them to stay here and fix it up even though it doesn’t make sense. She warns Rick and Glenn you can be “out here” too long. We’ve seen that happen before and it certainly does feel like with all of the fails lately that if they don’t get a win soon then this may all be over. But they decide to go to Washington. Even though a cure may not be there, it may still be the best possibility of a life they once knew.

Best of the Episode

tiny flowers with yellow sunburstTyreese’s words of wisdom. There wasn’t really a bad part of this episode but Tyreese gives one last gift to Noah with some kind words to help him pick himself up off the ground after finding out his family was gone. He tells Noah to choose to live. Choose to live because you might be there to do some good that will make up for the pain now. Even as he nears death, Tyreese tried to choose life. Tyreese has always been kind-hearted but we don’t get a lot of the wisdom it seems he holds inside. He did this a little bit with Sasha after she lost Bob and now he’s trying to help Noah. This kindness was really unique to Tyreese and it will leave a gap in our group for sure.

Tyreese twice bit. The first bite was a surprise. But then Tyreese is forced to fight another walker while he waits for rescue. It’s not going well and the walker has him up against a wall. Tyreese is weaponless and is forced to use his bitten arm to hold off the walker so he can grab something to kill it with. It’s one of those cringe-worthy moments. Imagine the pain of having to use an open wound as your defense. It gives me shivers.

An Angel Gets Her Wings

Season 5 Episode 8 “Coda”

“I’ll be gone someday. You’ll be the last man standing. You’re gonna miss me so bad when I’m gone Daryl Dixon.” ~ Beth Greene, The Walking Dead (season 4 episode 12)

The Episode

The title of the episode says it all…coda. It is the summation of this story arc.  It is the end. Beth was the remaining person lost to our group after the prison fell. They’ve found her and take great measures to get her back. But it’s a devastating and tragic end that we don’t see coming. Personally, this episode tears my heart open every time I watch it. No episode makes me cry more than this one. But I love it. I love the entire thing of it from beginning to end.

black roseLet’s just get the whole Beth dying thing out of the way shall we. There isn’t a dry eye amongst our friends when Beth goes down, including my own. The hallway scene with the hostage trade-off was intense. A bunch of armed people in such a narrow hallway with bad lighting and no cover. One bad move and everyone is taking a bullet. But Beth can’t let Dawn have Noah back that easy. Dawn signed her death warrant when she just had to make a sly remark about Noah returning to the hospital. It really ticked Beth off. So much so that Beth took no time at all to stab Dawn over it. What a horrible series of events though that this sets off. Beth stabs Dawn, Dawn shoots Beth by accident in the head, Daryl shoots Dawn and everyone pulls their weapons. I truly thought everyone was about to die. Fortunately though, one cop makes them all stop and ends the violence.

How did we get to this point between Dawn and Beth? It seemed like the two were really building some sort of understanding of each other. Beth was helping Dawn make better choices even if it was just between the two of them. And Dawn was somewhat mentoring Beth on life. Even if Beth didn’t agree with the teaching she was getting, it still got Beth to really figure out what she herself believed in. It was an odd co-dependent relationship the two had. And it seemed a little like it was working for them. They even killed another cop together if that counts for anything. I had hoped that maybe this weird relationship may lead to a happy ending. My optimism surprises even me sometimes. I should definitely know better by now. Dawn unfortunately makes such an unreasonable request when it comes to Noah that Beth has to do something.

Before she kills Dawn, she remarks that she “gets it now.”. There’s a lot that this could refer to. The two have had many conversations. One of the first remarks that stands out from Dawn a few episodes back is when she tells Beth that some people aren’t meant for this world and that’s okay but they cannot get in the way of the people who are. Ouch. There’s plenty more of cruel insights from Dawn to go along with this beauty but I think what Beth means is a cumulative understanding of everything Dawn has been saying to her while she’s been at the hospital. It’s ironic though that while Dawn thought she was leading Beth to be like her, it really resulted in Beth standing up to Dawn and stabbing her. Way to go Dawn.

There are a number of other events this episode that are also very important. The start of the episode being one of the greatest openings the show has ever produced. Bob the cop is escaping but Rick catches up to him. It’s flurried shots of legs running until Rick gets in a cop car and tries to tell Bob to stop. When Bob doesn’t listen, Rick rams in from behind. He rams a human being with a car! I repeat. He RAMS a HUMAN BEING with a CAR! This gives me that surprised and amused giggle that I get when Rick does some crazy ass shit. Bob points out something here though. I believe he’s the first to point this out. He tells Rick he’s been out here too long. Out in the world. This is almost true but there’s a sliver of hope in Rick still before this episode ends. After Beth dies and everyone is still in the hallway in shock, Rick makes an offer to the hospital survivors that he’s made to others before. He offers to take them with him wherever that may be. It’s a small sign that Rick still has his heart in the right place. It’s definitely going to get more iffy but we’ve got a few more incidents to go before Rick and the others really have been out here too long.

In another ironic twist, Father Gabriel locks the dead inside his church. After his escape results in a small herd of walkers chasing him back to his church, Michonne and Carl areclose up of wood forced to save him again. This time they have to leave the church and then double back to lock the walkers inside. A little amusing that first he locked his parishioners out and now that they are dead, he’s locking them in. Just a little though.

GREATM returns to the church with a fantastic entrance of driving the fire truck right into the front stairs of the church. They bring back the news that Eugene lied and Michonne gives Maggie the news that her sister is alive. Maggie finding out that her sister is alive only to show up to see Daryl carrying her lifeless body out of the hospital is the most heartbreaking of moments this entire episode. If Daryl crying and shooting Dawn didn’t get you, Maggie collapsing on the ground is sure to. What a cruel cruel thing to happen to Maggie. A glimmer of hope that her baby sister was still alive. She was just moments away from seeing her and it all just evaporated. It’s devastating.

Our friends are heading into a real low point as we turn into the second half of Season 5. Beth’s death will stay with them for a good long while. It’s gonna get ugly. And I shall remain optimistic…. sort of.

Best of the Episode

Unhinged Rick. I’ve already mentioned how Rick rammed Bob with the cop car. But just to add a sprinkle of true crazy he shoots Bob while he’s talking and then tells the dead Bob to shut up. Holy moly. Rick is truly on the edge.

Dawn vs. O’Donnell. One of her more asshole cops decides to step up to Dawn by the elevator shaft. He wants her to do something about Beth who he finds to be a troublemaker. Dawn stands up for Beth and ends up in a tussle with the guy. O’Donnell ends up positioned in front of the open elevator shaft and Dawn yells to Beth who pushes him down it. They listen as walkers come to eat him. Good job ladies.

Beth and Maggie’s reunion not to be. The fire truck pulls up to the hospital and everyone is out of it and walking towards the building. Rick is the first to exit. He gives this slight head shake that says it all. I love that head shake. He doesn’t have to do anything else and they all stop. Maggie’s smile fades and she collapses. Then Daryl comes out with Beth in his arms. We get a shot of the entire group from above with the city in the background. I’d love to have this scene captured and hung on my wall. It’s beautiful and tragic all at once.

In Remission

Season 5 Episode 7 “Crossed”

The Episode

Every character is present for this episode as we approach our mid-season finale. The major issues are showing signs of coming to a conclusion. Glenn’s group of travelers is working through Eugene lying to them. Rick’s rescue team is advancing in on Grady Memorial Hospital. Michonne is watching over the children….and Father Gabriel. Beth is watching over Carol and making moves on the inside. Yup, everyone is present and accounted for.

One of the more fascinating but overlooked is Father Gabriel. At every turn he manages to do the weakest and dumbest shit. He scratches and scrubs the dried blood on the church floor like he’s Lady Macbeth. Out damn spot! Carl wants to teach him to protect himself and he can’t even pick him up a machete without his stomach turning. And then, after Michonne tries so hard to let him know they are here for him, we watch him sneak out of the church through the floor. I have never understood anything Father Gabriel does and this is just the beginning of it. I sort of get that he’s afraid of our friends after what they did, but I also don’t get it because they’ve never tried to hurt him ever. All they’ve done is save him over and over again. So why run away? He can’t even escape right. He gets a nail stuck in his shoe and hobbles away only to get freaked out by a walker wearing a cross. He’s just a mess.

a shallow river bed with rocksOn a brighter note, GREATM finds the strength to carry on. That’s Glenn-Rosita-Eugene-Abraham-Tara-Maggie. I give credit to Tara and Rosita for healing our friends. Tara with her juvenile humor and Rosita with her survival skills. Tara keeps things light with things like GREATM, jokes about Eugene’s deceit and playing with yo-yos. Rosita with her ability to filter dirty water, catching fish with the mesh insides of windbreakers and also cleaning those fish. I like how Glenn, Tara and Rosita are able to take the time and bond as they try to cope with the events of the day. And it’s very nice that Glenn extended a hand to Rosita by telling her that she is part of them. Rosita is often just seen as Abraham’s girlfriend, but she’s often overlooked as well. Glenn let’s her know that even without Abraham around, which is a real possibility at this point since he’s losing it, that she is still welcome to be with them.

One new thing I noticed this re-watch is how Eugene snaps out of it pretty much the same time as Abraham does. Eugene was unconscious all episode while Abraham was in the kneeling posture except for some brief moments where people tried to get in his face. Abraham finally speaks to Maggie at the end of the episode and then they hear Eugene mumble. Just a tiny coincidence but it makes them all the more tied to each other that these moments paralleled.

Rick’s rescue mission heads into Atlanta to rescue Beth and Carol. It’s a pretty strong group. Rick, Daryl, Tyreese, Sasha and Noah. While most are physically strong, Noah comes with the intel. I like how Tyreese offers up a plan that doesn’t involve killing people. I also like how Daryl backs it when Rick is a little hesitant. This is the kind of stuff I appreciate about our friends. The kind of stuff that Father Gabriel fails to see in them. When they can clearly take a path of violence because they know they have the muscle, they listen to the person who offers up a plan that doesn’t involve anyone dying. They aren’t perfect but I think it says a lot that Rick and everyone is willing to try to take a gentler path.

I must point out the struggle Sasha is going through right now. After just losing Bob, she’s on the edge of her sanity. Just like her brother, she builds up a rage inside her and doesn’t want to talk about it. I love how she wears Bob’s jacket in his honor. And when it industrial machinerygets caught on the car and the sleeve rips, I can feel what Sasha is going through. As strong as she is to try to carry on, it also causes her to let her guard down. When the hostage cop whose first name happens to be Bob gives her a sob story about a dead cop walker burned up outside, she offers to help put it out of its misery. She turns her back to the cop when she goes to snipe it from the window and the cop rams her head into the window from behind and then escapes. I can’t be mad at her though. Just like the jacket, she tried to honor Bob by doing something nice for someone else. That’s what Bob would have done.

Last but surely not least is Beth. She doesn’t know it yet, nobody does, but it’s her last day on earth. She saves Carol’s life this day. She uses her abilities to get medicine to Carol that helps her wake up. And I find it really touching that she holds Carol’s hand and let’s her know she is there. Honestly, we don’t deserve Beth. She saves Daryl when the two are out on the road alone together and now Carol. Beth is a gosh darn angel.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s close encounter. As he fights one of the cops, the cop has him on the ground beside some ugly disgusting burnt up walkers. It’s cringe-inducing watching the walkers teeth snap so close to Daryl’s head. And even more cringe-inducing when he puts his fingers first nearer their teeth and then in their eyeballs like a bowling ball and rips the head from the neck to beat the cop off with. I was very much watching between my fingers over my eyes as if that helps.

~Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!~

Super Beth

Season 5 Episode 4 “Slabtown”

The Episode

It’s Beth! And not just a little of Beth, we get a whole dang episode of her! It’s about time! Lots of interesting stuff is going on this episode. New characters. New settings. New problems.  We get to take a step away from the everyday horrors our other friends are going through and get to see something a tad different.

As excited as I am about Beth, let’s start with the new characters. The most important of which is Noah. Noah sticks with us for a bit after meeting Beth at Grady Memorial Hospital. Noah is about the same age as Beth, and he’s gotten stuck at this hospital for the past year. He’s got the place figured out and hates it but he’s smart enough to make a plan and wait for the right time. He does several nice things for Beth which gives him bonus points. He has the vibe of a trustworthy and nice person, but not a pushover either. I like Noah right away but I do get upset at him a little bit at the end of the episode for leaving Beth behind.

Then there is Dawn and Dr. Edwards. Dawn does not give anyone a good vibe. Her introduction to Beth as she first wakes up in the hospital includes a chilling “You owe us”.hospital patient hand with IV You know whenever you hear that you are assuredly not in the presence of anyone kind-hearted. Dawn is a police officer who was next in line to take over after the first guy lost it. Her gang of merry cops includes one very creepy man named Gorman. Dawn along with the doctor run a scam on weak looking survivors where they take them in and then force them to work for them as payment. This is why they took Noah and not his dad and Beth and not Daryl. I suppose it’s not a bad strategy if Dawn would just be honest with herself about what she’s doing. She seems to be under the impression she’s surviving for some wonderful after world that is going to happen, and using people now to get there is just a means to an end. This is what these bad guys do wrong every time. They get wrapped up in the rules of their ideologies, leaving no room for adjustment. Be flexible dammit! Dr. Edwards has a bit of a harder time coping with what they are doing but he’s no shining star either. He may regret giving Dawn this idea but he’s certainly willing to play the game. When another doctor is brought in, Dr. Edwards tells Beth to give him the wrong medication on purpose so he dies. Dr. Edwards can’t have another doctor around because then he won’t be necessary and becomes disposable.

And here we have Beth in the middle of this crazy hospital now. If there is one thing that Dawn and the rest of these people take for granted it’s Beth’s strength. They put her through a multitude of challenges and she stands up to all of them. She doesn’t have the backing of anyone she trusts and she faces off with all of them. The creepy officer Gorman is a complete pervert with her. It’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been when he forces her to put the lollipop in her mouth. But Beth gets him in the end when she tricks him into letting his guard down and she hits him with the lollipop jar, very fitting. Then she shoves him into the waiting arms of Joan the walker, the previous young woman he undoubtedly raped. Dawn is repeatedly cruel to Beth, including smacking her around several times and verbally putting her down. But when Dawn mentions rescuers coming some day to save them, Beth gets in her face and tells her no one is coming. Beth doesn’t let Dr. Edwards’ sins slide either. She confronts him about what he did to the other doctor. Beth could have let all of these people get away with what they were doing and she didn’t. She has the tenacity of a freaking lion.

At the end of all this fun, Noah and Beth try to escape together. However, it doesn’t go well and Noah is the only one to make it past the fence. As I said earlier, I’m a little perturbed that Noah didn’t go back to help Beth, but when Beth smiles, we get permission to forgive Noah. Beth is happy for him that he is going to get to go find his family like he told her he wanted to. And I suppose that’ll have to be good enough for us as well.

Best of the Episode

generic office buildingJoan’s unwilling amputation. Joan is brought back in to the hospital after running away. But she returns with a bite on her arm, so they want to amputate it and save her. We don’t have the pleasure of watching this done with an ax this time, but we do get a metal string which seems just as gruesome if not more so than the ax. It’s stomach turning to watch as the doctor saws her arm off and Beth holds her feet down.

The surprise ending.  Beth looks like she’s about to get herself killed when we see a stretcher come in with Carol. Carol is unconscious and we have no idea what has happened to her. No sign of Daryl yet so it would appear we’ve been left out of the loop on something again. But now Beth is forced to put aside whatever she had planned and make sure Carol is alright.

Promises Kept

Season 5 Episode 3 “Four Walls and a Roof”

The Episode

tree with no leaves at nightThis episode is dark…literally. Much of the episode is at night with people creeping around in the shadows. It matches the substance of the episode well. Our friends take a final stand against Terminus, and it’s a bloody and vengeful one. Rick and many others again begin to toy with their dark sides.

Gabriel reveals his sin that everyone has been wondering about. Rick and our friends pressure him into telling them as they freak out because they don’t know yet what happened to Bob, Daryl or Carol. Gabriel reveals that when the outbreak first happened, his parishioners came to the church but the doors were locked. And Gabriel kept them that way. He had to listen to them scream and die outside his church and he never let any of them in. Then he buried them when it quieted down. Pretty bad for a holy man as far as sins go. Gabriel continues to reveal he has no spine and it really is a miracle that he has made it this far. At the end of the episode, after our friends do their worst, Gabriel remarks that this is the Lord’s house. Maggie replies with the episode title, it’s just four walls and a roof.

I’m going to over analyze that morsel for a moment. I believe what Maggie is implying by her statement has to do with what Gabriel has done as well as what our friends have just done. Gabriel locked his parishioners out leading to their deaths. By Gabriel’s failure as a pastor, he has diminished what the building itself means. In conjunction with Maggie’s feelings on what she has just taken part in, it really is no church at all at this point. I would say besides Gabriel the next most religious person of the group would be Maggie. Hershel was a deeply religious man and Maggie and Beth were raised in a religious family. Back when we are first introduced to Maggie in Season 2, one of her first conversations with Glenn is about God. Even though she questions her belief, she’s still the only person of our group to even bring up the subject. By Maggie stating that this is just four walls and a roof, it’s removing God from the terrible deed they just committed.

And as for that terrible deed they did, it was pretty gruesome. Rick is really pissed at church pewswhat Terminus did to them and others. He’s ready for revenge. I like how they keep the actual plan hidden from us. They gave us just enough info to think things were going to go one way and then surprise us. We think our friends are about to go off and attack the elementary school, leaving a few behind to protect Judith and the weaker people at the church. And we think that plan is about to get messed up when Rick’s group passes Gareth’s group in the darkness and we watch Terminus head in to the church. We think our friends have been tricked again but really they predicted this and doubled back so they could ensure Terminus can’t escape. I have to give props to Martin again. Even as he faces death for the second time, he still has the balls to disobey Rick when he tells them to kneel. And that whole kneeling thing. I don’t know if it was my mood or if I just hadn’t watched this in a while and forgot or what but my stomach actually turned a little when Rick told them to kneel. There are a lot of similarities between Rick and a certain someone we meet in the future, but I had never connected this kneeling thing before. And it really kind of stunned me for a second. I wasn’t ready for that when I watched this. But I digress. Rick keeps his promise to Gareth and whips out the red machete and kills him. Michonne, Sasha and Abraham also take part in slaughtering the other Terminus folk.

The slaughter hits Tyreese, Gabriel, Maggie and Glenn the hardest I feel. Tyreese we’ll learn feels extremely guilty about Martin. Gabriel is a giant wimp. And Maggie and Glenn I think have a hard time swallowing any brutal murder in general. That’s not what they want to be about but they go along reluctantly.

black roseWe say goodbye to Bob Stookey this episode. But he goes out with a lot of style and heart. While he is still alive and captive by Gareth and the other Terminus members, he’s forced to listen to Gareth yap on about why they eat people as they continue to eat him. But one of my favorite moments is Bob’s big reveal about how he was bit and he screams “tainted meat!!!” at them. I enjoy the momentary freak out by them and seeing them vomit. It’s also good because if he wasn’t bit, I don’t think Terminus would have returned Bob to the church. They would have kept eating him. It also allows us to feel a little bit better about what’s happened to Bob. It’s terrible that he’s been amputated and watched people eat him, but knowing that he was going to die anyways is somewhat…for lack of a better word, comforting.

Losing Bob is particularly sad because of what him and Sasha had just gotten started. It took Bob a long time to get through Sasha’s hard outer shell. And pretty much as soon as he does, he’s taken away from her. No doubt this is going to have a long-term effect on Sasha. Her bad days are just beginning. Their last moment together is heartbreaking. Bob wakes up for a brief moment to tell her about his dream where he was smiling and she was smiling back and then she does smile for him. As he passes back out for the last time, Sasha tries to ask him what the good is that comes from this bad. But Bob can’t answer because he’s finally passed.

As the episode closes, Maggie, Glenn and Tara keep the promise they made to Abraham and hop in the school bus to go to Washington. It feels weird with them leaving like this, just a bunch of casual goodbyes and hugs. But we’re not done with them yet, not by a long shot. And Daryl brings back a surprise of his own. Daryl comes out of the darkness and is greeted by Michonne. When she asks where Carol is, Daryl calls out “come on out”, but he wouldn’t talk to Carol like that. We don’t get to see if it is or not but I was 100% sure at the time this aired it was not going to be Carol.

Best of the Episode

Rick vs. Abraham. As Abraham again tries to force everyone to take off for Washington immediately, Rick refuses because they are missing Bob, Carol and Daryl. Abraham continues to push and Rick’s pressure meter is in the danger zone. Rick begins to march towards Abraham with the intent of getting into a brawl but Glenn gets in the middle. It’s that walk Rick takes towards Abraham that makes me giggle with anticipation. Like he’s ready to fight the world even if his chance of survival is slim to none. I know I was pretty damn excited to see that fight. Rick at his boiling point is not someone to mess with.

Tyreese opening up to Rick. On a more somber note, Rick takes a moment to check in with Tyreese and dig some graves. Rick asks Tyreese how it was for him getting to Terminus. And Tyreese says “it killed me”. There’s a long pause and it seems like it’s going to end there but then Rick says very quietly, “no it didn’t”. That line hit me in the feels. And it somewhat connects with what Gareth had been saying back at his camp to Bob. “Every day above ground is a good day.” Tyreese feels like he’s had his soul ripped out of him, but he couldn’t be more alive as he digs a grave for someone else.