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.

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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.

Look at the Flowers

Season 4 Episode 14 “The Grove”

The Episode

I’ve felt a lot of different feelings watching The Walking Dead. I’ve been surprised, scared, amused, disgusted and a whole lot of sad. But this episode is the first time I’ve ever felt utterly and completely stunned. “The Grove” very much rips your heart out and lays it on a platter for you.

We get another small cast episode where we are completely wrapped up in what Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and baby Judith are doing.  A lot of what happens early in the episode comes back by the end of the episode. Lizzie asks Carol if she ever had children. Carol talks about Sophia as being sweet and not having a mean bone in her body. Which is also how she describes Mika to Tyreese. When Mika and Carol find the house they stay in she says, “Everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”. Carol later states this on her walk with Lizzie as she is taking her to kill her. Karen and David are also brought up over and over again ending with Carol’s confession to Tyreese. And there’s a burning fire not too far away that is continuously mentioned throughout the episode. Specifically, with Mika’s comment, it would seem that what transpires here is meant to be. If it didn’t happen here, it would have happened eventually and could have been worse.

Carol spends the first half of the episode trying to get rid of Lizzie and Mika’s faults. Lizzie doesn’t want to hurt walkers, she thinks she can play with them. She thinks they are her friends. Lizzie has no problem hurting and torturing animals, but don’t lay a hand on those walkers. There was probably nothing more surreal than the flash forward of Lizzie trying to play tag with a walker in slow-mo. Slightly amusing and slightly terrifying all at once. Mika on the other hand is trying to be a pacifist. She mentions how she hated dissecting in school, very much the opposite of what her sister is doing. She doesn’t want to kill people and feels sad for the people who do kill people. She makes a comment I like that seems wise beyond her years. That people who hurt other people probably weren’t like that before. It’s true but the part that Carol tries to get across to her is that because those people are willing to kill you, you have to be willing to kill them back. At least that is what Carol feels. You don’t have to do anything, but you will live or die by your choice.

black roseSadly, in Mika’s case, she does die at the hands of her own sister. Lizzie is so very damaged and obsessed with having walker friends, she kills her own sister to turn her into one of them. It’s an incredible moment of the episode. Everyone had been excited about finding this house. They wanted to stay there and not go on to Terminus. They wanted to bake pecans and sit around the fire and do puzzles. It could have been a beautiful new beginning for them. And then Carol and Tyreese return from the woods to find Lizzie standing over her dead sister and baby Judith sitting in front of her. The look of absolute dread on Tyreese’s face says it all. He’s just found a little girl who has murdered her even younger sister and about to kill a baby. That is not something you would ever expect to see. Carol keeps her cool at first, thinking of just getting baby Judith out of danger. It’s shocking when Carol has to reason with Lizzie about killing Judith by telling her she can’t even walk yet. A point that Lizzie actually gets which is mind-boggling. Once she is left alone with Mika, Carol crumbles.

Carol has once again lost a child. An adopted daughter who was described as being so similar to Sophia. And if that wasn’t enough pain for one day, she now has to decide what to do with Lizzie. Her and Tyreese talk about the options, but it comes down to one thing and one thing only. Lizzie isn’t safe to take anywhere or stay with them. Poor Carol is now faced with the fact that she has to kill Lizzie. A decision that no mother or human being should have to make.

But then we’re still not done with this horrible day. Because Carol chooses this time to admit she killed Karen and David to Tyreese. Carol had several opportunities to admit this during the episode. But I think she chooses this moment because she doesn’t want to live anymore. She has been through too much and I think she feels if she tells Tyreese he will kill her and she won’t have to get hurt anymore. But in an emotional twist, Tyreese chooses to forgive her. This day has taken its toll on him and I think in his mind any more killing would have just thrown him over the edge as well.

The two decide to head for Terminus. They can’t stay in this house of death. A house that seemed so promising and full of possibilities, now just full of devastating memories. They bury the girls and head out.

Best of the Episode

The fire walkers. I choose to believe that the fire the group sees from a distance is the house that Beth and Daryl lit up. In a weird way, that fire drew the surrounding walkers to it, which probably made the house that Carol and Mika find so easy to get into. But when Lizzie wanders back to the railroad tracks to feed a mouse to the walker that is stuck there with Mika following her, they both get ambushed by a group of walkers who have clearly been burnt to a crisp from that fire. My first thought when I saw them was that they really looked a lot like orcs from Lord of the Rings. We’ve never seen walkers burnt like this before. Dark and steaming still a little. Another new and interesting way to present walkers to us.

close up of tulips in a fieldLizzie looks at the flowers. Probably one of the most well-known lines of the entire show. The line has been used with Lizzie before. It’s a way for her to subdue her anxiety when she’s having an attack. But now as she freaks out that she’s upset Carol (over pointing a gun at her and not her sister’s murder btw), Carol tells her to look at the flowers one last time. Carol struggles in the moment and I honestly was sitting there going, “she’s gonna do it, she’s not gonna do it, they can’t do this, can she do this, oh snap she did it!” The show went on for several more scenes after this, but I was stunned the rest of that time after my first viewing I don’t think I was even paying attention.

Into the Fire

Season 4 Episode 8 “Too Far Gone”

The Episode

You’ll have to pardon me for being tardy with this post. I’ve been moving the past two weeks and internet access and energy really got in my way. And this episode was far too important to do a half-ass job on. The entire show and the characters are changed by the events of this episode. It is in my opinion one of the most important episode of the entire series.

Everything comes to a head between The Governor and the prison. Several don’t make it out alive and those remaining are permanently changed. After last seeing The Governor aiming a gun at Michonne and Hershel, we now know that instead of killing them he kidnaps them and takes them back to his camp where he uses them to convince his people to try to take over the prison.

Hershel tries to talk The Governor out of attacking by telling him he’s changed and that they can all live together. In some ways, yes, The Governor has changed. But at the heart of him, he’s still the same old psychopath. As we’ve seen over the past few episodes, he’s still very quick to kill and still only sees blood when it comes to Rick. We also catch him in a lie about his daughter. In riling up his camp to fight, he lies to them that the prison group killed his daughter, his daughter who was a walker. But then when he speaks to Michonne he says he knows his daughter was dead when Michonne finished her off. He’s willing to say whatever to stay in control, something he did throughout Woodbury.

Rick on the other hand shows real signs of trying to be a better person. He really means his offer of compromise. He was willing to set aside all that happened, and let The Governor and his people live inside the prison with them. Rick’s change is also evident at the end of the episode, when the British woman who Rick met and killed herself appears with a herd of walkers. We finally learn Rick honored her wishes and let her turn so she could be with her walker husband. A kindness that only one with real humanity still in them could give. The Governor is incapable of such kindness as we see with Megan who later arrives dead in her mother’s arms at the end of the fight. Immediately shooting her in the head. The Governor refuses to believe in a better world and does the most traumatic thing to all of our friends by cutting Hershel’s head to the bone and later on completely off.

Maggie, Beth, Rick and everyone lose it over this. The battle ensues. This is the fight we didn’t get at the end of Season 3. It’s a real battle with massive gunfire, grenades, tanks and plenty of bloodshed. Rick gets shot in the leg and has a bloody fight with The Governor which he almost loses. As the main characters fight, the rest of the prison survivors frantically run for their lives. Some pile onto an escape bus which ends up leaving without a lot of our friends.

I don’t believe there was anything Rick could have said or done that would have ended any better for them. It’s clear The Governor was never going to be happy and it’s safe to assume that if the group had left the prison, The Governor would have hunted them down anyways claiming them as a threat. The compromise was the best option and almost worked, but The Governor could not help himself.

black roseOne of the saddest parts of this episode is the final separation of the Greene family. Hershel has just been decapitated in front of his daughters. But also, Maggie orders Beth to load people onto the escape bus, uttering in a frantic way to her nervous sister, “we’ve all got jobs to do.” Words of her father which is emotional enough on their own but as we will come to learn, these are the last words she will ever say to her sister. At the end of this fight, Maggie will be alone in the woods with Sasha and Bob, separated from both Glenn and Beth. Beth will be off in another direction with Daryl. The two sisters will never see each other alive again. When I came to that realization the first time, it made me incredibly sad. As we often find, our characters do not always get a nice goodbye. But Maggie seems to be the unluckiest of all, as she doesn’t get a nice goodbye ever, not for a single member of her family.

In the end The Governor, Hershel and Megan are dead. Baby Judith is missing and presumed dead. Tara is alone and regrets her decision to fight. The prison has fallen. And we have a lot of unknowns about the rest of our separated friends. The last time they were all separated, our friends found each other on the highway the next day. Unfortunately, things will not go that way this time. When I say this episode changes everything, that’s a realization that comes with time. There’s obvious immediate changes that we will see, but losing the prison is a slingshot into a whole new world.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s grenade drop. As only Daryl can do, he gets one of those moments that make us all giddy with his bad-assery. In a single motion, he plows down a walker with his crossbow and dumps a grenade down the end of the tank. And to finish the moment off, shooting the tank guy in the heart with an arrow. Pure legend.

The Governor and Rick showdown. A fist fight for the record books. With Rick already shot in the leg, The Governor has the upper-hand in this fight. Rick is beaten to a bloody pulp and we think it’s the end as The Governor strangles him to death. But Michonne saves the day with a surprise katana through the chest from behind. Rick is saved and they both leave The Governor to die in pain.

Lizzie and Mika. Surprise surprise, these two youngsters follow in Carol’s footsteps and save Tyrese by shooting two attackers in the head. Don’t ever underestimate children in the zombie apocalypse, you will lose. But wait, weren’t these two taking care of Baby Judith?

Little Asskicker goes m.i.a. Rick and Carl find each other and then go to find Judith. But instead they find a bloody and empty car seat with nothing in it. They assume the worst and have an epic cry together. Surely all that didn’t just happen AND they lose Little Asskicker? Too much!!!

Rick’s speech. Rick uses every word he can muster to try to find a compromise with The heavenly white skyGovernor. We see Hershel’s face as he talks about living together, and he smiles. It’s pleasing to know that Hershel was able to accomplish something in this world by helping a broken man stay human. The speech seems to work….for a moment. But The Governor snaps out of it and the worst case scenario happens.