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!~


Try, Try Again

Season 5 Episode 6 “Consumed”

The Episode

city view from airAn episode full of Carol and Daryl. Who could ask for anything more? As the two make their way back through Atlanta (yup, back in Atlanta), the relationship between these two is tested and we learn a lot more about what is going on inside Carol’s head.

Although these two are on a mission to recover Beth, this episode is all about Carol. We get many flashbacks to moments of Carol’s recent past; the days following her banishment, the burying of Lizzie and Mika, the burning of Karen and David and the moments following her attack on Terminus. These feel like moments that have all shaped Carol into this person she is now. It may feel to some that losing Sophia should have been one of these moments. I mean if Lizzie and Mika are included here shouldn’t her real daughter? Of course, losing Sophia was life altering and changed Carol, but these flashbacks are of the moments where Carol wasn’t just a spectator in her life. From the time she chose to burn Karen and David, she was choosing to take control. And it’s only moments from that point on that are actually shaping her as we see her now and in the future. Carol explains herself in one scene to Daryl. Those times with Ed, she was just waiting for someone to save her she couldn’t do anything. And with Sophia as well, she let everyone go looking for her but she couldn’t do anything but cry and wait. Those people overtook her. Now she can’t let that happen. She wants to act quickly all the time because she has seen what happens when you wait or you don’t do anything. I don’t exactly like some of her choices but I can appreciate the thought behind that.

I wouldn’t say we learn about Daryl a whole lot, but we do get to watch his relationship with Carol deepen. I don’t think we’ll ever really get to know what’s going on in Daryl’s head, but he gives us enough, leaving us with always wanting more. He sure doesn’t like it when Carol leaves, that’s for sure. Daryl doesn’t often ask questions. So, when he tries to find out from Carol what she was going to do if he hadn’t shown up at the car, you know it meant something to him. It won’t be the last time he asks her this question either which already makes me sad just thinking about it. He’s also extremely protective of her. After convincing her to leave some trapped walkers alone, Carol wakes the next day to find Daryl burning the bodies respectfully. He doesn’t want her to always have to do the dirty work. When the two get in a tiff over Carol shooting at Noah, Carol explains herself by saying she’s doing it because she can’t have the people she loves dying and that is why she wanted to leave. But Daryl points out to her that she hasn’t left, she’s right here with him trying to save Beth. Earlier Carol tried to tell him that he doesn’t know her and Daryl said, “you keep telling yourself that.” He was correct about that. Carol is saying one thing and doing another and Daryl sees that. He knows that she’s trying to protect herself but Daryl is willing to confront her about it to save her.

There’s a lot of fire and smoke used in this episode. The flashbacks of Carol include scenes of burning bodies and her looking at smoke from a distance. Daryl uses fire to also burn some dead bodies as well as a diversion to get by large groups of walkers. Every once in a while I wonder about themes like this. It’s obviously done for some reason. It’s beyond me what kind of point they are actually trying to make but I’ll give you my thoughts. A quick read about the symbolism of fire and smoke will give you the idea that pairs well with the overlying discussion topics between Carol and Daryl. Fire is a tool that aids the ascension of one’s spirit. An assistant to upward mobility and transition. That doesn’t stray far from Carol and Daryl talking about how they’ve changed since the start of the apocalypse. They are arguably the two that have changed the most through the series. Daryl was wild, selfish and didn’t have much control over his emotions. Now, he’s the protector of everyone, always ready to help. Carol was a meek abused woman always needing help. Now, she’s independent and decisive and can take care of herself in any situation.

Pivotal to this episode is Carol and Daryl meeting Noah.  Noah steals their weapons and runs off but he runs into trouble later and the two have to help him. Noah is one lucky son of a gun. Carol almost shoots him at the first encounter. And Daryl wants to leave him for walker food the second time they meet. But despite these unusual meetings, the three quickly agree to work together when it comes to saving Beth. The stakes only go up though when Carol gets hit the bad guys car and they cart her away to the hospital. It was a heck of a surprising moment the first time. I mean we just spent an entire episode getting really deep with Carol and now she gets hit by a car! Talk about pulling the carpet out from under us.

So now we know why Carol appeared a few episodes back in the hospital. As well as who Daryl told to come out from the bushes back at the church. See, I knew I was right! I love being right. With two episodes left to the mid-season finale, we can once again see the makings of a major event coming. I promise, there will be tears.

Best of the Episode

Sleeping bag walkers. I always like to give props to the imaginations behind this show. Another amusing sight looking at people who are trapped in their sleeping bags for all eternity.

broken white van in grassVehicular acrobatics. It’s only slightly absurd to think Daryl and Carol could fall off a bridge inside a hospital van, land upright with no major injuries. It was spectacular though and only improved upon by the walkers raining down upon them as they try to process they are still alive. This show is the best.

The tank is right where Rick left it. Ok, this isn’t exactly a great moment of the show but I have to call it out that they show Rick’s tank. Gotta love the attention to detail.




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.

Secrets Don’t Make Friends

Season 5 Episode 2 “Strangers”

The Episode

This is a real re-building episode. Many of the group haven’t seen each other for a while and they are reconnecting. There’s a lot of forgiveness going ‘round. And we get an introduction to a new group member that everyone is a bit wary of. Plus, several surprises!

It’s nice to see all the forgiveness happening between our group. Rick and Carol have a good heart to heart. She gives him the watch back. Rick is thankful and proud of Carol for saving them and for surviving on her own. It is really sweet when he acknowledges he exiled her and now they are out here in the world with her and he asks her permission to stay with her. Tara is the recipient of a lot of acceptance. Rick and Maggie both decide to forgive her for being with The Governor at the prison. But goddamnit Tara with those fist bumps! I hate the fist bumps! Someone once tried to explain to me that it shows kind of what age Tara got stuck at when things went bad. She was an adult but still didn’t have any real responsibilities yet. She was frozen at the age where you’re a bit of a juvenile even though you’re technically grown. And the fist bumps reflect that. To be honest, I have nothing against fist bumps in real life. I just find it utterly ridiculous in the zombie apocalypse. But that’s Tara and I’ve spent way too much time talking about fist bumps now.

We get an introduction to Father Gabriel. I can’t even tell you how much I can’t stand Father Gabriel. All the way to present day on the show. Right now though, he’s a bit of a mystery. Our group finds him in the woods on a rock trying to fend off walkers. After they rescue him, he sets the tone for himself by vomiting on the ground. I love the looks of annoyance almost everyone has when he does this. It tells us right away that this guy is weak. That’s kind of where we are now. Our group is strong and anyone who can’t do what they can, which is a lot, is weak. It comes to be a key factor in the later episodes of this season. We’re just getting a glimpse of it now though. But for now, our group is willing to cautiously follow Father Gabriel to his church.

Old time mail boxes

Father Gabriel continues to raise suspicions at the church by making unfunny jokes and not answering questions straightforwardly. Several times Rick tries to ask him what he’s done and he just says it’s between him and God. Unacceptable if you ask me. Gabriel even freaks out when they take a run to a food pantry and presumably someone he used to know and is now a walker tries to get him. And Carl finds an ominous warning scratched into the outside of the church that says, “you’ll burn for this”. Many signs that Gabriel is for sure hiding something pretty bad.

We’re beginning to see another new stage in the evolution of Carol. Although she saves her friends and is happy to see them, she tries to run from them. Previously she told Tyreese she wasn’t going to stay at Terminus before all this happened. Even though they didn’t wind up at Terminus, she seems to want to hold true to that sentiment and she sneaks off at night to a car her and Daryl found earlier. Daryl catches her but the two don’t have time to talk this out just yet because the car that Beth was taken in drives by and Daryl wants to go chase it. It would seem that Carol is uncomfortably stuck with our group for the time being. More to come on that and Beth in the future!

Bob’s journey looks like it is coming to an end unfortunately. I am particularly sad for him and Sasha. They were just starting a new relationship and they looked so happy at the beginning of the episode. He even told Rick that he knew eventually he would say yes to going to Washington. You can tell something is up with him at the church though when he looks longingly after Sasha and then goes outside. Bob has always been a pretty smiley guy. Even when the going got tough he was the positive one. But when he’s outside alone, the smile fades and he begins to cry. We’ll find out next week why he was crying, but for now something worse happens. He gets hit from behind by a hoodedMan in hooded sweatshirt facing away from camera in woods stranger and when he wakes up, he’s at a camp with the remaining Terminus survivors. What they do to him has to be one of the most sadistic things you could ever do to someone in my opinion. As Gareth is explaining himself to Bob, we can tell something is up. We eventually get to see that Bob’s lower leg has been cutoff and what these people are eating right in front of him is his leg. It gives me the shivers just to think about it!

One final important topic is what is happening between Rick and Carl. Carl is becoming a real guiding light for his father. Rick right now is untrusting of pretty much every stranger. He treats Gabriel like a criminal even though he is dressed like a priest and cowering from walkers. He tries to tell Carl he’s never going to be safe and to always keep his guard up. But Carl doesn’t buy into that completely. He is that person now who can keep his dad from going too far. Carl doesn’t want to lose that ability to help people. It was only a few episodes ago that Carl was calling himself a monster. But he is so very wrong about himself. I think escaping certain death at Terminus right after a plethora of other bad things has made him realize that they are the “good guys”. They’ve encountered a lot of people with bad intentions and that is not them. They are tough, but not so tough that they have to turn away people or hurt them unnecessarily. This is really just the beginning of that we are seeing here, but it really becomes who Carl is through the remaining seasons he has. And now I shall cry again.

Best of the Episode

The food pantry. All the food our group needs is right in front of them. It’s just down in a wet basement full of walkers. Nothing is easy these days! They have to climb down into the basement and fight in rain water up to their waists. They do pretty well considering they have a useless priest that only creates more trouble for them when he freaks out. We’re all laughing at you Gabriel!

Baby Judith makes her first decision! Not really but sort of. After our group’s long day, they feast at the church and everyone is happy and relaxed for a moment. Abraham makes a toast and also uses it to try to convince them all to go to Washington. As Rick holds Judith and everyone waits for his answer, Judith makes a noise and Rick playfully says “if she’s in I’m in”. Such an adorable moment between father and daughter.

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.