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.

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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.

Many Happy Returns

Season 5 Episode 1 “No Sanctuary”

The Episode

Season 5 comes out swinging. There are so many great moments of this episode that I’m not even sure where to begin. This season is an interesting one. As we begin, our group is roaming without any clear plan, but we will wind up somewhere very specific that will change everyone’s lives one way or another. Well, everyone who is still alive that is.

I think I’ll start with Terminus. In real-time, it was extremely difficult to wait the months and months between seasons and see what Rick’s parting words of last season were going to mean and if he could follow through. But here we just have to wait a week! We find that we may want to empathize a little with Terminus. From the flashbacks we see, Terminus was once a really nice place. A bunch of people who wanted to do good. And then some really nasty people came and raped the women, beat them and locked them in the train cars. Although they won the place back, they were deeply traumatized by what they went through and vowed to no longer be “the cattle” as they say. Which is totally understandable a position to take after a life altering trauma. When you believe things should be one way and it goes horribly wrong, it’s highly likely that you’re going to swing in the opposite direction. Ultimately though, that’s the problem. They swung a little too far out into the crazy zone. From the outside looking in, maybe some minor adjustments could have sufficed. Maybe slaughtering regular people with bats and stringing them up like a butcher shop isn’t going to solve your problems? Yes? No?

And then there’s Carol. Our great heroine of this story. At this time, without her decisive action, Rick, Glenn, Daryl and Bob would not be here. That’s a fact. Their heads were in the trough ready to be bled out and Carol set off a diversion that saved them all. Not only does she set off a giant diversion, she also walks into the place hiding among the walkers and starts picking off the living. She finds Rick’s watch and Daryl’s bow. She fights with Mary and leaves her to be eaten by walkers. Then there was that beautiful moment when she reunites with everyone. Daryl, the first to see her, runs to her and hugs her like he just found his mother. And the tears start coming from my eyes. Rick had been fired up to go kill any remaining living Terminus folks, but when he realizes Carol just saved them, everything slows down. He is stunned and happy. You can tell Carol is a little unsure if Rick is going to be happy she’s here. The last time they saw each other, Rick had banished her from the prison for killing two people. Now, he’s proud of what she just did. One may argue that Terminus wasn’t their people, but still, Rick seems to be very willing to overlook all the people Carol just get killed as well as his own body count. As am I.

Tyreese plays an interesting role this episode. As one of our more emotional group members, he struggles with what being a good person means to him. When is it okay for him to be merciful and when does he need to be the brutal person he can become. When him and Carol encounter Terminus bad guy Martin and hold him captive, Tyreese is left small housewith Judith to watch the hostage. Martin plays an excellent role in bringing out all sides of Tyreese. Although he’s not a very large role, Martin is very memorable and interesting. Martin likes to talk and antagonize. He tries to push Tyreese into killing him. I love that moment when Martin says “I don’t want to do this today”. Like being held hostage is just a giant inconvenience for him like running an errand. Martin ends up briefly taking the upper hand with Tyreese when he gets a hold of Judith. He forces Tyreese outside the cabin where walkers are waiting. Unfortunately for Martin he is not aware that Tyreese excels at escaping walker swarms and it’s not long before Tyreese busts down the cabin door and begins beating Martin. Tyreese had made a promise that nobody had to die today but Martin just wouldn’t let that be true. It’s a violent contrast on display as Tyreese beats Martin to the brink of death all the while saying “I won’t, I won’t”. But it sure appears like Tyreese will. He even tells Carol that he’s killed him but we find out later that is not true and something that Tyreese will regret in the end.

Besides these major events, there are a bunch of tiny little moments that I love in this episode. So, I’m just briefly going to list them all.

  • When Gareth asks Rick what is in the bag in the woods and Rick lists all the weapons and the red machete last and then says “that’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.” So badass.
  • Carol shooting the propane tank and exploding it with a firework. Walkers fly everywhere. Also badass.
  • In the butcher area when one of the Terminus guys says, “Look at me” to another Terminus guy and then Rick pops up from behind and stabs the guy in the neck. Even more badass.
  • Our poor friend Sam from Rick and Carol’s banishment road trip. I think we all thought we were never going to see him again. I know I thought he was dead somewhere. But as it turns out, he made it to Terminus. His luck didn’t get any better because he is the first to go at the trough. I think it was a pretty cool setup though to have Sam and Rick look at each other but unable to speak because they are gagged. I often wonder if Rick at this moment regrets leaving Sam behind that day. I like to think yes.
  • Tyreese calls Judith his friend. It seems odd to think of a large adult man considering a baby his friend. It just adds to the depth of Tyreese’s giant heart that he could have a tiny little baby girl be his friend. It’s beyond sweet.
  • Carol brings everyone back to meet up with Tyreese and in that moment as Tyreese is holding baby Judith we all realize that we forgot Rick and Carl have no idea she is alive. And we all start crying when they hold her for the first time again. Or was that just me?

As our friends hit the road again, they have no idea where they are going. They’ve just been through some of the most traumatic times of their lives. There’s a lot of loss of trust railroad tracks closeupin human nature we see in Season 5. It’s not so much about having a main villain. We just wiped out Terminus, for the most part, in the first episode. But there’s so many tiny villains all around now. We’re about to see how our friends either keep or lose their own humanity as the struggle to survive continues.

Monsters

Season 4 Episode 16 “A”

The Episode

Here we are, another season under the belt. We end with a real doozy of an episode. One of the darkest of the series. But there’s always hope and our friends will always find their way.

There is a lovely flashback story interspersed throughout this episode with Hershel. As farm gatethe current timeline progresses, we get bits of flashbacks of how Hershel saved Rick from himself and ultimately Carl as well. Hershel convinces Rick to stop going on runs for a while and help him start farming and having livestock. He can tell Rick is losing himself into the violence that happens out on runs and that if he doesn’t take a break than he’s going to not be able to stop. There are some real beautiful moments with Hershel and Rick and their little family with smiles and jokes. It’s refreshing to look back and see that the good times existed.

But the lovely is in stark contrast to what takes place current day. The conflict between Rick and Joe’s group comes to a head as Rick and Michonne talk by a fire. Joe’s group attacks in the dark. At first Daryl is not present but as Joe counts down to killing Rick, Daryl appears to try to stop it. Daryl offers himself up to save Rick and the others. That’s truly something. Or as Rick would say, “that’s everythang”. Daryl would willingly put his life on the line to save Rick. But why? I would have to guess that Daryl thinks Rick may be more important than him, or that it’s for Carl. And even after taking a beating, he is apologetic about being with these villains. He is a special kind of man that Daryl.

But Rick wins the prize for craziest motherf-er. Facing certain death for himself along with the rape and murder of Carl and Michonne, Rick goes mental and headbutts Joe standing behind him. They fight and when the two get eyeball to eyeball Joe asks him what’s he gonna do. And Rick shows him by taking a chunk out of Joe’s neck with his damn mouth! Step aside Patrick Swayze, there’s a new guy in town. It stuns everyone, the bad guys, Carl, Michonne and not to mention us the audience! Rick even stuns himself. He just sits there after covered in blood.

Carl has been asking some big questions this episode. What are they going to tell the people at Terminus? Who are we? Carl is feeling like he’s not normal. He’s seen so much and had to do so many things a kid shouldn’t have to do. He’s become scared to meet new people because he thinks they’ll judge him or not want him because of what he’s done. And after Rick goes psycho, he really thinks that they don’t belong. At first it seems like he’s mad at his father for doing it, and it seems like he’s ungrateful that his father just saved his life. But we find out that it’s much deeper than that. When Carl watched his father kill those evil men, he saw something he sees in himself. A dark side that comes out. Their “monsters” as they say. Rick talks about accepting that this is what you do sometimes to survive. But Carl hasn’t quite gotten there. This is what Hershel was trying to protect them from. He wanted to show them another way of living. A way that didn’t involve violence. Not because he didn’t want them to ever be violent, but because he knew there would come a day when they would need to be violent again. And if they didn’t take a break they’d never be able to quiet the monsters they have. And it’s so true; Hershel was very on point.  If Hershel had not done what he did, who knows where Rick and Carl would be right now. They question who they are and what they have done, and that’s what good people do when they do bad things. Real monsters don’t ask questions about what they do. You may not get to be the best version of yourself all of the time, but you also can’t let yourself succumb to being the worst version of yourself either.

Heading into Terminus after this latest misfortune, our friends are suspicious of everyone. They’ve just lost their home a few days ago and now they’ve been brutally attacked by more strangers. They aren’t about to walk through the front gates with open arms. They hide their weapons in the woods and go in the back. They take Terminus by surprise but don’t really see anything too bad at first glance. We meet Gareth, the leader. abandoned train stationA friendly guy, perhaps too friendly. There’s a brief welcome and reasonable explanation of what Terminus is. Then they head outside to their courtyard area where the real welcome is supposed to be. What I think all of us miss as Terminus is explained to our group is what Rick sees and takes no time in reacting to. People in Terminus are walking around with objects that belong to our other friends. One person is wearing riot gear, another has a poncho we’ve seen Daryl and Maggie wearing and another has a pocket watch. Rick’s reaction is to take a hostage. And I love how everyone else immediately acts as well even though they have no idea what’s happening. Daryl, Michonne and Carl immediately raise their weapons in response to Rick. That’s the level of trust they have in him. It’s beautiful.

As our friends try to make their escape we get glimpses of Terminus. One very unsettling site is a pile of bloody bones laying on the ground. It’s very brief and you almost think you didn’t see what you saw. They also find a room lit with candles and a strange phrase on the wall, “Never Again Never Trust We Always”. And then there are the As. The letter A has come to be a mystery of its own on this show. It continuously appears throughout many locations with various meanings. But us fans are also wondering if they somehow are all tied together. Most of the time, this episode is what people site as the first appearance of the letter A. Here it appears beside several doorways they go through and on the train car they wind up at. But if you pay close enough attention, way back in Season 2 you see a scratched out A on the doorknob of the bar’s backdoor when Glenn, Hershel and Rick are trying to escape. Keep that in mind but for now we are still following our friends through Terminus trying to escape. They are being shot at but not really. At first I thought perhaps these Terminus folk just had bad aim because they weren’t even coming close to shooting such easy targets. But then you realize that they are shooting at the ground to lead them somewhere. While our friends think they are escaping, they are actually being lead right into a point of no escape. They are marched into a train car where they find the rest of our friends minus Carol and Tyreese.

Not the happiest of reunions. And while everyone including me is thinking our friends are in deep doodoo, Rick surprises us all with my absolute favorite season finale line ever. Even after watching it again for the hundredth time, I still get a little excited. Rick starts by saying, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” To which Abraham who doesn’t know Rick yet asks, “Find out what?” And Rick says, “They’re screwing with the wrong people.” Boom! And just like that I know everything is going to be just fine. Rick is sooooo done with bad guys that he ain’t even tolerating a minute of this. Rick had already proven himself to be the biggest bad ass with the throat tear, but also he delivers the most supreme bad ass line in the same episode. I can’t even!  I told you it would be the best line and I hope it excites you as it does me.

We are left with a bit of a cliffhanger for Season 4. We don’t know what is really going to happen to them at Terminus but we sure are excited because Rick’s not gonna let them take this lying down. All in all, I would argue that Season 4 is the best season of all. Not to say that I don’t also love what happens next, because I do, I just think there’s something so special about Season 4. It’s gritty, it’s heartbreaking and it’s pretty bad ass. I’m not sure, it just has something magical about it that I love.

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks the 1st anniversary of my first blog post for Dead Central. I am so happy it coincided with the end of Season 4, one of my favorite episodes. I’ve really enjoyed writing these this past year. I will continue on and hopefully find the time to branch out into other topics of the show. Thank you for reading this little blog of mine.

Got Me In My Feelings

Season 4 Episode 11 “Claimed”

The Episode

I don’t know about you all but it was super exciting news this week to learn that The Walking Dead universe is going to keep going far into the future and that there might be movies coming. Bring it on! This adventure continues this week with a look into Glenn and Tara’s new friends, a revealing bonding session for Michonne and Carl and a rude awakening for Rick.

We get an introduction to the redhead and his companions. The redheaded fella is Abraham Ford. The female is Rosita Espinosa. And the man with the mullet is Dr. Eugene Porter, who apparently knows the secrets of the outbreak and needs to get to Washington D.C. to meet up with his fellow scientists and save the world. This little fact is buried into the episode like it’s nothing. Glenn and Tara also seem not s interested but I’m like, “um excuse me…can we take a step back for a second?” Not gonna lie, I really believed Eugene could save the world. As we find out down the road, it’s a big fat lie. Just the first of many disappointments from Eugene. Abraham comes off as used to being in charge and kind of dick. His language is as colorful as his hair and even though he’s a bit scary, I like him. Rosita is mostly quiet but she’s good with a gun and definitely has some gusto. Overall, these three make interesting additions to the show even if it is a rough start. After Eugene breaks the truck, they all decide to follow Glenn back to go find Maggie and eventually try to get back on the road to D.C.

Carl and Michonne got me in my feelings with their bonding time. Carl sets the tone when he mentions preferring Judith’s formula to soy milk. It reminds him of losing her and he becomes upset. Michonne tries to help him by going on a scavenging trip with him. When her jokes fall flat, she opens up to him about losing her son. It’s the first time she has told anyone about her son. It’s really touching to see her open up about her past. plant covered old sunroomIt’s a sign that she is no longer that loner who couldn’t speak when she first met up with our friends at the prison. She’s now able to talk about one of the most traumatic memories of her life to a young and curious boy. Their time together is even more heightened when after they have spent some time searching a house, Michonne comes across a pink girl’s room with an entire family dead inside. What you may or may not have noticed while they searched this particular house was how neat everything still was. Unlike the other houses they had been in, this one was not a ransacked mess. The rooms were clean and except for a layer of dust on everything, it still looked like a nice home. But then Michonne gets to the little girl’s room and it becomes clear that the reason for that is because this family chose to opt out early as a family together. It’s a very moving scene especially after the conversation Michonne and Carl had about their dead loved ones.

With Glenn and Tara we got a bit of adventure and comedy with some of the statements from Abraham and Eugene. With Michonne and Carl we get the drama. And then there’s Rick. With Rick we get a bit of a thriller. He’s supposed to be resting but is interrupted by loud voices downstairs. A man is begging for his life but it doesn’t work and we hear screaming. Rick hides under the bed he was in which was a good idea because one of those men comes upstairs and gets in the bed. I was sweating right along with Rick as he hid under the bed. His day gets even worse when that man is awakened by another man who wants the bed. They get in a fight and one of them ends up being strangled to death on the floor while he stairs into Rick’s eyes. These people are bad news. So far two of them have murdered each other so it’s a little concerning for Rick not being one of them. There’s also a reference to raping the woman who returns for her washed shirt. After torturing us with Rick moving from room to room trying to escape, he eventually escapes out a window and drops down to the ground. But when Michonne and Carl are seen in the distance, he knows he still needs to act or they are going to be in trouble. But the three are saved at the last second when one of the dead people returns to life and starts attacking these bad people. Due to the distraction, the three are able to run away without being seen, sort of. Back on the road, they come across a sign for Terminus. So we now know of two groups who are heading there and it seems like a reunion is in the works.

Best of the Episode

Rick’s fun-house adventure. It was a twisty-turny thriller of a sequence. One of those intense scenes where you think the person is going to get caught any second. The best moment comes when Rick winds up in the bathroom and we all think he’s found a good hiding spot until he looks to the toilet and there’s one of the men sitting on it. Rick has to strangle the man to death without anyone hearing. And then so strategically leaves the door slightly ajar so that when he returns the walker can get out of the room and attack his buddies. Super smart Rick!

Eugene. Not to disregard Abraham’s brightly colored language but Eugene’s delivery with his one-liners is spot on. When Abraham asks him how he managed to shoot the truck dead, he matter of factly replies it was adrenaline and lack of knowledge. When Eugene decides to go with Glenn he tells Abraham with a straight face to trust him because he’s smarter than him. He sure seems like something of an anti-social scientist guy…but that mullet.

Inner Turmoil

Season 4 Episode 9 “After”

The Episode

We get a taste of something new with the back half of Season 4. Rather than a large group story, we have a series of mini-stories with the groups of characters that became separated after the fall of the prison. It’s a great concept and refreshing to see that the show didn’t want to become stale with the same old patterns. It really allows us to get deep with the characters after such a traumatic event. One thing that this show consistently does well is put us in the shoes of our friends. By not knowing what everyone is doing from week to week, we can connect more with how it would actually feel for these people. We get to feel the same anxiety, despair and fears that they are having.

It begins with Michonne, Rick and Carl. A story that has been building so slowly for an entire season and a half now. Michonne is in a depression. She has lost everyone again. forest of treesShe wanders the woods in a funk. Some of the more telling signs of her unhappiness are the creation of her new walker pets. She also ignores footprints in the mud and chooses to go in a completely different direction. Michonne is not ready to reunite yet. She has quite literally returned to her old ways. Hiding herself among the walkers which assures no one can get close. We also get a surreal glimpse into her previous life during a nightmare Michonne has. She had a beautiful apartment, went to art shows, was in love and had a young boy. This beautiful life slowly melds into the present with her boyfriend and brother turning into walkers and the young boy disappearing. After wandering alone for several days, basically the same amount of time that Rick and Carl are off together, she comes out of her funk when she cannot stand looking at another walker that looks like a version of her. She decides she doesn’t want to be that and kills all the walkers around her. She then goes back to the footprints and follows them.

I am happy that Michonne chooses to try to reunite with people. As a character that has been so deeply wounded over and over again, it is pleasing to see that she can still have hope. She’s not ready to give up on herself and sees brighter days ahead.

Rick and Carl are together but not happily. Rick is near death and Carl has a chip on his shoulder directed largely towards his father. The two work uncooperatively to find food and a place to recover. At one point, Carl even throws out Shane’s name, ouch. When they do, Rick passes out for a large chunk of the episode and we are left to see what kind of trouble Carl can get into. Carl really gets a moment here. At first, he is super annoying to watch. He taunts a couple of walkers away from the house and doing probably one of the top five things to never do around zombies, walking backwards. You just don’t do that!!! Of course, he falls and almost gets bit. Then he decides that yelling at his passed-out father is a good way to express himself. He says some really hurtful stuff about failing everyone and that he doesn’t need him anymore. Carl does not hold back and it seems really cruel. I really dislike Carl at this point and I almost hope he gets bit. He continues to get into more trouble the next day when another walker almost gets him. Side note-If you watch this episode, you’ll notice the door has a sticker on it that says “Sam”. Obviously, the boy whose room it is, but it’s also a future character’s name. Something to keep in mind. And then there’s that classic scene of Carl eating the giant tub of pudding. As much as Carl doesn’t think of himself as a kid still, this is a total kid moment. A bit of comic relief for us during a really tough episode.

Carl’s tough façade comes crashing down when he thinks his father is becoming a walker and he is faced with shooting his dad. He can’t do it and is ready to let his dad get him. And I really don’t blame him at all. Carl has already had to kill his mother and lost his sister, having to also now kill his father would be too much for anyone. But thankfully Rick is not dad and starts feeling better the next day. The two sit together as father and son on the same side again. Rick tells him he’s a man now.

This story has a happy end of sorts by the three finding each other. Michonne appears close up of distressed white door and handlerelieved to find them and Rick also smiles when he sees her. He tells Carl it’s for him.

Best of the Episode

Carl poppa. Our young friend does a lot of growing up this episode through a series of stupid incidents, acting out and intense emotions. Carl becomes an amusing YouTube video because of this episode. He’s a young man with a lot of feelings. He just lost everything….again. He does a lot of stupid stuff and it’s really aggravating.  But then the pudding scene also makes up for a lot of it for reasons I’m not really sure of. And then he further makes up for it when he breaks down and holds his father’s head in his hands and says he’s scared.

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.