Settling In

Season 5 Episode 13 “Forget”

The Episode

It’s a pretty quiet episode as far as action. While last week was about remembering how to be a person again, this week it seems many are dealing with how to forget about the outside.

We finally get to see how Sasha is doing and rather expectedly she’s not doing well. She can’t sleep and is spending her days shooting pictures of happy people and waiting for walkers to attack her. She’s on the edge of a cliff ready to jump. My favorite moment of Sasha this episode is during the party Deanna throws for the newbies. A woman politely offers to cook Sasha her favorite meal and says she would be “worried she makes something she hates.” Sasha freaks out and yells at her, “that’s what you’re worried about!” This may sound weird but I often watch the show as though I am one of “them”, our friends. I rarely take the perspective of anyone else they meet. Which is why I’m all about Sasha yelling at this lady. I mean it’s not nice but I get it. Sasha and everyone else is basically freshly going through some major or minor PTSD. This small talk this lady is trying to do ain’t helping. Sasha’s worried about monsters coming to get them, coping with the recent loss of several loved ones and just generally ready for something to go wrong at any minute. Sasha was literally starving to death just days ago and now some lady wants to give her options?

Pale face covered by black hair

I’d like to give a shout out to Aaron for giving Daryl’s self-esteem a boost. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship. When Aaron runs into Daryl in the woods, they end up chasing after a horse that Aaron has been trying to catch named Buttons. I think Buttons represents Daryl just a little bit but the symbolism doesn’t exactly end well. The horse runs every time Aaron tries to get close. Daryl seems to have some insight on that by stating, “the longer they’re out here the more they become what they really are.” That sounds a lot like how Daryl feels about himself. And he also tends to run when people try to get close. In the end, Buttons ends up being overpowered by walkers and torn apart. But Daryl gets a better ending, at least for this episode. Aaron offers Daryl a job over dinner and has a motorcycle waiting for him in the garage. I love that Aaron is just full of compliments for Daryl. He’s one of the few people who seems to really see the potential in Daryl and can tell that he’s a fantastic person. You can see in Daryl’s face in the garage that he feels special for a moment. Daryl tends to glare a lot, but he stops glaring when Aaron gives him this job. He stops being defensive and really looks like he feels appreciated. This job offer Aaron gives him even changes his point of view when he meets with Rick and Carol the next day. He refuses to take a stolen gun and declares he’s going to try. Aaron has restored some of Daryl’s confidence and I am so thankful for that.

Speaking of Rick and Carol. I’m declaring these two officially devious. They are planning for something to go wrong but not even aware that they might be the one’s creating that something to go wrong. Rick is getting a little cocky in his new home. It’s interesting to hear him sound resentful that the Alexandrians have been “lucky” so far. He thinks because they’ve been through hell and back that him and his group are better than the rest. Sure, if we’re basing people’s value on their survival skills now I guess he’d be right. But sorry Rick, that ain’t how it works. Rick even lets himself get carried away at the party and kisses Jessie. That escalated quickly! She didn’t look like she hated it either. One of my favorite moments of this episode is that split second after he says hi to Jessie and Pete walking down the street when he reaches behind him to touch the stolen gun he has. Oh snap, Rick’s gonna kill someone. It’s just a second but him reaching for that gun expresses so much of where Rick’s head is at.

And then there’s Carol with her own shocking moment this episode. Carol gets caught in the armory stealing guns by Jessie’s youngest son Sam. He’s just a boy and really innocent but she absolutely terrifies him with a story about being tied to a tree and screaming and being eaten by walkers if he tells his mom about what he saw. Jesus Christ Carol! If there was any doubt that Carol has changed, you can wipe that thought from your mind right quick. Never in a million years did I expect to see Carol terrifying a child in this way. I do love though that she is getting involved with another child. It doesn’t ever go well and she knows that by now. But poor Sam doesn’t.

Our friends are slowly adjusting to Alexandria. Or are they? Some seem to be trying while others seem to not be able to let go of their past and accept their new home. What I love about Alexandria is how it really is up to them to make this work this time. For now, they aren’t being attacked or in danger. They have a real chance to help build this community into something even better. It’s really all on them to make this work. Watching them try to do that is just as good as any bad guy drama.

Best of the Episode

Daryl’s table manners. I don’t think Daryl has sat down for many family dinners in his life. Even using a fork seems to be a stretch for him. Aaron and Eric stare at him with clenched smiles as he shovels forkfuls of spaghetti into his mouth. I love how he first uses his sleeve to wipe his face but then decides to use the napkin and aggressively wipes his mouth. He doesn’t even try to chat and seems ready to get up and leave without even having a conversation. Gotta love our Daryl.

Michonne hangs up her sword. If anyone has really been trying to make Alexandria work it’s Michonne. When everyone else is suspicious, she is optimistic. I think that’s why she decides to hang up her sword. She’s ready to move on and help Alexandria for real. She doesn’t need her sword to do that. However, I think it also says that she’s not ready to forget. The sword is a reminder of the days she spent getting to this point. Paying respect to the journey and reminding herself of what it took to get here.

tiny flowers with yellow sunburst

The Bee Gees. Not a huge Bee Gees fan but their song “Spicks and Specks” is really memorable in this episode. It starts playing after Rick momentarily considers using his gun on Pete to steal his wife. A dark thought which is completely the opposite of what this song sounds like. It’s an upbeat tune and it really enhances the contradiction between the beautiful setting of Alexandria and Rick’s evil thoughts.

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First Impressions

Season 5 Episode 12 “Remember”

The Episode

There’s a million little moments in this episode that are pure gold. Today’s the first day of the rest of their lives. Our group has a new home. It could be a real home if they learn to live like people again. That’s what this episode is all about. Our group tries to remember what it’s like living as people and not just survivors.

I think I’ll start with Daryl and his anti-social behavior. Daryl could not be more uninterested in living in what we now know as Alexandria. He’s here only for the others and doesn’t seem shy about letting people know that. One of his finest moments is at the beginning of the episode where he kills a possum and announces to the gatekeeper, “We brought dinner”. I love that. Not because it’s funny which is great, but it also clearly defines the difference between our friends and Alexandria. It says, “we’re used to killing for our supper while you sit in your houses and eat cooked meals around a table.” And I love it even more that Daryl carries the possum around during his interview with Deanna and also guts it on his new front porch. He’s really going all out as far as creating the worst possible impression of himself. I will point out though that his muscles look extremely beautiful at this point in the show. Like… impeccable.

Carol is another one who is going all out with her first impression as well. However, she is trying to go in the completely opposite direction. Carol puts on her previous role as helpless housewife. I love it when she struggles to take the gun strap off over her head and acts like its too heavy for her. Her interview with Deanna as well is what really gives away the act. She’s all smiles when she talks about how everyone takes care of her and she’s the den mother. And if that’s not enough, the icing on the cake is when she says she misses Ed. Yeah right! Carol is doing the total opposite of what Daryl is doing. While Daryl doesn’t want to get close to any of the Alexandrians, Carol wants to completely become immersed in them. She’s essentially a spy. She wants to know what they know and use that to her advantage.

One first impression we can’t overlook is what we all think and what our friends think about their new leader, Deanna. She’s a politician and definitely sounds like it with a sugar-coated explanation of everything. She’s very smiley much like Aaron was when we first met him and that’s really unsettling. We know that there isn’t much to be smiling about. But that may be exactly why they are smiling. They are more naïve and less experienced about what’s happening in the world. Ignorance is bliss and perhaps they are conveying that to us by smiling. Deanna has always come off to me as really into taking our groups side on matters. Even barely knowing them here, she twists what Rick says in his interview to mean something more positive. Rick says straight up to her that she shouldn’t be letting people in because they just want to take from you. And Deanna’s response is that he’s being protective of Alexandria already. What? No lady, I think he just warned you not to trust him! She takes Rick’s side again later on when Glenn punches her son Aidan in the face. She thanks Glenn and says he needed it. She is definitely too gracious after seeing her son get knocked out.

ivy on a brick wall

Alexandria also gives off its own first impression. It’s a clean and lovely community. We’ve never seen houses this nice on the show before. Electricity and running water. Beautiful furnished houses. It’s like paradise. We meet some new folks, some seem nice and some are questionable. Enid is a young girl about Carl’s age. She’s an outsider like them only arriving a few months before. She’s quiet and likes to sneak out over the fence alone. She seems to give Carl a bit of a hard time at first. But those two coming together is staring us all in the face. Jessie, the woman who cuts Rick’s hair, is also tiggling our spidey senses. It feels a bit like something going on between these two and they don’t even know it yet. Further signs to a future problem also come up when Rick meets the husband, Pete. Pete’s not so affectionately given the name Porch Dick for his first impression. Smoking a cigarette, in the dark, short on conversation. All signs point to an issue. So, we are left wondering if Alexandria is really going to live up to the hype. Are they really safe here? Can our friends trust such a nice looking place? Terminus had a beautiful first impression too. Woodbury as well. We think that there’s gotta be a catch. That’s what is different about Alexandria though. The catch is that there isn’t a catch.  There isn’t going to be a problem with Alexandria unless you think a community full of nice people surviving together is a problem. The only problem Alexandria is going to have is unfortunately a Rick Grimes problem.

With Daryl acting like a barbarian and Carol acting like homemaker of the year, Rick falls in the middle. He doesn’t put on a false show for Deanna, not at first anyways. He’s honest with her about who he is. He seems to be absorbing everything about Alexandria. He’s patient and observant. When a stranger, Jessie, asks if he wants a haircut he lets her even though you can tell he’s not used to someone touching him so gently. At the end of the episode, it feels a lot like Rick is back where he started. Deanna has given him the job of a sheriff again. He puts on a uniform. This time it’s different though. He’s not gonna be Officer Friendly. Rick reveals to Carol and Daryl that he’s going to pretend as much as they are. He’s going to play cop as long as everything stays cool, but if Alexandria won’t play his game then he’s just gonna take over. Deanna really should have listened to Rick’s warning in the beginning. He was absolutely telling her that people are going to use them and take what they need, including him.

This is a real turning point in the show. It feels as though we’ve just watched Rick become the bad guy. We’re left wondering a lot. Like is Rick really going to turn bad? Will everyone else still follow him? We don’t know how this is going to play out but I think one of the most exciting things in a show is watching a good guy become a bad guy.

faded roses

Best of the Episode

Glenn vs. Aidan. After Aidan takes Glenn, Tara and Noah out for a “training” session that ends badly, Glenn stands up to Aidan while a crowd starts to form. First it’s just verbal but then Aidan tries to pull one of those douchebag moves where he’s looking away and then throws a fist to surprise the other guy which is Glenn. But Glenn don’t play like that. He ducks the punch and then bops Aidan right in the beak! I saw the douchebag move coming but not Glenn’s awesome reaction. As much as we know Glenn is a superhero, he still very much seems like a high-school nerd about to get shoved in a locker. So it’s absolutely perfect when he ducks that punch and knocks Aidan out.

Carol and Daryl bicker. As if these two couldn’t get more precious. Carol nags Daryl like a wife to take a shower or she’s going to “hose him down in his sleep.” To which Daryl retorts she, “looks ridiculous” in her little cardigan and pants outfit.

Rick shaves. None of us have seen a clean-shaven Rick in a long ass time. Even Michonne remarks she’s never seen his face this way. But I really love it when Deanna shows up and also remarks on his shave. He looks absolutely so uncomfortable and annoyed by everyone talking about his shave.

Everyone under one roof. I told you there are a million moments in this show that are awesome. And I really appreciate this one taken from the comics. Instead of separating into the two houses they are given, they all pile into the living room of one house. They aren’t even using the bedroom they’ve got, they are all in that one room. It speaks volumes about how close they are. Deanna is right to be amazed by it and so should we.

Give a Little Bit

Season 5 Episode 11 “The Distance”

The Episode

At the heart of this episode is the struggle to know when to trust others. Meeting Aaron gives our group a really big test in that area. As well as they must know when to trust each other and when to push back.

Aaron’s introduction is a rocky one. While Rick may make us laugh at his craziness when he knocks out Aaron mid-sentence, it’s really not okay for Aaron to have to take that kind of treatment. It’s understandable that our friends find trusting strangers difficult at this point. They have just gone through loss after loss inflicted upon them by strangers. But caution and outright violence are two different things. I don’t think I would have taken that kind of treatment if I was him. I would have walked away at that point. Aaron is so positive through all of this introduction, even after getting punched, that it actually is a little unsettling. He is definitely too upbeat for our group. It’s interesting how the setting of an apocalypse can flip our standards of trust. In our world, dirty clothes and unwashed people are the ones who are seen as dangerous or untrustworthy. Whereas Aaron with his nice L.L. Bean outfit and baby fresh face are respectable and honest. In the apocalypse, Aaron stands out like a sore thumb. He looks like life has just handed him one gift after another and we all think, “How can that be? Something must be up with him.”

closeup of an apple on tree

There’re a few moments that Aaron doesn’t do his cause any justice. Like fussing over eating the applesauce. Aaron doesn’t mind chattering on about his community and such but his issues with applesauce are really flimsy. It really bugs me how he won’t just immediately taste test the applesauce so Rick can trust it and Judith will stop crying. Mommy issues don’t really cut it in the zombie apocalypse, tough it out and eat the damn applesauce! Aaron also puts up a stink about the location of his community. This also annoys me because he is right on the verge of convincing them all to go there, his main goal, and he won’t give up the coordinates. I guess it’s a sign that he also fully doesn’t trust our friends, but if that’s the case then why would he bring them to his community at all.

But on a more positive note, Aaron does also point out some great qualities in our friends. Aaron didn’t make his decision to approach them lightly. He’d been watching and even listening for a while. He talks to them about the things they do for each other. How they never turned on each other on the road even though they were hungry. That they are the kind of people to take care of babies and priests. I think they needed reminding of that. Our friends are a very small group and have been alone together for quite some time. It’s easy to forget the good things you can do and the good people you actually are inside when you face nothing but danger all the time. It’s like living inside your own head for too long. You gotta get out once in awhile to take a look around and get some fresh insight.

Convincing Rick to trust Aaron is the hardest task of all. As some people like to point out, Rick doesn’t always come out the winner when everyone follows him. Personally, I think that’s more so about how life goes then actually anything that’s Rick’s fault. But what I like about this episode is that it demonstrates how the group is now capable of telling Rick when he’s wrong or being too much of a hard-ass. Rick is ready to kill Aaron from the moment he meets him, and he tells Aaron so. But through gentle prodding by Michonne and Glenn, Rick gives in. He gives in because he trusts that Michonne and Glenn can see something that maybe he can’t. That’s real trust. It’s a beautiful thing that they share.

metal wall with cutout to see brick wall

There’s a conversation that Rick has with Michonne during the episode that is very purposeful when it comes to the end of the episode. Rick asks Michonne what she heard when she approached the various communities, she’s come to for the first time. She responds to all that she heard nothing. This is important to Rick because he knows when they get to this new place, that he’s going to have to decide to bring his family in or not. And when he says ‘family’, I don’t think he’s just talking about Carl and Judith, I think he’s talking about all of them. How do you decide to join some place when all you can see is a big wall or a fence? It’s all about that trust again. It’s a surprise to Rick though that this time when they approach that big gate that he can hear children playing. That’s different. And I think it means things are going to be different this time.  I might add that it is also fortunate that they didn’t show up in the middle of the night like Rick had planned. If they had, this magical moment would have been missed and just maybe would have changed things.

A little trust can go a long way. Without any trust, we’d probably stay in this barn for who knows how long. And as Daryl points out, it stinks like horses. Michonne does a really effective job this episode and making Rick realize he needs to still have some. She sees much farther ahead than Rick can. Rick sees going to a new community as a threat to Judith but Michonne can see that not taking a chance is even more dangerous to her survival and everyone’s. But it’s going to take a lot more than trust in Alexandria.

Best of the Episode

Spooky forest. Things go bad on the road when they run full force into a herd of walkers. I really appreciate the disgusting moments when both Glenn and Michonne use their bare hands to wipe guts off the windshield and pull body parts out of the hood of the car. Then Glenn gives a super spooky moment when he gets separated from the others. He’s shooting and running backwards, not a good multi-task. As he shoots and the gun lights up the area around him, we can see one walker slowly approaching from behind. Fingernails curled at our mouths, we watch as it surprises Glenn. But no worries, he’s fine.

Flare walker. Elsewhere in the spooky forest, Rick runs out of bullets and all he has left is the flare gun. He flares a walker in the face, which is awesome on its own as it sparks and burns in the walker’s eye. But the show takes it that extra step by making this an even bigger opportunity that this walker downed by a flare is now a night light making it so they can see the other walkers coming for them. I love these moments of pure genius.

RV stuff. There’s gonna be a lot of memories in this here RV. Some good, some bad. But we start off with a subtle nod to Dale. When the RV breaks down because of a dead battery, Glenn knows exactly where the spare is. Abraham asks him how he knew it was there and Glenn just smiles. We know Glenn, you don’t have to say his name. Also, Abe and Rosita share a moment in the front of the RV as they drive around a hill and see Washington D.C. They made it! Not the circumstances they were expecting but nonetheless, they made it!

Choose to Live

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

The Episode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of the Episode

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

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

An Angel Gets Her Wings

Season 5 Episode 8 “Coda”

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

The Episode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of the Episode

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

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

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

In Remission

Season 5 Episode 7 “Crossed”

The Episode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of the Episode

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

~Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!~

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.