Season 5 Episode 15 “Try”

The Episode

I can’t help but see a lot of reminders from the past coming up in this episode. Some of the characters experience them as well. It seems no matter who we are watching on screen, these echoes of the past are everywhere.

tree trunk with heart carved in it

Carl and Enid realize they have a lot in common out in the woods. They both have dreams, or more likely nightmares, of the woods. Enid has lost both her parents and Carl has lost his mother. It’s tough for them to be around other kids their age because they’ve been through so much grief and pain. Enid worried me a bit here during this episode. At first it seems like she might be bad for Carl. She seems much more in pain than him and has some wacky views on walkers. There were a couple of times where I thought the show might turn her into Lydia, but we now know that didn’t happen. But the two seem to actually appreciate each other and I really wish they had had their first kiss in that tree!

Sasha does a good job of reminding Michonne about her past. As Sasha shoots and slashes an onslaught of walkers, Michonne is reminded of her early days of doing the same. Nothing to do but kill. I think it hurts Michonne a bit when Sasha doesn’t want her help and thinks Michonne’s “made it” in some way. Michonne went through hell and didn’t have much of anyone to lean on until Andrea came along. It took Michonne a heck of a lot longer to recover then maybe Sasha is even aware of. But right now Sasha seems blind to anyone’s feelings except her own.

I’m sure Deanna is hearing the words of Father Gabriel in her head right now. Her son has just been killed and because of Nicholas she doesn’t know who to believe or blame right now with that. Without knowing it, Nicholas even gives Deanna the same advice and says she should make them leave. Now she witnesses Rick lose his mind and try to kill Pete after she just told him not to.  

Side note- Deanna doesn’t display the kindest judgement when she tells Rick she knew about Pete abusing Jessie. She basically says she turned a blind eye to it because Pete’s a surgeon. What the heck Deanna? I don’t like to think that’s what passes for acceptable around Alexandria. Jessie has to sacrifice her body and possibly her life because Pete’s skills are valuable? That is one of those details about this world that make my skin crawl.

I’m sure Rick’s little speech about doing things his way now isn’t sitting well with Deanna either. All this basically right after Gabriel tells her she made a bad decision letting them in. I would have to agree at this moment in time. In fact, I kind of still agree. As much as I hate to say it, Rick doesn’t exactly do Alexandria much good in the beginning. Things definitely get worse before they get better because of him. And it doesn’t turn out too well for anyone in Deanna’s family. Maybe she really should have listened to Father Gabriel.

Rick Grimes is perhaps our biggest offender this episode as we’ve just begun to recognize. We see a little bit of The Governor and Shane come out in his words and actions. When he talks to Deanna about taking care of Pete, his words sound very familiar. He tells her she has to decide what to do or it will be decided for her. Sounds an awful lot like The Governor’s, “You kill or you die, or you die and you kill.” And if Rick’s little crazy speech at the end didn’t spark memories of Shane nothing will. Rambling on about how they all sit around trying to make decisions when action is needed. It’s almost identical to one of Shane’s major frustrations with Rick back in Season 2. It makes me really wonder if this is how it has to be. Shane said it and we didn’t want to believe it had to be that way. But here we are again in Season 5 and now Rick is saying it. Was Shane right all along? Is killing people who get in your way or pose a danger the only way to deal with things now?

Thankfully we have Glenn and Michonne trying to point Rick in the right direction. Carol is basically the devil on his shoulder right now. She knows riling Rick up with stories from Sam about what’s going on behind closed doors is going to  convince Rick to do something about it. Glenn continues to be the good guy as always. Trying to help people and always willing to give them a chance. Even that stupid dummy Nicholas. And Michonne is out there trying to save Sasha from herself and also handling Rick as he loses his shit in front of everyone.

Best of the Episode

forest of trees

Daryl and Aaron recruiting mission. They don’t find any living people yet but they sure do come across some interesting dead ones. They continue to find more bodies with Ws on their foreheads. In fact, several people did this episode. But one really cranks up the creep value when Daryl and Aaron find a dead woman tied to a tree. We really get a good look at her as they evaluate the scene. Someone tied a woman to a tree and let walkers eat what they could reach of her. It’s pretty gross and the two are alarmed by it. We need a little gross now and then to wake us up. What makes it even more interesting when they see the W on her forehead. At this point, we can’t help but wonder what it stands for and who is doing it. Walkers? Winning? Wolves? One crazy person or a bunch of crazy people? Something is coming and we have no idea what. I love the suspense of it all.

Jessie makes a choice. At first Jessie pushes Rick’s help away. But when Rick comes back into her house and he lays it out for her, she asks him a question I find really interesting. She asks him if he would do this for anyone. She likes his answer which is no but I don’t particularly think that’s the right answer. No is what Jessie wants to hear because it says to her that Rick thinks she’s special and he cares about her. But really Rick should be willing to protect everyone in Alexandria like this, not just someone he’s attracted to. I love this scene anyway though because Rick has such trouble with even admitting his feelings and Jessie is so reluctant to accept his help that it’s kind of a sweet falling in love moment. Even though it’s not cool at all what they are doing. Love is complicated right?

Rick vs. Pete (round 1). This is an epic fight that rolls into a great Crazy Rick speech. Rick decides he’s going to be a better husband for Jessie than Pete and basically gets Jessie’s go ahead. Pete unsurprisingly doesn’t take the news well and starts a fight with Rick. I love that Rick is not the greatest fighter as witnessed in previous tussells, but he sure can take a punch and keep on going. I love that moment when Rick tosses Pete out his front window and they take the fight to the street. Nobody can break this fight apart as the two are bent on finishing each other. But Rick shows mercy at the end and releases Pete before he chokes him to death.  But Rick ain’t done yet. He releases his inner Shane on the crowd as he flails a gun around like a crazy person. It looks like the Ricktatorship might be back until Michonne comes out of nowhere with a punch to the face that puts him out. I love that punch! I was so wrapped up in Rick’s crazy talk that I wasn’t even thinking about how this is gonna end and then she gives him one big ass punch in the face and it’s just perfect.


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.

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.

Return of the Anti-Hero

Season 4 Episode 7 “Dead Weight”

The Episode

We continue our story with Brian (a.k.a The Governor) this episode. We watch him struggle with his inner demons and old friends with this new camp of survivors.

Martinez has formed his own group. It’s a rag-tag group of survivors with an “everyone contributes” mentality. They seem to be doing ok but struggling. They accept Brian and his new family. There’s a scene in the opening with Brian doing laundry and playing chess with Megan where he seems to start thinking very hard about something. There’s a bit of foreshadowing here as there is a tank in the background. A tank that will later be used to attack the prison. Brian is thinking about the prison. He still wants it. Or wants to get rid of it. Either way, he’s still thinking about it. This is our first hint that The Governor is making a return.

The Governor’s main reason for coming out again is centered around keeping his new family safe. The little girl Megan means everything to him. He has a woman he cares about as well. He wants them to live and he wants to not be a failure. From the stories Brian tells about growing up, he’s been made to feel like a failure his entire childhood. Martinez is the first to let Brian down. As the two drink atop an RV and hit golf balls, Martinez admits that he has a very casual attitude about his new group. If they survive, they survive, if not it wasn’t meant to last anyways. Brian lets his Governor out and looking down at feet with boots onwhacks Martinez with the golf club and then drags him to a walker pit to be eaten. It’s conveyed to the group as a drinking accident. Brian sees weakness a second time with the leadership when the next guy in line refuses to attack another group in the woods to take their supplies. Brian again lets The Governor take over and kills the man in cold blood in his trailer. While still bloody he goes to the trailer of the brother and points a gun at him. The brother is a lot more violent and bloodthirsty, something The Governor is fond of. The Governor talks to him and convinces him that his instincts to kill the other group in the woods were right and that he should fall in line with him and they’ll have a really safe community.

But there wouldn’t be a really good story without some inner conflict. In between all these incidents of The Governor coming out, Brian is scared and afraid of what he is capable of. There are scenes of him trembling inside his trailer. And at one point he makes his whole family get in a car and try to run away. When a mud pit of walkers blocks the road and their escape, Brian is fully aware that he can’t run from himself. He’s going to have to deal one way or another with the camp.

The final straw is when Megan is attacked by a walker in the camp. Although she survives, Brian cannot cope with her almost getting bit. He gets in a truck and heads to the prison. In the distance, he sees Michonne and Hershel alone in the woods and he aims his gun at them. At this moment, we don’t know what is about to happen but it is very clear that the mid-season finale is going to end with another clash between The Governor and the prison.

It becomes very clear this episode that The Governor could never stay tucked away inside Brian. As he points out in one of his childhood stories, he has a thing against the heroes of the world. His brother once tried to take a beating for him which only resulted in both of them getting beat. The lesson he learned was it doesn’t pay to be the standup guy. It explains a lot about his animosity towards Rick. Rick plays the hero, the do-gooder, the good guy. The Governor only cares about the people he loves surviving at any cost. Everything in the way of that must go. As much as Brian tried to turn over a new leaf, the circumstances of the world around him paired with his ideological beliefs only equate to one man…. The Governor.

Best of the Episode

Martinez’ death. One of the more creative ways to die, a golf club to the head. It was an unexpected moment. These two had been thick as thieves in Woodbury, Martinez listening to every order The Governor handed out. The Governor definitely did not approve of Martinez’ leadership style to say the least.

ugly shack in the forestLiar/Rapist/Murderer. On a supply run in the woods, Martinez, Brian and the brothers come across a series of decapitated bodies with signs stuck to them. First is the liar, second is the rapist and third is the murderer. The true story is mostly unknown, but based on a photo of a family found, it would appear something horrible happened here. It’s important because the family was a man with a daughter and a wife. Brian can’t help but make this personal in his mind and I think it carries with him the horrible possibilities of what could happen to his new family. Again, this is his major driving force and another tid bit as to why The Governor comes back out.

Walker road block. Not a terribly major point of the show but good walker bits are just plain fun. This muddy mound of walkers blocking the road in the middle of the night is a real horror show moment.

What’s In a Name?

Season 4 Episode 6 “Live Bait”

The Episode

We have a departure this week from our friends at the prison. If you were wondering if that bit with The Governor last time was going to go somewhere, wonder no more.

We pick back up at the shoot-out at the prison from the end of Season 3 with The Governor slaughtering his people and taking off with his two lieutenants. As it turns out, that threesome doesn’t last long. Martinez and the other guy abandon The Governor in the middle of the night while he is asleep. He appears defeated and with no desire to live. I think that is what we were all hoping to see. The Governor was responsible for so much death and destruction, I know I was hoping to see him get his comeuppance.

After burning the remains of Woodbury down, he sets out on the road. He is unkempt and depressed. No energy or even desire to kill walkers. Until he comes to a house where he hallucinates seeing his daughter. Inside he meets a family that has been surviving by staying holed up inside. They are a pair of sisters, Tara and Lily, their father and Lily’s daughter Megan. They are unique to the show in that we haven’t explored the lives of survivors that aren’t out there killing walkers/people. This family has been living safely and quietly alone in their apartment for over a year, surviving on processed and canned foods. They don’t even know how to kill walkers properly. The father isn’t able to walk, lives on an oxygen tank and has stage 4 cancer. These aren’t the kind of people we think could still be out there. But here they are.

close up of chess pieces midgameThis family brings The Governor back to life. He even gives himself a new name…Brian. He picks that up from a wall of messages he walks by on the road. He likes names. Philip, his true name, took up being The Governor to lead Woodbury. He doesn’t want to call himself The Governor with this family, but why a whole new name? He could have easily just used his real name. But he picks a whole new name which is fascinating to me. When he gives them the name Brian, he has no intentions of spending any length of time with them. So, it doesn’t seem like there’s a long-term plan here to pull something over on these people. It’s all about who he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be The Governor and also doesn’t want to be himself. He’s trying out a third role that I feel was because the last two ended in failure. Perhaps a third incarnation will be successful.

One of the more interesting moments of the show is how The Governor, now known as Brian, comes back from the brink of despair. He could barely speak to anyone at the beginning of the episode. Mumbling and giving one-word answers. At the end, he’s speaking confidently in full sentences. He’s found some of himself again. This family he’s found has brought him back. Tara, a cocky and foul-mouthed young woman who likes to fist bump, isn’t afraid to call him on his bullshit. The daughter Megan bears a strong resemblance to his daughter Penny. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but he comes around. Much like Michonne did with baby Judith, he hates the idea of being alone with the girl, but quickly surrenders and lets her in. Lily even wants to be with him romantically. Unfortunately, knowing what comes I sure wish they hadn’t. The peaceful and merciful side of me thinks this is a great story of rebirth; however, my stronger more vengeful side feels The Governor doesn’t deserve this redemption. He should be dead or at least that man at the beginning of the episode that could barely even look at himself. He needs to suffer some more. Martinez showing back up at the end is a twist. He looks the same. Knowing what he knows about this man now known as Brian, could ruin everything.

We get to see a bit of The Governor’s journey this episode. But we also know he’s going to wind up back at the prison. So the middle needs some filling in still. He seems to be recovering and starting over with a new family. Is everyone finally going to get along? If there’s one thing we know by now, looking on the bright side never pans out.

Best of the Episode

Death of the father. My favorite moments of this episode happen to be the most gruesome. When the dad dies in bed, “Brian” tries to get them out of the room because they don’t know what happens next and he doesn’t want them to get hurt. When that doesn’t work and dad comes back, grabbing Tara’s hair, Brian has to beat him to death with the oxygen tank. It’s traumatizing for the family to say the least. Having know idea why Brian is pummeling their father/grandfather in the head with an oxygen tank is a shocking perspective.

Walker pit beat down. Also Brian in action. He falls in a pit full of walkers with Megan. He goes into a rage and kills multiple walkers with his bare hands. He gets a good throat rip in on one and uses a dinosaur sized bone to tear another’s head off by the jaw. It’s a spectacular display of testosterone and rage. It’s no wonder he’s still alive after all this time.

Out of the Frying Pan

Season 4 Episode 5 “Internment”

The Episode

Black and white basement viewThis is one of those episodes that sends you through the ringer. It’s dark, violent and emotional. We’re centered around Hershel and Rick mainly and the very different battles they are fighting. And don’t forget the big reveal at the end.

Hershel gets the man of the hour award for his efforts in keeping the sick alive. The ill are staying alive but it is clear their time is running out. A few have died but there are still many more hanging on. Sasha and Glenn look terrible. They are also getting close to the end. The deadly flu storyline is not one of my favorites but still important. I don’t rank it high because I personally enjoy the human conflicts more. The flu is just not very exciting. But it is practical. Although we’re dealing with an apocalypse that’s unlikely to happen (yes, I said unlikely and not impossible), there would definitely be situations like this and to keep this rooted in a somewhat realistic world, the flu is an event that would happen. So here it has been covered and we’re getting it out of the way essentially.

Hershel is our fearless veterinarian turned doctor. He is giving everyone the tea he made and he has one breathing tube to help the current worst case going. But it’s also what he does for their spirits that makes him impressive. While Dr. S who is dying explains the technicalities of what is happening, Hershel takes to heart their mental well-being. “A sad soul kills quicker than a germ” is the saying he quotes. He knows that if he can keep their morale up, keep them from seeing people die and giving them hope with the tea and staying busy with reading books that he may keep their spirits strong enough to keep fighting. Hershel is a calming presence with a humorous touch with his “spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday”.

Which is why it weighs heavy on us when everything goes to crap. One unexpected death leads to another and another and before they know it everyone has turned and killing those that aren’t dead. When it’s all over, it’s only Hershel, Glenn, Sasha and Lizzie who remain. Daryl and crew have returned in time to save them and Hershel gets to collect himself. It’s a sad moment when Hershel, alone in his cell, holds his Bible and begins to cry. He has been physically and emotionally drained and it’s all too much at this point. There’s another great song that plays during this called “Oats in the Water” by Ben Howard.

Meanwhile Rick returns sans Carol and has a new problem to face. The fence walkers are building up again and they need to do something about it. But when they hear a gun shot from the sick ward, Maggie leaves Rick to go and help. Rick is overwhelmed and reluctantly gets Carl to come help him. That also goes to crap when the fence comes down and the walkers invade the prison. Father and son must grab some weapons and defend the prison.

Rick wonders if he was just fooling himself about building a peaceful life at the prison. I think yes to an extent but it’s only human to want that. Fighting all the time, living day to day, that is not what we are accustomed to doing. We want normalcy and to be able to see ourselves living for more than a day at a time. But what Rick and probably everyone and anyone in this situation would feel is how do you build that kind of life when every day something can knock it down?

There’s a moment the next day after the dust has settled with Rick and Carl picking peas in the field and eating them. Rick’s gun in its holster at his side in the background of the shot of him picking peas. Carol’s words from the last episode echo to me, “you can be a farmer Rick, you can’t just be a farmer”. Rick got his time out from having to kill. He’s now finding a way to balance the peaceful and the warrior. Maybe.

Just as things appear to be resetting back to zero, the final shot of the episode reveals the return of The Governor!!! I very much enjoy how the episodes are structured into making us feel what the characters feel. What I mean is, there have only been brief mentions of The Governor this season. Like he was their past and they are moving forward. Us as the audience are also left feeling like The Governor was so last season and that it’s done. And just when we all think that we’ll never hear from him again, we’ve got some new problems to deal with, he shows back up. We’re surprised to say the least, and so will the characters on the show. And they will definitely regret it.

Best of the Episode

End stage. The ill have reached the point of no return. One by one they all start dying and turning. The living are mostly too ill to defend themselves and so they die as well. It’s a harrowing turn of events for Hershel who is forced to start shooting the people he was just trying to save. Even more harrowing is when Glenn starts choking and Hershel has to climb out with his one leg onto a metal net to recover the breathing tube from a walker. Also, really try not to think about how disgusting it is that he pulled that breathing tube from the walker and directly inserted it into Glenn’s throat without sanitizing it. How is Glenn even alive after that?

Father and son shoot-out. I love this odd father and son bonding moment. The two just mowing down walkers like a video game together. And Carl takes really good instructions. Rick teaches him how to shoot and reload that gun he’s never used before in like .2 seconds. Carl is a natural.

Option C

Season 3 Episode 16 “Welcome to the Tombs”

The Episode

Here we are, our third season finale. I started this season by saying it was one of the best and most important seasons of the series. It cements who they will be for the rest of the series. More so than the first two seasons, our friends have been tested both physically and mentally the entire time. Deep traumas are experienced with the loss of Lori, T-Dog, Merle and now Andrea. This episode they are tested one more time.

I’ll start with The Governor. He does a lot of crazy stuff this episode. His track this season has gone from one of great leader to insane psycho was perfectly timed. Although he’s presented as the bad guy from the first time we meet him, the actual presentation of his mental state is revealed so subtly you barely notice until you find yourself going, “oh my god he’s lost it.” He begins by beating Milton, trying to get him to kill Andrea and then killing him himself and leaving him for dead to kill Andrea. He gives us a good quote in this scene. “You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.” Dark. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then heads to the prison full force to kill everyone. And when he can’t accomplish that, he kills his own fighters for retreating. We are left not knowing where the heck he is because he doesn’t go back to Woodbury. It’s not a great feeling we are left with that we don’t know where he is. The Governor’s story will continue in the fourth season, and it will remain interesting.

The death of Andrea is a sad moment. We watch her struggle the entire episode to free

black rose

herself before Milton turns into a walker and bites her. She loses. Before we find out that she loses, we think Rick, Michonne and Daryl are going to find her and come to her rescue. But that fails to be the case. This time our friends are given a chance to say goodbye. I think that was an important choice the show made, particularly for Michonne. Andrea and Michonne ended on a sour note at the prison; Michonne saying things that were very harsh. All is forgiven as Michonne sits with her before Andrea pulls the trigger on herself. Rick also getting to say goodbye to her because he needed to understand and hear from her that she was always on their side even when she couldn’t do what was needed to end this sooner.

One sort of obscure but noteworthy point here is this is the first time Rick and Michonne share a loss. Michonne is now firmly planted in the group and Andrea giving Michonne her blessing and stating she’s happy that she found them is important. In the comics, this doesn’t happen to Andrea and she ends up being Rick’s wife. A role we see given to Michonne down the road.

Carl makes some striking moves this episode. He begins the episode in a tiff. We think it’s because they are leaving the prison but it’s really because Rick makes him hide in the woods with Hershel, Beth and the baby which he feels is beneath him. As Rick mentions, it’s easy to forget Carl is still a child and Carl in particular has taken on more than any one child should have to. He stuns Hershel and us when he shoots a young Woodbury retreater that comes across them as he tries to surrender. Carl’s argument for this is one I find difficult to argue with. He doesn’t want to make the weak choice that will end up getting someone he loves killed. He cites many examples where this has happened before, Dale, Andrew (the man who set off the alarms in the prison and brought the walkers) and The Governor to name a few. If there’s one thing that everyone struggles with on this show is the consequences of their actions. As I’ve mentioned before, the consequences are high stakes unlike the world we live in. Every choice can mean death to you or people you love. Imagine having that on your mind all the time, especially as a child.

The end of the episode is pivotal to how we look at our group from now on. This fight

tiny flowers with yellow sunburst

between the prison and Woodbury was in the simplest of terms, a mistake. A bunch of people randomly thrown together and pitted against each other over some petty bullshit. It wasn’t a good look for either side. So, the moment we realize that Rick has brought the survivors of Woodbury to the prison and taken them in, it is a relief. Rick looks for Lori one last time and she is gone; a signal that Rick’s insanity has diminished (I struggle to say gone because how could it). We can breathe easier that our friends have kept their humanity and know what is truly important…people. As we go into the fourth season, we have hope for our friends. But don’t get comfortable, it’s not that kind of show.

Best of the Episode

The Woodbury attack. They saved the big explosions for now. As Woodbury attacks the prison guns blazing, our friends are nowhere in sight. We think they have left until The Governor takes his people deep inside the maze of prison corridors. Then our group releases flash bombs and starts shooting. It surprises everyone and they scatter and wind up retreating. It’s an amazing moment to see our friends stop getting their asses whooped and beat The Governor at his own game.

The Governor goes full tilt. As Woodbury retreats in their vehicles, The Governor is relentless in wanting to defeat Rick. He stops his people on the road and yells at them to turn back. But they are all fed up and refuse, prompting The Governor to start spraying them with bullets and kills them all except Martinez and the big guy who never says anything…but even they are taken aback at what The Governor is doing. I don’t know how they get in the truck with him when it’s over.