The Walking Dead – Season Five Premiere!

WD_Season5“They’re f@$!#ing with the wrong people!” Those were the words that capped off the season four finale. At least, they were before the show’s writers decided to censor themselves and changed it to “screwing”. In any case, the show ended with Rick and his party arriving at Terminus only to find that the advertised oasis was a lie – a trap designed to lure unsuspected people in for some nefarious purpose.

Naturally, the blogosphere explodedediately after with various people offering their own theories as to what Terminus represented and what they intended for Rick and his crew. The smart money appeared to be on cannibalism, as it seemed most consistent with what happened in the comics, not to mention the odd room with all candles and the words “NEVER AGAIN. NEVER TRUST. WE FIRST, ALWAYS” written on the wall.

In the weeks leading up to the premiere, fans were also warned that this season would be darker and bloodier, and the preview poster – which showed Rick sporting a new beard – had the words “hunt or be hunted” scrolled across it. Between all these hints and warning, the fanbase was pretty much stoked and there was no surprises when the premiere opened at a record-breaking 17.3 million viewers, beating out their previous record of 16.1 million.

And this past Sunday, the big reveal happened in an episode that was appropriately titled…

No Sanctuary:
https://storiesbywilliams.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/913a6-the-walking-dead-5-temporada-trailer-07.jpgThe episode opens with a flashback where two residents of Terminus – Chris and Alex – are being held prisoner. They reflect on how they chose to remain human in the midst of the crisis, and suffered for it. Flashing back to the present, we see Rick and the others preparing to make a break for it as soon as the door to the railcar is opened. However, they are surprised when a flashbang is thrown in through the roof and they are then carried out.

Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and Bob are then taken to a kill room where they see a body being carved up. Four others are positioned alongside them over a metal trough, and two men begin butchering them one by one. Chris comes in to take stock and pauses the killing long enough to ask Rick about the bag he stashed out in the woods. Things are about to start again when shooting from outside and an explosion sends everyone to the ground.

http://i2.wp.com/geektasticpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/walking-dead-trailer.jpg?resize=620%2C344Outside of town, Tyreese, Carol and Judith continue on their way towards town when they come across a herd. They hide and are saved when gunfire distracts and lures the herd away. They proceed towards the source, and find Alex out on sentry duty and talking over a walkie-talkie about Carl and Michonne. They take him prisoner in a small shed and Carol goes on ahead while Tyreese remains behind to watch him with Judith.

After covering herself with gore and mud, she proceeds to the edge of town and sees Rick, Daryl, Bob and Glenn being taken inside. At the same time, the herd begins to approach the fence line and the guards begin to run away. Using her sniper rifle, Carol shoots a gas tank sitting by the fence and uses a firework to detonate it, killing a dozen Walkers and breaching the fence in the process.

https://i1.wp.com/www.geekchicelite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/twdno1.jpgChaos ensues as the Walkers move in and begin attacking the town and Carol slips in amongst them. Chris leaves the kill room to assess the situation while Rick uses a piece of sharpened wood to saw through his restraints. He kills the two men and then sets the others free, and the four proceed out into the compound. Fighting against both Walkers and guards, they seize weapons and free the others.

Back at the shed, the noise from the explosions and gunfire begins to draw Walkers. Alex gets free, takes Judith hostage and forces Tyreese to disarm and go outside. He steps out and is grabbed by several Walkers, but all noise stops a moment later. Alex takes Tyreese’s knife and begins inching towards the door, and Tyreese breaks back in, slams him on the grounds and begins beating him to death.

https://i2.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/10/13/1413173366927_wps_50_The_Walking_Dead_Season_P.jpgMeanwhile, Carol begins looking for Rick and the others inside. After finding her way into a building, she comes across a stash of stolen goods and finds Daryl’s crossbow. Eventually, she comes to the strange room where she is confronted by Mary, the town matriarch. They fight, Carol gets the upper hand, and Mary explains how the town became the place that it is:

The signs… they were real. It was a sanctuary. People came and took this place. And they raped, and they killed, and they left… over weeks! But we got out, and we fought, and we got it back! And we heard the message: you’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle…

Carol shoots Mary in the leg, and then lets a group of Walkers in to finish her. In the rail car, the rest try to decide whether they should break out into the chaos or wait. Sasha asks Eugene what the cure is, and he explains that he once worked for the Human Genome Project as part of a team that weaponized viruses to fight other weaponized viruses. He claims that with his knowledge, they can kill all the Walkers if they can get to Washington DC.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BzysAj2IUAEZ2yV.png-large-620x400.pngRick then shows up and lets them out, and they all fight their way to the fence. They make it out and proceed into the woods, where Rick digs up the pack he buried and tells them they are going back to finish the job. The group tells Rick its pointless since they are as good as dead, Carol emerges from the trees and is embraced by Daryl and Rick. She tells them to follow her up the road, where they rejoin Tyreese and Judith.

Rick is elated to learn his baby girl is still alive and Sascha her brother. They decide to move on up the rails again, and Rick finds a sign pointing towards Terminus and wipes out all but two words: “No Sanctuary”. The episode ends with another flashback where Chris, Alex and Mary are being held together, and Chris says they will take it back, repeating the adage: “You’re either the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

https://i1.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/10/13/1413173605905_wps_66_The_Walking_Dead_Season_P.jpgAnd in a post-episode peek, we are shown a figure who is following the tracks and comes across the sign. He spots symbols carved into the trees and begins following them. Once he removes his mask, we learn that it’s Rick’s old friend Morgan.

Summary:
I quite enjoyed this episode, and for a few reasons. For one, it delivered on its promise of a darker, bloodier feel, even though this was hardly lacking in the previous seasons. It also handled the whole “good people gone evil” theme very well. Despite everything they do and the evil they commit, the people portraying the Terminites (Terminans?) managed to capture the inherent sense of desperation and anger powering them.

This is the very core Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, which is how otherwise good and civilized people can do terrible things when push comes to shove. And since it was something that didn’t happen in the comics, but was loosely based on it, it made for just enough of a surprise. And of course, few people could argue with the fact that the action was pretty badass too, and the reunions pretty heartfelt.

The only things I would criticize is the character arc of Carol. By now, people can’t fail to notice that she’s become the female version of Rambo. At the end, Rick asks her “did you do that?” And by that, he means rescuing them by single-handedly blowing up a section of wall, letting a herd overrun a small town, and then taking out the town’s matriarch. Yes, somehow, a “thank you” and a “welcome back” would seem appropriate.

But this really doesn’t seem fitting for Carol. As I’ve said before, she went from being an abused, put-upon housewife to a bereaved mother, then an independent woman, then a character who had little to do, all before becoming some ruthless woman who immolated people to prevent the spread of disease. Now, she’s a one-woman army who kicks ass and takes names.

It’s cool, but it’s not exactly realistic. What’s more, Michonne is supposed to be the ass-kicking heroine of that bunch, not Carol. The way her character kind of got sidelined in this episode really drove that home for me. And Sasha is also a strong female presence, same as Maggie. So I do wonder if her character’s not just a bit superfluous at this point. And considering she was long-dead by now in the comics, I have a hard time taking her seriously.

Also, Tyreese’s character has seemed just a little too gentle for my tastes. I very much liked how he took out several Walkers with his bare hands and then beat that Alex kid to death. This is the Tyreese I know and remember from the comics, a big, strong, troubled man who did what he had to, even though he didn’t enjoy it one bit. The TV show’s Tyreese, while certainly likeable, seems too much like a big teddy bear to me.

Otherwise, I like what they’ve done so far this season and where they are going. At this point, Morgan is poised to rejoin the group, and from the previews, it seems clear that they are now converging back on comic book material (i.e. finding a preacher and taking him in), all the while working their way towards Washington DC.

*As a side note, I should point out that, despite what some fans saw in the ending, the producers have indicated that that was NOT Negan making an appearance near the end of the episode. However, I imagine that’s what the shows producers intended when they cast that look alike, as the intro of Negan could turn out to be season 5 material. Stay tuned!

The Walking Dead – Season Four, Episode 14

The-Walking-Dead-season-4-wallpapers-7This week’s episode, as advertised, focused on the story of Tyreese, Carol, and the girls – Lizzy, Mika and Julia – on their way through the wilderness. But once again, I feel they got the name wrong. While “The Grove” did describe the setting pretty well, what it should have been called was “Lizzy is the dumbest/sickest kid EVER!” But what can you do? At the very least, it was entertaining and engaging, even if it did break new records for brutality!

The Grove:
WD4_14_1
The episode opens with Tyreese, Carol and the girls carrying on in their journey to Terminus. Along the way, Carol gets to talking about Lizzy about things – how she shot a woman, how Carol’s daughter died, and how they need to be hard in order to survive. They also come across a Walker laying on the tracks that is hobbled, and Lizzy convinces Tyreese not to kill it since it won’t be able to follow them.

After awhile, they come upon an abandoned farm and settle in for the night, noticing a forest fire in the distance. After finding water, food, and getting comfortable, Mika suggests they give up on Terminus and live there, an idea Tyreese approves of. Carol tries to teach Mika to hunt, but finds she’s unwilling since she doesn’t want to kill. At the same time, Lizzy continues to put her life in danger by insisting the Walkers are still alive.

Walker_mashupThis she does by “playing” with one in the yard, and then freaking out when Carol arrives and kills it, and feeding the one they found on the tracks. Lizzy almost lets the latter one bite her, but she and Mika run when other Walkers – still smoulder because of the forest fire – pour out of the woods. They run back to the farm and are joined by Tyreese and Carol, and togther they manage to stop the horde with some well placed shots.

The next day, Tyreese and Carol go out to hunt and gather and he talks about Karen. Carol almost confesses to him of how she killed her and David, but narrowly avoids it. When they return to the farm, they find a bloody Lizzy standing over Mika’s dead body. She tells them, “Don’t worry. She’ll come back.” When Carol goes to take out Mika’s brain, Lizzy points her gun and tells her to wait because she wants to show them the Walkers are still human.

wd4_14_3Carol manages to convince Lizzy to go inside with Tyreese and Judith and finishes Lizzy off. She and Tyreese talk the next day and he tells her that Lizzy was the one feeding the Walkers at the prison. Tyreese wonders if she also killed Karen and David, but Carol tells him it wasn’t, and they discuss what to do with her. Carol takes her out into the woods to talk, and tells her to “look at the flowers” and shoots her. She and Tyreese bury both girls in the yard.

Later that night, Carol finally tells Tyreese how she killed Karen and David, and why. She hands him the gun and tells him to do what he has to do. Instead, Tyreese tell her he forgives her since this is a part of them now; but also that he won’t forget. They agree they can’t stay at the farm, and push on towards Terminus the next day. The episode ends with Carol’s words to Mika replaying, of how they are forced to kill, and how it will change them.

Summary:
Well… this weeks episode certainly set a precedent for ugliness and brutality. In addition to the burning Walkers, who’s heads spontaneously combusted when they were shot, there was also the infanticide angle to contend with. Quite shocking, all of it. But it was in keeping with some of the material from the comics, specifically Volume 11: Fear the Hunters, which is the source material for the show at this point.

Though this episode did change some things around, it did address the issue of whether or not Lizzy and Mika were going to remain as part of the cast, which is something I was wondering about. It also answered the little riddle of who was leaving rats for the walkers and mutilated the rabbit at the prison, a mystery which I thought was dead and buried at this point. Glad they wrapped that bit up too.

wd4_14_4

But, I have to say, the whole “Lizzy is a sociopath” angle felt kind of unnatural and just a little shoehorned. In Volume 11 of the comics, it was two boys, Ben and Billy who were the subject of this story. After losing their parents (Allen and Donna, who were never in the show) early on, Dale and Andrea began looking after them as their surrogate parents. After fleeing the prison and knocking around in the woods for some time, they found Ben standing over Billy’s corpse.

His words were identical to Lizzy’s, saying that they shouldn’t worry because he didn’t kill the brain, which meant Ben would come back. In time, Carl decided to do what had to be done and kills Billy, thus ending the thread. In this case, Lizzy seems to have deep-seated denial about the walkers and cannot bring herself to kill one because she thinks they are still alive. At the same time, she flays animals for fun and murders her sister. Kind of seems at odds, you know?

Still, the way they dealt with this rather brutal and shocking material was quite gutsy. After they spared Judith in the show, I had the feeling that they would be watered down about some of the more brutal aspects of the story. Suddenly, that doesn’t seem to be the case! And as always, this filler episode puts the characters on the road to Terminus, where they are all headed now. And with only two episodes to go, we’re finally going to see what awaits them…

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 11

The-Walking-Dead-season-4-wallpapers-7Episode three of season 4.5 is here! And since I don’t want to drag things out with a long intro, let me just recap what happened last week as quickly as possible. Maggie and her group find the bus and all people aboard it are dead, but find no trace of Glenn. Tyreese and the girls are found by Carol, Judith is still alive and with them. They find out about a safe haven named Terminus and go looking for it.

Glenn finds Tara and sets out, and is found by Abraham, Rosita and Eugene, some new blood who got guns and a big honking army truck. And that’s what happened last week. Here’s what happened this week!

Claimed:
WD4_11_0The episode opens with Tara in the back of the army truck, taking notes on where her new “friends” are taking her. They stop to dispatch a group of Walkers, and Tara witnesses Abraham singlehandedly kill three. She notes how he did it all with a grin on his face and a sense of humor, to which he replies that he’s “the luckiest man in the world”.

Glenn wakes up in the back of the truck, demands that Abraham pull over and tries to leave. Abraham stops him, tells him that they are on a mission which may decide the fate of the human race, and introductions follow. They are Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa and Doctor Eugene Porter; and apparently, Porter knows what caused the mess and needs to get to Washington DC.

WD4_11_2He reveals that Eugene was talking to people in Washington on a satellite phone, but for the past few weeks, no one has been responding. He asks for Glenn and Tara’s help since they know how to deal with Walkers, but Glenn is intransigent. Tara tells him she’s been keeping track of their route since they got picked up, and that she can get them back to the bus.

Abraham tries to convince him by telling him his wife is surely dead, and Glenn responds by slugging him. A fight ensues, which Tara and Rosita try to break up. But they only stop when Walkers are approaching and Eugene starts clumsily shooting at them. The others join in and take out the herd, but the truck is damaged and begins leaking fuel. Glenn and Tara depart yet again, and the others decide to follow.

WD4_11_1At the house, Michonne and Carl are having breakfast; they laugh, until the subject turns to Judith. They go out in search of more food, leaving Rick to rest and watch the house. Rick confides that he’s happy to have Michonne around, since Carl is in need of friends. While out, Michonne and Carl bond by speaking about her past, which includes how she lost her son, Andre Anthony.

While searching one house, Michonne finds her way into a child’s bedroom and discovers the bodies of the entire family laid out on the beds, having all died in a suicide pact. When Carl comes, she closes the door quickly. When he asks if there is a baby in the room, she lies and tells him it’s a dead dog. Carl responds by opening up about Judith’s death, saying he hopes she and Andre are somewhere together.

WD4_11_3Back at the house, Rick begins to hear voices and realizes he is not alone. When a armed man appears, he sneaks under the bed and hides. The man comes in to inspect the room and ends up taking the bed, leaving Rick underneath. Another man comes in soon thereafter and they begin fighting over the bed. One is killed by the other, and looks Rick in the eye before he is strangled to death.

Rick eventually slips out and hides in another room just as the intruders begin to gather back on the ground floor. He hides in a bathroom and comes face to face with one of them, and is forced to kill him. Taking his weapon, he sneaks out the window and finds his way outside the house just as Michonne and Carl are returning. He runs to them and they begin to run off together.

wd4_11_4On the road together, Abraham tries to appeal to Tara’s sense of reason by espousing their importance of their mission. They come to an agreement of sorts that they are all doing what they think is right because they are good people. Elsewhere, along the railroad tracks, Rick, Michonne and Carl come upon a map indicating the location of Terminus and decide to head there too.

Summary:
First off, let me say that I enjoy what they are doing with the show at this point. This is to be expected thanks to the introduction of Abraham, Rosita and Eugene, and the rather appropriate casting choices for them. Michael Cudlitz, Christian Serratos and Josh McDermitt manage to look the part of these characters very well, and so far, the character they are striking seems pretty accurate too.

Also, the way they have introduced these characters and their plot element at this point, though it does diverge from the comic book somewhat, works when paired with the other character’s trying to find their way in the wilderness. And the way they’ve inserted bands of marauders is akin to other elements in the post-prison part of the comic.

For one, it adds some sense of urgency, showing how people are being pulled in different directions. And now, it seems likely that everyone is going to converge on Terminus, and I think I know what they will find there. On the one hand, they might choose to go with something out of Volume 11: Fear the Hunters (which the roving band of armed men in this episode made me think of).

On other hand, they might choose to fast forward and go directly to Volume 12: Life Among Them which deals with the groups discovery of a working safe zone where they hope to build a new life. However, this seems unlikely at this point, as there is plenty of material that this would circumvent – good material that all took place between the prison being overrun and the entire group heading together to Washington.

I shall say no more on that front, as it would risk getting into major spoiler territory. Suffice it to say, at this point the show seems more like an open canvas. In the first half of season four, it seemed like the show was duty bound to deal with all the changes they had made in season three (i.e. the Governor surviving, the attack on the prison failing, etc.)

Now, it seems like they are back on track and free to experiment with a wealth of material, which – for me, at any rate, and I imagine other fans of the comics – has made the show exciting again. So I am interested to see how the second half of season four turns out, and hope that they don’t do something terribly off-script with the whole Terminus thing…

The Walking Dead – Season 4 Episode 10

The-Walking-Dead-season-4-wallpapers-7The second episode of the second half of the fourth season is here! Wow, that sound confusing when it spell it out like that. But as expected, this episode was pretty pivotal to the course of the season. Not only did it pick up where last week’s intro left off, it managed to round up the remaining members of the cast and account for all of their whereabouts. And there were even a few surprises along the way.

For one, Judith is alive. Yes, the baby that was alleged to have died in the midseason finale (though they left plenty of reasonable doubt as to that effect), was apparently rescued by Tyreese, Mika and Lizzie before they fled. Guess those kids weren’t such bad caretakers after all, and managed to also save a life after blowing a few people’s heads off!

And in another not-so-surprising twist, Carol has found her way back to the group and began leading them on. After making her rather abrupt departure in the first half of this season, she claims to have been drawn back by all the carnage caused by the Governor’s assault on the prison. Which puts her in a good position to help out now that the shit has really hit the fan.

Other than that, there were some entertaining tidbits and a few developments. But let’s not drag this out…

Inmates:
WD4_inmatesThe episode begins with Daryl and Beth fleeing from the prison together, trying to survive on their own while also looking for the other members of the group. As they search, we hear entries from Beth’s diary, which were made back when they first found the prison. At the time, she felt safe and worried about indulging in hope. for fear that it would lead to disappointment.

In another part of the forest, we catch up with Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika and Judith (who is alive after all) as they attempt to do the same. On the way, Tyreese has to leave the girls behind in order to help a father and son who are being attacked by Walkers, but cannot save them in time. The girls are almost overtaken too, but are saved by the timely intervention of Carol.

wd4_inmates2The father, who is dying from his bite wound, tells Carol and Tyreese to follow the train tracks because they lead to a safe place. They proceed along the tracks together, and Carol tells them she witnessed the attack on the prison, but lies by saying she was out on a supply run (as opposed to how she was exiled). They find a map nailed to a bridge post that speaks of a safe haven up ahead named Terminus.

Elsewhere, we find Maggie, Sasha and Bob together, dressing Bob’s wound and taking stock of their situation. Maggie decides to head off to find Glenn, against the wishes of the other two. They find the prison bus parked on the road, but everyone inside has turned. Maggie insists they let them off so she can see if Glenn is in there, and after clearing the bus out, they find no trace of him.

wd4_inmates3Cut to Glenn, who wakes up inside the prison after being knocked unconscious. Delirious and surrounded by Walkers, he wandered about in search of Maggie, but only finds that the prison has been overrun. Grabbing a set of protective gear, supplies, and his rifle, he fights his way through the yard, where he finds Tara hiding inside one of the gardens.

She appears to be semi-catatonic and doesn’t want to leave, saying that she “was a part of this”. But Glenn insists on taking her with him since he needs her help. Using Bob’s old liquor bottle, he fashions a Molotov Cocktail and hands her a knife, for when they run out of bullets. Using the cocktail as a distraction, they run out together and make it into the forest.

wd4_inmates5They find their way to the same stretch of road where Maggie and the others were before. Glenn learns for the first time from her that Hershel is dead, and he explains to her that he was Maggie’s father. They are then attacked by Walkers, and Glenn collapses after they killing the first few. Tara kills the last of them and looks up to see an army truck pull in ahead of her. Out step three people led by an armed man.

Summary:To be honest, this episode was surprising for me. Not because of the return of Carol or the revelation that Judith was still alive – those seemed a bit predictable really. It was the introduction of Abraham, Rosita and Eugene at the end which did it for me. These characters, who appearance represents a game-changer in the story, was something I was not expecting til the end of the season.

In the comics, they did not show up until Rick and all the other survivors found each other and were once again feeling like life was getting back to normal. However, it seems that the writers have chosen to introduce them now and make them a part of the whole “lost in the wilderness” part of the story. Once the groups are reunited, we can assume that the next big thing (won’t say what) will happen and the larger story will continue.

In short, I’m surprised they aren’t dragging that out as I expected they would. Other than that, the episode was good, though I was a bit disappointed with the other “surprises”. Reintroducing Carol was to be expected, but it kind of makes the way they wrote her out before seem superfluous. With her back, there’s likely to be some added drama as Tyreese finds out what she did. Not sure how they’ll resolve that one.

And as for Judith being alive – don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that they kept her alive. But again, this represents a major divergence from what happened in the original comic, where both Judith and Lori were killed and Rick needed to take a bit of a break from reality in order to cope. But having already put his character through that in the show, I guess they felt that would be repetitive.

I’m also glad they kept Tara in the picture, at least for the time being. After all the work they did introducing her and her family, and the way they alluded to her surviving last season, I figured she would still be around at this point. Though they did write her sister out with a single line of dialogue, I think it’s good they kept her. In addition to being a developed character at this point, she’s pretty hot!

As for the rest of the prison crew, the survivors of Woodbury that were integrated into the prison, it wasn’t too surprising that they eliminated the last of them. However, it does mean that the whole “who was leaving dead rats” at the fenceline may now be a dead issue. Not sure where they were going with that one, and now it seems like we may never know…

In any case, their seems to be plenty of potential for the remainder of the season, and I’m looking forward to see what they do with it and the how they go about integrating the new arrivals. Tune in next week!

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 9

The-Walking-Dead-season-4-wallpapers-7The Walking Dead has returned! After last year’s mid-season cliffhanger, the return of this show was one of the most anticipated events this television season. And in fact, yesterday’s premiere even beat out the Olympics in terms of ratings. Kind of a downer, really. But people love their zombies and were waiting for months for their WD fix. And we see the Winter Games every what, four years?

In any case, the midseason premiere opened much as expected. With the prison overrun and the survivors scattered to the four winds, the focus on the most important group in the diaspora – Rick and Carl. Along with the other members of the group, their struggle to carry on mirrors the groups, and humanity’s itself, in this post-post-apocalyptic world.

After:
WD4_after1
The episode opens with Michonne looking upon a ruined and overrun prison. After killing Hershel’s now resurrected corpse, she lures two Walkers into a trap, removes their arms and jaws, and binds their necks. With them as her protection, she sets off again on the road. Farther on, Rick and Carl are struggling along, looking for food and shelter for the night, with Rick lagging behind because of his wounds.

They find their way to a diner and procure some rations, and Carl seems visibly angry with Rick. Farther on, they find an empty house and set down for the night, and by morning, Carl wakes up and finds Rick comatose on the couch. After trying unsuccessfully to rouse him, he begins to voice all his anger, blaming Rick for their situation, the death of the Judith, and the loss of their friends.

WD4_after2His yelling draws two Walkers to their door which try to break in. Sneaking out back, Carl lures these two away quietly, but is then set upon by a third. He is forced to fire his gun multiple times, but survives. He then tells Rick he doesn’t need him anymore, goes out again in search of food, and once more runs afoul of a Walker, wastes the last of his ammo, and is forced to trap it in a bedroom and escape.

Elsewhere, Michonne sets down for the night and dreams of her life before the Walkers came. She recalls a time when she, her boyfriend, their mutual friend and her son were all together, but the dream quickly turns into a nightmare. We see here that these two men were her Walker escorts before, that she was forced to mutilate their bodies and use them for cover.

WD4_after3Continuing on, she begins to pick up many Walker followers, and begins to notice that one even resembles her. She eventually draws her sword and kills this woman, and then is forced to kill the rest as they close in on her. Eventually, she does, and even takes out her escort. Alone again, she breaks down and cries, but eventually manages to pick up Rick and Carl’s trail…

Back at their house, Carl is awakened by Rick making strange sounds and reaching out at him. He grabs his father’s gun, thinking Rick died in his sleep and has now turned. Carl is unable to pull the trigger and cries, telling Rick that he was wrong. But Rick then calls out his name and tells him to “go outside… stay safe.” Carl holds Rick and tells him he’s scared.

wd4_after4Finding her way to the diner where Rick and Carl passed before, Michonne rests and begins speaking to her departed boyfriend. She says she’s figured out the answer, by which she means why they should carry on amidst everything around them. Back at the house, Rick and Carl talk and resolve things. Carl apologizes for risking his life while Rick admits that things will never be the same again.

At last, Michonne comes to the house and sees Rick and Carl inside, and begins to cry. She knocks at the door, Rick looks through the peephole and begins to laugh. When Carl asks, Rick replies “It’s for you”.

Summary:
Admittedly, this episode was pretty slow by the show’s own standards, placing it firmly in the category of pacing episode. But this is to be expected after the midseason climax, and it managed to still be effective. And it was quite cool to see Michonne do her thing, and accurately. Last season, her role was played down to a large extent that it was good to see out and about, and kicking ass!

This episode also gave them a chance to develop her character and get into some of things that has been glossed over previously. For example, we only hear about how she talks to her boyfriend once, which was something central to her character when she entered the story. Alone for so long, she comforted herself and found strength by imaging him there, talking to her and sharing in her trials.

walking-dead-season-4-whos-still-aliveAlso, the interplay between Rick and Carl in this episode was pretty faithful to the comic book. After being caught in the wilderness together, Carl found himself having to take charge and at one point thought Rick had turned. But there, Rick was struggling with the death of Judith and Lori, and dealt with it by talking to her on a broken phone (which instead was moved up to season three).

At this point, I’d say the rest of the season has a pretty predictable arc. The rest of the crew will find their way through the wilderness, they will eventually meet up with Rick, Michonne and Carl, I anticipate Morgan will join them too, and they will find their way back to (*SPOILERS!) where they will meet (*SPOILERS!) and then head off to find (*BIG SPOILERS!)

But that still leaves plenty of room for surprises between now and then, and I will be watching!

The Walking Dead Season 4B Trailer

TWD_S4-B_FEB2014Earlier this month, AMC released a teaser trailer for the second half of season four of The Walking Dead. And as you can see, they kept it simple, focusing on action, crisis, and all the other stuff that the show is famous for. And despite the brevity of it, a few things were made clear from this half-minute clip. For instance, we see who survives the prison debacle to fight another day and what they will be up to.

This includes Rick, Carl, Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, Sasha, Glenn, Maggie, Beth, and Bob, all of whom find themselves in the wilderness and looking for a place to hunker down. I know, no big revelations there, they did all make it out of the prison last time I checked. But they are also traveling separately at this point, with some fighting Walkers while Rick is forced to fight with his injuries and his demons.

This last aspect is something very much on point with the plot of the original comic. You see, in that version, Rick not only lost his baby Judith during the Governor’s assault on the prison, but Lori as well. With his wife and daughter dead, but son still alive, he had to cling to what little sanity he had for both their sakes. And having been seriously injured, Carl was also terrified he would die and come back…

Lot’s of potential there! First episode of the latter half of the season airs on February 9th. Enjoy the clip!

The Walking Dead – Season 4 Episode 8

wd4_toofar_titleWe come to the mid-season finale at last! And what began as a bit of question mark has now come full circle and ended in a way that was consistent with the source material. At least in theory. As I’m sure I’ve said a million times by now, season three ended in a way that was not only different from the comics, but WAY different. And because of that, I was really wondering what would happen this season.

At first, it looked like they were going to go with a simple route, kill off all the new people to the prison and have them abandon it. Instead, they exploited a loophole in the original text to make it so the Governor would come back, albeit with a different army and some new hardware, and attempt to take the prison by force once again.

This has brought the show back to where it left off, or rather where it stopped following the original script and began dragging things out. Granted, there were some significant differences yet again, but the theme of things is basically back to where it was by the end of Volume 8: Made to Suffer. As such, I tuned in this week with big anticipation…

Too Far Gone:
wd4_toofar1The episode opens with a quick recap of how the Governor found himself outside of the prison last episode, faced with Michonne and Hershel as they disposed of their dead. After taking them both hostage, things cut back to his camp, where he is busy explaining to his own people that they need to find a safer place to live, how the prison is being held by evil people, and how they can take it without bloodshed.

He then goes off to prepare and talks to his prisoners, Michonne and Hershel. While the former threatens him, the latter tries to talk him down and find a way to live in peace. But of course, the Governor rebuffs this, saying they can’t possibly live together in peace, and will do anything to protect his own. He meets with Lilly and Meghan one last time and says goodbye.

wd4_toofarOver at the prison, Glenn is still recovering from the flu and Rick finally tells Daryl about how he let Carol go. Daryl is upset, but the bigger concern appears to be how Tyreese will deal with the news. They find him below, and he shows them what someone did with the remains of a rat and thinks whoever is responsible is the one luring Walkers to the fence. They are about to tell him about Carol, when they hear a loud crash and the walls shake…

They run outside and the see the Governor’s army, complete with the tank, arrayed at the gates. The Governor asks him to come down and talk. Rick replies that he is not solely in charge any more, and the Governor drags out Hershel and Michonne and puts them on their knees. Rick is then given the ultimatum: leave by sundown and no one gets hurt.

wd4_toofar3Back at the Governor’s camp, Lilly sees a Walker step into the river and begin walking across towards them, but is relieved when is is washed away. Meghan is busy digging in the mud and digs up a sign which reads “Warning Flash Flood”. An arm then reaches out of the mud and grabs her. Lilly shoots the Walker, but not before it manages to bite Meghan’s shoulder.

While Rick and the Governor parlay, Daryl talks to Sasha and Tyreese about getting their people onto a bus and out the back, quietly brings out their weapon’s stash and starts discreetly arming their people. Down at the fence, Walkers begin to converge, and the Governor tells him that the longer they wait, the harder it will be for Rick and his people to get out safely.

wd4_toofar4Daryl and Carl take aim from the fence and wait, while Lizzy and Mika bring Judith out to the bus. They are told to load up, but Lizzy suggests they get guns and try to help out. Rick suggests that they live together in peace, but the Governor once again rejects this – citing what happened at Woodbury and Andrea. Rick finally says they are not leaving, end of story, and if they start shooting, it will only draw Walkers into the prison.

The Governor responds by drawing Michonne’s sword and threatening to cut Hershel’s head off. Rick pleads with the Governor’s people to see reason, saying that no matter what they’ve done to survive, they “aren’t too far gone”. The Governor says “Liar” and slices Hershel’s neck open. Everyone opens fire, Rick draws is pistol and falls back to cover, and both he and the Governor are wounded.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Michonne rolls away and cuts her bonds, killing one man in the process, and the Governor pulls Hershel aside and finishes cutting off his head. When he looks up, he sees Lilly standing before him with Meghan’s dead body. Tara meanwhile throws her gun down and tries to reason with Alisha, telling her this is not what they signed on for. The Governor shoots Meghan’s body, and then orders everyone to drive through the fence and kill everyone.

The tank drives through the fence and begins opening fire on the buildings. The prison crew begin falling back, and Maggie and Beth begin herding people onto a bus to escape. Maggie is told Beth went to look for Judith and is caught outside as the bus leaves. She, Sasha and Bob falls back again. Rick tackles the Governor and the two begin to fight in the yard. Cornered, Daryl uses a Walker that’s been drawn by the noise as cover and takes out several of the Governor’s people with a grenade.

wd4_toofar6In the confusion, Tara runs off and Tyreese is pinned, but Lizzy and Mika intervene and shoot his attackers, which includes Alisha. Walkers begin to converge on the yard from all directions and feed off the dead bodies. In the yard, the Governor gets the upper hand on Rick and seems poised to deliver the death blow, but is impaled from behind by Michonne, who has retrieved her sword.

Daryl converges on the tank and drops a grenade down its cannon. Mitch manages to get out in time, but Daryl takes him out with an arrow to the chest. Beth finds Axel and they head off to find the survivors who didn’t make it onto the bus. Rick stumbles back into the yard and finds Carl shooting Walkers. He asks him where Judith is and the two find her bassinet sitting empty and bloody on the ground.

The Governor, still alive, looks up to see Lilly above him, and she shoots him in the face. The chess piece that Meghan made for him, with one eye blackened out, is then trampled underfoot by a herd of Walkers that are now converging on the prison. Crying and disheveled, Rick and Carl head into the woods. Rick tells Carl “don’t look back”

Summary:
the-walking-dead-governorattacksOverall, I was pretty damn impressed with this midseason finale. Full of action, destruction, and consequence, it was what the Season Three finale should have been but wasn’t. Not only did the Governor finally attack the prison in a way that mirrored the comic, people died – including himself – and things ended on a very sad note. I honestly didn’t think the show’s producers would have the guts to do it up like this, but they did!

Not only that, but a lot of key elements from the original comic were there. The way the governor pulled up with an militarized, mobilized force that included an armored vehicle: check! The way he executed a hostage in order to get Rick to comply: check! The way Judith died as a result of the confused, chaotic mess: check! The Governor being shot by one of his own after they realized what a monster he was: check!

the-walking-dead-lorisdeathHell, they even included some of the original dialogue from the comic, almost word for word, to make this finale more genuine. The way the Governor motivated his people by claiming Rick and his followers were evil, murdering folks who had “mutilated” him was there. Of course, in the original comic, the Governor was less an arm, one eye, and his genitals, so it made more sense coming from that guy, but whatever…

The way the episode ended with Rick telling Carl, “don’t look back” was also straight from the comic. However, there too it was a bit more meaningful since Carl and him had lost both Lori AND Judith. But considering that the show’s producers actually killed off Judith was so ballsy that I didn’t care about that difference at all. Honestly, I can’t foresee how “Little Ass Kicker” could have survived under the circumstances, so I don’t imagine that was a misdirect and we’ll learn she’s just fine when the show starts up again.

the-walking-dead-governor-killthemallBut above all, I am impressed that they closed the chapter on the prison as they did. I thought for sure that season four (or at least this half of it ) would end with them willingly abandoning the prison because of disease and falling gates. Them being forced to flee because the gates were crushed and the place overrun in the wake of the Governor’s attack is in keeping with the script, something I thought they had abandoned.

And I have to admit that I’m kind of impressed with how they managed to do all this. At the end of last season and for all of this one, I’ve been complaining how they abandoned the original comic. But in truth, the show’s writers and producers were exploiting a loophole. You see, in the comic, the Governor’s assault didn’t happen all at once, but in three separate attempts. At first, he pulled up with his attack force and they were forced to withdraw.

the-walking-dead-tyreese-dies1The second time around, he tried to get in using a hostage (Tyreese, in this case), which failed when Rick would not open the gates and he decapitated the poor man for all to see. On the third occasion, he ordered his tank to crush the fence and brought the attack inside the prison grounds, which ended in his and just about everyone else’s death.

In the show, something similar has now occurred. The Governor’s first attempt took place at the midseason finale of Season Three, where him and his men shot up the front yard of the prison and let some Walkers in. The second was the abortive assault that sent his people running and made him snap and shoot them all. This third attempt, which took place months later, mirrored his last push, and ended in much the same way.

the-walking-dead-governorsdeathGranted, there were several scriptural differences, like how Tyreese didn’t die, or how Michonne stabbed him before he was shot, how Lori, Andrea, and Dale were already dead, and the like. But the basic tenor and tone was the same. So let me upgrade my critical stance of what they were doing from “going totally off script” to merely “dragging things out” yet again. Seriously, what should I have expected, given that this is precisely what they did with the two previous seasons?

And there were some badass bits to how they ended things. Daryl taking down that tank with a grenade down its cannon and finishing off Mitch (I hated that dumbass!), how Michonne finally impales the Governor after waiting so long to finish him, and how they actually killed off main characters like Hershel and Judith, and didn’t leave things open ended the way they’ve done so often before.

wd4_toofar6So the Governor is finally dead, and the prison story arc is finally over. And now, much like Volume 9: Here We Remain,  Rick are Carl will now be wandering in the wilderness while Rick tries to get his shit together, before meeting up with the others to resume their little experiment in post-post-apocalyptic living. This time around, more people will be alive since more people got away, but the show is effectively back on the right page!

The rest, in this case at least, is properly summed up with a Walking Dead internet meme:

Rick_Grimes_Carl_Grimes_-_The_Walking_Dead

Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead – Part IV

walking-dead-7-the-calm-before-billboard-600x300Welcome to the fourth and last installment in my review of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead series. Today, I will be coming volumes 7 and 8, which were adapted to create the second half of season three, for the most part anyway. Basically, everything that happens between the confrontation at Woodbury and the assault of the Governor’s people on the prison falls into these two volumes.

These included Rick and the prison people’s attempts to get ready, their procurement of weapons, and the whereabouts of the Governor after Michonne’s little revenge party with him. And whereas that conclusion was rather abortive in the show, it was both startling and bloody in the comic! But as usual, I like to save the differences between the show and the source material for the end.

Bring on the mighty conclusion!

Volume 7 – The Calm Before:
the-walking-dead-Volume_7-The_Calm_BeforeThe first issue of the volume opens with Lori thinking back on her experiences with Shane. Her baby is almost due, and she decides to tell Rick that it may not even be his. He stops her and let’s her know that he already suspected, and that it doesn’t matter since he’s planning on raising the child as his own. With Hershel officiating, Glenn and Maggie have their wedding in the prison’s cafeteria and everyone attends.

Afterwards, Rick, Tyreese and Dale do an inventory of their weapons and ammo and determine they don’t have enough of either. They decide that a run will have to be made to the National Guard station where Woodbury got its weapons from. A party is formed with Tyreese, Michonne, Andrea, Axel, Glenn and Maggie and they take the RV.

Back at the prison, people continue to integrate with each other, their garden continues to produce, and people talk about all the members of their crew that have been lost. This includes Allen, Otis, Shawn, Lacy, Arnold, Rachel and Susie now. It seems that after so many deaths, people have grown numb to loss.

the-walking-dead-nationalguardpostOn the way out, they chance upon a fallen sign that tells them where to go and find the National Guard station. After grabbing all the fuel and ammo they can and commandeering a troop truck to load it up, they set fire to the place so no one else will be able to visit it later, and proceed to take off. They stop at a local Wal-Mart to stock up on food too, but are found by a bunch of armed men who were drawn by the explosion.

They discover the men are from Woodbury, and they recognize Glenn. After shooting him, Andrea opens fire and kills two of them while Michonne takes out the others with her sword. Glenn, luckily, was protected by his body armor and only suffered some cracked ribs. They load up what they can from the Wal-Mart and leave.

the-walking-dead-lorisbabyLori begins to have contractions and is brought to the infirmary where Rick and Alice begin delivery. However, the generator is about to go out and Billy and Dale rush to put more gas in it to keep the power on. Realizing they are almost out, they run to the lot to siphon more from the vehicles, and Dale is bitten on the leg by a Walker hiding beneath the cars. Andrea and the others arrive and find Billy and Dale, who is still alive.

In the infirmary, Lori gives birth to their daughter, a healthy girl. But their joy is short-lived when Andrea and the others burst in carrying Dale. Holding him down, Rick takes the saw and cuts the lower half of his leg off. He survives, and Rick reflects on how screwed up their world now is. Lori tries to restore some happiness to the moment by telling Rick they should name their daughter Judith.

In the coming days, Rick and Lori tends to their new baby, they unload the supplies, begin training in how to use the weapons they procured, and continue to plant and till their fields. Carol seems to have recovered from Lori turning down her offer for a poly-amorous relationship, and Andrea gives Dale some crutches and he is able to get out of his bed.

Everything seems to be getting back to normal, though Dale now feels useless and worries Andrea and Tyreese are sleeping together. However, his fears prove baseless, as Andrea reveals that they were working together to make him a prosthetic leg. While leading a shooting party outside the fence, Andrea is asked by Alice to procure her a living Walker for study.

the-walking-dead-carolsdeathWhen Rick learns about it, he grabs a gun and prepares to shoot it. However, Alice talks him down by saying that this having one could help them immensely, both in fighting them and perhaps finding a cure. Carol meets with Lori again and asks that she take care of Sophia if anything happens to her. After Lori agrees, she goes off and has sex with Billy. After that, she goes to the chained Walker and lets it kill her.

the-walking-dead-governor-killthemallWhen they find her, Andrea shoots the Walker and then Carol. In the coming days, people try to come to grips with her death. Tyreese is mainly angry at her for killing herself, and finds comfort in the arms of Michonne. Slowly, everyone begins to recover again. And after several months of preparing, they begin to think that the feared confrontation with the Governor isn’t coming.

Suddenly, a large convoy of trucks and an armored vehicle pulls up at the fence line. A one-armed, one-eyed Governor emerges from the armored vehicle and declares “KILL THEM ALL!”

Volume 8 – Made to Suffer:
the-walking-dead-Volume_8-Made_to_SufferThe volume opens with a recount of what happened to the Governor after Rick, Michonne and the others escaped from Woodbury. After finding him mutilated, but still alive, his men brought him to the infirmary. Realizing that doc Stevens and Alice were gone, they pulled Bob – a former medic and alcoholic that they had been keeping in a cell – out and told him to save the Governor’s life.

Though he was not able to save the Governor’s eye, reattach his arm, or his manhood, he was able to stop the bleeding and keep him alive. Of course, much of the work had already been done by Michonne, who cauterized his arm with a blowtorch after severing it. In any case, the Governor woke up even crazier than before.

the-walking-dead-governor-speechAfter his men find Martinez’s remains, he orders the head removed and presents it to his people, claiming Rick’s party murdered Martinez and left it on their doorstep as a message. After whooping them into a frenzy, he went about the task of sending his people out to find the prison.

This proved easy after they found the National Guard post destroyed and followed their tracks. However, having found it, the Governor ordered his people to wait and so as to give Rick and his people a false sense of security. After a few months had passed, he ordered his people to load up and prepare for war.

In addition to guns, two troops trucks, and about half a dozen pickups, they also deployed an Infantry Fighting Vehicle they snagged from the Nati0n Guard base. When they arrive, fifty some odd men come behind the Governor, and he orders them to open fire and kill everyone inside. They oblige him, and the bullets begin to fly.the-walking-dead-governorattacksLuckily for the prison camp, a slew of Walkers are standing outside the gate and are poised between the Governor’s army and them. Rick orders everybody to find cover and tells Andrea to get up in the guard tower and start sniping. Running inside, he alerts Lori and tells her to get Patricia and the, and load up a truck with supplies and go without him.

He returns outside where the Governor orders his people to stop firing and issues an ultimatum – for their weapons, he will let them live. When no answer comes, he orders his men to resume firing, but Andrea starts shooting them. She manages to get a shot on the Governor but since he’s armored, he survives. She takes off her helmet to get a better shot and then takes out several of his men.

the-walking-dead-Andrea-ShootingUnfortunately, a bullet grazes her now unarmored head. The Governor’s men suggest taking down the fence, but the Governor knows the prison will be useless without fences. He orders the armored vehicle to start plowing down the Walkers to clear a path for their shots. They then open fire again and hit Axel. Andrea recovers and starts sniping multiple targets, and the Governor’s forces retreat.

With their attackers pulling back, the prison crew begin to come out of cover and take stock of their wounded. Axel’s arm is hit, but he’s otherwise unharmed. Andrea suffered a graze to the head and falls unconscious. Worse though, is Rick, who was hit in the stomach and collapses. All three are brought to the infirmary, and Rick’s condition doesn’t appear too good. Alice tells them Rick needs blood, and Patricia tells her she’s a universal donor, so she volunteers.

Dale speaks to Andrea and tells her they need to start thinking about getting out of dodge before they die. He asks Lori to come too; she refuses, but Dale insists that they take Sophia, Ben and Billy with them. Maggie and Glenn agree to go with them, and pack in the RV and drive off. Rick wakes up from his coma and takes stock of their situation. Having learned that people have left, he begins to think they won’t be able to deal with another attack.

Meanwhile, Michonne discusses a reprisal attack with Tyreese, hitting the Governor and his crew before they can make it back to Woodbury. He agrees, they put on riot gear and head out. Up the road, they find the Governor’s convoy and take out his sentries. However, things get sticky when more show up and start shooting. Tyreese is eventually captured and brought before the Governor, who’s men tell him that Michonne is dead and they present her sword as evidence.

the-walking-dead-tyreese-dies1Back at the prison, Rick overlooks their defenses and decides to reposition their cars and trucks to offer barriers. They also load up an escape truck with supplies, and bring out all the grenades they have to use in a hurry. He also gives Carl his gun and tells him to keep it on him at all times, and tells the watch to wear their remains riot suits at all times. They hear a gunshot and run to the front yard.

One of the governor’s trucks has come back. The back opens to reveal the Governor standing over Tyreese, and holding Michonne’s sword. He once again demands they open the gates, and threatens to execute Tyreese and Michonne, who he claims he’s got stashed away in the cabin. Rick won’t oblige, and the Governor proceeds to cut Tyreese’s head off. Billy opens fire, but the truck makes it away.

the-walking-dead-governor_michonneBack at his camp, the Governor is angered that his plan didn’t work, but he’s interrupted when Michonne shows up pointing a gun at his head. She is shot at and has to slip away, but manages to wound the Governor and grab her sword. The Governor, extremely pissed, orders his men to turn around and head back to the prison to finish their assault.

The shooting begins again, and Axel is hit in the head and killed. Rick’s people take cover beneath their trucks. Billy is pinned in his tower and begins lobbing grenades. Andrea and Dale show up again, with her sniping from the roof, and one of the Governor’s trucks slams into it, sending her to the ground. Still, the Governor’s people are dying faster than they can stand, and he commandeers the armored vehicle and drives it over the fence.

Rick runs back to find Lori, and sees her on her knees with a gun to her head. However, he’s relieved to see its Alice, and they were staging it since they thought Rick was one of the Governor’s men. They run to the front yard and prepare to load up and leave, but the front yard is now being overrun by the Governor’s people and Walkers. As they run out, they are hit by a hail of bullets and Patricia is killed.

the-walking-dead-lorisdeathBilly is killed and Hershel falls to his knees, crying over his body. Alice tells Rick, Lori and Carl to run and covers them from a doorway. She takes out a few men, but is shot and then finished off by the Governor. Rick, Lori and Carl are near the edge of the fence now, but Lori is hit by a bullet that kills her. She falls over and lands on Judith, killing her too. Rick is traumatized, but tells Carl to keep moving…

The Governor puts a gun to Hershel’s head and kills him. The woman who shot Lori sees her body and that of her baby and loses it. She slams her gun into the Governor’s face and sticks the barrel in his mouth. The group manages to stop her from shooting him, but is then overrun by Walkers. The Governor frees himself and tries to rally them, but the woman who shot Lori pulls her pistol and shoots the Governor in the back of the head.

the-walking-dead-governorsdeathHis body crumples to the ground and is eaten by Walkers. The rest of their group is surrounded by Walkers and they are either consumed or run off into the wilderness. On the nearby hillside, Rick and Carl finally make it to safety. Carl realizes that his mother and little sister didn’t make it and tries to run back. Rick holds him and they both begin to cry.

Differences with AMC’s The Walking Dead:
We find ourselves at last at the ending of season three of the Walking Dead, and with all the cumulative changes they made from the original story. And it was by this time that the biggest change in the show’s history took place, one which has made season four likely to be very different from any of the volumes that follow. But first, I want to cover the small stuff and things they didn’t change.

the-walking-dead-governorgunFirst off, the show did contain some commitment to the spirit of the comics in how the Governor and his men assaulted the prison on two separate occasions. In the first, they shot up the yard, killed Axel, and unleashed some zombies into it. The second was where the decisive battle happened, with the Governor and his people crashing through the gates and attempting to storm the prison in force.

And Axel and Lori did die in this general area of the story, but in different ways. Whereas Axel was killed during the Governor’s raid in the show, he didn’t die until the end when the final battle took place. Also, Lori’s death wasn’t due to an emergency C-section performed in a boiler room that saw her die and her baby live. Both she and the baby died in the final fight, terribly!

wd3_morgan1Also, the intervening period between these two battles took so much longer in the show, which I find annoying in hindsight. Much like with everything else in seasons two and three, the producers were determined to drag the confrontation out, what with Andrea trying to pick a side and brokering peace talks between Rick and the Governor. No such process ever took place in the comics. After Rick, Michonne and the rest escaped Woodbury, the Governor simply took his time in attacking, and then did!

What’s more, the buildup happened differently. Rather than show how the first assault had split the camp and people began to leave, the writers used this time to reintroduce Morgan and explain how his son died. A good episode, but once again, a case of shuffling. Morgan did not get reintroduced until after the prison assault, and he chose to join Rick and the others since Duane was now dead and he had no reason to stay behind. Also, they didn’t get their stocks of weapons from him.

wd3_oneeyeAlso, I should take this opportunity to point out that at no point in the original comics did Rick and his people assault Woodbury. Their initial confrontation didn’t involve an attack to rescue their own people who’d been taken captive (Glenn and Maggie), it involved Rick, Michonne and Glenn being taken captive and tortured. There was no ambiguity about the Governor’s motives or the fact that he was an evil, malicious bastard.

In the show, they presented things in a more ambiguous way. While they certainly kept to the script by showing the Governor to be a psycho who treated all foreign groups as a threat and killed them, the way they had Rick and his crew attacking his town first kind of made it look like he was a sort of victim. Psycho or not, hitting him and his people where they lived was a lot like poking an already angry bear.

At this point in season three, Milton also begins to turn against the Governor and sabotages his plans. This might be a good opportunity for me to point out that in the comics – as Doctor Stevens – he was never a friend of the Governor in the first place. What’s more, he died a long time ago. Having yet another character struggle with their loyalties – a la Andrea and Dale – seemed like they were harping on an overly-familiar theme.

wd3_tyreeseAh, and another weird case of plot shuffling – at this point in season three we are FINALLY introduced to Tyreese, a character that was supposed to be with the show from the beginning. And in addition to his late arrival, his companions were completely different from the comic. Instead of his daughter Judie and Chris her boyfriend, he came with his sister Sasha and father and son duo who didn’t exist in the original.

On top of that, there was no case of him experiencing a crossover with the Governor and Woodbury or a conflicted sense of loyalties. Also, I couldn’t see why it was necessary to have Rick chase them off and then have them learn that the Governor’s camp were the actual bad guys. Wasn’t Andrea, Milton and Merle enough on that front? All of this seemed like a very weird case of late introductions followed by an inexplicable plot mashup.

And, most importantly, he was supposed to die at this point in the story. Not only is he being introduced late, he’s being introduced at a point in the story when his original was killed off. Seems weird. And I should also point out that Carol was also dead at this point, the victim of tragic circumstance after her attempted suicide left her feeling without friends or respect. But as usual, she’s still alive in the show despite not having much to do.

the-walking-dead-season3endBut alas, the biggest and most disappointing change came in the final battle and its outcome. In the comic, it was a devastating event, resulting in the deaths of Hershel, his son Billy, Alison, Patricia, Lori, Judith, and Axel. Rick and a handful of others managed to make it out, but only by the skin of their teeth, and the Governor himself died in the assault. The only other people who could be alive at this point were the ones who’d already left.

It was not the abortive event they made it out to be in the show, with the Governor’s people fleeing at the first sign of trouble, him gunning them all down, and then leaving with his henchmen to be heard from at some later date. That I found pretty lame, and I was hardly alone in that. He shot twenty-some odd of his own people and his henchmen – who were supposed to be dead at this point – had nothing to say about it. Then they simply drove off… weak!

And of course, after the battle Rick and the others traveled to Woodbury, collected all the people there and brought them back to the prison. This was so far off script that I wasn’t sure how to respond. So now, instead of Rick and Carl wandering around in the wilderness looking for other survivors, battling hunger, Walkers, and their own grief, they are back at the prison with more people than before and trying to integrate them. Night and day, man. Night and day!

All in all, season three was a watered-down, convoluted version of the original comics. It took its time and tried real hard to get its audience emotionally involved, but instead turned into a big build-up towards and ending that was a big letdown. Not only did the whole thing fizzle at the end, the way they left it open-ended seemed a bit trite and commercial too. But of course, its television. What can you do?

Summary:
If it wasn’t clear from all of that, reading the comics really had a dire impact of my view on the show. But then again, after the season three closer, I was already kind of disenchanted. Season two was not my favorite by any stretch due to the slow pace and the way the conflicts dragged out. And after what I thought was a good first half to the third season, the second half began to feel like more of the same.

And perhaps I’m being unfair, but being able to see how they changed things has only made that worse. It’s not the fact that they made changes, mind you. To fault for them just for doing that would be a terrible act of geek-inspired snobbery! No, it was how they made these changes and why. Between leaving some people out, pushing others in, and shuffling plot elements around, I really can’t see the logic here.

Why did they choose not to introduce Tyreese until this late juncture? Why did they choose to make the Governor’s assault on the prison so incompetent? Why did they feel the need to humanize this evil man so very much? Why did Andrea have such a hard time accepting he was evil when all the evidence was there? Why did they choose to replace well-developed characters from the comics with some of the “highest paid extras” and then just proceed kill them off?

Who knows? Who cares? At this point in the show, they can do what they like. And from the trailers, it seems like they might be veering back towards the original plot anyway, having Rick and his people abandon the prison and head off in search of a new home. Doesn’t really make sense, when you consider the hell they went through to find the place and hold it.

But whatever, more changes aren’t going to hurt at this point. And frankly, I am curious to see what happens next. And you can bet I’ll be doing comparative reviews, since I’ll be doing them anyway in my mind and will probably want to share my observations. Consider yourself warned people!

Until next time, thanks for reading and remember…

zombie_keepcalm

The Walking Dead – Season 3 Episode 12

The-Walking-DeadWell I’ll be damned. Just last week I was complaining that the season was getting a bit stagnant. Then they go and pull one of these! An episode that really gets you in the gut and excites the hell out of ya! And to accomplish this feet of keeping fans interested and roped, they’ve gone back to the beginning of things with the series.

Last week, hints were given as to what was coming. Fearing diminishing supplies of guns and ammo, Rick, Michonne and Carl made plans to head back to Rick’s old hometown to see what they could dig up. And with the threads involving the prison and the town of Woodbury pretty much tied for now, what they find on their mission is the basis of this week’s entire episode.

Here’s what happened:

Clear:
wd3_clear
The episode opens with Rick, Carl and Michonne on the road together as they drive into town. On the way, they pass an uninfected man who begs them to stop, but they continue on. They come to a set of abandoned cars and stop to take on what they can find, and are set upon by Walkers. With barely a concern, they begin dispatching the Walkers, take what they need, and set off again. Once again, they are beset by the uninfected man and leave him behind.

From this opening scene, were are once again told a tale in very few words. After so much time spent being forced to fight and survive, they are immune to the pleas of outsiders looking for help and are free from fear. The habits have become so engrained that they come easily, as does turning a deaf ear to those they do not know or trust.

wd3_clear1They come to town and begin inspecting the police station, which appears somewhat low on guns and ammo. Rick then decides to get a hold of the town’s gun registry, which they will then use to chase down all the firearms remain in town. When they reach the main road in town, they find a series of booby traps, sharpened stakes, and signs warning them to leave. Michonne observes that it looks like someone else has already made this place their home.

Without warning, they are spotted by a man on a roof who tells them to drop their weapons and get out. Not wanting to lose their weapons, or lives, they attempt to take him down with a little misdirection. Rick and Carl run and shoot while Michonne circles around to outflank him. However, the gunman is a step ahead and makes his way down to the street. Before he can shoot Rick, Carl pops out and shoots him in the stomach.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????After a quick search, Rick learns two important things. First, the man is wearing a vest and is only unconscious. Second, and more importantly, the man is none other than Morgan, the one who saved him after he woke up and wandered back from the hospital. They proceed to take him inside, noticing several booby traps, a massive arsenal, and tons of disturbing messages scrawled on the wall. Over and over again, the word “Clear” appears.

Carl says he’s going to make a run to the nursery store in the hopes of finding a crib for Judith. Michonne reasons he will need help and comes along, but Carl tries to get away the first chance he gets. When Michonne catches up to him and notices they’ve passed the nursery store, he reveals that there’s something else he wants for his sister first.

wd3_clearcarlHe takes Michonne to cafe which appears to be filled with Walkers. After sending in a diversion, they run in to grab a picture from above the bar – apparently of Carl, Rick and Lori. However, the Walkers soon notice them, they have fight their way out, and the picture is left behind. Michonne does him the favor of retrieving it on her own, since Carl wants  a photo so Judith can know what their mother looked like, and this is the only photo left.

Back in his home, Morgan wakes up and uses a stashed knife to cut his bonds. He then attacks Rick and wounds him, but Rick manages to get the upper hand point his gun in Morgan’s face. He begs Rick to shoot him, but Rick pleads with him to remember, which Morgan finally does. The key is the old walky-talky which Rick gave him, and Morgan begins to remember. He tells Rick he looked for him on the radio, but he wasn’t there. What’s more, he explains to him that his son is dead, and that it was his wife who did it.

wd3_morgan1Rick invites Morgan to come with them, but Morgan refuses. He can tell Rick’s situation is less than ideal since he needs some of his guns. Rick assures him things will work out and he can get better, but Morgan is intransigent, saying he has to “clear”. Carl and Michonne rejoining him, carrying a crib. Carl pauses to apologize for shooting him, to which Morgan tells him to “never be sorry.

At the car, Carl let’s Rick know that he thinks Michonne might be one of them. She asks Rick if he sees people, to which she adds that she too used to talk to visions of her dead boyfriend. On the drive back to the prison, they pass the remains of the man they saw twice along the way, and stop to take his backpack.

Summary:
wd3_clear3In case the intro wasn’t clear, this episode rocked for me. Even though it involved the reintroduction of an old character, it felt very much fresh and new and offered a much-needed diversion into the season. It was also nice that they brought back Morgan, considering that his character played a prominent role in the story at the beginning and was left very much unresolved.

After finding him and seeing what’s become of him, Rick also learns that he couldn’t bring himself to shoot his infected wife, and this is how Duane (his son) died. Because of this, he has become convinced that its only a matter of time before everyone will die. Many times over he says to Rick that “no one gets clear”. It’s not specified what he means by this, but if I were to guess, he means free and clear, as in safe and sound.

The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 12 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCBetween that, the scene at the beginning where they twice turn away a man in need, and the final scene where they find his body and take his things; all of that manages to wrap the most predominant theme of the show up in a nutshell. That have been few episodes with this kind of tight narrative and consistency, demonstrating so succinctly that in this world, survival trumps morality, and sentimentality can mean death.

Yet, at the same time, they do their best to restore some degree of humanity and compassion through kind acts. Rick invites Morgan to come back with them, Carl struggles to get a photo of his mother for his sister, and Michonne helps him to recover something sentimental even though it means risking her life. And the way she begins to bond with Rick shows that human connections remain important in this world.

wd3_clearmichonneAnd of course, it was exciting throughout, especially where Morgan’s traps and arsenal were concerned. After all this talk of shortages and supplies running low, it was good to see so many guns, sharpened steaks, grenades and bullets in one place. It is what I’d want to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse and he pulled it off. So… yeah, you go Morgan!

It also was nice to see Michonne get back to her cool, ass-kicking self. The way they humanized her was nice, though I thought it was a little out in left field. Yes, they’ve done this before, like how they revealed how hurt she was when Andrea chose to stay in Woodbury rather than go with her. And after all she’s been through, she deserves a little kind-heartedness. I just hope it doesn’t last long and she gets back to kicking ass soon!

And of course, with all the weapons and ammo they grabbed, they are sure to be that much more ready when the inevitable war comes. Next week promises to be confrontational, so it’s sure to be coming soon!