The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 11

WD3_premier

What a week! Its been a busy one on my end, and there have been subsequent delays. Times like this make me think I need an assistant, or that this blogging thing needs to pay more and more frequently! But I can’t complain… because it’s Friday, which means catching up on sleeping, schmoozing, and all the reading and writing I meant to do sooner!

Which brings me to last Sunday’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. As the third episode in the latter half of season 3, things are once again beginning to pick up and, regrettably, drag out. There’s been plenty of action to be had and some twists and set-ups, but I’m also noticing a trend setting in that’s beginning to concern me.

In season 1, the story and narrative was very tight. But telling an entire first act in only six parts can have that effect. Season 2 tended to drag on inexorably, causing the whole Rick/Shane conflict and the will they or won’t they leave the farm issue a ridiculous amount of time to resolve itself. And with episode 11 now out, it seems like that may be happening here.

I Aint a Judas:
wd3_judas2The episode begins with Andrea seeing the people of Woodbury being armed and recruited for war. She attempts to talk to the Governor about it, but he insists that he and his men went to the prison and Rick’s people fired first. She asks for permission to go and speak to them, but is denied, prompting her to sneak out with Milton’s help.

Using what Michonne taught her, Andrea captures a walker and cuts off its arms and removes it teeth. Tyreese and his party find them in the woods and ask for help, and are told they can come to Woodbury where people are being taken in. After being expelled from the prison, Tyreese and his people are very receptive to the Governor and his plan to go to war with them.

wd3_judas1Back at the prison, the group discusses what to do about the impending siege and the yard that is now full of walkers. Low on ammo and supplies, they realize they can’t do anything without resupply and more trips into town. Rick also decides to delegate some responsibility to others after Carl tells him that he should unshoulder some of the burden. This is clearly out of concern for his recent mental breakdown, and he begins to let Hershel and Daryl step up.

Meanwhile, Merle begins to try and integrate with the rest, with limited success. Despite his insistence he was “just following orders”, Michonne and Glenn are unwilling to let go of the past. Hershel attempts to speak to him and get some idea of who they are dealing with over in Woobury. Merle responds by telling him that Governor is a ruthless man, and that when the war comes to their doorstep, which it will, he will take no prisoners.

wd3_judas3When she arrives at the prison, Andrea gets a cold reception and is snubbed by virtually everyone except Carol, who owes Andrea her life. She and Michonne argue since Andrea thinks she is the one who poisoned the others against the Governor, and Michonne believing that Andrea she has fallen under the Governor’s spell. Andrea is finally told by Carol that if she wants to resolve things, she’ll have to kill the Governor.

Andrea is given a car and sent back to Woodbury, where she is well-received by the Governor who believes she’s “come home”. After making love to him, Andrea wakes up and fetches her knife, and contemplates killing him the way Carol recommended. But after several seconds of struggle, she finds she can’t bring herself to do it and walks away.The episode ends with looking out the window, onto the town that she really has come to think of as home.

Summary:
Overall, this episode had plenty of good points. I like the fact that whereas Michonne was being minimized in previous episodes, she’s being brought forward once again to act in a more primary role. Her antagonism with the Governor is central to the plot in this part of the story, especially when you consider that she’s the one who took his eye and killed his zombie daughter, and he repeatedly tried to kill her!

And the reunion between Andrea and the prison people was definitely due. For some time now, she’s found herself caught between camps and this episode managed to force that issue a little. On both sides, she’s got people who are determined to fight the other and refuse to listen. And now, she was given a choice on how to end it all (i.e. kill the Governor in his sleep) buAt couldn’t. In the end, her desire to stay neutral and try and foster a compromise is very believable.

And yet, this episode kind of felt like a dragger for me, which pretty much punctuates what I said about the last episode. True, episode 10 did end with a pretty big bang after running slow for the first forty minutes. But with episode 11, I once again feel that things are destined to drag on til the end. There are five more episodes this season, conflict (we are told) is inevitable and part of the original material. So… when it’s going to happen? How’s it going to turn out? Who stands to win and who will lose?

In the first half of the season, we received a lot of build-up and some dire warnings. It was made clear that the Governor doesn’t suffer the existence of people he considers a potential threat, and that he was hellbent on finding the prison and dealing with them. After the mid-season climax, it seemed like the bear had only been provoked further and was out for blood. But when he did retaliate, it was with limited consequences and in a limited way.

And in this episode, we’re given more of the same and basically told to wait longer for the big finish. But for how many more episodes can we be told what we already know? How many more times do we need to hear that the Governor is a ruthless man? That he will be coming and there will be no stopping him? And how much longer is Andrea going to be debating her loyalties and being caught in between? Hard to say, but things need to pick up from here on in! Otherwise, I think people might start to lose interest.

Still, looking forward to next week’s episode. Stay tuned for the review, I plan to post it sooner other than later this time 😉

The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 5

Hello all and welcome back to my ongoing review of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Season three has now reached the halfway mark, and the two-prongedstory is beginning to really drop some bombs on us, the viewing public! After last weeks’ hefty dose of trauma – i.e. Lori dying and Rick finally snapping – I was curious to see how this week’s episode was going to lighten things up again. What’s more, I had to know if they had really killed Lori off, or that was just a screw to the audience to get them to tune back in for this week’s episode. Needless to say, they were messing around…

In short, the midway mark in this season saw the resolution of the prisoner situation inside the jail. After killing Andre, the escapee who vowed revenge, Axel and Oscar seem to be merging in with the rest. At the same time, the loss of Lori, Carol and T-Dog was mitigated somewhat by the arrival of a new member – Rick and Lori’s baby girl.

Meanwhile, over the in the town of Woodbury, the divide between Andrea and Michonne finally results in a break, with Michonne leaving and Andrea staying behind. However, after witnessing an evening of special festivities put on the Governor, Andrea begins to question her decision to stay. And it’s also abundantly clear from what the Governor has going on behind closed doors that he has not accepted the loss of his family and that that is what drove him to madness in the first place.

Say the Word:
The episode opens on Rick, who is virtually catatonic after receiving the news that Lori is dead. His grief quickly turns to rage and he grabs an axe, proceeding inside to kill whatever remains of the Walkers who entered the prison. Meanwhile, Hershel tells them that the new baby needs formula or she can expect to die within a few days. Maggie and Daryl hop on his motorbike and make for a nursery which they observed in the nearest town. There, they find some diapers, formula, and a possum hiding in one of the closets. Daryl shoots the possum and declares they now have some fresh meat for dinner!

Meanwhile, Rick busies himself with cutting through all the Walkers that are still down below. Glenn tries to talk him down but fails, as Rick seems borderline psychotic and unreachable. After throwing him aside and going off to kill more, he finally finds his way to the room where Lori had her C-section and died. He finds a bullet in the floor and a blood trail leading into a passageway nearby, realizes that Carl couldn’t bring himself to shoot her and that she turned. After putting a bullet through the head of her bloated Walker corpse, he begins stabbing her swollen belly over and over…

Over in Woodbury, we find the Governor combing the hair of a small Walker, who apparently used to be his daughter. Her name was Penny, and it seems that he is keeping her secured in his office where no one can find her. Meanwhile, Michonne continues to investigate, hoping to find some evidence that the Governor is not who he appears to be. After retrieving her sword and reading some disturbing entries in his diary (which seem to involve the name Penny) she overhears the Governor and his men talking about holding some festivities. His lead researcher seems opposed to the idea, but eventually concedes.

Michonne then finds her way to where some Walkers are being kept in a cage and kills them all. When the Governor’s men catch up to her, he once again extends an offer to join him, but Michonne pointedly refuses (i.e. she points her sword into his chin)! At the mention of the name Penny, the Governor becomes quite concerned, as he thinks Michonne found her in his office, instead of simply reading her name from his diary. She makes one final attempt to convince Andrea to come with her, but fails. To her surprise though, they open the gates and let her go, leaving a saddened Andrea behind.

The Governor tells her to cheer up, as they are going to be having a special event that evening to cap off the celebrations that have been going on for days. However, she is horrified to find that the festivities are a bare knuckle fight between Merle and one of the other sentries, and the fight takes place in a ring surrounded by chained Walkers. The Governor explains its all staged and designed to make the people unafraid of the Walkers, but she is still incensed by it and leaves in a huff.

Glenn digs some graves for the dead, which accounts for one-third of their group. The deaths of Carol, T-Dog, and Lori are felt all around, but Glenn gets some unexpected help from Axel and Oscar who offer to help him dig graves. The baby also appears to be doing well, and Carl suggests naming her after those they’ve lost, eventually settling on his mother’s name. Daryl lays a flower on Carol’s grave, the same one he showed to her when they were looking for Sophie which commemorates the Trail of Tears and all the children that went missing there. And down in his cell, next to Lori’s corps, Rick is surprised to hear (amongst other voices in his head) the phone ringing, and picks it up…

Summary:
This episode excelled for a few reasons. For starters, we finally see the break between Andrea and Michonne occur, the timing of which couldn’t be better (or worse, in Andrea’s case). After finally telling Michonne she thinks her fears are groundless and she intends to stay, she gets a firsthand preview of the Governor’s madness. In time, she’s likely to get more, and her relationship with the Governor is likely to become strained, as Michonne’s was. This in turn is likely to lead to an escape attempt or a rescue attempt by Michonne. Needless to say, it won’t be pretty!

Second, this episode, picking up where the last left off with the prison debacle, showed that no one in the cast is safe. The loss of Carol and T-Dog was not too devastating since neither were main characters, but the death of Lori was nothing if not surprising. Rick is now experiencing a psychotic break, Carl is without a mother, and the group is reeling from the loss of a third of its members. This is in keeping with the spirit, if not the letter, of the graphic novel where no one in the cast is safe!

And I also liked what they did with the gladiator fight. It was an effective way of showing the Governor’s dark side, without being too over the top. Had she found the room full of heads, or simply been thrown into a dank cell full of corpses, that would have been too much. It’s much more entertaining and suspenseful to see the Governor turn bad as a result of an escalating situation between him, Andrea and Michonne. It also fits with his motivation, which is to keep his own safe from any and all threats, as he sees them.

Based on the previews which also came at the tail end, it has been hinted that Michonne will meet up with Maggie and Glenn while they are out searching for supplies, and that Andrea will attempt to flee Woodbury. I’m also looking forward to seeing just what the phone call was about, as it’s not entirely clear if Rick’s being contacted by the other members of the group, or if he’s experiencing a psychotic episode. Could go either way…

The Walking Dead, Season Three Premiers!

It’s here at last!This past Sunday, after taking a very long break, the AMC’s Walking Dead finally premiered their third season.I tell ya, I was waiting so long that I almost forogt all about it. And it’s been weeks since there have been any helpful previews to remind me!

But alas, last night I remembered that the 14th was the big day, er, evening, in which the show would be airing. And, since I lack cable TV, I knew I would have to be employing extra-legal means to see it. So, taking to my computer, I found a torrent, uploaded it, and watched it with baited breath! Well, not exactly baited, but definitely lots of anticipation. I mean, it’s not like it was the new season of Game of Thrones, am I right? 😉

But before I tell you about this episode (Spoilers to follow), there’s the matter of how the last season ended. As we all know, all what was left unresolved thanks to the showdown between Shane and Rick, the split up of the original group, the loss of the farm, and Andrea’s rescu eby a mysterious hooded stranger. What was going to come of all this? Who would make it in this next season, and who would die?

Episode One – The Seed:
The party breaks in to a home occupied by Walkers and begins killing them, clearing the way for the rest to come in and settle down. Afterward, they begin to search for food, but find only an owl (which Daryl shoots with his crossbow) and some cans of dog food. However, more Walkers begins descending on the house, and they are forced to throw their bags into the small fleet of vehicles they have and flee.

From this opening scene alone, a few things become clear. For one, it has been several months since the shootout at the barn took place as evidence by Lori’s pregnancy bump. Second, Hershel, Maggie and Beth have joined the party, clearly believing that they would be safer on the road than on their farm. Third, Shane, Andrea and Dale are gone, either dead or having split off and gone their own way.

After leaving the house, the group confers and agrees that they can’t keep moving as they have been. Pursued by different groups of Walkers, their ultimate goal is to find a place to set down until Lori can deliver her baby. At last, they find a place that seems secure – a prison! However, there is still the matter of clearing it of all the Walkers that are currently inside. After making their way through the fence, the group deploys with the discipline of an army unit and takes out over twenty of them. Apparently, they are getting pretty good at killing zombies!

After making camp and having a meal, Rick tells them that they need to push and take the rest of the prison. He thinks that it fell early on, and that it must have supplies, food, medicine, and an armory. However, since they are low on ammo, they will need to go in in and fight it out hand to hand. This they begin to do,but quickly realize the interior of the prison is not as secure as hoped.

Luckily, a cell block which they come upon does appear to be impenetrable and they decide to spend the night there. And just to be on the safe side, Rick finds the keys to the cells and every locks themselves in for the night. Ironically, the prison’s purpose is reversed now, locking people in instead of trying to keep them from getting out.

In between all this, we cut to a small town, where we meet Michonne for the first time and watch her ass-kicking skills at work! This consists of her decapitating zombies with her samurai sword, and without the slightest bit of trouble I might add! After making the rounds, she returns to a “Deer Cooler” (a meat locker) where we find Andrea, who appears to be sick and in her care.

They decide to set out again, as Andrea doesn’t think she’ll survive if they stay. Packing up her two captive Walkers, the two set out… Yes, apparently Michonne is n the habit of keeping two Walkers with her in chains while traveling. Neither have jaws, which is clearly a defensive measure to make sure they can’t bite her. And I’m guessing having them around keeps other Walkers off their backs. Clever!

Lastly, we cut back to Rick and his usual party of hunters are exploring the basement of the prison. Unfortunately, this area is filled with Walkers, the party gets broken up as they begin running from two separate parties. In the process, Hershel is bitten on the leg and they are forced to scramble to the nearest secure room. Once there, Rick amputates Hershel’s leg with an axe to prevent the spread of the infection. Hershel is still in danger of bleeding out on the floor, and Daryl turns around to see several uninfected prisoners hiding in the next room…

Summary:
What can I say about this opening episode except WOW! Some seriously and truly badass stuff happened here, not to mention plenty of more cliffhanger notes. For starters,the opening scene was very effective and quite intelligently done. Not a word of dialogue passes between anyone in those first few minutes, and yet, we are made to everything of importance. The group has changed, they’ve become more seasoned and experienced, but everyone has the same look of fatigue and wear on their faces. The moment when Carl opens a can of dog food and Rick throws it in the fire place, that too was classic. It’s like he’s saying,”we may be hungry but we’re not animals!” And it was done without a single word.

Then there are the scenes where they fight their way onto the prison grounds, then into the prison proper were both very cool! In the first, special attention is given to the fact that the company has become a highly disciplined and able force, which is demonstrated in how hey manage to quickly envelop the zombies and pick them off from all sides. The moment at the end where Rick shoots the last of them and then laughs to himself is especially good here. It’s like a moment of pride where he’s realizing how effective they’ve become at the whole business of staying alive and killing zombies!

Then comes the fight next day where they begin clearing out the prison grounds using only handheld weapons. Each and every one of them is particularly badass here, stabbing and slicing their way in. But the best part is when the former guards, decked out in full riot gear come to fight them and they have to get creative. After all, you can’t simply smash in their skulls when they are protected by a helmet, and Daryl’s arrows prove useless against the helmets face shields. Here, T-Dog grabs a riot shield and begins bashing into some, while Maggie realizes that the best way to kill them is to stab under the helmets, and then feels very proud of herself when she kills one this way.

And of course, the irony of the prison. What better demonstration is there of how in an apocalyptic world, everything is turned upside down? In this kind of environment, a facility that was once built to incarcerate men is now turned into a fortress, with the express purpose of protecting those withing from those without. And the ending, where they must both cut off Hershel’s leg and find prisoners who are still alive? Whoa, you talk about a climax! A sure fire guarantee that people will be tuning in next week! I know I will…

However, there were also some kinder, gentler elements that were also well suited to the story. In this episode, Lori is desperate to talk to Rick about everything they’ve gone, specifically the triangle that existed between her, Shane and Rick. The matter of the baby’s true father is intrinsic to this, and while Lori wants to talk it out, Rick sure as hell doesn’t! She lets on towards the end that she thinks that Rick hates her, and intimates that Rick killed Shane, which is something she blames herself for. Her words “I put that knife in his hands” silences any doubt as to the whereabouts of Shane, and whether or not she or being literal or metaphorical remains to be seen.

Also, there is the issue of budding and developing romance that is factored in here. In the last season, Maggie and Glen began to have a relationship, and its clear from this episode that it is still happening. At the same time, Carol is beginning to make some overtures towards Daryl, who as we may recall was a great comfort to her last season while they were still looking for her daughter Sophia. However, Daryl seems a bit unenthused and is keeping her at a distance for the time being.

At the same time, little Carl also seems to be taking an interest in Beth, much to the chagrin of her father Hershel. Between these two seasos, he’s obviously grown considerably and is trying to emulate his father, wearing his old hat, shooting a gun, and trying to be a protector. It’s cute, it’s endearing, and in a way all of these relationships are indicative of something very important in the story. In the midst of all that death, people want to cling to life and take what joy they still can. But naturally, there’s a great deal of misgiving and hesitancy since there’s a chance it will end in pain.

Michonne was also very cool, and for what’s it worth, it’s good that they introduced here. Obviously they haven’t developed the thread involving her and Andrea very much in this episode, but we can assume their will be more to  come on that front later. At this point, we can only assume of what happened to separate her from the rest. But if I were a betting man, I’d say Shane killed Dale to protect his secret, Rick killed Shane out of necessity (he did kinda go batshit crazy there!), and Andrea took off because her and Shane had a thing. Somewhere along the way, she got sick and fell in with Michonne, who pulled her out of harm’s way.

The only complaint I might make, more of an observation really, was that as usual, they did up the disgusting factor! The worst part, for me, was when Rick ripped the helmet off one of the prison guard Walkers and his entire face came with it! Oh, and did I mention the skull kept screaming at him? And then Rick cut his head in half with the machete. I know it’s all animatrons and models, but holy shit yuck!

Looking forward to episode two and more revelations, not to mention zombie smashing!

Zombies in NYC!

Back in August, as part of a promotional campaign for Season 3 of The Walking Dead, the folks at AMC decided to do a little experiment. With the help of an advertising firm named Thinkmodo, they dressed up a group of actors as zombies and set them loose on the streets of New York. The reactions were caught on film, and were pretty predictable…

Check it and see!

The Walking Dead, Season 3 Preview

Another lovely preview to make the rounds at this year’s Comic Con was the hit show The Walking Dead. Take a look at the latest preview for Season Three, the most lengthy and detailed look at the inside what’s coming yet! This includes “the prison”, the town of Woodbury, and Michonne, the sword-wielding badass heroine!

Thanks to Khaalidah for sending it to me, I was ignorant of it til now. Take a gander and, like me, get very impatient for October!

Walking Dead, Season 3 Teaser Trailer

As an avid cable viewer, there are few things more frustrating than having to wait forever for new episodes. I’m sure there’s no shortage of people who can relate! Tell me, how many people out there felt that waiting on season 2 of Game of Thrones was like pulling teeth? How about True Blood? And how many people absolutely hate it when they get into a series, watch entire seasons online, on DVD, on Netflix, etc., only to find that the next installment is months or even years away?

I can practically hear the groans and affirmatives from out there! And the wait goes on, especially if you’re a fan of shows that explore the zombie apocalypse! Yes, for fans of the AMC series The Walking Dead, it’s another four months before the show airs again. Luckily, there are some teaser trailers to tide us over, whet our appetites, and keep us on one butt cheek until it comes. Did I say luckily, seems like a dastardly thing to do doesn’t it? Feed people tiny bits of info just to keep em hungry!

But what can you do? Check out the clip, and note all the promises and previews being made. New characters, new problems, relationships explored and tested, new locales (including the vaunted prison!), and of course, tons and tons of zombies! Which reminds me, I need to get to reviewing this show, season one and two. Not to mention the wider phenomena of zombie franchises. Maybe its been people’s morbid fascination with the whole “face-eating” thing that’s kept me away, but I think it’s high time to do some reviews. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, enjoy the clip!