Warning: this post contains spoilers.
In the ever-colorful exclamatory words of Abraham, “B!tchnuts.” The moment that fans of the comic book series have long dreaded – the “Red Wedding” of The Walking Dead – finally happened: Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his barbed wire-wrapped slugger named Lucille made their debut in the last fifteen minutes of the season finale. But the real moment fans were afraid of – the moment when a favorite character dies, and dies ugly – kinda didn’t happen. To be certain, someone got killed, but the camera angle left the victim’s identity a mystery.
Before we dive into that mystery, here’s a quick rundown of virtually everything else in the episode leading up to that moment: Morgan found Carol; Eugene found courage and vainly attempted to... Read More
(Warning: this post contains spoilers.)
With so much anticipation for next week’s “Last Day on Earth,” it’s difficult to focus only on the second-to-last episode of the season. Ignoring as much as possible the imminent arrival of Negan and Lucille teased in the promo for the upcoming finale, “East” both closes the sixth season’s philosophical narrative and sets the stage for massive events that could drastically alter the dynamic of the show (as such, the last episode may seem like an introduction to a new, even more brutal series). In “East,” this feeling of finality is reinforced by the autumn scenery under heavy grey skies and every conversation between characters reads like a warning of some reap-what-you-sow reckoning doubtlessly underway.
“It’s all a circle: everything gets a return,” Morgan tells... Read More
(Warning: this post contains spoilers.)
The season finale promises to be an epic bloodbath, so in order to save some oomph for later while still pushing the narrative toward said disaster with “Twice as Far,” fans got a plodding, dual storyline episode that suddenly takes off in the final fifteen minutes.
Storyline A: Denise convinces Rosita and Daryl to lead her to a gift-shop / apothecary so she can
finally get Tara some Orange Crush get more medicine for Alexandria. Covered in bloody handprints, the apothecary looks like hell, but the only walker inside is, well, not actually a walker. It’s mostly a pile of decomposing mush with a cast on its foot-mush. Still, they get the medicine and ultimately Denise finds that can of soda she’s been asking... Read More
With three episodes remaining in a big-and-promising-to-get-even-bigger season, it makes sense to offer a bottle episode aptly titled “The Same Boat,” which focuses mainly on Carol and Maggie. Carol was MIA for a couple of episodes while Maggie’s deal with Gregory at Hilltop set in motion the entire attack on the Saviors’ compound. Both of them have lost time to make up for and feelings of guilt to explore (and no doubt the production savings will go toward an explosive finale in just a few weeks).
Eighty percent of this episode takes place in a single room in a safe house where Maggie and Carol are held captive by four Saviors: Paula (aka the kid from Dune), Michelle, Molly and Donnie. Bleeding from a gunshot wound, Donnie loses consciousness... Read More
The Walking Dead has rarely – actually, almost never – been about the music, but “Not Tomorrow Yet” makes a point of reminding fans that, zombie apocalypse or not, a quality soundtrack never hurts. Because rival channel HBO now has Vinyl in the same timeslot, perhaps the bosses over at AMC decided to invest in some licensing fees instead of just woodsy background noise and zombie snarls. The episode opened with Parsonsfield and ended with Hozier, and in between there was a pulsing synth track that perfectly underscored the intensity of Rick’s attack on the Saviors.
The attack on the Saviors returns The Walking Dead to a familiar state of moral uncertainty. Were the Alexandrians justified in launching a preemptive strike on the Saviors? Or will... Read More
Warning: this post contains spoilers from the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. Watch the episode on Sling On-Demand before you read.
Maybe because it was also Oscars night AMC offered up a slightly superfluous episode of The Walking Dead.
Daryl summarized 75 percent of the latest episode when he said, “We want food, medicine, and one of them cows.” It basically played out like a game of Catan: Cities and Knights: in exchange for vowing to protect the walled Hilltop Colony from Negan and his band of robbers, Rick and his fellow defenders from the Alexandria Safe-Zone received a Year of Plenty (i.e., Catan-speak for commodities like grain – presumably sorghum).
Carol was nowhere to be seen for the second episode in a row. If you watch this... Read More
Warning: this post contains spoilers from the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. Watch the episode on Sling on-demand before you read.
Well, that was probably bound to happen. In a show where shocking deaths have become commonplace, the biggest shock of all comes when two characters hook up.
After the inevitable tragedy of the mid-season premiere, the following episode offered a lighter (clearly much lighter) leap forward to a time when Carl is mostly healed, the streets of Alexandria are zombie-free, the wall is once again fully operational, and Rick and Michonne spend their mornings discussing toothpaste and their nights… Well, Jesus (newcomer Tom Payne) certainly got an eyeful, to say the least.
Perhaps because Andrea – who is still alive and in... Read More
Critics called the mid-season return the best episode of the entire series and in many respects, it was. The season-long process of splitting the narrative into isolated perspectives finally paid off with a courageous battle for Alexandria that brought together all of the primary and secondary characters, united in their fight against a massive herd of walkers. Even if the episode fell slightly short of such high praise, fans were treated to a finely crafted exploration of the series’ primary themes of loss, redemption and unification.
The spectacle and emotional elements did not disappoint, either. Daryl upgraded from a crossbow to an RPG launcher in the first five minutes – and immediately used his new weapon to undiplomatically solve the confrontation with Negan’s men; Glenn and Maggie reunited once... Read More
Six seasons in, an unmistakable pattern has emerged: whenever there’s a surplus of characters on The Walking Dead who have enjoyed some semblance of stability for too long, something horrible happens and at least 20 percent of them die. It happened at the CDC, Hershel’s farm, the prison, Woodbury, and it’s clearly about to happen at Alexandria.
To help you prepare for Sunday’s
massacre midseason premiere (AMC, 9pm), here’s a list of everyone still standing at the end of the last episode, as well as each character’s likelihood of making it out of or back to Alexandria alive:
(While this post contains no explicit spoilers from upcoming episodes, it does contain speculation based on as-yet untelevised events that occur in the comics.)
1. Rick 100%... Read More
I came into this season of The Walking Dead more interested than I had been since those heady days back in 2010, when the postapocalyptic zombie hellscape was mostly unmapped, Rick Grimes had no idea what was going on, and the endless circular debates about whether to stay on the farm were but an index card on Frank Darabont’s white board. I’m ending this half-season with the dashed hopes of what might have been.
Season 5 ended in a fascinating place, with Rick and company arriving at the Alexandria Safe Zone, whose citizens had managed to stay safe enough to retain their humanity and the structure of their small Mayberry-esque society. Rick, on the other hand, having been through the farm, the Governor, the prison, and Terminus, had become... Read More
Well, that was lame.
The problem with the reveal that Glenn survived his stagedive into a mass of hungry walkers wasn’t disappointing because we wanted Glenn to be dead. It was because almost everyone on the Internet guessed exactly how the plot was going to play out weeks before the show confirmed it.
Fans guessing about what’s going to happen on their favorite shows is nothing new, but the best shows manage to keep us guessing even as they confound our expectations. Breaking Bad zigged when we thought it would zag roughly 10,000 times; so did Mad Men, Deadwood, The Sopranos, and The Wire. Just this morning, Game of Thrones cannily deflected this kind of disappointment by confirming with its teaser poster what everyone has been predicting: that... Read More
At this point, it’s becoming clear that we are not going to find out for sure what happened to Glenn until the other characters do. It’s also becoming clear that this season – or half-season, since AMC splits them into eight-episode halves – has been structured to take place entirely in the space of a single day, the day of Rick’s harebrained plan to move thousands of walkers 20 miles up the road, with each episode following a different part of that plan. This week, we followed Daryl, Sasha and Abraham on their two-pronged mission to lead the walkers along the highway.
It didn’t go so well: coming under an ambush of automatic gunfire, the team split up, with Daryl heading into the woods on his motorcycle while Sasha... Read More
Though last week’s Morgan-centric episode was one of the best The Walking Dead has ever done, it did interrupt a ripping yarn in progress: Rick’s plan to lead a massive herd of walkers that had escaped from a nearby quarry away from Alexandria’s walls. The plan was not going well: an attack by the Wolves caused a tractor-trailer to crash into the city wall, leaving its horn blowing for several minutes, thus attracting the herd back to Alexandria; Glenn’s effort to divert a pack of them into a burning building ended with the erstwhile pizza guy in a dead end at the bottom of a zombie feeding frenzy; and Rick was trapped in a broken-down RV surrounded on all sides by walkers, looking genuinely concerned that he’d reached the end... Read More
After ending last week’s episode on a huge cliffhanger – Glenn at the bottom of a pile of hundreds of walkers with no apparent means of escape, whether or not the entrails being pulled out were his, and Rick in a non-functional RV surrounded on all sides – showrunner Scott Gimple continued with this season’s experiments in storytelling structure by cutting away to an extended flashback detailing how Morgan came to be the bo staff-wielding pacifist that found his way to Alexandria in the season 5 finale.
How you felt about this narrative detour, I suspect, will depend largely on how you feel about Morgan as a character. I happen to be fascinated by him, and as eager as I am to find out what happens to Rick, and... Read More
The extended mission to divert the massive herd of escaped walkers away from Alexandria moves into its third week in the latest episode, “Thank You,” one of the most tense, terrifying episodes the show has ever done – and that’s before the most wrenching character death in the series' entire run. (Stop now if you haven’t watched the episode.)
As the horn blares and the walkers head for Alexandria, Rick quickly forms a plan: Glenn and Michonne are to escort all the noobs back home, while Rick makes a run for the RV to do… something? (This part of the plan is not quite clear.) The Alexandrians are horrified by how cold-bloodedly Rick and Michonne dispatch a clutch of intruding walkers, and then put a fallen Alexandrian out of... Read More
As different as The Walking Dead is from just about any other TV show either before or after it, it has always been very straightforward and conventional in its storytelling. It is just about always a straight line from point A to point B. The most formally daring move it ever made was in the pilot, when Rick woke up from a coma to the zombie apocalypse.
These first two season 6 episodes suggest that the show is going to be experimenting a little more. Last week’s premiere was split between black-and-white flashbacks to the immediate aftermath of Morgan’s arrival at Alexandria and Rick’s killing of Doctor Pete, and plan to lead thousands of walkers out of a quarry and away from Alexandria, a plan that was going great... Read More
“I don’t take chances anymore,” Rick tells his long-lost neighbor Morgan, who after being the one to fill Rick in on the zombie apocalypse and then declining to join Rick’s travel party, has been found by Daryl and brought back to Alexandria with a spiffy new set of staff-fighting skills.
Rick means that in the five years (or however long it’s been in in-show time) since he saw Morgan, he’s learned that some people can’t be saved, some people can’t help, and some arguments are best settled permanently. We don’t know what Morgan’s been doing for all this time, other than practicing staff-fighting, but it appears that he still retains a little bit of the optimism and faith in humanity that made Rick such a conflicted, at times unsteady leader... Read More
“You can’t save everyone,” Alicia tells her stepbrother Chris with a chilling matter-of-factness, echoing her mother and his father’s difference in approach to the zombie apocalypse. Each episode has carried the characters a little closer to understanding that Things Are Never Going to Be the Same, but this was the one where they really started acting like it, with often fascinating results.
As the Clark-Manawa-Salazar clan plots to bust into the impromptu military base where junkie Nick, Nurse Liza, and deceased Griselda are being held, Andy the captured soldier offers to draw them a map in exchange for his life, an idea Daniel rejects because as we learned last week, Daniel is a ruthless bastard. Sensing Travis' weakness, Andy persuades him to let him go, and Travis does. ... Read More
Chris and Alicia, the teenaged characters whose main plot function to this point has been to give their parents something to worry about, had an interesting little scene in this week’s episode. After finding the home of a particularly affluent neighborhood family abandoned, they looked around for a while, then started playing house, then eventually got all dressed up, she in evening gown and he in tuxedo. Then they trashed the entire house.
It was a nice little kabuki version of the story this season appears to be telling: though the spreading virus that’s got the recently deceased up on their feet certainly started the process, society’s reaction to it, more than the zombies themselves, are bringing society down. Like last week’s excellent “Not Fade Away,” this episode was... Read More
Where each of the previous episodes of Fear The Walking Dead has begun almost at the exact moment the last one left off, this was the first to let a little time elapse, to let a few things develop offscreen, to let the characters change and adapt so that when we rejoin the action things are a little different than when we left.
Nine entire days have passed since the Manawas’ neighborhood was secured by the U.S. military (calling forward to the Alexandria storyline on the original series), and things have settled into a New Normal, with Travis positioning himself as a liason between the community and the military, his ex-wife Liza providing nursing services to everyone inside the fence in need, their son Chris making video journals, Ofelia... Read More
AMC’s zombie-apocalypse drama The Walking Dead began with a fascinating hook when it premiered in 2010: Georgia cop Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to find that society has completely crumbled and most of humanity has either died or been infected with a virus that turns them into undead drones with a taste for living flesh. It was a brilliant in media res opening that thrust the viewer directly into the action, while at the same time putting us into Rick’s shoes, trying to make sense of what happened. The show quickly became the biggest hit on TV and has shown no sign of slowing down – indeed, it’s only gotten better as it’s gone along.
While the coma was a very effective way to kick off the series,... Read More
Just when it looked like The Walking Dead was about to do something unconventional and interesting – namely, have its protagonist go crazy and force the ensemble around him to deal with it – the show blinked. Rather than show Rick as an increasingly hostile, uncompromising, paranoid megalomaniac deciding to get the girl the same way he’s learned to get everything in the zombie apocalypse (by taking it), instead his group rallied around him and the people of Alexandria decided they didn’t really have a problem with his erratic behavior.
With just a little sweet talk – “I was thinking, How many of you do I have to kill to save your life? But I’m not going to do that. You’re going to change.” – Rick is back in... Read More
This week continued to explore the interesting notion that Rick, Daryl, Carol and the rest are too damaged by what they’ve been through in the post-zombie hellscape to ever assimilate into a “normal” society again; last week Carol graphically threatened a child who caught her stealing back some of the group’s firearms, and this week Rick seemed to be considering killing a dude so he could steal his wife even before the guy was suspected of being an abuser.
But is Alexandria a society this group would even want to really assimilate with? They are not exactly bursting at the seams with valor, as we see them leaving each other to the wolves (the wolves in this case being zombies) throughout this episode. “I’m not combat ready,” Eugene insisted; “I’m... Read More
I can’t remember exactly when I stopped watching The Walking Dead – sometime in the middle of the second season, I think. It was during The Farm Period, when Rick and Lori and Shane and the rest found an idyllic farm, seemingly untouched by zombies, and set about persuading the owner Herschel to let them stay. They discussed it. And discussed it. And discussed it. Somewhere around the fourth or fifth episode of discussion, with just a dusting of zombie-killing for flavor, I started to realize I was looking at my phone more than I was watching this boring show and decided to bail.
I stuck my head in again for parts of season 3 – The Woodbury Period, where Rick’s group found an idyllic town, seemingly untouched by... Read More
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