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 once was lost, but now I’m found.
I was just as excited about The Walking Dead as everyone else when the show premiered in 2010, and played my part in making it the biggest hit in the history of basic cable. But I must confess that somewhere between Herschel’s farm and the Governor, I got bored. Bored with the thinly drawn characters, bored with the endless debates about whether to stay or go, to kill or spare. It seemed this show couldn’t have someone go to the bathroom without a 7-minute scene of grim deliberation. I quit watching, and I totally missed the prison season and the Terminus season. When I stuck my head back in midway through season 5, I was delighted to see that all the... 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
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
“When society ends,” pimply-faced high school student Tobias, who seems to be the only person who fully grasps what’s happening, tells his guidance counselor Madison just before she saves him from their shambling, undead principal, “it ends fast.”
This second episode may be disappointing the more bloodthirsty segment of Fear the Walking Dead’s audience, who are eager to get to the free-for-all zombie killing sprees of its parent show, but I found it fascinating in the ways it imagines the beginning of the end in Los Angeles.
In a lot of ways, society is still holding together, as police are still out on the street trying to control the chaos – and in a very clever inversion, incur the wrath of street protesters who don’t understand the nature... 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
Though it’s been foreshadowed ever since Alexandria came in to the picture, it was still a little shocking when Rick finally snapped this week, attacking Pete the surgeon in an effort to have Pete’s wife/punching bag Jessie for himself and ending the episode bloody and ranting about how he and only he knew how to survive. Tellingly, no one had his back, unless you count Michonne, who ended his tirade by bashing him on the head from behind.
After spending season after season lurching from one Big Bad villain to the next, the idea that Rick himself has broken bad and will have to either be brought back to sanity or taken down – by Michonne or someone else – is the most interesting story turn this show has... 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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