Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walking Dead - Us Recap

This week we got a healthy dose of sibling-like rivalries, bits of dark humor, and a possible light at the end of the tunnel.  Oh, Walking Dead, I know I need to enjoy it while it lasts.  Because I don’t think you’re going to let us go out of the season that easily. In the previous two episodes, two doe eyed innocents were taken from the show. God knows where Beth is, and we all know too well where poor Mika is.  Innocence and optimism in the WD world get you nothing.  So, for any hopeful feelings I had at the end of this episode, I expect that WD will deliver that signature crushing blow in the season finale.

However, for now, I choose to feel optimistic.

The episode opens on Eugene and Tara chatting about what killed the dinosaurs.  Well, it’s actually more Eugene babbling on and Tara half-listening, but her mulleted travel companion is actually making an interesting and insightful point.  He suggests that maybe the dinosaurs went extinct because of the zombie virus.  Tara just sort of shrugs his point off, but I think it serves to foreshadow certain breakdowns in the WD world to come.  More about this a bit later.

That night, Abe and Tara bond over nighttime watch.  I like these two together.  Abe is calm and almost fatherly to Tara, and Tara calls him on all his bullshit.  He admits to her that he has deduced that she’s gay (because of her not so furtive glances at Rosita’s bazoombas), and that her loyalty to Glenn stems from guilt, not love.   

Speaking of Glenn, the next morning the crew is on the road again, when they spot something in the distance.  A sign to Terminus.  “GLENN GO TO TERMINUS MAGGIE SASHA BOB”.  Glenn takes a beat, and then starts sprinting down the tracks, a twitchy smile spreading across his face.

Elsewhere, the Goon Squad wakes up to a walker with a taste for barbed wire.  One of the goons dispatches of the walker, and then immediately starts pissing on the ground.  Way to be classy, dude.  The gang speculates that Daryl has left them, but then observes that his stuff is still there.

Daryl creeps up on a rabbit in the woods. He shoots his bow, but a goon who looks like Evil Shaggy from Scooby Doo creeps up behind him and shoots at the same time.  Evil Shaggy says the rabbit is claimed, and starts to provoke the beast that is Daryl Dixon.  Daryl starts to pull his knife, but Joe intervenes.  He explains the ‘rules’ of the group, which he has instituted in order to “keep things from goin’ Darwin every few hours”.  That’s quite a reference for a redneck wearing an embroidered denim vest.  Joe gently takes the rabbit out of Daryl’s hand and hacks it in two, handing Daryl the ass end. 

If Evil Shaggy had an Evil Scooby, he might be better at hunting like a real man. 
Back on the tracks, Rick, Michonne and Carl make their way to Terminus.  Rick starts talking strategy when he turns to see Michonne and Carl playing a balancing game on the parallel tracks.  He smiles, but asks if they can’t speed it up a bit.  C’mon Rick!  You have to have a bit of levity in this horrid life!  Michonne agrees, and tries to unseat Carl, lamely swiping at him with her arm, and ends up tipping her balance, falling off.  She extends two candy bars to Carl, and they split it.  I love Michonne in family mode.  She and Carl seem to have really bonded, and she’s proven to be a way cooler and more competent mom than Lori ever was.  Lori didn’t play fun games, and she totally didn’t have a katana. 

On another part of the tracks, Glenn and crew press on.  They see a tower, and Abe wants to stop, but Glenn wants to keep going.  He makes a deal with Abe to trade his riot gear for Eugene’s protection so they can keep hiking for a few more hours.  Abe agrees. 

Glenn kicks himself for trading his riot gear when the gang approaches a super scary looking tunnel.  The tunnel of love, this ain’t.  Why would any tunnel even be a tunnel of love?  Can we all agree that tunnels are terrifying even without the possibility of zombies? There’s no end in sight, not even a pinprick of light.  However, this doom tube has another signature walker blood sign from Maggie on it.  And the blood isn’t dry yet.  Abe sums up the situation in a succinct but kind of hilarious manner, “You hear that?  That there is a long, dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses.”  Oh Abe, I love you more and more each episode.  He tells Glenn that because he can’t ensure Eugene’s safety in the tunnel, this is where they have to part ways.

Abe hands over some cans of food and a pretty diesel flashlight that could probably also double as a weapon.  More love for Abe.  He definitely learned his lessons in kindergarten about sharing.  Glenn apologizes for hitting Abe, saying “Sorry I hit you in the face.” To which Abe cheekily responds, “I’m not.  I like to fight.”  Rosita says her goodbyes, and then Eugene says goodbye in his own way.  He stands awkwardly a few feet away from Glenn and Tara and says “You are seriously hot Tara”, she squirms for a moment and says “I like girls”, to which Eugene responds “I’m well aware of that”.  These three newbies are a welcome addition to the show.  They offer a dose of black comedy that’s like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise humorless world.   Abe tells Glenn and Tara to double back if they get in trouble. 

As Glenn and Tara make their way into the tunnel, Glenn offers up a heart to heart, saying that he knows what she’s going through.  Tara eventually confesses that seeing all of her loved ones die wasn’t as bad as seeing what happened to Hershel.  I still don’t think she’s told Glenn what actually happened to Hershel. I don’t blame her.  It’s pretty horrifying.  She blames herself because she was the first to jump on the Governors bandwagon, and she feels responsible for the raid on the prison.  Glenn could be nice to her at this point, forgive her for her foolishness, but we all know what soft-hearted people get in the WD world. 

Back with the Goon Squad, Daryl walks with Joe who appears to be swooping the Dixon brother under his wing.  Ironic, because Daryl’s the one with wings on his vest.  Joe basically asks him to go steady with the Goon Squad, and Daryl is understandably reluctant.  Joe lays out the rules.  “You don’t steal, and you don’t lie.”  Punishment for these indiscretions is disturbingly arbitrary.  “The severity of which depends on the offense and the general attitude of the day.”  Joe takes a badass drag off a cigarette and says “You a cat person Daryl?  Ain’t nothing sadder than an outdoor cat thinks he’s an indoor cat.”

Side note - Joe is clearly an identified ‘redneck’, but he’s also shrewd.  He sees that Daryl is potentially a powerful asset to the Goon Squad, but also that he is likely to become an agreeable and loyal follower.  Daryl’s brief stint as a leader while he was with Beth was eye-opening for him, but having someone to follow is more his speed due to years listening to what older bro Merle had to say.  The parallels between Daryl and Carol as victims pre-apocalypse must be noted here as Carol is capably finding her own way as a leader, whereas Daryl seems to be lapsing into his old patterns as a follower.  It’s going to be interesting to see what happens if the Goon Squad meets up with any of the old crew at Terminus.  

The Goons case an old auto shop, and as he’s the baby of the group, Daryl is the last one in.  The goons quickly go to work claiming their spaces, and Daryl defiantly sets up camp in the middle of the floor.

Back in the tube of doom, Tara and Glenn encounter a cadre of walkers trapped under a pile of rubble from a ceiling cave in.  (Most Interesting Fact from this weeks episode of ‘Talking Dead’:  Those ‘walkers’ are actually contortionists that stayed in those positions for hours while they were filming this scene.  Eep!)  Glenn checks to see if any of the walkers are Maggie.  Nope.  Phew.  He climbs to the top, flashlight ablaze, and sees a sea of walkers stumbling around in the dark.  He shines the light in each of the walker’s faces, ostensibly checking to see if any of them are Maggie, but really just calling all of them over to the fresh meat at the top of the rubble pile. 

(Side note – Ok, I know this is picky, but if walkers are attracted to light, what the eff are so many of them doing in a pitch black tunnel?  Can someone explain this please?)

On the road, Abe, Rosita and Eugene find a minivan with gas, and start off on the road.  Rosita pulls out a map, and Eugene grabs it.  They bicker like siblings over the navigation job, and Rosita eventually gives in to Eugene, stuffing the map into his front pocket.

Glenn and Tara use their precious and valuable flashlight to construct a makeshift distraction for the walkers, angling it sharply toward one side of the rubble pile.  The walkers flock like moths to a flame, and Jesus there are a lot of them.  The pair starts down the pile, but Tara slips and somehow manages to get her leg caught under a pile of debris.  Womp womp.

Back in the minivan, Abe is napping, Eugene is navigating, and Rosita is getting pissed.  She’s no blind follower, and snaps at Eugene that they are lost.  “The gas in this tank is more than your ego!”  True that, Rosita.  Eugene tells her to stop, and the two of them argue for a bit before she realizes that he’s led them to the train tracks to await Glenn and Tara’s arrival at the end of the tunnel.  He says, “After I save the world, I still have to live with myself.  I’m not leaving them behind.”  And that’s how Eugene, as weird, pompous and be-mulleted as he is, won his way into my heart. 

Abe wakes up and twists towards Rosita, demanding answers as to why they are stopped.  She makes a pretty exact approximation of the ‘shocked’ emoji face, and proceeds to rip into Abe.  As they fight, Eugene spots something in the distance.  He screams “GUYS!” and all three heads turn in the direction of the tracks. 

Back in Goon Land, Evil Shaggy snaps at Daryl, accusing him of stealing his half of the rabbit.  Now, we know that Daryl Dixon might be a lot of things, but he’s certainly no thief.  Joe grabs Daryl’s bag, and asks Daryl if he took it.  Daryl says no.  Joe then turns to Evil Shaggy, and says “You didn’t plant it on his like some pussy punk ass cheatin’ coward cop, did you?”  Evil Shaggy says no, and Joe promptly punches him in the face.  He saw Shags plant the bunny head.  He throws him to the rest of the Goon wolves who delight in pummeling his face to the ground.  Daryl looks on reluctantly like “this shit never happened at the prison”.  

In the tunnel, Glenn struggles to free Tara, and can’t.  She gets a relaxed and zen look on her face, making peace with her death, and tells Glenn to go.  He sort of turns to leave, and then instantly turns back.  Tara gets angry, almost like she’s mad that she won’t get the chance to die, and starts yelling at Glenn, attracting the walkers.  Glenn starts shooting, and quickly runs out of ammo.  He goes to grab the second gun, when the cavalry arrives.

Car lights beam on Glenn and Tara’s saviors, casting them in shadow.  In the silhouette more than three bodies are posed in a sexy Charlie’s Angel’s stance, guns ablaze, taking out the walkers. 

When the coast is clear, one of the figures runs over to Glenn. IT’S MAGGIE!  They embrace and kiss.  GLENN AND MAGGIE 4EVAAAA!!  It’s the rare moment of joy on the Walking Dead. 

After the reunion, Maggie and Glenn pile the walker bodies on the side of the tunnel.  Maggie looks a little pekid as they finish the job.  Is she prego?  That would be interesting, and would also give a bit of a timeline as to how long our original gang has been separated.  Maggie walks up to Tara, and Glenn avoids a stressful situation as he introduces her as a sweet girl he met on the road.  Ergo, just after Carol’s secret was revealed, Tara’s is born.  And just like Carol, I don’t think Tara is going to be able to keep her secret for long. 

At the campfire, Sasha is agog that Eugene knows what started it all.  Abe says they should all go to DC, and Tara says she’ll go.  However, Eugene has other plans.  He feels that the “grocery grabber” that they found is not a decent transport vehicle, and I think that maybe he’d secretly like to see Terminus.  Or maybe he’s stalling for some reason? Apparently totally having changed her mind in the past few days, Sasha agrees that she’d also like to see Terminus.  Sasha would make a great politician.  She and Bob say they’re also in for the DC mission.  But only after they reach Terminus.

That night, Maggie and Glenn canoodle and recap their stories.  The picture of Maggie falls out of Glenn’s blanket.  Maggie looks at it for a second and then grabs her lighter.  Aw girl, don’t be so vain.  Oh, wait, she’s just making a promise to Glenn.  “You don’t need a picture of me.  You never will again.”  They burn the picture, stinking up the whole tunnel.  Oh silly Glaggie, enclosed spaces and chemicals don’t mix. And, yes, I believe Glaggie is their official couple name.

The next morning, Daryl wakes up to a floor that looks like a bloody Jackson Pollock painting.  He goes outside and sees Evil Shaggy’s body, arrow embedded in his skull.  Daryl silently grabs a sheet and goes to cover the body, but then thinks better of it.  Beth’s pure spirit is still with him.  Oh Beth, where are you?

Back on the tracks, Joe offers Daryl a hit from a flask.  They approach a sign to Terminus.  Daryl is floored.  Joe lets him know about why they’re headed there - for vengeance against the guy who killed one of their men.  One of the goons named Tony saw the guys face (who we know is Rick), and “that’s enough for a reckoning”. 

In a tantalizingly slow sequence that feels as if it might fade to black at any minute, Glaggie and Co approach Terminus.  They enter through the gates, encountering courtyard after courtyard of pristine, lush gardens.  A sign reads: “Lower your weapons.  You will be met.  You have arrived at Terminus”.  Within the innermost courtyard, they see a large BBQ grill and some outdoor picnic tables.  A longhaired lady comes out and welcomes them.  Introduces herself as Mary.  She says, “Lets get you settled, and we’ll make you a plate.  Welcome to Terminus.” 

Ok.  Wow. 

I want so badly for nothing sinister to be going on at Terminus.  Please?  Please Walking Dead?  Let me have this one moment of levity and happiness for mankind and the world? 


If we look back at Eugene’s dinosaur example at the beginning of the episode, things are about to take a disturbing turn.  Eugene used the dinos as a possible example of how the virus claimed a species in the past, but the dinosaur analogy may hold more weight than that.  As we all know from elementary school, the dinos fell into the categories of either carnivores or vegetarians.  How long till the surviving members of this ‘new world’ yearn for a satisfying slab of meat?  How long until they turn on one another and result to cannibalism for sustenance?  Kill or be killed seems to be the new motto of the show. 

Until the finale I’m going to fool myself into thinking that Terminus is simply a hippie commune and not some sort of human slaughterhouse with really good BBQ sauce…. If Woodbury has taught us anything it's that much more is going on beyond the surface of organized communities in the WD world.  IN OUR WORLD TOO?!  Omg WD, don’t get me started.  Mankind is good, right? RIGHT?!?!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Walking Dead - The Grove Recap

Truth be told, the first 2/3 of ‘The Grove’ was kind of boring.  Then – OMG.  The twist in the episode had me screaming, “You Can’t Do That On Television!!” at my screen for the first time in over two decades.  Only this time, the culprit wasn’t innocent green slime.  And (thankfully) I wasn’t wearing a purple scrunchie.

The episode starts with a cold open of a brass teakettle humming away on a gas stove.  Is it a flashback?  Before the virus?  Nope.  The camera pans to the window where a figure appears to be dancing around with a walker.  The kettle starts to whistle, the piercing sound underscoring the gravity of the situation outside the window. 

Cut to the train tracks at night.  Lizzie and Carol stand watch while Tyreese and Mika sleep.  Lizzie and Carol have a chat about Terminus, and how Lizzie saved Tyreese back at the prison. Lizzie eventually asks Carol if she had kids.  Carol wistfully remembers, saying she did have one daughter who “didn’t have a mean bone in her body”.  She then makes Lizzie go to sleep, and Lizzie obliges her by curling up next to Mika on the tracks. 

In the morning, Carol applies some sap to Tyreese’s wound, treating viewers to a survival tip nugget, saying that the sap will help with the infection.  Good to know, Carol!  Thanks!  The two chat about how far away from Terminus they are, but the conversation quickly turns to Lizzie.  Oh Lizzie.  She thinks walkers are “just different”, but Carol thinks Mika is worse because she “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”  Carol appears to be adopting Mika as a new Sophia in her head, but she won’t let her be compromised by this new world like Sophia was.  She can change, just like Carol did. 

The group chats about Huck Finn as they walk down the tracks.  Mika and Lizzie debate over who’s more like Huck Finn, and Mika eventually decides that Lizzie is more like Huck Finn, because she’s not grossed out by a dead rabbit.  Carol and Tyreese ignore this weird little nugget of info, and Tyreese turns to Carol saying, “Forgot you used to read to em”.  Apparently Tyreese never got wind of Carol’s Weaponry 101 back at Prison U.  There are a lot of things Tyreese doesn’t know about Carol.

They stop to look for water.  Lizzie and Tyreese take watch, and spy a walker stumbling down the tracks.  Tyreese goes after it with his hammer.  (Side note - Now, frankly, I do not enjoy Tyreese’s choice of weapon.  I much prefer Michonne’s katana, Daryl’s crossbow, or even Carol’s knife/brass knuckle thing.  A hammer is too messy and leaves too much room for error.  Also, it’s not super useful for other survival activities.  I vote knife all the way.)

The walker gets stuck in the tracks, and Tyreese goes in for the kill.  Lizzie runs up screaming.  She says, “sometimes we have to kill them, but sometimes we don’t!”.  Personally, I think you always need to kill them.  Always.  Get rid of them all, like ants in a kitchen.  Only the walkers are bigger.  And they want to kill you. 

While Lizzie is begging for walker mercy, Carol has a heart to heart with Mika in the woods.  She tells her, “You can toughen up….sooner or later you’re going to have to, or you’ll die.  Otherwise, things wont work out.”  As Carol gives this advice, the two see a small house in a clearing.  Mika grins and points out that her mom used to have the exact opposite philosophy as Carol, saying “my mom always said things always work out the way they’re supposed to.”  Sorry to point this out, kid, but your mom is clearly not here right now, and Carol is.  Looks like Carol’s worldview is going to get you further, but whatever makes you happy I guess. 

The group approaches the house, and Carol and Tyreese go in, leaving the girls outside with Judith.  As the girls sit outside waiting, Mika tries to talk some sense into her sister, telling her that the walkers aren’t people. They’re dead.  Lizzie’s all like - lalala I can’t hear you - when a walker busts out of the side of the house, and tumbles over the porch railing.  It crawls directly for Lizzie and Judith.  Lizzie just stares like a psycho, basically offering up Judith as a snack, when Mika finally gets up the nerve to start shooting.  It takes three rounds, but she’s ultimately successful.

Carol and Tyreese burst out of the house, drawn by the noise.  Carol breathlessly approaches Mika, hugging her and saying, “You did it.  You saved them.”  However, Lizzie is hyperventilating and sobbing.  Carol is irritated and snaps at her, “Why are you crying?!”  Lizzie stumbles over to a bench and ugly cries for a few moments before Mika calmly approaches her.  Like she did when their father died, she instructs her to “just count the flowers like you’re supposed to”. 

Carol and Lizzie shell pecans.  Carol tries to talk some sense into her, and Lizzie says she’s trying to understand. Mika finds a Raggedy Ann-like doll, and adorably names her ‘Grizelda Gunderson’.  Tyreese says he’s not used to being in a living room, and Mika encourages him to relax.  She’s kind of like Beth, hoping that things can just magically go back to the way they were, so no one has to change, and everyone can be happy.  After a bit of silence, Mika’s the first one to suggest that they should live there. 

The next day, Carol pours water into a kettle.  All I can think is what an amazing luxury that must be.  Hot water.  Using a kitchen appliance.  This is why gas stoves are the best.  You can count on them even if the world ends.  Note to self – get a gas stove ASAP.  Carol peeks out the window and sees what we saw at the beginning of the episode. A person dancing around with a walker.  Yet, by now we all know it’s that damn fool Lizzie.  Carol approaches, screaming, “You get away from it!”  Despite Lizzie’s protests, Carol tackles the walker to the ground and knifes it in the head. 

Lizzie freaks.  “YOU KILLED HER!!! YOU KILLED HER!!!”  She literally throws a tantrum, screaming claims that the walker was her friend.  Wow. Come to think of it, Lizzie probably didn’t have many friends before the apocalypse, so I guess I’ll give her a pass on this one.  And poor Carol’s at a loss, so she kind of gives Lizzie a pass too.  Big mistake. 

Carol and Mika go out hunting and see the fire is still burning.  (Side note – this totally has to be the fire that Daryl and Beth set in the moonshine shack.)  Mika notes that the smoke is black.  “If the smoke was white it wouldn’t be burning anymore.  I learned it in science class.” Score one for Mika providing a helpful survival tip.  Carol tries to toughen Mika up, giving her another pep talk.  They see a deer, munching away on some delicious grass.  Carol prompts Mika to shoot, and Mika can’t do it.  The deer ambles away.   

A bit later in the day, Tyreese and Carol pump water, and Tyreese says they can live there.  Wait a minute Tyreese, did you not just see what happened with Lizzie outside?  She’s pretty unstable at this point.  They have very little control over her, and clearly don’t have the resources to keep an eye on her.  I guess Tyreese chooses to ignore the crazy, tricking himself into thinking that a rest is the best thing, saying, “We can stay.  We can live here.” 

Haven’t these two ever heard the expression; “It takes a village”?  Tyreese and Carol have three children in their charge, and Terminus is sort of a village.  Go to the village.  It takes a village, people.  It takes a village.

Mika looks for Lizzie who has hopped herself right over to the tracks where she’s dangling a mouse in front of the fallen walker, outing her once and for all as the person who was feeding the mice to the walkers at the prison.  Mika finds her and tells her that the walkers are bad.  Lizzie dreamily extends her hand to the walker and responds with some psychopath babble, “I can hear them. They just want me to change.  To be like them…maybe I should change.  I can make you all understand...”  Just then – charred walkers emerge from the woods. 

The girls run back toward the house, and the group of charred walkers follows.  Carol, Tyreese and Mika start shooting as a group, and Lizzie reluctantly joins in.  After they finish shooting, Carol appears to feel victorious, thinking that Lizzie had a breakthrough by shooting the walkers.  She hugs Lizzie, saying, “You did it.” 

Later that night, endlessly shelling pecans, Carol talks to Lizzie.  She asks Lizzie, “Do you understand what they are now?”  Lizzie responds very cryptically, saying, “I know.  I know what I have to do now.  I know. ”  Carol WAY misunderstands this, gives a little speech, and then teaches the girls how to make some sort of pecan blobs in the stove. 

On the second day at the grove, Carol and Tyreese go hunting.  She tells Tyreese they can stay.  They’ll go to Terminus someday, but not now.  Tyreese makes a valid point that he’s not ready to be around other people yet.  He goes on to talk about how he misses Karen, how he sees her killer in his dreams.  Carol goes to speak, and for a minute it appears as if she may confess to Tyreese that she killed Karen.  But she doesn’t.  Instead, she gets emotional, and talks about living with “what we have to do”.  Tyreese hugs her, saying “don’t be ashamed of who you are.”  Oh Tyreese, if you only knew who Carol really was.

Carol and Tyreese start to walk back, and Carol tells a beer nuts/deer nuts joke that her good ole abusive husband Ed used to tell.  It’s not very funny, but the banter between the two is sweet and has an air of normalcy to it.  That normalcy is quickly shattered as they look up and see Lizzie with blood soaked hands.  She’s murdered her sister.  Holy shit.


Apparently you can, and they did.  As Carol and Tyreese approach, Lizzie gently smiles with a wild look in her eye that seems to say ‘I WILL CUT A BITCH…AND I TOTALLY JUST DID’.  She cheerily says “don’t worry, she’ll come back!” Uhh, ok Lizzie, yes, you are correct.  She will come back.  But you’re missing a very important point here.  She will not be Mika anymore.  She will want to gnaw your flesh off.  It occurs to me that Lizzie must’ve not done very well in school.

Judith sits on a brightly colored afghan, oblivious to the situation.  As Carol comes closer, Lizzie panics and draws her gun.  She screeches, “We have to wait.  I just want us to wait!” Tyreese seems to have forgotten how to blink, but Carol’s got this.  She calmly asks for the gun, and Lizzie hands it over.  Lizzie mentions that she was just about to ‘change’ Judith too, and Carol reasons with her, saying that Judith can’t even walk yet.  She seems to finally ‘get’ Lizzie’s demented train of thought, just…too late. 

Carol goes on about how the rest of them will have a cheery lunch inside while they wait for Mika to come back.  She’ll tie Mika up with her shoelaces while Tyreese, Lizzie and Judith go inside. Tyreese follows Carol’s lead and scoops up the baby.  He guides Lizzie into the house.  Carol collapses in a sob for a moment, and then grabs her knife, shaking her head with sorrow and hesitation. 

Once Carol comes inside, Tyreese reports to her that he put Lizzie in her room with some food, and made sure she didn’t have any knives, but he did find a shoebox full of mice.  She admitted to being the one giving the mice to the walkers.  She also pulled the mouse apart and nailed it to the board, saying she was just having fun.  Tyreese clearly has the heebie jeebies, and thinks maybe it was Lizzie that killed Karen and David.  Carol is quick to exonerate Lizzie, stating the obvious, that Lizzie would’ve let them turn if she had killed them.

Tyreese wants to help Lizzie.  He says, “Maybe we can try and help her, talk her back somehow”.  Carol knows that’s impossible.  It was something in her that was there before.  She states the obvious, but painful reality, saying that Lizzie “can’t be around other people.”

Lizzie and Carol head out into the woods to pick wildflowers for Mika.  Lizzie asks if Carol is mad.  Then she apologizes…but she’s basically just apologizing because Carol is mad, not because she’s sorry for what she did.  Textbook sociopath.  Lizzie sobs, “Please don’t be mad at me, I’m sorry.”  Carol tells her to look at the flowers, not quite getting that the thing is that Lizzie is supposed to COUNT the flowers, not just look at them, but no matter.  Carol pulls out her pistol and shoots.  In the echo of the gun blast, a long shot of the two in the grove is seen from Tyreese’s perspective.  Carol has tears streaming down her face as she makes her way back and sees a deer.  She doesn’t shoot it. 

They dig graves for the two small bodies. 

Later that night, Carol slides her gun to Tyreese, half hoping he’ll kill her.  She admits to killing Karen and David.  Tyreese doesn’t quite know what to do with that information, and makes his 100th ‘pained face’ of the episode.  Tyreese instantly grasps the gun while he organizes his thoughts.  He asks if it was quick.  Carol says yes.  He lets the gun go, and says, “I forgive you.  I’m never gonna forget.”  Carol meakly thanks him.  Tyreese says they can’t stay, and Carol agrees. 

They depart the next morning, bypassing the walker on the tracks.  On the way to Terminus.

This episode was intense, and I’m still a bit in shock over the decision to have the story play out this way.  Yet, it helped to drive home the theme of change.  You must change one way or another in this new world.  Either change who you are, or die.  Carol changed.  As I’ve noted before, Carol is a survivor and despite the terrible decision she had to make in this episode, in my opinion she is one of the toughest, most enduring, and most interesting characters on the show.  Here’s hoping she sticks around for awhile longer.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Walking Dead - Alone Recap

I skipped out on last week mainly because it was pretty much a snoozefest of a walkabout, but also because I have been sucked into the binge vortex that is House of Cards. 

However, I think that this week set up the last three episodes of the season quite nicely.  What we know now - Almost all of the old gang is headed to Terminus.  A reunion is probable before the end of the season.  Except for Beth and Daryl.  Why didn’t they ever find those tracks?  Did Beth’s optimism get in the way of Daryl’s common sense?  Can Daryl please kill all of those ‘bad guys’? 

The episode opens on a pre-prison Bob.  For a good minute I was all like “Who the eff is this rando?” before I realized it was our friend Bob Stookey glugging electric green cold medicine.  Maybe the whole walker apocalypse is just Bob’s bad trip on some expired cough meds?  Probably not.  But I’m sure he wishes it were. 

Bob aimlessly stumbles around for a bit in a haze.  Eventually he encounters Daryl and Glenn.  Daryl asks Bob the magic three questions.  We find out that Bob killed only one person.  A woman, and it was only because she asked him to.  Daryl and Glenn find Bob’s answers satisfactory and ask him to come along.  Bob hops in the truck, not really caring where he’s going, just relieved to have company. 

Back in the present a dense fog has descended on Sasha, Maggie and Bob.  Walker snarls can be heard surrounding them.  The three take on a small group of walkers, and Bob gets bit, but only on the bandage.  To which I ask – if a bandage prevents walkers from biting, why isn’t everyone covered in bandages all the time?  No matter.  Sasha hugs Bob and they have a little moment. 

In another part of town, Beth and Daryl’s not so excellent adventure continues.  Beth awkwardly aims Daryl’s crossbow and flippantly tells him, “pretty soon I won’t need you at all”.  Daryl looks on while Beth proceeds to make a mess of things, thereby proving that she would be totally screwed if it weren’t for Daryl.  She tries to creep up on a walker, but because she’s actually a terrible tracker her foot gets snared in some sort of trap.  Daryl comes to her rescue, nonchalantly slapping the walker to the ground. 

The duo continues on their way, coming up on a graveyard.  Beth whines some more about her foot, and Daryl offers to give her a piggyback.  Beth says, “are you serious?”  To which Daryl responds, “Yeah, it’s a serious piggy back.” Daryl, you comedian.  I just love you so.  Mid-piggyback, they see a gravestone that says ‘Beloved Father’ and they stop.  Daryl places flowers on the grave, and Beth reaches for Daryl’s hand.  It’s unclear what role Daryl is playing in Beth’s life at this point.  Father, brother, friend, boyfriend?  A combination of all of them?  One things for sure – I know I definitely don’t want to see them make out.

Back in the woods, Bob and the ladies see a sign for Terminus.  Maggie wants to go, because she thinks Glenn will follow the map.  Bob agrees.  (A part of me keeps wondering why one of the characters doesn’t whip out their cell phone to snap a sweet pic of the map for future reference, but then I remember, oops, no cell phones.  I’d totally be doomed in WD-land.)  Somewhat refreshingly, Sasha is the first one to voice some cynicism about Terminus, saying, “If it sounds too good to be true….” Regardless, Maggie still wants to go, and Bob doesn’t want to split up so they continue down the tracks.

Later on that evening, Bob and Sasha have a secret chat.  Sasha thinks that they need to find a place to stay.  She says that Glenn is probably dead, they’ll all be dead someday.  They just need to survive.  Sasha tries to convince Bob to get Maggie to agree to her plan.

Maggie has other plans because the next morning, Bob is crouched on the ground.  In the dirt is a block letter note from Maggie.  “DON’T RISK YOUR LIVES FOR ME.  GOOD LUCK.”  Bob tells Sasha that they can still catch up to Maggie if they leave right then. 

Daryl and Beth walk into a mortuary.  The interior looks pretty untouched, and super clean.  Definitely cleaner than my house.  Beth comments on the cleanliness, and Daryl observes that someone’s been tending to it.  If that’s not a warning sign, I don’t know what is. 

They wander into the mortuary kitchen, and discover the holy grail of food.  Canned goods and diet cola galore.  There’s even an entire shelf of baby food.  Once again, Daryl observes that there’s not a speck of dust on the food.  

Daryl says that they should take some and leave the rest. Beth smiles at him with her big bright naïve eyes and says that Daryl is a good person.  He shakes off the comment and calls the jar of pig’s feet.  I don’t think Beth was planning on claiming those, but whatevs Daryl.  You should get whatever you want because you’re awesome.

Later on that night, Beth goes generally useless things like playing the piano and singing while Daryl secures the house, stringing a sophisticated zombie security system of cans and twine around the entry ways, and boarding up the windows.  He comes inside and calls the coffin as a bed, because he’s a badass, and face it, now that Daryl mentioned it, that coffin does look pretty comfy.  He asks Beth to keep playing, and all snide comments aside about Beth’s uselessness; it’s a pretty sweet scene.

On the tracks, Maggie comes up along another sign for Terminus.  She sees a walker stumble towards her.  She quickly disposes of it, but then slashes into it’s stomach and digs her hand into the bloody mess with gusto. 

Bob and Sasha walk down the tracks.  Sasha notes, “You have been grinning since the prison.  Do you even know why you’re smiling?” He responds that he does.  He’s not alone.  Following the tragedies with both of his previous groups, he ended up alone, and he broke the streak.  Just then, the duo spots Maggies sign.  “Glenn Go To Terminus.  Maggie” is written in walker blood.  Maggie is the queen of DIY writing implements this episode.  If there was a Pinterest for how to make signs in the zombie apocalypse, I would totally follow Maggie Green. 

Beth and Daryl continue to play house.  He carries her into the kitchen, bride style, which is weird.  They start to sit down to a pretty gross looking peanut butter and pig’s feet feast, but Daryl hears a noise and stealthily creeps to the front door, crossbow ready.  It’s a mangy one-eyed dog.  The dog runs off.

After they eat dinner, Beth says that she is writing a thank you note for the food.  Unlike her sister, Beth doesn’t have to be savvy with her writing utensils because she’s found a pencil!  Daryl mentions that he wants to stay, and that if the people come back they will “make it work”.  Beth grins and says “so you do think there are good people around.  What changed your mind?”  Daryl sheepishly shakes his head and mumbles, “you know.”  They share a look, and Beth realizes that she has had an effect on Daryl, and that they care for one another in a deep and complicated way. 

Side note -  I understand that they’re probably starving, and exhausted but I think at this point Daryl has been swayed by Beth’s eternal naiveté and optimism.  The previous Daryl wouldn’t have stayed in that house for as long as they did.  There were warning signs all over the place.  He is attracted to Beth’s sunny outlook on life and this is cute and sweet and all, but Daryl truly knows how the world works.  Beth even mentioned that he was made for “this world” in the previous episode.  Since Beth helped him let go of his demons by burning them to the ground, he is hoping for a life he never had.  And, sadly he won’t ever have it.

Beth and Daryl’s weird but sweet moment is broken by another commotion on the porch.  Daryl gets up without his usual caution and goes to the door with the jar of pig’s feet, saying he’s going to give the dog just one more chance.  He opens the door with no cautionary measures (an act not befitting Daryl Dixon), and a horde of WALKERS stream through the door.  Daryl screams to Beth, and she tosses him his crossbow like some sort of pixie sidekick.  He yells at her to “grab your shit and get out of here!”  Daryl handily takes on all of the walkers, and then races back outside just in time to glimpse Beth’s pack strewn on the ground, and a car racing down the driveway. 

In a heartbreaking moment, Daryl sprints down the road, crying out Beth’s name over and over again. 

Daryl jogs down the road, out of breath but determined.  Eventually he slows to a walk, and comes up upon the train tracks.  He collapses in the middle of the street, at a literal crossroads.

Bob and Sasha continue and approach a town.  She points at a tall brick building, and says that they can set up shop there.  There’s a bit of back and forth as Bob says hes’ not stopping, and Sasha says that they are.  As they debate, Bob pulls out what he thinks is going to be his ace in the hole, and kisses Sasha.  Bob doesn’t look like the best kisser, because Sasha just stands, unmoving, until he backs away.  When did a kiss ever win an argument Bob?  Definitely not this time, because Bob heads down the tracks, and Sasha stands alone. 

Sasha cases the brick building.  You think Bob could’ve at least stayed to help her secure it, but no.  It’s a big building with a large loft space on top.  She stands alone at the top, and removes her gear.  Come to think of it, this is probably the first time she’s been alone since the end of the world.  She goes to use the compass at the window, and sees Maggie lying on the ground between two walkers.  Why Maggie is playing kindergarten nap time with two dead walkers is beyond me, but whatever. 

Sasha leans out the window, and the pane tumbles out, crashing to the ground and attracting more walkers.  She races down with her pointy stick, and she and Maggie take on a small herd.  Maggie wins points for using a No Parking sign as the best weapon of the episode, and continues to solidify her status as the best damn DIY-er on the Walking Dead.

The two women chat back to back, still casing their surroundings.  Maggie asks Sasha for help finding Glenn and getting to Terminus, and Sasha says yes.  A bit later, they’re walking down the tracks and they find Bob.  Sasha hugs him.  Yay! 

Back at the crossroads, Daryl encounters some men with guns and bows.  Bad men.  The goons that Rick encountered a few episodes ago. NOOOOO!  The king of the goons approaches Daryl and comments on his bow.  The two of them have a faceoff, and the Goon King appears to believe that Daryl is one of their own, and introduces himself.  Joe.  Crap.  Daryl’s stuck with these awful men now.  What will he do?  I secretly hope he kills all of them in their sleep. 

The very last scene of the episode delivers an emotional punch.  Glenn finds a sign to Terminus.  YES.

Some final thoughts –

Is Bob basically alluding to the fact that Terminus is doomed for the entire episode?  He continually mentions that all groups fall apart for one reason or another.  This will be his fourth.  Why will this one be any different?  Will he get out alive?

Where is Beth?  I highly doubt that ‘good’ people kidnapped her.  I think her worldview is about to get drastically reframed.