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AMC’s The Walking Dead: Start to Finish

AMC’s The Walking Dead: Start to Finish

 No Way Out

By Nicole Robinson

Walkers take Alexandria

Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead saw the wall of Alexandria come tumbling down when the tower fell and “Start to Finish” picked right where it left off after a foreshadowing opening scene of ants devouring a cookie in Sam’s room.  A flood of walkers came pouring into the streets of the community where the group calls home and Rick has fallen to the ground.

Rick being Rick, shots at the incoming herd in a fury of wasted bullets as he screams for everyone to get into their houses and keep quiet. Deanna is injured after she falls on a blade and is bleeding from her side and leg.

The action came fast and furious after that as the survivors all separated into different hiding spots — Carol and Morgan in one house, Rick, Carl, Michonne, an injured Deanna, Jessie, and the kids in another. Maggie is trapped up on a tower, while Eugene, Rosita, and Tara are in a garage. Denise is stuck with the Wolf that Morgan has locked up.

Each group takes stock of their situations, none of which seem to be very good considering the streets are quickly filling up with zombies.  Deanna discovers that, in addition to her other rather painful and threatening wounds, she had been bitten in the side during her fall. In what are probably the most appropriate words of the entire episode, she says “Well Sh**”.

Carol appears to have a concussion as the result of a fall and tricks Morgan into thinking she is resting so she can escape and kill the wolf he has locked up. The two fight after a stand-off but both are knocked out just as Tara, Eugene, and Rosita walk in and the Wolf takes Denise hostage with a knife to her throat. He demands their weapons and Tara and Rosita kick over their guns while Eugene surrenders his machete. This is a seemingly odd move considering they had two guns and outnumbered him but for entertainment purposes we can let it slide. He escapes with Denise as hostage leaving us wondering if one or both of them will survive the mega herd that is flooding into Alexandria.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, teen angst posterchild Ron locks Carl in a garage in an attempt to kill the son of the man who killed his father. Walkers break up the fight and get into the house.  Carl takes Ron's gun and gets in the best line of the night in response to Ron's attack, "Your Dad was an A**hole". Deanna takes on the herd until her six bullets are gone in a final stand of strength that results in being eaten off camera.

The group decides to shroud themselves in bedsheets covered in walker guts to make an escape by walking right through the crowd. Sam decides that walking through a massive herd of flesh eating zombies is the perfect to get his mom’s attention and says “Mommy” right before the credits role and we are left to process until the show returns on Valentine’s Day next year.

 

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Meeting Negan's henchman

During the first commercial break of Into the Badlands a 2 minute sneak-peak showed Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl on their way home in a truck when they are stopped by a group of bikers with big guns. A shiver of glee goes down every comic reader’s spine as the speaker for this group tells them ALL of their property belongs to… Negan. That’s right. The Saviors have arrived and Lucille is coming.

Negan and the Saviors, first appear in issue 100 of the comic book counter part of the series and knocks at the gates of Alexandria demanding half of everything in exchange for not killing everyone. When Rick turns him down he uses a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire named Lucille to beat to death fan favorite Glenn as Rick, Maggie, and the rest of the survivors watch helplessly as Negan taunts them, saying things like “He is taking it like a champ”.

The Saviors are a mix between a biker gang and a psycho cult and Negan is the most ruthless one of them all, using fear to exploit supplies and loyalty out of the members as their leader. He does the same to the Alexandria and Rick as well as the surrounding communities that we can look forward to coming soon as well. The Hilltop also appears around this time in the comics and that brings about the arrival of resourceful badass Paul Monroe aka Jesus. Tom Payne was announced to be playing Jesus back in September bringing the assurance we will be seeing him at some point during the second half.

Not long ago it was announced that Jeffery Dean Morgan has been casted to play Negan and will appear during the second half when it returns in February. For those of us that read the comic, it will be a long winter break waiting to find out how this is going to play out on the small screen. Looks like there is going to be a lot of itch a**es until The Walking Dead returns.

In case you missed the sneak peek, watch it here: 

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S06E04, Here’s Not Here

RECAP: TWD, S06E04, Here’s Not Here

HERE'S NOT HERE: MORGAN'S BACKSTORY

By Nicole Robinson

Morgan disposes of walkers

The Walking Dead slowed things down this week with the 90- minute fourth installment of the AMC zombie drama’s sixth season. Here’s Not Here changed the pace after the last three back to back intense blood bath episodes, focusing on the backstory of how Jedi-Zen master Morgan (Lennie James) and his magic walking made it to Alexandria to reunite with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). We were introduced to Morgan’s Yoda, Eastman played by the always outstanding John Carroll Lynch.

When we were first introduced to Morgan in season one’s pilot episode, he seemed to be a calm man, mourning over his zombie wife and protecting his son Dwayne. When he and Rick parted ways at the end of the episode, non-comic readers probably forgot all about Morgan and his son. As a major player in the comic series, readers knew he would pop back up eventually, which he did in the season three episode Clear.

In Clear we found Morgan had gone a little cray cray after watching his wife turn his son into a Walker snack. Despite being offered the chance to join Rick at the prison, he turned him down because he still needed to Clear. Here’s Not Here picks up right after the encounter. We find Morgan is continuing his self-destructive path, killing every Walker or man that he meets, even if he doesn't have to.

In the midst of this kill-everything-and-everyone adventure walk through the woods, Morgan happens upon an isolated, peaceful cabin with a goat out front and tries to steal it. Instead of getting away with the goat, he is captured by Eastman, who may be the only person in the apocalypse that wants to HELP other people instead of killing them.

Morgan and Eastman

Turns out Eastman is a former forensic psychologist who worked with some of the most deranged prison inmates, perhaps at the former home of Rick and friends. His goal is not to hurt Morgan, who is sitting in a cell in the cabin, but to rehabilitate him. The question remains…. Is Morgan too far gone?

Eventually Eastman opens the cell door—or rather reveals the door had never been locked. Morgan exits and of course attempts to kill Eastman but he just can’t allow that to happen. Eastman uses his Jedi powers to hand Morgan his a**, and the defeated, distraught Morgan slinks back to the cell of his own volition, closing the door that does not lock as if to lock himself in. At this point, Eastman goes about his business, although still trying to engage Morgan in conversation.

Most characters in The Walking Dead have come close to or already have succumbed to the dark side. Eastman’s characters is a refreshing change from the usual kill now question later attitude that comes with the apocalypse. He is the most unambiguously good character we’ve had on the show since Herschel (RIP) and holds on to the mindset most of humanity held dear before the world crashed and burned, All Life Is Precious, even the most evil of people . Life matters to him so much that he has his own Walker graveyard complete with names taken from ID cards etched onto wooden grave markers.

The amazing part about this respect for life that Eastman holds is that he not without his fair share of suffering. Over dinner he tells Morgan his own story about the man who killed his family before Walkers had eaten most of mankind. After ruining the man’s chance at parole, Eastman’s wife and children were violently murdered by him. The man broke out of prison just to kill the Eastman family and surrendered to the cops covered in their blood. Eastman built the cell for the man, taking him from his prison highway flower planting job and throwing him in to let him starve to death over 47 days, after which he swore to never take another life.

We Cannot Be Comfortable With Killing. They all heal, some more, some less.

After a bit of violence and lot of prodding from Eastman, Morgan eventually settles into a master/apprentice relationship with his new buddy, practicing Aikido, becoming a vegetarian and generally re-learning how to be a merciful person while tending to Tabitha, the goat. Eastman’s experience with violent criminals turns out to be a very handy skill during the process of bringing Morgan back from insanity, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is intelligent, kind, observant, and most importantly, patient. And while he seems to be a generally good-natured guy, there is a sense that the apocalypse is getting to him. He needs Morgan just as much as Morgan needs him. He needs a companion, and he needs a project. Morgan provides him with both.

Morgan and Eastman spar one final time

The first mistake Eastman made was trying to be the voice of wisdom on a post-apocalyptic TV show. He dies of course, having been bit during magic walking stick practice. This brings us to the moment when we find out the meaning behind some of the items Morgan had on his makeshift-alter at Father Gabe’s church in season 5. The lucky rabbit’s foot belonged to Eastman, given to him by his dead daughter, which he gives to Morgan as a parting gift. The Goo Goo Clusters were Eastman’s favorite, which he points out to Morgan during the episode.

Here’s Not Here gave a sense of calm that was much needed after the last three intensely violent episodes. Sometimes we need a break from chaos when more is on the way. Don’t forget the Mega Herd is STILL coming. This season has offered us some edge of our seat moments and more are on the way. The calm episodes will be few and far between, enjoy them when you can.

Sadly viewers are going to have to wait a little while longer to find out the fate of Glenn.....possibly longer than they expect. Did anyone else notice that Steven Yuen’s name was removed from the opening credits this week? The herd is still on its way to Alexandria and that means at least a few people are going to die. Morgan has a Wolf locked in cage. The RV won’t start. The death count is already high so far.

 

In lighter news, The Walking Dead and Talking Dead have both been renewed for season 7! AMC announced a new reality series starring Norman Reedus on a motorcycle currently titles, Ride With Norman Reedus. The show will feature Reedus traveling to places around the US, exploring exciting things like tattoo parlors and bike shops. Seems kind of hard to film both. Perhaps this is a clue to the demise of Daryl Dixon at some point this season? Stay Tuned.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
RECAP: TWD, S06E03, Thank You

RECAP: TWD, S06E03, Thank You

By Nicole Robinson

Last night’s Thank You, episode 3 in the sixth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, had viewers screaming at the small screen and jaws dropped as they watched one the longest surviving members of Rick’s group possibly die in front of their very eyes. They warned us! No one is safe!

****SPOILER ALERT! If you have not watched the episode yet, why are you reading this?!****

Last night’s episode, Thank You, left most viewers either horrified or confused by the end, curious about the fate of our favorite pizza delivery guy. Most of us are sitting here wondering “Did he really just DIE?!”. It is possible that the blood and intestines we saw the walkers snacking on was not Glenn. It could have been Nicholas who knocked Glenn into the heard after shooting himself in the temple on top of the dumpster they were trapped on. Looks like Nick may have just killed Glenn after all.

Nick is trouble

But first, maybe we should go ahead and recap a little of the events from the rest of the episode so it looks like an honest review before we go through this whole Glenn dead or not dead thing...

This episode takes place during the events of last week’s blood bath. We catch up with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Sasha, Daryl, Abraham, Glenn, Nicholas, and the rest of Alexandianites that are trying to deal with the giant mega herd that is STILL heading right for home. It has become really obvious to all of the viewers at this point that not everyone is going to survive this. Rick even says he knows this, and he seem to be totally cool with it. He pulls Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn (Steven Yuen) aside, and flatly tells them, “Try to get the others back home, but not all of them [meaning the Alexandrians] are gonna make it.” Michonne and Glenn—who know how the zombie apocalypse works—are still kind of horrified to hear Rick say it out loud. But, Rick is still right.

Rick tells Michonne and Glenn to leave them behind

Sadly, it is obvious how bad the Alexandrites are at killing walkers. Even the wounded ones tell the others to go on without them. They already know.

Rick splits off from the group to go get the RV so he can use it to redirect the horde. Glenn and Michonne take the survivors and head towards Alexandria. Sasha, Daryl, and Abraham lead the part of the horde that was not distracted by the horn to the drop point. Rick’s hand is wounded on the way to RV while fighting some walkers. He pushes forward, killing more walkers and making it to the RV only to be attacked by wolves inside.

Attacking Rick Grimes is probably no a smart thing to do. These Wolves find out, dispatched as quickly as they attacked and Rick finds three more wolves sneaking up the side of the RV. The threat is short lived as he shoots them through the wall. Problem solved except now the RV won’t start. Anyone else miss Dale?

Glenn and Michonne’s group of Alexandrites with one bitten and one wounded, get trapped and Glenn’s idea to save the day is set a feed store on fire to distract the herd away. He takes Nicholas (Michael Traynor) with him and the two get cornered by the herd in an alleyway leading to being trapped on the dumpster.

Is Glenn Dead?

Considering that we did not actually see Glenn die and he was not on the “In Memorium” on Talking Dead, one could question if he really did get brutally eaten by the walkers. Yes we saw blood…. A lot of blood.

Glenn meets his demise

We saw walkers eating SOMEONE. It would take a miracle to get out of an insanely large group of walkers like that and if Glenn did survive the buffet, there better be a really good storyline as to how. Nicholas could have fallen on top of Glenn and shielded him from the herd. Maybe Glenn was able to shimmy under the dumpster to hide while they ate poor Nick. Or maybe Nick actually ended up being the one who kills Glenn after all. It appears we will be waiting awhile to find out. Next week’s Morgan centered backstory episode will finally be showing us how the Jedi master zen came to be with his magical stick. If Glenn is dead, chances are Maggie will turn up pregnant in the near future. This also leaves open other story lines from the comics that are highly anticipated to bring about the demise of other character’s in Glenn’s place. Or just good old fashioned great storytelling.

No matter what the case, this season started with an adrenaline rush that has not let up yet. Three back to back intense, gut wrenching episodes into season 6 have shown us that this is shaping up to be the best season yet of the zombie drama. We certainly do have something to fear this season…

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 1 comment
RECAP: TWD, S06E01, First Time Again

RECAP: TWD, S06E01, First Time Again

By Nicole Robinson

TWD herd

The Walking Dead returned to AMC on Sunday with an intense 90 minute premiere entitled “First Time Again” that still has fans talking. In the first 60 seconds of the start of the mega hit zombie drama, we found our fearless leader, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, standing in front of what can only be described as a mega herd trapped in a quarry not far from where our survivors our laying their heads at night. Surrounded by new and old faces, the group watches as one of the 18 wheeler trucks blocking the herd into the quarry falls off the side, leaving a path wide open for the herd to escape.

*WARNING: If you have not seen the Season 6 Premiere of The Walking Dead. STOP reading now. Spoilers ahead.

In an interesting twist on the storytelling, the season premiere used flashbacks in black and white to show us on what our survivors have been up to since we left them back in March after Rick shot Pete. Rick and his group have taken matters into their own hands to protect the Alexandria Safe Zone. With the new blessing of a grieving Deanna, (Tovah Feldshuh) the survivors have been given carte blanche over the future of the town and its inhabitants.

Not all of the residents of Alexandria are quick to allow Rick to start setting up shop as the leader of the Safe Zone. Carter (Ethan Embry), an outspoken resident, clearly does not trust Rick or his plans to lead the mega herd away. Carter quickly learns that screwing with Rick Grimes is a terrible idea after putting a gun in the face of everyone’s favorite mullet. Rick gladly offers him some friendly words of advice and everyone goes back to playing nicely. Carter was sparred... For now.

TWD Embry

The crap your pants moment arrives when Daryl slowly creeps his motorcycle as the massive horde of decaying flesh eaters trial behind him like a redneck pied piper. Even Daryl looks a little scared right then. Over the course of the seasons we have watch as the walkers slowly decay in front of our eyes. This mega horde of walkers puts in front and center just how disgusting they have gotten over 6 seasons and we cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us in the first half. And bravo at the ping pong walkers, bouncing off the steel walls. Seeing those exploding heads gave us all that warm and fuzzy feeling that we missed all summer.

After weeks on the rode out on a supply run, Heath returns quickly finds himself herding the dead with our group of survivors, showing his potential to be a valued member of the group in episodes to come. Teaming up with Glenn and Nicholas, who seems genuinely sorry for trying to kill Glenn last season, Heath takes out a store full of walkers successfully preventing the noise from drawing the mega herd off the chosen path. So far so good.

It wouldn’t be an episode of The Walking Dead if everything went as planned. First, after admitting Rick was right after all and making the mistake of redeeming himself during the apocalypse, Carter gets a kiss on the cheek from a walker. Screaming in terror as his face is being bitten off, he draws the mega herd off the road towards him. Thankfully Rick comes along and sticks a knife into his skull, allowing the group to redirect the herd back on track. Just when they thought the plan had worked, an obnoxiously loud horn starts going off from the direction of Alexandria turning the mega herd back where they came from.

TWD flares

We will have to wait until next week to find out how Alexandria handles itself against the massive walker horde. Most of the people living inside the walls have been there from the start and are not well equipped to defend themselves. Those steel fences are strong but not strong enough to keep a herd of that size from ripping it down.

Next week will also be exploring the even more of the relationship between Morgan and Rick. Morgan is clearly trying to get a read on the new Rick as well as dealing with everything he has been through on his own. He started as a man trying to protect his son Duane and grieving for his wife, then he slipped into madness after Duane’s death at her walker hands. Now, he’s a ninja warrior, with a six-foot long stick, the deadly use of which was taught to him “after”, he says. These are two men who have been profoundly changed since they first met, and need to completely rebuild their relationship. We assume that means Morgan’s going to be a big part of this season, which is great because Lennie James does a wonderful job with the character, and that stick...

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments