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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, S06E02, JSS

RECAP: TWD, S06E02, JSS

Carol is Done Making Casseroles

By Nicole Robinson

The Walking Dead: JSS

Enid creates some carnage of her own
The Walking Dead pulled no punches with Sunday’s shocking and violent second episode JSS. Despite the absence of some of the group’s strongest members, Carol proved to us why is she considered one the most badass characters on this show. We also came face to face with the Wolves and were introduced to Pete’s replacement, Dr. Denise Cloyd, bringing Emmy winning actress Merritt Weaver, to the show.

***As Always Read At Your Own Risk.
Spoilers Ahead***

After last week’s action packed premiere, the expectation of another high adrenaline episode was low. Seemingly confirming a low key delivery this week, JSS started out very low key with a wordless opening showing a flashback of Enid (Katelyn Nacon) on the road with her parents only to be forced to watch as they are eaten by walkers. Enid devours a tortoise directly from the shell in true walker style before we return to a present day Carol (Melissa McBride) putting dinner in the oven and setting the timer to 60 minutes.

Carol warned her neighbor Shelly that smoking would kill her someday and she was right. While watching her smoking a cigarette, a machete wielding "Wolf" comes from out of nowhere and slashes her across the torso, then hacks open her skull. Sorry to say, but it looks like she is never going to get that pasta maker. Carol wastes no time heading to armory after telling Carl to stay in the house and protect his sister, proving that someone can actually make Carl stay in the house.

The "Wolves" are attacking Alexandria, brutally murdering every person that they find. Carol notices quickly there are no guns in their hands. Knives, axes, machetes, and spears is what these Wolves are armed with. She need to be armed, and fast. She lowers her head and kills whoever she can on the way, leaving a body count behind her.

Carol impersonates a Wolf

The absence of Rick, Daryl, and Michonne is felt stronger in this episode because of the carnage taking place inside the walls at the hands of the Wolves. At the end of last week’s episode, along with Sasha, Abraham, and Morgan who was told to go home by Rick. At last glance, a loud horn was blowing drawing the herd back towards ASZ presenting a bit of a problem.

We learned the source of the horn was the Wolves truck driver who took a nose dive onto the horn after being shot by Deanna’s son Spencer, despite being, much like the rest of Alexandria, unprepared to combat the invasion. We also learned that Aaron left his backpack behind last season, including the picture of ASZ, for the Wolves to find, making this pretty much all his fault. For now, let’s hope that stays between him and us.

Morgan dispatches the driver with his stick, leaving Spencer to guard his mom in the truck while the Wolves slaughter everyone else inside. Stepping inside, Morgan is welcomed home by a man with an axe. A disguised Carol in ninja style shooting his would be attacker saves him and Morgan tells Carol she doesn't have to kill people. "You don't like it," he tells her.

Morgan faces off with a Wolf

Meanwhile Carl and Enid, who came to say goodbye, are protecting Judith. Enid’s opening scene for this week’s episode showed us a flashback of her watching her parents get eaten so it probably is no surprise when she oddly says, “They’re just people”, to Carl while they were sitting back to back. JSS turns out to be her motto, meaning Just Survive Somehow. There has been speculation that Enid could be a Wolf spy. Wolf spy or not, she has some serious issues to work out as a result of her time alone on the road.

Next door, Jessie and her youngest son are hiding from the wolves in a closet, using the bolt lock on the inside (could this be the hideout closet for when Pete would get drunk and hurt them?) Gun pointed at the door she worries about her oldest son Ron who is outside as she hears Wolves in the house. Outside Ron is chased by a Wolf that is shot by Carl before being attacked. He turns down Carl’s offer of protection and goes home.

Inside the house Jessie tells her son to lock the door and stay quiet so she can check the house. She finds Ron trying to get in and yells for him to not come in the house, exposing her location in the kitchen. Jessie, perhaps channeling all the retribution she never got to direct at Pete, dispatched her attacker with a handy pair of scissors while Ron looked on.

Jessie makes her first kill

Outside, Carol gets to the armory. The Wolves do not have guns. This is the critical weakness that is becomes their downfall the moment she opened the doors to the weapons. Now that Carol is armed and arming the Alexandrianites, the Wolves do not stand a chance.

As Carol racks up the kills, Morgan Jedi masters his way through the community using his magical stick, knocking out a few Wolves. He's focused on psyching out the leader, convincing him there is a sniper rifle trained on him as they speak. "It's gonna happen any second now, unless you get the hell out of here and you don't ever come back," Morgan says. "You keep choosing this life, you will die." To which the head Wolf replies, "We didn't choose", and the remaining attackers run out the gate. One stops to pick up a gun off the ground on his way out. Bad move, Morgan. You shouldn't have let that go. This gun in the hands of the Wolves is going to have consequences later. Morgan’s final face-off with the Wolf he met last season, was interesting because of its suggestion that there may be something more than mere decency behind Morgan’s mercy. Can Morgan actually kill anyone? Apparently with an apology he can as this Wolf found out.

The Wolves are defeated but it is not without loss. Dr. Denise Cloyd failed to save Holly even with the help of Tara and Eugene, and there were many other members of ASZ that died at the hands of the Wolves as well. As Morgan and Carol walked around the damaged safe zone, they find each other and walk in opposite directions without saying a word.

The timer goes off and Carl pulls dinner out of the oven. Thank goodness it was not burnt. You can’t fight the Mega Herd on an empty stomach.

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