The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 11 “Claimed”


(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

I have to admit, people, when I saw the title for The Walking Dead, Episode 11, “Claimed,” I was like, “Claimed? What the hell does that mean?  It was kind of ominous sounding, like some shit was going to go down, in a big way. Was someone going to get kidnapped, killed…claimed?  I was nervous.

Episode 11, “Claimed,” definitely delivered plenty to thrills, chills, and nailbiting moments…and laughs!  (Thank you, Abraham!)

Abraham…that guy rules. He’s not afraid to mess up some walkers, and he’s not afraid to bring the funny.  And I think we could all use a little of that right about now with this show of ours. We’ve hung in, and shit’s been hard, and then now we’ve got Abraham, flanked on one side by his hot woman-comrade, Rosita

(Ok, yes, Rosita happens to be my new girl crush…what of it?)

On Abraham’s other side stands Eugene, of the epic mullet (“The Eugene”)  and the (supposed) walker cure. (And, yes, in that order of importance: epic mullet first, walker cure secondSee, in my world, an epic mullet is a huge achievement and a gift to humankind…to all beings, really…another post for another time.)

Abraham doesn’t have a mullet, but he does have a handlebar, and he’s not afraid to back that shit up while making it super fun to watch. Episode 11 opens with a great shot of a street sign reading:


Tied to the sign is a colorful blue and red balloon (Spiderman?), a sign of past good times and children’s birthday parties…the balloon floats and bobs in the breeze, as three rapt walkers hiss and paw at it, trying to get it…it’s all red and shiny, and they like that!



As Abraham’s massive vehicle cruises by, the walkers immediately abandon the balloon and begin to lurch down the road after the truck.

Riding in the back of the truck, with Glenn lying unconscious beside her, Tara copies down the name of “Crook Rd.”  into her palm,  in black Sharpie marker, adding it to the list of directions she has already written on the back of her hand.

Tara’s all right…she’s got Glenn’s back by keeping track of where they are until he wakes up and decides what he wants to do. The truck stops, coming up to a line of cars, stopped in the road, and Tara is alarmed to see the trio of balloon walkers coming towards the back of the truck, and her.

As the walkers paw at the back of Abraham’s truck, Tara grabs up her assault rifle and prepares to fire upon them, only to be ordered down by Abraham:  “Do not fire that weapon!”

Abraham then climbs out of the truck, and regards the sad walker trio.  His face softens in a mixture of amusement and mock-pity:


Laughs, “Oh, ho, ho, ho, shit! Look at what we got here!”

And then, wielding a crowbar, Abraham steps to the walker trio and proceeds to go to town on them, slashing the first walker across the head with the curved, pointy end of the crowbar, then stabbing the long end into the second walker’s skull:


When the particularly tore-up female walker approaches Abraham, he laughs at her, “Awww, honey, look at you…you’re a damn mess.”

Who you callin' a mess, asshole?

Who you callin’ a mess?

Tore-Up She-Walker doesn’t quite go down as easily as Abraham had counted on, to his surprise and annoyance.  He tries to spear her in the head, but aims a little too low, merely impaling her onto the truck…

Ha ha, missed my brains...who's the mess now, dick?

Ha ha, missed my brains, missed my brains…who’s the mess now, dick?


In a great TWD moment, he turns to Tara and motions for her assault rife. “Lemme borrow that for a minute, would ya?” Tara tosses it to him. “Thanks.” Abraham takes the butt end of the rifle and smashes it into Tore-Up She Walker’s skull, spewing her brains all over the truck.

Abraham then turns to the first walker, who is starting to move on the ground.  “And I’m not leaving you out,” he says, and the shot is from the ground walker’s perspective as Abraham smashes the butt end into the walker’s skull, rekilling it, before tossing the goopy gun back to Tara.  He then yanks the crowbar from the female walker’s skull, freeing her body from the truck and causing it to slump in a wet, gory heap on the ground.

Abraham looks totally comfortable doing all this, like a man completely in his element.

When Abraham looks up from his ministrations and sees Tara regarding him, he asks her, “What? What?

“I’ve never seen that before,” replies Tara.  Abraham is confused, looks down at the body of the walkers, then back at Tara. He is puzzled, says, “I’ve seen you do the same thing,” meaning, of course, killing the walkers with the butt end of a rifle, or killing them, period.

“You smiled,” says Tara. “You were smiling.”  Abraham takes a moment to register this, then says, Well, I’m the…luckiest guy in the world.”  And after a brief moment, he says, “Now, why don’t you help me with one of these cars? We’ve got some miles to go.”

Back at the Rick, Carl, and Michonne house, Carl and Michonne are pouring bowls of cereal, which they then eat dry with their fingers while joking about milk.

Michonne asks Carl if he ever tried soy milk. Carl says he tried soy milk once, and almost barfed…he then slips and almost says he’d rather drink Judith’s formula than drink soy milk. Carl stops himself, upset, and gets up from the table, leaves the room.

Rick is in the kitchen when Michonne comes in. He thanks her for making Carl laugh. “I’d almost forgotten what that sounded like,” Rick says. “I can’t be his father and his best friend…he needs you.

Rick motions to Michonne, adds, “I know that’s a lot to throw at you, so let me know if you need a break.”

“I’m done taking breaks,” answers Michonne, quickly, and inside, I was like, Yes!

Michonne then asks Rick what the deal is: Is this house home, are they moving on, what?  Rick suggests they just stay at the house while they figure it out.  He is looking pretty messed up still, leaning on his good leg, facing Michonne in the kitchen.

Michonne looks at Rick, then agrees, saying they will need more supplies, and she and Carl will go out for some.

Rick offers to go with them, and Michonne puts the kibosh on that, says he should stay put and rest another day….if only the poor man could!  Not knowing how short his rest is about to be, Rick agrees with a nod.

I love how out on the porch, as they say their goodbyes for now, Rick picks up on Carl’s sadness, and he asks Carl if everything is ok.  Carl tells Rick he is just tired. Rick is a good dad, attentive and in tune with his son’s moods, his cues. He checks in often.  I like that, and many other things, about Rick Grimes, especially in this episode.

After Rick said his goodbyes, went upstairs, and got into bed, I got a bad foreboding feeling about it all…

I actually typed, Why am I so scared for Rick right now?  Surely there couldn’t be any walkers in any of the rooms… I did have a bad feeling about it all, though.  I typed, What is going to happen?

Meanwhile, walking along, Michonne is trying to draw Carl out. She offers a can of crazy cheese that still has the seal on it. (This episode, of course, sent crazy cheese trending worldwide by the time Talking Dead came on.)  When Carl refuses the delicacy, Michonne checks in with Carl, tells him he doesn’t seem fine when he tries to tell her he is.

Carl tells Michonne what he told Rick, that he is just tired.

Then, Michonne does a hilarious imitation of a walker, squirting her mouth full of crazy cheese and letting it gob out of her mouth, while making walker sounds.  This does not elicit any laughter from Carl, which amazed me, because that shit was funny:


When Michonne looks questioningly at Carl, he dryly tells her that he was laughing on the inside.  Michonne looks at him archly, then tells him that she had a three-year-old son, and that he found her to be extremely funny.  This of course shocks Carl into silence, and I thought, Man, she is so brave and beautiful…she actually smiles when she says it, too.

Carl of course is full of questions about her son, and her life, before…they have found a house to check for supplies, and Michonne tells Carl that she will answer one question at a time, one room at a time, and only after they’ve cleared it.

Before the commercial break, a shot or Rick, sleeping in the bed, his hands folded over a book on his chest. We begin to hear the rough sounds of men’s voices echoing up the stairwell…Rick is sleeping so soundly at first, he doesn’t stir, but the voices grow louder, escalate.

Then a crash, followed by a raucous cheer, jolts Rick awake, and he realizes in an instant that he is not alone in the house, and that he is in danger.


On a Talking Dead interview, Andrew Lincoln talked about this scene, and of course I transcribed every word:

“What I loved about this episode is that you see a man that’s very, very scared…It’s kind of my (Rick’s) Mission Impossible, or Escape From Alcatraz…It’s about a man waking up and realizing he’s in extreme danger and very vunerable, and it’s about a man trying to escape from bad people.”

“This is a year and a half into the apocalypse, and we’re beginning to realize that the only people who are scavenging, and left moving, and not in civilization, have to be pretty ruthless, uncompromising human beings…people that would be surviving in this world…murderers, pillagers, vandals, rapists, and he (Rick) realizes instantly that he is in grave danger...There is no safety, out here, any more.”

This scene is so damn scary, I was gulping down chardonnay, and it still wasn’t making it any easier to watch.  What did make it some easier, and completely riveting, was to watch Deputy Rick Grimes once again assess the situation at hand, get himself to a safe place and buy himself some time, and begin the “Mission Impossible” of getting himself out of that house, and intercept Michonne and Carl, before they too walk into certain danger.

In this case, Rick wakes, listens, checks Carol’s watch, and quickly and quietly gets himself under the bed when he hears one of the men coming up the stairs. Rick even has the presence of mind to bring the watch, book and his water bottle under the bed with him (of course, probably to hide the evidence that someone else had been there, but you know, it could be a while, and those things would be good to have if you were going to be there for a long time!)

It is a taut, nervewracking scene when Rick is hiding under the bed, sweating, watching the boots of one of the Downstairs Thug Boys pacing around the bed he is hiding under. We see the tip of the DTB’s rifle, his boots stopping, then pacing around…he checks the closet…under the bed, Rick presses his palm over the ticking watch face in his hand to muffle the sound.

Around the bed, boots pace, pause. Then, the mattress above Rick sinks down almost upon him, pressing him a little further down into the floor, as the DTB climbs into the bed. (Apparently, being a loud douchebag in the zombie apocalypse is hard work, and someone needs a nap.) 

OMG, Rick is probably really missing his nap right about now…

Back at the supplies house, Carl is pressing Michonne, asks her son’s name, pointing out that the room they are in is actually two separate rooms, and they had already cleared the other one. Michonne hesitates, then answers, “Andre.  His name was Andre Anthony.” Her voice is a little tight as she says it, and I realized that it was probably the first time she said her baby’s name aloud in a long time, if maybe ever, since losing him.

Ugh, the mom in me gets so upset with this’s the worst thing imaginable.

Michonne tries to lighten the moment by telling Carl to make sure there isn’t a box of cookies under the whatever, and wanders out of the room.  Carl follows her in the hallway, asks her how long it’s been…Michonne tells him it happened “after everything happened.” Michonne tells Carl that she has never told anyone, until just now.

Carl is so sweet when he replies, “Your secret’s safe with me.”

“It’s not really a secret,” says Michonne.

Carl smiles, says, “It’s still safe with me.”  (Cute! I really love these two as buds.)

Then the sweet scene turned into a pink nightmare…the mom that had to shoot her four kids, then herself, in the heads to escape from the nightmare that the world had become. Let’s just scan through the pictures of that one and move on, shall we?

Michonne sees the scary painting, foreshadowing the horrible scene she is about to witness...

Michonne sees the scary painting, foreshadowing the horrible scene she is about to witness…

She enters Mae Mae's room and once again must bear witness to tragedy...

She enters Mae Mae’s room and once again must bear witness to tragedy…

“Shhhh…Mae Mae is sleeping!”

Two sons, I awful

Two sons, I think, or maybe a son and the dad…so awful.

And finally, the poor mom, who turned the gun on herself last...

And finally, the poor mom, who turned the gun on herself last..

Ugggh. Another artistically amazing scene, complete with haunting music by Bear McCreary, that messed me up for a bit.

I think about those kinds of scenes too much, dwell on them, like, “Maybe they were sleeping when she did it, but how could she shoot all four of them before they woke up? Maybe she drugged them, or poisoned them…ugh, she was probably crying when she did it.” I have an overactive imagination, people, and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t real…I still obsess.

Kendall-Jackson, take me away!

Michonne closes the door of the Pink Room of Horrors behind her and presses her back to it, blocking Carl from seeing this heartbreaking scene.  Once again, Michonne does exactly what needs to be done, as Carl says, “There’s a baby in there…” and quickly, Michonne says, “It’s a dog.”  Carl seems satisfied with this answer.

As they turn to go, Carl shyly ventures to Michonne that maybe Judith and Andre are together, somewhere.  Michonne smiles at this thought, says, “C’mon, it’s time to go.”

Meanwhile, back under the bed, the shit is getting even more fucked up and surreal as one of the other DTB’s strides into the bedroom and announces his rights to the bed that the other dude is napping in.  The current occupant of the bed replies that this bed is “claimed,” solving the mystery of the episode’s title.

A scuffle ensues, ending with one guy choking the other guy on the floor, who stares wide-eyed at Rick as Rick watches him, head cocked to the side, as the guy loses conciousness:


I love this look on his face as he watches the dude fade out

I love this look on his face as he watches the dude fade out.

I am not sure if the dude passes out or dies, but that seems like a bad call, choking your compadre to death, leaving his body on the floor, and taking a nap while he reanimates and chomps you in your sleep. Anyway, it is clear that these guys are total dicks. The other dude, the Mattress Victor, collapses into the bed, sinking the boxspring even deeper into poor Rick’s back. Christ!

Meanwhile, three hours away and counting, as Abraham’s truck hauls ass down the road, Glenn is freaking out.  Tara has just told him that they passed the bus three hours back, and everyone around it was dead.  Glenn is getting farther and farther away from Maggie, and he needs to get back.  He bangs on the back windshield of the truck, yelling for Abraham to stop. When that fails, Glenn takes the butt end of the rifle he is holding and rams it into the windshield…that gets Abraham’s attention.

The truck stops and Glenn gathers his things, begins to walk away from Abraham and Co., down the road.  Tara follows him, tells him she has written the directions on her hand and can get him back to the bus.

Tara is awesome, but I think her motivation more than anything is to try to make things right as much as she can, as she did play an active role in getting them so fucked up as they are now. She is having a hard time forgiving herself.

Abraham tries to impart some of his epic Abrahamisms on Glenn, to get him to abort his mission to find Maggie and help them with theirs. Abraham presents Eugene, the scientist who supposedly knows how the zombie mess all got started, and who is bringing the cure to Washington D.C., or at least his insights, anyway.

Until recently, Eugene and Abraham had been keeping contact with “the muckety-mucks” in Washington, but now, when they try to call the nation’s capitol, nobody is picking up.  Not a great sign.

Glenn is digesting this all, including Eugene’s telling him the walker cause/cure information is “confidential” when Glenn asks about it. It’s like, everything is just getting weirder and weirder all the time, and it’s like Glenn can’t really fight it anymore, so he’s just going with it.  

He tries to be cool, like, “Ok, well good luck with that, gotta go try to get back to my wife,” and Abraham turns on the hard-sell, some shit like, “It’s tough to watch the ones you love kick it,  but you don’t gotta go out like that.  Come save the world and do something with your life.”

And Glenn takes off his packs, turns to face Abraham:


And coldcocks Abraham! I love when Glenn goes off. Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) said on TD that the element of surprise got Glenn one good shot on a man who was much bigger than him.

And coldcocks Abraham! I love when Glenn goes off. Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) said on TD that the element of surprise got Glenn one good shot on a man who was much bigger than him.

Of course, Abraham does not let such acts go unchallenged.  He tackles Glenn, and is clearly winning the fight when Eugene calls to them that they have company:

Ummm, guys? Hello...!

“Ummm, guys? Hello…!”

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

Eugene tries to take matters into his own hands, fumbling with his assault rifle and basically shooting everything up around him except the walkers, including the gas tank of Abraham’s truck. D‘oh!

The gunfire alerts the gang, who abandon the fistfight and begin to join forces, shooting up the walkers together…they all look like badass warriors, except maybe Eugene…his mullet’s still pretty epic, though.


Once all the walkers are dead, Abraham sees their other problem:

“Son of a dick!” (Best line ever!)

Meanwhile, back at the DTB house, Rick has managed to slide quietly out from under the bed and creep into another room, the kid’s room that Carl had checked out in Episode 9, when they first got to the house.  Rick ducks into a small side room when one of the douchier, louder DTB’s comes into the room and stands just on the other side of Rick, bouncing a tennis ball between two windows…again, and again, and again.

Ugh, douchebag.  I mean, why? Why do that?  It’s fucking annoying, and I am not even really in the room.

Or…am I?

While that guy is working on claiming the title of The Douchiest Man Alive, Rick Grimes is claiming the title of The Hottest Man Alive as he waits…and listens…and monitors...and improvises.



Once again, Rick-In-Charge brings it, people.  Undetected by the ball-bouncing DMA, Rick stealths his way to the bathroom, and finds some big ol’ Downstairs Thug Boy sitting on the toilet seat, reading a comic or some shit.

I was thanking Baby Jesus that the toilet guy wasn’t getting down to some serious business in there, with his pants down, or the following scenes would have been super awkward:

Awww, dude...wrong place, wrong time, wrong man to be on the wrong side of...sux 4 u!

Awww, dudewrong place, wrong time, wrong man to be on the wrong side ofsux 4 u!

Here comes the beat down...

Here comes the beat down…


Rick doing what needs to be done.

As Rick grabs the man's gun and prepares to go out the bathroom window, he goes back to crack the door of the bathroom open, to set a

As Rick grabs the man’s gun and prepares to go out the bathroom window, he goes back to crack the door of the bathroom open, to set a “walker time bomb” onto the Downstairs Thug Boys once the dead guy reanimates…tactical genius, Rick Grimes-style!

Rick manages to get out onto the roof, with a shoulder pack and a gun…

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

(Doing his own stunts, Andrew Lincoln lowered himself from the roof in that scene, dropping onto the porch below…later, he said in an interview that the most distracting thing about shooting that scene was Norman Reedus mooning him  from below…those wacky hot guys!)

Rick ends up crouching beside the porch, with that loud douchey guy above him eating the crap outta some can of food. He’s so annoying, he’s even doing that loudly…rattling the damn fork against the sides of the can. (Baby Jesus, please make it stop!)  Rick peers around the corner and sees Carl and Michonne, walking up towards the house.

They are still some way away, so the loud DMA guy doesn’t see them, yet… Rick knows it’s now or never, grips his gun and reaches up, gripping the corner of the house, about to pull himself up and make his move when a scream comes from inside the house…it seems Rick’s “walker time bomb” has reanimated and make its presence known and is going nucking futs in the house…yes!  

Thank you, Baby Jesus!

The DMA guy drops his can and runs into the house, and Rick runs towards Carl and Michonne, tells them to run, which they do, away from the house.

Rick has done it, gotten away from the bad guys against almost impossible odds, and now he, Carl, and Michonne are able to haul ass out of there.

Let’s all give it up for Rick Grimes, ladies and gentlemen!

Meanwhile, hours north on the lonely road, flanked now by a dead truck on one side and dead corn walkers on the other, Abraham has just asked Eugene how the hell did he manage to kill his truck?

Eugene looks away, mumbles something about not quite being familiar with the weaponry…he’s lucky he has Abraham buying his story and serving as a burly-chested, fire-haired bodyguard.

Abraham even takes the barb as Eugene tells him, “Trust me, I’m smarter than you.”

Not when it comes to firing an assault rifle, you’re not, Eugene!


Rosita says, “Fuck this. I’m going with the young, hot people and follows Glenn and Tara.


Hey…wait for us!

I couldn't tell if there was a ghost of a secret smile on Eugene's face as they begin to follow Glenn and the gang...what's that guy up to? (I miss Milton!)

I couldn’t tell if there was a ghost of a secret smile on Eugene’s face as they begin to follow Glenn and the gang…what’s that guy up to? (P.S. I miss Milton!)

As they follow Glenn, Abraham goes along with it,  but does bitch to Tara about how they could be saving the world right now, instead of trying to find some guy’s wife.  She basically calls him out, tells him his bullshit won’t work on her.  Ha! I sense fun interactions ahead with these two.

Rick, Carl and Michonne are walking on the train tracks…they spot the banner for Sanctuary draped on a train car.  The banner boasts its trademark claim: “All who arrive survive.”

Michonne looks questioningly at Rick, who says immediately, “Let’s go.”

Man, it looks like on next week’s previews that Daryl and Beth are encountering some shit on their journey…if I think of it now, they seem to have headed in the opposite direction of the way to Sanctuarygulp!

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:


Wax Tailor,  “Que sera”

Eddie Vedder, “Rise” (for Rick, and all the prison peeps)

Social Distortion, “So Far Away” (for Glenn and Maggie)

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 10, “Inmates”


(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Those of you who actually read my recent pre-season post, “What Happens After”?  may remember my telling you about The Law of Kirkman, which basically states that Kirkman will do as Kirkman pleases, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions.

Nothing personal; it’s just how he do…well, he and Gimple and the rest of the WD gang, anyway.

I have wondered lately about how the whole Kirkman and Gimple relationship works…are they like Batman and Robin, or are they more like The Tick and Arthur? Maybe they really complement each other and are actually more like The Wonder Twins, with special rings and shit…I don’t know, but what I do know that they are pretty much kicking my ass right about now.

Back after mid-season finale, when Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman on that night’s Talking Dead about the possibility of Baby Judith still being alive, I really thought Kirkman was scoffing and laughing at us sentimental fools: “There was a lot of blood in that car seat!”  I thought, “Oh, man, poor Baby Judith’s a goner for sure…” My WD buddy’s friend, Neil (the originator of The Crazy Carol Theory) even read some interview where somebody from the show said that it was “unrealistic” for the story line to keep her alive.

Now I know that what Kirkman and Co. were really doing was bluffing… and playing with our emotions.  Now I know why Chris Hardwick yells, “Kirkman!!”

Yesss, Precious, the Kirkman is tricksy, yes it is….it tricks and teases us, yessss it does, Precious….

(Despite my mock protests, I am loving every minute of Kirkman and Co. slapping us up like the baby bitches that we are.)

In Season 4, Episode 10“Inmates,”  Kirkman and Co. proved once again that they are masters of their domain by throwing down five game-changing plot developments in a single episode…Baby Judith is alive, whabam!   Carol is back, whabam!   Glenn wakes up at the freaking prison, and after indulging himself in a brief tearful moment in his old cell, looking at a polaroid of Maggie, he squares his shoulders, gathers supplies, suits up in riot gear to make his escape through the horde of prison walkers, and finds Tara having an existential crisis moment in the fenced garden area..whabam!

And to top it all off like two crazy cherries, Lizzy is a major psycho (as we all suspected), and at the episode’s end, a catalytic and iconic character from the WD comic series, Sgt. Abraham Ford, enters the arena with the line (to Tara), “You got a damn mouth on you, you know that?  What else you got?”

All I can think of to say is, “Thank you, Kirkman, may I have another?”

Inmates”  opens in a haunting sequence showing Beth and Daryl running for their lives through the woods, pursued by a large group of walkers.  Beth’s voice comes over the slow-motion, dream-like sequence, reading aloud a diary entry from their early days of the prison, when Lori was still alive and expecting her baby any day…Beth addresses the diary like an old friend:

“Hey… I know it’s been awhile…I gotta be honest. I forgot about you. After the farm, we were always moving. But something happened…something good…finally.  We found a prison…Daddy thinks we can make it into a home. He says we can grow crops in the field, find pigs and chickens, stop running, stop scavenging…Lori’s baby’s just about due…she’ll need a safe place when it comes…the rest of us, we just need a safe place to be.”

Still running through the woods, Beth is surprised by a walker…She points her pistol and tries to shoot, but is out of bullets. Daryl is there, shooting an arrow through the walker’s head, bashing another walker’s head open with the swift upswing of his crossbow, and planting his foot into the third walker’s belly and shoving it down to the ground. This gives just enough time for him to do a quick touch-check with Beth, grab his arrow from the walker’s skull, and then they must run, run from the walkers, who seem to keep coming and coming.

Beth’s voice-over continues, “I woke up in my own bed yesterday…my own bed…in my own room.  I’ve been keeping my bag packed, keeping my gun close…I’ve been afraid to get my hopes up…that we can actually stay here.  The thing is, I’ve been starting to get afraid that it’s easier just to be afraid. But this morning, Daddy said something…”If you don’t have hope, what’s the point of living?” So, I unpacked my bag….and I found you. So I’m going to start writing in you again.”

Finally free of the walkers, hidden in the underbrush, Beth and Daryl collapse onto the ground, exhausted and winded.  They have been running since the prison’s collapse, and the shot pans in closer to them, as Beth’s voice-over continues:


“And I’m going to write this down now, because you should write down wishes to make them come true…we can live here.  We can live  here for the rest of our lives…”

Early next morning, before sunrise. Beth and Daryl are sitting on opposite sides of a tiny fire.  Daryl’s face is stony, and it feels like he may be shutting down inside, retreating back into his former persona of a lone tracker/hunter. Beth sits forward, looks at Daryl.

“We should do something,” she says.  No response from Daryl, so Beth says it again. “We should do something.” Daryl just looks up at her, says nothing. “We aren’t  the only survivors…we can’t be….they could be out here…You’re a tracker, you can track…..c’mon, the sun will be up soon…if we head out now…”  Beth stands above Daryl, waiting for him to answer. In response, Daryl does nothing, says nothing.

Beth has had enough.  She snatches up her knife, says, “Fine.  If you won’t track, I will.” She stalks off, and of course, after a moment’s hesitation,  Daryl must get up and follow her.

While I was initially resistant to the possibility of Daryl and Beth getting together, seeing how they interact in these scenes made me realize that I actually like them together. Beth has a brave honesty about her, and she not afraid to speak her mind and call someone out if need be.  But Beth is also young, with an artist’s sensitivity, and I think both her fire and her vulnerability would help to draw Daryl out a little.

Daryl has always had a youthful, childlike way about him, and I could see him being able to relate to Beth as a girlfriend…she is a good combination for him…she has a sweet innocence and openness about her, but she’s definitely seen some shit and has the strength and smarts to have survived this long.  In that way, Beth and Daryl have a lot in common.

And, honestly, while there are many of us out there who consider Daryl Dixon our pretend boyfriend (or, one of our favorite pretend boyfriends), we can’t bogart the Daryl, people. The way I see it, the only thing worse than Daryl having a cute young girlfriend is Daryl not having anybody to love at all…he is way too hot for that.  Daryl deserves love, something sweet to keep him going.  At the very least, Daryl needs a hobby, and saving Beth from walkers seems to be becoming a full-time job for him. Beth is good for him, and if I’m right, I think love is blossoming already between the two. I smell lovers.

I really liked the scene when they find some signs of others, and Beth tells Daryl to have a little faith, and Daryl responds with some shitty remark, “Faith…faith ain’t done shit for us, and it sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father…”

It’s too mean, and they both know it. Beth gapes at him, while he looks shamefacedly back at her. She blinks back tears, turns away from Daryl with the pretext of gathering grapes for the others, who will probably be “hungry” when they find them. Daryl gets this sweet, regretful (totally hot) look:


Then, in a gesture that is both tender and totally manly, he pulls a clean bandanna from his back pocket, shakes it out, and holds it out to Beth, who is still turned away from him. He gently nudges her arm with the bandanna, and after a moment, Beth slowly turns and takes the bandanna from him, and begins to put the grapes she is gathering into it.


I texted my WD buddy, I officially approve of Beth as Daryl’s girlfriend, to which she replied, in emoji, a thumb’s up, followed by two hearts.  It’s official:  We approve.

A few moments later,  Beth and Daryl work seamlessly together to kill Pop Walker, who reanimated after getting chomped by the rails. In the times of post-zombie apocalypse (PZA), killing a walker together is like PZA foreplay. Beth and Daryl go down to the railroad tracks to find more walkers, crouched and eating human remains. Daryl makes quick work of the walkers, who are intent on their grisly feast. head!

Owwww…that hurts!

When Beth surveys the carnage, she a child’s shoe that resembles the shoes Mika was wearing. Beth breaks down in tears.  More shots of Daryl, looking super fine in his sleeveless vest, walking along the tracks, then looking back at Beth, at a loss for how to comfort her:


Daryl was looking so fine in this scene that I paused the dvr and went to find my husband for a quick

Daryl was looking so fine in this scene that I paused the dvr and went to find my husband for a quick “writing break…” sorry for the TMI, but that man is just damn inspiring.

That night, as Beth and Daryl sit across each other at a small fire, Beth rips pages from her diary and throws them into the flames. We hear her voice-over, reading the last of her diary’s entry:

“We’re not going to die…none of us…I believe now…I believe for Daddy, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know how I can keep going…”

Unbeknownst to Daryl and Beth, the sites and areas they have been tracking were the ones traversed only hours before by Tyrese, Mika, and Lizzy…carrying an unexpected surprise survivor:

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier!

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier…

Baby Judith!  I was alternately relieved and completely freaked out by the realization that Baby Judith was alive…it was like, “Oh, yay!” and “This sucks!” all wrapped up into one. My WD buddy texted,  I am so over worrying about Baby Judith, and then she was gone, for like 10 minutes. I was a little worried at first, but I know how we are about this show…she needed to go process for a little bit.  Been there, done that.

She texted me, once she recovered,  It was so much better for me thinking she was dead.   I get it, I really do.  My WD buddy and I are both moms, and worrying about Baby Judith’s survival brings it all a little too close to home.

I basically decided in that moment that it was time to start drinking in earnest, so I poured myself another glass of pinot noir…I am glad I did, because it was right at the scene where it’s night, and Baby Judith is crying (and teething up a storm, it looks like), and Tyrese is trying to calm the baby…Mika is fearful that the crying will alert walkers, and Lizzy looks down at the log she is sitting on and discovers:



And in a silent and horrifying sequence, Lizzy pulls out her knife and goes to town on the bunnies, while the camera holds the shot on her face as she makes quick work of them with her knife:

What the hell, Lizzy?

What the hell, Lizzy??

Well, it seems pretty apparent to me at this point that it was probably Lizzy who was creating the fucked-up rabbit dissection art and feeding rats to the walkers, back at the prison. A couple of my Walking Dead-Obsessed friends have been pretty certain that it was Lizzy who killed Karen and David.  They think that Carol discovered what she did, dragged out and burned the bodies, and tried to cover up for Lizzy, getting banished by Rick in the process…fascinating, right? That would morph The Crazy Carol Theory into a whole new theory, The Crazy Lizzy Formulation.  We all know that Lizzy is crazy…the question is, just how crazy is she?

Pretty freaking crazy, it turns out, as she and Mika are left by Tyrese to stand back-to-back in the woods, Lizzy holding Judith and Mika holding a gun, to defend themselves against potential walkers while Tyrese goes to help whomever is screaming, someone presumably under walker attack.

Poor Judith begins to cry, and Mika pleads with Lizzy to please try to keep the baby quiet.  Lizzy puts her hand over Judith’s nose and mouth, and she starts to get that intent, crazy look as she continues to press down, beginning to suffocate poor Baby Judith.  Meanwhile, a couple of walkers approach Mika and Lizzy, snarling and hissing. Mika’s eyes grow wide with terror and she points the gun up towards the walkers, shaking…

While watching this scene the first time, I actually typed the line, “Oh fuck, Lizzy, don’t kill the baby!”  I would like to take this moment  to nominate Brighton Sharbiro, the beautiful young actress who plays Lizzy, for a “Deadie” for a great performance in this episode, and, in general, for taking on such an intense and complex role as Lizzy.

Down by the railroad tracks, battling walkers, Tyrese hears the gun shot, and when he turns, he is surprised by yet another unexpected survivor:



I have to tell you, I don’t know if I have ever been so glad to see someone as I was to see Carol in that moment, holding Baby Judith (who looked super-relieved to be away from Lizzy, I might add).  Carol looked a bit nervous when Tyrese rushed up to give her a big hug, but recovered herself quickly enough to lie about her whereabouts when the shit went down between the Gov and the prison peeps.

After the lies and the pleasantries are exchanged, Carol and Tyrese approach the poor bitten father, who is crying over the body of his son, who was bitten and killed by the walkers.

This scene definitely messed me up a bit, as the walkers definitely are scoring some mad kills and general scariness points so far in these mid-season episodes.  The poor young son fought valiantly, but those damn walkers and their singular, undead purpose (to chomp the living) just keep coming and coming…the poor dad tells them to follow the tracks, that there is a safe place there to take the children…they leave him crying over the dead body of his son…he will soon die himself, and reanimate in a few hours as Pop Walker, and get rekilled by Beth and Daryl.

Carol, Tyrese, Judith, and the girls take Pop Walker’s advice and walk along the tracks for a bit, Lizzy and Mika walking ahead, holding hands. Lizzy spots a sign, and they read:



Lizzy looks at Tyrese and Carol, who give a smile back, but seem hesitant to believe what seems too good to be true.

Meanwhile, Bob is loving being alive, chilling with two fine babes, Sasha and Maggie, getting his shoulder wound cleaned and bandaged up by Sasha while Maggie morosely carves into a large rock and looks at the engagement/wedding rings on her ring finger. Bob allows himself a smile, which Sasha sees. “It’s ok, smile if you want to…I get it, you’re alive…”  It’s actually nice to see Bob lighten up for a change.

Maggie is not giving a fuck about anything right now…she wants to go find Glenn. She tries a, “Nice spot, see ya, going to find Glenn now, and we’ll come back for you.” Sasha and Bob try to talk her out of it, but she will not be swerved from this plan.  She is going to find the bus, and Glenn.  Sasha tries to tell her, “We can’t split up!” as Maggie walks away.  Bob gets up and begins to follow Maggie, and at Sasha’s “WTF?” look, he shrugs and cheerfully echos, “We can’t split up!”

Bob and Sasha have a little back and forth as they walk behind Maggie, and Bob says that he is done with just surviving…he seems to want to embrace truly living for a change. Maggie spots the bus, which has run off the road, and of course, is full of walkers.  (Ha, it’s a busfullawalkers! Drink one if you got one!)

After stopping Maggie from charging right into the back of the bus to see if Glenn is on it, Bob and Sasha help her come up with a system to let the walkers out, one at a time…easier to manage, and less cleanup that way!

Maggie squares off with each walker as they emerge from the bus, one by one, looking majorly beautiful and badass in that fierce Lauren Cohan way she has…

My buddy says Lauren Cohan comes into his coffee shop in Atlanta, and that  she is just as beautiful in real life...even on the run from zombies and grief-stricken, Maggie is gorgeous.

My buddy says Lauren Cohan comes into his coffee shop in Atlanta, and that she is just as beautiful in real life…even on the run from zombies and grief-stricken, Maggie is gorgeous.

One by one, the walkers come out, and one by one, Maggie takes them down:


The press of the walkers becomes too much, and Sasha and Bob cannot hold them…the walkers come flying out in a rush, and Maggie goes in some inner slo-mo moment as one walker comes lurching towards her.  Bob takes it out with a single shot to the head, jolting Maggie out of her reverie.  She then seems to take all her pent-up emotions out on the walkers, bashing one walker’s head into the bus again and again…

I called this walker Bitch Slap Walker at first, but Talking Dead's name for her, Headbanger Walker, is so much better!

I called this walker Bitch Slap Walker at first, but Talking Dead’s name for her, Headbanger Walker, is so much better!

Maggie still has to know if Glenn is in the bus…so she goes in. The bus seats are covered in blood and gore, and flies are buzzing.  I always try to imagine how it must smell…must be godawful.  There is one male walker at the far front of the bus, hard to see, but with dark hair…Maggie fears it may be Glenn, and upon discovering it isn’t, slumps into a seat and dissolves into a mixture of helpless tears and relieved laughter. Poor Maggie!

And poor Glenn, who wakes to find himself at the prison! My WD buddy texted me, Wasn’t expecting that!

Me neither.



Glenn gets himself to his old cell/room, and takes a moment to process this…the interior of the prison actually looks pretty solid, making me wonder if it really was such a lost cause after all…it seems a lot better than the prison gang fending for themselves out in the wild.  But, I guess the walls are probably breached somewhere, and the fences are surely shot to shit, so I guess it is time to move on.

Glenn seems to decide this as well…after taking a moment to process it all, he seems to invoke his inner badass, collecting supplies from around the prison (including the makings for a molotov cocktail, thanks to Bob’s bottle of liquor and a working lighter).

I love when Glenn invokes his inner badass…remember the interrogation room battle with the walker, then the battle with Merle, then the escape for himself and Maggie he orchestrated? I am a big fan of Glenn when he goes off.

I also love this part, when Glenn suits up in the riot gear and emerges to fight his way through the walkers and escape the prison:


Riot Glenn!

Enter Riot Glenn!

After charging the first line of walkers, Glenn finds Tara getting meta in the garden. She is hating herself, mourning the loss of her sister, niece, and girlfriend…she cannot forgive herself for believing the Governor’s lies and blindly following in what turned out to be a suicide mission.  Glenn isn’t having it, tells her he needs her help.  He fashions a molotov cocktail with Bob’s bottle of liquor and buys them a clear line out of the prison.

Once they reach the road (a sign, riddled with bullet holes, warns motorists that hitchikers may be escaped inmates from the prison), Tara wonders how Glenn can trust her, and he basically tells her that he needs her to find his “wife,” Maggie.  They are rushed by walkers, and Glenn manages to kill one but is struggling to fight off the others in his weakened state.  Tara rushes forward and stabs one walker, then bashes another’s head open with repeated blows with the butt end of Glenn’s assault rifle.  In the midst of this carnage, a super-style military Hummer-type truck pulls up…Tara looks up in alarm, and tries to cover her fear with mock bravado: “Hope you enjoyed the show, assholes!”

Leading with his massive chest, assault rifle in hand, Sgt. Abraham Ford steps around to the front of his massive vehicle, flanked by a man and a woman:

Enter Abraham and Co.!

Enter Abraham and Co.!

“You got a damn mouth on you, you know that?” he asks Tara. And then, with a smile at his own private joke, he asks, “What else you got?”

Aw, shit…it’s Abraham! 

Until next week, gang….


West Indian Girl, “What Are You Afraid Of?”

Of Monsters and Men, “Dirty Paws”

Coldplay, “Clocks”

Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 9, “After”


(All images used in this post are screen caps from AMC’s The Walking Dead, unless otherwise specified.)

Sunday night, after I set up my beverage and laptop situation on the convertible coffee-table,  I sat back to watch the last moments of Too Far Gone, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, Season 4, and ease in with my first Stella of the evening. I thought to myself, “Ok. I can do this.”

Too Far Gone…it was the second time I’d watched it in the past 24 hours. Wrenching. That’s why I got the Stellas, and they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, going down like cold liquid gold and giving me a little more courage with every sip… I watched Lilly, standing over the the Gov, pointing, firing and rekilling his ass, and there was Creepy Clara Walker, making quite a lovely zombie and shuffling towards the burning wrecked prison with the rest of the horde…Carl and Rick were arm in arm, holding each other up as they climbed a steep hillside and away from the burning wreckage of the prison, which was being overrun with walkers.

Carl turns for a last look, Rick tells Carl,  “Don’t look back…Carl…just keep walking.”

Ughhh….so heartbreaking…really hard to watch, every time.

The Stella does  help, some.


I loved the opening shot, an aerial view of the burning prison, smoke billowing upward as the prison is overrun with walkers…I was particularly drawn to the stark image of the watchtower burning…

My WD buddy remarked,

My WD buddy lamented, “Oh, no, Glenn and Maggie’s love nest! 😦

Then, the camera pans down closer and closer to the level of the walkers, and the dead bodies of the fallen, including a shot of Michonne’s horse, dead and opened and disemboweled, and then a sweet shot of the dead Gov:

R.I.P. Gov, you dick.

R.I.P. Gov, you dick.

Then our first glimpse of Michonne, a shot of her hand on her katana:


Michonne once again is the lone observer, surveying the burning wreckage of the prison which had, only hours before, been home to herself and her people …It is nearing sunset of a day which began with her laughing and driving with Hershel into the woods to dispose of a pile of walker bodies, and ended with Hershel’s murder and the senseless massacre and destruction of the prison.

Michonne’s face is stony, her fury shows only in the speed of her katana as she swiftly beheads any stray walker who steps too close. She then spies two reanimated goons from the Gov’s army, baits them into spearing themselves on the Morgan-style wooden spikes placed in front of the prison fencing, and fashions herself two new walker “pets”:


And then, a few yards away, she makes a grisly discovery:

I knew the Gov didn't finish the job and give Hershel a proper rekill... such a dick!

Hershel’s reanimated head!  Aaaghh!  I knew the Gov didn’t finish the job and give Hershel a proper rekill… such a dick, Governor!

Greg Nicotero, who directed “After,” said later, on Talking Dead, that Michonne went back to the prison for the express purpose of finding Hershel and taking care of him if needed…Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, was also a guest on TD and  gave many insights into Michonne’s character and motivations. (Last night’s TD was pretty much one of the best, ever, in my humble opinion. Greg Nicotero, Danai Gurira and Chris Hardwick, hashing it all out…no rambling, no bullshit…TD, straight up…and sweet new haircut on Chris Hardwick…looking good, bud!)

Danai Gurira said that it is a key part of Michonne’s character that Michonne always steps up and does what “needs to be done” in a given situation…in this case, she takes but a moment to digest the horror of Hershel’s reanimated head lying in the grass before her, and then:


Michonne grips the handle of her katana in her right hand and drives the blade into Hershel’s skull, rekilling him.  Then, she puts her hand gently on Hershel’s temple, and holds it there for a moment before pulling the blade out..


Once again, Michonne swiftly adapts to the situation at hand… With a few strokes of her katana, she fashions new walker pets, leashes them up, then finds and rekills Hershel. However, the way she plays the scene, Danai Gurira’s amazing performance allows us to see flashes of Michonne’s pain and grief as she forced back to her former survival style, from the days before she found Andrea…but we know that Michonne has evolved past that place…the conflict shows in her face, but for now, she is doing what needs to be done to survive and bide her time.

I knew when I watched Too Far Gone that the Governor did not rekill Hershel properly to prevent him from reanimating into a walker.  I saw him slice into Hershel’s neck, then I saw him go after poor Hershel and chop at him, severing his head, but I never saw the Gov finish the job. I watched that episode many times, and came up with the same worry each time, that Hershel’s head would reanimate if he hadn’t gotten a proper rekill, and one cannot count on the Gov to do the honorable thing when he fells someone he feels is his enemy.

The Gov always did that…he decided who he was going to give a proper rekill to, and who he would leave to reanimate, like the final “fuck you” to his fallen adversary…remember poor Sweet Walker Pete, still chained to the bottom of that dead lake, vainly trying to claw his way out?  We all remember how it went down with Merle. The Gov was super pretty, but he was a super dick…that’s always a terrible combination…such a waste.

The Hershel scene did kind of mess me up at first, but my WD buddy put it all into perspective, as she invariably does… when I texted how bummed I was about Hershel’s head, she texted back:  I didn’t think it looked so believable, like not the best effects or whatever. Ha!

Later, on Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero presented his “gift” for the show, dumping the prosthetic Hershel head out of a bag and onto the table. He then started to make it move, the mouth opening and closing, while Chris Harwick fake-yelled at him, “You are a bad man!”   Then, Chris Hardwick started feeding the prosthetic Hershel head spoonfuls of chocolate pudding from a giant can of pudding like Carl’s from later in the episode.

(Btw, eating pudding was trending worldwide by the end the season premiere showing of After”. )

Later, Talking Dead’s eulogy to Hershel in the In Memoriam segment read:  Hershel: You may have lost your leg, and your head, but you never lost your dignity…RIP…Again.

(The only reason I am ok with any of this is that I know Scott Wilson is in on the joke.)

Now, onto Carl’s teenage angst.  Chandler Riggs also threw down an amazing performance in this episode, his best yet.  Greg Nicotero said that this episode (at least the storyline between Carl and Rick) was taken pretty directly from The Walking Dead comic series, Issues # 49-50.  This episode was also infused with many scenes and moments of improvisation by the cast and crew, making the feel of it very organic and believable.

(You may at some point get sick of me starting sentences with , “Greg Nicotero says…” Sorry about that…needs to be done.  The man is head makeup and effects, executive producer, and director.  he’s everywhere.)

Carl and Rick are walking down a road, and Carl is walking ahead of Rick. He’s pretty much being a dick to his dad,  who limps behind him, stuggling to keep up. Carl’s pissed, and he’s a teenager, and nobody can really blame him for either of these things, especially in this moment.  But poor Rick is so messed up…he’s trying to call to Carl, trying to tell him to slow down. Carl is pretending he can’t hear Rick, even though Rick is wheezing and can barely get the words out. Teenagers!

What’s up with Rick’s breathing? my WD buddy texted me. I didn’t know, but I was worried.  If the Gov broke one of Rick’s ribs in the fight, that could turn really bad.  A broken rib makes it really painful to breathe, and a broken rib could puncture a lung.

Then, I saw that Rick had ripped off one of his sleeves to make a tourniquet thing for his wounded leg, and I was grateful for the view of Andrew Lincoln’s elegantly muscled arm…it made me feel a little better.

At first, Rick tries to placate his angry, hurting son by telling him what he always tells him, that things are gonna work out, that they are gonna be…he starts to say “ok”, or “fine,” but Carl’s shoots Rick a look, and Rick can’t finish the sentence…it’s like, Just shut up, dad…you look like shit, your face looks like shit.  Just shut up.

The ensuing scenes between Rick and Carl are a tense back and forth between a father and his teenage son… Rick (who is miraculously still standing and functioning, somehow) is trying to reassert himself as the leader and the authority figure in their dynamic, but he has lost some of his former standing in his son’s eyes, and so Carl resists him at every turn.  They bicker while taking down a walker together, and the act of gathering provisions becomes a contest to see who can get the most and “win.”  Rick seems as vested in the contest as Carl is, which makes the scenes even more believable and uncomfortable to watch.

Down the road a ways, Carl once again walks ahead of his father while letting his father carry the bag of provisions, even though it looks like Rick can barely stand, let alone walk…Rick weakly signals Carl when he spots a promising house to take shelter in. They enter the house, going through the ritual of checking  or walkers and “clearing” each room. Rick keeps ordering Carl back, and Carl chafes under his father’s direction, responds by screaming and beating on the wall, to show there are no walkers, “Hey asshole, Hey shitface! Come down, we’re here!”  Rick sternly tells Carl to watch his mouth…Rick is holding his ground, but it did feel like there was a shift in their dynamic in this scene…Carl is no longer just going to do something because his father tells him to, or not to, do it.

Then, Carl, in classic teenager style,  sticks it to his father with a jibe about Shane, who had shown Carl how to tie the clove-hitch knot that Carl uses to secure the front door…Carl bristles when Rick pushes a couch towards the door to reinforce it, not trusting Carl’s knot to secure the door. In response,  Carl throws Shane’s name out like a little shitty teenage bomb (“Shane taught it to me…Remember him?”). In response, Rick gets that hot Rick-In-Charge look and shuts Carl down, growling out, “Yeah, I remember him…I remember him every single day. There anything else you wanna say to me?”

One look at his father’s face shuts Carl the hell up for a minute. He shakes his head no. Rick tosses a bag of chips at his son with a command to eat, and goes into the bathroom to gingerly remove his shirt (Yes! Take it off, take it off!)  Rick sucks in his breath as he twists to inspect his bruised ribs in the bathroom mirror…it does appear that one or more ribs are probably cracked, or broken. Not good.

Ok, here we are. The Michonne dream sequence. Was it just me, or did this scene fuck everybody up too? Artistically speaking the scene was…pretty much perfection. Emotionally speaking, the scene is…pretty much the new theme of my nightmares.

The shot opens with a view of Michonne’s back as she deftly chops some cheese and bread at a gleaming granite countertop while exchanging witty banter with two beautiful men, seated at a table in an airy, urbane apartment. Michonne is looking gorgeous in a colorful, midriff-baring top and skirt ensemble, her braids looking touseled and girly.

While she chops, Michonne is explaining to the men, in carefully chosen and enunciated language, why she isn’t feeling it with the latest trendy art exhibit at the museum, calling the attempt “pedestrian.” Even before the turn, it seems Michonne wielded both her words, and her silences, as deftly as she now wields her blade. Her friend Terry protests her proclamation, turns to her partner, Mike…”Mike, will you please talk some sense into your lover?”

“Oh, you did not just call me that,” Michonne quips, but it is all part of the banter, and Mike good naturedly sides with his woman, agreeing that the exhibit was “played.”

“Hallelujah,”  Michonne agrees, wiping the blade clean of what was once a chopping knife, and is now her katana…it’s the first dark, surreal turn that lets us know we are probably witnessing a dream…


Just because I see a gorilla driving a car doesn't mean I call it art!

I am def feeling this for my new kitchen-goddess look.

As she sheaths the sword into her wooden knife block, the long blade warps into the small space perfectly in crazy dream-style surrealism… And at that moment, a beautiful 2 -year- old boy comes running into the kitchen, gets scooped up into his mother’s arms. “I hope we’re not boring you, peanut, ” Michonne coos as she cuddles her son. She picks up the platter of appetizers and carries it to the table, still cradling her little boy.

As Michonne approaches the table, Terry and Mike are still in their dapper suits, sitting quietly, lost in their thoughts for a moment…but with the barest pause, the scene flips perspective, and now we see from behind Michonne’s right elbow that the men are no longer the dapper, smiling, joking men of before.  Terry has a grim, haunted look, and a bleeding scratch at his temple.  Mike is wearing a soiled white t-shit and sleevless vest. The men are debating their next move.

“I don’t think we should stay at the camp,” says Terry.  Mike counters that the camp is their best chance for survival, right now, that he doesn’t want to chance it out there. He looks at Michonne, and at Terry, and at his son as he begins to question what it’s all for…is it really worth it to try to survive in the world that this has become, after this horrible turn, a world that is not really living, not worthy of a beautiful, pure child?

The camera goes back and forth between Mike, and Terry, then Michonne and the baby.  In response, Michonne, clutches the baby to her, narrows her eyes as she resists the dream and its terrible message…”Ok,” she says with a tight little smile, “I see what this is.”  She is bluffing, trying so hard to outmaneuver this.

“Really?” asks Terry.What is this, Michonne?”  I love this rendition of Terry, as we see in this brief glimpse of him, before he became one of Michonne’s walker pets. In the comic, I guess he was brave but dumb, but in this episode, he is fiery and intelligent. Then, in weird dream-speak, Terry then goes on to tell Michonne that she’s gotten really good with the sword, and does she know how valuable that is now? And poor Michonne is resisting and resisting all of this…

Mike raises his hands, his face so sad, “What is the answer here?” he pleads to her. Terry counters, “What is the damn question, Mike?”  Mike, looks up at Michonne, his face is heartbroken as he drops his hands, and whispers, “Why?”

Michonne’s voice breaks, her chin defiantly up, she tightly nods, holding the baby, “Ok,” she nods, “that’s good…and now,” and Michonne holds up a hand, like, whoa, ok…I’ve gotta get this happy moment back. ..”I have a question…”  and with another deft flick of the camera, the perspective is from behind Michonne’s elbow as she slides the plate of appetizers forward towards the men. “Who is going open the wine?” she playfully asks.

And this is what it becomes:

Look at this crazy shot I got of the armless men and her face.

Look at this crazy shot I got of armless Mike and Terry, and Michonne’s face. I had to watch that scene so many damn times…it will be a long time before I watch it again, even though I give mad props to its artistic excellence on all levels


And the horrible moment when the baby is gone...

And the horrible moment when the baby is gone…

My WD buddy texted me, after the Michonne dream sequence, I don’t know how any of them have the will to live anymore. Ugh, after watching that scene so many times in the writing process, I barely have the will to live anymore.

The Carl-luring-the-walkers-down-the-street scene is pretty great, some comic relief, of course until this happens:

D'oh! Didn't see that coming, did you, Carl?

D’oh! Didn’t see that coming, did you, Carl?

Lucky for Carl that gun keeps on firing bullets!  Once Carl extricates himself from under the pile of three walkers on top of him, he finds another house, this one with the bonus of a huge, 120 oz. can of chocolate pudding on top of the fridge…unfortunately, the house also has the particularly scary and tenacious I’m Gonna Getcha Walker,  who almost chomps Carl about three or four times in a frightening struggle that had me jumping around the living room, saying lots of “Oh, shit’s” and “oh, fuck’s”, to the alarm of my little dog…

I'm Gonna Getcha Walker...that guy's hard to shake!

I’m Gonna Getcha Walker…that guy’s hard to shake!

Luckily, all I’m Gonna Getcha Walker got was Carl’s shoe…Carl used up a couple of his lives on this day, and he celebrates with what is now a classic WD moment, straight from the comic series, a pudding break on the roof, while I’m Gonna Getcha Walker vainly claws and hisses at him through the stuck window:


(The Instagram account therickygrimes added the funny caption to this picture: Hey, give me back my pudding! )

Carl comes back to the house, tells Rick, who is still unconcious on the couch,  “I killed three walkers…I lured them away..I killed them…I saved you…I didn’t forget when you had us playing farmer…I stilI know how to survive…lucky for us…I don’t need you anymore…I don’t need you to protect me anymore… I can take care of myself…you probably couldn’t protect me anyway…you couldn’t protect Judith, or…Hershel, or Maggie…Michonne, Daryl…or Mom…You just wanted to plant vegetables…you just wanted to hide…He (the Gov) knew where we were, and you didn’t care!  You just hid behind those fences, and waited for (him)…! They’re all gone now…because of you! They counted on you!  You were their leader…” With this, Carl slumps to the floor, sitting at the foot of Rick on the couch.  “But now…you’re nothing.”  Carl has his head in his arms, crying.  “I’d be fine if you died,” he says,  and walks out of the room.

I know Carl is being a teenage tool right now, but he did need to unburden himself of the anger at his father that he had been carrying around inside…it’s like a version of “empty-chair” therapy, except in this case, it’s “yell at your dad before he wakes up” therapy. All in all, actually very healthy.

Now, if Rick would only wake up…I was getting worried there. My WD buddy texted me: If Rick dies, I am done with this show.

I texted back, He just needs a nap.  I was pretty anxious, though.  He was still looking pretty dead.

Back to Michonne, as she walks through the forest with the herd, disguised by the smell of her new walker pets. She seems both disturbed by the foul smell of the walkers and by the sight of what could be her walkerganger, a black woman walker with long braids. My WD buddy wasn’t really buying it that Michonne could move undetected through the walkers, and I was texting her that Michonne is probably one of the only surviving humans who has walked among the walkers.  She’s a walker whisperer, dude, I texted.

But it seems Michonne cannot take any more…so, she faces her walkerganger, and slices her down, then keeps going, berzerker-style, until she has hacked down all the walkers around her in the forest.  Greg Nicotero said that the script, and budget, only specified that Michonne kill eight walkers, but when filming, Danai Gurira kept going, so he kept shooting, and the result was one of the most epic walker-kill scenes, yet:


IMG_2471 IMG_2528 IMG_2534 IMG_2544 IMG_2547

I love that this episode focused mainly on Carl and Michonne.  Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, and Andrew Lincoln all gave stellar performances…I will honor Sam, of Sam and Anna, and nominate those three actors for “Deadies” for this episode.

Meanwhile, Carl has fallen asleep at the foot of the couch.  He is awakened by Rick’s hand jerking…and he is terrified, convinced that Rick has died and turned, and points a shaking gun at his father, but cannot bring himself to shoot.  Greg Nicotero said on Talking Dead (see, there I go again!) that it was because Carl could not bear to be alone in the world…when Rick speaks, and Carl realizes his father is alive, he cradles Rick’s head in his lap, and in a wonderful moment of improvisation, Chandler Riggs put his forehead down to touch Andrew Lincoln’s.  Andrew Lincoln said of Chandler Rigg’s performance in this episode, that he went from being a kid to a leading actor.

Meanwhile, Michonne follows Rick and Carl’s footprints in the muddy road…she is talking to herself, answering Mike’s question…” I know the answer,” she says, “I know why.” Danai Gurira kept using the word “metabolizing” later on TD, as she spoke of Michonne’s transformation in this episode.  Grief and traumatic experiences are not going to just go away…they must be metabolized by the individual, and transformed into something more proactive and manageable, for the individual to move on with his/her life.

Inside the house, Rick tells Carl that he knows that the life they knew is gone, that Carl is a man..”.I’m sorry,” Rick tells his son, as he knows that Carl has been forced to become a man well before he should have. Carl seems happy and relieved, especially when Rick, in response to a surprise knock on the front door, peers through the peek-hole and begins to laugh.  It is Michonne, of course, doing exactly what needed to be done in the moment to find Rick and Carl, with whom she has a special bond.

“Who is it?” asks Carl.

“It’s for you, ” laughs Rick.

Next week, it looks like we will be seeing what has been happening with the rest of the gang…this episode was kind of hard to tackle, so sorry for the late post, but thanks for tuning in!  Enjoy the playlist:


The Offspring, Gone Away

The Smiths,  How Soon Is Now?

Fleetwood Mac,  Landslide

Alice in Chains,  No Excuses

Season 4, Episode 9 prepost, “What Happens ‘After?'”


So, what happens “After?”

Welcome back, gang….It’s been a nice couple of months since we watched the Governor implode in a hero-brother-hating self-sabotage and basically fuck it all up for everybody, including himself, by making an ill-fated play for the prison.  

The Walking Dead’s Season 4 mid-season finale, Too Far Gone, left everybody either dead or broken and bleeding, running for their lives in ragtag bands (or alone) as the prison is overrun with walkers… and then, after the finale,  we shaken WD fans all took a well-earned break from the mayhem and went on holiday.

And it’s the day we’ve been waiting for, Feb. 9th, 2014. Tonight, my friends, WD is back with its mid-season premiere, “After,” and the blood and guts are gonna hit the proverbial fan.

After a couple of moons, many questions, predictions, and about a million social media freakouts later, the question stands:  We are back, but are we ready?

I, for one, do not know… but here I am.  So, armed with two Stellas for self-medication (and bravery), I rewatched Too Far Gone… and yes, it was even more brutal and heartbreaking this time around.

I did notice a couple of things in the episode that I guess I had missed before, like Rick’s getting shot in the leg…I did not remember that Rick had gotten shot in the thigh.

That is so not good, and his poor, beautiful face is looking like raw hamburger meat after the Gov beat the total crap out of him and almost strangled him to death (btw, that fight scene between Rick and the Gov is one of the burliest onscreen punchouts, ever).

Rick’s not looking too good in the previews, either, and then there’s that scene in the preview where Carl’s terrified face is above an unconscious Rick, screaming for him to “Wake up! Wake up!”

Oh, god…Rick…I cannot.  I just cannot.

(Stella!   At this point, I took a writing break and went to the neighborhood bodega get another twelver of Stella…I am learning that when writing, one must choose their beverages wisely and stick with the chosen kinds during the writing process. Bukowski would agree, I think.)

One of the main questions I wanted to get clear on while rewatching Too Far Gone was:  Who ended up with whom as the surviving prison peeps scattered?  

From what I saw, Glenn ended up on the bus, Maggie ended up with Sasha and Bob, Tyrese ended up chasing after Lizzy and Mika, yelling, “Hey! We go that way!”  (I sense the potential for a kooky sitcom here, NewDad and the girls braving the pitfalls and funny shenanigans of zombie apocalypse and impending puberty).

Daryl and Beth ended up together, and I have this creepy feeling they are going to hook up at some point. While I do feel a little jealous and shitty about that possibly happening, I really couldn’t blame them…they are both smokin’ hot and pumped full of adrenaline. And, I suppose you gotta get it while you can in these dire times.

I don’t hate the players, people…at times, however, I do hate the game.

When I suggested the Daryl Fucks Beth Postulate to my WD buddy (by texting, God, is Daryl going to fuck Beth?), she immediately texted back, No, Daryl is not!  

Hmmm….I wish I could be that confident. I do not relish the mental picture that comes up in my head when I think of Daryl and Beth getting it on… but the way I see it, while Daryl may not, Beth definitely would, and will.

I remember that long-ass hug she gave him in “30 Days Without an Accident.”  That Beth is a little Lolita, and despite his best efforts, Daryl may just give in to a “what the hell” moment late one night, when all they’ve got is each other, and Beth’s looking real cute tidying up their squatter house and singing a Tom Waits song to herself.

Whatever happens, let’s just hope that when it does happen, they don’t get walked in on by Crazy Carol. That would not go over well.

Oh, you didn’t hear? Carol’s coming back… at least, that’s what the buzz is about on social media these days.

Norman Reedus posted pictures on Instagram of Melissa McBride getting made up backstage at the Conan show, and all the comments were about how two characters from before are returning to WD.  No surprise here. I knew Carol was coming back.(Refer to the ongoing Crazy Carol Theory in previous posts)  

Nobody puts Carol in the corner!

As for the second WD alum returning to the show, my work buddy Jeff and I have been predicting Morgan’s return into the forefront of the storyline for some time now…Jeff is the maverick who offered the Carl Theory in the first part of Season 4, and I respect his WD insights (even though you still haven’t put a “Like” on my Barnfullawalkers FB page, Jeff, you cagey bastard!).

Ahem…sorry…where was I?

Oh yes, anyway, at the end of Season 3, Jeff and I both agreed that we thought it was Morgan who poured gasoline on the Gov’s pit of walkers and set them on fire (thus spawning The Morgan Theory. )  But, of course, at the  time, the Gov blamed poor Milton for torching his pit walkers.

Remember when the Gov asked Milton, “Where did you get the gasoline?” to set the fire, and Milt looked like he didn’t know what the Gov was talking about? Then, in a total dick move, the Gov killed Milt and left him to zombify, chomp Andrea, and, ostemsibly, zombify her… earning my vote for the Governor as the Worst Boyfriend Ever.

Anyway, Jeff and I have discussed The Morgan Theory at length during lulls at work… we’ve always said that he’s coming back to be a major game changer and fuck some shit up.

So, my pick for characters returning are (drumroll, please):  Morgan and Crazy Carol, WD’s Homecoming King and Queen!  I mean, who else is left as far as characters from before? Everyone else is all dead, right?

Three characters, however, remain a question: Tara, Lilly, and Baby Judith.  Are they alive or dead, and will we see any of them again?

Baby Judith.  Sigh…  Man, I don’t know.  Many of my friends are talking about how Baby Judith could have been scooped up and taken on the bus…yeah, yeah.  I would love that, I really would.

That last shot of her, strapped into the baby carrier and being jostled by Mika and the other cute girl as they tried to carry her to the bus, is burned into my memory…I mean, she was the most beautiful baby in the world.  We all love Baby Judith! Even Daryl named her Lil Asskicker.  I am so pro-Baby Judith being alive, I really am.  

I love Baby Judith!

But….I also know that back in Season 3, when Glenn Mazzarra was still at the WD writing helm, the other writers were pretty much wanting to kill off Baby Judith…and Glenn Mazzarra held them back…for a while.

Now, Glenn Mazzarra is out, and Scott M. Gimple’s at the helm. And, after Too Far Gone aired on AMC, Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman about the possibility of Baby Judith being alive still.  In response to that question, Robert Kirkman got this look on his face, this scoff, like he was so sure that he was so doubtful about that one.

After the scoff, Kirkman kind of shook his head, and said, with a laugh,  “There was a lot of blood in that car seat!”

That, straight from The Mouth of Kirkman, people, the creator of both The Walking Dead comic series and the television series… I would say that Kirkman pretty much has the final say on Baby Judith’s fate, or anything to do with The Walking Dead.

So, unless Kirkman is totally fucking with us and playing with our emotions (and we know how he, and Gimple, and Nicotero and the rest of the gang at WD, Inc. love to play with our emotions)…

…Baby Judith is probably not one of the returning characters…I really want to be wrong about this, people.  Let’s hope I am.

I will say that with this most recent and painful viewing of Too Far Gone, I did see the possibility of Judith being scooped up by someone from the prison who had been wounded and who, perhaps, bled on her while freeing her from the car seat and carrying her to safety.

I tried to see if the car seat straps were torn or gnawed away when I watched the wrenching scene of Carl and Rick’s discovery of the bloodied and empty seat.  It was really hard to tell.

I am not sure what happened to Tara, or her sister Lilly, after Lilly pulled the trigger on her shitty boyfriend, the Gov.  It would not be hard to imagine Lilly turning the gun on herself and pulling the trigger after she did the deed on the Gov, after losing her daughter, Meghan and everything going to shit. I guess we will see if either of the ill-fated sisters shows up in the second installment of Season 4… I liked them both, so I would hope so.

I am also not sure what happened to Michonne, if she ended up with any of the other prison peeps…my WD buddy thought she had ended up with Rick and Carl, but in that final scene, when Rick tells Carl not to look back, to just keep going, it is just them, no Michonne.

I know that Michonne can take care of herself, but she was just starting to open up to the others, and to get thrust back into that bleak solitary survival mode would just suck so bad…maybe she’ll find Tara and they will travel together and be hot asskicking girlfriends!

I can’t stop thinking about that crazy scene in the “After” preview, when Carl is luring the walkers away from the front door of the house, and down the street… I have been watching it over and over and thinking about Carl a lot.

Apparently, that scene is straight from the comic series. I think this time together, with Carl and his father, is going to be really significant in the development of their relationship, as they only have each other.  And it looks in the preview that Rick is pretty messed up, and Carl has to take care of him, even screaming down at Rick in terror that Rick is slipping away… I am so freaking scared for them, for all of them, but I am especially bonded to Rick and Carl.

Ok, so this brings us to the hard hitting question that is in, I think, everyone’s hearts: How is this all going to go down? What is going to  happen to our most beloved WD characters?  

The long term prognosis is not good here, people.  While I do not pretend to be an expert on the comic series, I do know enough to know that the end isn’t exactly chocolates and roses.

At this point in the zombie apocalypse, even if a group of people establish a foothold somewhere, set up a dwelling, and find a way to feed themselves and defend themselves to whatever degree from walkers, it seems that other surviving groups and individuals may prey upon them merely to get what they have.

Resources are dwindling, and the world is becoming more and more predatory, competitive, brutal to try to navigate and survive in.

And is it just me, or does it seem that the world of WD that Mother Nature herself is dying, or sick?  In the Camp Martinez episode, the lake next to the Gov’s camp was a dead lake, and the hunting expedition in the forest only yielded a dismal haul of a couple of squirrels… Rick’s attempt to raise hogs ended in a highly lethal swine flu… it all leaves me wondering if the pestilence and decay of the walkers is infecting the world and poisoning its resources even further.

We have to steel ourselves, people.  It’s balls-to-the-wall time. Some fucked-up mean characters from the comic series are coming.

Remember the radio promise of the Sanctuary? Remember how the little camp the Gov,  Martinez, and Sweet Pete happened upon was ransacked, the people massacred? And we never found out who was feeding the walkers rat-snacks and creating gruesome rabbit-art with entrails…

Many questions remain to be answered.

Now, I must say the thing that I do not want to say, but we are all thinking it.  I have read, and commented in, many exchanges on social media about the what if scenario: What if one (or more) of my favorite characters die?

Norman Reedus’s Instagram account is a classic example of the social media panic, as is AMC’s The Walking Dead live chat page.  People are really starting to freak the fuck out…they are posting comments like, NORMAN!!  IF DARYL DIES I WILL QUIT WATCHING THE SHOW!!!! 

Now, let’s all just take a deep, cleansing breath, shall we? That level of distress at the thought of losing a beloved WD character is totally understandable.  I did try to post, in response, what I thought was a placating, soothing thought, something like, Daryl Dixon is a warrior and does not fear going into the void…and Norman Reedus is alive, well, and here to stay!   That’s nice, right?

Trying to be reassuring, and the response I got to that was like the social media equivalent to being chased by an angry mob brandishing sticks and torches…never again!

But for all my brave words, I too am freaking about this.  I called my WD buddy and asked her, point blank, “Dude, what are we going to do if Daryl dies?”

I won’t go into all the details of what happened next… let’s just say there were tears,…and more tears…and some shaky laughter, and sharing memories, thoughts, feelings…it was raw, it was real.

We needed to get it out, and we were kind of moving through it, getting a grip on it….and then, my friend spoke the unspeakable sentence.

Her voice breaking, she said, “But…I don’t know what I would do…if Rick…”

Oh, God, say no more, SAY NO MORE!  Now it is time for my shouty caps and thousand exclamation points…. STELLA!!!!!

Ok, here is what I propose…we cannot control The Mind of Kirkman … The Law of Kirkman basically states (I think) something like:  Kirkman will do as Kirman wants, and Kirkman and Co. can (and will)  play with our emotions. It’s nothing personal…it’s how he do!

We have to stay strong, people.  I advise that you all set up a Daryl Plan with a designated Daryl Partner.

Here is how a Daryl Plan works:  

You pick a close friend and similarly obsessed WD buddy to be Daryl Partners with you, so if one of your very favorite characters dies in the show, you are there for one another.

In the Daryl Plan,  you and your Daryl Partner would check in with each other…Being a Daryl Partner may entail little, supportive gestures, like sending little encouraging texts throughout the day, such as, Thinking of u! Hope your day is going well! 🙂  Load on the emoticons.

Or, perhaps you can share some uplifting links to your Daryl Partner’s Facebook timeline, like, Onward and Upward! (or basically anything that involves a photo of a kitten, puppy, or baby, preferably with an upended bowl of spaghetti on their heads).

As a Daryl Partner, you may need to go check on your designated buddy’s place, unannounced, especially if you cannot get a hold of him or her by phone, text, or computer after repeated attempts…

You may need to go to their front door and knock loudly, calling their name.You may need to go around their house or apartment, looking in the windows… and if you see your buddy, face down, sobbing in a pool of tears and vomit, you may need to break in through one of the windows to get to them.  You may need to help lift your buddy up from their prostrate grief, gently wipe away the tears and vomit, and say something to snap them out of it, like, “You have to get it together…think of the children!”

A Daryl Plan is a serious pact, and the way I see it, key to our survival as WDO’s (Walking Dead Obsessed).  

The key tenant of the Daryl Plan is:  Do for your Daryl Partner as you would have your Daryl Partner do for you.

Pop-culture histrionics aside, the second installment of TheWalking Dead’s  Season 4 is sure to be a wild, fun ride, chock full of suspense, plot twists and turns like shiny, bloody innards, and super gnarly walker kills.

Nicotero will once again outdo himself, and Kirkman, Gimple, and the writing crew will be sure to infuse dark humor and moments of respite and renewal to keep us all hanging on through these dark times.

And there is sure to be amazing music, both by the inimitable Bear McCreary and an array of musical artists, as the addition of an ongoing playlist/soundtrack is one of the new offerings of Season 4. So stock up on Stellas (or whatever your beverage of choice) and strap on your strap-on’s, people.

We are in for a wild, bumpy ride.

To kick off the music, here is my humble offering…the prepost playlist for the upcoming mid-season premiere episode, “After.” Enjoy, and cheers!


Iron Maiden, Aces High

Soundgarden,  The Day I Tried to Live 

Foo Fighters,  Alone + Easy Target

(Oh, and p.s., if you haven’t already done so, find my Facebook page and show the love…will be full of fun posts, updates, media, and wacky antics!)