The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 10, “Them”

“Them”

In The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 10, “Them,” we, the viewers, along with our righteous gang, are finally getting that chance we’ve been waiting for, to slow down, take a long, ragged breath, and process, for a moment, everything that has happened, thus far, in the relatively short period of time since the prison community was struck down, first by a highly lethal virus, then, by a madman and his army…and so on.

Our gang has suffered so much loss in this brief space of time.  Maggie, at this point, has lost her entire family,  She, and Daryl, are reeling over Beth’s senseless murder at the hands of Dawn Lerner, after a hostage trade negotiation at Grady Memorial went horribly awry.

Sasha has lost, in rapid, horrifying succession, first, her sweet boyfriend, Bob, and most recently, her beloved brother, Tyreese.

Noah has just discovered that his mother, twin brothers, and entire community have been brutally murdered by an unknown enemy. He, too, has lost his entire family at this point.

Abraham, having lost his entire family, before, when they ran away from him in terror and were attacked by walkers, has suffered another blow: Eugene Porter’s confession that he had been lying, the whole time, about having the key to a cure for the walker epidemic. With Eugene’s confession came the crushing realization, for Abraham, Rosita, and many others of the group, that there may not be an end in sight to the horror and savagery that the world has become.

This hell that they are living, every day, may be all that there is.

Abraham had embraced Eugene’s lie readily, before, as it gave him a mission, and a reason to continue on. Now, Abraham seems to be grappling with the same doubts and uncertainties as everyone else.  In Episode 510, we see Abraham taking frequent pulls from a bottle of liquor he has found in a sweep of abandoned cars, and there is not much direct interaction between him and Rosita, at this point.

On top of everything else, poor Abraham may have lost the love of his hot, sexy girlfriend (I truly hope this is not the case, Abraham, my man, but if so, maybe she’s still up for a fwb scenario now and again on those cold postapocalyptic nights…here’s hoping, bud!).

Carol is sure to be feeling the loss of Tyreese keenly, as he, and she, shared, just between them, the terrible knowledge and grief of Lizzie’s downward spiral into insanity, and then, Mika and Lizzie’s tragic deaths back at the pecan grove.

And now, Carol is watching, and feeling, Daryl pull away from her, and the group.  While Carol seems to be keeping herself open and available for him, and reaching out, letting Daryl know she’s there, Carol also knows that she needs to keep giving him the time and space he needs, right now, to process the loss of Beth, and work through his grief.

I personally think it must suck for Carol, deep down inside, to see how hard Daryl is grieving for Beth, on some level, as it confirms that he had deep feelings for the beautiful young girl.

And, like I said, if Daryl and Beth had been together longer, just the two of them, well, we all probably agree that something would have happened, sooner than later.  

In my personal estimation, judging from how things were progressing, from the span of Season 4’s “After,” to “Still,” and then, finally, “Alone,” the making out would have happened more on the sooner scale.

Remember, in “Alone,” when Beth asked Daryl what made him change his mind about the goodness of people, and he fixed her with that sweet love look, at the kitchen table?

He was all like:

IMG_3909

And she was all like:

IMG_3914

(Sorry for the reflections, it was back before I knew how to do a screenshot.)

But, reflections aside, those archival shots from “Alone,” to me, are photographic proof of:

L-O-V-E. Young, wild, (kind of) forbidden, natural, blossoming LOVE.

Daryl is good at holding his cards close to his chest, but he’s not good at lying. Daryl doesn’t lie.  If he can’t be honest, he’ll keep silent. He won’t say it.

Daryl showed his love for Beth, clearly, in actions more than words, back in Season 4, and later, in the first part of Season 5, Daryl shows his love for Carol in actions, and in words (because that’s how the grown women do…you gotta show them in actions and in words, none of this “one or the other” business. Grown women need to see you got all the skills.)

In “Consumed,” Daryl clearly, and honestly, communicates his love, and his intention (“I’m trying”)  to Carol, and when we saw that episode, it showed us how far Daryl has come in owning and expressing his heartfelt emotions.

This is something he hasn’t been able to do before, and I find it very beautiful and endearing to see this sweetness blossoming in Daryl. It’s such a crazy-ass thing that it took an apocalypse, and the gathering of fine people who came into his life because of it, for Daryl to get to the point where he could open up and be who he really is.

And, I said, before, if I were Carol, and I saw how bad the object of my singular love and affection was pining for someone else, well, that personally would really suck for me. But, it’s honest, and that’s how Daryl does it, and to be with Daryl would mean that New Carol would have to roll with that.

New Carol, being the champion that she is, seems to know all that, and she seems to be able to not take it too personally, or too hard, when Daryl rebuffs her, pushes her away, and goes off, alone, which is often, in Episode 510.

Carol knows Daryl pretty well by now, and she knows that this is what he needs to do, and how he needs to do it, and hopefully, when he is done, he will be ready and happy to come, fully and ready to party naked, back to Caryl.

And, with this, I am raising my coffee in a toast:  To Caryl!

Moving on, now, to other characters…

Tara has been remarkably resilient, and adaptable, since we first met her back in the middle of Season 4. Tara has also had to come to grips with the loss of her entire family: her sister, her niece, her father, and her new girlfriend, Alicia.  Tara, who fell prey to the Governor’s lies, has also had to come to grips with her own naivete, guilt, and self-doubt for playing a part in the destruction and massacre of the prison.

Tara has made her apologies, and her peace, with Maggie, and the others in the group, and, as she is funny, solid in a crisis, and a good friend, Tara seems like she may play a key role in helping the others heal their wounds and open back up to each other.

The gang is having a hard time finding the balance between nursing their private wounds and keeping open and communicative with the good folks around them, who are also hurting, exhausted, hungry, thirsty…demoralized.

And speaking of social retardation… Eugene Porter and Father Gabriel, the Oddball Outsiders, have lost a good degree of standing within the group with their respective revelations.

Eugene, of course, was forced to come clean and confess to lying about having the walker cure,and basically using Abraham, Rosita (and a number of fine men and women who died in the cause of getting Eugene to Washington, D.C.) as bodyguards, and protectors.

While the zeal of having a mission, and something to believe in, was certainly a positive thing for Abraham, and others, that geeky shoe was bound to drop sooner or later…and now, here we are, and it will be interesting to see how the story of Eugene Porter unfolds at this point in the TWD storyline, and what role he will ultimately end up playing in the group.

And Gabriel...well, Gabriel finally confessed his big sin to someone other than God, and tearfully unburdened himself to the gang, back at his cursed church, about how, in the beginning of the turn, he kept the church doors locked when his frightened parishioners came to the church, seeking refuge there, and did not let them into the church.

(Something about it being too late, or too early. Not a good time, apparently. Come back during business hours, which are posted on the door…yes, that door, the one you are pounding on.)

Despite his congregation’s desperate cries and pleas, Gabriel still refused to let them in, and so the helpless families were swarmed and savagely attacked by walkers, who were attracted to the noise of the families’ cries, pleas to be let inside the church.

And, as the poor men, women, and children of his congregation were torn apart by walkers, Gabriel cowered within the safety of the church’s walls, alone, listening to the horror and the savagery as it happened.

Gabriel, once a spiritual leader, is struggling mightily with his self-hatred, self-condemnation, and his loss of faith in God right about now, and this theme, losing faith in God, resounds with other characters, especially Maggie, in Episode 510.

Glenn, who has always been such a source of positivity, strength, and reason, for the others, has seemingly lost his faith, and his will, as well, after watching so many people he loved and cared for die tragically, needlessly, horribly.

His driving force, his love for Maggie and concern for the others in the group, spurs him onward, but as we saw in last week’s episode, “What Happened and What’s Going On,” Glenn is struggling within himself, wondering aloud to Rick if anything matters, anymore.

Each member of the gang is struggling with their own version of Glenn’s question: Does anything matter, anymore?  What can someone truly put his/her faith, intention, and energy into striving for, in this world, as it is now?   What is the point in trying to build anything good, or lasting, when it can all be torn away, brutally destroyed, in the blink of an eye?

Nowadays, even the very concept of having hope, or a dream, or faith in anything good seems to be ripped away before the hope, or the dream, can even materialize. The promise of building a lasting home at the prison was snuffed out by one man’s obsessive desire for vengeance.

The offered promise of a Sanctuary turned out to be a trap, and a place of unspeakable evil and brutality.  Eugene’s promise of a cure was nothing but a lie concocted by a weak, insecure young man (and his egregious mullet) to buy himself some time, protection, and a ride to D.C.

Carol and Tyreese’s hope of settling in at a quiet, cozy farm house nestled in a pecan grove, and enjoying a quiet respite, with Mika, Lizzie, and Judith, ended suddenly and tragically, with the deaths of the two young sisters.

The brief hope, and promise, of finding Beth, and getting her and Carol back, alive and safe, ended in Beth’s violent and senseless murder.

And most recently, the promise of a potential new home for the gang, in Noah’s family’s walled, secure neighborhood outside of Richmond, resulted in the gang’s discovery of the grisly aftermath of  the massacre of an entire peaceful community, including Noah’s mother and little twin brothers, and ending in the heartbreak of Tyreese’s painful, agonizing death.

Hershel. Lilly. Megan. Mika. Lizzie. Bob. Beth. Noah’s mother, and little brothers. And now, Tyreese. Not long ago, they were alive. They were loved. They were family.

And now, they are gone. All of them.  And our sweet gang, both as individuals and as a collective, must find a reason, deep within themselves, to carry on, despite carrying the heavy burden of so much grief, and so much loss.

The opening shot of Episode 510, “Them,” shows a pair of eyes, closed, crying…the shot pans out, and we see, of course, that it is Maggie, sitting against a tree, crying quietly.

Her eyes and face are swollen, as if she has been crying, on and off, for a long time.

maggie cry 1 maggie cry 2 maggie cry 3

maggie faces tuib walker1

Maggie’s much needed cry is then rudely interrupted by Tangled Up In Blue Walker, who comes hissing and pawing at her, but gets entangled, and stuck, in the hanging vines of the tree. Maggie gets up, annoyed, like, “Can’t a girl have a moment to herself?” 

maggie stabs tuib walker

Maggie easily rekills Tangled Up In Blue Walker with one quick thrust of her knife into its decaying skull…

maggie resumes her cry

…and then sinks miserably back down against the tree to resume her cry, with the dead walker’s body draped, unnoticed, in the vines behind her.

Meanwhile…

daryl digs

We see a tanned, muscled arm digging deep in the mud...for water, it seems.

daryls worm

…no water, but we see the digging has yielded a tasty morsel…

eat the worm 1

Eat the worm, Daryl Dixon!

daryl ate the worm

Daryl eats the wriggling earthworm so matter-of-factly, without registering any distaste or disgust while doing so, that it seems like something he’s done many times before, and that somehow makes him even hotter, and even more beautiful, and endearing, if that is even possible…

daryl worm picnic

…especially when the shot pans out, and he’s sitting like a little boy, having his own little worm picnic. I have thought about Daryl as a boy so many times (the boy whose mom died drunk, and passed out, in the house fire, leaving him to be raised by a drunk dad and a sadistic older brother) and it makes the mom in me, and the woman in me, feel so much love and hurt in my heart for him.

Sasha, meanwhile, walks along a creek bed, which has run dry.  She crouches, and digs a moment, but there is no water to be had, here.

sasha crouches at creek 1

creek dry frogs

Sasha sees the bodies of many frogs, belly up, along the dried creek bed. Would frogs just lie back, and give up the ghost, as a creek dried up, or would they hop away? I don’t know much about frogs, but it’s not the first time I have wondered if all this decay and pestilence in the post-apocalyptic world is poisoning the water, air, soil, food supply.

sasha kicks at creek dry frog

Alarmed, Sasha angrily kicks the dirt, partially burying the frog.

Looking up, Sasha sees Daryl and Maggie approach, look down at her from the top of the bank.  Sasha wordlessly shakes her head. No water here.

daryl and maggie turn away

Daryl turns away, crossbow over his shoulder, while Maggie looks down at Sasha, standing in the dried creek bed littered with dead frogs, a moment more. No words are exchanged between any of them. Maggie then turns away, and follows Daryl. After a moment, Sasha heads up the bank, after them.

maggie sasha daryl head back

As they head back to the group, who sits, waiting, in the road, Sasha signs, “Oh, shit.” Not one of the three found any water to bring back.

daryl sunspots

The sun beats down on them…

how much longer we got

…as they trudge back to the group, empty water bottles hanging from their bags, belts. “How much longer we got?” Maggie asks. “About 60 miles,” replies Sasha. Maggie gives a small shake of her head, says grimly, “I wasn’t talking about that.”

After the opening credits, we see a brief shot of the front end of a truck, stopping. We hear Abraham’s voice saying that the truck’s run dry, like the other one.  Rick’s reply is immediate, “So, we walk.”  We see legs, boots coming out of the truck, and the rays of the hot sun beating down.

boots coming out of trucksun spots

daryl rick judith

As they walk, Daryl turns back to look at a small group of walkers that are shuffling slowly behind their group, maybe 50 yards back.

daryl looks back

Rick, holding Judith, turns to regard the potential threat. “We’re not at our strongest,” he says. “We’ll get them when it’s best, high ground, something like that.”

Turning back around, Rick adds, “They’re not going anywhere.”

Rick turns to Daryl.

Rick turns to Daryl. “It’s been three weeks since Atlanta…I know you lost something back there.” (Besides feeling the exquisite pain of this moment, I just need say that, in my opinion, there cannot be too many scenes like this one, of beautiful men holding babies and talking about feelings.)

Daryl does not reply. Judith give a little whimper, and Daryl looks down at her. “She’s hungry,” he says.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him.

Rick pulls Judith up a little closer to him. “She’s ok,”  he says, looking forward. His voice falters just a moment as he asserts, “She’s gonna be ok.” (Exquisite pain, watching this…exquisite pain.)

“We gotta find water, food,” Daryl says.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds, forming, and says that it's gonna rain, sooner or later.

Looking like a beautiful Moses, Rick looks up at a couple of clouds forming, and says that it’s gonna rain, sooner or later.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he's going to take a run.  Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men's earlier exchange.

Daryl hands the crossbow to Rick, tells him that he’s going to take a run. Carol is close behind, seems like she may have heard the men’s earlier exchange.

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently,

As Daryl turns to leave, Rick chides, gently, “Don’t be too long.” Seems that Daryl takes a lot of opportunities to dip out, these days, going off for long stretches of time. Carol speaks up. “I’ll go with you.” Daryl replies, “Nah, hey, I got it.” Ouch, my heart for you, Carol! 😦

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, starts after him.

Not to be deterred, New Carol shakes her head, and starts after him. “You gonna stop me?” she asks, wryly. Daryl turns to her, pauses, waits for her. Not so fast, Daryl Dixon!

carl hands maggie music box 1

Carl catches up to Maggie and gives her a gift, a music box he found while looking for water. He tells her it doesn’t work, but he thought she would like it.

magglie music box 2

As Maggie opens the box, it is easy to imagine that the little blond ballerina inside would remind her of Beth. This sweet gesture brings a small, rare smile to Maggie’s face…

maggie thanks carl 1

…and she turns and thanks Carl.

maggie thanks carl

Some of my WDO buddies still hate on Carl, but I really love him. He is becoming such a sweetie, and has really had to roll with some hard times. Can’t hate the little man for having his tween tool moments back in the day (and ps, he really didn’t mean to kill Dale. That shit was a total accident).

gabriel chafes at the collar

As Carl walks ahead, Maggie turns to see Gabriel, behind her, pulling at his priest’s collar. Seeing her look, Gabriel jokes that he used to call the collars the modern-day incarnations of the hot, itchy “hair shirts” that priests, in times before, were forced to wear as an act of atonement. Besides the unspoken sentiment that there wouldn’t be a shirt hairy enough for Gabriel to wear to “atone” for his horrible betrayal of his own parishioners…

gabriel hair shirts maggie 1

…Maggie tells Gabriel, without looking at him, that she knows what hair shirts are, that her “daddy” was religious.

gabriel hair shirts maggie 2 PNG

Staring ahead, Maggie adds, “I used to be.”

Gabriel begins to offer to Maggie his services as a spiritual counselor, if she ever wants to talk about her father, or Beth, and Maggie interrupts him, with as much politeness as she can manage, “Please stop.”

Gabriel continues, in his automatic priest-mode, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.”

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies,

Staring straight ahead, Maggie replies, “You never even met them.” Gabriel replies, “I know you’re in pain.”

Maggie whirls on Gabriel.

Maggie whirls on Gabriel. “You don’t know shit,” she tells him. “You had a job…you were there to save your flock, right? But you didn’t…you hid. Don’t act like that didn’t happen.” And with that, Maggie stalks off.

Some ways down the road, the gang trudges along, while the walkers behind them have gained in number, and are gaining on them, only about 20 yards away, and their telltale hiss and slaver are audible in the background.

walkers getting closer

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne,

Sasha looks back at the walkers, then at Michonne, tells Michonne, “We can take them.” Michonne sides with her future bf and replies that, “Rick’s right…we barely have anything left. No use in spending it all now.”

Sasha, however, is not so easily deterred.  She’s in pain, she’s pissed, and she’s spoiling for a fight. “I can take them,” she insists.

Michonne knows too well what is going on, here.

Michonne knows all too well what is going on, here. “Your brother was pissed too, after what he lost, “ she tells Sasha. “It made him stupid.” Sasha whirls on Michonne.  “We are not the same,” Sasha says. “We never were.”

Michonne looks at Sasha, not unkindly. “But, it’s still the same,” she says to the young woman.  “It just is.” Sasha has no reply to this, just turns and walks away from Michonne.

Meanwhile, out on another water run, Carol asks Daryl if he’s found anything…he says everything’s too dry.  Carol suggests they start heading back, and Daryl is quick to suggest that Carol go on, without him.

Carol looks at Daryl.

Carol looks at Daryl. “I think she saved my life,” she says, referring, of course, to Beth. “She saved your life too, right?”

Daryl does not reply.  Carol walks over and hands him a knife, sheathed in a blond leather casing.

carol hands daryl beth's knife

“It’s hers,” Carol says simply. Daryl takes the knife, looks at it a moment, still says nothing.

“You’re not dead,” says Carol, softly, mirroring Daryl’s words to her, some time ago, back to him. “I know you…you have to let yourself feel it.

carol smooths daryls hair

Carol reaches out and gently, tenderly smooths Daryl’s hair back…

carol kisses daryl on head

…then kisses him on the forehead, stand back, looking at him. “You will,” she says, laying a gentle hand on Daryl’s shoulder.

carol looks at daryl

Some TWD fans posted disappointment at this motherly, rather than loverly, show of love on Carol’s part, but I think it’s exactly what Daryl needed in the moment…pure, supportive, unconditional love, to take the time he needs to grieve Beth’s death. Super awesomeness, New Carol-style.

Meanwhile…

rick looks down the drop

Rick looks down at the steep drop from the bridge…here is the gang’s opportunity to take care of the walker herd that’s been tailing them all day. The gang is in formation, lined up on either side of the bridge.

rick looks to others

Rick wordlessly nods to Abraham, the others, as he walks towards the walker herd.

gang in bridge formation

Abraham nods back. They are ready.

rick faces the herd

Rick and the gang face the herd of walkers.

rick pitches one down

As the first walker approaches Rick, Rick sidesteps, stumbling a moment, then sends the walker flying down the steep embankment of the bridge, using the walker’s forward momentum to propel it downward, without using too much of his own energy, aikido-style.

abraham pitches two down

Using this same technique, Abraham sends two more flying down the steep drop.

glenn pitches one down

Glenn and Michonne both use the technique successfully. It seems to be working…

sasha knifes hes and breaks formation

…until Sasha breaks formation, striding up to her walker and spearing it in the head with her knife.

rick says flank her, machetes walker

Rick assesses the situation immediately, tells the gang to stay in line, and flank Sasha. They must fight now, as the walkers are coming more quickly and aggressively, responding to Sasha’s escalation. Abraham grumbles that the plan is “dicked” as he and Maggie unsheath their knives and prepare to go to battle.

michonne grabs sasha's arm

Michonne grabs Sasha’s arm, tells her to stop, to go, as Sasha is not thinking clearly, and is a danger to herself and others.

rick must battle

Rick and the others, so weak already, must go to battle with the oncoming walkers.

rick almost gets bit

Rick narrowly escapes getting bitten by a walker…thankfully, Daryl is there to pull the walker off.

gang must fightsasha being all crazy and shit

michonne tells sasha i told u so

Michonne pushes Sasha away and quickly beheads the last of the attacking walkers, then points down at Sasha. “I told you to STOP,” Michonne tells her angrily.

sasha feeling dumb

Winded, Sasha seems to grasp how nearly she cost herself, and the others, their lives with her anger and recklessness. She stands, however, and faces Michonne with a look of pure attitude, before stalking off, sheathing her knife.

Later, down the road, Carl sees some abandoned looking cars in the distance.  As the gang approaches the vehicles, Maggie looks in the windows of one car, checks inside, finds nothing useful, but sees the keys in the ignition. Maggie takes the keys and goes around to the trunk, opens it, and makes a horrible discovery…

maggie finds kidnapped walker

…inside the trunk of the car, a woman walker is gagged, with hands and feet bound. As with so many walkers we encounter on TWD, we will never know the full story of Hostage Walker, but we know it is another violent and horrible end to a person’s life. On Talking Dead, later, guests Lauren Cohan, Seth Gilliam, and Robin Lord Taylor speculated on how Hostage Walker may have reminded Maggie of Beth, as Beth was abducted in a car, as well.

maggie looks down at kidnapped walker

Maggie regards Hostage Walker for a moment, before closing the trunk on the whole situation, without bothering to rekill the walker.

maggie remorse

As she turns to go, Maggie hears the walker moving inside the car trunk, thumping against the confines of the closed, dark space. Maggie returns to the trunk, but cannot get it open. The keys are stuck. Maggie pulls out her pistol, ready to blast the lock of the trunk.

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie and stops her from shooting the lock.  When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head.  He then turns to Maggie, and gently says,

Glenn steps up, reaches a hand out to Maggie, and stops her from shooting the lock. When Maggie tells him about the walker in the trunk, Glenn steps forward, manages to get the trunk open, and rekills the walker with a knife to its head. He then turns to Maggie, and gently says, “Let’s go.”

Daryl, of course, has taken this opportunity to once again go off by himself and “take a sweep” of the woods, but has found nothing but a ravaged deer carcass and a dead body against a tree.  When he comes back, the gang is sitting at the roadside, resting. No food, no water to be had, but Abraham did find a bottle of liquor, which he cracks open and starts taking pulls from.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink.

Abraham sniffs the bottle, then takes a drink. “It’s not going to help,” Tara remarks to the others. “He knows that,” Rosita replies. Eugene adds that Abraham is a grown man, but he, Eugene, cannot imagine how things could get any worse. Eugene, Eugene, Eugene, haven’t you watched enough movies in your once-sedentary life to know that whenever you say something like that, something terrible happens?

wild dogs

Like, I don’t know…wild dogs, for instance?

sasha goes sniper on the dogs

Luckily, Sasha is there to take the dogs out, sniper-style.

wild dog for dinner

Wordlessly, Rick takes a long stick, breaks it over his thigh...looks like tonight’s dinner entree is…

...wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn't know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style?  Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy...hey, whatever it takes, you know?)

…wild dog meat. (My WD buddy texted me, How are they going to feed that to the baby? I truly didn’t know, but figured that maybe Rick could chew it up a bit and then feed it to Judith, so it would be easier to eat, Emperor penguin-style. Rick Grimes could even pull off making that look sexy…hey, at this point, whatever it takes, you know?)

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog's collars, which reads,

Noah, freaked, is not eating, and is looking over at one of the dog’s collars, which reads, “Duke.”

Sasha steps up with some more wood for the fire, and Noah tells her that her brother, Tyreese, tried to help him. Sasha looks down at Noah, who then looks up at her, says, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”

Sasha looks grimly down at the young man. “Then you won’t, she says, her face immovable.  Noah looks down at these harsh words.

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah,

Sasha softens a bit, tells Noah, “Don’t think, just eat.

gabriel takes off collar

Meanwhile, as the gang sits around, eating, Gabriel pulls his ragged priest’s collar off his shirt…

gabriel throws collar into fire

…and throws it into the fire. Without watching the collar burn, Gabriel takes another bite of meat, stares off, chewing. Maggie watches this, taking it in.

Later, Glenn is trying to get Maggie to take a drink of water. She refuses.  “Ok,” Glenn relents, on the water, anyway. “Why don’t you just talk to me?”

(Later, my WD buddy and I talked about how we were glad that Glenn was making himself available to offer support, counsel, and comfort to Maggie, even though he was going through his own doubts, and darkness.)

Maggie tells Glenn that she never thought Beth was alive, that after seeing their father, Hershel, get killed, she just…didn’t, or couldn’t, think about Beth being alive. Learning that Beth was alive, and then thinking she was going to see Beth, be reunited with her sister, and then seeing Beth, dead, in Daryl’s arms, the same day…Maggie confesses to Glenn that she doesn’t know if she can fight the darkness, any more.

Glenn tells her she can, that they must keep fighting it, that that’s who she is, who they are.  He urges Maggie to drink, and she does, taking a tiny sip from the water bottle.

Abraham walks alongside Sasha, offers her a drink from his bottle.  She refuses, saying that it’s gonna make things worse.

“The way you’re going, you’re what’s gonna make things worse,” retorts Abraham.  Sasha looks down, digesting this.  “Hey,” says Abraham. Sasha looks back up at him. “You’re among friends,” he says to her.

Sasha shoots him one of her looks. “We’re not friends,” she snaps, and walks ahead. Abraham thinks a moment, then shrugs, unconcerned, and takes another pull from the bottle.

Glenn, meanwhile, tries to offer his water bottle to Daryl, who refuses it, even at Glenn’s insistence.

“We can make it,” Glenn reminds Daryl. “But we can only make it together.”

Daryl hangs back, tells Abraham to tell the others he went looking for water.  Abraham says nothing, takes another pull from his bottle.

daryl sees the barn

In the woods, Daryl sees a barn in the distance.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

He sits against a tree, looking at the barn.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up.

Pulling out a stash of battered cigarettes and a lighter, Daryl lights one up. Poor guy’s eyes are swollen, and he looks like he’s really in a bad way.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand.

After taking a couple of long drags off the cigarette, Daryl takes the lit end and presses it into his hand, burning himself.

daryl burns hand

It’s the type of thing you could imagine Daryl doing to himself at a young age, ritualistic cutting or burning, a behavior which most often starts in the tween or teen years.

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release...

The searing pain seems to bring Daryl a much-needed release…

...as Daryl's tears finally start to flow.  Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break.

…as Daryl’s tears finally start to flow. Overhead, there is a rumble of thunder, suggesting the dry spell is about to break. It is a recurring theme in classical poetry, and prose, that tears, and rain, symbolize rebirth, and renewal.

When Daryl gets back to the gang, Rick hands him a note that was left for them, along with an offering of many bottles of water, in the road…

from a friend

“From A Friend”

water bottles

As thirsty as they are, it would be so tempting to take the risk and drink the offered water, but Rick tells the group that they can’t risk it, as they do not know who the water is from, or what their intentions are.

Eugene steps forward and grabs a bottle, saying he’ll be “quality assurance,” and is about to drink, when:

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene's hand, sending the water flying.  Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can't take the risk.

Abraham steps quickly forward and slaps the bottle right out of Eugene’s hand, sending the water flying. Eugene looks like he is about to cry, and Rick tells him, gently, that they can’t take the risk.

In that moment, the group begins to feel drops of water falling on them…it’s raining!

gabriel rain

Gabriel tearfully looks to the heavens and apologizes to the Lord, presumably for his loss of faith, burning the collar.

rain 1 rain 2 glenn rain maggie rain sasha rain daryl rainrick sees storm coming

At a loud clap of thunder, Rick stands and looks to the horizon, sees…

bad storm coming

A dark storm cloud is coming. Daryl shouts to Rick that there’s a barn nearby, and the gang all runs to take shelter there.

gang clears the barn

The gang goes through the ritual of “clearing” the barn of any walkers, or living foes…

maggie sees bible

Maggie sees a bible on top of a stack of books…

i died in a barn walker

…before opening a door to a side room and discovering the reanimated, cobwebby remains of I Died In A Barn Walker.

some people can't give up

It is unclear exactly how I Died In A Barn Walker originally died…hunger, lack of water, illness, exposure, walker bite? Maggie rekills the walker with a single spear of her knife to the walker’s skull, then remarks to Carol that the woman had a gun, which is shown, leaning up against the wall of the room.  “She could have shot herself,” Maggie wonders aloud.  Carol muses that, “Some people can’t give up,” and looking sideways at Maggie, adding, significantly, “Like us,” before walking away, leaving the young woman to process this.

Later, the gang tries to get some much-needed rest in the barn, with the sound of the rain pouring outside.

gang tries to sleep

he's gonna be ok

Huddled around a small fire, Rick looks over at this sleeping son. “He’s gonna be ok,” Carol assures him, adding that Carl, being young, will be able to bounce back sooner than any of the adults will.

Rick says that he used to feel sorry for kids who have to grow up in these times, as they will never get to experience what it feels like to have a protected, happy, carefree childhood. But, Rick says now, he wonders if he got it wrong.

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as

Rick wonders if kids growing up in these times actually have it easier, as “growing up is getting used to the world.” Daryl listens to this, in the darkness. Even before the turn, as a child, Daryl had a hellish world that he had to grow up in, to “get used to.”

Michonne speaks up.

Michonne speaks up. “This isn’t the world,” she says, simply. “This isn’t it.” Glenn looks back, into the other room, where Maggie is lying down. “It might be,” he says, quietly.

Michonne counters, “That’s giving up.” Glenn counters that that’s just being realistic. Rick says that until they see otherwise, this, what they are living, is the world they must survive in.

rick says this is what they need to live withrick talks about his grandfather

Rick then tells the group that when he was a kid, and he asked his grandfather if he ever killed any Germans in the war, his grandfather wouldn’t answer, telling young Rick that such topics were “grown-up stuff.”

When young Rick then asked his grandfather if any Germans ever tried to kill him, his grandfather got real quiet, then told his grandson that he was already “dead, as soon as he stepped into enemy territory.”

Rick’s grandfather told him that every morning, when he awoke, and had to prepare himself to go back into battle, he would tell himself, “Rest In Peace, now get up and go to war.”  

Years later, after pretending he was dead, every day of his tour in the war, Rick’s grandfather made it back home, alive.

“That’s the trick of it, I think,” Rick tells the others. “We do what we need to do, and then, we get to live.”

Rick continues, saying that no matter what they find in D.C., they will be ok, because “This is how we survive. We tell ourselves that ‘We are the walking dead.'”

Daryl and Glenn exchange looks, then Daryl asserts, softly, “We ain’t them.”

Rick tries to echo his agreement, that they are not them, the walkers… (Dude, it was a metaphor! I was just getting a little caught up in the moment…awww, c’mon dude, that’s not what I meant! Come back!)

Daryl, however, has had enough of this conversation, and he stands up, collects his things, and turns to leave, but not before turning back to Rick and the others, and saying, once more, “We ain’t them,” before walking out of the room.

Poor Rick, but hey, buddy, you tried…and I (among many others in the TWD family, I am sure) was cheering this epic speech as it was being delivered.

Personally, it made me think of all those years ago, back in 2004, when I bought the first two issues of The Walking Dead comic series (which had just come out, and was sending shockwaves, and geekgasms, throughout the entire comic book community).

The clerk at the comic book store told me, “And the name, ‘The Walking Dead,’ you don’t know if it applies to the zombies or the living human survivors.”  

Ah, memories! 🙂

Meanwhile, Daryl stalks off into another room, sees the chain barring a main set of doors has come a little loose, and the winds from the storm are blowing the doors open and closed against the chain, giving little glimpses of the raging storm outside.

Daryl puts down his crossbow and goes over to fix the chain, and sees, outside, coming fast towards the swinging doors of the barn:

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

A horde of walkers! Ahhgh!

daryl bars the door

Daryl cries out in alarm, hurriedly tightens the chain, and then presses his back against the doors, and the press of hissing, snarling walkers trying to push through.

daryl and maggie bar the door

Maggie sees Daryl, runs to help…

all the gang bars the door 2

And one by one, all the gang runs to help hold the doors steady against the crush of walkers. It is a terrifying, amazing scene, capturing the mayhem of another life and death moment in WD.

rick bars door

As the gang works together, despite their individual pain, beliefs, differences with each other, to do whatever it takes, in this moment, to survive together, Rick and Daryl exchange a long, significant look as they push against the walkers with all their might. I like to think they were like, “Dude, I’m sorry for the weirdness back there…I didn’t mean it! I love you, man!”

all the gang bars the door

The next shot, it’s morning…

maggie awake

As Maggie opens her eyes, it seems she may be thinking (along with the viewers), “Was that all a dream, last night?”

Maggie looks into Baby Judith's sweet face.  The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer...Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie looks into Baby Judith’s sweet face. The baby is awake, but seems to know to let her dad sleep a little longer…Rick, once again, is looking like the hottest single dad ever, sleeping, holding his baby girl.

Maggie stands up, looks around at the others, sleeping in the barn.  She then sees Daryl, who is sitting awake, against the far wall.  It seems like he has stayed up, keeping watch as the others slept.

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl.  She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him,

Maggie goes over and sits down next to Daryl. She gently urges him to get some sleep, tells him, “You can rest now.”

They look over towards Sasha’s sleeping form, and Daryl says, of Tyreese, “He was tough.”

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds,

Looking over at Maggie, Daryl adds, “She was tough, too. She didn’t know it, but she was.” This brings a smile to Maggie’s face, and they share a moment, remembering Beth.

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply,

Daryl then hands Maggie the music box, saying, simply, “The gear box had some grit in it.” It is easy to imagine Daryl, keeping watch, cleaning and fixing the music box while the others slept. How we love thee, Daryl Dixon!

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha.

Maggie thanks Daryl, smiling sweetly at him, and then gets up, music box in hand, and goes over to wake up Sasha. “C’mon,” she whispers, and Sasha gets up to follow Maggie, as Daryl prepares to get some sleep.

walkers in the tree

As Maggie and Sasha step outside, they are greeted by an incredible sight. All around the barn, tall pines are felled by the fearsome storm of the night before, spearing and pinning the walker herd helpless, but miraculously missing the barn, which would have been crushed under the huge old trees.

god saved the gang

As the girls look around in wonderment, it seems that Maggie may be rethinking her faith in God…the recent events certainly make a strong case for some benevolent, divine intervention.

the dawn of a new day

It’s the dawn of a new day.

sasha and maggie sunrise

Sasha and Maggie sit down, take in the beauty of the sunrise. “Why are we here?” asks Sasha. “For this,” Maggie replies. It sounds like the answer her father, Hershel, would have given.

the psoams

Sasha and Maggie, the PSOAM’s (Post Apocalyptic Sisters On A Mission), look out at the sunrise. Sasha begins talking, says that Noah had told her that he didn’t think we could make it. “That’s how I feel,” Sasha confesses to Maggie. Maggie tells her that she, Sasha, is going to make it. “We both will,” says Maggie. “That’s the hard part.”

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box.

Maggie then reaches into her bag, and pulls out the music box. “Daryl fixed it,” she tells Sasha, but when Maggie tries to wind it up…nothing. The music box stays silent, the tiny ballerina doesn’t move.

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans,

Maggie stares down at the dead music box, pans, “You gotta be kidding me.” The PSOAM’s share a laugh at the absurdity of it all…

...as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment.

…as some well-kempt, preppy dude comes onto the scene, interrupting their giggle moment. “Um, hello, excuse me…”

psoams aint playing

The PSOAM’s ain’t playing. They immediately leap up to their feet, weapons drawn. The stranger cautiously approaches, hands up, introduces himself as “Aaron,” says he is a “friend.” Aaron tells the girls that he would like to talk to the leader of the group…Rick, right?

aaron comes on the scene 2

Maggie starts to ask, “How-?” and Sasha cuts in, asks, “Why?” Aaron smiles, says he has some “good news.”

aaron says he has good news

Who the hell is this guy? And how does he know Rick’s name?

music box working now

And suddenly, the music box kicks on, starting to play its bright, tinkly music as the tiny ballerina twirls around and around.

Well, darlings, if God is indeed having a hand in all this, one thing is clear…God has a really crazy sense of humor!

Deadies this week go to our three walking wounded soldiers: Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green).

Playlist:

Lightning Bolt, “Ride The Sky”

Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ In The Wind”

Phantogram, “Turning Into Stone”

City and Colour, “Sleeping Sickness”

Georgiana Starlington, “Dry As A Bone” (currently not available on Spotify, but great track if you can find it…I’ll keep checking in to get it directly to readers if and when I can…perfect for this episode)

Tori Amos, “God”

Aaliyah ft. Missy Elliot, “Best Friend” ( for the PSOAM‘s, Maggie and Sasha)

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 7, “Crossed”

Prologue

On Saturday, as I was cleaning up the dishes from Saturday Second Breakfast, I got a text from my WD buddy: Dude, I’m so worried we are gonna lose Carol.

Upon reading these words, I felt my breakfast twist into a hard lump inside my stomach…it was like a ball of hot pain, a sick, sick feeling…I texted my WD buddy: I just got a sick feeling in my stomach, reading this.

She texted back: I can’t stop thinking about it.

Try as I might, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, either.  While I was riding the high of such an incredible episode as last week’s “Consumed,” I couldn’t shake the horrible, nagging feeling that it had pretty much all the elements of a Carol Swan Song to it, and that the possibility was real that we may lose Carol, or Beth, or other beloved characters, come the mid-season finale of Season 5. 

Now, I don’t know what’s coming, people. I merely abide by the Law of Kirkman:  We cannot control the Mind of KirkmanKirkman does as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions.  It’s nothing personal…it’s how he do. 

I can only speculate…and ruminate (for hours, days)…and obsess.  I, like you all, am merely a puppet on Kirkman’s strings.  Kirkman is the Puppet Master, and we are his puppets, and Gimple, Nicotero, and the WD cast and crew are like Kirkman’s Army, with each general, officer, technical wizard and soldier carefully chosen, trained, and armed to kick our TWD loving asses in a way that we will never, ever forget, no matter how long we live on this earth.

I, like you, can only do so much to try to prepare for the inevitable, the point where we start to lose people in our core group as The Walking Dead’s Season 5, and the storyline beyond Season 5, progress.

My personal survival methodology includes (but is not limited to) the following:  spending 8-12 + hours writing each week’s insane tweaker blog post; keeping my pharmacopeia of coping mechanisms stocked, cocked, and ready (within arm’s reach, whenever possible); and establishing a loyal, true, and similarly Walking Dead Obsessed friend to be my Daryl Partner (my WD buddy, of course…she solemnly swore to be my Daryl Partner, and I solemnly swore to be hers, and so we are bonded for life).

(For more on Daryl Partners, please refer to my Season 4, mid-season prepost, “What Happens ‘After?'”, which can be found in the archives section, February 2014.)

One other thing I know is that Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha, is pregnant, 8 months along at the time of this writing.  I first discovered this on Instagram, when Lauren Cohan posted a picture of Sonequa Martin-Green holding up a onesie that said something like, “Zombies, please…my Mommy’s got this!” 

Doesn’t exactly look great for Sasha’s longevity prospects as a character on The Walking Dead, unless they are able to work around it, and she gives birth during the filming break, and is ready to get back to work ASAP…they did such a good job hiding her pregnancy during Season 5 so far, who knows?  It seems that with the TWD cast and crew, anything’s possible!

(BTWSonequa Martin-Green was one of the guests on Talking Dead after the airing of “Crossed,”  looking very glowing and happy, beautiful and healthy, so whatever happens to Sasha with the mid-season finale, I think this beautiful mom-to-be is going to be just fine with the outcome!)

Norman Reedus said in an interview that he had to go off and have a good cry for about an hour before he was able to film the mid-season finale…sounds pretty intense.  We are going to lose at least one, or more people in the mid-season finale, so I would recommend that you get yourself a Daryl Partner, get some coping mechanisms ready, and keep reminding yourself that while the shit may go down on our favorite show, and while we may lose some beloved characters as the storyline progresses, we all must remember that this is a show. It’s not real, as much as some of us out there say they wish it were.  I am not one of them. I enjoy warmth, and creature comforts, and being alive, thanks.

So, while our show does feel so real to us WD obsessed fans (because we love it, and our gang, so much), and while some of our beloved characters may get killed off, the actors who play them will remain alive, well, and rich off the royalties that The Walking Dead will generate for the rest of their lives…and I say amen, and hallelujah, to that!

______________________________________________

“Crossed”

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

To me, watching “Crossed” was like watching a beloved football team go in to play one of the biggest games of the season, the one with the highest stakes, and watching them lose it all, with one big epic fail after another…bad calls, false starts, fumbles, interceptions, dropping balls in the end zone, and in the end, a missed field goal to seal the win for the opposing team.  A crushing defeat, really hard to watch.

I can’t be mad at them, our team, our gang, for losing this round. They have been through so much, all on little to no sleep, food, or respite or any kind…they got, like, one night’s rest in a creepy priest’s cursed church after hacking the enemy camp to bits on the altar. I mean, damn. But, while I can’t be mad, I also can’t get my heart into recapping the whole mess, play by play, and reliving it all over again.

I just…cannot.  Besides, it’s Thanksgiving week in this part of the world, and the kids are off of school all week, and we are travelling to visit family. So due to time constraints, and due to the fact that there are just some things I cannot bring myself to do, I am going to get right to the heart of the matter, here.  I am going to center this post around Three Burning Questions, and Two Statements that are searing a hole in my heart after watching, “Crossed.”

(P.S.  Of course, I said all this, and then recapped the shit out of “Crossed” anyway…apparently, it’s a compulsion.)

Burning Question #1:  Why does anyone question Rick Grimes anymore?

The man had a diagram, people. He had a plan. “At sundown, we fire a shot into the air…get two of them out on patrol.  Then, once it’s dark enough that the rooftop spotter won’t see us, we go…cut the locks to one of the stairways, take it to the fifth floor,,,I open the door, Daryl takes one of the guards out…”

At Tyrese’s question, “How?”  Rick has a ready answer. “He slits his throat. This is all about us doing this quiet, keeping the upper hand…from there, we fan out, knives and silenced weapons. We need to be fast.”

Rick continues, marking the diagram he has scratched with chalk into the ground, assigning Tyrese, Sasha, Daryl to their areas, while he, Rick, takes out Dawn Lerner.

Rick adds, “If they’re smart, they’ll give up,”  as the gang will outnumber them then, five on three, six on three, once Beth gets a gun.  

Noah adds that their numbers would go up to 12 on 3 once the wards got wind of what was going down. They want out, and as Noah says, with confidence, “They will help.”

Um, sounds good to me!

Tyrese, however, has doubts. “That’s best case scenario…what’s worst case? All it takes is one of those cops going down the hall at the wrong time, then it’s not quiet…all hands on deck…you’re talking about a lot of bullets flying around.”

Sasha, who is in the throes of grief, and who couldn’t really give a fuck, says, “If that’s what it takes…”

Tyrese disagrees, says it isn’t, and proposes The Worst Plan B, Ever…if the gang gets two of Dawn Lerner’s cops, then the gang can wrangle an even trade, the two cops for Beth and Carol, “theirs for ours.”

Oh, yeah, that always works, especially in these times… Did Terminus teach you nothing, people? People are super fucked up now, and they don’t play by the rules…the only rule that seems to apply, in these dire times, is kill or be killed.

In these times, the ones that have the upper hand, and the element of surprise, win the battle.  And a battle is all it takes, in this scenario: get rid of the threat, get your people, get a working vehicle, and get the fuck out of Atlanta, grab up Michonne and the kids at the church, then go north, and find the rest of the crew.

Rick, however, is being a good leader, and a hot leader, as always, and deferring to his people, giving props and recognition where they are due.

He acknowledges that while Tyrese’s plan could work, his plan, with the element of surprise, and eliminating most of the threat, will work.

Rick Grimes was a deputy, and he’s done this before, professionally, before any of this zombie apocalypse shit started going down, and he, Rick Grimes, is a huge reason why many of them are still alive, this day, standing around and making this plan...just sayin’!

And this is Beth and Carol we are talking about…the stakes are too high to fuck this one up. Rick owes Carol big time, and these are Daryl’s special ladies. Do we really want to leave it all up to the generosity of Dawn Lerner and her Douchesquad, their willingness to negotiate a trade?

And, are we really naive enough to think that Dawn and her Douchesquad are going to just let the gang go, to let them drive off with Beth (their prize virginal blond ward, who happens to be Dawn’s pet nemesis) and Carol without as much as a post-apocalyptic police chase through the decaying city of Atlanta?

They have cars, they know the terrain like the back of their hands, and they could give chase, shoot out the tires of the gang’s getaway truck, injure or kill peeps in a bloody shootout. Any of these dire scenarios would certainly attract walkers to the scene and incite a real and added threat to an already cagey situation.

So. the way I see it, Tyrese’s Plan B is not the better plan, as it has way more sketchy variables than the chance of a stray cop in a hallway where he/she isn’t supposed to be. Rick Grimes’ plan of slitting some throats and taking out some crooked cops on the DL, then overtaking the hospital, is the way better plan, overall.

But, then Daryl speaks up…and sides with Tyrese.

Nah, it’ll work, too,” Daryl says of Tyrese’s Plan B, to Rick’s shock and stupefaction (and mine, quite frankly).

Daryl maintains that if they take two of Dawn’s cops away, then what does she have? He thinks Tyrese’s plan will work.

Rick’s look says it all, and the bottom of my stomach fell out at this. Right from the start, it sounded like The Worst Plan B, Ever.  And, as it turns out, it was The. Worst. Plan B. Ever.

Et tu, Daryl?

Et tu, Daryl?

Even Tyrese is like,

Even Tyrese looks over at Rick, like, “Uh oh…”

Rick in Charge is like,

Rick in Charge seems to be thinking, “Well, if that’s the way it’s gonna be…I was gonna ask you if you wanted to be blood brothers, Daryl Dixon, but now, fuck that.

Operation Plan B: Epic Fail all goes down like this:

At first, it was all going pretty well. Shepherd and Lamson, the two officers of Dawn Lerner’s Douchesquad assigned to investigate the gunshot, come speeding up in one of the Grady Memorialmobiles to some industrial looking building…at the sound of another gunshot, they find Noah, who is acting as bait, making a show of trying to limp away, but they swerve the car around, lightly clipping him and knocking him to the ground.

As Lamson, the dude cop, zip ties Noah’s hands behind him, he gently tells Noah to tell him if the zip tie’s too tight, then looks around, asks where the “rotters” are that Noah was shooting at. A whistle sings out, and the cops look up and find themselves surrounded, at gunpoint, by Rick, Daryl, Tyrese, and Sasha.

Looking majorly fine, Deputy Rick Grimes talks the cops down, telling them weapons down, hands up,

rick talks bad cops down

Looking majorly fine, Deputy Rick Grimes talks the cops down, telling them weapons down, hands up, “we don’t want to hurt you.”

After a moment, Lamson says “Ok,” puts his hands up, and soon, both cops are kneeling. Rick tells them, softly, that they need to talk…offers them water, food if they need it.

Lamson addresses Rick, “Mind if I ask you something?”

“The way you talk…the way you carry yourself...you a cop? Believe it or not, I was too…”

Lawson, you may be a glorified Grady Memorial Mall Cop...

Lamson, Lamson, Lamson… you may be a glorified Grady Memorial Mall Cop…

...but Deputy Rick Grimes is a beautiful hero. No comparison, son.

…but Deputy Rick Grimes is a beautiful hero. No comparison, Lame-son.

Noah murmurs to Rick that Lamson looked out for him and the wards. “He’s one of the good ones,” Noah tells Rick.

It seems Lamson’s shameless cop-stroking buys the crooked cops a moment of distraction, because right at that moment…

...another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene.

…another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene…

Daryl looking fine firing at the GM CreepMobile...

Daryl looking majorly fine firing at the GM CreepMobile…but not getting much done to stop that car.

Rick Blast! stands right in the car's path, firing at it...unfortunately, the windows seem to be bulletproof, and the gang must scramble out of the way, hide behind a dumpster.

Rick Blast! stands right in the car’s path, firing at it…unfortunately, the windows seem to be bulletproof, and the gang must scramble out of the way, take cover behind a dumpster.

Tyrese manages to shoot out a side window of the car, and an exchange of bullets ensues. The two captive cops manage to dive into the car, and their buddy, Officer Baldy, is firing back at Rick and the gang as the car speeds around a corner. The car almost gets away, but not before Sasha puts a well-aimed bullet into one of the car’s tires.

Yeah, Sasha, that’s what I’m talking about!

The gang chases the car around the corner of the building…they see the GM CreepMobile stopped in its tracks, a walker’s arm twisted up in the front wheel.  Above them, spray painted on a water tower, is the message “Evac Here,” and a blasted out FEMA trailer is alongside it.  On the ground, melted and seared into the asphalt, are the Napalm Walkers…

The Napalm Walkers are  all that remain of the poor people who had not yet made it out of Atlanta before it was bombed, napalmed...

The Napalm Walkers are all that remain of the poor people who had not yet made it out of Atlanta before it was bombed, napalmed…

...and this is where they have been, reanimated, melted into the asphalt, stuck and snapping, the whole time since the bombing.

…and this is where they have been, reanimated, melted into the asphalt, stuck and snapping, the whole time since the bombing. Gruesomely goretastic genius from Crazy Uncle Greg Nicotero & Co.

As the others pursue Lamson and Shepherd, who are on the lam, Daryl stays back and sleuths out where Officer Baldy is hiding.

Hmmm. not in the stalled CreepMobile, not in the FEMA trailer…

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl...

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl

...and it's a close call for Daryl, a couple of times, as Officer Baldy tries to shove him into the snapping Naplam Walkers...

…and it’s a close call for Daryl, a couple of times, as Officer Baldy tries to shove him into the snapping Naplam Walkers

In a moment of goretastic ingenuity, Daryl grabs a walker's skull like a bowling ball and smashes it against Officer Baldy's head.

In a moment of goretastic ingenuity, Daryl grabs a walker’s skull like a bowling ball and smashes it against Officer Baldy’s head.

A click of a gun, and Officer Baldy looks up to see Rick Smash! holding a gun to his head...cue the Rick Smash! Bear McCreary theme music, dark and pulsing...Rick Smash! wants to SMASH!

A click of a gun, and Officer Baldy looks up to see Rick Smash! holding a gun to his head…cue the Rick Smash! Bear McCreary theme music, dark and pulsing… Rick Smash! wants to SMASH!

Daryl knows that look...says No Smash, Smash bad, Rick Smash!

Daryl knows that look…says “No smash, smash bad, Rick Smash!”

Rick…three’s better than two.”  (Damn, good point, Daryl, but I think I speak for all of us on Team Rick when I say, Let Rick Smash! SMASH!“)

The gang brings the cops into a large room inside the industrial building, and Shepherd, the female cop, tries to tell them that their plan to trade would work if they had different cops to trade.

Shepherd, Lamson, and Officer Baldy are on Dawn Lerner’s shitlist, supposedly, as she knows that they want to replace her, Dawn Lerner, with Lamson, and have him be in charge.  Shepherd suggests that they let the cops go, who will deal with Dawn Lerner themselves, and then will let their people go.

Lamson interrupts this, saying that they’re not going to do that…he proposes that Rick and the gang let him, Lamson, talk to Dawn, as he has known her for eight years, and knows how to talk to her.  Lamson seems to be taking a page from Deputy Rick Grimes’ book of copspeak when he says, softly, reasonably, “Let me help you.”

A little later, after Tyrese and Sasha share a brother/sister moment among the Napalm Walkers...

A little later, after Tyrese and Sasha share a brother/sister moment among the Napalm Walkers…

...Lamson is cop-stroking Rick, hard, tells him that while Dawn Lerner says she won't negotiate or compromise, she will, she always does.

Lamson is cop-stroking Rick, hard, tells him that while Dawn Lerner says she won’t negotiate or compromise, she will, she always does. “Just know who you’re talking to.” (Good advice, Rick Grimes, straight from the devil’s mouth.)

My WD buddy is so cute, she sent me this email after rewatching this episode:

I just watched the episode again and I just want to reiterate how Rick Grimes would have known that cop was full of shit. He wouldn’t have trusted him like that.  The writers did not do him justice with that. And they are wrong. 

Ha! How cute is that?  I replied:

I fully agree! But, they are tired, been through a lot, and that cop was Cop-Stroking Rick…been awhile since someone recognized, and the group wasn’t giving him the love he deserved, so he was susceptible to flattery!

(See what happens when you hold back the love, people?  Don’t hold back the love!  It messes your people up!)

Rick, who is love-starved in the moment, and who was not allowed to smash, earlier, isn’t thinking straight, so he even tells Lamson the full timetable, that they’re going to leave in about 10 minutes, offering him whatever he needs, before they go.

Rick even does Lamson a solid and thanks him, refers to him as “Sergeant Lamson,” telling Lamson, “You’re still a cop.”  Lamson can’t bring himself to agree, saying, “Naw, the real ones are all gone.”

You are so wrong about that one, Lamson...there is one real cop, a real hot cop, and his name is Deputy Rick Grimes.

You are so wrong about that one, Lamson, and about many things...there is one real cop, a real hot cop, and his name is Deputy Rick Grimes. ❤

Lamson adds that his name is “Bob,” which sends Sasha’s head whirling around. Rick nods to her, and stands up to leave.

Which brings me to Burning Question #2: What the hell, Sasha?

Sasha, who is love-starved, and messed up, herself, is not her usual saavy sister self in the moment, and she plays into Lamson’s theatrics like a total rookie…like a Gabriel.

At his sighed, “Dammit,” she comes over to him, looks down questioningly.  He tells her he’ll be ok, and she replies, “So will I.”  

Uh, oh. Bonding with the enemy. Bad. Very bad.

Lamson, who knows he’s in at this point, lays it on thick about how he recognized one of the “rotters” out there, napalmed to the asphalt…a fellow officer, Tyler, who was on the team to evacuate survivors out of the hospital before the bombing, and who got assigned by Dawn Lerner at the last minute to drive the last van of survivors out of the city, replacing Lamson as the driver.

As Sasha pulls up a concrete block and sits beside Lamson, she practically cuts his zip ties and hands him her assault rifle.

As Sasha pulls up a concrete block and sits beside Lamson, she practically cuts his zip ties and hands him her assault rifle. Sasha, girl, you’re killing me here.

Lamson tells Sasha that Dawn Lerner made the change because she wanted “someone she could really trust” to do the job, and Lamson says that seeing Tyler out there, stuck to the asphalt like “an endless joke,” made him realize that it could have been him, and feel helpless, because “there’s nothing I can do.”  

Wah, wah, cry me a river of crocodile tears, Lame-son.

“Let me help you,” Sasha offers, and that line is a recurring one through this episode…there are people in these times who will say it to trick you, and people who will say it sincerely, in a real offer of help.

How can one know who to trust, in these times? Continue reading

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 6, “Consumed”

“Consumed”

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

The opening scene of The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 6“Consumed”  takes us back to Season 4’s “Indifference,” in the moments right after Rick banishes Carol from the prison community for her decision to preemptively kill Karen and David, who were sick with the Explodey Flu (which bore frightening similarities to Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in a misguided, one-woman effort of staunch the spread of the disease throughout the prison community. We see a close up of Carol’s shell-shocked face, as she starts the car, a parting gift that Rick has given her, and begins to drive off, alone.

Carol driving, shellshocked

Rick watches Carol drive off

While Carol does not look Rick’s way as she drives past him, Rick stands and watches her drive away, his hand working at his side, seemingly conflicted.

Set to the haunting “Bad Blood,” by Alison Mosshart & Erick Arjes, the sequence shows us the final banishment scene from Carol’s perspective.  We see, for the first time, Carol’s isolation and anguish at being cast out of her community, and it is truly wrenching to watch. We WD fans have gotten so used to seeing Carol the way she is around others, fronting tough and rarely letting anybody see her cry, or lose her composure. But alone, in the car, when she gets far enough down the road, away from Rick, Carol pulls the car over and dissolves into tears.

While I was initally totally creeped out by Carol's killing spree back in Season 4, it was clear to me, watching this scene, that she was really feeling the pain and regret of her actions.

While I was initally totally creeped out by Carol’s killing spree back in Season 4, it was clear to me, watching this scene, that she was really feeling the pain and regret of her actions.

Poor Carol!

Poor Carol!

Carol's much needed cry is soon rudely interrupted by Snoopy Walker, who snarls and flails at the car window, trying to get to her.  She screams at Snoopy Walker to leave her alone, before peeling off down the road.

Carol’s much-needed cry is soon rudely interrupted by Smack It Up Walker, who snarls, flails, and smacks its arm at the car window, trying to get to her. She screams at the walker to leave her alone, before peeling off down the road, leaving Smack It Up Walker to lurch and weave crookedly down the road, in her dust.

We see Carol pull up in front of a law office building that looks secure, windows intact.

Next, we see Carol pull up in front of a law office building that looks secure, windows intact.

After Carol clears the office and sets up camp inside, she beds down for the night on a couch in the office.

After Carol clears the office and sets up camp inside, she beds down for the night on a couch in the office.

But Carol cannot get right to sleep, and we see her thinking, processing in the darkness.

But Carol cannot get right to sleep, and we see her thinking, eyes open, processing in the darkness.

The next day, as Carol assembles a rain catcher out the window, she sees a black plume of smoke  in the horizon...it is coming from the direction of the prison.  After a moment's hesitation, Carol rushes out of  the office...

The next day, as Carol assembles a rain catcher out the window, she sees a black plume of smoke in the horizon…it is coming from the direction of the prison. After a moment’s hesitation, Carol rushes out of the office…

...and the final image, before the opening title sequence, shows Carol staring in openmouthed horror as the prison goes up in flames.

…and the final image, before the opening title sequence, shows Carol staring in openmouthed horror as the prison goes up in flames.

During the commercial break, my WD buddy and I topped off our mimosas with some more champagne and shared our thoughts on this opening.  We agreed that neither of us really expected, as the viewer, to be taken back that far, to see firsthand, flashes of Carol’s experience and process.  We also agreed that it was a fitting, powerful, and effective way to begin this episode.

I personally needed to see, and feel, things from Carol’s side…we all did, I think..  I love that this episode, “Consumed,” delves more deeply into both Carol and Daryl’s psyche…they both have developed their tough exteriors and their game faces, but it’s time for us to get a deeper insight into both of these two beloved and iconic characters.

In the next scene, it’s night.  We see a lone woman walker on the side of the road. and at the sight of headlights approaching, the walker walks into the road, just as one of the black cars from Grady Memorial speeds past, clipping the walker and sending her face down into the asphalt.

road kill walker

“Hey, watch where you’re going, asshole!”

We hear Carol’s voice, asking Daryl, “So it was just you and Beth, after?”

“Yeah,” replies Daryl.

“You saved her?” Carol asks him.

“She’s tough…she saved herself,” Daryl says. He continues, “We were out there for a while…we were cornered…she got out in front of me…and, I dunno, she’s gone.” Daryl tells Carol about how he saw a black car, with a cross painted in the back window, pull away at the moment of Beth’s disappearance. “Just like that one,” Carol says, referring to the black car they are currently following in Carol’s almost-getaway car, the one she found on the side of the road.   Before they jumped in and began tailing the black car, Daryl quickly smashed the headlights of the Carol car, so they are hanging back, and travelling in darkness, and remaining undetected by the car from Grady Memorial as it speeds along the road.

As they talk, Daryl mows down the walker in the road, not slowing down, flattening the walker’s head into the asphalt.

Road Kill Walker, another hit-and-run casualty.

Road Kill Walker, just another hit-and-run casualty.

Excellent to see you again, fine sir.

Excellent to see you again, fine sir…

New Carol riding shotgun.

…with New Carol riding shotgun.

Daryl remarks that the others are going to wonder where they’re at, and the tank’s getting low…New Carol’s take on it is pretty awesome, in my opinion…she suggests they “end it quick, just run them off the road.”  Daryl replies that they’ll be good for a bit, and New Carol replies that they can find out where Beth is, just “get it out of the driver.” Ha!  In the end, they go with Daryl’s plan, but man, would I have loved to see New Carol’s method for “getting it out of” two members of Dawn Lerner’s Douchesquad.

(And, in retrospect, maybe they should have gone with New Carol’s idea…but then, they may not have run into Noah…and, love him or hate him at this point, I believe Noah is going to be a significant part of whatever comes down the line.)

Daryl, however, has a good take as well…the driver may not talk, and right now, they have the advantage, as the black car does not know they are being followed. Daryl suggests they see who these people are, see if they’re a group, scope it out, and figure out what they’ll need to do to get Beth back.  Carol sees that the black car is going north, on I-85…

...towards Atlanta.

…towards Atlanta.

Daryl and Carol follow the black car into the city, and on a lonely street, the black car stops…and Daryl and Carol kill the engine, a block behind…and wait.

Daryl and Carol pull up behind black car

After a long moment, they see a figure emerge from the shotgun side.

After a long moment, they see a figure emerge from the shotgun side. “There are two of them, ” Daryl says, and then, upon closer inspection, “Is that a cop?” The cop turns to look in their direction for a moment before disappearing down a side street.

As they watch, and wait, Carol and Daryl are surprised by an unexpected, and unwelcome, visitor...

As they watch, and wait, Carol and Daryl are surprised by an unexpected, and unwelcome, visitor…Lemme At ‘Em Walker.

The cop returns to the black car, after dragging a couple of bodies, seemingly, out of the road, clearing the black car’s way.  He turns and looks over at Daryl and Carol’s car, as Lemme At ‘Em Walker paws and hisses as the car’s window…after a moment, the cop gets back into the black car, and it starts, makes a right turn down the side road.  Daryl tries to start their car, but the tank’s out of gas..At the sound of more walkers approaching, Daryl says they need to get out of there and find a place to hole up…Carol tells him she knows a place just a couple of blocks away, that they can make it there.

Carol rolls down the car windwo and easily dispatches Lemme At 'Em Walker.

Carol rolls down the car window and easily dispatches Lemme At ‘Em Walker.

Carol stands watch, rekilling walkers as they approach the two, as Daryl jimmies the lock of the back gate, leading into the rear entrance of the law firm.

At the office building’s rear entrance, Carol stands watch, rekilling walkers as they approach , as Daryl jimmies the lock of the back gate.

As Carol steps up to take care of

As Carol steps up to take care of “two more,” Daryl gets the lock open, and just in time…

...as the street begins to fill with a swarm of ATL Walkers of the Night.

…as the street begins to fill with a swarm of ATL Street Walkers. Daryl and Carol duck behind the tall wooden door, closing it quickly before being seen by the savage, hissing swarm.

Once inside the building, Daryl takes a ring of keys from the dead janitor’s belt and opens the door to the office.  He asks Carol, “You used to work here or somethin’?”

“Something…” Carol replies. As they move through the rooms, unlocking doors as they go from the janitor’s key ring, they come to a small room that has bunk beds, and a desk, with a large book resting on top of it…

Treating Survivors of Childhood Abuse

Daryl follows Carol into the room, shining the flashlight around, taking it all in.  “What is this place?” he asks.  “Temporary housing,” replies Carol.

Daryl looks down at the book, asks Carol, with a hitch in his voice,

Daryl looks down at the book, asks Carol, with a hitch in his voice, “You came here?”

“We didn’t stay,” replies Carol. As Daryl shucks off his crossbow, bag, and jacket (Yes! Take it off! Take it off!), Carol goes over the bunk beds, tells Daryl she’ll take the top bunk, as the bottom bunk seems “more your style.”  As she moves over to the window, she tells Daryl to get some sleep, that she’ll take “first watch.” Daryl points out that the place is locked up pretty tight…

Carol, girl, if you really must keep this

Carol, girl, if you really must keep this “hard to get” thing going, then you had better stay turned around and keep your eyes out that window, because if you did turn and take a look at what’s going on behind you, right now, you would not be able to resist it…I mean, damn.

Daryl looks at Carol’s back, says, “I’m good, then…” leaves it open, a little question at the end…(Me and my WD buddy were perched on the edge of our seats, gulping mimosas at this point…I mean, OMG, weren’t you just dying, watching this?)

Carol does turn, for a moment, sneaks a peek (right, Carol, what did I tell you? He’s putting it out there, so now all you gotta do is put one boot in front of the other, walk over to him, and get it, girl! You know you want to!)

After sneaking a peek, Carol’s voice falters a bit as she assures him she’s ok, she’ll take first watch, it’s fine.

“Suit yourself,” Daryl says

Goddamn, Carol, if that's the way you're going to be about it, then I, for one, am going to suit myself and take a nice long look at the view...and I'm not talking about whatever's going on outside that window...

Goddamn, Carol, if that’s the way you’re going to be about it, then I, for one, am going to suit myself and take a nice long look at the view…and I’m not talking about whatever sad shit’s going on outside that window…

daryl love bunk 2

Mmmm hmmm…

daryl love bunk 3

…yep.

Sigh.

So, uh, how’s the view out that window, Carol?

Carol’s resolve begins to weaken…

Without taking her eyes off the window, Carol asks Daryl,

Without taking her eyes off the window, Carol asks Daryl, “So…we get to start over?” echoing his words to her at the car, before…

Daryl says, softly,

Daryl says, softly, “Yeah,” and Carol finally turns, looks at him. “Did you?” she asks him, meaning, I think, did you start over, when you were with Beth? Daryl looks away for a moment, then replies…

“I’m tryin’.”

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy and I were freaking the fuck out (quietly, you know, so as not to wake the children), guzzling mimosas.to quench our suddenly parched throats…was it getting super hot in here, or what?

As Carol weighs all this, still at the window, Daryl says,

As Carol weighs all this, still at the window, Daryl says, “Just say what’s really on your mind.”

Carol tells Daryl that, “I don’t think we get to save people anymore.” After a moment, Daryl asks her, “Why are you here?”

Carol turns to Daryl, tells him,

Carol turns to Daryl, echoes his own words back to him, “I’m trying.”

Carol (finally!) goes over to the bunk, lies down next to Daryl.

Finally, Carol goes over to the bunk, lies down next to Daryl…

But before Daryl lies back and joins her, he has a question to ask...back at the car, if he hadn't come, what would have happened...the unfinished question hangs in the air...would she have left?

But before Daryl lies back and joins her, he has a question of his own…back at the car, if he hadn’t come, what would have happened? The unfinished question hangs in the air…would she have left?

Carol truthfully admits that she still doesn't know...Daryl lies back next to her, and they look up at the top bunk, not touching, not speaking...it's like Pee Wee Herman said,

Carol truthfully admits that she still doesn’t know…Daryl lies back next to her, and they each look up at the top bunk, not touching, not speaking...it’s like Pee Wee Herman said, “Everyone I know has a big ‘but’…”

Suddenly, a loud thud interrupts their reverie...Carol and Daryl jump up, grab their weapons, and stealth down the hallway...

Suddenly, a loud thud interrupts their reverie…Carol and Daryl jump up, grab their weapons, and stealth down the hallway…

...and see a heartbreaking sight...in one of the temporary housing units, a mother and child, both now walkers, bang and paw at the glass...Walkers Interruptus.

…and what they find is heartbreaking…in one of the temporary housing units, a mother and child, both now walkers, bang and paw at the glass…Walkers Interruptus.

Daryl and Carol silently register the import of this awful sight. (Cried every time I watched this scene...this shit is why I drink, people.)

Daryl and Carol silently register the import of this awful sight. (Cried every time I watched this scene…this shit is why I drink, people.)

Carol automatically goes to the door, so used to having to be the one to take care of things like this, these days...Daryl stops her, tells her she doesn't have to do this...

Carol automatically goes to the door, so used to having to be the one to take care of things like this, these days…Daryl stops her, tells her she doesn’t have to do this…

Carol turns and heads back to the little room with the bunk beds, troubled, and finally gets some sleep.

Carol turns and heads back to the little room with the bunk beds, looking beautiful as she processes all this,  and finally falls into a troubled sleep.

The next morning, Carol awakes, sees smoke billowing outside the window.  She goes to the window, and what she sees brings her to tears...

The next morning, Carol awakes, sees smoke billowing outside the window. She goes to the window, and what she sees brings her to tears…

...Daryl has built a funeral pyre and is carrying the child's shrouded body to the fire...

…Daryl has built a funeral pyre and is carrying the child’s shrouded body to the fire…

Carol comes and stands beside Daryl.  They watch the bodies of the mother and child burn for a moment, then Carol turns to Daryl and says,

Carol comes and stands beside Daryl. They watch the bodies of the mother and child burn for a moment, then Carol turns to Daryl and says, “Thank you.”

So, while we WD fans didn’t quite get the Daryl/Carol night we were hoping for in the bottom bunk, we got something else…something a little more real, a little more gut-wrenching, a little more poignant and beautiful…to paraphrase a Tweet that one WD fan sent to Talking Dead, later, who knew that burning bodies could be such a romantic gesture?  Daryl Dixon, such a beautiful, sweet, tough and tender man…how we love him!

Heart of gold, that one.

Later, Carol is having a flashback of she and Tyrese burying the bodies of Lizzy and Mika, as she and Daryl pack up their things.  Daryl says that it looked like the black car was headed downtown, and that they should get high up in one of the tall buildings, get a good look around, see what they see.  Carol agrees, saying that if they stay close to the buildings, stay quiet, and wait, it will be just a matter of time before they see something that will give them some more information, or a location.

Daryl and Carol keep close to the sides of the buildings, running quietly through the streets of Atlanta.  Hug the shadows, hug the shadows, Daryl and Carol!

Daryl and Carol keep close to the sides of the buildings, running quietly through the streets of Atlanta. Hug the shadows, Daryl and Carol!

Daryls sees a promising building that has a bridge walkway leading into it...between them and the buidling, however, is a street full of milling walkers.

Daryl sees a promising building that has a bridge walkway leading into it…between them and the building, however, is a street full of milling walkers.

Ever handy, ever resourceful, Daryl sets a legal pad on fire and tosses it out into the street...

Ever handy, ever resourceful, Daryl sets a legal pad on fire and tosses it out into the street…

As the walkers lurch over to the flame, Daryl and Carol sneak past them, into a parking garage, where Daryl easily takes down a stray walker.  Otherwise, all clear...except, as Daryl and Carol slip through the door to the walkway bridge, we see a brief glimpse of a dark, quickly moving figure in the background of the parking garage.

As the walkers lurch over to the flame, Daryl and Carol sneak past them, into a parking garage, where Daryl easily takes down a stray walker. Otherwise, all clear…except, as Daryl and Carol slip through the door to the walkway bridge, we see a brief glimpse of a dark, quickly moving figure in the background of the parking garage.

Upon entering the walkway bridge, Daryl and Carol see a rather confounding sight…writhing, reanimated bodies shrouded in sleeping bags, and walkers pawing from inside zipped up tents…people who had been taking shelter in the walkway, camping in there, seemingly killed as they slept in their sleeping bags and tents..how did they die?.

Later, on Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick and guests CM Punk, Yvette Nicole Brown (who was armed with her own legal pad of copious, highlighted notes from her viewing of Episode 506, which I, and the entire TD audience, loved…the audience broke into applause every time she referred down to it…girl’s a WD tweaker on a level all her own…definitely my kind of woman!) and Tyler James Williams speculated on what happened to the people in the walkway, killing them and turning them into the Urban Camper Walkers.  Yvette Nicole Brown’s guess mirrored my own thoughts, that maybe when Atlanta was bombed & napalmed, that maybe poisonous gases from the bombing killed the urban campers in their sleep.

As they rekill the Urban Camper Walkers, Daryl remarks, “Some days, I don’t know what to think.” For a man of few words, Daryl Dixon really has a knack for summing it all up in these crazy times.

daryl and carol see camping walkers daryl rekills camping walker

Daryl and Carol make their way gingerly past the writhing tents, rekilling the walkers bound up in the sleeping bags as they cross to the other side of the walkway…they squeeze through the small opening of a set of double doors that have been chained and padlocked closed, but not all the way.  Carol pushes the rifles through the opening, then squeezes through, followed by Daryl, whose larger frame makes it harder to get through the small opening. He jokes that it’s a good thing they skipped breakfast..

Daryl and Carol enter through another set of doors, and find themselves in a clean, upscale office, with modern paintings, water cooler, and large windows, overlooking what was once an impressive view of downtown Atlanta.  As Carol and Daryl approach the window and take in the grim, blasted skyline, Carol asks, “How did we get here?”  Daryl replies that he doesn’t know..they just did.

As Daryl and Carol look over the ruined city of Atlanta, Carol remarks that he never asked her what happened after she got up with Tyrese and the girls...Daryl replies that he knows what happened, as the girls aren't here any longer...

As Daryl and Carol look over the ruined city of Atlanta, Carol remarks that he never asked her what happened after she got up with Tyrese and the girls…Daryl replies that he knows what happened, as the girls aren’t here any longer.

“It was worse than that,” Carol says.

Daryl tells her that’s why they need to start over, “because we gotta,”  to the way things were, before. “Yeah…” says Carol, doubtfully. So much has happened…can they really go back?

Daryl spots something, grabs the rifle with the scope, peers through, and sees:

A white van, with the telltale white cross painted on the rear windows...it looks abandoned, hanging halfway off an overpass.

A white van, with the telltale white cross painted on the rear windows…it looks abandoned, hanging halfway off an overpass.

Carol looks through the scope, says that it looks like the van has been there for a while…Daryl says that it’s a lead.  Carol suggests they stock up before leaving the office. While Carol fills her canteen with water from the water cooler and takes a long drink, Daryl stops and looks at one of the abstract paintings on the wall, remarking that it must have “cost some rich prick a whole lot of money.”

As they look at the painting, Daryl says that it looks like

As they look at the painting, Daryl says that it looks like “a dog sat in paint and wiped its ass all over the place.” “Really?” asks Carol. “I kind of like it.” Daryl looks at her to see if she’s joking then snorts. “Stop,” he says, as if she is.  “I’m serious,” Carol retorts. “You don’t know me.” Daryl reaches down, collects his things. “Yep,” he says, walking out of the office, “You just keep telling yourself that.” Oh, snap!

As Carol squeezes back through the chained doors of the walkway bridge, she does as she did before and pushes her bag and assault rifle through first, but this time, as Daryl begins to squeeze himself through, Carol quickly says:

“Daryl, don’t!” Daryl looks up to see Noah, pointing Carol’s gun at them, holding them at gunpoint.

Noah orders Daryl to get up, and tells Daryl to lay down his crossbow.

Noah orders Daryl to get up, and tells Daryl to lay down his crossbow. “You got some sac on you,” Daryl growls at him. Noah says that nobody has to get hurt, he just needs their weapons, so, “please lay down the crossbow.”

While Noah is apologetic, he is clear that he needs their weapons.  “Sorry about this,” he says, “but you look tough..you’ll be alright.” And with that, Noah takes his knife and slices open the tents, releasing the trapped Urban Camper Walkers, and giving himself time to get out of there as Daryl and Carol fight them off.

They make quick work of the walkers, Carol capping one in the center of the forehead with her handgun, then aiming the next shot at Noah’s retreating form. As she fires, Daryl pushes her arm, skewing her shot so she misses.  As they stride quickly across the parking lot, Daryl leading the way, Carol justifies herself, and her actions.

“We have three bullets…we’re in the middle of a city and he was stealing our weapons. Did you think I was gonna kill him?  I was aiming for his leg…could that have killed him? Maybe, I don’t know, but he was stealing our weapons”  

As Carol says this, Daryl does not respond, just strides quickly in front of her…they come to a door, which is locked.  Daryl curses under his breath, reaching into his bag for something to jimmy the lock. “He’s just a damn kid,” he replies.  Carol retorts that without weapons, they could die, Beth could die…as Daryl works the lock, he says, to this, “We’ll find more weapons.”

Carol stands there, behind Daryl as he pushes at the door. :”I don’t want you to die…I don’t want Beth to die…I don’t want anyone at the church to die, but I can’t stand around and watch it happen, either. I can’t…that’s why I left, I just had to be somewhere else.”

This is Daryl's breaking point, and he whirls on Carol, tells her,

This is Daryl’s breaking point, and he whirls on Carol, tells her, “You ain’t somewhere else, you’re right here, tryin’!” 

Daryl finally gets the door open, and Carol begins snatching up their belongings from the floor, saying that Daryl isn’t who he was before, and neither is she, and she doesn’t know if she believes in God anymore, or if she’s going to Hell, but if she is, then she damn sure is going to hold off on going there as long as she can.

As Carol reaches for Daryl’s bag, a book falls out of it, onto the floor…

Carol sees that Daryl slipped the book from the temporary housing into his bag, most certainly carrying the wounds of his own abusive childhood deep inside.  Carol looks at Daryl, who picks up the book and shoves it at her before stalking off through the doorway. Carol hesitates a moment before following him.

Carol sees that Daryl slipped the book from the temporary housing into his bag, most certainly carrying the wounds of his own abusive childhood deep inside. Carol looks at Daryl, who picks up the book and shoves it at her before stalking off through the doorway. Carol hesitates a moment before following him. 😦 ❤

On the bridge, Carol and Daryl approach the white van, which has gone through the guard rail and is teetering precariously half on, half off the overpass.  It is a fairly steep drop below, about three or four stories.

daryl and carol approach the white van

Behind them, a small group of walkers have seen them and are coming their way...they are still a ways off.

Behind them, a small group of walkers have seen them and are coming their way…they are still a ways off.

Daryl says “let’s get this done,” and quickly, and Carol volunteers to go in the van, as she’s lighter.  In response, Daryl looks at her and hoists himself in the van…after a moment, Carol follows suit.  In the front seat, they quickly sift through maps, papers, finding nothing that gives them a clue as to where the van came from.

On the shotgun side, Carol spies a large group of walkers approaching from her side as well…it looks like some trouble is coming fast, closing in on them from both directions.

carol sees walkes on her side

Carol tells Daryl that they’ll have to fight through them, although they are seriously outnumbered, and without most of their weaponry (thanks to Noah, you little shit, you…while I do like Noah, and realize that pretty much all of our favorite characters have had their questionable moments, Noah’s stock with me definitely dropped a few points during this scene…but I have not given up on him.)

As they file out of the van and prepare to do battle with the rapidly growing horde of walkers, Daryl spies the initials “GMH” on a stretcher in the back of the van. Carol guesses it stands for “Grady Memorial Hospital,” and then, it’s time to stop talking, because there are a shit-ton of walkers to fight through…

Carol uses one of her last three bullets...

Carol uses one of her last three bullets…

Daryl battles the bridge walkers, but there are too many and they are closing in...

Daryl battles the bridge walkers, but there are too many and they are closing in…

Daryl and Carol get back in the van, the only place to go.

Daryl and Carol get back in the van, the only place to get away from the horde of walkers…

They quickly get to the front seats, buckle themselves in...Daryl tells Carol to hold on...

They quickly get to the front seats, buckle themselves in…Daryl tells Carol to hold on…

Carol quickly buckles herself in, braces herself, frightened.

Carol quickly buckles herself in, braces herself, frightened.

Daryl and Carol brace themselves, hands on each other's, so sweet.

As Daryl and Carol brace themselves, they put their hands on each other’s, so sweet.

As the walkers swarm the van and paw at it...

As the walkers swarm the van and paw at it…

The van topples over the edge...

The van topples over the edge…

...falling, flipping...

…falling, flipping…

...landing hard.

…landing hard.

Carol is incredulous...

Carol is incredulous.“We’re ok..” As they sit, recover, walkers begin to fall on top of the van in a gorish heap.

Gingerly, they emerge from the van...Daryl seems ok, but Carol's shoulder is hurt pretty bad, it seems.

Gingerly, they emerge from the van…Daryl seems ok, but Carol’s shoulder is hurt pretty bad.

Daryl and Carol lean on each other as they help each other walk away from the totaled van and scattered walkers.

Daryl and Carol lean on each other as they help each other walk away from the totaled van and scattered walkers.

They stop to rest, and Carol is noticably hurting, although she tries to play it off. Daryl blames himself, and Carol jokes,

They stop to rest, and Carol is noticeably hurting, although she tries to play it off. Daryl blames himself, and Carol jokes, “We made good time down!”

Carol tells Daryl that there are only three blocks between them and Grady Memorial…Daryl agrees that they will find a place nearby, scope out the hospital, and see what they see. Carol asks him if he thinks they are really going to be able to find out what they need to know just by watching…Daryl tells her, “Well, it’s a place to start.”

Daryl and Carol set up a stake out in a nearby building that offers a clear view of Grady Memorial. Daryl scores both a machete and a bag with a cache of potato chips from an incapacitated walker…Daryl relieves the walker of his machete and chips, and rewards the walker with a rekill to the head with the machete.  Thanks, dude.  As they watch the hospital through the window, munching chips, Daryl turns to Carol, asks her about what she said before, about him not being like he was, before…he asks her what she means by that…”How was I?” he asks.  (Cute!  It’s Share Time.)

Daryl asks Carol about how he was before and now

Carol replies, “It’s like you were a kid…now you’re a man.” Amen to that.

Daryl ups his hotness meter even further by turning the focus on Carol, now… “And what about you?”

Carol replies that she and Sophia stayed at the temporary housing shelter for a day and a half before she went running back to Ed….at home, she got beat up, life went on, and she just went through her days like that, praying for something to happen…“I didn’t do anything…not a damn thing.” Carol looks out the window as she talks, her voice carrying the anger that she feels towards herself for taking Ed’s abuse, and not taking a stand, not doing anything, for so long.

(Really explains a lot, why Carol has made some of the overly agro, questionable decisions she has…it’s like after not doing anything for so long, the Carol pendulum had to swing too far the other way, before coming to some sort of balance, in the middle.)

Carol continues her story, “Who I was, with him, she got burned away..and I was happy about that, I mean, not happy, but…and at the prison, I got to be who I always thought I should be, who I should have been…”

Carol reveal

“And then, she got burned away…And now, it just consumes you.”

Daryl listens, looks down a moment, taps the tip of the machete  into the windowsill...he then gives Carol this sweet, beautiful, manly look, and then says the perfect thing,

Daryl listens, looks down a moment, taps the tip of the machete into the windowsill…he then gives Carol this sweet, beautiful, look, and then says the perfect thing, “Hey…” Carol looks up at him. “We ain’t ashes.”  Total tender manly perfection. <3<3

Oc course, after this amazing moment, there is a thud or slamming noise, startling them…there is always a fucking noise to interrupt Daryl and Carol’s beautiful sharing and caring sessions in this episodedamn you, cockblocking walker apocalypse!

As Daryl and Carol head down the hallway, they find a walker impaled to the wall, with one of Daryl’s arrows speared through its throat.

“Is that one of yours?” Carol asks. “Yeah,” Daryl replies.

Daryl does the walker a solid machete rekill, shutting it the hell up.

Daryl does the walker a solid machete rekill, shutting it the hell up.

Suddenly, the sound of assault rifle shots pepper the silence…Daryl and Carol know who that’s coming from…they go to investigate, and are met by a woman walker…Carol would usually be able to handle this, and goes for the knife kill upside the walker woman’s head, but her shoulder injury makes it harder, and the walker ends up on top of Carol, who is unable to fight her off.  Daryl slices the walker’s head with his machete, pulls Carol up, looks at her, concerned…Carol, barely able to speak, assures him she’s ok, to go.  Daryl rushes down the hall in pursuit of Noah.

He finds Noah, trying to barricade a door that another walker is pushing its way through with a wooden bookcase.  In one quick maneuver, Daryl strikes at Noah’s lower spine, toppling him with the bookcase on top of him.  Noah, pinned under the bookcase, pleads for Daryl to help him, apologizing for taking their weapons, saying that he needed to defend himself.

“Please!” pleads Noah. “Why are you following us?” Daryl yells at him. Noah tries to say that he thought they were following him…”Bullshit,” replies Daryl.

As Noah struggles and pleads, pinned under the bookcase, and the walker paws through the crack in the door, Daryl finds a carton of cigarettes, pulls out a pack, taps the pack, uncaring, against the heel of his hand, opens the pack, and shakes out a cigarette. Carol watches this...

As Noah struggles and pleads, pinned under the bookcase, and the walker paws through the crack in the door, Daryl finds a carton of cigarettes, pulls out a pack, taps the pack, uncaring, against the heel of his hand,  and peels opens the pack, Carol watches this…

...and Noah, terrified, watches this, weakly pleads, apologizes...

…and Noah, terrified, watches this, weakly pleads, apologizes…

Daryl pulls a 'grette out of the pack with his mouth...dude, I love a bad boy who has the art of smoking down to a sexy, natural science...a real panty dropper.

Daryl pulls a ‘grette out of the pack with his mouth…dude, I love a bad boy who has the art of smoking down to a sexy, natural science…

The money shot....Daryl lights up, then tells Noah that he helped him once before, and he's done.

The money shot….Daryl lights up, then tells Noah that he helped him once before, and he’s done. “Have fun with hoss, there,” Daryl taunts Noah, stepping over him and walking towards the door to leave.

Carol, alarmed at Daryl’s callous, uncaring attitude, calls to Daryl, looks at him questioningly to help Noah…Daryl looks at her, angry, says, “You almost died because of him!” “But I didn’t,” Carol counters, her eyes soft and pleading. Daryl looks at Carol, Noah, says, “Nah,” and resumes walking towards the door.  The walker gets free and falls on top of the bookcase, grabs at Noah…

It's a harrowing, close call for Noah, who braces himself for the bite...

It’s a harrowing, close call for Noah, who braces himself for the bite…

...when a perfectly timed arrow to the head saves Noah, just in time.

…when a perfectly aimed arrow to the head saves Noah, just in time.

Of course, Daryl won't let the young man die, but it seems he thought about it, for a moment, before doing the right thing.  A lesson, though, for both Noah, and Carol, whose pendulum seems to have found its middle ground.  Daryl looks at her significantly before walking out of the room.

Of course, Daryl won’t let the young man die, but it seems he thought about it, for a moment, before doing the right thing. A lesson, though, for both Noah, and Carol, whose pendulum seems to have found its middle ground. Daryl looks at her significantly as he draws on his smoke.

The next scene, Rambo Carol flashback…Carol in the poncho, in the woods, after killing Terminus…she sinks to her knees, shrugs off the bloody poncho, and uses it to wipe her face free of the dirt and walker blood she had smeared on it to camouflage herself, and mask her smell. She holsters her gun over her shoulder and walks off, leaving the black smoke plume of burning Terminus, rising above the treeline, and the sound of gunfire, in her wake.

The scene shifts back to the present, with Carol pulling the walker off the bookcase, and Carol and Daryl pulling the bookcase off Noah, who scrambles out from under it, thanking them.  I tell you, I am impressed with Noah’s good manners, even when he was jacking Daryl and Carol’s weapons…he was definitely taught his “please and thank you’s.”  Noah hurries to the window, looking out, saying that he has to go, that “they” will be coming, as they probably heard the gunshots…Daryl asks, “Who?” and Noah tells them, as he, panicked, turns to go, “The people from the hospital.”

Daryl grabs him, asks him if there was a blond girl there. Noah's eyes widen

Daryl grabs him, asks him if there was a blond girl there. Noah’s eyes widen “Beth? You know her?” Carol and Daryl’s reactions to hearing Beth’s name are answer enough…Noah tells them that Beth helped him escape, but she didn’t get out…they still have her.

Carol looks out the window, sees a white van with a cross painted on the back windshield cruising by, slowly…she tells them they’re here…Noah tells them they need to go, and in his haste to run away, stumbles on his hurt leg, and falls.  As Daryl reaches down to help him up, Carol rushes ahead of them, out the doors, into the street…and gets hit, hard, by a wood-paneled station wagon speeding down the street. The station wagon stops, abruptly, and Carol’s body rolls off the front hood, onto the street, where she lay, unconscious, unresponsive.

carol gets hit carol gets hit 2

Daryl, anguished, tries to run to her, but Noah holds him back, telling him that they can help her, that they have the power, and the equipment, to help her, and if Daryl runs out there, he will have to fight them, kill them, and then she won't be helped, and does he want that?

Daryl, anguished, tries to run to her, but Noah holds him back, telling him that the hospital can help her, that they have the power, and the equipment, to help her, and if Daryl runs out there, now, he will have to fight them, kill them, and then  she won’t be helped, and does he want that?

“We will get her back,” Noah tells Daryl. “We’ll get Beth back.” But, Noah tells Daryl, he needs to let them take Carol, now, to the hospital, so they can help her. It is the best chance Carol has to survive.

As they watch Carol get loaded onto a stretcher, and taken away in the station wagon to Grady Memorial, Daryl asks Noah what it will take...Noah replies that Grady Memorial has weapons, and numbers...Daryl replies,

As they watch Carol get loaded onto a stretcher, and taken away in the station wagon to Grady Memorial, Daryl asks Noah what it will take…Noah replies that Grady Memorial has weapons, and numbers…Daryl replies, “So do we.”

The final scene shows Daryl, and Noah, sneaking past a large group of ATL Street Walkers which have been diverted, once again, by Daryl, who has lobbed a flame into a dumpster, setting the contents in it on fire.  As the walkers gather, hissing, around the flaming dumpster, Daryl and Noah sneak past them, and then, moments later, come bursting through a chain link fence in a truck that has surely been hotwired by Daryl.

The final fire of

The final fire of “Consumed,” the dumpster fire, set by Daryl.

Daryl and Noah drive away, heading back to get the others. Noah looks at Daryl, who is lost in his thoughts, his anguish.  You know he is really hurting .

Daryl and Noah drive away, heading back to get the others. Noah looks at Daryl, who is lost in his thoughts, his anguish. You know he is really hurting right now.

So, Season 5, Episode 6 ends as it begins, with Daryl driving, determined...but much has happened since that first scene, bringing much change,  as the fires of transformation once again burned what was away, consuming it, and leaving something new in its place.

So, Season 5, Episode 6 ends as it begins, with Daryl driving, determined…but much has happened since that first scene, bringing much change, as the fires of transformation once again burned what was, away, consuming it, and leaving something new in its place.

A few final thoughts…first, I need to apologize if some of you got a premature notification that I had published my post on “Consumed,” the night of the episode, and were served with 385 words of my primary notes of my initial watching…in a total spaz maneuver, most probably due to my manic excitement over seeing Daryl and Carol’s insane chemistry and fire together, combined with my champagne buzz, I hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft” during a commercial break…d’oh!  

Next, I have some Deadies to award for Episode 506, “Consumed.”  Of course, the first two go to our favorite FWB’s, Daryl and Carol, for walking so honestly and fearlessly through the fires of transformation, and the fires of chemistry, and the fires of love…I do not know what the future has in store for these two iconic characters, individually, or as a couple, but I can say that my love for each of them, and for them together, has deepened to a new level with this masterful episode.  Daryl and Carol, I love you so hard. You are my total heroes right now.

Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride are such incredible actors…from the very first, their performances and portrayals of Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier have catapulted these two iconic characters to cult status, both within the realm of WD fandom and beyond, into the pop culture stratosphere. Much love, mad props. 

Deadie #3 goes to Yvette Nicole Brown, WD superfan…girl, if I ever get a chance to meet you, one day, we will have hours and hours of glorious WD to talk about! (I am def going to find Yvette’s Twitter account, and follow her, as soon as I publish this post..)

And, finally, Deadie #4 goes to our young up-and-comer, Noah (played by the supremely talented Tyler James Williams). Noah didn’t make the best first impression with Daryl and Carol, jacking their weapons and all that, but he did have impeccable manners while doing it, Gentleman Bandit-style. I, for one, welcome him into the fold, as I feel he will have much to offer, and contribute. Welcome aboard, young padawan. May the force be with you, and with Daryl, Carol, Beth, and Rick, and Team Eugene, and the entire gang, wherever they may be at this point in time. Amen.

So, much love, dear readers.  Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:

Playlist:

Stone Temple Pilots, “Sex Type Thing”

Jucifer, “When She Goes Out” (Was wanting to include a chick-fronted rager for Carol on this playlist, and then Norman Reedus posted a clip of Jucifer on his Instagram account, playing live in front of their trademark wall of amps, sending forth their trademark wall of sound into the farthest reaches of the universe…And once again, I was like, “Thank U Norman Reedus!“)

The White Stripes, “Blue Orchid”

The xx, “Heart Skipped A Beat”

Young Prisms, “Friends For Now”  (Initially, I saw that I had six songs on the playlist, and I added this spare, beautiful track from Young Prisms  to round it up to Lucky 7…it’s the Big Game,people, lots at stake here. I’m not taking any chances…Just get your ladies out of Grady Memorial Debt Castle,  Daryl Dixon, and you can all figure out this whole love triangle thing later.)

The Shins, “Caring Is Creepy”

Bittersweet, “Bittersweet Faith”

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 4, “Slabtown”

“Slabtown”

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

Prologue

1:30 PM, Sunday, 11/2/14

On Sunday afternoon. I was putting in some overtime hours, thinking about The Walking Dead, thinking about what a wild ride Season 5 has been thus far. I kept thinking about last week’s episode,” Four Walls and a Roof,” and was feeling very unsettled about how it all ended.

I thought about Rick, and our gang, and all that they’ve been through, and how the core group keeps getting more and more separated, more fragmented. I kept seeing Maggie and Glenn looking out the window as the Abraham & Co.bus pulled away, and it still doesn’t feel real, or right, their leaving. It all makes me feel very worried and anxious.

I thought about Beth, and wondered what has been happening to her, since she was abducted in a creepy black funeral car, and taken away, somewhere. I thought about what the night’s episode, “Slabtown,” would have in store for us. I thought about Gabriel, of his terrible tale, and what his ultimate fate on the show would be. I thought about Carol, and of that final scene, of Daryl coming out of the bushes, and how, when Michonne asks him, “Where’s Carol?” I thought about the weird look Daryl gives her, before turning back to the dark bushes behind him, and saying, curtly, to some mysterious somebody, “Come on out.”

And I thought, Who is in those damn bushes?

My friends and I asked each other this question on Halloween night, as we sat around the fire and watched our kids run around the yard in their costumes, hopped up on their Halloween haul of candy. My friends and I all agreed that we wanted the person(s) in the bushes to be Carol, Beth, and maybe Morgan, hanging back in the dark while Daryl made sure the coast was clear. That would be a pretty ideal scenario, right? But…we were doubtful, worried about Daryl’s vibe in that ending scene.  He was acting so weird, on edge. Not happy, not like, “Hey guys, we found Beth, and here’s Carol, and this is Morgan…he says he knows you, Rick. Now, we can all go to Washington, and cure this thing!”

As I worked, I thought about all this.  And there was something about that line...‘Go to Washington, and cure this thing.’  Where had I heard that line before?  Gareth.  In my mind, clear as day, I could hear Gareth’s voice, saying, “You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

That scene, of Gareth, saying those words, was in the Season 5 trailer, which I deconstructed at length, in my Season 5 prepost, “ReEntry.”  In the post, I even provided a Youtube video link for the reader to watch the trailer, if they wanted. I must have watched that trailer 20 times myself in the writing process, and I could hear Gareth’s voice saying those words.  And, sure enough, when I went back to my “ReEntry” post, and played the trailer again, later, there was Gareth, sitting in the dark, talking to someone (presumably Rick and the gang), saying:

“You don’t have a choice…all of you…you join us, and we go to Washington, and cure this thing.”

Watching it again, I was like, “Wait…that scene hasn’t happened yet.”

Now, if you actually read this crazy blog, you know that if this Gareth scene had indeed happened yet, I would have probably transcribed it for you, word for word, in one of my Season 5 posts by now. While I don’t strive to recap every little scene in every WD episode, that scene would be a significant moment, significant enough for me to transcribe, significant enough for Kirkman, Gimple, & Co. to put in the Season 5 trailer, right near the beginning. It’s important. It’s a plot-changer.

And, that scene hasn’t happened yet.

But wait…Gareth’s dead…right? But, there he is, in the trailer, in that scene, sitting there in the dark, uttering those words, in that scene that hasn’t happened yet.

???

I called my WD buddy, and told her all this, and told her the crazy theory I was putting together in my head.  Then. I saw my other WD buddy, Mona, and while we walked dogs together, I told her what I was thinking, and shared my theory with her. They both went back to my “ReEntry”  post, and watched the trailer, again. And yep, there was Gareth, not dead, sitting in the dark, saying that line.

My WD buddy asked me, “Are you sure that hasn’t happened yet? He didn’t say that yet?”  I told her, “It hasn’t happened yet.”  And we were silent, as we tried to make sense of this.

So now, I ask you this, my readers…is there an Evil Twin Situation happening here? Does Gareth have an identical twin brother, a brother who was put in charge of Bob, and the other five Terms in his group, while Gareth went off to capture Carol, or do some other evil shit elsewhere  in the woods, using the markings they carved into the trees to keep track of where they were during their night lurkings?

Or…was Gareth the one who stayed back, because his shoulder was shot (by Rick, in the Season 5 premiere), while his evil twin brother, Greg (?), went after Carol (and was this close to getting her before Daryl’s fine self showed up and foiled his evil plan)?  And, so while Gareth got hacked to death by Rick’s Red-Handled Machete of Bloody Justice, evil twin brother Greg, or whatever his name is, is still out there, in the woods, on the loose, maybe lurking behind Daryl in the bushes in that final scene? (I actually have another guess as to who is in those bushes, a guess shared by many…we’ll get to that later in the post.)

Hmmmm....

Hmmmm….

...could it be?

…could it be?  Evil twins? Crazy…or crazy genius? 

An evil twin brother?  I wish I had one of those! (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers...just sayin'.)

“An evil twin brother? I wish I had one of those!” (Ahem, Gov, we all know that if you did have an evil twin brother, one of you would have pushed the other into a pit of hungry walkers, long ago…just sayin’.)

Welcome to my Evil Terminal Twin Conspiracy Theory, aka the ETTCT.  my WDO darlings.  In the ETTCT, I theorize that Gareth had an identical twin brother, probably Greg, (because Gareth and Greg just sounds right together, like names that identical twin brothers would have, and Gareth did refer to a “Greg” almost capturing Carol, before Daryl showed up). In the ETTCT, one twin brother gets killed by Rick, leaving the other twin out there in the woods, with weapons, and a small Term army, and a plan in the making to mete out some Terminal Revenge on Rick and the gang, probably in the form of making Rick and the gang join forces with them, and going up to Washington D.C. all together, “and cure this thing.”

Crazy? Perhaps…believe me, I’ve been called worse. My WD buddy thinks that maybe the trailer is messed up and that scene with Gareth got cut. Maybe… but the ETTCT could explain why we are seeing a dead man, in the Season 5 trailer, in a scene that hasn’t happened yet, making a deal with (probably) our gang, to ostensibly join forces, go up to D.C.together, and cure the walker epidemic, right?

Maybe I am totally wrong, which is fine, because evil twins are just super fun to talk about in general, as are conspiracy theories.  Maybe you all theorized that Gareth may have an evil identical twin already, and I’m just a step behind, and just now catching up, or catching on. If so, mad props, once again, to the forward thinkers…and to evil twins, and conspiracy theories.

But, before you say nay to the ETTCT, let us remember the Law of Kirkman, darlings….Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions.

I suppose all shall be revealed in due time…and btw, if there isn’t a band already named Evil Twin, well, there should be.

_______________________________________________

“Slabtown”

The opening scene of fourth episode of The Walking Dead’s Season 5, “Slabtown,” shows Beth’s eyelids, closed and still for a moment, then beginning to flutter, and move, as Beth blinks awake.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings.

Beth opens her eyes, takes in her unfamiliar surroundings. We know she’s thinking, “Where am I?”

The first thing that captures Beth’s attention in the bright, sterile room is the second hand of a working analogue clock, as it moves around the clock’s face. As the camera pans back, Beth sits up in the hospital-type bed she is in, looks around. She has a deep cut across her left cheek, which looks like it’s been stitched closed, and she is hooked up to an I.V.. Beth gets up from the bed and moves to the window, taking the I.V. stand with her.  As she peers out the window, Beth takes in the grim sight of the blasted skyline of Atlanta.

beth sees bombed atlanta 1

As the second hand of the clock ticks from line to line, number to number, Beth moves to the the door, and finding it locked, begins rapping on the door loudly, calling out. When she hears footsteps approach, Beth quickly pulls the I.V. needle from her arm and holds it ready, to use as a weapon if she needs to.

The door opens, and a smallish dark-haired woman of sporty build, wearing a cop’s uniform, strides into the room first, followed by a lanky, bearded man wearing heavy-framed glasses and a white doctor’s coat.  The lady cop’s manner is stern, no-nonsense, aggressive, as she charges through the door, while the doctor’s manner is more submissive, placating, nervous.  He motions Beth down with his hands, as he walks through the door, behind the lady cop, tells Beth quickly that, “Everything’s ok, ok?”

beth meets dawn and the doc

The lady cop isn’t as placating. “Put it down,” she orders Beth curtly, referring to the I.V. needle, poised and ready, in Beth’s hand. “Drop it, right now.” There is no leniency in her voice, or manner, and Beth immediately complies, drops the needle to the floor.

The doctor introduces himself, with a slight, annoyed sigh in his voice at the lady cop’s hardball antics. “I’m Doctor Steven Edwards,” he says, “and this is Officer Dawn Lerner,” motioning towards the lady cop slightly with his head.

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is...his hands are stuffed into  the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready...

We can see in the body language of Doc and Dawn who the dominant one is…his hands are stuffed into the pockets of his lab coat, while her hands are loosely hooked at her belt, ready to shut down any insubordination, whatsoever.

Doc Edwards asks Beth how she is feeling…Beth asks immediately, “Where am I?” Doc Edwards tells her that she is at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.  Beth asks how she got there, and Officer Dawn answers quickly, telling Beth that “her officers” found her on the side of a road, surrounded by “rotters.”

Doc Edwards adds that Beth’s wrist was fractured, and that she suffered a “superficial head wound.” Beth takes all this in in shocked silence, and my first thought, while watching this, was that those wounds were incurred most probably by Beth’s resisting Dawn’s “officers” as they forced her into the funeral car, against her will, and subduing her by force.  The injuries that Beth sustained don’t seem, (to me) to be the type of wounds one would get by fighting off walkers, although, of course, they could be. But, I’m not really buying Officer Dawn’s story here, and it doesn’t look to me like Beth is, either.

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately,

Doc Edwards then gently asks if Beth remembers her name, and she says, immediately, “Beth.”

Then, hoping against hope, Beth asks, in a shaky voice, if “the man I was with, is he here too?” Officer Dawn replies quickly, “You were alone.  If we hadn’t saved you, you’d be one of them, right now…” ,  and Officer Dawn motions her head towards the window, towards the outside world, full of “rotters.”

And as we watch, Officer Dawn’s eyes narrow, from a look of wide-eyed concern and do-right vigilance, to something darker, harder, angrier…

Officer Dawn looks at Beth, says,”So, you owe us.”  And with those words, another debt meter starts running at Grady Memorial Hospital.

After this scene, the nimble, strident strings of the Bear McCreary opening title sequence build, and it is clear to Beth, and to all of us, what Doctor Edwards, judging from his cowed demeanor, already knows: Officer Dawn Lerner is a crazy bitch, and scary.  If Officer Dawn isn’t crazy, by the court-definition-legal-sense-of-the-word, she has at least four or five serious personality disorders kicking, with a vicious mean streak twisting and winding through it all. If Gareth could hold a grudge for a thousand years, it seems like Officer Dawn could hold a grudge for a thousand light years.

Later, as Beth joins Doctor Edwards on rounds, she follows him into one patient’s room, with the respirator and monitors all hooked up to batteries and generators. Doc Edwards explains that the patient was found on a recent run, under a bridge, suffering cardiac arrest and extreme dehydration. He was brought to the hospital, but, despite Doctor Edward’s efforts, the patient was showing no real signs of improvement.

cardiac arrest goner guy

code red is declared

.”I tried to do what I could,” Doctor Edwards says, resigned, as he reaches over and turns off the respirator.

“Wait,” says Beth, “that’s it?” We hear the cardiac monitor beeping in quick, irregular succession, then flatline. “If a patient doesn’t show signs of improvement,” Doctor Edwards explains. “Dawn calls it.” He walks away, leaving Beth to digest this disturbing piece of information, and gets what looks like the patient’s chart, and a scalpel, which Doc Edwards knifes matter-of-factly into the man’s temple, rekilling him. Beth looks away.

As she helps Doc Edwards wheel the body out of the room, Beth sees Officer Dawn talking with another officer in the hallway.  As they pass, Officer Dawn looks down, eyes the body of the dead patient on the stretcher, prompting Doc Edwards to stop, explain his decision to Officer Dawn as she listens for a moment before finally nodding her approval. Beth  takes this unsupervised moment to peer down the hallway, as if making mental notes to herself as to the layout of the hospital.

It seems Officer Dawn's approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

It seems Officer Dawn’s approval is required on all levels of business at Grady Memorial.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

As she peers down the hallway, looking for a point of exit, Beth sees a tall young man, far down the hallway, mopping.

Beth ventures a little further down the hallway, looks in one of the rooms, sees a young woman inside, dressed in hospital scrubs. The young woman, looking fearful, quickly closes the door in Beth’s face. Officer Dawn strides by, bids Beth to, “Come on, the body’s getting cold.”  Led by Officer Dawn, they approach a set double-doors, and Officer Dawn steps forward, pulls out a large set keys, and unlocks the doors, holding the door open and nodding Beth and Doc Grady through.

As they wheel the stretcher down the darkened, empty hallway, Beth asks Doc Edwards how many people are at the hospital. “Just enough to keep us going,” he replies. Doctor Edwards adds that while some people started here, others arrived later, as patients, and that “everyone has a job.”  When Beth asks if they could just bury this body, Doc Edwards replies that they “only go out when we need to,” and while dumping the bodies down the chute to the basement isn’t the most dignified system, it’s the safest and easiest way available to them.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows of the bottom floor were blown out, and they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers...

Doc Edwards tells Beth that the windows on the bottom floor of the hospital were blown out, but they managed to reinforce the stairwells against the walkers, so it seems that entry and exit from the hospital is not so easy…

...and if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement

Doc Edwards adds if a body is still warm when it gets dumped down to the basement, the walkers in the basement “take care” of some of the mess.

Beth watches the body fall down the tall, dark chute, and then hears the loud crash of the body hitting the basement floor, far down in the blackness below. Immediately, we hear the savagery and carnage of the walkers as they begin to feast upon the dead patient’s remains.

Later, Beth enters a small cafeteria room, and as she cautiously begins to select the offerings from the warming trays and spoon them onto her plate, she is approached by.. Gorman.

Gorman's opening line to Beth,

Gorman’s opening line to Beth, “You’re lookin’ better and better.” Ewwww.

Gorman is disguhhsting

Gorman is a disgusting, creepy nightmare.

Gorman recounts to Beth how he and another officer got a lead on some guns, so one night, they were “way out there” when they saw her, “wrigglin’ around in the road” with a “rotter” on top of her.  Beth continues to focus on loading her tray, does not respond, nor look at Gorman,. prompting him to ask her, “You don’t remember me, huh?”

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black,

Beth replies that she remembers fighting off a walker, then everything went black.

Gorman leans forward, with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter

Gorman leans forward, and with a leering smile, tells Beth that she had a rotter “high on her thighs” when he and the other officer found her, but, lucky for her, “I got there first.”

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this creepy statement oozes over her.

Beth fights showing her revulsion as the implication of this lewd statement oozes over her.

Watching Beth silently load up her tray, Gorman introduces himself, “I’m Gorman.” When Beth continues to not engage with him, Gorman tells her that when someone does something nice for someone else, “it’s courtesy to show some appreciation.” Beth registers his meaning, but still says nothing, does not look at him.  Gorman adds, “Unless you want me to write down everything you’re taking,” and motions to Beth’s tray, full of food, drink. says, “Everything costs something, right?” Beth looks at him now, wide eyed and totally creeped out,  but says nothing. She turns with her tray, walks out of the room.  Gorman checks out her ass as she leaves, goes back to his business, whatever that is.

I find it a show of real strength that Beth did not cow down to Gorman in this scene. Although Beth is still young, and has questioned her own strength and value in these dire times, she is demonstrating how much she has learned from her father, from Daryl, from Maggie, Rick and the rest of the prison gang.  She is staying focused, assessing her situation, playing the game, until an opportunity arises for her to break free of this hospital of horrors .

As Beth walks down the long hallway, carrying her tray, she hears Officer Dawn’s voice coming from a room, instructing Noah, the young man who Beth saw mopping, earlier, “We’ll find Joan…until then, you’re on laundry duty, and I want my uniform washed,” and Noah echoes Officer Dawn’s next words, words he has heard many times before, “separately, and pressed.” Noah looks through the window, through the slats of the horizontal blinds, out at Beth as he says this, then turns with raised, joking eyebrows at Dawn, who regards him coolly from the recumbent stationary bike she is pedaling.

dawn and noah noah echoes dawn

“Smartass,” Officer Dawn Lerner mutters, and Noah salutes her playfully, with a small smile, before turning back to his task.

Beth steps into Doc Edwards’ lair, finds him spinning some vinyl…

doc edwards listens to some vinyl

A little blues by Junior Kimbrough…Beth says she can’t remember the last time she heard a record. Doc Edwards says playing  records is one of the few perks he gets as the only doctor at Grady Memorial.

doc edwards suffocating in boredom

Doc Edwards tells Beth that at one point in his life, he felt like he was drowning in research, but “now the oceans are dry, and I’m suffocating in boredom.” Beth tells him,”If you’re safe enough to be bored, you’re lucky.”

Beth tries to give her tray of food to Doc Edwards, and when he asks her about her food, she replies, “The more you take, the more you owe, right?” After Doc Edwards promises he won’t tell Dawn, he bids Beth to sit, try the not-quite-delicious guinea pig creation that is constituting the meat entree on Beth’s plate. Doc Edwards cuts her off a bite, holds it out to her…

Mmmm...guinea pig.  I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate...is there a garden somewhere?

Mmmm…guinea pig. I am impressed to see some bell peppers and a couple of strawberries on the plate…is there a garden somewhere?

Chewing, Beth’s face says it all, but she gives Doc Edwards a good-natured smile of thanks. She turns to notice the large painting to her right, “The Denial of Saint Peter,” by Caravaggio.  Doctor Edwards says that he found it outside of the High Museum of Art, in the trash. Beth remarks on the beauty of the painting, and Doc Edwards regards the masterpiece, says that it has no place in this world anymore…art has nothing to do with survival…art is about transcendence, rising to a higher level.

“We can’t do that anymore?” Beth asks.  Doc Edwards turns to look at her. “I don’t know,” he replies.  Beth tells him she still sings…he smiles at her.  Doc Edwards seems to have a genuine liking for Beth.  She seems to represent a light, a spark of life, that he hasn’t encountered in a long, long time.

Just then, Officer Dawn pokes her head in the doorway, announces, “We’ve got a new one.” As they gather around the new arrival, an unconscious man, a male officer announces they found his wallet, and his identification.  He then goes over to Officer Dawn, whispers something to her that catches her attention, as the female officer recounts how the man dropped from the first floor of a building, trying to get away from…something, presumably a walker (or a rotter, as they say in these parts).

Doctor Edwards is quick to announce that the man’s vitals are dropping, he’s lost a lot of blood, and concludes, “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Officer Dawn tells the male officer, “I’ve got this,” pushes her way through, and tells Doc Edwards, “You said you wanted to save people, so save him.”

Doc Edwards tells Dawn,

Doc Edwards tells Dawn, “You told me not to waste resources…this guy’s a loser.”

“Well,” replies Officer Dawn, “this time, I want you to try.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Doc Edwards gets to work, asking Beth to plug the ultrasound and EKG into the battery pack.  As he moves the ultrasound over the unconscious man’s lungs, Doctor Edwards sees on the imaging monitor that the man has a punctured lung, which is filling the thorax cavity up with blood, making the man unable to breathe.  The EKG monitor starts to beep quickly, signalling cardiac distress. When Doc Edwards hands Beth a set of keys and asks her to get him a large hollow needle from the cabinet, Officer Dawn grabs the keys from Beth’s hand, shoves her aside, unlocks the cabinet and grabs a needle and syringe from inside, and hands it to Doctor Edwards.  Doctor Edwards plunges the needle through the man’s chest, releasing the blood in a spray.  The man immediately begins to breathe easier.

needle plunge

When Officer Dawn asks Doc Edwards if the man is going to make it, Doc Edwards pulls up the man’s shirt, exposing the severe bruising on his abdomen, suggesting internal bleeding…Doc Edwards is pretty hell bent on pronouncing the man a lost cause, which sends Officer Dawn into a silent fury.  She hauls off and slaps poor Beth, hard, right on the cut on her cheek, reopening the wound, causing it to bleed anew. Bitch!

It's like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by...

It’s like she wants to make sure that cut leaves a nice scar for Beth to remember her by…

As Doc Edwards looks on in shock and horror, Officer Crazy-Ass Dawn Lerner looks him in the eye, tells him to “consider the stakes, here.” As Dawn the Devil Spawn stalks out of the room, Beth lifts a shaky hand to her bleeding cheek.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Officer Crazy Bitch be muy loco.

Later, as Doc Edwards tends to her wound, Beth asks him if she, Officer Dawn, is always like that.  “Only on her bad days, ” Doc Edwards replies. “Unfortunately for us, those are the only kind she has.”

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt...Dawn likes things neat.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that Noah left her a new shirt, as Dawn likes things neat. “She must love your office,” Beth says sarcastically.  Doc Edwards grins at this.  “We all have ways of making her pay.”

After Doc Edwards steps out to let Beth get changed into her clean shirt, Beth discovers that Noah has left her a gift in the clean shirt’s pocket…a green lollipop, like the kind a doctor’s office would keep on hand to give to children. This brings a small, secret smile to Beth’s face.

Her respite doesn’t last long, because outside in the hall, two officers are bringing in a young woman, who is wearing the telltale blue scrubs of Grady Memorial Hospital and struggling against them.  Joan, the woman who Officer Dawn spoke of “finding” earlier. She has a walker bite on her arm.

So gnarly.

So gnarly.

As they strap Joan down to the bed, Dawn begins by chastising Joan, telling her she doesn’t know what she was thinking, but Joan has two choices now…either they cut off her arm, or Joan does. Clearly, Officer Dawn’s bedside manner leaves something to be desired…

screw you says joan

Joan replies, through clenched teeth, “Screw you!” She then looks at Gorman, and I think she says, “And your little bitch, too!” Enraged, Gorman lunges towards Joan, only to be pushed back and ordered out of the room by Dawn.

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire...

Beth tries to leave, but is ordered to stay and hold down poor Joan, as her arm is amputated with cape wire…”We are not going to let you die, we are not going to let you turn,” Officer Dawn yells at Joan before Doc Edwards does the deed. “I’m not going back to them!” Joan yells at Officer Dawn. “You can’t control them!” Officer Dawn insists, “I will!”

After this horrific incident, Beth brings some bloodied scrubs into the laundry room. Noah is there, ironing clothes with an old-timey style iron. He introduces himself as the one who put a lollipop in her shirt pocket.  Beth thanks him for that, to which he replies that it seemed like she could use a pick-me-up.  As he takes the bloodstained clothes, he adds that after this day, he should have given her the whole jar.

Beth asks him about Joan, asks if she had just stayed, and worked, couldn’t she have done her time, paid her debt to the hospital, and left?  Noah shakes his head, with a wry little smile, replies that he hasn’t seen it work like that, yet.  Beth asks him how long he’s been there…he replies that he’s been there just over a year.  Beth’s face registers her dismay and horror at this news, as the gravity of her situation sinks in.  Noah shows her a long scar on the back of his leg, tells her that he and his dad were pretty messed up when Dawn’s officers found them…at least, that’s what they told him. They told Noah that they could only save one of them, either him, or his dad.

Noah tells Beth that he believed that story for the longest time…but now, he knows. His dad was bigger, stronger, and would have fought back…his dad was more of a threat. “So they left him behind,” Beth says.  Noah says that Dawn looked the other way, that while she says she is in charge, she is, only just barely…and it’s getting worse. And that’s why, when the time is right, Noah says that he is leaving this place, going to find his uncle, and make his way back up to Richmond to get his mom.

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak,

Noah looks at Beth, tells her that they see him as scrawny, weak, “But they don’t know shit about me, what I am, what you are…” And as he says this, Beth smiles, the first real smile since she woke up in Grady Memorial.

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, relieves the female officer standing guard. She has a try of food for Beth, bids her eat. Beth replies that she doesn’t eat much, that she’s “not staying longer than you make me.”

Dawn says nothing, sits, pats the spot next to her for Beth to join her.

dawn has a chat with beth

Dawn advises Beth not to look at her stay at Grady Memorial as a sentence, that they are giving Beth clothing, shelter, protection…and when have those things ever been free? Beth tells Dawn that she didn’t ask for their help, and Dawn replies, “But you needed it.”  Beth sits with her hands folded, says nothing. Dawn continues her proselytizing, saying that one day the world will return to what it was like before, and until then, they have to tow the line, and people like Beth, who have been given help, need to give back.

Beth looks at Dawn, asks her if she really thinks that someone is going to come save them…Dawn seems assured that there are “people like us” out there, people who will restore order to the world, and until then, they all need to chip in, to work, and give back.  She tells Beth to keep working, and she’ll pay off her debt, be out of there in no time.  Beth, after hearing Noah’s story, knows better, but says nothing.  Dawn tells Beth in order for her to do all this, she needs to eat, to get strong, and heal.  So, Beth reaches over, spears a bite of food on her fork, and begins to eat in small bites. Satisfied, Dawn leaves.

Later, Beth is in Joan’s room, mopping up blood from the floor.  She is humming a little tune to herself. and Joan smiles, says, “That’s really nice.”

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her,

Beth puts down her mop, offers to go get Doctor Edwards, but Joan stops her, “Not yet.”

Beth, at a loss for what to say, tells Joan, “I’m so sorry.” Joan replies that she (Officer Dawn) can control them, but she won’t, because it’s easier not to, because “she’s a coward.” Beth asks Joan what he, Gorman, did to her. Joan replies that it doesn’t matter.  She looks off sadly, says, “I guess it’s easier to make a deal with the devil when you’re not the one paying the price.”

The implication here, the way I see it, is that Dawn has the male officers do her bidding, provide the muscle to get her will done, and take on the dirty, dangerous work, like going on runs, and “savenapping” people (Chris Hardwick’s term on Talking Dead for the Grady Memorial officers’ predilection for “saving/kidnapping” vulnerable and injured people), bringing them back to Grady Memorial, and keeping them there against their will, while the poor savenapped people incur debt to the hospital by needing treatment, and getting their most basic needs met…a debt that they can never seem to pay off, to one day leave the hospital.

In return, Dawn looks the other way while the officers harass, rape, and brutalize the female patients, or whomever they want to…and lately, it seems that the balance of power is shifting. Dawn Lerner calls the shots, but she is more and more of a figurehead, while the male officers do as they please, under her nose, without her knowing the full extent of what is really going on.  And instead of confronting the officers, Dawn has taken the path of least resistance, and looks the other way.

Later, Beth is in her room, washing bloodied bandages…she stops, and goes to her bed, feels under the mattress for the lollipop that Noah had slipped her.  It is not there. Beth is startled by a voice behind her. “Lose somethin’?” She turns around to see Gorman, who is holding up her lollipop.  “This is yours, ain’t it?”

Gorman pulls the plastic wrapper off the lollipop and begins to suck on it. “Mmmmm.”

I may never eat another lollipop again.

I may never eat another lollipop again…

After making a big show of eating Beth’s lollipop, Gorman offers it to her, telling her that maybe he’ll let her have a taste…

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless...

Beth resists, but Gorman is relentless.

So. Gross.

So. Gross!

Before things can get too much grosser (and things are pretty much at gross max-capacity right about now), Doc Edwards steps into the room, tells Gorman to back off of Beth.  Gorman is pretty pissed at being interrupted, says that “the girl should have been mine.” Doc Edwards replies that nobody is his, and that Gorman isn’t getting Joan back, either.  Gorman disagrees, saying he will get Joan back…he turns to Doc Edwards, asks, “Do you think Dawn’s gonna stop me?” Doc Edwards says that he will stop Gorman.

Gorman, with a little laugh, asks Doc Edwards if he’s stepping up…Doc Edwards steps closer to Gorman, asks him what’s going to happen if Gorman gets sick, or gets an infection, or gets bitten…Gorman points the lollipop at the doctor, replies that he thinks that maybe someone else will be there to help, someone who isn’t Doc Edwards…just then, Dawn appears in the doorway, summons Gorman.

Without missing a beat, as he backs away from Beth, Gorman tells Doc Edwards, and Beth, just out of Dawn’s earshot, that maybe, just maybe, someone else will be in charge, someone who’s not her, (meaning, of course, Dawn Lerner)…

...and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room.

…and with that, Gorman gestures a mocking farewell to Beth with the lollipop, sticks it back in his mouth as he leaves the room. Damn!

After Gorman takes his leave, Beth turns to Doctor Edwards, asks him why he stays when he can leave any time he wants to. In reply, Doc Edwards brings Beth to the bottom floor, and shows her…

welcome to the ground floor of grady memorial

“Welcome to the ground floor of Grady Memorial Hospital.”

Doc Edwards then brings Beth up to the roof of the hospital, where we see the rooftop garden, and this…

...the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

…the ravaged city of Atlanta, post bombing.

Doc Edwards tells Beth that after the turn, after they began to evacuate people from the hospital, they heard the bombs, and the screams, outside the hospital.  All the people they had evacuated were…gone.  They stayed put inside the hospital for a while, until the food ran out. Then, they began to go on runs, and they encountered people in need of help, of healing.  Doctor Edwards wanted to help them, but Dawn told him they couldn’t spare the resources.  One day, Doc Edwards saw a boy, covered in napalm burns and needing medical assistance, so he struck a deal with Dawn…those who were treated at the hospital would stay on, once they were healed, and work to compensate for the resources used in their treatment.

Doctor Edwards tells Beth that it was Dawn who kept them going, kept them alive…Beth asks him, “You call this living?” Doc Edwards laughs a little at his, says that at least they are protected, breathing…not out there.

Beth hedges, says that she should get back. Doc Edwards suggests that Beth go check on Mr.Trevitt, the man who was brought in earlier, and then call it a day. He tells her that Mr. Trevitt is stable, and is due for another 20 mg of clozapine. Tomorrow is another day, and they can start fresh.  Beth agrees, and goes to do as he asks.

Beth prepares the clozapine, crushing the capsules into powder, adding water, and filling the syringe.  As she injects the solution into Mr.Trevitt’s arm, Noah comes by to check on her.  As they greet each other, Mr. Trevitt begins violently convulsing in his bed, the EKG beeping wildly.  Not good.  Beth stares, helpless, unbelieving, saying, “No…no…”

Mr. Trevor goes flatline...so not good for poor Beth.

Mr. Trevitt goes flatline…so not good for poor Beth.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevor.

Bye bye, Mr. Trevitt.

After rekilling Mr.Trevitt, Dawn whirls to face Beth, pointing the bloody point of her scissors at Beth. “What did you do to him?” she demands.  Beth is at a loss for an explanation.

Officer Dawn says,

Officer Dawn says, “He was fine until you two were alone with him…something happened.”

Noah speaks up, covers for Beth, tells Dawn that while Beth stepped out to get some gauze, he was mopping and accidentally unplugged the ventilator, just for a second, before plugging it back in again…Dawn orders Gorman to take Noah to her office, and Noah is roughly led away.  Doc Edwards tries to step in, telling Dawn it was an accident, to no avail.  She stalks off after Gorman and Noah.

Beth tells Doc Edwards that Noah’s version is not what happened…Mr. Trevitt just started seizing…Doc Edwards furrows his brow, asks her, “You gave him clonazepam, right?”  Beth thinks a moment, says, “Clozapine…you said clozapine.” Doc Edwards looks at her like, poor stupid girl, denies this, says he told her clonazepam (which he didn’t, he said “clozapine,” and set Beth up…what a douche).

Suddenly, they hear the sounds of Noah’s savage beating in Dawn’s office…Beth tries to run to help Noah, while Douchey Doc Edwards holds her back.

Poor Noah!

Poor Noah!

Later, Dawn comes into the room Beth is in, closes the door behind her.  She informs Beth that she knows what really happened, that while Noah is one of her “best workers,” he is not a good liar. Dawn tells Beth that they are there to serve the greater good, and that, she, Beth, is “not the greater good.” She tells Beth that she is weak, and when Beth protests, Officer Dawn asks her how many people had to risk their lives to save hers?

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that

Officer Dawn goes on to tell Beth that “the wards work to keep the officers happy, and if the officers are happy, they work harder” at serving the greater good, by keeping the system going.

Officer Dawn says that one day, they will be rescued, and they will then help put the world back together, and while there have been compromises that have had to be made, their system is working…she tries to cut Beth’s self-worth down, telling her that while in here, she is worth something, out there, she is somebody’s burden.

When Beth calls “bullshit” on this, Officer Dawn yanks up Beth’s arm,  showing the scars from when Beth tried to cut her wrists in despair, back in Season 2, at her father’s farm, back in the early days of the turn.

Then, Officer Dawn tells Beth that it’s ok, “some people aren’t meant for this life, but they shouldn’t hold back the people who are.”  And with this shitty proclamation, Dawn Lerner leaves Beth standing in the room, alone, closing the door behind her as she walks out.

Later, Noah, sporting a black eye, tells Beth “it’s not as bad as it looks.” Besides, in an act of contrition, Dawn has been generous with the painkillers.

Noah  shows come compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn's

Noah shows some compassion for Dawn Lerner, tells Beth that Dawn needed Trevitt for something, that that’s what the whole thing was about.  He says, of Dawn Lerner, that she is “trapped, too.”

Beth tells Noah they're not trapped.

Beth tells Noah they’re not trapped. “I’m going with you,” she says.

Noah looks away for a moment, then they begin to make plans.  Down the chute is the fastest way out, and landing on the bodies below would muffle any noise. Noah tells Beth that he can keep Dawn occupied if she can find the spare key to the elevator bank in Dawn’s office. Beth nods.

Later, while helping Dawn reorganize a room, Noah gives Beth the signal to go ahead…she slips away and stealths into Dawn’s office…

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth finding Dawn's secret porno stash.

It would have been awesome if this scene showed Beth happening upon Dawn’s secret porn collection as she looked for the spare key.  While Beth doesn’t find any porn, she does find…

...poor Joan's body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out.  So sad, but so kind of badass too...Joan really doesn't seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker...she's like, bring it, bitch, and I'll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

…poor Joan’s body, after cutting her own wrist and arm, and bleeding out. So sad, but so kind of badass, too…Joan really doesn’t seem to give a fuck about becoming a walker…she’s like, bring it, bitch, and I’ll bring the mayhem to this bunk-ass debt castle.

Unfortunately, Joan's deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth's need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and  she gets busted by Gorman...

Unfortunately, Joan’s deadness sets an added timing stress into the equation, so Beth’s need to hurry, plus her having to jimmy a locked drawer open, made some extra noise, and she gets busted by Gorman…but not before she scores the spare key…go, Beth!

gorman sez maybe theres another solution

Gorman works the angle that Dawn doesn’t have to know…it can be our little secret. a lil win-win for both of us…”So how about it, Betty? We gonna work somethin’ out here?” Beth plays along, nods…

beth looks to joan walker

…and as Gorman moves in, Beth looks over to Joan’s body, waiting for her to turn…

joan walker wakes

…and right on cue, Joan Walker begins to wiggle her fingers.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial.

Joan Walker is about to go AWOL on Grady Memorial. You go, Joan Walker!

Just as Gorman tells Beth,

Just as Gorman tells Beth, “You’re not a fighter,” Beth smashes the lollipop jar on Gorman’s head. Ah, poetic justice never tasted so sweet…

...especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker's path...

…especially when Gorman falls into Joan Walker’s path…

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

Joan Walker feasts on her own flavor of poetic justice.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

It has always sucked to be you, Gorman, but in this moment, especially so.

Beth grabs Gorman's gun, heads down the hallway from the office.  She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors...I hate when that happens!

Beth grabs Gorman’s gun,  heads down the hallway from the office. She looks down and sees blood on her Chuck Taylors…I hate when that happens!

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway...Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok...

Beth passes Dawn in the hallway…Dawn stops Beth, asks her if everything is ok…

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does...

It takes Beth a moment to recover herself, but she does…

...telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her...slick, Beth!

…telling Dawn that she just saw Joan and Gorman heading to her office, looking for her…slick, Beth!

As Dawn goes towards the office, Beth and Noah know that now is the time to make a break for it. They head quickly and silently to the double doors of the elevator bank, unlock them, and head down the darkened hallway to the elevator chute.

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth's waist, begins to lower her down...

At the opening of the steep drop, Noah ties the knotted rope of many sheets around Beth’s waist, begins to lower her down…

noah and beth escape 2

noah and beth escape 3 beth lowers down

Beth finds a foothold...

noah beth escape 5 foothold

Beth finds a foothold.

As Noah lowers hinself down, he gets grabbed by a walker...

As Noah lowers himself down, he gets grabbed by a walker…

In his struggle to escape the walker's clutches, Noah's grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

In his struggle to escape the walker’s clutches, Noah’s grip slips, and he fells long and hard on a heap of bodies, injuring his leg.

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside...

Beth leads the way, and Noah shows her the door to the opening, to outside…

When Noah is attacked by another walker...

When Noah is attacked by another walker…

...Beth fights it off him with Gorman's flashlight.

…Beth fights it off him with Gorman’s flashlight.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Beth shoots the basement walkers in a series of super gory effects, courtesy of Nicotero & Co.

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the...outside!

Finally, they get to the door, letting in the light of the…outside!

Beth is a badass.

Beth is a badass.

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker's head...

Upon seeing a walker woman on the ground, hissing and reaching up for her, Beth does the Walker Stomp on the walker’s head…

...sending the walker woman's blood all over the concrete...and the lens.

…sending the walker woman’s blood all over the concrete…and the lens.

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face...the ATL Walkers!

Once they slip through a hole in the chain link fence, Beth and Noah must face…the ATL Walkers!

There are only so many bullets...and so many walkers.

There are only so many bullets…and there are so many walkers.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style...she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Beth must fight off the ATL Walkers hand-to-hand style…she is getting overrun, while Noah continues to make a break for it towards the last fence.

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another...Beth makes a run for it...

Suddenly, a shot from behind, and then another…Beth makes a run for it…

...as Noah makes it through the fence.

…as Noah makes it through the fence.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Poor Beth is not so lucky.

Noah feels so awful watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn's officers...

Noah is anguished, watching Beth get taken down by one of Dawn’s officers…

...but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

…but Beth, seeing that Noah made it, smiles a real smile of happiness for him.

Later, Officer Dawn has Beth in her office, asks Beth…

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

Beth isn’t scared any longer…she is unapologetic, tells Dawn that Gorman abused Joan, and that Dawn let it happen. Beth looks Dawn in the face and tells her that “No one’s coming, Dawn. No one’s coming.  We’re all gonna die, and you let this happen.”

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap...

As Beth tells Dawn the hard truth, Dawn looks down at the broken picture frame of herself, and her chief, her mentor, and her leather bully strap…

...Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth's head. Ouch, truth hurts!

…Dawn brings the strap down on poor Beth’s head. Ouch, the truth hurts!

Later, in his office, with Junior Kimbrough playing in the background, Doc Edwards gently cleans Beth’s new set of stitches, on her forehead, above her right eye. If that wound scars, it will set off the scar on Beth’s left cheek nicely, because if there’s anyone beautiful enough to rock two righteous facial scars and still look gorgeous, it’s Beth.

Doc Edwards says that she’s healing nicely, tries to end it there, turns to leave.  But New Beth, Unbreakable Beth (Emily Kinney’s name for the New Beth, which I love) has a question for him…how did he know that Trevitt was a doctor?  Because that’s why he had her give him the wrong meds, and kill him, right?  Because then he, Doc Edwards, wouldn’t be the only doctor at Grady Memorial any longer, right?

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine's. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

Stone-cold busted, Doc Edwards admits he knew Trevitt back before the turn. Trevitt was an oncologist at St. Augustine’s. Doc Edwards likens himself to Saint Peter, who denied Christ to avoid certain crucifixion.

New Beth ain't playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze...

New Beth ain’t playin. When Doc Edwards walks out, Beth sees he left his sharp scissors behind with the gauze…

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her...until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher...

Beth walks down the hallway, scissors ready, ready to take down Doc Edwards first, then anyone else who comes for her…until she sees, being wheeled in on a stretcher…

It's Carol!

Carol!

Damn!

It’s 4:32 am, and I don’t even know what I am doing anymore, so I’m making this quick…this week’s Deadie goes to Beth, who proved herself to be smart, resourceful, loyal, and kind…in short, a total badass. I knew you had it in you, girl, and now you do, too. Mad props and Deadie to Emily Kinney, who delivered an incredible performance.

It is super exciting to see this talented, beautiful young actress, musician, and all around It Girl’s star rise higher and higher these days.

All I gotta say is, Daryl better hurry his fine ass to Grady Memorial and save his two best ladies…and I have a feeling that he’ll have one who knows riding in that car, because I feel certain that it’s Noah, picked up by Daryl on the run to get Beth, who is the one hiding in the bushes…I love Noah and want him to be the newest member of the gang.

Until next week, gang, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

TV on the Radio, “Satellite”

Cold War Kids, “Hospital Beds”

Purity Ring, “Lofticries”

Tom Waits, “Hold On” 

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof”

“Four Walls and a Roof”

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

Well, my WDO darlings, we have much to talk about with The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 3, “Four Walls and a Roof,” do we not?  While many questions were answered within this episode, we WD fans were left with a couple of lingering questions, and a few new ones, by the episode’s end…as Alice in Wonderland said, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

“Four Walls and a Roof’ opens with a grisly montage, layering close-up images of Terminal Mouths biting into, tearing, and chewing greasy chunks of meat from Bob’s leg, as a group of walkers watch them through a window, hissing and pawing at the glass.

terminans eating bob

On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick referred to the Terminans as “Hungry, Hungry Hipsters.” Ha!

hungry window walkers

Hey, give us some!

terminans eating bob 2

As we watch this gross series of images, intertwined with Bear McCreary’s sinister background music, we hear Gareth’s voice, speculating, “It’s probably pretty stupid to be here…dangerous…I don’t know, maybe not…you can see the threat…that’s something. Looking at them (the walkers) makes me feel better about things. My mom used to say, every day above ground was a win…doesn’t really apply any more, but…you can still get some perspective.”

While Gareth speaks, Bob sits against a metal pole, looking towards the window, at the pawing walkers on the other side of the glass. Around him, Terminans (including Shitty Martin) are intent on chewing their ill-gotten meat, which, watching them eat, looks like it’s really chewy.  Gross.  The walkers appear to be inside a brick building, like a school, while the Terminans are camped outside in an area surrounded by tall, chain-link fencing.

Gareth goes over to the window, puts his hand up on the glass, watches the walkers for a moment. “The glass is gonna break,” he says, “Sooner or later…Nothing lasts too long anymore.”

Gareth then turns to the group… he seems a little nostalgic, whimsical, talking mainly to Bob. Gareth says that he and the others in his group “marked” their way there so they could find their way back, after… Gareth shakes his head at this. “So stupid, right…I mean, back to what?”

Gareth moves closer to where Bob sits, crouches down beside him.  “It wasn’t just a trap, it was going to be a choice, ‘ You join us, or feed us.’

join us or feed us

Gareth continues on this, saying that, in the wild, if a bear is starving, they will eat their cubs…if the bear starves, the cub will die anyway, but if the bear lives, they can always have another cub.  Gareth looks away for a moment, then down towards the ground, purses his lips.  “That was part of the pitch,” he admits.

Gareth continues, saying that Greg and Mike came “this close” to catching the “grey-haired queen bitch” who killed his mother, Mary. (That’s New Carol, to you, Gareth, you peevish little people-eating bitch, and btw, Mary deserved it.)

Gareth continues, conspiratorially, “She drove away with the archerGreg saw them pull away.” Gareth looks off into the distance, muses, “I can’t wait to try her.” He then goes on to tell Bob that he likes (eating) women better, and that his brother, Alex (whom Gareth adds, is “also, currently dead, because of Rick”) had a theory that women tasted better because they have an extra layer of fat, for childbearing.

Pretending to ignore Bob’s pained look, Gareth continues that even the skinny women have that extra layer…like that pretty one…what was her name? Sasha?

bob looks at gareth

Gareth goes on to tell Bob that “pretty people taste better.”

(Hearing all this, I must say that it must have majorly sucked living at Terminus. Aside from all the horrible shit that any Terminan Citizen had to do to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, it seems that all the people who lived there were total social misfits.  If any of the Creepy Comrades had any redeeming qualities at one point in their former lives, the brutality of the Terminal Code, “join us or feed us,” would have obliterated any last vestiges of humanity, or any capacity to feel love, joy, hope, compassion…take those things away from a person, and what do you have left?

Even Shitty Martin called his fellow Terminans, “assholes that I survive with.” There they sit, chewing and chewing and chewing meat from Bob’s leg, staring off into their own twisted thoughts, not talking.  What is there to talk about, aside from making evil, shitty jokes speculating, or remarking, on how someone tastes? I call gross, and lame, and totally unsexy. They probably had the worst parties, ever.)

Anyway, it seems that the only thrill to be had for Gareth at this point is to be cruel, and he works that angle for all its worth.  He pauses, letting the dig about Sasha marinate for a moment, tearing a piece of meat with his teeth, and thoughtfully chewing for a moment, before informing Bob that he, Gareth, and his people are “going to get all of them,” but for now, Bob will do them just fine.

As Gareth continues to give himself and his people props for the “good job” they did on Bob’s leg, Bob starts to make sounds like he is sobbing, Gareth, testy at being interrupted, rebukes Bob for this outburst, telling Bob that he was being a human being, talking to Bob, and that Bob should get some “perspective”, being that he is “above ground” and in a better place than “them” (a.k.a. the walkers pawing at the window).

Bob is not sobbing…he is laughing, laughing more and more, causing the Terminans to rise up from their seats and move in.  Seems like they have seen this before, a victim becoming unravelled, and unpredictable  One guy says, “He’s lost it,” while the woman comrade snidely remarks that he “lasted longer” than she thought he would.  Bob continues to laugh, calling them “idiots”

...then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder.

…then Bob shows Gareth and the others the walker bite on his shoulder. “I”ve been bitten, you stupid pricks…I’m tainted meat!

On Talking Dead, Andrew J. West, who plays Gareth, wondered about what the ramifications of the Terminans eating Bob’s infected flesh would really be, as everyone is already infected. “Can you get more infected?” he wondered.

Who knows, but  it is pretty damn satisfying to see the Hungry, Hungry Hipsters jump up at this, dropping their meat in alarm and revulsion. Terminal Bitch starts pulling the chewed up bits of meat, still in her mouth, off her tongue, while Terminal Albert starts hurling.

You tell ’em, Nelson…

As the Creepy Comrades start freaking the fuck out and playing the blame game with each other (“We may as well be eating one of them!” “Why didn’t you check him?” “What’s gonna happen…are we going to turn?” “No, we cooked him!”), Bob cackles and taunts the Tainted Scenesters with the cry, “tainted meat!” until Gareth kicks him unconscious.

I must give mad props to the forward-thinkers who sleuthed the possibility of Bob being bitten, mirroring the comic series story line of Dale getting bitten, going off away from the group to die, and getting captured by The Hunters (the comic series version of the Terminans), and eventually taunting them as they feast on his infected flesh.

Once I read the online speculation, after Episode 2, “Strangers,” aired, I watched the episode again, but did not come away with any conclusive evidence that Bob had been bitten, save his drunken crying jag, slumped against a tree, before being clocked, and dropped, by a Terminal Hood (probably Shitty Martin, who was wearing a black hoodie like the perp’s). I thought Bob maybe just had been through a lot, and had had too much to drink, and just needed to take a moment and let it all out.

Now we know, and wow.  Bob, I’m so sorry man, but even though you were taken down by Halloween Store Skeleton Walker (who only got you because it had the elements of surprise, and murky water, on its side), and then captured, hacked into, and eaten, while being mocked, by Gareth and the Terminans,  (who had the elements of surprise, and dark night, going on their side) you definitely got the Last Laugh on those cannibal a-holes.

Poor Sahsa, meanwhile, is out looking for Bob, whisper-calling for him, armed with rifle and night scope.  She looks so worried, stops and takes a couple of deep, cleansing breaths, before turning and spying the mark on the tree, the one we saw when Bob was taken…

.sasha looks for bob sasha sees the mark

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope...

Upon hearing a noise, Sasha whirls and aims, sees a white figure disappear quickly into the woods through the night scope…

...and then, she sees...

…and then, she sees…

...Night Scope Walker! Agh!

…Night Scope Walker! Agh!

Sasha smashes Night Scope Walker’s undead brains into the ground, then must shoot another walker who is coming for her, before Tyrese clamps his hand over her mouth from behind, just for a second, before releasing her. telling her, “It’s me.” Rick is there as well, shining a flashlight into the woods as Sasha tells them that someone was just there, watching them.

“Someone was watching us!” Terminan, or Morgan?

Sasha wants to go in the woods after them, as Bob is missing, but Tyrese holds her back, saying that if they try to go in those woods, now, someone isn’t coming back. As he scans the woods, Rick adds that Bob isn’t the only one missing…Daryl and Carol are missing as well.

Inside the candlelit church, Maggie is sitting in one of the pews, regarding a stack of hymnals doubtfully before moving them aside. Carl sits forward, thinking in the flickering darkness, before the creak of the door alerts them, and Rick, Tyrese, and Sasha come in.  Sasha walks up the aisle, toward the front altar, where Gabriel stands. She faces him, as Rick and Tyrese flank her from behind.

“Stop,” Sasha orders Gabriel, who pauses, surprised and fearful at the menace in Sasha’s stance, and voice. Sasha continues, somewhere between a whisper and a growl, “What are you doing? What…are…you doing? This is all connected…you show up, someone is watching us, and now, three of us are gone!”

Gabriel looks around fearfully, protests that he doesn’t know what Sasha is talking about, that he has nothing to do with any of this. Sasha has no time, or patience, to play around, and she unsheaths her machete, advancing on Gabriel, demanding, “Where are our people? Where are our people??!” Gabriel is majorly freaked, but insists that he has nothing to do with all this.

Rick steps forward for the Tag-Team Interrogation, looking majorly Sexy Detective as he peppers Gabriel with questions. Why did he bring them there? Is he working with someone?  When Gabriel insists that he’s alone, he’s always been alone, Rick brings up the woman walker at the food bank….“What did you do to her, Gabriel? ‘You will burn?’ Why will you burn, Gabriel? What did you do?” 

In classic interrogation room-style, Rick grabs Gabriel’s shirt and shoves him up against the altar, before releasing the shaken priest abruptly.

Gabriel breaks,

Gabriel breaks, “I locked the doors…at night. I always locked the doors at night…I always locked the doors…at night.”

Gabriel tells them that after the turn, after Atlanta was bombed, terrified parishioners, and their families, came to the church for refuge…but. they came, in the early hours of the morning, and instead of opening the doors to let them in, Gabriel stayed where he was, keeping the doors locked…and the parishioners outside.  As the people cried out to him, the noise attracted walkers, who attacked the vulnerable parishioners. Locked inside the church, Gabriel heard the agonizing screams and cries as men, women, and children got torn apart. He heard the dying people to beg him for mercy, then curse him, and damn him to Hell.

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel's confession..

Rick and the gang listen in silent horror to Gabriel’s confession. “It was my choice (to keep the doors locked).”

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation...

Gabriel sinks down, in misery and self-condemnation, sobbing…”The Lord says you’re here to finally punish me.  I’m danned…I was damned before…I always locked he doors...I always locked the doors.”

Mad props to Seth Gilliam (from The Wire), who plays Father Gabriel, for an amazing performance, all around, but especially for this heartbreaking, harrowing scene…when a tortured man of the cloth confesses how he abandoned his people, in a moment of weakness and cowardice, when they needed him most…when their very lives depended on him doing right by them, opening the doors of the church, and letting them take refuge within the safety of its walls.

A noise outside…Glenn sees someone outside, lying in the grass…the gang runs outside, and finds…

Bob!

Bob!

Sasha, crying, gets Tara to help her carry Bob inside, while the others rekill the walkers that are approaching.  Rick hears a gunshot, which misses Rick, dropping the walker next to him instead. Rick fires back in the direction it came, from the woods, while ordering everyone inside. As he follows suit, we see the Terminans have marked the outside of the church…

“A” for train car A, the holding car for Rick and the gang…some mind-messing mental warfare going on here, Terminal Style.

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy turned to me and said, “This is the scariest story line, ever.”  We agreed, too, that so far, in many ways, Season 5 is the best WD season yet.

Kudos to Dad, NewDad, Crazy Uncle Greg, and the entire WD cast and crew, for bringing the thrills, chills, and blood spills like none other, yet again.

Back in the church, Bob has come to, and is sharing the details of his harrowing ordeal at the hands of the Terminans…he was in the graveyard, and somebody knocked him out…he woke up at some place that looked like a school.  Bob tells the gang, “It was that guy, Gareth,” and we see a shot of Rick, and we know what he’s thinking…

bob tells sad tale

i knew we should have killed gareth

“I knew we should have stayed and killed them!”

Bob continues, saying that it was Gareth, “and five other ones…they were eating my leg, right in front of me, like it was nothin’…all proud, like they had it all figured out.” (Ugh, it is so awful, sounds so awful, to say it…poor Bob, and the poor gang, poor Sasha, who must listen to this awful tale, and process that this happened to one of their own, just in the past hours, when all seemed so right, everyone all together again, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while. And, now this…O how I hate thee, Terminal Buzzkills!)

Rick asks Bob gently, softly, if they had Daryl and Carol.  Bob thinks a moment, says that Gareth said they drove off.  The gang exchanges quick looks, like, what? Then, they turn their attention back to Bob.  He seems like he’s in real pain, and Sasha asks if they have anything for him. Rosita does, but Bob stops her, to Sasha’s confusion…and Bob knows that now is the time he must tell her.

:(

😦

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder.

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder. He looks at Sasha, tells her, “It happened at the food bank.”

Poor Sasha!

Poor Sasha! She does manage a brave smile for Bob, after a long moment of shock…

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick...

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick…

...as the gang must face losing another beloved member...

…as the gang must face losing another beloved member…

...of their chosen family.

…of their chosen family.

Gabriel steos up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office...

Gabriel steps up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office…

...and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him for, the kind and compassionate offer.

…and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him, for the kind and compassionate offer.

As Tyrese carries Bob to the office, Rick asks Gabriel if he know where the school is, the one Bob was talking about.  After some hesitation, and prodding from Rick, Gabriel says that there is an elementary school close by, about a 10-minute walk through the woods.  You can see the wheels in Rick’s head turning.

Baby Judith starts to cry, and Carl takes her to the back.  Rick asks Maggie if Bob has the fever…Maggie says he’s just warm.  Glenn adds that Jim lasted two days before they left him.  Our gang is doing what they do, putting all the information out there, so they can make a decision about how to proceed, armed with all the facts and factors.

Abraham steps forward on this moment with a “reality check”…it’s time to pack up and leave for D.C., now, as there is a clear threat to Eugene, and they must “extract his ass” from said threat immediately, before things “get any uglier.” Rick replies that Daryl and Carol aren’t back yet, and they aren’t going anywhere until they return.

Abraham replies that he respects that, then tries a “so, if you aren’t coming with us, guess this is goodbye,” and turns with Rosita to leave, when Rick ups the ante on the “Just who is top dog around here anyway?” question, asking Abraham’s retreating back, “You going (to D.C.) on foot?” meaning, of course, “Hope you don’t think you’re taking that bus you found in the back, because that bus belongs to RICK GRIMES & CO., bitch.”

Oh, yes he did!  (And I like it.)

This clear challenge stops Abraham, and Rosita, mid-stride. Abraham turns, reminds Rick that they fixed that damn bus themselves, while Rick strides forward, saying, “There are a lot more of us,”  to which Abraham replies, “You wanna keep it that way? You should come!”  

Rick reminds Abraham that “Carol saved your life, we saved your life,” and Abraham yells, “And I’m trying to save yours!”  Rick and Abraham go back and forth, Rick saying they aren’t leaving without their people, and their people will be right back. Abraham yells, “To what? Picked over bones?”

Rick and Abraham begin to shove one another as their exchange escalates, until Glenn steps between them, yelling at them to, “Stop right now!”  Glenn asks Abraham to stay one more day, and Tara throws in another offer…if Abraham and Co. will stay and help, one more day, she will go with them to D.C,, no matter what. Abraham throws in that he wants Glenn and Maggie as well, to which Rick In Charge says, No way.

Abraham turns to leave, ordering Eugene to come along, like a dad…when Eugene refuses at first, “I don’t want to,” like a teenager, Abraham grinds out, “NOW.”

“Ok,” Eugene says softly, getting up and walking towards the door, without looking at anybody. (Holy dysfunctional relationship, Batman!)

As Abraham turns to leave with Eugene and Rosita, Rick says, again, “You’re not taking the bus.” Abraham turns halfway to Rick, says, “Stop me.” After a long moment, Rick begins to stride towards Abraham, who hands his gun to Rosita, preparing to exchange blows.  But Glenn once again gets between them, telling Abraham that if he stays, and helps them, then he and Maggie will go with them to D.C.

At this, Rick says, again, “No,” and Glenn turns to him, reminds Rick that, “It’s not your call.”  After that, Rick says nothing, and Glenn repeats the offer to Abraham, who gives Glenn half the next day. “Come high noon, we’re taillights,” says Abraham. “I’m not waiting for the other damn shoe to drop.” Maggie agrees, so Abraham agrees. He will give them 12 hours.

Meanwhile, in Gabriel’s office, Sasha is wiping Bob’s forehead down with a cool, wet cloth, while Bob is trying to revive their former game of Pros and Cons, Good and Bad. He tells Sasha the one good thing about getting kicked in the face was that it made him forget the pain in his leg.

“We’re not playing that game any more,” replies Sasha, wringing out the cloth and wiping Bob’s forehead. Bob smiles, replies that he thought at least she would try to humor him a little bit…but Sasha doesn’t. She can’t. She asks Bob why he didn’t tell her, when it happened, that he had gotten bit.

Bob tells her he knew once he told her, it would be “all about the end…and I really liked the middle.”  This, of course, makes Sasha turn away, and blink back her tears. She then lay her head gently on Bob’s shoulder.

So sweet and sad.

So sweet, and sad.

Meanwhile, Rick and the gang are talking strategy…Rick and Glenn agree that Gareth and the Terms aren’t going to expect them to attack first, that they won’t think that Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars will be thinking straight.

Rosita pipes up, “Are we?” and at Rick’s look, she says, simply, that it’s a pretty risky plan.  Nobody says anything.  Rick turns to Tyrese, asks him if he’s up for this, but before Tyrese (who is sitting, looking down at the floor, and not looking like he’s up for much of anything) can answer, Sasha comes into the room, tells the gang that she’s in. She wants to go.

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should stay back, stay with Bob. Sasha tells him no, she’s going. Tyrese follows her into the office.

sasha tyrese bob

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen's death.

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen’s death.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother. “You want me to forgive them? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Sasha continues, “You think we have a choice?” to which Tyrese replies, “Not all of us, just you.” Tyrese continues by saying that the only thing Bob will want to see, when he wakes up, is Sasha’s face.  In response, Sasha stands up, unsheaths her knife, and hands it to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

She says, Take it.

She says, Take it…

...and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple...that's what Bob would want.

…and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple…that’s what Bob would want.

Next, we see a shot of Rick and the Stealth Squad, leaving the church at night, Gabriel peers out after them a moment, before closing and locking the door.

rick and the gang leave the church

Rick, Michonne, Sasha, Glenn, Abraham and Maggie file out of the church….

Then, one of the coolest things I've seen on televsion...a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait...watch, wait...suspense builds...it's like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no...wait, watch...and we see...

Then, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on televsion…a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait…watch, wait…suspense builds…it’s like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no…wait, watch…and then, finally, we see, coming out of the bushes, once all is clear…

Terminans!

Terminans!

As they approach the church, Gareth silently hand-signals his group, and Shitty Martin steps forward, and easily jacks the lock of the church’s front door (if only he had been there, before becoming a Terminan, to let all those poor families into the church, on that early morning, so long ago!). 

One by one, the Terminans file into the church.

Carl, hearing the breach of the door, lifts his gun and holds it steady towards the door.

carl raises gun in gabriels office

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

The following scene was so damn scary to watch, my WD buddy and I were guzzling champagne, hard.  We finished the good bottle and moved on to the cheap one. Thank God for orange juice, makes it so you can’t tell the difference…until the next morning, that is…

Gareth, emerging from the darkness, announces, “Well, I guess you know we’re here…

“…and we know you’re here.” 

Gareth continues, as he and his fellow Terms step silently forward through the church, closer and closer to Gabriel’s office, where our gang is hiding.  Gareth informs them that they are armed, so there’s no point in hiding…when this fails to bring them forward, Gareth continues, saying, “We’ve been watching you.” He says that he knows who is there…there’s Bob, unless they went ahead and put him out of his misery, already…then, there’s Eugene, and Rosita, and “Martin’s good friend, Tyrese”…

tyrese eugene rosita bob

Gareth continues naming: “Carl, Judith.”  Gareth  then tells them that he knows Rick and the others left, with a lot of their guns…

As he talks, Gareth motions his people, all armed, forward, until they are at the two office doors.  A Terminal Goon tries the door of Gabriel’s office, finds it locked. Carl and Rosita hold their guns steady towards the door.

Gareth informs them that he knows they are behind one of those two doors, and that they have enough fire power to blast both doors down. “I don’t imagine that’s what you want,” he says.

One of the things I find so scary about Gareth is that he can sound so reasonable, calm. I could imagine how people would have thought he was a man that could be reasoned, or bargained with, but Gareth’s calm belies a ruthlessness, and probably comes from a deep lack of giving a shit about anything other than his personal agenda. Gareth can sound super calm, and reasonable...while he’s sawing off your leg, or roasting it over the fire, and eating it, right in front of you.

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling “the priest” that if he lets them in, he can take the baby and walk out the door, and leave unharmed.  Yeah, right.

At Judith’s cry, Gareth turns from the door he was in front of, the wrong door, and heads towards the other door, the right door, saying, “I don’t know, maybe we’ll keep the kid…I’m starting to like this girl.” Bastard!

Gareth gives them one more chance to come out…Shitty Martin turns to him, asks, “Are we done?” Gareth instructs them to aim for the door hinges, and just as they are about to do so, a silencer sounds two quiet shots, dropping two Terminal Goons, their blood splattering the church walls.

We hear a soft voice growl out from the back pews, “Put your guns on the floor.” And even though we can’t see him, yet, we know he’s looking hot, and sounding like the most badass cowboy this side of Clint EastwoodRick In Charge! Yes! He’s back to save the day…or, rather, the night.

Gareth starts talking fast, some shrill shit directed at Rick, pointing his left index and middle fingers like a gun at the office door, and we hear the silencer go off again. Gareth drops forward, and when he comes back up to standing, we see that Rick has shot the two fingers clean off at the mid knuckle.

gareth gets shot

Yes! Take that, Gareth!

Oh, Gareth. meet Rick In Charge...p.s. he's a sharpshooter.

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick In Charge…p.s. he’s a sharpshooter.

 Cue Nelson…

As Gareth tries not to cry, curled up on the floor, we see, emerging from the darkness…

Rick .In. Charge.

Rick. In. Charge.

Rick orders them to put their guns down…two goons do, but Shitty Martin does not. Still knifed over in pain on the floor, Gareth tells Martin to do as he says, that there’s no choice any more.  Shitty Martin disagrees.

“Oh, yeah there is.” It seems that this is Martin’s Last Stand.

Abraham would beg to differ, moving up from the side aisle, assault rifle aimed at Shitty Martin.  “You wanna bet?”  Martin puts his gun down, gets on his knees.

Gareth, meanwhile, is trying to compose himself, despite the searing pain he is in. #karma

Managing to straighten up enough to look Rick in the face, Gareth asks, lightly, “Guess there’s no point in begging, right?”

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word.

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word. “No.”

Gareth asks Rick why they didn’t kill them right away, before, and Rick replies, “We didn’t want to waste the bullets.”

Ah, remember the good old days of shot count, Gareth?

Gareth is not very good at being on the other side of all this, and besides, his hand really hurts.  He tries at first to appeal to Rick’s sympathies, telling him that they used to help people, at Sanctuary, before they were taken advantage of, and brutalized. When this fails, Gareth tries the ol’, “I can tell you’ve been out there, but you don’t know what it’s like to be hungry!”

Rick In Charge just cocks his head at this, observing Gareth like a bird of prey would regard a future morsel, not saying anything.  Gareth then tries to bargain with Rick, saying that he, Rick, can just “let them go” and their paths would never cross again.

Rick cocks his head to the other side, points out that Gareth would cross paths with someone else…right?  And they would do this (i.e., capturing and eating a person) to anyone, right? Rick is quoting Gareth’s jibes to Bob back to him now.

“Besides,” Rick tells Gareth, “I made you a promise, before…”

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick Smash!  P.S. He's got anger issues.

Gareth, meet Rick Smash!p.s. he’s got anger issues.

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch's face, like, oooh, don't hurt me!

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch’s face, like, oooh, don’t hurt me!

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

And then, this happens…

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means...

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means…

Katana time again! Yes!

Katana-time again! Yes!

After the carnage, a dazed Rick says, simply, “It could have been us.” As he and the other heavies file out of the room, a shaken Gabriel enters, says, in disbelief, looking at his now bloodstained church, “This is the Lord’s house.”  “No,” says Maggie, looking majorly creeped out by it all, “This is just four walls and a roof.”

In the next scene, the gang is all around Bob’s bed, and one by one, they are saying their goodbyes.  Maggie gives Bob the sweetest smile, tells him that he will “always be with us.”  She turns, and she, Glenn, Abraham and Rosita, then the others file out.

Bob calls out to Rick, who is holding Judith, and Sasha leaves them to have a moment. Bob thanks Rick for taking him in, and helping him believe, and know, that there are good people left in the world.

Bob tells Rick he's not backing off his earlier stance...don't lose too much of what you really are, and don't stop believing that things will be good again, one day.

Bob tells Rick he’s not backing off his earlier stance…don’t lose too much of what you really are, and don’t stop believing that things will be good again, one day. “Nightmares end…they don’t have to end who you are.” Bob looks at Baby Judith, says, “Look at her, and tell me the world isn’t gonna change.”

Sasha sits by Bob’s side, later, watches him wake up.  “You were out,” she says, as he smiles.  “Why are you smiling?” she asks him.  “I think I was having a dream, and in it, you were smiling at me,” murmurs Bob.  This brings a smile to Sasha’s face, and that smile brings Bob joy. “There it is,” he murmurs happily.

sasha smiles for bob

Sasha asks Bob, “So what is it, what is the good that comes from this bad?” Bob doesn’t answer, and his face goes quiet, peaceful.  He is gone.  Sasha sobs, tries to compose herself. She knows what she must do, and she pulls out her knife…but she can’t bring herself.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha. “Give it here,” he says, and lets her leave before he slips the knife in Bob’s temple, rekilling him.

The next day. Sasha is finishing up the wooden cross marking Bob’s grave, and the gang is saying their goodbyes to Glenn and Maggie, and Abraham and Co. Abraham hands Rick a map, telling Rick that he and his gang know the route Abraham and Co. are taking to D.C,, and if for some reason they veer off the charted course, they know the destination.  Abraham tells them that Eugene will fix things, and when he does, they should be there, too.

It is majorly surreal to see Glenn and Maggie looking out from the bus, with Tara, Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham.

Glenn and Maggie leaving...it just doesn't feel right!

Glenn and Maggie leaving…it just doesn’t feel right!

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map.

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map, later.

Later that night, Michonne sits on the front steps of the church, looking at the katana she holds once again.  Father Gabriel comes out and sits beside her.  He can’t sleep, keeps hearing the cries in his head from the night before…and from before.  Michonne tells him that won’t stop…but, eventually, it won’t happen all the time.

A noise from the bushes startles them.  Gabriel makes his way back inside while Michonne goes out to investigate…and finds, emerging from the bushes…

Daryl!

Daryl!

Michonne smiles, then frowns, asks, “Where’s Carol?” Without answering, Daryl turns back to the darkened bushes, tells someone, hidden, “You can come out.”

What??

Two things, before I sign off.  First, I would like to say that in my frenzy to get my post written last week, I forgot to award a Deadie, so this week, we are going Double Deadie…I hearby award these two Deadies to (drumroll please), Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (and his character, Bob Stookey, who turned out to be a great guy, and family) and to Andrew J. West (and his character, Gareth). While Gareth wasn’t a great guy, he was a great villain, and I feel like this young, talented actor is going to be wowing us again and again in the future. Cheers, Bob and Gareth, and farewell.

Second, I am honored to have readers all over the world, as we are part of the worldwide community of Walking Dead Obsessed.  Since we have this wonderful network, I wanted to post this picture, and this information, about William Tyrell, a beautiful 3-year-old boy who has been missing for more than a month now.  He was last seen playing in his grandmother’s yard.  If anyone has any information about William, or his whereabouts, please contact the number provided.  Please, let’s try to help bring this baby back home safe.

come home william tyrell

Good night, gang, and until next week.  Enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Because I really do think Gareth wanted Rick to take him out, there, at the end..)

alt-J, “Every Other Freckle” (For Sasha and Bob, who never got to party naked together…they would have had fun if they had)

Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground” (Six Terminans, 6 Underground…you do the math.)

Phantogram, “Nightlife” (RIP Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers”

Prologue

It wasn’t until late Monday morning, the morning after the initial airing of  The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers,” that I realized how hard I was avoiding sitting down to write my post on the episode.  

I tried, I really did.  But every time I went to sit down, focus, and write, I just couldn’t do it. It was like my mind, my body, my spirit were all saying, “Nah….nope.”

So, I did other stuff, productive things. I took my dog on a super long walk.. then, I puttered around outside in my yard, watering my garden, trimming back overgrowth, making a new batch of bio-safe plant spray (2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons mild dishwashing liquid, 1 gallon water…put in spray bottle, and spray on plants, especially on underside of leaves, avoiding spraying in sun or in temperatures 90 degrees or above…spray every 5-7 days…controls aphids, lacebugs, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, whitefly)  

All good stuff, I know.  Very productive. As I sprayed away the aphids, I kept telling myself, “After I vanquish these aphids, it will be time to sit, focus, and get some key writing done before going to work.” But every time I tried to sit, to write, it was the same thing…I tried, but I still wasn’t really feeling it. “Nope…not ready. Not yet.”

Now, this is all very irregular for me.  While this blog is an act of love, written in the stolen moments between being a busy working grown-up/wife/mom of two, I do hold myself to a rather stringent writing schedule, working long hours into the night, writing, watching, rewatching, picture-taking, picture-loading, reading, rereading, rewriting, until my face feels like it’s about to fall off, and my brain feels like it’s bleeding out my mucous membranes.

When I finally get to click on that magic word, “Publish,” well, that moment is a triumph for me, every time, and I know more than ever now what it takes to get there…so when i have the time, like on Monday mornings, I try to make the most of it.

“Come on,” I told myself. “You can do this.

And I tried. I really did. When all else fails, I go to music. The music always gets me going. So, I put on the playlist I compiled for “Strangers” (which is super epic, if I do say so myself) and had a one-woman dance party in the living room.  But, this time, music did not lead to writing. It just led to more dance party.

Can’t force it,”  I told myself.  So, I did other things. I posted a couple of pics on my Facebook page, tweeted a picture montage of Mary and the Karma Walkers (which I’m sure my four Twitter followers really enjoyed) and checked, and rechecked, all my social media. Then, instead of sitting in front of the laptop and getting to work, I went full-on hooky, curled up in my favorite outdoor easy chair with another cup of coffee, and watched the birds outside while soaking in some morning sunshine and good outdoor vibes. .

Sounds lovely, I know. It was. But somewhere inside, amdist all the loveliness, I was asking myself, “What the hell am I doing?”  I knew what I was doing.  I was procrastinating with life-affirming, self-soothing rituals because I was feeling pretty sick deep inside my gut about the end of “Strangers,” and what is happening to Bob at the hands of Gareth and the Terminans.  

The ending shot of “Strangers” was, to me, the point where the fans of The Walking Dead  television series officially cross the threshold into the “Dark Room” that Andrew Lincoln was talking about, in interviews, when he spoke about where the Season 5 story line would lead us.

I get it. I really do. I know that Kirkman, Gimple & Nicotero, Inc. have been going pretty easy on us Prime-Time Pollyannas thus far.

The Comic Series Set, who are like the elder siblings of us television-series-only crybabies, are probably saying at this point, “Man, Dad (aka Kirkman), NewDad (aka Gimple),and Crazy Uncle Greg (aka Nicotero, of course) never cut us the slack they cut you guys…you guys have had it so easy!

Kirkman’s message is clear:  Time’s up, people. It’s time to sac up, or pack up.

Remember The Law of Kirkman:

The Law of Kirkman states:  Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions. 

(For more on the Law of Kirkman, Daryl Partners/Daryl Plans, and other coping mechanisms, refer to my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens ‘After?’“)

Dad, NewDad, and Crazy Uncle Greg have been candy-assing us for long enough. They.Are.Done.With.That.  Now is the time for tough love, and the time for tough love is now.

Dad, New Dad, and Crazy Uncle Greg are proceeding to Go Comic Series on our asses (and p.s., they’re going to get jiggy with it).

They have been gleefully waiting for this moment.

<Mentally insert, here, image of Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero, laughing maniacally in peals of evil laughter>

The end of “Strangers” was a rough one for me, people.  I cannot lie.  And I’ve been a real dick to Bob in the past.  I feel sad, deflated…guilty. I know it’s not real, but as I’ve said before, I still obsess. I’m having some Post-Dick Guilt Syndrome (PDGS).

Bob Stookey. Sigh. ❤  Bob was being so sweet, and so hopeful.  Bob was letting himself believe, and Bob was falling in love with Sasha.  And Sasha was falling in love back. Bob is actually a really good boyfriend.  He listens, he communicates, he’s affectionate. I was rooting for Bob.

I am a big sap, I know.  I told you all this,right from the first, in my “Introduction” post. I have an overactive imagination, and I can’t always shake the things this show puts up on the crazy table.  I have been feeling some big-time Bob Melancholia. I did do my best to make it up to Bob by compiling an epic playlist in his honor.

But, while the music came, the words still didn’t.

I just…couldn’t.  In the words of Shitty Martin, “I don’t want to do this today.” 

So, I did other things, those good, soul-nourishing things, and then, I went to work. And when I got home from work, I didn’t settle in to write, like I usually do on the Monday nights after the episode, until the wee hours…until I collapse in bed for a few meager hours of sleep before the alarm goes off, and I have to be a mom and make it all happen, all over again… and so on, and so on, until I hit, “Publish.”

On this Monday night, instead, I settled in under the covers with my little dog, and we snuggled and shared night snacks and watched Divergent, and I took comfort in the warmth of the covers, and my little dog, and the uplifting tale of two hot young divergents finding love and kicking ass in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. And the next day, after work, after homework, after bedtime, I was finally ready to write.

And so I settled in.

And so, it begins.

_________________________________________________________________

“Strangers” 

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

(Note: I have been experiencing technical difficulties, and must kick this post old-school, rewatching “Strangers” on the TV and taking pics of the TV screen with my phone…is anyone else out there experiencing difficulty watching this week’s episode of WD on the AMC website? It won’t let me sign in to watch the full episode…just when I learned how to do the “snipping tool” screen shot, too…damn fickle technology!

I will, however, embrace the lesson…sometimes you gotta go back to the very beginning, where it all started.)

In the opening shot of “Strangers,” we see the plume of smoke from the fires of Terminus burning.  The plume is grey now, not black, signaling the fire’s ending stage. The smoke plume is some ways away, so .the gang seems to have covered some ground at this point, putting some miles between themselves and Terminus.IMG_8388

Nest, we see a shot of Rick’s head, coming up over the hill…his stride, his whole aura is focused, purposeful…totally hot.

IMG_8403

The gang takes a much-needed rest break in a quiet glenn in the woods. We see Carl, in his father’s sheriff’s hat, bleeding wound on his cheek, quietly and happily feeding his baby sister, Judith, her bottle.

IMG_8390

Judith’s bottle is almost drained dry, leaving my WD buddy and I to wonder how much formula for Judith is left on them, at this point.  They are probably rationing her as much as they are able, but my WD buddy and I are moms…we know how much growing babies need to eat, and drink.  We are worried for that baby, on many, many levels.

It has probably been a while since any of them have eaten anything of substance.

On last week’s Talking Dead, Scott M. Gimple said while Gareth and the Terminans did size up certain people who would potentially be viewed as Terminal Assets, and while Maggie, Glenn, Abraham and Co. would have definitely been seen as having Terminal Potential, they didn’t get a chance to enjoy any Terminal Barbeque, as Abraham felt the need to mention the mission to D.C. pretty soon into the introductions, back at “Public Face,” prompting Gareth to give the nod, and the look, sending our gang to Train Car “A” at gunpoint, only after relinquishing their choice items to the outstretched hands of the Hungry Terminans.   No barbeque for you!

Meanwhile, back at the glenn, Glenn is busying himself around the area, bending down to pick up something on the ground beside Maggie, without really looking at her…she puts her hand on his shoulder, and as he looks up at her, she smiles at him, says softly, “Hey…not so fast.”

They kiss briefly, and Maggie pulls Glenn in for a brief, sweet hug, smiling at Tara over Glenn’s shoulder in a silent, “Thank You” to Tara for having her man’s back, and for helping bring him back to her safely.

IMG_8391

Tara is looking like she is dealing with some PDGS herself.

Tara is looking like she has been dealing with some PDGS herself.

As she turns away from the happy couple, Tara sees Rick.

Tara and Rick face each other warily, cautiously for a moment.  Rick speaks first, is direct, “You didn’t want to be there (as a part of the Gov’s Army 2.0)….that’s why I tried to talk to you.”  Tara says nothing.

Rick nods over towards Glenn, continues, “Glenn told me you saved his life.”

Tara laughs a little, nods back. “He saved mine.” Rick gives her a sweet smile, says, “Well, that’s how it works with us…right?” He puts the question back to her. Tara gives the sweetest look (she’s so pretty). like she can’t believe he’s being so cool, and says, with a little, shy smile, agrees, “Right.”

The moment shifts, and they step back, slightly awkward again with each other. Tara extends her fist, with a small, “Hey…” Rick looks down at her fist, hesitates, just a moment, before smiling and extending his fist out for the bump.

IMG_8398

Rick Grimes isn't one to leave a sister hanging.

Rick Grimes isn’t one to leave a sister hanging.

After pounding it out, Rick gently advises Tara to go get something to eat, they’ll start back at sunup. Seems like they are staying put for the night.

In the next shot, we see Rick’s head coming up over the hillside, then the rest of the crew.  Maggie looking weary, pale, sweaty…it must be so hard, being on the run, being on guard always, barely any food or sleep or rest…grueling, no time to recover from the last terrible thing that happened…and it’s just one long string of terrible things, all the time now. Our gang is having a hard time getting a break.

IMG_8407

In the next scene, we see Carol and Tyrese, crouched down, side by side, collecting water from a stream in plastic bottles. They look awkward, neither of them really talking, or looking at each other, but then Tyrese sneaks a look over, tells Carol that he “talked to Rick” and let Rick know that he, Tyrese, knows what Carol did at the prison, that Daryl and Maggie accept it, too.

At Carol’s silence, Tyrese adds, “You wouldn’t be here if they didn’t,” which I guess was meant to be reassuring to Carol, but doesn’t quite come across as the warmest “welcome back into the fold” speech ever.  Carol says nothing. Tyrese continues, offers to “talk to the others, make sure they accept it too.”

“They don’t have to,” Carol points out, quickly.  Tyrese looks over at Carol, quietly disagrees, “No, they do.”  He looks back down at the flowing water. “They just do.”

After a moment, Tyrese looks up, out at the water. “We don’t need to tell them about the girls…I don’t want to.”  Carol looks over at Tyrese, asks, “Why?”

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Tyrese stares down at the water. “I just need to forget it,” he says.

The montage shifts back to the gang, walking in loose formation, looking like the badasses they are.

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