The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”

“No Sanctuary”

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

First, came the First Four Minutes

AMC released The First Four Minutes of The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premiere episode, “No Sanctuary,” earlier in the day on Sunday, October 12, 2014 on AMC’s official website and Facebook pages.  My WD buddy texted me in the late morning:  Did you watch the first four minutes of tonight’s show they released? Intense. I’m stoked. 

I had not, yet.  I was still in the midst of Sunday chores.  It wasn’t until later that afternoon that I had a chance to sneak away with the laptop, find a quiet place, crack open a Miller Lite (for courage, and because, you know, it was time to start celebrating), and watch.

Four minutes and some later, it was a little hard for me to catch my breath. I was glad I had brought the Miller Lite.

Hours later, my WD buddy came over, bearing champagne, to watch the Season 5 premiere episode together.  It was such a treat for me to have her there.  We toasted Rick, Daryl, and the gang, and when 9 o’clock came, we rewatched the First Four Minutes:

First, we see a black screen, bearing one word:

then

The opening shot of “No Sanctuary” shows us the figures of about six young men and women, huddled miserably in a dark train car, sitting braced against the car’s walls, or in the center of the tiny, cramped space. Each person has his/her knees drawn up towards their chests in a self-protective measure. As the camera pans over the huddled figures, we hear a woman’s agonized screams pierce through the walls and the darkness.  All falls silent for a brief moment before the terrified screaming starts up again.

We can see how each scream resonates, and registers, through the body of each person who sits in the small, dark box, as he/she awaits his/her terrible, unknown fate.

As the poor woman’s screams stop, then start afresh, one young man’s head sinks lower, and lower, into his arms, crossed at his knees.  Another young woman sits quiet and still, and stares listlessly down at her hands in the brief, dark silence…then. a fresh wave of screaming begins again.

One bearded young man, huddled in the darkness, laments, in a shaking voice, “We should have never put up those signs…What the hell did we think was gonna happen?” Screams fill the silence that follows his words.

The camera pans to the profile of the young man speaking…we recognize him as Alex, the bearded, squirrely sidekick who met his fateful demise in the Season 4 finale, “A,” in the first moments of the standoff between Rick and the Train Car Superstars and the Terminans of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.

Alex concludes his lament, saying simply, miserably, “We brought ’em here.”

alex

Across from Alex, his brother, Gareth,  leans forward from the darkness. Gareth’s voice shakes too, with earnestness and conviction, as he whispers back to Alex, “We were trying to do something good

At this, Alex laughs, softly and bitterly, shaking his head at his brother in disbelief.

Gareth leans forward until he is face to face with Alex, asserts, “We were being human beings.”

IMG_8340

In this first glimpse of Gareth, we see how he was before, with a softness and compassion still in his eyes. Gareth Before…

Alex laughs thinly at this, hisses back, “What are we now, Gareth?”

Gareth says nothing.  He closes his eyes for a long moment…

IMG_8333

And when he opens them again, we see:

Gareth After.

Gareth After.

Next comes:

now

We hear Abraham’s voice as we watch images of our gang’s hands, as each member creates and modifies his/her own makeshift weaponry from whatever items are on his/her person:

“They seemed nice enough, but I was ready to go.  We had just got here, but, damn. It was time to go. When I told them about D.C., a wink and a nod from the head asshole in charge, they pulled their guns, and it was right back to our regularly scheduled shitstorm.”

Abraham is sharpening something metal down, on the floor, as he talks, Rosita is wrapping her belt around her hand, wrist, and arm…she has taken her earrings, perhaps, and has fashioned them into sharp spines that stick out from the belt she has wrapped over her knuckles. Glenn stomps on a belt, breaking off the top rounded part of the buckle, laces his fingers through the metal spines so they protrude from a closed fist, and proceeds to wrap the belt around his hand.

Michonne’s hands are testing the strength of a leather lace, snapping it taut, as we hear Sasha’s voice ask, “Before they put you in here, you didn’t see…Tyrese?

Michonne’s voice answers, “No.”

“Good,”  Sasha sighs.

We hear Daryl’s voice next, talking about Beth’s abduction, “Black car, with a white cross painted on it. I tried to follow it, I tried…” (We know you did, Daryl Dixon, you beautiful, sweet man.) 

Maggie’s voice asks, “But she’s alive?”

“She’s alive,” Daryl answers. We hear Maggie and Daryl’s whispered exchange of smiles, sighs, and laughter at this news.

Rick is using the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch to saw at a corner of a wooden support beam, fashioning himself a sharp blade.

rick fashions a knife

Outside, the voices of Creepy Comrades escalate, barking orders and telling poor, protesting people to “shut up” as they begin another horrific roundup.  Daryl peers out a crack in the door. “Alright,” he says, “There are four of them pricks, comin’ our way.” He looks up, his eyes meet Rick’s.

4 pricks coming our way

sweet daryl d look

It’s go time.

Rick tears the blade he has fashioned from the wooden beam, reminds the group that “You all know what to do…go for their eyes first, then their throats.”  Outside, a Teminan barks out the order for our gang in the train car to, “Put your backs to the wall at either end of the car…NOW!”

go time in the train car

sasha dukes it up

Rick looks back at the gang, nods silently as they crouch in ready stances, facing the door…but nobody comes through there.  The gang then hears a noise from above, looks up as a light shines down from an opening above them. A canister drops down onto the floor.

Abraham yells, “Move!” and shoves the others back as the canister erupts in a cloud of noxious gas.  Enter, stage left, The Dicks With Gas Masks.

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The following sequence is a nightmarish series of images and events, seen from Rick’s point of view as he is dragged across a large concrete floor.  The piercing shriek of a chainsaw screams, then lulls, and winds through the black, sinister hum of the Bear McCreary score that simmers and pulses as if it were alive, breathing…

Rick's head slams on the concrete...

Rick’s head slams on the concrete…

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick's face.

He looks up, dazed, before a Creepy Comrade smashes his boot down on poor Rick’s face.

All goes black…and then we see:

IMG_7989

We knew they were cannibals!

We knew they were cannibals! #thoseterminalbastards

First Rick, then Daryl,,and Glenn are dragged to the large metal sink, bound with zip ties at the wrists and ankles, gagged, and forced to kneel, along with others, at the long, gleaming trough.  Bob is brought last, and forced onto his knees to Rick’s right side. To the left of Glenn, there are four other men, bound,  gagged, kneeling.

One of the butchers, clad in respirator, baseball cap turned backwards, goggles, and bloody plastic apron, calls, “Hold up,” to his comrade.  He pulls out a fresh knife, then proceeds to sharpen the long, shiny blade in loud, scraping strokes. The other butcher, a tall, strong fellow with gleaming shaved head, clad in bloodstained plastic apron, grips his bat and begins to warm up his swings a couple of feet behind the kneeling men’s heads.

At the trough.

At the trough, Rick sees his refection in the shine of the metal sink, probably the last image the poor victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op see of themselves before their heads are bashed in from behind with the butcher’s bat.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long metal sink.

One by one, struggle or not, a line of men are bound and kneeling, gagged, at the long trough.

It is a truly terrifying scene, the horror of watching the butchers warming up their swing with the bat and sharpening, wiping their long butcher knives.

It is a truly terrifying scene,  watching the butchers warming up their swings and sharpening their butchers’ knives,  while the bound, kneeling men try to manage their growing panic as the horrible realization of what is happening sets in.

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see

As the camera pans down the long line of bound, kneeling men, we see a young blond man at the end…He looks familiar. ..his eyes connect with Rick’s

OMG...Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

OMG…it’s Sam, of Sam and Anna, the cute hippie couple Rick and Carol found, and lost, back in Season 4.

At first, Rick looks at Sam...

At first, Rick looks back at Sam…

...but then must look away.

…but then must look away.

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed...

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed…

The butchers walk to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block.  The First Four Minutes end with Sam's panicked last moments before his head gets bashed in from behind by one of the butchers.

The Terminal butchers stride to the end of the line, where poor Sam is first on the chopping block. The First Four Minutes end with Sam’s panicked last moment before his head gets bashed in from behind by the bat-wielding butcher.

The blow from the bat sends poor Sam forward into the trough, then the knife-wielding butcher steps forward, grabs Sam’s head back, and slices his throat in one quick stroke, then releases Sam’s body back forward into the trough just in time to catch the first gush of blood as it sprays from Sam’s throat into the gleaming metal sink.  This ritual is repeated with the next young man, as the bound, gagged men who are next in line begin to scream and plead into their gags, all the while trying vainly, desperately to free themselves, to flee what is happening. But they cannot.

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (pretty much the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects.  Bravo, Greg Nicotero, bravo!

Greg Nicotero has outdone himself once again, directing this episode (the most epic WD episode thus far, am I right?) and setting the bar once again with unprecedented effects, like this amazingly realistic scene.

As the butchers move down the line…bash, pull back, slice, release, next, Glenn watches the dark blood drain closer and closer towards him…the butchers are now at the man to Glenn’s left…once they finish with him, Glenn is next in line.

glenn blood trickleblood drain

Rick pulls his shiv out of his boot, grips it, and waits.

Rick eases his shiv out of his pants leg, grips it, and waits.

As the butchers step behind the man next to Glenn,  Gareth strides into the room with a ledger book and pen. As usual, his manner is an interesting blend of testy officiousness and casual indifference as he flips open his ledger book, clicks his pen, and asks the goons in the bloody aprons, without looking up from his calculations, “Hey guys? What were your shot counts?”

It is some dark humor being wielded like the bald goon’s bat as the goon winds back, bashes the man next to Glenn’s head in, and answers easily, “38.”  This guy obviously knows the routine, knows to count the bullets as he corralls the panicked human cattle or mows down walkers. Gareth makes a note of this number in his ledger as the other butcher releases the freshly slit man’s body into the trough. The man’s life’s blood sloshes into the catch sink and gurgles down the drain.

The butchers line up behind Glenn, who clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow.

Once again, the  Terminal Batman winds back, and Glenn clenches his teeth, anticipating the blow, but before the Terminal BM can connect with Glenn’s head, Gareth interrupts…“Hey!” At the goons’ questioning looks, Gareth looks pointedly at the new guy, who didn’t answer the question. Gareth’s  pissy. his hand turned up in a silent rebuke. “Your shot count?”

The new guy takes a moment to remember his shot counts...grim hilarity.

The new guy squirms under Gareth’s withering look. “Crap, man, I’m sorry.  It’s my first round up.” It is some weak sauce, and they all know it. Even Daryl knows it.  Look at his face.  The other goon’s body language at this admission slumps, like, Dude, what, you didn’t take the shot count? Sheesh, fuckin’ new guys.

Gareth doesn’t really have time for this shit.  His Testy Level is at like 11 right now. He exhales, and as if explaining to a particularly stupid child, he instructs the new guy, “After you’re done here, go back to your point and count the shells.  Ok? We won’t be gathering them until tomorrow.” As Gareth goes back to writing, Bob begins to call out to Gareth through his gag, managing to convey that he wants, needs Gareth to “Lemme talk to you!”

Gareth tries to ignore Bob, counting the slumped bodies and confirming with the goons, “Four from A, four from D?” At the goons’ affirmative noises, Gareth notes this too in his book. Bob continues frantically calling out to Gareth through his gag.

Annoyed, Gareth walks over and yanks the gag off Bob’s mouth.  “What?” 

Bob doesn’t have much time. He makes it count.  He fixes his gaze on Gareth, unwavering. “Don’t do this,” he begins. “We can fix this.”

“No, we can’t,” Gareth replies. He goes to pull Bob’s gag back up over this mouth. But Bob is quick. You don’t have to do this!”  he yells, surging forward and taking Gareth back a step. Bob looks up at Gareth earnestly, continues, “We told you there’s a way out of all this. You just have to take that chance!” Gareth, unmoved, goes back to his ledger, continues his calculations.

“We have a man who knows how to stop it.  He has a cure. We just have to get him to Washington…you don’t have to do this, man! We can put the world back to how it was!”

Gareth’s Testy Level is inching up to 12 now, as he regards Bob with no small amount of annoyance.  This day is really shaping up to be one for the crap books.  He steps forward, ready to shut it down. “Can’t go back, Bob,” he says easily, pulling the gag back over Bob’s protests.  Bob tries another moment, then falls silent. Mad props to Bob for trying, though…he really gave it everything he had.

Gareth steps over to Rick, kneels down, and  pulls Rick’s gag from his mouth. He and Rick regard each other for a moment.  “Saw you go into the woods with a bag,” Gareth informs Rick, “and come out without it. I had to pull my spotters back before they went to look for it.” (So they did know Rick and the gang were coming! Those crafty, creepy people-eaters!) 

Gareth looks away as he says this, then looks back at Rick.  “So, what was in it?” he asks Rick.  Rick says nothing. “You hid it, right?  In case things went bad?” Gareth looks at Daryl, then back at Rick.  “Smart,” he nods briefly, then shrugs. “Still, we’ll find it…but…it’s too dangerous to go out there right now.” Gareth pulls out a knife, pulls Bob’s head towards him across the trough, and holds the pointed blade to Bob’s eye.

He turns back to Rick. “What was in it? I’m curious…and, it was a big bag.” Rick just looks at him, and a touch of Gareth’s former annoyance returns.  “You really gonna let me to do this?” he asks Rick, motioning with his blade towards Bob.  Rick’s voice is hoarse as he replies, “Why don’t you let me take you out there?”  Rick leans back, looks at Gareth.  “I’ll show you.”  Rick’s eyes shine with pleasure at the thought. Ha, how about it, motherfucker?

Gareth shakes his head. “Not gonna happen.” He pulls Bob’s face closer to the point of his knife. “This might.”

Rick speaks up quickly, “There’s guns in it.  AK-47, 44-Magnum…automatic weapons, night scope.”  Rick looks up, as if doing the inventory in his head. “There was a compound bow in it, and….a machete with a red…red handle.”  Rick looks at right at Gareth, now, as he says, pleasantly, “That’s what I’m going to use to kill you.”

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IMG_7992

Gareth is surprised, then laughs, sheaths his knife, and pulls the gag back up over Rick’s mouth. He gives Rick’s shoulders a couple of quick pats, mocking,  says, “Thanks,” before standing back up.

Gareth turns his attention back to his butchering flunkies, informs them, with pointed finger and arch tones, “You have two hours to get them on the dryer…I want to go back to ‘public face.’ Now’s the time we can get messy, but I want to dial it all in before sundown.”  The goons “gotcha’ and “yes’sir” Gareth, and as he turns to go, his departure is interrupted by the sound of gunshots.  He pulls out a 2-way handset and tries to reach “Chuck” as the Terminal BM winds back, once again ready to brain Glenn, when another gunshot pings off something metal outside,stopping him mid-swing. Strike Two. Again, dark hilarity ensues.

The gunshots are followed by a huge explosion, which sends the standing men flying and shakes the rafters of the warehouse, sending bits of plaster and ceiling raining down upon them all.

I transcribed, and deconstructed this scene in great detail because, one, I love it so; and because, two, I feel many key elements and questions were answered in that first nine minutes.

We see the origins of Sanctuary, that once Mary and her sons, Gareth and Alex, (wrong about other predictions but nailed the Gareth-Mary son/mom connection…yes!) and their community did start out as peaceful, idealistic folk who seemed to have established a good thing, and wanted to share it with others, and got preyed upon and brutalized for their efforts.

In the blink of an eye, locked in a darkened train car, Gareth seemed to reach inward and invoke a deeper, darker side of himself….and with that, the transformation of Sanctuary began, led by Gareth, to becoming a cold, predatory, brutally efficient system that lures vulnerable outsiders into its lair with the promise of safety and sanctuary, only to imprison them, dehumanize them, and harvest everything that can be gotten from them, right down to the flesh on their bones.

We see the scope of Sanctuary…they are placed in a ideal location, Terminus Station, where all the rail lines  around Atlanta converge. They are large in number, and they are well-armed, well fortified…well-fed.  They are brutal, ruthless.  The only way for their system to work is to decide quickly if there are newcomers who may be of value to them, and who could perhaps be persuaded to subscribe to the Terminal Method.

For those who do not rate, they must be stripped down, locked up, and harvested, quickly. I can only imagine that most people who cross the Terminal Gates are put in this latter category, and not regarded as potential members by the Terms (Scott M. Gimple’s  and Greg Nicotero’s name for the Terminans, which I really love).  Sadly, those who do not make the cut, get cut…and it doesn’t matter if they are men, women, children, elders…as the creepy slogans on the walls say, “We first, always.”

We get a glimpse of Gareth as a leader.  He is pissy (and can probably hold a grudge for about a thousand years), but he is smart, and meticulous.  Everything is accounted for, down to the very last shotgun shell used in roundups or for defense.  It has to be, as Gareth is running a veritable human processing factory, open 24/7.

Sanctuary has its weaknesses, too, as we see in this episode.  As Rick and the gang see Sanctuary’s weaknesses unfold, they exploit them as the opportunities arise (Hello, New Carol!).

While Sanctuary has the numbers, the arms, and the technology on their side, Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars & Co. have three game-changing elements on their side: Love, Luck, and Loyalty.  And a shit-ton of sex appeal.  So, suck it, Terminans.

Outside the false Sanctuary, somewhere down the tracks, Tyrese, Carol, and Judith are following the railway lines to Terminus. Carol tells Tyrese they are close, and she’ll make sure that he and Judith get there safely, but that she is not going to stay. Tyrese looks at her, and kind of nods in agreement, but says nothing.  A walker (who looks so much like the Tore-Up She Walker Abraham impaled into his truck last season in “Claimed”… could it be?) makes her way up to the tracks and spots them, hissing.  Poor Judith begins to cry, and Tyrese turns and takes the baby, telling Carol that he “can’t, not yet.”

Carol gives Tyrese a long look, saying, “Soon, you’ll have to be able to,” and rushes forward to kill Tore-Up She Walker 2.0. Carol hears hissing in the woods to her right, turns, and sees that they have another problem…

More!

more on the tracks

More!

more hear shots

The horde of walkers are making their way straight for where Carol, Tyrese, and Judith are crouched, hiding…until the gunfire from the Rick Standoff rings out through the forest…the walkers turn to follow the noise, shuffling down the tracks.

After the horde clears, Carol and Tyrese, holding Judith, step out onto the tracks. Tyrese wonders if the gunfire came from Terminus, and Carol muses that either someone was attacking them….or they were attacking somebody.  When Tyrese asks Carol if they want to find out what is going on at Terminus, Carol’s answer is clear and immediate: Yes.  She suggests an alternate route that will get them to Terminus.

“We’ll be real careful,” she assures Tyrese. “We’re gonna get answers.”

Now, I have had my doubts about Carol in the past,  but make no mistake…I am a big fan of New Carol, especially since Season 4’s “The Grove.”  New Carol is kicking ass, taking names, and getting it done, all day, every day. Much love, and mad props, New Carol.

It is especially awesome when Carol and Tyrese stealth up to the crappy little Half-TermMartin, who is setting up explosives around a cabin (to detonate and divert the walkers who will surely be attracted by the sound of gunfire from Terminus).

As he sets up the explosives, Martin indulges in some back-and-forth shit-talking with some woman comrade on his 2-way radio. Martin disses Alex for not recognizing that “the chick with the sword was bad news…bitch was like a weapon with a weapon.” The woman comrade agrees that Alex was always a “sloppy-ass motherfucker.”

Laughing, Martin then says he told “Albert” that he called dibs on “the kid’s hat, after they bleed him out.”

Nice. Martin realizes he has been stone-cold busted uttering this shitty, callous comment when he feels New Carol’s gun behind his ear.

Carol tells Martin to keep his finger off the radio’s button and drop it.  Martin complies, tries some of his Sanctuary welcome-wagon sloganage on Tyrese and New Carol, but Tyrese tells him to shut it. Martin wisely abides.

New Carol informs Martin, “We’re friends with the chick with the sword and the kid in the hat.”  First New Carol zinger of this epic episode…drink one if you got one!

Murton, you dumbass.

Martin, you dumbass.

Inside the cabin, Martin is trying to lie his way out of the mess he’s gotten himself into, but New Carol isn’t buying his line of shit. After Carol finds Martin’s bag of flares, explosives, and weapons, she informs him that a herd of walkers is heading towards Terminus, which works nicely with her plan to head there too, armed with Martin’s weapons, and get her people out.

Martin tells her she’ll never make it. Tyrese asks her how she’s going to do this…Carol looks right at Tyrese and informs him that she’s “gonna kill people.”

New Carol zinger #2, people…toss it back!

As Tyrese is left to babysit two babies back at the cabin, Carol goos herself up with walker blood, guts, and even a little mud mixed in, giving herself a nice walker-guts & mud facial…all natural ingredients, and very exfoliating!

carol goos up

Back at the cabin, Martinn is trying to get into Tyrese’s head.  He asks Judith’s name, asks if she’s his daughter.  Tyrese replies that she’s a friend.  Martin muses aloud at the now-alien concept of friends.  “I don’t have any friends,” Martin admits. He says the people he lives with are “assholes that I stay alive with.”  When Martin asks Tyrese if the lady who left was a friend, Tyrese looks at him, then down, like he doesn’t really know how to answer that question.

Martin continues, saying he used to have friends…he used to do a lot of things…watch football, go to church. I found it hard to focus on that Martin was saying at first, because I noticed he was chewing gum as he said it, and who the hell has luxuries like gum these days?  Terminans do, but at the cost of their souls, it seems.  Martin then muses that it’s hard to tell how much time has gone by, as horrible shit just seems to stack up, day after day, in these times.

“You get used to it,” sighs Martin.  Tyrese looks up at him, replies,  “I haven’t gotten used to it.”  “Of course you haven’t,” Martin says.  “You’re the kind of guy that saves babies…kind of like saving an anchor when you’re stuck without a boat in the middle of the ocean.”

Martin continues to size up Tyrese, guessing that he’s been behind walls for a while, and hasn’t had to get his hands dirty yet. “I can tell,” Martin says. When Tyrese retorts that Martin doesn’t know the things he’s done, Martin stands firm on his take.  “You’re a good guy,” Martin says. “That’s why you’re gonna die today…that’s why the baby’s gonna die.”

Tyrese stands up to his full height at this jibe, prompting Martin to quickly offer Plan B:  Or, take the car, take the baby, and go, keep on being lucky.  Tyrese growls out, “You think you’re gonna kill me?”  In response,  Martin asks Tyrese, point-blank, with a bemused smile, “Why haven’t you killed me?  How does having me alive help you? Why are you even talking to me?”  Tyrese has no answer for this, and Martin urges him once again to get the baby, get in the car, and go.  

“I don’t want to do this today,” Martin says.

I have to give it up for Chris Coy, the young actor who plays Martin, the Half-Term, for a standout performance in this episode. I call Martin the Half-Term because even though he has definitely lost much of his former moral code, he is still just a young man, one who has survived the horror of the walker apocalypse this long by adopting the brutality of the Terminal Method.  Still, he grapples with these choices, remembering better days.  Martin is on the fence, it seems, about it all.  It seems to piss him off to see Tyrese holding onto his humanity this long, having friends, saving babies.  It makes Martin mean, and say, and do, shitty things.

Meanwhile, Walker Stalker Carol, slimed in walker goo, approaches the outskirts of Terminus.  She hears the Terminal Goon ordering the gang to get up against the walls of the train car, and then we hear the canister go off inside the car.  Carol peers through the fence to see a group of Terms dragging Rick to the processing house.

walker carol at the fence terms take rick.

With Martin’s duffel bag full of ammo, Carol stealths around the perimeters of the fence. Using the scope on her rifle, she spies two Terminal Bitches culling walkers at the fence… then she spies:

Big ass propane tank...pay dirt!

propane tank

…a big ass propane tank. Pay dirt!

As Carol continues to scope around, she sees the Terminal Bitches running from their culling posts at the fence, calling out in alarm.  She turns and sees the Hungry Herd, coming en masse, towards the Terminus compound.

Here comes the Hungry Herd,  just in time for dinner!

Here comes the Hungry Herd, just in time for dinner!

 New Carol knows the time to act is now.

new carol time is now

Carol loads up a large firecracker and aims it at the propane tank, props it against the fence…

new carol aims

…then Carol aims her gun at the tank. The first two shots, which we heard in the processing room, don’t pierce the tank. The third shot, which interrupted Terminal Batman’s lethal swing at Glenn’s head, connects with a loud “ping.”

walkers like the gas

The walkers are drawn to the movement and hiss of the escaping gas.

carol covers her ears

Carol shoots the firecracker towards the propane tank and covers her ears…

thar she blows

New Carol is going full-fucking Rambo on Terminus.

walkers go boom

Walkers go BOOM

walkers gonna party at terminus

The walkers who survive the blast are ready to party at Terminus, and show the Creepy Comrades what cannibal is all about…

Back at the cabin, Tyrese and Martin hear the explosion. Tyrese peers out the window and sees the black cloud rising over the trees. Martin, still bound and sitting, asks Tyrese if that’s Terminus.  Tyrese tells him it is.  Martin takes a moment to process this. He muses that maybe Tyrese and his people are going to win today, or maybe..maybe the woman who left was the one who got capped.  Martin continues, saying maybe it’s him that’s gonna get capped when she, the lady, friend, whatever, comes back.

Still looking out the window, Tyrese says that nobody’s gotta die today.  Martin snorts out a derisive laugh at this idealistic sentiment.  “Man, if you really believe that,” Martin tells Tyrese, “then it’s definitely gonna be you and the kid…even if that place is burning to the ground.”

The scene shifts to back inside the processing rooms, where the butcher goons are starting to rouse themselves after Rambo Carol’s blast. We can hear a voice on Gareth’s handset radio asking, “Man, what the hell was that?”

Gareth is losing it, ordering the goons to stay back with Rick and the others. When the bald guy questions this, Gareth screams at him to stay put while he finds out what is happening.

This is the opportunity Rick has been waiting for, and he continues to slice away at his zip-tie binds at his wrists.

The scene shifts outside to show Mary, who too has been knocked down by the explosion (no doubt while getting the front grill area all cleaned up and ready for “Public Face” later).  Mary looks up in horror to see burning walkers streaming through the hole that was one of their fences.  “Oh, shit!” she says.  Yeah, Mary. “Oh, shit” is right.

mary is shocked

Didn’t you know, Mary…

walkers on fire at terminus

… that karma’s a bitch…

...a bitch that will eat your face?

…a bitch that will eat your face?

While Walker Stalker Carol strides into the Terminal Blast Hole with the rest of the Hungry Herd, New Guy is freaking the hell out.  He’s trying to radio for Gareth, to no avail.  “Don’t  you smell the smoke?” he asks Terminal BM.  “The whole place could be going up!”  

Terminal BM blathers on about “protocol,” how their job is here, not there, spouting forth a bunch of bureaucratic blah blah blah.  

When this compelling spiel fails to derail New Guy’s freakout, Terminal BM  tries out some of the new management skills he learned last weekend at the Mary’s Sanctuary Effective Management seminar. (Lesson Three: Use the Voice of Authority, even when utilizing The Personal Approach, which is discussed in full detail in Lesson One.  For more on Lesson One, please refer back to page three of your course outline.) 

Terminal BM tries a combination of Lesson Three and Lesson One on New Guy : “Hey…look at me!”  New Guy turns to look at Terminal BM, just in time to see Rick Grimes teach Terminal BM a lesson of his own…

hey look at me slice!

This lesson’s called Eat My Shiv, bitch!

buh bye new guy

Here, let me show you close up.   Buh bye, New Guy.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex's body laid out on the metal processing table.  Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Before going to cut Daryl, Glenn and Bob loose, Rick sees Alex’s body laid out on the metal processing table. Way to keep it in the family, Gareth, you sick bastard.

Meanwhile, back inside Train Car “A”…

Abraham is chomping at the bit, and Eugene isn't exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment.

Abraham is chomping at the bit,  wondering what the hell is going on out there, and Eugene isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in his mental acumen, or anything else, in the moment. Sasha gets it, says that it sounds like “somebody hit them,” and maybe “our people got free.”

Carl comes forward, flanked by Maggie, and reminds everyone that his dad, Rick, said that they would be back, so they will be back. Maggie backs him up, adding that they just need to wait, stay ready to fight, when the time comes. Maggie then looks at her father’s pocket watch, thinking, no doubt, of Glenn…and Hershel.  She kneels and resumes using the chain, as Rick did, to saw a wooden blade for herself.

Michonne peers out the crack in the door, sees walkers roaming through the compound. A walker’s hand grabs at her through the crack, but of course cannot get at her.

Karma is slapping Terminus up like the bitches they are.  It is truly satisfying to see the Creepy Comrades of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op get feasted on by the undead:

walkers go cannibal on terminus

Doesn’t feel so good to be other side, does it, Terminal Bitches?

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

When Carol hears gunshots, she ducks around a corner and peers through her scope. She sees a Terminan shooting walkers with an assault rifle, so Rambo Carol takes him out, sniper style.  Her gunshots attract the attention of a couple of nearby walkers, and she ducks behind a heavy door and shuts herself away from them.

Back in the processing area, Rick cuts the righteous dudes loose, and as they gather knives and whatever other weapons they can find, while taking in Alex’s dead body and the carnage around them. Daryl goes to rekill one of the dead butchers.  He is stopped by Rick, who tells Daryl to, “Let him turn.”

The men wander into the “dryer” room, where sections of human carcasses hang from meat hooks.

carcasses dryer room

As Daryl, Glenn, Bob, and Rick take in the horror of the grisly room, Rick instructs them, “Cross any of these people, you kill them.  Don’t hesitate. They won’t.”

I love when Rick Grimes goes all Lieutenant Deputy.

After arming themselves with knives, cleavers, and other butchering apparatus, the dudes peer out to see a group of walkers pawing at a locked train car as the poor people locked inside cry out.  Rick suggests that they can run by, as the walkers are distracted, but Glenn says that they need to free the people in the train car.

At Rick's questioning look, Glenn says,

At Rick’s questioning look, Glenn says, “That’s still who we are…it’s gotta be.”

So, the good guys go and battle the walkers, and their heroics are rewarded with one wild, hairy dude running out, laughing maniacally and exclaiming, “I’m saved!  I’M SAVED!”

Ragin' Face Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show.  Rick shoves him off, and Ragin' Face promptly gets tackled by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom's a fleeting  thing at times, Ragin' Face.

Ragin’ Face-Tat Tweaker paws at Rick like a sloppy drunk pawing a cop at an Insane Clown Posse show. Rick shoves him off, and Ragin’ Face promptly gets tackled, and chomped,  by Juggalo Walker.  Freedom’s a fleeting thing at times, Ragin’ Face.

Judging from the grimly hilarious moments that run throughout this episode,  it seems that Kirkman & Co. had a blast filming “No Sanctuary”.

Meanwhile, Stealth Carol finds the goods room, with items fleeced from the victims of the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.  She first sees Rick’s watch, the one he gave to Sam…

carol sees her watch

and daryls crossbow

And then Carol sees Daryl’s crossbow…

carol picks up daryls crossbow

After Carol takes the watch, and Daryl’s crossbow, and turns to leave, she sees the heartbreaking sight of stuffed animals and children’s toys piled up on a table…each toy represents a child that was butchered by the Terminans.

Meanwhile, Glenn, Rick, Bob, and Daryl outside in the mayhem, stuck between a train car and a hard place.  Trying to go forward, there are countless walkers and Terminans, armed with assault rifles, systematically mowing the invading walkers down.  Rick tells them to wait there, and runs low to crouch behind an abandoned car. He monitors the oncoming Terminan shooters through a rear view mirror on the ground:

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Daryl saves the day by spearing a walker that sneaks up behind Rick, after following Rick to the car.  So hot, and then this happened…

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck...

After watching the wave of shooters cross his threshold, Rick jumps out and nabs the last shooter around the neck…

...and grabs the shooter's gun...mmm hmmm, that's right, Rick Grimes.

…and grabs the shooter’s gun…mmm hmmm, that’s right, Rick Grimes.

Rick! Blast!

Rick Blast!

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it's Terminans that Rick! Blast! is mowing down.

I thought before it was some enemy peeps on a bridge, but it’s Terminans that Rick Blast! is mowing down.

 And that just makes it so much hotter...

And that just makes it so much hotter…

Sigh...the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps <3

Sigh…the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps

With the shooters out of the way, the Terminal Walkers are free to go nucking futs on Terminus...

Later, haters.

Later, haters.

Meanwhile, Carol has found Mary’s creepy candlelit ritual room, the one with the SCC slogans painted on the walls (“Never trust,” “We first, always,” “Never again”). As Carol takes all this in, there is a click behind her, and Mary’s querulous voice telling Carol to drop her weapons, and turn around.

“I want to see your face,” Mary says.

Carol spies the shadows of walkers underneath at a closed door.  At Carol’s hesitation, Mary screams, “Now!”  Carol’s wheels are turning in her head as she slowly shrugs off her bag, and Daryl’s crossbow.  Carol still, however, has the assault rifle under her poncho, and she whirls and fires on Mary, getting a shot into her and forcing Mary to drop her gun.

Mary drops to the floor, wounded, then in a burst of matriarchal fury, tackles Carol. They scrap hard, throwing each other into ornate candelabras and basically trashing the place in an epic Top Mama Tapout Beatdown (“Who’s Top Mama? I’m Top Mama! Say it, SAY MY NAME…TOP MAMA!”) 

top mama tapout carol bests mary

Carol, of course, is clearly Top Mama, and soon has Mary looking down the barrel of her gun.  Mary looks around, her eyes tearing, and tells Carol that the signs were real, that it was a real Sanctuary…but then people came and took this place, and they raped, and they killed…Carol tries to shut her off, and find out where her people are, but Mary needs to unburden herself, and so Carol lets her keep talking.  The abuse happened over a period of weeks, but they, the original Sanctuarians, fought back and reclaimed their home, by hearing the message: “You’re the butcher, or you’re the cattle.”

Mary is super into her moment, but Carol has other things on her mind.  “The men you pulled from that train car, where are they?” she demands.  Mary doesn’t answer, so New Carol busts a cap in her leg, dropping Mary to the floor.

mary got a cap in her leg

Mary, who still refuses to answer New Carol’s question, lay panting on the floor, then orders Carol to point the gun at her head. Oh, you think so, Mary?

Now Mary’s just going on all crazy, lying wounded on the floor, telling Carol that she “could have been one of us…you could have listened to what the world was telling you!” New Carol don’t think so, Mary.

You lead people here, and take what they have, and kill them? Is that what this place is?” she asks Mary, still pointing the gun at her.  Mary tells her not at first, but that’s the way it had to be, and they’re still here because of it.  Carol looks at Mary a moment, then says, “You’re not here…and neither am I.”

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

And with that, Carol lets the walkers in to go cannibal on Mary.

Back at the cabin, Tyrese watches the black plume of smoke continue to burn.  He hears, then sees, a handful of walkers coming toward the cabin. Tyrese rushes from one window, to the other, taking his eyes off Judith.  Martin seizes this opportunity to run to Judith’s makeshift crib and grab her, one hand on her head, the other near her neck.  One twist, and she’s gone. He warns Tyrese to back off, orders him to put his weapons down, and as the walkers outside paw at the windows, Martin orders Tyrese outside, where the walkers are.

Don't you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

Don’t you hurt that baby, you Terminal A-hole!

martin tyrese window walker

Tyrese begs Martin not to hurt Judith…Martin yells back, “Don’t make me!  It’s one twist, man!  Go outside!

Tyrese must do as Martin says…and the scene ends with Tyrese charging out the door, right into a press of walkers. After the commercial break, we see Martin trying to radio Cynthia, his 2-way buddy, but Cynthia does not copy.  From outside, it looks like there is some serious mayhem happening, crashing indentations into the cabin’s thin walls.

It would be easy to assume that the walkers were having the upper hand on one lone man, but then Martin hears a bellow, and two quick, crashing blows.  The hissing and slavering of the walkers stops for a moment.

Martin steps forward, then looks at Judith, pulls his knife.  But before he can do anything else, Tyrese charges him through the door:

tyrese tackles martin

You may have watched football, Martin, but Tyrese probably played football.

tyrese knife to martin's throat

You keep poking a grizzly bear with a stick, you’re going to get mauled, Martin.

tyrese walker carnage

Just sayin’…

Back in train car “A”, our gang is putting the finishing touches on their makeshift weapons.  Michonne’s weapon is particularly badass, a double-bladed katana with dual wooden blades.  Sasha asks Eugene point-blank what the cure is.  Eugene immediately answers that it’s classified. While Abraham tries to shoo the ladies away from Eugene, the sisters aren’t about to be dissuaded.  They want the deets.

Eugene spouts off some mumbly jumbo that sounds like a bunch of bullcrap, ending with the fact that if he goes “red rain,” the cure dies with him.  Abraham is placating, telling Eugene that he won’t let that happen. Eugene is uncertain, saying again that he isn’t one to be able to negotiate the physical threats of walkers and bullets if they do get outside.  Michonne answers that while he cannot, they can.  Sasha adds that they just want to hear it, the cure.  Rosita pipes in, telling Eugene that he “doesn’t have to” tell them (why are Abraham and Rosita enabling Eugene so hard?).

Pressed, Eugene stands, and tells them that he was part of a ten-person team with the Human Genome Project that created human pathogenic diseases to fight human pathogenic diseases…biological warfare. Eugene tells them that he personally knows the delivery mechanisms to unleash disease that could kill every person on the planet…he tells them that he believes “with a little tweaking on the terminals in Washington” that he can “flip the script” on the walker epidemic, and “take out every last dead one of them.”

Sasha looks wordlessly at Eugene.  Maggie steps up and prompts them to get back to work.  It sounds like both a plausible explanation for the walker epidemic and a reasonable scenario for a hope of a way  to combat this thing…biological warfare.  But can we believe Eugene?  I want to, I really do.  Eugene is a likeable enough guy, and I am obsessed with his mullet, which is looking really full and amazing in this episode.

I just don’t know, people.

Just then, the door to the train car opens, and it’s Rick and the dudes, holding off walkers and getting the rest of the team out of there.  It’s a great scene, with our gang going to town, in their inimitable Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstar-style.  I just love our gang, people.  They are such total badasses.

rick hold off gareth

Rick hold off walkers, first, then Gareth and goons, shooting Gareth in the leg? shoulder? while the rest of the gang goes over the fence.

gang slashes rick hold off walkers fence

Later, Terminus.

Later, Terminus.

In the woods, outside of the fences, Daryl leads them back to the place where Rick and he buried the weapons.  Abraham wonders loudly why they are still hanging around these woods.  Rick’s going a little Rick Smash! at this moment…he is instructing the others to set up posts at the fences.  He still wants to fight.

At Abraham’s, “Um, what?,” Rick turns to look up from his digging, tells Abraham, “They don’t get to live.”

Bob, Blenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm....maybe we go now? Rick?

Bob, Glenn, and the rest of the gang are like, ummm….maybe we go now?  Rick?

The gang voices their dissent, and desire to go…Rick insists that it’s “not over until they’re all dead.”  I do understand his point, and I feel certain that we will be seeing Gareth and the Terminans later on…Gareth does know now where the gang is headed, and like I said, that guy isn’t one to let go of a grudge anytime soon.

As we we see in the end, when “No Sanctuary” comes full circle, back to Then, when Gareth and Alex’s mother, Mary, gets thrown back in the train car after being raped and brutalized, and another poor woman gets chosen, and pulled away, we see that how Gareth and his people suffered at the hands of brutal degenerates.  It took much strength, and resolve, to fight back, take back their home, and survive, even if the methods employed to do so were unspeakable and evil.

Gareth isn’t going to let this one go, and he’s not dead.  If if were up to Rick, they would stay, fight, and make sure he was.  But it’s not just up to Rick, not anymore.

But enough of that, because coming through the woods is…

Carol in the woods

Carol!

Daryl sees Carol 1

Daryl sees her…

best hug ever

…and runs in for the Best. Hug. Ever.

best hug 3

Totally crying again, watching this, posting this.

tears of joy daryl carol

Awwww, such a sweet, sweet man!

Rick approaches next, smiling, tearing up, being cautious, respectful, asks Carol, “Did you do this?” meaning of course, killing Terminus.  Carol is crying, smiling, nodding, and Rick gives her a big hug as well.

Now, remember this moment, you two...you are friends, remember that!

Now, remember this moment, you two…you are friends, remember that!

Carol tells Rick and the others, “You have to come with me.”  And so Carol leads them back to the cabin, where Tyrese is waiting for them, holding Baby Judith.

ricks sees judith

Rick sees his baby girl and rushes to her.

sasha and tyrese

Sasha reunites with her big brother, Tyrese.

The Grimes

The Grimes

Top Mamas <3 <3

Top Mamas

Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita watch as the gang is reunited. Rick says it’s time to go. “To where?” asks Daryl.  “Far away from here,” answers Rick.  Rosita looks at Abraham significantly, and he assures her quietly that he’ll “talk to him, not now, when the time is right.”  They follow the gang, and before Rick slips off with the rest into the woods, he makes a change to the Sanctuary sign:

no sanctuary

After the credits, we see another traveller, who has found Rick’s modified “No Sanctuary” sign.  He regards it for a moment, then pulls his hood, face mask off…

morgan!

Morgan! I’ve been waiting a long time for you, bud…most awesome to see you again!

Before the epic playlist, I would like to award this week’s Deadie to Carol, MVP of Season 5, Episode 1, “No Sanctuary.”  And in honor of Sam, who came up with awesome names for walkers, and who was a sweet soul, I included a little love offering for you all this week, to bring the funny, like Sam did.

They call him Carl Poppa, bitches. ❤

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist

Led Zeppelin  “Battle of Evermore”

Nirvana  “School”

Bad Brains  “I

Wipers  “Just a Dream Away”

Motorcycle  “As the Rush Comes” (Gabriel & Dresden Chillout Mix)

Re-Entry: Countdown to The Walking Dead’s Season 5

“Re-Entry”

re-en-try:  noun

1. the action or process of re-entering something

2. (law)  the action of retaking or repossession.

3. (atmospheric)  the movement of an object into and through the gases of a planet’s atmosphere from outer space, which exposes the object to the opposing and potentially combustible forces of gravity, atmospheric drag, and aerodynamic heating.  These forces can cause objects with lower compressive strength to explode…

_____________________________________________________________________

Well gang, it was quite the epic summer, full of beach trips, little league games, summer camp, and many lazy, blissful hours spent floating in the pool, beverage in hand, getting hosed down by trigger-happy kids and their super soakers.  Ahhh, memories.

But now, Labor Day weekend has come and gone, the kiddies are back in school, and it’s time for me to get back to work. The Walking Dead’s Season 5 is coming, people, less than a month away, and if the recent interviews with Andrew Lincoln, Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and the rest of The Walking Dead cast and crew are any indication, Season 5 is going to be balls-to-the-wall, more gory, brutal, and savage than any season thus far.

When we last left Rick and the gang, in The Walking Dead’s Season 4 finale episode, “A,”  many had found their way to Terminus, only to be stripped of their weapons, riot gear, and choice items of clothing and accessories, forced at gunpoint into a train car (where they reunited with some old, and new, friends), and were left to marinate in their own sweat, blood, and tears before, ostensibly, being harvested into Sunday barbecue by Gareth, Mary, and their creepy comrades at the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op.  

IMG_7949

Um, Rick-In-Charge don’t think so, Terminans.  Neither does Rick Smash!

After dropping the Season 4  finale bomb on us,  Kirkman, Gimple, and the WD cast and crew took a well-deserved break, bid us farewell for the summer, and left us WD fans to catch our collective breaths, scratch our heads, look at each other, and ask, online and in the IRL, “What the hell just happened? Were those Sanctuary people…cannibals?”

In various interviews throughout the summer, Scott M. Gimple deftly evaded the cannibalism question whenever asked…which was often. On The Talking Dead summer preview special (which aired after the July 4th “Dead, White, and Blue” Walking Dead marathon on AMC),Chris Hardwick finally turned to Gimple and asked, in mock exasperation, “So, Scott M. Gimple, what is the deal with Terminus? Are they cannibals, or what?”

In response, Gimple smiled his enigmatic, Mona Lisa smile and make some clever, diverting comment, but he wasn’t giving anything away. It was clear that Gimple was holding onto that juicy tidbit tighter than a virginal coed putting her boyfriend through the paces of the “10 Date Rule.”

In response to Gimple’s non-response, Chris Hardwick and Aisha Tyler gleefully got their young and irreverent revenge on Scott M. Gimple by pouncing over to him and pawing playfully at him, petting and rubbing his head, as if trying to absorb the secrets locked inside by osmosis, goading, “C’mon, tell us! Tell us!”

IMG_7046

Gimple’s initial horror as he realizes what is about to happen….the fear is real.

IMG_7049

“Tell us!  Tell us!” (Gimple’s silent prayer, “This is not happening, this is not happening…”)

IMG_7053

As the cute young people playfully paw at him and rub his head, Gimple tries one last vain attempt at escape…curling up into a human ball and imploding unto himself like a collapsing star.

Three weeks after the hilarious TD Gimple Incident, the WD cast and crew held court at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con like the rock stars they are, and unveiled the official trailer for The Walking Dead, Season 5.

Check it out…you have probably watched it already, of course, any number of times by now, scanning it again and again for any new clues about the season to come, as I have, and will again.

Now, before we deconstruct The Walking Dead’s Season 5 trailer, I would like to take a moment wish a very Happy Birthday to our main man, Andrew Lincoln, who turns 41 today, September 14, 2014.  Much love, much love, Andrew Lincoln!

May I speak for all of us on Team Rick when I say: Thank you, Andrew Lincoln, for being born, and for bringing us Rick Grimes, Rick-In-Charge, and Rick Smash!  And thank you for bringing us that cute guy in Love, Actually, who told the Keira Knightley character he loved her with the series of cue cards, out in the cold…that guy was totes adorbs.

IMG_7868

In honor of Andrew Lincoln’s/Rick Grimes’ birthday, I am bringing you a little Metallica-dance-party blog-break…so, get on up and shake one out for our man, Andrew Lincoln, to Metallica’s Seek and Destroy:

(And, just because Andrew Lincoln’s birthday is the gift that keeps on giving, we at barnfullawalkers bring you this tasty treat…Entertainment Weekly’s spread, “27 Times Andrew Lincoln Looked Hot During the Zombie Apocalypse”):

http://www.etonline.com/tv/151108_27_times_andrew_lincoln_looked_hot_during_the_zombie_apocalypse/index.html

Well, that was fun!  Now, where were we? Ah, yes, the Season 5 trailer.

First off, watching the trailer, I would say that the cannibalism theory is all but confirmed at this point. The Season 5 trailer opens with the now-iconic shot of Rick, as he turns from peering out the train car door he has cracked open, letting the light from the outside world pour into the darkened train car, and onto his people, and utters the famous “made for primetime TV line” from The Walking Dead comic series: “They’re gonna realize they’re (fucking) screwing with the wrong people.”

IMG_7995

If Rick-In-Charge says it is so…then it is so.

But, Daryl doesn’t look so sure…

IMG_7982

Especially when Abraham yells, “Move!” and someone tosses in a canister of…tear gas? sleepy gas?  into the train car.  Enter…the Dicks With Gas Masks, come to gather up the human harvest…

IMG_7994

As the trailer continues, we hear Gareth’s voice in a soft, whispery voice-over, “I just hope you understand…we didn’t want to hurt you…nothing was personal.”

Oh, I’m sure it never is, Gareth…nothing personal, we don’t want to hurt you, we just want to eat you.

What an a-hole. Trying to sound all reasonable and shit. Gareth looks like a vegan emo-punk scenester, but is probably the king of the cannibals.  That guy can eat a bag of dicks…wait…he probably already has!

Ewwwwww!

During Gareth’s creepy voice over, we see scenes of Rick and the gang trying their desperate escape out of Terminus, their paths getting blocked again and again by snipers’ bullets as they are corralled, trapped.  We see a (scary) shot of Rick’s head, slamming into the concrete, then he looks up, dazed, to see the back of a man, who seems to be sawing apart a human body, laid out lifeless on a chopping block table.

IMG_7983

IMG_7988

IMG_7989

Blurry, dazed shot before Rick blacks out of what looks like a man, clad in butchering apron, goggles, and chainsaw, going to town on some poor doomed somebody, as the piercing shriek of the chainsaw escalates into a deafening cacophony.

Next shot is of Glenn, Daryl, Rick, and Bob on their knees, hands tied behind their backs.  It seems they have been forced to kneel in front of what looks like perhaps a combination of chopping blocks/sinks, or collecting tubs, presumably to catch the blood that will spill when the goons behind them beat their heads in with bats, and slaughter them. They are all gagged, except Bob.

Gareth is standing  before them, on the other side of the blocks/tubs, with a pen and a journal-looking notebook…collecting memorable last words, perhaps, for the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op creepy comrades to read aloud and laugh at while stuffing their faces with peeps burgers, later, at dinner?

IMG_7981

I call them the “Creepy Comrades,” while Chris Hardwick and Aisha Tyler call them the “Terminans.” Andrew Lincoln, and many of the cast and crew at WD refer to the Sanctuary citizens as the “Termites.” Whatever you call them, it is clear that these Sanctuarians have a lot of explaining to do.

Bob seems to have the wits and resourcefulness to use his last words to throw a quick, desperate Hail Mary pass out there, telling Gareth, You don’t have to do this…we can turn the world back to how it was!”  Bob’s eyes are huge, and earnest, as he explains to Gareth that they have a man in their group that holds the cure to the zombie outbreak. “We just have to get him to Washington…you just have to take that chance!”

IMG_7991

I have grown to love Bob Stookey, despite having a major “stranger danger!” initial vibe about him. Big ups to our man, Bob, as he uses his quick wits to adapt to the situation at hand, saving the day, once again…or at least buying the gang some extra time, and us WD fans a couple more seasons of our fave show. Thanks, man!  (Sorry I was such a B before.)

The next shot shows Gareth, who has bent down to be face to face with Rick Grimes. Gareth has a sick little smile on his face as he stares into Rick’s eyes, challenging him…it feels to me that he is really getting off on having a true adversary, one who equals (surpasses) him in intellect, cunning, and leadership mojo: Rick Grimes.

Rick, whose mouth is not gagged, returns Gareth’s stare in a silent look of unbridled hatred and defiance.

IMG_7992

IMG_7993

It’s a powerful moment, the silent standoff between Gareth, and Rick, who is so freaking hot in his defiance.

In the next series of scenes, we hear Gareth’s voice, again, telling what I assume is the group, “You don’t have a choice…none of you…You join us, and (we?) go to Washington and cure this thing.”

I put the word “we” with a question mark, because while I played the trailer over and over again, I couldn’t be sure if Gareth said we go to Washington” or you go to Washington.”  Too many years of going to out to hear live music, and blasting tunes directly into my ear canal via ear buds, has probably ruined my hearing by this point.

It really sounded like “we,” and that makes me wonder if Gareth is as sick of Sanctuary as we all are by now, and if he’d rather take a chance outside the safety of its walls and go on a suicide mission to D.C. just to get the hell out of there…especially if Mary is his mom.

In the following group of scenes, we see a shot of Rick holding…Baby Judith!  It appears that Carol, Tyrese and Judith found their way into the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op by this point….wonder how that first scene between Rick, Carol, and Tyrese is going to play out…

IMG_7996

Baby Judith is surely going to be held behind at Sanctuary as a hostage while our gang goes to Washington.

In another scene, we see a shot of the gang, reunited, in the woods, Glenn’s voice saying, “We get to start over…all of us.  We’re not splitting up again.”

IMG_7997

IMG_8004 IMG_8006 IMG_8007

We hear Sasha’s (?) voice:  “We don’t know what’s coming next.”  Then, a shot of Abraham, glass in hand, as if giving a toast, or a sermon, or a Braveheart-style rallying speech.. He seems to be addressing our gang, who are seated in what looks like a chapel area, in pews.  The room is lit with the kind of tall vigil candles we saw in the rooms at the Sanctuary when the gang was trying to escape, the rooms with slogans like, “We first, Always” scrawled on the walls.

Abraham’s voice resonates with the feeling, the conviction, and the fervor of one who truly believes what he is preaching, even if it’s just in the moment, while the others in the group sit silently, listening to his words.

“When we get to Washington, we will make the dead die, and the living will have this world again.”

It seems they have wine in Terminus, which is a good thing...you would need a whole bunch of wine to wash down the taste, and the bad karma, of eating human flesh!

It seems they have wine in Terminus, which is a good thing…the Terminans would need a whole bunch of wine to wash down the taste, and the bad karma, of eating human flesh, if they are indeed cannibals…and I am 99.9% sure that they are.

So, by this point in the trailer, it seems reasonable to surmise that our gang narrowly escapes becoming another Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op human harvest by cutting a deal with Gareth and the Terminans…it seems our gang must “join” the ranks of the Creepy Comrades and head north to Washington D.C., to deliver Eugene to our nation’s capitol, and try to get a cure going for this walker epidemic thing that’s been happening all over the world for the last year and a half.

Watching the trailer, it looks like it was a super-close call for our gang, as we see one shot of a Terminal Thug wielding what is either a bat or sword, winding back, getting ready to bash or slice into Glenn’s head/neck.  Glenn, who is kneeling, and gagged, squeezes his eyes shut and clenches his gag with his teeth, anticipating the blow:

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This image sent rumors flying around social media that Glenn was going to die in the Season 5 premiere, but I am happy to say that it appears that Glenn will be with us, and Maggie, for a while longer…yay!

So, it seems that Mr. Grimes (and the gang) is going to Washington. It is 638.1 miles from Atlanta to Washington D.C.  If our gang were to follow along the highways (which seems a logical and fairly direct choice) they would need to go through, or near,  some major cities and populated areas, including the cities of Atlanta, Greensboro, and Richmond, before getting to Washington D.C.  

In Entertainment Weekly’s recent feature on The Walking Dead’s upcoming Season 5, WD executive producer Gale Ann Hurd confirms that our gang is embarking on an extremely dangerous journey, “You’re never going to find the cure to the zombie apocalypse in the sticks. Now they have to re-enter The City of the Dead (a.k.a. Atlanta), and there are many cities of the dead that they’ll have to encounter to complete their mission.”

It is a tall order, even for our beloved gang of seasoned warriors.  The next scenes in the trailer show many flashes and moments of walker hordes, walker kills, and explosions, both ballistic and emotional. In one scene, Rick is talking to Carl, telling him, “I don’t trust this guy…no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think, you are not safe.

In another voice over, we hear Gareth’s voice, saying, “You don’t trust us any more.” and then Rick’s soft threat, as he grinds out, “These people are my family, and if you hurt them in any way, I will kill you.”

There are also many suggestions that certain members of the group may come into some danger, most probably from Gareth and the Terminans…one scene shows Sasha yelling, at someone, “Where are our people?”  

There is a chance, however, that the danger to our people could come from a new character coming, Father Gabriel, who is a character taken from the comic series. I am not familiar with the Father Gabriel character of the comic series, as I did not read that far into it.

I also have avoided researching Father Gabriel, as I want the television storyline surrounding him to be unspoiled, but Father Gabriel seems like he’s done some things, things that are probably pretty bad.  Anyone alive still at this point in the walker apocalypse has had to see, and do, some horrific things to survive this long.

Apparently, this shot of Father Gabriel's church is taken directly from the comic.

Apparently, Father Gabriel’s church, pictured here, was created exactly from the church in the comic series..

It looks like Father Gabriel has def seen, and done, some dark things to survive.

It looks like Father Gabriel has def seen, and done, some dark things to survive. ..the dude looks pretty tortured.

Both Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple have confirmed that the WD story lines for Season 5 will be following the comic series more closely, and we can expect to see more iconic characters from the comic series to come.

There is also potential, it seems, for discord and division within the core group of Rick and the gang. What is the dynamic going to be between Rick and Carol,  at last reunited after Rick singlehandedly banished Carol from the prison community back in Season 4?

How is Maggie going to react if/when she finds out that Tara was part of the Gov’s Makeshift Army 2.0 and was playing for the bad-guy team when the Gov beheaded Hershel?  And how are Rick and Abraham, who are both used to being in the leadership role and calling the shots, going to be able to get along and find a way to work together in this epic and perilous journey to Washington D.C.?

And, a couple of core questions burning a hole in my heart: Does Eugene’s mulletted head truly possess the cure for the walker epidemic?  Is this guy for real, or is he faking?

What do you think?

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What is going on under that epic mullet of yours, Eugene?

Another burning question in my heart:  Are we going to get to see some of our favorite characters get busy in Season 5, or what?

Robert Kirkman confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that, “There are certainly more couples.” While we know the obvious pairings of Glenn and Maggie, Bob and Sasha, Abraham and Rosita, we fans are wondering if our favorite hot dudes, Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes, are going to get another chance at love in the zombie apocalypse…

Rick…he’s a tough one.  Still wearing his wedding ring, super focused on keeping his people safe and getting the job done…doesn’t leave much room for romance.  But he’s so freaking hot, and it’s been, like, forever since our man’s gotten some.  I have always wondered if maybe something was in the works with Rick and Michonne…that would be…so hot.

And now, to Bachelor Number TwoDaryl Dixon.

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Daryl and Carol 2.0?  While I love the thought of Carol getting a second chance with Daryl, can things really go back to the way they were? Carol’s kill-happy shenanigans at the prison, and Daryl’s brief foray into young love with Beth, may put the Daryl/Carol pairing into the “let’s just be friends” file. But we shall see, won’t we?

And speaking of Beth

I thought it was quite the masterful presentation for the Season 5 trailer to seemingly end, and go to black screen, after a particularly gripping (and hot) scene showing Rick singlehandedly mowing down about five living, enemy dudes armed with assault rifles, then turning to face…someone, or something, with a grim, unremorseful, totally smoking hot look before lowering his gun…

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I texted my WD buddy, while watching the trailer in the writing process: Rick just singlehandedly mowed down like 5 live, weapons-baring  enemy peeps on a bridge.

 <3

(Sigh…)

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My WD buddy texted back: Such a man, that one.

…then, the screen goes black, the Bear McCreary music hums darkly, and then, we see…

Beth's new digs...what is this place?  Prison? Mental ward?

Beth’s new digs…what is this place? Prison? Mental ward? Looks shitty…

...especially when we see some sadisic-looking lady cop telling Beth that her personal needs are not jiving with this institution's mission, to serve the

…especially when we see some sadisic-looking lady cop telling Beth that her personal needs are not jiving with this institution’s mission, to serve the “greater good.” Uh, oh, that’s never good news.

We see poor Beth, dressed in prison-looking scrubs, peering down a steep elevator shaft, looking for a way out of what looks like Hell.

We see poor Beth, dressed in prison-looking fatigues, peering down a steep elevator shaft, looking for a way out of what looks like Hell.

Beth freaked, trying to offer some comfort to a poor woman who looks like her bitten arm is about to be amputated with cape wire...

Beth freaked, trying to offer some comfort to a poor woman who looks like her bitten arm is about to be amputated with cape wire…

Beth seems to be connecting with her own inner warrior in this hellhole...

Beth seems to be connecting with her own inner warrior in this hellhole…

Damn...

Damn…another walker prison riot?

Whatever Beth is doing to survive in this hellish place, it seems that she has earned the unlucky top slot on the  sadistic lady cop's  hat list, earning poor Beth a savage blow upside the head with the lady guard's baton...

Whatever Beth is doing to survive in this hellish place, it seems that she has earned the unlucky top slot on the sadistic lady cop’s hate list, earning poor Beth a savage blow upside the head with the lady guard’s baton…

Run, Beth, run!

Run, Beth, run!

Kirkman adds to the Beth Mystery, telling Entertainment Weekly that while the Beth storyline may take some time to unfold, “It’s going to have some far-reaching ramifications for all the characters.”

Yikes!

While the answers to all these questions will surely unfold with the debut, and progression, of The Walking Dead’s Season 5, I think I can safely say that Season 5 is going to reward us WD fans with lots of hot flexing, epic berzerker-style zombie-killing mayhem, unparalleled effects and super-gruesome walker characters, like this guy:

Ummm, Nicotero? You've got some explaining to do, buddy.

Ummm, Nicotero? You’ve got some explaining to do here, buddy.

Scott M. Gimple says this of the Season 5 premiere:

“(The premiere) is epic, intimate, emotional, insane, bloody, and, hopefully, surprising.”

October 12th, people…it’s just around the corner.  I advise that you stock up on your choice beverages, and get yourself some Bach’s Rescue Remedy and a Daryl Partner, if you don’t already have one. (See my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens After?” for more on Daryl Partners and other WD coping mechanisms.)

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

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On a final note, I do need to apologize for not keeping my promise to post over the summer about The Walking Dead webisodes.  I love the webisodes and look forward one day to writing about them, as well as past seasons of The Walking Dead television series.  Those of you who read my blog know that my writing style seems to involve deconstructing scenes, dialogue, etc, ad nauseum, imbedding lots of DIY-style photographs, captions, music into each post.

The result is some serious word-count, tweaker-style recap madness…and if you are still reading after all this, then I guess you like it, and that’s good, because that’s just how I do, people.  It takes me an average of 8 hours to complete a post, with the watching, rewatching, picture-taking, writing, rewriting…and I’m ok with that.  Just know that the post on that Sunday’s episode may not be up until Tuesday/Wednesday night…or maybe even not til Friday.

And know that when the post does come, it will be another act of love, filled with juicy bits, for our favorite show…and once it’s up, it’s on the internet forever and ever!

So, this summer, I did choose to set the blog aside and  to savor the sweetness of being in the real world, sharing adventures and fun times with family and friends.  My kids are at such fun ages, and they are growing up so fast, that I wanted to fully immerse myself in the good times while they were happening.  The result was one of the best summers of my life.  I have no regrets.

I am happy to say that my readership has grown over the summer, with barnfullawalkers getting views from all over the world.  I seem to be developing an awesome Brazilian fan base, which makes me super happy, as I love all people, and things, Brazilian.

I asked my Brazilian friend if she could teach me how to say hello, and welcome, to my new Brazilian friends, and she taught me this phrase:

 “ALO ALO para todos os Brasileiros!!”  

(Which means, I think, “Hello to all Brazilians!”)

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My final gift to you, dear readers, before we part ways, for now…epic covers from EW’s amazing WD feature.  And because those haters in Hollywood snubbed The Walking Dead television series for the 2014 Emmy Awards, and because at barnfullawalkers we do not let such insults go unchallenged, we will award a “Deadie” at the end of each Season 5 post, for some outstanding acting feat, walker-kill, special effects, or just epic awesomeness.

Until October 12th, my WD darlings…enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

Gang Starr, “Mass Appeal” (Dedicated to the pop culture phenom that is WD)

Fidlar, “Blackout Stout” (For the poor peeps who came expecting a true Sanctuary, and instead woke up in a dark, locked train car…)

Phantogram, “Blackout Days” (…and for the poor peeps that met their final end on Mary’s grill)

The Lions Rampant, “Shot Gun Shells” (Rick Grimes don’t beg, Gareth!)

Ramones, “Blitzkrieg Bop” (For Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars and the other prison peeps…may the powers of Dee Dee, Johnny, Joey, and Tommy be with you all)

Beastie Boys, “Rhymin & Stealin” (Dedicated to MCA, who would have turned 50 over this past summer…B Boys forever!  And, p.s., I too am most ill when I’m rhymin’ & stealin’. <3)

Radkey, “Start Freaking Out” (Season 5’s coming, people…start freaking out!)

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 16, Finale, “A”

“A”

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

I would like to jump right in with a quote from Andrew Lincoln on last night’s Talking Dead’s Season 4 finale episode, regarding the evolution of Rick Grimes:

“I don’t think he (Rick) regrets (anything he has had to do, to survive)…The final scene, in the train car, you meet a Rick who is more powerful… more together, and more lethal than he’s ever been…”

And to that I give a big, “Hollah!”

Rick-In-Charge, people, ready to bring it like it’s never been brought before in Season 5…and with tonight’s episode, The Walking Dead’s Season 4 finale, “A,” we got a sneak preview of some of the badass brutality our favorite deputy can dish out…and, by golly, I like it!

Episode 16 opens with a flashback sequence from the early days of the prison, as Carl and another young man pull open the gates to let a car come through, then close them quickly to block the walkers outside the fence.  Rick, Maggie, and Glenn emerge from the car, back from a run. Maggie is still wearing her riot gear, while Glenn carries his.

Hershel is there to greet them. “You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he tells Maggie, cupping her cheek, as she smiles gorgeously back at him. Then, Hershel turns to Glenn, puts his hand warmly on Glenn’s shoulder, and holds it there.  Glenn smiles shyly, reveling in this fatherly show of love.

It was so good to see, and feel, Hershel again, and it was sad to watch this scene, too. I was pretty much chugging Stella, and blinking back tears, while watching it.

The flashback scene ends with Rick passing Carol and Tyrese, as they come in from their “culling walkers at the fence” shift. Rick takes a modified cane, with a sharpened point, from Carol as he passes her, and goes to help other prison residents cull the remaining walkers at the prison fence.

Hershel looks on as Rick goes from one grim duty to another, and he sees Carl watching all this, taking cues from his father. It seems like Hershel’s thinking about all this…how it is, and how it could be…how it should be.

Hershel! So good to see you again!  Scott M. Gimple said this scene was shot after the mid-season finale...Andrew Lincoln said it was emotional to have Scott Wilson back, and be back, at the prison set to film these scenes.

Hershel!  Scott M. Gimple said this scene was shot after the mid-season finale, and he was relieved that Scott Wilson didn’t cut his hair or shave his beard after filming the mid-season finale, as per their request, as they knew then they would be filming this flashback scene later in Season 4. Andrew Lincoln said it was emotional to have Scott Wilson back, and be back at the prison set, to film these scenes.

The scene shifts abruptly to present day, with Rick, dazed, staring ahead…he is covered in blood, sitting against a car.  We see a close-up of his hands, which are bloodied, shaking, and still bearing his wedding ring.  Then, the shot pans out to Rick’s bloodied face, as he stares ahead…he looks in slightly in shock, but calm, processing.

One look at Rick's face, here, and we know some shit went down...

One look at Rick’s face, and we know some serious shit went down here.

Time shifts back, slightly…it’s earlier that day…Rick, Michonne and Carl are sitting around a tiny fire, in their makeshift camp in the woods. This camp is like others we have seen, with a tiny fire, cans strung around the camp’s perimeter to signal walkers coming.  Rick asks Carl and Michonne how hungry they are, on a scale from 1-10…Carl replies with a “15,” while Michonne answers with a “28.”

Rick suggests they go see if they caught anything in the snare trap he set…when Carl asks if he can come, Rick replies, “How else are you going to learn?”  He turns to Michonne, bids her to come as well.

Rick is pleased to see that they caught a young rabbit, which he removes from the snare and tucks into his bag.  While he resets the snare, Rick explains the workings of it to Carl and Michonne (while looking majorly fine in the process).

The lesson is interrupted by the terrified screams of a man in trouble, crying out for help. Carl runs towards the man’s cries as Rick vainly tries to call him back. Rick and Michonne run after Carl, Michonne unsheathing her katana.

Carl has reached a clearing in the forest, where a lone man is trying to fend off a large group of walkers who have surrounded him…they are closing in.  Carl raises his handgun to shoot, but Rick pulls him back, telling Carl, “We can’t help him.”

Carl, Rick, and Michonne watch, horrified, as the poor man, overrun, screaming, gets torn apart by the biting walkers:

Nicotero and the effects/makeup crew outdid themselves with this episode, this scene especially (which serves as gruesome inspiration for Rick in a desperate situation soon to come...epic gore and new-classic WD moments abound in this episode!)

Nicotero and the effects/makeup crew outdid themselves with this scene (which serves as gruesome inspiration for Rick in a desperate situation soon to come…epic gore and new-classic WD moments abound in this episode!)

Carl is transfixed by the horrible scene before him, until Michonne finally gets his attention, tells them they need to go…but the three have already attracted the attention of a couple of the walkers, who turn away from the carnage and begin to follow them.

Pursued by the Tear It Up Walkers, Rick, Carl and Michonne come upon  another group of female walkers, eating some poor somebody on the train tracks (Talking Dead called them Ladies Who Lunch Walkersha!).  With walkers behind them, and more walkers in front of them, Rick rushes forward to attack the lesser threat, the Ladies Who Lunch Walkers, who are fewer in number, and who are blocking the trio’s escape out of there.

Once again, we see how vulnerable any living survivors are, out in the open. Shit can go south in an instant, and one must always be ready. Without a real shelter, a real sanctuary, nobody can really rest, live, or thrive. They can only survive, and for how long?

Back in time, to another prison flashback moment…Hershel draws a curtain back at Rick’s cell, letting in the morning light. Rick blinks awake, asks immediately if everything is ok. Hershel tells Rick he’s fine, he just needs his help with something. Rick sits up, asks what time it is…Hershel doesn’t know, tells Rick that ever since he gave Glenn his watch, it’s always “right now” to him.

“It’s early,” Hershel tells him.

At this point in the episode, two key items have been presented to us…Hershel’s pocket watch, which has been given to Glenn, and the riot gear outfits that were found and used by Rick and Co.  since the first days at the prison. As we know, these items become highly significant as the Episode 16 progresses to its climactic end. Once again, the masters of WD show us how the story really is in the details.

As Rick gets up from his cot and gets ready to join Hershel, Beth comes into Rick’s cell and takes Judith. Rick automatically begins to buckle on his gun belt. Hershel tells him he won’t need that, that the gun belt will just get in the way. Rick shoots Hershel an, “Old man, you be trippin’ if you think I’m going anywhere without my gun” look as he walks past him, and out of the cell…it’s the same look Carl has shot Rick many times before, and since.

The scene shifts abruptly back to the present, with Rick and Michonne cutting their way through The Ladies Who Lunch Walkers…the group of Tear It Up Walkers are growing in number and gaining on them quickly.  Once Rick, Michonne and Carl get an opening, they make a run for it…later, down the road, they walk quickly, but seem winded, and weary, and hungry…they spot an old car, and make camp there for the night.

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By the car, Michonne finds, and rekills, Goblin Walker, who has pretty much been ground into the ground…

Later, while Carl sleeps in the car, Rick and Michonne huddle in the darkness over another small fire.  Rick laments that the rabbit they had was small, while Michonne remarks that at least it was something.

Rick muses aloud that that’s all they ever talk about anymore, how hungry they are…in the days of the prison, he had forgotten what hunger like that felt like.  Michonne agrees, adding that she hopes they will get another chance to forget what hunger feels like, soon…

This, of course, leads them into the subject of Sanctuary.  Rick takes the positive approach, saying if they are taking people in, they have to be strong, have a system in place.  Michonne wonders aloud if the whole thing is legit.

I’ve said this before, people…a savvy sister isn’t going to be taken in by some white man’s slogan.  Woodbury didn’t fool Michonne, and something doesn’t quite sit right with her about Sanctuary, either. It seems to be the whole, “Come One, Come All!”  aspect about it…why open yourself up like that, instead of conserving resources and protecting what’s valuable inside an established community?  Seems weird…what does Sanctuary gain by openly advertising like they do, drawing whomever, from wherever, to them?

My first hit: they’re cannibals.  My astute work colleague agrees: “Food and fertilizer!”  And weapons!  What a concept…advertise that you have a sanctuary with radio broadcasts, banners, and signs, being centrally located where all the railway lines converge, Terminus Station.  After luring the unsuspecting people in, strip them at gunpoint of any prized clothing or possessions, take their weapons, and store them in train cars until it’s butchering time…then, strip them of their tasty flesh!

(And, if the flesh isn’t so tasty, I’m sure ol’ Mary at the grill has a spice rub, and a special sauce, for that!)

The Cannibalism Theory seems to be a prevailing theory among WD fans regarding Sanctuary.  The Daily Beast ran an interview with Scott M. Gimple regarding the cannibal theory, and what else may be in store for fans in Season 5.

Check it out:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/01/what-s-next-for-walking-dead-showrunner-scott-gimple-on-season-5-and-what-mary-s-grill-really-means.html

Meanwhile, back at the tiny car camp, as Michonne and Rick speculate about Sanctuary, they are startled by a noise from the nearby woods…they whirl around, wait, no other noise, so they begin talking again, only to be interrupted by a gun to Rick’s temple:

Dirty Joe and his band of Downstairs Thug Boys, come to get their revenge...

It’s Dirty Joe and his band of Downstairs Thug Boys, come to get their revenge…“Oh, deary me,” mocks Joe. “You screwed up, asshole…you hear me? You screwed up!”  I do need to give mad props to Jeff Kober, who plays Joe, for a great performance, all around…especially for his evil laughter in this scene…somebody give that man a Deadie!

See that look, Joe?  That's the look of a man who is about to go off...

See that look, Joe? That’s the look of a man who is about to go off…

As Joe blathers on about how it's a day of

As Joe blathers on about how it’s a day of “reckoning,” Rick is thinking, planning, waiting for opportunity…

Meanwhile, at the car, a nightmare comes a knockin' for poor Carl...

Meanwhile, at the car, a nightmare comes knocking on the window for poor Carl

As Joe counts down (how did he know it was New Year's eve?), Daryl is horrified to see his friends being held by Joe and the DTB's...

As Joe counts down ( and how did he know it was New Year’s Eve?), Daryl is horrified to see his friends being held by Joe and the DTB’s…

Being the beautiful human being that he is, Daryl lays down his weapon and offers his life for Rick's, Carl's and Michonne's.

Being the beautiful human being that he is, Daryl lays down his weapon and offers his life for Rick’s, Carl’s and Michonne’s.  We love you, Daryl Dixon!

As Joe realizes where his man-crush Daryl's loyalities lie, he gets pissed, calls Daryl a liar....

As Joe realizes where his man-crush, Daryl’s, loyalties lie, he gets pissed, calls Daryl a liar….

...so Joe sets the DTB's on Daryl,

…so Joe sets the DTB’s on Daryl:  “Teach him, boys, teach him all the way!”

Joe tells Rick,

Aaagh! Poor Carl!  Joe tells Rick, “First we’re going to beat Daryl to death, then we’ll have the girl…then, the boy…then we’ll shoot you, and we’ll be squared up (for Lou’s death)…”

Rick, Smash! don't think so, Joe...

Rick In Charge don’t think so, Joe…

As he watches what is about to happen to his son, his friends...

As he watches what is about to happen to his son, his friends…

Rick goes primal, busts Joe's nose with the back of his head...then goes slo-mo...he's hulking out...Rick, Smash!

Rick goes primal, busting Joe’s nose with the back of his head and discharging Joe’s firearm…then Rick goes all dazed and slo-mo...he’s hulking out…Rick Smash!

At Joe's taunt,

At Joe’s taunt, “What the hell you gonna do now, sport?” Rick takes a page from the Walker Handbook and Bites The Crap Outta Joe’s Neck…

And spits it out!  Holy fuck!

…and spits it out! Holy fuck!

Looking like a crazy killer clown, Rick Grimes turns to his son's would-be rapist, growls,

Looking like a crazy killer clown, Rick Grimes turns to his son’s would-be rapist, grinds out, “He’s mine!” through clenched teeth while striding towards Deserves It Dan (TD’s name for the doomed pedophile) with Joe’s knife…

Later for you, pedophile.

Later for you, Deserves It Dan.

Rick, Smash! slices and dices the bad man in a primal fury...

Rick Smash! slices and dices the bad man in a primal fury…

As Daryl, Michonne and Carl watch in shock and horror...

As Daryl, Michonne and Carl watch in shock, horror…and recognition of what must be done to survive.

As Michonne hugs Carl close, and he watches his dad exact vengeance on the DTB's, I typed into my laptop,

As Michonne hugs Carl close, and he watches his dad exact vengeance on doomed Deserves It Dan, I typed into my laptop, “Why am I so turned on right now?”   Am I sick that I think it’s hot that Rick goes so dark?  Because I do, people…I really do.

After this harrowing scene, and a much-needed commercial/bathroom/ beverage re-up break, we are taken back in time once again.  Hershel and Rick stand in the prison yard, and Hershel outlines his vision for settling in, making the prison a lasting home. There are feral pigs, horses in the forest that can be captured and domesticated; they have seeds and space for planting.  It is time to prepare and plant, says Hershel, and he wants Rick to be the one to help him do it.

Rick reminds Hershel that he needs to be “out there,” going on runs, manning the fences. Hershel lays it on the line…he wants to teach Rick how to farm, to plant roots, cultivate a lasting, peaceful life at the prison, so Rick can teach Carl, and in doing so, heal both their wounded spirits.

“He (Carl) shot that boy,” Hershel reminds Rick.  “He needs his father to show him the way…what way are you going to show him?  He can shoot, we know that…What’s his life going to be? What’s yours?”

Rick looks down, taking Hershel’s words, and the lesson, in. Hershel looks around the prison yard, sees the potential for things to be better now.

Rick replies that making things better inside the prison fences doesn’t change what is happening outside them.

Hershel knows this, but he tells Rick, “This is a good place to start.”  I love Hershel’s faith and his vision, that their positive intentions and actions to build a lasting community can influence the world beyond the prison fences in a positive way. His influence and teachings resonate throughout this episode, as Rick must bid farewell to the peaceful life they worked so hard to create at the prison, and embrace the new order, the savagery that he must wield in order to survive and protect his son and his people.

The scene shifts back to Rick, bloody, sitting against the car. Michonne and Carl are inside the car, shirts covering the windows. Carl is sleeping a troubled sleep, his head on Michonne’s lap.  She gently smooths his hair back, looks down at him protectively. Such a horrible world for a young child to be in, and while Carl has had his annoying tween-tool moments, he is still just a kid…and this past day has been shitty, and tomorrow isn’t going to get much better, unfortunately.

Daryl walks up to Rick, wets a cloth and hands it out to Rick, for him to wipe his face with…I guess that’s how the scene was supposed to go, but on Talking Dead later, Andrew Lincoln said that Norman Reedus really didn’t pour very much water on the cloth, and so trying to wipe the dried fake blood that was caked in his beard felt like getting “a Brazilian.” As soon as he said “Brazilian,” the audience laughed, and Andrew Lincoln got really cute and embarrassed.

Anyway, Daryl tells Rick that he didn’t know what they were, Joe and the DTB gang. Rick asks him how Daryl got up with the DTB’s.  Daryl tells Rick how he and Beth made it out of the prison together.

“I was with her for a while,” Daryl begins.  Poor Daryl looks like he is about to cry as he says this, looks down.

Rick looks at him, asks him hoarsely if Beth is dead.  Daryl looks at Rick, says she’s just…gone.

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Daryl tells Rick that he didn’t know what the DTB’s were capable of, that they had a simple code that seemed to kind of make sense on the most basic level. Rick understands, reminds Daryl that he was alone.  “It’s not on you, Daryl,”  Rick tells him.

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What makes Rick so hot is that he can be so dark, but so tender, loving, and wise…he loves his people and will do anything to protect them, stand up for what’s right.

When Daryl looks down, not convinced, Rick says, “Hey…”  Daryl looks up, and Rick is looking into his eyes.  “It’s not on you,” Rick says, again. “You, being here, with us, now, it’s everything.” Daryl takes this in, and then Rick drives it home by telling Daryl, “You’re my brother.”

(Dude, I married the love of my life and brought two beautiful children into the world, but I will tell you, that moment when Rick tells Daryl that he’s his brother is, hands down, one of the best moments of my life.  For real.)

Daryl tries to return the favor by telling Rick that what he did last night, anybody would have done that.  “No, not that,” Rick disagrees…he reminds Daryl of what he, Rick, did to Tyrese…it’s not all he is, but it’s there, and it’s why he is still here, and why Carl is still here.  He will do whatever it takes to keep Carl safe…that’s all that matters. The scene ends with a shot of Michonne, and Carl, his head on her lap, listening to this conversation from inside the car.

Later, as they walk along the rails, Rick turns to Michonne, asks her if she’s ok…she tells him she is…he turns to her, tells her he’s ok.  “I know,” Michonne replies. As they near Terminus, and Sanctuary, Rick suggests they take the woods for the remainder of the journey, as they don’t know who these people are, yet.

As they approach the fence and look down upon Terminus, Rick advises they spread out and watch for a while, see what they see. Rick turns to Carl and asks him if he wants to stick together. “Sorry,” Carl says, walking away from his father.

Michonne notices this, asks Carl why he doesn’t go with his dad. Carl doesn’t answer, and after a moment, Michonne begins to tell him about how Andre died. She, Andre, Mike (Andre’s dad), and their friend Terry had gone to a refugee camp after the turn. The camp got worse and worse, people leaving, people giving up…but Michonne did not give up. One day, she returned from a run to find the camp’s fences down, heard the moans…Michonne’s voice breaks as she tells Carl, “It was over.”

Michonne goes on to tell Carl how Mike and Terry were “high” when it happened, thus unable to protect little Andre.  Michonne, in her grief and fury, did not rekill Mike and Terry, although they were bitten.  She let them die, and turn, and then she cut their arms and bottom jaws away, so they couldn’t bite or scratch, put chains around them, and kept them with her as a reminder.

With tears running down her face, Michonne tells Carl that while she discovered that having them around her “hid” her from other walkers’ detection, what she did was “sick” and that she lost herself, for a long time, until Andrea brought her back…along with Rick, and especially, now, Carl.

Michonne tells Carl that she sees how he’s been looking at his dad. “You don’t have to be afraid of me, or him,” she tells Carl.

Carl breaks down, tells Michonne that the other day, Rick told him that he was proud of him, that he, Carl, was a “good man,” but Carl has “all these thoughts.” He looks at Michonne, “I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m just another monster, too.” Michonne shakes her head with a little smile, gathers Carl up in a hug.

Meanwhile, Rick is going through the weapon bag, then buries it, stashing it.  He looks at Daryl, who is watching him. “Just in case,” Rick says simply. They then jump the fence into Terminus, weapons out, and make their way into a large warehouse-looking room with a woman on a microphone reading the radio broadcast for Sanctuary, “All who arrive, survive.”

Rick greets her and the others in the room, startling them.  One tall, peevish-looking young man, Gareth, steps forward, asks, “Are you here to rob us?”  “No,” Rick replies, “We just wanted to see you before you saw us.”  Gareth looks around at his comrades, who seem to have been hand-painting some Sanctuary banners and other propaganda, and with a shrug and a tight smile, says, “Makes sense.”

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Dude, these guys look like DIY emo-types who work at the organic vegan co-op…

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…and the fact that they’re probably cannibals makes it all so much creepier…the Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op can go suck it.

Gareth tries to mask his annoyance and alarm at getting caught so unawares by adopting a false-seeming concern (“Looks like you’ve been on the road for a good bit,” which is pretty much verbatim what Mary said to Glenn, Maggie, and the crew upon their arrival…very suspicious!), to a false cheeriness as he invites them to come up to the front of the house, where the “welcome wagon” area is…so much more inviting, but first, “we need to see everyone’s weapons…if you could just lay them down in front of you.”

Rick exchanges looks with Michonne, Daryl, but does what Gareth asks.  As Alex, the squirrely sidekick dude, pats them down, he keeps making stupid jokes, comments (“Hate to see what the other guy looks like,” as he pats Daryl down, taking in Daryl’s beaten up face, to which Rick replies, “You would.”).

After the pat-down, Gareth says, “We’re not those kind of people, but we aren’t stupid, either…and you shouldn’t be stupid enough to try anything stupid…just as long as we’re clear on that, we shouldn’t have any problems…just solutions.”  Rick regards him with the look of a man who just got a clear “tell” on someone who is not being 100% truthful about what is really going on here.

And what is the deal with all these slogans?  Seems like people who are sincere and truthful shouldn’t have pat slogans to rely on to explain what they are all about…I am not talking about helpful, healing slogans like ones used in 12-step recovery programs…I am talking about pat, pre-packaged slogans being used in lieu of sincere, honest expression.

Rick ain't buying it...and Michonne, Daryl aren't looking too convinced either.

Rick ain’t buying it…and Michonne, Daryl aren’t looking too convinced either.

When they are ushered up to the welcome wagon area, Mary is once again cooking meat at the grill. Her manner is more cautious, guarded than she was with Glenn, Maggie, and the gang.  “Heard you came in the back way, smart,” she says to Rick and the others. “You’ll fit right in here.”  Michonne asks Alex why they take people in the way they do, and Alex answers with another slogan, “The more people we take in, the stronger we become…” Blah, blah, blah.

As Alex blathers on, Rick spies items he recognizes…he sees a large leather backpack (Bob’s?) on one person, and he sees another young man suited up in riot gear that looks exactly like the riot gear suits they had at the prison.  On another woman, he sees Daryl’s poncho, the one Maggie was wearing in the last episode, when she and the crew walked up to Sanctuary…and last, Rick sees the chain of Hershel’s pocket watch, the one that Hershel had given Glenn, coming out of Alex’s pocket.

In a pimp deputy maneuver, Rick slaps the plate of food from Alex’s hand, grabs the pocket watch from Alex’s pocket, demanding, “Where the hell did you get this watch?” Rick holds his gun to Alex’s head, while Daryl, Michonne, and Carl have their weapons drawn in a terse standoff at the Sanctuary welcome wagon greeting area:

Once again, Rick In Charge  doing what needs to be done, and looking fine doing it!

Once again, Rick In Charge doing what needs to be done, and looking fine doing it!

A brief flashback to the prison…Rick sees Beth, holding Judith, and Patrick, who is quietly playing with toys that were grabbed on a run…he is embarrassed to be playing with a Lego set that is meant for ages 4-12…Rick tells him to not be, then he sees Carl, who is looking at a diagram, trying to figure out how to put his gun back together…Rick has made his mind up, tells his son he needs his help with something.  When Carl goes to bring his gun, Rick tells him to leave it…at Carl’s questioning look, Rick tells him, “It will just get in the way,” echoing Hershel’s words to him earlier on, and taking his own gun belt off as well.

The scene shifts back to Sanctuary, to Carl with his gun drawn, the others with their weapons out.  Alex is freaking out, and Rick tells him to call off the sniper on the roof, who has Rick in his sights.  Rick asks again where Alex got the watch, and Alex lies, tells him he got it “off a dead one…didn’t think he’d be needing it again.”

When Rick asks where they got the riot gear, a voice answers from behind him.  He whirls around, still holding Alex at gunpoint, to see Gareth standing there, his hands held out in a gesture of peace, reasonableness.  Gareth has an answer for everything…they got the riot gear off a dead cop, they got the poncho off a clothesline…Alex tries to tell Gareth they can “wait,” to which Gareth answers, “Shut up, Alex, and every time Alex tries to talk, Gareth tells him to “shut up.”  Wow…kind of a weird way to talk to a comrade who is being held at gunpoint.

Gareth asks Rick what he wants. Rick, holding the gun to Alex’s head, asks, “Where are our people?” Gareth replies that Rick didn’t answer the question, and then. a gun fires from behind Rick, as some Sanctuary dude tries a cheap shot while Gareth distracts Rick.  Rick whirls, blasting Alex with a bullet in the head, dropping him.

Mayhem ensues, with Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Daryl making a run for it, through the Terminus station, while snipers shoot bullets at their feet, more like trying to corral the group into going a certain way rather than trying to kill them.

As one path out, then another, gets blocked, they run to a warehouse building marked, “A”, and as they run through, they hear voices calling to them for help, with rapping and pounding noises coming from the inside of the large metal train cars and storage boxes there…we see a shot of what looks like many skulls, spines, and ribs lying on the ground, as if human bodies were stripped of all the flesh on them,  and the bones left in a pile on a large tarp.

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Gimple can act as coy as he wants to…this whole mess screams “Cannibals!” to me…

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More slogans…these people are THE WORST.

Outside, Rick and them find themselves surrounded by Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op soldiers, all pointing guns at them. Gareth orders Rick, “the ringleader,” into the train car, then “the archer,” then, the “samurai.”  If they do not comply, Gareth tells Rick they will kill his son.

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Once inside the train car, Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Carl find they are not alone…emerging from the darkness, is Glenn, and Maggie, Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Rosita, Tara, and Eugene. “You’re here,” says Rick, who seems to take this as a divine sign…it really kind of is, isn’t it?  I mean, what are the odds? As always, Rick In Charge is thinking, always thinking of the next plan.

Maggie gestures to the others in their group, Abraham, Tara, Rosita, Eugene, telling Rick and them that they are their “friends” who helped them survive.  Daryl responds, “Then they are our friends, too.”  I love this feeling of bonding, of a superhero team forming…it’s Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars.

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Abraham says, dryly, “For however long that’ll be…” “No,” says Rick In Charge…he has a different take on things.

Rick In Charge cracks the door of the train car, peers outside, then turns to the gang...

Rick In Charge cracks the door of the train car, peers outside, then turns to the gang…“They’ll feel pretty stupid when they find out… they’re screwing with the wrong people!”

In the final flashback scene, Rick, Carl, Hershel, Beth, and Judith are outside on the prison grounds…as Rick shows Carl how to spear the shovel into the ground, at an angle, and they all laugh and joke easily, Hershel tells Rick that it can be like this all the time…Rick smiles, replies that it’s like this now, and that’s all that matters.

Well, there we have it, people.  While Scott M. Gimple acknowledged that Rick really doesn’t have any reason to feel confident, as they are being held prisoner in a train car, without weapons, and surrounded by what appears to be brainwashed, flesh-eating LIVING people who are armed to the teeth,  it all does feel so right, somehow…

Rick believes, so I believe, and I will tell you that there is not a group of people I believe can get the hell out of The Sanctuary Cannibal Co-op more than I believe in Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars!

On a final note: Talking Dead, being a live show, always has some epic weirdo moment, and the finale episode was no exception…because Andrew Lincoln and Scott M. Gimple were the guests, they had some fans Skype in questions for the two…and up on the screen comes Emily the Bird Girl:

I was so surprised to see this that I didn't get the best pictures, but chose this one because I felt it captured best the whole look she was going for.    I was inspired to write a haiku for her:   Bird girl, Emily Why? I ask of your Skype-style, cockatiel question.

I was so surprised to see this that I didn’t get the best pictures, but chose this one because I felt it really captured the whole look she was going for.
I was inspired to write a haiku for her:
Bird girl, Emily,
Why? I ask of your Skype-style
cockatiel question.

Emily’s question was directed to Andrew Lincoln, but he had no idea what she asked because he couldn’t stop looking at the bird…Scott M. Gimple and Chris Hardwick were in the same boat, as was everyone…what the hell did she ask?  We were all too obsessed with Emily’s cockatiel to pay attention to her question.

Emily, if you are out there and reading this, drop me a line, or put a “Like” on my barnfullawalkers Facebook page…I am obsessed with you and your bird!

https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers

Cheers to Season 4, and to honor Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars, I am going to go Double Pantera in the Season 4 finale playlist…never been done before…an epic moment in http://www.barnfullawalkers.com history!

Take that, creepy cannibal co-op!

As the Talking Dead put it: Hey Terminus, guess what, you’re screwed!

Playlist:

Little People, “Start Shootin'”

Pantera, “Walk” (for Rick In Charge…and Rick Smash! <3)

Zero 7, “Spinning”

Handsome Boy Modeling School, “The Truth”

DJ Shadow, “Midnight In A Perfect World”

Pantera, “A New Level” (for Rick Grimes and The Train Car Superstars)

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 15, “Us”

“Us”

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

The Walking Dead’s Season 4, Episode 15, “Us,” begins in a fairly straightforward manner…no music, no montage…just the drone of Eugene, walking along the tracks beside Tara, completely geeking her out while trying to impress her with his scientific acumen, epic mullet, and general philosophy about…everything.

“I’m well aware it sounds bananas…but lookin’ at the fossil record, knowing what I know about this infection, you cannot say for certain it isn’t what killed off the dinosaurs.  Do I believe that’s what happened?  No…but it’s enjoyable as hell to think about an undead ankylosaur goin’ after a diplodocus!”

Wow, sweet opener, Eugene…if you’re trying to impress a 10-year-old kid who’s obsessed with dinosaurs and who happens to be navigating a a zombie apocalypse. You can practically hear Tara’s eyes rolling back into her head.

Eugene is oblivious to this, chuckling to himself at the thought of undead dinosaurs battling it out. “That there’s a video game worthy of a preorder.”  (Actually, he is right about that one). Eugene looks on as Tara stoops to pick up a flattened coin on the rails. “Aw, hell yeah, score…a few more of those, a little aluminum foil and some bleach, you got yourself some volts, sister.”

At Tara’s questioning look, Eugene explains, “Homemade battery.”

As it seems to mean so much to him, Tara holds out the coin, offering it to Eugene. “Here.” “For real?” he asks.  “For reals,” Tara answers dryly.  “Much obliged,” says Eugene, as they continue down the tracks.

Emboldened by the coin exchange, Eugene tries again to impress Tara…”Speaking of video games, what kind of gamer were you? RPG, smut, sim racing?”  It is clear by this point that Eugene did not have a single iota of lady-game in the world before, and he is striking out big-time in this world, as well…it also doesn’t help that he’s trying to hit on a lesbian.

Eugene, Eugene, Eugene…while I remain unconvinced that he has any real insights on what actually caused the zombie apocalypse, I do hope he can find a way to work that angle to get some play in the new world order…he definitely has some good taste in women, Tara and the lovely Rosita!

And, he has “The Eugene,” a mullet so epic, there should be a sculpture made of it for future PZA (post zombie-apocalypse) generations to visit and make offerings to (especially, I suppose, if Eugene actually does possess the key to a walker cure as well).

That night, Tara is sitting against a tree, staring out into the darkness with a haunted look. Abraham comes to sit beside her, his assault rifle across his lap, stifles a yawn. Tara tells him to go to sleep, she’s got this…he tells her no offense, but he’s not leaving Eugene’s life in her hands.

It is clear that Abraham is 100% on Team Eugene, and he also makes it clear that Team Eugene is in with Glenn and Tara only until they find a working vehicle, then they continue on their mission to get to Washington.

Tara lowers her head into her crossed arms, and Abraham urges her to get some sleep, telling her he hasn’t seen her sleep yet.  As Tara does not reply to this, Abraham continues, “I thought it was because you were in love with him (Glenn).” Abraham chuckles to himself, muses aloud, “Girl in love with the guy she’s trying to help get to his girl…if that were the case, closing your eyes would be just too damn tragic.”

“If that were the case,” replies Tara.

Abraham knows that’s not what’s going on here.  He looks at Tara.  “I saw the way you were looking down Rosita’s shirt when she was serving you dinner…hell, the things are damn near hypnotic.” (And may I give a “Hollah!” to that?)  Abraham chuckles, continues, “Look, Eugene spends half the day staring at her ass…I’m not mad, it just means my theory’s shot.”

“I’m awfully sorry about that,” replies Tara.  Sarcasm seems to be her go-to mechanism these days.

Abraham, however, is not attached…to his initial theory, anyway. “Well, I’m right and I’m wrong…” Abraham  is, however, still trying to get Tara to talk about what is obviously weighing on her. “It’s something you did, or something you didn’t do,” he says, looking away into the darkness.  He is giving her time, and space, to talk to him.

Tara closes her eyes for a brief moment, says softly, “Something I did.” Abraham looks at her, waits.  Tara looks back to him. “You were in the army,” she says, with a raise of her eyebrows, a little smile, and a nod. Then she looks away. “I get the whole gung-ho, mission is your life bullshit.”

Abraham says, “Yeah? You do…”  “Yeah,” Tara whispers. She turns to face him. Her game face is back on. “So we both got our reasons…we both got our missions.”

Abraham nods, says nothing.

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Tara turns again to Abraham, asks, “What do you do when the mission’s over?” Abraham looks into the night, and nods in silent understanding.

The next morning, Eugene once again walks beside Tara, working out the logistics for them to share the battery her found coin will become, one day, if they collect all the materials needed. Eugene seems to know that the weak charge that homemade battery would generate would be the closest thing to any spark between them, and he’s working that angle for all it’s worth.

While trying to ignore Eugene, Tara looks ahead and spies something down the tracks…and there it is, scrawled in walker’s blood, Maggie’s sexy blood note to Glenn:

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As soon as he sees the sign, Glenn starts hauling ass down the tracks…

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Maggie!

Maggie!

Meanwhile, in a makeshift camp in the woods, the Downstairs Thug Boys are catching their last moments of a joyless sleep on the cold forest ground as a lone walker approaches.  The walker catches the barbed wire barricade in the face, sending the cans strung along it rattling, jolting the DTB’s awake.

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Mornin’!

One DTB says, “I got it” and dispatches the walker bayonet-upside-the-chin style:

Mornin', motherfucker.

Mornin’, motherfucker. After he rekills Mornin’ Walker, the DTB thrusts his bayonet into the ground, unzips, and unleashes his morning piss onto the dead walker.

Tony (the Hispanic dude who saw Rick under the bed just before losing consciousness in a chokehold) looks around, says it looks like that “Robin Hood cat” skipped out and went off on his own. Tony adds that he didn’t think Robin Hood had the “sac” to go off on his own like that.

Len, (who may have done the choking), seems like a pretty pent up dude.  He’s got some issues.  But, he does have the observation skills to notice that Robin Hood’s stuff is still there, probably just stepped out to “drop a morning deuce.” Joe, the leader, is looking pretty relieved at this.  It’s been pretty clear to me so far that he is way-gay for Daryl…welcome to the club, dude.

Somewhere where the morning shines a little brighter, Rick (yay! we have missed you, Deputy Grimes!) trudges along the rails talking, it seems, to himself…“We have about a day’s worth of water left… luckily it’s cooled off some, but…”  He looks back to see Carl and Michonne way behind him, each walking slowly, balancing on a rail, trying not to fall over.

“What are you doing?” he mock chides, to which Carl answers, “Winning a bet,” to which Michonne replies, “In your dreams!”  Rick has no choice but to laugh, and it did my heart good to see it…sigh…Rick is pleasedall is right in the world again.  Thank you, Rick. Just…thank you.  For. Everything.

What are those two up to now?

What are those two up to now?

Try to look stern...

Try to look stern…

...nah, can't do it!

…nah, can’t do it!

You crazy kids! :)

You crazy kids! 🙂

Michonne lets Carl win. #bettermotherthanlori

Michonne lets Carl win.
#bettermotherthanlori  (awww….just kidding…kind of)

Carl shares the prize, the last stale-ass Big Kat bar...sweet boy loves him some Michonne

Carl shares the prize, the last stale-ass Big Cat bar…“C’mon, we always share…” Michonne smiles, says, “Fork it over..”  So sweet!

Meanwhile, back in the dark douchebag forest, poor Daryl is not faring as well.  He needs some time and space to think, and a stealthy early-morning hunt will maybe help to clear his mind.

He has got to be freaking out inside about poor Beth, abducted in a creepy black funeral car, injured, alone…but, he must bide his time, and it is safer in numbers, right now, and nobody wants to piss Joe off…that guy seems a little fixated on poor Daryl.

Joe, and the rest of the Downstairs Thug Boys, are gonna be a little hard to shake. Daryl has a lot to figure out, and not a lot of time to do it.  He spots a rabbit and aims his crossbow:

um. yes.

um. yes…yes, indeed

Daryl fires, just as another, bigger arrow shoots from behind him, just grazing the hair at his temple and spearing through the rabbit, along with Daryl’s arrow.  (Daryl’s Arrow…great name for a band…someone should snatch it up…I do not play a musical instrument but love coming up with band names, so, welcome to it, and enjoy, and I’ll keep throwing them out there as I think of them.)

Daryl whirls around, and there is Len, lurking behind, poaching Daryl’s rabbit, and basically just there to harsh Daryl’s morning mellow.

“What the hell you doin?” demands Daryl, as he goes forward to the rabbit.  Len shrugs, “Just catchin’ me some breakfast.”  Len, who clearly is not gifted in the personality, nor the charisma, department, goes on to inform Daryl that his arrow went through before Daryl’s did, and that  “Cottontail belongs to me.”

Crouching down to pull the arrows out of the rabbit, Daryl tells Len that he’s been out there since before the sun came up. This is all he says, Daryl being a man of few words, and incredible hotness. Daryl clearly had first sights on the rabbit, and it clearly belongs to him.

Len, however, counters that the “rules of the hunt don’t mean jack” in this day and age, and that-there rabbit is “claimed,” so Daryl better fork it over.

Now, it is also clear that Len is picking a fight with Daryl, probably for things that went way far back in Len’s life and that Daryl has had nothing to do with, before now…but now Len is on Daryl’s ever-growing list of problems, and probably, at this point, near the top of Daryl’s ever-growing shitlist.  As Len drones on about the law of “claimed,” Daryl stands back up, looks Len in the eye, and tosses Len’s shitty arrow to the side.

Len’s gaze follows the arrow, his neck jutting forward, his feet planted, trying to intimidate Daryl by insisting that he hand the rabbit over now, or else… Daryl strides towards him as Len tries to hold his ground, unsuccessfully.. Daryl’s voice is soft, and sexy, and growly, as he stands before Len, looks him straight in the face, says, “Ain’t yours.”

Len, clearly challenged, goes for the sucker-punch, suggesting that it’s “some bitch” that has Daryl all messed up…and was it one of the “littl’uns? Cuz they don’t last too long out here…”

Daryl reaches for the knife in his belt:

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But just before Daryl can do us all a favor and end Len, Joe comes rushing up and breaks up the fight…he is so gay for Daryl, I mean, really…the dude can’t hide it, not even a little.

“Easy, fellas, easy…let’s put down our weapons and see if we can’t figure out what’s really the problem here…” Joe is of course eye-fucking Daryl the whole time he says this, and Len laughs from behind Joe in a thin, shitty way. Daryl’s eyes burn past Joe, into Len’s shitty face, looking majorly fine as he vibes Len hard. Joe finally tears his gaze from Daryl, turns to Len, asks him if he “claimed” the rabbit.

“Hell, yeah!” says Len.  “Well, there you go,” says Joe, turning back to Daryl. “That critter belongs to Len.”  Len juts his chin forward even more, demands, “So let’s have it!”  Yes, children, Len sucks.

Joe’s voice is pacifying as he turns to Daryl, “Looks like you’ll be wanting an explanation.” He steps towards Daryl, who leans back slightly and steps back away from Joe. Joe, who pretends not to notice this clear, universal signal of distaste, continues his explanation in placating, almost pleading, tones:

“See, goin’ it alone, that’s not an option nowadays. Still, it is survival of the fittest…that’s a paradox right there.” Joe leans in towards Daryl to make his point, which Daryl suffers…he already slipped with the step-back, before. Joe explains that he laid out some “rules of the road before things get too Darwin every couple of hours, to keep our merry band together and things stress-free.”

Joe is pretty much pitching this like it’s the best idea anybody ever had. While Daryl knows better, he also knows better than to show it..he’s turned away, looking down, trying not to be a dick about it, but kind of repulsed past the point of being able to hide it.  (Me too, Daryl, me too!)

“All you gotta do is “claim,” Joe continues, bringing it home. “That’s how you mark your territory, your prey, your bed at night…that one word, “claimed.” Daryl shifts back, growls softly, “I ain’t claimin’ nothin’.”  Len steps forward, reminds Joe that the rule is to teach Daryl if he doesn’t obey.

Joe, however, cannot bring himself to punish Daryl, and lays it on thick about how “it wouldn’t be fair to punish someone for a rule they never knew existed.” This flagrant display of favor towards Daryl causes Len to turn away and laugh bitterly while shaking his head, raking his hand through his hair, and pacing around with the unfairness of it all.

Len, dude, give it up.  Maybe you were Joe’s favorite at one time, but you are totally out of your league with this one. It’s Daryl Dixon, for fuck’s sake. Later for you, Len.

Daryl, deliciously defiant, dismisses all this, growling “There ain’t no rules no more.” (He’s so soft and growly this episode…really sexy.)  Joe would beg to differ, about there being no rules, that is…Joe would probably beg Daryl for a lot of things, truth be told, but he is trying to make a specific point…there are still rules, and Daryl knows it, and that’s why Joe didn’t kill Daryl for the crossbow.

Then, Joe grabs the tail end of Daryl’s rabbit, which Daryl still holds.  Daryl protests, and Joe cautions him, “Easy, there, partner.” His eyes on Daryl, Joe holds the rabbit carcass up to the tree and slices it in half with one stroke of his machete.

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Joe tosses the front half to Len, who glares at Daryl…Len is seething lime-green jelly at all the blantant favoritism that is being shown to Daryl, who clearly has the mojo and magnetism that Len has been lacking his whole life.  Len stalks off, and Joe looks at Daryl. “Claimed, it’s all you gotta say,” he says, with a shrug of his fingers.  Joe looks down at Daryl’s rabbit half.  “Ass end is still an end,” Joe says, and walks off.

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Daryl’s thinking, These guys are dicks!

Back at the rails, Glenn is hauling ass to Maggie…he’s charging ahead of the group and not looking back.  They have reached some sort of observation or loading tower, and Abraham calls for a rest, saying they are tired, and “tired is slow, and slow is dead.”

Glenn protests that it’s barely noon, to which Abraham replies, “I don’t give a monkey’s left nut!” (Ha! It’s pretty much guaranteed that any episode Abraham is in is going to bring us WD fans some pretty memorable lines to quote.)

Abraham continues, saying that nobody has slept more than a couple of hours, and while he gets it, “You have to find her,” he and Rosita have a mission too, and that’s to get Eugene to Washington, “and save the whole damn world!”  He says it looks safe here, that they are going up in the tower for a rest stop.

Just then, Tower Walker makes its presence known:

As Tower Walker steps in for his cameo, we get a rear view of

As Tower Walker steps in for his cameo, we get a rear view of “The Eugene” and how the back drape of it flows down in greasy, brown mulltastic waves…it’s truly a mullet of epic proportions!

In its undead zeal to chomp the living, the Tower Walker pitches right over the railing, becoming Look Out, Below! Walker...and hits the dirt in a gorish heap of rot and bone.

In its undead zeal to chomp the living, the Tower Walker pitches right over the railing, becoming Look Out, Below! Walker…and hits the dirt in a gorish heap of rot and bone.

Unfortunately, Tara’s knee gets hurt in the mayhem of the walker’s fall (ahem, Abraham shoving her aside, and to the ground, rudely, in his quest to protect Eugene from all the forces that want to kill his white, pasty ass). Limping gamely on her injured knee, Tara insists to Glenn that she can still walk.

Glenn is being super self-obsessed right now, and tries to bid farewell to Abraham and Co., ready to continue on, whatever it takes…”You don’t need us and we don’t need you,” says Glenn before he turns away, ready to move on.

Rosita calls him out, “Wow, you’re an ass….She (and she points to Tara) will do whatever you say because she thinks she owes you…man up! Stay for a few hours!”

Besides looking totally hot calling Glenn out, may I just give Rosita mad props on accessorizing in the zombie apocalypse…girlfriend’s got on gold hoops, cute military-style hat, leather fingerless gloves, and a cute-ass Michael Jackson-style military jacket, with long sweater sleeves over the hands, complete with DIY thumbhole cut out…Rosita is officially my girl-crush and my new fashion icon.

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Glenn proposes that if they continue on, and go until sundown, then he will give Eugene his riot gear, “right here, right now.” Abraham accepts, despite Rosita’s protests that Tara is in no shape to move on…”You’re not her mama,” replies Abraham, cutting his eyes to Glenn, then Tara.  “If she says she can walk, she can walk.” Abraham turns to Glenn and tells him he’s got himself a deal.

Back aways at Douchebag Junction, Joe is really pressing Daryl for some kind of commitment:  “So what’s the plan, Daryl?” They are walking down the railway line, Joe’s smoking a cigarette. He seems pretty tense, putting it all out there.

Daryl plays dumb, “How so?” Joe’s been around the block a few times, and he’s played this game before. He spreads his cigarette hand out in a wide arc of impatience, asks, “Well, you with us now, but you ain’t soon?”  He’s bordering on strident. Desperation, Joe…so not sexy.

Daryl knows how to play it.  He tosses his hair, acts coy, buys time.  I admire his technique. Well played, well timed, keeps Joe, and Joe’s Daryl-boner, guessing.

“So, what’s the plan?” Joe presses, trying for casual but so not fooling anybody. Daryl hedges, not about to give anything up to this man or his band of degenerates. “Just uh, lookin’ for the right place, is all,” he offers. It’s so cute to me that Daryl’s good at holding his cards close to his chest, but he is not good at lying.

“Aw, we ain’t good enough for ya, huh?” Joe presses.  Dude, so gay for Daryl.  “Some of you ain’t exactly friendly,” replies Daryl, being the master of understatement that he is.

Joe takes a drag from his cigarette, “You ain’t so friendly, yourself.”  He continues, “You know you need a group out here…”

“Maybe I don’t,” counters Daryl. Man, he’s so hot when he plays hard ball! Joe notices this too, of course, replies, “Naw, you do, you should be with us!”  Joe’s laying it all on the line, not knowing how badly that this scratch-and-dent sausage party of a group is no comparison to the fine, soulful group Daryl was with before… and Daryl likes girls, dammit, and is in love with Beth...and where the fuck is she?

Look, Joe, your motley crew is rebound, at best...Daryl's in another league, dude...sorry!

Look, Joe, your motley crew is rebound, at best…Daryl’s in another league, dude…sorry!

Joe lays out the basic rules for the band of DTB’s…you just gotta follow the rules: you claim, when you steal, you keel, and you don’t lie, because that is a slippery slope.

While that all sounds good on paper, the chemistry is so not there, but what can poor Daryl do, but go with things, as they are, for now…Daryl asks what happens if the rules get broken, and Joe answers that the offender gets “a beatin’, the severity of which depends on the offense and the general attitude of the day.” It’s a brutal code, not on any level of the caliber of community and humanity that Daryl lived with at the prison.

Joe spots a warehouse, whistles through his fingers, signalling the night’s abode.  Daryl turns to Joe, tells him he “Ain’t no us.” Joe asks him, point blank, “You leaving now?” Daryl answers by not answering…um, no, it’s about to get dark and shit, just sayin’.

“Then it sure seems like there’s an us!” Joe then proceeds to get the last line on Daryl, asks him if he likes cats.  Joe, it turns out, loves cats, has since he was three years old. He tells Daryl that there “ain’t nothing sadder than an outside cat who thinks it’s an inside cat,” before turning and heading into the warehouse.  

Aw, snap, Daryl Dixon, you have just been served The Last Word.

Meanwhile, Glenn, who has divested himself of riot gear and given it to Eugene, is once again steadily charging ahead of the group on the rails.  They have reached the entrance of a dark tunnel that the railway runs through.  At the entrance is scrawled another blood note from Maggie, Sasha, and Bob. It is still wet. “We’re gaining on them,” announces Glenn.  Abraham answers that they sure as Shanghola can’t go over the tunnel.

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Abraham says, “Hear that? That sounds like a long dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses.” Glenn says, “If Maggie went through, I’m going through.”

Abraham says, with some regret, that this is where they part ways. He tells Glenn, “You’re on your own.” Tara steps up, with a limp, says, “No, you’re not.” Glenn looks at her like it’s the first time he’s really seen her, nods to her.

Abraham kneels down, takes a couple of cans of food out and offers it up to Glenn, who declines at first, saying that they will need them…”So will you, ” replies Abraham, and it is Tara who has the good sense to step forward, with pain, and take the offering from Abraham. Abraham then offers up a gun or flare of some kind, which is majorly cool of him…Glenn, truly humbled at this point, takes the offering with silent gratitude.

“Sorry I hit you in the face,” apologizes Glenn.  Abraham answers, “I’m not…I like to fight!”  Rosita comes up to Glenn with a hug and some well-wishes (“Good luck, try not to be an ass.”) and hugs Tara.  Eugene, standing awkwardly in his riot gear, pronounces them as “good people…Tara, you are seriously hot,” causing Glenn to look down, smiling, and Tara to reply that she likes girls, to which Eugene says, “I’m well aware of that!”

Yeah, right, Eugene, like how Pee-Wee Herman “meant to do that!” when he ate it on his bike in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

I must say that I am loving Abraham and Co., especially as Abraham offers a Plan B scenario: if Glenn and Tara get into trouble, come back, and Abraham and Co. will double-back to the first road they cross, to meet  up if needed. Yes, thank you, love the plan, Abraham.  Majorly cool of you, know now how you bagged a girlfriend like Rosita.

As they enter the blackness of the tunnel, with only the light of Glenn’s flashlight to guide them, Glenn tries to tell Tara that he knows what she is going through, dealing with the loss of loved ones, the shock…he kind of falters, being a guy and all, but is really trying…I am glad he is being cool, not so selfish.

As they continue on in the blackness, Tara tells Glenn that when “Brian” told them he wanted to take over the prison, she knew it was bad.  When she found her girlfriend, she was dead, her niece, dead, then Tara watched her sister, Lilly, become surrounded by walkers, pounced on…she saw it happen.  Ugh, awful…just maybe a week ago, Tara and her family were alive and in relative safety in their little apartment…and now, they are gone, the collateral damage to a needless massacre, and she is…here, in a dark-ass tunnelfullawalkers. (Drink one if you got one! Am drinking coffee right now, but kind of wishing it were a mimosa.)

Tara recounts the horror of all this, but says that it wasn’t as bad as seeing what “Brian” did to Maggie’s father. Glenn is silent, and somber, as she unburdens herself to him, to the background hiss and slaver of the Tunnel Walkers, further down the line, in the darkness.

Meanwhile, in another dark hole, the DTB’s have cleared the warehouse garage. The cars have been drained of any gas, but Joe asserts that they are getting “closer,” he can feel it.

Then, the DTB’s start “claiming” all the cars around as their own. Each time Daryl approaches a car, some douchebag DTB is there, looking at Daryl and calling, “claimed.” They are all majorly stunted, and Daryl gives up, setting his pack, and himself, on the concrete floor in the center of the garage. Dicks!

Meanwhile, back at the tunnelfullawalkers, Tara and Glenn have come upon a wall of rubble which has come down onto a group of RubbleWalkers, who paw and gape (and drool slime…gruesomely awesome, Nicotero!) helplessly at Glenn and Tara, pinned and stuck in the rubble.

Amazing slime drool moment...love it, love it!

Amazing slime drool moment…love it, love it!

As Glenn shines the flashlight to the ceiling, seeing the spot that caved in from above, Tara feels the blood is still wet…”this must have just happened today.”

Glenn clears a path up the rock wall by spearing walkers through the heads as he climbs up…if not rekilled, how long would a walker last, stuck in the rubble, unable to feed or free itself?

(For all these burning questions, consult Walking Dead Wiki:

http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/The_Walking_Dead_Wiki

Usually, I would look this up for all of us, but a combination of the kids’ spring break, plus computer-crashing difficulties, has put me way behind deadline, so I will forge ahead…we will def discuss that topic, walker lifespan, etc., another time!)

From the top of the rubble heap, Glenn shines the flashlight, sees with relief none of the Tunnel Walkers is Maggie…despite being outnumbered, and out of ammo, Glenn wants to push through…

Tara's like,

Tara’s like, “Boy be crazy loco in love…but am I crazy enough to go along with this?”

Meanwhile, Abraham and Co. are checking abandoned cars on the road, seeing if any are driveable.  Abraham spies a promising minivan, only to discover it is currently occupied…by Soccer Mom Walker:

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Soccer Mom Walker on Board!

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Me so hungry!

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One minute I’m driving my son to soccer practice, then, chomp, I’m a freakin walker…

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Abraham does her a solid rekill…

Abraham gets in the minivan, and it starts.  While Rosita and Eugene bicker over the map, and the rights to shotgun/navigator, Abraham sees a sad note written with a finger onto the dusty windshield:

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“Let Momma Be”

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Abraham puts the wipers on that one…

It’s a super comedic moment as Eugene  pleads his case for navigator, despite having messed the job up again and again in the past…

After a humble “Please?” doesn’t do it, Eugene tells Rosita that he cannot abide the thought of a world where she would be chosen as navigator over “a son of the south, who has sucessfully negotiated the travails and vagaries of journeys both real and virtual.” 

Ha! Even Rosita can’t keep a straight face, or refuse, that one.

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“Ok,” Rosita relents, slapping Eugene’s chest up with the map. “We’re going north, got it?”

It’s a good thing that Eugene seems to have his own ideas about where they are headed, because back at the dread tunnelfullawalkers, Glenn and Tara are getting in deep shit.  As the tunnel walkers begin to figure out how to get over the rubble wall to chomp that fresh meat they saw on top, Glenn and Tara try creeping around the occupied horde…until Tara stumbles and gets her foot caught in the rocks.

Luckily, Eugene has done the calculations, and lands the minivan right at the other end of the tunnel, just as Glenn and Tara would be coming out.  Rosita calls Eugene a liar, but Eugene refutes this, saying he never said he was taking them north.

“After I save the world,” pronounces Eugene, “I still need to live with myself..I’m not leaving them behind.”

As he steps out to go rescue Glenn and Tara, Eugene sends the seat back into a sleeping Abraham, who jolts awake with some choice expletives.  When he sees what’s happening, he turns to Rosita, and they go back and forth in a couple’s spat, until Eugene tells them, um, guys…look!

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Meanwhile, at the Douchebag Garage Hotel

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Daryl’s thinking…and Len’s making a big show of looking for his rabbit half…

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…so he accuses our man, Daryl Dixon, of taking it.

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Daryl sez no way, you’re the only one who still cares about that shit…

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Len sez empty your bag, and tries to grab it from Daryl…bad move, Len…remember I said “Later for you, Len?”  Well, it’s later…

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…because Joe, ever guided by his ever-present Daryl-boner, steps in, and although he finds the rabbit half in Daryl’s bag, he doesn’t quite believe that Len’s “cowardly cop” ways didn’t creep in and plant the rabbit in Daryl’s bag…

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Daryl looking hot, taking it all in…good thing his experience with hanging around douchebags is keeping him on his toes…

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Joe: Did you plant the rabbit?  Len: No…

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Joe starts the beat down, urges the “gents” to finish the job…seems he saw Len plant the rabbit, let Len dig his own grave…

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“He lied…you told the truth. You know the rules…he didn’t.”

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As the “gents” kick Len to death, Joe tosses Daryl the other rabbit half…“Hey, seems like you got the front end after all!”

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Daryl knows he’s gotta get the fuck away from these guys…sooner than later.

Back at the tunnelfullawalkers, Glenn is trying in vain to free Tara from the rocks…the walkers are coming around the corner, see them…Tara urges Glenn to go, to leave her, but he refuses to leave her.  I love Glenn in this moment, when he yells, “No!” and makes his stand against the oncoming walkers…he shoots his last three bullets, and is ready to take them on, one by one, when a light shines in his face and a voice yells to “Get down!”

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Who is that??

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The calvary has come to save the day!

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Abraham and Co. has some new members…

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Take that, Tunnel Walkers!

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Could it be…?

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Emerging from the light, in all her magnificence…

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Maggie!

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YES!

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Glenn and Maggie! So awesome!

Later, Glenn is staring at Maggie, unbelieving…“You’re so beautiful,” he says. Ummm, yeah!  The introductions are made, Glenn telling Maggie he met Tara on the road, and she helped him, that he couldn’t have done it without her.  Maggie smiles gorgeously at Tara and hugs her, surprising and disarming Tara.  Of course, Glenn can’t get all into it now, about Tara and her true story, but I am left wondering if he will ever tell the full truth to Maggie…I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Meanwhile, Sasha and Bob are tripping on the Eugene Saving the World story…Abraham is pitching the idea that the eight of them all join forces to get Eugene to Washington.  Tara tells them she’s in, that she is going to go help Abraham and Co., but Eugene overrides this, telling them that he feels they should continue to Terminus and see what supplies they have, and continue on their mission from there.

Rosita agrees, adding that they may be able to recruit others for the mission.  Sasha offers to come help Team Eugene get to Washington, but only after she checks in and sees Terminus. She must see if Tyrese is there.  Bob chimes in, says he is in on both counts, as well…he and Sasha look at each other.

Later, Maggie finds the polaroid that Glenn took of her sleeping and goes to burn it, telling Glenn that he’ll never have just a picture of her to look at, again:

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So dark and sexy these days, Maggie!

The next morning, the DTB’s are filing out of the Douchebag Garage Hotel.  Daryl is horrified to see Len’s body, dead and bloodied, with one of Len’s long shitty arrows sticking out of his head:

Later, Len.

Later, Len.

Daryl tries to salvage a sheet to cover the body with, but it is so bloody and full of holes, he just throws it to the ground and continues walking.  Beth would want to cover it, but who can blame poor Daryl for not having the energy to bother, right now. Some time down the line, he takes a sip from Joe’s flask, remarking how he hadn’t gotten lit at dawn since before everything fell apart…

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Joe’s response to this is that he feels everything has fallen together, as this kind of world supports the code that a group of men like them live by...survival.

The men stop at a Sanctuary sign, and Daryl is surprised, having seen this for the first time.  You can see the wheels in his head turning.  He asks Joe about it, Joe replying that Sanctuary is a lie, that there is no sanctuary for all…even if there was, it’s not a place that would embrace the likes of them with open arms.

Joe tells Daryl that he and the DTB tribe have been tracking whomever was hiding in the house they found, strangled their buddy, Lou, and left him to turn and attack them. Daryl asks if anyone saw this person, and Joe tells him that only Tony saw him. They are following this person to Sanctuary and will get their revenge, which, judging from the way they punished Len, would be brutal and savage, indeed.

I don’t know if, in this next scene, if Daryl calls “claimed” suddenly to divert the DTBs’ attention, but he does, as he scoops up a radish growing by the rails and puts the radish in his bag. As the men walk off, we see the Big Cat wrapper that Carl left on the tracks a day earlier…gulp!

The ending scene shows Glenn and the crew approaching the gates to…

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Terminus!

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Cautiously, they open the chained, but not locked, gates and enter… walk past garden boxes with vegetables, sunflowers growing…

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They see a woman, cooking…she turns, smiles, introduces herself as Mary…bids them come in, they will get them some food...”Welcome to Terminus!”

All I can say, people, is the only thing I know for sure…shit’s gonna go down in the finale…staying strong, keeping needed coping mechanisms on hand…until then, be happy, be well, send love to our WD peeps, and enjoy the playlist!

Playlist:

Unnatural Helpers, “Shakes”

Fleet Foxes, “Mykonos”

Samiam, “El Dorado”

Season 4, Episode 13, “Alone”

“Alone”

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

 Alright, alright, alright! 

I need to address the first part of this post to the True Detective finale haters out there…not a confrontation, mind you, just a conversation, without spoilers, to maybe address some of the pent-up angsters who are spewing online hate-rant about the TD finale,“Form and Void.”  My intention with this brief detour into the world of TD is to merely open up a dialogue, explore an alternative perspective, and possibly redirect some of that hater energy to more positive and productive channels.  If none of that works, that’s cool too…just get meta with me for a minute, won’t you?

I am not saying it’s my job to make the hater peeps like the official ending of the True Detective finale episode, “Form and Void.”  Everybody has his, or her, opinion about things, and I am not trying to challenge that.  I am merely offering a few ideas about the finale episode and the concept of “resolution” within the realm of its ending, and how this concept of “resolution” may relate to the original, eight-episode True Detective series.

So, if you want to play along, keep reading.  However, if you tuned in soley to read about this week’s episode of The Walking Dead,, and you have not seen True Detective yet, or the TD finale, and you don’t want to join our brief TD discussion, merely soften your gaze and scroll down to the awesome picture I got of Matthew McConaughey, as Rustin Cohle, smoking the shit out of a cigarette…after that picture, my WDO darlings, we will begin our discussion of “Alone,”  the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of The Walking Dead, I promise…and thanks for being patient!

_____________________________________________

Now, for the rest of you…if you have watched the True Detective finale and are left wanting, or unsatisfied, my first question would be, “Why?”  I am not asking to be a dick, but I would be truly curious to hear, or read, what the individual responses might be, to find out what each person was wanting the True Detective finale episode to provide, or resolve, within the story line and for the viewer.

I keep using the word “resolution” because I have heard, and read, the word used repeatedly in the TD finale hater rant…one young scenester that my WD buddy works with told her, I kept screaming at the screen while I was watching it…there was no resolution!  

First off, I know many TD fans were disappointed to learn that Matthew McConaughey would only be appearing in the original eight-part series, and not returning for a second season as Rustin Cohle.  Some of my friends who were privy to my many Facebook and Instagram posts of Rust Cohle pics over the past couple of weeks were sure that I would be among those who were disappointed…but, I am happy to say that I am not.

Matthew McConaughey just won an Oscar, people…it is pretty amazing that he, and Woody Harrelson, deigned to be in an HBO series at all.  McConaughey, who originally was asked to play the role of Martin Hart, loved the TD script and the character of Rust Cohle so much that he agreed to be in the original eight-part series, but only if he could play Rustin Cohle.

Sorry, kids, but it is not realistic to think that he and Woody Harrelson would keep it going as Rust and Marty six or more seasons later. The original True Detective eight-part series is a finite event, a standalone complex. We must take it as it is.  This begs the question:  Does a series need to go for six or seven seasons just to tell a story?

(Forgive my impertinence, Kirkman and Co., for the above comment…may you, and WD, and all our favorite WD characters, live long and prosper for many seasons to come!)

Maybe I am old-school enough to love the old-fashioned mini-series genre, and I am happy to hang with eight episodes of McConaughey and Harrelson.

I am definitely old-school enough to love the concise, exacting art form of the short story.  If a short story is well executed, there is no room for extraneous verbage, characters, or storyline…every line, every scene counts.

In our age of social media, where the sharing of our latest selfies, random thoughts, or clever links to all our Facebook friends counts as a creative act, is it any wonder that the concept of keeping a story spare, taut, and undiluted seems a little strange…lame…anticlimactic, to those who are attuned mostly to the whimsy of pop culture and social media?

Ok, so what I may call classic, you may call lame and stodgy…alright, alright, alright!  

(I do promise to stop doing that, but it’s so fun!)

As I was saying, it’s cool with me if we don’t agree on this. As someone who has always been obsessed with pop culture, I can understand what may be making the young, edgy, and discontented among us so restless with the TD finale ending. You wanted something…else, right? Something more CSI, perhaps, dramatic, with more gunfire and explosions? More scars?  A character holding up a sign that reads, “I am the Yellow King?”  I get it, I really do.  I really get off on that kind of thing as well.

But, isn’t it nice to be offered something…different?  More thoughtful, quiet, nuanced, more…intelligent?  An ending to an incredible story that makes us look inward, reflect, and meditate on the message and the meaning?

I really feel like the ending that Nic Pizzolatto went with offers this opportunity, and for me, it’s a welcome change from the usual “in-your-face” that our culture seems to gravitate towards in droves.

In offering a few ideas about “resolution,”  I invite those who were left unsatisfied by True Detective‘s finale to take a little time, and when you are ready, watch it again.

This time, you will be unburdened from the expectations that you had before. At this point, you have already yelled at the screen and posted your thoughts on the matter, so just breathe, reboot, and watch it again, with new eyes.

And while you watch, I invite you to entertain the following questions, or concepts:

What does the concept of “resolution” mean to you, the viewer; to the characters in this story; or to the entire series as a whole?

Also consider these different levels of “resolution” within the finale episode:

1) Resolution of the criminal case at hand…what elements, to you, were resolved? What elements were not? 

2) Spiritual resolution, or resolution of the inner conflict within a character’s psyche…what transformations, or resolutions, did each of the main characters come to, or experience, by the episode’s end?

3) Resolution of conflict between the main characters, Rust and Marty, and the resolution of conflicts that Rust and Marty had with other key characters, elements, and institutions presented in the story line. Where were these conflicts, and relationships, left by the story’s end?

And, after rewatching and considering the many levels of resolution that are possible within this story, does your opinion of the finale episode change or alter in any way?

The Merriam-Webster definition of resolution is as follows:

resolution (noun) : (1) the act of finding an answer or a solution to a conflict, problem, etc. (2) the answer or solution to something  (3) the act of resolving something

In my opinion, True Detective’s finale episode, “Form and Void,” does effectively resolve the crucial, key conflicts that were presented in the story, and with the main characters, on some level or another.  That is the way it goes in life, and this makes the TD finale, to me, have the ring of truth to it.

Another element that felt true to me was that feeling of anticlimax, and melancholy, that the viewer may have been left with at the finale’s end.  In real life, detectives who spend years working on a case do report feeling a mixture of elation and let-down once a case is solved…all that time with a clear purpose, working on solving a crime, and then, once the crime is solved, and the case is closed, what comes next?

That lost feeling, coupled with the fact that even solving a crime will never bring a murdered, innocent victim back to life, or undo any evil or harm that had been done to others, makes the resolution of a case, or a story like True Detective, a mixed bag of emotions.

Just because something is resolved doesn’t mean the end result brings happiness, or satisfaction, to all the elements of a problem, conflict, or situation.

If you remain unconvinced, I completely understand.  If you are all fired up, still, may I suggest you channel your considerable energies and talents into writing an alternate ending, or starting your own series of True Detective or film noir fan fiction?  And please send it to me when you do…I would love to read it.

Writing is a lonely endeavor, at times, and it’s nice to know that there are others out there, slogging away at it, writing, rewriting, editing ad nauseum, guzzling beverages, and vainly trying to keep a grip on our sanity as we try to find a resolution to our own storylines.

So, to Nic Pizzolatto, and the TD cast and crew, I raise my glass to you…cheers on a job well done.  Whatever the future holds for True Detective, I personally feel the first, original season, beginning to end, was an artistic tour de force.  Thanks for the wild ride, the inspiration, and for the characters of Rustin Cohle and Martin Hart.

Rust and Marty forever! ❤

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One of my all-time faves…

———————————————————————

“Alone”

The opening scene of “Alone “ hearkens back to the first half of The Walking Dead’s Season 4, showing a powerful series of shots featuring Bob, in days of his wandering the woods alone, the sole living survivor of two other groups he had been with before the prison.

Set to the haunting “Blackbird Song” by Lee DeWyze, the montage shows Bob, with an empty, dazed look in his eyes, wandering listlessly through the woods, going through the rote mechanics of survival…in one shot, he hides behind a tree, staring ahead, as a group of walkers pass yards away:

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In another shot, we see Bob, barely able to stand, rapping on the entrance of a small shelter, checking for walkers.  He secures the entrance and proceeds to drink himself into a stupor. After getting his drink on, he watches, uncaring, as a walker tries to paw its way through the makeshift fencing he erected:

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As the montage continues, we see Bob has found the back trailer end of a large tractor trailer, abandoned on the wooded road. He hoists himself onto it, lying on his back and staring at the sky as a large group of walkers pass beneath him.  Once it’s clear, Bob sits up, dismounts, and begins his shuffling walk down the road, only to be startled by the now unfamiliar sound of vehicles approaching.  It is Daryl, riding his motorcycle, and Glenn, driving behind him in a pickup truck. Bob stands, watches them pull up, get out, and approach him warily.

“Hi…hello,” Bob calls to them, his hand motioning slightly towards them.  His voice is strong, and somewhat defiant as he says this, as they do not acknowledge his greeting, nor reply in kind.

Daryl keeps his eye on Bob, asks if it’s just him out here.  Bob replies that it is.  “How long’s it been like that for?” asks Daryl. Bob replies that he doesn’t know, that he had been with one group, then another one after that. “They didn’t make it, neither one of them?” asks Daryl.  Bob shakes his head, no.

Daryl asks his name. “Bob…Stookey,” he replies. Bob looks to Glenn, then Daryl, taking in their clean, well-groomed, well-fed appearance.  “You people have a camp?” he asks.

Glenn and Daryl exchange looks. Then, Daryl fixes his eyes on Bob, and asks the first of the three questions the prison council has come up with to size up any strangers they meet outside the prison walls, to determine if the person is somebody they would want to bring into their group: “How many walkers have you killed?”

Bob takes a moment, does the math in his head.  “I don’t know, ” he replies, “I haven’t kept count…a couple dozen?”

“How many people have you killed?” continues Daryl, keeping his gaze fixed on Bob. “Only one,”  Bob answers, looking down a moment, as if reliving a painful memory. Glenn looks to Daryl, who steps one pace closer to Bob, asks the final question, “Why?”

Bob looks up then, answers simply, “She asked me to.” Now it is his turn to look at Daryl and Glenn.  His demeanor is one of a man who has nothing to hide, and nothing to lose. Daryl takes a step back, asks Bob, “You wanna come with us?”

Bob looks around at the woods he had been traversing for who knows how long, answers, “Yes.”

“You got any questions for us?” asks Daryl.  Bob shakes his head, “No…it doesn’t matter who you are.”  “Really?” asks Glenn. It is the first time he has spoken. “Yeah,” replies Bob, sheathing his machete into his belt loop. “It doesn’t matter.”

The final shot of the scene is of Bob, riding in the back of Glenn’s pickup truck. There may be the barest glimpse of a smile around his mouth. Bob seems hopeful for the first time in a long, long time.

The next scene is in the present, with Bob, Sasha, and Maggie back to back to back in a thick mist.  From just beyond the mist, we can hear the hissing and slavering of the walkers getting louder, closer.  

Sasha, Maggie, and Bob are poised, ready, and from the mist approaches the first walker…the trio are ready to strike, and the following scene is another epic walker kill scene, with Bob, Sasha and Maggie springing to action and killing The Mist Walkers one by one with fierce, on-target head kills using a sharpened wooden stake, knife, and general bludgeoning techniques. 

It is some gnarly hand-to-hand combat, from three who are seasoned warriors by now, and who can bring it:

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It’s a close call, though, as Bob almost gets bitten and Maggie gets a walker on top of her that is hard to keep back.  Sasha, ever handy, bludgeons Bob’s walker and rekills Maggie’s walker with one well-aimed shot to the head:

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After killing Maggie’s walker, Sasha turns to Bob, worried, until Bob, giddy with relief, informs them that the walker only got his bandage and not his shoulder…Sasha is unable to contain her joy and gives Bob a big hug, which is super cute:IMG_3867 IMG_3832

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Maggie looks on and laughs, but you can tell she’s thinking, “Where the hell is Glenn, dammit?”

After the celebration is over, however, the trio have some things to decide on…Maggie wants to get on the move to find Glenn, while Sasha advises they wait until the fog clears.  Maggie has some bad news…the compass is broken.  Bob reassures them things will be fine. “Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we’ll keep an eye on it in between…we’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, Daryl is positioned behind Beth, giving crossbow and tracking lessons…they are looking pretty adorable together, if truth be told.  Beth is trying to get Daryl to give her some clues as to what she’s looking for, but he is being a good teacher, and putting the questions to her…what does she see?

Beth can see some zig-zaggy tracks…she’s feeling pretty pleased with herself, jokes to Daryl that she’s getting pretty good that this, that soon she won’t need him anymore…

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While watching this, I actually typed, C’mon, let’s see these two get sexy.  I mean, the suspense, right?

We’ve seen them kill walkers together, get drunk together, wage drunken battle together, and then get real with each other, burn a house down together, while flipping it off in unison…is it just me, or by this point, were you all like me and chanting, under your breath (because, you know, the kids are sleeping), “Do it, do it, do it!”

Beth and Daryl spot a walker feasting on some poor animal that got caught in a steel trap, and Beth, crossbow poised and ready, steps quietly towards the walker, ready to shoot…and steps on the sharp metal spike securing the trap.  The spike sinks into her foot (owwww!), and Beth collapses to the ground.

The walker whirls and lurches towards her, and Daryl once again comes to the rescue, employing his invaluable “crossbow upside the walker’s head” maneuver, rekilling the walker and  then crouching down to gently check Beth’s foot (“Can you move it?”) She can…but it’s definitely a bad one.

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While the Beth injury scenario definitely annoyed me, I do realize that her injury set some key plot-changing elements in motion, like Beth asking Daryl for a sitting break when they arrive at a graveyard…her foot is hurting, and she needs a rest.  Daryl, who is getting better and better at recognizing good-boyfriend-opportunities as they arise, scoops up Beth in a piggyback and playfully jokes with her that she’s a lot heavier than she looks:

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Now, that is pretty adorable…

Daryl and Beth find a gravestone from long ago that reads:

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Daryl picks a clump of wildflowers and puts it on the gravestone…he then stands besides Beth and their hands find each other in a hand-hold so sweet, I actually cheered out loud:

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Personally, I am so loving seeing this sweet side of Daryl…he’s got that sexy tough & tender combo that’s a real panty dropper.

Back on the tracks, Bob, Maggie and Sasha spy the Sanctuary sign…Bob shares his memory of hearing the message about Sanctuary on the car radio during the antibiotic run.  Sasha is doubtful about the Sanctuary and its promising slogan, “All who arrive survive,”  thinking it’s too good to be true.

I am definitely giving Michonne and Sasha props for intuition regarding this Sanctuary…you can’t feed a savvy sister some white man’s slogan and expect her to believe that shit without question.

Bob, however, is on board with checking it out, and Maggie is convinced that Glenn would head there if he saw the sign, thinking Maggie would go there to find him.

In the end, Bob proposes a vote…they cannot split up, and perhaps others from the prison will be at the Sanctuary.  Sasha doesn’t like it, but she agrees to go along…and so they begin the long trek to the Sanctuary.

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Meanwhile, Daryl and Beth investigate the large white funeral home adjacent to the cemetery. It seems clear of walkers, and is clean, they notice, like somebody has been tending to it, living there.  They find a room with an embalmed body, dressed in a suit and arranged, hands folded over each other, in an open casket.  Daryl reaches out to the corpse’s face, runs his fingers through a thick layer of makeup, looks at Beth questioningly.  In this day and age, why would somebody go to the trouble?

They continue on, find a sterile processing room, with bodies on metal tables, in varying stages of being prepared and dressed, as if for a funeral.  One corpse’s face shows the telltale sign of decomposition that comes from becoming a walker…is some Mysterious Mortician preparing and dressing walkers for some crazy wake or funeral scenario? And if so, what the fuck is up with that?

Daryl comments, “Looks like somebody ran out of dolls to dress up,” and Beth comes quickly to the Mysterious Mortician’s defense, saying that she thinks it’s beautiful, that somebody cared enough to remember that the bodies were once living somebodies.

“Don’t you think it’s beautiful?” Beth asks Daryl, and Daryl has this look on his face, like,  Well, I don’t know about that…I actually think it’s pretty fucked up…But, I think that would be the wrong answer to say that, to her, right at this moment…so I will say nothing…

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Daryl looks away and gets quickly back to the business of cleaning and wrapping Beth’s injured foot.  Daryl is no dummy, and he sure as hell is catching on with this boyfriend thing really fast… Good for you, buddy!  I never had any doubt…he has always been so sweet, ever since Sophia.  (Man, I can’t wait to talk about all that shit! Season 2, we are coming, I promise!)

Meanwhile, back to Bob and Sasha…it seems to be part of their courtship dynamic to hash it all out, and call each other out.  It’s like some sort of edgy, in-your-face foreplay, and I, for one, am kind of liking it.  It fits them…they’ve both seen some shit, and they know that nobody has time to fuck around anymore.

Bob asks Sasha why she wants to stop, instead of continuing on to Sanctuary.  Sasha replies, “To not die…” She feels the close call that morning was “a warning…we get warnings, and the next time,” and she looks pointedly at Bob’s shoulder, then at him, “Next time, it’s on us.”

Sasha lays it out, as she sees it. “Odds are, Glenn is dead, Odds are, we will be too,” Sasha feels they should follow the tracks to the next town, find a building, hole up.  They only have six bullets left, Bob is bleeding…Sasha asks Bob to think about it, to help her convince Maggie when Maggie returns.

Back at the funeral home (ha! How many times does someone get to say that?), Daryl and Beth keep finding signs that someone has been keeping up the house.  Daryl finds a cupboard stocked with peanut butter and jelly, diet soda, and pigs’ feet. The cans of food, like the rest of the house, are clean and look recently stocked.  Daryl remarks on this, while helping himself to jelly straight from the jar (to Beth’s feigned disgust), saying that they will take just a little, and leave the rest.

Beth laughs at this, telling Daryl she knew he believed, deep down, that there are some good people left in this world.

Ok, you two…that’s very cute and all…now why don’t you find a couch and get down to the business of making out, so we can all watch?

Now, if I may say so, at this point, did I not call this, Beth being all cute in the squatter house, as she and Daryl get more and more into each other? Just saying, that’s some oracle shit, right there…or maybe it was really obvious.  Anyhow, feeling pretty McConaughey in the moment.

Oh, have I not mentioned that I have begun using “McConaughey” in many different contexts?  For example, it can be used as a not-so-proper noun, (“I want to do many naughty, delicious things to your McConaughey.”); an adjective (“That is so McConaughey of you.”); a mild expletive, (“Just what the McConaughey is going on here?”); a verb: (“I’m going to go take a couple hours for myself to go McConaughey.”) To McConaughey, of course, could mean you are going to take your shirt off and bang on some bongoes, or it could mean that you are going to go create a 450-page timeline and synopsis of the latest iconic character you are playing in your upcoming movie…the world is your oyster when you McConaughey!

Back at the funeral home (yes! fun every time), things are getting pretty teenage-weird. There are candles lit, which is nice, but Beth is singing some dumb song at the piano, and Daryl is getting in the coffin, saying it’s the most comfortable bed he’s been in in a long time.

Now, I do understand that Beth is a teenager and Daryl’s probably never been on a real date, but my eyes were kind of rolling in the back of my head, at this point…it’s like, Um, excuse me, Kirkman? Gimple?  When is the heavy petting going to start?

My WD buddy texted,  I am bored of Beth…where the fuck is Carol?

Ha ha! I could not stop laughing…just somebody start making out already, please!

Back at the camp, it seems that Maggie has ditched and set off on her own to go find Glenn. Bob and Sasha quickly roll up camp and set off after her. At the Sanctuary sign, Maggie encounters a snarling, hissing she-walker, who Maggie rekills…then in a moment of goretastic ingenuity, Maggie slices open the walker’s belly to scrawl a note for Glenn in walker blood. Maggie’s gotten so dark, and sexy…so not boring like Beth is being right now.

My WD buddy texted me, I want Rick, Carol, Tyrese drama…lol

I texted back, Lizzy! Lizzy!

Bob and Sasha set out to go find Maggie, Bob’s smiling because he’s not alone anymore.  I really like Bob more and more, especially after this episode…I was a real dick about him at first, mistaking his spookiness and general social awkwardness as some sort of guilt or shadiness, but Bob’s alright.  Sorry I was a dick, Bob.

Bob and Sasha find Maggie’s sexy walker blood note for Glenn:

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Back at the honemoon funeral home, Daryl is carrying Beth to the table for a pickle snack (no, a real pickle snack, like on a plate…shit’s moving Dawson Creek slow around here). They hear a scratch at the door, and Daryl’s looking like a cute protective boyfriend as he leaps up, motioning for Beth to stay put. (Put another boyfriend point up on the scoreboard for our man, Daryl Dixon!)  He opens the door to reveal the cutest, scruffiest one-eyed dog, who whimpers and runs off.  Fuck, I forgot there were dogs in the world!

On Talking Dead, Lauren Cohan and Sonequa Martin-Green said the dog used in that scene lost his eye protecting his owner from a carjacking…give up a paw for that sweet, scruffy hero!

As a sassy night walker snarls in the moonlight, Bob and Sasha are sitting on a roof, getting real, again. Bob comes out and asks Sasha why she thinks Tyrese is dead, because they both know Tyrese would go to Terminus.  Bob tells Sasha that he thinks she is too afraid to find out, one way or another, if Tyrese makes it to Terminus, if he’s alive or dead.  Bob tells Sasha that he thinks that’s funny, because up until now, Sasha had been “the toughest person” Bob had met, “which is funny, because you’re also the sweetest…” At Sasha’s “are you for real?” look, Bob laughs, says, “Just sayin’!”

At this point in the watching, I was thinking, Well, maybe somebody is going to make out in this episode!  What else is there to do on that roof?  Sassy Night Walker certainly isn’t going to let anybody get any sleep. But, alas, Bob takes Sasha’s advice to get some sleep, lies back on his makeshift pallet, leaving Sasha sitting awake, with only the song of Sassy Night Walker to keep her company. Damn!

Back at the pickle-picnic, Beth is writing the Mysterious Mortician a thank you note, for when they leave. Daryl shyly suggests that maybe they don’t have to leave…that maybe the person won’t come back, or if they do, maybe they’ll be cool. Beth laughs, asks Daryl what changed his mind about people, what made him believe there can be good people?  In response, Daryl fixes Beth with the sweetest love look, like, ever…

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Another scratching sound at the door interrupts their moment, and Daryl reaches his fingers into a jar for a pickled pig’s foot to lure the dog in, saying he’ll “give that mutt one more chance…” Oh, those crazy kids…first they fall in love, then they shack up, adopt a dog…but this time, it’s not the dog.  It’s a crush of walkers, pushing their way into the house as Daryl vainly tries to hold them back, screaming for Beth to grab her bag and get out the window, that he will follow.

What does follow is one of the most harrowing walker escape scenes in WD history, in my opinion.  On Talking Dead, they discussed the making of the scene where Daryl uses the exam tables to block the crush of walkers and buy himself a moment to escape up the stairs…the scene was shot in a small room in a storage facility to create the narrowness of Daryl’s amazing escape.  It was hard to get a good shot of it, only got this one:

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Despite poor Daryl’s superhuman escape, he just misses Beth…he sees her bag lying in the road, then sees the Mysterious Mortician’s black funeral procession-leading car speed off with poor, gimpy Beth undoubtedly inside, captive:IMG_3970

Poor Daryl! He was just starting to open up, damn…now this…

My WD buddy texted, I want Rick! Me too, dude…Rick Grimes just makes everything better.

Back on the tracks, Bob is telling Sasha that he realizes now that he doesn’t need to be afraid, that he is not going to be alone anymore like he was, not going to hold back on taking risks and really trying to live.  He is going to go on, find Maggie, go to find Sanctuary.  Then, Bob answers my prayers for a lip-lock in this damn episode and pastes one on Sasha…thank you, Bob!

Finally!

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After the kiss, Bob bids Sasha goodbye and heads on down the tracks.  Sasha looks after him for a moment, then turns to go to the building she had spotted and wanted to make a home base with Bob.  She goes inside and upstairs, finding a nice airy loft with lots of light and pretty exposed brick….but she is hating it, you can tell.  Fighting back tears, she goes to a window, looks down, and sees…Maggie! (Who is lying down among dead walkers, next to an ice cream truck, for some reason…)

When Sasha accidentally pushes the pane of window glass and sends it crashing below, it awakens other walkers, who start coming for Maggie.  Sasha runs out to help, and the brand-new besties slice and dice some walkers together, bad-bitch style:

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Maggie asks Sasha to be PSOAM’s together…Post-apocalyptic Sisters On a Missonof course Sasha says yeswho can refuse that smile?

Poor Daryl, collapsed and exhausted in the road, is not faring as well. It seems he has been discovered by the Downstairs Thug Boys, with their loud douchey leader, Joe. When Joe reaches for Daryl’s crossbow, Daryl takes him out with one upswing and sends Douchebag Joe to the ground.

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Luckily for Daryl, Joe laughs, shows Daryl props for being a “bow man.”  He orders his henchmen down, and invites Daryl to join them, rather than fight them, as Daryl’s resistance would be tantamount to “suicide.”

In the most fucked up slogan ever, Joe asks Daryl, “Why hurt yourself when you can hurt other people?”  Daryl must play along as Joe’s new pet, it seems, until he can find a way to get to Beth.

Back on the tracks, Sasha and Maggie have caught up to Bob. They embrace, begin the journey to Sanctuary, together.

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The very last shot of the episode shows Glenn, who has found one of the maps to Terminus…he touches it with his finger, and you can see the wheels inside his head turning.  Looks like there’s going to be a prison gang reunion at Terminus, if all can arrive alive…we’ll see, won’t we?

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:

Playlist:

Rush, “Headlong Flight”

Beck, “Blue Moon”

The xx, “Islands”  (for Bob and Sasha, Daryl and Beth, and Glenn and Maggie)

Redbird, “Moonshiner” (for Daryl…and Rust <3)

alt-J, “Dissolve Me”

Lee DeWyze, “Blackbird Song”

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

“Claimed”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Arrrghhhh!

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

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

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

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

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

Laughs,

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

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

Gnarly!

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

Who you callin' a mess, asshole?

Who you callin’ a mess?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Shhhh…Mae Mae is sleeping!”

Two sons, I think...so awful

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

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

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

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

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

Kendall-Jackson, take me away!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ummm, guys? Hello...!

“Ummm, guys? Hello…!”

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

Enter Walkers of the Corn!

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

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

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

“Son of a dick!” (Best line ever!)

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

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

Or…am I?

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

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

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

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

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

Here comes the beat down...

Here comes the beat down…

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Rick doing what needs to be done.

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

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

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

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

So pimp, Deputy Grimes!

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

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

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

Thank you, Baby Jesus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hey…wait for us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist:

Playlist:

Wax Tailor,  “Que sera”

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

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

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

“Inmates”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Owwww...my head!

Owwww…that hurts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier!

Somebody get that man an Ergo baby carrier…

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

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

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

Bunnies!

Bunnies!

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

What the hell, Lizzy?

What the hell, Lizzy??

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

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

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

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

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

Carol!

Carol!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me neither.

Damn!

Damn!

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

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

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

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

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Riot Glenn!

Enter Riot Glenn!

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

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

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

Enter Abraham and Co.!

Enter Abraham and Co.!

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

Aw, shit…it’s Abraham! 

Until next week, gang….

Playlist: 

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

Of Monsters and Men, “Dirty Paws”

Coldplay, “Clocks”

Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3 “Isolation”

“Isolation”

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

When we left off last week, the prison was under quarantine after an outbreak of the explodey flu, and, subsequently, walkers, in Cell Block D. In explodey flu, the infected person’s lungs reach max pressure and he/she dies from a surge of blood exploding out of all mucous membranes …totally gnarly, and btw, this is my name for it…not Hershel’s. All persons exhibiting the signs of explodey flu are quarantined in Cell Block D, which pretty much stands for Cell Block Die unless somebody gets some antibiotics in this joint.

Digging graves…the prison’s latest pasttime…Glenn and Maggie exchanging smoldering sex looks while doing the gloomy work. Maggie’s shooting Glenn a look like, “Mmmm, sweetie, your hair’s looking good, all long and shit, and you’re working that shovel…why don’t we sneak off and knock one out real quick?” and Glenn gives this cute regretful look back, like, “Girl, I wish we could, but, you know…we gotta dig these graves…” Back inside, Hershel and Caleb, the young med, are checking on a sick patient…Caleb checks the vitals, looks at Hershel, and they share a shake of the head, Goner. Caleb pulls out his knife for the rekill. On to number next in Cell Block Die.

Outside the entrance to the D block, Tyrese is boiling mad.  He’s not going to need any encouragement to exact his style of justice on whomever killed Karen and David. This scene is amazing, with Chad Coleman playing Tyrese as truly menacing and unpredictable in his fury and grief.  Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus kill it once again, as Rick and Daryl both bob and weave, light on their toes, keeping an eye on, and a step away from, Tyrese in serpentine unison. Daryl stays behind Tyrese, ready to jump in if needed, and Rick is face to face with Tyrese, trying to reason with a man who is not to be reasoned with. When Tyrese steps to Rick, Daryl reaches out a arm to try to restrain him, and quick as a whip, Tyrese shoves Daryl across the concrete and jacks him up on the bars. Tyrese is fast and crazy strong!

Even in Tyrese’s chokehold, Daryl puts his hand up to signal Rick back, letting Tyrese have his moment and get it worked out. (That is majorly cool of Daryl, who understands dude code pretty much more than anyone, ever.) Rick is behind Tyrese, giving him some weak sauce about how “We’ve all lost someone” and how Tyrese needs to “calm down.” This badly timed (and badly put) advice sends Tyrese right up, and he shoves Rick. There’s a great shot of Rick, looking kind of pissed and majorly sexy, then he says something stupid, and totally unsexy, like, “Karen wouldn’t want you acting like this.”

In the next instant, Tyrese is beating Rick down…Daryl jumps on Tyrese and pulls him back as Rick puts a shaky hand up to his bloody mouth. With one taste of his own blood, Rick leaps up and begins pounding Tyrese down berserker-style while Daryl tries to restrain him. Rick screams at Daryl to let him go, ready for more…he stops only when he hears Tyrese break down into sobs, lying on the concrete. The scene ends with a shot of Rick’s face, dazed, as he looks down at his bloody hand and realizes that he just totally lost his shit.

I got it DIY-style on my phone from the TV screen…prison-yard beat-down, Rick, Daryl, and Tyrese-style, while Carol looks on in horror…ummm, what did you think was going to happen if you kill sick peeps, drag them outside and burn their bodies, and then leave the whole mess for a bereaved man to find, Carol, you sloppy bitch?

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Later, in the prison, Hershel is fixing up Rick’s hand. He says it’s strained and basically tells Rick that he can’t play piano or punch anyone out for about a week or so. Hershel then tries to invite Rick to the next council meeting…they need him there. They are in super-crisis mode. Epidemic flu, walker attack, major casualties that keep mounting. “Everything we’ve been working so hard to keep out, it’s found its way in,” Hershel says.  Rick replies, “It’s always been there.” Perfect line, perfectly delivered. Then, Hershel gives Rick the first of many epic-Hershel-pep-talks of this episode, basically telling Rick that “everyone has a job to do”, and that his job is to keep the people safe as best he can.

“Everyone has a job to do,” is one of the main themes that run throughout this episode …it is Hershel’s teaching from years back, passed to his kids, and now it is being passed along to many key characters, like a mantra to live by, to keep steady and keep going in such dark and uncertain times.

Outside, Bob comes to check on Tyrese….I actually give Bob lots of props this episode for coming through, again and again. (Sorry I was such a dick before, Bob, but I still am keeping an eye on you!) Tyrese’s eye is swollen shut, refuses treatment for his wounds until the bodies of Karen and David are buried. He looks really burly with his black eye…check it out:

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Right? What a badass. Freaking awesome.

Glenn is looking for reassurance from Hershel, which he gets, to a degree…then Glenn and Hershel see Sasha, coughing…she has it…she can barely speak, says she’s going to see Doctor S. It’s a nightmarish, crazy scene when she’s weaving through the sick ward, looking for the doctor…all the sick and decrepit people are hacking and moaning; a flu-casualty-turned-walker rushes Sasha and tries to claw at her though the locked cell door. Oh, damn, Doctor S is sick too…”It’s starting,” he tells Sasha. This flu sucks!

The council convenes. Hershel tells them that antibiotics may help save those infected with the flu, and that there is a vet school about 50 miles away. They need to send a team to go try to get the needed meds…Daryl’s in, Michonne volunteers, and after Hershel reminds her that Daryl has been exposed to the flu and may be a carrier, Michonne answers, “He’s already given me fleas!”  Ha ha, thank you Michonne, for bringing the funny, because Glenn is looking pretty sweaty over there in the corner…and that is worrisome.

Carol and Rick outside, the water’s looking brown and shitty. Carol says the line in the river is clogged with mud and someone needs to go out and clear it. Great…sounds like a job for you, Carol, you cray bitch. Then, Carol sends Rick off to talk to Tyrese and pay his respects, but declines to go herself, coming up with some excuse in the moment…yeah, Carol…we find out why you couldn’t face Tyrese…it’s because your crazy ass killed his special lady friend, and another dude,  and burned their bodies.

My buddy’s good friend, Neil, totally called it with Carol…his initial theory was that Crazy Carol was feeding rats to the walkers. I loved that theory.  I called it The Crazy Carol Theory, a.k.a., The CCT.  Now I love The CCT even more knowing just how crazy Carol can be…she’s killing the sick people and burning their bodies…she may be feeding the walkers, too! My friend at work, Jeff, thinks it’s Carl who was feeding the walkers through the fence, doing it to up the risk ante at the prison, which would force Rick to give him back his gun.  Fascinating…The Carl Theory.  I love it too.  I guess I’m kind of a ho for a good theory.

All I’ve gotta say about Carol, and then I’ll move on, is that it’s going to be a total dealbreaker for Daryl when he finds out about this shit.  My best WD buddy agrees. He’s a moral dude she texted.  Way to blow it, Carol.  You used to be with Ed, who was an abuser, and gross, and now you are, or almost are, Daryl’s girlfriend, and now this… Way to self-sabotage.  I was totally rooting for you, and now I think you are gross. Next subject.

I love the scene when Rick approaches Tyrese as he finishes up with the graves, and apologizes to him.  Rick’s apology to Tyrese is direct and humble, and Tyrese accepts both the apology and his own responsibility in the brawl. Very cool of him. But Tyrese isn’t fucking around. He presses Rick to find whoever killed and burned Karen and David.  Tyrese serves Rick the biz, straight up,  when Rick tries to assure him that the perpetrator will be found…Tyrese basically tells Rick that he isn’t exactly “feeling the urgency” from Rick to go find out who did this (ouch, truth hurts!), and that it “seems like murder is becoming more and more ok around this place.” Rick denies this, saying that the first order of business needs to be saving people’s lives…”You worry about that,” a grim-faced Tyrese replies, “I’ll worry about what’s right.”  Aw, Deputy Grimes, I believe you just got served!

Maggie comes into the cell and finds out Glenn is sick. It’s so awful to think of losing Glenn. We are not ready for that, and by we, I mean me and Maggie. Get to that vet school and get those fucking meds stat, people!

It’s a powerful scene when Maggie and Beth are sitting back to back on opposite sides of the door.  Beth is shut in with Baby Judith to protect her from contracting the flu.  Maggie tells Beth that Glenn is sick. Beth is quick to administer the pep talk that Maggie needs.  “Maggie, we don’t get to be upset. We all have jobs to do, that’s what Daddy always says…focus on what you have to do…whatever happens, we’ll deal with it…we have to.”

Carl wears his father’s sheriff’s hat as he, gun drawn, accompanies Hershel into the woods so Hershel can gather elderberries to bring back to the prison…Hershel tells Carl he’s noticed that Carl has grown up  and made positive changes in the past couple of months. Hershel acts in a very easy and grandfatherly  way to Carl, who receives it well. It’s a nice exchange between the two. They encounter two walkers, but neither is a real threat….Hershel holds Carl off from making an unecessary shot at one when Carl instinctively raises his gun. “Don’t…you don’t need to.”

Tyrese is in on the road trip. After visiting Sasha, he is motivated to assist, especially after telling Sasha about the vet school run,and she says, “We could get medicine as early as tomorrow…we’ve got a chance.” Tyrese finds Daryl and tells him he’s in on the run, and Daryl says simply, “All right.” You can tell he’s relieved.

Tyrese finds Carol and asks her to look in on Sasha…he tells Carol he can tell she cares about people. Yeah she does…she cares so much, and has lost so much, that it has made her crazy…and overly dramatic, it seems, as she kicks over the good water in the water barrels and spills it all over the ground. Awesome hissy fit, Carol.  Even though she is being really annoying right now, I do like Carol’s boots and her general style in this episode.  Maggie’s, too.  I think the women are rocking some seriously cute, tough-gal looks in zombie apocalypse: layered cute shirts, jeans or some other cool sturdy pants, boots, belts, knife tucked somewhere in the pants or belt, and some leather type makeshift bracelet or necklace. Nice.

Maggie is totally freaking out right now…of course, Glenn is sick, which is enough to send her right up, and now she’s found out Hershel wants to go into Cell Block Die and bring elderberry tea to the sick people inside. Hershel is being so good and brave and wise as he gives Rick and Maggie the biz…I copied his speech word for word:

“Listen, dammit, you step outside, you risk your life…you take a drink of water, you risk your life…and nowadays, you breathe, and you risk your life!  Every moment now, you don’t have a choice…the only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for…I can save lives, and that’s reason enough to risk mine, and you know that..”

Poor Maggie has to let him in, and Rick is once again witness to a heartbreaking moment. He stands in the background as Hershel enters the sick ward, slumped over in his grief and hotness…sigh…nobody does tragic hot like Rick.

Beth and Maggie talking back to back through the door again…”We all got jobs to do…we deal with it, right…we don’t get to get upset…” Beth’s voice has lost some of its strength and conviction…she and Maggie are so worried about their dad.

Rick is back at the crime scene, looking for clues…sees a bloody handprint on the door…

Carol on a water run…she is clearing the hose to the river, banging it on the bridge and attracting the attention of the walkers…Rick has to save her ass when her knife gets stuck on some walker’s skull.

In the car, on the antibiotics run, Daryl is telling Michonne that he knows she wasn’t running off when she went on her solo runs…he knows she was looking for the Gov…”You know that trail went cold,” he tells her, “Otherwise, I would have been right there with you.” She stares stonily ahead without answering, then gives him one of those Michonne looks.  Daryl asks for a CD and ends up turning the radio dial on a station with voices saying something about “survive” and “sanctuary”…the entire car is in shock..so much so, that Daryl runs the car right into a walker. And then, behold…the mega-herd!  Greg Nicotero said there was 7 500 walkers in this scene…and he would know.

The back end of the car gets stuck on a pile of walkers, and the crew has to abandon it…so gnarly, with the rear wheels skidding walker guts. An amazing hand-to-hand combat scene commences, with Michonne going at the walkers ninja-style with her sword, while Daryl stabs and runs through them, bayonet style.  Bob gets out of the car and begins shooting them, yelling for Tyrese to follow. Like I said before, Bob is still being cagey as hell, but  he’s also being cool, like in this scene when he’s holding the walkers off and waiting for Tyrese to get out of the car.

Tyrese looks annoyed as hell, like, “Do I really have to fucking do this shit again?” before getting out of the car and hacking at walkers berserker style…holy fuck…the others are battling through the woods, thinking they had to leave Tyrese behind…but there he is, emerging through the woods. While Tyrese is draped in walker guts, he otherwise seems miraculously unscratched or bitten…he’s a sexy tough mother, I tell you.

Back at the prison, Caleb just spewed blood on Hershel’s face, and Hershel, being the southern gentleman that he is, barely flinched…he merely took the bandanna off that was covering his nose and mouth and wiped his face with it. That, my friends, is the epitome of old-school good manners. Later, poor Glenn’s like, “Oh, man, after all we’ve been through, now I’m getting taken down by a glorified cold…” Awww…Hershel tells him that everyone has a job to do….I love Hershel in this episode.

Rick is giving Carol the biz in such a sweet way…and then he has to ask her if she killed Karen and David.  Carol says, “Yes,” and goes inside. Well, shit.

On Talking Dead, Marilyn Manson is dragging the whole conversation down…my friend and I texted back and forth, wondering what drugs he’s on…we agreed on pills…this panel has no chemistry, I am sorry to say…I texted my WDbuddy,This panel is like being at a bad party….Poor Chris Hardwick and Jack Osbourne……she texted back that MM was totally sucking pretty bad and that,  At times you see panic in Chris’s face. 

Chris Hardwick is getting pretty sick of MM at this point, you can tell.  He’s kind of disagreeing with him and mocking him, as MM keeps going off on boring tangents and referencing other shows and movies in a string of non-sequitars…now, Chris Hardwick is pretty much openly mocking MM about his irrelevant points and nonsensical theories (“at least I could follow that one.”)  It can be such a hard job to host…you have the responsibility of keeping the pace going but can’t be too much of a dick …OMG, he just straight up lauded MM for making “a straight-up lucid point” after “not understanding anything else you’ve said tonight.”  Is Gale Ann Hurd desperately dropping spoilers to defuse the tension in the room?  I can’t wait to see what the buzz on social media is like about this TD episode.

What advice would Hershel give to Marilyn Manson if he could?

Playlist:

Soundgarden,  “Fell on Black Days”

Neil Young, “Heart of Gold” (for Hershel)

Lana Del Rey, “Radio””

Ariel Pink, “Berserker” (for Tyrese…and Rick