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

Prologue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________

“Crossed”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Um, sounds good to me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Et tu, Daryl?

Et tu, Daryl?

Even Tyrese is like,

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

Rick in Charge is like,

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

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

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

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

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

rick talks bad cops down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene…

Daryl looking fine firing at the GM CreepMobile...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl...

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha! How cute is that?  I replied:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Four Walls and a Roof”

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

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

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

terminans eating bob

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

hungry window walkers

Hey, give us some!

terminans eating bob 2

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

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

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

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

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

join us or feed us

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

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

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

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

bob looks at gareth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You tell ’em, Nelson…

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

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

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

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

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

.sasha looks for bob sasha sees the mark

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

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

...and then, she sees...

…and then, she sees…

...Night Scope Walker! Agh!

…Night Scope Walker! Agh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabriel breaks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob!

Bob!

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

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

At this point in the watching, my WD buddy turned to me and said, “This is the scariest story line, ever.”  We agreed, too, that so far, in many ways, Season 5 is the best WD season yet.

Kudos to Dad, NewDad, Crazy Uncle Greg, and the entire WD cast and crew, for bringing the thrills, chills, and blood spills like none other, yet again.

Back in the church, Bob has come to, and is sharing the details of his harrowing ordeal at the hands of the Terminans…he was in the graveyard, and somebody knocked him out…he woke up at some place that looked like a school.  Bob tells the gang, “It was that guy, Gareth,” and we see a shot of Rick, and we know what he’s thinking…

bob tells sad tale

i knew we should have killed gareth

“I knew we should have stayed and killed them!”

Bob continues, saying that it was Gareth, “and five other ones…they were eating my leg, right in front of me, like it was nothin’…all proud, like they had it all figured out.” (Ugh, it is so awful, sounds so awful, to say it…poor Bob, and the poor gang, poor Sasha, who must listen to this awful tale, and process that this happened to one of their own, just in the past hours, when all seemed so right, everyone all together again, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while. And, now this…O how I hate thee, Terminal Buzzkills!)

Rick asks Bob gently, softly, if they had Daryl and Carol.  Bob thinks a moment, says that Gareth said they drove off.  The gang exchanges quick looks, like, what? Then, they turn their attention back to Bob.  He seems like he’s in real pain, and Sasha asks if they have anything for him. Rosita does, but Bob stops her, to Sasha’s confusion…and Bob knows that now is the time he must tell her.

:(

😦

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder.

Bob pulls his shirt away, showing Sasha, and the gang, the walker bite on his shoulder. He looks at Sasha, tells her, “It happened at the food bank.”

Poor Sasha!

Poor Sasha! She does manage a brave smile for Bob, after a long moment of shock…

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick...

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick…

...as the gang must face losing another beloved member...

…as the gang must face losing another beloved member…

...of their chosen family.

…of their chosen family.

Gabriel steos up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office...

Gabriel steps up and thoughtfully offers the sofa in his office…

...and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him for, the kind and compassionate offer.

…and Sasha recognizes, and thanks him, for the kind and compassionate offer.

As Tyrese carries Bob to the office, Rick asks Gabriel if he know where the school is, the one Bob was talking about.  After some hesitation, and prodding from Rick, Gabriel says that there is an elementary school close by, about a 10-minute walk through the woods.  You can see the wheels in Rick’s head turning.

Baby Judith starts to cry, and Carl takes her to the back.  Rick asks Maggie if Bob has the fever…Maggie says he’s just warm.  Glenn adds that Jim lasted two days before they left him.  Our gang is doing what they do, putting all the information out there, so they can make a decision about how to proceed, armed with all the facts and factors.

Abraham steps forward on this moment with a “reality check”…it’s time to pack up and leave for D.C., now, as there is a clear threat to Eugene, and they must “extract his ass” from said threat immediately, before things “get any uglier.” Rick replies that Daryl and Carol aren’t back yet, and they aren’t going anywhere until they return.

Abraham replies that he respects that, then tries a “so, if you aren’t coming with us, guess this is goodbye,” and turns with Rosita to leave, when Rick ups the ante on the “Just who is top dog around here anyway?” question, asking Abraham’s retreating back, “You going (to D.C.) on foot?” meaning, of course, “Hope you don’t think you’re taking that bus you found in the back, because that bus belongs to RICK GRIMES & CO., bitch.”

Oh, yes he did!  (And I like it.)

This clear challenge stops Abraham, and Rosita, mid-stride. Abraham turns, reminds Rick that they fixed that damn bus themselves, while Rick strides forward, saying, “There are a lot more of us,”  to which Abraham replies, “You wanna keep it that way? You should come!”  

Rick reminds Abraham that “Carol saved your life, we saved your life,” and Abraham yells, “And I’m trying to save yours!”  Rick and Abraham go back and forth, Rick saying they aren’t leaving without their people, and their people will be right back. Abraham yells, “To what? Picked over bones?”

Rick and Abraham begin to shove one another as their exchange escalates, until Glenn steps between them, yelling at them to, “Stop right now!”  Glenn asks Abraham to stay one more day, and Tara throws in another offer…if Abraham and Co. will stay and help, one more day, she will go with them to D.C,, no matter what. Abraham throws in that he wants Glenn and Maggie as well, to which Rick In Charge says, No way.

Abraham turns to leave, ordering Eugene to come along, like a dad…when Eugene refuses at first, “I don’t want to,” like a teenager, Abraham grinds out, “NOW.”

“Ok,” Eugene says softly, getting up and walking towards the door, without looking at anybody. (Holy dysfunctional relationship, Batman!)

As Abraham turns to leave with Eugene and Rosita, Rick says, again, “You’re not taking the bus.” Abraham turns halfway to Rick, says, “Stop me.” After a long moment, Rick begins to stride towards Abraham, who hands his gun to Rosita, preparing to exchange blows.  But Glenn once again gets between them, telling Abraham that if he stays, and helps them, then he and Maggie will go with them to D.C.

At this, Rick says, again, “No,” and Glenn turns to him, reminds Rick that, “It’s not your call.”  After that, Rick says nothing, and Glenn repeats the offer to Abraham, who gives Glenn half the next day. “Come high noon, we’re taillights,” says Abraham. “I’m not waiting for the other damn shoe to drop.” Maggie agrees, so Abraham agrees. He will give them 12 hours.

Meanwhile, in Gabriel’s office, Sasha is wiping Bob’s forehead down with a cool, wet cloth, while Bob is trying to revive their former game of Pros and Cons, Good and Bad. He tells Sasha the one good thing about getting kicked in the face was that it made him forget the pain in his leg.

“We’re not playing that game any more,” replies Sasha, wringing out the cloth and wiping Bob’s forehead. Bob smiles, replies that he thought at least she would try to humor him a little bit…but Sasha doesn’t. She can’t. She asks Bob why he didn’t tell her, when it happened, that he had gotten bit.

Bob tells her he knew once he told her, it would be “all about the end…and I really liked the middle.”  This, of course, makes Sasha turn away, and blink back her tears. She then lay her head gently on Bob’s shoulder.

So sweet and sad.

So sweet, and sad.

Meanwhile, Rick and the gang are talking strategy…Rick and Glenn agree that Gareth and the Terms aren’t going to expect them to attack first, that they won’t think that Rick Grimes and the Train Car Superstars will be thinking straight.

Rosita pipes up, “Are we?” and at Rick’s look, she says, simply, that it’s a pretty risky plan.  Nobody says anything.  Rick turns to Tyrese, asks him if he’s up for this, but before Tyrese (who is sitting, looking down at the floor, and not looking like he’s up for much of anything) can answer, Sasha comes into the room, tells the gang that she’s in. She wants to go.

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should stay back, stay with Bob. Sasha tells him no, she’s going. Tyrese follows her into the office.

sasha tyrese bob

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen's death.

Tyrese tells Sasha that she should make the most of her time with Bob, that he never got to say goodbye to Karen. Sasha reminds Tyrese of the anger he felt, his desire to avenge Karen’s death.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother.

When Tyrese tries to counsel forgiveness, and letting go, Sasha whirls on her brother. “You want me to forgive them? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Sasha continues, “You think we have a choice?” to which Tyrese replies, “Not all of us, just you.” Tyrese continues by saying that the only thing Bob will want to see, when he wakes up, is Sasha’s face.  In response, Sasha stands up, unsheaths her knife, and hands it to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

She says, Take it.

She says, Take it…

...and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple...that's what Bob would want.

…and if Bob stops breathing, you take this knife and put it in his temple…that’s what Bob would want.

Next, we see a shot of Rick and the Stealth Squad, leaving the church at night, Gabriel peers out after them a moment, before closing and locking the door.

rick and the gang leave the church

Rick, Michonne, Sasha, Glenn, Abraham and Maggie file out of the church….

Then, one of the coolest things I've seen on televsion...a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait...watch, wait...suspense builds...it's like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no...wait, watch...and we see...

Then, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on televsion…a full minute-long shot of the church sign, nothing else happening, real time. Watch, wait…watch, wait…suspense builds…it’s like we are there, and the viewer wonders for a moment if the screen froze, but no…wait, watch…and then, finally, we see, coming out of the bushes, once all is clear…

Terminans!

Terminans!

As they approach the church, Gareth silently hand-signals his group, and Shitty Martin steps forward, and easily jacks the lock of the church’s front door (if only he had been there, before becoming a Terminan, to let all those poor families into the church, on that early morning, so long ago!). 

One by one, the Terminans file into the church.

Carl, hearing the breach of the door, lifts his gun and holds it steady towards the door.

carl raises gun in gabriels office

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

The following scene was so damn scary to watch, my WD buddy and I were guzzling champagne, hard.  We finished the good bottle and moved on to the cheap one. Thank God for orange juice, makes it so you can’t tell the difference…until the next morning, that is…

Gareth, emerging from the darkness, announces, “Well, I guess you know we’re here…

“…and we know you’re here.” 

Gareth continues, as he and his fellow Terms step silently forward through the church, closer and closer to Gabriel’s office, where our gang is hiding.  Gareth informs them that they are armed, so there’s no point in hiding…when this fails to bring them forward, Gareth continues, saying, “We’ve been watching you.” He says that he knows who is there…there’s Bob, unless they went ahead and put him out of his misery, already…then, there’s Eugene, and Rosita, and “Martin’s good friend, Tyrese”…

tyrese eugene rosita bob

Gareth continues naming: “Carl, Judith.”  Gareth  then tells them that he knows Rick and the others left, with a lot of their guns…

As he talks, Gareth motions his people, all armed, forward, until they are at the two office doors.  A Terminal Goon tries the door of Gabriel’s office, finds it locked. Carl and Rosita hold their guns steady towards the door.

Gareth informs them that he knows they are behind one of those two doors, and that they have enough fire power to blast both doors down. “I don’t imagine that’s what you want,” he says.

One of the things I find so scary about Gareth is that he can sound so reasonable, calm. I could imagine how people would have thought he was a man that could be reasoned, or bargained with, but Gareth’s calm belies a ruthlessness, and probably comes from a deep lack of giving a shit about anything other than his personal agenda. Gareth can sound super calm, and reasonable...while he’s sawing off your leg, or roasting it over the fire, and eating it, right in front of you.

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling

Still no response, so Gareth tries a new ploy, appealing to Father Gabriel, telling “the priest” that if he lets them in, he can take the baby and walk out the door, and leave unharmed.  Yeah, right.

At Judith’s cry, Gareth turns from the door he was in front of, the wrong door, and heads towards the other door, the right door, saying, “I don’t know, maybe we’ll keep the kid…I’m starting to like this girl.” Bastard!

Gareth gives them one more chance to come out…Shitty Martin turns to him, asks, “Are we done?” Gareth instructs them to aim for the door hinges, and just as they are about to do so, a silencer sounds two quiet shots, dropping two Terminal Goons, their blood splattering the church walls.

We hear a soft voice growl out from the back pews, “Put your guns on the floor.” And even though we can’t see him, yet, we know he’s looking hot, and sounding like the most badass cowboy this side of Clint EastwoodRick In Charge! Yes! He’s back to save the day…or, rather, the night.

Gareth starts talking fast, some shrill shit directed at Rick, pointing his left index and middle fingers like a gun at the office door, and we hear the silencer go off again. Gareth drops forward, and when he comes back up to standing, we see that Rick has shot the two fingers clean off at the mid knuckle.

gareth gets shot

Yes! Take that, Gareth!

Oh, Gareth. meet Rick In Charge...p.s. he's a sharpshooter.

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick In Charge…p.s. he’s a sharpshooter.

 Cue Nelson…

As Gareth tries not to cry, curled up on the floor, we see, emerging from the darkness…

Rick .In. Charge.

Rick. In. Charge.

Rick orders them to put their guns down…two goons do, but Shitty Martin does not. Still knifed over in pain on the floor, Gareth tells Martin to do as he says, that there’s no choice any more.  Shitty Martin disagrees.

“Oh, yeah there is.” It seems that this is Martin’s Last Stand.

Abraham would beg to differ, moving up from the side aisle, assault rifle aimed at Shitty Martin.  “You wanna bet?”  Martin puts his gun down, gets on his knees.

Gareth, meanwhile, is trying to compose himself, despite the searing pain he is in. #karma

Managing to straighten up enough to look Rick in the face, Gareth asks, lightly, “Guess there’s no point in begging, right?”

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word.

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word. “No.”

Gareth asks Rick why they didn’t kill them right away, before, and Rick replies, “We didn’t want to waste the bullets.”

Ah, remember the good old days of shot count, Gareth?

Gareth is not very good at being on the other side of all this, and besides, his hand really hurts.  He tries at first to appeal to Rick’s sympathies, telling him that they used to help people, at Sanctuary, before they were taken advantage of, and brutalized. When this fails, Gareth tries the ol’, “I can tell you’ve been out there, but you don’t know what it’s like to be hungry!”

Rick In Charge just cocks his head at this, observing Gareth like a bird of prey would regard a future morsel, not saying anything.  Gareth then tries to bargain with Rick, saying that he, Rick, can just “let them go” and their paths would never cross again.

Rick cocks his head to the other side, points out that Gareth would cross paths with someone else…right?  And they would do this (i.e., capturing and eating a person) to anyone, right? Rick is quoting Gareth’s jibes to Bob back to him now.

“Besides,” Rick tells Gareth, “I made you a promise, before…”

Oh, Gareth, meet Rick Smash!  P.S. He's got anger issues.

Gareth, meet Rick Smash!p.s. he’s got anger issues.

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch's face, like, oooh, don't hurt me!

I love the look on the Snide Terminal Bitch’s face, like, oooh, don’t hurt me!

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

Tyrese, Glenn, Tara, and Maggie watch the brutal massacre in horror.

And then, this happens…

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means...

Aww, yeah, girl, you know what that means…

Katana time again! Yes!

Katana-time again! Yes!

After the carnage, a dazed Rick says, simply, “It could have been us.” As he and the other heavies file out of the room, a shaken Gabriel enters, says, in disbelief, looking at his now bloodstained church, “This is the Lord’s house.”  “No,” says Maggie, looking majorly creeped out by it all, “This is just four walls and a roof.”

In the next scene, the gang is all around Bob’s bed, and one by one, they are saying their goodbyes.  Maggie gives Bob the sweetest smile, tells him that he will “always be with us.”  She turns, and she, Glenn, Abraham and Rosita, then the others file out.

Bob calls out to Rick, who is holding Judith, and Sasha leaves them to have a moment. Bob thanks Rick for taking him in, and helping him believe, and know, that there are good people left in the world.

Bob tells Rick he's not backing off his earlier stance...don't lose too much of what you really are, and don't stop believing that things will be good again, one day.

Bob tells Rick he’s not backing off his earlier stance…don’t lose too much of what you really are, and don’t stop believing that things will be good again, one day. “Nightmares end…they don’t have to end who you are.” Bob looks at Baby Judith, says, “Look at her, and tell me the world isn’t gonna change.”

Sasha sits by Bob’s side, later, watches him wake up.  “You were out,” she says, as he smiles.  “Why are you smiling?” she asks him.  “I think I was having a dream, and in it, you were smiling at me,” murmurs Bob.  This brings a smile to Sasha’s face, and that smile brings Bob joy. “There it is,” he murmurs happily.

sasha smiles for bob

Sasha asks Bob, “So what is it, what is the good that comes from this bad?” Bob doesn’t answer, and his face goes quiet, peaceful.  He is gone.  Sasha sobs, tries to compose herself. She knows what she must do, and she pulls out her knife…but she can’t bring herself.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha.

Tyrese comes in the room, takes the knife from Sasha. “Give it here,” he says, and lets her leave before he slips the knife in Bob’s temple, rekilling him.

The next day. Sasha is finishing up the wooden cross marking Bob’s grave, and the gang is saying their goodbyes to Glenn and Maggie, and Abraham and Co. Abraham hands Rick a map, telling Rick that he and his gang know the route Abraham and Co. are taking to D.C,, and if for some reason they veer off the charted course, they know the destination.  Abraham tells them that Eugene will fix things, and when he does, they should be there, too.

It is majorly surreal to see Glenn and Maggie looking out from the bus, with Tara, Rosita, Eugene, and Abraham.

Glenn and Maggie leaving...it just doesn't feel right!

Glenn and Maggie leaving…it just doesn’t feel right!

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map.

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map, later.

Later that night, Michonne sits on the front steps of the church, looking at the katana she holds once again.  Father Gabriel comes out and sits beside her.  He can’t sleep, keeps hearing the cries in his head from the night before…and from before.  Michonne tells him that won’t stop…but, eventually, it won’t happen all the time.

A noise from the bushes startles them.  Gabriel makes his way back inside while Michonne goes out to investigate…and finds, emerging from the bushes…

Daryl!

Daryl!

Michonne smiles, then frowns, asks, “Where’s Carol?” Without answering, Daryl turns back to the darkened bushes, tells someone, hidden, “You can come out.”

What??

Two things, before I sign off.  First, I would like to say that in my frenzy to get my post written last week, I forgot to award a Deadie, so this week, we are going Double Deadie…I hearby award these two Deadies to (drumroll please), Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. (and his character, Bob Stookey, who turned out to be a great guy, and family) and to Andrew J. West (and his character, Gareth). While Gareth wasn’t a great guy, he was a great villain, and I feel like this young, talented actor is going to be wowing us again and again in the future. Cheers, Bob and Gareth, and farewell.

Second, I am honored to have readers all over the world, as we are part of the worldwide community of Walking Dead Obsessed.  Since we have this wonderful network, I wanted to post this picture, and this information, about William Tyrell, a beautiful 3-year-old boy who has been missing for more than a month now.  He was last seen playing in his grandmother’s yard.  If anyone has any information about William, or his whereabouts, please contact the number provided.  Please, let’s try to help bring this baby back home safe.

come home william tyrell

Good night, gang, and until next week.  Enjoy the playlist.

Playlist:

Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Because I really do think Gareth wanted Rick to take him out, there, at the end..)

alt-J, “Every Other Freckle” (For Sasha and Bob, who never got to party naked together…they would have had fun if they had)

Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground” (Six Terminans, 6 Underground…you do the math.)

Phantogram, “Nightlife” (RIP Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers”

Prologue

It wasn’t until late Monday morning, the morning after the initial airing of  The Walking Dead’s Season 5, Episode 2, “Strangers,” that I realized how hard I was avoiding sitting down to write my post on the episode.  

I tried, I really did.  But every time I went to sit down, focus, and write, I just couldn’t do it. It was like my mind, my body, my spirit were all saying, “Nah….nope.”

So, I did other stuff, productive things. I took my dog on a super long walk.. then, I puttered around outside in my yard, watering my garden, trimming back overgrowth, making a new batch of bio-safe plant spray (2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons mild dishwashing liquid, 1 gallon water…put in spray bottle, and spray on plants, especially on underside of leaves, avoiding spraying in sun or in temperatures 90 degrees or above…spray every 5-7 days…controls aphids, lacebugs, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, whitefly)  

All good stuff, I know.  Very productive. As I sprayed away the aphids, I kept telling myself, “After I vanquish these aphids, it will be time to sit, focus, and get some key writing done before going to work.” But every time I tried to sit, to write, it was the same thing…I tried, but I still wasn’t really feeling it. “Nope…not ready. Not yet.”

Now, this is all very irregular for me.  While this blog is an act of love, written in the stolen moments between being a busy working grown-up/wife/mom of two, I do hold myself to a rather stringent writing schedule, working long hours into the night, writing, watching, rewatching, picture-taking, picture-loading, reading, rereading, rewriting, until my face feels like it’s about to fall off, and my brain feels like it’s bleeding out my mucous membranes.

When I finally get to click on that magic word, “Publish,” well, that moment is a triumph for me, every time, and I know more than ever now what it takes to get there…so when i have the time, like on Monday mornings, I try to make the most of it.

“Come on,” I told myself. “You can do this.

And I tried. I really did. When all else fails, I go to music. The music always gets me going. So, I put on the playlist I compiled for “Strangers” (which is super epic, if I do say so myself) and had a one-woman dance party in the living room.  But, this time, music did not lead to writing. It just led to more dance party.

Can’t force it,”  I told myself.  So, I did other things. I posted a couple of pics on my Facebook page, tweeted a picture montage of Mary and the Karma Walkers (which I’m sure my four Twitter followers really enjoyed) and checked, and rechecked, all my social media. Then, instead of sitting in front of the laptop and getting to work, I went full-on hooky, curled up in my favorite outdoor easy chair with another cup of coffee, and watched the birds outside while soaking in some morning sunshine and good outdoor vibes. .

Sounds lovely, I know. It was. But somewhere inside, amdist all the loveliness, I was asking myself, “What the hell am I doing?”  I knew what I was doing.  I was procrastinating with life-affirming, self-soothing rituals because I was feeling pretty sick deep inside my gut about the end of “Strangers,” and what is happening to Bob at the hands of Gareth and the Terminans.  

The ending shot of “Strangers” was, to me, the point where the fans of The Walking Dead  television series officially cross the threshold into the “Dark Room” that Andrew Lincoln was talking about, in interviews, when he spoke about where the Season 5 story line would lead us.

I get it. I really do. I know that Kirkman, Gimple & Nicotero, Inc. have been going pretty easy on us Prime-Time Pollyannas thus far.

The Comic Series Set, who are like the elder siblings of us television-series-only crybabies, are probably saying at this point, “Man, Dad (aka Kirkman), NewDad (aka Gimple),and Crazy Uncle Greg (aka Nicotero, of course) never cut us the slack they cut you guys…you guys have had it so easy!

Kirkman’s message is clear:  Time’s up, people. It’s time to sac up, or pack up.

Remember The Law of Kirkman:

The Law of Kirkman states:  Kirkman will do as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman and Co. can, and will, play with our emotions. 

(For more on the Law of Kirkman, Daryl Partners/Daryl Plans, and other coping mechanisms, refer to my Season 4 mid-season prepost, “What Happens ‘After?’“)

Dad, NewDad, and Crazy Uncle Greg have been candy-assing us for long enough. They.Are.Done.With.That.  Now is the time for tough love, and the time for tough love is now.

Dad, New Dad, and Crazy Uncle Greg are proceeding to Go Comic Series on our asses (and p.s., they’re going to get jiggy with it).

They have been gleefully waiting for this moment.

<Mentally insert, here, image of Kirkman, Gimple, and Nicotero, laughing maniacally in peals of evil laughter>

The end of “Strangers” was a rough one for me, people.  I cannot lie.  And I’ve been a real dick to Bob in the past.  I feel sad, deflated…guilty. I know it’s not real, but as I’ve said before, I still obsess. I’m having some Post-Dick Guilt Syndrome (PDGS).

Bob Stookey. Sigh. ❤  Bob was being so sweet, and so hopeful.  Bob was letting himself believe, and Bob was falling in love with Sasha.  And Sasha was falling in love back. Bob is actually a really good boyfriend.  He listens, he communicates, he’s affectionate. I was rooting for Bob.

I am a big sap, I know.  I told you all this,right from the first, in my “Introduction” post. I have an overactive imagination, and I can’t always shake the things this show puts up on the crazy table.  I have been feeling some big-time Bob Melancholia. I did do my best to make it up to Bob by compiling an epic playlist in his honor.

But, while the music came, the words still didn’t.

I just…couldn’t.  In the words of Shitty Martin, “I don’t want to do this today.” 

So, I did other things, those good, soul-nourishing things, and then, I went to work. And when I got home from work, I didn’t settle in to write, like I usually do on the Monday nights after the episode, until the wee hours…until I collapse in bed for a few meager hours of sleep before the alarm goes off, and I have to be a mom and make it all happen, all over again… and so on, and so on, until I hit, “Publish.”

On this Monday night, instead, I settled in under the covers with my little dog, and we snuggled and shared night snacks and watched Divergent, and I took comfort in the warmth of the covers, and my little dog, and the uplifting tale of two hot young divergents finding love and kicking ass in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. And the next day, after work, after homework, after bedtime, I was finally ready to write.

And so I settled in.

And so, it begins.

_________________________________________________________________

“Strangers” 

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

(Note: I have been experiencing technical difficulties, and must kick this post old-school, rewatching “Strangers” on the TV and taking pics of the TV screen with my phone…is anyone else out there experiencing difficulty watching this week’s episode of WD on the AMC website? It won’t let me sign in to watch the full episode…just when I learned how to do the “snipping tool” screen shot, too…damn fickle technology!

I will, however, embrace the lesson…sometimes you gotta go back to the very beginning, where it all started.)

In the opening shot of “Strangers,” we see the plume of smoke from the fires of Terminus burning.  The plume is grey now, not black, signaling the fire’s ending stage. The smoke plume is some ways away, so .the gang seems to have covered some ground at this point, putting some miles between themselves and Terminus.IMG_8388

Nest, we see a shot of Rick’s head, coming up over the hill…his stride, his whole aura is focused, purposeful…totally hot.

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The gang takes a much-needed rest break in a quiet glenn in the woods. We see Carl, in his father’s sheriff’s hat, bleeding wound on his cheek, quietly and happily feeding his baby sister, Judith, her bottle.

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Judith’s bottle is almost drained dry, leaving my WD buddy and I to wonder how much formula for Judith is left on them, at this point.  They are probably rationing her as much as they are able, but my WD buddy and I are moms…we know how much growing babies need to eat, and drink.  We are worried for that baby, on many, many levels.

It has probably been a while since any of them have eaten anything of substance.

On last week’s Talking Dead, Scott M. Gimple said while Gareth and the Terminans did size up certain people who would potentially be viewed as Terminal Assets, and while Maggie, Glenn, Abraham and Co. would have definitely been seen as having Terminal Potential, they didn’t get a chance to enjoy any Terminal Barbeque, as Abraham felt the need to mention the mission to D.C. pretty soon into the introductions, back at “Public Face,” prompting Gareth to give the nod, and the look, sending our gang to Train Car “A” at gunpoint, only after relinquishing their choice items to the outstretched hands of the Hungry Terminans.   No barbeque for you!

Meanwhile, back at the glenn, Glenn is busying himself around the area, bending down to pick up something on the ground beside Maggie, without really looking at her…she puts her hand on his shoulder, and as he looks up at her, she smiles at him, says softly, “Hey…not so fast.”

They kiss briefly, and Maggie pulls Glenn in for a brief, sweet hug, smiling at Tara over Glenn’s shoulder in a silent, “Thank You” to Tara for having her man’s back, and for helping bring him back to her safely.

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Tara is looking like she is dealing with some PDGS herself.

Tara is looking like she has been dealing with some PDGS herself.

As she turns away from the happy couple, Tara sees Rick.

Tara and Rick face each other warily, cautiously for a moment.  Rick speaks first, is direct, “You didn’t want to be there (as a part of the Gov’s Army 2.0)….that’s why I tried to talk to you.”  Tara says nothing.

Rick nods over towards Glenn, continues, “Glenn told me you saved his life.”

Tara laughs a little, nods back. “He saved mine.” Rick gives her a sweet smile, says, “Well, that’s how it works with us…right?” He puts the question back to her. Tara gives the sweetest look (she’s so pretty). like she can’t believe he’s being so cool, and says, with a little, shy smile, agrees, “Right.”

The moment shifts, and they step back, slightly awkward again with each other. Tara extends her fist, with a small, “Hey…” Rick looks down at her fist, hesitates, just a moment, before smiling and extending his fist out for the bump.

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Rick Grimes isn't one to leave a sister hanging.

Rick Grimes isn’t one to leave a sister hanging.

After pounding it out, Rick gently advises Tara to go get something to eat, they’ll start back at sunup. Seems like they are staying put for the night.

In the next shot, we see Rick’s head coming up over the hillside, then the rest of the crew.  Maggie looking weary, pale, sweaty…it must be so hard, being on the run, being on guard always, barely any food or sleep or rest…grueling, no time to recover from the last terrible thing that happened…and it’s just one long string of terrible things, all the time now. Our gang is having a hard time getting a break.

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In the next scene, we see Carol and Tyrese, crouched down, side by side, collecting water from a stream in plastic bottles. They look awkward, neither of them really talking, or looking at each other, but then Tyrese sneaks a look over, tells Carol that he “talked to Rick” and let Rick know that he, Tyrese, knows what Carol did at the prison, that Daryl and Maggie accept it, too.

At Carol’s silence, Tyrese adds, “You wouldn’t be here if they didn’t,” which I guess was meant to be reassuring to Carol, but doesn’t quite come across as the warmest “welcome back into the fold” speech ever.  Carol says nothing. Tyrese continues, offers to “talk to the others, make sure they accept it too.”

“They don’t have to,” Carol points out, quickly.  Tyrese looks over at Carol, quietly disagrees, “No, they do.”  He looks back down at the flowing water. “They just do.”

After a moment, Tyrese looks up, out at the water. “We don’t need to tell them about the girls…I don’t want to.”  Carol looks over at Tyrese, asks, “Why?”

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Tyrese stares down at the water. “I just need to forget it,” he says.

The montage shifts back to the gang, walking in loose formation, looking like the badasses they are.

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Bob and Sasha walk together, and we see Sasha talking, her hands gesturing, while Bob listens attentively, like a good boyfriend. (wave of sadness, sip of Stella) 😦

Up a ways, the group comes upon Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walker:

Hey, Where's The Party At?

I love Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walkershe seems like she can throw down with the best of them.

With a little smile, Michonne tells the gang, no worries, I got this...and with a little smile on her face, she  takes out some pent up anger on the walker...you wanna party?  Let's party!

Michonne tells the gang, no worries, I got this...and with a little smile on her face, she takes out some pent up anger on the walker. You wanna party? Let’s party!

I am coveting Michonne's boots so hard right now.

I am coveting Michonne’s boots so hard.

As Abraham and Rosita stop a moment to admire Michonne's handiwork, Abraham murmurs,

As Abraham and Rosita stop a moment to admire Michonne’s handiwork, Abraham murmurs, “Right there is why we’re waiting for our moment.” Rosita looks a moment, agrees, “Fair enough.

Later, at night, by the small campfire, Rick approaches Carol. “I owe you everything,” he begins. Carol shakes her head, slightly, demurs,  “You owe Tyresehe was at the prison.”  Rick nods, asks Carol if she went back there.

Carol doesn’t answer in words, but her manner seems like she did maybe try to go back to the prison, and saw what had happened to it.  She reaches into her bag and pulls out the watch that Rick had given to Sam, back in Season 4’s “Indifference.”  Rick looks at the watch, then back at Carol. She tells him she found the watch in one of “their storerooms,” back at Terminus.

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I actually shot up out of a sound sleep the other night, realizing, “It was the watch Rick gave Sam that Carol grabbed at Terminus, not the Ed watch!”

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“I saw them kill him…that kid,” Rick says, looking down at the watch…then, he reaches in and pulls out the watch face that Carol had given Rick to replace the watch that he had given to Sam that day. Rick offers the watch back to Carol, who shakes her head no. 

New Carol say, No way. Later for that shit.

Rick leans in closer to Carol.  “I still don’t know about what you did,” he says. “But, I know you knew some things that I didn’t.”  Rick looks away, pained. “I sent you away…to this. Carol interjects, “You said I could survive…you were right.”

Rick looks at her, then away again, I sent you away to this,” he repeats, “and now, we’re joining you.” Rick looks up at Carol, asks humbly, gallantly, “Will you have us?”

This humility, and gallantry, sent shock waves of Pure Rick Hotness through my WD buddy and me as we watched this scene.

“Will you have us?”

“True blue,” my WD buddy pronounced Rick Grimes, as we clinked glasses together in a toast.  I was in complete agreement.  The man just keeps getting finer and finer, people. Tender, and manly, lethal when he needs to be, kind, beautiful.

Rick Grimes is just killing me right now, he really is.

Carol, who isn’t one to leave a brother hanging, smiles a little and nods.  Rick bows his head slightly, once more, in silent thanks, before walking away.

Later…

Speaking of awkward silences...

Speaking of awkward silences…

...and beautiful, tenderhearted men...

…and beautiful, tenderhearted men…

Carol refuses to look Daryl, tells him,

Carol refuses to look Daryl at first, tells him, “I don’t want to talk about it.  I can’t.  I just want to forget it.”

Daryl does not reply. Carol turns to look at him. Daryl looks back at Carol a moment, says, simply, “All right.”  Carol looks away.  Daryl looks down, lost in his thoughts. He looks sad.

A lot has changed from the days before, at the prison...

A lot has changed from the days before, at the prison…

Suddenly, a noise from the woods diverts Daryl's attention...he's so on it, super hot

Suddenly, a noise from the woods diverts Daryl’s attention…he’s so on it, super hot.

Daryl silently springs up to standing, motions Carol back as he goes forward to investigate...

Daryl silently springs up to standing, motions Carol back as he goes forward to investigate…

As Daryl listens, the woods settle down to silence once more.

As Daryl listens, the woods settle down to silence once more. “It’s nothing,” says Daryl, but he and Carol stay still and quiet, waiting listening, a moment more…

...as we see a dark figure creep away into the darkness, from where they had been crouched, hidden, watching Daryl and Carol.

…as we see a dark figure creep away into the darkness, from where they had been crouched, hidden, watching Daryl and Carol, listening. Waiting…

The next day, the group is traversing the woods…they hear a noise, raise their guns, but it’s just Daryl, back from hunting. with a haul of squirrels. Daryl  raises his arms in mock seriousness, says, “I surrender.”  Soooo cute.

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Rick and Daryl stealth forward from the group, gliding through the woods, keeping eyes and ears open.  It seems that Daryl was not just hunting; he was tracking, to see if he could find traces of someone else in those woods.

“No tracks, nothin’,” Daryl says.  “So whatever you heard last night…?” asks Rick. Daryl tells Rick it wasn’t so much what he heard…it’s what he felt. Like someone was watching them.

Daryl, being a hunter himself, is attuned to the rhythms of the wild, and to his gut sense, his intuition. It’s so hot, one of the many reasons we love Daryl Dixon so.

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Abraham jibes Rick with some cop/coffee humor, then slips it in there about how they’re going to keep an eye out, at the next road, for a working vehicle that can take them North.

“Good?” Abraham asks Rick, of this plan. It seems he’s feeling Rick out, seeing if Rick and the gang are in on The Mission to D.C., but Rick simply says, “Good,” like, yeah, whatever you gotta do, man. Rick hasn’t committed himself, or his people, to Team Eugene yet.

Meanwhile, Bob and Sasha are playing an adorable game of Pros and Cons of Walker Apocalypse, Bob, of course, cheerfully providing the pros, while Sasha lists the many cons:

Sasha: Wet socks.

Bob: Cold feet.

Sasha: Mosquito bites.

Bob: Itching reminds you you’re alive!

Sasha: Danger around every corner…

Bob: Never a dull moment.

Sasha: The sun beating down on you!

Bob: C’mon…a glorious tan!

This tickles Sasha’s funny bone, and she licks the corner of her mouth, through her teeth, in mirth.  And joy.  And new love.

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Sasha: No privacy.

Bob: A captive audience. (With this, Bob leans in and steals a kiss, as Sasha laughs and beams back up at him.)  

Ouch, knife in my heart! 😦

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(It’s only 11:34 am, but I have opened a Stella, and I’ll tell you why.  Number one, the kids are at Mema’s for the night, and I don’t have to work. I do however, need to finish this post, so I can go see my beautiful hubby play some music tonight, and party by the lake, by the fire, with amazing friends, and be an adult for a night.

Number two, I need to raise this Stella to Bob… because I am having a major wave of PDGS right now, yes, but also because I am rewatching this, and I am seeing Bob be this great guy who can make a woman laugh, and be the kind of new boyfriend to keep a woman laughing, far into the night, giggling and cuddling and tussling until she’s like, “C’mon, we have to go to sleep…I have to get up for work in two hours!” And when she does get to work, late, she hasn’t had any sleep, but she does have a big smile on her face, and a spring in her step, much to the wonder and amusement of her co-workers.

To Bob Stookey, ladies and gentlemen. Raise ’em if you got ’em.)

To Bob!  Cheers! 

Surely, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Suddenly, a cry for help in the forest…

Carl urges, “C’mon, Dad…come on!” for Rick and the others to go see, and help whomever is in trouble. Rick hesitates, looks at the others, then they rush to investigate, and find the Eat the Priest Walkers, who have found a tasty snack on a rock, Father Gabriel.

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Eat the Priest! Eat the Priest!

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The gang comes to save another day, and mess up some walkers.

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I like seeing Michonne employ other weaponry and walker-killing techniques, but I do miss the katana…

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New Carol, ever handy with the knife…

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Rager Walker comes ambling around the rock...

Rager Walker comes ambling around the rock…

..looking for his girlfriend, Hey, Where's the Party? Walker...seems like they got split up at the last rager in the woods, a night or two back...

..looking for his girlfriend, Hey, Where’s the Party At? Walker...seems like they got split up at the last rager in the woods, a night or two back.

Naw, haven't seen her, man.  Sorry.

Naw, haven’t seen her, man. Sorry.

Once the Eat the Priest Walkers are taken care of, the gang turns to Father Gabriel, who turns out to be a crier…and a puker. (As I too am a crier, and a puker, I do not hold this against Gabriel.)  When Rick asks Gabriel if he’s ok, Father Gabriel lifts a finger, like, a moment, please…and then unleashes his lunch onto the ground, as the group watches in a comic mixture of sympathy, disgust, and impatience.

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Hurl!  Ughhh...man.

<Hurl!> Ughhhman.

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Rosita’s like, Gross…

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When Gabriel finishes hurling, he apologizes, wiping his mouth, before standing back up, thanking the group for saving him, and introducing himself, “I’m Gabriel.

Without introducing himself, Rick asks Gabriel if he has any weapons on him.

Gabriel raises his arms, and his eyebrows, looking around at the group, laughing in disbelief.  “Do I look like I would have any weapons?”

Abraham replies, “We don’t give two short and curlies what it looks like!”  Ha!

Father Gabriel then proclaims: “I have no weapons of any kind.  The Word of God is the only protection I need.”

To this, Daryl replies, “Sure didn’t look like it.”

Gabriel laughs, replies, “I called for help. Help came.

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Michonne, and the rest of the gang, are all like...say what?

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Is this guy for real?

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Rick In Charge thinks it’s all bullshit.

Father Gabriel’s stocks plummet even lower with the gang when he asks them if they have any food, as whatever he had in his stomach before just hit the ground…

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Daryl, sporting a black eye, just looks at Gabriel, like, dude…really?

Carl does the Christian thing to do, steps forward and offers Gabriel some pecans, while the others stare on in disbelief at this guy.

Carl does the Christian thing, stepping forward and offering Gabriel some pecans, while the others stare on in disbelief at this guy.

Gabriel then sees Baby Judith, being held by Tyrese, and smiles, comments what a beautiful child she is… At this, the gang instinctively draws in closer towards Judith, eyeing Gabriel menacingly…

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Carl’s like, “Oh, shit, no he didn’t...” The look on Maggie’s face is pretty awesome.

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Papi Grimes ain’t playing around with this shit any more.

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Rick gets Lieutenant Deputy on Gabriel and gives him the pat down (lucky, Gabriel!), asking Gabriel the first of the three questions, “How many walkers have you killed?” Astoundingly, Gabriel replies that he has not killed any.

Gabriel asks them if they have a camp, to which Rick quickly answers, “No,” then asks Gabriel if he does.  Gabriel replies that he has a church.  Rick then asks Gabriel the second question, “How many people have you killed?”  Again, astoundingly, Gabriel turns, surprised, to Rick, answers, “None.”

In a brilliant twist to the usual questions, without missing a beat, Rick asks the third question, “Why?”  At this, Gabriel draws up a little taller, although real fear is in his face as he regards Rick, and the group, who are all vibing him, hard.  

“Because the Lord abhors violence,” Gabriel declares sanctimoniously.

Rick crouches slightly in front of Gabriel, angling himself so he peers up into Gabriel’s eyes, as he whisper-hisses, to Gabriel, “What have you done?”  It’s amazing to me, watching it, that this way of getting down, crouching lower, to peer up into a person’s eyes while interrogating them is actually way more menacing-looking than trying to bow up, be taller.

Gabriel’s eyes are huge as he looks back at Rick.  “We’ve all done something, continues Rick.  Gabriel’s eyes dart from member to member of the group, as he replies that he is a sinner, who sins every day, and then confesses those sins up to “God…not strangers.”

Michonne pipes in, “You said you got a church?”

As Gabriel leads the gang through the woods, towards his church, Rick asks him if he had been watching them, before.  Gabriel replies that no, until today, he hadn’t made it very far beyond the safety of the church’s walls.  He muses aloud that nowadays, people are just as dangerous as the walkers…Daryl replies that people are worse.

As the gang walks, and wonders, about all this, Gabriel starts getting weird, says, suddenly, “Or, maybe I’m lying, maybe I’m lying about everything, and there’s no church ahead at all…maybe I’m leading you into a trap so I can steal all your squirrels…”

Why Father Gabriel would try a creepy unfunny joke like that on a hot, edgy, weapons-toting gang like our gang, I don't know...

Why Father Gabriel would try a creepy unfunny joke like that on a hot, edgy, weapons-toting gang like our gang, I don’t know…

...but our gang is not amused.  As Rick menaces up to a shaken Gabriel, Gabriel quickly adds that he has been told before that his sense of humor left much to be desired...

…but our gang is not amused. As Rick menaces up to a shaken Gabriel, Gabriel quickly adds that he has been told before by a friend that his sense of humor left much to be desired…

Daryl agrees...

Daryl chimes in, agrees…

“They’re right…it does.” Ha!

Gabriel's church, which was built on from scratch on the WD set

Gabriel’s church, which was built on the WD set.

As they approach the front door, Rick holds out his hand for the keys.  “We want to hang onto our squirrels, he tells Gabriel, sarcastically.  The gang enters the church and clears it, room by room.

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Carol finds Gabriel's office, with a journal book containing handwritten scripture...THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Carol finds Gabriel’s office, with a journal book containing handwritten scripture. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

At the front altar, Rick finds many opened cans of food, which backs up Gabriel's story or not leaving the church and being well-stocked from a recent canned food drive, before the turn.

At the front altar, Rick finds many opened cans of food, which backs up Gabriel’s story or not leaving the church and being well-stocked from a recent canned food drive, before the turn.

In another room, Glenn finds a framed embroidered quote...

In another room, Glenn finds a framed embroidered quote…

...and children's drawings of the burning bush...

…and children’s drawings of the burning bush…

...And baby Moses in the wooden cradle, hidden in the water among the reeds.

…And baby Moses in the wooden cradle, hidden in the water among the reeds.

When they come back out, Gabriel attempts a mild joke again, saying that he had been alone, not leaving the church, for months, so if they had found anyone inside, well, he would have been surprised.

Now, my question right now is this: It seems like at this point, Gabriel could really be telling the truth, but if so, where are the other parishioners?  If an apocalyptic event did take place, wouldn’t a close-knit community church be a logical place for people to go, especially if they had lost family members, had to flee their homes…wouldn’t they have come to the church, to unite with others and take shelter there?  And if so, where are they now?  Why is Gabriel all alone in that church?

Abraham reports that there is a short bus behind the church that he could get running in a day or two. Rick says nothing, smooths his hand on Baby Judith’s head.

Abraham continues, “Looks like we’ve found ourselves some transport.”   Rick says nothing. Abraham continues, “You understand what’s at stake here, right?”

“Yes, I do, “ Rick replies.  Michonne cuts in, “Now that we can take a breath…” Abraham points out that every time they try to stop and take a breath, shit inevitably goes down.

Michonne counters that they need supplies, and rest, and to figure out their next move.  Rick agrees, “Food, water, ammunition.”

And, one by one, the gang agrees before filing into the church… Glenn tells Abraham that they’re doing what Rick does, that their group is not splitting up again.  Tara stops, tells Abraham, “What he says,” before following Glenn into the church.

Sasha nudges Bob, who tells Abraham that they do want to roll with him, but, “What she (Tara) says,” before heading into the church as well, leaving Abraham and Rosita standing outside.

Inside the church, Rick asks Gabriel how he survived this long.  Gabriel explains that the church had just completed their annual canned food drive, and had not yet delivered the canned goods to the food bank.

Then, everything fell apart.  Gabriel subsisted on the canned foods for a long time, but the food supply eventually ran out.  He ventured out more, scavenging and cleaning out all the places nearby…all except one.  Rick asks why, and Gabriel says it’s overrun, with twelve or more walkers, by his estimation.

Rick says they can handle twelve walkers, and Sasha volunteers herself and Bob for the run, saying that Tyrese could stay back and help watch over Judith.

I love how Sasha is being so sensitive to her brother’s needs, and Tyrese smiles at this, says that he can watch the baby any time, and if she needs anything, ever, he is there for her. He really has grown to love little Judith.

Rick thanks Tyrese for this, stepping forward and quietly adding that he too is grateful to Tyrese for “everything else.” True blue, just like my WD buddy said.

Especially when Rick turns to Gabriel, tells him, “You’re coming with us.” As Gabriel protests (“You saw me out there…I’m no good around those things.”), Rick repeats, “You’re coming with us.”

Before they leave on the run, Rick crouches beside Carl, who is sitting in one of the church pews, and tells Carl that he doesn’t trust this guy. Carl immediately asks why. Rick asks Carl why he, Carl, trusts Gabriel.

Carl replies, Everyone can’t be bad.”

Rick nods, pauses a moment, then tells Carl, “Well, I don’t trust this guy…that’s why I’m bringing him with me.  But he can have friends, so that’s why I need you to stay alert, and help Tyrese protect Judith.”

Carl nods at this.

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Rick shifts, continues, “Now, I need you to hear what I’m about to say. You are not safe, no matter how many people are around, no matter how clear the area looks, no matter what anyone says…You are not safe.  It only takes one second, and it’s over.  Never let your guard down.” Rick asks Carl to promise he will do this, and Carl promises he will.

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As Rick goes to leave, Carl calls to his dad.  Carl says he knows Rick is right, and they they are both strong, they all are, but…they are strong enough that they can still help people. and they can handle themselves if things go wrong. Carl tells his father, “We’re strong enough that we don’t have to be afraid, and we don’t have to hide.”

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Once again, Rick is looking like the hottest single dad ever, taking in his son’s words, and his wisdom.  Rick nods, then tells Carl, “Well, he’s hiding something,” meaning, of course, Gabriel.  (And we know it too, but what? Whatever it is, it’s sure to be creepy as all get-go.)

As Rick, Gabriel, Bob, Sasha, and Michonne make their way to the food bank, Bob is telling Rick that D.C., and Eugene curing this epidemic, is going to happen, and when it does, one does not want to let too much of who they were, before the turn, go in the quest for survival.

When the cure happens, Bob says, you don’t want to be in a place where you can’t come back from it. Don’t let go of too much of who you really are.

“You’ll see,” Bob tells Rick. “You’ll be back in the real world.”  Rick counters, “This is the real world.”

“No,” Bob replies, “This is a nightmare, and nightmares end.”  Bob laughs at his own optimism.  “Maybe this is just one of those parts of not letting go.”

Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol are walking down another road, carrying plastic gallon bottles of water.  “I get it, you don’t want to talk about it,” Daryl says, with a small smile on his face.  He turns to look at Carol. “You ok?” he asks. Carol gives him a small smile.

“Gotta be,” she answers.

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Daryl says that they need to start over, all of them, with each other. He looks at Carol. “You saved us, all by yourself.” Carol replies that they got lucky.

“We all should be dead,” she announces, dryly. They see a car, go to check it. It doesn’t start, and Carol goes around, pops the trunk, There seems to be some sort of generator, or back-up battery, or charger.

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As she does this, Daryl steps up, holding his water bottles, and leans in, telling her, “We’re not dead.  We can start over. Whatever happened back there, happened. We’ll start over.” He looks so open, sweet as he says this, and Carol seems disarmed by Daryl as well.

(At this point, I would have pretty much thrown myself into Daryl Dixon’s arms, sending the water bottles flying, sobbing, “It was so hard…hold me!”)

Carol says, simply, “I want to.”  Daryl is giving her such a soulful look, so open and sweet, says, “You can.”

Carol  looks away, faltering, then gets back to business. She presses the red button on the generator, and the dials spring up, presumably charging the car’s battery. Carol then says that they should leave the car as backup in case things go south at the church.

Daryl starts to ask if she wants him to carry one of her water bottles, but in gesturing towards her, drops one of his own gallons.  Carol smiles at him, as Daryl sheepishly rubs his eye, bends forward and picks up the bottle he has dropped.

Smiling still, Carol says, dryly, “No,” before they continue on.  Pretty adorable.

Meanwhile, in front of the gun store, Tara mentions that maybe these days, a gun store probably doesn’t have anything left on the shelves, and Maggie agrees that it doesn’t exactly look good.  They hear a crash from inside, and instinctively raise their guns. Glenn emerges from the store, a little spooked. At first he tries to say there was a walker in the store, but has to fess up that he merely tripped over a stack of boxes, and a mop.

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Tara and Maggie share a laugh, and Glenn deposits three silencers in Tara’s hand. They are shocked that he actually found anything, and Glenn replies, walking away, that,Rule number one in scavenging...there’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden.” These words seem to hit home with Tara, and she looks down, troubled.

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Meanwhile, Rick and the gang, led by Father Gabriel, have arrived at the food bank. Rick leads the group in, gun raised, and hears sloshing noises, and the telltale hiss and slaver of walkers.  He approaches a hole in the center of the floor, wrinkling his nose at the smell,  looks down, and sees grey, goopy walkers sloshing through chest-deep water in the cellar.

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Bob and Sasha approach, Bob attempting to cover his nose with the crook of his arm, remarking, “If a sewer could puke, this is what it would smell like.”  Michonne looks up and sees the holes in the ceiling, remarks that the water’s been coming in here for a while, and it’s “slimed this place up good.”  Yuck.

Sasha has the idea of using the shelves to block the walkers, because of course, where the fetid waters, and walkers, are, so is the food, sitting in sealed cans and jars on the shelves in the cellar.

Rick agrees that Sasha’s idea is the way. They must go down, and as they prepare to do so, Rick turns back to Gabriel, reminds him that “you’re coming with us.” Gabriel’s look says it all, but wisely, he doesn’t complain.

Once down in Hell’s Slimy Basement, the gang starts moving the shelving together, creating a barricade against the walkers, who reach and paw at them. There are many large cans of food on the shelves, so it is definitely worth it to be down there, but oh, god. So gross.

Great kill scenes, with grey goosh shooting out of the walker’s heads when Rick and the others stab them with their machetes, knives, through the shelving.

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Gabriel then sees, through the shelving, a once familiar face: Friends With Benefits Walker, who was once a cute church lady in cat-eye glasses, is sliming her way towards him, hissing and snarling.

Gabriel panics, splashing and slipping in his haste to get away, pulling the rotten wooden staircase into the water as he tries to scramble up the steps…in a last resort, Gabriel reaches back and drapes his arms out on a horizontal wooden beam behind him, looking like Christ on the cross.

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Miss me, sugar?

Miss me, sugar?

Awww...come on, don't be that way!

Awww…come on, don’t be that way!

Gabriel definitely has a flair for some dramatic posturing.

Gabriel definitely has a flair for some dramatic posturing.

Gimme a kiss. lover.

Gimme a kiss, lover.

Rick of course must go save Gabriel’s sniveling ass, and the others are forced to push the shelving barricade in front of them down, submerging the walkers, some dead now, some not, while Rick makes his way towards Gabriel and his full-on wack attack.

As the others grapple with the other water-walkers, Rick reaches Gabriel’s FWB Walker, grabs her by the back of her head, and smashes her goopy head into the wall, where it explodes apart in a sickening display.

Bob makes his way to a floating box of canned goods, smiling, until Halloween Store Skeleton Walker grabs him from under the water, pulling Bob under.  Sasha screams for Bob, lunging towards where he went under, and suddenly, Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker surge back up, the HSSW snapping its teeth at Bob.  Sasha ends up bashing its head in with the corner of a plastic container, before checking on Bob, who is shaken, but tells Sasha he’s ok.

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The scene between Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker wasn't really doing it for me...it kind of just looked like Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., who plays Bob, was just pretending to wrestle a...well, a Halloween store skeleton.

The scene between Bob and the Halloween Store Skeleton Walker wasn’t really doing it for me…it kind of just looked like Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., who plays Bob, was just pretending to wrestle  a Halloween store skeleton.

Sasha checks Bob over, as he tells her he's ok.

Sasha checks Bob over, as he tells her he’s ok. “I’m fine, now.”

As the gang wheels their haul of plastic container boxes of canned food on dollies back to the church, Gabriel apologizes to Rick for panicking back at the food bank. Rick looks at Gabriel, asks him if that woman walker back there was someone he knew before. Gabriel says nothing, and Rick narrows his eyes, says, “Yeah, I get it. You only tell your sins to God,” and walks away, leaving Gabriel speechless.

Later, Rick asks Michonne if she misses her sword. She replies that it wasn’t really hers to begin with. Rick asks her how she got so good with it, and she tells him that for a long time, it was just her, and them, and that’s all there was.  Michonne says that she isn’t sure what that time was, but it sure wasn’t living…not like now, she adds, smiling…chest-deep in slime, all for a haul of canned peas and carrots…now that’s living.

Rick laughs, a real laugh, at this, and I thought to myself, “Are they flirting?” I would really love that!

Carl has something to show his father, upon their return.  On the outside of the church, there are punctures, scratches in the wood and paint, as of someone was trying to pry their way in with a knife.

Did Gabriel lock himself in the church, closing its doors to the parishioners outside, refusing them refuge inside?

Did Gabriel lock himself in the church, closing its doors to the parishioners outside, refusing them refuge inside?

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Carl has something else to show Rick.”It doesn’t mean Gabriel is a bad guy, but it means something,” Carl says, as they take in the message carved into the side of the church: “You’ll burn for this.”

That night, our gang is enjoying a rare feast, complete with wine, and laughter.  Abraham has chosen this moment to bring home The Epic Speech: 

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“I’d like to propose a toast…I look around this room, and I see survivors.  Each and every single one of you has earned that title.” He raises his glass, “To the survivors!”

Glasses raise, voices call, “To the survivors!”

Abraham wipes his mouth, continues by asking, “Is that all you want to be? Wake up in the morning, fight the undead pricks, forage for food, go to sleep with two eyes open, rinse and repeat…cuz you can do that…you got the strength, you got the skill…the thing is, for you people, what you can do, is just surrender…for, when we get Eugene to Washington, he will make the dead die, and the living will have this world again, and that is not a bad takeaway for a little road trip.”

Carol, as Abraham says all this, is looking at the door.  Abraham asks Eugene what’s in D.C., and Eugene said it real fast, so I didn’t really get it, but the words “pandemic” and “infrastructure” came through.  Abraham translates for the group…walls, and protection, and however long it takes Eugene to flip the switch on this walker pandemic, the gang will be safe there, safer than they’ve been out here.

Abraham drives it home. “Come with us…save the world for that little one,” and all eyes, of course, go to Baby Judith, who is getting sleepy in her father’s arms.

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Baby Judith sits up and makes a sweet noise that sounds like, “Yeah!” and her father laughs, says, If she’s in, I’m in…We’re in!” 

Cheers and smiles follow this sweet pronouncement.  Bob’s eyes are soft as he looks at Sasha, with wine, and emotion, and love.  Sasha tells him that her brother isn’t going to be the only one who gets to hold that baby, Before she gets up, Bob pulls her back down, for “one more.”

They kiss (probably for the last time), and look at one another for a long moment, before Sasha goes to scoop up Judith and Bob shuffles off through the church, lost in his thoughts.

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Meanwhile, Tara has come over to sit beside Maggie.  Looking into Maggie’s face, Tara comes clean about being with the Governor’s army. She tells a shocked Maggie that she didn’t know who the Governor really was, or what he could do, and she certainly didn’t know Maggie and the rest of the group at the prison.

Tara tells Maggie she didn’t want it the be “hidden” any more, that she was with the Governor’s army, back at the prison.

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Being the angel goddess that she is, Maggie hugs Tara, tells her that “you’re with us now.”

Rick approaches Gabriel, who sits alone in a pew.  He thanks Gabriel for the hospitality, lightly remarks that he’s surprised that Gabriel didn’t drink all the communion wine, being holed up in the church, alone.  Gabriel replies that there is nobody around, any more, to take communion.  “The wine is just wine, until it’s blessed,” says Gabriel, before taking a big swig of it, straight from the bottle.

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Rick watches this, says softly, “You’re hiding something, and it’s pretty obvious it’s something you can’t hide from….that’s your business.  But these people, these people are my family, and if what you’re hiding hurts them in any way, I’ll kill you.”

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Meanwhile, Carol has found her way back to the car they had found earlier. It sounds like she has gotten it started, when a lone night walker lurches towards her. She steps forward and rekills the walker easily, then whirls at another noise.  It’s Daryl, looking majorly fine as he emerges from the darkness. He asks Carol what she’s doing, and Carol shakes her head, answers that she doesn’t know.

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Follow that car!

Suddenly, the screech of tires…Follow that car!

Suddenly, the roar of another car startles them, and they duck behind the Carol car to hide. Daryl stands when he recognizes…the black car, with the white cross painted on the rear window. Daryl runs to the Carol car, smashes out the real taillights.  “What are you doing?” cries Carol.  Daryl tells her “that’s the car, they got Beth! Come on!” And Daryl and Carol speed off after the dark funeral car, to get Beth. (Was not expecting that one! Could get interesting…)

Meanwhile, Bob is buzzed, outside, looking in the windows of the church, at his friends inside, happy, smiling. Then, he shuffles to a tree, leans heavily against it, and breaks down in tears.  And of course, behind him, comes the hunter, who bashes Bob’s head from behind, dropping him.

There was some speculation that Bob had actually gotten bitten in the Hellish Basement of Grey Goo Walkers by Halloween Store Skeleton Walker, but I do not think that is the case.  I think Bob was just buzzed, and feeling emotional, and thought he had a moment to indulge himself in a little drunken crying jag.  But, Bob thought wrong. So wrong.

I have a terrible habit, sometimes, of fussing at my kids when they come to me after getting hurt.  I clean their wound, kiss their boo-boo, but sometimes I get so freaked out when they get hurt that I kind of yell at them, like, “Sweetie, I’m so sorry that happened, but why were you running in the car port with the dog? She can trip you, and you can get hurt if you fall on the concrete! I’m so sorry sweetie, so sorry you got hurt…but you know you shouldn’t run on the carport!” 

I know, terrible, and even more terrible is that you now have to indulge me a moment while I act out this terrible parenting on Bob right now, because I am so freaked out that he is getting hurt: “Bob, you know that while you like to catch a good wine buzz, alcohol is not exactly your friend…you tend to get in trouble when you get a buzz on, you know that!  And if you needed to take a leak, fine, but then you go back inside, not stay outside, weaving and lurching and getting all weepy on a tree…nothing good can come from that, Bob! And now, they got you, and I’m so sorry that happened to you, but what were you thinking?

I am a terrible person, I know..truly a flawed human being.  I hate myself.

But what I hate, even more, is this:

Blurred, dazed, Bob’s perspective as he begins to blink awake…we see some dude, poking at the fire, and we see Shitty Martin, who Tyrese apparently did not kill, and then we see, and hear, Gareth.

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“Waking up…ahh, you’re back with us.  Good news is, you’re not dead yet. That’s a relief, right? Try not to read too much into the word ‘yet’ there, It’ll just drive you crazy, Bob.”

Bob looks around, the fear and  horror of what is happening sinking in as he looks, realizes, takes it in.  Gareth, meanwhile, crouches down beside Bob, tells Bob that he wants to “explain himself.”

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“We didn’t want to hurt you…before. We didn’t want to pull you away from your group, or scare you…these aren’t things that we want to do.  They’re things we gotta do. You and your people took away our home.  That’s fair play…now we’re out here like everybody else, trying to survive. And to do that, we have to hunt.”

Shots of the group, inside, talking, laughing, relaxing. Shot of Gabriel, looking down at a picture of himself and his special lady friend, before she became Friends With Benefits Walker.

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Gareth continues, “It didn’t start out that way…eating people. It evolved into that…we evolved. We had to.  And now, we’ve devolved into hunters. I told you, I said it, ‘You can’t go back, Bob.'” Gareth wags his finger at Bob, then smirks at him. “I just hope you understand, that nothing happening to you now is personal.. Yeah, you put us in a situation, and it’s kind of a cosmic justice for it to be you…but, we would have done this to anybody. We will.”

Gareth looks off for a moment, saying this, “At the end of the day, as much as we hate all this ugly business, a man’s gotta eat.” And the camera pans back, and Bob looks down at where his left leg used to be, and is now only a bloody, bandanged stump. Bob starts to hyperventilate, as Gareth holds up a finger, and after taking a bite of meat, says,

“If it makes you feel any better, you taste a lot better than we thought you would.”

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And we, and Bob see, the group around the fire, quietly eating meat that has come from Bob’s leg, which is shown burning on the grate over the fire.

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Dude, even the Gov’s like…

They eat people? Man, that's fucked up.

They’re eating his leg?? Man…that’s fucked up.

Due to technical and emotional setbacks, and due to the fact that there was a lot of life happening in between the bouts of writing this post, this post is super late, for which I apologize. The playlist, as I said, is pretty great, as some of my faves are in it for sure, and even though Gareth is the damn Cutter, I will not let him be a song ruiner for what may be my favorite Echo and the Bunnymen song.

You may have gotten Bob’s leg, Gareth, but you don’t get the song!

 Playlist:

The Temper Trap, “Sweet Dispostition” (for Bob and Sasha <3)

Radiohead, “Optimistic” (and for our sweet gang..)

Mastodon, “Aqua Dementis” (for all the fugly water walkers…poor Sweet Walker Pete’s prolly not looking too good these days, either)

Lykke Li , “Possibility” (Bob, I am so sorry, man. 😦 )

Echo and the Bunnymen, “The Cutter”  (Ok,..dammit, Gareth, I probably am going to think of you now every time I hear this song….but I’m still gonna love it.  Maybe even more so…damn you.)

A Flock of Seagulls, “Space Age Love Song,”  (for Sasha and Bob) 

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 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)

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

“After”

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

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

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

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

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

The Stella does  help, some.

“After”

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

My WD buddy remarked,

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

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

R.I.P. Gov, you dick.

R.I.P. Gov, you dick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is what it becomes:

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

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

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

And the horrible moment when the baby is gone…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who is it?” asks Carl.

“It’s for you, ” laughs Rick.

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

Playlist:

The Offspring, Gone Away

The Smiths,  How Soon Is Now?

Fleetwood Mac,  Landslide

Alice in Chains,  No Excuses

Season 4, Episode 8, “Too Far Gone”

“Too Far Gone”

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

Well, people, here we are already…the mid-season finale…I am not sure who, where, or whence the ol’ mid-season finale concept came, but I, for one, am grateful for the idea.  I am too busy in a million different ways to be able keep a boner going for any show, no matter how awesome, for 16 weeks in a row…especially through the holiday season. The Walking Dead would have had pretty much one of the best shots at keeping me going for a straight 16-weekerbut it would have cost me.

I would have rallied, but it might not have been pretty at the end.

So, thank you,  genius of television who came up with the mid-season break idea…for saving our collective sanity, and giving us something to look forward to in the last part of dreary winter, the January/February slump, where the weather is cold and grey, and there are no real breaks or holidays except Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day…and sorry, but in my experience, those two “holidays” are never really as fun as they could be.

However, Season 4, for me, as been a pretty epic one, more fun than I could have imagined.  For one, it’s been the “coming out” season of barnfullawalkers, and despite the long hours of writing, rewriting, sleep deprivation, and technical difficulties that have come with this endeavor, it’s been a super rewarding adventure to start this blog and write about The Walking Dead. My WD buddy and I agree that Season 4 has been one of our favorites so far, on many levels.

I personally have enjoyed where Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero, and the entire gang of WD have taken us in the story line of this season, and I like how dark elements and characters of the comic series have been woven back into the television series. For me, the writing team has done a masterful job of maneuvering the scope of these dark times while still keeping love, hope, and humanity alive in key characters…and it seems the actors have been inspired by such a high level of writing by the haunting performances that all of the key actors have delivered so far in Season 4.  For some actors, these performances were their final ones for the series, and mad props need to be given to:  David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Jose Pablo Cantillo for wrenching our hearts and guts all over the floor…and to the actor that played Red Shirt Walker, who rolled over from his prison cot and spilled his guts all over the floor…mad props to that guy.

I also must give mad props to Melissa McBride, who plays Carol, gone but not forgotten…I will add another level to the ongoing Carol Theory, and say the I feel that we will definitely be seeing Carol again, perhaps in some leadership capacity elsewhere, where the bounds of morality are based more on brute survival than human compassion…but we shall see, won’t we?

I have also enjoyed, in Season 4, the addition of music from different musical artists, blending with the ongoing genius of Bear McCreary, to create a soundtrack for each episode.  I have read and heard various interviews with the actors of The Walking Dead where they said that they used music to prepare for, inspire, and come down from key scenes and performances throughout the series. For me, it just makes sense…music and The Walking Dead just go together.

Ok, enough preamble…let’s get to it, shall we? I’m not really going to get all recappy with this one…if you are reading this, you know what the fuck happened.  But we have definitely got some shit to hash out here, tears to cry…memories to share.

“Too Far Gone”

I was pretty curious how the Gov was going to spring his evil plan to the RV gang, and so I enjoyed listening to the Gov’s rallying speech at the beginning of Episode 8.  And, true to form for Season 4, the beginning was double-layered, with two scenes interposed, serving to turn the plot gears at double speed and getting the viewers right in there, and I, for one, am loving it.

In this episode, the Gov’s speech scene was interposed with the scene of him ambushing Hershel and Michonne in the woods… For me, it was super-pimp the way the Gov popped Michonne with the butt of his gun, dropping her, then with a single turn of the wrist, pointed the gun straight and true at Hershel, who knew he was bested…so poor Hershel just set down his gun and put his hands up, like, “Dude, sucks to see you, but that shit was pretty Bruce Lee, right there…why the fuck can’t you be on our side, again?” (Don’t get me wrong…I am Team Prison all the way, but I just have to throw some admiration at the Gov’s style of kung-fu.)

And then, in inimitable Gov fashion, we see how “Brian Heriot” turns on his unique charm to sell the RV gang on the hostile prison takeover, twisting their emotions and the facts to achieve his nefarious scheme. “I want you to survive,” he tells them…calls the peeps of the prison the ones that destroyed Woodbury, took his eye, killed his daughter. Damn, what a storyteller…he’s good, that Gov.

And I love how he just throws in there, at the end of his initial pitch:  Oh, and btw, I just happened to capture two hostages…not that I’ve ever TAKEN hostages before, because, you know, that would be weird…I just was thinking that a couple of hostages would be a good bargaining chip for my peaceful hostile takeover plan, you know, the one where nobody gets hurt, and they leave gladly, and we live in peace and harmony at the prison for ever after…and we need to do this, like now, or we’ll lose the element of surprise and they’ll notice that their buddies are gone…not that I’ve ever done this before!

The Gov plays their emotions and fears, and before they know it, the group is nodding and agreeing to his plan…all except Lilly, who has overheard the Gov’s pitch and is not having it…girlfriend’s got her arms crossed and looks pretty pissed.  When Lilly calls him out, the Gov throw out all the stops, telling her the only judgement he cares about is that she and Megan are alive and breathing…then, the Gov throws in a, “I love you,” for a good measure Hail Mary pass.  

Lilly replies, “I don’t know who you are.”  Get used to it, girlfriend…that’s life with the Governor!

The scene with Hershel, Michonne, and the Gov in the RV, with Hard Pass Mitch standing guard outside, is pretty crazy.  I love how Hershel calls the Gov out when the Gov tells them that nobody is going to hurt them…”I don’t believe that” says Hershel.

In response to this, the Gov avoids looking at Hershel and Michonne by pretending to pack up some battle snacks for later. “Well, I don’t care,” he replies.  When pressed by Hershel to please explain what is going on, the Gov tells them that he needs the prison, nothing personal, and that he needs them to help him get it as peacefully as possible, without anyone getting hurt if it can be avoided.

It’s hard for me to know if the Governor is actually believing any of this story he’s telling at this point…is he just sugar-coating it, rationalizing it, to those around him to make them do what he wants them to do, or is he really telling himself this story, over and over, so he can believe that he really is the good guy in this “peaceful hostile takeover” scenario he’s cooked up?

When Hershel proposes that the two groups can find a way to coexist at the prison, peacefully, the Governor resists, acknowledging that Hershel is a “good man, better than Rick.” Hershel points out that it seems the Governor has changed, and tells him that Rick has changed as well…the Governor stops him right there, tells him there is no way that Rick and he, or he and Michonne, can live together in the same community.

When Hershel presses, the Governor snaps, then recovers his poise, telling them there’s many ways he can do this, and this way, “You get to live, and I get to be…” 

The Gov never finishes that thought, seeming to get lost in the question of it.  Who could he really be, when it’s all said and done? Could he do it differently this time, or would things progress the way they did with Woodbury?  Things are already getting pretty fucked up as it stands.

Hershel asks the Governor, “If you understand what it’s like to have a daughter, then how can you be willing to kill someone else’s?”  The Gov replies, “Because they aren’t mine,” and exits the RV.

The Governor has the RV’s moved to the water’s edge, assuring Lilly that they will be safe there, as the walkers cannot cross the river…he doesn’t really focus on teaching Lilly, Megan or those who stay behind at the camp the basics for defending themselves while he and his Makeshift Army 2.0 go to battle “peacefully” for the prison…instead, he makes a show of giving Megan, who is making mud pies, unsupervised, by the water’s edge (and the bushes’ edge…how is that a good idea?) a big goodbye hug, and that proves to be a fatal lapse in judgement for the Governor…and little Megan.

Back at the prison, poor Glenn is still looking pretty green, not quite recovered from the Explodey Flu…but he manages to laugh with Maggie and joke about needing a vacation…meanwhile, Rick is having the dreaded Daryl Conversation, and Daryl takes it as well as can be expected, which is not very well, at first…he’s pissed, he’s pacing, he doesn’t believe that Carol would kill those people…Rick seems to convince him, because when Rick tells Daryl he still needs to tell Tyrese all of this, and that he’s not sure how Tyrese is going to take it, Daryl says right away, “Let’s go find out.”

Like I said before, Daryl understands dude code better than anyone else…he isn’t happy with Rick’s decision, but he will not let Rick go have The Tyrese Conversation without a second to back him up if Tyrese goes apeshit at Rick’s news.

They find Tyrese down in a darkened hallway…and he’s got some news for them…he shows them the creepy mutilated rabbit and brain art that some fucked up person is making…he thinks that whoever killed Karen and David is the same “psychopath” who made the rabbit and brain painting and who was feeding rats to the walkers…Rick begins to tell Tyrese that he doesn’t think it’s the same person, and when Tyrese asks why, they are (saved by?) interrupted by a huge explosion.

Cue the pulsing Bear McCreary music…and here he is, ambassador for peace, standing atop a tank: the Governor, flanked by his Makeshift Army 2.0, calling for Rick to come down and “talk.”

God, Rick is so hot when he bellows back that it’s not up to him, there’s a council now….the way Rick handles himself in this crisis just ups his hotness index by like a thousand degrees, if that is even possible.  The Gov is all silky and slithery as he asks, “Is Hershel on the council? What about Michonne?” and his minions trot out the hostages and force them onto their knees, for Team Prison to see.

When Rick asserts that he doesn’t make all the decisions any more, the Governor tells him that he, Rick, will be making the decisions today…”So come down here, and let’s have that talk.”

Rick quietly nods to Daryl, checks in with Carl, before going to face the Governor, the Gov’s tank, and his army, armed with only a pistol…like the lone hero in a cowboy movie…so freaking hot…Daryl’s making plans with Sasha and Tyrese to get everyone on the bus, to make their escape.

Rick tries to reason with the Governor, telling them there are sick children at the prison who would not survive leaving…to no avail…the Governor is being the dick with the tank and giving them until nightfall to leave.

Back at the RV camp, Lilly sees a walker making its way pretty easily so far across the water…then he goes down…Megan pulls up a flash flood area sign from the mud, and unearths a walker who was buried under the sticky mud and sign…it grabs for her, and before Lilly can get to her, poor Megan gets chomped:

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Poor Megan!

Poor Megan! My WD buddy texted me, The Gov sucks at protecting his girls…he’s gonna go batshit now..

Back at the not-so-peaceful takeover, Rick delivers his epic speech: “We can all…we can all live together. There’s enough room for all of us.” The Gov pipes in that he doesn’t think “his family” would sleep very well with Rick and the prison gang under the same roof, as they (mistakenly) believe that Rick and the gang are the bad guys, not the Gov.  Rick counters that the two groups could live in different cell blocks, that they wouldn’t even need to see each other.  Hershel turns and backs Rick up by telling the Governor, “It could work…you know it could.”

The Gov is being a big baby about it, and the camera focuses on Michonne’s face as he says he can’t, not after Woodbury, not after Andrea.

Michonne is so hating him, and right now, so am I. The Governor tortured and killed Andrea, deliberately and maliciously, and Rick and the gang were just rescuing their people.  Rick is too gracious to bring this up, saying instead that it would be hard, a lot harder to make it work than to go to battle, but that there is no other choice. Rick says they will not leave without a battle, a battle that would draw the walkers and tear down the fences, making the prison worthless.

The Governor then jumps down from the tank and seizes Michonne’s katana, holds it to Hershel’s neck.  Hershel looks unafraid.  Rick points to Tara, asks her if this is what she wants, if this is what any of them want. Hard Pass informs him that what they want is what he’s got, and it’s “time to leave, asshole.”  Nice, Hard Pass. Way to turn on the charm and the diplomacy.

Rick counters that he has fought the Governor before, and after the fight, former residents of Woodbury and compatriots of the Governor were welcomed into the prison community, where they became leaders.  Rick invites them to put down their weapons, to walk through the gates of the prison, and become “one of us.”

Rick looks right at the Governor, who is still holding the sword to Hershel’s neck, but who seems uncertain now.

“We can let go of all of it,” Rick tells the Gov, swiping the air with his arm as if wiping a slate clean, “and nobody dies…everyone’s alive right now…everyone’s made it this far…we’ve all done worse kinds of things, just to stay alive…but we can still come back…we’re not too far gone…we get to come back…I know we all can change.”

The Gov lets the sword down for a moment…Hershel smiles at Rick, proud and happy to hear Rick speak of love and forgiveness instead of dwelling in fear and uncertainty, as he had before.

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The Governor, no doubt overcome with hatred for yet another Hero Brother, whispers, “Liar,” and slices Michonne’s katana into poor Hershel’s neck. Maggie and Beth scream, and Rick screams, “No!” and fires…and Battle Royale has begun.

As Battle Royale begins to rage, Michonne manages to sneak away, cutting ropes that bind her wrists after tripping an enemy soldier and stomping his face.

The Governor catches up with Hershel and finishes the job, badly, hacking away at Hershel’s neck until his head is severed.  He then looks up to see Lilly, bearing her daughter, Megan’s, body.  The Governor takes Megan’s body and rekills Megan with a shot to the head. Tara cannot bear to fight, dropping her gun and covering her ears, despite Hard Pass’s orders to pick up her weapon and fight.  Alisha tells Tara to run somewhere safe, and after the battle is over, Alisha will come and find her.

The Governor is in full kill mode, ordering the tank and trucks to run the fence down. “Kill them all,” he orders.  “Roger that!” yells Hard Pass, waving his shitty hat in circles above his head… it’s his big dick moment. He puts throws tank in gear and proceeds to mow down the prison fences. Tyrese orders Sasha and Bob back, and Maggie orders Beth to get the others in the bus.

“We all have a job to do,” Maggie reminds Beth. (Hershel! 😦 We love you!)

Maggie runs into the prison to get Glenn, brings him to the bus, then runs to find Beth, who has disappeared. Rick tackles the Governor, and they commence with a western saloon-style beatdown, which the Gov almost wins, until:

Enter Michonne, saving Rick and finally getting to kill the Gov's ass

Enter Michonne, saving Rick and finally getting to kill the Gov’s ass, katana-style!

Lizzy proves that she is Carol’s daughter when she saves Tyrese by killing some unnamed minion, then killing a shocked Alisha, putting a bullet right between her eyes:

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Daryl pulls off a sweet maneuver, deftly slipping a grenade into the gun barrel of the tank (while using a dead walker as a shield). He kills Hard Pass with an arrow to the chest before grabbing Beth and hauling ass away from the prison, which is becoming overrun with walkers.

Unfortunately, Lizzy and Mika forgot about poor baby Judith…after Rick and Carl find each other, they make the horrible discovery of Baby Judith’s car seat, soaked in blood, with Judith nowhere to be found.  Anguished, Rick and Carl run for the hills, with Rick advising Carl not to look back.

As walkers overrun the prison grounds, the group is splintered into factions as they flee the prison for their lives.  As the Governor lay gasping, we see Lilly come to take her revenge:

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And we see a familiar face from the past:

Creepy Clara Walker...I knew we would see her again!

Creepy Clara Walker... I knew we would see her again!

So, there we have it…the prison is gone, the gang is gone, and some beloved characters have gone. So, here’s a little something to help cheer you up…enjoy!

(After this mid-season finale post, I plan to expand to social media with barnfullawalkers, and to keep posting, starting with the Episodes Gone Bye  where we rewatch and revisit the entire WD journey thus far, starting with Season 1, Episode 1, “Days Gone Bye.”  In addition, I will watch and post on all the Walking Dead webisodes, which, if you haven’t seen them, are like creepy little vignettes that are essential to getting the full  scope of the Walking Dead story….so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!)

Playlist:

Weezer, “Say it Ain’t So”

Nirvana, “Oh Me” (for Rick)

Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (for the Gov)

The Dexateens, “Still Gone” (for Judith, Carol, Megan, Alisha)

The Queens of the Stone Age, “Mexicola” 

Radical Face, “Welcome Home, Son” (for Hershel <3)

Walking Dead, Season 4, Ep.4, “Indifference”

“Indifference”

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

Sorry this post is late…I have been under the weather but am on the mend!

I ended last week’s post with the question:

What advice would Hershel give to Marilyn Manson, after his wasted debacle on last week’s Talking Dead ?

Here’s my entry:

“Son, after watching your guest spot last week on Talking Dead, I could only assume that you were under the influence of various intoxicants…Judging from your incoherent ramblings, your inability to modify your actions in response to the negative verbal and non-verbal cues your host and fellow guests were giving you, and the general bloatedness and puffiness of your face, I would guess that you have been self-medicating with a combination of alcohol and pills for some time now.

Now, son, we all have a job to do in this life, and it appears that your job is to clean up your act.  First, I would advise that you send Chris Hardwick, Gale Ann Hurd and Jack Osbourne each a note of apology with a dozen black roses or whatever you see fit to extend as an act of contrition…Next, I would advise you to seek out an excellent rehabilitation facility that would assist you in getting sober and book yourself an extended stay in that facility and get clean of all drugs and alcohol.

Finally, I would advise you to go on sabbatical and immerse yourself in some sort of combination of exercise and meditation, like an extended yoga retreat…you will need something that rebuilds your body, mind, and spirit while diverting your attention away from your former chemical activities.  

After you get lean and clean, focus your considerable energy, talent, and intellect on your art and music, and put out a groundbreaking comeback album. It’s not going to be easy, but just remember: you are Marilyn Manson, for God’s sakes! You were doing the casual, everyday zombie look before anyone else jumped on that bandwagon…Godspeed, son, and the best of luck to you.”

How did I do?

(For a detailed look at some of MM’s weird and irrelevant ramblings on last week’s TD, check out):

shttp://comicbook.com/blog/2013/10/28/what-marilyn-manson-said-on-talking-dead-about-walking-dead/

So, when we left off last week, Hershel was ministering to the sick in Cell Block Die and probably infecting himself in the process; Daryl, Michonne, Bob, and Tyrese were making their way through 7500+ walkers to get to the vet school in a desperate search for life-saving antibiotics; Glenn and Sasha were among those infected with the explodey flu, and Carol just fessed up to Rick that she indeed was the perp who killed Karen and David, dragged their bodies outside, and burned them.

Oh, and there was a mysterious transmission on the car radio telling survivors about some “sanctuary” somewhere…but we know that the promise of “sanctuary” in post-zombie apocalyptic times seems to come with a steep price. All in all, many game-changing plot lines are in the works in Season 4.

“Indifference”

Opening scene of Rick bandaging up his injured hand and making preparations to go on a food and medicine run with Carol, while Carol goes to the visiting area to check in with Lizzy and say her goodbyes.  There is a great shot of Carol looking down at the knife in her hand, the one that she killed Karen and David with, as Lizzy approaches the glass partition. The exchange between Carol and Lizzy is profound and rich in foreboding.

“Nobody’s died yet,” Lizzy says. “Yet?” asks Carol. “I think a lot of people are going to die,” Lizzy replies. “It’s what always happens…It makes me sad, but at least they get to come back.”  As walkers, that is.  Carol tells Lizzy that if people come back as walkers, they are not the same as they were.  “Yeah,” Lizzy agrees, “but they’re something, they’re someone.”  Lizzy continues, “I know now, if I don’t die, I’ll get big, but I’ll be different…that’s how it is….we all change…we all don’t get to stay the same as when we started.”

Carol reviews with Lizzy what to do if she runs into danger…run as fast as she can, run until she is safe, and don’t be afraid to kill. “If it’s your life, or your sister’s life, don’t be afraid to kill..understand? You, your sister, and me, we are going to survive…I know it.” Carol then asks Lizzy where her knife is, and during the knife check, Lizzy slips and calls Carol “Mom.”

Carol puts the kibosh on that right away.“Don’t call me that.”  Lizzy nods to show she understands.  She is learning fast…keep a knife on you, don’t get too chummy with anyone, and don’t be afraid to kill if needed…got it, Don’t-Call-Me-Mom-NewMom!

During Carol and Lizzy’s exchange, there is a montage of Rick going through Karen and David’s cell areas, imagining Carol killing them with her knife and dragging out their bodies. Out at the car, he checks through the wrapped knife collection and sees one missing: Carol’s knife.  Rick’s face is grim…we have seen this look before…he is mulling everything over in his mind, and deciding on a future course of action…and looking majorly hot in the process.

Back inside the visiting area, Lizzy says, “I am not afraid to kill…I am just afraid.” “You can’t be,” says Carol.  Lizzy tears up at this. “How?” she asks Carol.  Carol’s answer is simple and immediate,”You fight it…you don’t give up, and then one day, you change…we all change.” 

In the woods, Tyrese is washing the blood out of his shirt in a stream…Bob calls to him to get a move on, but Tyrese seems resistant to rejoin the others in their quest to find nearby town and a new vehicle. He seems to be giving up…”My sister, the others, they are probably dead by now.” (Yes, I know now that Sasha and Tyrese were never together…she’s his sassy little sister by the same mister.)

There is some major tension in the Rick and Carol car…Carol is trying to justify her actions...Karen and David were sick, going to choke on their own blood, she was making it quicker and easier for them, blah blah blah.  Rick’s face is stony; he doesn’t reply. Carol keeps on, “I was trying to save lives…somebody had to.” Rick sounds hoarse as he replies, “Maybe.”

It took me a few watches to catch the exchange between Daryl and Michonne on the trail, when Daryl picks up the piece of jasper.  Michonne is super cute with her smile when she tells Daryl the jasper brings out his eyes…we are seeing her softer side more and more.

Daryl tells Michonne that he is bringing the rock home for Mrs. Richards in Cell Block A, that she had asked him to keep a look out for something to mark her husband’s grave.

Michonne seems surprised that Daryl knows all of the residents at the prison. “You stick around long enough, “ Daryl replies, “you’d be surprised what you can pick up.” Oooo, a subtle dig at Michonne for going off on her solo reconnaissance missions instead of connecting with her prison community.

Rick and Carol pull up to a neighborhood.  Rick sees a station wagon in good shape, keys still inside, loaded with goods.  He checks it out…we can practically see the wheels turning inside his head.  Carol seems uneasy, like she knows something is up…

She reviews the mission with Rick…in and out, get food and medicine to buy time and get needed goods until Daryl and the rest return.

Great scene at the abandoned, overgrown gas station…the numbers displaying the price of gas on the marquee are upside down, spelling, “hell.”  Daryl spies a car beneath the underbrush of a felled tree, fails to hotwire it, and tells the rest to clear a path in the overgrowth so they can get into the station for another, usable battery. Tyrese is furiously hacking at the vines, despite Daryl’s telling him to “go easy.”

Suddenly,  a walker’s arm grabs at Daryl…Michonne hacks the walker’s arm off, then Daryl knifes the walker in the head (making the “Kill of the Week” on Talking Dead). Michonne pulls off sweet decapitation of Bob’s walker with an upswing of the sword, sending the walker’s head rolling.

Tyrese, however, will not let go of his brush walker, and it ends up on top of him.  Bob shoots it through the head. Michonne turns to Tyrese, demands, “Why the hell didn’t you let go?”

Inside one of the homes, Rick looking through a medicine cabinet…a walker in pajamas appears at the top of the stairs and topples down. (Note to self: walkers cannot seem to negotiate walking down a stairway…good to know.)

Rick calls out a warning to Carol, pulls her out of the way…Carol recovers from her “whuuh?” moment, pulls out her trusty knife and thrusts it in the walker’s skull. (Rick seems creeped out as he notes her technique…it is how he imagined her doing it when she dispatched Karen in her cell.)

A scuffle and a creak of a door upstairs startles Rick and Carol. Rick draws his gun, aims at the stairway, and two hippie kids appear at the top of the stairs, holding out fruit as a peace offering, “Apricot? Peaches?”

Sam and Anna. At first, I didn’t know if I could trust them. This show does that to us by now, doesn’t it? We don’t trust anyone from outside the prison group.

But, as the episode progresses, we see that we, like the characters, are being faced with the reality…the fences aren’t going to hold forever, and the illness inside the prison may drive the group out and into the world beyond the fences. The outside world keeps making its way in.

But, Sam and Anna are adorable.  And funny. Their story totally checks out.

They were looking for a place to “crash” after getting separated from their group. They first found a greenhouse full of fruiting trees and were there a day before the “skin-eaters” found them. (Sam actually then calls them “killjoys”… two of my new favorite names for walkers.)

Sam and Anna ended up at the house before the “deadie in the pj’s” (ha!) surprised them, forcing them to lock themselves in the bathroom until being found by Rick and Carol.  Both of them are injured, Sam’s shoulder and Anna’s leg, which was broken when she got trampled by a panicked crowd running from a fire. It has healed funny, with Anna’s foot turned inward.

Carol assesses Sam’s shoulder, tells him, “It’s dislocated.”

Carol has Sam lie on the table and puts his shoulder back into socket.  It’s actually pretty badass, the way she sets it. Even Rick looks pretty impressed.

When the kids ask Rick and Carol what their setup is like, Rick evades the question, asks in return the first of his three questions, “How many have you killed?” Poor Rick, always having to be the heavy…the man just wanted to be a farmer, people!

I got this pic of Sam and Anna with my phone…sorry so flashy, but it makes it a little dreamy, just like them:

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Cute + cute = adorable! 

Back at the gas station, Michonne and Tyrese are chopping away the vines entangling the car they found. While they hack away at the vines, Michonne gives Tyrese the biz: “Anger leads to stupid, stupid gets you killed.”

Tyrese asks her if she is still angry at the Governor…she says she isn’t, but can’t seem to give a reason otherwise as to why she has been out looking for him.

Meanwhile, Bob and Daryl discover that the family inside the mom & pop gas station committed suicide, “holding hands, kumbaya-style.”

As we have seen in previous episodes, Daryl has no tolerance for those who opted for suicide as a way out of the zombie apocalypse, dismissing the family as “douchebags.” Bob wonders at this, and Daryl replies, “They could have gotten out.”

Bob replies, “Everybody makes it, until they don’t.”  He finds some pictures of the family in better times, arm in arm, drinking beers, laughing and smiling. tacked on the bulletin board. Upon leaving, Bob does Pop Walker a solid and drives a screwdriver (holding the Men’s room key) through his brain for a mercy rekill.

Back at the pajama walker’s house, Sam and Anna are wanting to know if they have passed Rick’s test and if they can come back to the prison with him and Carol. Rick and Carol tell them that the prison where they are staying is overrun with illness…people have died, including kids.

Anna asks Carol if any of the kids who have died were hers. Carol quickly says, “Nothank God, making no mention of having lost her daughter, Sophia, in the past. Rick shoots Carol a look as she continues, “One of my girls, she’s got it…but she’s strong..she’s gonna make it.”

Carol is becoming more and more adept at rewriting the past and penning a whole new life story for herself.

When Sam and Anna offer their help in any way, Rick tells them to sit tight in the house while he and Carol finish their sweep of the neighborhood, but Carol is quick to suggest that the kids help comb the neighborhood for supplies.  Rick is hesitant, as both Sam and Anna are injured, but the kids are eager to contribute.

Sam assures him if things look clear, they’ll go in, but if not, they will hang back. Rick reluctantly assents, handing Sam and Anna each a handgun and telling them, “Fire a shot, and we’ll come running.” The group agrees to meet back at the house in two hours.

Rick takes his watch off and hands it to Sam. “You’ll need this,” he tells him. Such a sweet hero.

Crazy Carol has already walked away at this point…that’s cold, Crazy Carol, real cold.

While Daryl works on the car, he asks Bob about the group he had been with before Daryl picked him up.  The guys have found some cigarettes, and they are having a smoke and a chat. In response to Daryl’s question, Bob exhales, asks dryly, “Which one?”

Bob then tells Daryl he had almost kept walking when Daryl found him on the side of the road. He didn’t want to watch another group die. Bob had been with two other groups before, always being “witness” to seeing them die, always being “the last man standing.”

Bob fesses up to Daryl that he had gone on the store run to get a “bottle of anything.” He tells Daryl he had reached for, then put back, a bottle at the store when he pulled down the entire shelf, attracting the attention of the walkers and getting Zack killed in the process.

After Bob unburdens himself and fesses up to Daryl about his cursed past, Daryl regards him for a moment before saying, ‘grette still in mouth, “Bullshit.”

Daryl then steps back from the battery he has just installed, and sends Bob to put the green and red wires together in the car, to try to start it. Bob fires up the engine, and Daryl whistles for the others to come, turns to Bob and tells him he’s not alone any more.

Daryl looks superfine in this scene, like the coolest dude in the world, smoking, working on the car, being way cool to poor, cursed Bob.

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The first exchange between Carol and Rick, in another house, is an intense back and forth… Carol finally walks up to Rick and asks him why he hasn’t said anything about her killing two people.

“What do you want me to say?” he asks. Carol makes some shitty farmer digs at Rick, grudgingly gives him credit for being a “better” leader than she gave him credit for.

“At least I didn’t kill two of our own, “ Rick replies. “Just one,” counters Carol.  (Oh, no she DIDN’T!)

The group reaches the vet school, and sneaky Bob sees the top of a bottle peeking out from under some books. Oh, crap…that’s never good!  Michonne almost busts him, and Bob hurries to catch up with her.

Carol and Rick in a back yard, harvesting tomatoes, Rick asks Carol how she learned to put a shoulder back in. “The internet,” answers Carol. “It was easier than telling an ER nurse I fell down the stairs a third time.”

Rick’s face registers the sadness of this, says simply, “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” says Carol. “Just fixed what needed fixing.”  That has been the reality of Carol’s life, even before the days of walker apocalypse, from her days of being worked over by Ed.  It says a lot about her motivation, why she does the things she does.

While harvesting, Rick and Carol share stories, Carol telling about her stupid life with Ed, Rick telling about Lori’s terrible Sunday pancakes…it is a really profound scene, and a really sad one.

We see all through this episode the pros and cons of Carol, and there are many pros to her.  She is one of the original crew, and she has proven herself to be a very useful, key player to the group, time and time again.  Carol, to me, is a very matriarchal figure, the eldest female who has actually been a mother. She teaches the children, she takes in the orphan girls. There is a lot I love about Carol, but she is on a one-way ticket to Crazytown, and she is exhibiting more and more signs that she is losing her humanity along the way.

Still crouched at the tomatoes, Rick turns to Carol and asks, “Why don’t you say her name? referring, of course, to Sophia, Carol’s real daughter, who got lost in the woods and eventually became a walker.

Carol sits back and regards Rick, with a look like, why don’t you get it?

“She’s dead, Rick. Sophia. Ed.” Carol pauses, then says, “It’s somebody else’s slideshow.”

Then, Rick sees the basket of fruit on the ground,  and then a flattened trail of blood on the grass, leading to a gate, which is propped a crack open by poor Anna’s disembodied gimpy foot.  Across the street, two walkers are feasting on Anna’s torn apart body.

A great shot of Rick, and Carol, as they watch and process this. Rick’s face shows sorrow, and I think, anger.  Those kids were hurt, and naive, without the basic skills to defend themselves.  They should never have left that house, and Anna’s tragic outcome is proof of that, and Rick knows it.

And, it was Carol’s idea to send them out there, hurt and unable to defend themselves or each other.

And Carol knows it too, but her face is different.  Her face, as she watches the gory scene, is like, “I knew it.”  And in that moment, Carol dismisses Anna altogether.  “We should get back,” she says, turning to go. “Sam will probably be back by now.”

And Rick’s face when she says that…I think that in that instant, he made up his mind about Carol.

As I rewatched this episode, I began to see more of Rick’s process of observation, gathering information, going with the evidence shown, and going with his gut instincts.

Rick sees everything, and he feels everything, and he’s been a cop long enough to take the time it needs to figure it out…and when he does, he knows it, right then, right there.

And in that moment, at the gate, when Carol said that cold and shitty thing, that was the moment, my friends, that Rick Grimes decided what he needed to do about Crazy Carol.

Team Rick! Team Rick! Team Rick!  Oh…sorry…got carried away there…but my best WD buddy and I def agreed that we were Team Rick all the way.

Back at the vet school, the gang has found the stash of meds, Bob instructs them to find anything that ends with “cillin” and talks about crushing the meds in iv’s to get the medicine into the sick people’s bloodstream sooner.

I was liking this side of Bob…then the gang runs into the Vet School Walkers, a portion of which seem to be exhibiting the signs of having died from the Explodey Flu.

Bob warns the gang away from trying to fight through those walkers, as getting their blood on them may infect them with the flu.  Astute, quick thinking, Bob…so the gang busts through the chainlocked double doors and takes another walker group head-on, so badass.

Back to Carol and Rick, waiting for Sam. Carol is playing the “wrap it up” music and ready to jet. She says, “He’s not here, and it’s time to go.” She looks down at Rick’s bare wrist. “It was a nice watch.”

Oh, man, the scene where Bob almost loses his bag over the ledge and endangers them all, clinging to it, not letting go of the bag even with a horde of walkers almost pulling him and his comrades down as they try desperately to pull him, and the bag, back up to safety…

They succeed, barely, and when the bag lands, the telltale clank from inside gives away Bob’s secret…he almost risked all their lives for a bottle of whiskey, not a bag full of meds. Daryl is pissed!  “Got no meds in your bag, just this? You should have kept walking that day.”

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Ok, now I feel bad for Bob…I know he was just trying to sneak a secret buzz, but to almost take down the group for it is cray.  He is now on Daryl’s shit list. Daryl looks smokin’ hot bowing up on Bob like that…even Chris Hardwick got all flustered talking about that scene. I love Chris Hardwick’s man crushes…he crushes on the same dudes I do!

It is now time for Rick to dump Carol.  They are loading up the car, and Carol is ready to go in the shotgun seat.  But the door is locked.  Rick speaks up, “They might have lived. Karen and David, they might have lived…and now they’re dead. That wasn’t your decision to make.”

Rick continues to tell Carol that when Tyrese finds out what she did, he will kill her. “He damn near killed me over nothing.” Rick continues telling Carol that the others, when they find out, won’t want her there, and if it came down to just him, Carol, and his children, he wouldn’t want her there.

Crazy Carol is getting DUMPED, people, voted off the island in Walker Survivor.

Carol knows it…”Rick, it’s me…nobody has to know.”

Carol protests that she was stepping up and doing what needed to be done…she tries to work the Lizzy and Mika angle, but Rick shuts her down on that one, asking her if she really would take them away from the prison, with Lizzy being sick and Mika being only 10 years old.

Then, Rick gives Carol a consolation speech (“You are not the same woman who was too afraid to take care of herself…you can take care of yourself.”) and a car.

Carol gives Rick a watch her shitty late husband gave her, and drives away.  I do wish her well, and I do have a feeling that we will be seeing Crazy Carol again in the future.

Michonne says to Daryl that she doesn’t need to go out looking for the Governor any more.

“Good,” says Daryl. He is pissed, bangs the car ceiling to signal that it’s time to go.

Questions:

Do you think Rick was right in banishing Carol from returning to the prison?

How do you think the others will react to Rick’s decision?

Who do you think is feeding rats to the walkers?

Where is Crazy Carol going to end up?

Playlist:

Modern Lovers, “She Cracked” (for Carol)

Kings of Leon, “Closer”

Rise Against, “Prayer of the Refugee”

Sharon Van Etten, “Serpents”

Season 4, Episode 2, ” Infected”

“Infected”

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

I will just preface this post with this: the Season 4 premiere episode of The Walking Dead,  30 Days Without an Accident,” was watched by 16.1 million viewers, with over 10 million of those viewers being in the coveted 18-49 yr old demographic, outperforming all other programs showing at that time, including NFL football. Awesome!

“Infected”

Opening scene: it’s night, and some psycho with a flashlight is feeding the walkers rats through the prison fence. (Later on Talking Dead,  mental mastermind Greg Nicotero explained how they achieved the effect of the walker eating the rat…they used actual rats and “fed” them into an automated prosthetic robot mouth. While no rats were actually hurt during the shooting of this effect, I don’t know if any of us who watched it will ever be the same!)

Now, I know that in my last post, I was leaning pretty heavily towards Bob being the bringer of walker snacks…while Bob is still on my short list of prime suspects, I am also wondering if the walker-feeder may be Lizzy, the cute/spooky tween girl who has a penchant for naming the walkers outside of the fence. She hangs out by the fence a lot, actually, looking out towards the walkers as they hiss and snarl and bare their teeth back at her. By her own sister’s admission, Lizzy’s “messed up…not weak.”

I imagine we will learn about Lizzy, Bob, and everyone a little more as the season progresses.

While the night walkers are enjoying their midnight snack outside, inside the prison, Tyrese is making out with his hot girlfriend, Karen. He’s got the cell all cozy and shit…and then, being the male unicorn of sweetness and sexiness that he is, Tyrese actually sings to her: “got you under my skin .” Our man is busting out all the love moves.

But maybe it’s all just a little too much, too soon for Karen, because she has decided not to sleep over and is going back to her cell.

I was watching this, thinking, “Ummm, wait…whut?”   I was thinking, Girl, you should stay with that big sexy man… and now, you are in the darkest bathroom ever, and that is not great for you!

Of course, the scene is shot amazingly as Karen moves through the bathroom and showers, all dark and inky and shadowy, like a horror movie…and we know who is in there..oh God, here he is, sitting up. Yes, people, Patrick Walker is about to go nucking futs on Cell Block D.

Karen makes it out of the bathroom and retires to her cell, not knowing that Patrick Walker is lurching about a half cell-block behind her. She pulls aside her flimsy curtain and settles down for the night…alone (for some reason I still do not understand).  

Damn, I thought they had doors on those cells… I would be like, “Um, can I get one of the cells with the locking doors and bars, please? Thank you!”

Here’s what happens when you go with the curtain option in zombie prison-dorm life…Patrick Walker is gonna come knocking on your curtain (or, at least until he hears a cough a couple of cells down and goes to investigate):

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Shot of my tv…sorry for the amateur technique…I cannot seem to find the images I want to use online…I thought there was a whole world of computer-obsessed insomniacs out there posting all the pictures and clips I want to use in my blog, but apparently not!

So, I tried to shoot some video of it all going down on my phone…it took about 45 minutes of retakes and rewinds to film Patrick Walker’s first neck chomp on the Red-Shirt guy to Red-Shirt Walker’s roll-over-and-spill-his-guts-out scene.  I then finally got it so it didn’t play upside down on the computer., and then, my blog wouldn’t let me insert it into my post…damn fickle technology!  (My brilliant friend just suggested we try to download the episodes, then use images and videos from that to use for the blog..genius…and probably not legal.).

I did get one shot of Patrick Walker chewing meditatively on some of Red-Shirt guy’s innards:

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Patrick Walker is by far my favorite walker yet…maybe it’s because he is so creepy yet cuddly at the same time.  Maybe it’s because he can really bring the mayhem. Maybe it’s just because that Phineas actor kid plays a really great zombie. He was probably valedictorian in Greg Nicotero’s famed Zombie School. Check out the link about Zombie School on the AMC website:

http://www.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/videos/inside-the-walking-dead-zombie-school

I thought the whole Red-Shirt wifebeater guy getting chomped and spilling his guts on the floor was pretty believable at first, but my best WD buddy wasn’t having it. She texted me, That guy didn’t even move!  to which I texted back,  Patrick Walker chomped him good right in the front of the neck.   She replied, Yeah, but no arm reaction at all?  

Excellent point.  I answered back, Maybe he had an instant heart attack.  Pretty weak, I know, but I really didn’t have anything else. It was kind of not believable, once she pointed that out.  (Ha ha, later on Talking Dead, they refer to the red shirt dude as “Deep Sleeper” in their In Memoriam segment, when they honor the fallen, live and undead alike.)

Meanwhile, the sun’s come up and it’s time to rise and shine at the prison. Glenn wakes Maggie up taking a Polaroid of her sleeping…and who can blame him? I mean, we all have a crush on Maggie, don’t we? I am a happily married woman, and even I am a little lady-gay for Maggie.  Lauren Cohan is stupid hot.  Steven Yeun plays Glenn perfectly as the geek guy who can’t believe he landed a stone fox like Maggie.  You gotta love Glenn and Maggie. They’re so cute and flirty with each other. They manage to keep the zombie apocalypse sexy.

Out in the garden, Michonne is on her horse, ready to ride off on another weird solo adventure…Rick and Carl are seeing her off before starting work on the garden. Before she rides off, Michonne asks Carl why he doesn’t wear his (Rick’s) hat anymore…Carl answers that it’s “not a farming hat”…awww, snap! That’s gotta sting a little, but Rick plays it cool, even when Carl hints at going with Daryl on a run…and then after apologizing to Rick for his resistance to Rick’s new farmer lifestyle, Carl outright asks Rick when he can stop being gun-grounded and get his gun back. Rick doesn’t reply directly, just suggests that Carl add some worms to the slop to give the pigs more protein…I really liked the communication between Rick and Carl throughout the whole episode…by the episode’s end, you see how far they have come in their father/son relationship.

Then the gun alarm goes off, and all epidemic hell is breaking loose at the prison. It’s another wild, great scene…last week, it was raining walkers in the store, and now this week, it’s a walker prison riot.  Season 4 is not fucking around, people!  In one hot and gratifying instant, Rick drops the farmer act and becomes Rick In Charge, ordering Carl to the tower with Maggie and assessing the situation (Cell Block C is clear, Cell Block D is fucked) before running in to battle the walkers in Cell Block D.

The mayhem is so fast, with major carnage.  Rick hands off his shotgun  to someone else and turns his energies to helping get the panicked masses to safety. Glenn pulls off some major ninja-style knife kills, and Daryl saves the little curly-haired boy from Red-Shirt Walker, then saves Glenn from getting chomped by Patrick Walker by ordering Glenn down and shooting a crossbow into Patrick’s brain. “Awww, it’s Patrick,” laments Daryl as they stand over his rekilled form…yes, Daryl, your young fanboy is super dead.

The scene with Michonne and Carl at the gate is great….Two walkers on top of Michonne, and Carl blows the top walker guy’s brains in with one shot…you can see the joy in his face. My buddy texted me, Carl’s still got it ..Yes, he does, just like his dad!

Greg Nicotero said later in Talking Dead that the prison attack casualties totaled 14 civilians…men, women, and at least one child. That is a major theme in this episode, a mother losing her child in the zombie apocalypse.

In one telling scene, Beth is wrapping Michonne’s ankle in her cell while little Judith is seated on the floor, playing with red plastic kegger cups…Beth asks Michonne if there were any children killed in the attack. Michonne nods. Beth wonders aloud what someone who loses a child would be called, “We see all these widows and orphans, but what do you call someone who lost a child?” Baby Judith starts to cry at that moment, and Michonne flinches, gets a pained look on her face, like the sound of a baby crying is unbearable to her. “She always cry?” she manages, her voice tight.

Later, when Beth asks Michonne to hold Judith for a moment, Michonne hesitates before reluctantly taking the baby. She holds Judith at arm’s length at first, unable to look at Judith.

Judith begins to cry, and Danai Gurira plays it so beautifully as she slowly turns her head to look at the baby, then smiles at her and pulls Baby Judith closer to her chest. Michonne’s face lights up as she holds the baby, smiling, then dissolves into silent tears. Beth watches from a distance, realizing (as we do) that Michonne has probably lost a child herself, before walking away to leave Michonne and Judith in their moment together.

My heart felt like it had been torn from my chest watching those scenes…it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Daryl and Rick have to go around and rekill all the bitten people…Rick continues to show more and more edge, mixed with his beautiful look of sadness and regret…sigh….sorry, getting totally derailed by Andrew Lincoln…again.

Anyway, Rick and Daryl find a young walker teen shut in his cell…the kid that sleepwalked… Charlie…he wasn’t bitten or scratched, just the bloom of blood around the mouth and streaming from the eyes. Hershel and some young med student guy come look at the body and agree that there is a virus or aggressive flu in the works…a fast-acting flu that basically makes people’s faces explode blood out the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

Wow, just when you think shit couldn’t get any more fucked up than it already was in zombie apocalypse. Now people can die from some Explodey Flu and turn into a walker literally overnight! Remember Ol’ Bloody Eye, the first walker featured last episode? He had the streaming blood from his eyes…Greg Nicotero said that this flu has changed the overall look for the walkers in Season 4.  Deliciously gruesome, Greg Nicotero.

Outside, digging graves, Daryl thanks Rick for his help in the prison and asks if maybe Rick is ready to come back to being in a leader role in their community…Rick hems and haws, brings up all his mistakes from before…Daryl is having none of it, reminding Rick that he is always there and always solid when the shit goes down…then Maggie comes running, yelling for Rick and Daryl to come help…the walkers are rushing the outside ring of prison fencing, and it’s starting to tip over.  Rick, Daryl, Maggie, Sasha, Tyrese, Glenn are stabbing the horde of walkers furiously (“culling the walkers,” Greg Nicotero calls it…love it!) and pushing back desperately as the fence continues to give. Maggie and Sasha see the dead rats on the ground and realize that someone from the inside has been feeding the walkers.

The fence keeps coming down…and Rick looks wistfully at his garden…he tells Daryl to get the truck…he gathers up the piglets, and they drive outside the prison gates into the mass of walkers.  This scene is so symbolic and sad, with Rick’s face a study of loss and determination as he slashes each piglet that he raised in the hind leg to draw blood and disable it before tossing it towards the walkers.  My friend had such a hard time with this scene…she texted me that the pig scene really messed her up. The music, another work of genius by Bear McCreary, was really haunting and added to the feeling of grief at the loss of Rick’s dream to rebuild a simple and peaceful life at the prison.

Honestly, I am a little on the fence about Carol right now. I totally get that after taking years of abuse by her shitty husband Ed and losing Sophia, she would feel the urgency of needing to teach the kids at the prison how to defend themselves, but I think she’s being a little weird about it,  like not telling the parents and telling Carl, “Don’t tell your father!”  All she’s gotta do is assemble a prison-PTA meeting and tell the Woodbury parents something like, “Look, I know at Woodbury you had Do-Art and Dunkin’ Donuts and shit, but around here, kids need to know how to defend themselves!”

And I’m sorry, but she was totally creepy to let Lizzy try to rekill her own dad…that girl was so not ready for that…she almost unhinged Lizzy, and then later was all like, “You’re weak, Lizzy!” I mean, I’m glad she gets to be a mom again and all, and I know she’s out of practice a little, and now it seems she and Lizzy made up, and Lizzy has a knife now…and I really don’t know how I feel about that.

Love the last scene with Rick and Carl, when Carl tells his dad about Carol teaching the kids the art of the knife kill.  Rick listens, dismantling the pig pen and pouring gasoline over it and setting it on fire.  He thanks Carl for telling him and assures him that he won’t tell on Carol.  He then opens up a tackle box, takes out Carl’s gun, wrapped in cloth.  He unwraps the gun and hands it to Carl.  Then he takes his shirt off and tosses it into the fire…yes!  Shirtless Andrew Lincoln, like a panacea for the soul after such a burly episode.

But, for poor Tyrese, the episode is not quite over. He goes with flowers to visit his sick girlfriend, and instead finds her cell splattered with blood and a big smeary blood trail meeting with another blood trail…he follows the blood trails down the hall and discovers two charred and smoking bodies, a man’s and a woman’s..sitting next to the bodies is a gas can. As he stares down at the bodies, Tyrese recognizes with horror the bracelet that Karen wore on her right wrist.

So, there it is, and here’s a playlist to wrap it all up tight like Carl’s gun.  And this last song is for you, Tyrese…so sorry about your beautiful lady friend!

Playlist:

Submarines  “1940” (Amplive remix)

Rise Against  “Death Blossoms”

Those Darlins  “Waste Away”