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

“A”

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

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

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

And to that I give a big, “Hollah!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s early,” Hershel tells him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check it out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe tells Rick,

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

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

Rick In Charge don’t think so, Joe…

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

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

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

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

At Joe's taunt,

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

And spits it out!  Holy fuck!

…and spits it out! Holy fuck!

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

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

Later for you, pedophile.

Later for you, Deserves It Dan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More slogans…these people are THE WORST.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers

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

Take that, creepy cannibal co-op!

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

Playlist:

Little People, “Start Shootin'”

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

Zero 7, “Spinning”

Handsome Boy Modeling School, “The Truth”

DJ Shadow, “Midnight In A Perfect World”

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

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

“Us”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If that were the case,” replies Tara.

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham nods, says nothing.

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

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

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

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

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Maggie!

Maggie!

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

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Mornin’!

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

Mornin', motherfucker.

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

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

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

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

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

What are those two up to now?

What are those two up to now?

Try to look stern...

Try to look stern…

...nah, can't do it!

…nah, can’t do it!

You crazy kids! :)

You crazy kids! 🙂

Michonne lets Carl win. #bettermotherthanlori

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

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

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

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

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

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

um. yes.

um. yes…yes, indeed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daryl reaches for the knife in his belt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daryl’s thinking, These guys are dicks!

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

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

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

Just then, Tower Walker makes its presence known:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazing slime drool moment…love it, love it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tara's like,

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

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

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Soccer Mom Walker on Board!

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Me so hungry!

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

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Abraham does her a solid rekill…

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

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“Let Momma Be”

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Abraham puts the wipers on that one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meanwhile, at the Douchebag Garage Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who is that??

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The calvary has come to save the day!

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Abraham and Co. has some new members…

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Take that, Tunnel Walkers!

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Could it be…?

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Emerging from the light, in all her magnificence…

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Maggie!

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YES!

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Glenn and Maggie! So awesome!

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

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

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

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

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So dark and sexy these days, Maggie!

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

Later, Len.

Later, Len.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Terminus!

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

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

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

Playlist:

Unnatural Helpers, “Shakes”

Fleet Foxes, “Mykonos”

Samiam, “El Dorado”

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)

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

images

So, what happens “After?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody puts Carol in the corner!

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

Ahem…sorry…where was I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love Baby Judith!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many questions remain to be answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is how a Daryl Plan works:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are in for a wild, bumpy ride.

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

Playlist:

Iron Maiden, Aces High

Soundgarden,  The Day I Tried to Live 

Foo Fighters,  Alone + Easy Target

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

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:

IMG_1599

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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, Episode 3 “Isolation”

“Isolation”

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

When we left off last week, the prison was under quarantine after an outbreak of the explodey flu, and, subsequently, walkers, in Cell Block D. In explodey flu, the infected person’s lungs reach max pressure and he/she dies from a surge of blood exploding out of all mucous membranes …totally gnarly, and btw, this is my name for it…not Hershel’s. All persons exhibiting the signs of explodey flu are quarantined in Cell Block D, which pretty much stands for Cell Block Die unless somebody gets some antibiotics in this joint.

Digging graves…the prison’s latest pasttime…Glenn and Maggie exchanging smoldering sex looks while doing the gloomy work. Maggie’s shooting Glenn a look like, “Mmmm, sweetie, your hair’s looking good, all long and shit, and you’re working that shovel…why don’t we sneak off and knock one out real quick?” and Glenn gives this cute regretful look back, like, “Girl, I wish we could, but, you know…we gotta dig these graves…” Back inside, Hershel and Caleb, the young med, are checking on a sick patient…Caleb checks the vitals, looks at Hershel, and they share a shake of the head, Goner. Caleb pulls out his knife for the rekill. On to number next in Cell Block Die.

Outside the entrance to the D block, Tyrese is boiling mad.  He’s not going to need any encouragement to exact his style of justice on whomever killed Karen and David. This scene is amazing, with Chad Coleman playing Tyrese as truly menacing and unpredictable in his fury and grief.  Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus kill it once again, as Rick and Daryl both bob and weave, light on their toes, keeping an eye on, and a step away from, Tyrese in serpentine unison. Daryl stays behind Tyrese, ready to jump in if needed, and Rick is face to face with Tyrese, trying to reason with a man who is not to be reasoned with. When Tyrese steps to Rick, Daryl reaches out a arm to try to restrain him, and quick as a whip, Tyrese shoves Daryl across the concrete and jacks him up on the bars. Tyrese is fast and crazy strong!

Even in Tyrese’s chokehold, Daryl puts his hand up to signal Rick back, letting Tyrese have his moment and get it worked out. (That is majorly cool of Daryl, who understands dude code pretty much more than anyone, ever.) Rick is behind Tyrese, giving him some weak sauce about how “We’ve all lost someone” and how Tyrese needs to “calm down.” This badly timed (and badly put) advice sends Tyrese right up, and he shoves Rick. There’s a great shot of Rick, looking kind of pissed and majorly sexy, then he says something stupid, and totally unsexy, like, “Karen wouldn’t want you acting like this.”

In the next instant, Tyrese is beating Rick down…Daryl jumps on Tyrese and pulls him back as Rick puts a shaky hand up to his bloody mouth. With one taste of his own blood, Rick leaps up and begins pounding Tyrese down berserker-style while Daryl tries to restrain him. Rick screams at Daryl to let him go, ready for more…he stops only when he hears Tyrese break down into sobs, lying on the concrete. The scene ends with a shot of Rick’s face, dazed, as he looks down at his bloody hand and realizes that he just totally lost his shit.

I got it DIY-style on my phone from the TV screen…prison-yard beat-down, Rick, Daryl, and Tyrese-style, while Carol looks on in horror…ummm, what did you think was going to happen if you kill sick peeps, drag them outside and burn their bodies, and then leave the whole mess for a bereaved man to find, Carol, you sloppy bitch?

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Later, in the prison, Hershel is fixing up Rick’s hand. He says it’s strained and basically tells Rick that he can’t play piano or punch anyone out for about a week or so. Hershel then tries to invite Rick to the next council meeting…they need him there. They are in super-crisis mode. Epidemic flu, walker attack, major casualties that keep mounting. “Everything we’ve been working so hard to keep out, it’s found its way in,” Hershel says.  Rick replies, “It’s always been there.” Perfect line, perfectly delivered. Then, Hershel gives Rick the first of many epic-Hershel-pep-talks of this episode, basically telling Rick that “everyone has a job to do”, and that his job is to keep the people safe as best he can.

“Everyone has a job to do,” is one of the main themes that run throughout this episode …it is Hershel’s teaching from years back, passed to his kids, and now it is being passed along to many key characters, like a mantra to live by, to keep steady and keep going in such dark and uncertain times.

Outside, Bob comes to check on Tyrese….I actually give Bob lots of props this episode for coming through, again and again. (Sorry I was such a dick before, Bob, but I still am keeping an eye on you!) Tyrese’s eye is swollen shut, refuses treatment for his wounds until the bodies of Karen and David are buried. He looks really burly with his black eye…check it out:

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Right? What a badass. Freaking awesome.

Glenn is looking for reassurance from Hershel, which he gets, to a degree…then Glenn and Hershel see Sasha, coughing…she has it…she can barely speak, says she’s going to see Doctor S. It’s a nightmarish, crazy scene when she’s weaving through the sick ward, looking for the doctor…all the sick and decrepit people are hacking and moaning; a flu-casualty-turned-walker rushes Sasha and tries to claw at her though the locked cell door. Oh, damn, Doctor S is sick too…”It’s starting,” he tells Sasha. This flu sucks!

The council convenes. Hershel tells them that antibiotics may help save those infected with the flu, and that there is a vet school about 50 miles away. They need to send a team to go try to get the needed meds…Daryl’s in, Michonne volunteers, and after Hershel reminds her that Daryl has been exposed to the flu and may be a carrier, Michonne answers, “He’s already given me fleas!”  Ha ha, thank you Michonne, for bringing the funny, because Glenn is looking pretty sweaty over there in the corner…and that is worrisome.

Carol and Rick outside, the water’s looking brown and shitty. Carol says the line in the river is clogged with mud and someone needs to go out and clear it. Great…sounds like a job for you, Carol, you cray bitch. Then, Carol sends Rick off to talk to Tyrese and pay his respects, but declines to go herself, coming up with some excuse in the moment…yeah, Carol…we find out why you couldn’t face Tyrese…it’s because your crazy ass killed his special lady friend, and another dude,  and burned their bodies.

My buddy’s good friend, Neil, totally called it with Carol…his initial theory was that Crazy Carol was feeding rats to the walkers. I loved that theory.  I called it The Crazy Carol Theory, a.k.a., The CCT.  Now I love The CCT even more knowing just how crazy Carol can be…she’s killing the sick people and burning their bodies…she may be feeding the walkers, too! My friend at work, Jeff, thinks it’s Carl who was feeding the walkers through the fence, doing it to up the risk ante at the prison, which would force Rick to give him back his gun.  Fascinating…The Carl Theory.  I love it too.  I guess I’m kind of a ho for a good theory.

All I’ve gotta say about Carol, and then I’ll move on, is that it’s going to be a total dealbreaker for Daryl when he finds out about this shit.  My best WD buddy agrees. He’s a moral dude she texted.  Way to blow it, Carol.  You used to be with Ed, who was an abuser, and gross, and now you are, or almost are, Daryl’s girlfriend, and now this… Way to self-sabotage.  I was totally rooting for you, and now I think you are gross. Next subject.

I love the scene when Rick approaches Tyrese as he finishes up with the graves, and apologizes to him.  Rick’s apology to Tyrese is direct and humble, and Tyrese accepts both the apology and his own responsibility in the brawl. Very cool of him. But Tyrese isn’t fucking around. He presses Rick to find whoever killed and burned Karen and David.  Tyrese serves Rick the biz, straight up,  when Rick tries to assure him that the perpetrator will be found…Tyrese basically tells Rick that he isn’t exactly “feeling the urgency” from Rick to go find out who did this (ouch, truth hurts!), and that it “seems like murder is becoming more and more ok around this place.” Rick denies this, saying that the first order of business needs to be saving people’s lives…”You worry about that,” a grim-faced Tyrese replies, “I’ll worry about what’s right.”  Aw, Deputy Grimes, I believe you just got served!

Maggie comes into the cell and finds out Glenn is sick. It’s so awful to think of losing Glenn. We are not ready for that, and by we, I mean me and Maggie. Get to that vet school and get those fucking meds stat, people!

It’s a powerful scene when Maggie and Beth are sitting back to back on opposite sides of the door.  Beth is shut in with Baby Judith to protect her from contracting the flu.  Maggie tells Beth that Glenn is sick. Beth is quick to administer the pep talk that Maggie needs.  “Maggie, we don’t get to be upset. We all have jobs to do, that’s what Daddy always says…focus on what you have to do…whatever happens, we’ll deal with it…we have to.”

Carl wears his father’s sheriff’s hat as he, gun drawn, accompanies Hershel into the woods so Hershel can gather elderberries to bring back to the prison…Hershel tells Carl he’s noticed that Carl has grown up  and made positive changes in the past couple of months. Hershel acts in a very easy and grandfatherly  way to Carl, who receives it well. It’s a nice exchange between the two. They encounter two walkers, but neither is a real threat….Hershel holds Carl off from making an unecessary shot at one when Carl instinctively raises his gun. “Don’t…you don’t need to.”

Tyrese is in on the road trip. After visiting Sasha, he is motivated to assist, especially after telling Sasha about the vet school run,and she says, “We could get medicine as early as tomorrow…we’ve got a chance.” Tyrese finds Daryl and tells him he’s in on the run, and Daryl says simply, “All right.” You can tell he’s relieved.

Tyrese finds Carol and asks her to look in on Sasha…he tells Carol he can tell she cares about people. Yeah she does…she cares so much, and has lost so much, that it has made her crazy…and overly dramatic, it seems, as she kicks over the good water in the water barrels and spills it all over the ground. Awesome hissy fit, Carol.  Even though she is being really annoying right now, I do like Carol’s boots and her general style in this episode.  Maggie’s, too.  I think the women are rocking some seriously cute, tough-gal looks in zombie apocalypse: layered cute shirts, jeans or some other cool sturdy pants, boots, belts, knife tucked somewhere in the pants or belt, and some leather type makeshift bracelet or necklace. Nice.

Maggie is totally freaking out right now…of course, Glenn is sick, which is enough to send her right up, and now she’s found out Hershel wants to go into Cell Block Die and bring elderberry tea to the sick people inside. Hershel is being so good and brave and wise as he gives Rick and Maggie the biz…I copied his speech word for word:

“Listen, dammit, you step outside, you risk your life…you take a drink of water, you risk your life…and nowadays, you breathe, and you risk your life!  Every moment now, you don’t have a choice…the only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for…I can save lives, and that’s reason enough to risk mine, and you know that..”

Poor Maggie has to let him in, and Rick is once again witness to a heartbreaking moment. He stands in the background as Hershel enters the sick ward, slumped over in his grief and hotness…sigh…nobody does tragic hot like Rick.

Beth and Maggie talking back to back through the door again…”We all got jobs to do…we deal with it, right…we don’t get to get upset…” Beth’s voice has lost some of its strength and conviction…she and Maggie are so worried about their dad.

Rick is back at the crime scene, looking for clues…sees a bloody handprint on the door…

Carol on a water run…she is clearing the hose to the river, banging it on the bridge and attracting the attention of the walkers…Rick has to save her ass when her knife gets stuck on some walker’s skull.

In the car, on the antibiotics run, Daryl is telling Michonne that he knows she wasn’t running off when she went on her solo runs…he knows she was looking for the Gov…”You know that trail went cold,” he tells her, “Otherwise, I would have been right there with you.” She stares stonily ahead without answering, then gives him one of those Michonne looks.  Daryl asks for a CD and ends up turning the radio dial on a station with voices saying something about “survive” and “sanctuary”…the entire car is in shock..so much so, that Daryl runs the car right into a walker. And then, behold…the mega-herd!  Greg Nicotero said there was 7 500 walkers in this scene…and he would know.

The back end of the car gets stuck on a pile of walkers, and the crew has to abandon it…so gnarly, with the rear wheels skidding walker guts. An amazing hand-to-hand combat scene commences, with Michonne going at the walkers ninja-style with her sword, while Daryl stabs and runs through them, bayonet style.  Bob gets out of the car and begins shooting them, yelling for Tyrese to follow. Like I said before, Bob is still being cagey as hell, but  he’s also being cool, like in this scene when he’s holding the walkers off and waiting for Tyrese to get out of the car.

Tyrese looks annoyed as hell, like, “Do I really have to fucking do this shit again?” before getting out of the car and hacking at walkers berserker style…holy fuck…the others are battling through the woods, thinking they had to leave Tyrese behind…but there he is, emerging through the woods. While Tyrese is draped in walker guts, he otherwise seems miraculously unscratched or bitten…he’s a sexy tough mother, I tell you.

Back at the prison, Caleb just spewed blood on Hershel’s face, and Hershel, being the southern gentleman that he is, barely flinched…he merely took the bandanna off that was covering his nose and mouth and wiped his face with it. That, my friends, is the epitome of old-school good manners. Later, poor Glenn’s like, “Oh, man, after all we’ve been through, now I’m getting taken down by a glorified cold…” Awww…Hershel tells him that everyone has a job to do….I love Hershel in this episode.

Rick is giving Carol the biz in such a sweet way…and then he has to ask her if she killed Karen and David.  Carol says, “Yes,” and goes inside. Well, shit.

On Talking Dead, Marilyn Manson is dragging the whole conversation down…my friend and I texted back and forth, wondering what drugs he’s on…we agreed on pills…this panel has no chemistry, I am sorry to say…I texted my WDbuddy,This panel is like being at a bad party….Poor Chris Hardwick and Jack Osbourne……she texted back that MM was totally sucking pretty bad and that,  At times you see panic in Chris’s face. 

Chris Hardwick is getting pretty sick of MM at this point, you can tell.  He’s kind of disagreeing with him and mocking him, as MM keeps going off on boring tangents and referencing other shows and movies in a string of non-sequitars…now, Chris Hardwick is pretty much openly mocking MM about his irrelevant points and nonsensical theories (“at least I could follow that one.”)  It can be such a hard job to host…you have the responsibility of keeping the pace going but can’t be too much of a dick …OMG, he just straight up lauded MM for making “a straight-up lucid point” after “not understanding anything else you’ve said tonight.”  Is Gale Ann Hurd desperately dropping spoilers to defuse the tension in the room?  I can’t wait to see what the buzz on social media is like about this TD episode.

What advice would Hershel give to Marilyn Manson if he could?

Playlist:

Soundgarden,  “Fell on Black Days”

Neil Young, “Heart of Gold” (for Hershel)

Lana Del Rey, “Radio””

Ariel Pink, “Berserker” (for Tyrese…and Rick

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”