The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 8, “Coda”

“Coda”

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

Well, loves, if you watched the The Walking Dead’s Season 5 mid-season finale, “Coda,”  last night, you probably know how I am feeling this morning. Devastated. Deflated. Melancholy. Haunted. And a little hungover, truth be told.

My WD buddy, after driving a hellishly long end-of-Thanksgiving-weekend commute in back-to-back traffic, came armed with champagne for us to watch the mid-season finale together.  After many Coronas, and re-ups of champagne, and OMG’s, and Holy Fuck’s, and hand holding, and tears, we watched TWD, then TD, then bid each other farewell and went our separate ways, come midnight, to brave the night’s sleep (all six and a half hours of it), and wake up to get the kids to school, ourselves to work, and to start the new week.

(This morning, my WD buddy texted me that she called in sick to work. Good call, friend! I wish I could, too, but there is a post to write, and work to do, and appointments to keep, and so, life must go on…but in honor of Beth, I am wearing black under my work attire. Nobody will see it on the outside, but I will know it is there.)

My night’s sleep was filled with dreams of Beth, and Emily Kinney.  I have been wondering how Emily Kinney is doing right now, checking on her via social media.

While I know, ultimately, that Emily Kinney will be just fine (being a young, supremely talented and beautiful It Girl on the rise), it was really hard to watch her try not to cry, to keep it together, on Talking Dead last night,. She said she only found out about the Beth story line for the midseason finale when filming Episode 7, “Crossed.”

Even Kirkman, who was also a guest on TD, looked like he was feeling super guilty, and near tears himself, as Emily Kinney was talking.

Kirkman said that it’s the hardest part of being in the WD writers’ room, having to decide who, and when, a beloved character gets killed on the show.  He said that with writing the WD comic series, it was just a matter of telling Charlie Adlard, the incredible artist who took the helm after The Walking Dead, Issue #7, “not to draw the lines” of the deceased character anymore. But, with the show, the actors become incredibly bonded with one another, with the writing and production team, and the crew…and with the fans.

I find it challenging enough to write a blog about a show. I cannot imagine the challenges writers like Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple must face to keep such a powerful, intricate, complex story going, staying focused and true to their creative vision while navigating the storm of fan response, social media ebb and flow, and the vast scope of production such an endeavor requires.

Much love, kudos, and Deadies all around to Kirkman (Dad), Gimple (NewDad), and Nicotero (Crazy Uncle Greg…the fun uncle!). Thanks, guys.  Thanks for bringing the pain, and levelling the playing field. We Prime Time Pollyannas needed to toughen up and get us some street cred with the Comic Book Set.

And.speaking up mad props, and much love…it’s time to start talking about this beautiful lady: ❤BETH

IMG_9064

Emily Kinney posted this amazing drawing a young fan sent her on her Instagram account @emmykinney

Beth Greene, beautiful badass, speaker of truth, bringer of light, and song, with the voice of an angel.  It has been amazing to watch the transformation of Beth, especially from the second part of Season 4, on, as she came into her own as a strong, sensitive young woman whose pure, artistic spirit, and clear, beautiful voice carried the message of truth, love, and justice in a world grown dark, grim, and seemingly devoid of such light, purity and hope.

Despite the dire circumstances she found herself in, Beth’s fire never dimmed, and despite the brutality of the world around her, Beth’s wild spirit refused to be cowed by it.

On Talking Dead, in the Dead Notes section, it said that Beth represented purity and honesty to Daryl.  My WD buddy and I have discussed this subject at length,  and while she thinks that Daryl thought of Beth as more of a little sister, I personally think that Daryl felt romantic love for Beth, as well, to some degree.

While Daryl was certainly older than Beth, there did seem to be a real and powerful attraction between them, whether or not that connection would have ever manifested itself into a romantic relationship.

Daryl had a very childlike and innocent, unexplored way about himself, especially in the beginning of the series. His painful, abusive childhood and teen years never seemed to let him truly experience, or explore, the rites and rituals of coming of age, and from those experiences, fully develop into manhood. So, instead, poor Daryl became closed off, distrustful of others, for his very survival, until he got free of his older brother, Merle, and was able to find his own identity among the good, loving people of the prison group.

The way I see it, Beth’s pure and honest expression, her openness and innocence, and her ability to accept Daryl unconditionally for exactly who, and where he was in the moment, allowed Daryl to feel safe enough to really open himself emotionally to her.  I think, with Beth, Daryl was able to have the experience of young love that he never got to have growing up.

In the short time they were together, Beth taught Daryl to open his heart, to be sweet, and allow himself to feel, and to show tenderness and love to another person.  In turn, Daryl taught Beth to be strong, and resourceful, to listen to her instincts, to fight if she needed to…to survive. Daryl and Beth were firey, kindred spirits, and I think if they had remained together longer, just the two of them, that something sweet and romantic would have blossomed between them.

Saying this, I feel that Daryl and Carol also have a deep, undeniable love connection between them. Carol and Daryl have a lot in common. They both suffered abuse in their pasts, and they both got to free themselves of their former personas, their former lives, and start afresh, be who they were “always meant to be”, in Carol’s words, in the apocalypse. They connected early in the series, when Daryl kept hope alive and tirelessly searched for Carol’s missing daughter, Sophia.  There was always a chemistry between them, and as Carol is a grown woman, and a consenting adult, she and Daryl were able to explore a physical relationship back in the days at the prison (while that has never been confirmed outright, I think, especially after watching “Consumed,” that it’s safe to say that Daryl and Carol had a romantic relationship of some kind back at the prison).

I think that Daryl fell in love, on different levels, and in different ways, with both Carol, and Beth.  In doing so, Daryl got to explore, and develop, crucial aspects of himself with both relationships. I think Daryl needed both Carol and Beth, and sharing love with these two catalytic, amazing women, Daryl was able to finally fully develop into a man, and tap into the emotional depth, sensitivity, and sweetness that he always had.

I really do hope that Daryl can heal his heart, and come to terms with the loss of Beth in the second part of Season 5. I really hope the entire group can. I also really hope that Daryl’s grief doesn’t drive a wedge between the new level of connection that he and Carol established with one another in “Consumed.”

I think, as the group has needed to remember Hershel’s wisdom, and teachings, as they navigate through these dark times, they will also need to invoke Beth’s spirit, and keep a small part of her purity and light within themselves, so they can keep love, hope, and faith alive in the times ahead.

I would like to take this moment to award Beth Green, and Emily Kinney, with a Deadie of the highest honor:  MVP of the first part of The Walking Dead, Season 5.

Emily Kinney’s amazing portrayal of Beth Greene has catapulted Beth’s character to, I predict, legendary icon status.  I can see many incarnations of Beth and Daryl fan fiction in the future of pop culture…maybe even in the anime genre?

Please, please, oh please, somebody do it, and send me a link if, and when, you do!

As for Emily Kinney, while she may need a moment to process this loss (keep.showing her the love on social media, people!), once she recovers, I do believe this beautiful, talented, and multifaceted young actress, songwriter/musician, and model has a bright future ahead of her.

One of Emily Kinney’s hot upcoming projects is being the new face of the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection, the haute, music-and-art inspired clothing line collaboration of designers Nikki Lund and Richie Sambora.

Check her out:

emily kinney green pool emily kinney nikki rich 2015

Images used are from the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection.

(Images used are from the Nikki Rich Spring 2015 collection.)

Young, hot, and on fire…not such a bad takeaway for being on a hit show that has become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. Something tells me that Emmy Kinney’s star is on the rise, and that she will be just fine, thank you very much!

Much love, mad props, and life eternal, Beth Greene. You are a true badass.

Beth Forever! 

_______________________________________

“Coda”

In the opening sequence of “Coda,” we see a pair of (fine-ass) lean legs, clad in black jeans and boots, running fast on the concrete…

We soon recognize the fine getaway sticks as belonging to Rick Grimes.

We soon recognize these fine getaway sticks as belonging to Deputy Rick Grimes.

Next, we see a pair of hands, bound behind the back by a zip tie, trying frantically to cut the tie against the edge of a Grady Memorial police car’s front bumper…

Going somewhere, Lamson?

Going somewhere, Lamson?

Meanwhile, the Stoner Trio Walkers lurch aimlessly around...just another day in the parking lot…

“What are we gonna do today?” I dunno...what do you guys wanna do?” I dunno…what do you wanna do?” “I dunno…”

“Hey, look, there’s a dude over there!” “Awesome! Hey, I know…let’s go eat that dude!” “Righteous idea, bro…let us, like, totally go forth, and eat that dude!

Meanwhile, quick as a blur, Deputy Grimes speeds by, and disembowels, Spill Yer Guts Walker…

<Slice!> “S’cuse me, just passing through…”

Hey, man…”

“…those were my guts and shit...what the hell, buddy?!”

Rick finds the cop car, gets in quickly, and begins speeding towards Lamson.  We see a picture framed on the dashboard of the squad car, of Lamson in better days, arm around a woman and smiling happily. In a crazy twist of fate, the tables are turned, and now Lamson is on the lam, son, running as fast as he can away from his own squad car, which is now tailing him, about 30 yards back.

Deputy Rick Smash! grabs the microphone and commands Lamson’s retreating form, “Stop!”

Lamson does not comply, however, and Deputy Smash! barks into the microphone, “Stop right now!”

deputy smash says stop

When Deputy Smash tells you to stop two times, you should do as he says, Lamson...

When Deputy Smash! tells you to stop two times, you should do as he says, Lamson…

...because you get three strikes...

…because you get three strikes…

...you're out.

...third strike, You’re Out!

Ouch! That's an insane stunt...

Ouch! That’s gotta hurt…what an insane stunt!

“Crazy…” Lamson manages. “I think you broke my back!” Rick stands over him, says, “It didn’t have to be like this.” The beautiful man’s got a point, Lamson.

Lamson tries to get Rick to take him

Lamson tries to get Rick to take himBack…take me back to the hospital.”

Deputy Smash! echoes Gareth's words to Bob back at Terminus,

Deputy Smash! echoes Gareth’s words to Bob back at Terminus, “Can’t go back, Bob.”

As walkers approach, Bob tells Rick that, “You’ve been out here too long…you’re gonna die…you’re all gonna die.” Rick Smash! pulls the trigger, silencing Bob Lamson with a bullet to the brain.  “Shut up,” Rick Smash! growls, looking down at Lamson’s lifeless form.

A couple of thoughts on this scene…being a little deafened by years of blasting rock n’ roll, I didn’t quite get what Lamson was mumbling to Rick as he lay, broken and bloody on the pavement.  If Lamson gave any clues as to why he knocked out Sasha and ran, instead of letting himself get traded back to Grady Memorial, and, in his words, “sleeping in my own bed tonight,” my half-deaf ass didn’t catch it….the only reason I can think of as to why he made his ill-fated escape attempt was pure pride.

I think that Lamson, once a real cop, (and a sergeant, no less) could not abide the thought of being marched back to Dawn Lerner, hands zip-tied behind his back, in a disgraced hostage situation, especially if he was being groomed to take over as head cop of Grady Memorial once the others “took care” of Dawn Lerner.

I can see where Dawn Lerner, with her acid tongue, and predilection for belittling and humiliating others, would have had a field day with Lamson, both during and after the trade-off. Maybe death, to him,  was preferable to her mockery.

Pride indeed goeth before a fall, Lamson.

Anyway, my WD buddy and I of course enjoyed many champagne toasts to Rick Grimes throughout this opening scene, once again blown away by the man.  How did he know not to leave right away, to hang back and see if Sasha was ok, and if Lamson was for real?

As my WD buddy and I have asked, many times, Why does anybody question Rick Grimes any more?

The man is just a chiseled, lethal brand of pure dreamy, people, and btw, he is looking really good in those black jeans of his.

Gael Anderson, Andrew Lincoln’s wife, and daughter of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, is one lucky woman, and rock royalty, no less.  She also has really cool hair, and she looks all lean and stealth, like she could scale silently up the side of a building, knife in her teeth, and quickly dispatch an entire enemy camp in their sleep, ninja-style. 

Another beautiful, badass woman, who I really do not want to piss off.

(Gael Anderson, if you ever read this, I mean no disrespect, ever…while I admittedly have been giving your man the “hungry eyes” on the tv screen, for years, now, if there is such a thing as respectful ogling, then that’s what I, and my WD buddy, have been doing when we go on and on about how beautiful and hot your husband is. We, like you, are happily married women, who love our husbands, but who do like to sneak a look now and again at our pretend boyfriends, like Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon, to file away in our fantasty rolodexes, for later.  You are married…you know what I’m talking about, I think...but maybe, in retrospect, you don’t!)

Anyway, respect, Gael Anderson, much love, and P.S., Congratulations!

Now, speaking of rock royalty,  I have a very special announcement…today, at the time of this writing, it’s Ozzy’s Birthday!  Whoooo hoooo!  Happy Birthday, and much love, Ozzy Osbourne!  

All hail the Dark Prince of Metal…and smoke ’em if you got ’em, bitches.

Ahhh, the pause that refreshes…

I must say that I am very glad that Rick, Daryl, and Tyrese came back to check in on Sasha, and she’s safe, for the time being, anyway. For a moment there, last week, I really did imagine that they may return to that warehouse and find her dead, and reanimated into a walker.

Shudder!

Meanwhile, back in the woods, the Schoolhouse Walkers, still locked inside the schoolhouse, are seething, snarling, and pawing at the glass of the school doors, trying to get to Gabriel, who is outside, poking around the former campsite of Gareth and the Terminans.  

Exactly why he is there, and what the hell he is doing, I do not know, children. If I knew, I would tell you.  My guess is as good as yours, and aside from moving along the plotline in a more “walker mayhem” direction, there is no earthly reason I can think of for that man to be there, sleuthing around like some misguided Matlock, instead of being holed up, safe, inside the church.

Boggles the mind, truly it does.

As Gabriel pokes around outside, the walkers in the school get more and more agitated...

As Gabriel pokes around outside, the walkers in the school get more and more agitated…

...and as they continue to bang against the glass, we see the window starting to crack...

…and as they continue to bang against the door, we see the glass is starting to crack…

Outside, Gabriel finds a couple of pages of either a school event flyer, a yearbook page, or a couple of missing person flyers, a pack of cards, and a student’s backpack with a bible inside.  As Gabriel thumbs through the bible, he sees a girl’s name written on the inside cover, with a little heart over the “i.” His face shows his distress at this, until he lowers the bible and sees something else truly distressing, and awful to behold…

Bob's charred leg, on the Terminans' makeshift grille, with maggots crawling over it.

Bob’s charred leg, on the Terminans’ makeshift grille, with maggots crawling over it.

Horrified, Gabriel stares at the leg, then, with a cry, he upends the grille and throws it aside. (Guessed while watching this that Gabriel was probably not in cahoots with the Terms after all, but I definitely still thought he was a major dumbass for busting out of that church, for no good reason, immediately stepping on a big-ass nail, and hobbling, unarmed, right to the worst possible place he could have chosen to go…the overrun schoolhouse, where a band of cannibals had recently set up camp…I mean, really, Gabriel? Really?)

Then, of course, this happens:

The Schoolhouse Walkers bust through the glass doors and start pursuing Gabriel...

The Schoolhouse Walkers bust through the glass doors and start pursuing Gabriel…

...who, hobbling and tripping along the way, leads the walkers through the woods...

…who, hobbling and tripping along the way, leads the walkers through the woods…

...right to the church. Way to blow it, dude.

…right to the church. Thanks, dude. Really, thanks for that.

Once again, a cruel, karmic twist of fate plays its fickle hand as the priest, who barred the doors of his church to his parishioners, leaving them outside to be torn to pieces by the undead, finds himself now barred from his own church, begging and pleading to be let inside as the horde of walkers close in on him.

Inside the church, Carl and Michonne, who is holding Baby Judith, are shocked to hear Gabriel screaming for help outside the church.

Inside the church, Carl and Michonne, who is holding Baby Judith, are shocked to hear Gabriel screaming for help outside the church.

Thankfully for Gabriel, the Morgan-style spikes that Daryl and Tyrese fashioned from the organ pipes hold the walkers off, buying him a couple of minutes' worth of time...

Thankfully for Gabriel, the Morgan-style spikes that Daryl and Tyrese fashioned from the organ pipes hold the walkers off, buying him a couple of minutes’ worth of time…

Wearing Baby Judith on her back, Michonne looks like the most badass momma ever, chopping at the boarded up church doors with an axe...babywearing, zombie-apocalypse style!

Wearing Baby Judith on her back, Michonne looks like the most badass momma ever, chopping at the boarded up church doors with an axe...babywearing, zombie-apocalypse style!

Doors chopped open, Gabriel makes it into the church, while Michonne, still toting that baby on her back, holds the walkers off.

(Now, not to be a dick here, but that baby on Michonne’s back looked totally like a doll, stiff and unyielding, as Michonne did her badass momma walker kills and katana flourishes.  Maybe next time, the effects crew could fashion a softer, jelly-filled doll that would move and flow a little more like a real baby would, as of course a live stunt baby is not an option.)

I officially declare Michonne as being beautiful and badass enough to be Rick Grimes' girlfriend...

I officially declare Michonne as being beautiful and badass enough to be Rick Grimes’ girlfriend…and Carl and Judith’s NewMom.

...just casting my vote, for the record.

Just casting my vote, here,  for the record.

The church, however, gets overrun with the walker horde, who push through the doors’ opening…

There are too many to fight off, and Gabriel calls to them to get to the rectory, his room in the back of the church.

There are too many to fight off, and Gabriel calls to them to get to the rectory, his room in the back of the church.

Gabriel finally steps up, bravely barring the door to allow Carl, Judith, and Michonne to escape through the crawlspace under the church.

Gabriel finally steps up, bravely barring the door to allow Carl, Judith, and Michonne to escape through the crawlspace under the church.

And as Gabriel dives for the crawlspace hole in the floor, Machete Walker falls through the door, towards Gabriel...

And as Gabriel dives for the crawlspace hole in the floor, Machete Walker falls through the door, lunging towards Gabriel…

...and Gabriel's machete makes its first kill, as Machete Walker falls right into the sharp blade, slicing her head in two. (Bravo, Nicotero & Co.!)

…and Gabriel’s machete makes its first kill, as Machete Walker falls right into the sharp blade, slicing her head in two. (Bravo, Nicotero & Co.!)

Once outside the church, Michonne quickly closes the doors on the walkers, boarding them closed...and fickle fate once again plays her cruel hand, as the walkers are now locked inside the church, unable to get out.

Once outside the church, Michonne quickly closes the doors on the walkers, boarding them closed…and fickle fate once again plays her cruel hand, as the walkers are now locked inside the church, unable to get out.

Meanwhile, back at the warehouse…

Sasha's feeling pretty dumb right about now...don't take it too hard, girl...not the first time a righteous sister's been taken in by a smooth-talking man with an agenda.

Sasha’s feeling pretty dumb right about now…don’t take it too hard, girl…not the first time a righteous sister’s been taken in by a smooth-talking man with an agenda.

Rick returns, as they see, alone.

Rick pulls Daryl aside.

Rick pulls Daryl aside. “He wouldn’t stop,” Rick says, simply. They must think quickly, come up with a new plan, as this development changes things.

As they turn back to their kneeling hostages, Officer Shepherd doesn’t need much time or encouragement to flip the script on the Lamson situation.

Shepherd is quick on the uptake of the situation.

Shepherd is quick on the uptake of the situation. “He was a good man,” she intones, as if eulogizing Lamson. “He was attacked by rotters. I saw it go down.” Rick Grimes sizes her up, remarks snidely, “You’re a damn good liar.” Shepherd replies, “We’re hanging by a thread, herehe was attacked by rotters.”

Daryl steps forward, asks Shepherd that she initially thought the trade was a bad idea, so what changed? Shepherd replies that Lamson was their shot, and now that he’s off the table, it’s either say he got attacked by rotters, or go in guns blazing. Rick turns to the other cop, Licari, who says that Dawn won’t want to look weak in front of the other officers, and she’ll think that the trade is a rip-off if she thinks that Rick and them took out Lamson, so, “It’s a good thing that he (Lamson) was attacked by rotters.”

Rick looks at Daryl, who nods back at him.

Back at Grady Memorial…

As she tidies Dawn Lerner's office, Beth overhears Dawn try to radio Lamson, Licari...to no reply, of course.

As she tidies Dawn Lerner’s office, Beth overhears Dawn try to radio Lamson, Licari...to no reply, of course.

Dawn swears softly, and Beth asks her, with false concern, if something is wrong. Dawn tells her that the officers out on runs don’t always radio back, which drives her, Dawn, crazy.

As Beth goes to put the framed picture of Dawn and her mentor, Hanson, on the desk, Dawn (being totally OCD) tells Beth that no, the picture goes up there, by the badges.

When Beth asks her if that's Hanson in the picture, Dawn Lerner looks down as she pedals the stationary bike, and asks Beth if someone said something about him, Hanson, to her.

When Beth asks her if that’s Hanson in the picture, Dawn Lerner looks down, as she pedals the stationary bike, and asks Beth if someone said something about him, Hanson, to her.

Beth replies innocently that she just heard that Hanson used to be in charge. Dawn Lerner replies that Beth will probably hear stories about him, about her, Dawn, and what Dawn did…

Beth looks down, digesting this new piece of information...seems like Dawn took out Hanson at some point to take control of the hospital.

Beth looks down, digesting this new piece of information...seems like Dawn took out Hanson at some point to take control of the hospital.

Dawn finishes her cardio, and as she towels the sweat off her face, she tells Beth that Hanson was her mentor, her friend…she looks at Beth, says, “I miss him.  That’s the part the stories leave out.”

Beth asks her what happened to him. Dawn walks over to where Beth stands, looks at the framed picture.  She tells Beth that every time the officers go out, they risk their lives, so the runs have to be for a good reason, have to be worth it.  Dawn says that Hanson lost sight of that, and so, “He lost them,” meaning, Hanson lost the officers’ fealty and respect.

Dawn looks right at Beth, then, and tells her that in this job, not everyone is going to like whoever is in charge, but they need to respect that person.

Dawn looks right at Beth, then, and tells her that in this job, not everyone is going to like whomever is in charge, but they need to respect that person. “Lose that (respect), and everyone goes down.” Dawn looks at Beth, tells her, “Hanson lost his way.”

This scene is very telling, as it explains, later, why Dawn Lerner makes the choices she makes, especially at the end of the episode…she knows her position as leader is in jeopardy, already, and she is terrified of losing face with her fellow officers, and ending up like Hanson did.

Back in the woods, outside the church…

As Gabriel takes a rest, Michonne touches Juith's sleeping head (and that, my readers, is all a stunt baby should be expected to do...look adorable, and take a nap!).

As Gabriel takes a rest, Michonne touches Juith’s sleeping head (and that, my readers, is all a stunt baby should be expected to do…look adorable, and take a nap!).

Michonne then turns to Gabriel, asks him where he went.

Gabriel replies that he went to the school, because he had to see it for himself, had to know. (Whatever, dude.)

Gabriel replies that he went to the school, because he had to see it for himself, had to know. (Whatever, dude.)

The walkers, however, are pretty much over being inside of the church, and they begin to break away at the barred doors keeping them inside.

Hey, you out there! This place blows…there’s nothing to eat, and you fuckers drank all the damn wine!  We’re busting down these freakin’ doors, then, ZOMBIES OUT!”

As the walkers begin to break down the doors, Gabriel, Michonne, and Carl back up...Carl asks,

As the walkers begin to break through the doors, Gabriel, Michonne, and Carl back away in fear and alarm. Carl asks, “Where do we go?” Michonne looks around, trying to come up with a plan, when…

...a perfectly timed fire truck smashes through, barring the doors and saving the day!

…a perfectly timed fire truck smashes through, barring the doors and saving the day! Yay!

The gang reunites, and Michonne, smiling, tells Maggie that Beth is alive, in a hospital in Atlanta, and the others have gone to go get her back.

The gang reunites, and Glenn breaks the bad news about Eugene lying, and D.C. being a bust, before asking where everyone else is. Michonne, smiling, tells Maggie that Beth is alive, in a hospital in Atlanta, and the others have gone to go get her back.

Maggie, overjoyed at hearing this news, grabs up Glenn in a hug, while Tara says,

Maggie, overjoyed at hearing this news, grabs up Glenn in a hug, while Tara says, “Let’s blow this joint and go save your sister!” (Ugh, feeling like I am about to cry, and vomit, rewatching this scene.)

Meanwhile, at the Grady Memorial Hospital from Hell, Beth has turned a corner to find Officer O’Donnell bullying poor Percy in the hallway, chewing the poor elder gentleman out for forgetting to sew the hole in Officer O’Donnell’s shirt.

Poor Percy, the fine man who faked a coughing attack for Beth in exchange for strawberries, dares not look Officer OD in the face as he stammers an apology...

Poor Percy, the fine man who faked a coughing attack for Beth in exchange for strawberries, dares not look Officer OD in the face as he stammers an apology…

...to no avail, as Officer OD mocks and shoves the elder gentleman to the floor, then sees Beth watching...

…to no avail, as Officer OD mocks, then shoves the elder gentleman to the floor, then looks up to see Beth watching…

Officer OD challenges Beth,

Officer OD, looking down the hall at Beth, challenges her, “What about you? Are you any good with needle and thread?” Dawn Lerner walks by, says nothing about the pushing, as she briefly regards poor Percy, lying on the floor. Seems Dawn Lerner picks her battles, and this isn’t one of them.

Beth stares, frozen, unable to reply right away as Dawn quickly cuts in, telling Officer OD,

Beth stares, frozen, unable to reply right away as Dawn quickly cuts in, telling Officer OD, “I need her..sorry.. we have a lot of work to do. Come on, Beth.” It seems Dawn Lerner is taking Beth under her wing, making her Dawn’s new ward. I can see how Dawn Lerner had this relationship with Noah, protecting him, confiding in him, but still abusing him like all others if she deemed it necessary…probably worse. Being Dawn’s ward would have both its benefits and steep cost.

(Now, before I go on, I must say my piece about this.  I am one crazy Irish mutha, and the blood of O’Donnell flows through my veins.  O’Donnell is my maiden name, the name of my birth, and as such, I hold it very dear to my heart.  It pains me greatly to see the name of my kin, and my ancestors, be represented in such bunk fashion by this shrill, bullying a-hole. I am sure that the actor who plays Officer O’Donnell is a wonderful human being, but the character of Officer O’Donnell can eat a bag of dicks.

I think I speak for all O’Donnells when I say, “This character in no way, shape, or form represents the true spirit of O’Donnell.”  

Because he sucks, Officer O’Donnell shall be demoted from O’Donnell status and referred to henceforth in this post as Officer OD.)

As Beth sits at the elevator shaft, legs dangling, and daydreams about escape, Dawn Lerner comes in, interrupting Beth's quiet time. When Dawn tells Beth that Percy is going to be ok, Beth replies,

Later, as Beth sits at the elevator shaft, legs dangling, and daydreams about escape, Dawn Lerner comes in, interrupting Beth’s quiet time. When Dawn tells Beth that Percy is going to be ok, Beth replies, “Nothing’s ok.”

In reply, Dawn asks Beth, with mock gravity, “Are you gonna jump?” Beth rolls her eyes at this, tells Dawn, “I wanted to be alone…you left your elevator key where it was.” Dawn replies that at least she knows Beth isn’t going anywhere.

Beth replies,

Beth replies, “Neither are you.” She turns to face Dawn, tells her that “you keep telling yourself you’re going to do whatever it takes until this is all over…but it isn’t over. This is it. This is who you are, and what this place is, until the end.”

Dawn Lerner isn’t having it.  This place saved you.  I saved you…twice. The others don’t know what you did…they think Joan was just trying to get back at me.”  Dawn tells Beth that she, Dawn, saw the smashed jar, and closed up the office before the others could figure out what really happened, what Beth did to Gorman in Dawn’s office.

Dawn looks at Beth, tells her, “You’re a cop killer.” Beth protests that she would never kill anybody, to which Dawn replies, “But you did.” Dawn asks Beth what she thinks the others would do if they found out what Beth did…Dawn continues, telling Beth she protected her, she helped save that woman in Room 2, not because she had to, but because she, Dawn Lerner, wanted to. “But there’s a way that things have to happen around here…don’t you get that?

A noise from down the hallway startles Beth and Dawn...they turn to find Officer OD standing there. It seems he has been there a while, and has overheard all the dirty deets.

A noise from down the hallway startles Beth and Dawn…they turn to find Officer OD standing there. It seems he has been there a while, and has overheard all the dirty deets.

Dawn asks Officer OD, hands held loosely at her sides, but ready to reach for her guns if need be, “What are you gonna do?” Officer OD fires back, “No, Dawn, what are you gonna do? Starting with her?” He motions to Beth.  “She’s my ward,” Dawn replies. I’ll handle it.”

Officer OD steps closer, tells Dawn that he thinks the other officers should know who they’re working for, “So are you gonna tell them, or should I?”

Dawn narrows her eyes, begins to step closer to Officer OD. You don’t get to threaten me, she says, dangerously.  “This isn’t a threat,” replies Officer OD. “These are the factsyou look like shitthe guys are talking, they think you’re cracking. This is Hanson all over again.”

Officer OD turns to the door with the parting shot, “It’s time to make a change.”

(Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am all about Officer OD, and the other officers, ousting Dawn Lerner as the head chief if it were about her being crooked, and they were wanting to make a clean slate and some much-needed changes.  But, if Dawn Lerner is the only tenuous thread holding them back from going full rampage on the female wards of the hospital, or abusing the weaker ones like Percy, then Officer OD and the other male cops who are rapists and bullies are just as shitty, if not more shitty, than Dawn Lerner.  The whole place sucks, really, when it comes right down to it.)

The click of a gun behind him stops Officer OD in his tracks. Dawn Lerner has pulled out her pistol, cocked it, tells him that he’s wrong, that she’s nothing like Hanson…she killed Hanson, remember?

Dawn Lerner's getting the Crazy Eyes.

“I was the only one who could go through with it.” Watch out, Dawn Lerner’s getting the crazy eyes!

Officer OD turns to face Dawn. “Lower your weapon, Dawn,” he says. “All I have to do is shout.” Dawn replies that all she has to do is say that he came at her.  She orders Beth, who is behind her, to get out of the way.  Beth complies, moves to the other side of the hallway. Dawn then orders Officer OD towards the elevator shaft opening. “Don’t do this,” he tells her.

“Don’t make me,” Dawn replies.

As he walks slowly towards the elevator shaft, Officer OD reminds Dawn that they were rookie cops together, that she had cigars with him and the other officers in the parking lot of this very hospital when his son was born. (It’s crazy to think how these hospital cops were once good people, with lives, and families, who were on the police force, wanting to help others in the community…and now, they are reduced to this…enslaving people against their will, raping and abusing them because they are in control of them, and can.)

These remembrances seem to be rattling Dawn even more than she already is. She tells Officer OD to stop, that the man he was, once, is gone.

“Look at you,” Dawn tells Officer OD. “You’re pushing the old man, you’re laughing with the others about that poor girl getting raped...that’s who you are now.”

Officer OD steps forward, asks Dawn, “So who the hell are you?”  Dawn Lerner replies, “Someone who isn’t going to let it happen anymore.”

“That’s not what this is about,” replies Officer OD. “It’s about holding on to what you have.”

Dawn asks, incredulously, What the hell do I have?”

Officer OD distracts Dawn with some mindfuck shit about Hanson, then ambushes Dawn, tackling her into the wall. A super burly beatdown ensues between Dawn Lerner and Officer OD…it happened too fast for me to get any good pictures of it, but Dawn was holding her own pretty well against an enraged male cop who was also trained in hand-to-hand combat.

Officer OD does get the best of Dawn, clamping his hand around her throat in a chokehold and lifting her up high against the wall.

“You think you’re better than us?” he asks through clenched teeth. Beth tries to pull Officer OD off Dawn, and he knocks Beth to the floor. “Stay in your lane, bitch!” he screams at Beth. This gives Dawn Lerner the opening she needs…she punches Officer OD hard in the throat, then side kicks him, sending him towards the opening of the elevator shaft.

I did get this shot...watching this, I was thinking,

I did get this shot…watching this, I was thinking, “Why can’t Dawn Lerner be one of the good guys?” She definitely has some mad fighting skills, and some leadership & other smarts to offer a group…such a waste for her to be so twisted at this point.

Before Officer OD can get his bearings, Dawn Lerner screams, “Beth!” and with one hard shove, Beth pushes Officer OD off the edge of the elevator shaft and sends him flying down the steep blackness, until we hear his body crash down below…then the sounds of the walkers descending upon him.

That scene is a hard one to watch…we get glimpses of who Dawn Lerner and Officer OD were before the change: idealistic, rookie cops, with families, and normal lives. We see what they have been reduced to, exchanging words, accusations, then pulling guns and coming to blows, all in the quest for top slot at Grady Memorial.

We see glimpses of Beth, what she has had to do in the short time at Grady Memorial, (things that she never would have thought she would do) like killing someone, just to survive in this hellish place.  And now, she has just pushed a cop down an elevator shaft, and helped Dawn Lerner stay in power, which I guess was the preferable option than letting Officer OD and his goon squad have full reign of power…but either option is hardly ideal.

Poor Beth.

Poor Beth.

Later, we see Beth, dozing against the wall of Carol’s room, sitting on the floor, looking so sad and lonely there.  Carol is Beth’s only friend there, and she is still unconscious. Beth has nobody to turn to, to talk to, and she is just a young girl.  She has been through so much, and had to be so strong throughout all the horrible shit that has gone down at this hospital.

One moment, she was sitting at a table, exchanging a sweet, loving moment with Daryl, and now, she is here, in a living, daily hell in a hospital prison.

Wake up, Carol!

Wake up, Carol!

I am so sad for Beth in this scene.

I am so sad for Beth in this scene.

Dawn Lerner comes into the room, a little loud and sloppy, carrying a flask and a glass. She’s drunk, you can tell. She tells Beth that it’s ok to cry.

Beth states, with a young defiance, that she doesn’t cry anymore…

“I do,” says Dawn, pouring herself a drink

Dawn offers the cup to Beth, who turns away, refusing the offering.  Dawn places the cup on the edge of the sink. “It’s from my own stash, no strings, “ Dawn tells her.  She goes over and sits on the end of Carol’s bed, and takes a long pull from her flask.

I have thought about the character of Dawn Lerner a lot since watching this episode...definitely felt some sympathy for her during moments like this, while still knowing what she is capable of.

I have thought about the character of Dawn Lerner a lot since watching this episode…definitely felt some sympathy for her during moments like this, while still knowing what harm she is capable of doing, and how quickly she can turn on others.

Beth tells Dawn that she knows why Dawn covered for her…she was actually covering for herself.  Gorman, Jeffries, and O’Donnell were problems for Dawn, and now they are gone, and Dawn didn’t have to do the dirty work.  “That’s how things get done around here,” Beth says. “Everyone uses people to get what they want.  You aren’t the ones who have to remember.”

Dawn peers down at Beth’s face.  “Is that what happened with Edwards and Trevitt? He used you?” (Dawn is astute, I’ll definitely give her that.)

Beth says then, “I’m getting out…just like Noah.”  Dawn tells her that Noah will be back. “He’s going home, “ Beth tells her. Dawn tells her that they always come back, that they don’t make it far…for one thing, they can’t, but, also, they really don’t want to.

Beth leans forward, tells Dawn angrily that Noah is going home.

Dawn smiles a little smile at Beth, tells her that she, Dawn, was like Beth, once. “Nobody could tell me anything.” Dawn tells Beth that she isn’t stupid…she motions towards Carol with her head, says, “You know her…and somehow, you both ended up here. Maybe that means something.”

Dawn goes on to tell Beth that they, Beth and her friend, can be a part of “this thing,” what they have going at the hospital, and that it may be the most important thing she, Beth, has ever done.  Beth cuts a look at Dawn as she says this, but says nothing.

Dawn continues, “And what you did back there…” and with this, Dawn puts a hand to her throat, remembering O’Donnell’s hand clamped down on it. She tells Beth, after a moment, that Gorman and O’Donnell hurt people…the world didn’t lose anything when they died. Dawn then tells Beth that she’s wrong about her, Dawn.

“I didn’t use you,” Dawn says.  “And I will remember.”  As Dawn sits, lost in her thoughts, Carol, unnoticed, turns her head slightly on the pillow.

Meanwhile, on the top of a building in downtown Atlanta…

At their sniper station, Tyrese is telling Sasha to stop beating herself up for not rekilling Bob.

At their sniper station, Tyrese is telling Sasha to stop beating herself up for not rekilling Bob.

As Daryl leads the hostage cops to their waiting places on the roof, Tyrese goes on to tell Sasha about Martin, the one she killed at the church.  He tells Sasha that he was left with Martin, and how he maybe should have killed him, but didn’t, even though he said he had.  Tyrese muses that maybe they haven’t changed so much, after all, from the way they used to be, and maybe that’s good.

Sasha looks at her brother, tells him that he hasn’t changed from who he was, and that is good. But she, Sasha, can’t go back to who she was, before…

Sasha peers through the rifle scope, refocusing on the task at hand.

Sasha peers through the rifle scope, refocusing on the task at hand. “Not anymore,” she says, as she takes aim at the target below.

As Daryl and Sasha see the cop car approaching, Daryl signals Tyrese to radio as much to Rick.

As Daryl and Sasha see the cop car approaching, Daryl signals Tyrese to radio as much to Rick.

We see Rick get himself in the zone of Negotiation Mode, then we see a shot of the red flag they’ve erected to mark the meeting point, blowing in the wind, as Rick raises his arms and begins to walk towards the cop car that slowly approaches.

I love the homage to old cowboy movies in this episode...so many shots, like this one, and the hallway scene between Dawn Lerner and O'Donnell...

I love the homage to old cowboy movies in this episode…so many shots, like this one, and the hallway scene between Dawn Lerner and O’Donnell…

...look like they were taken from right from the old western classics. Love it.

…look like they were taken from right from the old western classics. Love it.

As the cops get out of the car, guns raised and levelled at Rick, he addresses them both by name.

“Officer Franco, Officer McGuinley…I’m Rick Grimes.” (Mmmm hmmm, he sure is.)

Rick tells them that he was a deputy at the Kent County’s Sheriff’s office, that he’s here to make a proposal.  The officers, taken aback by this approach and familiarity, exchange looks. One officer tells Rick to lay his weapon on the ground. Rick agrees, moves slowly, complies.  Daryl and Sasha hold their aim, have the cops’ heads in their sights.

As they move closer to Rick, the other cop asks Rick what his proposal is. “You have two of our people, we have two of yours. We want to make an even exchange, then we walk away…no one gets hurt.”

The officers ask Rick who they have. Rick replies they have Officers Shepherd and Licari. Rick then tells the cops that they have two of their people: Beth, and another woman who was hit by one of their cars and brought in yesterday.

The cops exchange looks at this, and the one cop asks if Noah is with them.  “Yes, he is,” says Rick.  As a walker approaches, one of the cops asks where Rick’s people are.

In reply, a perfectly placed shot by Sasha, sniper style, takes out the walker behind them.

In reply, a perfectly placed shot by Sasha, sniper style, takes out the walker behind them.

“They’re close,” Rick replies, nonchalantly.  The cops looks around, spooked.  Rick takes a step back. “Radio your lieutenant, I’ll wait,” he tells them.

And then, it has become time to make the exchange.  We see Rick’s group, with Rick and Daryl marching Sheppard and Licari in front of them, at gunpoint, walking through the maze of hallways and stairwells in the hospital, led and flanked by the cops at the negotiation, towards the meeting place.

rick marching shepherd to exchange point

We then see Beth, getting ready to go, with the bloodstained yellow shirt she got back at the country club, the Pine Vista, where she and Daryl went in search of her first drink…as Beth gathers her things, she thinks a moment, then reaches under her mattress and gets the scissors she took from Doc Edwards’ office.

We watch as Beth slips the scissors into her cast, just in case...

We watch as Beth slips the scissors into her cast, just in case…

We see Beth wheeling Carol down the hall in a wheelchair, with Doc Edwards behind them.

We see Beth wheeling Carol down the hall in a wheelchair, with Doc Edwards walking behind them.

They approach the group of Dawn and her officers, and wait.

They approach the group of Dawn and her officers, and wait.

As Officers McGuinley and Franco rejoin Dawn Lerner's group, Rick tells Dawn the the officers in their keeping haven't been harmed.

As Officers McGuinley and Franco rejoin Dawn Lerner’s group, Rick tells Dawn the officers in their keeping haven’t been harmed.

Dawn immediately asks where Lamson is.

Dawn immediately asks where Lamson is.

Shepherd says, a little too quickly, that

Shepherd says, a little too quickly, that “rotters got him.” Licari adds that they “saw it go down.”

Dawn Lerner isn’t buying it. She narrows her eyes, nods, says, “Oh…I’m sorry to hear that…he was one of the good guys.

Dawn then tells Rick, “One of ours for one of yours.” Rick nods to Daryl, who releases Licari forward, and one of Dawn’s cops wheels Carol forward to Rick’s group.

Then, Dawn marches Beth forward, herself, and Rick follows suit, bringing Shepherd forward.  The exchange is made, and Rick reaches out and touches Beth’s head, tenderly, while looking at her face and checking in with her for a brief and wordless moment.

I love how tender he is with her...she is so close...so hard to rewatch this scene.

I love how tender he is with her…she is so close…so hard to rewatch this scene.

As Rick and the gang turn to leave, Dawn says to their retreating backs,

As Rick and the gang turn to leave, Dawn says to their retreating backs, “I’m glad we could work something out.” Rick turns to look at her. “Yeah,” he replies, hoarsely and with barely concealed contempt.

Dawn glances back at her officers, afraid to look like she is losing face in this deal...

Dawn glances back at her officers, afraid to look like she is losing face in this deal…

...and with a slight shake in her voice, Dawn says, loudly,

…and with a slight shake in her voice, Dawn says, loudly, “And now, I just need Noah.”

At Dawn's words, Rick stops in his tracks. He turns to Dawn, walks back towards her,

At Dawn’s words, Rick stops in his tracks. He turns to Dawn, walks back towards her, “That wasn’t part of the deal.”

Dawn replies that Beth was her ward, and now she's lost a ward...and she, Dawn, lost good men who were killed looking for Noah, so she needs a new ward, and she needs Noah.

Dawn replies that Beth was her ward, and now she’s lost a ward…and she, Dawn, lost good men who were killed looking for Noah, so she needs a new ward, and she needs Noah.

Daryl steps foward, says Noah isn't going back to Dawn. Rick says the boy wants to go home, and that Dawn doesn't have any claim to him.

Daryl steps forward, says Noah isn’t going back to Dawn. Rick says the boy wants to go home, and that Dawn doesn’t have any claim to him.

Dawn says,

Dawn says, “Then we don’t have a deal.” Rick protests, rightly so,  that the deal was done.

Noah steps forward,

Noah steps forward, “It’s ok,” he says. Rick tries to hold him back, but he looks at Rick, tells him that it has to be done. Otherwise, it’s war.  He hands his gun to Rick. From behind, Beth’s voice is clear, shaking, “It’s not ok.”

As Noah limps forward, Dawn Lerner says, with satisfaction, “It’s settled, then.”

“Wait!” Beth rushes forward and hugs Noah, hard, not wanting to let go.

Noah tries to reassure Beth that it's ok, while Dawn Lerner cannot bring herself to watch. Even she knows how wrong this is.

Noah tries to reassure Beth that it’s ok, while Dawn Lerner cannot bring herself to watch. Even she knows how wrong this is. But then, she recovers herself, turns to Noah….

...and says, softly, smugly,

…and says, softly, smugly, “I knew you’d be back.”

Beth looks at Dawn with pure hatred.

Beth looks at Dawn with pure hatred.

She walks up to Dawn, looks her in the eye, says,

She walks up to Dawn, looks her in the eye, says, “I get it now.”

In one quick instant, Beth stabs Dawn Lerner with the scissors...

In one quick instant, Beth stabs Dawn Lerner with the scissors…

beth stabs dawn 2

And, in a moment of pure reflex, Dawn Lerner shoots Beth through the head, killing her instantly.

And, in a moment of pure reflex, Dawn Lerner shoots Beth through the head, killing her instantly.

rick disbelief noah disbelief

sasha disbelief

Dawn Lerner shakes her head in disbelief, and fright, mouths that she didn't mean to...

Dawn Lerner shakes her head in disbelief, and fright, mouths that she didn’t mean to…

In fury and grief, Daryl steps forward and shoots Dawn Lerner through the skull.

In fury and grief, Daryl steps forward and shoots Dawn Lerner through the skull.

dawn falls back shot

As the officers draw their weapons, Shepherd tells them to hold their fire...

As the officers draw their weapons, Shepherd tells them to hold their fire…“It was just about her (Beth), “ she says. “It’s over. Stand down!

Poor Daryl! :(

Poor Daryl! 😦

poor daryl2

tyrese crying

Officer Shepherd offers for the gang to stay, if they like.  One of the men pipes up, says that they are surviving here, that it’s better than “out there.”

Rick, dazed, stricken, shakes his head. “No,” he disagrees, refusing.  He says that anybody who wants to go, is coming with them…but only Noah comes forward.

Outside, Abraham pulls the fire truck into the hospital parking lot…the gang steps out, takes care of stray walkers as they approach, walking toward the hospital.  As they get closer, Maggie allows herself an excited, happy smile at the thought of seeing her sister again. Rick and the others file out, Rick giving a little shake of his head.

Maggie allows herself a hopeful smile, and then they see...

Maggie allows herself a hopeful smile, and then they see…

The image that has seared itself into the hearts of all WD fans worldwide...Daryl carrying Beth's body. So heartbreaking, the worst ever.

The image that has seared itself into the hearts of all WD fans worldwide…Daryl carrying Beth’s body. So heartbreaking, the worst ever.

Upon seeing Beth, Maggie screams, collapses on the ground.

Upon seeing Beth, Maggie screams, collapses on the ground.

IMG_9048

:(

😦

The final shot of the Season 5 midseason finale...

The final shot of the Season 5 midseason finale…

Wow. I don’t even know what to say, even now.  Watching it again, finishing this post, I feel really overcome. TearsBeth!  We love you, girl.

So many of my friends are saying that there is no hope, that The Walking Dead is just going to keep getting more and more bleak, that nothing in the world that is being portrayed in the show is going to get any better.  I do hope that’s not true, but as I said before, the comic series doesn’t exactly lead to chocolates and roses.

Kirkman, Gimple, be kind.  It’s all I ask.

A couple of things, before I sign off for a while…I would like to thank all those who have found me, and my crazy tweaker blog, and who have given me encouragement, posted comments, shared with friends.  I am gaining new readership all the time, at unprecedented rate.  Thanks, gang.  I appreciate your showing the love.

One reader, Brooks, asked me in a comment a couple of months back if I would ever consider having a guest writer post on my blog.

I am sorry that I did not directly answer your question in my reply to you, at the time, Brooks.  I was honestly taken aback, as I had never even thought about it before.  I was so surprised to be asked.

But, I have thought about that question you asked me ever since, and this is what I came up with…during the midseason break, while I take a much needed rest, I would like to open up barnfullawalkers to be a forum for writers, artists, WD fans to contribute their talents, if they wish.  I will not be posting, so there is opportunity to get your talents showcased if you want to play along.

As this is a blog about The Walking Dead (more or less, sometimes more, sometimes less), I would ask that any contributions be centered around The Walking Dead as a central theme.  If you have fan fiction, poetry, drawings, art, photographs, essays, commentaries, Season 5 thoughts, synopses, that you would like to submit, or any other correspondence that you would like to send along, please send it to: barnfullawalkers@gmail.com

This is totally a new thing, and I’m not quite sure how it’s all going to work as of yet, but I promise that any submissions will be treated with the upmost respect, and if I choose to post it, I will contact you, and we will take it from there.

On a funny note, as always, the midseason and season finale episodes of WD seem to result in especially memorable Talking Dead episodes, and last week was no exception.

As Robert Kirkman, the creator of both The Walking Dead comic and television series, was a featured guest on TD,  fans were invited to Skype in questions for him, and we got a few new additions to the Kooky WD Fan Hall of Fame:

We got to meet:

Brendan and Suzanne, the wacky swinger couple whose

Brendan and Suzanne, the wacky swinger or “free pass”  couple whose “kids” wanted to know if their dad could kiss Maggie. Ol’ Brendan said it was up to his wife, but if she was down with it, so was he…and then they both gave this “thumbs-up” sign, so, I guess everyone’s ok with it, even the kids!

Christie (sp?)...she was cute, with a sweet smile and a normal question for Kirkman that I can't remember at the moment.

Christie (sp?)…she was cute, with a sweet smile and a normal question for Kirkman that I can’t remember at the moment.

Then we met Scott, who asked Kirkman if Daryl ever got to have a

Then, we met Scott, who asked Kirkman if Daryl ever got to have a “booty call” or if he was just saving himself for one special person….got my fingers crossed for you, Scott, buddy…here’s hoping!

Then we met the bespectacled girl with the quirky style who dolled herself and her little dog in fancy bow ties.

Then we met the bespectacled girl with the quirky style who dolled herself and her little dog in fancy bow ties. She asked some question about Shane, I think.

And finally, there was Gig Guy, sporting a fox pelt hat and screaming at the camera as he channeled Rick Grimes tellling off all those who doubted his leadership abilities.

And finally, there was Gig Guy, sporting a fox pelt hat and screaming at the camera as he channeled Rick Grimes telling off all those who doubted his leadership abilities.

Ah, humanity! 🙂

Have a lovely holiday, my WDO darling readers, and drop me a comment, or if you are shy, drop me an email at barnfullawalkers@gmail.com

Until Feb.8, and enjoy Beth’s playlist:

Beautiful. And devastating. <3

Playlist:  (Seven-song playlist to take Beth up to Level 7Beth Forever! )

Goat, “Goatslaves”

Lamb, “Angelica”

Jose Gonzalez, “Storm”

Purity Ring, “Obedear”

Moondog, “Bird’s Lament”

Tori Amos, “Cornflake Girl”

Guns n Roses, “Sweet Child of Mine”

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

“No Sanctuary”

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

First, came the First Four Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

then

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

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

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

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

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

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

alex

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

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

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

IMG_8340

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

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

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

IMG_8333

And when he opens them again, we see:

Gareth After.

Gareth After.

Next comes:

now

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

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

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

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

Michonne’s voice answers, “No.”

“Good,”  Sasha sighs.

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

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

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

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

rick fashions a knife

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

4 pricks coming our way

sweet daryl d look

It’s go time.

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

go time in the train car

sasha dukes it up

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

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

IMG_7994

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

Rick's head slams on the concrete...

Rick’s head slams on the concrete…

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

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

All goes black…and then we see:

IMG_7989

We knew they were cannibals!

We knew they were cannibals! #thoseterminalbastards

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

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

At the trough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At first, Rick looks at Sam...

At first, Rick looks back at Sam…

...but then must look away.

…but then must look away.

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

From behind Rick, there is a signal to proceed…

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

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

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

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

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

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

glenn blood trickleblood drain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7993

IMG_7992

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More!

more on the tracks

More!

more hear shots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murton, you dumbass.

Martin, you dumbass.

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

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

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

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

carol goos up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

walker carol at the fence terms take rick.

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

Big ass propane tank...pay dirt!

propane tank

…a big ass propane tank. Pay dirt!

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

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

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

 New Carol knows the time to act is now.

new carol time is now

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

new carol aims

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

walkers like the gas

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

carol covers her ears

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

thar she blows

New Carol is going full-fucking Rambo on Terminus.

walkers go boom

Walkers go BOOM

walkers gonna party at terminus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mary is shocked

Didn’t you know, Mary…

walkers on fire at terminus

… that karma’s a bitch…

...a bitch that will eat your face?

…a bitch that will eat your face?

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

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

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

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

hey look at me slice!

This lesson’s called Eat My Shiv, bitch!

buh bye new guy

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

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

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

Meanwhile, back inside Train Car “A”…

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

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

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

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

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

walkers go cannibal on terminus

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

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

Carol takes in the scene, hidden among the walkers.

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

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

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

carcasses dryer room

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

I love when Rick Grimes goes all Lieutenant Deputy.

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

At Rick's questioning look, Glenn says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

carol sees her watch

and daryls crossbow

And then Carol sees Daryl’s crossbow…

carol picks up daryls crossbow

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

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

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

Once again, so pimp, Deputy Grimes!

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

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

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

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

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

Rick! Blast!

Rick Blast!

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

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

 And that just makes it so much hotter...

And that just makes it so much hotter…

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

Sigh…the goosebumps on my goosebumps have goosebumps

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

Later, haters.

Later, haters.

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

“I want to see your face,” Mary says.

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

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

top mama tapout carol bests mary

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

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

mary got a cap in her leg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

martin tyrese window walker

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

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

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

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

tyrese tackles martin

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

tyrese knife to martin's throat

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

tyrese walker carnage

Just sayin’…

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

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

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

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

I just don’t know, people.

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

rick hold off gareth

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

gang slashes rick hold off walkers fence

Later, Terminus.

Later, Terminus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol in the woods

Carol!

Daryl sees Carol 1

Daryl sees her…

best hug ever

…and runs in for the Best. Hug. Ever.

best hug 3

Totally crying again, watching this, posting this.

tears of joy daryl carol

Awwww, such a sweet, sweet man!

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

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

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

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

ricks sees judith

Rick sees his baby girl and rushes to her.

sasha and tyrese

Sasha reunites with her big brother, Tyrese.

The Grimes

The Grimes

Top Mamas <3 <3

Top Mamas

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

no sanctuary

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

morgan!

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

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

They call him Carl Poppa, bitches. ❤

Until next week, and enjoy the playlist.

Playlist

Led Zeppelin  “Battle of Evermore”

Nirvana  “School”

Bad Brains  “I

Wipers  “Just a Dream Away”

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

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

“Re-Entry”

re-en-try:  noun

1. the action or process of re-entering something

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

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

_____________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7868

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_7995

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

But, Daryl doesn’t look so sure…

IMG_7982

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

IMG_7994

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

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

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

Ewwwwww!

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

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IMG_7988

IMG_7989

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

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

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

IMG_7981

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

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

And now, to Bachelor Number TwoDaryl Dixon.

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

And speaking of Beth

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

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

 <3

(Sigh…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn...

Damn…another walker prison riot?

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

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

Run, Beth, run!

Run, Beth, run!

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

Yikes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 “ALO ALO para todos os Brasileiros!!”  

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

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

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

Playlist:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A”

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

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

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

And to that I give a big, “Hollah!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s early,” Hershel tells him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check it out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe tells Rick,

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

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

Rick In Charge don’t think so, Joe…

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

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

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

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

At Joe's taunt,

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

And spits it out!  Holy fuck!

…and spits it out! Holy fuck!

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

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

Later for you, pedophile.

Later for you, Deserves It Dan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More slogans…these people are THE WORST.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/barnfullawalkers

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

Take that, creepy cannibal co-op!

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

Playlist:

Little People, “Start Shootin'”

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

Zero 7, “Spinning”

Handsome Boy Modeling School, “The Truth”

DJ Shadow, “Midnight In A Perfect World”

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

The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 14, “The Grove”

“The Grove”

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

Well, people, we have much to discuss, don’t we, with The Walking Dead’s Season 4, Episode 14, “The Grove.”  For those WD fans who have been touched with a bit of the ennui regarding the last couple of weeks’ storylines. we got a bracing slap-up with this latest installment, written by Scott M. Gimple and artfully directed by Michael Satrazemis.

The opening scene of “The Grove” is a spare, haunting one.  It opens with a close shot of a copper tea kettle on the stove, a gas flame burning under it…at first, it made me think it was a flashback of days past, at the beginning of the turn, perhaps…

The shot pans left to the open window, where a clean white curtain dances in a gentle breeze.  We hear the sounds of girl’s laughter outside, and we see through the window’s pane what appears to be Lizzy running playfully around a tree. We lose the figure for brief moments, as she disappears behind the tree or the window frame, then reappears…and then we see, through the window, that there is another figure, but this figure does not run and dance like a young girl…this figure lurches and grabs at the young girl, who evades her easily, laughing.

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“C’mon, Griselda!” we hear Lizzy’s voice beckon, when the walker stops at one point, having lost dim sight or sound of the girl…at the sound of Lizzy’s voice, the walker woman lurches again towards her, getting closer and closer, as Lizzy laughs, dances around the walker…the tea kettle on the stove starts to whistle, piercing through the dreamy, surreal quality of the old timey song that plays somewhere in the house, and the grotesque dance that is happening outside the window, in a sunny grove surrounded by pecan trees.

Cue the Bear McCreary opening title sequence...

Cue the Bear McCreary opening title sequence…

In the next scene, it is night on the  train tracks, near an overpass. Carol sits, holding Baby Judith while Lizzy sits beside her. Mika and Tyrese are curled up on the tracks, sleeping. Carol smiles at Lizzy and tells her it’s ok, Lizzy can go sleep. Lizzy replies that if something happens, she can take Judith.  “I can help,” says Lizzy, looking straight at Carol.

Carol smiles wryly. “You really think you can help me?”

“I know I can, m’aam,” Lizzy replies.

Lizzy then tells Carol how she saved Tyrese by shooting two people, a man and a woman, who were coming for Tyrese in the final prison battle. In remembering this, Lizzy looks down, regretful, “I didn’t mean to shoot her (Alicia) in the head.”

Aside from the opening shot, this statement by Lizzy is the first suggestion in “The Grove” as to how deeply Lizzy’s sympathetic feelings for the walkers really go, as shooting Alicia in the head would prevent her from reanimating into a walker…and for Lizzy, this is a bad thing.

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By this point in the watching, it was like, seven minutes into the total episode, and I had already experienced two or three “Holy crap!” moments…is this what it feels like to be Gimple-slapped? I think so!

Lizzy asks Carol if she had a kid…Carol tells her about Sophia, how Sophia “didn’t have a mean bone in her body.”

“Is that why she isn’t here now?” asks Lizzy, astutely.  Carol regards her, nods, “Yes.” Lizzy asks Carol if she misses her daughter.  “Every day, “ Carol replies.  Lizzy asks if Carol would miss her.  “I won’t need to,” Carol answers, then tries to send Lizzy to bed again.  Lizzy is quick, however, and she sneaks in a goodnight hug before Carol can protest or raise her defenses again:

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In his sleep, on the tracks, Tyrese whimpers, in the grip of a bad dream…

The next morning, Carol is tending to Tyrese’s wound.  Lizzy has found some type of pine sap, which Carol collects with the blade of her knife and applies to Tyrese’s wound to fight infection and bring down fever.  Tyrese asks Carol how far she thinks they are from the Terminus station, the site of the supposed Sanctuary…three days out, four? Carol is not sure…Tyrese then comments on how tough Lizzy is.

“Yeah,” says Carol, “when it comes to people.” When Tyrese asks her what she means by that, Carol tells him that Lizzy is confused about the walkers, that she doesn’t see them for the threat they are…she just sees them as being different.

Tyrese looks over at Mika, who is holding Baby Judith, and asks Carol if she, Mika, is the same way. “No,” replies Carol. “She’s worse…she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.” It is what she said about Sophia, before, and why Sophia didn’t survive.

Later, as they walk along the tracks, the girls and Carol pass the time talking about the adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Mika asks if the story had a happy ending. At first, Mika likens herself to Huck Finn, but Lizzy interjects that she feels Mika is more like Tom Sawyer.

“Yeah,” Mika agrees easily, “You are way more like Huck Finn...you aren’t even grossed out by dead rabbits!”  Lizzy shoots a look at Mika, makes the “zip it” sign with her mouth. Mika’s spilling Lizzy’s crazy deets, but the adults don’t notice.

A little ways down the tracks, Carol and Tyrese smell a fire, smoke…it smells like a big one.  (Could it be the house fire that Daryl and Beth set?  On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick and the guests speculated on this possibility…I really do think the fire and smoke plume in this episode is from the cabin that Daryl and Beth torched.  It seems like the kind of detail that Kirkman, Gimple, and Co. would add to an episode already rich with layers of meaning, nuance, and surrealism.)

Back at the tracks, Carol volunteers herself and Mika to go on a water run, suggesting that Tyrese stay back with Judith and Lizzy.  Tyrese takes Carol’s advice and hangs back at the tracks, playing “I Spy” with Lizzy…there’s not much to see, besides trees and weeds, until it’s Tyrese’s turn, and he spies…a walker, some ways down the tracks, but lurching towards them.

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Tyrese hands Judith to Lizzy and grips his hammer, striding down the tracks towards the walker, ready to take care of it…the walker falls through a weak part of the track and is stuck…Tyrese approaches it, ready to finish it off, when Lizzy rushes up to him, carrying Judith, and stops him. “Sometimes we need to kill them, but not always, “ says Lizzy.  Judith begins to cry, and Tyrese looks down at the stuck walker, and relents to Lizzy’s wishes:

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Don’t kill him, Tyrese…he’s my little friend! Look how cute he is!

On the outing, Mika points out that Lizzy would be able to carry more water, and Carol admits to her that she wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Mika.  When Mika asks her why, Carol tells Mika that she’s little and she’s sweet, “And those are two things that can get you killed.”  Carol goes on to say that while Mika can’t change her small size, she can start to “toughen up” and adapt to the ways of the new world order.

Mika disagrees, saying that she doesn’t need to toughen up, that she can run, and she’s good at running.  Carol stops, grips Mika’s arm. “No,” Carol says, “My daughter ran, and it wasn’t enough…that’s why I taught the kids at the prison to do more than that.”

(Now, I knew on many levels that this was why Carol was being so weird about teaching the prison kids the art of the knife kill, back in the day, but in this episode, we WD fans got many lingering questions answered, and after the watching, I felt a lot clearer about Carol and why she was being so weird and crazy then.

And, btw, in WD time, “back in the day”, when Carol was teaching knifery to the prison kids, that was maybe only like a week ago, right?   Maybe not even a week? Ten days, tops?

Honestly, this whole crazy fourth season has taken place in about a week’s time, if I am calculating correctly, excluding the detour episode into the Gov’s story…please send me a line if I am wrong about this, but am I?

Let’s see…the explodey flu hit, then Patrick died and became Patrick Walker, led a walker riot at the prison…peeps died, peeps became infected with flu, Daryl and the crew made the Vet School Meds Run, while Rick sleuthed Carol’s double-homicide, led her away on the pretext of a goods run, and banished her from the prison with a lovely parting gift, a fully stocked car with a full tank of gas…Rick came back solo (with a lovely parting gift of his own, Carol’s watch), broke the 411 to Maggie, then Hershel, before the prison broke out into another round of walker mayhem.

Then, Rick and Carl shared a father-son walker mow-down moment while Hershel, Maggie, and the at home peeps held down the prison and goodness prevailed, for a moment, anyway…Daryl and the gang returned from their road trip, delivered the meds, and started getting them into sick peeps’ bloodstreams stat while Hershel and Michonne got themselves into an unwanted and much-hated hostage situation with the Gov.

Rick had the dreaded Daryl Conversation, and was about to have the even more dreaded Tyrese Conversation, when they were rudely interrupted by the Gov’s tank blasting a hole into the prison walls…war broke out, the prison got ruined, and everyone who didn’t get killed, scattered…now everyone’s having their own story, with most trying to get to Terminus...and this all happened in about 5 – 7 days’ time, if I am figuring correctly.

Am I right or wrong about this?  Chime in, people…inquiring minds want to know!

If I am right, that is pretty much The Shittiest Week Ever, maybe taking second place to the first week of the zombie apocalypse, where everyone’s lives they had before, and many of their loved ones, were lost forever.)

Anyway, Carol is giving Mika her life-or-death “toughen up” speech, while Mika is holding her own and making a strong case for her belief system, which is falling somewhere in the realm of pacifism and vegetarianism, which I totally respect…but do not fully practice, myself.

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Mika explains her position. “I can kill walkers…I mean, I’ve tried. I’m not like my sister…I’m not messed up.  I know what they are. But I can’t kill people…I could never do that.”  Mika goes on to tell Carol about how the bad people at the prison were right in front of her and Lizzy, and how she, Mika, held up her gun…but couldn’t pull the trigger.

“Killing people is wrong,” asserts Mika. She brings up Karen and David, how somebody killed them…and they were nice. Carol’s mouth, at this, (the first of several in-your-face, Carol, moments in this episode) sets in a tight line as she asks, “What about people who try to kill you?”

“I don’t even wish I could (kill them),” Mika replies.  Carol bends down to get on Mika’s eye level. “People came in and killed our friends,” she says to Mika, emphasizing every word, looking Mika right in the eye.

Mika’s look back is unwavering, her reply immediate, ” And I feel sorry for them.”

Carol’s brow furrows at this.  “Why?” she whispers, genuinely puzzled.

“Because they probably weren’t like that before,” replies Mika. She turns and continues down the wooded path.

As she follows Mika, Carol keeps on. “Sooner or later, you’ll have to do it…you’ll have to do it, or you’ll die….you have to change, everyone does now. Things don’t just work out.”

And at this very moment, the two turn a slight right and walk right into the opening of a stately old pecan grove, with a quiet country home nestled in the center.  It looks peaceful and immediately inviting.  “Look!” exclaims Mika.  She turns to Carol, beaming. “My mom used to say, everything turns out like it’s supposed to.”

I really love Mika in this episode...in Star Wars, she would have been a padawan, a young Jedi in Yoda's training...Lizzy, on the other hand, would have def gone to the Dark Side and been one of the Emperor's disciples

I really love Mika in this episode…in Star Wars, she would have been a padawan, a young Jedi in Yoda’s training…Lizzy, on the other hand, would have def gone to the Dark Side and been one of the Emperor’s disciples

As they all approach the home, walking through the peaceful pecan grove, Carol pulls back a spare, but sturdy, barbed wire half-fence that surrounds the house and yard. “Maybe we can catch our breath here,” suggests Carol.  Lizzy asks if they are still going to Terminus, and Carol replies that maybe they can stay a day or two before moving on.  It seems like an ideal plan, as there is a well full of water, fences, deer that can be hunted, and pecans…as Tyrese says, “You can eat your fill, and then some!”

Mika seems very stoked on this. “I love pecans!” she exclaims, which is a good thing, as nuts are a key protein source for vegetarians.

Lizzy, of course, being a disciple of the Dark Side, spots the large black plume of smoke coming up from the distance, over the tree line…it is a foreshadowing of trouble to come, a course of events unwittingly set into motion, most likely by two wild young people on the run, and falling in love...ouch, Carol, I feel that arrow to the heart for you, girl, but that little killing episode was a total dealbreaker…sorry…sux 4 u. 

Carol suggests they leave the hole in the fence for the deer to come through and, “play it really safe here.”  It’s a good plan, and I am giving Carol mad props for mentally multitasking like a motherfucker right about now.  She’s got the goods.  The New Carol would have kicked Ed’s ass good, and busted a cap in his mean mug, before he ever got a chance to lay another hand on her.  That thought gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Carol and Tyrese approach the door to begin the process of “clearing” the house…they order the girls to stay outside, where they are sitting, Lizzy holding the baby and Mika holding the gun. Carol has deliberately put Mika in charge of this, to force her to shoot to protect if necessary, and desensitize her from all that pacifistic nonsense.

As they rap on the door and go inside, Lizzy begins to look more and more distressed, which Mika notices.  She tries to reassure Lizzy that Carol and Tyrese will be fine, but Lizzy isn’t worried about Carol and Tyrese…she’s worried about the walkers that will surely get killed if found inside.

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Mika and Lizzy get into it, Mika starting to lose her patience and yell at Lizzy that the walkers are not people, when Ol’ Farmer Walker comes lurching out of the house and pitches over the porch railing, landing him right in front of the girls and the baby. He begins to claw his way towards them, and Lizzy falls while trying to back away, clutching Judith and screaming in terror while poor Judith wails helplessly.

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I’m sure at one time, he was a very nice man, living a quiet living on his pecan grove, in his lovely home…

...but nowadays, Ol' Farmer Walker be scary!

…but nowadays, Ol’ Farmer Walker be scary!

Mika fires upon Ol’ Farmer Walker, but it is Carol and Tyrese that finish him off.  This sets Lizzy into a real fit of despair, which Carol cannot understand and is growing impatient with, as she keeps asking Lizzy what is wrong.

Lizzy responds that she doesn’t want to say, and turns away.   Mika fixes Carol a look, like, “What are you, new?” before going after Lizzy.

With the practiced air of someone who has done it many times before,  Mika first apologizes to Lizzy for yelling at her, then puts her arm around Lizzy’s shoulders, quietly urging Lizzy to look at the flowers, focus on the flowers, and count, and breathe.

A troubled Tyrese and Carol look on, as Lizzy and Mika breathe and count together, and Lizzy begins to calm, while the Bear McCreary music twists and turns in the background like the unraveling of Lizzy’s young mind…

Just look at the flowers, Lizzy...focus on the flowers...

Just look at the flowers, like you’re supposed to…

Later, in the evening, Carol and Lizzy are sitting at the kitchen table, shelling pecans. Carol asks Lizzy if she is still upset, and Lizzy tells her that sometimes she doesn’t understand (why the walkers must be killed), “but I am trying to, m’aam, I really am.” Mika runs up to them, beaming and clutching a sweet rag doll with long red yarn ponytails.  “Look what I found!”  Mika exclaims, showing them the doll.  “I’m going to name her Griselda Gunderson!

And with that pronouncement, Mika flounces onto the living room rug to play with her new doll. There is a cozy fire burning in the fireplace, and Tyrese cannot seem to comprehend this long-forgotten feeling of home, and hearth, and comfort.  He remarks on this as he looks around, dazed at the coziness and warmth and feeling of family in the room.

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Whoa…I forgot what this is like…

Mika, ever the sage, tells Tyrese to chillax, stay awhile…

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And then Mika plants the seed in Tyrese’s head by suggesting, “We should live here!”IMG_4107So, Tyrese abides.

The peaceful family feeling is short-lived, because the next scene is daylight, through the kitchen window, with the whistling copper kettle and the macabre game of Walker Tag between Lizzy and her new bestie, Griselda Walker, which Carol spies, disbelieving, through the window.  She rushes out, ordering Lizzy away from her grisly version of a newfound doll, Griselda Walker:

No, no, Carol, Griselda's cool...really! We're new besties!

No, no, Carol, Griselda’s cool…really! We’re new besties!

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“Get away from that walker this instant,  young lady!”    “Noooo, Carol, noooo, don’t hurt my BFF Griselda!  Griselda’s cool, it’s cool, she’s cool!”

Carol, of course, must lay down the tough love, and the blade, into Griselda Walker’s skull, inciting a full-on-fucking-freakout by you-know-who…

“Noooooo! You killed Griselda!”

“She was my BEST FRIEND, and YOU KILLED HER! What if I killed you, huh? What if I KILLED YOU?

“Griselda!” <sob!>

Carol is processing the wack attack...this is way more than teenage hormones at play...this is full-on crayzee!

As Carol, and Tyrese (who looks on from the window) process Lizzy’s full-on wack-attack, it’s pretty apparent that Lizzy is Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs…and Carol suddenly has a splitting headache.

Later, Carol and Mika go out together, Mika carrying a shotgun. They see the black plume of smoke over the treetops, and Mika says black smoke means the fire is still burning…she learned that in science class.  “I miss science class,” she sighs, excepting when they made the students cut up planeria worms.  What an adorable little nerd she is!

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Carol tries to work the “toughen up” angle again with Mika, saying that these days, she’ll have to do a lot worse than cut up planeria worms.  “I don’t gotta,” Mika replies. (Pretty much one of my favorite lines, ever.)  Carol tells her that while Lizzy is bigger and stronger, Mika is smarter about things, that she understands about the walkers while Lizzy doesn’t. “Look out for her,” pleads Carol.  Carol then spies a young deer in the glenn.

“Go on,” she urges Mika, trying to get her to bring down the deer. “Just like I showed you.”  Mika raises the rifle and aims…

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…and then lowers the gun…

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“Nah, can’t do it.”

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She then gives Carol this sweet look and says, “We have peaches!”

Later, Tyrese is pumping well water into a bucket, with Carol. He’s been thinking, tells Carol that maybe they don’t need to go to Terminus, that maybe they can make a life here, at this house. Tyrese is thinking maybe they should stay there.

“I know Lizzy and Mika…I know Judith…I know you, I trust you,” Tyrese says to Carol, who looks down for a moment at these words. Tyrese continues, “I don’t know if I can get that anywhere else.”

Tyrese continues to look at Carol with a sweet, open look.  “We can stay here…we can live here.”

Meanwhile, back at the house, Mika is calling for Lizzy. She sees Lizzy slip off in the back, towards the stables.  She follows Lizzy to the railroad tracks, walks up just after Lizzy pulls a mouse from a box and, holding it by the tail, hand-feeds it to the stuck railroad walker.

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Yum, yum! On Talking Dead, they said the WD effects crew made an edible prop mouse for the walker actor to actually eat, grape jelly in a gelatin casing.

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On the tracks, poor little Mika really tries to reason with her crazy sister, telling her straight up that the walkers are bad, that they want to kill her, that it’s time to stop pretending things aren’t as bad as they really are. Lizzy continues to tell her sister that nobody understands, that the walkers are talking to her, and she thinks they want her to be like them.

“Maybe I should become like them,” Lizzy muses as she holds her hand out to the stuck walker, who tries to chomp at her fingers. I can make you all understand.”

Then, the rustle of nearby bushes heralds the coming of…The Char Walkers.

The latest gift to WD fans from Nicotero & Co., The Char Walkers look like black, smoking demon aliens from some heavy metal planet in the farthest reaches of the universe...

The latest gift to WD fans from Nicotero & Co., the Char Walkers look like black, smoking demon aliens from some heavy metal planet in the farthest reaches of the universe…

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The Char Walkers come lurching down the tracks after the girls, who make it to the barbed-wire fence, screaming for Carol and Tyrese…Lizzy gets through, while poor Mika gets stuck in the wire.  To her credit, Lizzy pulls Mika to safety after a close call with a particularly grabby walker.

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The girls scramble to get their guns and help Tyrese and Carol shoot The Char Walkers in a great walker kill scene that had Jon Sanders, a WD effects specialist, grinning from ear to ear as he recounted the fun they creating the effects of the walker’s brains and bodies getting blown away in a pyrotechnic display of flaming bits of brain and brawn:

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That night, as Tyrese dozes in the cozy armchair in front of the fireplace, Carol and Lizzy once again sit at the kitchen table together while Mika plays with her rag doll, Griselda Gunderson.

Lizzy is staring morosely, and breathing kind of funny, and Carol asks her gently if she is still upset. Lizzy chooses her words carefully, saying that she knows she needed to help with the walkers earlier. It seems Lizzy is upset about killing the walkers, but she also seems like she may be getting it, finally.  It seems that way, anyhow…

Carol asks her if she understands now what they really are. Once again, Lizzy chooses her words carefully, saying that she knows now what she must do. Carol, of course, interprets this as Lizzy finally getting it, that the walkers are a threat and need to be dealt with as such, but Lizzy’s true meaning is much more sinister than that.  Mika pipes up, saying she doesn’t want to kill, she doesn’t want to be mean…Lizzy turns to her sister and looks at her significantly, and says that you only need to be mean sometimes…nobody of course guesses the true import and meaning of her words.

In his armchair, Tyrese tosses and mumbles, in the grip of another bad dream.

The next morning, Carol and Tyrese are walking together. Carol turns to Tyrese, tells him that she’s on board with staying at the farm, of setting up a life there.  Tyrese seems glad to hear this. He says that maybe someday they can continue on, to Terminus, but right now…right now, he is not sure he can be around other people, around strangers.

As he says this, Tyrese leans heavily on a tree…and begins to talk about Karen. He dreams about her every night, and even though the dreams change (in some they are just talking, and in some he actually sees someone kill her, some stranger.) Tyrese wakes, each time, with the feeling like he’s just lost her all over again.

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Poor Carol’s face, as he talks! Melissa McBride delivers another amazing performance, as Carol’s face shows her conflict, and regret, and sorrow, at Tyrese’s words.  At one point, she even turns to Tyrese, about to confess…but, thankfully, she cannot bring herself to do it.

My WD buddy said later, of this scene, that it was good that Carol waited to confess to Tyrese…we both agreed that the outcome would have been way different if she had told him then, in the grove.

Instead, sweet Tyrese tells Carol  she shouldn’t be ashamed about who she is, and gives her a hug…damn, you know she’s feeling like shit right about now.

And then, it becomes…awful. Carol and Tyrese come back to the house to find Lizzy in the front yard, her hands covered in blood, holding a knife. Mika lay dead behind her, while Judith is having some tummy time on a blanket beside Mika’s body.

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As Carol approaches, and reaches for the knife, Lizzy tells them to wait, she’ll change, that she, Lizzy, didn’t hurt Mika’s head or her brain. “Just wait, you’ll see, she’ll change,” Lizzy insists. This is what she has decided must be done to have them see, finally, what she sees about the walkers.  When Carol reaches again, Lizzy pulls out her gun, to hold them off and give Mika a chance to “change.”

When Carol suggests to Lizzy that Tyrese take her and Judith inside, as being out there wouldn’t be safe for Judith, Lizzy tells them that she was about to…take care of Judith, so she could change, too.

“She can’t even walk yet,” points out Carol, who is somehow able to keep calm and talk quietly, and reasonably, to Lizzy without being too confrontational in this moment.  Lizzy nods, understands, has an, “Ok, I’ll wait until she’s older” air about her.

Lizzy agrees to go inside with Tyrese and Judith only after Carol convinces her that she will stay outside to tie Mika up, you know, so she won’t go anywhere. “I’ll use her shoelaces,” suggests Carol, putting on a brave, bright smile and blinking back her tears.

A shaken Tyrese leads the girls inside, and Carol breaks down, crying over little Mika’s body.  She pulls her knife out, tears running down her face.

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Poor Carol!

Later, Carol sits at the kitchen table, staring ahead, while Tyrese tells her that he fed Lizzy and cleared her room of any knives or weapons.  He found a box of mice in her room, and learned that she was the one feeding rats to the walkers at the prison, and that she was also the one that opened up the rabbit’s body and nailed it to the board. She told him was “having fun” with it.

Tyrese, who is looking majorly shell-shocked and creeped out at this point, wonders aloud if it was her that killed Karen and David…but how could she drag the bodies out?

Carol stares down at the table. “She would have let them turn,” she says. “It wasn’t her.”  It’s like Carol really doesn’t even give a shit about that crap right now…she’s got other, more pressing things to worry about in the moment.

Carol tells Tyrese that Lizzy was like this before, that it was already there…she blames herself for not seeing it sooner. She offers to take Lizzy, herself, to keep her away from others. Carol says she won’t be able to sleep with Lizzy and Judith under the same roof. Lizzy is clearly a threat to Judith.

Tyrese tells Carol they’d never make it…he offers to take Judith, but Carol tells him the same thing, they’d never make it…they look at each other.  Carol says, slowly and deliberately, “She can’t be around other people.” She looks at Tyrese, who looks back at her, pained.  Carol wipes away tears.

There is nothing more to say.

Later, as Tyrese looks on, out the window, Carol and Lizzy walk together in the grove, away from the house. Lizzy looks happy and at ease, taking big, high steps over the wildflowers and looking up at Carol fondly.  Carol is keeping it together, saying that they should pick wildflowers for Mika, for when she comes back.  Lizzy agrees that Mika would love that.  Carol soon after begins to break down, and Lizzy becomes upset, distressed at the thought of Carol being mad at  her.  Crying quietly, Carol tells Lizzy to “look at the flowers,” that she, Carol loves her.

And as Lizzy looks at the yellow flowers at her feet, crying, Carol, crying, lifts the gun and pulls the trigger.

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As Carol walks back to the house, she sees a deer in the glenn. She looks at it for a moment, before continuing on to the house. The next shot is of Carol digging, with Tyrese carrying Lizzy’s shrouded body and placing it gently on the ground, beside the newly dug grave.

Later, sitting at the table with Tyrese, Carol has had enough. She confesses to Tyrese, “I killed Karen and David…it wasn’t Lizzy, it wasn’t a stranger…it was me.”  She continues to tell a shellshocked Tyrese that he can do what he needs to, but she was only trying to stop the spread of the disease to the others at the prison.  It takes Tyrese a moment to recover himself…

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But, after he is assured that Karen didn’t know what was happening, or feel pain, or fear, he tells Carol he forgives her…he will never forget, but he does forgive, as he knows what she did is something she feels, and is a part of her, as it is a part of him.  “I forgive you,” he says, and Carol quietly thanks him.

Tyrese says they can’t stay, not now.  The parting shots of Episode 14 show the empty house, the kettle, the armchair, the ragdoll lying at the edge of the cold, ashened fireplace…Tyrese and Carol, with Judith on Tyrese’s back, walk through the grove, away from the home and life that seemed so promising, and down the tracks towards Terminus, as the voice over is of Carol and Lizzy’s conversation, back at the prison:

Lizzy: “I am not afraid to kill…I am just afraid.”

Carol: “You can’t be.”

 Lizzy: “How?”

Carol: “You fight it…you don’t give up, and then one day, you change…we all change.”

It’s been a crazy episode, and a crazy week, all around…so, for this week’s playlist, it seems fitting to feature songwriters who say it, and play it, in a way that nobody else can…enjoy!

Playlist:

Modest Mouse, “Dramamine”

Jose Gonzales, “Down the Line”

The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”

Iron and Wine,  “Upward and Over the Mountain”

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

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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!)