I must admit, gang, it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch this past week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Now.”
It seems pretty safe for me to speak on behalf of the entire TWD fanosphere when I say that Season 6, at this point, has been royally kicking our collective asses up and down the bloodstained streets of Alexandria (and beyond).
While I have been predicting this grim inevitablility for some time now, citing the Law of Kirkman like a mantra (“Kirkman does as Kirkman wants, and Kirkman can, and will, play with our emotions…it’s nothing personal, it’s how he do.”) while discussing coping mechanisms and Daryl Partners at great length and detail, I still have found myself as lost, heartbroken, and haunted as the next TWD fan by the soul-shattering plot twists, murderous mayhem, and freefall cliffhangers that Season 6 has served us thus far.
So, it was a truly a pleasant surprise to emerge from the watching of TWD Episode 605 happy, relieved, and relatively unscathed…plus, I had a nice buzz on from the couple of “coping mechanism coldies” I enjoyed during the watching.
While Glenn’s fate remained a mystery, there were no significant casualties (excepting: Deanna’s will to live, along her term as Alexandria’s leader; Spencer’s sobriety; some crappy Wolf Walker who was reanimating under somebody’s porch; Alexandria’s walker cherry; and, finally, the one poor suicide bride that Jessie had to rekill, employing Andrea’s invaluable “Here’s a knife in your eye” technique before turning and informing her horrified Alexandrian viewing audience, “This is what life looks like now...you fight, or you die.“).
It made me downright gleeful to see Rick Grimes sprinting like an Olympian back to the gates in those first moments of Episode 605, killing himself a swath of undead along the way, remaining intact, uninfected, and hotter than ever. And then, in true Rick-In-Charge fashion, our man immediately began the business of sexy multitasking, getting in done in his inimitable style, and even stealing a long-awaited kiss from Jessie in the garage at the episode’s end (which has pretty much become their love den at this point.)
And, speaking of lip-locks, I, for one, was cheering aloud when Denise unburdened herself of her fears, self-doubts, and overall paralysis and came out of the medical supplies closet, finally opening up her medical book, getting some doctoring going, and bravely pasting one on Tara in a “It’s the end of the world!” moment of abandon.
Did not see that one coming, and all I have to say is, “You go, Denise!”
Episode 605 also served us up with a highly entertaining round of Teen Tap Out between Carl “I Stole Your Girlfriend” Grimes and Ron McSlappy (the accursed hellspawn of Petey McBeaty, and heir apparent, apparently, of his father’s rage issues and general sliminess. I hope Rick gets his usual on-target read on that kid, whom I trust about as far as I could throw him, right over the wall, and into the horde of Hangry, Hangry Walkers.)
Now, darlings, while this tantilizing teen shove-match did serve us many peals of hilarity (both in the happening, and in countless social media postings afterward) I will say that unless a young person has been studying some form of marital arts in his/her formative years, a first real fight is sure to be awkward as all get-go, and will not win any style points.
I remember my first real fight, aside from scrapping with older siblings…I was old enough to know better, but young enough not to care. It was many years ago, at a late night afterparty I was at with my boyfriend at the time. As I remember, I was on call for work, and had an actual pager clipped to my purse (yes, darlings, I realize that I am really dating myself with this statement). Some drunk kid sporting greasy blond dreadlocks and unfortunate facial tattoos came lurching up to the group I was with and fell into my little boyfriend, knocking him to the ground.
I turned to the red-haired girl the drunk kid was with and told her to take her drunk-ass friend home, and she and I immediately launched into a she-match shit-talk exchange of profanity-laden threats and insults. As she turned to leave, the red-haired girl tossed a “Fuck you, bitch,“ over her shoulder along with her lit cigarette, which landed bullseye on my cheek, the hot cherry of it searing a burn about an inch or so under my right eye.
What happened next goes into the annals of “Defining Moments of A Life,” namely, my life. I am sure you have heard, and read, the line many times where someone was so angry, so incensed, that they “saw red.” Well, darlings, for the first and only time, thus far, in my life, in that moment, when I felt the double burn of Hot Cherry’s last-word diss and the firey end of her cigarette burning a hole in my cheek, I saw red.
Like, for real. A hot, red, slo-mo, Rick Smash!-style murderous haze enveloped me as I stood in shock, watching Hot Cherry toss her long red ponytail and saunter away, my cheek burning, my mind spinning, as I realized, “That bitch just fucking flicked her cigarette at me, and it landed on my cheek, and it FUCKING BURNED MY FACE!”
And so, dear readers, in my slo-mo, red, murderous haze, with an Altoid-sized circular burn beginning to blister my right cheek and a primal scream of fury roaring rampant inside my brain, I strode up behind Hot Cherry’s retreating form, reached out, and yanked back her head by her long, red ponytail. As I yanked her head back, her wide-eyed shock and surprise was pretty great to see (she definitely did not see that coming!). As Hot Cherry looked up at me, and I looked down at her, I realized that I was gripping a fistful of her ponytail with my right hand…and I am right-handed.
Well, darlings, as I said, aside from going battle royale with my older siblings as we were growing up, this was my first real fistfight. I had no idea how to throw a punch (even though I fronted tough and had thrown countless on-point punches in my rich imaginary world, where I had the starring role of sexy warrior goddess in the realm of Motoko Kusanagi, Xena Warrior Princess, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer). In real life, I had no idea how to throw a punch, and I certainly did not know how to throw a punch with my left, non-dominant hand.
So, in a moment of dawning realization that felt like it lasted an entire year, I looked at Hot Cherry, and she looked at me, her long red ponytail gripped tightly in my right hand, and with a feline growl, Hot Cherry lunged at me, and we began grappling in a girly, hair-pulling, mid-90’s version of Carl and Ron’s sissy slap-fight.
It all felt so surreal, and slow motion, as Hot Cherry and I hissed and slapped and pulled at one another. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m really going to get my ass kicked,” because I really had no earthy idea how to fight anyone, and there I was, in the beginning throes of a full-party brawl that I had pretty much started.
While I had gotten some good ones in on my sisters, back in the day, it had been years, and in all that time, I effectively had fronted so tough, and kept myself in good shape, so nobody really ever tried me. Until now.
Now, as time slowed down and the world closed in, Hot Cherry and I pulled each other to the ground, scrapping and mewing and rolling around in the grass (the dudes at the party must have been like, “Yes!”). I remember looking up and seeing the entire party pile in above us, like some sort of fight tsunami. All around us, above us, fists were flying, kids were scrapping, punching, shoving, knocking each other down, kicking at each other.
Thanks to me, and my burned cheek, and my murderous haze, the party had become one mass brawl.
Hot Cherry must have gotten pulled away by a friend, because I lost her in the crush of people who descended upon us. I kept expecting to get my ass kicked, my face punched, tackled, slapped, but surprisingly, no blows landed on me as I crouched down under the fray that raged all around me. A moment later, the sea of bodies parted, and I resurfaced for a brief moment, coming to standing, and facing, of all people, the greasy blond drunk kid with facial tattoos who had knocked into my little boyfriend, starting the whole mess in the first place.
As the party fight raged under us, the drunk kid with the greasy blond dreads and facial tattoos regarded me, swaying, with glassy eyes, and I regarded him, and before his impaired reflexes could react, I clenched my right hand into a fist, wound back, and punched that drunk kid square in the nose, and he went down, ladies and gentlemen. That. Bitch. Went. Down.
Between you and me, that kid was super drunk, barely able to stand in the first place. One way or another, he was going down, anyway, but when my fist connected with his face, dropping him, I tell you, dear readers, that shit was a rush like none other.
My inner celebration was short lived, because I promptly got pulled back into the fray, and the fight once again closed in on top of me, until I felt a strong pair of arms circle around my waist and pull me out of the melee…it was my friend, Erik, who got me safely away and chided me for getting myself into the whole mess in the first place.
Later, my buddy Bryan recounted my shining knock-out moment to my boyfriend (who was not amused, was pretty pissed, actually, and blamed me for ruining the whole night with my Fight Club antics…needless to say, we broke up soon after), saying, “Katie punched that dude right in the face, and he went down like a friggin’ bowling pin! It was awesome!“
And so, the next morning, as I walked home across town from pissed-off boyfriend’s apartment, sporting a good-sized hangover and an Altoid-sized circular burn on my right cheek, I felt like I had crossed over into another realm of my life, like I had gained entry into another tier of existence: Welcome to Badass Country.
My head hurt, my cheek burned, but damn, it felt good to be a gangsta.
Deadie this week goes to Lauren Cohan, and her character, the lovely and beloved Maggie Greene, for being so beautiful, and brave, and who is embarking on the journey of new motherhood. Much love to Maggie Greene, and to Lauren Cohan, for an amazing performance, and for being one of the most beautiful criers I have ever seen.
If Glenn does not return, it is some small consolation that Maggie will be under the loving care and dotage of Aaron and Eric, the cutest gay uncles any baby or beautiful young single mom could ask for.
And, dear fans and readers, as you know, the buzz about the TWD world community is that the role of Negan has been cast, and it’s none other than the super-tasty Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is really a perfect choice to play the brutal, charismatic sociopath. If this news is indeed true (and it seems confirmed by a tweet from Robert Kirkman himself), then I am alternately experiencing total excitement, total elation, and total dread…a dizzying, heady, strangely thrilling combination.
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Until next week, darlings. Stay safe, stay strong, and enjoy the playlist, which is at times brooding, loungy, lovelorn, and full of new resolve.
Perfume Genius, “Queen”
Thomas Newman, “Any Other Name”
Zero 7, “Destiny”