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

Prologue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________

“Crossed”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Um, sounds good to me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Et tu, Daryl?

Et tu, Daryl?

Even Tyrese is like,

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

Rick in Charge is like,

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

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

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

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

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

rick talks bad cops down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…another GM CreepMobile comes speeding up on the scene…

Daryl looking fine firing at the GM CreepMobile...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl...

Oooff! Officer Baldy tackles Daryl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha! How cute is that?  I replied:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Four Walls and a Roof”

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

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

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

terminans eating bob

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

hungry window walkers

Hey, give us some!

terminans eating bob 2

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

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

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

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

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

join us or feed us

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

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

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

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

bob looks at gareth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You tell ’em, Nelson…

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

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

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

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

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

.sasha looks for bob sasha sees the mark

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

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

...and then, she sees...

…and then, she sees…

...Night Scope Walker! Agh!

…Night Scope Walker! Agh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gabriel breaks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob!

Bob!

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

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

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

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

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

bob tells sad tale

i knew we should have killed gareth

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

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

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

:(

😦

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

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

Poor Sasha!

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

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

Once again, nobody does tragic hot like Rick…

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

…as the gang must face losing another beloved member…

...of their chosen family.

…of their chosen family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, yes he did!  (And I like it.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So sweet and sad.

So sweet, and sad.

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

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

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

#SashaWantsToKickSomeTerminalAss

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

sasha tyrese bob

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

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

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

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

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

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

Sasha holds out the knife to Tyrese.

She says, Take it.

She says, Take it…

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

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

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

rick and the gang leave the church

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

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

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

Terminans!

Terminans!

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

One by one, the Terminans file into the church.

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

carl raises gun in gabriels office

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

Gabriel clutches his rosary and prays.

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

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

“…and we know you’re here.” 

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

tyrese eugene rosita bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gareth gets shot

Yes! Take that, Gareth!

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

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

 Cue Nelson…

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

Rick .In. Charge.

Rick. In. Charge.

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

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

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

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

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

Rick In Charge is not amused, says one word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Abraham goes to town on his Term.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

Sasha takes care of Shitty Martin.

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

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

And then, this happens…

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

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

Katana time again! Yes!

Katana-time again! Yes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

sasha smiles for bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rick sees the sweet note from Abraham on the map.

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

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

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

Daryl!

Daryl!

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

What??

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

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

come home william tyrell

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

Playlist:

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

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

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

Phantogram, “Nightlife” (RIP Bob Stookey

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 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)

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.

IMG_4067

“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.

IMG_4262

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:

IMG_4070

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.

IMG_4266

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:

IMG_4269

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.

IMG_4074 IMG_4073

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.

IMG_4088

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.

IMG_4093

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 8, “Too Far Gone”

“Too Far Gone”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Too Far Gone”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Poor Megan!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And we see a familiar face from the past:

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

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

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

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

Playlist:

Weezer, “Say it Ain’t So”

Nirvana, “Oh Me” (for Rick)

Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (for the Gov)

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

The Queens of the Stone Age, “Mexicola” 

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

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

“Indifference”

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

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

I ended last week’s post with the question:

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

Here’s my entry:

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

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

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

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

How did I do?

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

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

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

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

“Indifference”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cute + cute = adorable! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

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

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

Who do you think is feeding rats to the walkers?

Where is Crazy Carol going to end up?

Playlist:

Modern Lovers, “She Cracked” (for Carol)

Kings of Leon, “Closer”

Rise Against, “Prayer of the Refugee”

Sharon Van Etten, “Serpents”

Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3 “Isolation”

“Isolation”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Right? What a badass. Freaking awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playlist:

Soundgarden,  “Fell on Black Days”

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

Lana Del Rey, “Radio””

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