Archive for Michonne

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Sixteen “Last Day on Earth”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2016 by Starloggers

negan and the lineup

“As long as it’s all of us, we can do anything.” – Rick Grimes to Maggie Greene

“You ruled the roost, you…built something. You thought you were safe. I get it. But the word is out. you…are not safe. Not even close.” – Negan

The sixteenth episode and the sixth season finale of The Walking Dead opens with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) morgan and horseout in the woods of Northern Virginia looking for Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). She had run away from their town, Alexandria, because of building guilt over killing people in the past. Now, Morgan finds a horse with a saddle and bridle and begins riding it to continue his search.

Back in Alexandria, the residents are preparing to transport Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) in an RV to Hilltop, a town a day’s drive away, since there is a doctor that can help her. Maggie is pregnant with her husband Glenn Rhee’s (Steven Yeun) child and is experiencing sharp pains in her abdomen, presumably she is in danger of miscarriage. Accompanying her are the town’s leader, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his teenage son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), his lover Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt). Before they leave, Rick puts Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) in charge of the town’s defense. They had come into conflict recently with a vicious gang of marauders called the Saviors and everyone is on edge as the Rick’s group leaves in the RV. What they don’t realize is that their fellow residents Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Glenn have been captured by the Saviors in the previous episode.

Later, Morgan rides the horse into an abandoned town with  a few undead walkers shuffling about. He finds Carol badly wounded by a library. Despite her protests about being left alone, he takes her inside the library and tends to her knife wound that she received in the previous episode from fighting some Saviors.

rick and co.

The journey of the RV is stymied when a group of Saviors form a roadblock. Rick and his people step out and he offers to make a deal. This group’s leader (Steven Ogg) demands that Rick and the others turn over their supplies and that one of them may be killed. Being that they are armed with guns, Rick refuses this offer and rather than confront the Savior he has Abraham drive the RV back where they came from and start looking for an alternate route.

In the library, once Carol is mended, Morgan insists on taking her back to Alexandria. She adamantly refuses and states that she cares too much about the Alexandrians. In order to protect them, she has to kill for them, which is something she refuses to do anymore. Morgan leaves her to kill a walker just outside the library. She uses this opportunity to flee the building.

carol on the edge

Carol stumbles through the deserted streets and barely fights off walkers. Just after she kills the last one, she is attacked by Roman (Stuart Greer), one of the Saviors that she confronted in the last episode and she left for dead. Instead, he survived and has been hunting her ever since. He gets the better of her and has her on the ground at gunpoint. Already defeated and weary from her ordeal and her emotions, Carol pleads to be killed. Instead, Roman begins torturing her by shooting her limbs.

Morgan shows up with a gun that Rick gave him last episode and orders him to stop. When Roman refuses, Morgan reluctantly shoots him repeatedly, killing him.

meet the kingdomThe gunfire draws the attention of two armored men. One of them (Daniel Newman), Morgan and Rick briefly encountered in the previous episode. Rick thought he was a Savior and tried shooting him but Morgan stopped him. Now, this same man offers aid for Carol. He and Morgan shake hands.

Rick and the others are having are harder time. No matter where they turn on the roads, they come upon roadblocks by Saviors. Each time, the numbers of Saviors grows ominously larger. One roadblock is different in that a group of chained-together walkers block their RV’s path. When they leave the vehicle to investigate, they discover that two of the walkers have items from Daryl and Michonne, such as his crossbow bolts and a couple of her dreadlocks. An unseen assailant fires at their feet, forcing them back to the RV. But Rick quickly hacks apart the walkers and the chains, which clears a path for them.

rick kills blockers

 

Day turns into night and they are no closer to Hilltop. After more roadblocks, their fuel supply low, and Maggie’s condition worsening they realize they have to do something. Eugene opines that the Saviors may only be on the lookout for an RV. It’s decided that Eugene will drive off with the RV as a lure while Rick and the others will transport Maggie on a stretcher by foot to Hilltop. Before Eugene leaves he gives Rick a “recipe”, instructions on how to make bullets.

carrying maggieRick and his group make their way through the woods in the dark and are just a few miles away from their destination. But taunting whistles announce that they aren’t alone. They hastened their hike but are stopped in their tracks by a spotlight. They are surrounded by an army of Saviors. Nearby is the RV and Eugene held prisoner. The Savior that they first met disarms them and forces them to their knees. Then a nearby van opens up and Daryl, Michonne, Rosita and Glenn are brought out to join Rick and the others. Once that is done the Saviors’ leader Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) emerges from the RV.

A large, imposing man clad in a motorcycle jacket, Negan wields a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire that he calls Lucille. He informs Rick that he and his people will work for the Saviors from now on and turn over half of what they own to the Saviors. He adds that Rick’s people has killed many of his people and for that he has to make an example. One of the group will be killed. Enjoying the moment, especially the sense of deflated defeat in Rick, Negan decides to randomly pick one of Rick’s party. Once done, he smashes the bat over the victim of his wrath. We do not see who it is, only the POV of the victim as blood pours down the screen before the POV tumbles to the ground and the screen goes black.

negan lectures rick

After all the hoopla and anticipation, the season six finale of The Walking Dead is a mixed bag with a disappointing conclusion. “Last Day on Earth” for the most part had this growing sense of dread over what was to come. We, the viewers knew that Negan was right around the corner, but our heroes didn’t and the anxiousness that we felt as events unfolded was mirrored by Rick’s increasing desperation. He and many of his people started off this episode (and for a good portion of season six) with a sense of bravado that they could do anything. Rick and his people could not be truly faulted, though. They had been through the wringer with many foes and vanquished them, it was only natural that they would become overconfident. But, now they are paying a price. Honestly, they had to expect some kind of reaction from all the Saviors they killed in the last few episodes of The Walking Dead.

rick aaron and sasha

That overconfidence could be the explanation over some of the decisions made by Rick. Why not just head back to Alexandria where it was safer? Why didn’t he realize much sooner that they were being herded?

Strangely enough, the story arc with Morgan was actually the most interesting thing going on in “Last Day on Earth” because for a while many fans have been growing impatient with his non-killing stance and saw it as a hindrance. In this episode, his Pay It Forward approach seems to be paying off with the introduction of the citizens from The Kingdom, a new faction that if mirroring the comic books will become a major ally for the Alexandria Safe Zone. It would be satisfying for Morgan if he ends up joining that community.

As Carol, her behavior is just perplexing. Once an iron lady with a cool head and a pragmatic resolve, she is emotionally falling apart. In recent episodes, Carol has been acting like a meek and helpless housewife, echoing her past. At first, it seemed like an effective ruse to put her enemies’ guards down, but now we’re wondering if it is something else. Perhaps she is starting to suffer from PTSD and if so it’s not a good time because Alexandria needs her now more than ever. But at least, for now, she is safe from Negan.

Regarding Negan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan owned the role the moment he stepped out of that RV. Already a genre favorite thanks to his roles in Watchmen and Supernatural, Morgan’s Negan is an intimidating and sadistic force who is not to be taken lightly. We just wish he had appeared sooner, though it is understandable why the producers wanted to wait until a special moment like the finale to unveil him.

both negans

However, their decision to not reveal who Negan killed was a huge letdown. Never mind the excuses made by them that they wanted a good cliffhanger. Ending the episode like is not an appropriate payoff. In the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comic book, readers saw immediately who Negan killed and everyone got to process over what happened. This did not happen here, unlike Game of Thrones where we see who gets killed at the end of each season and get to express our rage over a period of time. Now, we are stuck waiting several months until the fall to find out who was killed. Good luck to the producers with trying to keep that secret. What is worse is that we won’t be able to fully process the death when it is revealed before being swept up in the next episode. Perhaps, they feared a backlash if they revealed now who died, but that is happening anyway with many disappointed viewers.

So are they worried that people won’t take kindly to the creative decision of who died? Could it be, God forbid, Daryl? Or is it Glenn? It is difficult to say who is the victim and the final moments do not make that clear despite what conspiracy theorists are stating across the Internet. Personally, I think it could be Eugene or Abraham based on Eugene’s apparent farewell expressed before leaving in the RV and Abraham’s recent turn away from a bleak outlook on life. But it could be someone else. All we can do now is speculate until this fall.

José Soto

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Twelve “Not Tomorrow Yet”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2016 by Starloggers

andy jeremy palko at savior sat station

In the twelfth episode of season six of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and several members of his group return to the Alexandria Safe Zone from the Hilltop community. He calls for a town meeting in Alexandria’s church and tells everyone about the agreement they made with Hilltop where they would get supplies in exchange for the Alexandrians murdering a gang called the Saviors, who are preying on Hilltop.

church meeting

Rick’s friend Morgan (Lennie James) argues that they should try negotiating with the Saviors instead, a couple of others seem to agree with Morgan’s viewpoint like Tara (Alanna Masterson) but remain silent. Aaron (Ross Marquand), the town’s scout, argues for Rick’s position and it’s decided to go after the Saviors and rescue the Hilltop resident Craig (Myke Holmes) who is held hostage by the Saviors.

That night the Alexandrians ready for the coming fight in their own separate ways. Carol (Melissa McBride), who is haunted by the deaths on her hands, is sleepless and goes out for a walk. She comes across Tobin (Jason Douglas) by his porch and they start talking. Before long, they share a kiss and go inside his home. Meanwhile, as that relationship commences, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) ends his relationship with Rosita (Christian Serratos).

The next day, Rick gathers a  group that includes Carol, Abraham, Rosita, Tara, Ross, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steven Yuen), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Heath (Corey Hawkins), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), along with Hilltop residents Jesus (Tom Payne) and Andy (Jeremy Palko). They depart in several vehicles and along the way, stop the caravan to kill a few walkers. The reason is that the Saviors demanded the head of the Hilltop leader, Gregory (Xander Berkeley), so Rick chooses one head of a dispatched walker that resembles Gregory.

showing gregs head

That night the group arrives outside the Saviors’ headquarters, an abandoned satellite station. Maggie and Carol remain behind with the vehicles, while the others creep up to the station. Andy drives up to the doors in his car, which attracts the attention of two night guards. As they inspect the head of “Gregory”, they are taken by surprise by Rick’s group and killed. They also manage to free Craig then enter the Saviors’ compound. Methodically, Rick and his people kill many of the Saviors in their sleep. The only ones who have trouble doing this are Glenn and Heath who never killed people before. Glenn manages to do this and spares Heath the ordeal of murdering someone by killing Heath’s intended sleeping target. Afterwards, they see several Polaroids of the Saviors’ victims: all with their heads smashed in.

Abraham and Sasha find a supply room that is locked and as they try to break in, a Savior discovers them. Abraham kills the man, but not before the Savior sets off an alarm. Their cover blown, Rick’s group engages the remaining Saviors in a series of swift and vicious firefights with their military rifles both inside and outside the station. Outside, Tara suggests that Jesus, Andy and Craig head back to Hilltop in their car. Jesus insists on staying to help out as the other two leave the premises.

The firefight soon ends with the Saviors killed Rick firesand Rick and his group victorious.  When they leave the station, it’s already morning and they come upon a parking lot with vehicles. Needing to recoup from the ordeal, Heath turns down Glenn’s offer to go back to Alexandria and relax. Instead he and Tara take off in their vehicle for a supply run in the countryside. Rick and Michonne wonder if one of the men killed was the leader Negan. At that moment, a lone surviving Savior tries to escape in a motorcycle that Daryl recognizes as his own that was stolen a few episodes ago. Rosita shoots him and he falls off the bike. Daryl catches up to the Savior and demands to know where he got the bike as Rick holds a gun to his head, just then a woman’s voice from the Savior’s radio is heard. She demands that Rick and the others lower their weapons and adds that she and her group have captured Maggie and Carol.

day after

“Tomorrow Not Yet” amps up the tension and the anticipation for the fateful encounter with Negan, while delivering a pounding, nerve-wracking action fest. The last twenty minutes of this episode was so intense and bursting with the type of action that one would see in a Die Hard film not The Walking Dead. It was brutal, ugly and unlike most action films it didn’t glorify violence. One point made in “Tomorrow Not Yet” is that killing isn’t always easy. This was best seen in the moments where Glenn and Heath are forced to kill. For them, and like many of us, coldly killing someone, even if deserved, isn’t something to be done casually. We feel for these two because they’re so much like us, as much as we want, we’re not Daryl or Michonne, two efficient killers. That is why seeing Glenn steel himself to deliver the killing blow at someone who is sleeping was so hard to watch.

heath and glenn

 

To this episode’s credit, it didn’t rely on mindless violence. There was adequate build up to the finale which explored many themes and characters, many of whom had memorable scenes. Take Carol, for example, who is now suffering from her past killing actions. Recently we’ve come to see her as this cold-hearted, practical woman who has little room for sympathy. She’s come a long way from season one where she was a timid abused housewife. In “Tomorrow Not Yet” Carol demonstrates that she still has a conscious.

Someone who doesn’t appear to have one is Abraham, who is spiraling towards his fate. Apparently, he seems to know that his days are numbered and doesn’t care about social niceties as seen with the way he callously breaks up with Rosita and leaves her heartbroken. Meanwhile, Gabriel is transitioning into something of a warrior priest by the way he delivers a prayer to a Savior before killing him (also in an earlier dialogue with Rick, he refuses to remove his priest’s garb because he still thinks of himself as a man of the cloth).

Finally, Rick and many of the others are paying for their hubris. They, especially Rick, assumed they could just walk into the Saviors’ turf and take them out. They feel this way based on their past success and at first their overconfidence is warranted given their victory but the final moments in “Tomorrow Not Yet” just prove how things do not always go as planned.

Lewis T. Grove

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Eleven “Knots Untie”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2016 by Starloggers

at hilltop

“Your world’s about to get a whole lot bigger” – Jesus

“Knots Untie” is the eleventh episode of The Walking Dead’s sixth season and takes place moments before the last episode where Paul “Jesus” Rovio (Tom Payne) walked into Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) bedroom in the middle of the night announcing he had to talk to Rick.

Outside in the Alexandria Safe Zone, Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and his wife Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) are checking on some crops they planted when they spot Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) rushing into Rick’s home. They follow suit and find Jesus in the hallway. Rick comes out of his room and tells them all to stand down. In a hastily held meeting, Jesus tells them his story. He comes from a town called Hilltop, which is a day’s drive away, and he is scouting to set up trade between any settlement he discovers. He invites Rick and the others to visit his town.

wreckage

The next day, Rick and other Alexandria residents, which include Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Abraham, and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), set out in an RV with Jesus and leave town. During the long drive, they come upon a car wreck with pinned walkers. Jesus realizes that the car came from Hilltop and panics about the fate of his fellow residents. They follow tracks to a nearby building where Jesus is convinced survivors from the car crash are located. Rick and the others rush inside and rescue the Hilltop residents, among them are an obstetrician, Dr. Harlan Carson (R. Keith Harris), who is grateful for Glenn rescuing him.

They arrive at Hilltop, a walled town much hilltoplike Alexandria, but more like a farming community with livestock and crops. Rick quickly realizes that Hilltop doesn’t have ammo by the fact that the town’s defenders are only armed with knives and spears. Jesus introduces the group to Hilltop’s leader, Gregory (Xander Berkeley), who is rather caustic and dismissive towards the group. Maggie meets with him alone and tries to negotiate a barter deal. Gregory scoffs and instead puts proposes that the Alexandria residents come to work in Hilltop for food. Maggie, already annoyed by his disrespectful and condescending tone, rejects this offer.

ethan stabs gregShortly after the meeting ends a group of haggard Hilltop residents enter the community. They came back from meeting with a Negan and his own group, the Saviors, and it didn’t go well. From later discussions, Rick and his group learn that Hilltop has to hand over half their food to the Saviors in return for being left alone. This time, the Saviors weren’t satisfied with the amount of food Hilltop provided, killed two Hilltop residents and are holding another hostage. One of the arrivals, Ethan (Justin Kucsulain), also has a message for Gregory from Negan – he apologizes before stabbing Gregory. This sparks a sudden battle between Rick’s group and the Hilltop people. Jesus is able to calm everyone down before it escalates, but by this time Rick has already killed Ethan, who had a knife to Rick’s throat.

STANDOFF

Later, as Gregory recovers from the stabbing, Rick meets with Jesus and offers to kill the Saviors in return for provisions. Jesus relays the deal to Gregory who then calls for Maggie to his residence. Once there, Maggie demands that Gregory hand over half their supplies in exchange for dealing with Negan. The Hilltop leader begrudgingly complies.

Soon after, Harlan gives Maggie an ultrasound exam to check on the baby, then Rick and his group leave for Alexandria. As they all relax in their ride home, Glenn and Maggie pass around an ultrasound photo of their baby. They all feel hopeful and quietly confident about the future.

wreckage walker

A marked improvement over the previous episode, “Knots Untie” throws The Walking Dead into a new ominous direction that will have Rick and his group confronting Negan and his Saviors. Anyone who follows the comic books already know that the encounter will be a fateful one as Negan is a villain as vicious, if not more, as the infamous Governor.

“Knots Untie” did a more than adequate hilltop fightjob of creating a building sense of dread in face of our characters stoic confidence about being able to handle Negan. We, the audience, at least those that have read ahead, realize that the Saviors won’t be your standard road gang. Forget about the Wolves or the Terminus residents, the Saviors are a whole other level of evil. Obviously, Rick, Daryl and the others don’t know this, all they have to go on are their past encounters with thugs and savages. Still, their positive demeanor about what lies ahead is disconcerting to watch. It’s as if we want to reach into the TV screen and yell a loud warning to them as they obliviously march toward doom.

One thing that this episode did so well is to keep us guessing as to who will die next. For most of the episode, it seemed as if it was Abraham’s time. The man seems unsure of his place in the world, sees no future based on his observation of Glenn and Maggie starting a family. Early in the episode, his budding relationship with Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) abraham in bedis nipped as she quietly spurns him. It’s hard to feel bad for him in that regard since he is already involved with Rosita (Christian Serratos), who even crafted a necklace for him (which was lost during the scuffle at Hilltop, another clue that Abraham will meet his maker soon). On the other hand, he is likeable in a tough, brutal way with his no-nonsense attitude and fortitude. He’s been lost ever since he discovered that his reason for living after his family was killed was a sham. It came as a relief (for now) that he didn’t die, but his death is being telegraphed. But as much as he is liked, this leading up to his death actually feels logical.

Then there is Glenn. Will his luck finally run out with Negan? On paper, it would seem so, but remember all that angst that viewers underwent when he supposedly died. That was very recent and to pull the rug out from under us like that would undo any good will from fans. The reaction to his fate will probably be worse than that of a typical Game of Thrones death. So if not Glenn, then who else? We won’t find out until the season finale, just a handful of episodes away, so we better steel ourselves.

José Soto

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Ten “The Next World”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by Starloggers

rick and daryl hold guns

“The Next World” is the tenth episode in season six of The Walking Dead and jumps ahead two months after the events in the previous episode “No Way Out”.

The town of Alexandria has been rebuilt from the ashes of the walker invasion two months ago that left many residents killed including the town’s leader Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh). Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is now the leader of Alexandria and oversees the recovery of the town. At the start of “The Next World” he and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) leave the walled town on a supply run in their car.

Afterwards, while patrolling on top of Alexandria’s walls, Michonne (Danai Gurira) spots Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) with a shovel leaving the town and heading into the woods. She decides to follow him and eventually catches up to him. Despite his protests about being left alone, Michonne accompanies him anyway in his unspoken quest.

jesus dudeMany miles away, Rick and Daryl come upon a barn with a truck full of food supplies. Pleased with their booty, they leave their car at the barn and leave with the truck. On the way back, they stop at an abandoned gas station to look for more supplies. Rick is jumped by Paul “Jesus” Rovia (Tom Payne), but Jesus is quickly overwhelmed by the two men. He is able to convince them that he doesn’t mean any harm, but he distracts them and steals their truck.

Rick and Daryl pursue Jesus on foot. Eventually they catch up to him when he stops the truck to repair a flat tire. They tie him up, leave him on the side of the road and leave with their truck.

jesus at gunpoint

While driving they notice some thumping on the truck’s roof and find Jesus on top of their vehicle. They stop the truck and Jesus jumps off. Daryl exits the truck and a chase ensues that leads the three to a bunch of walkers tied to an abandoned pickup truck in an open field. The walkers break free and the trio are forced to kill the walkers. In the melee, Rick and Daryl’s truck is accidently set on neutral and it rolls into a lake, lost with all the found supplies. With Jesus finally knocked out by Daryl, Rick convinces him to take Jesus back to town, sensing that he isn’t a bad person.

DEANA WALKER

Near Alexandria, Michonne and Spencer find what Spencer was looking for: his mother Deanna, now an undead walker. Michonne grabs the walker, giving Spencer the opportunity to perform a mercy killing of sorts on his dead mother. Later, they bury Deanna and Michonne convinces him that he still has a family and home back at Alexandria.

That evening, Rick and Michonne are home and begin a romantic relationship. Later, in the middle of the night, Rick and Michonne are awoken from their bed by Jesus, who has to talk to him.

All things considered, “The Next World” was a rather disappointing entry for The Walking Dead. It has some decent moments and performances, but on the whole this episode was disjointed. Some interesting developments and character studies–Rick and Michonne’s new relationship, a sympathetic look at Spencer with his mission, were all overshadowed by the buffoonery surrounding Jesus.

jesus running

Many genre shows like Star Trek, The X-Files and Farscape have done comedic episodes and they worked. In this case, with this show, throwing comedy into the mix just does not work. Perhaps it’s because The Walking Dead is too dire and horrific for comedy to fit in comfortably. What was worse is that the silliness over trying to capture Jesus, made Rick and Daryl look like idiots on a Keystone Cops level. The episode’s attempts at laughs fell flat and diminished Rick and Daryl as formidable fighters. How come they couldn’t adequately handle this thief? How did Jesus untie himself and climb up onto the truck’s roof unnoticed as the duo drove for miles? Overall, not a great introduction for Jesus as a character.

rickchonneA final gripe has to go with the abrupt start of Rick and Michonne’s romantic relationship. Of course, shippers are thrilled with this development and the signs were there ever since the fourth season. The problem is that in the episode before “The Next World” Rick saw his girlfriend Jessie (Alexandria Breckenridge) horribly devoured before his eyes. He was clearly agonized as she was screaming when the walkers overwhelmed her and the scene showed blood-tinged flash cuts to earlier, more innocent memories of her. So, Rick was devoted to her, hell, he nearly got exiled from Alexandria because of his feelings for her. Now, just two months, and one episode, later he is bedding Michonne. This is just a quick plot point from the point of view of the showrunners who clearly wanted to move Rick from point A to B without any pause. Unfortunately, little time was given to allow the relationship to blossom naturally. This should’ve occurred over the space of a few episodes. Chalk to this up to the show needing to get on with the coming Negan “headache”, for all we know maybe the showrunners will pull a fast one and Michonne will be the victim of Negan’s wrath instead of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and so they want us more invested in her. We’ll find out in a few episodes.

José Soto

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Nine “No Way Out”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2016 by Starloggers

blending in

“Faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26

The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season break with “No Way Out” which picks up moments after the previous episode’s coda. In it, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) were returning to the Alexandria Safe Zone in their tanker and stopped by a band of motorcycle thugs on the road. Claiming to being part of Negan’s band, they demanded all of their possessions. However, Daryl killed all of the thugs in one fell swoop with an RPG he had hidden behind the vehicle.

blown up real good

Back at Alexandria, the town is under siege by a horde of walkers that broke through Alexandria’s fortified walls. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his band, which includes his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) and infant daughter Judith, Michonne (Danai Gurira), Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Jessie Anderson (Alexandria Breckenridge) and her sons Ron (Austin Abrams) and Sam (Major Dodson), escaped from Jessie’s home by smearing themselves with walker guts, thus disguising them.

pseudo walkersOutside in the walker-infested streets, Rick devises a plan to go to a nearby quarry and retrieve their vehicles to lure away the walkers. Gabriel volunteers to take Judith with him to his church for safety. Jessie tries to get Sam to go with the priest, but a visibly nervous Sam insists on accompanying his mother. In the end, he should’ve listened to her. As they make their way past the shuffling undead, Sam grows more anxious and begins hesitating and whimpering. This starts drawing the walkers’ attention and he is soon devoured by them in front of Jessie. Naturally shaken, Jessie begins wailing and is attacked and eaten in turn by more walkers. Despite his horror and grief over losing his girlfriend, Rick is forced to hack off her hand, which is still holding onto Carl. Seeing this enrages Ron who aims a gun at Rick and Carl. Ron is stabbed from behind by Michonne with her katana, but the damage is already done. The gun fired and Carl is shot in the right eye and he falls unconscious. At that point, Rick grabs his son and the trio rushes to the town’s infirmary.

sam eaten

As this is happening another group led by Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan Jones (Lennie James) are in a townhouse basement and plotting to rescue the town’s doctor Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever). The two are at odds with each other because Morgan showed leniency towards a captured Wolf thug (Benedict Samuel) that escaped with Denise as his hostage. Out in the streets, the Wolf and Denise have an uneasy alliance as they evade walkers. He tries to convert her over to his nihilistic beliefs, but she refuses and he begins to waver. At one point, they make for a ladder at a watchtower leading to outside. The Wolf makes it but goes back to help Denise from a walker. Then he is bitten by a walker and she tries to take him to the infirmary, but he is shot by Carol from nearby and Denise leaves him for dead.

She arrives at the infirmary in time to tend to Carl, and Rick, now despondent and angered, charges outside to kill walkers. Michonne and others at the infirmary join him. In turn, Carol, Morgan and their group join him as well. Along the way, Morgan kills the Wolf who by now has turned into a walker.

Seeing this act of defiance, other human survivors, including Gabriel join in on the last-ditch defense. They make progress in killing walkers, but there are too many of them. daryl blows up stuffWhen it seems as if all hope is lost, Daryl, Sasha and Abraham arrive. First they save Glenn Rhee (Steven Yuen), his wife Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon), then Daryl dumps gasoline from the tanker into a nearby pond and lights it on fire with another RPG. This attracts all of the remaining walkers who go into the flaming body of water and are burnt.

carl recoversThe next morning, Alexandria’s streets are littered with the bodies of hundreds of walkers. The human survivors are weary but relieved of what they accomplished. Inside the infirmary, Rick talks to his unconscious son and expresses his pride at how the townspeople transformed into a hard group of survivors and how he plans to rebuild the community. Carl shows a sign of recovery when he squeezes Rick’s hand.

jessie eaten

“No Way Out” was an exhaustive, thrilling and intense mid-season premier. The tension was quite palpable throughout the episode, which was aided by fast editing, graphic makeup, shocking deaths and a throbbing score that added to the intensity of what was going on. Equally as troubling to watch were the gruesome, sudden deaths of the Anderson family starting with young Sam. What made his demise so cringing were his final panicked thoughts about self-fulfilling fears of being eaten alive (thanks to Carol’s warnings from last season), which unnerved him so much that they led to his death moments later.

The bulk of the action was wisely spent on day afterAlexandria but “No Way Out” at the start pointed out a new direction and menace to The Walking Dead. The dreaded Negan is coming and Rick and company haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to brutality. The fact that this episode mirrored the events from the comic books quite closely (Jessie’s death, Carl losing an eye) and that the showrunners want the show to follow the comic books makes it more likely that an expected death is coming by the season’s end. negan's goonsThere have been reports that Lauren Cohan was distressed after filming the season finale so it’s easy to conclude that a major character will finally meet the grim reaper. If it is Glenn, the event will infuriate many viewers who went through weeks of agony wondering if he really died back at the dumpster. At this point, it could be another character that meets the end at Negan’s hands. Some fans noted how Daryl was injured on his shoulder blade and since he usually dons a vest with angel wings on the back, they theorize the injury foreshadows something ominous for Daryl.

On the whole, it was a relief to see the meek Alexandrians, Gabriel and Eugene Porter (Josh McDermott) finally growing some gumption and rising to the occasion. Now that they fought off the walker horde will they be able to handle Negan and his gang? Rick may think he is building a new world for his son but that dream will surely be dashed soon.

José Soto

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Eight “Start To Finish”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2015 by Starloggers

jawless

Dolor hic tibi proderit olim – Latin phrase meaning “This pain will be useful to you”

The eighth episode (and mid-season finale) of The Walking Dead’s sixth season begins immediately after the end of the last episode. A watchtower has collapsed on the metal walls that surround the Alexandria Safe Zone from the undead walkers outside. Now that the flesh-eaters have open access to the town, the townspeople have no choice but to run for their lives.

panick

As people scramble this way and that from the seemingly endless tide of walkers, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the town’s leader Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) fire upon the walkers. At one point, she saves his life from a walker but is injured in the melee. The duo are then joined by Michonne (Danai Gurira), Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) and her son Ron (Austin Jacobs), who all make it to Jessie’s home before the walkers get to them. At her house her younger son Sam (Major Dodson) and Rick’s infant daughter Judith are already there.

maggie climbsElsewhere, Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) scrambles up on top of a scaffold beside one of the walls and is trapped there as walkers wait below. Outside the town, her husband Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) make their way to the gates and from the safety of a tree spot Maggie from afar. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson) use a garage as shelter. Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) suffers a concussion while fighting off walkers and is helped to a townhouse by Morgan Jones (Lennie James). In that residence Morgan is keeping a Wolf gang member (Benedict Samuel) prisonerwho Carol wants to kill for attacking  Alexandria earlier. The Wolf is being treated for an infected cut by the town’s doctor Denise (Merritt Wever).

At Jessie’s home, Michonne and Rick find out that Deanna has a walker bite mark and is already feverish, indicating she will die soon. She gives Michonne written messages for Maggie and her son Spencer (Austin Nichols). She also tells Rick that he is now in charge of the residents and to protect them well. In the garage, Carl and Ron get into a fight because Ron is still bitter about Rick executing his murderous father. During the fight a window is broken which gives walkers access into the home. Despite efforts from everyone to barricade the walkers, the undead creatures soon flood the ground level which forces everyone upstairs.

Realizing they can’t remain, Rick comes up with a plan. He and Michonne kill two walkers, drag the bodies upstairs and gut the bodies. The plan (used by Rick and Glenn in the show’s first season) is to cover everyone with blood and innards of the walkers to disguise themselves.

Back at the townhouse, Carol feigns sleep carol standofffrom her concussion which drops Morgan’s guard. She bolts down to the basement where the Wolf is being held and attempts to stab him with a knife. Morgan arrives in the nick of time and the two begin fighting. Eventually he defeats her, but is then knocked out by the Wolf who grabs Carol’s knife and Denise as a hostage.

Moments later, Eugene, Tara and Rosita enter the room which is adjacent to the garage they were sheltering in. The Wolf orders them to lower their guns and takes one of the weapons. Keeping Denise as his hostage, the Wolf soon flees from the townhouse.

last message to michonne

At Jessie’s house, everyone, except Deanna, are donned with blood-smeared sheets. Michonne offers Deanna to kill her, but she refuses and brandishes her own gun. She plans to kill herself before she dies and turns into a walker.

They say their goodbyes to Deanna and slowly, hesitantly make their way downstairs. So far so good, the walkers ignore them and they make it outside holding hands. But Sam, who is visibly nervous, begins to call out for his mother and attracts the walkers’ attention.

disguise 2

In a post-credit epilogue, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudltiz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are heading back to Alexandria in their truck. They are stopped by bikers  who demand their supplies who they say belong to their leader Negan.

“Start To Finish” was a nerve-wracking, nail-biting mid-season finale that had its share of faults, which undermine the episode to a small extent. In spite of them and they were frustrating, the episode was well crafted and suspenseful at many points. Especially in the final scenes which showed the slow, careful escape from Jessie’s house while intercut with Deanna’s final defiant moments.

defiant deannaAs the leading resident of Alexandria, Deanna was probably the most interesting new character with her wild and justified swings from boundless optimism to dark, catatonic despair. The character was played wonderfully by Tovah Feldshuh who made every moment she was on screen captivating to watch and never dull. In the short time Deanna was on the show she left an impact and will be missed.

One can’t help wondering if she second-guessed her decision to bring in the nearly feral Rick and his group. Most likely after this crisis passes (if Alexandria is still standing) most residents will certainly blame Rick and his group. They all had a plum life before Rick came along and now boom! People start dropping like flies, the town gets attacked and now the walkers have broken through the gates. In reality, it was only a matter of time before catastrophe hit them, but Rick makes a mighty convenient scapegoat. Let’s see if this plays out before Negan comes along with his baseball bat.

Will Alexandria survive? It’s hard to see how, disguisewhich makes the February episodes must-see TV to see how and if Rick and company survive their predicament. Most likely some won’t make it, the first victim will probably be Sam. That boy is clearly disturbed by what he sees of the outside world as seen by his macabre drawings where he is surrounded by walkers. But while his calling out to his mother puts the group in danger, one can’t help wondering what about Judith? Wouldn’t she as an infant be making noises? That would’ve been a more effective way to conclude the episode. This speculation also leads to wondering if the idea of disguising themselves was a sound one. The last time this ploy was used it had mixed results. Couldn’t most of them hide out in an attic or even the rooftop while Rick or Michonne did the disguise and went for the armory?

tobin tara rosita

Another person that should be culled at this point is Morgan. His unrealistic adherence to not killing is an endangerment to everyone around him. It was easy to follow this philosophy back in the cabin with Eastman where nothing was going on and there weren’t any dastardly humans around, but in that group it’s a hindrance. Oddly, while thinking on this, Morgan’s viewpoint are probably more in line with the softer Alexandrians than with Rick’s group. On the whole, expect the population of Alexandria to drop dramatically when The Walking Dead returns.

In any event, we’ll see what happens in a couple of months.

José Soto

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Three “Thank You”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2015 by Starloggers

feasting walkers

“Thing is, they aren’t all going to make it.” – Rick Grimes

The third episode of the sixth season of The Walking Dead takes place during the time period of the previous episode “JSS”. While “JSS” concentrated on the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone, this one focuses on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group as they try leading the super horde of flesh-eating undead walkers away from the town.

In “JSS”, a marauding gang called the Wolves raided Alexandria. During the attack one of the Wolves crashed a truck against the town’s walls, which set off a continuous and loud horn that attracted half the horde towards the town. Presently, Rick and his daryl leads in biketeam are trying to lure them back towards a planned route away from Alexandria. The horde following the intended course are being slowly led away by Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) in a car accompanied by Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) on his motorcycle. Against Rick’s orders, Daryl peels away and goes back to town to help out.

Rick and his team are scrambling through the woods of northern Virginia on their way back to town with several dozen walkers pursuing them. Rick decides to double back and fetch an RV left on a fork in a road so that he can use it to redirect the walkers onto their intended path.

rick gives orders

He orders Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Glenn (Steven Yuen) to lead the rest of the group back to Alexandria and advises not to stop for anything, adding that some of the group won’t make it. This is overheard from Heath (Corey Hawkins) nearby. After Rick leaves, the group are hampered with Injuries as they fight walkers resulting in town residents Dave (Jay Huguley) being bitten, and Scott (Kenric Green) getting accidently shot in the leg by Sturgess (Jonathan Kleitman), who runs off wildly by himself. In the aftermath, Annie (Beth Kenner), who injured her ankle previously, suggests they all stop and treat the wounded.

injured party

They soon come to an abandoned town, which Nick (Michael Traynor) remembers from an ill-fated run. It also turns out to be infested with walkers, which are seen feasting on Sturgess’ corpse. Taking shelter in a pet store, the battered group treats their injuries and plot their next move. Glenn comes up with a plan to set a building on fire to distract the walkers. Nick suggests a nearby feed store and he and Glenn set out to torch the building. Annie and Dave point out that their injuries are slowing the group and they should be abandoned. Heath refuses this idea and soon he and Michonne have a heated discussion about survival.

As they wait, they hear pounding in a backroom and find walkers that they quickly kill. But the commotion attracts the attention of the walkers outside, who have grown into thousands. The growing numbers are part of the huge horde going to Alexandria attracted by the sound of gunfire coming from there.

michonne breaks outThere’s no choice but to leave the store. Outside, Annie falls down and is devoured by the walkers. The remaining group find themselves blocked by a chain-link gate. They’re able to climb it, except for Dave, who is pulled down and eaten alive. Eventually, the three survivors, Michonne, Scott and Heath make it back to Alexandria.

glenn and nick last stand

In another part of the abandoned town, Glenn and Nick discover that the feed store has already burned down. What’s worse is that more and more walkers are converging on them. In a panic, they get trapped in an alley and are forced to climb on top of a dumpster. It’s not long before the two men are surrounded by countless walkers. eaten glennDespondent, Nick, who is guilt-stricken over his previous actions, thanks Glenn for giving him a chance at redemption. Then he shoots himself in the head. Nick’s body tumbles onto a shocked Glenn and the momentum causes Glenn and the body to fall into the mass of hungry walkers, who consume him.

Rick makes it to the RV but not before cutting open his left hand in a fight with walkers. He tries hailing Glenn on the radio but there’s no reply. Then he radios Daryl and tells him that he’s in the RV. Just then Wolves who Morgan (Lennie James) allowed to escaped in “JSS” break into the RV and attack Rick. Daryl overhears gunfire from Rick’s fight on his radio and heads back to Sasha and Abraham in their route. Back in the RV, Rick is able to kill the Wolves, but now the RV won’t start and the vehicle is about to be surrounded by approaching walkers.

glenn and nick in townThe Walking Dead is known for its gut-punching episodes and this one is a prime example of that. The Walking Dead is noted for moving and unexpected character deaths that enrages fandom and the showrunners have done it again by killing off Glenn, one of the most popular heroes. Sure, it’s just a TV show, but so many people have invested their time in these characters and project themselves into the story to the point that a fictional death can be very devastating for some. However, Glenn’s death had been foreshadowed for some time. His comic book counterpart was brutally bludgeoned to death by Negan, while on TV he escaped many close calls.

rip glenn

It’s fascinating to note how many of us are already rationalizing that Glenn somehow survived. The Internet is awash with wild theories about how the walkers only ate Nick who was on top of Glenn and somehow the plucky ex-delivery guy managed to hide under the dumpster and so on. But those ideas are so outlandish and belong in junk TV fare like Z Nation. No, people, there isn’t any realistic way that Glenn could’ve survived that. Then again the show’s producer Scott Gimple went out of his to announce to fans on the show Talking Dead that they’re not done with Glenn yet. The character wasn’t even featured in Talking Dead’s memoriam segment that salutes fallen characters. Perhaps he’ll turn up in flashbacks; we’ll see.

As beloved as Glenn was, the same can’t arriving in townbe said for Nick, who was largely reviled by fans. A born coward, Nick tried to kill Glenn back in the fifth season finale “Conquer”, and when Glenn caught up to him, he turned the other cheek. This was baffling and frustrating, but underscored Glenn’s nature. He tries to see the good in people and gives them second chances. It paid off with Tara (Alana Masterson), and Nick was a work in progress. He was trying to prove himself, maybe a little too eagerly. In the end, he gave in to his inner demons and fears, and unfortunately took Glenn with him.

annie killed“Thank You” on the whole was up to par with the best of The Walking Dead. Director Michael Slovis did an excellent job in presenting a sense of unrelenting dread, thrills and tension. Neither the characters or the viewers had a chance to take a pause with each new peril and cliffhanger.

Six seasons in and The Walking Dead is still must-see TV thanks to the pulsing adrenaline soaking the past three episodes and fast-moving developments. What other tragedies will befall the characters and then there’s Negan waiting somewhere in the wings? And we thought things were dire back at Terminus.

José Soto