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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

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The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Fifteen “East”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2016 by Starloggers

carol surrenders

The fifteenth and penultimate episode in the sixth season of The Walking Dead builds up to a coming confrontation between the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone and the Saviors. The start of the episode backtracks from the very end of the last episode where Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) left Alexandria. “East” begins with Carol getting ready to leave the town due to her growing guilt over her past killings. As she preps to leave clandestinely we see life going on in the town seen through the eyes of several couples like the town’s leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Dania Gurira), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and his wife Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan).

Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) leaves daryl leavesAlexandria on a personal vendetta to deal with his enemy Dwight (Austin Amelio), who killed Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) in the last episode. Afterwards, Michonne, Glenn and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) leave town to go after him. Meanwhile, Carol’s lover Tobin (Jason Douglas) finds the letter she left him about her departure and gives it to Rick, who leaves with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) to pursue Carol.

Carol is driving alone on a country road in a car adorned with wooden stakes sticking out of its body. She passes a pickup truck with men, Saviors, who fire on her car and force her to stop.

savior roadblock

She approaches the Saviors as a meek and frightened woman to throw her opponents off-guard. Just like in previous episodes this ruse works. Being that she is wearing a heavy coat that is too big on her, her hands are covered by sleeves which conceals a gun in her right hand. Carol fires the weapon and take out most of the Saviors. One of them chases her back to her car but she impales him with one of the stakes. Another injured Savior jumps out from a hidden spot in the truck and charges her with a knife. We do not see how the fight ends.

carol caught

Later, Rick and Morgan come to the spot where the confrontation took place and see the aftermath of Carol’s handiwork. Rick admits to feeling proud about her for her ability to take out so many enemies. What they don’t realize is that just before they arrived, another Savior in the truck recovered from the attack and stumbled off into the fields.

While this was happening, Michonne, Glenn and Rosita come to the railroad tracks where Daryl, Rosita and Denise encountered Dwight and the Saviors. They soon Daryl in the nearby woods. They all argue about what Daryl is doing, he points out that if he had killed Dwight earlier in the episode “Always Accountable” Denise might still be alive. He leaves the group to continue his hunt, but now Rosita joins him since she too is furious about what happened to Denise. Glenn and Michonne head back to their car, but are soon captured by Dwight and four Saviors.

rick and morganRick and Morgan find a blood trail heading eastward and conclude that it might be Carol’s. They follow the trail while unaware that the Savior was watching them from a hiding place and is now following them. They come to a farm and spot an armored man who claims that it is his place and begs them to leave. They insist of talking to him but the man runs off as several walkers appear. Rick and Morgan kill the walkers, at one point, Rick fires his gun at the departing man, who he believes is a Savior, but Morgan spoils his aim. The two men rick firescontinue their philosophical argument where Morgan decries Rick’s harsh, savage behavior. Rick counters that they have to be brutal to survive in the new world, but Morgan refuses to see this viewpoint. He believes that everyone can be redeemed, and points to Carol as proof since she was once banished from Rick’s group and welcomed back. Morgan confesses about the Wolf gang member (Samuel Benedict) that he captured several episodes ago. As Rick fumes about this news Morgan tells him that the Wolf wound up saving Denise, who in turned saved Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs). Morgan offers to continue tracking Carol on his own and for Rick not to look for him if he doesn’t return to Alexandria. Rick offers him a gun and lets his friend go before turning back to town.

Back in Alexandria, Maggie asks Enid (Katelyn Nacon) to cut her hair. After the young teenager does this, Maggie explains that she does not want anything to get in her way, implying her formerly long hair. Just as she finishes her statement, Maggie, who is pregnant, experiences crippling pain in her abdomen and collapses to the floor screaming.

captured glann and michonne

Elsewhere, Glenn and Michonne are gagged and tied up to trees in the Saviors’ campsite. Daryl and Rosita encroach upon the camp. Glenn tries to shout a warning to them, but it’s muffled. At that moment, Dwight and another Savior come up behind Daryl and Rosita with their guns drawn. Dwight flashes a wicked smile as Daryl lowers his crossbow and fires his gun at Daryl. The screen is splattered with blood and goes black. Dwight’s voice is heard telling Daryl that “You’ll be alright.”

last shot

Apprehension rules the day with “East” as most fans of The Walking Dead, especially those that have read the comic book issues this storyline is based on, are nervously anticipating the season finale. As a penultimate episode “East” stands out with its build up, though it does have its issues.

Those have to do with the behaviors of some of the most seasoned characters. Many of them seem quite reckless like Daryl. His charging off all half-cocked on a vengeance quest made him sloppy, which is troubling since he is so skilled at tracking and fighting. It was fairly easy for Dwight to get the drop on him, the guy who took out a tank way back in season four and decimated evil gangs and walkers alike almost singlehandedly. What is worse is that his actions have put other people in harm’s way, the same goes for Carol. Didn’t anyone think that driving out in the open road with the Saviors lurking about the area was looking for trouble?

caught up to daryl

Of course, many are wondering if Daryl is dead. Don’t worry, he’ll be fine, injured but alive. That does take him out of contention for being the victim of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) wrath.

So who is left? Carol, Rosita, Glenn, Michonne, Rick, Morgan or some of the other Alexandrians. Glenn is an obvious frontrunner due to his counterpart’s fate in the comic books, but as seen in the previous episode and in other instances, the producers aren’t afraid to change things and have their characters suffer different fates. Could it be Carol? Or Abraham? Both seem like DOA characters with their nihilistic outlook of life and Carol’s need to absolve herself of her past. In this day and age of the Internet, the fact that the finale is airing soon and no one not involved with making The Walking Dead knows for sure is astonishing onto itself.

lucille

Gripes aside, the tension is hanging heavy in this episode, threatening to burst as we await the first appearance of Negan and Lucille, and what that means. We all know that it won’t be pleasant.

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 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 Seven “Heads Up”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2015 by Starloggers

walkers gotta eat

You honor the dead by going on, even when you’re scared. You live because they don’t get to.” –Glenn Rhee

The nagging question about Glenn Rhee’s (Steven Yeun) fate at the end of The Walking Dead episode “Thank You” trappedis finally answered in the opening moments of the seventh episode of the TV show. “Heads Up” opens with the final moments of “Thank You” where Glenn and Nicholas (Michael Traynor) are trapped on top of a dumpster surrounded by walkers. After Nicholas kills himself, his body falls onto Glenn and causes both to fall to the floor. The walkers then begin feasting on them, or so we thought. In actuality, with Nicholas’ body on top of Glenn, the walkers engorged themselves on Nicholas’ body and ignore Glenn. This gives him a chance to crawl under the dumpster and wait out the walkers.

After a few days, the walkers give up and shuffle away from the dumpster area. Glenn crawls out and is tossed a bottle of water by Enid (Katelyn Nacon) who is on a rooftop. The last time she was seen in the episode “JSS” she left the Alexandria Safe Zone when it came under attack by the mysterious Wolves gang.

enid and glenn

Glenn tries to get her to return to Alexandria with him but she refuses and the two play a cat-and-mouse game in the town. When he finally catches up to her she holds a gun to him, but he grabs it from her and orders her to join him.

Rick stands guardBack in Alexandria, everyone is on edge as the undead walker horde encircle the walled town. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the de facto leader of the town, inspects the walls keeping the town safe and notices walker blood leaking through. Later, he and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) teach Ron Anderson (Austin Abrams) how to shoot a gun. What they don’t realize is that Ron holds a bitter grudge against them; he is jealous that Enid seems to like Carl better and is angered that Rick previously executed his father. After the lesson, Ron sneaks into the armory and steals bullets for a gun given to him by Rick.

Rick meets with Michonne (Danai Gurira) and ponder how to lure the walkers away from the town and consider having someone sneak out and get into to a car to distract the walkers.

By himself, Rick goes to the walls and tries to reinforce them. Tobin (Jason Douglas) soon joins him and offers his help, adding that the inexperienced residents are willing to learn from Rick’s hardened group.  Rick complies. As this goes on, the residents learn self defense from Rosita (Christian Serratos) and the town’s actual leader Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) starts making plans for expanding the town, confident that they will survive the current crisis.

Just outside the town, Glenn and Enid discover all the walkers surrounding Alexandria. But he find some green balloons that were used by Rick and his group to distract walkers in the episode “First Time Again”. Glenn spots a helium tank in the bushes and more balloons that need inflating. He decides to use them to distract the walkers away from the town.

spencer on a wire

At this time, Rick, Tobin and Morgan Jones (Lennie James) spot Deanna’s adult son Spencer (Austin Nichols) trying to leave town by shimmying on a grappling line he erected from the town’s watchtower. Inexperienced, Spencer hangs perilously over the walkers who try reaching for him. The line weakens and he falls down. As Rick, Morgan and Tobin pull up Spencer back over the wall using the rope, Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson) distracts the walkers by shooting several of them. Spencer is saved, but Rick screams at him for his foolish act. Spencer explains he was only trying to get to a car to lure the walkers, but Rick won’t have it because he endangered other people with his actions.

Once Spencer is safe, Morgan goes to the infirmary and asks the town’s novice doctor Denise (Merritt Wever) for some antibiotics. He wants to treat the young wounded Wolf (Benedict Samuel) that he captured and is keeping hidden from the others. Morgan is already at odds with Rick and the others because of his pacifistic ways that allowed surviving Wolves to flee town. Those same Wolves later attacked Rick when he was outside luring walkers back in the episode “Thank You”.

Denise convinces Morgan to let her come with him to treat the Wolf. However, Carol (Melissa McBride) sees Morgan and soon confronts him at the townhouse where the Wolf is held prisoner.

Ron sneaks up

At another part of town, Carl is walking along the streets. Behind him Ron sneaks up behind him and gets ready to shoot him.

Back at the walls, Rick and Tobin continue propping up the walls. Deanna comes over to thank him for saving Spencer. At this time, Maggie Green (Lauren Cohan), who is doing sentry duty on top of the walls sees balloons floating upwards outside town. She’s ecstatic because she realizes that her husband Glenn is alive.

But before anyone can celebrate, the fragile watchtower, weakened from Spencer’s exploit, collapses on one of the walls and breaks it down giving the walkers access into Alexandria.

First of all, let’s go over Glenn’s fate. After leaving us hanging for nearly a month the showrunners of The Walking Dead finally revealed what happened to him. Well, after all the angst and hand-wringing on the Internet commemorating Glenn, it turns out he survived. Honestly, his glenn hidessurvival is highly implausible and reeks of cop out. It’s hard to believe that even with bait on top of him that the walkers would completely ignore Glenn. Wouldn’t a couple try to reach for his protruding limbs? The entire affair is just like those old cliffhangers where you see the hero go over the cliff in a car and in the next episode you see him jumping out of the car just in time before it goes over.

While we’re all glad that Glenn is alive and somewhat well, it all feels like a play on our emotions and a cheat. There isn’t any way this can be replicated away in The Walking Dead, a series that is renowned for unexpected character deaths. What’s going to happen next time? Will audiences buy it? Doubtful. If the showrunners continue down this path then this will be the Jump-the-Shark moment for The Walking Dead.

glenn emerges

Still, we’re happy to see that Glenn made it out of that town. Now he can’t be killed off by Negan as in the comic books because he truly has nine lives. How about Abraham? He was losing his marbles for a while there and in the last episode seemed to have gone a road to inner peace–the perfect person to kill off in The Walking Dead.

As an episode “Heads Up” was rather enjoyable and terrifically sets up the mid-season finale with worthwhile cliffhangers that leave viewers hanging. Given the unsatisfying watchtowerway some recent cliffhangers were resolved (offscreen as with Rick’s escape from the stranded RV), the stakes are high for meaningful resolutions to this episode’s cliffhangers. The most cringeworthy being the final shot where the watchtower collapses. Still, expect given the fact that the next episode is the mid-season finale expect even more cliffhangers as the walkers swarm Alexandria.

It’s do or die time, literally, for the Alexandria residents. Thankfully “Heads Up” had some badly needed establishing scenes of the townspeople in training and starting to get into proper survival mode. It was also a relief to see that Rick and his group seem to be gelling in with the residents who are coming around to Rick’s way of thinking.

eugene learnsOne nagging thought comes to mind. In one of the training scenes where Rosita teaches a group on how to properly use a machete, her friend Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) is not only in the class taking lessons but is visibly hesitant about handling a weapon. We know that Eugene has a cowardly streak but last season he’s shown that when push comes to shove he will rise to the occasion so why the sudden reversal? Plus, he’s more experienced to the ways of the outside world unlike the Alexandrians. He should have more of an idea on how to survive.

In any event, expect lots of gore, action and thrills in the next episode. Plus, lots of water-cooler talk after it airs.

Waldermann Rivera

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Four “Here’s Not Here”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2015 by Starloggers

morgan and eastman by walker

” I have come to believe that all life is precious”– Eastman

The fourth episode of the The Walking Dead’s sixth season opens with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) talking to the camera. He’s telling a story about his time before he came to the Alexandria Safe Zone.

morgan killingA flashback brings us to Morgan during the third season episode “Clear”. He is stark raving mad in his home and accidently burns it down. Now homeless, Morgan wanders the countryside and kills any walker and human he comes across, including two men (Chris Gann, H. Patrik Coyne) who were stalking him.

Eventually, he comes upon a cabin deep in the woods with a goat tethered outside in a small garden. He’s warned away by a male voice but he refuses to leave and is taken out by a burly, bald-headed man (John Carroll Lynch).

Morgan wakes up in a jail cell inside the cabin. The man, who introduces himself as Eastman, tries to get Morgan to talk but Morgan is unresponsive. Eastman then goes about his daily business of tending to his small vegetable farm, defending his goat Tabitha from nearby walkers, and trying to make cheese.

Eventually, Morgan begins to tabitharegain his sanity. One day, Eastman tells him he is free to leave and in fact the jail cell has been unlocked all along. Morgan tries attacking him but is defeated. He chooses to stay in the cabin, but in the cell only. Things change when Eastman leaves the cabin on a supply run. Tabitha is endangered by walkers which prompts Morgan to leave the cabin and kill them.

The two men start a friendship and as Morgan heals psychologically Eastman tells his story. He was a forensic psychiatrist who evaluated prisoners up for parole. Eastman began learning the martial art of aikido and soon adopted its non-killing philosophy. This new faith was tested by a certain prisoner, Crighton Dallas Wilton, who escaped prison and murdered Eastman’s wife and daughter. In response, Eastman built the jail cell in the cabin so that he can imprison Wilton there and starve him to death if he ever caught him.

aikido training

Eastman starts teaching aikido to Morgan and Morgan becomes proficient at using a staff as a weapon. He also studies a  book called The Art of Peace that Eastman gave him when he was first captured.

One day, Morgan and Eastman go on a supply run in the woods. A walker appears and Morgan freezes up; it was one of the men he killed earlier. Eastman kills the walker, but eastman bittennot before he’s bitten. The two separate, Eastman goes back to his cabin, while Morgan reverts to his old murderous ways. He finds and kills a walker, but it turns out that he saved the lives of a young couple. Morgan intends on killing them but is stopped when the woman meekly offers him canned soup and a bullet in gratitude. He leaves them be and returns to the cabin.

tabitha eatenUnfortunately, he finds a walker eating Tabitha. After killing the walker and dragging the body to a gravesite he and Eastman used to bury walkers, Morgan finds Eastman there digging a grave. He is already deathly ill from the effects of the walker bite. Morgan spots Wilton’s grave. Eastman reveals that he eventually caught Wilton and indeed starved him to death in the cell, but his death didn’t bring him any peace. When he went back to civilization to turn himself in, the walker apocalypse had occurred.

Back at the cabin, Eastman offers the place to Morgan but insists that he find people because he needs company. Morgan tells him that he’s made his decision and pleased with this, Eastman asks him to help him get his gun.

After Eastman is dead and buried, Morgan leaves the cabin and eventually comes upon railroad tracks with a sign posted for the infamous Terminus town.

morgan tells storyBack in the present, he finishes his story to the Wolf (Benedict Samuel) he captured in the previous episode. He’s hoping it will have an effect on the savage. But the young man shows him a nasty cut and predicts he will die. Furthermore, he still intends of killing everyone in Alexandria.

Disappointed, Morgan leaves the Wolf tied up in a basement in one of the town’s residences. As soon as he’s outside he hears Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) shouting for someone to open the gates.

morgan burns bodies

After the calamity of the previous episode “Thank You” and the two other breakneck episodes this season, “Here’s Not Here” is a decided change of pace that slows things down for The Walking Dead. It’s not a criticism about the episode or the producers’ desire to change gears, but planting this flashback episode so soon after “Thank You” jarringly breaks the momentum of the past three episodes.

Still “Here’s Not Here” is an insightful and moving episode that explores Morgan’s wounded psyche. It finally explains how Morgan regained his sanity back when Rick left him and how he became such a skilled fighter. Despite some predictable beats in the story (we saw Tabitha and Eastman’s deaths coming a light year away for example), what helped this episode were the superb performances of James and Lynch. The episode’s extra length could’ve been approved to allow James to have a proper showcase for his character. Some will argue that the episode’s content may not have been worthy of an extended story, but the end result was justified.

aikido practice

As Eastman, Lynch shone and it’s too bad that his character died. He would’ve made an interesting addition to The Walking Dead. But there is only room in the show for one insightful, at-peace-with-himself character and fans were already attached to Morgan. A minor nitpick has to do with the actor’s girth. In the apocalypse how is he able to not lose weight? And how does he get power in his cabin as seen with the lights he turns on and off?

An interesting theme in this episode is the one about revering life and not to kill. It’s difficult to see how anyone  can strictly adhere to that way of life and in a sense both men betray that by their killing of walkers. They can argue that the walkers aren’t truly alive but they are still killing. Now we see this outlook being pushed to the limit with Morgan’s experiences with the sociopathic Wolves. It may be easy to rehabilitate one person as what happened with Morgan. But trying to convert an entire homicidal group? Good luck with that. We’re already seeing the consequences of Morgan turning the other cheek. We can only wonder how long he will follow this noble path.

Lewis T. Grove

The Walking Dead Season Six, Episode Two “JSS”

Posted in Entertainment, Horror, Reviews, Supernatural, Television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2015 by Starloggers

carol and lennie fight wolf

Just Survive Somehow – A note written by Enid for Carl

The second episode in season six of The Walking Dead chronicles the citizens of Alexandria as the events of the previous episode “First Time Again” unfolded. They try to live as close to a normal life as possible being that they’re in the midst of the walker apocalypse. Still, an air of unease permeates the walled-in town, which culminates in an attack by the mysterious marauders known as the Wolves.

Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) is busy sharing recipes with a few housewives as she keeps up her veneer of being a meek housewife. That illusion is forever shattered later when at her home when she spots outside her window one of the wives viciously attacked and killed by a Wolf. From there Carol heads for the town’s armory. On her way, she kills one of the Wolves and disguises herself as one of them. The ruse works as she methodically gets close enough to several Wolves and kills them before they can get to the guns stored at the armory.

carol w 2

Along her route to the armory she finds Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) and instructs him to stay home and defend his infant sister Judith. Soon, Enid (Katelyn Nacon) comes by the Grimes home to say goodbye to Carl because Alexandria isn’t safe and as flashbacks in the episode’s cold opening reveal she is a traumatized loner. Carl manages to convince her to stay at his home and help him defend it. While Carl is able to get her to stay momentarily, he is unable to convince Ron Anderson (Austin Abrams) to stay with him, even after he saves Ron’s life.

Unknown to Carl, Ron is jealous of Carl’s friendship with Enid and hates Carl’s father Rick (Andrew Lincoln) for executing his father Pete (Corey Brill) in the episode “Conquer”. Instead of staying at the Grimes household, Ron goes home in time to see his mother Jessie (Alexandra Breckinridge) kill an intruding Wolf with a pair of scissors.

jessie kills 2

Spencer Monroe (Austin Nichols) is on a lookout tower and trying to pick off scattered Wolves with his rifle. He spots a cargo truck racing towards the town’s main gate and fires at the driver. Spencer kills the driver but the truck crashes into a wall and spencerthe vehicle begins sounding the loud, continuous horn that was heard at the end of “First Time Again”, which ruined the plan to lure walkers away from Alexandria. Spencer opens the driver side door and is greeted by a walker that is quickly killed by a newly arrived Morgan Jones (Lennie James). Morgan had been with the Alexandrians who were luring away the walker super horde and hightailed back to town when the truck horn started blaring. After he turns off the horn, Morgan senses Spencer’s fear and tells him to hide as he enters the town.

Spencer soon finds his mother, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) outside the walls with Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Before the attack, Maggie was consoling the town’s mayor to resume her role and continue her late husband’s expansion. Deanna tells Maggie that she won’t go into the town because she’ll be a liability. Maggie tells Spencer to keep his mother safe as she enters the town to help out.

morgan fights wolf

Meanwhile, Morgan quickly defeats with his staff all the Wolves he finds and saves the lives of many residents including Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). His method of dealing with the Wolves contrasts sharply with Carol since he leaves the Wolves beaten but alive. On the other hand, Carol coldly kills them.

Slowly the tide turns against the Wolves, and they flee back into the woods. In the aftermath, Enid exits the town, leaving behind a note for Carl that simply states: “Just Survive Somehow”. Aaron (Ross Marquand) finds on the body of one of the Wolves his own backpack that contained pictures of Alexandria. He lost it during an encounter with walkers in the episode “Conquer” and now Aaron is distraught with the knowledge that those pictures led the Wolves to his town.

Morgan undergoes a crisis of his own when one of the last Wolves (Benedict Samuel) he finds is the same one he encountered in “Conquer” and spared. The two men battle and carol and morgan walk different pathsconcludes with Morgan delivering a decisive blow. This encounter rattles him because it undermines his non-violent philosophy. Throughout the episode, he implored any Wolf he battled that violence only leads to more violence. After the battle as he leaves town, Morgan and Carol cross paths without acknowledging each other.

“JSS” has quickly become a fan favorite, many touting it as one of The Walking Dead’s best episodes. For a TV show that boasts so many exceptional episodes, this bestowment isn’t a small feat. Featuring intense action set pieces, nail-biting tension, unexpected character examinations and minimal dialogue, this episode is a true standout.

A nitpick about the season premiere was that it ignored so many of the core characters. Well, now we know what they were up to when Rick was carrying out his master plan. What was so memorable about “JSS” is that most of the characters were more vulnerable. Consider this, if it was Rick and Daryl (Norman Reedus) who were in Alexandria we viewers wouldn’t be so concerned because they can take care of themselves. Now the only hardcore walker fighters were Morgan and Carol, who both had absorbing character development.

For Morgan, tantalizing clues are peppered about his past. How did he become so adept at using a walking staff as such a formidable weapon? When we last saw him in season three, Morgan was a broken man, so how did he find his way back? More importantly, were the suggestions that he was a much more violent man and his experience in “JSS” has threatened to disrupt his inner peace and revert him to a more violent person.

As for Carol, it’s astounding how radically carol disguise 2the character has changed from a meek, abused housewife in season one into a brusque and calculating killing machine. This transformation has been evident last season, but there are cues in “JSS” that there are cracks in her armor. By the end of the episode, she quietly starts to cry after taking stock of the carnage and seeing the corpses of the housewives she was friendly with at the episode’s start. This doesn’t make her weak, it just demonstrates that she still has a heart. But will this mean she starts going down Morgan’s more serene path as implied when the two combatants passed each other? It will be interesting to see the two popular characters reverse roles.

denise patientOther characters had very memorable moments, even a newly introduced one: Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever). A cowardly soulmate to Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), Denise was appointed as the town’s doctor after Pete’s death even though she has minimal medical training. In “JSS” she goes through a fiery baptism where she’s forced to handle life-and-death emergencies and nearly buckles. Only Eugene’s encouragement to not give in to her fear keeps her going. Eugene’s actions in this episode were commendable in that he saw his cowardice in Denise and knew that she needed help and gave her the right words that she needed.

One of the most fascinating characters in jssthis episode was Enid. With little dialogue or explanation we understand her outlook in life and why she is so distant. After Enid witnessed her parents being eaten by walkers in the cold opener, she built up walls to keep her alive and sane. Sadly, while it enables her to survive a brutal world it disallows her from forming any meaningful relationships, chiefly Carl. Her fatalistic view of life prevented her from seeing that defending Alexandria was possible, although she knows that in the long term Alexandria is doomed so it’s better to leave while she can. Some have speculated that she may have been in league with the Wolves, but that’s doubtful, Enid is too much of a loner who operates under her JSS outlook. But, is just surviving enough? That is to be explored.

José Soto