This episode is not for the weak-hearted. Matter of fact, I highly regretted filling my coffee mug just one more time before settling in to watch. Twenty minutes into the episode, I paused and took a five-minute break to watch puppy videos. Otherwise my heart would’ve exploded.
Warning! Walking Dead Spoilers ahead, as well as graphic descriptions of violence.
Now, I’m not doing a complete 180* flip on my stance on the show using easy outs. There were simply too many deaths in this episode which in the end tied up a loose thread in the plot. Sure, they were somewhat spectacular deaths, but that then comes down to a simple A-B reasoning for offing the character. A, the character over complicates the plot—yet Father Gabriel, who has done nothing but get people killed, remains safe; heck, he’s mentally recovering from his sins far better than anyone left alive on the show. The B reason for these producer-targeted deaths then shifts to making them so astounding visually, fans will confuse a visceral reaction to the death with a genuine connection to the woefully two-dimensional character.
There’s no ride with these people. No thrills, lulls, love, empathy to make them matter. They’re cannon fodder tossed on the field to make the generals look like they have the numbers to win the battle. Sad thing is, they’re right. The producers gave us cannon fodder and we, the coveted item in the television ratings war, bought into their bluff. “We can change,” they promise. “It’ll be just like the comic books.”
Apparently that translates to adult language, mass slaughter of plot-hampering B-list characters, and the icky kind of tension. The tension a woman gets walking in the dark by herself and heavy boot steps follow half a breath behind her. It’s the wrong tone for where I think they want to take the show heading into the season finale. You can’t run head-first into the terror about to come. This was their toe-dip to warn us. Hopefully this unwanted tension tone shifts. I mean, the primary perpetrator was blown to about six-billion pieces. By Daryl, no less. With an assist from the time-wasting and convenient rocket launcher.
The walker footage for this episode is beautiful. If there’s one thing Nicotero does well in his episodes, you see the FX love up front and center. Good thing, too. Most of the Rick-centric scenes happened mid-herd. The few times there aren’t walkers in-frame, we’re lead to believe they somehow found a corner within the tiny community to hide where one of five thousand walkers couldn’t find them. These moments are when Rick passes Judith, his last tie to his deceased wife aside from his son, to Gabriel. The Father will shelter her in the church until Rick and the others draw the walkers away with the cars they left at the quarry. Jessie tells Sam to go with them. He refuses, stating he can make it.
You know where this is going, right? They’ve intentionally mishandled Sam’s PTSD, hauling us by the nose to the moment when his mental disorder takes the forefront, driving back rational thought and costing the boy his life. Jessie, frozen by grief, is swarmed and eaten, as well. Sorry, Rick. But, wait, why aren’t you moving, Rick? He hesitates just long enough for the walkers to almost get Carl, who can’t move because Jessie has him gripped tight in her death throes. There’s a weird fascination with cutting off hands in genre pieces. Jessie loses hers to save Carl. Father and son recover just in time for Ron to be a moron. Grief-numbed Ron rightly blames Rick for his family’s death. In the following struggle, Michonne impales Ron and Ron accidentally shoots Carl in the eye.
Well, heck. By this point we’ll assume literally everyone is on the chopping block this season. Which is exactly how we’re supposed to feel. They want us so concerned for everyone, it means they don’t have to rely on character growth to keep us on their emotional journey. The only two who knocked it out of the park growth wise this episode are Denise—kidnapped by the lone Wolf until he saves her as they attempt to escape Alexandria, taking a bite in the process—and Eugene, who finally joins the fight without reservations. Characters like Aaron and Heath are only on screen as proof of life and extra bodies in the epic fight montage at the episode’s climax
After Carl is shot, things move quickly. Denise jumps to action, having slipped the Wolf when Carol killed him, but not before Denise had promised to save his life. Michonne helps Denis stabilize Carl. Rick, without saying a word to anyone, grabs a machete and heads outside to, well, collect some heads. He becomes a zombie mowing machine. After some debate, others join him, even Michonne after ensuring Denise had things in hand.
While they fight, Glenn and Enid hatch a plan to save Maggie from the rickety guard platform. The plan is beyond dumb. Glenn will stand at ground level and shoot walkers. Enid climbs the platform. Maggie freaks out, refuses to climb down the wall with the improvised rope, and uses her last bullet. Right at the last second, Abraham and Sasha magically mount the wall and mow down the walkers, all without injuring Glenn. Daryl waits in the truck and Glenn joins him. What will they do? Daryl has a plan. This may be a first, to be honest.
Flaming zombie pond! That’s Daryl’s big plan. Honestly, it’s effective. The nearby walkers shamble into the flaming pond without reservation. When the herd shifts direction, Rick and company mow them down. Though I don’t one-hundred percent believe all the walkers would simply ignore yelling, grunting, sweating live bodies in favor of one big fireball. They win the battle, though. There’s no more casualties. Even Father Gabriel got in on the action before it ended. Okay, so three characters had some emotional growth.
The episode ends with what’s supposed to be a touching monologue with Rick at Carl’s bedside. The kid is alive, but unconscious and honestly doesn’t look too good with a third of his face bandaged. Where this scene went wrong is language choice. Rick doesn’t go into his feelings for his possibly dying son, oh no. Instead he crows over being able to unite the townsfolk for this oh-so important cause. He then goes on to talk about making the town bigger, badder. There’s the hint of emotion, but Rick never gives it a proper label, just that he hasn’t felt it since before he awoke from the coma. The scene has no punch until Rick begs Carl to let him show him the new world. Our hope for Carl is in a single moment, his fingers closing around Rick’s hand.
Obviously, we’re not done with Negan despite blowing up a chuck of his goon squad. How soon he’ll arrive at the gate is a variable no one in Alexandria can account for with any surety. They’re knocking on war’s door while licking their wounds again. Will this too-similar setup have similar endings to Woodbury and the prison? *shakes Magic 8 Ball* Most likely
Review of “The Walking Dead” 316 – “Welcome to the Tombs”
Weeks and weeks of well-written, tension-building episodes brought us to this week’s explosive conclusion. The problem? The only explosion came from a round of unnecessary shooting and grenade launching. Emotionally the episode was a bit of a letdown. There were far too many plot lines left dangling, with no tension to carry them over into the new season. The only thing we were left to look forward to was a potential emotional downslide for Carl, of all characters. Let’s see what went down in the season three finale of “The Walking Dead.”
***Caution, there are spoilers below. If you have not watched the season finale, turn back now!***
Three weeks ago it was reported by Andrew Lincoln in an interview with Rolling Stone that the show would be killing off twenty-seven characters in the season finale. What he couldn’t say was one of the deaths would be beloved underdog and sole geek in the Zombiepocalypse, Milton. We can’t say his death came as a huge surprise. Milton did his best to do the right things in the latter half of season three, putting him at direct odds with his old friend, the sociopath Governor of Woodbury. Unfortunately, Milton’s efforts were a handful of branches trying to stop the flood of Phillip’s determination to be the biggest, scariest leader in a ten-mile radius. It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to a man like Phillip. Milton knew one miscalculation would cost him his life. In the end, he realized the only way to make an impact was to draw Phillip’s wrath and sacrifice himself in order to save the masses. By torching the walkers intended for use against the group in the prison, Milton saved a lot of lives. His death was not in vain, though his loss will be felt if/when we ever see the Governor again, this time without his glasses-wearing conscious at his side.
The person Milton wanted to save most of all wasn’t himself, or even Phillip. Somewhere along the way, Milton saw potential in Andrea to be the savior Woodbury needed in order to escape the Governor’s insanity. But their plans were constantly plagued by ill-timing and Phillip’s ability to be three steps ahead of everyone. In the end, no matter what Milton did, Andrea still paid the ultimate price. There’s a sad irony in those two being the eventual cause of each other’s deaths just when they thought they’d found the one other person left alive who understood what drove their particular brand of hero complex.
Andrea’s constant efforts to do the good and right thing only ended up costing others their lives, including Merle. Her scheming nearly landed Michonne in a torture cell. When faced with a threat like Phillip and his army of true believers, doing the right thing is suicidal. Andrea knew that in the end, but still couldn’t make herself take a human life. Her conscious (not Milton-shaped) got the best of her time and time again. How much heartache would have been spared if she did as Carol told her and stabbed Phillip after one last goodnight kiss? Possibly the hardest part of Andrea’s death wasn’t that she’d been gnawed on by a man who could have been much more to her if not for Phillip’s involvement in their lives. No, the part that truly sucked was seeing her determination to not burden anyone else with dispatching her before she turned. It brought fans back to the end of season one when a distraught Andrea wanted to stay in the CDC when it blew up and Dale emotionally blackmailed her until she gave in and made a run for it. Only now, she wasn’t taking the easy way out. Andrea faced the reality of her situation and wanted to be in control until her last breath. If given more time, she could have been a capable leader for Woodbury. Andrea just wasn’t strong enough to overthrow the Governor.
Speaking of Captain Crazypants, what the heck was up with him unloading a clip into his own people? Some people take failure poorly, but jeeze. The Governor only allowed two of his men to live, and they looked about two seconds from running into the woods to get away from him. There was nothing human left in his eyes . . . eye . . . when he gunned down the people he’d taken on the failed mission to take over the prison. How would he feel if he knew the truth? Five people total inside the prison overwhelmed and dispersed his army. Where did Phillip go to lick his wounded pride? We have no clue. It is unlikely that we’ve seen the last of him, especially if Rick and his newly expanded crew decide to stay inside the prison.
Carl is on a slippery slope to psychoville via the Shane path of surviving the Zombiepocalypse. We’ve known for a while that some vital part of Carl was broken the day he was forced to put a bullet in his mother’s head to spare her from returning as a walker. However, after he seemed to bounce back from it, he’s flipped off his emotion switch again. What happened? Was he shocked by what happened in King County when they ran into a clearly insane Morgan? Did he feel coddled when Rick told him to wait in the woods during the lack-luster battle with the Governor and his forces? It is really hard to tell what triggered this lasted spiral for Carl. What we do know is the kid is really creepy after pulling the trigger. Instantly, he rationalized a story to tell his father so he wouldn’t get in trouble. The worst part was seeing how little shock and remorse was on his face when the kid he shot crumpled to the ground. Someone needs to step in and save Carl before he becomes the next Governor. Or is this a case of too-little-too-late? Only time will tell.
Do you think we’ve seen the last of the Governor? What is in store for Rick and his crew at the prison next season? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
There are very few moments where yours truly is struck speechless. This week’s episode of The Walking Dead ended on one such moment. A huge round of applause to Greg Nicotero for his efforts directing “Judge, Jury, Executioner”, there were some really beautiful moments captured on screen. As well as some instances that ripped the audience’s heart out, stomped on it, dropped it down a well, and then fed it to a walker. Yeah, this one was emotional on so many levels.
We’re going to start this week with the Shane Issue to make room for the main topic this episode. Right away, we knew Shane would go ballistic if they didn’t off the prisoner. In typical fashion, he tries to worm his way into Andrea’s ear to turn her to his side in the matter. Not that she needed much pushing to get there. Andrea—despite her background as a civil rights lawyer—is all about capital punishment. I’m not too sure how much of that is her being willing to do anything to survive or an attempt to immolate the men in how they deal. Shane’s continued efforts to stage a mutiny to oust Hershel and Rick may fall on deaf ears with Andrea, no matter how much he tries to poison her ear. Also, how long has he been stealing ammunition? Personally, I don’t think Shane plans to stay with the group much longer.
Daryl is likewise pulling away from the group, setting his camp further away from everyone else. He’s also distanced himself even more from Carol, which breaks my heart. I wanted to see what would bloom between those two if given the chance. Daryl displays a moral code in this episode, despite what he’d have us believe about being a hard-as-nails man with no limits or boundaries. His anger at Randall shifts to blind fury after hearing the unspeakable things his crew has done to innocents. Is beating someone associated with rapists right? No. But seeing that Daryl cares about anything at all is reassuring. He’s pulled so far into himself that there wasn’t much left to watch other than a snarling squirrel catcher.
There was all of one happy moment in this episode. We’ve been waiting a few weeks to see how Hershel would change after the attack in the bar. He’s continued down the path allowing Rick to do what he sees fit to protect the farm. However, Hershel also had a change of heart about a much more pleasant matter. In a very touching moment he gave his approval of Glenn and Maggie’s relationship. Won’t lie, I cheered. Go Team Glenn!
Normally I don’t do this, but . . . SPOILER WARNING!! The text blow contains spoilers from episode 211 of The Walking Dead. If you have not seen the episode, what are you waiting for? Go watch! Then come back and finish reading.
The big question—which is literally underlined three times and written in all capital letters on my review notes—Who is to blame for the last moments of the episode?
On one hand you have Carl, who is acting out more and more. Not only did he wander away from camp on his own, but also stole a gun from Daryl. The icing on the cake came when he tried to take on a walker by himself and nearly got eaten. He also said some very nasty things to Carol. Yes, Carl is also mourning Sophia’s loss, but that gives him no right to speak as he did.
However, whenever you see a child misbehaving, you need to look at the parents. Rick is consumed with the idea of doing what is right for everyone. In the process of solving the world’s problems, he’s lost sight of the things closest to him. Carl needs a father more now than ever and between the two men who could be a father figure to him—his actual father and Shane—he spends most of his time with Shane… a man not well known for being a role model, or even all that nice. And forget about Lori being an actual parent. She’s got her nose in everyone else’s business to make sure they’re not all talking about her. Get over yourself and take care of your child, please. Before he gets anyone else in camp killed.
No matter whom you blamed, the group has lost their voice of reason. A loss born out of sheer neglect. Dale fought so hard for so long to remind everyone that they are human despite what happened around them. He assured them that even with walkers knocking down their doors that being a decent person still mattered. Through Dale’s efforts they kept that vital piece of themselves that distinguished the living from the walkers. If they go around executing people for no valid reason, how are they better than the undead?
“The world we know is gone, but keeping our humanity, that’s a choice.” –Dale
Jeffrey DeMunn gave a brilliant performance in this episode. You can tell that he put everything into the role. Dale never slowed, never wavered in his belief that an alternate solution could be found to deal with Randall. What really broke my heart was in the end he won. The kid lives to see another day, but Dale won’t. I’m tearing up again thinking about it—tears of impotent rage aimed at fictional characters and their messed up fates. That is testament to the skill of everyone involved in creating The Walking Dead.
What do you think, who is really to blame for Dale’s death? Let us hear your opinions in the comments below.
In the last two months we’ve held some pretty epic contests. However, zombie bunnies chewed through the computer cables in the Command center and we couldn’t announce the winners… until now. We’ve banished the zombie bunnies to an empty supply closet (with plenty of, uhm, food). So now without further delay, your ZSC commanders will reveal the Be InSightful and Welcome Back-The Walking Dead contest winners!
The winner of our Be InSightful crime scene photo contest is:
Congratulations, Amy! Your prize is a Zombie Survival Crew t-shirt signed by the following The Walking Dead cast/crew members: Greg Nicotero, Norman Reedus, Anthony Guajardo, IronE Singleton, Jon Bernthal, Chandler Riggs, Neil Brown Jr., Steven Yeun, and more!
Amy had some good insight into what may happen in season 2 of TWD:
“My favorite moment… omigosh there were so many! But I have to go with Merle’s monologue on the rooftop at the beginning of episode 4. He cycled through such a huge range of emotions in such a short period of time, I was almost in shock when the scene ended. Amazing. Rooker nailed that scene perfectly.
For Season 2 – confrontations.
Rick, Shane, Lori.. not sure where they’re going with the love triangle from hell. I certainly expect one hell of an explosive confrontation at one point, maybe a nasty splintering of Rick and Shane’s friendship.
Andrea will confront Dale for ruining her suicide plan. Daryl will probably confront everyone, it’s kind of his thing. But waiting for the Daryl / Merle confrontation is killing me. It will come. It HAS to!
And I’m worried about Sophie.”
Congratulations again to our winners. Keep your eyes peeled, I’ve heard from the zombie bunnies that there may be another contest coming up sooner thank you think.
And a brief, but heartfelt thank you to all the soldiers and veterans out there on Veteran’s Day. ::Crossbow Salute:: from the Command of the Zombie Survival Crew!