A whole slew of Zombie Survival Crew commanders and sergeants-at-arms will be attending Wizard World Philadelphia on June 19-22nd. Your duty, brigadiers, is to ensure the undead hordes don’t find a way into the convention center. So grab your go bags and head on over.
When: Thursday, June 19th through Sunday, June 22nd
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center – Philadelphia, PA
On the eighth day, God created Michael Rooker and said “That should give the zombies something to worry about.”
True story. Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker is badder than ol’ King Kong, meaner than a junkyard dog. Foes alive, dead or mostly dead quake in their boots when he’s around. The UGA couldn’t catch him. If you look up “badass” in the dictionary there’s a photo of him. Chuck Norris has nothing on Michael Rooker. When Michael Rooker speaks, everyone listens. His legend precedes him the way lightning precedes thunder. He is the most interesting man in the world…
That’s enough clichés.
We would love to tell everyone that Michael Rooker is actually a nice guy with big heart and (sometimes) a quiet, observant and soft-spoken manner. We would also love to tell everyone that regardless of his ass-kicking reputation, he doesn’t like violence and is more likely to shoot stuffed animals than zombies, but he would probably not be happy if we ruined his reputation. You can just ignore that last part.
Commander Rooker was born in Jasper, Alabama but spent the most interesting years of his young life in Chicago, where he studied at the Goodman School of Drama. His first forays into acting included appearances in local stage productions and pilot episodes for the television series Crime Story. In 1986 he jumped headfirst into the role of infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and delivered a truly frightening performance for the cult-classic and controversial film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. In 1988 he fought for and won the role in Eight Men Out, and also co-starred in the civil rights-era film Mississippi Burning. From Sea of Love , Days of Thunder, and Tombstone all the way up to James Gunn’s Slither and Super, Michael very quickly established himself as a hard-working, talented actor with a determination matched by few.
In 2010 AMC’s The Walking Dead exploded into the living rooms of zombie-genre fans all over the world. Even with only brief appearances in the first two seasons, Merle Dixon quickly became one of his most memorable and sought-after characters. During the record-breaking Season 3, Rooker returned with a vengeance and brought the best of Merle Dixon into living rooms all over the world. It was with heavy hearts and more than a few tears that we said farewell to Merle as Season 3 came to a close.
But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens. That new door leads to Marvel. James Gunn’s much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxywill feature our Special Forces Commander as the mysterious (and very blue) Yondu.
The Voice of Rooker has also become one of the more recognizable in the gaming community. He has appeared in the mega-hit franchise Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 and 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, and most recently The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct from Activision. When he isn’t filming, voicing or producing, he might be found on the firing range, of which he is a co-owner, or on regular patrols to keep the West Coast safe from zombie infiltration.
Over the last few years Michael has increased his presence on the convention circuit alongside other Walking Dead co-stars Norman Reedus, IronE Singleton, Chandler Riggs, Madison Lintz, Lew Temple, Vincent Ward and… well, everyone else. Always pushing outward, he has expanded his convention visits overseas. He recently visited Germany and Australia, and will be traveling to Japan this summer.
We at the Zombie Survival Crew need no further convincing, Commander Rooker and his Special Forces Unit are more than up to the task as the strongest line of defense in the days to come.
If you’re just joining us for this series, please be sure to check out our previous Commander Monday reports!
Actually, the title is slightly misleading. Some of your ZSC commanders are always on the road. Traveling from city to city to touch base with brigadiers not only across the United States, but world-wide at numerous conventions. This time around, four of us are converging on Phoenix, Arizona for Phoenix Comicon. The event begins on Thursday, June 5th at 4:00 PM inside the Phoenix Convention Center.
Yellow Brigade commander Jinxie G and Orange Brigade commander R.C. Murphy will be in attendance Thursday through Sunday for the event. You can find them at booth 793 throughout the weekend (coffee runs are one of a few exceptions to this). Red Brigade commander Juliette Terzieff and Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker plan to roll into Phoenix for Sunday only. Keep an eye out for them. Shouldn’t be too hard to find those two, right?
This is a huge event, and a first-time trip for some of us. If you plan to attend, make sure to come find us. Even if it’s to say hi. Mostly, we want to make sure everyone survives the insanity sure to follow once the convention doors open. Kinda like when someone opened a certain barn we all remember from that one show. You know, the one with the staggering, rotting folks on it. Catch our drift?
Well, the word is out. Rumors have been hopping about for months. Rumors involving a raccoon named Rocket, a blue badass-looking warrior with a red mohawk, and James Gunn on a top-secret mission in the United Kingdom. But we can all rest easy now, the rumors are rumors no more.
San Diego Comic-Con has always been the launching pad for far more than just nerdy fun, and this year was no exception. That thing that everybody already knew about even though it hadn’t been made official is now official – Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker has been cast as Yondu in Marvel’s upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by none other than James Gunn. The film will also star Djimon Hounsu as Korath, Lee Pace as Ronan, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Benicio Del Toro as the Collector, Dave Bautista as Drax, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, and Chris Pratt as Star-Lord. While many of the roles have been rumored for quite some time, the reveal at Comic-Con was Marvel’s first solid confirmation.
The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy made the journey from the UK, where filming has been in full swing for the last couple of months, to San Diego for a suprise appearance in the Marvel panel on Saturday July 20. They talked a bit about their roles, what it has been like to work with James Gunn, and Karen revealed her own beautiful bald head to trump Rooker’s mohawk. If you missed the live-streaming footage from the Marvel Q&A panel at San Diego Comic Con, you can check out the highlights below.
Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled for release on August 1, 2014. We’ll be there!
Review of “The Walking Dead” 315 – “The Sorrowful Life”
This week’s episode was . . . wow, intense. So much so, we’re going to do things a tad differently this week. We’ll do a quick run-through of a couple things, but of course there is one major event we need to discuss. At length. Possibly with stick figure diagrams. Okay, kidding about the last part, but it is something we can’t gloss over at all.
***Warning, this review is full of spoilers. Do not read past this part if you haven’t watched episode 315 of “The Walking Dead” yet.***
Where to start? Things at the prison are far from okay. Rick’s marbles are still scattered across the floor. Daryl is torn between being Rick’s right hand man and living up to the expectations of his brother. Carol is dealing some hard-hitting truths about Mere’s place in their sanctuary-slash-death trap. Hershel is having a serious conflict of faith and doing what needs to be done in order to ensure the safety of his two daughters. Oh, and Glenn is getting all romantical with Maggie (which proves to be the only moment in the episode where fans can take a breath and feel a split second of normalcy during the hour of emotional torture).
On with the “holy hell” portion of the show–Merle.
Merle was a character who, by some weird mixture of piss, vinegar, and the incredible talent of the man portraying him–Michael Rooker–managed to win the hearts of Walking Dead fans from the get-go. The redneck from hell spit every racial slur he could think of (and say on basic cable). Kicked the tar out of a lot of the characters we were supposed to find sympathetic. Admitted to heavy drug use. Cut. Off. His. Own. Hand. And everyone wanted him back for more. When we did get him back for one episode during season two of the show, fans were in an uproar because Merle was just a figment of his brother Daryl’s imagination. What a figment he was. We got to see the real backbone of the relationship between the brothers, how Merle loved to antagonize Daryl when he’d already been kicked down about as low as a person can go in just one day.
Producers for The Walking Dead took full advantage of the massive amount of fan love and brought the real Merle back for season three. He quickly became the perfect antagonistic balance between the Governor and Rick, going to the extremes neither men could handle emotionally. This isn’t because Merle was devoid of emotion, oh no. Merle had simply learned to navigate around what he was feeling. In the past, he relied heavily on drugs to keep himself blanketed and numb from the nagging feelings tearing him apart. We caught a glimpse at the lengths he’d go to lean on the drugs like a crutch again in this episode when he rips apart nearly every single mattress in one of the abandoned cell blocks inside the prison. Merle’s secondary method to block out the emotions he can’t cope with is to chase the jobs in Woodbury none of the others could handle emotionally. After the Governor cleaned him up, got him sober, he relied on violence to get his high. The deaths he caused left a darkness in his eyes, a shadow hanging over everything he did. And when the adrenaline crash came after, he’d get antsy and start looking for ways to get his next fix. Merle racked up sixteen (well, closer to twenty now) human deaths in the roughly year-long span since Rick handcuffed him to the roof of the department store in Atlanta.
Did being buddy-buddy with Death change Merle? You bet your Aunt Fanny it did.
However, it did not change him in the way it would most men. Merle was always painfully aware of what he was doing. He just couldn’t stop himself. In this episode he told Rick he didn’t know why he does the nasty, cruel things he does. Truth is, he lied. Merle suffers his personal issues without needing anyone to coddle him and tell him it is okay to hurt, to be afraid, to need someone to keep his feet on the ground when he wants to soar above it all in a meth haze. He doesn’t want to be a burden anymore. Even after the vocal distrust coming from everyone in the prison, Merle still took up arms to protect its occupants on more than one occasion. He wanted to pull his weight, or what little the others would allow him to do while keeping him under close scrutiny. Instead of getting pissed off, he played into it. It didn’t matter if they hated him, so long as he felt he was doing what needed to be done, when it needed to be done. Which is why when the time came, Merle took it upon himself to take Michonne and make the deal with the Governor.
Or did he?
One has to stop and think if Merle meant to go through with the plan to turn Michonne over, or if he’d determined in advance to go it alone and make the ultimate sacrifice. With as complicated as the man was, we’ll never know for sure. One thing can be said, though; both Woodbury and the prison are missing one vital helping hand in the fight to survive. The Walking Dead will never be the same. Not with the lingering impact from Michael Rooker’s stellar performance.
If Merle had survived, would he have eventually fit into the group at the prison? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Zombie Survival Crew Commanders are busy not only championing Z-Poc preparedness but efforts to address current real world issues that impact our collective well-being, and Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker is no exception. Next month he is taking action on a cause close to his heart – literacy.
On April 5, in Los Angeles, Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre is hosting a very special event featuring Michael Rooker at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. It will be a one-of-a-kind intimate experience with an actor who has played some of the quirkiest characters known to pop-culture and horror fans.
Last week “The Walking Dead” took a deep look into what makes Rick tick and how his crew at the prison are preparing for the looming conflict with the Governor and his Woodbury army. So this week, we got a look at what is making the Governor tick and where Andrea’s loyalties will put her during the war. We spent the entire episode with Andrea. Yes, the angst of many fans were heard. However, it was necessary to take the time to truly see where Phillip’s head is at before he launches another attack on our favorite survivors.
***Warning, this review contains spoilers***
An unsung hero in the tension between Woodbury and Rick’s crew is Milton. He lurks in the background, whispers advice in Phillip’s ear, and helps Andrea when she has the driving urge to do something right (which inevitably goes wrong). Milton has been able to keep Phillip’s antisocial behavior under wraps for the most part. He offered himself up as a touchstone for the Governor to lean on in order to see how far from the façade of normalcy he’s put on in order to lead the town successfully. He tries to be Phillip’s Jiminy Cricket, but how can he be a conscious for a man who forfeited his soul to get revenge and power? Unfortunately, Milton isn’t a fighter. Over and over again, he’s run to Andrea for help, sensing her desire to be where Phillip is in the power structure. All so he doesn’t have to grow a pair. He doesn’t think like a warrior and is easily cowed by people in power. Or at least he was before this episode. At least we’re seeing Milton put his foot down and stand up, albeit indirectly, to the powerbase driving the war to yet another senseless battle. He’s working from inside Woodbury to even the playing field. It’d be better if he finished finding his courage and kill Phillip. There’s a history between the two of them. Does Milton recognize his friend in the monster the apocalypse unleashed?
Over the course of this season, we’ve seen the humanity bleed out of the Governor. Sometimes literally, thanks to Michonne. There is a sense of joy in the way he goes about prepping and stocking his little “fun” room, the torture chamber he’s set up in preparation for Michonne’s arrival. There is no doubt in his mind. He will win. Michonne will come back to Woodbury with him. Over the course of weeks, he will be free to torture her. One of the most telling objects in the room wasn’t the bone saws, scalpels, and needles. It was the spool of thread and hooked needle. Several possibilities came to mind, but the one that stuck out the most was, he doesn’t want his victim to have the opportunity to bleed out and die ahead of his schedule. He must have complete control of every aspect of his life. Death is a tool he means to bend to his will. Phillip’s arrogance stems from the complete lack of people questioning his actions. Since day one of Woodbury’s foundation, he’s been the one taking charge. The only people to stand up to him are outsiders, not part of his little herd. He can’t control the new people, so he must eliminate them. And if he just so happens to enjoy himself on an almost sensual level while chasing his prey, well, even sociopaths need a little fun.
Tension is brewing between Tyreese and Phillip. Tyreese is a trusting soul, despite what he’s seen of human nature while battling the undead. Unfortunately, it made him a prime victim for the Governor’s scheming. Thankfully, Tyreese didn’t drink the Flavor-Aid like Andrea did when she first arrived in Woodbury. His instincts may very well keep him and his sister alive. Can’t say as much for their two traveling companions. Allen and his son overcompensate for their lack of power in the apocalypse by being the manliest men Woodbury has ever seen. Allen in particular continuously butts heads with Tyreese, trying to prove he can be an alpha male in order to not appear weak in front of his son. But Tyreese won’t give him the satisfaction of “winning” their arguments. He has a good set of morals that have kept him and his sister relatively safe. If he continues down the path he’s on, questions people who seem . . . off, he may just prove to be the savior Andrea wishes she could be.
Oh, Andrea . . . Sometimes I think we are too hard on her. Then she goes and does something so utterly ridiculous, it is impossible to see the good things she has done. Fans all over loathe Andrea. In part, this may stem from fans wanting to see one of the women step up and take control, without bungling it so badly a man is forced to step in and save her hide. Maggie’s appearance was a breath of fresh air after dealing with Andrea’s attempts to be “one of the boys” as far as work in camp goes. However, whereas Maggie does what is needed to survive, Andrea does what is needed to garner attention and praise. She is a puppy learning new tricks and expects a reward every time she doesn’t piddle on the carpet. Somewhere along the way, Andrea began to equate her happiness with that of the people she’s determined to be hers to save. This way of living left her vulnerable and pliable to the will of someone stronger than her. Phillip took full advantage of her hero complex. All it got her was a very uncomfortable seat. If she’d stuck to running under cover instead of through a huge, open field, maybe she’d be safe with the people in the prison. As it is, well, Andrea won’t be finding any rewards in her new “home.”
Pet peeve time! This is a bonus ranty bit for readers. I will start off by saying, I do not fault the actors at all for this. The final call came from the director and writers, all of whom should know better than to dig up outplayed horror movie tropes. A character can be creepy, downright nightmare-inducing while chasing a victim without: A) Dragging a weapon behind them, raking it across a fence, etc., and B) Whistling a cheery tune. Just . . . stop. The entire chase at the end of the episode lost its power because of these two jarring actions from the Governor. Such a shame, I was looking forward to seeing David Morrissey let loose with his incredible acting skills.
Does the group in the prison have any chance at all of surviving the war with Woodbury? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Review of “The Walking Dead” 313 – “Arrow on the Doorpost”
Occasionally, the non-stop action of a show has to take a backseat in order to allow characters a chance to build toward something spectacular, like the epic clash on the horizon between Rick’s group and the people of Woodbury. Unfortunately, these “talking head” episodes are full of inaction, intrigue, and contests of wit and strength as characters measure each other for what will surely come in the next episode or two. With only three episodes left in the season, was it wise to allow an entire episode to be spent talking? We’ll see.
**Warning, there be spoilers ahead!**
It’s taken thirteen episodes for Rick and the Governor to share more than bullets flying past each other and angry words spread through third parties. Sadly, the encounter was predictable. Rick stood on his high moral ground and Phillip dug it out from under him. The Governor twisted Rick’s words around, trying to make him the bad guy, taking advantage of Rick’s fragile mental state in order to plant seeds of doubt in his opponent’s mind. Phillip used several tactics to get under Rick’s skin. He tried to play humble, saying he hadn’t appointed himself as governor, but the people chose him to lead them. In the next breath, he went from humble to sadistic. Before we could recover from his evil streak, Phillip flew into a story about how his late wife died before the zombie outbreak happened. But how much of the story is true? How much of his emotions were true? Phillip is a textbook sociopath. He mimics emotions he sees in others, but they never last long. He can charm the pants off everyone. He has absolutely no remorse for the death and destruction he’s caused. It was difficult to keep up with Phillip’s rapid-fire subject changes in his parlay with Rick—which was the point. He was feeling Rick out, getting a bead on his foe to see if he’s mentally capable of out-maneuvering him. Phillip’s power is smoke and mirrors, with a dash of pure intimidation thrown in the mix. Without his intelligence and taste for blood, he’d be just another guy trying to survive.
Rick, for all his mental shortcomings since Lori’s death, managed to keep up with Phillip’s ever-changing conversation. But whereas the Governor talked, bragged, and played his mental games, Rick brooded in silence. He did what so many people fail to do, he listened to the person he is at war with. And through listening, Rick realized one important thing—no matter what deal they strike, Phillip will never allow the people in the prison to live. When Rick did speak, he played right into Phillip’s hands. Only on one occasion did he gain the upper hand, when he told Phillip killing Michonne was beneath him—it wasn’t worth his time to kill one woman. Rick is way out of his depth. The wars he’s fought within his group and the emotional trauma he suffered from the death surrounding them every day, they’ve left him with little resources to deal with the current threat. It wasn’t until Rick returned to the prison that we caught a glimpse of how he planned to play out the war. Rick lied to his group about the Governor’s intentions. And despite what he said to Hershel later, I think he did it to keep a leash on the wildcards in the prison. How quickly would Merle turn around and try to give Michonne to the Governor in order to save his baby brother from the battle ahead? Sure, Rick wanted his people scared, honed for the war, but he also wanted to make sure he was the one holding all the aces so no one could surprise him later on.
Andrea’s part in the war is changing. What it is changing to, I have no clue. She had her chance to kill Phillip and she didn’t take it. Hershel invited her to come back to the prison, she got back in the car with the Woodbury folks. How long can she play monkey-in-the-middle before someone (Phillip) gets tired of her indecision and disposes of her for good? Playing both sides of the fence is dangerous. Mostly, it is stupid. Andrea’s little bubble of reality has burst. The man she’s been protecting wants the blood of the people who kept her alive. The only ally she has left is Milton. He knows most of what goes on in Woodbury, but Phillip has been keeping him ill-informed just to throw Andrea off. Yet despite everything, Andrea thinks she alone can prevent the clash between the two survivor groups. I’m not quite sure if she’s been hit on the head one too many times or has allowed the little bit of power Phillip gave her to go to her head. She does not want to be caught in the middle of this conflict. If Andrea were smart, she’d move on and get far away from Woodbury and the prison.
In better news, Glenn and Maggie kissed and made up. Every episode since they were rescued from Woodbury, they fought their own personal war. A war bred from the intensity of the emotions dredged up during their torture and interrogation. Sometimes, no matter how painful it is, a person needs to talk through what is plaguing them. Maggie did her talking, but Glenn was so wrapped up in his inability to protect her and the guilt it raised, he couldn’t let go of the control he’d blanketed himself in to cope. It is refreshing to see them together again. Love is rare in the world they live in. More often than not, it turns into betrayal that is more likely to kill a person than the undead at their doors. Just ask Shane. He thought he loved Lori and his betrayal to Rick morphed into the actions which caused his death.
Is one life worth more than many? Will Rick play the ace up his sleeve and give Michonne over to the Governor in order to save his people? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Review of “The Walking Dead” 310 – “Home” By R.C. Murphy
As hard as it is to believe, everything happening so far in season three of “The Walking Dead” was the calm before the storm . . . and the first arm of the hurricane swept through the lives of Rick and his crew in the newest episode. Hope you have something to hang onto. It is going to be a bumpy ride.
Warning: Spoilers below
Let’s get this out of the way, the show hasn’t jumped the shark and added ghosts into the mix. Robert Kirkman clarified it on “Talking Dead” after episode 310 aired. Rick is hallucinating. There are various forms of hallucination. Rick progress from auditory hallucinations—hearing the voices of the group’s dead through the telephone—to visual hallucinations. He picked an image of Lori from a happier time in their lives to cling to. In other words, he’s cracked his gourd and is no use to anyone anymore. Even when Hershel pleads with Rick, he is reluctant to listen to reason. His eyes move constantly, seeking the comfort of his vision of Lori. It isn’t until the last moments of the episode, after the fecal matter hits the fan, when Rick’s eyes lock on anything other than his hallucination. But by then the damage has been done.
Being crazypants pulled Rick out of the running to be the leader for Team Prison. His second-in-command, Daryl, decided to go on a road trip with his brother. That leaves an old man with one leg, a kid, and the funny sidekick to try and keep the others safe. Glenn tried to keep everyone together, working on fortifying the prison. He also came up with the best plan to take care of the Governor—send Michonne to Woodbury to assassinate Phillip and cut the head off the snake slithering their way before it can strike. The problem? Glenn is working from a deep-seated revenge against the Governor. He would, if given the chance, forget about keeping everyone safe in order to avenge what was done to Maggie. Hershel sees this and calls him on it. When trapped in a corner and forced to think, Glenn backs down from his plan. Hershel is no Dale. He tries to guide Glenn to the right decisions. Their history makes it harder to convey what is the right decision, and just like Rick, Glenn is thinking three steps behind Phillip.
If Rick and Glenn are scrambling to keep up with the Governor, Andrea is about a mile behind and running in cement boots. She’s a smart woman, but she’s even more guilty at this point of letting her emotions blind her to the truth—Phillip is a d-bag and will slaughter everyone she’s loved because he has the power. Andrea was so focused on being the savior Woodbury needed, she never saw what she needed to in order to truly save anyone. One can only hope she catches up with the scheming of everyone else, or we’re going to see more graves pop up in the next few episodes. There are no saviors in war. There are people who believe they are doing good and are used as pawns, sacrificed by the kings in order to ensure their survival.
This was a huge episode for the Dixon brothers. From the get-go it was obvious Daryl had his fill of Merle’s Flavor-Aid and started to think for himself again. The brothers have drastic views of what is right and wrong. Daryl, for all his gruffness, genuinely wants to help others. He wants to make a positive difference in the lives of people caught in a bad situation. Merle claims it is Rick’s pansy behavior rubbing off, but I’m not so sure. When we first met Daryl, he was brash, loud, and angry. However, he hunted to feed the camp as a whole, jumped into fights to protect others even after failing to find his brother in Atlanta, and took care to be as gentle as possible with the emotions of the women in the camp—namely Carol. Merle, on the other hand, works from a selfish place and likely has since the day he left Daryl to fend for himself against their abusive father. Merle uses people to make ends meet, and if he can’t get anything from them, well forget those bastards. There is a kinder side to Merle, but so far we’re only seeing it around his brother. That won’t get him far with Team Prison, though.
Lastly, we have to say goodbye to yet another character. Axel’s death was so sudden, it took a good long time for it to sink in. Really, though, we should have seen it coming. Minor characters never get to have nice, cheerful conversations unless they’re going to bite the big one. The writers are horrible about making us like someone, only to splatter their brains across the pavement. Lew Temple really made us love Axel in this episode. It sucks to see him go so soon.
With Daryl back in the mix, who do you think will take the reins for Team Prison? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Review of “The Walking Dead” 309–“The Suicide King”
At last we are free of the special hell AMC dumped us in at the beginning of December when they announced “The Walking Dead” would go on their mid-season hiatus. Rick and his crew were greeted by 12.26 million viewers on Sunday night, breaking their record of 10.87 million viewers during the season 3 premiere. What can we say? We really wanted to see what happened to Team Prison and Team Woodbury.
Let’s get down to business. Warning: There may be spoilers below.
During one of the (very) few calm moments during the episode, Carol and Carl patrol the fence line, waiting to catch sight of the folks who went to Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie. Aside from their voices and the wildlife around the prison, it is dead quiet. The noises millions of people create leave a void when they’re cut off by the apocalypse. It is one of the many things we take for granted in our everyday lives. The sound of a jet flying over, the hum of cars driving down the street, even the shrieks of children playing instead of crying out in fear. We also take for granted the chance to open up and love freely, without the fear the person who has your heart will end up dead minutes after you kiss them, or they decide to go off on their own without saying goodbye because they feel it is right. Loyalty, much like love, has no real place in the zombiepocalypse. Trust is the last thing to be thrown to the wayside once you’re forced to fight to stay alive every minute of every day. How many times have we seen the living attack Team Prison in three seasons of the show? Far too many. It is sad when you can’t trust the people you should be able to band together with and thrive.
Carol made another great point later in the episode while talking to Beth about Daryl and how she understood where his head was at. Is she right, once you’ve been made a victim, will you always be a victim? So many of Team Prison fit into this mold—Maggie after the Governor finished interrogating her, Rick post-Shane and Lori, Beth was victimized with her desire to take her own life. Then of course there’s Carol herself. She knows full well if her deceased husband walked in the door alive and well, she would fall into old habits and allow him to take control. It was how she lived for so long and it was easier to submit to the will of someone stronger than fight with him all the time. Daryl fell right into step with his brother, just the way Carol hoped she wouldn’t in her own situation. Some things are so deeply ingrained in us, we can’t break free. Can the others fight the victim role or will the strong people around them force them down, even if unconsciously?
Then we have Andrea who tries so hard to make herself seem the victim at all times in order to garner pity, attention, and power. Sorry, was that a tad harsh? Andrea accidentally shot Daryl in her attempt to prove she could be important to Rick’s group, even after being told not to. She fought with Michonne—the woman who kept her safe and alive after she couldn’t move fast enough to catch up with the group before they were forced to abandon the farm—and allowed her to leave Woodbury. Why? Michonne had a hinky feeling about the Governor and didn’t want her or Andrea trapped in his claws. But it was too late, Phillip had already worked his mojo on Andrea. Then when he was injured, angry, and pulled back from the town to lick his wounds and plot revenge, Andrea played the betrayed party and ensured the town sees her as the important one, the person to lean on for strength when they’ve been apparently abandoned by their leader. How far up can someone climb on the backs of others before they fall? She’s got a long trip down if her power play in Woodbury doesn’t pan out.
One of the most anticipated moments in episode 309 was the Dixon reunion. The first thing I noticed was how cowed Daryl looked when confronted with his brother. He wasn’t the alpha survivor we’d seen rise in the ranks of Team Prison. Daryl let Merle take the lead, dictate what would happen—not only when they were trapped in the fight pit in Woodbury. And when push came to shove, when faced with the decision of family vs. safety, he chose family. Merle on the other hand, is well aware the zombie bowels have hit the fan. He plays brave for his brother, but there are hints he’s just as scared. Merle hides behind lewd language to make himself feel bigger, bolder. Unfortunately all his bravado accomplished is sending the Dixons out on the road on their own with one backpack full of supplies and weapons. How far can two lone men go with only their wits and guts to get them through the walkers?
Did Rick try hard enough to keep Daryl by his side? Team Prison started a war with Team Woodbury and he’s allowing his strongest asset to walk out the door without so much as a real fight. He chased off Tyrese’s group, four able-bodied people who were more than willing to assist them no matter what in exchange for a roof over their head. And to make things worse, Rick snapped at Glenn, the one guy who has been on his side since day one when Glenn talked him through the crowded streets of Atlanta to safety inside the department store. Glenn is fed up with everything. He knows Rick isn’t playing with a full deck anymore and hasn’t since Lori died. So many fans tried to say Rick was better after he held the baby and gave her a proper name. I knew better. It takes more than one bittersweet walk with your newborn to get over the losses and betrayals Rick has been through. Unfortunately for Rick, he has no clue how to cope. The path he’s on is a dangerous one, not only for him, but those who trust him to keep them alive.
And who out there recognized this guy?
Rick has bats in his belfry. Who should take over leadership of Team Prison? Let us know in the comments below.