Life After Death, Vol. 9

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. Season three pulled no punches, culling three characters remaining from the pilot, along with two newcomers who really won fans over.

ironeT-Dog’s primary goal in life was to help others. Anytime he was on screen, he did his best to make the apocalypse easier for his fellow survivors. Often, his efforts went awry in amusing ways. His final mistake came when he ran to close the open gate at the prison allowing walkers to pour into the facility. The dead got him, but not before he closed the gate. This is one character death they should have spent just another second with, giving Rick time to put T-Dog down before he turned. It was not okay for him to save everyone, then get left behind to the fate they all dread.

Post-TWD, IronE Singleton basks in fan love, attending numerous conventions over the years to meet them. He’s polished his one-man show, Blindsided by the Walking Dead and performed it several times for fans eager to learn how he turned his life around. In March 2016, IronE dropped his album Hip-Hopcrisy. On the acting side of his multi-faceted talents, IronE has filmed The Box Cutter, An Amish Murder, Franklin & Bash, and is currently working on a new series, SINs, which is searching for a network.

swcpribrksdccA lot of the character-driven drama pushing the first few seasons forward centered on Rick and Lori’s tumultuous relationship, highlighting how she moved on thinking she was a widow, but Rick was only motivated by keeping Lori and Carl safe. Their clashes, and the Shane complications, led to some of the most frustrating moments on the show. The biggest of which has to do with Lori’s death during childbirth. That’s a rant for another day.

Free from wearing a prosthetic stomach to work every day, Sarah Wayne Callies starred in Into the Storm opposite Richard Armitage, and Pay the Ghost co-starring Nicholas Cage, before finding a new show to headline, USA Network’s Colony. As Katie Bowman, Callies goes the extra mile to stand up for her freedom while keeping her family together in the wake of an alien invasion. Colony will return for a second season in 2017. Callies is very busy, what with the Prison Break miniseries/sequel set to hit airwaves next year, as well. She will also appear in the upcoming film This is Your Death directed by Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito. The upcoming animated pilot Elena’s Serenade is spear-headed by Callies, who found inspiration in Campbell Gleeslin’s book and wrote the script for the project.

vwardlitpOscar deserved a better death. He needed more than Axel to mourn him. He should have survived far longer than he did, but thanks to TWD’s inability to handle multiple men of color on the show—I’ll keel over if Glenn ever meets another Korean-American—Oscar was killed off simply to prove Rick couldn’t get his crap together.

Worry not, Vincent Ward gets plenty of love to make up for his too-short time as Oscar. He and fellow prisoner-turned-good-guy, Lew Temple, can often be found making mischief at horror conventions and meeting fans. Recently, Vincent graced small screens for a Bravecto commercial—though his furry co-star totally stole the show. He’s also appeared on Wilfred, The Other Side, Psych, and 2 Broke Girls. Earlier this year, Vincent joined Brandon Routh and Yuqi Zhang for the thriller Lost in the Pacific. His other film projects post-TWD include 4 Play, Message from a Mistress, Grave Walkers, 2016, along with the upcoming star-studded horror flick Death House, and The Choir Director. He has also graced numerous stages for various plays since leaving TWD.

lew31In one of the more startling murders, we said goodbye to kind-hearted Axel. Of course, this was literally seconds after Carol and Axel had a nice bonding moment which promised a healthier mental turn for both. We just didn’t expect The Governor to turn Axel’s mind inside out with a bullet before he found peace.

There was never a doubt that after TWD, Lew Temple would go on to do great things. Heck, he’d done plenty before donning that grimy prison uniform to impress me. Not long after saying goodbye to Axel, Lew joined Johnny Depp for The Lone Ranger. Being in the class of actor who never sleeps, Lew’s post-TWD credits are vast—Longmire, Wicked City, Night Moves, House of Forbidden Secrets, Atlas Shrugged 3, Camouflage, A Fighting Season, The Grace of Jake, plus numerous other projects. He’s got nearly a dozen films in the works at the moment. Horror fans will be excited to know Lew worked with Rob Zombie again for his new feature, 31, which will be available through VoD on September 16th, with a limited theatrical release on October 21st. Lew’s other upcoming projects include Kidnap with Halle Berry, The Endless, Feral, My B.F.F., Behind the Walls, Cut Off, and The Three.

A one-handed bastard to the end, Merle Dixon didn’t care if he had friends, so long as he had everything he wanted in order to make his life easier. His alliance with The Governor was a means to an end. An end which changed at some point, eventually leading him to catch a case of emotions and attempt to end Phillip’s reign in Woodbury by himself rather than hand over Michonne. As much as I want to say Merle should’ve lived longer, he did go out a hero and that’d be a disservice to the rare example of character growth on the show.

henry30thMichael Rooker needs no introduction. He’s big, blue, and everywhere in pop culture at the moment after starring in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn. Rooker’s Yondu will return on May 5, 2017 when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released. Fans got a preview of Yondu’s new ‘do at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 when Rooker, backed up by his Ravagers, joined the GotG V2 cast during the Marvel panel. In another project written by Gunn and directed by Greg McLean, Rooker joins a seriously unhinged social experiment in The Belko Experiment. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival recently and found a distributor through BH Tilt. Audiences will get a chance to see TBE when it releases on March 17, 2017. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a restored version of the film will screen at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14th. The event will include a Q&A with Rooker and director John McNaughton. Henry hits theaters again beginning October 21st. Rooker has been tied to Kevin Smith’s Mallrats sequel, though what form the end product will be remains unknown. Smith’s latest updates says the ten-episode series has Universal as a production house, but they’re still looking for someone to actually air it. Can’t wait for his upcoming projects to get a Rooker fix? No worries! He regularly attends comic and horror conventions to meet fans.

Undead Roundup – Summer Edition

Undead Roundup – Summer Edition
By R.C. Murphy

Fear-the-walking-dead-season-2b-key-art-poster-1200First up, don’t miss Fear the Walking Dead‘s return for the latter half of season two starting Sunday August 21st at 9/8c. We’ve been promised crazier dead-obsessed folks. Madison is on a quest to save Nick. Plus Alicia becomes a badass, and there’s a father/son road trip which will likely crash and burn. Oh and a hotel that apparently rains corpses.

ZNS3BTSZ Nation will be the next to hit the airwaves with their recently announced September 16th . . . or was that the 23rd for the premiere? To clear up confusion, David Michael Latt, the show’s producer, became a one-man FAQ. He filled in fans via Twitter, saying the two-hour episode airing on the 16th is what he called a, “lost episode,” which will feature returning characters. This episode/movie begins at 8/7c and sets up the action for the third season, which begins the following week. Latt said there may be a ZN marathon before the new season begins. He also said season three is “nuts,” and shared a link to pirated footage for a teaser premiered at SDCC. After watching said footage, I agree. Season three looks downright bonkers.

AvEDS2posterHope you’re ready to get groovy, baby. Ash vs Evil Dead is back on Starz on October 2. Be prepared for bloodier FX, funnier jokes, and Lee Friggen Majors as Ash’s papa. I mean, what more do I need to say about this show? They’ve done what they intended and gave Evil Dead fans something to salivate over—or in most cases, vomit from the gore. We’ve been promised some “Holy crap” tie-ins to the previous films. They’ve already confirmed some special guests, like Ted Raimi and Joel Tobek coming in to play this season’s big bad, Baal. In this season, we’ll learn about Ash’s past while the gang cleans up the mess he and Ruby made last season.

TWDS7TeaseOn October 23rd at 9/8c, The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its seventh season. Talking Dead aired a special on August 14th to tease everyone about the upcoming premiere. Basically it was forty minutes of awkward conversations dodging actually saying something about the season. Every recorded video from the actors simply repeated the tired, “This episode will gut you,” rhetoric. There was a spicy exchange by Melissa McBride and Lennie James, singing each other’s praises. Their characters head off to The Kingdom and they’ve spent a lot of time together while shooting. Scott Gimple sent along a message for Chris Hardwick to read. For the most part, it confirmed that the show is aligning more with the comics, but they will still put their unique spin to whatever comes. The big reveal came when they aired a forty second clip featuring Dwight cleaning up a bunch of blown up walkers. Yeah, not much of a tease.

iZS3BTSLast up, iZombie. Seeing as this is a mid-season show, it doesn’t have an airdate just yet. What do we know? The CW’s president recently gave props to the show-runners, stating that iZ would have a place on the network as long as it continues to perform well. He also confirmed a thirteen episode season three. Team Zombie is hard at work on set. “Hard” seems like the wrong word after scrolling past photos of their behind-the-scenes antics, but I trust they’re also getting some work done.

Life After Death: Volume 5

Life After Death: Volume 5
By R.C. Murphy

Oh, the Monroe Family. You gave us hope for sane, rational characters and left way too soon. I honestly feel these actors were given the short straw with characters who were never going to make it out of that particular location. Too many great actors are brought in for one place and left to the wayside when Rick’s movable feast shuffles on to bloodier pastures.

danielbonjourThe first to go was Daniel Bonjour’s character Aiden. Boy, he didn’t get a nice, clean death. Skewered and disemboweled. Ouch. Daniel fared far better than his TWD counterpart once he wrapped his two episodes. He’s gone on to film several TV appearances, including an episode of MTV’s Teen Wolf. Taking on the world of video games, he voices several characters in Hitman. Daniel starred alongside Will Arnett in the Netflix original Flaked. Coming up in October, Daniel will star in Frequency on The CW. The show is inspired by the film with the same name. Daniel can be found occasionally at various conventions with the Walking Dead family, meeting and enjoying the company of genre fans/creators.

SCoulterReg, like many on TWD, died doing the right thing. Steve Coulter left Alexandria behind and filmed the third installment in the Insidious film series. He also reunited with James Wan and his team to film The Conjuring 2. Not one to sit idle, Steve reprised a recurring role on Banshee recently, as well as appearing in Sick People, Ashby with Mickey Rourke, Extraction alongside action star Bruce Willis, and he has numerous other projects in the works. When he’s not on set, Steve travels the globe to attend conventions with fellow TWD cast members.

A natural leader, Deanna Monroe was the figurehead every fan wants Rick to become. She was also the kind of giving, thoughtful leader Rick can never become. With Deanna’s death, there’s a serious lack of good leadership examples left on the show. Since leaving TWD, Tovah Feldshuh’s hard work on the show has been honored with a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress on a TV Series. She is currently on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Rachel Bloom’s overbearing mother Naomi. The show is a musical-comedy, putting Tovah far, far away from the land of blood ‘n guts for now. Though she does still occasionally visit the Dark Side while attending horror conventions.

Life After Death: Volume 3

Life After Death: Volume 3
By R.C. Murphy

Week three’s departed cast members were two of the hardest to deal with. The Greene family started out on rocky feet with the whole barn thing, but by the time Hershel and Beth met their demise, they’d become integral to the team’s survival.

SWilsonDamienPromo v3I’ll be honest, Hershel’s death hit me the hardest of any since the show began. Combined with the genuine good guy Scott has proven to be over and over again during his convention appearances—where he’s often one of the last to leave because he strives to thank every volunteer—and it really felt like losing Hershel meant losing a weekly dose of Scott in our lives. Luckily, he’s not one to rest on his laurels. While still traveling for conventions, Scott has also filmed episodes for Bosch, and had a recurring role on A&E’s Damien. Currently, Scott is working on a Netflix original, The OA, slated to release later in the year.

EKinneyAlbumCover v3When Daryl carried Beth Greene from the hospital, many, many hearts shattered. Beth was one of the last gentle souls, the one who stayed behind to care for the baby, the one to sing a song when the silence grew too heavy. Emily Kinney took on some vastly different roles after her time on TWD ended. On Arrow and The Flash, Emily was Brie Larvan, a pun-heavy villain with a fondness for bees. For her role on Showtime’s Masters of Sex, Emily stepped far away from the small-town country girl vibe she used as Beth. She also appeared in several episodes of Cinemax’s historical drama The Knick. Conviction is a new legal drama releasing Fall 2016 from ABC starring Hayley Atwell, Shawn Ashmore, and Emily Kinney. When Emily isn’t filming, she’s recording music—her album This is War dropped in late 2015—and performing, often at horror convictions where she also meets fans.

Life After Death: Volume 2

Life After Death: Volume 2
by R.C. Murphy

During week two of our series, we take a moment to peek in on Emma Bell and Laurie Holden, the women who brought us the sibling bond most hope they’ll have during the apocalypse. But with, you know, way more time together and less things trying to kill you.

Amy Harrison didn’t last long on TWD. Her death sets off a world of hurt for her sister, Andrea. They were pretty balanced together. Without Amy’s light, Andrea walked murky paths which inevitably lead to her demise as well.

EBellRelationshipStatusAfter leaving Amy behind, Emma Bell appeared in Final Destination 5, and guest starred on several shows, including The CW’S Arrow. She went on to star in a few short films, the TV film Midnight Sun, and a couple indie movies. When TNT brought the revival of Dallas back for a second season, Emma came on board to play Emma Brown. A role she held through the show’s third and final season. Emma stars opposite Cynthia Nixon as the young version of Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion. Dating in the social media age isn’t a snap, as the characters on the go90 original show Relationship Status discover. Emma played Claire on the show, which also stars Shawn Ashmore and Molly Burnett. Earlier in June, Emma announced via Twitter that she guest starred on an episode of Rizzoli and Isles during the drama’s final season. Taking to Instagram, she’s given a couple behind-the-scene peeks as she directs the short Scratch.

LHoldenAbolitionistsAs Andrea Harrison, Laurie Holden lasted a little while longer in the apocalypse than her on-screen sibling. Unfortunately, Andrea left the TWD world during the season three finale. In a striking change of pace, Laurie’s next role came in Dumb and Dumber To opposite Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. She went on to guest star on prime time dramas Major Crimes and Chicago Fire. Stepping behind the camera, Laurie produced The Time of Their Lives and Honeytrap. The Abolitionists documents and their teams as they liberate enslaved children around the world. Laurie is a vocal human rights activist and steps in to help rescue trafficking victims in the film.

Life After Death: Volume 1

Life After Death: Volume 1
By R.C. Murphy

You know what? I don’t just miss the characters. The actors behind the fallen survivors are talented, caring people who get pigeon-holed into this one moment in their career. Many have gone on to do amazing things since. It’s time we took a look back at some of the show’s more memorable deceased characters and played catch-up with the actors who brought them to life.

This week, we’re reuniting with the Peletier family.

Adam Minarovich played abusive Ed Peletier opposite Melissa McBride’s meek season one version of Carol. Since his character was eaten in a tent at the quarry campsite, he’s gone on to guest star on Banshee, One Tree Hill, Rectify, and Gang Related. Not only does he have a strong on-screen presence, Adam has written several short film scripts, co-wrote Remnants which stars Tom Sizemore, and penned Pawn Shop Chronicles starring fellow TWD star Norman Reedus along with Paul Walker and Elijah Wood. Adam also has roles in these films, proving his never-tiring spirit. A spirit he’s taken on the road to appear at horror/comic conventions and meet fans.

Madison-Lintz--Bosch-Season-2-PremiereWe all wept when Sophie Peletier shuffled from the Greene family’s barn during the second season’s mid-season finale. Madison Lintz brought youthful light to a dark, dreary show. When her character was turned zombie, it’d take a few seasons to find another actor capable of bringing the same energy. After her final send-off, Madison filmed After as the younger version of the lead character Ana. She was also in Parental Guidance with Billy Crystal and Bette Middler and appeared on an episode of Nashville. School took precedence for a little while. Then she landed a role as Maddie, daughter to the namesake on Amazon’s original show Bosch, which was just picked up for a third season. During downtime from filming the show, she starred in Tell Me Your Name, a horror film with a demonic twist. Madison occasionally travels the country to appear at conventions, but remains focused on finishing school.

Next week, we take a look at the women behind ill-fated sisters, Amy and Andrea.

Last Day on Earth: Review for The Walking Dead 616 by R.C. Murphy

Spoiler alert! Waah—Waah—Waah! Spoiler alert!

Even fans who’ve been upbeat and optimistic got to the last thirty seconds in the finale and probably had a similar reaction to what exploded from my mouth. No, I can’t repeat it. We’re a family-friendly site. It’s so frustrating seeing a glimmer of what they can do with this story line, but realizing it’s too late. The damage is done. Negan’s introduction should’ve come in episode 608, no later than that. Heck, I may have even accepted this ill-advised cliffhanger if it were the mid-season finale. However, after sixteen episodes of virtually nothing, they cannot dangle the Biggest Scariest Bad Guy in front of us and not give any resolution. Yes, death can be a resolution. The group needed to be brought fully into the New World Order. The only way to do that is for one person to die. That’s the deal they’ve been told all along. Each time someone mentions the Saviors taking over, it’s accompanied by a mandatory death to make a point, or in this case get even for a lot of dead guys. Imagine Lord of the Rings ending with Gollum tackling Frodo. Is the ring destroyed? Does Sauron get a clue and regain his property? Every writer knows there has to be resolution to the plot, even if it’s just to wrap up part of what’s going on.

TWD 616 RoadblockWhat’s the point of spending all this time and effort to film Negan’s cat and mouse game if the bad guy isn’t really all that bad? Don’t get me wrong, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is better than anticipated as Negan. He blew me away with one smile and, “Pissing your pants yet?” I could not be more pleased with where the show is going in terms of a quality antagonist. Well, an antagonist besides Rick’s massive ego.

Negan stole the show, hands down. He wasn’t the only one delivering a stellar performance despite a script lacking any real depth. Everyone gave it their all. I understand why so many were weary after, but where’s the vomit-inducing portions? The most shocking thing is the hanging, really. Hysterically, they shot that in full detail, yet kept the ever-promised major death a cliffhanger. And while, yes, it has an impact, there’s nothing personally at stake for the characters until they’re shot at and run. Much like the ending; we came into the finale expecting to put any character’s life at stake and came out with no one immediately in danger. There’s six months to shrug it off. Where if they’d given us a death, it’d be six months wondering how they’ll survive without so-and-so.

I’m at the point where I find fun where I can with the show before I lose my mind. Honestly? Negan is fun and I want to see where he’ll go.

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier; Walker - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier; Walker – The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

It’s irritating that it’s no longer enjoyable to watch the people we’ve grown to love or love-to-hate for six seasons. Carol has been a favorite character since the get-go, but when her life was seconds from ending, I didn’t care. The writing changed her so much, the character begging for death wasn’t the one I’d invested my fan-love into. The best part of her story arc is Morgan killing for her after she warned him that caring will always lead to doing anything to keep them alive. Again, it’s a long, drawn-out arc for a twenty–second payoff.

TWD 616 Negan LaughSo here we are, waiting to find out who bites the big one and none of us are happy about it. The TWD team are scrambling to defend their decision. You know what? I’m not even going to bother reading their excuses. That’s what it is now, nothing but excuses. They got too comfortable being on the pedestal. When it came time to put Lucille to work, they didn’t have the guts to push their boundaries, lest they fall. It backfired. How many fans will stay with season seven after the premiere? I have a feeling most will watch to find out who died and move on to bloodier pastures.

East: Review for The Walking Dead 615 by R.C. Murphy

Yup, you guessed it. There’s spoilers in this review. I highly suggest you watch before reading.

Last week I mistakenly labeled episode 214 as the penultimate, when this week’s episode is the one leading into the now-inflated finale. My bad. In my defense, these last few episodes blurred together with nothing truly standing out until the last fifteen seconds in this episode. That gunshot is the only reason fans are hanging in to see the finale. They don’t care about this boogeyman we’re promised. They’ve bitten the Daryl-is-in-danger bait and swallowed the hook.

TWD 615 DRGM In WoodsHow did we get to a point where the most reliable defender for Alexandria winds up with an enemy bullet in him? I don’t even know. A lot of the logic they have Daryl working on right now doesn’t fit the Daryl we’ve known since he first calmed his roll and became a team player. Yes, people regress when stressed, but for him to completely snap and spiral in this guilt loop is whoa, wait, what? He’s a better man than the one they needed in order to lure so many valued fighters into the middle of nowhere. Yet again, they’re relying on the revenge trope to undermine character growth and create bad situations. Even Rosita gets sucked into Daryl’s mindset. Not that Glenn and Michonne fare much better after leaving the two to hunt Dwight and his gang. They’re surrounded and used as, yup you guessed it, bait. Snap. Reel. Toss the catch into the ice chest. Well, not yet. We know Daryl was shot, but not the severity of the wound. I’m gonna guess it didn’t tickle, though.

TWD 615 Carol Held UpSo that’s four fighters out of the way. Five including Carol, who snuck out during shift changes early in the morning with a fully-loaded go bag and a coat with some interesting modifications—which I totally want should the undead hit the fan at some point. They want Carol to seem traumatized, on the brink, but she’s premeditating pretty much everything that’s happened in the hours after burying Denise. An insane person would not take the time to cook herself that much food, let alone pack enough gear for a few weeks and sew a friggen gun into her coat sleeve. It’s like they don’t know who the character is anymore. Oh, wait. I’ve said the same thing since they set her on the Morgan witch hunt. A hunt which is flipped on its ear with Morgan and Rick awkwardly buddy copping it through the countryside looking for Carol. An homage to Rick and Shane’s fight way back in season two? Possibly, but the whole mistrusting Morgan story line is so convoluted, their discussion has no impact other than, “Duh, we know that’s how Rick thinks now.” It’s not a surprise he thinks Carol’s murders at the prison were justified. He just sanctioned widespread murder to wipe out the Saviors. Nor is it a surprise Morgan feels this is a poor plan. Killing leads to killing. Morgan saved a man, who saved a woman, who saved Carl’s life. Which is the preferred outcome? This is something they’ll never agree on. Matter of fact, things between the men are downright tense after they follow the blood trail to a barn and a man just looking for a horse. Rick assumes the armored man is a Savior or fled from Hilltop and wants to shoot him—ignoring the encroaching walkers. Morgan sabotages the shot. There’s some eye daggers before they continue the hunt for Carol, any surviving Saviors, and the Horse Guy—who may or may not be a hint to another comic book tie-in. We never find out what happens after Carol leaves the road where she killed a handful of saviors.

TWD 615 RandM TrackingWe have seven fighters incapacitated thanks to Daryl’s revenge scheme, Morgan chasing Carol, and Maggie’s sudden complications from the kidnapping. Seven of their best fighters just happen to be out of town the episode before the Big Bad huffs, puffs, and blows their gates in. Why stack the deck against the protagonists this way? Oh, right? They have no tension left for Negan’s arrival. All they can do is make overwhelming odds for the characters and hope it’s enough to make fans ask questions on social media, driving up word of mouth advertisement and allowing them to repost the few good things fans say or ask in order to convince everyone their poor plotting for season six was worth it in the end. Going into next week, I’m convinced they’ve lost the love of story and are simply milking the cash cow until they can switch beasts and attempt to get milk from the shriveled dugs Fear the Walking Dead sported throughout its freshman season. Basically, they have no writing integrity because they got too comfortable being the best in their genre and stopped trying to do new things. Rehashing old ideas and generalized plots is nothing new or surprising. We did most of this before with The Governor. Honestly? I get more enjoyment from just about every other post-apocalyptic show than what the Walking Dead franchise has offered in three years.

El Jefe: Ash vs Evil Dead 101 Review by A. Zombie

You guys remember Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, right? If not, please educate yourself on some of the most hilarious cinema featuring murderous corpses. Well, some of them were corpses. Others were possessed. Either way, the Deadites are a force to be reckoned with.

AvED 101 AshGirdle

Ash, our debonair hero, thought he’d put those suckers to bed thirty years ago. Flash-forward to present-day. He’s fat, hiding it with the most ridiculous girdle worn by man, and hornier than a chihuahua on Viagra. The opening sequence for the series is literally everything diehard Evil Dead fans want to reintroduce Ash. At the drop of a woman’s undergarments, he’s able to get laid—his sole goal in life, it seems. The mood is soured when his for-now lover’s face morphs into a Deadite. Hard to keep going after that, huh?

AvED 101 DeaditeBlondeBut why is Ash seeing Deadites at every turn? Well, see, he wanted to get laid by the blonde artsy woman with words tattooed around her wrists not long before the show’s timeline starts. StonedAsh managed to focus through the haze long enough to grab the nearest book—the Necronomicon. Whoops. So they read from the friggen book, of course, and here we are, smack in the middle of Deadite Country.

Elsewhere, two State Police officers are dragged into Ash’s mess when they’re called to a domestic dispute. Only, the house is abandoned. People had been there, judging from the table-load of drugs and booze left behind. Oh and the corpse crouched in a corner, hands still raised to fend off whatever scared her to death, could be a clue. I don’t know. I wasn’t a cop before turning undead.

AvED 101 AmandaCarsonAmanda Fisher and her partner, Carson, find one other person in the house—Ash’s blonde date who read from the book. You know where this is going, right? Fight time. Blondie cranks her head around 180* and dislocates her shoulders before launching at Carson. Amanda takes some wicked-huge scissors to the hand. Then things get really out of hand, ending with Carson and the blonde woman without heads. That escalated quickly. Later in the episode, we learn that Amanda is out on leave pending an investigation into the shooting and a psyche evaluation, because how many people say their partner went crawling on the ceiling before attacking them? A kind, and kinda hot, stranger—played by Lucy Lawless—more or less tells Amanda she’s not nuts. A fact Amanda confirms by going back to the crime scene, where she finds Carson’s shirt fibers on the chandelier.

Over at ValueStop, Ash attempts to swindle Mr. Roper out of his paycheck and possibly, maybe, forgetting Ash is supposed to work that day so Ash can run like a scared rabbit into the sunset before the Deadites find him. But first, he has to make a fool of himself in front of the new woman Pablo brought in to work with them. Hello, Kelly. I like your lack of accepting misogynistic nonsense and skill with a wrist lock. That’s how you introduce a female character, ladies and gentlemen. Take note.

Ash’s plans to bolt come too late. The Deadites are on his trail. In a scene calling back to Army of Darkness with the army of MiniAshs, he fights a possessed doll, only to be saved by clueless Pablo. Well, not totally clueless. Pablo’s brujo uncle warned about a man who would be the only one capable of defeating the evil dead, El Jefe. Putting two-and-two together, Pablo figures out Ash is that guy. Cool. They’re saved. Except Ash still wants nothing to do with the hero biz. He’s out of that game. Paid the ultimate price.

They’re only hope gone, Kelly and Pablo don’t know what to do next as things get weirder around the store. Kelly receives a video call from her father, with guest star—her undead mother! Off to save Mr. Maxwell. But first, a pit stop.

For a man living in a trailer, it sure is taking Ash a long time to skedaddle. He’s gotta think about Eli, man. Poor bearded dragon didn’t ask for any of this. He just wants to chill and eat. But it’s a good thing Ash is so ill-prepared to leave. Pablo’s pit stop requires the man himself to fight Kelly’s Deadite mother. Yeah, Ash isn’t on board with that plan, either. He doesn’t get much of a choice. The Deadites are in the trailer park, changing his weird, yet kind neighbors into joke-cracking killers. One grabs Kelly, strangling her through the trailer’s window.

He’s always been a sucker for a woman in need. Ash flings an ax at the Deadite, severing its arm. The trailer starts rocking—and not for any goodtime reasons. Cue the quick change into GoodAsh. Admit it, you all swooned when you saw the blue shirt. Bonus badassery, a foot-trigger, spring-loaded shotgun storage compartment in the trailer’s floor. I want one of those. But Ash loses a point for admitting he needs to do cardio.

There’s one more Deadite fight, this time with sweet as cream Vivian. She’s silly enough to stand between Ash and . . . wait for it . . . are you sure you’re ready? The chainsaw. They knock each other all over the trailer. Ash ends up, yup, on the ground. Pablo is pinned to the wall with a knife in his right shoulder, leaving Kelly to fend for herself against something she’s never seen before. Her bravery flees, though she manages to hold DeadViv at bay just long enough. For what? For the most awesome moment in the show. Pablo flings the chainsaw to Ash using his foot. Angels sing. The engine revvs. DeadViv is so excited her head just flies off.

“How does it feel,” Pablo asks Ash.


Yes. Yes it does.

Of Wolves and Men


Of Wolves and Men
Review of “The Walking Dead” 516 – “Conquer”

Let’s get the messy part out of the way—this episode didn’t warrant an extra twenty minutes of screen time. All it did was give producers a chance to dump all the plot threads into a pool and pray it all untangles in the end. They should’ve refined the story into something a little more cohesive that fits the normal forty-two minutes per episode. Every plot element was unnecessarily drawn out. It’d be different if the time was spent on much-needed character development or laying down a solid base for next season. It wasn’t. They flung everything off the table and fans are supposed to be happy with how the story lands until October. As far as finales go, this is The Walking Dead‘s weakest. So what did happen in the finale? Let’s discuss.

You know the drill, there’s spoilers from here on out in this review.

a0c21c33-8acf-5554-fead-ea88779278dd_TWD_516_GP_1111_0261After weeks wondering why Morgan was brought back during a couple quick scenes, we finally get an answer. Kinda. It’s entirely possible, given the state of things in Alexandria by the end of the episode, that Morgan will fill the long-empty “morality of the group” position. A role desperately needed since Hershel’s murder. We were led to believe Gabriel would fill the need, but he’s loonier than a monkey in rubber pants. Morgan isn’t a pushover. When he’s confronted by the men who’ve been mutilating the walkers around Alexandria, he attempts a passive resolution. It doesn’t work, so he thunks them over the head and locks them in the car he’d used as a hotel room the night before. Later, Morgan bails Daryl and Aaron out of a tight spot—they unwittingly walk into a trap set by the same men who attacked Morgan. These men, wolves they consider themselves, could be the big bad for next season. Honestly, they don’t feel too threatening now that Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan know where they are hiding their zombie collection. What kind of weirdo keeps a zombie collection, anyway? (Zombie bunnies don’t count, guys.)

The entire time Rick and company have been in Alexandria, it’s felt like he and Michonne are growing apart. She wanted to find home so bad and he’s fought it tooth-and-nail since meeting the townsfolk. It’s not until Rick wakes in a makeshift holding cell with Michonne watching over him that they finally understand—they want the same thing and are going about it completely different ways. She doesn’t care if he conspired with Daryl and Carol to secure emergency weapons. She’s willing to look the other way while Carol coaches Rick on how to Play The Part—tell Deanna and her followers exactly what they want to hear, just like Carol has done since they arrived. Michonne has overlooked and forgiven a lot in the name of keeping their newfound home. Being a pushover won’t work, she knows it. However, she also understands in order to get what they all want, someone and something’s got to give. Michonne is the law alongside Rick. She can’t run off like Carol, threatening to murder anyone in the way—a message Pete got loud and clear in this episode. Michonne tells Rick, “We don’t need (guns) here. I don’t need my sword. I think you can find a way—we—can find a way. And if we don’t, I’m still with you.” So even though he’s been a paranoid nutjob for weeks, one of his most capable allies is still at his side. How much is Michonne willing to overlook and forgive in her quest for normalcy, though?

twd-517-460x260Tensions are riding high between everyone, not just the town’s peacekeepers. Toward the end of the episode, there’s a huge clash between Sasha and Gabriel—the crew’s most unhinged members. Sasha spent her afternoon laying in a mass walker grave, wondering what’s wrong with her. Gabriel spent his strolling around, looking for a walker to do what he can’t—end his life. At the moment of truth, he kills the walker. It’s actually one of the best kills in an episode filled with walker deaths. But when Gabriel and his inability to commit to death and Sasha with her equally large death wish are in the same room, the claws come out. “I think I want to die,” Sasha tells Gabriel. He replies, “Why wouldn’t you want to die? You don’t deserve to be here. What you did can never be undone. The dead don’t chose, but the choices you made, how you sacrificed your own . . . .” He goes on, blaming Sasha for Bob’s death, saying Tyreese deserved his death because of what she’d done. Most of what he says is directed at himself, not her. It doesn’t stop Gabriel from attacking Sasha. In the end, Maggie pulls them apart and sits them down to pray.

Another tense duo come to blows in the midst of the big, “What do we do with Rick” problem. Nicholas lures Glenn over Alexandria’s walls and shoots him in the shoulder. The wound isn’t fatal. Throughout the middle and end of the episode, Glenn and Nicholas take turns beating the snot out of each other and the walkers drawn their way by the noise. It ends with Glenn pinning Nicholas to the ground, a gun pointed at his head. Nicholas begs, crying. Glenn visibly wants to kill him. Is psyching himself out for the kill, telling Nicholas repeatedly to shut up. He doesn’t do it. Should he have? Not in this instance. Nicholas is a coward. He made his attempt to rid himself of the one man who knows just how much of a coward he is. Now that the plan has failed, I’m sure he’ll back down. He may even become Glenn’s new sidekick.

twd-516-shockThe town meeting to discuss Rick’s attack on Pete, the gun he’d hidden, and the threats made after the fight is doomed from the get-go. Deanna’s motivations aren’t without bias. It’s obvious she wants Rick gone. He’s a thorn in her side and constantly questions how she’s run things since the settlement was created. She doesn’t even wait to see if Rick will show up to the meeting that’ll decide his fate—which he won’t, seeing as Gabriel let a zombie into Alexandria after failing to secure the gate and he’s tracking it while his crew stands up for him. All those kind words from Michonne, Carol, Maggie—and let’s not forget Abraham’s eloquent offering—they’re for naught. Once Rick walks in with a dead zombie over his shoulder, it’s pretty much sealed. Instead of rushing to save his own hide, Rick hunted a walker on his own to ensure their safety. Not even Deanna’s admission of Gabriel’s concerns, which we heard last week, matter after Rick’s little speech.

“The ones out there, they’ll hunt us. They’ll find us. They’ll try to use us. They’ll try to kill us. But we’ll kill them. We’ll survive. I’ll show you how. You know, I was thinking . . . I was thinking, how many of you do I have to kill to save your lives? But I’m not gonna do that. You’re gonna change.”

Rick’s place in Alexandria is cemented when Pete comes into the meeting fully prepared to kill Rick—with Michonne’s katana. Reg steps in the way to calm Pete and is killed instead. Without hesitation, Deanna gives Rick the order to put Pete down.

This is the chaos greeting Morgan after he reluctantly agrees to come back to Alexandria with Daryl and Aaron. How will the old friends get along after such a brutal reunion? Who knows? We’ve got quite some time to ponder how things will land in an evolving Alexandria.