Parlay and Promises: A Review of The Walking Dead 313

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3-1Review 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!**

walking_dead_313It’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.

TWD_GP_313_1009_0123-600x399Rick, 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.

671564-twd_gp_313_1009_0234Andrea’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.


Buried in the Trenches


Review of “The Walking Dead” 312 “Clear”

Talk about jerking on our heartstrings. This episode was chalk-full of teary moments. We really need a warning before the episode airs, along with the violence warnings, telling us to grab a box of Kleenex before emotional episodes. For the first time since Rick’s group arrived at the prison, the entire episode took place outside the prison gates nor on the streets of Woodbury. Most notably, there were only four main characters involved. However, the ghosts of many others lingered at the edge of every conversation taking place.

**As usual, there are spoilers below. You’ve been warned.**

312 5In “Clear,” Rick and Carl come full circle as far as their travels go. They’ve been on the run for over a year, yet when things are dire and they need a hand up to get ahead of the Governor’s scheming and army-building, they go home to King County, Georgia to find what they need. The only problem is, the sheriff’s station has been completely cleaned out. There’s nothing left, save a single bullet for Rick’s Colt Python.

Before they even reach King County, Carl questions Michonne’s motives about every single thing she does. At one point, I expected him to ask why she breathed the way she did. Carl is hyper-vigilant. All of the betrayals they’ve suffered warped his growing mind. He’s paranoid, watching everyone they encounter for signs of malice. His paranoia makes him ruthless. He is becoming more and more like Shane, Carl’s mentor before he was forced to put him down like a rabid dog after Shane’s violent encounter with Rick. Carl takes the tough shots and is beyond taking orders from Rick, who he no longer views as a viable leader for the group. However, Carl is young. His emotions range from cold to molten rock at the drop of a hat, much like his father’s. He is still ruled by a child’s lack of impulse control. It could land him in serious water. Again. Hey, is Carl in the house?

312 3Thankfully, Michonne has the presence of mind to keep an eye out for Carl, despite knowing his misgivings about her intentions toward the folks living in the prison. For the most part, we only hear Michonne speak when spoken to, or when she’s laying into Andrea for everything wrong she’s done since walking into Woodbury. However, with Carl she speaks up and gives him someone to connect to when he’s obviously so, so lost without his parents. Daryl did something similar right after Lori died. Why is it the most broken people know how to treat an emotionally fragile child better than his father? We get to see a softer side of Michonne here, not only because of her time alone with Carl. You know what? She’s got a sense of humor on her. The woman is also apparently a ninja, as they observed on Talking Dead after “Clear” aired. It took her seconds to climb a building and just as long to walk around the restaurant to recover the item Carl dropped. Forget rednecks and their prowess with crossbows and automatic weapons, I’ll take Michonne and her sword for the Orange Brigade.

312 1At long last, the number-one question asked by Walking Dead fans can be put to rest. Morgan didn’t end up a footnote lost in the madness of everything that happened after Rick met up with his family outside of Atlanta . . . and there was much rejoicing. Kinda. See, Morgan is nuttier than a basket of kittens. When someone makes Rick and his hallucinations of Lori look sane, there needs to be some serious medication put to work ASAP. Possibly shock treatment. Something, anything to recover Morgan’s wits. It is painfully obvious early on that Morgan is alone. His son Duane’s death is revealed in a scrawled note on the walls of his home, “Duane turned.”

The walls of Morgan’s home are as chaotic as his mind. One word is scribbled over and over again amongst the rambling, “Clear.” We could spend days discussing what this word means to him. Morgan doesn’t use it in a normal sense—all’s clear. The word haunts him, taunts him. He failed to clear the dead from around his house, namely the reanimated corpse of his wife, and it cost him dearly. “Finally was too late,” he says. His failure to clear the way destroyed Morgan’s life as he sees it. He is trapped in King County, not by the dead walking the street, but by the dead walking around in his mind whispering, “Clear.” Was the word one of the last things he said to Duane before he went on the ill-fated search for food? We may never know why everything and everyone must be “cleared” in Morgan’s mind. His lucid moments are few and far between.

312 4Rick cannot cope with Morgan’s mental breakdown. He sees too much of himself reflected in his one-time friend’s eyes. Rick works himself into a panic as he watches the snatches of sanity Morgan regains slip away. If Morgan cannot overcome the grief consuming him, does Rick have any chance at all of resuming his life or is he doomed to wait for the day the rest of his family perishes, slowly losing his mind? His grip on reality and the interpersonal relationships keeping him grounded are slipping. He has no control over Carl, though they have begun speaking to each other again. Rick leaves Judith’s care to the women in the camp for the most part. Carl is the one to think of finding something as simple as a collapsible crib to bring back to the prison. Morgan’s insanity is proof there are depths to which Rick can fall if he doesn’t start fighting to keep his mind in check now.

Morgan claims weak men like him have inherited the earth. With everything happening between the prison group and Woodbury, it’s easy to see what he is talking about. The powerful men, the ones who know how to take charge and organize others into action, make it pretty far in the apocalyptic lifestyle. People need someone to listen to sometimes. Someone who thinks rationally and quickly. But for all of the power the leaders wield, they want more and get caught up in mad power struggles to prove they are the only one worth following in a time of dire need. Rick had this problem with Shane when he joined the group at the quarry. Shane stationed himself as the leader and in walked Rick, doing what he always does—helping folks in need. Shane couldn’t let that stand. He started an emotional war with Rick. What did it cost Shane? Several pints of blood and a huge portion of his skull. And now Rick finds himself embroiled in another war, this one with Phillip. The new war is violent and will consume everyone in its path—including the two powers driving it on. Morgan may have a point. The weak can hide. They hunker down, gather supplies, and fortify their safe haven. For the weak, the only power struggle comes when they must venture out amongst the dead to forage for food. And if they are as well-prepared as Morgan, they have all the power in that war.

Was this broken shell of a man what you were expecting when Morgan finally returned to the show? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


You Can Never Go Home Again

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3-1Review 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

the-walking-dead-310-home-rick-bonkersLet’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.

imagesBeing 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.

TWD_GP_310_0831_0210-600x399If 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.

images (1)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.

King of Rocks and Corpses

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.

TWD_TR_309_0810_0720One 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?

imagesDid 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?

Celebrity Zombie

Rick has bats in his belfry. Who should take over leadership of Team Prison? Let us know in the comments below.

Myth Bashing – Fast and Furious

Once again, it is time to delve into the realm of myth to find the sliver of truth behind some of the misinformation you, loyal ZSC brigadiers, may have heard while preparing for the Zombiepocalypse.

Myth: The only way to make a safe getaway is to have a souped-up zombie survival car.

Fact: Bells and whistled sure do draw a lot of unwanted attention.

There has been a trend in the last couple of years wherein folks have taken it upon themselves to try and modify their vehicles so that they have a fighting chance during post-apocalyptic scenarios. Personally, we blame one-too-many viewings of Mad Max and Tank Girl.

Awhile back, we discussed what vehicles would be rugged enough to survive the zombie onslaught. At that time, the best candidate was a fictional behemoth—part tank, part mobile command base, called “Dead Reckoning” from Romero’s Land of the Dead. And to be honest, it is still what I’d, personally, want to travel around in.

However, in June Hyundai announced that they’d teamed up with The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman to produce their ideal “Zombie Survival Machine” to celebrate the release of the comic book’s 100th installment. The vehicle was on display at San Diego Comic-Con in July and yours truly got to see if this modified Hyundai Elantra lives up to our idea of what it takes to survive the Zombiepocalypse.

Vehicle Specs: Mounted to the front is a massive spiked plow to move any oncoming zombies. An armored roof hatch opens, allowing the passenger to safely shoot attackers. Massive auxiliary off-road-spec lamps on the roof light the way. A winch on the nose of the car should come in handy, right? It also has racing wheels with huge serrated blades attached to the rims. To top it off, there are welded caged window openings to prevent the undead from reaching through and grabbing you.

There’s a CB radio to keep in contact with the others back at camp. A pair of machetes are mounted beside the center console as a just-in-case weapon. There are also explosives, a net launcher in the trunk and a fully functioning NOS system installed—on the off chance that you need even more bang-for-your-buck.

What is the “Zombie Survival Machine” lacking? Storage space. The net launcher eats up almost all of the trunk area. If you’re using a car at the end of days, you’re going to want to be able to shove everything you think is vital inside to make a getaway.

Cars in the Zombiepocalypse will all have one fatal flaw, no matter what shiny gadgets are strapped onto it—the need for fuel. Unless manufacturers begin producing a vehicle that runs strictly on water or solar power, depending on a vehicle past the first couple of weeks will be impossible. Invest on a couple good pairs of hiking boots and for your traveling needs.

Talking About The Dead

The Walking Dead season 3 preview

From the undisclosed location of RC Murphy – find her if you can

On the weekend after the Fourth of July, AMC ran a two-day marathon of The Walking Dead, starting with season one and going all the way through season two. The marathon was capped off by a live one-hour edition of Talking Dead, hosted by uber geek, Chris Hardwick. He interviewed cast and crew from TWD while they were out in Atlanta, Georgia filming season three.

Executive producers Glenn Mazzara and Gale Anne Hurd were the first TWD guests. Along with Drew Carey, who is a huge fan of the show and very into survival stuff. (Hey, Juliette, I think we need to go on a new mission for the ZSC…)

Glenn stated that the “Ricktatorship”, which we saw at the end of season two, is just beginning. It won’t be an easy road for Rick. He’s lost his best friend and second in command. His people are tired. Their loyalties are torn after discovering he kept a huge secret from them since leaving the CDC. He has to push the group to keep going, but if he pushes too far, he’ll lose them. The big question is, how will he deal with not having Shane around? Can Daryl step into that position and help out?

Gale adds in that Rick’s personal life isn’t peachy keen at the moment. Lori thought that Shane would be her savior, that he could be a father to Carl. A father that’d stay put because Rick is too keen to run off and save the world. She’s very much feeling Shane’s blood on her hands after pushing Rick to take care of things. But worst of all, she’s completely torn up over Carl’s involvement in the whole ordeal.

For the first time, they’ve announced ahead of time what the interactive fan treat for San Diego Comic-Con will be. Greg Nicotero, co-executive producer and SFX makeup wizard, walked us through the process of recreating Michonne and her pet zombies. They did lifecasts of Danai Gurira and the one of the walkers. Actual wardrobe pieces from the set will be worn by the statues to achieve a very unique interactive experience. Fans of the show that attend SDCC will be able to strap on a collar and take the place of Michonne’s second walker.

Laurie Holden, who plays Andrea, said that her time with Michonne will be spent kicking zombie butt and taking names. She forms a friendship with the other woman after being saved from the horde out in the forest at the end of season two. Laurie went on to talk about David Morrissey, who will play the Governor, saying he is perfect for the role—sexy, charismatic, evil, yet very sweet when not in character.

Glen Mazzara added that the Governor “is a guy that thinks the zombie apocalypse is all about him.” He fully believes that people will look back at this point in history and see him as the light that kept humanity going. The Governor thinks he is the messiah and will do anything to prolong the existence of humans.

Chandler Riggs called in to the show and was very adamant that Carl would not be going into the house any more. He is growing up. Carl wants to pull his weight. He feels it is his responsibility to be a soldier, to protect the group. His experience with Shane is taking him a little towards the dark side. Not quite sure what that means, but it will be interesting to see how being surrounded by death affects a child of that age.

Steven Yeun took Chris Hardwick through a tour of the prison set. Everything was built specifically for the show. It’s all fake, but looks so incredibly real because of the great attention to detail. The prison is dirty, dank, and uncomfortable. The actors aren’t being spoiled between shots, either. They get dirt caught in their throat. It coats their sinuses. All in all, the set makes for very true performances from everyone.

Executive producers David Alpert and Robert Kirkman came on and teased fans mercilessly. It was hard to tell what information they gave was for giggles and what fans can look forward to. David admitted that there will be a lot of death in season three—zombie deaths, human deaths, the deaths of characters we love. Basically he warned fans to watch the next season with a box of tissues in hand.

They confirmed, for the umpteenth time, that Merle Dixon will indeed be back for season three of TWD. Merle is a character that you never know what to expect from him—other than racism and hatred. Maybe this season Merle will adopt a stray kitten or something likewise fluffy and cute to redeem himself.

In other Dixon news, it was announced that in 2013, Activision will release a first-person-shooter The Walking Dead video game. The game will allow players to go through the first stages of the zombie apocalypse as Daryl Dixon, with his brother Merle at his side.

We will have more information about season three of The Walking Dead after San Diego Comic-Con.

Survival by Elantra?

From the undisclosed location of LK Gardner-Griffie

Your Zombie Survival Crew TM commanders are always on the lookout for not only stories of potential zombie uprisings, but ways to improve survivability come the apocalypse. So we were intrigued to learn from Motortrend’s Wide Open Throttle that Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame has collaborated with Hyundai to create the Zombie Survival Machine. Check this bad boy out:

Just imagine plowing through a horde of zombies with that sweet spiked cow-catcher. Wouldn’t you like to get up close and personal with this car? Well, you can. The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine will be on display at Comic-Con, which runs from July 12-15 in San Diego at the Future US booth, along with a limited-run illustrated owner’s manual. This beauty will be unveiled as a part of a four-episode behind the scenes series on on July 11th.

If that weren’t enough…a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback will be wrapped in the 100th cover of The Walking Dead issue and will be given away on July 31st.

The word on the street is that our Orange Brigade commander, RC Murphy, may be among the merrymakers at San Diego Comic-Con in stealth mode. And I’m sure she’ll be taking the opportunity to size up this newest possibility to keep us safe from the shambling hordes.

Check out what Robert Kirkman has to say below:

Miles Away from Safety

The Walking Dead 210
reviewer: RC Murphy

Well, no one can complain about the lack of walker action in the newest episode of The Walking Dead. I’ve seen enough leaking skulls to satisfy my bloodlust for another couple of weeks, so long as the writer’s promise to quit trying to make me cry. More on that later. We’re diving straight into the heart of this episode with Rick, Shane, and the showdown we’ve been waiting two seasons to see.

After Lori planted the seeds of doubt in Rick’s mind last week, it was only a matter of time before he took things to the source. Did anyone else get a mental image of Lori as a demon whispering in his ear? Creepy as heck. Anyways… Being Mr. Honorable, Rick took Shane out for a nice long drive and confronted him away from everyone else to give him a fair chance to say his piece. He gets it—understands that Shane loves Lori as a representation of life and love in his world of death. But he also knows his friend, sees that he’s dangling one foot over the edge of the Cliff of No Return. The amount of restraint shown by both men in that scene resolved none of the tension between them. We knew they’d have more to say about it, and boy did they.

One of the problems that’s sprouted up in this post-apocalyptic universe is the notion that your everyday Joe can, with the proper application of force and smarts, become God. Who gets to decide which of the living are fit to survive? Certainly not Shane, who goes into every decision gun first. At least Rick makes an effort to think things through. But is he any more fit to make that choice for someone else? Are any of us? In their shoes, I would have left Randall there. If he was determined enough to walk the eighteen plus miles to invade the camp, then I’d deal with it. Rich and Shane’s differing opinions boiled over, giving them an excuse to vent physically what neither man could cope with emotionally. I wonder what Lori will say when she learns what all her whispering caused. She nearly lost both of them.

Before we move to the really heavy subject that’s unavoidable thanks to this episode, I want to yet again theorize over what Jenner said to Rick before the CDC blew up. When they inspected the deputy walkers, Shane seemed at a loss for how they turned without being bitten. Rick, however knew that a scratch could change them. Has this happened before? I can’t remember. But it seems that the virus that reanimates the dead is adapting. Perhaps Jenner knew this would happen and warned Rick.

At the beginning of season two the writers touched on the issue of suicide. For Andrea, it seemed to be the only way to cope with her losses and escape an inevitable painful demise by walker. Dale took it upon himself to keep her from it. Daryl talked some sense into her, in his own way—with help from an unfortunate walker that’d hung himself before turning. Now they’ve circled back around to that issue with Beth, Hershel’s youngest daughter. Just like Andrea, her decision was taken away. Was Lori right to stop her? Do the same rules about suicide persist after death has thrown the rest of the rules to the wind?

Maggie tries like heck to make Beth see what losing her would do to the rest of the family. But she is so determined to take the easy path that she tries to convince Maggie to do it with her. Desperation makes a person’s mind search for the “easy button”. Suicide isn’t the way, though. Trying to make a pact with your loved ones to do the same is forcing them to follow the wrong path in their life.

Andrea and Lori have very different views about how to survive. Lori wants stability, to bury her head and do what she can to pretend there aren’t walkers outside. Andrea is trying to adapt, but for her survival isn’t worth it unless she is the one calling the shots. She went behind the “alpha” female’s back and gave Beth the opportunity to do as she wished. Actions like that come with a price. One that everyone involved has to pay.

Next week promises to be equally as tense. What will happen to the outsider, Randall? Chime in with your predictions in the comments.

Itchy “Triggerfinger”

The Walking Dead 209
reviewer: RC Murphy

First things first… I must take a moment to applaud the folks at KNB EFX. The first walker we see in episode 209 is incredible. My inner makeup geek sat forward in my seat, watching how the walker’s face changed while it pushed through the glass trying to get… tsk, tsk. Almost spoiled things there. Needless to say, this episode in general is very detailed in the gore department. And I loved every drop of it.

Which becomes the biggest threat in the Zombiepocalypse, walkers or the living? The second half of TWD’s season 2 is focusing on this very question. A lot of complaints about the show include the now tiresome, “Where are all of the zombies?” For me, the real danger isn’t walkers. The living are far more cruel. They eat you up in ways the undead cannot. Humans destroy you from the soul out. Look at the road our survivors have gone down since the first season. Rick, in particular, went from an idealist who thinks everyone—even lost causes like Merle Dixon—can be saved to the brutally practical man we’ve seen the last two episodes. But then he lapses back into honorable cowboy mode… and nearly gets his backside full of buckshot.

Hershel Greene goes through a similar transformation after the barn incident. Actually, that’s not quite true. It took Rick tracking him down and their discussion about being in a hopeless situation that turned Hershel around in the way he approaches the changes in their world. He even goes so far as to give silent approval of the drastic measures Rick went to in order to keep not only his family safe, but Hershel’s as well. Will these changes stick? I think so. His confrontation with Shane towards the end of the episode strengthened the tentative bond formed between Glenn, Rick, and himself back at the bar. It also displayed to his family his shift in thinking about how to deal with the walkers.

Hershel seems to be finally be warming up to Glenn. It’s likely he won’t ever be happy about Glenn being involved with Maggie, but he didn’t let him get gunned down by the rogue survivors—who by the way are a prime example of how not to run a survivors group, folks. What distresses me, though, is Glenn’s insistence that he can’t fulfill his role in camp while being in love with Maggie. He’s finally stepped up to be more of a hero; he could be her hero in every sense of the term and now he is backing away from it. All because of that hesitation and the drive to keep her safe emotionally. I’m with Maggie on this one. His behavior is frustrating. It goes to prove that no matter how intelligent someone is they can be awfully stupid when it comes to matters of the heart.

Allow me a moment to profess my love for Carol. Out of everyone, she is the true survivor. Her personal story line through two seasons of the show is a series of moments where she’s kicked around, both physically and emotionally. This week she stood up for herself. She didn’t let Daryl push her around. Carol spoke her mind, tried to talk some reason into him. Daryl is uncomfortable with positive emotions thanks to his rough upbringing. So when Carol reaches out after denying him the chance to comfort her in her mourning, he lashes back at her. He must think she will be like everyone else in his life, users that don’t take his feelings into account before they act. Daryl doesn’t realize that Carol spent years of oppression comforting herself, that’s just her way. He pulled a jerk move, getting in her face as though he meant to hit her. He’s above that. It got what he wanted, though. She let him be after that. The men in this episode were aggravating, to put it nicely.

Okay, fine. I can’t end this without addressing the Shane Issue. Deep breath… here we go.

The last cog on Shane’s mental mechanism finally snapped. No, it didn’t just snap, it shattered into a million pieces. Humpty Dumpty has a better chance of survival than Shane’s sanity. His mountain of lies is beginning to topple over. The only one still buying them is Andrea and that’s only because she thinks that he’s got the secret to being a true blue zombie slayer—shut off your emotions. It’s impossible for Shane to see reality. He’s regressed into a fantasy world where he has a family that loves him and needs him to play hero. This must be a coping mechanism to make up for the fact that obviously Shane didn’t have much in the way of love before the walkers shambled onto the scene. A string of one-night stands does not make up for the lack of a loving relationship. The fantasy rotted his brain. And the most disgusting part of everything is Shane using his twisted love for Lori to justify the horrendous things he’s done to others.

Shane pushed Lori to the point where she can’t continue to deal with his crazy on her own. That last shot of Rick at the end of the episode says more than anything he could’ve said out loud. Things are going to get tense with those three. Who will be caught in the crossfire?

Have something to say about this episode of The Walking Dead? Add your own comments below.

Abandon All Hope

Abandon All Hope

The Walking Dead 208

reviewer: RC Murphy


After weeks of waiting and gnashing teeth, AMC finally brought us back into a world where the dead refuse to stay dead and the living struggle daily to cling to that precious whatever that makes us human. To be honest, around the ZSC Command Center, we weren’t looking very human ourselves. Call it TWD withdrawals.

A brief recap before diving into the mid-season premiere: We left Rick and the gang in the midst of a pile of walkers with severe cranial leakage. Hershel and his family were aghast, watching how the others dealt with walkers. And the only hope for some of the survivors—in a tiny, innocent form—just met their final rest courtesy of Rick. Got that so far? Good.

The mid-season premiere picks up exactly where the previous episode left off. I know it may be wrong, but I got a bit smug being able to ask Hershel, “Still think they’re just sick after your wife attacked your daughter?” Yes, I talk to the television. Nevertheless, my main beef with Hershel came, not from his insistence in clinging to faith, but in his inability to look in the eyes of a walker and know that they aren’t human any more. Shane’s methods in forcing everyone to deal with this fact are faulty, but necessary.

I know I’m not the only parent that cringed at how matter-of-fact Carl became about what happened at the barn. He had one scene in the episode and it made a heck of an impact. Lori is right to be concerned about the coldness weaving into Carl’s childhood. However, she thinks Rick should be able to fix it by being there to do the hard things for him. In reality, Carl will still see everything his father does to protect the camp and want to be that person. He wants to be the cowboy hero. It could cause serious problems down the road.

On the parenting train of thought, I could not help but cry when Carol conveyed to Daryl and Lori how she planned to cope with her loss. It wasn’t a scene with ugly tears and a huge breakdown. It almost would have been more preferable to the controlled, calm way she spoke. That reining it in is what broke me. Her grim acceptance of fate took her to a different level where no one was sure how or if they could comfort her. Daryl, most of all, seemed hurt by the fact that he’d been denied that chance. In comforting her, he could have comforted himself and she left him out in the cold. Seeing where those two go after this will be interesting. He thinks he failed her and she’s lost her hope.

That anyone can contemplate finding love in the Zombiepocalypse seems ridiculous, right? Yet we have this wonderful love story building in the tangled vines of TWD. Glenn and Maggie are possibly the last bits of hope left on the show. Can their Romeo and Juliet love survive everything that is happening around them at the farm? She thinks so. He’s afraid. Not afraid of love, but what would happen if he lost her. Rick is right; he needs to tell her how he feels, despite the fear.

 Time to address my least favorite subject, Shane. He is going to implode soon. Dale sees it and is well aware of what kind of man Shane really is under the hero façade he’s put on since rescuing Lori and Carl. How do we know it is a lie? Listen to what he says to Carol. Here is a woman that’s just suffered the greatest loss a woman can suffer and he only addresses her feelings once. The rest of that conversation is all “poor Shane”. Why doesn’t he get recognition for getting rid of all those nasty walkers in the barn? Wah, wah, wah… Dale called it. Unless Shane gets what he wants—Lori—he will probably kill again. Unfortunately by confronting him about it, Dale has put himself in Shane’s sights.

This episode was the death of hope for everyone. Hershel can no longer sit and pray that his wife to be cured. Carol won’t be able to console herself with thoughts that Sophia is safely tucked away in the woods, too afraid to find her way back to camp. Lori is stripped of the notion that Carl will not be forced to grow up too quickly. And Rick’s desperation to keep everyone safe takes a bullet to the brainpan. However, it is up to Rick and Hershel to face their families, those that rely on them… and lie through their teeth. They must create hope again. People cannot, will not continue to march down the long road unless there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For numerous survivors, not just our heroes, this hope manifests in Utopia-like areas where there is plenty of food, water, and supplies for them to create new homes. They don’t really exist, but gives people hope that somewhere out there safety is possible.

There were two OMG moments in this episode… which I can’t talk about without giving spoilers. Needless to say, they will make next week’s episode a must-watch.

What are your predictions for the next episode? Leave a comment and let us know.