Review of The Walking Dead 308 “Made to Suffer” reviewer: RC Murphy
If the scene inside the homes of our loyal brigadiers was anything like the inside of the Zombie Survival Crew command center before the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead aired…you have my sympathies. We were all on edge—anticipating and dreading the hour to come. Last year’s mid-season finale left even the strongest zombie slayer in tears. It set a very high bar for what we wanted to see from season three. And you know what? It delivered. By forty minutes into the show, it felt like we’d run a marathon right alongside Team Prison and Team Woodbury. But wait; there is a new team in town—Tyrese and his small band of survivors.
This episode in particular had a lot of interesting pairings throughout. We’ll go through a few of them while covering the wild ride of episode 308.
Caution: There may be spoilers below!
Carl, Tyrese, and Sasha
Tyrese hit the screen swinging for the fences. His first moments were strong, gruesome, and showed us exactly the flavor of survivor he is. He is a leader cut from similar cloth as Rick when Rick first joined up with the group at the quarry. The road through the Zombiepocalypse is not an easy one. How on earth is Tyrese capable of still caring at a level Rick abandoned during their time at the farm—when he was trapped in the bar and had to kill to save himself, Glenn, and Hershel? Carl recognized this quality in Tyrese, not when he first found his group in the boiler room of the prison fighting for their lives, but when Tyrese told him they take care of their own dead. Carl has fashioned himself to be the same sort of leader. He does what is necessary to spare the people he’s taken it upon himself to keep safe. Carl is fully prepared to bury his father and take charge—not out of malice, but a sense of duty. Someone has to ensure the safety of the women and Hershel. Whether or not Carl and Tyrese will get along, it is hard to say. Tyrese did step up to Carl’s defense when the very vocal Sasha tore into him. She is a wild card, demanding respect and trust blindly from the people they meet along the way. Obviously she has not run into the sort of vile people Team Prison has.
The Governor, Andrea, and Michonne
This is a pairing we’ve seen before on The Walking Dead. However, the last time these three shared screen time, it was not nearly as intense. The Governor had more time to pour his crazy-laced Flavor-aid down Andrea’s throat before this confrontation. She’s bought into his lies hook, line, and sinker…until she actively catches him trying to keep her out of the firefight by giving her house-call duty. It is hard to tell if Andrea was just being petulant or if she smelled a hint of the real Governor peeking out in his panic to contain the situation. It was very apparent, in the time they’d been set up as a town, the Governor and his men had always been the aggressors in altercations with the living they deemed as enemies. This lack of true defense know-how leads him to react in a way, which has become, unfortunately, typically American. The Governor calls Rick and his group terrorists, using fear to rile his people up enough to give him permission to run them down fox-hunt style. He will eat up Woodbury’s resources, resources gathered to keep them alive and safe from the zombies beating down their doors, trying to get revenge for what has been done to him personally—all in the name of justice. Yee haw! Michonne had the right idea—cut the snake off at the head. Sure, the Governor has lieutenants to take his place, but they don’t have the appeal he does. Something about him always struck her as wrong. Boy did she find out why when she stumbled into his Man Cave and discovered Penny, the biter daughter he’s been keeping locked up like an asylum patient, and the infamous fish tanks o’ heads. The fight between Michonne and the Governor was long anticipated and did not disappoint. At certain points, it seemed as though Michonne would join the heads in the tanks. When Andrea came to see what was going on, the tension between her and Michonne was dang near another body standing between them. How rattled is Andrea’s faith in the Governor now?
Ow, sorry, I need a break. There is something in my eye. Okay, who is next?
Rick and Shane
You’re not reading that wrong. Just when we thought Rick had gotten over his issues with his former best friend, they come roaring back. This time in the form of a visual hallucination—far more startling than the auditory hallucinations he suffered after Lori’s death. It was so out of the blue, so staggering, I did not know how to react. Shane is dead, really dead. Bullet in the brainpan dead. The guy Rick mistook for Shane looked nothing like him. Were we wrong to think Rick was mentally capable of taking the reigns back from Daryl?
Daryl and Merle
Since fans found out Merle was returning to The Walking Dead as more than a hallucination of Daryl’s behalf, they’ve been clamoring for a Dixon Reunion. In my head, I saw it as the brothers sitting down to stew some squirrels and share a couple warm beers, telling of their best walker kills. Unfortunately, the writers for the show aren’t nearly as nice as I am (looking at you, Mr. Kirkman). First off, the Merle Daryl knew back when he left the quarry to grab supplies at the department store is long gone. This is a more refined Merle, clean and given a purpose in life—help the Governor save the human race no matter what. Heavy emphasis on No Matter What. Merle has some sense; he didn’t blindly chase after Michonne and reported her dead, instead. Admittedly, he was distracted by Glenn and Maggie and learning the location of their new safe haven. That distraction became his downfall in Team Woodbury. Unfortunately, his strange fixation on finding Daryl is what leads to their reunion. Both were bound and dragged before the people of the town to pass judgment—are they terrorists or will they be set free? The Governor used them as a scapegoat to cover his backside. That is good leadership.
Now for the really bad news…we have to wait until February 10th 2013 at 9:00 PM e/p to find out what will happen to Merle and Daryl.
If you get The Walking Dead withdrawals, AMC will be running all three seasons, up to episode 308, of the show on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Keep an eye on Twitter, some of your ZSC commanders may live-tweet a few of the episodes.
What do you think will happen to Daryl and Merle? Let us know in the comments below.
Review of The Walking Dead 307 “When The Dead Come Knocking” reviewer: RC Murphy
We’re one episode closer to the dreaded, the unthinkable, the torturous mid-season finale of The Walking Dead season three. Everything so far has been building to the confrontation between Team Prison and Team Woodbury. Which side are you on? Let’s take a look at each team and their actions in episode 307. Maybe that’ll help you make your decision.
Team Prison has gained a very strong ally in Michonne. That is, if Rick decides he can trust her. It honestly looked as though he wanted to leave her standing in the middle of a field of walkers. Not to mention bearing witness to how easily she disposes of the living that prevent her from continuing in her relentless drive to survive the apocalypse. Rick’s distrust of strangers is at an all-time high. That the two prisoners, Oscar and Axel, made it into the “inner sanctum” of the crew’s trust is astounding. So many strangers have attempted to harm the group; Rick has developed serious trust issues. Most of those may actually stem from Lori and Shane working inside the camp to hurt him, even though they thought they were doing it for Rick and the group’s benefit. Look where that got them.
Once Rick watched Michonne work with her sword, he saw potential and stepped in to help her. However, Rick wasn’t the savior of the day.
It was a bullet from Carl’s gun that took out the walker inches from ripping into Michonne. He didn’t hesitate. He lined up a clear shot and took it. Carl has nothing to prove at this point. It was his gun tasked to put his own mother down after her emergency c-section. After, a coldness crept into Carl. He’s been different, slightly distant, but nowhere near as isolated by his grief as his father. Rick took a while to work out his grief, to the point where we didn’t know if he’d come back to the group in one piece. During that time, Carl helped clear the prison of lingering walkers and took care of his newborn sister. Heck, he even named the baby—Judith. At some point, Carl tasked himself with being the man of the family. And you know what? It is a role he fits into well. Carl has done a lot of growing up since season one, back when he wouldn’t still for a haircut and went off with Shane to catch frogs. He’s matured enough to be in charge of the prison while the others are off to Woodbury on a mission to rescue Glenn and Maggie.
Merle, Merle, Merle…you are a tiger, fully incapable of changing your stripes, no matter how hard you try. We are finally seeing the old Merle, the one Rick and the others left handcuffed on the rooftop. He is a master at warping the truth to suit his needs. In his world, he needs to be the perpetual victim. He uses the pity his twisted stories garners to sucker people into trusting him. His attempt to do the same with Glenn fails miserably. Glenn will not give up the location of the others. Why does Merle want to get to Daryl so bad? He doesn’t strike me as a sentimental man. He was the one who left Daryl to fend for himself for most of his childhood. Caring now raises too many questions. Namely, is he trying to recruit Daryl to the Governor’s army? The Governor seems concerned that once Merle sees his brother, he’ll switch sides. Guess we’ll find out soon, huh?
Andrea thinks she has seen the darker side of Woodbury and the Governor, Phillip, after the undead WWE match from before and the scientific endeavors in this episode. She couldn’t be more wrong. He used the experiment with the dying man to keep her out of the way so she wouldn’t find out about Glenn and Maggie. Was it overly important? No. She knew full well what would happen once the subject was reanimated. Any of the other soldiers could have stood by and dispatched the biter just as easily. It is the same thing Phillip has been doing with her all along—keep Andrea distracted and complacent. How will her opinion of him change once Team Prison comes into Woodbury? Will Andrea jump ship and go with Michonne and Rick? She trusted both of them at one point. Throwing her lot in with a guy who lies as well as he breaths is seriously stupid.
The Tough Guy of the Week Award goes to: Glenn. Obviously.
Glenn remained utterly calm in the face of Merle’s storm. Somehow he managed not to die (with a few too many close calls for Team Glenn to be comfortable, to be honest). And despite the condition he was in, he wasn’t the one to break. His faith in Rick kept him rock solid through the interrogation. Hopefully that faith is founded.
Next week is the mid-season finale. What do you hope will happen when Team Prison and Team Woodbury clash at last? Let us know in the comments.
October is finally here. For some of you, you won’t understand the huge breath of relief some of us took on Sunday night when we curled up on the couch and tuned into AMC at nine o’clock. Okay, relief may not quite be the right word, given the amount of bloodshed in the season premiere of The Walking Dead, but you get the gist. No more counting down days. No more stalking websites for behind-the-scenes interviews and pictures. The time has come to catch up with Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, Andrea, and the other survivors on the show.
Season three picks up a few months after where season two left off. The opening sequence, with its lack of dialog, spoke volumes about what has happened in their lives since Rick put his boot down and declared the beginning of the Ricktatorship. There was also an amazing pullback shot to unveil the first walker of the season. For all of those who complained there weren’t enough zombies in the last season, your wishes have been granted. There was no way to keep a body count in this episode, not even on the re-watch.
One huge difference in the group dynamic, everyone carries their own weight. Even Carl is given the task of standing guard while the others discuss where to go next on their never-ending quest to find enough supplies to keep them fed and safe. Not only does Carl stand guard, he’s handling a gun and hasn’t managed to shoot his foot or someone who is actually alive. Amazing, considering months earlier he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and the group was nearly torn apart over the fact that he’d been given a gun at all outside of target practice. Yeah, a lot of folks will think, “Sure, put the kid in charge of dangerous things” and laugh. But, hey, at least they’re at a prison. Hopefully the place is big enough; he’ll stay inside like he’s told.
The other huge change in the group, they’re moving and thinking like a paramilitary unit now. Months of constant moving have ground down the rough edges from personalities clashing and created a fluid hive mind, lead by Rick. Daryl stands at Rick’s right hand. Glenn and T-Dog are on the left. And Maggie is seriously holding her own with the men during fight scenes. No one is superfluous…without reason. Quit yelling. We all know there’s one character fans love to hate. We’ll get to her later.
What I’m talking about is the efficiency in how the group moves into the prison. It is almost too easy. Rick got them all worked up, spoon fed them pretty stories to rile them up and get them to keep putting one exhausted foot in front of the other. He turned the prison into an oasis—a goal too good to be true in the eyes of tired and starving travelers. Will they find their oasis in the prison or is the proverbial desert stretching out in front of them with no water in sight?
Since leaving the farm, the group has technically been split. Andrea didn’t make it out in the mad dash to the cars and was left behind to fight her way through the woods. When the end seemed to be coming for her, someone stepped out of the shadows and saved her—Michonne. Michonne is ruthless in the way she kills. She doesn’t waste energy in movement. She does what is needed to ensure she isn’t bit and moves on. There is probably a lot of severed zombie heads left in her wake. Michonne also seriously cares for Andrea. They’ve bonded over the months they’ve been on their own path of survival. Well, Michonne, Andrea, and the pet zombies. There’s a band name for someone to use.
Okay, fine, we’ll discuss the Lori Problem. This is similar to the Shane Problem, but with more hair, an incoming baby, and a lot more crying. Long gone are the days when Lori could bat her eyelashes at Rick and convince him to do her bidding. He’s done buying her snake oil treatments for a better life in the Zombiepocalypse. Rick tried things her way and lost his best friend in the process. But he isn’t dwelling on it. Rick is pushing the group forward. Lori just wants to dig up the pain they left rotting in a field on the farm. Her baby is due any day and it is very apparent that Lori is not mentally prepared for it at all. She is still focused on herself and how others perceive her. Can she change her focus once the baby comes or will she spend all of her time worried over whether or not the kid looks like her husband?
The final scene of the Walking Dead premiere left a lot hanging in the balance, more than I’m comfortable with, actually. Any time this show leaves a cliffhanger, fans end up rather upset or disturbed. Despite the potential for fan-angst, what is to come in the season—the Governor, the prison and everything else—promises to be amazing.
What are you looking forward to during the third season of The Walking Dead? Let us know in the comments below.
He sure has balls for a Chinaman. Oh wait…he’s Korean. Whatever. What he is, is the kind of person I’d like to have at my side when the worst happens. When the horde is gathering and the body parts are flying—no matter what emotions may be racing through his adrenaline-hyped body—he remains practical, strategic, capable…and caring.
Even though Glenn isn’t really real, his innate ability to simultaneously make me smile and feel completely safe makes this young man a keeper on my post-apocalyptic wish list of companions.
If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.
Glenn’s honesty and bravery are consistently challenged in this world gone mad…and every.single.time he rises to the challenge. He remains loving and very humane in the way he interacts. The world has changed, but for Glenn—played by Steven Yeun—this bloody new reality doesn’t change the compassion he has for his fellow man. Dale may be the sage within the main survivor group, but Glenn is the group’s hope personified.
[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]
I’d like to say it’s his youth more than anything else that causes the disparaging remarks Glenn faced early on. Daryl Dixon’s banter around Glenn’s nationality, calling him ‘short round’ and wanting to see how red Glenn’s face would get when he drank alcohol were all pretty non-PC digs that speak to how Caucasians see stereotypes about Asians. But if we’re going to go there, …and the show certainly did, Glenn does have some “common” Asian traits. He’s generally quiet and observant, the kind of guy who assesses a situation before acting. Glenn is practical and good at devising thoughtful strategies to deal with a difficult situation. Yes, he can be a little dorky, a comic geek. But as we’ve moved into the halfway point of season two even Daryl has had to admit—if just by easing up– that Glenn’s Asianness (is that a word?) helps enhance his ability to make vital contributions to the group.
Maggie said that Glenn is a leader but the group doesn’t respect him. I think she’s right, and wrong, on both counts. Whether you ascribe to the Rick or Shane school of leadership, both understand the importance of information and how it can affect group dynamics. Glenn is discreet…and apparently very eager to learn about spark plugs. But he is unable to make a judgment call on information without seeking advice. Glenn’s bravery is unrivalled within the group. Some may ask him to do questionable things that take advantage of his bravery, …but that is not necessarily a sign of disrespect or lack of value. It is a sign of need. Glenn can do these things and remain…Glenn. The longer he survives, the older he gets, the more Glenn will come to be what Maggie already sees in him.
Glenn is the best kind of team player. He’s a caretaker. Glenn values every individual in the group and is willing to use his abilities to help protect not only their physical wellbeing, but also their emotional welfare, without any real thought about what it might cost him. Some might call it naïve—and Glenn himself admitted to falling into the trap of not seeing the zombies for the threat they present—but in a very real way this makes Glenn the heart and soul of the group. Their best hope at staying human.
Glenn sees in Maggie the opportunity to really feel alive again. Later, he admits to Dale exactly that, that he wants to be with her to feel something other than the terror of living day to day in the world of the walkers…when he might be dead tomorrow. But this poses a huge dilemma for Glenn. He makes promises to Maggie that could potentially spell trouble for the people with whom he has been through so much. Glenn is incapable of putting Rick and the others in danger, even at the cost of his personal life. Balancing his wants and needs with that of the group, and what he views as right, is no easy feat. Yet somehow Glenn handles the situation with poise and honor.
When we first met Glenn he was doing what—if we’re all being really honest with ourselves—many would not. His willingness to risk his own life to help a stranger, a dumbass stuck in a tank surrounded by walkers, was a reflection of both youthful bravado and the principles to which Glenn holds dear. Rick asks Glenn why he has taken such a major risk. His response? “Call it foolish, naïve, hope. That if I’m ever that far up shit creek, somebody might do the same for me. Guess I’m an even bigger dumbass than you.”
Hope is the operative word in that exchange…it is Glenn.
The mid-season finale for season 2 of The Walking Dead had a lot riding on it. I’m not talking about character drama, either. This first half of the season needed to live up to audience’s expectations. We were given a grab-you-by-the-throat first season of TWD. With only six episodes to make an impact, the creators and writers drove the plot and us hard, fast, and dirty. The pacing became a huge part of the appeal. With more episodes to play with, the pacing has suffered greatly. And unfortunately, it is turning people away. Episode 7 had to snag viewers attention again before the break. Did it succeed?
They wasted no time jumping into the major issue at hand: the barn. Glenn’s loyalty is seriously tested in his budding relationship with Maggie. He is torn between keeping secrets he’s sworn to by someone he just met, but feels a deep connection with, or manning up and telling the group of people that have helped him survive this long. In the end, I think he chose correctly and I think Maggie understands he did what he had to. She’s beginning to realize Hershel’s way of coping with the changes in the world aren’t the only way to do things. It only took her nearly being turned into a walker at the pharmacy to figure it out, though. Sometimes it takes a close call that rattles your world to see clearly.
The debate between Rick and Hershel about the occupants of the barn brought up a very good question: In a situation like the zombie apocalypse, is it naive to assume that all humans should band together to protect each other? Rick clings on to the hope that despite their differences in opinion, his crew and Hershel’s family can still coexist, all in the name of being safe. But from what we’ve seen, Rick forcing the issue of banding together has caused more issues. Hershel pulls his family and supplies in closer to his chest. He flat-out refuses any help from the other survivors. There’s a line in the sand, or rather a trench that’s filled with the fires of hell. Hershel cannot bring himself to even approach the line and consider the two factions becoming one group. They question his faith, the way he’s done things since even before the walkers came into existence. For someone living on the edge, that is as dangerous as approaching a zombie unarmed. In Hershel’s world it is his way or go away. No one is allowed to question him.
In the face-off between Dale and Shane we see glimpses of the same ruthless attempt to cling to control from both of the men. Unfortunately Dale isn’t a fighter. He will protect. He will give sage advice and be there if you need someone to unload all of your issues on, but he isn’t a trigger man. He tries to stand up for what he believes is the right thing and is cowed by Shane’s overwhelming presence. Does he see logic in the way Shane is handling things? Probably not. Dale isn’t a fool, though. He knows the kind of man Shane is. He also knows he can rely on that cold inner core Shane possesses to get things done, even if it scares the heck out of him.
Someone I thought would always keep that cold core is Daryl. This season has turned my perception of the mighty squirrel hunter on ear. He’s deep. Emotional. Caring. And completely clueless on how to make any sort of relationship with others work. Each time he opens up, he instantly shuts down and reverts to the “old” Daryl. Carol is the only person to consistently see into his heart, but not even she is safe from the out lash of self-loathing Daryl dives in to. He constantly slips back into the mindset likely formed by his lack of a real family unit. Why love yourself when no one else seems to give a damn? Carol cares and makes it very clear he can’t push her away. Will this tentative step towards an actual connection with another person (one not a figment of his imagination) lead to something more?
[Caution: spoilers below. If you have not watched the episode yet, walk away.]
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the final scene of the episode. Everything in the last six episodes came to a boiling point. Shane gave all of that anger, frustration, and lack of forward movement a voice. A very loud voice. I may not be on Team Shane, but he did what he thought he had to do to keep the family he wishes were his safe. Could he have gone about it better? Totally. It still had to be taken care of. How many more walkers would the barn have held? Did Hershel honestly think he could keep going for god knows how long simply shoving the undead away under a metaphorical rug? Eventually the rug gets so lumpy you trip and crack your head open. I think Hershel would have gone on until he himself became infected. He was so set in his idea that the zombies are still living that he couldn’t see the danger staring at him.
Even with Shane being the voice of the turmoil on the farm, it ended up being Rick who took care of the most difficult part of the entire season thus far. My own frustration came to a head when Sophia emerged from the barn. They’ve been searching so hard for so long and she’d been maybe a hundred yards away the whole time. When I sat to think about the episode, I had to wonder if Hershel realized that one of the walkers he’d captured was the little girl they were all looking for. Were his protests to leave the barn alone multifaceted? We know he thought he was keeping his “sick” family safe, but had he been hiding the truth of Sophia’s condition as well?
For as many questions as the mid-season finale (finally) answered, it posed a ton of others. Will Rick move his crew off the farm? Can Hershel look past his faith to see the world for how it really is? What will Maggie and Glenn do? I could go on and on with the questions rattling around my head. Which I probably will considering it is a very long wait until February when the second half of The Walking Dead season 2 kicks off.
This week The Walking Dead seemed to be missing something. They covered a lot of ground as far as addressing each characters plot arc but there was a key something missing. Oh, I know. Action.
Don’t mistake, I do enjoy watching our survivors grow and evolve to adjust to the harsh reality of the zombie apocalypse. That being said, it is a zombie apocalypse. They are fighting every day to survive. We were spoiled by the fast pace of the first season. The writers couldn’t take an entire episode to tie up all of their loose plot strings before the mid-season finale. That’s what they did here, gave us what I refer to as a “catch up” episode to put the ducks in a row in prep for next week, which from the previews promises the action we missed this week and then some. I hope.
We finally get to see Carl back on his feet this week. Right away it is painfully obvious that being shot has affected how he views the world. Carl is beginning to mature faster than we, with our modern sensibilities, think he should. But there is nothing Lori and Rick can do to stop this natural progression. He is old enough to realize their dire situation and wants to help protect the people he loves. Carl probably sees the world with truer eyes than anyone else when he tells his mother about the missing chicken, “Maybe she got eaten. Everything’s food for something else.” That’s the reality they live in. Some of the survivors simply refuse to see it.
That friggen barn is going to give me fits. Hershel’s ideals surrounding the occupants of the barn seem utterly ridiculous when put in contrast to what we’ve seen our band of nomads go through in and around Atlanta. We know these creatures are dead. We know that the synapses, those electric keys to what makes a human a human, aren’t working. All of this was covered for Rick’s crew at the CDC. There is no cure. These people aren’t sick. They are dead. Again, you can see Hershel’s faith coming in to play. He can’t kill the people he knows and loves. The guilt of putting them down would shatter the last marble he’s got rattling around in his stubborn brain. So instead of doing what we deem humane, he keeps zombie pets. To him it is the right thing because the Bible tells him not to kill. But what does the Good Book teach us about survival? Self defense? Turn the other cheek with a zombie and you’ll get a hole in your face.
Turning a blind eye to other situations can land you in the same sort of hot water, only this time the scars are emotional. Lori tries everything she can to avoid telling Rick about her pregnancy. She talks herself in endless circles about the future and what it could hold for her family. Admittedly, what set her off was the near-death of her son, Carl. As a mother I hope to never, ever be in a similar situation. Watching Lori go through it was bad enough. But… are her fears grounded? She says, “Memories are what keep me going”, then goes on to predict her unborn child’s future of nothing but pain and an early death. Life is what you make of it. If they leave the farm, they have months to find a new home base and settle in before the baby comes. There are plenty of areas similar to Hershel’s farm, in close proximity to cities with supplies, which they could move into. One has to wonder if she is worrying about her baby or what will happen if Rick entertains the idea that the baby isn’t his. She’d lose her hero, her husband, and the only one she can actually trust to keep her and Carl safe.
Dragged into the middle of Lori’s crisis is poor Glenn. He is trying, he really is, but still has a long way to go to be the hero he wants to become. The first step? Learn how to lie better. I’d play poker against Glenn any day. That lack of being able to hide the ugly truth is, unfortunately, a key tool of a leader. Sometimes you need to keep things from others to keep them calm and manageable. Rick does this often to give his crew the sense of stability they need while recovering from injuries. What Glenn isn’t lacking, though, is nerve. When the one person he really sees as his to protect is in danger, he went all Rambo. I would like to remind everyone that severing the spine does not kill a walker. Headshots, guys. Glenn nearly forgot, but it did make for an interesting zombie effect. After his hero moment, Maggie finally acknowledges what is inside his heart. She also sees how, in his effort to become more, to rise in the pack structure, Glenn could get himself good and dead.
If you paid attention to this episode, you will notice that there is one character with his nose in everything. The writers have taken Dale’s position as the “wise old man” a tad too far. We already knew that not much escapes his attention. Dale isn’t out in the woods, cut off from the core of the action. No, he stays perched on top on the RV simply watching. But it really bugs me that they felt in order to tie up all of these story lines they needed to use Dale so blatantly. He’s there when Carl expresses his desire to grow up more. Dale is the one to confront Hershel about the barn’s occupants. Heck, he even tries to help Lori about her baby issues. And the topper, Dale goes nose to nose with Shane about his erratic behavior after Otis’s death. There are other, less obvious ways to wrap things up for the mid-season finale. We didn’t need Dale to narrate it for us. He’s far too good a character to use like that.
Next week is the last episode we’ll get in 2011. There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Is Sophia still alive? Will Lori abort the pregnancy after all? Is Shane finally at the end of his rope? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Saturday morning found ZSC Command members gathered round the resort’s Starbucks in search of coffee cups big enough to hold the amount of caffeine we all needed before the Con doors flew open.
And when the doors opened – it sparked a 10-hour onslaught of zombies, demons, bloody priests and people with chainsaws where their hands should have been.
The Walking Dead and Boondock Saints casts were in front of us, Night of the Living Dead to our right, with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Anthony Michael Hall behind us.
Rocco came over to work the Zombie Survival Crew table and lend some extra Command support. Rocco’s move brought Blue Brigade Commander Norman over for a bit. Norman jumped right in and completed a few ZSC Command missions, and got so enthusiastic about it we had to physically stop him at one point.
The Command support of his two Boondock Saints cohorts drew Sean’s attention as well – though it later became apparent Sean has a different take on what ZSC Command structure should ultimately look like. It’s a disconnect I thought we had settled out after the Albuquerque Comicon – but he and I are trying to work it out. Or rather, I’m running from, hoping Sean won’t go jujitsu on me!
Norman, Greg Nicotero, Jon, Steve, Anthony and the rest of The Walking Dead took off mid-afternoon for their panel which many fans later picked as one of the highlights of the weekend. Nicotero thrilled the fans with information about effects and the magic he and his team work on The Walking Dead zombies.
While the gang was gone Lisa and I took the opportunity to scarf down the chicken ZSC loyalist Leigh-Anne procured for lunch, and found ourselves embroiled in impromptu Command strategy sessions with Anthony Michael Hall, Ted Raimi and Michael Kenworthy.
Within an hour all three gentlemen convinced me they were valuable assets to ZSC Command – and I enthusiastically issued rank assignments on the spot.
As the sun began to set, the Con wound down and the after events ramped up. Leigh-Anne volunteered to act as scout and went ahead to scope the VIP party crowd for potential UGA attackers. She immediately felt the eyes of surveillance upon her, but communicated the belief it was safe for Command to enter – as long as we were careful to avoid predator drone attacks.
Norman, Sean, Rocco and Anthony held their own, and ultimately it was Leigh-Anne – our brave volunteer – who suffered the first real loss of the evening when a UGA agent managed to procure her room key. As volunteer keeper of the Communication network she would be repeatedly targeted throughout the evening. We have yet to discern the “why” behind these assaults but can only assume it is an attempt by the UGA to remove Command’s support systems.
We bobbed, weaved and shimmied – and unlike the previous night it was because of the rockin’ music at the poolside party. We even managed to eat at a relatively decent hour. I just wish I could report we actually went to bed at a decent hour. Oh, don’t worry. We all paid the price…
My alarm might as well have had laryngitis for all the good its squeaking did in terms of waking up the living dead (me) that occupied my room Sunday morning. A text message on the other hand seems to have miraculous regenerative powers. Just sayin’.
The call to Anthony and Lisa – to see if they were still among the living – turned into an exchange of moans and groans any zombie would envy. Pretty sure none of us understood what any of the others were saying.
I didn’t quite realize how bad things were until I turned on the light in the bathroom. And I’ll be honest. I screamed. Puffy swollen eyes. Blotchy skin. A general green tone to the skin. For a few heart-pounding moments I feared the UGA had somehow unleashed another assault and infected me. But no. I was thinking, so I couldn’t be a zombie. I think, therefore I am, right?
Phew. Disaster avoided.
Sunday was a blur of monster assaults and UGA probes that seemed to be occurring within a live-action role play of a Marx Brothers routine.
As I attempted to decode an early morning email from Anthony Michael Hall, and Lisa helped Anthony try out a coffin, Leigh-Anne volunteered for a desert mission under extreme conditions. I couldn’t quite believe she still had enough left in the tank to take on a mission of mercy to resupply ZSC command – but she did, and reported back with biscuit sandwiches and coffee.
It was around this time that I ended up with Anthony Michael Hall’s bank card. The scenario that led me to be guarding the card reminded me of an old Danny Kaye movie scene from The Court Jester where he’s trying to remember this tongue-twister: The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true… What? Oh forget it, don’t ask.
On a mission to get something from the ZSC Command vehicle, I opened loading docks doors only to find myself nearly tackled by one Jon Bernthal, who had apparently managed to get stuck outside under the burning Florida sun for some time. Jon did better than Norman, Rocco and I when we all ended up in the Sahara ourselves a little while later.
When Michael Kenworthy decided to don his new ZSC Command tshirt, he changed mid-room without thinking it through – and ended up with people throwing dollars at him. To say he blushed when he realized his mistake would be the understatement of the decade.
Steve played a quick game of ball with The Walking Dead cast mates Chandler Riggs, Adrian Kali Turner and Addy Miller that involved a ninja strike from Norman before he had to take off for his next mission.
As a result of events at Spooky Empire, Zombie Survival Crew, we now have a new standard operating procedure for all future Cons. ZSC cadres are requested to check in with Command as early as possible to set parameters for Command protection and integrity for the duration of the event.
Let me tell you why….
It was apparent pretty early on that Spooky Empire May-Hem was going to live up to its name.
My eventually successful attempt to retrieve Light Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo and his mother Lisa from the airport involved about 35 minutes of driving around in circles – which, I have to say is vastly less exhausting than running around in circles, but still kind of crazy. Shortly after we got to the resort, Lisa crashed in my room. Within minutes? Anthony crashed. Shortly thereafter yours truly was dreaming about sugar plum fairies.
When we awoke – now hopelessly late for set up and early meetings – we immediately discussed the possibility that the Unnamed Government Agency had somehow infiltrated the event and put us all out for reasons we probably wouldn’t want to guess.
Set up involved a crazy mad dash into the celebrity signing room where we would spend the weekend recruiting new members as personalities from The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints, Night of the Living Dead and Evil Dead thrilled the fans.
ZSC loyalist @buttrscotchboom (a.k.a. Leigh-Anne) showed up shortly after the event opened and adopted a defensive position to assist Command. And she got there just in time – as I was soon to fall victim to a gruesome attack by Bill Hinzman, better known as Zombie #1 from George Romero’s masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. I did manage to escape with an assist from Leigh-Anne and Lisa only to discover that Anthony was passed out on the ZSC table. We revived him – debriefed around the assault that left him incapacitated – and proceeded to scour the room for potential UGA moles.
By the time Norman arrived on the scene we were in full defensive deployment mode. We – with our allies from the Dixon’s Vixens – informed Blue Brigade Commander of the multiple attempted attacks just as a predator drone strike took aim at Norman. He was able to escape but inadvertently left Rocco in the line of fire. We bobbed. We weaved. We even retreated at one point to try and regroup. The UGA was relentless. I left Rocco and Anthony with armed guards Leigh-Anne and Lisa and ventured – at 3 a.m. – to find us some food to keep up our strength.
The food resupply was just what we needed to help us strategize – we crafted code words, evac plans and communications to aid us in predator evasion and keeping Command intact for the weekend.
With that, we were ready to face the hordes. Or so we thought ….
It has come to our attention that there is a commonality to The Walking Dead cast made up humor, intelligence and just plain chutzpah.
Every time the Zombie Survival Crew reaches out to take on a cast member (think IronE Singleton, think Anthony Guajardo) we seem to get just a little bit more than we bargained for.
Steven Yeun is no exception!
Steven – from all of us on the #zombiesurvivalcrew – THANK YOU for doing this, for taking the crew’s craziest questions and putting them back with panache! You will forever have an honorary spot on Command’s rapid response team!
Given the experiences of his cast-mates IronE Singleton and Anthony Guajardo – we would argue Steve Yeun is now undertaking the ultimate act of zombie-preparedness by agreeing to take on Zombie Survival Crew.
You have until midnight, EST time on Monday, January 10 to ask your questions.
ZSC Command will select the top 10 most original, intriguing questions for Steve to answer.
Steve – from all of us on the #zombiesurvivalcrew – THANK YOU for doing this! We appreciate your willingness to engage with the fans like this! If you survive, you will have an honorary spot on Command’s rapid response team!
A few ground rules:
You can ask all you want, but Steve’s a busy guy (and so are we) so let’s keep it concise please!
There are certain things he can’t reveal, so if you ask about Season 2 or future plans he may not be able to give a full answer.
Keep it clean and respectful! We will toss any questions we find offensive or vulgar.
You can ask your question here in the comment section or via email at zombiesurvivalcrew (at) gmail (dot) com.