A. Zombie Reviews . . . Dead Set Episodes 1 & 2 By A. Zombie
I’ll tell you right now, two episodes into Dead Set and I still have nothing emotionally invested in the show’s contestants. That’s not to say I haven’t found someone to root for during the end days—Kelly steals every scene she’s in, vastly improving what could have been five episodes of uninspiring reality stars wandering around until they were eaten.
I’d totally cheer if they were all eaten. I might even wave pompoms.
The show opens with a typical afternoon leading up to another eviction from the BB house, as dictated by fan votes. The household prepares, some touching up their nails, others banging out their nerves behind closed doors. In the production office, Kelly delivers an endless stream of coffee to the crew. The producer, Patrick, demonstrates what a skuzzball he really is while cutting together highlight reels for the event and barking orders at his frazzled staff. Nothing is amiss until we catch snippets from news reports—strange deaths, attacks on police, etc. The reports grow in severity, leading Patrick to worry his precious eviction episode will be preempted in favor of a news bulletin. God forbid.
Eventually, the chaos reaches the remote location for the BB house and production office. The first zombie to arrive is a company driver—injured and brought to the studio by a production assistant who was sent with him to fetch a guest for the show. From there, the infection spreads through the gathered BB fans. By the time the evicted housemate, Pippa, makes it to the interview room, most of the crowd has turned. It takes mere minutes for the undead to overrun the offices.
The housemates hear the screams and think Pippa is a smash hit with the crowd. They crack open a few bottles, a few drinks to celebrate surviving to see another eviction night.
Little do they know, they’re probably the only ones celebrating in the UK.
The real story isn’t the housemates or their skeezy producer. Kelly provides the heartbeat, and common sense, for the show. While her love life is a feature in the beginning, it’s a non-issue by the time the second episode rolls out. There are a few amazing solo scenes with Kelly doing whatever it takes to survive. It’s not until she takes refuge in the BB house with the remaining cast that we realize she’s the entire braintrust. Where they are keen to believe for as long as possible that the weird things going on are staged, she’s ready to beat anyone to death who so much as looks undead. She’s also the only one with a plan to get medical supplies when a housemate is bitten.
The zombies themselves are minimally made-up, background creatures relying on pale faces, a few wounds, and blood to convey the undead message. We see a few hero zombies with better makeup, mostly in the second episode. There’s great detail in the close-up gore shots, though they’re so shaky, it’s like a toddler was thrown into the fight scenes with a Go Pro strapped to their head. These are also some seriously fast undead. It raises the stakes drastically when the living cannot outrun the dead. Something missing from other shows relying on compelling characters to drive the plot. Who needs to relate to the characters? Just give us zombie action.
While I’m enjoying Kelly’s story, and it’s the only reason I’ll watch the three remaining episodes, this would be much more entertaining with a better-written cast behind her. Patrick is a toad, utterly disgusting and should’ve died in the initial murders. The housemates barely have a brain cell between them. It makes their scenes difficult to endure to get to the actual story. Hopefully with Kelly breaking the barrier between the BB production team and the housemates, it’ll make their scenes bearable.
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.
The 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.
Reg, 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.
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.
I’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.
When 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.
The Asylum stepped into some large footprints when they opted to take a zombie film and set it in a Jurassic Park situation. They went for broke, too, holding nothing back when it came to zombie gags, perfectly placed irony, and an attempt to tell a coherent story through most of the film. It really held in there until they’d killed off so many characters, the hero, Ellen, basically had to say, “Forget everyone, I’ll do it myself.” Which still fits the theme laid out in just about every dino-flick when women finally have enough dying and get things done. There’s the usual parallels—mocking the infamous t-rex chase with infected lions, one character ditching the others and running, children coping way better than adults about man-eating animals, etc.—which make the film tolerable. The plot is simple, characters are just deep enough to provide tension, and the sense of funny-wrong doesn’t miss the mark. While there are times where plot points are dragged out for too long, it’s not so bad it bogs down the 90-minute format.
The easiest way to get to know characters where all your effort on a film is spent figuring the logistics of zombie apes is to trap them in vehicles throughout the three acts to do info dumps. It isn’t ideal, but for films like this, it isn’t about the characters so much as putting characters in outlandish situations to see if stereotype personalities will make it out alive. This movie has an okay mix of decent characters and some which needed serious reconfiguring just so fans don’t spitefully throw a beer at the screen when they finally shut up and die. Even Ellen, who we are supposed to like in the end, has character traits which can just stop happening in everything always forevermore, especially her need to repeat how much she feels she’s failing a dead guy. Family obligation isn’t the only reason a wealthy woman would show remorse for So Many Dead People.
The other main characters are the zombie animals. As with all Asylum features, don’t place your bets on being blown away by the computer graphics. There’s a few great shots featuring the lead gorilla character, reaction shots for smaller zombie monkeys, but for the most part the undead characters are blurry and laughable. When the zombie giraffes stepped on screen, I gave up and laughed through the entire thing. It’d take Marvel-sized budgeting to fully render the amount of shots needed to make the zombies work. When it came to fight scenes, they made it even simpler. The actors clutched wadded faux fur for the small animal attacks, and batted away a hand puppet for the terrifying zombie giraffe scenes. The humans who are attacked get slightly better zombie treatment. My favorite gag involves the nesting instincts of a bald eagle. You’ll know when you see it.
Zoombies gets three gnawed cow hooves out of five. It’s a decent Saturday night drink-and-watch with friends.
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.
We 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.
Call me crazy—most people do, anyway—but I was under the impression most television shows currently on the air wanted viewers to connect with and actually like the main character. If Bailey Barker’s brain is as close to pre-z Liv, it’s a wonder they based a show around her at all.
At her core, the Liv we find somewhat plucky and charming at times should be interesting beyond her profession. I have no doubt if allowed to live her life, Liv would’ve gone on to become an extremely competent doctor. She’d probably stick to the ER though because her bedside manner is like being comforted by a decade–old dead guy. I could never imagine hyper-focused Liv with a private practice. Yes, they dragged out the “She’s missing Drake,” tidbit yet again to drive home the idea that she can’t cope as a functional kinda-human without her beau by her side. But while she’s at it, can she come over to clean the command center?
With Ravi in on the truth behind the Chaos Killer’s identity—thanks to sleuthing far better than the pros, by the way—he’s on board to help Major figure out how to stay alive. There may never be full trust between any of these people when all these secrets hit the fan. So what’s one more? Major insists Liv remain on the outside. At least until their mad scheme is complete. The guys need to figure out how to cure the memory side effect from Cure 2.0. Unfortunately the lab rats can’t talk. In a streak of utter brilliance, Major offers up the pain in his backside to play guinea pig. The Chaos Killer has one last victim on his list. Vaughn Du Clark is slated to become a zombie, then get cured, memory wiped, and cured from the side effect. For a hair-brained plan, it’s not half bad. Too bad Major is an idiot who must secretly hate dogs. The pet groomer he conned a few episodes back leads Bozzio straight to Major as he’s in the middle of nabbing VDC. I’ve seen karma work wonders on television before, but Major’s circled back tenfold to kick him in the junk while he’s down.
What does this mean for Blaine? The guy still has no clue what’s going on. Don E. and Chief set themselves up to run the Lucky U and brain businesses, leaving the funeral home for Blaine to run. He knows there’s something not right, though. Blaine takes a trip to the police station to find Ravi in the morgue since he’s the only doctor he knows. Clive and Bozzio don’t buy the memory act. Neither does Peyton when she confronts him about killing her case against Boss. There’s some astounding acting during the scene where Ravi lays it all out for Blaine, all the grim details he has about the guy’s past. Bonus laugh, Major is so zen on coffee shop owner brains, he has the clarity to pity Blaine instead of just trying to kill him for ruining their lives.
I was hesitant to see if they could pull all the plot threads together for the season finale. There are some things which just slip past—Liv’s MIA family, Ravi’s ability to forgive so quickly, Peyton showing up just to nag or use people, etc.—and we take them just to get to the point. I’m way more invested in Blaine’s story line than Liv’s with Drake. Even Major’s story line is more entertaining, though it should have resolved before now to make it believable that these people managed to miss his involvement with the whackadoo company owner. The random dirty cop story line with Benedetto featured in the episode even begins to make sense in the grand scheme—one of the detective’s great catches is a Lucky U dealer who won’t talk because he, “works for zombies.”
Another LU dealer is the murderer in the episode. He’s killed by Chief, undoubtedly leaving evidence which will lead back to the funeral home. I would applaud the writing skill it took to get this all to work, but I can’t until Liv gets an actual personality. Gotta have standards.
Surprise! Spoilers! It’s the only surprise we’re discussing this week.
Once we were all done scratching our head over Nick’s game of tag with an infected man, the show ran a course so predictable, I could not make myself focus on the screen. This is insane. Why can’t the show manage to start interesting and stay there? Not only that, but I keep catching their attempts to play games with viewers. “Oh, we teased Jack and the Never-Competent Pirates in 201, we better let them lay low until 204. That’ll really shock the audience!” Yeah, no. The arrival of Jack and the others—who are so inconsequential, they don’t get proper credits online so I cannot confirm their names without rewatching the entire episode and I’m so not mentally prepared to do that, it’s akin to torture—was about as exciting as I’d thought it’d be. They cook up a ruse to get onto the yacht using the pregnant woman’s condition to their advantage. Once Madison sets her eyes on the distressed woman, it’s all over. Strand is the only person to freak out appropriately, but he can’t arm himself because Daniel stripped the magazine from his gun. Now we know why all the paranoia last episode. They needed Daniel to be the one to do the dumb thing and salvage the most boring pirate invasion I’ve seen on television to date.
The pirates climb onboard, point a gun, and have run of the ship. Chris even asks, “Do I shoot them,” at one point, like they haven’t been actively trying to dodge these pirates for three episodes. Did they magically forget the threat which had been on their backside not that long ago? Even a warning shot would have proven the group we’re watching has some chance to make it for the long run. If they can’t? Why the hell are we still following them? Why torment viewers with boring characters if the endgame means they die?
With the pirates onboard and Strand without a weapon, he bails. Takes a raft and scurries like a rat off a sinking ship. He’s shot at, popping the raft. Really, Strand’s escape attempt is to take him from the main story and force flashbacks on the show—like the endless flashbacks on TWD season six weren’t bad enough, now this show’s caught the way-back virus. I’m all for character development, but everything we learn from Strand’s flashbacks could have been handled within the plot timeline. There’s no reason to detail his business plans. We already know he’s shady enough to rob someone. The only new information is his homosexuality, again something they could have included later in the season as an actual surprise. Instead they try to salvage his character from Stereotype Land by info-dumping his background and sexuality in unnecessary flashbacks. While they did attempt to drag out the Big Gay Surprise until the episode’s ends, I knew right away what would happen when Thomas touched Strand’s tie in their first scene together. For those with their head in the sand, it’s a thing. They’re a couple. Men on television do not do casual tie-grabs and hand-holding, let alone kissing. Again, this show can diversify itself to oblivion, but cannot weave these characters into a cohesive story with true depth.
During the pirate raid, Travis farts around pretending he can’t start the yacht. That’s pretty much the plot for the episode. The side plots are Strand’s flashbacks and Alicia negotiating her family’s survival with Jack. Everyone else is tied up and left in the main cabin to bicker or plot escape attempts they never actually see through. There’s no actual action until Connor, the pirate leader, arrives. He sees use in Alicia and Travis, so bags their heads and drags them to his speed boat. Connor isn’t as lame as the other pirate characters. He has morals. But it may be an illusion of a coherent character. He may just be a walking bag of morals. Time will tell.
On shore, Nick’s bizarre game of tag turns into a quest to find a location Strand sent him to. Nick meets with Luis, Thomas’ assistant, who is supposed to lead Strand to the house in Baja. Luis has no clue about the others on the yacht or the plan to take them to Mexico. But because Nick says Strand sent him, Luis grabs a raft and off they go to get the others. They arrive just in time to kill the remaining pirates Connor left. Madison manages to do one thing—stab the man who did all the talking before his boss arrived. The gang is stuck there on the yacht until Luis knows Strand is safe. They’re only getting to Mexico with him. Time to turn around and find the man left for dead. Oh, look, he’s still alive. Hooray. What about Travis and Alicia? They can’t even make a supply run on an empty beach without nearly dying, how are they supposed to attack armed pirates?
I don’t know how they expect fans to hang around for two more episodes, let alone stick out the entire fifteen-episode second season and the already-purchased sixteen-episode third season. There’s nothing exciting. Scenes which should hold our interest fizzle into predictable messes or are so incomprehensible, they frustrate viewers. I keep waiting to be wowed. I want to be wowed.
Pretty sure this is going to end in disappointment again.
Okay, they’re at least tying everything together so it feels somewhat like one show and not two separate things where some people do police work while others flounce around being two-dimensional stereotypes. Don’t expect much from Liv. They dosed her with another hyper-paranoid woman’s brain—this time a brilliant scientist. They give Liv the brain of a woman three times smarter than her and she still ends up obsessed with the whereabouts of her boyfriend instead of focusing on something like, oh, actually staying in the lab to help Ravi figure out a cure so Major and Blaine don’t die from the serum she supplied. Then, she uses her intelligence to break into Max Rager, pry into the goings-on in their testing facilities, and is caught after Rita watches her walk into an elevator. This isn’t Metropolis. One cannot style their hair differently, don glasses, and expect anyone with half a brain cell not to recognize them. Liv has done some dumb things, but walking into Max Rager knowing full well they may have had a hand in killing her lunch—Elinor Cash, a research scientist burned alive—is the worst idea yet. She’s lucky Du Clark’s Super Max-induced insanity was in check long enough for him to let her walk out the door with nothing more than threats over her head instead of a bullet through it.
While Liv does the things Clive told her not to, he’s busy scratching his head alongside Bozzio. See, they found Blaine’s pop’s cabin. Lo and behold, more brains found in connection to the Meat Cute fiasco. This prompts a friendly argument about what kind of brains they keep finding. The report Liv doctored is exposed when the FBI lab tech says the brain Clive had tested before wasn’t bovine. Oops. Clive’s shuffling closer to the undead truth. For a detective, it sure takes him a long time to figure out things right under his nose. For instance, how did he miss the fact that the main suspect in the Cash murder, who should be horrifically scarred despite claims of plastic surgery, has an identical twin sister? The twin’s flawless appearance should’ve set off huge warning bells. Instead he took a pretty girl at her word up until he finally has to do police work in order to wrap up the episode.
Blaine isn’t having a good week. He’s killed. Revives as a zombie . . . again. Then is forced to take public transportation to the morgue in order to beg for a bite and pants to cover his dignity. Not only that, but the cures Ravi cooked up keep failing and Blaine’s sporting a cough which would make consumption envious. His time may be up. Where does that leave his zombie clients? It’s a very real fear Liv and Ravi drive home repeatedly once they realize Blaine may very well just keel over one day if they can’t find a stabilized cure. The nerdy brain Liv and Blaine eat helps Ravi to an extent and he produces something which may work. Desperate, Blaine makes final arrangements for himself, including passing control of the brain biz to Don E. and Chief should he kick the bucket, before taking the cure which may or may not work. Mortality humanized Blaine, even when in his ideal state of undead. Before, he was undead without a care about the future. Now he knows this is not the key to immortality. It’s a great bit of character development to see Blaine actually care about the void he’d leave.
Major may be doing his last dirty job for Blaine if the zombie’s Hail Mary doesn’t work. Drake is the newest name pulled from the Max Rager list which complicates Blaine’s life. The double agent may be exposed at any time. It’s a hazard Blaine can’t leave with his fate in the balance, so off Drake goes to the freezer. Major is almost caught making the grab. Liv is waiting yards away inside a cheesy pirate restaurant to confront Drake about his connection to Boss and his drug trade. It’s a talk they never get to have. Funny how when Liv makes an idiot of herself by snooping, she never gets to resolve her feelings in a healthy manner.
I’m not sure where things are heading. Clive surely will make the zombie discovery soon. Liv may even find out Major is the serial abductor. Who knows? There’s so many threads in this plot, I’m not sure they can shove resolutions for everything in before the season ends. They have four episodes to make it happen.
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.
What’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
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.
So 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.
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.
How 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.
So 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.
We 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.