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.
Rated: R (Strong language, graphic violence, and gore) Starring: Vegar Hoel, Ørjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn De Boer Synopsis: If the worst day of your life consisted of accidentally killing your girlfriend with an axe, chain-sawing your own arm off, and watching in horror as your closest friends were devoured by a zombified Nazi battalion, you’d have to assume that things couldn’t get much worse. In Martin’s case, that was only the beginning. [Official Synopsis]
Most of the film is Martin sprinting here and there to save everyone’s bacon with his accidental zombie mojo. He’s joined by the Zombie Squad and a random guy he reanimated who dies in several horrific ways, only to revive again. They eventually figure out that in order to defeat the Nazis, they must fight fire with fire and revive some Russian soldiers. Sure. That makes sense. Whatever, Martin needs an army and there happens to be a frozen one not far away.
There’s a load of fighting in the film. Fear not, those who want blood and gore. All the fake blood in Europe went into the numerous full-scale fight scenes and many more skirmishes. What I love about the filmmakers? They didn’t avoid daylight. The fighting pretty much all takes place out in a brightly lit field.
All that light means the makeup must be on point. They did not disappoint. A few designs didn’t stand up to the harsh glare—looking at you, Russian dudes. But the tried-and-true Nazi zombies were brilliantly detailed, along with the mundane zombies turned along the way. The death gags were insane. So many were wrong to the point I couldn’t stop laughing. This is how you add laugh beats to violence. Just silly, unexpected intestine humor to bring up the mood before more blood flies.
The local cop side story bogged things down a little. For the most part, they’re slap-stick comedic relief. It’s like the streams crossed somewhere and a story line from Hot Fuzz came over to screw with the timing. They did have a few good laugh lines.
Overall, I’m giving Dead Snow: Red vs Dead four bars of Nazi gold out of five. This series continues to amuse me while never failing to stun visually. It’s something to show your friends which won’t make them groan and walk from the room.
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.
During week two of our series, we take a moment to peek in on Emma Bell and Laurie Holden, the women who brought us the sibling bond most hope they’ll have during the apocalypse. But with, you know, way more time together and less things trying to kill you.
Amy Harrison didn’t last long on TWD. Her death sets off a world of hurt for her sister, Andrea. They were pretty balanced together. Without Amy’s light, Andrea walked murky paths which inevitably lead to her demise as well.
After leaving Amy behind, Emma Bell appeared in Final Destination 5, and guest starred on several shows, including The CW’S Arrow. She went on to star in a few short films, the TV film Midnight Sun, and a couple indie movies. When TNT brought the revival of Dallas back for a second season, Emma came on board to play Emma Brown. A role she held through the show’s third and final season. Emma stars opposite Cynthia Nixon as the young version of Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion. Dating in the social media age isn’t a snap, as the characters on the go90 original show Relationship Status discover. Emma played Claire on the show, which also stars Shawn Ashmore and Molly Burnett. Earlier in June, Emma announced via Twitter that she guest starred on an episode of Rizzoli and Isles during the drama’s final season. Taking to Instagram, she’s given a couple behind-the-scene peeks as she directs the short Scratch.
As Andrea Harrison, Laurie Holden lasted a little while longer in the apocalypse than her on-screen sibling. Unfortunately, Andrea left the TWD world during the season three finale. In a striking change of pace, Laurie’s next role came in Dumb and Dumber To opposite Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. She went on to guest star on prime time dramas Major Crimes and Chicago Fire. Stepping behind the camera, Laurie produced The Time of Their Lives and Honeytrap. The Abolitionists documents OURrescue.org and their teams as they liberate enslaved children around the world. Laurie is a vocal human rights activist and steps in to help rescue trafficking victims in the film.
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.
How does one figure out which Ash is which? Let them babble long enough for you to recognize just why the real one annoys you so much. It works well for Kelly and Pablo. Once they take out BadAsh, the gang is forced to divide and conquer. Ash stays inside to dispose of the bodies before they turn deadite. Pablo and Kelly head outside to stop Brad, Heather, and Brad’s wife from discovering the grisly scene in the cabin. Matter of fact, they’re so willing to keep these hikers from becoming deadite fodder, the duo offer to escort them to the road.
Just one hitch in the plan. When Ash finishes disposing of his doppelganger, and having a chat with the Necronomicon, Amanda’s body is missing. Not for long. DeadAmanda stops the fleeing hikers. Not to be rude, she even performs a puppet show for them. Unfortunately, she is fresh out of puppets, so Brad and his wife have a little room made in their heads to accommodate DeadAmanda’s hands for the performance. What’s the play? Oh, just a little comedy starring Kelly and Pablo, highlighting how pathetic they are. DeadAmanda pins the duo with the corpses, leaving Heather to fend for herself. The woman wisely runs. She makes it pretty far before being caught, toyed with, and thrown into a tree where she suffers a compound fracture. Pablo tries to save Heather. Tries.
Suddenly from the trees, Ruby to the rescue! DeadAmanda doesn’t hang around long for the fight. The second Ruby’s guard is down, the deadite books it. There’s a nice bit where Ruby rants about Ash and his oafish ways with the Necronomicon while dismembering Heather’s friends so they don’t come back. It’s a classic gross-out splatstick gag.
We finally get to see Ash and Ruby together. Though at this point in the game, I’m still not sure which one to trust with the future of mankind. Ash thinks with his junk and accidentally unleashed evil on middle America. Ruby, on the other hand, is a mysterious badass fighter who came out of nowhere, but seems to know a lot about how to fight evil. She could even be a competent ally in disposing of the book.
Ruby convinces Ash the key to destroying the Necronomicon involves defacing—literally—the book with her super special dagger before burying it. At no point during this whole ritual does Ash stop and listen to Ruby’s word choice. It’s not until she’s reading from the book and hell starts creeping closer to the cabin that he thinks to take the book back from her. Damage done, dude. The Necronomicon’s loose face launches at Pablo, wrapping around his face like a mask. What can they do? Does Ruby actually know what she’s doing? Duh? She wrote the thing.
Ruby being the Necronomicon’s creator is a pretty awesome twist to what little folklore was ever explored for the book. Too bad we learn this right before the season finale. Thank goodness we know season two is on the way. Maybe they’ll expand on Ruby and her connection to the Necronomicon. Then again, it could be a finale where Ash kills everyone. Who knows with this show.
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.
Those adventures brought up an arm-long question list from fans. This return to the source should’ve answered a few questions, right? It really only answered one: What kind of dagger is it Ruby keeps so well hidden? Amanda accidentally finds the answer in a journal inside the cabin; the dagger can melt the binding on the Necronomicon. But as far as Ruby’s true identity, her connection to evil, or anything truly in depth about what they’re facing? Nope. Nada. Zilch. We get heavy-handed callbacks to Evil Dead, some poorly executed, and a death we all saw coming since episode 103. I said in my last review that the formula was killing the fun, well . . . . It’s dead, Jim.
The glorious parallels to the film franchise were few and far between, but at least they started it off right. We catch up with Ash walking in the woods, communing with undead birds. Then, the cabin appears. The porch swing bangs against the wall—thump, thump, thump, thump, stop. My shriveled heart actually beat when Ash hit the porch. But from there on out, each reference fizzles or only manages to illicit a, “Huh, I remember that.” They even brought in the dreaded ex-girlfriend scenario. Now, it may be nostalgia coloring my memory, but was Linda always so insufferably obnoxious? I remember she did whine a little, but the actress they brought in to be Linda’s head took whine to professional levels. There is no authenticity in the performance. She phoned in what she parroted, poorly, from the source material. There’s a scene where evil flings things at Ash and steals his technohand, marred by Linda’s incessant whining and fellatio jokes. We get a BadAsh in this episode, for heaven’s sake. That alone should make plotting through Pablo and Kelly’s B-story of nothingness worth it.
BadAsh gets lumped in with the Ashmanda plot. Of course. We see what may be character growth from Ash and it’s his psycho half manipulating the heck out of Amanda by hinting at a happy future between them. How did BadAsh come about? Well when a severed hand and a demon love each other . . . . Basically, the hand grew an Ash. BadAsh has Amanda fooled up until she realizes he’s got a rather funky appendage. They fight. She loses. Of course she does. The boss fight in this whole thing has to be Ash against a deadite woman. Because if fans haven’t figured it out by now, his worst enemies are himself and love. Even in Army of Darkness Ash’s greatest enemy isn’t the skeleton army at the gates, but the possessed woman he once fell for out of the blue and BadAsh. Literally everyone else is in the movie to fight or die in the background; they don’t matter. So why even attempt to get Pablo and Kelly into the episode if they’re doomed to similar fate? Why not make the episode focus on the fights with Linda and Ash, Amanda and BadAsh, and finally Ash vs BadAsh? They planned to leave the final fight on a cliffhanger, anyway. Why not put more focus on what’s obviously the sole goal in the episode?
There’s two episodes left. I’m eagerly awaiting something on this show surprising me.
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.