G’day Folks! We promised a surprise and here it is: Our very first Guest Post!
In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*
Take it away Hillary!
If I have one undying love in this world, it’s zombie flicks. (And puns…) I love the good, the bad, and especially the ugly that the genre has to offer. So you can imagine my total elation when I heard about a television series modeled after the tried and true “brains craving undead creatures overrun the world” model.
What makes The Walking Dead compelling is that films almost never make it more than 24 hours after you wake up to a front yard full of zombies eating your Golden Retriever, Fido. You bash some skulls in, watch your best friend get eaten, and now you and the kids are watching the sunrise on a new day. Congratulations! But how are you gonna feel 9 months from now when your pregnant wife is getting an emergency c-section in the basement of a prison? You’re gonna go bat shit crazy and I say we’ve been deprived of seeing your personal hell for far too long, dammit!
Well for three seasons now, The Walking Dead has been giving me all of that pain and suffering that my generally buried sadistic side has longed for. So here we are for round four! Last season was a total blood bath with Rick and the Governor one upping each other as craziest motherlicker south of the Mason-Dixon so when that full screen Parental Discretion Advised disclaimer comes up, my hopes soar!
We start off in the prison. There’s Rick. There’re zombies. Rick singles one out, and now he’s gonna… plow a field. Then he finds a gun in the dirt, so clearly now he’s gonna… keep plowing the field. This blasé tone is actually pretty much carried through the first quarter of the episode.
We continue to check in with our main players and it turns out life is pretty mellow by post-apocalypse standards. Carol is running what essentially looks like a farmers market/organic restaurant. (Or a soup kitchen; sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference from the outside.) Daryl enters Café Zombé to a Cheers style welcome and even shakes the hand of a kid with Harry Potter glasses. Carol calls him “Pookie” for God’s sake!
(Side note: Everyone keeps referring to some sort of council. That’s right people, Zombieland has a higher functioning government than the United States right now.)
I mean, technically, zombies are dying. But they’re just poking them through the fence with pointy sticks. The tension here is basically equivalent to eradicating a gypsy moth infestation.
This adventure in Zombieland chores does at least serve to introduce a new romantic coupling though. Two of the late season 3 additions, Karen and Tyreese, have bonded over zombie poking and appear to still be in the frisky stage of their relationship. In fact, love is in the air all over the prison. Beth has also found herself a kind of derpy new beaux named Zach. And of course our newly-engaged horndogs, Maggie and Glenn, are horizontal in their beautifully furnished jail cell.
This is where I get my first glimmer of hope that paradise is close to cracking. With all of these lovebirds flying around, you know that at least one of them is getting their wings clipped soon. My one demand is that it not be Tyreese. I have no particular attachment to the character, but the life expectancy of African American men on this show is appalling. And I’m already hoping that awful army man makes a swift exit.
Speaking of awful army man, our fighters are assembling and it’s starting to look like we’re ready to move off the reservation and see some action. But first, a little exposition about our new character: Bob Stookey was a medic in the army in the pre-apocalypse (pro), but has only been in the prison for a week and was found traveling alone (GIANT FREAKING CON, PEOPLE). And with that, our merry men are off to make a supply run.
Our fighters come to a near pristine department store where they had drawn out all the walkers with the 1812 Overture. Those Southern zombies are really holding up the idea of Stars and Stripes for-ev-er. Our super savers all grab shopping carts and split up. Lest we become frustrated with more mundane chores, Stookey’s PTSD stare spots the beer and wine department and he has an internal debate about whether a drink sounds good. During his struggle, Stookey ends up breaking and getting trapped under what is apparently the cheapest shelving unit IKEA has to offer.
This sets off our first real fighter-biter show down of the season! All the commotion has the zombies square dancing on the roof and just like that, BAM. It’s raining walkers, hallelujah! This is The Walking Dead that I know and love. There are skulls sticking to the floor, zombies popping like water balloons on impact, and, my personal favorite, the guy dangling from the ceiling in an intestine climbing harness.
The bullets are flying. Well, actually, only from the men. The women have selected the much more bamf route of hand to hand combat with freaking swords. Show ‘em how it’s done, ladies. I’m also happy to see the return of Daryl’s maaaagical cross bow that never runs out of arrows. The scuffle does, of course, claim one human casualty. In the process of successfully saving Stookey, derpy Zach is taken out by a couple of well placed bites and a conveniently timed falling helicopter. Honestly though, this was a pretty easy one to call. Because Beth’s life sucks. Always.
Now that we’ve gotten a long needed fix of butchery, let’s see what Rick’s been up to all week. To be honest, I was a little ambivalent about Rick’s plot line this week. He was out in the woods gathering trapped animals when he sees a walker going after one of his traps. But instead, HOLY CRAP, it’s the girl from The Grudge, except she’s alive and wearing shoulder pads (which are apparently still not acceptable after the world has ended, because girlfriend looks a mess).
She begs for his help, new pacifist Rick agrees, and so begins a pretty boring walk through the woods. They talk about survival and doing whatever it takes and blah, blah, blah. They basically rehash the issues that Rick has been working through for three years, but in the condensed form of a two-by-four to the head. They get back to her camp and in a surprise to no one, this is the worst laid trap of all time. The Grudge lady wanted to lure Rick back to feed to her husband, because he’s had a long day and that’s a woman’s job. Also, he’s just a zombie head. Her plan fails so she pulls out her happy dagger and thus ends Zombie Romeo and Juliet.
Meanwhile, the smaller Grimes man/child is trying to figure out if he is a man or a child. When we left him last season, he had fully embraced coming of age in the new, awful world. And that made sense. After all, shooting your mother in the head and killing a teenager in cold blood will toughen a kid up. But this season, the relative comfort that they’ve been living in seems to have softened him a little. Now crazy Carl is naming piglets and staying up past bedtime to read comics (a nod to the series inspiration, no doubt).
The story time scene sums up his struggle nicely. Carl goes to the “kid” activity hoping for some relief, but instead finds the lies and promise of violence that run the world now. (The kid with HP glasses takes off too. He thought they were reading book eight: Harry Potter and the Night of the Living Dead.) One thing Carl does know for sure: naming piggies=totally acceptable, but naming zombies=treason.
To wrap things up, we have to get to our requisite Walking Dead cliffhanger. After a disappointing story time, Harry Potter is having trouble sleeping and goes to visit Moaning Myrtle in the showers. Oh, never mind, he’s leaving bloody footprints and dying of what looks like zombie Ebola. Well there goes that kid and all the HP jokes I was hoping to make. But hey, thanks for coughing in the water supply before you died of a contagious disease!
So season four is underway! See you next week, friends!