The Walking Dead: The Grove

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #14:

This week on The Walking Dead, I CRIED SO MUCH.  I should have known better.  As soon as The Walking Dead makes you like a secondary or tertiary character, they’re doomed.  I would like to start by saying that, for the record, I have been calling Creepy Lizzie, Creepy Lizzie since the first time she was on screen.  I am an excellent judge of character and I always knew that she was messed up in the head.  I even referenced the homicidal triad, for God’s sake.  Well, unfortunately I was more correct than I wanted to be and I have a lot of feelings about it.  Let’s just delve into what is indisputably one of the most upsetting 44 minutes of television The Walking Dead has ever given us.

We start off in a farm house with a kettle boiling and a weird phonograph playing in the background.  So we have a working gas line and some sort of power source.  Does that mean flashback?  Generally, The Walking Dead doesn’t do flashbacks, but last week they did for some reason, so who knows.  We pan over to a shot of the backyard and there are two bodies running around.  One of the figures is moving very deliberately and we can hear a child laughing.  But the other is stumbling around in slow motion, so it’s unclear if it’s a walker (which would mean it’s present day) or a clumsy playmate.  Either way, the music makes it eerie.  Can I put in a request for “G.U.Y.”?

We’re spending this week with Carol, Tyreese, and the little ladies, so we open on them taking a break at night on the railroad tracks.  Carol is keeping watch with Lizzie by her side while the others sleep.  Carol tells Lizzie to get some sleep, but Lizzie insists that she can take Judith and help if anything goes wrong.  She also weirdly insists on calling Carol “ma’am” which sounds awkward and forced.  Lizzie asks Carol if there will be other kids in Terminus, to which Carol responds “maybe” in her very best mom voice that parents bust out when they want to be noncommittal but not crush dreams.  Props to Melissa McBride for having the mom voice down to a T this episode.  If she wasn’t talking about zombie apocalypse logic, I feel like I would be learning from her right now.

Carol specifically answers Lizzie’s question by saying that there might be kids if their parents kept them safe, like Tyreese kept Lizzie safe.  To which Lizzie responds, “lol, I shot two people and saved Tyreese’s ass.”  She does show some remorse, but not for killing them.  Lizzie is specifically upset that she shot Tara’s army girlfriend in the head.  It’s not an odd thing to feel bad about on the surface; I probably would too.  But, as will soon be revealed, Lizzie apparently just feels bad that the dead lady couldn’t come back as a zombie.  We’re only about four minutes in and Lizzie is already being a little freak.

Lizzie asks Carol if she had any children (a question that seems like it should have come up sooner).  Carol tells Lizzie about her sweet Sophia who “didn’t have a mean bone in her body.”  And that’s what killed her.  When Carol says that she misses Sophia every day, Lizzie asks if Carol would miss her.  Carol answers that she won’t have to miss Lizzie.  So say we all, Carol.  So say we all.

The next day, Carol and Tyreese wonder how far out they are from Terminus.  Tyreese thinks they may be three or four days out.  Seriously?!  At the rate time has been passing in the second half of this season, we aren’t gonna get to Terminus until 2016.  They also talk about Lizzie and how she has people killing down pat, but she’s really confused about walkers.  She just thinks they’re… different.  Generally I’m all about inclusiveness, but I might not be open-minded enough to include decaying flesh in my rainbow of togetherness.  Tyreese asks Carol if Mika is the same.  Carol says that she’s worse because she “doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”  Foreshadowing, you are a cruel bitch!

The group keeps on keepin’ on down the railroad tracks for a bit chatting about when Carol used to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to the kids.  Mika decides that Lizzie is more like Huck Finn because she’s ok with dead rabbits.  (Those poor baby bunnies!)  The group takes a break so that Carol can find some water.  That leaves Tyreese alone with Lizzie and Lil’ Ass Kicker, when they see a walker stumbling in the distance.  Tyreese goes to see what’s up when the walker falls on the tracks and is rendered immobile.  Tyreese goes to kill it anyway, but Lizzie stops him saying that she knows that sometimes they have to kill the walkers, but sometimes they don’t.  Tyreese looks a little bewildered, but lets railroad walker be.

This scene is oddly reminiscent of when Hershel expressed the same idea to Carl earlier in the season.  Hershel watched Carl gun down a teenage boy in season three.  So when he and Carl were alone in the woods, Hershel took the chance to give Carl a little life lesson and stopped him from killing a walker who posed no threat to them.  The difference is that Hershel was trying to get across a message of general non-violence, while Lizzie is coming to bat in defense of walkers and only walkers.

Carol and Mika are off in search of water, but really it’s just a cover so that Carol can try to talk some sense into Mika.  Carol tells Mika that she needs to toughen up, because being able to run wasn’t enough to save her Sophia.  Mika says that, unlike her sister, she would have no problem killing walkers if she was a better shot.  Her hang up is killing other people.  Even when the bad people came into the prison and killed basically everyone she knew in literally the entire world, Mika couldn’t pull the trigger.  She even says that she feels bad for them, because they probably weren’t killers in the pre-apocalypse.  Damn, Mika.  That is one hell of a moral compass you have for an eight-year-old.

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Why does she keep just a tiny bit of her hair in a ponytail?

Just as Carol is telling Mika that she has to change because things don’t just work out anymore, a cozy farm house jumps out at them and yells “eff your lesson, Carol!”  They gather up the rest of the group and decide to catch their breath on the cute little farm if only for a few days.  They have well water, pecans all over the place, and the potential to hunt deer.  I’m allergic to nuts and grossed out by well water and hunting so it’s not my idea of Mecca, but it’s pretty sweet digs by their standards.

Carol and Tyreese go into the house to clear it of zombies, leaving the three girls outside.  Lizzie is obviously distraught, so Mika tries to work out why big sis is upset.  It’s not that she’s worried about Carol and Tyreese or the dead baby grave she’s staring at.  Lizzie is upset that Carol and Tyreese are likely going to find a walker inside and kill it.  That makes sense.  Who cares about dead babies anyway?  As Mika tries to get across to her sister than walkers are just corpses that can move (what’s so confusing about that?), a walker makes his way out the side door and goes after Lizzie and Judith.  Mika to the rescue!  It takes three bullets, but she manages to land the head shot before Carol and Tyreese come running out.

Carol praises Mika for saving the other two girls and then turns to the visibly shaken Lizzie.  Lizzie won’t say why she’s upset, but she does confirm that it’s not because she was scared.  This walker loving attitude has really come out this week.  Sure she’s been crazy all along, but Lizzie has never cried over someone killing a walker before.  I feel like it’s getting a little too heavy handed.  Mika goes to her sister and tells to “look at the flowers like [she’s] supposed to,” and then they count to three together.  Sooo, apparently people did know Lizzie was crazy before the zombies.  That is not an eight-year-old talking; that is a tool learned in long term therapy.  I kind of feel like this is something that dad could have included in his dying declarations.  “Take care of my daughters.  P.S. Lizzie has a pretty serious dissociative disorder.”

That night, everyone is playing house and playing out what I assume happened in all the Little House on the Prairie books since they seemed too boring for me to actually read.  Carol and Lizzie are cracking open pecans that they apparently felt like gathering after the near death scare that afternoon and talking about their feelings.  Lizzie promises that she’s trying to hate walkers as much as everyone else, but sometimes it’s hard for her.  Then Mika runs in with a doll that she found and proudly names her Griselda Gunderson.  It’s really adorable so I feel like kind of a jerk for making fun of Mika… but what the hell you doin’ naming your doll Griselda?!  Anne.  The appropriate name for a red head raggedy doll is Anne.

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I guess she’s creepy enough to be a Griselda.

The next morning, Carol is boiling water on the stovetop which is probably a big deal considering she probably hasn’t been able to use an actual burner in at least two years.  I have one that works, but I probably haven’t used it in two years either.  She hears laughing outside and sees Lizzie frolicking with a walker.  Hey, it’s the opening scene!  Turns out it was a walker after all and not just the uncoordinated kid in the neighborhood (aka me as a child).  Creepy Lizzie side note: she calls the walker Griselda.  If the doll didn’t need a new name before, it does now.

Carol rushes outside and pushes Lizzie aside so that she can stab zombie Griselda in the head.  Lizzie goes full on tantrum and freaks out on Carol yelling about how zombie Griselda just wanted a friend and how would it be different if Lizzie killed Carol.  Carol presents her counter-argument: death.  Tyreese hears the commotion and just looks out the window with the “bitches be crazy” face that has been rightfully stuck on his face for 90% of the season since the prison raid.

Carol is out hunting deer with Mika, who is carrying a gun that is literally 2/3 her size.  They see the smoke from a fire that they smelled earlier.  Mika says that it’s still burning because the smoke is black.  Science.  You guys!  Remember a couple of weeks ago when they showed us how close Team Tyreese was to Daryl and Beth with berries and dead bunnies?  The fire is the still house burning down!  I was pre-tty proud when I pieced that one together.  If I’m right.  If not, forget I said anything.  This is a good example of how close to another person you can be without being able to find them in Zombieland.

Carol gives Mika another toughen up talk and tells her that even though she isn’t as strong or cutthroat as her sister, Mika is smarter.  Carol’s tough talk is interrupted by a deer that she tells Mika to kill.  The way Carol encourages Mika in the mom voice is creepy.  It’s like she’s teaching Mika to play piano or do crafts.  But despite Carol’s gentle tone, Mika can’t pull the trigger on Bambi.  Mika reassures Carol that it’s ok because they have millions of peaches for free.  Apparently Mika plans on being the only vegetarian in Zombieland.

Mika goes looking for Lizzie and finds her feeding a mouse to the railroad track zombie that she stopped Tyreese from killing earlier.  It’s super creepy and weird.  But then it gets even creepier and weirder.  Lizzie says that she can hear them and they just want her to change and be like them.  At this point, I’d allow it.  She offers her hand to the walker and I would be totally ok with a walker Lizzie going off into the sunset.

But Lizzie’s sacrifice is interrupted by some more terrifying walkers.  A group of crusty, smoldering walkers comes out of the tree line and sends the girls running.  Apparently Lizzie only likes her zombies chilled and decaying.  The girls run back to the farm house screaming, which brings Carol and Tyreese running.  Mika gets stuck on the fence, but after Lizzie frees her from a near biter attack, the two join the adults in shooting up the field.  Mika, who earlier declined to use her gun, is avid to join in on the walker killing; but Lizzie is just kind of shooting in no man’s land, which draws Carol’s attention.  After we’ve spent a metric eff ton of ammunition, the fire zombies have been put down and we get to have a mini group hug.

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Guys!  Guys!  They’re fire walkers.  Get it?!

Side note:  If it was the still house burning, Beth and Daryl’s middle fingers to the past kind of unexpectedly have turned into middle fingers to their fellow heroes.  Ain’t nobody got time for fire zombies.

Later that night, Lizzie and Carol are back at the table of truth.  Lizzie is distraught about having to kill the zombies at the farm fence, but is adamant that she knows what has to be done now.  Mika listens in on the truth bombs the table is dropping and says that she doesn’t want to be mean.  The cutest pacifist EVER.  The girls confirm that they aren’t sick of pecans, so Carol takes them to make her grandmother’s baked pecans.  Again, these would kill my allergic ass, but the sentiment is very sweet.  Plus, Carol gets to use the mom voice as it was originally intended and it gets to be adorable instead of creepy and unsettling.

Carol and Tyreese go out for a walk to talk about grown-up stuff.  Carol tells Tyreese that maybe they could just stay at the comfy farm house for a while before going to Terminus.  Tyreese goes on a very self indulgent tirade about him dreaming of Karen and his nightmares and how on bad nights, he sees someone killing her.  Yes, it is sad that your girlfriend died.  But I still maintain that Tyreese could not have been dating this woman for more than a couple of weeks.  Sir, you are complaining to a woman who lost her (admittedly abusive) husband and daughter.  At a certain point, relativity has to come into play.

Alright folks, now comes the serious part of the recap that you knew was coming.  Carol and Tyreese come back to farm house and find a bloody Lizzie, knife in hand, standing where the three little ones should be.  There’s really no gentle way to say this.  In a misguided attempt to show everyone that walkers aren’t so bad, Lizzie killed Mika.  We see Mika’s blood stained, white face; but almost as a recognition of how horrible this scene really is, The Walking Dead doesn’t make us see the actual wound or Mika turn into a zombie.  Lizzie pulls her gun on the two adults begging them to let Mika change.  Carol talks Lizzie off that particular ledge and sends her off with Tyreese before breaking down in tears next to poor Mika’s body.

In the argument of who got the short straw, Carol and Tyreese are in a dead heat.  Having to stab a dead child in the head or being stuck with a ten year old murderer are the options in the worst ever game of “would you rather.”  Tyreese takes Lizzie to her room and clears it of anything sharp as well as confirming that Lizzie was the one feeding rats to the walkers at the prison and splaying the rodents on boards.  (Called that one, bitches.)

The grown-ups try to figure out what they can do with Lizzie now.  Carol initially suggests that since they can’t have Lizzie and Judith under the same roof, Carol could go away with her.  Tyreese points out that that would be a suicide mission.  Then, lest Carol get too noble, they realize that Tyreese and Judith can’t make it on their own either.  Lizzie can’t be around other people.  Carol does what needs to be done and takes Lizzie out to a field where she can look at the flowers.  Lizzie is upset about all the wrong things and offers a teary apology for pointing a gun at Carol.  Carol tells Lizzie that she loves her and puts her down.

There are a multitude of reasons why this scene is upsetting.  Two children are dead.  Carol has now lost three charges.  But the thing that jumps out, at least to me, is the issue of untreated mental health disorders.  Lizzie had obviously been diagnosed with and was in treatment for a dissociative disorder pre-Zombieland.  Given the level of her pathology, Lizzie may even have been medicated.  Deprived of that support system, Lizzie would have been struggling in a state of immense confusion.  I’ve called her Creepy Lizzie from the start, but I send her off as Troubled Lizzie.

After digging graves for the girls, Carol and Tyreese retire to the farm house to apparently do a puzzle.  Carol slides Tyreese a gun and then tells him that she was the one who killed Karen and David to stop the spread of infection.  I kind of take issue with this.  Carol is a survivalist.  If she thought that she was never going to see Rick (the only person she ever told) again, she wouldn’t reveal this if Tyreese was her only hope of staying alive.  Luckily, Tyreese is a survivalist too and his reaction is perfect.  He does some serious face acting and goes through all the stages of grief in 45 seconds.  Tyreese says that he knows that he forgives Carol but knows that neither of them will ever forget.

No real cliffhanger of the week this episode.  Carol and Tyreese decide that staying at the farm house is outskies, so they decide to ease on down the road to Terminus.  From the preview, it looks like we get about 66% of our cast back though.

One more before the finale, friends!

 

 

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

S04 E12: Still

S04 E13: Alone

The Walking Dead: Alone

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #13:

We open up on Bob sad walking all by himself in the woods looking pretty worse for the wear.  “Alone” might not the most subtle episode title of the season, but at least we got the metaphorical two-by-four to the head out of the way early.  Turns out this isn’t regular Bob; it’s old PTSD Bob!  The Walking Dead doesn’t really do flashbacks unless it’s a dream sequence or switching between concurrent plotlines, so I’m not really sure how I feel about the break in style.  If you’re gonna have flashbacks, then that’s fine.  But at least keep it consistent and don’t have the only one in the whole season be PTSD Bob.  I believed you that he was sad without having to watch him drink cold medicine in a manmade cave.  Plus, sitting literally two feet inside the lean-to is just dumb.  If the walker trying to get in realizes that he has a waist and can easily eat you if he just bends down, you’re gonna be one robotrippin’ dead guy.

PTSD Bob does some more sad stuff set to sad montage music.  Sad standing around and looking off into the distance while zombies walk by.  Sad lying on a truck and looking off into the distance while zombies walk by.  Just when I’m starting to feel like the number one threat to PTSD Bob’s life is suicide rather than zombies, he catches a break and hears a car and perks up… negligibly.  What PTSD Bob doesn’t know though, is that he basically just won the lottery.  Glenn and Daryl!  And Daryl even has on his Poncho of Justice!  I miss that poncho so damn much.  Definitely more than some of the characters we’ve lost along the way.  I’d kill Lori three more times if it meant the poncho could come back.

Daryl and Glenn are actually not idiots about meeting a stranger for once and question PTSD Bob with weapons drawn.  PTSD Bob is pretty matter of fact but unintimidating as he tells our heroes about his past groups and the fact that everyone he knows is dead.  Daryl busts out the useless three question quiz that Rick invented.  PTSD Bob passes, but honestly what would that conversation look like in order for you to fail.

“Oh sure, I’ve killed a ton of humans!”

“Why?”

“Because they had stuff that I wanted.  Between you and me, things have even got a little rapey here and there, if you know what I’m saying.”

Anyway, PTSD Bob admits to having one mercy killing under his belt which isn’t a deal breaker, so they decide to let him tag along back to the prison.  Even though I really feel like Daryl and Glenn should have taken the machete away from the total stranger, they do get some survival points back for making PTSD Bob ride in the back of the truck so he can’t run it off the road or anything.  They drive off into the sunset and PTSD Bob has friends!  Friends that he technically doesn’t know are alive in the current plotline, but we’ll just ignore that for now…

Back in our current timeline: fog.  An effing lot of fog.  Seriously, how is it that fog has never been a problem before and now these characters have apparently found all of the water vapor in Georgia?  We can’t see much, but we can hear that a herd of walkers is nearby and there are a lot of pan shots of Maggie, Sasha, and happy Bob.  The walkers hit hard and Sasha really steps up to the plate in this fighter-biter showdown.  Sasha saves both of our other heroes, who have knives, and she does it mostly with just a pointy stick.

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I really feel like Sasha got the short end of the stick on this one.  Ba-dum ching!

Bob actually does get bitten, but somehow the walker bit him in the only protected place on Bob’s entire body, so it’s only dramatic for about fifteen seconds.  Sasha is so relieved that she literally throws herself at Bob who makes a joke about her putting pressure where he’s had two life threatening injuries in a week.  Everyone laughs and laughs and Maggie pretends that she wouldn’t be bummed out about watching a budding romance develop while she’s looking for her husband who’s most likely dead.

The trio discusses what the plan is for the day.  Isn’t their plan mostly just walk?  Maggie realizes that her compass didn’t survive the last scuffle and gets all huffy.  But again, unless Maggie and Glenn previously established the North Pole as their meet up point should they get separated (which, hey, a meeting point might have been a good idea), the compass is useless anyway.  Even if they’re walking toward each other, Maggie and Glenn could still easily miss one another by less than a quarter mile.  Obviously, that is not where this plotline is headed.  The writers are too committed to our star-crossed lovers, for better or for worse.

Over in the well lit, fog free woods, Daryl is giving Beth some less abusive lessons about tracking and using the crossbow.  Beth finds the walker that she has been looking for and slowly approaches to shoot him and take the gun that he has in the back of his pants.  Things go awry for Beth pretty much through no fault of her own when she steps in a bear trap, prompting Daryl to go into rescue mode.  Luckily, Beth has the most jack diesel cowboy boots ever, so the injury is minimal.

Beth is having trouble walking as she and Daryl come to a cemetery.  Daryl assumes the position and offers Beth a piggyback ride.  You guys, he gives her a “SERIOUS PIGGYBACK.”  Daryl has made significant strides in repairing my love for him as my TV boyfriend this week.  They see a funeral home on the other side of the cemetery.  Predictably, Daryl is dubious about anyone who might be left inside, while Beth remains doggedly optimistic about the fact that there are still good people left in the world.  Oh, you two.  As different as can be.

Our trio of fighters has made it out of the foggy hell that was their first couple of scenes (for them and me, trying to figure out what the hell was going on).  They find the railroad tracks which, of course, have an invitation to the sanctuary that everyone is headed towards.  I don’t think it occurred to me up to this point, but apparently this place has a name.  The sign says that this place is named Terminus, which seems like an odd choice.  Clearly, they are going for an “end of the line” feel; but that can either mean that you don’t have to wander anymore because you’re safe here, or because you’re dead.  If they had named it Camp Unicorn or something, it would have been much less ambiguous.  Maggie and Bob decide that if Glenn had seen one of these signs, he would have gone and checked it out.  Sasha is still 100% sure that Glenn is dead, but realizes that she’s outnumbered.  Bob offers to take a vote, but it’s kind of just condescending when there are only three people in the group and two people are openly trying to convince the third.

Daryl and Beth make it to the funeral house, which they both notice that somebody has been maintaining.  After whistling once and not getting an answer, Daryl decides the house is probably clear and lets down his guard enough to check out some decaying walkers that somebody has been preparing for funerals.  Daryl thinks the idea is a weird perversion of playing dress up.  But Beth, of course, thinks that it’s a beautiful way of remembering that walkers were actually people once upon a time.  I’m with Beth on this one.  Everyone handles grief in their own way.  So if you’re a mortician who has spent a career showing respect for the lifeless bodies of people you’ve never met, then it would make sense that you wouldn’t just see walkers as monsters.  You would see them as people who deserve a goodbye just like anyone else.

Sasha and Bob are sitting around in their temporary camp, which has the same hubcap security system that Beth and Daryl already used last week.  Apparently, that’s like a thing in Zombieland.  Bob starts to prod Sasha about why she really doesn’t want to try and make it to Terminus.  She says that it’s because she prefers being alive to the alternative.  But Bob pulls the classic BS move of smugly telling Sasha that she doesn’t really know why she wants to stop.  Bitch, don’t tell her how she feels!  They don’t have supplies, ammunition, and, oh yeah, Bob is being all judgey while he’s sitting there tending to his still bleeding bullet wound.  Sasha is well within her right to be afraid of dying.  Except we’re riding out the Maggie-Glenn undying love plotline, so Sasha’s logic and reason are shot down immediately.

With her new and improved wrapped ankle, Beth joins Daryl in raiding the kitchen for any leftover supplies that the walker mortician may have collected.  They hit the jackpot and find an impressively stocked pantry.  Daryl is especially excited out the PB&J, diet soda, and pig’s feet since now he can throw himself a little “white trash brunch.”  He made a little joke!  I missed you so much fun Daryl.  Daryl realizes that there isn’t any dust at all on the food and decides that they should take some and leave the rest in case the walker mortician comes back for his stash.  Beth is impressed with his unprompted empathy for others and gives him a little side smile.

Daryl locks up the house and sets up the hubcap security system for the front door.  When he comes inside, he finds Beth surrounded by candles and singing one of her less creepy songs.  Oh wait.  No, Daryl decided to rest in a coffin.  The singing is creepy again.  Beth stops singing because Daryl has said in the past that it annoys him.  Daryl retracts his past dismissal and tells her to keep playing.  I know that we’re supposed to be having a bonding moment here, but is it really a great idea to be calling attention to the house?  They don’t know if there are any walkers around.  I feel like, at least at night, you should pretty much just be content to sit quietly in the dark.  I do appreciate though, that they didn’t make Beth be some sort of musical prodigy.  She is exactly as proficient as a teenage girl who hadn’t touched a piano in two years would be.  The Walking Dead does periodically step up with the little touches of realism.

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Sorry, am I watching The Walking Dead or American Horror Story?

Out in the woods, Sasha wakes up to Bob crouched over a message in the dirt from Maggie that says “DONT RISK YOUR LIVES 4 ME GOOD LUCK”.  That is exactly what it says; spelling and all.  Why, pray tell, did Maggie think that she had time to spell out every word, except the word “for?”  Is this just the writers not understanding how the kids these days are using the texting words?  At least if they had changed “your” to “ur” it would have been closer to believable.  I also take issue with the fact that if Maggie left when she was supposed to be lookout for Bob and Sasha while they slept, then she already risked their lives.  Unfazed by the message, Bob immediately starts packing up camp and instantly assumes that he and Sasha can catch up with her.  Sasha is less gung ho, because apparently the working title for this episode was “Sasha is temporarily an uncharacteristically whiney bitch,” but helps him anyway.

Farther down the road, Maggie finds another sign for Terminus.  She goes to carve something into the side of the electrical control panel where the sign is hanging, but hears a walker behind her.  Maggie gets a real creepy look on her face and looks a little too happy to see a zombie.  She takes out the walker like she would any other and everything is pretty par for the course.  Until Maggie disembowels flannel walker lady.  It’s gross.  Even by The Walking Dead standards.

Bob and Sasha are on the rails chit chatting and meandering at a pretty leisurely pace.  I know they don’t want to exert themselves too much right off the bat, but I don’t see how they realistically think they can catch up to Maggie moseying like this.  Sasha asks Bob why he smiles all the time and why, if he’s so happy to be alive, does he want to risk his life again immediately.  Bob says that it’s not a matter of being alive; so much as it is a matter of not being alone.  Bob adds that since he ended up by himself after he lost his first two groups, having any buddies is a huge improvement.  This conversation plus the sad PTSD Bob montage at the beginning of the episode do explain his motivation for wanting to go after Maggie despite her telling them not to.  He knows what it’s like to be alone, and he doesn’t want that for her.

Bob and Sasha catch up to where Maggie went all serial killer on the flannel walker and find out what she was up to.  Apparently Maggie decided that the walker could double as a giant paint can and used her blood to write a message to Glenn to meet her in Terminus.  Maggie gets points for creativity, and I’m sure that the writers loved the idea of a message being written in blood.  But shouldn’t it be even a little bit of a concern that it would wash away the first time it rains?  Come to think of it, Maggie’s message to Bob and Sasha written in the dirt was a stiff breeze away from becoming illegible.  Somebody should really get this girl some stationary for her next birthday.

In the funeral home, Daryl has set out a nutritious breakfast of Cola and processed canned goods.  They’re giggling off screen when all of a sudden, Daryl bursts through the door carrying Beth.  Like a bride.  Over a threshold.  Does anyone else feel a lot of feelings coming on?  Because I feel a lot of feelings coming on.

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What bride wouldn’t want to be showered in gifts like sugary drinks and pig’s feet?

The interaction between Beth and Daryl has really only been a plot point since the mid-season premiere, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to develop it.  They, have however, had the most screen time of any of the sub-groups.  It wasn’t clear at first whether they were going to develop into a father-daughter dynamic or become more like siblings (which I thought would have made sense since they both have “lost” siblings because of zombies).  I really didn’t expect it to go romantic until this episode.  But finding the house, having sit down meals, and Beth singing Daryl to sleep make it look like that’s the direction they’re headed.  Before everyone emails “To Catch a Predator,” it’s worth noting that Beth’s character is technically 18 and Daryl’s character would probably be in his mid-thirties.  It’s not outrageous that with a dwindling population, age would become much less of a deterrent for relationships.

Daryl and Beth’s breakfast is interrupted by the security system going off out front.  It turns out it’s just a dog, which Daryl tries to get to come in, but it runs away.  The false alarm sets up a mess for later though, when the alarm goes off again during their dinner.  Daryl goes to the door to see if the dog wants to join their happy family.  Then he opens the door without even peaking out the window, and a mob of walkers bust through the door.  A group that huge of walkers and he didn’t hear a damn thing?  OH OK.  Daryl lures the walkers away so that Beth can get out of the window and get a head start.  Once Daryl gets outside, he finds Beth’s backpack in the middle of a dirt road and looks up just in time to see a car peel out.

Ok, now you can email “To Catch a Predator.”  This scene is really bummin’ me out in more than just a “television plot development” kind of way.  For the most part, The Walking Dead hasn’t broached the subject of looters and gangs, and they’ve only very tangentially addressed sexual assault.  Unfortunately, we know from real life that crime and assault rates skyrocket following tragedies or events that effect infrastructure.  I am so afraid that The Walking Dead has decided that they can’t put it off anymore.  I have a feeling there is some tough subject matter coming up.

Bob and Sasha are back on the tracks, doing basically the same thing they’ve been doing all episode: Sasha says she wants to put down roots, Bob says no, and they disagree over whether Sasha is afraid that Tyreese is dead.  The only thing that’s different this time is that they’ve come to a little town that could actually work for shelter.  Sasha says that she’s staying here and Bob says that he’s not.  Both plead with the other to change their mind (Bob even tries planting a wet one on Sasha), but it’s a deadlock and they go their separate ways.

I’m so sick of this plotline and how everyone involved has behaved.  First of all, Maggie turning herself into a marauder plays into one of my biggest television pet peeves.  I absolutely hate when characters make decisions for other people because they think they know what’s best for them.  If Bob wants to help you, then Bob is a big boy that can make up his own mind.

Sasha has driven me nuts this entire episode.  The other two people in your group have made it absolutely clear what their plan is.  You are not going to change their minds, so either get on board or accept that you’re going to be alone.  And if Sasha does want to claim that she’s just looking to survive, then I really feel like on the road with other people is still safer than in a camp by yourself.

As far as Bob goes, at least he’s been consistent in what he wanted all along.  Except what he wanted was for nobody to end up alone, and now everyone is.  So leaving someone alone so that you can go off by yourself to find someone else who’s alone is kind of a weird leap of faith to make.

Sasha heads into an old factory and scopes out the digs while stifling tears.  She looks out the window and sees Maggie taking a nap with some walker corpses.  Unfortunately, Sasha knocks the window down from its third story home and wakes up Maggie and a whole gang of walkers who had been happily ignoring her.  Sasha rushes down and the two women channel their inner Xena to take out the herd.  Maggie admits that she overheard Sasha talking about Glenn being dead and how they should give up and settle down.  Maggie finally admits that she needs both and Sasha and Bob’s help to find Glenn.  For some reason, this wins Sasha over so they go find Bob and take off toward Terminus.

Over on a different road, we find Daryl who has run through the night and is looking worse for the wear.  He’s collapsed at a fork in the road with no idea which way to go to find Beth.  Daryl is approached by a well armed group of tough guys.  Daryl instantly goes into fighter mode and punches the leader in the face.  Rather than getting shot to the point of resembling swiss cheese, Daryl introduces himself and looks like he plans to make nice.  I predict that this is just Daryl’s way of trying to find Beth.  Even if these aren’t the bad guys who took her, they may know the ones who did.

That just leaves us the cliffhanger of the week.  We get to look at yet another sign for Terminus for a second, but a slow pan shot reveals that Glenn is actually the one who has found this sign.  Jeezum crow, how many of these signs did they put out there?  Terminus has created the greatest gorilla marketing campaign of all time.  So does Glenn buy into the idea of sanctuary, or did Maggie get herself all covered in blood for nothing?

Only three more episodes this season!

Until next time friends!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

S04 E12: Still

The Walking Dead: Still

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #12:

This week on The Walking Dead, nobody said anything and nothing happened.  Recap over.  Alright, there wasn’t a lot of action, but there were plenty of feelings to talk about so I guess I’ll keep going.  I’m gonna be honest with you guys; I was not crazy about this week’s episode when I was watching it.  I did, however, start to appreciate it a little bit more when I considered it from a more analytical perspective.  If nothing else, the episode was kind of a walk down memory lane.  I don’t know about you, but trying to get my hands on alcohol in high school certainly felt this dramatic.  So, let’s go get a teenage girl wasted!

It didn’t occur to me when I was watching it, but last week may have been the most well lit episode of The Walking Dead in the whole series.  But never fear!  This week we open on a road at night and we’re back to squinting at the screen right out of the gate.  Daryl and Beth frantically stumble out of the woods and check the car to see if it starts.  Seriously?  That car has one door and looks like it rolled off a cliff.  It’s dead, Jim.  Luckily, the trunk still mostly works so they close themselves in it when they hear a pack of walkers approaching.  Whatever model this rust bucket is, they should use this as a commercial because it has impressive cargo space.  Daryl and Beth are barely even touching.

They peak through an itty bitty crack at some very loud shadows; some of which are actually bumping into the vehicle.  One of my major pet peeves with The Walking Dead is that they fly fast and loose with how well the zombies can actually smell humans.  Sometimes the writers insist that scent is how the zombies track humans, so we end up with situations like the hoard of zombies at the prison fence.  But here, apparently the walkers are literally running into Daryl and Beth without realizing that they’re there.  Regardless, the duo wake up the next morning and collect a bizarre assortment of hubcaps and broken glass before taking off down the road headed for God knows what.  This is the problem with there being no dialogue.  I need exposition, dammit!

We find Daryl out hunting some squirrel for redneck stew when he hits a tree and splits one of his arrows before snapping it in half.  Now, I shot Olympic archery for a decade and there is nothing more frustrating than cracking an arrow.  But even if I wouldn’t use a split arrow in competition, I sure as hell wouldn’t be intentionally destroying it if it had any zombie killing value left.  Sidenote: Doesn’t the fact that I know my way around a bow make me 75% more valuable as a survival buddy?  I’ll begin accepting applications now.

Beth is back at their makeshift camp implementing their busted car security system.  Gotchya, side mirrors can start fires and hubcaps make quality security systems.  We waste money on the silliest things in the pre-apocalypse.  Daryl uses the car fire to cook a rattlesnake that he just killed and skinned in the most disgusting way possible.  Then he buries his face in it like a bear eating a salmon which really just seems unnecessary.  This whole sequence literally made me wince more than the most brutal zombie death.  Plus, it’s too bad they didn’t know that Lil’ Ass Kicker is alive or Daryl could have given her a new rattle.  Missed opportunity.

Beth looks as disturbed as I am and takes a break from eating her snake like a normal human being (oxymoronic?) to announce that she needs a drink.  Not a dirty Mountain Dew bottle filled with lukewarm water, but a drink.  Predictably, Hershel wasn’t big on the idea of his little girl partying hard, so Beth admits that it would be her first.  Daryl doesn’t even respond, which already got old two weeks ago.  If I were Beth, I would rather be eaten by a zombie than deal with silent Daryl.  Congratulations, writers.  Daryl has been my favorite character since season two and you have made me actively resent him.

Beth decides she’s sick of him too and goes off to get herself killed.  She’s actually going to find herself some booze, but Beth going off alone can only mean she has a death wish.  Beth tromps loudly through the woods and comes across four walkers who she redirects away from her by hiding behind a tree and throwing a rock.  Yeah, that would probably be my best play too.  She realizes that Daryl is standing behind her, crossbow in hand in case Beth had gotten herself into trouble.  This is getting really old, Daryl.  Say if you’re coming.  It’s not that hard a concept.

The duo walks through the woods with Beth using her expert tracking skills to figure out which direction they should go in to find some liquor.  And by expert I mean shit, because she didn’t even realize that Daryl was just taking her back to camp awful which she literally just came from.  Beth goes on a tirade about Daryl being dead inside and how she doesn’t plan on sitting around in the woods for the rest of her life (at least not sober).  She flips him the bird and goes to storm off, but Daryl grabs her arms and reluctantly agrees to go with her.

Beth takes the lead (for God knows what reason) and conveniently finds a golf club.  I wanna know the property values of  wherever they are in Georgia that a prison and a country club are within walking distance of each other.  I am very confused about the economic status of the area.  In any case, a pack of walkers is working its way across the course and everyone knows that 78% of golfers are middle aged alcoholics so the club is worth a shot in the booze quest.

Inside the club is, you guessed it, super dark.  After pausing for a second to change the display settings on my TV, I can make out… a mess.  It looks like there are makeshift beds and a clothesline, so people definitely tried to make a go of it playing house here.  I’ll tell you what I can see, dangling noose zombies.  Three club members evidently decided to throw in the towel and hang themselves, probably not realizing that they were consigning their corpses to an eternity of wiggling around on a string in the least attractive way possible.  At least one of the women thought to wear her pearls.

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“This is much less comfortable than we anticipated!”

Beth and Daryl look through the wreckage and both pick up weird swag.  Beth finds a souvenir spoon and Daryl finds a bag full of money.  The spoon is from Washington D.C., so it might be a nod to the other plotline of trying to get the doctor to the capital, but the cash is a less obvious.  My best guess until otherwise explained is that Daryl saves it because it was hard for him to come by his entire life, so the idea of leaving free money behind seems unnatural.  The important question here is, do rich people bring bags of money with them golfing?!  Rich people are weird.

The walkers from the course have made their way to the door and are pushing to get in which forces our heroes (using the term loosely this week) further into the club.  All natural light is gone now, but luckily both Beth and Daryl found magical TV flashlights so we can see well enough to know that we’re in kitchen.  Beth breaks off from Daryl and gingerly steps over a nasty corpse into a pantry where she spies some cooking sherry.  At least if cooking cherry is Beth’s first drink, we won’t have to worry about her ever wanting another.

Unfortunately, getting to the sherry is an awkward process and involves a lot of clanking around.  The hubbub attracts Daryl’s attention, as well as the attention of a sizable walker who comes out of nowhere and attacks Beth.  She sacrifices her cooking wine and breaks the bottle over his head, which gives her a nice stabby weapon.  Beth pokes him in the face a few times before realizing that a knife might be even better for stabbing and takes him out with one jab to the head.

Beth looks over and guess who’s standing ten feet away: Jackass Daryl.  This whole “Daryl quietly standing just off screen” thing has gone from old to creepy.  Beth is equally put out, but Daryl reminds Beth that she said that she could take care of herself, adding that she did.  The last part is interesting, because rather than sounding snarky, he almost sounds like he’s giving her credit.  Daryl is obviously being a little glib, but it’s hard to tell if he’s just being a jerk or if there’s a little bit of tough love in there too.  In any case, Beth could use some practice re-killing zombies.

(Sidenote: For anyone keeping track, this is the first time that Daryl has had a line other than “Come on” in the entire episode.  We only have two characters this week and 50% of them just spent a third of the episode not speaking.  That math does not add up to compelling dialogue.)

Before the pair moves further into the club, Beth looks into the kitchen and sees a pile of bodies with the phrase “Welcome to the Dogtrot” written on the wall above them.  Add that to the corpse of an eviscerated woman with a sign that says “Rich Bitch” on it and it’s starting to become clear that some sort of class war took down this fine establishment.  Didn’t have to worry about the recession after all…  I know it works better thematically if we assume that the disgruntled bourgeoisie strung her up there, but I wanna pretend that it was a fellow bitchy housewife getting back at the dead lady for always showing her up in front of the girls.

Beth takes objection to the fact that the corpse’s shirt is open exposing her bra and abdomen.  She puts the shirt on as best as she can and then tells Daryl to help get the woman down.  He initially dismisses the request saying that it doesn’t matter because she’s dead, but Beth insists that it does.  I’m with Beth on this one.  There is a definite difference between respect for a corpse that died at the hand of humans rather than zombies.  The result is the same, but the zombies don’t have intention behind their kills; just instinct.  This woman died out of hate.  Daryl compromises and covers the woman with a sheet.  Beth grabs herself some new threads and transforms into a little ball of sunshine in a yellow polo and white cardigan.

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“This never happens at the Gap…”

As Beth and Daryl backtrack a little bit, they come across a grandfather clock that Daryl had stood up earlier and caused to start working again.  Turns out that wasn’t the smartest play, because the clock strikes on the hour and all the walkers come arunnin’ like it was a dinner bell.  They lure the walkers into a well lit room where he easily takes them out one at a time with a combination of his crossbow, knife, and a handily accessible golf club.  Well, he takes them out pretty easily until the last one.  This old fart is going to feel the fury of Daryl’s feelings!  Daryl really goes to town on the walker with a golf club, hitting him over and over again pretty much anywhere other than the head.  He finally delivers the fatal blow and takes out the walker and Beth’s shiny new cardi with one fell swoop.  Not gonna lie, I rewatched Beth get hit with zombie brain a few times while writing this and laughed every. single. time.

After all of this wandering around in the dark, the booze quest finally takes us to the club bar!  Beth rushes over and steps over a dead guy to get a teensie little bit of peach schnapps because that’s all that’s left.  Beth asks Daryl if it’s any good to which Daryl obviously gives her a flat out “No.”  In actuality, peach schnapps is probably among the best things that a teenage girl could find to have as her first drink.  Unfortunately, Beth gets cold feet and Daryl gets bored waiting for her to drink away her sad, so he breaks the bottle and restarts the booze quest.  Let’s go find some redneck approved liquor!

Daryl takes Beth to a still house that he and Michonne had found on a previous supply run.  At least that explains the title of the episode.  So now Beth is apparently going to go from arguably the most girly liquor to arguably the least.  Beth is barely fazed by her first drink though.  This is ain’t my first time at the rodeo, but I feel like if I was drinking hooch for the first time, there would still be some gagging or coughing and whatnot.  She’s downing it like it’s water.  Beth takes offense when Mr. Dixon doesn’t take the first drink she offers him because he has to play chaperone.  Daryl nails up a plank to cover a broken window, which means now he has officially done more to fortify this house than literally anyone in the world we’ve ever seen.  After reminiscing about long summers of watching his dad drink in his undies and shoot thing indoors from his dumpster chair, Daryl caves and grabs a mason jar of moonshine.

Beth teaches Daryl how to play a stripped down version of never have I ever, which is pretty weak when there are only two people playing.  Then it’s just an awkwardly paced conversation.  After a couple of inconsequential questions, Beth pushes Daryl’s bitch button by assuming that he has probably been arrested for something and sends him off on a tirade.  This scene is actually really uncomfortable to watch.  Daryl takes the loudest indoor pee of all time and then starts yelling about all of the things that he never had as a kid that Beth took for granted.  He goes on about never having anything from the ability to rely on others for protection to a pet pony (which Beth may actually have had).

All the hubbub has a lone walker outside excited and his groany noises catch Daryl’s attention.  He runs outside yelling in his best hick voice that he’s going to teach Beth how to shoot a crossbow.  The sequence is already uncomfortable, but when Daryl actually grabs Beth around the throat to try and force her to shoot the bow, it makes my insides crawl.  Once he lets her go, Beth runs ahead of him and stabs the walker in the head, insisting that killing them shouldn’t be fun.

Beth finally calls Daryl on his BS and tells him that he’s not allowed to treat her like crap just because she isn’t one of the women who were “supposed” to survive.  But when Beth says that Daryl is acting like he didn’t care about anyone that they lost, Daryl has a couple of decent slams to get in on Beth too.  He’s not wrong about the fact that even if Maggie is alive, they probably won’t ever see each other again (in real life that would be true, but this is The Walking Dead) and the rest of her family, including two boyfriends, are all definitely dead.  The yelling turns into Daryl self blaming for the Governor’s attack and a teary hug from behind from Beth.  God bless Beth right here, because as much as I love Daryl, he’s not looking so fresh and I don’t know how I would feel about sticking my hands in those pits.

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Good thing that guy is dead, otherwise he would totally feel like a third wheel right now.

The run down cabin and bootleg liquor are obviously the exact opposites of the peach schnapps and the country club.  Daryl obviously identifies with the still house and the redneck lifestyle he grew up with in a way that dumbfounds Beth.  And even though Beth probably wasn’t a member of any country clubs, Daryl equates her sheltered upbringing with the level of comfort that the hoity toity rich people at the club enjoyed.  Beth and Daryl try out something as basic as having a drink in both worlds and find that neither scenario plays out well.  This could be a great example of how those worlds don’t exist anymore.  The “have and the have-nots” as they existed before have been dissolved and replaced by the “alive and the dead.”  All you can really have any more is your life.

Later that night, Daryl has sobered up enough to admit that he is a violent, destructive dick when he drinks.  There’s not so much an “I’m sorry” in there, but Beth is evidently letting it go because she’s still supposed to be a little out of it.  I say “supposed to” because Beth has not acted even a little bit drunk since they started in on the moonshine.  Has that actress ever had a drink in her life?  Maybe she should have prepared for the episode in a bar.

Daryl finally opens up to Beth about what he did pre-Zombieland and the answer to the season long mystery: nothing.  He literally did nothing.  Daryl and Merle just roamed around on their motorcycles getting trashed in different flop houses and picking fights with tweekers over cartoons.  Beth responds to Daryl’s recount of the past with her broken image of what she thought the future might have looked like.  Hershel won’t be growing old playing with his grandbaby, no more birthday parties, and summer picnics are a no-go.  Then in a depressing moment of clarity, Beth admits that she isn’t built for Zombieland so her days are probably numbered.  I’m not saying she’s wrong, but that’s the kind of stuff you keep in your head if you don’t wanna be sent to the Zombieland psych ward.

The culmination of this cheery chat is Beth saying with a grin and a giggle that they should burn the still house down to remind Daryl to let go of his past.  Seems like a totally logical thing to do.  Destroy a structurally sound cabin in the middle of the night with fire, which is apparently like walker catnip now.  Not to mention, Smokey the Bear just threw his remote at the TV out there someplace.

Until next week!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

The Walking Dead: Claimed

Back by popular demand, Ms. Hillary Bauer will once again be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. So hold on to your butts folks, there are walkers abound!

Here’s Review #11:

I’m always a little torn about the revolving door of characters on The Walking Dead.  On the one hand, it makes sense that people would come in and out of your life pretty regularly in the post-apocalypse.  But on the downside, damn, there are a lot of names to remember.  This week, we named ginger G.I. Joe and the American Heroes that popped up last week and ran into a gang of thugs who may or may not have a continuing role in the series.  Mostly, my take away from this episode was just that Michonne is adorable and I want more of her always (even if it means dealing with extra Rick).

The episode starts with a less than subtle shot of a street sign for “Crook Road.”  Alright writers, settle down with the street sign hints you’ve been dropping the last few weeks.  Tara, who is with the army team, obviously has some sort of plan because she sneakily takes down the name of the street in giant letters on her palm in permanent marker.  Just then the truck stops and ginger army man takes out three walkers with a little too much enthusiasm for Tara’s liking.  Although, to his credit, at least someone remembered that shooting walkers is supposed to be a last resort.  He enlists Tara’s help salvaging some cars and says that they have a long trip ahead of them.  This guy makes my skin crawl.  I feel like he’s one of the people who perpetuate the idea that gingers don’t have souls.

Back at Camp Rick, Michonne has cleaned herself up and comes to breakfast with Carl wearing a very sensible oversized button-up.  She pours her cereal longing out loud for some soy milk, which makes me and Carl chuckle.  I love what they do this entire episode as far as building an image of who Michonne was before Zombieland hit with subtle clues like this.  Carl is not impressed though goes on a rant about dairy alternatives before he mentions Judith’s formula and accidentally makes himself sad.

Carl runs off, but Rick still thanks Michonne for cracking Carl’s exterior even for a second.  Michonne asks what the endgame is for them playing house, but Rick gives a wishy-washy answer and tells her to hang tight for now.  Michonne accepts Rick’s response and says that she and Carl should go out on a supply run.  Rick wants to tag along but Michonne is like, “lol, you were pretty much dead yesterday” and tells him to stay behind and rest up.  And then the clouds part and angels begin to sing because Rick actually listens to her.  It’s so nice to have someone around who Rick considers an equal.  Carl is even less obnoxious when he’s talking to Michonne.  She’s like the antidote for Grimes.

Rick sends a cranky Carl and Michonne (who has picked up a delightful vest) on their way before going upstairs for a little R&R.  Rick finally takes off the rag of a shirt that he’s been holding onto for dear life and apparently decides that a plain white t-shirt is the most practical thing he could find in the whole house.  That’ll stay clean forever!  He lays down with a book and the loudest watch in creation to take a seriously needed nap.

Out in the neighborhood, the supply run seems to taking in a pretty serious haul.  Did the people who lived in this town not know that they should bring their non-perishables with them when the world ended?  Leave no can of pumpkin pie filing behind!  Michonne senses that Carl is in a pissy mood and tries to engage him with talk of candy bars and comic books.  This conversation is a sad throw back to earlier in the season when Carl seemed to be getting back to being a kid in the safety of the prison.  That’s pretty much donezo now.

Michonne asks Carl outright if he’s ok, which Carl unconvincingly evades by blaming his funky mood on being tired.  In a last ditch effort to make Carl crack a smile, Michonne busts out a can of crazy cheese and overfills her mouth before opening it wide for him to see.  It’s adorable how hard she’s trying, but honestly the mouth full of processed cheese product makes her 3% less attractive to me in general.

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I want to know what the script said that resulted in this.

Baffled that Carl wasn’t impressed by the cheese stunt, Michonne breaks out the big guns to get him talking and casually mentions her dead three year old son.  She says that her son thought that she was hilarious, which explains the cheese business, because it would have had a toddler in stitches.  Michonne’s truth bomb works because Carl’s interest is peaked and he starts spewing out questions.  Michonne sets the rules for a game where she’ll answer one question per room that they clear.  I’m having flashbacks to my own childhood right now, because this is exactly the kind of hokey game my own mom pulled with me when I was being a brat.

Back at the manor, Rick is just waking up when he hears men’s voices downstairs.  Since one of the men is screaming in pain, it’s a pretty fair assumption that these aren’t guys Rick wants to introduce himself to.  He grabs the telltale watch before doing a totally gratuitous, albeit impressive, barrel roll off the bed when he hears someone coming up the stairs.  Rick grabs a bottle of water (presumably so they won’t assume anyone is in the room and not because he was a little parched) and hides under the bed.  He can see a man in heavy duty boots with a heavy duty gun and is visibly shaking.  The anonymous man clomps around ominously before finally landing on the bed, which apparently has a terrible box spring because he almost crushes Rick when he plops down.

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“This is cozy.  Guess I’ll stay here for the entire episode.”

Out on the supply run, Michonne and Carl start the question game with Carl already looking for loopholes.  He gets his way though and Michonne finally names her son: Andre Anthony.  She also reveals that Andre was an only child and that he did, in fact, die after the world ended.  Carl squeezes out some freebie information and Michonne tells him that she never told anyone about him, including Rick.  Michonne had been very flippant up to this point in the game, but her mood changes when she says that Andre wasn’t really a secret and then trails off.

It is interesting that she hasn’t brought Andre up until this point.  Her demeanor with Carl is completely different than it was even before the prison raid.  She’s relaxed and playful with him even more so than she is with other characters.  It seems like Michonne just didn’t see the point of bringing up her past until she thought it could do some good for someone else to hear about her son.  In this episode, revealing more about herself helps her connect with Carl in a very motherly way.

Then any kind of levity disappears when Michonne opens a freaky painting that had been leaning on a door.  The painting is of a woman, but it’s covered in blood and someone had crossed out her eyes and mouth.  Michonne slowly opens the door with her hand on her sword.  The music gets very dramatic, but it might just be for how effed up the floor plan of this house is.  There’s a bathroom that leads to a young child’s bedroom.  Who does that?  Every time this kid has company he just has to be like, “Don’t mind the toilet on your way in?”

Michonne keeps walking further in to an adjoining room (more stupid architecture).  Inside, she finds the corpses of four children and it looks like the woman from the painting.  It’s kind of hard to tell; she’s pretty decomposed and she shot herself in the face.  But they do both have side braids which is the TV clue for “same person.”  The painting was leaning on the outside of the door so whoever found the bodies had to have been alive and, judging from their alterations to the painting, was none too pleased with mommy dearest’s decision to annihilate the family.

The Psycho–esque tableau obviously strikes a nerve with Michonne who actually wipes a tear from her eye before rushing out of the room.  Carl find her and guesses from how shaken up Michonne looks that there’s a baby in the room she just came out of.  Michonne clutches the handle and blurts out the worst cover story she could have come up with: “It’s a dog.”  Michonne has many skills; evidently lying is not one of them.

Back with Rick, we get more exciting ankle acting from the unfriendlies.  I’m really not enjoying this plotline.  The drama is so manufactured and it goes on for-e-ver.  Right now we have to watch a squabble between two of the unfriendlies from the shin down over who gets to sleep in the big bed.  One of the men falls to the ground and sees Rick, but his comrade in arms chokes him and renders him unconscious before he can call “Boogieman.”  These guys could use some serious teambuilding exercises.

We switch back over to Glenn and Tara on the road with the American Heroes.  Glenn is just coming to and he is not pleased about being on an unplanned road trip in the middle of his search for Maggie.  He forces ginger G.I. Joe to pull the truck over and takes off down the street.  The American Heroes try to stop him and Tara by convincing Glenn that his wife is dead.  Jeez guy, your sales pitch needs work.  Turns out the American Heroes are on a mission from God to save the world.  Ginger G.I. Joe (whose real name is Sgt. Abraham Ford) explains that he and his lady friend, Rosita, are taking a nerd named Eugene to Washington D.C. because he knows why the zombies showed up in the first place.  I’m not crazy about the idea that the fate of humanity lies in the hands of that mullet.  It’s seriously heinous.

411 mullet

Apparently Eugene has a PhD, but not a mirror.

Glenn tells them “thanks, but no thanks” before losing his temper and starting a fist fight.  While the women try to tear them apart, Eugene is just milling around near the truck looking like a blob of a human being.  Walkers start to wander out of a corn field and I start to cry a little bit.  It’s important to note that I have kind of an irrational fear of corn fields.  They’re like nature made the ultimate hiding place for monsters.  Nothing good has ever come out of a corn field.  Except corn, I guess…

Eugene reacts to the situation about as well as I would have and starts spraying bullets into the crowd of walkers willy nilly.  The others run back and take out the walkers no problem, but the real damage is already done.  In his haphazard attempt at using an automatic weapon, Eugene hit the gas tank rendering it useless.  Abraham looks at the leak and says the only line I’ve enjoyed out of his mouth so far: “Son of a dick!”

Back to Rick.  Still under the bed.  Great.  He realizes though, that now he has to get out.  The unconscious unfriendly is now a ticking time bomb so Rick needs to make his movie before the gang banger wakes up and blows his hiding place.  Rick finds a new room to hide in, but is almost discovered by one of the thugs who is walking around bouncing a tennis ball over and over and over.  Ok, I am not a violent person, but I want to take that tennis ball and shove it down this man’s throat.  This is seriously the most obnoxious thing The Walking Dead has ever written into the show.

Rick tries to escape out the window, but for some reason, these second story windows are just for show and don’t open.  Alright whatever, let’s just go watch Rick sneak around the house poorly for a little while longer.  The unfriendlies are yelling predictably despicable things across the house about Michonne’s recently washed shirt and the fact that she’s probably coming back.  There’s actually a lot of discussion and high reasoning devoted to the friggin shirt.

Rick the spy continues to stomp around the house looking for a way out, when he closes himself in a bathroom to hide.  For reasons I cannot even begin to speculate (because there is no good reason), one of the thugs is in the bathroom sitting on the non-functioning toilet with his pants pulled up.  Is it that he couldn’t find a more suitable chair?  A struggle ensues but Rick gets a garret around the guy’s throat and chokes him out.  So we’re just accepting that the rest of the unfriendlies didn’t hear anything?  Ok.

Luckily, at least one window in the house works and Rick is able to get himself onto the roof and then down to the porch.  I swear, this sequence is actually the loudest Rick has ever been.  He ends up crouching next to the porch when that mothereffer with his mothereffing tennis ball shows up again.  Thank goodness we get to watch Rick hide just out of sight again while this charming specimen of a man spits on him.

Michonne and Carl are just getting back to the house when there’s a commotion in the house that makes tennis ball man rush inside.  Apparently Rick actually killed that guy in the bathroom because shots are fired inside and we can hear walker breathing.  Sweet mother of pearl, is this plotline over yet?  That was a long battle.  It’s hard to tell if the unfriendlies are just a one off plot device or not.  We didn’t actually see most of their faces, but they did go to the trouble of giving them names on IMDB, so we’ll see.

Back at the busted truck, Abraham is telling a charming story about a camel with C-4 shoved up his bum.  Apparently an exploding camel can’t wreck this truck, but a scientist with an adrenaline high and a rapid fire weapon can.  Shouldn’t Eugene have picked up some weapons training by now?  It seems like if he’s been traveling with two marksmen, it would have been worthwhile to ask for a lesson or two.

Glenn decides it’s time to hit the dusty trail so he and Tara turn in their weapons and take off.  Rosita is the first to make the very pragmatic decision to follow them which Eugene signs on for too.  I’m glad they’re tagging along.  Obviously Glenn was never going to abandon the idea of finding Maggie, but I want to see more of this plotline.  I can’t wait to hear Eugene’s pseudoscience!  As they walk along, Abraham is shooting off his mouth to Tara who doesn’t look particularly interested.  She rejects Abraham’s claim that he just wants to save the world because it’s the right thing to do.  I’m with you, Tara.  This guy is a sleaze ball and Rosita could do much better.

To wrap up the episode, we get a shot of Rick et al walking along the railroad tracks.  Seems like we’re doing a lot of that lately.  They come across a sign for the same sanctuary that Carol and her crew are headed to.  For real, do these guys have a post-apocalyptic version of Friend Finder?  These two groups were obviously going to be the next to meet up.  We get Lil’ Ass Kicker back to the boys and the awkwardness of Carol and Rick being reunited.

Looks like we’re heading back into the dark with more walkers and fewer feelings next episode.  See you then!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates