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

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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.

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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

The Walking Dead: Inmates

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 #10:

There are two types of episodes on The Walking Dead: quiet and contemplative or frantic and confusing.  Last week fell into the former with only a few characters working through their feelings, while this week’s episode fell firmly in the latter.  Basically “Inmates” boiled down to the entire cast running around in the woods yelling like angsty teenagers.  There were a couple of exciting surprises though!  And I mean “fun” exciting, not just “someone’s gonna die now” exciting.  (Although there’s plenty of the killing type too.)  So let’s go get the band back together!

Actually, the band is staying pretty aggressively not back together.  We didn’t even get through the “Previously on” before everyone in my viewing party had to pause and try to remember what the hell happened during the prison raid.  Who ended up with whom?  Who got shot and where?  Who shot them?  Eh, obviously I spend a lot of time thinking about and picking apart The Walking Dead, but nobody can claim that this show doesn’t get a little too convoluted sometimes.  Better to just start the episode and see what happens…

The actual episode opens with a very optimistic, and very wrong, voice over monologue from Beth.  Flashback Beth’s optimism about the prison being their forever home is a stark contrast to the visual of her and Daryl running through the woods fending off a decent sized pack of zombies.  (There should be a specific word for a group of zombies.  It’s too bad that a “murder of crows” already exists.)  This pairing is really strange.  Have Beth and Daryl spoken to each other more than once?  Are we sure they know each other’s names?  In any case, Beth just won the lottery because it is immediately apparent that if Beth didn’t escape with the strongest fighter in the prison, she would be lunch meat twenty yards from the front gate right now.

Beth apparently doesn’t realize just how lucky she is.  Later that night, the odd couple are sitting by a fire and Beth is antagonizing him about not wanting to run into the Forbidden Forrest in the middle of the night for other survivors.  To be fair, Daryl’s angsty silence is even annoying me and he’s my tv husband.  Beth storms off into the woods and Daryl sits for a second before reluctantly following his brat companion at the same leisurely pace I use when I have to go to the dentist.

HULK SAD

HULK SAD

The next morning, Daryl finds fresh looking human footprints (I guess “walkerprints” are more draggy and drunk looking).  Beth is hopeful that they might belong to Luke or Molly which means they’re alive.  Oh honey, we don’t know who those people are so they are definitely not alive anymore.  Then, finally, Daryl opens his mouth and we hear from someone other than Beth.  For real though, I think she’s had more lines in this episode than in the cumulative series leading up to it.

Daryl’s first words aren’t particularly cheery ones though.  He drop the truth bomb that the footprints only mean that they were alive four or five hours ago.  Obviously, Daryl is being pessimistic about these particular people, but it’s actually pretty depressing in a general sense too.  They live in a world where your life expectancy can boil down to four hours.  If I only had four more hours, the rest of my life would this recap and leftover pizza.  Now I made myself sad.

(Keep in mind for later: as they walk away at the end of the scene, pay attention to the log with in the foreground.  It’s not just the close up nature porn that The Walking Dead loves so much.)

As they follow the tracks, Daryl and Beth continue to be polar opposites but equally annoying in their own ways.  Beth’s blind can-do attitude irks Daryl causing him to tread into “too mean” territory when he makes a jab about faith not saving her father.  So far, it feels like losing all of the people that brought him out of his shell has undone all of Daryl’s character development and now we’re stuck with the Season 1 version of my hero.  It might be my imagination, but I’m pretty sure they’re even showing his angel wing leather vest more.

The odd couple comes to the tree line and finds some railroad tracks where a couple of walkers are having a feast fit for a decaying king.  It’s not looking good for anyone on Team Faith.  Daryl takes out the walkers who have seriously obliterated these bodies.  That is the most completely I can ever remember seeing a zombie eat someone before getting distracted by something shiny and alive and abandoning the fresh meat that they already have.  I’m curious if this is intentional.  The competition for food must be getting pretty low as the supply goes down and the demand goes up.  Even if the zombies only have an animalistic level of reasoning, they would still know not to leave food on the table if they’re not sure where their next meal is coming from.

Sidenote: I really appreciate that they showed Daryl actually retrieve an arrow.  How many arrows did he bring to the apocalypse?!

The next group we check in on is Tyreese and three young girls wandering around in the woods.  It sounds creepy but it’s not.  Tyreese’s day care includes Lizzie, Mika, and, drum roll please… Lil’ Ass Kicker!  Duh, they weren’t going to kill the baby.  They have two and a half seasons invested in that little thought experiment of joy and there is still way too much that they haven’t explored about having a toddler in Zombieland.  Plus, what would we assume that Beth is doing off screen when they finally get reunited?  Hopefully they find each other soon, because Tyreese is holding that baby like a bag of groceries.  Lizzie keeps the conversation light and casually asks if everyone else is dead.  Tyreese doesn’t answer, but makes a face like he wishes he was.

The day care sets up camp for the night and Lizzie is sitting on a log looking at some adorable bunnies.  Wait, what’s she…is she taking out a knife?  What the hell, Lizzie?!  She’s just casually slicing the adorable log bunnies and she’s enjoying it.  If Criminal Minds has taught me nothing else, cruelty to animals is totally part of the Homicidal Triad.  Plus, we know that she can light a camp fire so if Lizzie starts wetting the bed, then I’m gonna go ahead and call serial killer.  I said from the very beginning that she was off.  Also, I’m going to go on record as predicting that the mysteriously dropped plot line of the dead rats at the fence was actually Lizzie.  Now she’s just graduated from gross animals to adorable ones.  Let’s hope nobody picks up a pet dog along the way…

The terrifying bunny incident does serve a plot purpose though.  Remember when I said to take note of the log that Daryl and Beth walked by?  Well, that little bit of white sticking out of it was Lizzie’s dead bunnies.  So now we know that the tracks that Daryl and Beth are following actually belong to Tyreese and the day care.  It seems like kind of a confusing choice to put Daryl and Beth’s adventures in hiking ahead of Tyreese’s group in the episode.  Except of course to give something for over-analytical nerds to find when they re-watch the episode to write their blogs.  Whatever, I found it and I’m proud.

Lil’ Ass Kicker moves along the plot in pretty much the only way a baby can and starts crying.  This, of course, brings on the walkers and forces the day care to move on.  They walk along and find some grapes, when Tyreese realizes that Lil’ Ass Kicker has kicked something out her ass and needs a new diaper (yup, poo joke).  They hear movement in the woods but it turns out to be just some crows moving around.  Even though it’s a false alarm, Mika is apparently more afraid of birds than zombies and takes off into the woods by herself.  They specifically show Mika hurting Tyreese’s arm which is making me a little bit nervous.  That scrape is getting an awful lot of attention.

Tyreese and Lizzie catch up to Mika who is actually pretty adorable.  Mika is as close as you can get to what it would look like if a child from our universe was plopped into Zombieland.  Even though she’s lived there as long as everyone else, she’s been sheltered.  Mika is old enough to remember the world before walkers so when she is confronted with real life monsters, she reacts the same way a real life child would react to the Boogie Man; she freezes up.  Except, when you hide under the sheets from a creak in the closet, you don’t get eaten.

Mika and Tyreese make up, but the moment is interrupted by screaming in the background.  Tyreese sets the girls up to that he can leave them in relative safety while he goes to see if he can help.  He hands Mika a gun and leaves her almost in tears.  Then Lizzie gives Mika the same advice Carol gave her at one point about tucking her shirt behind her knife so she could reach it easier.  No!  Lizzie is trying to screw up Mika as badly as she is.

As soon as Tyreese is gone, Lil’ Ass Kicker starts up crying again and the girls panic.  Then Lizzie has the brilliant idea of smothering a baby.  I repeat, Lizzie is currently smothering. a. baby.  The worst part is that she is so into it, she’s actually blocks out the rest of the world.  She is so oblivious that she doesn’t even hear Mika yelling about the two walkers coming toward them.  Mika panics and fires the gun.  Clearly she doesn’t get the head shot because, well, she’s eight.  Things are not looking great for the day care when we cut away.  I knew that they were going to obviously fix it somehow, but I really couldn’t come up with anything at this point.

Tyreese tracks down the screaming that is coming from the same group that Daryl and Beth found earlier, except this time the group is looking decidedly less like hairy strawberry ice cream with toes.  The situation still isn’t good though and since we know how it’s going to end up, there’s not much suspense here; just watching people get demolished which is almost as good.  Tyreese hears the gun shot, panics, and goes into overkill hammer mode.

But then, he’s stopped by the voice of an angel.  Tyreese looks up and sees the three girls aaaaand Carol!  I actually involuntarily screamed when they made the reveal.  The rest of my viewing party looked at me like I was insane, but I don’t even care.  The secret hero of The Walking Dead has returned and all is right in the world.  (Except for the zombies and the collapse of society and all that other minutia.  Whatever, my girl is back.)

Only one person in this picture hasn’t fired a gun.  Will somebody get the baby a gun already?

Only one person in this picture hasn’t fired a gun. Will somebody get the baby a gun already?

Tyreese stumbles over to give Carol a hug and struggles to find his voice so he can ask the million questions he has.  They’re quickly cut off by the loud sobbing of the last guy to get his neck chomped into.  Was that his version of the fake cough to get their attention, because he hasn’t been sobbing this whole time.  First of all, rude.  They’re obviously having a moment.  Second of all, this guy’s death is Shakespearean level long.  He had an arterial neck wound and he’s not only still sitting up, he has a good length conversation with Carol in a very strong voice.

He tells the group to stay on the tracks and they’ll take them to a kid friendly Mecca.  They trust his dying words and leave him there to die a slow painful death alone which seems a little harsh.  Another throw back to Daryl and Beth who eventually run into this guy after he turns and he puts up a hell of a fight before Beth stabs him in the head.  Turns out the whole ordeal could have been avoided if Carol and Tyreese had stuck around to take care of him.

Tyreese asks how Carol got out and she tells him that she hadn’t gotten back until the very end of the show.  The timeline of the first half of the season was so wonky, I had to think about the fact that Tyreese got back pretty much immediately before the attack so he wouldn’t have known that Rick was telling people that Carol was gone permanently.  Good for Carol though that she decided to blow off Rick and was headed back to the prison despite his unilateral banishment of her.  They find a map with the promised sanctuary marked on it.  I know they don’t have a lot of options at this point, but this seems fishy.  Plus, even if it all it’s cracked up to be, our crew has a knack for imploding safe havens.

I wasn’t kidding when I said that a friggin lot of stuff happens in this episode, because now we move on to our third group of weary travelers.  Somebody please explain to me why Carl the terrible got almost an entire episode while the rest of the cast gets jammed into one hour.  Whatever, writers.  Maggie, Sasha, and PTSD Bob are in what actually looks like the best shape which is saying something since they’re the only team with someone who got shot.  Regardless, they’ve found fresh water and are the only group that doesn’t have a kid weighing them down.  PTSD Bob’s wound doesn’t look too serious though and he gets the added bonus of flirting more with Sasha.  Ironically, PTSD Bob is the only person smiling in the whole episode.  Given, he’s the only character who wasn’t separated from a loved one, but I think I’m ready to give him a clean bill of health and just call him Bob.  Congratulations, Bob!

Sasha agrees with me that these are some primo digs and wants to camp out for the night, but Maggie is on a mission of love and wants to leave immediately to find the bus and Glenn.  Maggie takes off so smilin’ Bob and frowny Sasha have no choice but to follow so that they don’t split up.  They find the bus impressively quickly, but unfortunately it’s because it’s stopped in the middle of the road full of zombies.  Did literally nobody get off the bus?  There are bullet holes all over the bus from the prison raid so presumably people were injured, died, and came back.  I still feel like if I was stuck in a tin can with people turning into zombies, I would be working my way to the front of the bus.

Maggie needs to know if Glenn is inside so they decide to do check the “smart” way and let them out one at a time.  The plan works really well.  For approximately 90 seconds.  As if it wasn’t going to happen, the walkers band together to bust through the door and a zombie slaughter ensues.  Maggie apparently caught Bob’s PTSD because she freezes up and we get the wobbly camera and high pitched tone that PTSD episodes always look like on tv.  She snaps out of it in time to go into overkill mode on one walker to the point that I kind of feel bad for it.  Maggie grabs the walker by the ponytail and unnecessarily slams its head against the side of the bus before stabbing it anyway.  Maggie realizes that she kind of crossed the line there and apologizes to ponytail zombie so it’s all good.

Now that the bus is mostly empty except for some bloody rags and entrails, Maggie hops on to see if there’s any sign of Glenn there.  She finds one zombie that missed the party outside and stabs him before starting to sob uncontrollably.  Obviously this is a fake out since we only see the back of the walker and he has the same hair and build as Glenn.  It’s a little kitschy for my taste but then again, this is a zombie show.

So these people lived in the prison?  I guess I’m sad then?

So these people lived in the prison? I guess I’m sad then?

So, if the blackboard that I have devoted to keeping track of this episode is correct, that only leaves one inmate and one camper to check in on.  Phew!  Poor battered Glenn wakes up alone and suspended on some sort of plank above a sea of walkers.  How did he get there and why is he unconscious?  I guess we’re just not talking about it.

Apparently this is Glenn’s first day in Zombieland, because he makes rookie mistake after rookie mistake.  How much ammo does he have?  Who cares?  Go into the dark hallway before you light the lamp?  Super!  And then when he miraculously does make it make to the honeymoon suite, the first thing he does is lay down for a quick nap.  You’re better than this, Glenn.  He sees a picture of Maggie and rallies to set out on his own mission of love.  Aw, those poor star crossed lovers!

The one upside to being ditched at the prison, Glenn does get to gather supplies and suit up in some riot gear which makes him look incredibly tough.  He barges into the prison yard and the zombie swarm descends.  Glenn sees sad little Tara curled up in a tiny little box and starts to take off, but then he remembers that he has a heart of gold and goes back to help her.  He takes her gun and realizes that she didn’t fire a single shot in the raid.  Glenn invites her along, but Tara feels too guilty to try and save herself.  I really appreciate that Tara’s first reason for being a sad sack is that she feels guilty about the attack and not that she lost her girlfriend.  Her show of remorse and the fact that she chooses to go with Glenn rather than just give up makes me hopeful that Tara might have some good layers to explore.

Glenn makes a molotov cocktail and all I can think is, “But, why is the rum gone?”  After re-arming Tara, Glenn explodes a car which draws away most of the walkers.  Apparently zombies like fire and we’ve just never discussed it before.  They make it to the highway pretty uneventfully and finally slow down to have the awkward “so our people slaughtered each other” conversation.

Tara confirms that her sister is dead and then accidentally breaks the news to Glenn that his father-in-law is dead.  Glenn tells Tara that even though he doesn’t want her help, he needs it.  They seal the deal by bonding over some walker killing.  Tara holds her own especially when Glenn, still sick from the zombie death flu, collapses.  Just as Tara is working out some of her anger issues, we get the obligatory cliffhanger of the week.  Surprise!  Ginger G.I. Joe pulls up with his two cartoon character military buddies and we have to wait a whole week to see whether they’re new friends or new foes.

Until then, my 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

The Walking Dead: After

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!

But wait – you look like you could use a recap! Check out Hillary’s previous posts, here.

And now for Review #9, the midseason premiere:

The Walking Dead is back, people!  It’s been a long winter up here in Massachusetts without zombies to keep my heart rate up.  In the meantime, the holidays came and went and apparently the most noteworthy thing I did in 2013 was write these recaps because I got a serious amount of zombie swag for Christmas.  I got everything from the graphic novel to zombie cookie cutters, and even a zombie pint glass.  Not to mention a Daryl stuffed animal to keep me safe every Sunday night.  He has a poncho and crossbow; he’s adorable.  I was thrilled to break him in this past Sunday with the mid-season premiere.

409 daryl

Daryl doll even has the long mullet hair in the back for authenticity’s sake.

I spent the first half of the season complaining about there being too many characters.  Welp, that’s the one thing I can’t say about this episode.  The prison imploded at the hands of the Governor in the mid-season finale and scattered our main players into a million little groups, so we start with one tiny fragment: sleepy Rick and cranky Carl, with a side of Michonne.  Actually, this is just the Carl hour.  Seriously, there’s a lot of Carl.

We open on the screwed up prison (specifically, the tank that Daryl exploded like the bamf that he is).  Michonne is assessing the situation and beheading walkers like it’s no biggie.  She even finds herself some new zombie pets to ward off other walkers.  We watch them run into the pointy sticks, but I’m happy that the arm and jaw removing happened off screen.  Ease me in gently, Walking Dead.  But, of course, that doesn’t happen.  As Michonne is walking away from the prison, she comes across Hershel’s zombie head.  I’m still so not ok with losing that majestic silver stallion!  Michonne puts him out of his misery and busts out the sword for Hershel, resting her hand of his forehead as she pulls it out.  If it wasn’t already obvious that Michonne had a PTSD story arc coming, stabbing the man who was killed next to you cements it.

We swap over to Rick and Carl on the road.  Carl is booking it and leaving his severely injured father in the dust.  Rick yells after him, telling Carl that they have to keep together but can’t even bring himself to reassure his son that they’re gonna be ok.  Optimism is tough when you just lost your home and baby because of your arch-nemesis.  (Sidenote: I’m still holding out hope for Lil’ Ass Kicker.)

The Grimes men come up on a bar and Rick goes into protector mode, telling Carl to keep watch while he goes inside to clear the place.  Carl responds, “LOL, you can’t even walk.  Are we done pretending I’m still a kid now?”  For real though, puberty has hit Carl like a bus since the beginning of the season.  The men find a zombie who is likely the Joe of Joe and Joe Jr.’s.  The only real hint is a note from Joe Jr. that says “Please do what I couldn’t,” which, it is fair to assume, means kill his father.  Rick attempts to take out zombie Joe with a hatchet, but can’t seal the deal.  Carl sees that he’s in trouble and shoots Joe which sets Rick off since he’s pretending that his broken ass is still in charge.  Luckily, the bar has more in it than just hot sauce so the Grimes men grab their booty and move on.  Not to be out done, Carl makes sure to note that he has a bigger haul with a simple, “I win.”

Elsewhere, Michonne is taking her new pets for a walk when she comes across footsteps in the mud.  She appears to assume they belong to someone from the prison gang, but crosses the trail rather than following it.

Rick and Carl find an abandoned house and bust in to clear it.  Rick insists on taking point, but Carl pushes through the house and gets farther in than his father.  When Rick calls him on it, Carl starts banging on the wall and yelling obscenities.  Rick tells him to watch his mouth, but Carl appropriately responds, “Really?!” because honestly, should vocabulary be their biggest concern in the apocalypse?

The downstairs of the house is zombie-free, so Carl moves to the upstairs where he finds a teenage boy’s bedroom.  This scene is actually pretty sad.  Carl’s face lights up at the entertainment center with all its dvds and video games.  (P.S. Those are clearly X-box games next to a Playstation remote #gamergirlproblems.)  The part that makes it a total bummer is that Carl is looking at what his childhood could have been sans zombies.  Carl’s wistful moment passes though, and he rips the cord out of the tv so that he can rig the front door shut.  Rick moves a couch over to reinforce the knot which causes Carl to take offense.  Gah, it’s a good knot, Rick.  Carl even manages to work in a jab by telling Rick that Shane was the one who taught him how to make said knot.  Interesting to note that even though Carl is being a bitchy little thorn in Rick’s side, he’s still running around in daddy’s hat.

And now it’s time to contemplate Michonne’s weird ass dream.  When the scene first starts, it seems like it could be a flashback.  Michonne is cooking for two men talking about a movie which she and her “lover” agree was lame.  Everything seems very classy and normal when, nope, Michonne’s sword is in the kitchen and fits neatly in the knife block.  Then there’s an adorable toddler and things seriously start to unravel.  The two men do a wardrobe switcheroo and go from fancy sweaters to grungy survival clothes.  Conversation gets dark and shits from movies to whether there’s a happy ending for any of them, including the baby.  Dream Michonne is still intent on who’s opening the wine until the men’s arms and the baby disappear.  Then there’s a lot of screaming and fancy Michonne turns back into survival Michonne waking up in a car.  I wonder if those are the same actors who played Michonne’s original pets because, if so, they kept Voodoo from Friday Night Lights on retainer for a long friggin time.

Carl and Rick wake up from their miserably uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, despite there being perfectly fine beds upstairs.  Actually, Rick is aggressively not waking up, despite Carl screaming in his face.  After a bowl of cereal and reading some of The Catcher in the Rye (we can’t really see the book, but that’s what all teenage boys read in tv land), Carl hears a few walkers knocking at the door and goes to investigate.  He finds a pair of zombies trying to break through his apparently awesome knot, and lures them away from the house to kill them.  But then, woopsie, surprise zombie.  Now Carl is three zombies deep and a little boned.  He manages to take out all three of them, but wastes a decent number of bullets and looks visibly shaken by the ordeal.  Plus he pukes a little and gets to drop another “I win” to the dead undead.

Michonne and her pets are wandering through the woods and have picked up quite a few buddies.  I know they didn’t do an exact science explanation about why her zombie pals work, but they are apparently really friggin effective.  Then we get Michonne’s doppelganger zombie.  Mostly it’s just a zombie with dreads, but that’s close enough to identify with, I guess.

409 zombie pets

Why isn’t everyone walking around with jawless zombies all the time?

Carl comes back home and tells Rick’s unconscious body about his day of zombie killing, making sure not to leave out any insults or guilt tripping.  Carl’s screaming basically boils down to “I saved your sorry ass and I’d be fine if you died.”  And with that, Carl rolls out to try and find more food in the neighborhood.  He finds a promising looking house and adorably tries to break down the door with his shoulder.  His body sprawled out on the porch seems to indicate that busting through a door is tougher than they make it look in every cop drama ever.  The house, which looks like it could easily belong to anyone in Duck Dynasty doesn’t have much food to offer, but does have a lifetime supply of chocolate pudding.

409 door

“Fine door, I’ll just have to poke you open with a metal spike instead of my wimpy little boy shoulder.”

Carl looks around the house and opens two doors upstairs uneventfully, which means, duh, the third door has a walker behind it.  In case you forgot, we’re watching The Walking Dead; you can’t open that many doors without something trying to eat you.  The walker and Carl fight for a bit before Carl manages to escape, but not before he loses a boot.  This prompts Carl to write a note on the door with chalk which may be the most clever thing his character has ever been scripted: “Walker inside.  Got my shoe.  Didn’t get me.”  If I wandered into that house, I would appreciate the head’s up and the chuckle.

Michonne is still wandering through the woods with her gaggle of zombies, safely protected by her pets.  Her doppel-zombie is still trekking along with them which, all of a sudden, strikes a nerve with Michonne.  And apparently it was her killing nerve, because Michonne goes ape shit crazy on all those walkers and takes them all out, doppel-zombie and her pets included.  With her zombie posse obliterated, Michonne heads back to the road where she originally chose not to follow the trail of other alive people and decides that she should go see who they belong to.

This scene just screams “LAYERS!”  First of all, Michonne does a ton of beheading in the zombie slaughter.  Considering one of the reasons Michonne is so wonky in the head is that she was right next to Hershel when he got beheaded, that seems significant.  Then there’s the fact that the doppel-zombie is what sets her off.  There is literally no difference between her wandering through the woods and Michonne wandering through the woods.  So then Michonne is faced with the question of whether she wants to survive as an empty shell or try to live an actual life with people that she cares about in it.  Killing the doppel-zombie and going back to find the tracks means that, even though she is entirely capable of surviving on her own, she wants people in her life so that she has a reason to live.  Phew, The Walking Dead just had one of its deep moments there.

Carl is taking a nap leaning on his dad when all of a sudden, Rick starts breathing heavy and flailing around in very zombie-like ways.  Carl points the gun at Rick with tears in his eyes, but realizes that he can’t do what Joe Jr. couldn’t either.  He’d rather let his father turn him than shoot and have to go it alone.  This actually turns Carl into an interesting contra-positive to Michonne.  (Suffering through formal logic in college was worth it just to write that sentence.)  Michonne could live alone but chooses not to, whereas Carl wants to be independent, but can’t realistically do it on his own when it comes down to it.  End of the day, Carl lucks out and dad wasn’t a zombie, just a pathetic excuse for a human being who probably should have worked to get some words out before his son almost shot him.

Michonne has made it to the BBQ shack where she sees Joe Jr.’s note and is thrown into a total breakdown.  She starts talking to Mike (her baby daddy from the dream) and even though she doesn’t explicitly say it, I’ve used my powers of perception and dream analysis to extrapolate that Mike probably killed their kid and possibly himself.  I think we pretty much did more back-story exposition about Michonne in this episode than in the entire season and a half that she has been on the show.

Rick is finally awake, so he and Carl decide to talk about their feelings.  Rick finally admits, in the best Batman voice he can muster, that Carl isn’t really a kid anymore.  Carl totally undermines the gesture by admitting that he ate 112 ounces of pudding, but it accidentally works out really well for everyone.  For some reason, the comically oversized empty can of pudding triggers Michonne’s superhuman tracking skills and she finds the exact house that the Grimes men are holed up in.  Michonne is so happy to find the guys and the face that she makes when she realizes that it’s them makes my heart happy too.  Almost as happy as when she knocks on the door and the boys are like “Whaaaa?!”

So we’ve reunited a couple of characters and got to wave at the rest of the cast as they flew by in the preview for next week.  After the insanity of the mid-season finale, this was a pretty mellow return.  Fingers crossed, next week we find the balance between killing Hershel and eating pudding.

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

The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone

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!*

Here’s Review #8, the midseason finale:

I don’t even want to write a recap for this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.  I just wanna curl up in a ball and cry for the indefinite future.  Sometimes I feel like I should just give up on watching shows that always end with my face buried in a pillow yelling “WHY?!”  But then I remember that that’s the exact reason that I do tune into these shows every week.  It is not an easy task to make viewers care about fictional characters to the point that when the writers screw with them, it actually hurts.  The caliber of episodes in season 4 of The Walking Dead has been above average for the series, and the mid-season finale was no exception.  So fine, I will grant that this was a pretty awesome episode, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be happy about it.  Let’s work through the heart palpitations one by one.

We open on the Gov doin what he do: lying to people’s faces and being damn good at it.  He starts with a sheepish disclaimer about how what he’s about to ask of them is a doozey, but ultimately the only way that the group can survive.  Seriously, nobody is ever allowed to use the word “survive” on this show again; the Gov has used up the whole allotment.  The Gov tells the fighters about the nearby prison that is home to the scoundrels who maimed him, burned his home, and killed his daughter.  Why should they have the cushy cinderblock digs while all of the innocent people are on the worst camping trip ever?!  It’s a convincing argument, if you don’t happen to be listening to the speech as a voiceover while watching him kidnap a couple of fan favorites.

The Gov goes on to tell his fighters about his hostages that he just happened to run into with the butt of his pistol.  So don’t worry guys, the campers can get their hands on the prison without shedding a drop of blood!  If there’s one thing that The Walking Dead is known for, it’s their steadfast policy of non-violence.  The campers buy the Gov’s spiel and I don’t fault them for it; even with dramatic irony on my side, the Gov has managed to razzle dazzle me into rooting for him a couple of times since his return.

However, when the campers go to dust off the tank, Lilly pops out from behind them looking decidedly less convinced.  Lilly has said over and over again that she’s perfectly happy building a new life in the camp, and has dealt with the Gov ignoring her over and over again.  But hearing him talk about killing other humans is where she draws the line; especially since the Gov himself just said that they aren’t all bad guys.  He quickly backtracks and declares them all guilty by association, but Lilly still isn’t buying it.  The Gov breaks out the big guns and says the three words sure to placate even the most uppity woman.  He seals it with a kiss and walks off before she can get another word out.

We head over to an RV guarded by jackass Mitch where an aggravated Michonne is yelling at the Gov as he goes about checking in on his prisoners of war.  In line with the Geneva Convention, the Gov offers Michonne and Hershel some food but is only met with death threats from our scrappy samurai lady.  Hershel takes the more pragmatic approach of reasoning with the man who has them tied up with a gun on his hip.  Hershel tries to sell the Gov on the idea that there must be a way that this whole thing can be resolved without any bloodshed.  (Oh Hershel, stay golden.)  The Gov insists that he’s poured himself over the situation and that there is no other way.

In yet another Governor mind-fuck, he sounds sincere about having tried to find a way to resolve the conflict without having to return to the prison.  The Gov is alone in the trailer with two people that he has no need to win over, even if he could, so there isn’t any reason for him to lie here.  Hershel senses this sincerity too, and appeals to what he hopes is the Gov’s rediscovered sensitive side.  Hershel calls the Gov on his vague threat against those who stand in his way and gets to brass tacks: Maggie and Beth are among those standing in his way.  He questions the Gov about how he can look another father in the eye and threaten his daughters.  The Gov looks over his shoulder, says “Because they’re not mine,” drops his mic, and walks away.  Damn son, that’s cold blooded even by Governor standards.

We continue our romp with the Gov to check back in with Lilly.  Why did I even get my hopes up about seeing back inside the prison this week?  The Gov is setting up the non-fighters with the supplies next to a river which he says will keep them safe from walkers.  Lilly keys in on that and asks why they can’t just build their camp by the river if it’s so safe, to which the Gov essentially responds, “jk, it’s not safe here.”  He goes on to insist that all of the safe places are already taken, so they have to take one from somebody else.  This is a weak ass argument if I ever heard one.  Is the Gov seriously making the argument that Georgia is completely full up?  It’s a state, not the Holiday Inn.

With Lilly put in her place, the Gov moves on to find Meghan who is making “peanut butter sandwiches” out of mud.  The apocalypse is rough, but if people start eating mud, I’m throwing myself into a zombie pit.  The Gov asks for a hug and lets muddy Meghan give him a big hug and mess up his jacket before he heads off for his day of killing.  These are the moments that confuse me.  The Gov obviously love this little girl.  Whether he loves her or the idea of her is up for grabs, but he’s obviously invested.

Back at the prison (yay, the prison!), we check in on everybody’s favorite couple, Glenn and Maggie.  Glenn isn’t looking so hot in his post-flu glow, but he’s alive so let’s pick our fights.  This scene does make me super nervous though, because they are being too adorable.  That’s the number one way to get yourself offed in Zombieland!  We also get to see Sasha and PTSD Bob talk and potentially flirt.  Sasha thanks Bob for bringing the antibiotics back, but he’s hung up on sulkily looking at a box.  Is it full of booze?  Basically all we know about his character is that he’s an alcoholic, so that’s the only guess I have right now.

Elsewhere in the prison, we finally get to see Rick tell Daryl about kicking Carol out of the prison.  The whole scene feels like a cheat though.  It’s been a couple of episodes now since Rick pulled his dick move, but I’m still pissed and I still wanted Daryl to punch him in the face.  The pair goes to tell Tyreese the news, but are interrupted by Tyreese’s discovery of a weird art display.  Somebody has dissected a rat and splayed it out on a board.  Remember when somebody was feeding rats to the zombies through the fence and we never addressed the issue again?  Yeah, I forgot about it too.  But apparently we’re going to need to remember it in the second half of the season so the writers are reminding us.  I actually watched this episode with someone who had never seen The Walking Dead before so I was giving them the play-by-play backstory as the episode went on, but we got to this and I was like- “I ain’t got nothin for you about this shit.”

408 ratI hope this is relevant to the plot at some point, because otherwise it’s just gross.

Before Rick has a chance to tell Tyreese that he doesn’t think that the rat artist is the same person who killed Karen, an explosion hits that is so strong, it even shakes our camera!  The Gov has arrived at the prison and he finally gets to yell “Hey Rick, come look at my cannon!”  Even though Rick insists that the council is in charge of decisions now, the Gov insists on throwing our fearless leader into the limelight.  The other prison residents talk amongst themselves about taking off in the bus if things go south and start gathering supplies.  Mostly I’m preoccupied with the fact that I have no idea how many people are supposed to be left in this prison.  The Gov insists that he has more people, but there’s only like twenty guys with him.  Nevertheless, the Gov wants that prison and he is willing to wait hours to get it.

Back by the river, Lilly is standing guard on top of an RV when she sees a walker come out of the tree line across the rapids.  He starts to make some good progress wading into the water when Lilly gets an “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck” look on her face and stands up, because that’ll help.  Meghan yells for her mother to come and help her dig up something buried in the mud.  Lilly yells back a couple of stock “Mom’s busy right now” responses as she pulls her gun and readies herself for the possibility of shooting her first zombie.  The walker is eventually swept away in the river and everything is clearly fine.

Oh wait!  We’re watching The Walking Dead.  I forgot for a second that once the dramatic music starts to swell, something has to jump out at someone.  It’s like Chekhov’s gun with zombies.  While Lilly was watching the red herring in the river, Meghan was busy digging up a flood warning sign which had apparently been holding a walker underground.  (I wonder if this dead guy was attacked or if he was just a guy who drowned in a flashflood.  I’m pretending it was the latter just because I enjoy the irony.)  The walker pushes out of the muddy Earth and grabs the unsuspecting kiddo.  Unfortunately for Meghan, she’s already used up all of her “get out of jail free” cards and the zombie gets a big ole bite out of her shoulder.

Well, that turn of events certainly dropped my jaw.  The Walking Dead is undeniably dark, but unless I’m mistaken, you can still count the number of named children that they have killed on one hand.  Meghan’s death is particularly interesting looking back at the Gov’s recent development.  Since his supposed rehabilitation, the Gov has insisted over and over again that nothing was going to happen to his new family, which clearly hasn’t worked out.  I had been on board with the idea that his rehabilitation had been a result of having something to fight for again, but maybe his entire on-screen existence has just been a lie.  I’m hard pressed to come up with any honest word he’s said.  Moral of the story: if the Gov tells you that you’re ok, you’re not ok.

The Gov and Rick are still at a standoff when the Gov acknowledges the possibility of a shootout.  He asserts that the campers would win (tank and all), before shooting a couple of walkers in the head.  Remember walkers?  They used to be on our show, like three or four weeks ago.  The shots are sure to attract more walkers, so the clock is ticking as Rick dives head first into one of his trademark inspirational speeches.  He talks about there being enough room for everyone between the different cell blocks and not dealing with each other until everyone has worked through their feelings.  But the Gov is vehement that none of that business is going to work after Woodbury or “after Andrea.”  Damn it!  I know that a lot of people weren’t crazy about Andrea, but Michonne and I liked her and that little comment has us pissed!

The Gov jumps down to hold Michonne’s sword to Hershel’s throat in response, and Maggie and Beth’s reactions make my insides turn.  Rick appeals to the group supporting the Gov (targeting in initially on Tara who has been making unsure faces back there for the entire episode) and offers them a home if they lay down their weapons.  We zoom in on all of our main characters’ listening faces and when we finally get to Hershel’s, I scream at my TV, “Don’t smile you old fool!  That means you’re dead!”  But the Gov is already pulling his sword back, and with the single word “Liar,” the Gov chops poor Hershel.

And then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Even though they just watched him murder a one legged old man, the Gov’s people still stand by him and start firing at the prison population.  Tara is the only one who freaks out and lays down her weapon, despite asshole Mitch’s yelling and the pleading of her girlfriend that they have to go on fighting.  Amid the gunfire, Michonne manages to roll away and the Gov goes about chopping Hershel’s head completely off.  Just as the Gov finishes, he sees Lilly walking up with Meghan in arms.  Seriously though, how did she find them?  She just hopped in a car and instantly knew where the prison was?  Regardless, the Gov takes Meghan and doesn’t skip a beat before shooting her in the head.  Poor Meghan didn’t last long, but at least she deemed herself worthy of the double on-screen kill.  Respect.

408 megProps to Lilly for carrying around a ten year old like it’s nbd.

The Gov decides that if he can’t have the prison, nobody can and orders the tank et al to drive into the prison and “kill everyone.”  The Greene sisters are shooting through the tears when Maggie lays down cover so that Beth can get to the bus.  Before Maggie leaves her with the sick and feeble, Beth asks what she should do if all of the prison fighters don’t make it to the bus in time.  Maggie tells Beth to go without them because “we’ve all got jobs to do.”  AWWW, is it weird that I feel like Hershel was my daddy too?  Beth apparently got confused about what her job was though, because when Maggie finds Glenn and brings him back to the bus, Beth is no where to be found.

The walkers hear the commotion and start working their way into the prison.  A couple of zombies look like they’re about to get the jump on Daryl, but it’s Daryl so he’s obviously got this business under control.  He takes out the offending zombie and then props up the dead guy on a post in the greatest use of undead corpse in this or any show’s history.  I ain’t even mad that those bullets would have definitely gone through the dead guy’s body and taken out Daryl too.  He just strolls up and throws a grenade in the pointy outy gun part of the tank (that’s probably what it’s called) and renders the whole thing useless.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Daryl just took out a tank.  Add that to taking out asshole Mitch and I’m ready to have that crossbow wielding SOB’s children.

In her search to find Beth, Maggie runs into Sasha and PTSD Bob.  In the shootout, Bob manages to get himself winged but is happy that the bullet seems to have passed straight through.  The joy is short lived though as they watch the bus drive away.  The trio runs off to find another way to treat Bob, which leaves Tyreese on his own to fight the campers.  He’s not doing all that well when a shot comes from off-screen taking out one of the campers coming after him.  It’s creepy Lizzie and her Lord of the Flies army!  Except just as I’m coming around to Lizzie and her creepy ways, she shoots Alisha in the head.  Lizzie killed the lezzie!  Still hate her.

In the scuffle, Rick and the Gov have found each other and are partaking in a particularly nasty round of fisticuffs.  Even though Rick seemed to have had the early upper hand, the Gov quickly overtakes him and is in the process of choking Rick out when BAM, Michonne shish kabobs the bastard.  Michonne looks over him one last time before leaving him bloody and dying on the ground.  Lilly is the next person to find him lying there, but she’s not as happy with the profound walk away; she wants him dead.  So, not with a whimper but with a bang, Lilly shoots our dear Governor in the head and ends a season and a half’s worth of suffering.  Part of me is bummed that the last face the Gov sees is a character who has only been on the show for three episodes, but he did just shoot her little girl in the head, so I’ll allow it.

408 swordGo on and sing a round of “Ding dong, the witch is dead” in your head.

Newly released from the Gov’s chokehold, Rick tracks down Carl inside the prison perimeter.  The two Grimes men are relatively alright, but there’s still the issue of Lil’ Ass Kicker.  Neither of them knows where she is, so the blood soaked car seat that they find isn’t exactly a hope inspirer.  I don’t buy it though.  I bet my bottom dollar that when we do the “where are they now” round up after the mid-season break, somebody is gonna have a baby.

So that’s it, folks.  2013 has seen its last of The Walking Dead.  I know I’ll personally be crying from 9-10 EST every Sunday night until February, but I’ll meet you here same bat time, same bat channel when the dead come back to life!

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

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