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

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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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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“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

The Walking Dead: Dead Weight

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 #7:

Remember when there used to be series regulars on The Walking Dead?  Now apparently we’re just watching a show about our former villain, turned good guy, turned villain again.  Not to mention his newly adopted family, who are really the only reason any of this redemption arc business is being allowed to carry on.  Then throw in one of our more psychopathic Woodbury henchmen, and this episode feels like being at a friend of a friend’s party when you can’t find anyone you really know.

When we last left the Governor and his new nuclear unit, things were looking a little bleak.  But this week, we open on the Gov and Meghan playing some chess and dropping a couple more chess metaphors.  This week, the game of strategy gets to be a stand in for the strategy of staying alive in Zombieland, or as the Gov vaguely refers to it, “Surviving.”  This scene also serves to allow the Gov to do a little bit of exposition about his past: daddy didn’t love him!  Actually, it’s a really sad back-story, made even worse by the fact that Meghan can relate all too well.  She asks the Gov if that means that she’s bad, and it breaks my damn heart.

Well if last week was about thinking, this week is certainly about making moves.  The first of which is taking a backseat to his former follower, Martinez, so that he and his girls can join the new camp.  That satisfies the first of CampMartinez’s rules.  The second is that they don’t tolerate any freeloaders.  They cut the dead weight, even if that dead weight isn’t tall enough to ride roller coasters yet.  One of the new fighters is on board with saving women and children, but another member of the new group is pissed about more mouths to feed.  Turns out they’re brothers, so there’s a nice bro (Pete) and a pissy bro (Mitch).  I’ll give you $5 if you can guess which one lives through the episode.

Back at the camp, everyone is trying to find a way to be useful.  For Lilly, that means setting up a nursing station, since the healthcare in the camp is sorely lacking.  For Tara, it apparently means flirting with a hottie hot army girl over guns.  Tara insists that she’s “not a fan of big guns.”  The new girl, Alisha, calls her on her bullshit gun knowledge and pathetic attempt at double entendre; but she does so with a giddy grin and Tara’s net has been cast.

The Gov’s contribution to camp will be as an entry level fighter/supply runner.  He goes out for his first jaunt with Martinez and the Dolgen brothers, and Mitch starts laying into the Gov pretty much immediately, having renamed the Gov “One Eye Bri.”  Despite the relatively good nickname, I can’t fully approve.  The one thing I have never questioned about the Gov is that his eye patch is totally bad ass.  It makes me want one.

The new name does make me wonder how the Gov has been handling the elephant in the room of having his new brood and Martinez living together and being quite social without it coming up that he has two names.  It was never explicitly addressed, but it is possible that Martinez simply assumes that Brian was the Gov’s name all along and he just never used it in Woodbury.  Or Martinez may have picked up on the new arrivals’ dynamic and now he’s letting the The Governor’s old name die with their fallen town.  After all, Martinez doesn’t have a squeaky clean past either.

Out in the woods, the Gov’s spidey sense is tingling, so he breaks off from the group and finds a decapitated man in fatigues tied to a tree.  Unless the zombies have been practicing the knots they learned in Boy Scouts, this looks like a man made scene.  Plus, there’s a sign around the corpse’s… neck stump that reads “LIAR.”  (I may have fudged my taxes a little last year.  I’m sorry–don’t cut my head off!)  The group continues on their supply run and comes across another, even more bizarre, vignette.  This time, the decapitated corpse is sitting in a random armchair in a clearing with a sign on his chest that says “RAPIST.”  I’m beginning to think that there’s someone in these woods that is a little upset about something.  Probably just keep walking.  Good call.

The next guy committed RAPE, and we both get beheaded.  I should have shelled out for a better lawyer.

The next guy committed RAPE, and we both get beheaded. I should have shelled out for a better lawyer.

The fighters come across a cute little cottage, which probably has a pretty low asking price since there’s a dead guy in the foyer.  This man is slumped on the ground wearing a sign that says “MURDERER” on it, but does have most of his head intact.  The missing bits are splattered on the wall behind him.  Add in the shotgun in his lap, and it looks like our third victim may have offed himself.  He’s holding a picture of what we can assume is the dead man with what appears to be his wife and teenage daughter.  This story is starting to write itself a little bit more clearly now, but the Gov insists that it’s better not to speculate what happened here.  The photo of this destroyed family obviously throws the Gov off his game more than a little.

The time has come for the Gov to put up or gtfo, so he enters the cabin first to scope out if there’s anything good left to scavenge.  Also, if there’s anything (living or undead) waiting to take them out.  I am instantly annoyed.  Why the hell is it so dark in this house?  It is the middle of the damn day.  I know I’m just a city slicker, but aren’t country folk supposed to be all about natural lighting?  And I’m pretty sure that matches could light up the room better than that flashlight.

Hope you’re not trying to watch this on your laptop, asshole.  XOXO, AMC.

Hope you’re not trying to watch this on your laptop, asshole. XOXO, AMC.

They hear at least one walker banging around upstairs and assume that it must be stuck.  As soon as they get to the second level, a walker conveniently escapes where ever she’s been stuck for God knows how long, and hops on Pete’s back.  Pete, the sensitive soul that he is, totally sucks at fighting the lady in a nightgown which prompts the Gov to leap into action.  The Gov saves Pete and then Martinez in quick succession before totally freaking out that the zombies were actually the family of the man out front that he sympathized with five minutes earlier.

Never fear, Gov’nah!  I know what’ll cheer you up; there’s some reanimated heads rolling around on the floor over there!  Remember how much you love those?  Ah, the good ole days.

Everyone’s got a hobby.  Mine is knitting; the Gov’s is zombie heads.

Everyone’s got a hobby. Mine is knitting; the Gov’s is zombie heads.

Now back at the camp, the Gov is having dinner with Martinez, his girls, and Tara’s lady friend.  Everyone is having a grand time getting “shitfaced” as our resident wordsmith, Tara, puts it before taking off with her woman.  Lilly gives Alisha a peck on the check and yells “Be safe!” after the two ladies.  Jeez Lilly, it’s sweet that you like your sister’s girlfriend, but there are some things that are just always awkward to hear from an older sibling.

The Gov and Martinez retire to the top of the RV to hit some golf balls (and another bottle of liquor).  The heart-to-heart primarily consists of Martinez talking and the Gov being his human cup holder.  The monologue touches on family and how Martinez doesn’t think he could start over like the Gov has.  Then he talks about Shumpert and how he couldn’t come back from the Woodbury massacre, which ultimately resulted in his death.  I’m actually starting to think I can jell with Martinez as a character when The Walking Dead is all like “Oh, you like a character?  WE CAN FIX THAT.”  The Gov bludgeons Martinez out of nowhere and it totally catches me off guard.  Martinez had just admitted that all he could do was try to keep the camp safe and offered the Gov a chance to lead with him, which apparently didn’t sound appealing since the Gov screams “I don’t want it!” over and over again while dragging Martinez’s flailing body toward the zombie pit.  He probably would have accepted a simple “No, thank you.”

That night, Lilly finds the Gov sobbing on the bed, which he tries to just play off as a bad dream that he can’t remember.  Smooth cover story, bro.  Lilly drops it for now, but I can’t imagine that she’s going to stay dumb for much longer.  Especially since the very next morning, Pete announces to the camp that Martinez died in a drunken golfing accident that nobody witnessed.  Pete also assumes the leadership position until an actual vote can be taken.  Tara calls BS and Mitch calls her a bitch.  He annoyed me even before that little stunt.  Enjoy life on my shit list, sir.

Just to hammer home the philosophical difference between our three remaining fighters, they come across another small camp on the next supply run.  They notice that the campers actually do have a nice spread, so what to do now?  Pete suggests merging with new refugees but, lol no.  Shockingly, Mitch wants to ransack them for their supplies and, even though he doesn’t explicitly address it, I don’t think that he would lose sleep over any casualties.  The Gov doesn’t chime in, but the men move on anyway to see what else is out there.

The fighters collect from all of their traps, but are not amused when they walk by the camp they let lie before only to find that they’ve been pillaged and murdered by another group of humans.  Pete is floored by all the dead bodies, but Mitch is just mad that someone else has the supplies now.  Just then, Mitch notices an older man who didn’t die in the initial attack but instead of assessing his condition, he just goes over and stabs the old geezer in the head.  Pete then busts out the mantra of all the “heroes” this season: “He could have lived!”  To which Mitch responds in line with all the cut throat characters: “You’re an idiot and I like being alive,” or something along those lines.

This little spectacle drives home for the Gov how messed up things are here now.  Not a lot of sympathy here, seeing as things were fine before he took out the leader and collapsed the infrastructure.  Realizing that things are looking bleak, the Gov gathers up his crew in the middle of the night and leaves Camp Martinez.  Everyone in the car is pretty confused, including Alisha who has taken the stereotype about lesbians rushing into relationships to a crazy new level.  The escape attempt is aborted when the car comes across a mud pit filled with zombies stuck from the waist down.  It’s unclear whether this is a manmade trap or just a tough time to have an undead brain, but the moral of the story is that the team is headed back to the RV.

You shall not pass!

You shall not pass!

The next day, the Gov goes to visit Pete who has been expecting him.  Pete doesn’t get to say much before the Gov stabs him in the back without a word, because killing the camp leader worked out SO WELL yesterday.  Even though it was obvious five minutes into the episode that Pete was not long for this world, I’m still disappointed that the little lamb had to go.

The Gov’s next step is to go visit Mitch, wearing a new “don’t mess with me” leather coat similar to the one he sported in the Woodbury days.  Gun in hand, the Gov confirms for Mitch that Pete is dead, which causes Mitch to seem genuinely afraid and distraught about losing his brother.  I really appreciate this choice to make him react like a human being, rather than just making him a meathead macho man.  The Gov makes a speech about nice guys finishing last, and Mitch seems to sign on with the new ruthless approach that the Gov has in mind.

So here we are again.  The Gov is in charge of a new camp of blissfully ignorant survivors who don’t asks questions and are just happy to be part of a team.  All the while, the Gov is running around with his little Assembly of Evil, murdering and plotting.  After a seemingly innocent day of planning rations and building a perimeter, the Gov is pouring himself over a map and circles something that we can’t read (but honestly have a pretty good idea of what it is).  Lilly finds him and begs him to accept that this camp is their home now.  Never satisfied, the Gov continues to insist that there may be “someplace better.”

Life continues business as usual in the camp with Tara and Alisha standing guard, when Meghan pulls Tara away to play tag.  The whole interaction is adorable, but things take a turn when Meghan pulls back a sheet hanging on a clothes line and finds herself playing tag with a walker now.  Oi vey, these people just can’t stop themselves from hanging things for zombies to hide behind.  Everyone comes out of the close call unscathed (although I imagine Tara contracted a case of the heebie jeebies smooshing that decomposed ankle around), but the close call drives the Gov over the edge.

After visiting zombie Pete flailing around underwater in the lake where he has apparently started his new creepy zombie collection, the Gov hops in his car and heads out to find the “better place” he presumably circled on the map: the prison.  Damn, these characters can hold a grudge!  The Gov is like a dog with a bone when it comes to our main players; but we’ve known all along that the Gov is not the type of man to settle for less than he thinks he can get his hands on.

We close out the episode with the Gov’s timeline caught up with where we last left the prison, and I, for one, will not miss the wibbly wobbly timey wimey task of trying to figure out how everything meshes.  The mid-season finale is up next!  Is this the start of Governor-Prison War II, or is there another twist in the Gov’s development coming?

Until next week, my friends!

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

The Walking Dead: Live Bait

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 #6:

Sometimes The Walking Dead screws with my head.  This week was a doozey.  I’ve been going over and over the Governor’s return for a couple of days now, and I can’t figure out what angle the writers are working.  The entirety of Season 3 was spent convincing us that the Governor was a complete psychopath, beyond redemption.  But this week’s episode felt exactly like a redemption arc.  At first it seems like this could just be inconsistency in the plot (which The Walking Dead has been guilty of in the past), but I don’t generally spend this much time thinking about poorly written character development.  So is the Governor a changed man, or manipulating the situation?  Is the writing thought provoking, or shoddy?  And why does the Governor talk like Batman now?!  One thing is for sure, I was not excited about the Governor coming back, but The Walking Dead at least has me curious.

We start the episode back at the end of Season 3 with the Governor mowing down all of the fighters of Woodbury.  But instead of watching the Governor drive off into the distance with his last two henchmen (Martinez and Shumpert) and returning back to the prison crew, we follow the pickup truck of doom to an empty field for a super depressing camping trip.  The Governor watches motionless as a lady zombie stumbles towards him in a dress that looks like it was pretty ugly even before she died in it.  Apparently her smock isn’t flame retardant either, because she falls in the fire pit and lights up like a candle.  A candle that the Governor just stares at emotionlessly until Martinez takes her out.  Get used to this blank stare; it happens a lot this episode.  I mean, a lot a lot.

The next morning, the Governor squeezes himself out of a comically small tent to find that his faithful minions were more like “fuck you” minions and have ditched him with no supplies whatsoever.  The Governor stands around looking angsty for a minute before making the completely logical decision to go back and light Woodbury on fire.  I actually appreciate them including this scene.  It had been bothering me all season that our characters have been holed up in a hopelessly dingy prison without even addressing why they don’t move over to Woodbury.  At least now I can pretend that they checked it out and it was a smoky zombie pit.  I’m also interested about the Governor’s motivation here.  On first viewing, I assumed he was intentionally destroying supplies as a final FU to everyone else.  But thinking about it later, he may have been using this as a sort of catharsis.  Maybe some combination of the two?

Apparently a super long time passes between scenes, because the Governor has just pulled way out in front for craziest shaggy hair/beard in the post-apocalypse.  Either that or the Governor has the testosterone of a bear and grows hair like a Chia pet.  A voice over confirms that it’s the former and goes on to say that he’s basically been walking slowly with pensive, twangy music in the background for a couple of months now.  The voice over is having a conversation with an unknown woman who asks about where he lived before he took up sad walking (it’s kind of like the opposite of Prancercise).  The Governor talks about Woodbury and its downfall because of its wacko leader losing it.  It’s true that he’s lying to random lady, but it doesn’t sound the same as when he used to lie before.  The Governor has always been a razzle dazzle con man, who turns on the charm until he locks you in a basement.  He sounds broken down here, but it’s still early in the episode.

This entire walking scene is very melodramatic, but there are several points in its favor that keep it from going too over the top.  The music, although not to my personal taste, does a nice job of creating the right vibe.  The song is Ben Nichols’ “Last Pale Light in the West” and is the first of several smart soundtrack choices in this episode.  The Governor also pauses at a barn covered with spray painted messages to missing loved ones; something that has happened after many real life disasters.  He seems genuinely moved by the display, which is dedicated in large part to a Brian Heriot.

The Governor carries on his dirge and evades a walker by walking like a walker.  Have I mentioned how much walking is going on?  The Governor finally collapses, but just when it looks like he’s given up all hope, a little girl appears in the window of an apartment building in his line of sight.  Mustering the last of his strength, the Governor stands up and goes to investigate.

Inside the complex, a woman with a baseball bat and a scared little girl cower in the doorway as the Governor approaches.  They’re joined by another uppity young woman with a gun.  Uh, shouldn’t the person with the gun pretty much always be in charge of door duty?  Without a word from anyone, the Governor throws down his pack and weapon.  I don’t see any way that Season 3 Governor would have relinquished the power in this situation so readily, so I’m intrigued.  The women welcome the strange sasquatch looking man we know and loathe into the house to probe him a little bit more, but he’s not talking.  Actually, the Governor hasn’t said a single word on screen and we’re almost ten minutes into the episode.  It’s an interesting choice, but ultimately I’m with gun girl that it’s the most annoying choice possible for this situation.

We actually end up learning more about the new characters than they do about their guest.  Foul mouth and entertainingly abrasive gun girl is Tara, who happens to be an Atlanta police officer.  Yay, lady cops!  Also in the apartment are Melody and her daughter, Meghan, as well as Tara and Melody’s father.  They’ve been stuck in this tiny apartment since the zombies showed up, which explains why they invite strangers into their home and still believe that the National Guard is coming.  Oh honey babies, just no.  No to all of that.

The Governor finally breaks his silence to confirm that he’ll spend the night in the next apartment over and then be on his merry way.  Tara puts her hand out to pound it and seal the deal, but eventually has to grab his hand to get her pound on.  They also tease us by making it seem like the Governor is telling us his real name, Brian.  But of course The Walking Dead can’t make it that easy and it turns out that he’s adopted the name he saw on the barn earlier.  Is it possible that the messages actually moved him?  I reiterate, these writers never make it easy.

Melody brings a plate of fictional brand Spaghettios to the Governor who’s sulking by himself and eating what I hope is canned tuna and not cat food.  Once alone, he throws it out the window without taking a bite.  Again, motivation?  He’s not putting on a show for anyone right now, so is this a show of distrust or has he just decided that he’s refusing the help of anyone these days?

Well, even if the Governor isn’t accepting help, these people certainly aren’t shy about asking for it.  When it’s time for bed, the Governor single handedly carries grandpa to his bed; a task that appears to have been a regular struggle for the girls up to this point.  Then he ventures upstairs, at the grandfather’s request, to retrieve a nice backgammon board in an attempt to cheer up Meghan.  It’s not exactly the most perilous mission we’ve seen a character on, but we do see one walker at least.  Really, he’s more of a layer-downer since all evidence is that he was a double amputee before the apocalypse.  Tub zombie really isn’t a threat to anyone, so the fact that the Governor knives him is really more of a mercy killing.

Actually, this scene carries an added weight, which I would think is unintentional.  This zombie is a decorated veteran who appears to have been injured in the line of duty.  From what I can gather, I’m pretty sure he must have crawled into the tub and committed suicide.  This episode aired less than a week after Veteran’s Day, so the whole thing just feels very unsettling.

As the Governor is on his way out the door, Melody stops him to try and say thank you with a bagged lunch and the return of his gun.  The Governor is still being confusingly nice and lets the girls keep his fancy gun while he keeps the old timey cowboy gun (again, so not a gun person).  He even passes along the info that you have to destroy the walkers’ brains to stop the suckers, which Tara didn’t know.  I realize these guys are supposed to be sheltered, but have they seriously never seen a single zombie movie?  C’mon people.  That’s not all though; grandpa is dying and Melody asks the Governor to raid a local nursing home for oxygen.  Ya know, to put a smile on Meghan’s face for a little longer.  No words necessary, the Governor is on his way.  Hm, might I be detecting a pattern here?

The oxygen run starts off pretty well since all the geriatric zombies are stuck in their bed/wheelchairs.  But things go south quickly when the Governor finds an entire dolly full of oxygen (yay!) that makes a lot of noise and attracts more zombies (boo!).  Unfortunately, this time it’s not someone’s formerly adorable Nana.  Now the Governor has to deal with the big orderlies they hire to lift Nana for bath time.  While I’m watching, I get tense and jump a little like I generally do during fight zombie scenes.  And then it hits me; hot damn, I’m worried for the Governor!  I’ll be back in five minutes when my brain reboots.

Come here and give Nana a kiss.

Come here and give Nana a kiss.

With two oxygen tanks in hand, the Governor returns triumphant to the apartment.  He’s still in his dark, angsty place, which is honestly getting a little old.  Luckily the ladies barge into Apt. 203 and force some human contact on Gov Sad Sack.  Melody plays nurse, mentioning that she enjoys the task since the apocalypse has been sooo boring so far.  Never change, you innocent song bird.  She forgets the ointment in the other room, which was really the only thing she needed.  You had one job, Mel!  This opens the door for Meghan to take crack at the Governor’s icy heart.  Question: am I the only one who hears Marcel the Shell every time she opens her mouth?  She asks him about his eye patch and the Governor tells her his secret: he’s a pirate, shhhhhh.  She giggles at his cheesy dad joke and the whole exchange is… adorable.  The Walking Dead is giving me trust issues.

After an undisclosed amount of time, the Governor has gotten a haircut which means that this redemption arc is apparently a thing that’s really happening.  Meghan is getting a chess lesson from her surrogate father, which gets more than a little heavy handed.  Meghan asks about pawns and the Governor tells her that you can lose a lot of soldiers and still win the game.  Then, totally unprompted, Meghan gets a sharpie and ruins a pretty nice chess board by Zombieland standards by giving the king an eye patch.

I once shot a bishop in Reno just to watch him die.

I once shot a bishop in Reno just to watch him die.

In the next room over, grandpa has joined the dearly departed and his family is taking a moment to mourn him.  But the Governor knows that the dearly departed quickly change into the revoltingly returned and tries to have everyone else with a pulse leave the room.  His advice falls on deaf ears and zombie grandpa gets a hold of Tara’s hair, prompting the Governor to bludgeon dear ole dad to a pulp in front of his entire family.  Where’s your knife, bro?  Knife to the eye still would have been scarring, but at least everyone wouldn’t be covered in old guy brain.

I’m thinking that this is pretty much it for the Governor and his new little family, but everyone is surprisingly cool with what just went down.  Tara practically thanks him and then goes in for the pound, which the Governor reciprocates this time.  If somebody ever smashes my brain in someday, they better not mourn me for twenty minutes and then team up with the guy, or I am haunting the shit out of that road trip.  But that’s exactly what happens.  They gather up the Roni Sticks, throw a mattress in the back of dad’s truck, and hit the streets.

There seem to be some serious issues with this decision.  The writers have already asked us to accept that two women with no (or minimal) defense training, a child, and a dying man have survived in this little apartment for approximately a year and a half without even knowing how to kill zombies.  If that’s the case, then why on God’s green Earth would they leave now?  Melody insists, “There has to be someplace better,” but nope.  This is really the best we’ve seen so far by a considerable margin.  The apartment people may not know that, but this seems like a pretty good time for the Governor to put his foot down.  He could at least insist that they do it right.  What is this business of only taking the truck?  If either of those women can drive, they should be travelling in at least two vehicles.  Extra storage space and a backup ride in case your truck breaks down in like… five minutes.

Back on the road, the Governor seems to be acting more like a human being again.  Back in his element, the Governor is carrying on actual conversations about being on the road and not moving like he’s stuck in some sort of slow motion CGI shot.  He’s even getting a little action.  After lights out, Melody puts the moves on the Governor and the two get down to a little bow chicka wow w- STOP!  SHUT IT DOWN NOW!  They’re in the back of the truck with Melody’s sister and daughter.  Just watching this scene makes me feel icky.

The next morning, the truck, of course, won’t start (bet you wish you had the sensible sedan now) so our crew has to hoof it.  The Governor isn’t happy, but I am because Tara tells us she’s a lesbian!  I prayed to the Television Gods for a queer character on this show and they sent me a glorious exposition story about camping and crushing on straight girls and then she falls down and cripples herself.  So, naturally, here come the zombies.  I’m gonna throw a nutty if they make her come out and kill her off less than five minutes later.  This “kill the lesbian” trend in tv recently is slowly killing me too.

Our foursome runs into the woods with Melody supporting Tara and the Governor carrying Meghan.  The Governor falls into a familiar looking hole with Meghan where he goes to town on three zombies.  Again I ask, where’s your knife, bro?  Apparently the holster didn’t go with his new “dad” look, so instead he kills a zombie by prying his skull into two parts with a comically oversized bone.  He even makes sure that he’s only three feet away from Meghan’s face at the perfect angle to look right down his throat.  Somehow or other, this makes her less afraid of the Governor and they have a good hug.

To round out the episode, we get our cliffhanger of the week.  I thought I had heard gun fire in the background while we were watching the fight in the pit, and it’s confirmed when the Governor looks up to see none other than his former subservient, Martinez.  I swear to God, I run into fewer people I know in my hometown than these people do wandering around literally the entire state of Georgia.  So, is this the passing of the big bad torch to another psychopath?  How is the Governor going to explain his past identity to his new nuclear unit?  And we still have to figure out how he ends up standing outside the prison, apparently by himself.

All questions that we can hope (in vain) to answer next week!

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