The Walking Dead: The Grove

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

Here’s Review #14:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

414 ponytail

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

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

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

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

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

414 gresilda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

414 fire walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One more before the finale, friends!

 

 

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

S04 E10: Inmates

S04 E11: Claimed

S04 E12: Still

S04 E13: Alone

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The Walking Dead: Inmates

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

Here’s Review #10:

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

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

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

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

HULK SAD

HULK SAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, my friends!

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

S04 E07: Dead Weight

S04 E08: Too Far Gone

S04 E09: After

The Walking Dead: Indifference

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 #4:

Well, this week certainly was an angsty one, now wasn’t it?  Half of our heroes are all about fighting internal demons rather than physical monsters; while Carol and Tyreese really take this episode’s title to heart and have no fucks to give today.  Either way, there is almost as much judging going on as when Dale was still on this show.  Gah, sometimes I watch a clip of self-righteous Dale dying just to cheer myself up.  Which he would probably judge me for.  Rick does an impressive job picking up that mantle this week, so let’s go see why I hate Rick now.

The episode starts with Carol talking to creepy little Lizzie before she heads out with Rick for a supply run and a little emotional digging.  Carol tries to bolster Lizzie’s courage about killing her neighbors, but Lizzie apparently enters her pre-teen rebellious stage and tells “Mom” that even if she dies, she isn’t afraid because she’s cool with being a zombie.  Carol essentially responds, “No daughter of mine is going to be a zombie!  Now, don’t call me ‘Mom’ and pull your knife out.”  Sophia probably would have turned out toootally functional if she had lived.

We switch over to our fighters who appear to have outrun literally THOUSANDS of zombies off screen.  How much time is supposed to have passed since last episode?  I really feel like walking around that swarm should have been more of a project.  Anyway, Tyreese isn’t worried about time (since everyone is probably dead), so he decides it’s laundry time and won’t come when called AGAIN.  Forget what I said before about not killing off Tyreese.  Can we get Carol over here to knife him and save us from his douche-baggery?

The group sets out to find a new car and Daryl finds a rock.  I guess it’s a specific kind of rock that he picks up for someone in A block for some purpose?  Anyway, I may not understand Daryl’s occasional mumbling (or geology), but I do understand guilt trips.  Michonne teases him about having friends, but Daryl slams her for taking off so much and then goes to pout with his special pebble.

As a rare treat, The Walking Dead attempts to give random people in Zombieland a sense of humor.  First, Carol and Rick find a station wagon with “Pardon our dust” written on the filthy windows.  A classic, to be sure, but not nearly as good as the gas station where some teenage hoodlums moved around the numbers to spell a word.  Like in elementary school when everyone figured out what “80085” looks like on a scientific calculator!

OIC what you did there.  At first I thought I was just having a stroke.

OIC what you did there. At first I thought I was just having a stroke.

In an attempt to get into the overgrown convenience shop, the fighters take on their greatest challenge yet: zombie bush.  Well, it starts off just a bush, but then Tyreese decides to take his frustrations out on vegetation and accidentally turns it into the most dangerous Chia Pet of all time.  When the walkers start leaping out of the vines, everyone starts killing them.  Except Tyreese, AGAIN.  He continues to be a complete and total a-hole and appears to be trying to hug his zombie, until the others save him.

Tyreese doesn’t have an answer when Michonne calls him on his bullshit; just a stupid, tortured stare.  But Michonne decides that enough is enough and pushes the point.  She asks him straight out if he was really trying to die, or if he even knows what he’s trying to do.  It’s a fair question, because I sure as hell don’t.  Michonne tells him flat out, “Angry makes you stupid, and stupid gets you killed.”  Apparently she needs to get some wisdom counseling from Hershel, because she makes a valid point, but it’s not necessarily the most helpful advice anyone has ever given on this show.

Inside the shop, Daryl and PTSD Bob find a battery as well as a pretty decent spread of auto supplies.  They also find an emptied out bottle of anti-freeze that the bush zombies drank “holding hands, Kumbaya style.”  Daryl and PTSD Bob disagree about whether it’s always worth fighting for survival, or if it’s easier just to go out on your own terms instead of watching everyone you love die horribly.  PTSD Bob pensively looks at a live zombie (oxymoron?) pinned next to a picture of all the shop people being happy before they drank the Kool-aid.  Then he unintentionally takes away a little bit of this zombie guy’s “death with dignity” decision by stabbing him in the head with the men’s room key.

Rick and Carol’s road trip has brought them to a cute little cul-de-sac neighborhood.  Even though the show runners are obviously going for quaint, this doesn’t seem like the greatest strategic move.  If walkers start coming at you down the street, you have willingly put yourself in a corner that requires a very slow 360 to drive out of.  They raid the medicine cabinet of one house and find a walker, as well as two pretty clueless burnout kids who didn’t know there was a dead chick across the hall.  Tweeker boy throws a peach down as a peace offering, but both Rick and Carol just watch it fall on a corpse.  I’m mostly just surprised that these kids didn’t hit the medicine cabinet when they first broke in.

It turns out that they’re a little bit cute though.  Mr. and Mrs. Tweeker talk about how they’ve been fairing in the post-apocalypse and they bust out their meet-cute!  It’s the classic story of boy meets girl, girl nearly gets trampled to death in a fire, boy saves girl and loves her despite her horribly deformed leg.  We even get a new name for zombies: skin eaters!  Someone calls them “deadies” too, but I’m pretending that one didn’t happen.  The Tweekers seem pretty non-threatening, so Rick goes into his “Riddle me these questions three” routine.  They pass!  Rick wants to leave them in the house until it’s time to head out since they’re pretty beat up, but Carol insists that they can help to cover more ground before nightfall.  Rick reluctantly sends the Tweekers off with a gun and his watch.

Rick and Carol have made the rounds and are swinging by a greenhouse the Tweekers mentioned.  They pick tomatoes and reminisce about their pre-zombie lives.  Actually, Rick reminisces and Carol tells some really awful stories about her abusive husband.  All I can think about during this exchange though, is why the hell are they picking around the green tomatoes?!  People are starving, but Rick and Carol are too good for under-ripe produce.  OH OKAY.  Well it turns out that they don’t have to worry about feeding girl Tweeker, because they find her wonky leg a ridiculously far distance away from the rest of her body which is being devoured.  Seriously, how did it get over there?  Was her dying act to throw her screwed up leg fifty feet in the air?

The fighters finally make it to the vet hospital and I get nervous about whether animals turn in to zombies too, because I watched Pet Semetary way too young and it scared me.  Luckily, all the puppies have already been completely eaten (a sentence I never expected to write).  They find the lab surprisingly quickly and without conflict, but then are really picky about what meds they take.  This is the same issue I had with the green tomatoes; there should be nothing on those shelves that they can’t fit in their bags.  Even if you end up with some obscure ones, somebody might get heartworm someday, you don’t know.

Their exit from the hospital is decidedly less graceful and they end up jumping out a window, which works like a charm because apparently zombies can’t get three feet off the ground.  They’re walkers, not climbers.  The zombies are obviously just stuck there so that we can have a dramatic moment between Daryl and PTSD Bob.  PTSD Bob had disclosed to Daryl earlier in the episode that he has a drinking problem that indirectly led to Zach’s death.  At the time, Daryl comforted him with a succinct “That’s bullshit,” but any sympathy is gone.  Instead of loading up on medicine, PTSD Bob filled his pack with liquor he found in the lab and when everyone finds out, they are NOT amused.  Daryl tells PTSD Bob that if he has a single sip before the medicine gets back, he will end him.  And I 100% believe that he would.  I’m pretty sure I would take my chances with the walker swarm if Daryl ever yelled at me like that.

The cul-de-sac crew is all loaded up and debating whether they should leave boy Tweeker behind.  There was no sign of him next to his lady, so he could be fine and on his way back.  Rick wants to wait so that boy Tweeker isn’t stranded alone if he is ok, but Carol insists that they have to leave him regardless.  Then she really gets on the “Indifference” train and says to Rick apologetically, “It was a nice watch.”  Unfortunately, the fact that this is her take away here isn’t about to help Carol out in their next conversation.

Rick and Carol have spent the entire episode discussing changed morality, acceptable losses, and how far is too far.  Even though Rick never asked Carol his three questions directly, he’s decided that she doesn’t pass anymore.  She’s killed countless walkers.  She murdered two people and now is indirectly responsible for the Tweekers’ downfall.  And he doesn’t think that the coldness of her reasoning for it is justified.  All this boils down to Rick deciding that Carol isn’t coming back to the prison.

At least Rick left you with your two favorite weapons.

At least Rick left you with your two favorite weapons.

Um, I am NOT ok with this.  I have so many problems with this that I actually had to remind myself that throwing my remote at the screen won’t actually hurt Rick.  Where does he get off being Carol’s judge, jury, and executioner?  Does he honestly think that this is any different than what Carol did?  If he is concerned about everyone not wanting her there or Tyreese wanting her dead, there should be some sort of trial.  Or he could just keep his mouth shut.  The bottom line here is that Rick is picking Tyreese, the unhinged man who attacked him for no reason, over Carol, who he has known since the beginning and who essentially runs the day to day chores of the prison.  I’ve been saying all season that I love, love, love what they’re doing with Carol and to take her away from us at this point is just cruel.

So there’s no real cliffhanger this week; just a montage of people being pissed and depressed while I sit on my couch and try to invent ways that Carol can come back and punch Rick in the face.  We’re only four Episodes into the season, so there’s still plenty of time!

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

The Walking Dead: Infected

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 #2:

Time for episode two!  I was a little wary of this episode going in after I saw the title.  I know it can’t be all walker killing all the time, but sometimes in the past, it’s felt like there aren’t a lot of zombies on my zombie show at all.  Remember when we just hung out and did laundry in a pretty comfy farmhouse for a season?  So, if this was just going to turn into an episode about a non-zombie health crisis…  But how wrong I was!  This was a downright gory episode.  Throw in a little animal cruelty and the squeem factor got pretty high.

Is it just me, or is The Walking Dead the darkest show on television?  Yes, the content is dark, but visually, I feel like I was squinting at the screen for the first ten minutes of this episode.  To their credit though, this show has successfully trained me to the point that I am completely freaked out by flashlights.  Especially when that flashlight is pointed at a rat getting its head cut off.  For what reason?  We don’t have nearly all the puzzle pieces yet, but this scene did immediately prompt me to burst into song.  Listen all ya’ll, IT’S SABOTAGE.  It’s purely speculation at this point, but this level of sneakiness smacks of the Governor.  Just working on how still…

Inside, Tyreese and Karen are canoodling (still in the dark) and honoring Zach.  Ok, pause for a second to remember who Zach is, realize we didn’t really care about him that much, and now it’s bed time.  Karen turns down Tyreese’s invitation back to his place and instead decides to wander around in the dark by herself with a flickering flashlight.

I take issue with this scene.  I know that they all feel complacent behind the prison walls, but I feel like all security protocol shouldn’t be thrown out the window.  First of all, how about a buddy system?  Even if Karen wasn’t feeling frisky, big burly man singing “I’ve got you” isn’t a bad roommate/bathroom escort to have in Zombieland.  Plus, are these guys serious with the shower curtains LITERALLY all over the place?  Modesty be damned!  I don’t want anything sneaking up on me Psycho-style.  And why is nobody locking their jail cells at night?  Even if you’re not worried about zombies getting through the fence, what if someone, oh I don’t know, dies of natural causes in the shower and comes back undead?  No sympathy for you, random sleeping man.  Enjoy your emptied out torso. (How sweet was it when he stood up though, right?)

A moment of philosophical quandary:  is Harry Potter zombie still Harry Potter zombie if he lost his glasses?  Welp, he’s dead now so I’m not learning his real name.  I am kind of curious about him though.  HP seems to be moving differently than the other zombies.  He’s faster and a little more deliberate.  Plus, he spends a long time eating the same person rather than getting distracted and moving on.  This might be my imagination, so I’ll leave it for now.

402 harry potter

Manners first.

Morning breaks, and Glenn and Maggie are being adorable in the honeymoon suite.  Except, how much film does Maggie think is left in the world that she can be throwing away pictures?  Polaroid film was impossible to come by even before the apocalypse.

Michonne is also being adorable as she’s getting ready to go out on another run and trading jabs with Carl about comic books and stale M&M’s.  This new, less guarded Michonne could potentially be getting a little heavy handed.  But I like the idea of characters like Michonne and Daryl going through positive growth, instead of just watching Rick swing through character transformations like a ballistic pendulum.  Somebody pointed out to me though, that giving Carl a new mother figure, could lead down the slippery slope of a potential Michonne/Rick hookup.  Please God, no!  It makes no sense.  Plus, I always shipped the subtext between Michonne and Andrea.

(Side note:  Are gay people really bad at fighting zombies?!  Thinking about Andrea and Michonne made me realize that I can’t come up with a single out character that’s been on this show.  I’m gonna pretend it’s because we’re in the South and all the queers are up in Massachusetts rebuilding society.)

Anyway, just as I start verbally begging Michonne not to go, I luck out and everyone starts dying!  We hear gunshots and Michonne turns around to come back, but at kind of a leisurely pace.  She practically stops to fix her outfit.  As punishment, she twists her ankle while flipping a walker onto the pointy fence.  In my head, I’m secretly pumped because now she can’t leave me for a while!  Maggie saves her and all of a sudden, I realize that I want nothing more in my life than for them to become best friends.

402 mag mich

Can we make this ship happen, pretty please?

Inside the cell block, things are pretty gruesome.  The Trojan Horse zombies have claimed more people and the number of bite victims is increasing exponentially.  Rick starts doing a pretty good job of evacuating people, but is crap when it comes to actual zombie killing.  He even gives away a gun that someone hands to him.  Luckily, Daryl picks up the slack and goes into ultimate fighter mode.  He even saves a couple of kids, because obviously Daryl is the post-apocalypse version of a St. Jude cancer researcher.

Carol is right behind him, cementing her place as the secret hero of The Walking Dead.  Sure, she’ll run Café Zombé and volunteer for story time.  But don’t get it twisted, she will cut your freaking arm off at the drop of a hat if it means saving your life.  Unfortunately for the man she tries to save in this battle, amputating neck wounds doesn’t generally work out so well and she realizes he’s a goner.  This man’s dying wish is that Carol watch after his two soon to be orphaned daughters, “like they’re [her] own,” which obviously strikes a nerve.  Carol accepts the responsibility and immediately starts dropping some knowledge bombs on these girls about life and death decisions and how sometimes that means stabbing daddy in the head.  No time for grieving in Zombieland.

What’s really interesting about this scene is the difference between meek, battered Carol from Seasons 1 and 2 interacting with her own daughter and how she speaks to her two new charges.  She clearly has no intention of letting these girls meet the same end as her Sophia.  As far as I’m concerned, Carol has had the most consistent and delicately handled character transformation of anyone on this show.  Hey, writers room for The Walking Dead!  More of this, please.

After the last of the bitten residents have died, there’s a very eerie scene that really brings home how messed up this massacre really was.  As they prevent all of the infected corpses from coming back as walkers, it has obviously hit everyone that these aren’t anonymous zombies that they ran into in the woods; these are the people of their community.  Glenn had to stomp on the skull of a woman that he may have had breakfast plans with that morning.  After real life tragedies, people always say, “You never think it will happen to you.”  This scene really has that feel to it.

While investigating what actually happened, Rick determines, after approximately 30 seconds of investigation, that some of the sick walkers don’t have any bite marks.  But how can this be?!  Thank goodness, a doctor that we had no idea existed is here to explain.  He uses a lot of biology words, but then pulls the classic sci-fi trick of breaking down terribly complex science to an easy to understand metaphor.  This dead guy is a shaken up can of soda that blew his top!

Turns out that the infection is actually an aggressive flu that was around before the zombies came.  If I was iffy at all about getting a flu shot this year, I’m officially shelling out the $25 now.  Now that we know what our contagion is, the City Council assembles to process the shit storm that has just occurred.  They decide that anyone who was in the cell block should be taken out of Gen Pop, and then a conveniently timed cough makes everyone freak the eff out.  It’s Karen.  Womp, womp.  Let this be a lesson, never be too happy at the beginning of an episode of The Walking Dead.

Daryl goes to take care of the dead and even though we literally just talked about how contagious the Death Flu is, he wears the worst possible gloves and mask available to bury them.  Also, I’ve got quite a bit of dystopian fiction under my belt, and I’m pretty sure that they should burning those bodies someplace off site instead of burying them next to the food supply.  Why isn’t our new doctor friend chiming in on this?!  Well, at least Carl has something to do with the crosses that he’s making in creepy, remedial shop class.

The worst funeral ever is interrupted by a mob of zombies that were attracted by all the hubbub and are now joining the effort to take down the already questionable fence.  Catching up on your reading and redecorating your jail cell are all well and good, but why has nobody thought about reinforcing that fence in the whole time they’ve been there?  Now all our main players are looking supremely boned.  Except, it is essentially all of our main players, so of course Rick is gonna get the crazy glimmer in his eye and save the day.

EXCEPT THIS SOLUTION IS NOT OKAY, RICK.  For real, this scene makes me the most upset that I have ever been watching this show.  He slices those poor little piggies so slowly and then throws them to be killed so terribly and it’s tearing me apart from the inside.  I don’t even care that they probably brought Death Flu to the prison.  I say the people should have died and the animals should have lived.  I would watch a show about adorable pigs frolicking with zombies.

I’m so worked up, I don’t even want to see the cliffhanger of the week.  Except it looks kind of interesting and confusing, so I’m back in.  Tyreese goes to bring Karen some flowers in the totally unprotected quarantine area, and finds a trail of blood.  He obviously follows the blood super duper slowly, because there’s probably nothing to be alarmed about.  Just your girlfriend’s smoldering body.

Or is it?!  I’m always wary of unrecognizable burn victims when there’s a saboteur on the loose.  It’s one of my mottos in life.

Check out Hillary’s Previous Post:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review