Monday, March 19, 2012

Walking Dead Episode 213: Beside the Dying Fire

No, No, NO!! I'm not buyin' it. Not buyin' it at ALL!! And I'm bummed because this is the first time I've had to really and truly call foul on this favorite show of ours.
1.) A HELICOPTER flying over head causes a massive herd to migrate all the way out to Hershel's farm from Atlanta?!? Not a chance! As if Chopper noise would cause OUR walkers that we know and love to ABANDON A MEAL and shuffle mindlessly off AWAY from the food? I think not. If that were true then a barking dog, a woodpecker, a falling tree branch, or any other number of random noises would have sent the herd veering off into a million directions. Plus if all Zombies "herded" like this then they would be very, very easy to get rid of. You could trick them into surrounds and just burn them in mass groups. Nope. It's the random Zombie that surprises you in the trees that has kept the series scary. That's the rules of Zombies and they need to stick to those rules and not change them completely just because it's season finale time and they need a whole bunch of them to show up for a big finish. Lazy writing.
2.) The whole gang goes out in vehicles at high speeds with shotguns and handguns over rough terrain. And headshot after headshot I never saw anybody miss. Not even once. Since WHEN is this possible? C'mon PEOPLE! Why groom this amazing, thoughtful, and delightfully intelligent fan-base and then insult us like this in the finale? They were up against a losing cause anyway so it's not as if their success was ever going to be a function of accuracy right?
3.) We lost Jimmy and Patricia. Yawn. Who didn't see that coming? Since we met them their fate couldn't have been more clear if they were red-shirt wearing ensigns on board the Star Ship Enterprise. Both those characters screamed "disposable!" from the get-go.
So they run for it. And make it off the ranch in sub-groups. Lori and Man-Pants make it off with T-Dog. Beth is also wearing a red Star Trek shirt by the way. It's just gonna take a while longer. Daryl drives off the farm but then sits at the end of the driveway staring contemplatively at the sky. (?) Because that's what I would do if I were fleeing a Zombie horde. NOT! So conveniently he is right there to hear Carol's screams and she makes it out with him. Glen and Maggie get away together and their story and emotional thread is really the only one that feels authentic. Rick saves Hershel and they get away with Carl and Andrea gets left behind. Andrea's story thread is pretty much the only redeeming thing about the episode from here on out. I'm gonna save it for last because I really like happy endings.
    So they all meet up on the highway (no thanks to Hershel and T-dog), count their losses and hug it out. In my little world it would also be time for Purell and face-washing but you know me. Love Daryl in this scene. First it's the Asian driver comment and then the way he dispatches the argyle sweater Zombie the way most of us would offer to answer the doorbell. "I'll get it!"
   They breakdown on the side of the road and discuss the last 24 hours and it comes out that people turn into Zombies because everyone's infected. So if you die from anything you turn. NOT BUYING IT. First of all if that were true you could get bitten and as long as the bite didn't kill you you should be fine. This could totally explain why they are constantly exposed to Zombie spackle and it doesn't affect them. But if that's true then Jim should have been fine when he got bit. It wasn't a lethal wound and if he was already infected with the Zombie virus and ANY death would have resulted in his turning, then the bite should not have killed him. Because whatever was in the bite was something he already had. If everyone is already infected God help Lori if she gets 6 or so months along in her pregnancy and then miscarries. She'll have a zombie fetus trying to claw it's way out of her. That's gonna make all pregnancies a little more high-risk. As if the high probability of giving birth in the woods wasn't scary enough. Geez....
    Then the episode just dissolves into.... hmm what's the right word. It wasn't bad, not weird, just... off. It was "off". Rick's different. Lori's feral or something now that she knows about Shane. And no one is using their heads anymore. I mean they choose to sleep out by the side of the road. But let's look at this screenshot.
 Take a close look at that fence. It's really nice. What would you say a fence like that would cost? 7-9$ per linear foot? They don't line country roads with fences like that. And oh, what's that in the distance? Is it a transformer? I believe it is! So why not take a little stroll down the lane and spend the night at the McMansion that's at the end of that driveway and behind that fence. It's not rocket science gang. You may even be able to rustle up some grub. I gotta walk away. It's all too sad and pathetic. I'm going to NEED until next October to get over this episode.
  But like I said before - go out on a happy ending. Andrea's story was great. She's so hard-core and epic that I'm kinda starting to like her. But with all those Zombies no one could hold out indefinitely. She lost her ammo, she beat them off with guns, lost her knife in one of their skulls and got taken down. I was so bummed at that moment because I KNEW that no one was coming to save her. Until.....Michonne!! She showed up in all her glory looking just like I always thought she would. I actually jumped off the couch and hit my hand against the ceiling (by mistake... ouch!) Her moment of introduction was visually perfect. And kind of redeemed the episode for me. So now all we have to do is sit back on our heels and speculate until sometime next October. Oh man.....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking Dead Epsiode 212: Better Angels

I have 2 things to say right off the cuff and then I'm gonna need to rock and cry for a bit before I finish tonight's missive. 1 - This show has become a Greek Tragedy. Seriously... I'm starting to feel like if I joined a grief support group it would be full of fellow TWD fans. It makes the Stephen King book I'm currently reading seem like a romance novel. 2 - At the rate they're killing off major characters the show will be over in about 2 more episodes. A few brave shows in the history of TV have had the cojones to kill of a major player, but has ANY show ever killed off main characters 2 weeks in a row? ANY?!? Somebody please go grab an almanac, check the Wiki or phone a friend - I'm dying to know.
   Ok, I'm back from my grief session. The thing is, this episode started out so WELL. I had hope that the group was going to rally around the standard of Dale and his morality. I guess the fact that a bunch of them had to go postal on a bunch of walkers should have tipped me off. But seriously, who doesn't need to blow off some steam after a funeral? Andrea and Glen had a moment (at the Winnie appropriately enough) where they both came to grips with how much Dale had meant to them. Carl came clean to Shane about seeing the walker and not telling anyone and I was dumb enough to think that this was kind of a cathartic moment. I thought that Shane might be able to move into a new role in the group, be a mentor to Carl, a protector to the rest of them and discreetly shag Andrea on the side. I thought he might you know, move on. But then Lori had to go and ruin the whole thing. Aauuuurrrghgh!!!
    Lori in her infinite wisdom decides that it might be a really, really nice idea if she catches Shane alone, looks deep and longingly into his liquid brown eyes, and does some tip toeing down memory lane about the time they spent together knockin' boots in the woods. She looks at him with anguish and tells him woefully that she "doesn't even know who's baby this is!" And then she thanks him and says how sorry she is about how things have gone down. Next time Lori, just strip naked and go for it right there at the windmill. If pouring gasoline all over some smouldering embers that are just about to finally, FINALLY go out is your goal, why not really knock it out of the park?
   So Shane, in his usual unstable state, gets the realization that the baby MIGHT be his and that Lori MIGHT still have feelings for him all in one 5 minute conversation. If only Rick were out of the picture!! Wait a minute.....
     Not gonna recap the rest of what happened because it's too painful. But as usual I have some  things to point out. Hershel! What a change eh? He's organizing marshmellow roasts and inviting people in to re-decorate. He'll be spooning with T-Dog before you know it. I'm actually starting to like the guy. And of COURSE they just figured this group harmony thing out and now they're probably going to have to flee for their lives. Typical.
   Daryl is back and still awesome. And you know that when they split off into 2 groups you don't even have to worry about Glen because for Daryl tracking dead people or escaped prisoners through the foggy woods at midnight is right in his comfort zone. And he's once again laying down the best line of the episode:
"I don't see you and I trading haymakers on the side of the road."
I love him and if they EVER kill him off I may have to do something drastic in protest. He makes me a bit nervous because he's not in the comic at all so I have NO idea whether or not his character may live or die. I mean Shane lasted a LOT longer than he did in the comic and Dale not nearly as long but they were both eventually killed off. Daryl also has a total realization in the woods. He is maybe the first character that GETS that people that didn't get bit are now turning into Zombies. If by the end of the episode Rick and Carl don't get that too then I don't know what it's gonna take, and with what's coming at them from across the field it doesn't look like they're gonna have much time to discuss it but still. And please tell me that a crowd of Zombies that size would do SOMETHING to tip you off so that Rick and Carl don't get blindsided. I mean you'd hear them coming right?!? You'd SMELL them coming don't you think?!? Next week is going to be sooo epic.
   The scene at the end was beautifully shot. Maybe I noticed that only because I was so horrified with what was going down that I had to take my mind off it... ("the loons! Can you hear the loons?!?") but it was. As soon as Rick handed his gun to Shane I saw him going for his knife and I was so relieved. So I know where my loyalty lies. Sorry Shane. Wish you weren't leaving, but since you are "See-Ya."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Walking Dead Episode 211: Judge, Jury, Executioner

Remember a while back when I said that what makes the show so awesome is that it's not a lot of D-cup teens running around in tank tops, being chased by Zombies and screaming? Remember how I said that the depth of the characters and the drama and the quality of the acting were all things that make the show great? Yeah. I totally lied. Can we have an episode where a bunch of half-naked co-eds that I don't care about get messily eaten? Just, you know, a few moments of nail biting, harmless, jump out of your seat type Freddy Kruger scary TV would be nice. Because I swear this series is starting to have more metaphors and symbolism than 12th grade English class and I have no IDEA where to go to buy the Cliffs notes.
    And now we lost DALE?!? Wow. Of all the deaths that have come so far, this one is the hardest to take. And I may not have gotten ALL the symbolism but I do get that by being forced to shoot him in the head they are really putting the parts of themselves that are still hanging on to humanity and compassion out of their misery. Yikes.
   The show opens with Daryl going all "goodfellas" on Russel to try to find out what he knows. And we find out some rather unpleasant details about the group that Russel was part of. I'm getting whiplash. Every time I think that PEOPLE are now the biggest threat, the Zombies remind us that they're still out there and then we hear about Russel and the way his group was carrying on and it turns out that in this new world, people may be scarier after all. So now they have to decide to eliminate the threat or try to retain their humanity. Shane is pretty predictable as to where he stands. It's everyone else that's surprising. Andrea first guards the prisoner for Dale and then in the end fully takes Dale's side. Carol and Hershel want to take the easy path and opt out. Lori sides with Rick. How can she not see that someday the same thing may happen to Carl? wouldn't she want him to be given a second chance? If all humans shoot each other just based on the fear of what they might do then there really is no future worth fighting for. Glenn and Maggie uncharacteristically don't speak out in defense of Dale or Russel. And then there's Carl. He's totally out of control in this episode and flirting with aaaaalll kinds of disaster. He's sassing adults, stealing guns, baiting Zombies and not following directions. This is the kid they're trying to redeem the future for and it's only when he steps in to witness what may happen that Rick realizes that the future may not be worth saving if that's how they're going to live it.
   Zombie count in this episode = 1. A single measly Zombie. And these people have lived through some HARROWING stuff, and yet they're wandering around woods and fields humming in the sunbeams like they're in a Normal Rockwell painting instead of the Z.A. Carl is practically feral. Are you kidding me?!? I wouldn't let my kids out of my SIGHT, never mind wandering over to Daryl's camp to look at his motorcycle, guns, and drying ears. All the ill-fated Zombies that were in the barn were captured on farm property. Is it really such a stretch to think that there might be more out there wandering around? Maybe I'm missing a lot more symbolism because I'm waiting for Zombies to jump out of the high grass and take someone out. And then that's exactly what happens! Geez, I hate being paranoid AND right all the time. And if you and I were in livin' in the Z.A would we really stare at a munched-on cow for waaaaaay too long or would we instantly take the gun off our shoulder and do a 360 to find the culprit? I mean Dale, come ON dude, you don't have to sit there wondering. There's only one thing that could have caused that kind of damage.
Speaking of damaged cows - I know there's a lot of deeper things to still talk about but can we pause for a palate-cleanser and just hash out some basic Zombie Q & A for a sec? That skinny little sucker ate a HUGE helping of cow with not so much as a food-baby to show for it. You'd think he wouldn't even be interested in Dale. Are the things ever sated? Do they ever just decide that they're done hunting humans for a little while and lie down for a post-feast nap? When they eat stuff, where does it go? Why was Dale walking across a field in the dark, and why didn't everyone RUN to help him when he started screaming? In the zombie world screams mean only one thing and the whole group heard him and then acted like he may have just been surprised by a field mouse. Jeepers people....
     I think it's very symbolic that Dale does not get bitten but has to be shot. I also think it's very interesting that Daryl is wearing a new vest with angel's wings on it. But the sad truth is that 12th grade English was never my best subject and this episode was chock full of hints, foreshadowing, deeper meaning and clues about the future. So help me out peeps, what did I miss?