Monday, March 25, 2013

The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 315: This Sorrowful Life

Merle spends his days like an ADHD 8th grader on summer vacation with no supervision. So you know you've stopped following your conscience when he has to give YOU a lecture on morality. That's pretty much what it came down to in the first half of the episode with Rick fairly sure he was going to hand Michonne over to the Governor and everybody else trying to talk him out of it. Daryl gives Rick a gentle push but Rick still thinks he's going to hand her over. Then he talks to Merle. And he opens the conversation with the best one-liner of the episode:
"Do you even know WHY you do the things that you do?"
As a parent and a teacher I have said something similar to this many, many times. Of course he does. He's searching for drugs yo. What else would you do when you're bored in a prison? I mean doing something constructive to help out is soooo conformist.  Merle leaves a trail of destruction wherever he goes and being around people like that just gets tiring after a while. But then he gives Rick the moment of clarity he needs. He looks him right in the eye and lets him know that he's not turning Michonne over to the Governor to be killed. If he turns her over she'll be kept like some kind of horrific science experiment - she'll bear the brunt of all the Governor's sick, sick tendencies and she WON'T be killed unless he somehow slips up and gives her enough freedom to end her own life. What a difference. In that situation any of us might volunteer for a quick death if we thought it would somehow spare the lives of our comrades, but I don't see ANYONE ever volunteering to go sit in the Governor's dental chair. No siree bob. Merle explains it all to Rick with verbs in his sentences and Rick tries to move forward with his plan but when he goes to collect wire to tie her up with, he sees Lori and realizes that turning Michonne over to a psychopath is not something he can do. I was pretty gripped about this whole thing.... my stomach was churning and I was all clenched up because in the comic, the Gov DOES get his hands on Michonne and the result is blood curdlingly bad. And that's in a black and white comic. I have NO DESIRE to see those scenes played out in technicolor, thank you very much. So I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I knew Michonne was safe.... for like 3 minutes. Because then Merle grabs her to take her to the Governor. WHAT?!? It's such a horrible thing to do that he talks Rick out of it and then decides to fall on the sword because he is already evil in his own mind. So now I am back to squirming in agony on the couch. I think at one point I actually bit a cushion. Jeepers.
    Nothing in this world can be worse that being a tied-up prisoner during the Z.A. Just walking around is scary enough with Walkers lurking behind every tree and building. I mean look what happened to Andrea last week! But being at the mercy of whoever is holding you prisoner and relying on them to defend you has to be terrible indeed for someone as independent and awesome as Michonne. Even tied up she's still a rock-star though, and takes out 2 Zombies while she is tied to a post - one of them with her own bonds! At this point I was screaming at the TV (I do this a lot actually - I give advice, shout warnings, you name it...) "Merle you idiot!! You find someone in the Z.A. that can kill Zombies while they're tied up you gotta CHERISH that person and hold them close!! You don't sacrifice them to your enemies!!" Arrrgh!!
     He successfully hotwires the car and off they go and that stinks because now he'll get her to the Governor faster. But I underestimated Michonne. She is a soft-spoken negotiator and little by little gets in his head. This is a side of her that we haven't really seen before and I like it. He finally stops the car and lets her go. Somehow she has convinced him that instead of sacrificing his soul, he can find redemption by sacrificing himself and he sets out to do just that. And what a plan he comes up with. All plans of this nature are best fueled by grain-alcohol if you're Merle so that's stop #1 and then he leads his own little Zombie parade right into the middle of the Governor's party. He uses the ensuing chaos and gunshots to cover the sounds of his own shots and he starts picking off the bad-guys. And he comes soooo close to taking out the head honcho himself, but alas that would have left us with a very dull season finale indeed, so no luck there.
    Back at the Prison, Daryl realizes what Merle is doing and sets off to go find him (on foot dude, REALLY?!?) and Glen proposes to Maggie. Awwww.... I love the hard core realities of the Z.A. too. Want to get engaged? Just go shopping for rings along the fence, chop off a few fingers and voila!
I like what Glen and Maggie add to the show. They are a constant reminder that there really may be a part of humanity that is worth saving.
   Now we gotta talk about Daryl. My heart broke for him a thousand times over. As much as the rest of us might breathe a sigh of relief to have Merle and his 'crazy' off the playlist, that's Daryl's brother. And you can watch friends die and turn, but nothing really prepares you for the turning and death of a family member - someone you knew B.Z. (before zombies). He's just devastated and I'm devastated right there with him at that moment. I had a horrible moment where I thought Merle was going to take him out, but he rallied and did what he needed to do.
R.I.P Merle buddy. For a dude that got handcuffed to a pipe on a roof 2 years ago you've had a good run.
      We didn't find out anything about Andrea or Woodbury or Milton. I think I saw Tyreese and Sasha's friend's son get his head blown off so that should send that guy fully into crazy-ville right alongside the Governor. What a season finale it's shaping up to be, and how I wish they'd give us a 2 hour episode.
What are your predictions?? Let's have at it!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 314: Prey

Arrrrghhh, bad guys are SO hard to kill. The crux of this episode played out like the opening scene of a classic horror flik: Moonless night? Check. Creepy abandoned outbuilding full of booby-traps and hidden corners? Check. Hot blonde chick? Check. Deranged killer that you just KNOW will come out on top because it's just the beginning of the movie? (or in our case almost the season finale, so the death of the Gov would leave us with no antagonist with which to wrap up the season) Check. Classic old-school suspense. All my fingernails are GONE after this episode and with only 2 more installments left in the season it looks like I won't be growin' em back out until April.
   I'm really starting to like Milton. At first I thought he was a creepy henchman, kind of like the Himmler to the Governor's Hitler. But now he's showing how much heart and conscience he really has. I sure hope he lives out the season, I'd really like him to end up with the crew at the prison. He's already bonded with Hershel, and I'm sure he would be well-received by the rest of the group as well.
    So we start the episode with a weird flashback to the days of Michonne and Andrea that really didn't reveal all that much. We learned that Michonne's decoy zombies were people that she knew and that they weren't very nice guys. Michonne clearly doesn't want to talk about it but Andrea prattles amicably away showing that she can be annoying in pretty much any setting.
    Then Milton finds out about the Governor's torture chamber, clues Andrea in on it but then prevents her from shooting him in the head. The guy's compassionate, you have to hand it to him. Andrea sees the Gov's chamber of horrors and instead of seducing him and then killing him and getting it RIGHT this time she decides to flee the scene. Not to worry though, she sneaks out with no witnesses, and goes into stealth mode like a ninja so the Governor and his henchmen have no hope of tracking her down. Or not. We can only dream of such things my friends. What REALLY happens is that she strides out the front gate with bold declarations, wearing her "Heading Back to the Prison, Yo" T-Shirt and then proceeds to run down the center line of the main road back to her friends. I literally had my head in my hands with audible groaning. It boggles the mind. THEN once the first truck heads out after her she heads across an open field with no possible cover and gets spotted by her Ex. Good times, good times. Next comes the horror movie segment. I have to give her massive props for unleashing the Zombies and hiding behind the door though. If only it had worked....
    I really like Sasha and Tyreese and I hope they hook back up with the prison crew and give Rick a second chance. For a while there I thought that THEY had burned the Zombies in the pit. I didn't think Milton had it in him. He may be the key to the whole thing.
   We finished up the episode with Andrea back in the hands of the Gov, (bummer that the person who frequently hallucinates was on guard duty eh?) Tyreese and Sasha believing in the goodness of the Governor, and Milton being on the outs. He'd better think about heading for the hills as well, or he could be the next person going for a ride in the Governor's little chair.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 313: Arrow on the Doorpost

Can we talk about weapons for a minute? The revolver, while an excellent choice for taking out Grizzly Bears, is a poor, POOR choice for the Zombie Apocalypse and I can't for the life of me figure out why Rick would still be using one. I get that the revolver has a whole Clint Eastwood kind of cool attached to it but with Daryl and Michonne both modelling superior weapons you would think that Rick would have made the switch by now. The thing is way too loud for one, and it only has 6 shots! You tell me what sketchy situation you're going to get into during the Z.A. where you're only gonna need 6 shots? Then to re-load you have to put the bullets in individually which means you have to carry them individually and if you're diving and rolling they're going to be falling out of your pockets PLUS you're gonna be all hopped up on adrenaline trying to get them in there as the zombies bear down on you and your hands are going to be shaking, bullets falling all over the ground.... are you guys getting a visual here or what? You don't NEED a visual because we've seen this happen, week after week. Rick's out of bullets, everyone else is slapping in the next cartridge and he's flailing. Or he's out of ammo and fighting the undead with that little steak knife of his. Oh the humanity. Remember a few weeks ago outside the prison where his ass would have been  toast if Daryl and Merle hadn't shown up just in time? Meanwhile you have D & M the wonder-twins silently taking out the un-dead with so much style it's crazy. Adapt or be destroyed Rick, I'm tellin' you...
   This was a very interesting episode. And we're being set up for one humdinger of a season finale.... can you feel it? Rick and the Governor have this man to man show-down. It was an interesting meeting of the minds because both leaders played it very cool, both have an agenda, and both are very intense but it doesn't really matter what goes down between them or what they both agree to because we all know that the Governor's word means nothing so what's really the point?
   It was far more interesting what happened outside the building. Daryl and Hershel are guarding it for Rick when Martinez and Milton show up. Daryl and Martinez have to earn each other's respect thru a classic pissing-contest round of Zombie Killing (which by the way, Daryl CLEARLY wins) but I'm pretty sure D earned some initial respect from Martinez with his "Butler" comment in their first conversation. After the zombies are all dispatched Daryl and Martinez share a smoke and earn each other's respect. This is FAR more important that the BS that's going down inside the building as each side knowing that there are good people on the other side is going to do much more to prevent a war than the lies the 2 leaders are telling each other. Meanwhile Hershel and Milton spend some time geeking out together and also have a bonding moment. Meawhile Andrea has been sent outside like an unwanted puppy dog and just sits and hangs her head. Poor girl.... this is what happens to you when you shag every unstable man you come in contact with. Wait.... now, that's unfair of me. She didn't shag the CDC guy and he was CLEARLY unstable... but given enough time they would have hooked up. In fact they probably would have hooked up in the last 5 minutes before the building exploded during her ill-fated "I'll just stay here and die" episode had Dale not intervened.
    Back at the prison we can only ask ourselves one question: WHY is Merle not locked up in a cell? After getting into a physical tussle with Glen and then trying to recruit every single team member except the baby to go against orders and raid the negotiation site he should have totally been locked up. Take note Glen, lock up Merle, THEN shag Maggie. Speaking of shagging, I get crazy nervous every time it happens. I'm just waiting for a zombie hand to reach out and grab an ankle or something. And should we REALLY be shagging each other when we're on guard duty in the middle of a war in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse? Discipline people, look into it.
    So now Rick is back, he tells the crew that they're amping up for War, and only confides the truth about the Gov wanting Michonne to Hershel. Good choice because anyone else would probably tell him to hand her over.  And back at Woodbury it looks like the Gov is gearing up to blind-side Rick when they meet back up so Rick can give him his decision. Which means that next week should be fairly epic!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 3, Episode 312: Clear

     Sometimes I think that every single person on this show has lost their minds. A solo backpacker pleads for your help, you ignore him not once, but TWICE, and then at the end when you find his nasty, zombie-gnawed corpse you stop and snag his backpack?!? Unprecedented. These people are COLD! I fully get that no one needs another mouth to feed. And I get that half the time when you meet strangers in the Z.A. that they are absolutely nuts, but WHAT I ask you is the purpose of trying to get more guns when you don't have enough people to use them? That's twice now that Rick & Co. have rejected seemingly nice people asking for help and both times bad things happened. We've got Tyreese and Sasha now adding their head count to Woodbury and who knows, maybe lone backpacker guy was a doctor, or a farmer, or a mechanic - take you pick! At some point humanity is going to have to go back to the 60's and try to come together hand in hand. At the end of the day when a human being gets killed that's one less person alive in a very sparsely populated world and that, my friends is a tragedy.
    I like these episodes where you get to focus on a small story with just a few of the main characters. A few big things fell into place in this one: They found Morgan, and Michonne is now part of the group.
   Poor Morgan. This dude has had all the mental anguish that Rick has had without a group to keep his head together (not that Rick's head is all that together but you know...) He HAS however made a contribution to Z.A. life that should be nominated for the Nobel prize: The mouse-cage on a skateboard Zombie distraction device. Brilliant!! And so useful! The applications of this new technology boggles the mind. Need to loot a Grocery store? Mouse on a skateboard in to one corner while you head in the opposite direction. AWEEEESOME! I think that Morgan will eventually join up with the group. It will take some time but he'll get there.
   Carl is amazing. I had a long plane ride last week and I re-watched the last 3 episodes of season one. I was struck by 2 things: 1.) how much Carl has matured on the show. It's not just his size or his grubbiness... his first season character just exudes innocence and a child-like aura. He's now dirty and battle-scared, but it's the look on his face that says it all. He's an adult in a smaller body. He has seen the death or loss of every other child on Earth that he knows about except for the baby and if the take home message is "grow up fast or die", then he's gotten it. I love his independance, the struggle Rick goes through each time Carl wants to do something alone totally resonates with me as a parent, but Carl really seems like a capable member of the group.
    Michonne is great in this episode and scores the quote of the week:
Rick: "We're eating his food now?"
Michonne: "The sign said 'welcome'".
She has a lot of heart and wants to be an accepted group member but knows that begging for it gets you nowhere and actions speak louder that words. I love the way she manages Carl. She doesn't speak down to him but treats him like an equal.
   It was a very interesting episode. And I liked everything that happened and thought the 3 main characters made pretty good decisions. EXCEPT for blowing off the backpacker. That was totally bogus....

P.S. I forgot that Lennie James, the actor that plays Morgan is also British. That brings the Brit actor tally up to 4 now. We've got Rick, Morgan, Maggie and the Governor. What's the deal? Can we not FIND good old American actors?!? You don't see us goin' over there and trying to add ourselves to the cast of Downtown Abbey. I mean REALLY.