Home Alone 6: The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9

Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 4 post contains spoilers. 

Since everyone was just forced to run away, you wouldn’t expect The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9 (After) to resume at the prison. But episode director Ernest R. Dickerson takes you back again to remind you about the carnage that transpired there as he moves his camera that through thick smoky clouds, past The Governor’s corpse, before settling on Michonne.

It becomes clear in this opening scene that our solitary heroine will be a focus of this episode, which is great because we still haven’t learned much about her. Unfortunately our payment for spending time with her is witnessing her somber task of destroying Hershel’s zombie head and making new walker pets.

Michonne is a lonely soul, so tortured by her inner demons that she pushes everyone else away. But in this episode she realizes that isolation just leaves her with mindless shambling corpses for company, a discovery that comes when she angrily massacres a group of walkers. Although the outburst is satisfying on a visceral level, it also represents and important emotional turning point for Michonne. She needs humans to give her life meaning, particularly Rick and Carl. I’m happy that she decides to track them down.

Another gratifying part of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9 is finding out more of Michonne’s back story. I’m thrilled that the show’s writers made her an upper-class person like Robert Kirkman implied that she was in his Walking Dead comics. The only thing that I think sucked about this section of the episode though, is that Michonne’s tale takes the form of dreamed hallucinations,  so it’s difficult to tell what actually happened in her life.

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9 also focuses on another character who is on his own: Carl. After Rick’s injuries leave him incapacitated, Carl must fend for himself, as he stars in an annoying film I like to call, Home Alone 6: Lost in Zombieland.

Understandably Carl harbors a lot of hatred toward his father for what he perceives as Rick’s failures as a leader. Carl gets pretty sassy while Rick’s still conscious and even tells him off once Rick is out cold. Yet as much as Carl wants to think he’s an adult and try to act like it, he still needs Rick. You want to smack the boy as he carelessly walks around looking for food and nearly gets bitten several times due to his lack of caution. The dumbass even loses his shoe.

As stupid as I feel that segment is, I think the episode wraps up nicely once Rick regains consciousness and reconciles with his son. The icing on the cake is a charming moment where Michonne finds them and knocks on the door. It’s cute and funny when Rick laughs and says to his son “It’s for you.”

What do you think Michonne was doing on the other side of the door? Holding comic books? Holding Carl’s shoe? Or just waving? And finally, this week’s poll: Did you hate Carl seeing on his own as much as I did?

Carl’s Alone Time in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9

In The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9 (After), Carl spends some time on his own. How did you feel about that part of the episode?

To talk more with me about The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode, check out my full post on the episode, to let me know what you think.

It’s Raining Dead: Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1

Hershel and Rick talk in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1

Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 4 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. 

(Singing) It’s raining dead! Hallelujah, it’s raining dead! Amen!

For me, the high point of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1 (30 Days Without an Accident), is a delightfully action-packed scene where walkers are raining down on our heroes. This is a frightening situation for them, but thankfully Daryl Dixon is there to save the day by delivering lethal shots with his crossbow and stomping zombie heads into pulp. The juicy supply run gone-wrong represents the season-opener’s most intense section. There’s blood by the bucketful, peeling rotten flesh, and a walker hanging entertainingly by its entrails. It’s an absolute delight for zombie fans.

Although new showrunner Scott M. Gimple rewards us early on with this thrilling gory conflict, he does a fantastic job balancing The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1 with some great character development. A significant amount of time has passed since the end of Season 3, so in this episode we’re treated to catching up with the significant changes that have taken place at the prison. There are physical modifications that the site has undergone like an outdoor cafeteria, a garden, a stable, and a pig pen. Relationships have shifted too during that window. Romantic connections have emerged for Tyreese and Beth. Maybe even Daryl and Carol got together too? Carol calls him “Pookie,” however that mostly seems like a joke.

Rick and Carl have also been working at fixing the rift that formed between them at the end of Season 3. Rick has turned into a farmer and provider who helps find food for everyone while others have formed a council to lead the community. It’s nice to see Carl acting like a kid again, talking about comics and following his dad around. One of the stranger moments in the episode is the odd flirtation between Michonne and Rick when she gives him an electric razor and jests “Your face is losing a war.” Perhaps they’ll hook up as well at some point?

A bizarre detour during the episode involves Rick’s trip into the woods and his encounter with a deranged, lonely woman named Clara. What’s silly about the whole thing is that Rick follows her without telling anyone where he’s going. Then she ends up attacking him and killing herself senselessly. The subplot goes on longer than it should considering the whole adventure serves one point: for Rick and Hershel to later debate whether you can come back from the terrible things you have to do for survival. Hershel believes you can. And it appears Rick has turned himself around.

By the end of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1, you’re left with three fascinating questions and a fun cliffhanger. First, whose gun is it that Rick digs up in the garden? Second, how are the pigs getting sick? Third, and most importantly, the subject of this week’s poll, how does the kid get sick who dies at the end? His death and transformation into a walker in the final moment spells trouble for our friends at the prison. Can’t wait to see how it plays out.

What did you think of The Walking Dead’s Season 4 premiere? Any surprises or disappointments? What do you think will happen next? Click here to leave me a comment.

Walking Dead Season 4 Trailer and EW Cover Story

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes on the cover of Entertainment Weekly

Good

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes on the cover of Entertainment Weekly

Better

 

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon on the cover of Entertainment Weekly

Best

My excitement about The Walking Dead Season 4 went from a 5 to an 11 last Friday. It was a great day to be a fan of the show because not only was The Walking Dead Season 4 trailer unveiled at the San Diego Comic-Con, but the issue of Entertainment Weekly that was released had a Walking Dead story and three different collectible covers. A cover features Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), another has Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), and the third, most badass one features my favorite character Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) on his motorcycle. Sadly I didn’t get the Daryl edition like I had hoped, although I was still pretty happy with Rick.

Based on The Walking Dead Season 4 trailer and EW’s article, the new season, which starts in October 2013, seems like it will be a great mixture of character driven episodes and tense action. Here are my thoughts on the trailer and the article. Be sure to watch the trailer below and let me know what you think about this teaser for Season 4.

When we pick up with the people at the prison, it seems like times are getting extremely tough. With more humans at the prison, resources are probably going much faster. There are multiple shots of Daryl and company risking their necks on dangerous supply runs like the one in the trailer’s opening at a Walmart-type store. It’s definitely unsettling to hear screams of pain without knowing the source. Plus, the conversation that Carol has with Daryl about the increasing number of walkers and the shots of zombies piling up against the prison only add to my anticipation about how the survivors will deal with the growing threat.

Speaking of Carol, I was glad to see her talking more with Daryl. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a total shipper hoping that those two get together. I also thought it was funny that she was teaching a class on knife safety. I’m intrigued to see how that particular portion fits into the coming episodes. Other things that made me curious: the new character played by Lawrence Gilliard Jr., all the emotional reaction shots, the talk about leaving the prison, the scene where everyone is fighting their way from a car through a swarm of zombies, and the final moments when they hear something on the radio.

Lawrence Gilliard Jr.’s character clearly has something dark going on beneath the surface, especially based on the shot where he’s looking in the mirror with his hand shaking. I wonder what potentially dastardly deeds he will perpetrate. Hopefully he isn’t linked to Hershel’s line about two of their own being killed in cold blood or to the shot of dead rats someone has been feeding the walkers on the fence. The emotional reaction shots could be to anything, although to me they signal a lot more character-rich episodes.

The scene where everyone is fighting near the car and Tyreese is battling a cluster of zombies by himself, reminds me of a part of the comic where he similarly fends off a ton of walkers. I cross my fingers that the fight goes in his favor since I like Tyreese. I’m going to guess that his busted eye in the trailer comes from a fight with Rick. I can’t wait to see how their relationship is built up in the show and what will eventually bring them to the same blows that they famously exchanged in the comic.

The Entertainment Weekly Article

The cast of The Walking Dead in Entertainment Weekly

Wicked creepy right? This isn’t a position I’d want to be in.

The main photo for EW’s Walking Dead Season 4 article is amazing. It’s cool toward the beginning of the issue that you see how the photographer was on his back to take the shot of everyone creepily standing over him.

Behind the scenes with the cast of The Walking Dead

Cool to see how it’s done huh?

I enjoyed the piece’s anecdotes about Chandler Riggs (Carl) finally getting to fire a real gun on set after celebrating his 14th birthday. Admittedly I was concerned too about the season would be with its new showrunner Scott Gimble, however the interviews with cast members and reminders of the superb episodes that he wrote in Seasons 2 and 3, assuaged my fears.

EW got me wondering how The Governor will crop up in Season 4 and hooked me with teases about an impending threat scarier than the walkers. It made me laugh though to hear viewers were confused about the Tyreese/Sasha relationship. Even if you didn’t read the comic, I thought it was fairly obvious that they were family. Like the EW writers, I’m speculating nervously on how many characters might get killed off this season.

I say if Daryl dies we riot. Anyone else agree?

Just kidding…or am I? Haha.

Thoughts on AMC’s Robert Kirkman Fan Chat

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching the season finale, before reading further.

Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer and Writer for The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer and Writer for The Walking Dead

This week’s Dead Alert newsletter contains Part I or a two part interview with Walking Dead Executive Producer, Writer, and Creator Robert Kirkman, which is conducted entirely through fan questions. I found the Part II linked and available so I’m going to comment on both of them.

A few of the questions fans ask Kirkman in Part I are fairly common things fans might want to know, but unfortunately elicit really uninspired responses. These are questions like “What was the reasoning behind having Laurie Holden’s character killed in the Season 3 Finale? With Rick bringing more people back to the prison, will this is some way complicate his relationship with Carl? Can you talk more about the casting process for the show? and Robert, will we see Morgan again?”

It doesn’t surprise me that they had a plan for how Andrea’s death would impact characters in Season 4 of the show. Otherwise it would have seemed pretty pointless to kill her. I think we could already see Rick and Carl’s relationship getting complicated in the middle of Season 3, plus they seemed to be at even greater odds during the finale. I was pretty certain that their relationship would change in “startling and interesting ways” as Kirkman puts it. Casting? Do people really want to know about that generally? It only seems like something that should be of note when it comes to specific actors. I guess, a general question gets a generic response. And then lastly, I’m not sure why they would bother re-introducing Morgan if the writers had no intention of him showing up again. That would just be silly to waste him as an ammo producing plot device.

The other questions in Part I are much more fascinating. It’s cool to learn how an actor finds out about his or her character’s impending death and how much say he/she has in the actual death scene. I’m not surprised they play things close to the chest. I wouldn’t want a performance tarnished by someone’s awareness that they would die either. I like that someone asked if the group could survive without Rick. Killing off a central character like that could be risky, however it would be exciting and take the show in cool directions the comic hasn’t gone. Lastly on Part I, I absolutely LOVE that someone asked Kirkman about the Walking Dead/Toy Story meme floating around which compares the similarities between the two. Kirkman takes a silly question like that with a good sense of humor and reveals something we all probably suspected. No coincidence intended.

Robert-Kirkman-Fan-Interview-2The questions fans ask in Part II of the Robert Kirkman Fan Chat are much more interesting. There’s only one question that seems like a setup for Kirkman to play coy “Can you shed any light into how the Governor’s story will continue…or close in Season 4?” Of course he wouldn’t spoil any details, which is why Kirkman responds “I can say the Governor will certainly be around. But we’ll be seeing him in a new light, and doing some different stuff with him, so it’s not going to be the same Governor in Season 4.”

The question about whether Kirkman would want to be a walker is a bit cheesy, but still goofy and fun. I can’t see too many people answering yes to that question. I dig the inquiries about differences between The Walking Dead show and the comic. When asked which one he cherishes more, I had no doubt he would say the comic considering he created that first and has been working on it for some time. I also liked learning about story lines Kirkman wished he had thought of for the comic.

My favorite questions in the entire two-part interview though are tied for the one about Daryl’s potential love life (simply based upon how it’s phrased), and the one about whether a particular zombie in Season 3 Episode 15 was meant to be a nod to “Dawn of the Dead.” I can’t believe how observant that person was! I’m shocked that I didn’t notice such a brilliant nuance considering how much I love George Romero’s film AND the fact that I usually pick out all sorts of tiny references.

I’m already going through withdrawls now that Season 3 is over. I don’t think interviews like this will sustain me all summer, so it’s back to reading more of the comic, playing the video game, and perhaps finally checking out the webisodes.

 

Philip Waxes Poetic: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16 (Welcome to the Tombs)

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. SERIOUSLY, there are some mega spoilers here, so don’t read ahead unless you’ve seen the episode or you absolutely don’t care about learning major plot points.

Summary: The Governor tortures Andrea and leaves her for dead, so that he can storm the prison with his army. However he quickly discovers that his troops don’t have what it takes to kill the prisonfolk, because they’re chased out. Afterward Rick, Daryl, and Michonne travel to Woodbury to finish the fight, although they’re surprised to find that that the people of Woodbury are anxious to switch allegiances.

Just as Season 3 opens with a closeup on a zombie eyeball, its finale, The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16 (Welcome to the Tombs) starts by focusing on a human’s. It slowly pulls back to reveal The Governor’s one good eye as he’s face-punching the crap out of…dun…dun….dun…Milton, for torching the walkers! Guess Milton finally grew a conscience (pair). Too bad it wasn’t Morgan who did it like some of us suspected.

Milton tries to reason with his captor, however The Governor is beyond saving. Philip issues Milton a scumbag ultimatum: kill Andrea or die. Milton tries to kill Philip instead, but sadly he gets crazy stabbed and left in the room to become a walker with a chained up Andrea. That’s sadistic Phil! During this scene he delivers a scary insightful comment akin to Jule’s Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction, “You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.” I think Jules would agree; that’s some cold-blooded shit to say.

Back at the prison everyone is making plans seemingly to flee. Carl is acting like a big baby giving Rick the silent treatment while they pack. The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16, is actually the first episode Carl has annoyed me all season long. Unbelievable after all the “Get Out of Here Carl” memes from Season 2. Michonne and Rick then have a heartwarming moment where she thanks him for taking her in. I really like her now.

Speaking of other characters I love, Tyreese politely declines The Governor’s invitation to fight, while offering to keep guard over the remaining folks. I was shocked The Governor tossed him a gun and said “Thanks.” Once The Woodbury troops arrive at the prison, they’re hooting, hollering, and blowing stuff up like they have unlimited ammo. Kudos to the writers and director for creating a massive amount of escalating tension as the Woodburyians comb the cellblocks looking for trouble. The highlighted bible passage sitting out was brilliant.

I was fairly disappointed however by what I felt like was an anticlimactic end to that fight. A few grenades plus Glenn and Maggie shooting and yelling scatters everyone to the wind. Then the pissed off Governor kills his troops for punking out, while his lackeys Martinez and the other dude just sit there in silence. Plus The Governor lives to see another day. UGH! I was hoping he’d get a huge satisfying death during the prison siege like he did in the comics. I was fascinated though by the whole piece about Carl shooting an innocent kid and trying to deny he did anything wrong.

I dug that Rick, Michonne, and Daryl found the one survivor of The Governor’s wrath and they went to Woodbury together where they got Tyreese and Sasha to switch teams. There was some good suspense leading up to Andrea’s bite. I loved the shot of Milton’s reanimated fingers just before the commercial, as well as the one of a closed door with screaming on the other side. It was touching when everyone came together to wish Andrea goodbye. Michonne even got misty!

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16 ends on a happy-go-lucky note with the Woodburyians joining Rick’s group. Rick has regains his humanity (which I’m happy about) and he no longer sees Lori (thank god). But it’s not an ending that feels right to me. Not many characters die (at least important ones) and that closing seems uncharacteristically upbeat for the show. I didn’t have any significant attachment to Milton, Andrea, or Allen so none of their deaths got to me. Plus Andrea’s death was completely avoidable if she just tried to escape faster instead of wasting time. I was hoping for a huge throw down with lots of death and drama like in the comic. Sadly I didn’t get it.

Click here to take this week’s poll: Were you satisfied by the Season 3 finale?

Any predictions for what will happen in Season 4?

The Walking Dead Comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By

Walking Dead Comic Days Gone By

“The Walking Dead,” created by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore

Warning: This Walking Dead comic post contains spoilers. Please wait until after reading Chapter One, before exploring further. 

Summary: After he’s shot in the line of duty, police officer Rick Grimes, wakes up to find the world overrun by flesh-eating zombies (aka walkers). A kind stranger named Morgan and his son Duane fill Rick in on what’s happening and help him get back on his feet. Then Rick sets out to find his wife and son in Atlanta, where he believes they’ve found safe haven. He nearly gets overwhelmed by zombies in the city, but Rick is saved by another Good Samaritan Glenn, who brings the weary traveler back to his camp of survivors. One he arrives, Rick finds that his best friend Shane is there and that he has taken care of Rick’s wife Lori and son Carl. The grateful Rick reunites with Lori and Carl, although he doesn’t realize that Shane isn’t willing to give up his new family so easily.

The first issue of The Walking Dead comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By, starts out briskly with only a single page of back story before it throws you into the fray. You see Rick get shot in the line of duty and then the next thing you know he’s jolted awake, alone in the hospital. Because you don’t learn much about Rick beforehand, there’s more fear and urgency to Rick’s situation. It’s very much like the opening to the Danny Boyle film “28 Days Later,” except Rick discovers the flesh eaters quicker.

Unlike a film, the comic doesn’t have sound or music to amplify the anxiety of Rick’s frightening discoveries. It also lacks color, something that would normally add to the disgusting characterization of the zombies you see. What’s amazing about the comic is that even without these embellishments, it’s remarkably successful at telling a grim, unsettling tale. That’s because the incredibly detailed dialogue, spelled out sounds (like “BLAM!”), and facial expressions of the characters compensate for the absence of more in-your-face methods. Lighting and shading are also used to bolster the atmosphere in this tale by establishing time of day and providing another layer of emotional depth to each individual scene.

Stylistically, the layout is a nice mixture of different types of art. There are pages comprised entirely of framed sketches, half-page scenes which have framed drawings woven around them, and in some instances, full-page art. I love artist Tony Moore doesn’t draw the frames straight and crisp. Instead they have a rougher, uneven look that fits in with the comic’s post apocalyptic setting. The most compelling work is obviously the full-page stuff, which can be incredibly gruesome, frightening, or beautiful in a disquieting way.

From a story perspective there are some really entertaining things going on, like when Rick and Glenn coat themselves in walker blood and body parts as a disguise. This wacky plan keeps the zombies from smelling them in Atlanta, and allows the pair to retrieve a cache of guns. It’s one of the better things that The Walking Dead television show lifts from the comic. The traumatizing zombie attacks and deaths of group members are tough to read, but they serve to mentally prepare you for future books in the series, which aren’t shy about killing characters off. The conflict between Rick and Shane is also really intense. When Lori tells Shane it’s over between them in the pouring rain you feel his pain and when Shane’s yelling at Rick you can sense his raw anger.

Probably the best moment in the first chapter of The Walking Dead comic, is the climactic showdown between Rick and Shane at the end. After Carl shoots Shane to protect his father, the issue closes on a disturbing piece of full-page art. Rick and his son share a scared embrace over Shane’s dead body.

What did you think of the first Walking Dead comic? If you watch the show, were you happy with the elements they brought over from this first issue into Season 1?