Dear Diary: Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 (Inmates)

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 4 post contains spoilers.

At the start of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 (Inmates) I had no idea who Beth was addressing. I wasn’t sure if she was talking in her head, to the audience, or maybe even aloud to her dead mother as a form of therapy. I felt dumb though once I realized she was rereading pages from her diary. The show’s writers use these entries in a fascinating and memorable way to contrast her hopefulness when she was at the prison with her despair now that she and Daryl are separated from everyone else.

Even through all the terrible things that have happened, Beth is still optimistic that they will reunite with the others and get back on track. But not Daryl. It’s shocking to see how despondent he has become. For the first time ever, I wanted to kick him when he says to Beth “Faith ain’t done shit for us. Sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father.” What a low blow, assy thing to say to her so soon after Hershel’s death. It’s his guilt over this statement that probably allows her to convince Daryl they should track down other survivors from the prison. So at least a positive comes from it.

One of the odd things about this episode is that everything seems to happen out of order chronologically. Most of the people seem to be in the same places, like the prison bus in the middle of the road or the train tracks, but at different times. I think the show’s writers are telling us that the timing just isn’t right for a reunion yet. However it’s pretty annoying that they come crossing paths without bumping into each other.

There are some pretty fantastic surprises in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 that make up for the lack of that major reunion though. First, we find out that Judith is alive (phew), with Tyreese, Lizzie, and her sister all stumbling in the woods together. Lizzie shows us more of her crazy side by almost smothering Judith, which isn’t all that that unexpected. Then we see the return of Carol, something I didn’t suspect would happen so soon. She casually lies to Tyreese about her whereabouts since he still doesn’t know about her transgressions. It works and they walk away down the tracks.

Another unexpected revelation involves Maggie’s group where we discover that Bob has completely changed his attitude because he’s alive. Pretty drastic turnaround. Probably the craziest reveal happens after Glenn wakes up at the prison. He mourns, gathers his stuff, and throws on his riot gear (good plan), before reluctantly joining forces with Tara. They start traveling, but Glenn collapses quickly from exhaustion providing the perfect opportunity for new character introduction right at the end of the episode. Tada! Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita from the comics have arrived with sassy line to close things out.

That brings us to this week’s poll directed toward fans of The Walking Dead comics: Were you happy that Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita joined the show?

Herculean Hershel: Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5

Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5

Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5

With the prison’s fences caving in and walkers swarming through, somehow Rick and Carl manage to mow them all down near the end of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 (Internment). Their father-son heroics are impressive, however they aren’t nearly as remarkable as Hershel’s Herculean determination in the face of intense adversity.

Many people believe that Hershel is fighting a doomed battle against the super flu, which is picking people off one by one at the prison. Even Dr. S has lost hope, so he smuggles some shotguns and shells into his cell. Although Hershel refuses to give up on anyone or to let go of his hope that the group will pull through. You might call it sheer stubbornness or arrogance, but either way you have to respect his incredible strength of character and ability to keep everyone going.

During a horrific moment in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 opening, Hershel, Glenn, and Sasha are trying to shove a tube down some convulsing guy’s throat to help him breathe. During the commotion, Hershel bravely tries to lighten the mood with jokes like “Some council meeting, huh?” and silly suggestions such as starting “Spaghetti Tuesday.” As if that wasn’t enough, he also insists on dealing with dead patients outside the cell block. By killing those walkers out of sight, Hershel smartly preserves a sense of order and stability among the people still combating the illness. Kudos to him for shouldering that emotional burden.

Unfortunately Hershel can’t be everywhere at once. Everything finally spirals out of control for him once a walker get loose and start biting people. Hershel risks life and limb, almost getting bit himself, to kill the zombies and to save Glenn from the brink of death. Thank god Maggie ignores Hershel’s command to stay away from the area. If she didn’t break in to help her dad, poor Glenn would be a goner.

What’s amazing about Hershel is that he gives selflessly without expecting anything in return. That’s what easily makes him the most admirable character on The Walking Dead. You can really sympathize with him, so when he bursts into tears toward the end of the episode, you’re right there too. He gets a good cry in for all of us. Here’s to hoping the show’s writers keep him alive through this season.

Another crazy part of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5, is that Rick and Carl manage to kill all those zombies swarming in. Not only is it huge that Rick let Carl assist in such a dangerous situation, but it’s a big deal that they survive. When the fences started falling, I thought for sure the whole group would be forced to leave the prison. I was impressed when the episode cut back to them mopping up the corpses. Rick and Carl must have used their ammo efficiently with some well-placed head shots.

Did you think that the prison would fall in this episode? Also, were you shocked to see The Governor lurking outside at the very end? Is he coming in war or in peace? And finally, this week’s poll: Were you worried that Glenn might get killed off?

Glenn’s Health in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5

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

Glenn’s health is pretty touch and go in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 (Internment). He comes very close to the verge of death toward the end of the episode. He might not have even made it if Maggie wasn’t there to help Hershel give Glenn a breathing tube.

To talk more with me about The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5, check out my full post on the episode, to let me know what you think.

Tyreese Comes Out Swinging: The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 4

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 4

Until now Tyreese has been a level-headed character. However at the start of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3 (Infected), he does a complete 180. After discovering his smoldering dead girlfriend, he comes out swinging. Was she torched as a walker? Or murdered? Tyreese doesn’t care. He just puts Daryl in a choke hold and punches Rick. I’m glad to see Tyreese becoming more nuanced like he is in the Walking Dead comics, but I wish his development would happen under less depressing circumstances.

Despite Tyreese’s grief-stricken state, Rick doesn’t take kindly to sucker punches, and loses his shit. He goes full-on crazy, turning self-defense into a total beat down. I can’t blame Rick for returning blows, because I would too, except I’d exercise more restraint. If you know about Rick and Tyreese’s epic entanglement from the Walking Dead comics, you’ll be pumped to watch this episode’s brawl, even though the show’s reasons for their fight are less complex.

Later on in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 3, Tyreese comes out swinging again, this time with his hammer. When he, Daryl, Michonne, and Bob Stookey accidentally drive into an enormous herd of walkers, their car gets trapped on a hill of zombies, forcing them to fight their way out. Tyreese stays to take on a swarm singlehandedly, which seems like a sacrificial play if you haven’t read the Walking Dead comics. Using a situation similar to one in the comics, the show’s writers have Tyreese channel his rage into walker-killing superpowers. Like the Rage Mode from Doom, Tyreese angrily and rapidly destroys his foes, leaving him exhausted, yet alive.

Back at the prison, everyone left there tries to combat the mystery illness killing people off. Even Glenn and Sacha catch it, leaving us devastated. Get well soon guys! Most uninfected prefer quarantine to stem the illness, while their friends search for supplies. Although Hershel is willing to put his life on the line to help. Once again he thrives as the show’s emotional anchor, especially when he delivers one of his famous knock you on your ass powerful speeches about risking your life for what’s important. Aw snap, Rick and Maggie, you got served!

Following this season’s theme of answering a previous episode’s questions while raising new ones, we learn that Carol burned Karen and Dave. Now that Rick knows about she did, we’re all left wondering, is there anything he’s going to do about it?

This week’s poll: If you were in Rick’s position, would you tell anyone it was Carol who torched Karen and Dave?

Are you happy with Tyreese’s character development? And if you were Rick, would you have fought back against him? Click here to leave me a comment.

NMA’s Walking Dead Season 4 Trailer

Yesterday I stumbled upon this fan trailer for The Walking Dead Season 4, created by the folks over at Next Media Animation.

I love their idea that Season 4 should focus on Glenn’s sister, who has only been referenced in passing on the show. The thought of her out there trying to survive on her own, searching desperately for him, would create some entertaining drama. I also think it would be a cool concept to visit, because it’s a storyline I haven’t encountered in the comics.

The only thing that’s kind of strange about the trailer is that the style of zombies don’t really match those that you see on The Walking Dead. Since these guys are an animation group, their zombies are all CG, which makes sense. However the walkers move and look closer to ones you’d find in Resident Evil than on the show. As such, when these walkers get killed, it’s more obvious that they aren’t real.

If they had more time or the budget, it would have been nice to see real actors dressed as zombies. Then they could have still used CG to animate the kills. Speaking of kills, there is one awesome take-down in there that has a head getting lopped off, with blood splattering all over the camera lens.

Check out their trailer below and head over to http://www.nma.tv to see more of their content. Then let me know with a comment below, what do you hope will happen during The Walking Dead 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?

Merle, Merle, Merle: The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 (This Sorrowful Life)

Michael Rooker on The Walking Dead

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 Copyright 2013 AMC TV

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

Summary: Rick fills Daryl in on his plan to turn Michonne over to The Governor and enlists Merle’s help to take her into custody. Later on Rick has a change of heart, but before he can tell everyone, Merle takes matters into his own hands. Acting alone, he captures Michonne and leaves the prison with her. At the same time, The Governor and his men trek toward the rendezvous point with murder on their minds.

First off, the title for The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15, “This Sorrowful Life” is amazing not only because it encapsulates the horrible existence that is the zombie apocalypse, but also because it foreshadows the episode’s epically tragic ending. In fact, this installment has the saddest ending of Season 3, and maybe even of the entire show so far. Despite its conclusion, The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 is loaded with great banter between Merle and others, since this episode is almost all about everyone’s favorite one-handed loose cannon.

When we first see Merle, he’s ripping through prison mattresses in the hopes of finding some crystal meth, which seems silly, yet strangely smart. If you’re looking for drugs in a prison, might as well search likely hiding places right? His comments to Rick like “You’re cold as ice Officer Friendly,” are amusing with an underlying hard honesty. His following conversations with Carol, Daryl, and Michonne all contain elements of that same humor and unabashed earnestness. He asks Carol “You have any whisky? I’d even drink vodka.” He tells Daryl “People do what they gotta do or die.” And he says to Michonne “You gotta play the hand you’re dealt. I’ve only got one.”

The worst thing is that Merle’s totally right. Rick and his team are willing to essentially do the same thing they vilified Merle for: kidnapping an innocent person all in the name of survival. Although Merle knows that they don’t really have the stomach for it, which is why he anoints himself as the guy who does the dirty work. He’s willing to bear the group’s sins, which actually makes him a decent guy. As Michonne says to him, if he was really a monster he wouldn’t feel any guilt over what he was doing. He’d be “light as a feather.”

Speaking of Michonne, she’s overcome her rocky start and just keeps getting better as a character. She does an amazing job getting inside Merle’s head, convincing him that he shouldn’t turn her over to The Governor. Plus even without her sword she proves that she’s a regular McGuyver walker killer, using just her boots and wire. Of course Merle changes his mind and let’s her go, so she heads back to the prison. One of my favorite moments in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 is Rick on lookout, awkwardly seeing her waltzing back onto the prison grounds.

Side note: it’s interesting that they used this episode to have Glenn’s propose to Maggie. I was wondering if they’d tackle that considering the two tied the knot in the comics when they were living at the prison. Totally grody that Glenn snatched the ring off a walker, although at least he picked a good one. Hope he cleaned it off first! Also it’s hilarious that Rick and Hershel have a change of heart about their stance on Michonne at the same time. For Rick it’s seeing his dead wife and Hershel it’s reading the Bible that triggers it. What a contrast!

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for! Merle’s demise. I laughed when he was getting drunk listening to Motorhead before his heroic attack on The Governor. Even in the zombie apocalypse Lemmy is still God! The writers actually do a great job of slowly making him sympathetic over the course of the episode, so that when he finally meets his end at the hands of The Governor you’re really sad. I love how they don’t show him actually dying, you just watch Daryl finding zombie Merle. Makes the emotional punch to the gut that much harder. I go on and on about Daryl and Norman Reedus, but Reedus gives us an AMAZING performance during this scene. He puts all of these intense emotions out there that Daryl would be feeling: loss, disgust, fear, and rage.

Also toward the end, Rick spills the beans on what was really happening with Michonne. He renounces Ricktatorship in favor of equal say for everyone. Definitely curious to see how democracy works given the impending showdown with The Governor. I’m so excited for the Season 3 finale I could almost pee. For your sake and the sake of my furniture I won’t though.

And now click here this week’s poll: Did the end of Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 make you misty?

Any predictions for the Season 3 finale? Who do you think will live or die? Will we find out who torched the walkers?