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.

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?  

Thoughts on AMC’s Interview with Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene)

This week’s interview from “Dead Alert,” The Walking Dead newsletter was an interview with Lauren Cohan who plays Maggie Greene. I often forget that Cohan is yet another actor on the show who is a British. That’s because her accent is flawless. I love how British actors are so great at doing American accents, but it’s not the same the other way around.

Because Maggie doesn’t have a lot of lines and is frequently relegated to the background I don’t get a chance to stress enough in my episode recaps, how much I enjoy her as a character and Cohan’s performance in general. Maggie is shrewd, immeasurably strong, and a quiet leader. Cohan embodies all of these complex qualities in a very understated way, which makes Maggie such a likable character.

After reading the interview with Lauren Cohan, I agree with her that while I like Glenn and Maggie’s love story I prefer moments in the show that concentrate on Maggie’s relationship with her father Hershel. She has such a tender, supportive side with him that’s always touching to see. I also concur with her that the sex scene between Maggie and Glenn does justice to their relationship. Like she says, there’s a limit to what can be shown, but the scene communicates their passion in a tasteful way.

I think it’s pretty silly that fans of the show believe that her and Steve Yeun are couple off-screen too. I know actors frequently become involved in real life after working together for so long, however it’s just ridiculous for fans to automatically assume that they are. TV is not real life folks, no matter how much we want it to be. And that’s coming from a guy who has an entire site dedicated to a television show.

Her closing mantra is one I think we should all live by: “Make love, not zombies.” Well said, Ms. Cohan.

Do you like Maggie as a character? Or does she annoy you? If so, what in particular gets to you about her?

Liars, Liars Pants on Fire: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost)

David Morrissey as The Governor on The Walking Dead

The Governor (David Morrissey) on The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 Copyright 2013 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary: Andrea arranges for Rick and The Governor to meet on neutral turf so they can negotiate. While the two men try to hash things out, their companions unexpectedly find common ground. At the prison, Merle fights with the others about whether they should take the offensive against The Governor.

At first I had absolutely no idea where Rick, Hershel, and Daryl were at the start of The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost). It was pretty exciting to see them sweeping a giant complex on the lookout for trouble. Hershel looked slick leaning out the car window with his M-16 and his gun hidden near his stump. Although once I realized what they were doing I was surprised Rick brought Hershel along on such an important mission given his disability.

Based on the trailers for this half of Season 3, I knew Rick and The Governor would have a face-to-face talk at some point, however I wasn’t expecting it to happen in Episode 13. After the previous episodes, there was nothing to suggest either Rick or The Governor was truly interested in a sit-down. There were also no actual scenes prior to Episode 13, which showed Andrea discussing terms of a powwow with either person.

Once they actually meet, poor Andrea tries to talk sense by encouraging them to “Save the bullets for the real threat (walkers),” but she’s thrown out of the room, and instead of fighting to stay, she goes off to sulk. Apparently even during the zombie apocalypse men still treat leadership like a boys club.

I know I accused Season 3 Episode 11 (Ain’t No Judas) of being the talky-est episode to date in this season, but Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 easily takes the prize. It was extremely frustrating to me because I felt like Rick and The Governor talk without saying anything consequential; they just dance around in circles. The Governor reveals that he doesn’t want peace, only surrender, while Rick indicates he won’t kowtow to demands. They trade verbal jabs as The Governor tries to warn Rick about messing with Woodbury’s numbers, and Rick cautions The Governor over throwing it all away.

Outside the meeting there are amusing interactions between Rick’s men and The Governor’s. They almost come to blows, before Hershel assures them there will be plenty of time for that later. As Milton intelligently points out there’s no reason they can’t explore the issues in their own way. Daryl and Martinez engage in a hilarious game of one-upsmanship killing zombies and smoking cigs. And guess what? They’re not all that different. Neither are Milton and Hershel who discuss documenting their history (pretty smart) and the science of Hershel’s survival. Good call on not showing him your stump though Hershel. I’d make Milton buy me a drink too before revealing my leg.

At the prison Merle argues very strongly in favor of sneaking out to defend his brother and to kill The Governor while they have the element of surprise. Merle tries the hard way, which ends with him getting wrestled down by Glenn and Maggie, as well as the nice way where he tries to sweet-talk Michonne. Neither work and everyone stays put. At least Glenn and Maggie make up finally with a quickie. Plus Glenn drops the “L” word. Way to go buddy! However I wanted to slap them both for leaving their watch to get busy. I kept thinking it was a horror movie and something terrible would happen because they were having sex. Thank god everything was okay.

Finally the conversation between Rick and The Governor boils down to an ultimatum: Rick can make all his trouble go away if he turns over Michonne. Did anyone believe that lying bastard would keep to his word? Hell no. Rick doesn’t and neither do we. But none the less, Rick must consider the option if Philip isn’t bluffing. So both men go back to their respective camps while intense music builds up tension. We see both Rick and The Governor lying their asses off like Axel Foley might say in Beverly Hills Cop.

The Governor says he’ll play nice, but reveals to Milton that he intends to slaughter Rick’s people and Rick avoids telling everyone about the offer on the table to trade Michonne.  Instead he lets everyone know they’re going to war while the episode ends on a creepy crane shot as Rick and Hershel discuss whether they actually should dump Michonne. Hey at least next episode should be a lot more exciting!

Click here to take this week’s poll: If you were Michonne would you team up with Merle to attack The Governor?

Were you also worried something bad might happen while Glenn and Maggie were “distracted?” Would you surrender Michonne if there was a possibility for peace? Weigh in with your thoughts on Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13.