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.

FilmInk’s Walking Dead Spread and Season 4 Episode Photos

FilmInk Magazine's Walking Dead Cover

FilmInk Magazine’s Walking Dead Cover

Not even Down Under is safe from Walking Dead mania. The undead have invaded there too in Australia’s famous FilmInk magazine, which currently has a Walking Dead cover story AND fold out posters. When I found out about this issue, I knew I had to get my hands on it, so I rushed over to eBay to order a copy. Until I get to devour the meaty content and see what the posters look like though, I’ll just have to marvel at their cover.

With the three most badass characters in the show in one shot, I’m surprised the the camera lenses captured them together without exploding from awesomeness. If I was living in the zombie apocalypse, I would definitely want them on my side, especially Daryl and Michonne. I’d feel pretty safe with them around. What about you? Who would you want in your group?

Also this week AMC’s Dead Alert newsletter released a series of photos from Season 4 in another small attempt to whet fan appetite for the rapidly approaching new episodes. Most of them are actually pretty boring, but the one that has Daryl and Carol together is cute and Tyreese looks amusingly stoic in the image with his shotgun slung over his shoulder. There is a photo that cracked me up: Beth is laying on her bed obviously writing in a journal, however it seems like she’s doing homework (not sure what assignments there would be during the zombie apocalypse) and it appears that one of her room’s decorations is a yard gnome. That’s an odd thing to have hanging around right?

Anyway, I’m ready for Season 4 to start. How about you? What are you looking forward to most about this season? Click here and leave me your thoughts.

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?

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?  

We Didn’t Start the Fire: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14 (Prey)

Laurie Holden on The Walking Dead

Andrea (Laurie Holden) on The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14 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: Milton tells Andrea about The Governor’s plot to massacre her friends, so she flees Woodbury to warn them. Furious that she’s chosen the prison over him, The Governor leaves to hunt Andrea down personally. Meanwhile, Tyreese and his daughter clash with Alan and his son because they refuse to blindly follow orders and they start to suspect The Governor isn’t actually the man he claims to be.

The pre-credits sequence in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14 (Prey) features a flashback to when Andrea and Michonne were traveling together. They’re huddled around the campfire while Michonne’s chained up walkers restlessly moan and groan. As usual, the tactless Andrea prys by asking her who they were, prompting a brilliant response from Michonne, “They deserved what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.”

Speaking of inhuman, shots of the chains morph in a brilliant transition into freaky disturbing images of The Governor creating his own little torture chamber for Michonne. That sick puppy is getting all kinds of twisted pleasure out of the process. The only reasons I see for them showing these moments are to remind us of the bond between Andrea and Michonne, as well as to foreshadow Andrea taking Michonne’s place (at least temporarily) at the end of the episode in The Governor’s chair-o-punishment.

I know I complained about Episode 12 (Clear) because it only focused on one group of people, but I actually didn’t mind the almost exclusive concentration on Woodbury in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14 because of how suspenseful the episode is. The majority of the thrilling elements come from The Governor’s chase of Andrea, which feels like a classic slasher film villain stalking his hapless prey (Oh hey, that must be why the episode is called “Prey!” How clever!).

Thankfully Andrea is smarter than the traditional horror movie victim, since she stabs her way out of being pinned down by walkers in the woods and sicks a horde of trapped stairwell zombies on Philip. If I were her though I would have either stayed to make sure the bastard died or stolen his truck. After all she did to escape, I couldn’t believe that The Governor cornered her near the prison and got her all the way back to Woodbury tied up without her putting up enough fight to get away. I did like the moment near the prison where crazy-ole Rick was on watch and thought he saw something in the woods before shaking it off.

I also enjoyed the parts of the The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14 that follow Tyreese and his daughter. I chuckled when his daughter mocks him for being a terrible shot and desperately hoped when they let Andrea sneak out that they’d go with her. I’m happy that they heeded Andrea’s warning about The Governor not being what he seems., and that we got some hints about some of Tyreese’s backstory with Alan. Their conflict at the biter pit was awesome. It honestly made me think that Tyreese was the one that torched all of the zombies there at first, but then later on when Tyreese apologized to The Governor for running his mouth, I wasn’t so sure and suspected Milton of doing the deed.

That brings us to this week’s poll. Click here to let me know: Who do you think torched the walkers in the pit?

Do you think someone will warn the prison about the impending slaughter? If so, who will it be? Any predictions for the next episode?

 

 

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.

Would you team up with Merle in Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost)?

In The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 (Arrow on the Doorpost) Merle is gung-ho about sneaking away from the prison and taking the offensive against The Governor in the midst of Rick’s negotiations. He even tries to sweet-talk Michonne into helping him.