The Momentum Blog

Give a TV lover a book!

Posted January 14, 2016 by Sophie Overett

Featured blog image

Do you have someone in your life who is difficult to buy gifts for? Is it your dad? Regardless, all you need to know is their favourite TV show, and we’ve got the rest covered. Here’s some book tips for the TV lover!

tumblr_mxcehlDjZN1rlsyx0o9_r1_500

Watching: The Walking Dead
Give them: A Town Called Dust by Justin Woolley

The Walking Dead is basically a cultural phenomenon at this point. The series about a man waking up from a coma to find himself in the throes of the zombie apocalypse captured imaginations around the world. Odds are someone in your life is a diehard fan of the series – whether it’s your teenage sister or straight laced hubby. This holiday season, grab them A Town Called Dust by Justin Woolley, a terrific dystopian series set in the outskirts of Alice Springs with a small community left to fight off hoards of the undead.

tumblr_my6c0hEq5a1qg72ijo1_250

Watching: Grey’s Anatomy
Give them: Life Support by Nicki Edwards

Medical dramas are a dime a dozen, but few have had the longevity of Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, a series that really taps into the heart (pun!) of the genre. Stop wondering about the difference between McDreamy and McSteamy and instead settle your giftee with Nicki Edwards’ Life Support, a story about a small town nurse who finds herself balancing her career, the death of her husband and a mysterious new beau.

tumblr_mdnlk3FGiu1qf34gmo4_250

Watching: Homeland
Give them: Standoff by David Rollins

The combination of crime, character study and national security proved the trifecta for multi-award-winning drama, Homeland. Standoff by David Rollins takes a different approach, but is similarly thrilling as the story of an OSI Special Agent investigating an airport massacre only to find a survivor left crawling out of the Texan desert.

Tumblr_mu55vcqUCZ1sn21e9o2_500

Watching: Reign
Give them: The Young Royals Series by S.A. Gordon

Who doesn’t like to see hot young royals caught between lovers and station? Reign might take you back to the days of Mary, Queen of Scots, but that doesn’t mean the monarch drama needs to stay in the 1500s. S.A. Gordon’s Young Royals Series takes an All-American girl and drops her into the life of luxury after she captures the eye of Prince David. Fraught relationships and torn commitments ensue!

robert-durst-the-jinx-hbo-lawyer-dick-deguerin-today-show-interview-2

Watching: The Jinx: the life and deaths of Robert Durst
Give them: Chopper Unchopped

Thanks to the Serial Podcast, true crime seems to be a hot water-cooler topic these days. Everyone listened with eager ears as Sarah Koenig opened up the long closed case of Adnan Syed and scrambled to answer the question of whether he really did kill his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. With the podcast between seasons, a lot of listeners turned their attention to HBO’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, a six-part miniseries exploring the strange connection between a string of unsolved crime and a real estate tycoon. Give your criminally-curious pal the insidelook at one of Australia’s most notorious criminals, Mark ‘Chopper’ Brandon, in Chopper Unchopped.

Is the show you have in mind not featured here? Tell us in the comments and we’ll let you know what to get!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Environmental Impacts on the Zombie Hordes.

Posted November 13, 2014 by Stephen Jones

Featured blog image

If you are reading this, congratulations! You have not died in the first stages of the zombie apocalypse and are ready to begin creating a new world out of the ashes of the old.

mythical_phoenix

 

You, probably.

Now, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back – look out the window and check to see where you are. I know that the headlong fleeing from a former civilisation can leave you disorientated so take your time. Where are you? What’s the weather like?

yr-icons-60x50-dotvoid-ab

Here’s a helpful chart.

These may seem like stupid questions. “The weather?!?” you’re shouting, “The weather is cloudy with a chance of zombie!” Quiet, you fool! Noise attracts them!

obama-shush-e1284615851194

Loose lips and all that.

There, this manual has already saved your life. You’re welcome. The following is why the weather is so important and try not to interrupt me again, or you will die.

Why the Weather is so Important.

Look at it this way – The rate of decomposition of a human body used to be measured using Casper’s Law or Ratio (it is now unknown if that refers to The Friendly Ghost).

Casper_1995

I measure the rate of decomposition!

Basically, the body will decompose faster the more oxygen it receives post-mortem, allowing for temperature variations. So in a warm, wet climate a body will decompose faster than in a cool dry climate even if both bodies are completely exposed to these elements.

So…if you’re still following and haven’t been eaten because you were reading when you should have been paying attention, here are some examples of climates and whether they are ‘good’ for zombies.

zombie-thumbs-up

Tropics

archeage

The tropics are a terrible place to be a zombie, which obviously means it’s a good place to be alive. Not only will the warm climate and consistent rainfall rot a dead body faster, the biosphere is filled with all sorts of insects that just love a corpse. Not romantic love either.

bobs_burgers_zombie_makeout_by_ellidegg-d389mw0

Added Bonus: The warm climate means clothing is optional. You wanna repopulate the earth right?

signclothopt

…of societal collapse. 

Temperate Forest/Woods

temperate_forest1

Smells like rotten.

There is a reason training videos in the Pre-Times were all set in woods or forests, this is the perfect place for zombies to…Survive? Live? Exists? Continue to Be?

confused20cat20huh_answer_101_xlarge

English – it’s still a test.

The training videos from the Romero School, up to and including Season 17 of The Walking Dead, all featured wooded areas. With a temperate to cool climate and not as many flesh devouring insects as the Tropics a healthy zombie can continue to be for many years.

 

tumblr_lbx1clAkeQ1qdqopvo1_500

This? No, I’m fine. Hi-five?

Added Bonus: There is clearly no added bonus, get out of the Temperate zones.

Mountains and Tundras

201110038-1600px-1320113390

Cold preserves, ask your oldest relative about the ol’ timey device we called a fridge. You want to deal with Ice Zombies, the by all means surround yourself with snow and subzero temperatures and all that malarkey.

 

Marlarky

Dress yourself in jumpers and such. I’ll be in my shorts in the Tropics.

Idiot.

Added Bonus: Really?!?

Desert

desert_road-Large-1024x652

Just the absolute worst. It’s a dry heat, with no real insect life, which will allow your zombie neighbours to hang around for millennia. You want to have to deal with zombie neighbours for millennia? Be my guest. Whatever, I’ve just re-invented the Pina Colada so I’m all set here on my warm wet beach.

Pina-colada-cigar-and-beach

Of course, it’s in a plastic cup. Civilisation DID end.

Added Bonus: You’re in the desert, attracting the undead horde, which makes me even safer.  So thanks for that.

TOWNDUST

Tagged: , , , , , ,
1 Comment

Zombies are the new black

Posted November 11, 2014 by Momentum

Featured blog image

Justin Woolley, whose zombie dystopia A Town Called Dust is coming out soon, joins us to talk about the living dead.

We wake in the middle of the night to the sound of sirens and car alarms. The phones are dead. The TV is an endless emergency broadcast about remaining in our homes. Outside the dead are rising. We’re all screwed. Time to bust out the shotgun. The zombie apocalypse is here.

giphy

 

Zombies aren’t exactly pleasant. They are withered, decaying, slack-jawed corpses, with pieces of flesh periodically falling off, leaking body fluids from every orifice and smelling like the possum that got stuck in my grandparents’ chimney for three weeks. They have the conversational skills of an avocado and if you invite them over for coffee they just keep trying to suck your brains out of your eyeholes. So why do we love them? What is it about zombies and the zombie apocalypse that seems to spawn a never-ending collection of films, books and video games? Why are we fascinated with a plague of rising dead that will destroy civilisation and leave us, the gritty survivors, to make what life we can in a world where our brains are the most sort after delicacy?

 

Zombies are hot property. From films like Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombieland to books I Am Legend, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, World War Z, Patient Zero to video games Resident Evil, Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, The Evil Within and now TV with The Walking Dead, zombies are a pivotal part of pop culture and a stable of the horror genre but they aren’t exactly as new as we might think.

51670-night_of_the_living_dead_3

 

The zombie legend has its roots in African and Haitian voodoo in which a voodoo practitioner would raise a newly deceased person from the dead to act as their slave. These zombies are a lot more like a convenient corpse-butler than the contagious brain-eaters we know and love today. Zombie-like creatures known as ghouls are also referenced in Arabian literature as far back as the 9th century. These creatures were known to have influenced Mary Shelley when she wrote what might be the most famous piece of zombie literature, Frankenstein. Much of the early zombie tales focused on the animating of a single corpse, the rise of a single monster. We really have Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend and then George Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead to thank for bringing us the idea of the relentless zombie horde.

 

So, what is it then about the zombie horde that seems so enduring? I believe the appeal of the zombie apocalypse is two-fold, the zombie horde frightens us, but it also holds a mirror up to humanity.

 

The zombie horde is terrifying not necessarily in the pure grossness of zombies, they aren’t winning any beauty contests obviously, but their true horror is in the fear of the overwhelming. We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, that we have too much to handle, that the world is going to crush us under the weight of our circumstances. The zombie horde is simply this feeling amplified. The idea that you kill one zombie and ten more take its place. It is a flood we realise we cannot hold back. What is frightening about zombies is how committed they are. They’re not going to stop off for a power nap or quick coffee, they don’t procrastinate, they just keep coming. It’s impressive really isn’t it?

 

From a metaphorical standpoint the fear of zombies is also the fear of facing of death. The zombie apocalypse provides a scenario in which you quite literally face death; the living dead are coming at you from all angles. If you can kill enough zombies you overcome death and you get to live a little longer. Then, once you inevitably fall to the unstoppable zombie horde you become a walking corpse too, trapped in death forever. What a cheery thought.

 

Zombie fiction strips away all that we usually consider safe. Everywhere we usually turn for support is gone. Suddenly your Mum wants to eat your brain, society offers no protection and even death is worse than usual. But even with all that the zombie apocalypse is also appealing to people because it is the type of apocalypse we can fight. A killer plague, run-away artificial intelligences dropping nuclear bombs, an big old asteroid sending us on a one way ticket to extinction, all these things leave us powerless but a zombie, hell, I’ve played loads of computer games, give me a shotgun and a baseball bat and let me at them.

 

Of course, like all good stories, the zombie apocalypse reflects a side of humanity. In a very real way zombies are simply humanity boiled down to our primordial, destructive nuts and bolts. The zombie wants to crack open your skull like a boiled egg and doesn’t much care for the ethical, moral, environmental or political dilemma of this. Zombies don’t care for anything except fulfilling their insatiable need to feed. Zombies, like humanity, leave a trail of destruction in their wake. In the end perhaps we believe humanity is the real horde.

 

We love the zombie apocalypse, or any post-apocalyptic fiction for that matter, because it allows us to ask questions about the nature of humanity. If our civilisation is torn down and the rules are gone, what do we become? Will humans become vicious creatures willing to kill each other to survive? Or will we hold on to some semblance of law and order? In the end zombie fiction such as The Walking Dead explores the idea that the real danger existing in a world full of zombies might just be the humans that remain.

tumblr_lbx1clAkeQ1qdqopvo1_500

 

So, perhaps there is deep metaphorical meaning to zombie fiction, or perhaps zombies are just plain awesome. Either way, stock up on canned food and ammunition, because I don’t see zombies dying any time soon.

TOWNDUST

Tagged: , , , ,
Leave a comment

The future of blockbuster films

Posted June 20, 2014 by Craig Hildebrand-Burke

Featured blog image

Let’s be honest, all the good screen stories have migrated to TV.

With blockbusters and franchises increasingly becoming tentpole echo chambers, most of the narrative invention and originality is happening in greener pastures like HBO and Netflix.

Additionally, films have hit this mire where opening weekends rake in the revenue, but there’s no lasting value to the word of mouth, and release windows are increasingly tiny. When this is coupled with audiences who are shunning inflated ticket prices, poor quality projection and sound and (gasp) other people, we’re left with a system that presents TV as almost the independent cinema of the film industry.

Actors, directors, writers, even cinematographers are finding rewarding and lasting work on the smaller screen, and audiences are buying into it in droves. Currently the most significant stories of traditionally ‘film’ genres are happening on TV: Game of Thrones for fantasy, Hannibal and The Walking Dead for horror and post-apocalyptic horror.

Is this a case of stories actually working better on TV? Or is there something they’re just not getting right in film at the moment?

The success of big Hollywood films has always waxed and waned. Like any creative form, there’s an organic ebb and flow to the styles, the popularity and success of cinema. The golden era of the 50s and 60s hollowed itself out into a production-line mentality, which subsequently created the first boom of quality TV as writers fled one studio system for a newer, smaller one.

On top of that, the capitulation of the studio system springboarded the signficant movement of American independent cinema in the 70s, which is, for me, one of the most fascinating periods of cinematic storytelling. If you’ve never seen it before, track down a copy of Ted Demme’s A Decade Under the Influence – perfectly documents the era.

But out of that there was the resurgent and superficial blockbusters of the 80s (superficial in focus, not in value), which gave rise to more independent filmmakers in the early 90s, who in turn were folded into the studios in the 2000s, and that about brings us up to speed.

Everything old in film is new again, and then old once more. The revolutionaries become the establishment, until somebody rises up in their place to challenge the status quo.

Where we’re at now, strangely enough, is what some people are coining the Age of Fanfiction, where it seems the fans and established fanbases are the ones dictating the more-of-the-same approach that blockbusters seem to have. And while listening to millions of fans is often a good thing, do it for long enough and no singular unique visions are offered up. Witness the unending resistance of studios to female superheroes. Witness the slavish adherence to the monomyth, to McKee, to concurrent trilogies. We’re in that bottom-end of the cycle unfortunately, where every success spawns endless imitations, until it becomes difficult to discern good from bad and we just settle for middling films that look nice. Mind of the mob, and all that.

So is it all bad for film?

The complicating factor here is the dominance of TV at the moment. And while this may seem to be a count against any possible hope of better blockbuster cinema happening soon, the dynamic of quality TV offers an interesting consideration.

Essentially, TV no longer relies on ratings. At least, not the old ratings. With programming and standard viewing seasons quickly disappearing, immediate braodcast ratings are no longer a surefire way to tell whether a show will be renewed or axed. Networks are realising that TV shows have a very different lifespan now, and can last far longer away from regular programming.

So what does this mean?

Better TV shows are being made. As with Breaking Bad, shows don’t need to be an immediate hit. What they do need to be is quality. And that takes time for the writing to develop, for the show to organically evolve and take root in the audience’s imagination. So networks are increasingly trusting singular visions, and quality writing, banking on the fact that the viewers will come given word of mouth and time. This is the entire reason behind Hannibal’s greenlighting for a third season despite a slackening of already paltry ratings from its regular programming schedule.

And so we turn to film, now up against uninspired studios and bare cupboards of creative minds and talent. Since word of mouth has long gone, and even opening weekends are slackening, and the rise of audiences who stay at home rather than venture to the cinema, studios and filmmakers need to think, well, creatively.

The natural ebb and flow will kick in, and soon they will hopefully see that audiences value – as in really value for a long, long time – well-crafted, original stories. These are the ones we come back to, the ones we buy and keep, and download and watch over and over again. That’s where the revenue is these days, and so that’s where they’ll go.

You can only shill for mediocrity for so long before everyone grows tired of it and finds something else. Quality will win out, because it’s the only true currency that lasts.

 

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
2 Comments

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 16: A

Posted April 2, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

This week the focus of the show is directed back on Rick in a major way. Rick has spent the last season or so trying to be someone else, and that’s shown to great effect in this episode.

The show begins with flashbacks to the beginning of the season, with Herschel trying to turn Rick into a farmer. They’re safe in the prison, and Herschel knows how crazy Rick’s life had become and is trying to save him from himself. It’s nice to see Herschel again, and his presence is a reminder of what the character brought to the show, and much his loss is still being felt.

These flashbacks then lead to a sequence in which Rick, Michonne and Carl are finally discovered by Joe’s group. It’s late at night, they’re isolated and defenceless and Joe is out for brutal vengeance. Daryl arrives on the scene and begs for Rick’s life, offering himself up as a sacrifice – if blood needs to be spilled, let it be his. By Joe’s twisted rules, Daryl’s defence of Rick is a lie. He gives the order for Daryl to be beaten to death, and then he tells Rick that he’s going to rape Michonne, and then Carl, and then kill them all.

twd-s04e16-02a

It’s a very confronting moment that the show pushes right to the edge – Carl is pulled out of a car and pinned on the ground by a member of Joe’s crew – before Rick snaps. He manages to struggle with Joe, and in the fight he bites into Joe’s jugular, tearing out flesh and spitting it away while Joe quickly bleeds out. Michonne takes the opportunity to disarm her captor and shoot the remaining members of Joe’s crew, saving Daryl as she does.

One man is left standing, the man who was attempting to rape Carl. Rick kills him with a knife, stabbing him over and over and over again while Carl watches on.

From this experience, Rick realises he was never meant to be a farmer. He embraces his inner psycho, because it’s his inner psycho that has kept them alive and Carl safe so far. Rick finally accepts that the old rules don’t apply anymore, and that their survival depends on his ability to channel his violent tendencies into action.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-16-Video-Preview-A-02-2014-03-23

The episode then follows Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Carl as they complete their journey to Terminus. They sneak around the back, rather than coming up the tracks, and surprise some of the residents. Gareth, the spokesperson for the Terminus residents welcomes them, and brings them to Mary, who is to ‘prepare a plate’ for them.

twd-s04e16-13

And then Rick notices that one of the Terminus residents has Glen’s watch, and another is wearing his riot gear. Crazy Rick rises again, and what follows is a tense shoot-out, where Rick and the others are herded through terminus by sniper fire. As they run through they find many disturbing things that lead to the conclusion that the residents of Terminus are cannibals who eat those who arrive.

The episode and the season end with Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Carl being locked into a train carriage to await what comes next. But in there with them are Glen, Maggie, Bob, Sasha, Eugene, Abraham, Rosita and Tara. A grim reunion that sets up a great premise for season 5.

Deaths?

Joe and all his men, some random in a field, that guy Rick held hostage.

Best line? 

Rick: “They’re going to feel pretty stupid when they find out…”

Abraham: “Find out what?”

Rick: “They’re fucking with the wrong people.”

Best moment with a walker?

When Rick and Carl witness a random dude being killed by a walker herd.

What’s going to happen next season?

Obviously they’re going to have to face off against the cannibals. Tyreese and Carol are still on the way to Terminus, so maybe they’ll be helping them escape? Also the whole getting Eugene to Washington storyline will be addressed.

Season 4 reflections

Season 4 was uneven and suffered from massive pacing issues. In season 3, the Governor showed how well the show can function with a villain, and from this point on they really do need one. Battling walkers each week is only interesting for so long, and then it starts becoming mundane. But they didn’t want to introduce a new villain too quickly, so there needed to be some space. So the first half of the season was great – the return to power of the Governor and the slow-build of his plan to take the prison was intertwined with the horror of the disease that was spreading through the prison, and the fact that there seemed to be a murderer in the prison population.

Once that had all been resolved in the fantastic mid-season finale, the pace slowed. The characters were all split up and spent most of their time wandering around in the wilderness facing off against walkers and their own personal demons. Sometimes the episodes were strong, and sometimes they were terrible. But the lack of tension was noticeable and it was clear they were killing time before introducing a new storyline.

Despite that, this season was definitely worth it. The strengths outweighed the weaknesses and the set-up for season five promises another batch of strong episodes.

That’s it for now! We’ll be recapping The Walking Dead when it returns for season 5 in November. In the meantime, Craig will be writing weekly recaps of Game of Thrones.

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
1 Comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 15: Us

Posted March 28, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

The penultimate episode of season 4 finally starts drawing all the story threads together. For much of this half-season the show has spend entire episodes focussed on one or two groups of survivors after the prison assault scattered everyone. This has not always worked, as some episodes have tended to drag, in stark contrast to the beginning of the season which was relatively fast-paced and plot-heavy.

This week opens with Glen’s group finally discovering one of the messages that Maggie left painted by the side of the railroad leading to Terminus, which leads to Glen running towards the camera in a rather inadvertently goofy shot. But it’s nice to have some sense of hope after last week…

The focus of this episode is on Glen’s quest to finally catch up to Maggie, and Daryl’s life in the new group he seems to have been conscripted into. We also see Rick, Carl and Michonne, the only group left out is Carol and Tyreese.

First to Daryl: Daryl is having a hard time adjusting to his new group. The leader, Joe, has a few rules that everyone must live by. Some of the rules make sense (don’t steal) but others (shout out ‘claimed’ and whatever object you see is yours) prove tough for Daryl. He butts heads with another guy in the group, and it all comes to a head when Daryl is accused of stealing. But Joe knows that Daryl is innocent and has his accuser brutally beaten to death.

the-walking-dead-season-4-episode-15-norman-reedus-600x396

But later there is a revelation. Daryl’s group are looking for someone. Turns out, they’re the group who invaded the house Rick was in a few episodes back, and they’re looking for Rick and have a thirst for revenge. As a reminder, Rick killed one of them and let him reanimate as a walker to provide a distraction that allowed him to escape. So Daryl is now headed to Terminus, too. Although Joe makes another claim – that Terminus is not the sanctuary everyone is expecting.

Glen and Tara are closing in on Maggie, Tara even volunteering to continue without rest despite a knee injury. They part ways with Eugene, Abraham and Rosita at the entrance to a dark tunnel – Abraham thinks it’s too dangerous to go in, but Glen is convinced Maggie went through.

Turns out, part of the tunnel has collapsed and trapped a bunch of walkers. Once he’s established that Maggie isn’t one of them, Glen tries to sneak around them, but Tara gets stuck in the rubble. It looks like they’re done for but suddenly a bunch of people appear from the other end of the tunnel with machine guns – Eugene drove around to the other end of the tunnel and came across Maggie, Sasha and Bob.

9477773_600x338

Glen and Maggie reunite! And Maggie makes Glen burn that polaroid of her! Nice moment. And Tara is given the chance to begin again, Glen doesn’t tell anyone where she really came from, just that he met her on the road and she saved him.

So Glen, Maggie and friends go on and are the first to arrive at Terminus, which is strangely deserted. There’s evidence of life, with vegetable patches and gardens, but the only person they see is a mysterious woman named Mary (holy shit, was that TASHA YAR???) who bids them welcome. Something is not right, though. She just seems…off.

TWD-s4-415-Mary-Terminus-325

Deaths?

I can’t remember the character’s name, but the dude who tried to frame Daryl for stealing.

Best line? 

“Hi. I’m Mary. Looks like you’ve been on the road a while. Let’s get you settled and we’ll make you a plate. Welcome to Terminus.”

Best moment with a walker?

The whole tunnel sequence.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Tara’s story arc (redeeming herself for the prison attack by helping Glen find Maggie) is now done. Carol was most likely going to die at Tyreese’s hands but now that’s not a thing. Glen and Maggie have had a happy reunion…maybe it was TOO happy. I’d say definitely Tara.

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead: season 4 episode 14: The Grove

Posted March 18, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

After a disappointing handful of episodes, The Walking Dead truly recovers its form this week. Two of the major story arcs from this season have been wrapped up, clearing the way for the season finale (part one of which airs next week).

The episode opens with one of the best shots you’ll find in the history of the show. A record is playing. A kettle is boiling in a rural house. Through the window a couple of girls are playing. As the camera focuses on the view outside the window, you realise that you’re not watching girls at play, you’re watching a girl playing with a walker. The strangeness of the moment, they way the viewer is given very little in terms of context and is just deposited in the middle of this moment that is almost normal, and then confronted with horror, represents what this show often strives for, and often doesn’t achieve. It’s a powerful moment that is made all the more powerful once you reach the episode’s grisly conclusion (which I will definitely be spoiling, so keep reading at your own risk).

The-Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-14-Preview-Scene

The Grove focusses on Carol, Tyreese, baby Judith and the two girls, Lizzie & Mikah. On the road to Terminus they take a brief break to find some water and stumble across an isolated house in a pecan grove. It’s abandoned, the occupant having died and reanimated some time ago, and after he’s put down, the group moves in.

The idea is to stay for a couple of days but that, and Terminus, are quickly forgotten as they begin to believe they could stay for a long time. None of them are ready to be around other people. Carol is still full of pain and guilt over Karen and David, Tyreese is having nightmares and cannot find it within himself to trust strangers (side note: Chad L. Coleman does a better job convincing us of Tyreese’s feelings for Karen in this episode than he did when she was alive). And the Samuels girls could benefit from the isolation, too. Lizzie is…well, there’s something not quite right about her. And Mikah is too nice, to soft, still a little girl at heart, and not able to cope with the horrific reality of the outside world.

Here they have food, water, and an easily defensible location. They could stay here. They could have a life, a dysfunctional, post-apocalyptic family.

BUT THEN…

…Lizzie stabs Mikah to death. Turns out that not only is Lizzie a weirdo who gives walkers names and feeds them rats, she’s also the psychopath who tortured the animals at the prison. She doesn’t see the walkers as a threat, just different, and is upset when they are killed. She kills Mikah to prove a point – she’ll reanimate and still be Mikah, just different than she was before. She would have killed Judith too, but Tyreese and Carol find the gruesome scene just in time.

Shocked, unsure what to do, Carol and Tyreese talk options. Lizzie clearly needs help, but where she can get it in this world? She can’t be near Judith, she can’t be left by herself. In the end, Carol takes her out to look at some flowers and shoots her.

Carol_The_Grove-630x418

In the horrible aftermath, Carol finally confesses to Tyreese that she killed Karen and David in an attempt to protect the prison from the illness. She waits for Tyreese to kill her, but instead he forgives her. At the end of the episode they leave the house together, presumably to continue their journey towards Terminus.

This is another story that echoes a plotline that unfolded in the graphic novels. One of the kids in the comics turns out to be a psychopath, but it’s dealt with differently. I’m sure anyone familiar with the graphic novels was prepared for this story, but I wonder if people who only know The Walking Dead as a TV show will easily accept it. It’s a huge thing to swallow, and I’m not sure they did a good enough job establishing just how deranged Lizzie really was.

Deaths?

Lizzie and Mikah.

Best line? 

“Don’t worry, she’s going to come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.” – Lizzie when Carol and Tyreese find Mikah’s body.

Best moment with a walker?

Has to be the burnt walker attack. Through the episode there’s a strange column of smoke in the distance (presumably from the Moonshiner’s shack that Beth and Daryl set alight). And there comes a point in this episode where crispy walkers, still smoking and fresh from the flames approach the house.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Hm. Beth.

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead: season 4 episode 13: Alone

Posted March 12, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Fortunately The Walking Dead bounces back a little bit this week, after last week’s nothing episode about Beth and Daryl.

The opening scene is a flashback to Bob and his first meeting with Daryl and Glen, after they find him wandering the wilderness by himself. It’s a nice way to set up this episode, as we’re finally going to see more from some of these minor characters after more than half a season of them just filling out the cast.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-13-Preview-Scene

“This situation is really fogged up. Geddit?”

Post-credits, another extremely effective scene in which Bob, Sasha and Maggie face off with a herd of walkers in the fog. It’s another very simple set up for an action sequence and it works really well. And while season 4 has had its fair share of disappointing moments, the action has become much more interesting.

This episode follows two groups of survivors. The first group are Maggie, Bob and Sasha. Sasha wants to stop moving, and find somewhere safe and secure to settle for a least a little while. Maggie still wants to find Glen. When they stumble across the train tracks leading to Terminus (the ‘safe place’ that everyone is slowly heading towards), Maggie decides to go there, despite how far it is, as she’s convinced it’s what Glen would do. Sasha doesn’t want to go, and that leads to Maggie striking off on her own.

Bob is then torn. Sasha definitely wants to stay in the first safe place they come across, and Bob has feelings for her. But he also knows how hard it is to be out in the world alone, so he wants to catch up to Maggie, to help her in her quest, and to not lose the sense of community he’s just found.

post-38889-Beth-piano-Daryl-coffin-meme-W-l7ZM

“Beth, please stop. Your singing is literally killing me.”

The second storyline follows Daryl and Beth…again…but this time something actually happens. Discovering a funeral parlour that offers some safety, they decide to rest. There are some nice touches to this setting, the place has been well-kept, and is obviously someone’s sanctuary. Whoever it is has also been doing their best to embalm and care for the dead walkers they’ve encountered. Are there still good people alive?

Daryl starts to mellow a little more. He’s less annoyed with Beth than usual, and eventually proposes that they try staying there – when the person whose sanctuary it is returns, they’ll try to team up and make it work.

BUT then there’s a late night knock at the door. Daryl opens it expecting to see the dog who triggered their makeshift walker alert system earlier in the day. Nope, it’s a herd of walkers. Daryl tries to lure them away from Beth, telling her to meet him outside on the road. Once he finally loses the walkers, Daryl makes it out and finds Beth’s backpack, and a car rushing off, presumably with Beth inside.

the_walking_dead_season_4_episode_13

Youth assaults on the elderly skyrocketed after the apocalypse. Bloody Gen Y.

Meanwhile, Sasha, Bob and Maggie have split up. Maggie is heading to Terminus, killing walkers and writing messages in blood for Glen. Bob is trying to catch up to her, and Sasha has stopped at a secure building. She looks out the window and sees Maggie lying in the street, about to be taken out by a walker. She runs down to help, and the pair repel a walker attack. Maggie then tells Sasha that she can’t do it alone, and convinces her to help her make it to Terminus. They then catch up to Bob and it’s all nice and happy (won’t last).

And Daryl, desperately chasing after the car that took Beth, winds up confronted by a group of men. They seem like bad guys, but Daryl teams up with them. They want his bow skills, and if he refuses it looks like they’ll kill him.

The final shot of the episode is Glen discovering a sign pointing to Terminus. So if he has Tara, Abraham and the others in tow, it means that the only people not headed to Terminus are Beth and Daryl. I assume that the season will now end with everyone reuniting at Terminus (there are only 3 episodes left now). If the show vaguely follows the structure of the comics (which it has thus far), Terminus may be the next place where everyone finds sanctuary, and will become a huge part of the series going into season 5 and beyond.

 

Deaths?

None.

Best line? 

“I thought I couldn’t ask you to help me, but I can.” Maggie convinces Sasha that their journey is about more than just finding Glen.

Best moment with a walker?

Maggie using them as pens is pretty good, as is her decapitation of one with a road sign. Maggie, if you never find Glen, give me a call, ok?

Which regular cast members will die this season?

I’m changing my prediction that Maggie and/or Glen will die this season. It seems like they’re going for a happy ending there. Maybe the Bob/Sasha storyline is headed for tragedy instead?

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead: season 4 episode 12: Still

Posted March 7, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Seriously, Walking Dead. What the hell?

In ‘Still’, Beth decides she’s tired of doing nothing with Daryl and goes off to find…something to drink. She’s never had alcohol before, so she’s going to go an find some, whether Daryl likes it or not.

She finds a golf club where she could get a drink but Daryl, finally feeling sorry for her, decides she needs a ‘proper’ first drink, and takes her to a little shack where there’s lots of moonshine. They get drunk, share their emotions, realise that they both do care about the people they’ve lost, and then burn down the shack.

That’s it.

The-Walking-Dead-Still-Beth-and-Daryl-middle-finger-702x336

Deaths?

Nobody

Best line? 

Beth: “My dad always said bad moonshine could make you go blind.”

Daryl: “Well, there’s nothing out there to see anyway.”

Best moment with a walker?

Golf club to the face that splatter’s the new white cardigan Beth found with gore.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

I really hope it’s Beth.

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 11: Claimed

Posted February 28, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

This week was probably the best episode this half-season. It follows two threads, one featuring Michonne, Carl and Rick, with the other following Glen and Tara who are now with Eugene, Abraham and Rosita.

In the first thread, Michonne and Carl are having a rare light-hearted moment, discussing the pros and cons of soy milk. Carl starts to say that he’d rather drink Judith’s baby formula, and then reality crashes back in as they both realise how much they’ve lost. They decide to go on a supply run and leave Rick to rest.

But while Rick sleeps, the house is invaded by newcomers. A group of heavily armed men, presumably on the hunt for supplies, has found the house and decided to take up residence. Rick barely makes it under the bed before one of the men claims the bed and falls asleep on it.

Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-11-Rick-Bed

Meanwhile, Michonne agrees to tell Carl a few things about herself while they clear a house. Among a few other things she reveals her son was named Andre Anthony. However, this brief moment of friendship and opening up is disturbed when Michonne discovers that the family that lived in the house killed themselves in the daughter’s bedroom. It’s a surprisingly emotional moment that’s been earned as Michonne and Carl work through their grief.

the-walking-dead-carl-season-4-episode-11-claimed-amc

Rick is still stuck under the bed, and knows Carl and Michonne will be returning soon. When one of the new people comes upstairs and disturbs the one who was sleeping, there is a fight, resulting in one being strangled on the floor, seeing Rick under the bed, but being able to do nothing about it as he looses consciousness. It’s a nice, tense moment, and adds to several inventive set-ups The Walking Dead has carried off this season.

Rick manages to escape, and kills one of the men he finds in a bathroom, leaving him there to reanimate, which he does soon enough, giving Rick the opportunity to escape and stop Carl and Michonne from becoming victims. By the end of the episode, they find themselves walking the very same train track that Carol, Tyreese and the kids did…

686024

Meanwhile, Glen is stuck in the back of Abraham’s truck. Via this storyline, we find out a bit more about the newcomers. Abraham and Rosita have a thing going on. Abraham likes killing. Eugene is some sort of scientist, and knows what caused the outbreak, they’re on a mission to Washington to ‘save the world.’

Seriously, Abraham says ‘save the world’ about 1000 times this episode. It’s awkward.

One thing leads to another, there’s a fight, a zombie attack, and their truck gets disabled. Glen and Tara go back to find Maggie, and Abraham, Eugene and Rosita follow.

960

I like your idea, I’m going to mullet over

The pace was picked up a bit this week, and the episode included some nice emotional and action beats. It looks like the Rick/Carl/Judith reunion is just around the corner, but Glen is now further away from Maggie than he’s ever been.

Deaths?

Random dude in a bathroom that Rick kills.

Best line? 

Abraham: “So tell me how in the hell you managed to kill this truck?”

Eugene: “A fully amped-up state and an ignorance of rapid-firing weapons.”

Also when Eugene is through telling Abraham why they should follow Glen and Tara: “Trust me, I’m smarter than you.”

Best moment with a walker?

Rick killing a dude so that he reanimates later, creating a diversion se he can escape.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Still saying Carol and Glen and/or Maggie. Oh, and Tara seems disposable.

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Catching the TV buzz wave

Posted February 26, 2014 by Craig Hildebrand-Burke

Featured blog image

Lately, everyone seems to be in various stages of spontaneous combustion over True Detective, the latest showbag of televisual storytelling that causes just about everyone’s frontal lobes to contract Stendhal syndrome.

A few months back, it was the final season of Breaking Bad. Before that, season three of Game of Thrones. Then Homeland. But go back far enough and the thrall of the buzz, the state of captivity that we are held to when a new show captures the collective consciousness, disappears. There are shows, certainly, that held appeal and warranted a status as a water-cooler topic – Twin Peaks in its day, 24 for a brief period of time, among others – but one of the byproducts of how mass culture is communicated and shared these days is that we are all talking about the same thing at the same time.

Witness the incremental meltdown US Twitter users went into over The Rains of Castamere in the most recent Game of Thrones season – followed in the next twenty-four-hours by those sections of Australian audiences who abide by piracy laws. Witness the social media groups that followed and dissected every possible frame of the final seasons of Breaking Bad – in a way that the earlier seasons were never looked at – so as to form some prediction of how Walter White would conclude his antiheroic ways.

This is a form of television viewing wholly new to us. The idea that one doesn’t just watch a show to watch it, but to share in the watching with everyone else. The irony of social media – sociability without society – has transformed the relationship we have with TV.

Previously, the medium saw itself as wholly distinct to cinema. In a cinema, we are in an audience and yet presented with an image to experience, without distraction. We are in a crowd, but the film speaks to us individually, without pause or hesitation. It is visual storytelling at its purest. TV, on the other traditional hand, has generally been more conscious and less subconscious; we were prone to distractions – other channels, ads, dinner, the minutiae of household life – and so TV shows had to anticipate distraction by being big and obvious, in short punctuated bursts. Key moments would be repeated, recapped, and over-explained, just in case we were doing something else when Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed.

Now, though, everything has changed. House of Cards has illustrated best just how we watch TV. We praise and privilege the long form narrative, the back-to-back episodes, the complex narratives that are resolved over dozens of hours, rather than a cinematic two. But most importantly, we are sharing TV like we never have before. We are in the audience again, sitting with others, everybody’s couch and TV and bedroom and computer is now one giant cinema screen.

Cinema these days sees value in the opening weekend. Catch the audience while it’s still hot, or before bad word can get around. TV does allow more flexibility, and we are now championing the lack of scheduling, the lack of gatekeepers who decide what we watch and when. But, even when there’s all this freedom for us to watch what we want, we seem to be instilling a new law.

We must all catch the TV buzz wave, we must all watch at the same time, or else we will miss the conversation. The exponentially shorter timeframes that dialogue exists on social media means that if you wait but a month, nay, a week longer to watch the show, you’ll miss the talk, miss the excitement of sharing with everyone else.

So have we torn down one set of gatekeepers in order to create new ones? Are we policing our own viewing?

The interesting thing is how this affects the medium itself. Homeland fed off its buzz for the first season and a half. It lived for it, creating and manufacturing the type of plots that enabled the conversation to generate itself, and ensure we all kept watching just to see what would happen. And the shows creators knew what they were doing, always trying to stay one step ahead of audience expectations, giving us resolutions to plot points way before we’d anticipated, then throwing us headlong into the unknown. It’s what made it watchable, but it’s also what has made it unwatchable since. If you start with excitement, and then build quickly to hysteria, where do you go from there? Homeland and The Walking Dead both seem to be suffering from a midlife crisis. Where do TV shows go, once they’re not the conversation anymore?

Where shows once used to build audiences – a la Breaking Bad – it’s now almost necessary to take the audience fresh from one show concluding, and transplant them into a new one beginning. We’re all dying for the next something, and every show is dying to be the next something, rather than just being what it is.

I think we still need room to find shows – and films and books and anything else that wiles away the hours – on our own. While there is some kind of unalloyed joy in privately watching a show while it is being recognised publicly by the masses, we can’t watch everything. And also the masses can sometimes get in the way of just enjoying a story because you like the story.

Tagged: , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 10: Inmates

Posted February 19, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

After last week’s relatively slow mid-season premiere, we finally get to find out what happened to characters who aren’t Carl.

In this episode we catch up with four groups of prison survivors, Beth and Daryl, Maggie, Sasha and Bob, Glen and Tara, and Tyreese, who is with the kids Micah, Lizzie and Judith. That’s right, baby Judith is alive and well, although how long that lasts is an open question as her cries attract walkers, and Lizzie clearly wants to kill her.

And this episode is significant for another development, the return of Carol…

3647908-twd3

Nothing much is happening with Beth and Daryl, they’re running through the countryside, going in the same vague direction as the others, and feeling generally depressed. This episode did a nice job of showing Beth and Daryl first, even though their story takes place after everyone else’s.

the-walking-dead-inmates-episode

Maggie is with Sasha and Bob, but is obsessed with finding Glen, who she assumed left on the bus. Once they track down the bus (only to discover that it’s full of zombies), Maggie kills every single zombie just to make sure none of them were Glen. Also all the zombies were the last of the Woodbury people who came to live at the prison at the end of season 3. They were ‘all good people’ or so Bob says.

the-walking-dead-inmates-glenn

Meanwhile, Glen wasn’t actually on the bus, and wakes up in the prison by himself. Upon spying that photo of Maggie he snapped earlier in the season, he collects his gear and takes off to find her. Along the way, he finds that Tara is still alive and he enlists her help, even though she was a part of the prison attack that cost him so much.

the-walking-dead-season-4-episode-10-tyrese-carol-lizzie

Tyreese is stuck with the kids, including Judith, who keeps crying and attracting walkers. It’s revealed in this episode that Lizzie is the one mutilating rodents, and there’s a moment where she almost suffocates Judith to keep her quiet, and seems to enjoy it. Lizzie is a psycho, better be careful. This is consistent with the comics, where there was a psychopath child (I won’t spoil what happens with that plot line, but it will be interesting to see how far the show pushes that storyline).

Tyreese and the kids also stumble across Carol, who has apparently been tracking them. Tyreese still has no idea about Carol’s involvement in Karen’s death, so that will make for an awkward conversation later on. They are then directed by a dying man to follow the train tracks to a ‘safe place’. It seems that there’s another town, but is it another Woodbury?

And finally, three new regular characters are added in the final moments as Glen and Tara are found by Eugene, Abraham and Rosita, who are major characters from the comics.

Deaths?

A couple of randoms who are bitten and tell Carol & Tyreese about the ‘safe place’ before they die.

Best line? 

“Faith? Faith ain’t done shit for us. Sure as hell didn’t do nothin’ for your father.” Daryl being all nice and sweet to Beth.

Best moment with a walker?

Probably a tie between Glen walking through a swamp of walkers in his riot gear, and Maggie killing every walker on the bus.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Carol. Tyreese is going to be pissed when he finds out what she did (or what she claims she did), also wouldn’t be surprised if Lizzie does some more killing.

 

 

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 9: After

Posted February 12, 2014 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

The prison is uninhabitable. The Governor is gone. The survivors are separated, lost, wandering in the outside world once again. So begins this rather quiet episode in which we follow Rick, Carl and Michonne as they make their way from the devastation they witnessed.

Rick is suffering from his injuries, sustained in the attack. They find a safe house to stay in, and Rick collapses on the couch, drifting into a deep unconsciousness. So that leaves Carl on his own.

the-walking-dead-season-4-episode-9-chandler-riggs-andrew-lincoln-600x400

Carl. Jesus. He’s angry at the situation he’s in, having lost the relatively stable life he had in the prison, he’s angry because he’s lost Judith, and it’s manifesting in rage towards Rick. “I’d be fine if you died,” he says in an awkward monologue delivered to his comatose father. And then he almost gets eaten by three walkers.

It looks like we’ll be seeing more of the dark side of Carl this half-season, which will either be good or annoying. Most of the episode is dedicated to him, out in the world by himself, actually surviving. Although the moment where he tries to bust a door open and winds up flat on his back is pretty funny.

the-walking-dead-after-carl-door-500x311

After his misadventures he returns to Rick. During the night, Rick wakes up, but because of his injuries he can’t move well or talk properly. So all Carl sees coming at him in the dark is a grasping hand. It looks like Rick has died and turned. Carl prepares to shoot, but discovers he can’t. He loves his father, and doesn’t want to be out in the world without him. Part of that is also the knowledge that while he survived the day, he might not be as lucky tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Michonne has struck out on her own. After killing zombie Herschel with a sword-stab to the brain, she cuts the arms and jaws off another pair of walkers, ropes them up and starts walking. This apparently keeps her safe from other walkers. She discovers Rick and Carl’s tracks but decides not to follow them, heading off into the wilderness instead.

the-walking-dead-after-michonne

The main part of Michonne’s story is about a dream she has, which is a semi-flashback to her life before. She has a partner, friends, and a small child. As the dream progresses it’s revealed that her lover and his friend were the original pet walkers she had at the start of season 3, and that her child is gone, presumably dead. It’s good to see a little more of Michonne’s backstory, but the dream sequence didn’t really fit well with the rest of the episode (or series, for that matter). It’s also made clear that her lover/partner did something bad, but we’re not let in on what it was.

Michonne struggles with the question of what she’s going to do next. She can walk around the world forever with her zombie pets protecting her, but what kind of existence is that? Finally, she snaps in the middle of a zombie herd (that includes a zombie-Michonne lookalike), and cuts all their heads off with her sword. She then goes back to where she found Rick and Carl’s tracks, and follows them to the house where they’re staying. She knocks at the door, and Rick sees her through the window, telling Carl “it’s for you.”

This was a nice way to end the episode. Michonne is happy to have found her friends again, finally coming to terms with the fact that she needs other people and Carl realises how much he needs his father.  An upbeat ending for a Walking Dead episode? I’m sure it won’t last.

Deaths?

None.

Best line? 

Carl: (trying to draw out walkers) “Hey asshole, hey shitface!”

Rick: “Watch your mouth!”

Carl: “Are you kidding me?”

Best moment with a walker?

michonne-walker-slaughter-the-walking-dead

Michonne cutting the heads off a herd of walkers.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Carol. She’s still in the opening credits so she’s sure to come back, and probably to make a noble sacrifice.

Who is the psychopath? 

Don’t forget about the person who was dissecting rodents! Someone has gone over the deep end and is still out there. I’m sure there will be more on this in the coming episodes, but a few people have theorised that Carol was covering for someone else when she claimed she had killed Karen and that other guy. It has to be one of the kids, in that case.

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 8: Too Far Gone

Posted December 3, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

This season has slowly been building up to something and it delivered in spades in this, the mid-season finale. Just a note on mid-season finales, The Walking Dead seems to do these much better than its actual finales. Season 2 ended mid-season with the discovery that the missing Sophia had been a zombie in Herschel’s barn the whole time, season three ended mid-season with Daryl and Merle finally being reunited in a to-the-death zombie arena battle, and this…well, read on. And of course, MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THIS EPISODE AND SOME ISSUES OF THE COMICS.

the-governor-tank

Tanks for agreeing to see me! Get it?

At the end of the previous episode Brian (“don’t call me the Governor”) had lined up Michonne in his gun sights. But instead of shooting her he kidnaps her and Herschel. He takes them back to his camp and outlines his plan to his people. He wants the prison. He’s going to drive the tank up to the fence and threaten to kill the hostages unless Rick’s group moves out. If they move, all well and good. If not, he kills the hostages and storms the prison. It’s a stupid plan, because he backs himself into a corner. If Rick refuses, Brian is forced to show his true nature to his people, even though he’s pretty much promised them that nobody has to die. He may act like a changed man, but beneath the surface this is all about one thing – revenge.

So the previous two-parter in which we see the Governor almost become a good man and then become an asshole again was kind of pointless? The entire arc just returned him to who he was before. The show has struggled with this character, on the one hand it wants to portray him as someone who is hugely evil, but it also wants to show him as a complicated character with hidden depths and motivation. Unfortunately they have often seemed like two different characters. They can deliver the evil, they can deliver the hidden depths, but never at the same time.

In my opinion he works much better as the evil baddie. Revenge is a pure and believable motivation for him and doesn’t need to be layered beneath his grief for his lost family and his desire to protect his new one.

At any rate, he convinces his new group to go for it with an “it’s either us or them” speech. Herschel attempts to persuade Brian that both groups can live together, start with a clean slate and let the past be the past. But Brian is convinced it won’t work. He still claims he doesn’t want violence, but Herschel sees through it.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-4-Episode-8-Video-Preview-and-Sneak-Peek-Too-Far-Gone

“Guys, seriously, I’m not evil anymore.”

When he rocks up to the prison, announcing his arrival with a blast from the tank, he calls Rick down for a chat. The discussion is tense, but does go in circles a little. With Herschel and Michonne on their knees, threatened with execution, Rick has no choice but to talk. Andrew Lincoln does a great job in this scene. He begins by begging for the lives of those within the prison, there are sick kids in there after all. He begs Brian to use his common sense, if violence starts then the prison will be ruined for everyone. He appeals to Brian’s followers, do they really want to face a war? And finally, Rick makes the offer that proves he’s a new man. He offers to open the gate and let everyone in, they can live in separate cell blocks until they’re ready to cooperate, but he’s prepared to leave the past behind and start fresh.

640px-TFG_Hershel_Sword

“Well it looks like I’ll be heading off now.” Be heading? Beheading? Hello, is this thing on?

And then the shit goes down. Rick has outmanoeuvred Brian, offering a peaceful resolution where nobody has to die, and everyone gets to be forgiven for whatever sins they committed outside the prison walls. But Brian can’t accept that. His true colours shine through, all he wants, all he ever wanted, was revenge. He takes Michonne’s sword and cuts Herschel’s neck open. Then the gunfire begins.

The following sequence is probably the best in the history of the show. The gun/tank battle is perfectly staged and contains some unforgettable moments, including Brian chasing after the injured Herschel so he can hack off his head. There’s a real sense that everyone is in peril, including the untouchable Daryl, who is left looking like he’s going to get bitten by a walker until he reemerges, using said walker as a shield.

And halfway through the battle, Brian’s new “wife” comes to say hi. Only she’s carrying the corpse of Brian’s new “daughter”, Megan. He left them somewhere they were meant to be safe, but Megan wound up being bitten by a walker that had been buried under some clay she was playing in. And then Brian shows his transformation is complete by blowing the girl’s brains out before she can reanimate.

ustv-the-walking-dead-s04-e08-6

“I believe you said something about us being perfectly safe?”

The tank continues to blow shit up until Daryl lobs a grenade down the main gun and blows it up. That’s right, Daryl kills a frikkin’ tank! And he then shoots the driver in the heart with an arrow.

Meanwhile, Brian and Rick are fighting to the death. Brian manages to beat the living shit out of Rick and then begins to strangle him, in a disturbingly realistic scene. And then the most FUCK YEAH moment in four seasons of this show, Michonne runs Brian through with her sword, rescues Rick, and leaves the fatally wounded Brian to become food for the walkers (he’s saved from that particular fate by his new wife, who blows his brains out as revenge for destroying her family).

To make a long story short, the prison is destroyed and overrun by walkers, Brian is dead along with many of his people, and Rick’s group are scattered. A bunch of the Woodbury people (and a still not-well Glen) escape on a bus, Tyreese escapes with some of Carol’s former students, and all the others make it out either by themselves or in small groups. Boom. Done.

Oh wait, what’s that? Baby Judith? Yeah, where is she? Is she on the bus? Oh, look, Rick has noticed her baby carrier. How could someone leave it there like that? Lucky Rick walked past-OH MY GOOD IT’S FULL OF BLOOD AND THERE’S NO BABY!

Deaths?

Megan. Herschel. The Governor. Lots of extras and people who have had four or five lines. And possibly baby Judith!

Best line? 

“That ain’t her!”, delivered by Daryl when Rick tells him that Carol killed Karen.

“Am I?” Brian’s “wife” when Brian tells her that the good people at the prison are with bad people.

Best moment with a walker?

The scene where the zombie wakes up from under the clay and bites poor Megan.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

I was right about my Herschel prediction! You all owe me a coke.

Who is the psychopath? 

So someone has been feeding rats to the walkers. Tyreese discovered a rat that had been cut open and pinned to a board. Is there a psychopath amongst the survivors? In the comics there were several unstable people who were in the group at various points. But I’m going to say at this stage I think it’s Carl. He was spiralling out of control last season. Has he become a better person, or just found a new way to channel his violent tendencies?

What will happen in the next half season?

Well, they’ll all be on the road again, and will have to meet up. I imagine there will be a bit of a Glen searching for Maggie storyline. Carol is still out there, so it’s inevitable that someone will run into her, but who will it be? Tyreese, who is still ignorant of her (alleged) role in Karen’s death? Or Daryl, who is hugely upset that she’s gone and that she’s admitted to being a killer.

The show has loosely modelled itself on the comics (although there are vast differences). If they follow that loose structure again then the next plot will be about the group meeting up with a couple of survivors who are heading to Washington, because one of their number thinks he knows how the virus began. Also they meet cannibals.

Is Judith actually dead? There was no body to be seen, and it’s not confirmed whether the blood was hers or someone else’s. She dies in the comics during the battle with the Governor, but the show hasn’t always stuck to the fates of the various characters. It’s possible she’s still alive, but it’s also possible that the bloodied baby carrier was the only way that AMC were comfortable showing her death. I’m going to predict that she’s still alive.

Well that’s it until February!

 

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 7: Dead Weight

Posted December 2, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Another Governor-centric episode last week, which really served to underscore that the Governor is a Bad Guy. This is the second half of a two part storyline dedicated just to him, about his fall from power and his eventual return to leadership.

Last week we saw a different side to to Governor, a side where it seemed possible for him to start fresh, leave his sins behind and finally become the family man he so desperately wants to be. But this week we see just how impossible that is. Being invited back to the community lead by his former subordinate, Martinez, Brian (as he now calls himself) can’t seem to help himself when it comes to taking over.

twd13

He firmly believes that he is the only person who has the necessary qualities to keep the community safe. He’ll kill without hesitation if he thinks it’s for the greater good, and that includes killing anyone in his way. But at the same time, he seems to hate having to do it. He realises that he has the potential for good within him, but that potential will always be subsumed by the things he has to do to protect everyone.

The-Walking-Dead-04x07-15

The show has taken great pains to show the Governor as an extreme version of Rick. They’re both reluctant leaders who have had to deal with horrible things in order to keep their groups safe. They both began this season in a diminished capacity, Rick retiring from a leadership role, and the Governor being abandoned by the few who were still loyal to him. But while Rick’s eventual return to power was done slowly, with careful consideration, and with a reassessment of what he could and couldn’t live with, the Governor’s return to power was fast, violent and a return to the darkness he had almost left behind.

This episode begins with “Brian” and his family being brought into the community lead by Martinez. Everything seems to be going alright, until Martinez offers him a supporting role leading the community. Brian suddenly murders Martinez in cold blood, all the while shouting “I don’t want it!” When another from the group takes power, Brian kills him, too, and then starts making the necessary alliances to consolidate his hold on the group.

This is all leading up to an assault on the prison. The community as it is now is vulnerable, and the prison serves two purposes – safety and revenge. The final scene of the episode catches us up to where we last saw Rick being silently observed by the Governor. And then it goes a few moments on, he notices Michonne, takes out his gun and lines her up in his sights…

Deaths?

The best death this week was Martinez, being hit in the head with a golf club before being dropped head first into a pit filled with walkers.

Best line? 

ustv-the-walking-dead-s04-e07-1

“I don’t want it!” The Governor’s repeated line as he murders Martinez.

Best moment with a walker?

artworks-000063945069-wh2g5e-crop

After killing Pete and dumping his body in the lake, the Governor returns to the scene of the crime and sees the reanimate Pete, weighed down under the water, attempting to reach up for him.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Next week is the mid-season finale and it looks like the Governor is gearing up for an assault on the prison. *SPOILERS FOR THE COMICS AHEAD* In the comics, the assault on the prison resulted in the deaths of Tyreese and Herschel (among several others) but was hugely significant because it also resulted in the deaths of Lori and baby Judith. Not sure if the series will go as far as killing a baby, but we’ll see. The assault also forced the survivors back on the road. Anyway, there haven’t been any major deaths this season so there has to be at least one in the next episode. My money’s on Herschel.

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 6: Live Bait

Posted November 25, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Uh-oh. The Governor is back! Uh-oh. This whole episode is about him doing not much.

We’ve been waiting ages for the inevitable return of the Governor, the big bad from season three. The problem this show has with the Governor is that he never really lived up to his potential as a bad guy. While he did kill people and had a room full of zombie heads, he wasn’t the evil, sadistic mastermind that was presented in the comics. That guy was a psychopath. This guy? I dunno, there’s definitely something wrong with him but in this episode all he does is help a family, let go of his past, plus rescue and bond with a little girl.

TWD_406_GP_0712_0109-710x400

My feelings have manifested themselves in this beard.

So anyway, the Governor, fresh from killing the soldiers who fled his attempted attack on the prison, is abandoned by those who remained loyal to him. He wakes up alone one morning and begins walking, developing a Sad Guy Beard as he does.

Eventually he collapses in the gutter and prepares to die. But he notices a little girl in a window, and goes to investigate. He discovers a family that has been living there since the outbreak began, surviving off the food in the smallgoods truck their father used to drive.

The Governor spends much of the episode grunting and shrugging and being all quiet and moody. Going in to meet this family, his motivations are unclear. He’s just murdered his own people and been abandoned by those who survived. Is he going to lash out at this family? Is there a creeping dread in the potential of these characters to come undone by the evil they’ve unwittingly let in?

twd-s04e06-3a

“No, don’t tell me what happened to your previous daughter, I’d rather not know.”

But instead of giving the Governor some evil plan, his character is given something more complex. The young girl in the family obviously reminds him of being a father, so this is an exploration of the side of the character who loved his daughter so much, he kept her chained in a closet after she’d been zombified. And here we run into one of the biggest problems with the character.

In attempting to give the character more depth than the comics, the creators gave him a lot more emotional investment in Woodbury and in his daughter. But the character has had to remain a threat, so he’s given flashes of psychotic behaviour. But up to this point, he’s always had motivation. He’s wanted revenge, or to get information, or to protect his position and his town, or to get rid of Rick. In fact, he’s kind of been an uber-Rick. So when, at the end of the last season, he massacred his own people, it didn’t seem like something he would do. He was angry, but to kill like that?

walking-dead-4061

Stop saying that I look like a pirate!

Anyway, he winds up being taken in by this family, and going on the road with them once their father succumbs to the cancer that was killing him. The Governor makes sacrifices, takes risks, and forms a strong familial bond with them. It’s almost like this story is about him rediscovering the good person he allegedly was before the virus. But there’s more to come in the next episode, so I’m sure he’ll do something randomly evil then.

So after all that waiting it’s still hard to tell just what role the Governor will play in this season. The writers still seem determined to present him as someone who has the potential for both great good and great evil, but all they do is make it harder to connect with his ultimate motivations.

I’m sure this is all building up to an assault on the prison. If that does happen, expect a pretty epic mid season finale. In the comics, the Governor’s successful assault on the prison results in the deaths of about 6 major characters. So prepare for the worst.

Deaths?

Only one, the old guy in the apartment.

Best line? 

“I won’t let anything happen to you.” The Governor delivers this to the little girl after rescuing her from a pit full of walkers. Kind of setting yourself up for a fall there, dude.

Best moment with a walker?

The bit where the Governor falls into a pit full of zombies and kills them all with his bare hands, including one whose jaw he breaks with a bone.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Still not straying from my Herschel and Maggie or Glen prediction.

 

Tagged: , , , ,
3 Comments

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 5: Internment

Posted November 16, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

The episode opened with Rick driving alone, with Carol’s departure behind him. When he gets back to the prison he tells Maggie about Carol, and she agrees that he did the right thing. But this episode isn’t Rick’s, it’s Herschel’s.

header5

I have had so much to do lately on this show. Shit, I’m sooooo dead.

Herschel is in the quarantined cell block of the prison, still healthy but on the brink on exhaustion. He’s the only healthy person looking after a block full of ill people. His only helpers, Sasha and Glen, are both very sick. The inevitability of Herschel’s situation hangs over his every action. He’s an old man, constantly exposed to a deadly virus, overworking himself for the good of others. It can only end in his death, right?

And he’s working tirelessly, keeping doomed people breathing, even though there is no doubt that they will die. His hope, that Daryl will return with the medicine, keeps him going – an hour of assisted breathing could result in a life saved, provided the timing is right.

With the virus killing plenty of people, there are plenty of corpses than need to be disposed of. Herschel doesn’t like stabbing the bodies in the head in front of everyone in the open cell block, she he’s been wheeling them out of sight on a gurney, before getting Glen to do the deed.

Herschel has really come into his own in these recent episodes. With Rick, Daryl and Carol all away from the prison, he’s the only left who has the potential to be a leader. Risking his life to make sure that the dying people are comfortable and last as long as possible shows how different he is to the others. His heart, despite everything, hasn’t hardened. The combination of his family, his faith, his age, and his life caring for animals will always mean he has hope.

But then things go pear-shaped in what becomes the most action-intense episode of The Walking Dead this season. A reanimated corpse gets loose in the cell block, chomping away at people, leading to an outbreak of walkers. All this while Glen has reached the point of the illness where he starts to drown in his own blood. And on top of all that, the fences finally fail.

the-walking-dead-internment-3

Do I have something in my teeth?

This is an awesome sequence. Herschel is the only one who can save the day in the cell block, and he sticks to his principles, leading the walkers out of sight of the others before shooting them. All the while, Glen is dying. And it actually seems like he’s not going to make it. But Maggie smashes her way in, and manages to help Herschel stop the outbreak, and to save Glen’s life by attaching him to a manual respirator.

The-Walking-Dead-405-internment

Say it, don’t spray it.

Maggie winds up with blood on her face, much as Herschel did a couple of episodes ago. Interesting. Are they about to share a similar fate?

The fences fail and Rick, realising that he actually can’t keep Carl sheltered from the world (and hasn’t been able to for four seasons now) gives him a machine gun and together they mow down the invading horde. For such a long set-up, the fence failing was a little anti-climactic. It was intense in the moment, and was a great moment between Rick and Carl, but it was dealt with too quickly, and didn’t cause any lasting damage.

Plus it posed an interesting question – if it was that easy to take care of the walkers, why didn’t they do it in the first place?

RickCarl

“Son, I’m so glad we’re finally doing some activities together.”

Finally, Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese return with the medicine. Glen’s life is saved and the medicine is distributed among the infected. Plague over!

So with the plague and the fences pretty much dealt with, what happens next? Where will the new conflict come from? Wait, who is that watching the prison from the bushes? Oh, shit! It’s the Governor!

Given that they’ve strayed so far from what the Governor storyline was in the comics, his return may not herald what I think it does. BUT if it does, shit is about to get real.

Deaths?

Lots of Woodbury people get it this week as the walkers take hold in the cell block.

Best line? 

Daryl: “You’re a tough son of a bitch.”

Herschel: “I am.”

Best moment with a walker?

download

The worst WWE cage fight in history

Lots to choose from, but the moment during the cell block sequence where Herschel tries to wrestle a respirator off a walker so he can save Glen was pretty great.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Still not straying from my Herschel and Maggie or Glen prediction.

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 4: Indifference

Posted November 8, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

This episode follows two plot lines. The first involves Rick and Carol going on a supply run, while the second involves Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese on a quest for medicine.

The episode opens with Carol talking to the sick little girl, Lizzie, basically giving her the ‘harden up, princess’ speech she’s given before. While this happens, Rick is imaging what it was like when Carol killed Karen. He’s clearly not ok with it. So he takes Carol ‘on a run’ and it’s fairly clear that he doesn’t want to bring her back.

the-walking-dead-indifference-2

“I really love how they’re developing my character this season. Sure hope I don’t get written out.”

But as they go on their mission they bond a little bit, Carol talks about her abusive husband and why she stayed with him for so long, Rick opens up about Laurie, and Carol even mentions her dead daughter Sophia. And then they bump into two of the most unlikely survivors ever.

Raiding a house for supplies, Rick and Carol are confronted with a walker, and they take care of it in style. But then two survivors emerge, they’d been hiding in the bathroom. They’re young, fresh and trusting – it’s actually difficult to see how they survived this long given what Rick and the group have had to do to keep going. Was there another way? Could the group have survived without going to the dark places that it did? Those questions unfortunately don’t get answered. Carol doesn’t want to trust the newbies, but Rick does, even enlisting their help in looking for supplies. This turns out to be a mistake, as the two newbies are swiftly taken out by walkers (well, one is definitely dead because you see her dismembered leg, but the other just vanishes).

the-walking-dead-season-4-indifference“Rick! Why do you do this every single time we have company?”

And then Rick does what he always meant to do – gives Carol some supplies and tells her she’s on her own. He may have killed Shane, but that was in self-defence. Carol’s actions were cold-blooded murder, and Rick can’t condone it or keep Carol’s secret. He wants no part of the darkness anymore, but doesn’t want to see Carol killed by Tyreese. And Carol leaves, possibly off to her own show (AMC recently announced a spin-off series) or possibly off to pop up later in the season, probably to die in Daryl’s arms.

1752f4f239da75fb301cafcc7c6c06b7TWD404GP06130127-1383325942

“Fuck off”

The second plot-line this week is less compelling. Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese are still looking for medicine. Tyreese can’t let go, he’s still doing his angry-face. Michonne realises that she no longer knows why she’s pursuing the Governor. Bob struggles with alcoholism (seriously, this seems like a super-lame sub-plot) while Daryl is just awesome as usual. They kill a bunch of walkers and make it to the hospital where they get the medicine they need, and then kill a bunch of walkers. But not before Bob almost gets himself killed protecting some booze he swiped.

the-walking-dead-season4-episode4-indifference-daryl-staredown

“Kiss me, you fool!”

Bob and Daryl had some nice moments this episode, talking about where Bob came from and generally making friends. Bob’s betrayal seems forced and artificial – he doesn’t seem like he’s that desperate for a drink that he’d go to draw his gun when Daryl takes his booze away from him. But Daryl gets a nice ‘I’m pissed off with you’ moment out of it so it’s not all bad. Bob is DEFINITELY going to die, probably sacrificing himself for the group when the Governor shows up.

the-walking-dead-indifference-1

Someone is smiling on The Walking Dead. Uh-oh.

And is it just me or are Daryl and Michonne going to get it on? Something this show doesn’t really address very well is something that’s quite prevalent in the comics – sex. Most of these characters would be less pissed off if they just started sleeping together. And come on guys, it’s the apocalypse! Nobody has time to do the will-they-won’t-they dance or do the whole ‘maybe when we’ve dated for a little while’ thing. It’s probably been well over a year since everyone (except Glen and Maggie) got laid. A year without sex…trapped in a prison together…come on, I don’t need to draw you a diagram.

Deaths?

The girl with a tattoo on her leg gets dismembered and her boyfriend doesn’t make the rendezvous in time so it’s safe to assume he got eaten too. We also see Carol killing Karen in a daydream Rick has.

Best line? 

“It was a nice watch.” Carol says this to Rick, who is feeling guilty about his new friend who he sent to his death (he had given him his watch so they could rendezvous at an appointed time).

Best moment with a walker?

The scene with the walkers trying to bust through vines was pretty cool, dead scary arms emerging from a tangle of green life.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Still saying Glen/Maggie/Herschel. Carol’s departure could mean that she’s up for the chop too, or it could mean she’s being spun off into her own series.

 

Tagged: , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 3: Isolation

Posted October 31, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Who killed Karen and David? Tyreese wants to know so badly that Rick beats the living shit out of him. Wait, what? Rick is back in crazy mode at the beginning of this episode, while Tyreese is full of rage at the murder of Karen and David (whoever that is).

download (9)

“Do I get a line this week?” “Yes, cough a lot and then get out of the shot.”

Meanwhile, the deadly disease that is rampaging through the prison population continues to spread. Herschel thinks there’s a veterinary hospital they could reach that might contain some antibiotics and other items that might help stop the disease, or at least ease the symptoms. And a major cast member (Glen) falls ill. Uh-oh. He took that polaroid of Maggie last week. Two more recurring cast members fall ill, Tyreese’s sister Sasha, and the little girl that Carol called ‘weak’ in the previous episode.

Herschel decides to go into the quarantine zone so that he can provide comfort and help to the sick. The doctor, who is now ill, coughs up blood in Herschel’s face, so he’ll probably be ill next week too.

0

Dude, can we get a ride?

Daryl, Michonne, Bob (lol, with a name like that it’s only a matter of time before he dies – might as well put him in a red shirt right now) decide to check out the vet hospital. After sulking around for a while, Tyreese decides to join them, primarily because of Sasha falling ill. But it’s an ill-fated trip, with the four of them left stranded in the middle of the largest zombie horde ever seen on the show.

It was another solid episode this week, with the stakes being raised as characters we actually care about placed in peril. The zombie horde sequence was excellent and left the episode on an great cliffhanger – the fate of those four characters could very well determine the fate of the entire prison population. It also injected some motion into the show, just as it was about to seem like they would never leave the prison. There were some great character moments too, with the speech Herschel delivered before entering the quarantine zone being a real highlight.

the-walking-dead-carol

No joke, I kind of want her haircut.

We need to talk about Carol. A main character who really hasn’t had much to do until now, Carol is starting to have a huge impact. Tyreese correctly points out that Carol cares, not realising that she cares too much – it was Carol who killed Karen and David, in a vain attempt to protect the population from the spread of the disease. Carol takes another huge risk in this episode, going beyond the fences and into zombie territory to clean a water pump. Everything she does, she does for the good of the population. When Rick works out that she’s the killer she doesn’t deny it. After all, Rick has also done some pretty awful things to protect the group.

It’s interesting to see how this show deals with justice. The main character is a policeman trapped in a world with no rules. Rick’s decision to investigate the murders in this episode yields a swift resolution, but now that he knows who the guilty party is, what can he do about it? Who is he to judge Carol, given the amount of blood that’s on his hands? She has stood up to take his place as the one who will transgress moral boundaries for the greater good, which is a necessary element for survival in this world.

Deaths?

Nobody major this week. The implication is that lots of people are dying from the disease, we see one Woodbury person die, and one as a transformed zombie.

Best line? 

“You step outside, you risk your life. You take a sip of water, you risk your life. Now you breathe, you risk your life…You don’t have a choice. You can only choose what you’re risking it for. I can help them feel better. I can save lives. That’s reason enough to risk mine and you know that.” – Delivered by Herschel as he enters the quarantine zone.

Best moment with a walker?

It has to be when Michonne, Daryl, Tyreese and Bob encounter the massive zombie horde and can’t drive away because their car winds up bogged in a pile of bodies.

TWD403_ZombiePileUp

Splat splat splat splat awesome.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Glen is now sick and Herschel copped a face full of infected blood. I’ve been saying that this season either Glen or Maggie would die, but I’m not sure if Glen getting ill is a red herring. Herschel’s speech certainly makes it seem like he’s on the way out. I’m going to add another to this list – Carol. She’s now so intent on protecting the group that she’s prepared to kill innocent people. Can she come back from this? Or will Tyreese find out and hit her in the head with his hammer?

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
Leave a comment

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 2: Infected

Posted October 23, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

After last week’s solid season opener, ‘Infected’ gives an indication of what this season is going to be. So far, it’s looking like a re-work of the relatively slow season two, but with more walkers and more intrigue between the characters.

We open with an awkward scene between Tyreese and Woodbury survivor Karen. She sits on his lap and he sings ‘I’ve got you under my skin’…the way this scene is shot and delivered almost makes it feel like a cut Padme/Anakin scene from Attack of the Clones. Thankfully, it’s short and followed by a creepy scene in which you expect Karen is about to get eaten by the reanimated Patrick…only to have Patrick move on to some other Woodbury person. That Woodbury person then becomes a walker too, and so on until it becomes a full blown walker attack within the priso

the-walking-dead-season-4-photoThis scene was torch-ure to film.

The walkers pressing in on the fences combined with the walker outbreak in D-block create an oppressive and stifling atmosphere. The relative peace of last week, where it almost looked like the survivors could build a life, is shattered when they realise just how fragile their existence is – and just how cruel the world can be.

After the attack, the survivors piece together that there is an infection being spread in the prison, possibly passed on from the farm animals. In close quarters, the illness could have a devastating effect, so the decision is made to separate those who have definitely been exposed from those who haven’t. The decision is made without Rick, who is throwing himself into his re-invention as a farmer. He doesn’t want to be responsible for any decisions because of the mistakes he made, and the things he had to do. There’s a nice moment where Darryl tells Rick that he respects that, and that Rick has earned it, but that his leadership and input would always be welcome.

Rick’s inevitable struggle to force himself not to be a leader concludes this episode, with him making a decision and taking a leading role. The walkers finally begin to push the fence over and a desperate attempt to stave them off seems to be failing. Rick and Darryl grab a truck, drive outside, and Rick draws the walkers away from the fence by sacrificing piglets to them. No matter what Rick want for his life, no matter who he wants to be, it will always be consumed by the walkers. This scene is great, the disturbing way the pigs squeal when Rick cuts them before dumping them, the haunted look on Rick’s face as he does it, and the final spray of pig blood that jets up into his face.

Walkers - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Little pigs, little pigs, let us in…

Carol also has a subplot this episode, where her attempts to teach the children how to defend themselves meet up with reality. She tries to get a young girl to stab her dead father in the head before he ‘turns’, and the girl can’t do it, sobbing against the wall while Carol takes care of it for her. Later on, she confronts the girl, “you’re weak”, she tells her. No room for sympathy in this new world. I personally found those scenes to be quite upsetting.

Oh, there’s also a moment where Glen takes a polaroid of Maggie while she sleeps. She wakes up and tells him to throw it away, but he refuses, telling her he’s going to keep it. Ok, let’s just recap. GLEN TOOK A POLAROID OF MAGGIE THAT HE’S GOING TO KEEP. I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MAGGIE NOW?

So by the end of the episode, Rick has re-holstered his gun, accepting the reality of the world he’s in. He even gives Carl his gun back. Between the weakening fences, the sudden loss of food and the infection, it looks like the life they all wanted to build is in danger of coming apart.

walking-dead_0

Uncle Owen? Aunt Beru?

And in a final twist, Tyreese goes to visit Karen, who has become ill and is separated from the others (Tyreese is even carrying a bunch of flowers he picked from the garden – seriously he’s Anakin fucking Skywalker). When he arrives at her cell, he finds a bloody trail leading away from it. He follows the trail to discover to his horror that someone has dragged the infected people outside, doused them in petrol and burned them.

Who? Was it the same person who was secretly feeding rats to the walkers? Is there someone, perhaps an agent of the Governor, working against everyone’s survival? Tune in next week!

Deaths?

Heaps, between the walkers loose in D-block and Karen’s fiery demise. See, I told you the Woodbury people weren’t going to be around for long.

Best line? 

Not a line, but Michonne’s tearful reaction when she’s forced to hold baby Judith was fantastic, hinting at the hidden depths of the character.

Best moment with a walker?

When Patrick’s first victim stands up after reanimating and his intestines splat to the floor.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

Still saying Glen and/or Maggie.

 

Tagged: , , , , ,
3 Comments

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1: 30 Days Without an Accident

Posted October 17, 2013 by Mark

Featured blog image

This is a new regular column in which I recap this season’s episodes of The Walking Dead. It comes out later than everyone else’s recaps but it will be more sarcastic and contain more errors. 

Ah, The Walking Dead is back! While my girlfriend wastes her time with Homeland – a show whose writers seem to be zombies – I’m watching actual zombies.

A quick recap of the previous seasons before we get too far along, as this show has been uneven. The first series was short, sharp and packed a punch, while the second season meandered, with more relationship conflict and less zombie action. The third series was much more exciting, as the writers tackled the storyline from the comic series that involved the Governor. While it was hugely watered down (seriously, the Governor from the comics could eat the Governor from the TV series for breakfast) it was nevertheless hugely entertaining. That season ended with Woodbury abandoned, its refugees taking shelter in Rick’s prison while the Governor vanished.

This season starts a few months down the track. The prison actually seems to be a fairly happy place, everyone is getting along, and Daryl even smiles a couple of times. Michonne returns, she’s been out hunting the Governor but hasn’t found him. I’m sure he’ll pop up somewhere interesting. Maybe he’s a lumberjack in Alaska, or trapped in an abandoned high-rise in Caracas?

These zombies are so of-fence-ive

These zombies are so of-fence-ive

More zombies seem to be trying the fences, and the bodies are piling up, perhaps setting up that the fences may be breached at some point this season. And I’m assuming that in that attack all the new Woodbury people will die, but more on that in a second.

We get to see a glimpse of the prison as a functioning community. There are lots of different people, all helping out in different ways, there’s enough food with the promise of self-sufficiency somewhere down the line. There are a few new characters but I have a feeling they’re pretty much there to die, as the two characters we get to know best, Patrick and Zach, are both dead by the end of this first episode.

"Excuse me, do you work here? While aisle are the band-aids in?"

“Excuse me, do you work here? Which aisle are the band-aids in?”

Anyway, the plot. Daryl, Glen, Michonne and some n00bs (including the ill-fated Zach) head off on a supply run to an abandoned supermarket. They set up a lure a few days ago that should have cleared all the walkers out, but they didn’t notice that the roof was covered in walkers and a crashed helicopter. While the crew are getting supplies the weakened roof starts to give way and yes, it rains zombies. It becomes an extended, high-stakes action scene that’s inventive, thrilling and gory, and is a nice reminder of what this show does best. It’s probably one of the best sequences in the show’s history.

Behind you! Behind you!

Behind you! Behind you!

Meanwhile, Rick is out clearing the animal traps when he stumbles across a random woman, walking by herself through the forest. She begs him for help, her husband is back at their camp and needs food. Rick agrees to follow her, but from the beginning we can tell something isn’t right. She’s extremely creepy, she’s so filthy that she looks like a walker, and she seems to have a hidden menace beneath the surface. Rick doesn’t entirely trust her either, which is lucky because his paranoia helps him avoid being fed to her husband, who is a walker. She then kills herself, and as a dying request asks to be allowed to reanimate so she can be with her husband. Rick grants her wish. I wonder if that will come back to bite him (or one of the Woodbury people) in the ass.

Some other stuff happens at the prison, Carol is holding storytime for the kids, but it’s really a class on how to handle weapons, Beth doesn’t want to say goodbye to anyone and can’t cry anymore, and a mysterious disease (swine flu?) kills a pig and Carl’s new BFF Patrick. The episode ends with Patrick collapsing and dying, alone in the shower, and then waking up as a walker.

It's nice to see these two finally getting closer. Even though it will definitely end in tears.

It’s nice to see these two finally getting closer. Even though it will definitely end in tears.

So it looks like this season will be about a contagious disease at the prison and the search for the governor. There are a couple of new Woodbury people, including D’Angelo Barksdale from The Wire, and it looks like some are getting story arcs, while others are obviously walker (and disease) fodder. Daryl seems to be warming up a little, and are he and Carol finally together or are they just flirting? They would have a great couple name, people could call them Darol. Or Caryl.

I’m also reading the comics this year, and have just finished the arc involving the Governor. Needless to say the differences are huge, and it will be interesting to see how this series deals with the character. Last time they faced off against him he essentially had an army behind him. He’s now lost what power he had and is just a psycho with a gun.

Deaths?

This week there were three deaths: one was bitten, one killed herself, and another died of illness.

Best line? 

When Rick asks the dying woman, “How many people have you killed?” and her response is, “Just me…”

Best moment with a walker?

When the first walker falls through the ceiling of the supermarket and gets caught in debris, hanging from his intestines like a parachuter.

Which regular cast members will die this season?

At this stage I’m leaning towards Glen and/or Maggie. Those kids just love each other too damn much. And maybe Hershel, as Rick seems to have found his sanity so his presence seems less vital.

 

Tagged: , , , ,
Leave a comment

From Flesh to Skin

Posted November 26, 2012 by Kylie Scott

Featured blog image

The day Flesh hit #14 on the Amazon Erotica Best Seller List was an exciting one. Down in Sydney the guys at Momentum popped some champers. Up in Brisvegas a bottle of vodka met its end. It was a very cool and thrilling day. But the next morning, once the panadol had kicked in, there was an important question waiting to be asked. What would Daryl do next?

A wise woman once said to me you’re only as good as your next book. But what if people didn’t like my next book? What if they mocked it and made me cry? What then? The sequel to Flesh sat half finished on my hard drive and fingers hesitated, twitching, above the keyboard. Could I do it? Should I do it? What would Daryl do?

I think deep down we all know the answer. But what with having no zombies available to shoot arrows into and cut the ears off of, I stopped pussy footing around and got on with it. So Skin has been handed in to be spanked into shape by the team at Momentum.

And here are the first few lines:

In the end they took a vote on whether or not to trade Roslyn to the stranger at the gate. They even gave her a say, demonstrating democracy was not dead even if civilisation had gone belly up six months back when the virus first struck.

All nine survivors gathered on the school steps. The weak winter sun above them did little to combat the bitter wind. Her marrow was ice and her teeth chattered. She wanted to wrap her arms around herself, huddle down into the green school jacket she’d purloined out of a student locker. But she didn’t. Spine straight, shoulders back. Her father would have been proud.

She cleared her throat. No one would meet her eyes. They couldn’t do this and she would explain why in a sensible and rational manner using as many small words as deemed necessary. “I know we’re running low on food, but there’s no reason why we can’t make a trip into town to look for supplies. If we just make a plan-”

“Let’s get on with this,” said Neil, former head of the Maths Department. Still pissed she had refused to put out. Never had she met such a pretentious, unattractive git. “A raise of hands for ‘yea’.”

Her gaze skittered around the group.

Some hedged, but the hands were definitely there, six of them.

Skin will be out in February 2013, but in the meantime you can catch up with the world of Flesh with Room with a View.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,
6 Comments

Blog authors


Popular posts


Latest Tweets