A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×16 (Rest in peace…whoever you are)

TWD 6x16

 

SUMMARY

Rick, Carl, Abraham, Eugene, Aaron, and Sasha take an ill Maggie out of town in the RV to try and reach the hilltop where a doctor can help. On their way, they’re blocked by Negan’s group who showcase a beaten man from a different town that has crossed Negan as a warning. The group retreat but find every route they take blocked. Meanwhile, Morgan finds Carol and mends her wound, but she still refuses to return with him. She leaves and is confronted by the only man to survive her last encounter on the road. He shoots her twice to bleed her out and is eventually stopped and killed by Morgan who intends to bring Carol back home. At night, the group divide and take to the woods but are easily captured by Negan’s forces who are numerous. Brought to their knees, Negan appears before them and lays out the ground rules for how they are to be governed moving forward. As punishment for killing Negan’s men over the past few weeks, Negan plays a game to decide who he’ll bash to death with his barb-wired bat named “Lucille.” Negan chooses and then beats the victim to death from their point of view, but the audience doesn’t know who it is.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Anyone who read issue #100 knows who the bludgeoned victim was. Anyone who didn’t, we simply don’t know, but there are some things we can infer. Before we get into that, I have to say, this episode successfully brought an insane amount of attention to the detail of helplessness and fear. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan absolutely ripped into his role as the psychotic but tempered Negan, who ended someone’s life in the blink of several bat strikes to the head. Why they’re saving us the grief of knowing who is easy to discern, but the complexity of the unknown will rip at the fabric of the hardcore fan base for months to come. Do they follow the lore of the comic or do they take things into a different turn? As long as your heart was racing in the final minute of the episode, then the Walking Dead team did their job. It’s time to get prepared for a long summer.

 

THE GOOD

The most noticeable element here was the illusion of control and the quickness that it could be pulled from the minds and hearts of the confident. Breaking a team of hard-fighting individuals is tough especially if we’re talking about Rick who has, up until now defeated every opponent who has threatened him and his own. Now he faces the numbers and the leader of an assembly we still don’t know the full scope of yet. How does one man keep so much order if all he has is a bat? Perhaps a better question is, how many have tried to cross him and lived? Everyone of Rick’s crew including the man himself captivated their roles with despair and desperation sweating through their skin and there was nothing they could do about it. That’s good acting and downright great television, because if the cast believes what they’re going through then so do we.

 

I also thought the final result of Morgan and Carol’s journey played out in a necessary and pragmatic way that showed both of them have to change in order to accept each other. If only the event was covered in a previous or future episode, it might have held an even stronger impact, but for now, it was covered with enough care that the message was still equally felt among the heart of the episode.

 

THE BAD

I don’t agree with not showing us who Negan picked and essentially killed. I’m not truly against the mystery, but the drawback is how much we’ll prepare ourselves so when the eventual reveal comes about in October, it’ll sting, like ripping a band-aid off, but it won’t fester like it would have if we knew tonight who died. Our minds will shift from theory to theory, from guess to guess, but that alone will distract us from the true heartache of losing a possible fan-favorite. If it’s Glenn then we’ll be angry because of the way he was treated in that fake-out all those weeks ago. If it’s Aaron, then maybe we’ll be annoyed, but it’s not the end of the world as he’s a much later addition with only a handful of episodes to mature his character on the show. If that’s the case, it’s possible all that energy spent in denial of grief may be for nothing. I would have just given the audience what they needed to see no matter how hard it would have been to watch. I have one theory why it’s Daryl but I’ll jump into that in a bit.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The moment Negan appears to the second he swings his bat. Everything was riding on how Negan came out and what he was going to say to Rick and group, and he didn’t disappoint. The jacket seems a little new but that was probably the point. He wanted to look both dignified and untouched by the world and most certainly by anyone who would dare call him an enemy. The easier he played the scene out, the more gut-wrenching the final moment was going to be because the power he held was infinite against Rick and his breaking mind. That’s how you instill servitude against the strong, at least, that’s how it will appear to work for the time being.

 

CHARACTER MVP

While Negan got his moment to shine, I think Carol should get this finale’s MVP spot. It’s almost haunting watching her go through the emotional fatigue of giving up and absorbing the amount of damage going into her and still clamoring for more. Her laughter mixed with near soul-crushing tears really sold at least her idea that death was a sure bet. In reality, it was very easy to guess how Rick giving Morgan a gun would lead to Morgan killing someone and likely the guy chasing Carol, but that didn’t mean it was going to be easy for him to do it. Carol could have easily taken worse wounds, and she still might be suffering a lot more before the next days sink in. After all, there’s no doctor in Alexandria and bullets shouldn’t stay in the body for very long. Her nature is to survive but now she’s fighting it because of the cost of protecting those she cares about. Morgan was the exact person she needed to talk to and the exact person she needed to see do exactly what she said needed to happen to get her to understand that leaving shouldn’t be an option when she’s surrounded by people who care. I’m glad she survived this round, because I think she can do a lot more good against Negan’s forces, if she’s willing to be who she has to be to survive.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

My one theory that it’s Daryl and not Glenn is because of the ratings. Well that doesn’t make sense, right? Here’s my take on that. If it was Daryl now, surely that would cause an uproar for many months from the hardcore can base. That could inevitably effect the ratings of the premiere, and they want so much to break their records every season, and what better way then to tune in and find out who the victim will be? This way, if it is in fact Daryl, the backlash will be after the premiere makes its ratings count and by then the fan-base may be more forgiving because it’s hard to just put that show down. One idea anyway.

 

Based on Negan’s own words at the end, it won’t be Carl or Rick that took the beating. That still leaves plenty to question and I have to believe this show wouldn’t have someone like Negan beating Maggie to death even though he doesn’t know Maggie is pregnant. And if it was Maggie, I absolutely believe Glenn wouldn’t sit back and let it happen regardless of the consequences. Bullets would be flying in the background. Glenn himself would be the carbon-copy version torn right from the pages of the comic, but again, this show has been known to change the fates of many characters on this show. The first to die on the show and still currently be alive in the comic was Sophia. And the opposite with her mother, Carol, and Andrea.

 

Negan definitely outperformed but I can’t help wondering if maybe they shouldn’t have gone with such an exact duplication of Negan’s outfit and certain phrases. Negan in the comic reminds me of an adult Cartman, who had a fresh biker fashion and said the F-bomb a lot. This Negan didn’t, but still said everything else from , “Pee-pee pants city” to a whole mess of fear-inducing words that came out with a certain polite nature about him. This Negan was almost the same way, enjoying how easy it was to break someone by the rules he set and not bothering with being angry because anger means he isn’t 100% in control, and Negan absolutely is. Maybe visually he should look less rough around the edges and slightly older than his comic-counterpart is, but Jeffrey is an amazing actor and nailed the smile almost perfectly. I’m hopeful that this one scene hasn’t even come close to scratching the surface with how this TV Negan will be like.

 

As for more theories, I have to rule out any female because that’s just too brutal. Abraham and Eugene aren’t necessarily safe bets and here’s why. For Abraham, he found some solace with Sasha and commented in that general area while the sun was blissfully shining through the window in his view. Such a peaceful moment surely can have a drastic shift if he’s the one who Negan chose, not to mention, how proudly he leaned upward when Negan first brushed by him. As for Eugene, Abraham flat out said he was a survivor and has his confidence which could very well spell out the opposite effect, something that is ironic in nature, but also equally sad considering how much effort he put into becoming a faithful member of the crew. It’s just hard to say right now.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The build-up and subsequent execution of a mystery character was as strong as it was going to be without completely decimating the hearts of those who adorn this show. Characters like Eugene, Abraham, and Carl gave their small speeches of pride, and protection and never letting things happen like they’ve done in the past, only to be at the surreal mercy of a new villain whose gross optimism is beyond anything Rick has faced before. Blocking the RV every way closed the walls of their tiny space and made them realize how small their world is against people who have banded together outside of their view. Even though Carol and Morgan’s finale could have been spared for another episode, it was a good call to include it considering how Morgan broke a cardinal rule to save someone who was important to the group. Though it’s a shame we’re stuck not knowing the identity of Negan’s mystery choice, it’s a clear indicator that the show isn’t ready for us to know on many levels, one of which I believe is about the ratings and not pissing off the fans for an entire summer. By the time October rolls around, we’ll be ready to accept whomever they choose, and the worst part is, the writer’s don’t have to decide write away. They can choose whomever they want up until the moment they start filming. Think about that while the weeks began to count up. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you again near Halloween season.

 

 

No more words

 

Advertisements

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×15 (No, nothing will be alright ever again)

TWD 6x15

 

SUMMARY

Carol leaves and encounters a few of the Saviors on the road. She kills all but one and leaves presumably wounded. Daryl also leaves to track down Dwight by the railroad tracks which prompts Michonne, Glenn, and Rosita to pursue. Morgan and Rick then leave to find Carol. They locate Carol’s vehicle and track a blood trail leading to a farmhouse where they encounter a man who flees from a group of walkers. After killing the walkers, Morgan tells Rick to return to Alexandria while he searches for Carol alone. Glenn and the others find Daryl, but end up splitting up as Daryl and Rosita obsessively follow Dwights trail. Glenn and Michonne are captured by Dwight and his men which leads Rosita and Daryl into a trap. Dwight shoots Daryl, but it’s unknown where and how bad. Meanwhile, back at Alexandria, Enid cuts Maggie’s hair which is then followed up by Maggie having massive pains leading to possible complications with her pregnancy.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This was one of those times where seeing Carol’s flurry of hyper-sensitive emotions simply wasn’t an act, at least it doesn’t matter if it was because what she’s gone through has broken her down to a core we haven’t seen in quite a while. Tonight’s episode of TWD finally sets up the encounter of comic issue #100 that we’ve all been dreading since we knew Negan was coming to the small screen. What’s supplied in this arc is the foundation of our crew feeling that they have control over their destinies and soon, they’re going to have to face a new dose of reality. I’m very fond of Morgan searching for Carol alone and I do fear for what they’re doing to Maggie because in the main continuity she and the baby are fine. The final line from Dwight at the end was unnecessary but I understand the need to sell that Daryl isn’t dead. The amount of times people will be going through that shot frame by frame to prove it no doubt will be numerous. Pretty solid episode all around, I think we’re in a good place to get to that finale and really see what season 7 is all about.

 

THE GOOD

Carol is truly amazing as what she does. It’s almost cathartic how she’s reached a point in her life that only Morgan can truly understand. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can figure out that path together or whether Carol is too far gone, either by a wound she’s sustained, or by her mental state as a survivalist. It was definitely the highlight of the episode, wonderfully echoed through a flash-forward narrative that, when brought to the present, made her all the more deadly, just as we know her.

 

THE BAD

It’s ironic how invincible Daryl feels that he can chase down Dwight and his men alone with just a crossbow, and even while teamed with Rosita, he can be so easily captured by Dwight, who should still be reeling in pain after the chunk lost by a very bitey Eugene. I think the problem here is how telegraphed it is because when it comes time to execute one of our main cast, we need a group of favored characters which includes Glenn, Daryl, and Michonne. Rosita is steadily climbing but let’s be honest, she’s lower tier at this point, which actually makes her safe in this situation. Daryl getting shot doesn’t help with his case, but depending on the wound, I’d say he’s near the top of list of everyone’s theory that he’ll be the one to perish in the finale. Still, it could be a misdirection, and no one wants to see anyone go I imagine.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Carol used her hidden gun to mow down the Saviors in the truck. Her heightened anxiety followed with a flurry of bullets was harsh and fast, giving swift response to her almost sorrowful state that they could just walk away. When it came down to it, she didn’t hesitate, as usual. Never thought her character would grow so much, but I suppose that’s kind of the point. The build up was fine even though we suspected her long sleeves were concealing a weapon, we just didn’t know how deadly until she used it.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’d like to give it to Morgan simply because of the story he told to Rick about things coming full circle. Rick isn’t used to hearing Morgan’s way of thinking and though they contradict each other in many ways, Morgan has a passion for believing in surreal possibilities outside of common mistrust and survivalist methods. When he took Rick’s spare gun I knew it was a way to appease him, and I would expect Morgan to dispose of it the second Rick is out of sight. Of course that could mean he’ll need it in the future. Morgan is constantly a fascinating character, someone who should be able to maintain his convictions, but you know will someday be tested to harshly by them. Let’s hope it doesn’t come too soon.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Lucille is coming. I saw the bat wrapped in razor wire and it doesn’t look like an ornament. I’m shuddering at it’s destructive capabilities already. No one should ever have to be hit by it, ever.

 

The wounded savior following Rick and Morgan seemed redundant. Unless he’s going to be something significant in the finale for Morgan and Carol, I don’t see why there was a point in keeping him alive unless he also knows how to contact his men to set up some mean ambush. We just don’t know enough right now.

 

I don’t think Maggie’s new complication was necessary to throw into this episode, it seemed like it was more fluff to get us crazy invested into next week’s finale, and trust me, we already are. Do I think she’s going to have a miscarriage? No, that’s just overkill, and not just kill all of Sam’s family overkill either.

 

I can’t quite figure Rosita out. She’s still visibly upset over the break-up with Abraham, but she’s not on a deathwish either, that much is certain. There are moments I feel she’s waking up to the story that’s happening around her, but I don’t see her becoming a main-player unless the goal is to replace her with someone we’re about to lose.

 

Because of what happened to Denise, and other times similar, I expect every single meaningful conversation to end with that person getting killed in mid-sentence. That’s the way I’m taking every scene like that from now on. So yes, I was cringing when Morgan was giving his speech to Rick, because now you just never know when a bullet or an arrow or a rocket will come flying at them out of nowhere.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. This episode had a strong opening and a very good first half. I felt there was some story slippage when it came time to capture Glenn, Daryl and the others because of the set up for Negan’s debut, but beyond that I felt it was a very solid episode with some great dialogue and some stellar moments with Carol. Maggie’s situation seems very spur of the moment and thrown in for the sake of more drama, but I have hopes she’ll get through it without anything traumatic spilling over. If Glenn survives and Maggie does end up losing the baby, then I guess that’s the how the writers may play it out, but a double dose of loss of that magnitude will be just too darn devastating and I’d be shaking my head for the next several months until season 7 premieres. One final episode left, let’s get to it and hope for the best. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×14 (The doctor is out of the office until further notice)

TWD 6x14

 

SUMMARY

Denise convinces Rosita and Daryl to take her to an apothecary located in an abandoned strip-mall to find pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, Eugene takes Abraham to a nearby metal shop and informs him he intends to contribute more by making bullets for the group. After attaining the medicines, Daryl learns Denise had an older brother named Dennis whom she misses. On their way back, she confronts a walker, kills it, and counters Rosita’s criticism on her recklessness as a means to grow stronger. During her convincing words, she’s shot through the head by an arrow and dies. A group led by Dwight (The man who stole Daryl’s bike and crossbow) appears with a captured Eugene who intends to storm Alexandria. Eugene causes a distraction allowing a watchful Abraham to intervene creating a crossfire. Dwight escapes with some men leaving Daryl, Rosita, and Abraham to tend a wounded Eugene. Later, Eugene recovers and Daryl buries Denise which prompts Carol to say her goodbyes and leave town no longer able to protect the group because she’s no longer able to kill. Morgan watches Carol’s empty bench, pondering intently.

 

INTITIAL THOUGHTS

Ripped right through the comics, though with a different character in mind, The Walking Dead once again creates a strong meaningful character with aspirations to survive and kills them on the spot. This isn’t a new lesson as heroes fall in this show as much as any zombie show would do, but leaving the town without its resident physician is a bolder move than simply killing someone for the sake of ratings. Alexandria will have to be careful the next time someone sustains a life-threatening injury, because there’s no one left capable of learning on the fly like Denise could. Aside from the fire-fight at the end, I was rather bored of tonight’s episode, not for a lack of trying to stay interested. I enjoyed Eugene’s ever-flowing mechanical dialogue and am glad he’s still on the team, but the wrong pieces resonated here. Abraham had the joke of the night though, I’ll give him that.

 

THE GOOD

Building up Denise was important, it sold the death and the way of it with such a sudden and abrupt way that her overcoming the fear of killing walkers was squashed, but she was not remotely prepared to handle real villains with murderous intentions. It’s almost taboo that new characters be given radical advances in their way of thinking, and Denise was left with just enough practical sense and longing that her death made sense in a horrible and simplistic way. The arrow was meant for Abraham, that’s who takes it in the comic and now that Denise took that scene from him, we won’t truly know Abraham’s fate. This could be both good and bad depending on one’s view of the man, but all in all, I find it fascinating how they never truly deviate from the comic, they just warp it with a different intention.

 

THE BAD

Dwight’s entourage felt strangely out of place. Notwithstanding the surprise death, but in doing so offered no continuing arc on Negan’s presence. He wasn’t mentioned, yet comic fans will know why Dwight had half his face scarred as a similar character under Negan’s thrall went through a same thing. Here though, we’re given no context as to why he’s scarred, why he’s leading a new group, why tried to “kill” Daryl and whether or not the group truly belonged to Negan. It’s obvious to us they are from his group, but Daryl and the others don’t know that yet. Rick may question it later, but for now, everyone is still in the dark. It was generously awkward given the timing left in the episode and no questions were answered tonight on the matter at hand.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Eugene attempted to kill the shielded walker. I thought that was brilliant as they continue to come up with new ways to showcase the same old walker. The dialogue between Abraham and Eugene can only exists for those two and for that reason alone I think it’s imperative that Abraham stick around so we can enjoy more nonsensical jargon from these two.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Denise had the moments she needed to really elevate herself and I’m glad she at least got her walker kill before they ended her on the show. We only briefly got to know her past and her relationship with her barely older brother who must have been taken out during the outbreak. It might have been a tale-tell sign that her quick growth meant she was due to receive harsh treatment from the writer’s but I do think she had many points to offer Rosita and Daryl regarding strength and what it means to survive and experience things for one’s self. Rest in peace, Denise. You were leagues ahead of other’s from your town.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Eugene deciding to make bullets is also a comic plot-point as he wants to contribute and knows he’s not a fighter. What’s interesting here is Eugene is doing both, he wants to be useful and intends to be efficient enough to kill walkers and help the team when they’re in a bind like they were tonight.

 

I speculate that Morgan may go after Carol now that she’s gone again. In a strange way, they’re are more similar because killing is no longer in their ability. I don’t expect them to come to an understanding, but I’d say there’s enough left unresolved between the two that there should be some kind of closure before one of them eventually gets killed.

 

A lot of major characters didn’t make an appearance tonight, and this kind of rotation is hard to keep track of sometimes, considering I can’t remember for the life of me where Tara is and why she wasn’t present during Denise’s burial. No doubt Tara won’t be opening up to anyone anytime soon after this incident.

 

Another speculative theory is that Dwight received his scar because of his friend that was with him when they stole Daryl’s bike. She could have belonged to Negan and in taking her it was a harsh infraction which quickly turned Dwight back to his side. How that earned him a lead role in the group that went after Daryl I have no idea. But he’s still alive, so I imagine we’ll find out soon.

 

I’m truthfully not that interested in Sasha and Abraham’s new found interest in each other, but it does create another connection that can easily be severed if one of them is hurt or even killed. It’s what we’ve come to expect and I surmise one of them may be taken out by this finale or shortly after.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. This was an A-typical small group scavenging the local shops episode with a supporting character death and a short fire-fight. This might have scored higher but I think Denise’s death worked against that rating for me because it was an attempt to create a shocking death, one duplicated from the comic with an arrow through her eye, unnoticed for a moment which is the exact way it happened on paper. Normally I like how the comic translates to the show, but I wasn’t a fan of using it on Denise. I don’t think it was her time and if anything being short a doctor-type in town just makes it all the more stressful when more injuries occur. Rosita was also a focus and I didn’t really feel we got to know her any better considering how reserved and guarded she was. If anything, Denise’s death will only continue to keep her as guarded as ever. Dwight’s group was clearly under Negan’s command, but the character’s don’t know that yet, which leaves a lot of skirmishes like this to go without resolution. Some creative walker designs and Eugene made some great saves tonight, but only brought this episode to slightly above average. Here’s hoping for a colossal two-parter next week. Thanks for reading.

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×13 (Is saying “We are all Negan” the same as saying “We are borg”?)

TWD 6x13

 

SUMMARY

Carol and Maggie are taken to a facility by Paula (Alicia Witt) and her group after witnessing Rick and his crew take out the munitions outpost. Carol feigns a scared persona to fool them while Maggie is interrogated. Paula attempts to set up a trap for Rick but Carol escapes with Maggie and the pair kill Paula and her crew along with the following group that arrive. Rick and the others find Carol and Maggie leaving their prisoner, Primo admitting that he is Negan. Rick executes him on the spot, a move which disturbs Carol after everything she went through to survive with Maggie, who is also disillusioned with their survivalist lifestyle.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If ever there was a time to dig a little deeper into Carol’s psyche, now was the prime time to do it. Tonight’s episode was voracious in its tight shots and Saw-esque atmosphere but also capitalized on characters who might have had promise in future episodes as the opposition. One piece of subtext we understand for certain is that Negan has his influence buried in these followers who may seem independent in their own right, but deep down, are driven by one villainous champion. Great episode overall and valiant choice to keep everything centered on the pair that were captured.

 

THE GOOD

Alicia Witt was fantastic, a true living parable to Carol’s tempered nature. It’s both a testament and a shame that she was given such dominant traits but in the end was forced into a villain-of-the-week showdown that left her the same as so many others in the past, dead and torn up. Still, she was magnetic and cautious to a point, except when it came time for monologue to shine, that’s when Carol knew exactly what she was dealing with. If a character like Paula can perform at this caliber, then Negan will be all the more monumental when he arrives.

 

As stated before, our core focus centered on Maggie and Carol’s situation. Nevermind the pawns that drew in with Negan and their shattered back stories, but here we get to see two main-stay characters finally reach a point in their lives where violence and killing can’t be the only things they know. I might have expected such a change of heart with Maggie, but I really wasn’t with Carol. It’s as though she tapped into that old self that Paula determined she did, but it resonated in such a way that Paula became a horrid mirror for what Carol would eventually become, so heartless that killing brought no emotions whatsoever. It’s good that these characters reach those moments of epiphany regardless of the direction it takes them. It’s just a matter of seeing if those changes reflect in a way that they can still survive in such brutal conditions.

 

THE BAD

It’s a minor note, and I understand the long-standing delay in revealing the machination that is the cult of Negan, but seeing our characters still in the dark over who Negan is and how much influence he has is starting to wear a little thin. No one answered Carol about Negan except to say that “We are all Negan.” and Primo admitted he “was” Negan even though we as an audience know he isn’t. It’s a surprise in a surprise but we know the surprise already and it’s not going to be one except for those who haven’t read the comic, and that’s my sticking point. As a comic fan it’s like knowing the Red Wedding is on the horizon and TV only watchers are going to be really treated to some mother-of-all-carnage, but I’m just tired of waiting. Bring it on!

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The last stand between Paula and Carol. It was tense, and I’ll admit, Carol could have a long lease on this show, but she was also painted in a way that had she been taken by the walkers instead of Paula, I would have thought she found that catharsis she needed. Playing into her role would have been very ironic if she played it too well. And though Paula never did anything specific to earn her fate, she was on her own and inferior to Carol’s raw tactics. Good play out to this climax.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Carol really does earn the spot tonight. I’ll admit I was starting to have my doubts about where she was going as an interesting character. But I think I understand how she’s been built up this season and it took this episode to finally reach a point where who she’s becoming is affecting her negatively. But the dual role she played, letting the truth slip through the facade was brilliantly done and though she pulled through, seeing her react to Rick’s killing of Primo was the exclamation point to her saturated problem with losing all sense of humanity. She is easily projecting onto Maggie, which leads me to believe they’ll grow closer in friendship in the coming episodes.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

The cut on Maggie’s stomach was likely very light if she was cut on the skin at all. For a moment, I thought they were about to go in a very different direction on this show as compared to the comic. That has happened plenty of times already. Way to keep me on my toes.

 

Things will likely return to some semblance of status quo now. Rick can’t keep running into Negan’s crew over all three episodes unless there’s another long drawn out stand-off like this one which I don’t think is the right move. Negan needs to hit like a freight train and considering Rick thinks the worst is behind him, that’s when everything will come crashing down, just like that tower during the mid season.

 

I do wonder if now would be a good time to skip ahead a few more months, or even further to when Maggie has her baby. At the rate we’re going, it’s going to be a very long 7 months to get to that birth. I don’t mind skipping ahead, it could help sell the idea that Negan really isn’t looking to bite back that fast.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Keeping the action and dialogue centered on Maggie and Carol was the right move. We’ve seen Rick plan and dirge through plenty of scuffles like this and seeing the villain group’s perspective is fresh during this kind of plot. We had some character development and the semblance of finality to the “Negan” epidemic, but wiser fans know this is just one more calm before the hurricane hits home. Rick and crew will need to dig their feet in a little deeper to make Alexandria a fortified home that now trades. I liked Paula a lot and was sad to see her leave to sudden. If this is any sign, we’re have more characters of her stature ready to kick ass and take the names. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×12 (Ninjas and Ammo #1 limited edition on sale post-apocalypse 2016)

TWD 6x12

 

SUMMARY

Rick prepares the group for an infiltration and extermination of Negan’s men in order to maintain trade relations with the people of Hilltop. Carol and Morgan are still at odds with each other and Abraham breaks up with Rosita citing that she’s not the only woman in the world. On their way, the group disguise a walker head to resemble gregory while Carol expresses her disapproval to Rick with bringing Maggie on the trip. That night, they storm the facility and lay waste to all members. After dawn, some of the members return home while the rest capture one more of Negan’s men. His radio reveals other allies of Negan who have captured Maggie and Carol, forcing Rick consider some kind of stand-off or surrender.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If there was ever an episode dedicated to Rick’s group getting everything done right with nearly no mishaps, this would be the one. With the exception of Maggie and Carol’s capture, Rick and crew decimated the opposition in stealth and in a blaze of fire. One element that they don’t shy away from is how much human against human collisions are going to be the focus for the remainder season. The character struggles played enough of a role to showcase the kinds of problems one would expect when dealing with murdering humans, but as even Father Gabriel understands, things must be done to preserve the group. Pretty decent episode at first look with solid gun play and a lot of knife stabbings that probably were best kept off camera.

 

THE GOOD

Keeping the group centered on a common goal is what’s best for keeping Rick in a sane position. In fact, this is one of the few times he’s sought out a group vote based on the longevity of their town. Under more pressured circumstances, he’s usually the one to call the shots because his experience and willingness to handle the truly raw guilt of any backlash that comes afterward. The cohesive feel continues to ring true and I like how connected they are as Rick believes in it more than ever. How he handles Negan’s group moving forward will be a real test to that mental shift.

 

The infiltration was both an exercise in surgical strikes and in dealing with survival on the next level, killing humans. And the crux of it is that these humans have only “appeared” to be evil. I know we know that they really are, but I always kept thinking that if Glenn busted into a room and found a family in there, he’d have blown the lid off the entire operation. While it felt a little too coordinated it was important to show Rick’s group winning enough before the world truly comes crashing down, and it will when Negan enters the fray.

 

THE BAD

The background subplot here was Carol’s continued support of the town and her silent struggle with letting her guard down, something she’s finally done with Tobin who is seeking a relationship with her. If it wasn’t for her leaving a cookie for Sam, I’d say she wasn’t leaving a well enough mark on the show as a character I don’t mind seeing perish. Her values conflict with Morgan who I believe is more of a sympathetic character and it’s hard to ideally choose a side except the one who wants the least violence because humans who refuse to kill are essentially trying to hold onto the old world. Carol is no longer in that mind set, but truthfully I don’t find her and Morgan’s issues to be a topic worth exploring. There’s a resonant nature of motherhood still faintly represented in Carol and it’s manifesting more now that she sees Maggie as the next person to undergo that change. Where I’m failing to connect with is her overall state of mind. I don’t honestly know if she’s going to snap or always do the right thing when things get very crazy in the near future and that kind of uncertainty doesn’t lean toward favoritism on these characters.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The entire infiltration segment, but more so when Glenn and Heath unloaded their guns through the door. It was both lightly comical and rich with fury. And the exclamation point was Jesus killing one of the men and commenting on the world they live in. There three mixtures of personalities here on a scale of “hate killing” “Do what I have to” and “The enemy must be taken out.” While I can’t imagine Jesus enjoying what he does, I see him as not putting any emotional chains toward the goal he sets out to do. Great small moment between the three and the gunplay was outstanding.

 

CHARACTER MVP

A bit tough to single out one person in this team effort, but I’d say the MVP goes to Rick. He applied the voting process and is really trying to listen to the people he’s leading. And the plan made was carried out flawlessly with the exception of Maggie remaining and one person left alive to try and escape. As of now, there have been no casualties on Rick’s side and that’s a difficult thing to manage considering how many we’ve lost up until now. That’s not to say we won’t see them in the immediate future, but for now, Rick’s plan was damn near perfect.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Abraham is somewhat of a silly character to me at this point. He constantly in a midlife crises and changes his mind on what he wants every few episodes. I’ll give him credit, his explanation for breaking up with Rosita was one of the most clever and honest lines he could have said without trying to break the poor girl’s heart, and he didn’t even have to say who he was interested in. Still, he’s silly, and that head-band is proof enough alone.

 

It’s weird how we know Negan won’t appear until the finale but there’s still 4 episodes left to cover with Negan’s forces. What I’m hoping is Rick and his crew quickly realize how large and spread out Negan’s group really is. I can’t expect it to be in the thousands or anything ridiculous like that, but a few hundred wouldn’t be pushing it. Okay, maybe it would. Just one hundred then.

 

Every sleeping enemy that was knifed was done off camera. I kept thinking there’d be some kind of knee-jerk struggle or something that made these kills less easy in nature, but I suppose that’s just not how it always works. It was more about looking into the eyes of the Glenn and Rick who did the deed that made more effect than with the killing strikes themselves. Glenn had the worst of it though and you could see it in his eyes as plain as day.

 

I can’t say my mind’s made up with Gabriel, but at least he appears to be on the up and up with the crew and is genuinely making an effort to be that contribution he spoke of earlier. I don’t think you can just wash away the kind of crazy he was displaying earlier on in the seasons but the effort to change is there and I appreciate it and feel he’s a on his way to becoming a stable member of the group.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Even though there was conflict, this tale was quick to show how cunning and precise Rick and the gang can get when set to the task. The opposition was there at the end, but by that point it was a slam dunk considering how unprepared they were for such a killing force. Carol’s issues are apparent as Maggie is growing into her role and though they dispute on how Maggie would continue while with child, at least she’s decisive. Very well directed shoot-outs and there was enough innuendo to give the team information that Negan isn’t so easily defeated as the place they ransacked was likely just an outpost and hardly represented his main force or location. And I swear I saw that same zombie with the ribs before. Do they reuse the same actors? Can’t see why not. The cliffhanger promises to continue Negan’s presence on the show and I do believe we’ve seen Rick’s last battle won before things go south fast. Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next weekend.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×11 (To make them understand right off the bat. Good pun)

TWD 6x11

 

SUMMARY

Jesus explains to the group of Alexandria that there are other communities out there that actively trade and invites them to see his establishment. Cautious but curious, Rick and a few others join Jesus in an RV and travel. On the way they come across a crashed vehicle with survivors held up in an empty building. Rick and the crew help save the friends of Jesus and take them back to their settlement. Once there, they meet Gregory, the leader who attempts to out bargain with Maggie as they have more food but less weapons. Other settlers return and confront Gregory about Negan keeping one of their own hostage. The group’s leader, Nathan attempts to kill Gregory whom Negan wants dead. Rick interferes and kills Nathan. When Gregory recovers a deal is made for half of their food stock in exchange for stopping Negan and his people. Rick leaves with his group confident they can accomplish this task.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

What we have are the workings for eliminating the concept of group survival and the expansion for mankind’s prolonged return. I was hoping for a bigger hilltop community, but I’ll settle for the slow rise to bigger towns. If anything, I expect Negan’s Saviors to be nothing short of massive. If it wasn’t for the short interim with saving Jesus’s companions, this would have been a walker-less episode and to this day I don’t recall any episode being like that save for possibly the first finale, but I don’t recall. Characters are beginning to show signs of change, most notably Abraham and Maggie who are stepping into roles that could make them better characters. We’ll certainly see as the tide of the dead continues to roll in.

 

THE GOOD

New communities means new characters to explore and new personalities to conflict with. Rick is easing Maggie into a role of leadership which she’s taking too nicely while negotiating with Gregory, a no-nonsense peacekeeper whose lacking in credible governing. Rick and his crew are set to their task and already they intend to take on an unseen enemy who even Daryl thinks is barking more threat than they can deliver. A lot of positive energy came out of this confident crew which can only mean more downfall awaits them, but for now, positivity is rewarded with hope.

 

THE BAD

Aside from some stellar effects with walkers embedded into a crashed car, this otherwise felt like a lackluster of an episode. Consistency is key and unfortunately the momentum is shifting due to the pacing set by learning of a new community. Distance is also a factor we’re unknown to. We don’t know if the hilltop community is a hundred miles away or a few dozen. I’m also unconvinced that this is the kind of community that Jesus should be existing in. He’s a bit overqualified and even though he said that they don’t have many fighters, and that needs to be stated for them to be subservient to Negan’s demands, I just think his status as a capable lieutenant puts him in a much better standing than anyone gives him credit for. This is also the second time we’ve been introduced to Abraham’s existential crisis. It’s more rooted in relationships now than survival, but he’s quickly turning into a walking symbol of ambivalence, always questioning what side of life he wants to fall on. Sooner or later he’s going to think he made the right call but find it probably isn’t.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Rick’s stabbing of Nathan and subsequent “what?” statement to the settlers watching in surprise. Rick is so comfortable with killing now it barely registers as questionable when the need arises. Plus the amount of blood flowing from the jugular was immense, I know there was some CG element involved but it looked immensely real from where I was sitting.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Maggie takes the spot tonight. Rick knows how much she’s growing as a character and valued friend and tonight she took to speaking for her group by not taking any crap from Gregory and even making him choose between a rock and a hard place. With a baby on the way and plenty of support from a new doctor ally and Glenn, she’s on her way to becoming a symbol for great courage and achievement.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Where was the generator that powered up the fetal monitor for Maggie’s scan? Up until that short scene, I didn’t see any signs of power existing in that camp. Even after what Jesus said about the place I wasn’t convinced power was a thing they had access to.

 

We’re reaching a point where the amount of characters this show is producing is going to exceed GOT and not for a lack of killing them off too. Things are going to get bloody and really soon.

 

Would it be entirely screwed up if somewhere down the line, Rick, Carl, and Daryl all got haircuts? At this point, why haven’t they? What’s the significance of them growing their hair out if not to represent the passage of time, the grimness of their grueling lifestyle, which isn’t that bad as of late, or staying on top of zombie trends? At least Carl, Daryl I can understand because he really had no intention of changing his demeanor whatsoever.

 

If the symbolism of Abraham leaving Rosita’s necklace on the ground isn’t a sign that relationship is going to end, I don’t know what else to say toward it. He’s apparently made some epiphany that relates to what another settler mentioned when he was nearly about to die. Whether this means he’ll actively break up with Rosita remains to be seen. Sasha won’t let him make a move until he does that much is for certain.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. I may still be in carnage candy mode, but tonight’s episode didn’t have the same feel-good moments or rambunctiousness that the last few have delivered on. It’s possible a show like this is driven toward hardships that these characters are faced with on a daily basis, but right now there wasn’t enough going on to make me feel for the new town and its occupants aside from Jesus being a part of it. We have an excuse for Rick to dash in and save the day which will likely get many of his allies killed or at the very least a major cast member, because we got the short story on how Negan handles authority and it’s the same tale that centered around the climax of #100 in the comic. Make no mistake. Someone won’t walk away alive or undead by this finale. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×10 (Cool guy Daryl, meet other cool guy Daryl.)

TWD 6x10

 

SUMMARY

After a few weeks, the survivors of Alexandria have put things back to normal. Rick and Daryl scout for supplies, while Michonne follows Spencer outside. On their way, Rick and Daryl find a truck with supplies and run into a man named Jesus who tricks them and makes off with the truck. Rick and Daryl catch up and reclaim the vehicle but Jesus escapes his restraints and hitches a ride. After a short tussle, Jesus maneuvers the truck into a lake and is knocked out. Meanwhile, Enid and Carl encounter Deanna as a walker outside. Carl lures it away but Spencer and Michonne spot it. Spencer kills his mother and buries her telling Michonne that he had seen her weeks before. That night, Rick and Daryl return with Jesus and place him in a room. Rick settles down with Michonne and the two begin a physical courting. Later they are woken by Jesus who escapes and wants to talk to Rick.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Out of the comics comes one of the later additions to the crew who started off as mysteriously cunning and very capable of escaping any restraints. One difference is who he represents, but for now, his mannerisms, look, and guile are spot on. Welcome to the club Jesus, let’s hope it’s for the long haul. This episode was every much a bonding tale for a few pairs notably Rick and Daryl, but also Michonne and Spencer along with Enid and Carl. Everyone else, save for Denise, Eugene, and Maggie got a pass this time around as the gang from Alexandria have put their town back in order. With the craziness that ensued last week, we were treated with the closest thing to a comedic episode as we’re going to get. Nice turn of events with some interesting final moments to discuss.

 

THE GOOD

Where is Jesus from? Is he really a good guy? The short answer is yes, however I believe they’ll be shifting his origin to Ezekiel’s town whom we haven’t been introduced to yet. This will be a necessary step in the introduction to Negan which will be soon. Jesus is a great ally and as such needed to showcase his skills against Rick and Daryl who are arguably the two most skilled combat veterans on the show. While he was still rendered unconscious (A feat I think he faked the entire time) he easily escaped both times he was captured and as such clearly has Rick’s attention now. It’s hard to gain Rick’s trust, so he’ll have to tread carefully, but so far I’m liking Jesus’s depictions and adaptation very much.

 

One major change which we kind of knew was coming was Rick’s relationship with Michonne. In the comics, this was supposed to be Andrea, but since she’s dead on the show, Michonne was the next closest character. This also means that her relationship with Ezekiel later on may be a bit strange unless they dismiss it completely in light her feelings toward Rick now. I don’t mind the change. Since the last season, Michonne has grown extraordinarily close to the Grimes family and has shown a softer side that we picked up on. This doesn’t mean that one or other will perish because of this coupling, but it does mean they will be more fiercer when one or the other gets in trouble.

 

THE BAD

This was a very relaxing episode that had no real danger to speak of, which means the pace slowed down immensely and a show about zombies had but a few. The characters had time to breathe which is never a bad thing, but it can also lower expectations if things don’t pick up in the near future. This wouldn’t necessarily be a good episode to introduce new fans to as it tones down the gore by a lot. What I can say though is there wasn’t much I found depleting, annoying, or lacking in this episode save for more information on Jesus, but that’s how we get drawn into future episodes.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Pretty much every scene with Jesus. I knew going into it he was going to have to hit on some notable abilities like physical combat, escaping, and being intelligent enough to know what not to say to get him killed. I think it really helped when he took Daryl’s gun and shot a walker to save Daryl and then Daryl thanked him right before punching his face. That kind of moment was priceless and I’m glad a guy like Daryl exists to interact with Jesus.

 

CHARACTER MVP

While Jesus was the show stealer, Daryl really played his parts well, having that sense to not be one-upped by the craftier rogue. It was because of his reactions and actions toward the new guy that we really resonated how interesting of a character Jesus is already turning to be. Daryl has had a few moments to let loose and this is a good episode to dive into his more robust characteristics.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Out of everything that I’ve seen in tonight’s episode the one element that threw me off was a picture of Carl with Judith sans his eye getting blown out. It made me feel like many months have passed since the massacre at Alexandria. but that clearly wasn’t the case. Just an odd thing to throw in to mess with our concept of time.

 

I believe the note Rick left for Jesus was “You were out, we brought you here. You’re safe. Talk soon. Rick.”

 

I’m glad they gave Spencer a bit of closure as well as an actual on-screen death for Deanna. Her roar at the end two episodes ago would have served just as well, but this way, we get some more depth with Spencer and maybe he’ll grow a bit more into someone reliable like Michonne. We’ll see.

 

I’ve been scratching my head on why there’s a couple of walkers lodged into those vehicles outside the gate. Is it because of their smell to keep others away or is it because the noise is to keep others away? I can’t imagine the townsfolk forgot about them.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. There were more chuckles and lighthearted moments in this episode than the entire show combined. Watching Rick relax and pester Daryl with his music was as amusing as watching Daryl chase down and deal with Jesus who is already making waves on the show. He’s one of the good guys, so let’s hope it stays that way while we focus on this next arc which I assume will lead to Ezekiel’s town. Pretty satisfied with tonight’s events. Some things are back to normal as they can conceivably get. Rick’s relationship with Michonne seemed expected, but nonetheless falls in line with around the time Rick perceived his next relationship in the comics. As always, the two worlds are immensely different, but they do get a lot of things right. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words