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.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×09 (Weep for the losses and then kill every single dead bastard who had it coming)

TWD 6x09

 

SUMMARY

As Rick’s group attempts to funnel through the horde of walkers within Alexandria, Sam falls victim when he succumbs to fear resulting in his mother Jessie’s death along side him. Grief stricken, Ron aims to kill Rick and Carl but is impaled by Michonne. Ron’s stray bullet strikes Carl, chipping away his right eye. Rick grabs Carl and with Michonne run through the horde to safety. Meanwhile, Daryl, Tara and Abraham encounter a biker group who work for Negan. They take their weapons and are about to kill Tara and Abraham, but Daryl eliminates them all with a rocket launcher. Back in town, Denise and the Alpha Wolf establish a minor connection and he saves her from a walker as they try to escape. He later saves her again but is taken out by Carol. Denise returns to the infirmary just as Rick brings Carl. Rick then begins luring the horde away as everyone in town gathers with him to kill as many walkers as they can. Daryl and the others arrive and create a fire to attract the remaining horde. By sunrise, the town is completely purged as the survivors rest. Rick tends to Carl who is seen bandaged but alive.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

That was an epic showdown of immense gruesome violence that shows The Walking Dead has no intention of slowing down its fearsome run. Brief moments of loss forced the main cast to survive as they always have, not withstanding the pure adrenaline that came from the group banding together and taking back their town. I expect a long reprieve but for now, I must say this was one of the most enjoyable episodes I have every seen.

 

THE GOOD

This may sounds callous but destroying an entire family like they did was very gutsy to do. And the order was sheer frightening as we heard the echoes of Carol’s warning sink into Sam’s mind seconds before he’s literally taken by teeth and gore. Then his mother watch and fell too as he couldn’t let go of her son. We saw Rick’s memories of a happier time with her only to stare down at her last son’s crazed expression shortly before he’s skewered by Michonne who dared not hesitate. That all went down in a matter of moments and then the exclamation point was one of the comic’s most heart-wrenching moments finally adapted to this season; Carl’s eye wound. I knew someone wasn’t making it out of that walk of death alive, but I never thought all three of the Andersons would be completely decimated. Absolutely the most gripping scene in the entire episode and there were a lot to choose from.

 

It’s hard to articulate how awesome it was to watch the town band together like that even including Eugene who took a stand alongside his townfolk and took back Alexandria from the dead. The quick shots between kill-shots, Eugene and Daryl saving Glenn from certain death and the fire that quenched the remaining horde. It was masterfully shot and musically composed to show how tied they were to their home and how hard they were going to fight all starting with Rick tossing himself out into the den of hell even to help keep Carl safe even if it was alone. It’s moments like those that help really solidify their story as a group and an evolving one at that.

THE BAD

Very minor, but I have to say I’m a bit fed up with Carol’s no-nonsense attitude. She’s absolutely a bad-ass that can make the calculated decision in a heartbeat, but openly telling Morgan she should have killed him sets her back a little in my eyes. Out of the entire group, I now feel she’s the one most likely to do something rash and dangerous in the future all in the name of doing the right thing for the greater good. I just hope that kind of thinking doesn’t clash with Rick again or else dissention will once more flourish through the ranks.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The rocket launcher scene. The entire episode was gold from my perspective and expectations, but it was a sheer loony-toons moment when the entire biker gang was blown to bits by Daryl’s rocket. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and couldn’t believe it when I saw it. There’s no doubt in my mind Daryl will probably live forever, even if he does get bit.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Rick deserves the spot tonight. He held it together and threw himself alone into the horde with every intention to slaughter them all with only a hand-axe his companion. His speech to Carl at the end was also delivered with such an aura of hope hanging on the smallest thread for his son. Never doubt the lengths he’ll go through to save him and that includes chopping the hand off of his girlfriend who was busy getting devoured by a trio of walkers. Such a sight had to have taken such a toll on his mind, all he could see were the low-light images of a smiling woman who he had just seen grow so fiercely independent. Now, Rick fights on with new hope now that Carl is going to be okay, for the most part.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

The louder Maggie’s screams got the more I knew Glenn was going to be fine. They really hammed that up, but if Glenn was taken, this episode would have been too much and I’d probably be writing in a very different tone. Abraham jumped in and had a clever line to boot.

 

As awesome as Denise is becoming, I hope they don’t give her some crazy omniscience with medical knowledge as not too long ego she was still flipping through Grey’s Anatomy trying to understand just the basics. Her confidence is amazing, just keep it grounded please.

 

The role of the Alpha Wolf was just beginning to take shape, and then they killed him. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel because things wouldn’t have gone that great for Denise had they escaped, yet, even at the end Alpha made sure she was safe. It was so strange to watch. The relationship had so little time to flex that by the time he saved her, I just had to go with it.

 

Now that Enid is back and Ron is gone, this will give her and Carl more time to establish some new bond. I can’t imagine a relationship will blossom so quickly after his injury, but he might be more susceptible to understanding her plight a bit better or vice-versa depending on who’s writing it.

 

That town is going to smell bad for a long time. It’s going to take at least a week or more to get the bodies out which include the Anderson family, who will likely be buried alongside Deanna who by now is also dead.

 

OVERALL SCORE

10 out of 10. My eyes were glued every second of the way. If you can accomplish that, then I’m sold on a perfect episode. The rocket launcher was a great save, the Anderson family demise was heart-breaking, but really only for Jessie. Watching Carl’s injury was a heavy portent freshly adapted from the comics and the town gathering as a single unit to save Alexandria was a legendary moment that may not happen again for a while. All this and so many gruesome walker kills. We’re on our way and the countdown to Negan’s arrival has begun. We’re just 7 episodes away from the fated theory that has everyone guessing…will Lucille be brought in and used as the comics depict? It’s TWD’s version of the Red Wedding and I sure hope it doesn’t happen. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Walking Dead – Season 6×08 (The ants go marching one by one…)

TWD 6x08

 

SUMMARY

Guts and grime are the groups only saving grace as Rick and the others attempt to save themselves from the incoming horde of walkers now fully engulfed in Alexandria. Carol and Morgan reach in impasse over Morgan’s prisoner. Ron forces Carl to a violent showdown and Deanna succumbs to an unexpected injury. Meanwhile, Glenn continues to persuade Enid to reenter town while Maggie is left alone on a platform to fend for herself.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The mid-season finale doesn’t yield much of an outcome, but rather ties the loose ends of most of the quarrels that plague this show. The rambunctious plot tethers it’s tension and release almost too much within a short hour, trying to balance the soft moments with the violent ones. It’s as though the episode condenses two styles into one leaving the cliffhanger nothing more than a 3 month long commercial break in-between. The tragedy of Deanna is guided with the theme that notable bitten victims no longer get an on-screen death, but an assumed end. Moments that could have been accentuated better such as Morgan and Carol’s difference of opinion are reduced to a few choice ideologies and a roughly paced struggle that sees neither the victor. In the end, we’re forced to watch a rehash of clothes stinking with zombie guts to allow safe passage for our wary crew, only this time, no hoods are necessary. Did too many characters survive? Perhaps, but surely with a child calling to his mother in the chaos, there’s bound to be repercussions within minutes of episode nine.

 

RECAP

After the tower collapses, walkers immediately swarm through, scattering the living into different areas of town. Maggie narrowly makes it to a platform alone while Rick and Michonne rush to gather who they can. Deanna falls on a circular saw and is helped by Rick while Rosita, Tara, and Eugene escape into the garage where Morgan’s prisoner is being held. Carol suffers a minor head injury but is helped by Morgan back to the empty house as Denise remains in the room with the prisoner. Rick, Michonne, Gabriel, Ron, Carl, and Deanna make it to Jessie’s house where Sam is unprepared at the chaos reentering his isolated environment. Michonne cleans Deanna and finds a bite mark, sealing Deanna’s fate. Carl attempts to talk down Ron who locks them in a room and attacks Carl. Walkers begin to break through as Rick helps them escape. Carl covers for Ron by explaining they were only fighting off the walkers and later takes Ron’s gun. Carol admits not trusting Morgan and later distracts him to reach the prisoner where Denise has been aiding his infection. Morgan intervenes and the two square off with Morgan knocking Carol out. The prisoner then knocks Morgan out and holds Denise hostage as Tara, Rosita, and Eugene arrive. The prisoner leaves the house with Denise while Rick devises a plan to use walker guts to spread on sheets and use to maneuver outside toward the armory. Outside, Glenn further compels Enid to go back and join the others and later sees Maggie isolated on the platform. Rick and the others finish spreading guts on the sheets and as a unit leave the house. Deanna wants to be left alone with a gun to kill herself, but instead she faces against the walker horde, expelling her rounds and screaming in defiance. The group is last seen shuffling through to the streets with Sam calling to his mother repeatedly.

 

THE GOOD

The sudden rush of walkers surrounding everyone’s homes is a dose of reality that needed to happen. Rosita and Tara accentuated this with their questions about earning their solace and choosing to believe or not that this neighborhood is their end and needs to be fought for. That coupled with Deanna’s lasting conversation with Michonne about doing what you want to do helps refocus our main crew with sticking to their survival instincts and fighting for their territory. Michonne doesn’t really need the pep talk but sometimes it’s good to hear things from another perspective about the future and have those sentiments live on in others. Plus, it’s normal for some characters to question their own survival and be reinforced by those still embedded on living. It can get circular but everyone dips now and again and needs colleagues to stay resolute.

 

The quintessential build up of leaving the house paired with the slow-motion and intense music was probably the best kind of ending they could create without giving making it too grim or unknown as to their survival. It was the kind of ending that promised that Rick would get them through as a unit. Rather then shake that concept and make it a horrendous cliffhanger where someone’s about to get bitten or as a group they are about to overrun was avoided to alleviate our stress levels until March. I particularly liked that segment because anything different might have been too subtle or tragic, which is why we saw Deanna screaming in defiance rather than her body get overtaken by the horde. This was the highest end note they could do without suffering more death.

 

THE BAD

There was entirely too many jumps between character segments. Because of this, Morgan and Carol had to handle their issues in three small scenes while Rick and the others at Jessie’s house dealt with the bulk of the episode. It was almost as if Carol was just going through the motions and following through with her distrust because that’s who she is and we couldn’t wait for the horde debacle to end before she ran downstairs and faced off against Morgan. That really didn’t need to happen now but they forced it.

 

There was just something completely off with Ron’s choice to once again pull a gun on Carl just to get their little showdown underway. This episode showcased how Jessie’s children can’t handle the stress of their situation and while Sam internalizes, Ron externalizes with violence and considering the daftness of it all, he really doesn’t have a good reason. Carol assumes it’s about Ron’s father and once more reminds him that the guy was an @$$hole, which somehow quells Ron’s killing attitude for now. I didn’t want Ron to survive but then again, losing either child would probably have pushed Jessie over the edge and cause more problems which inherently are Ron’s fault for unintentionally allowing the horde into the house.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Deanna’s choice to shoot the walkers and scream at them rather than end her life. That is one of the staples of a zombie story is the one character who instead of succumbing to their injuries fights on in defiance because it’s just in their blood. We’ve seen examples like this in Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, and it goes to show that these kinds of scenes are more enjoyable to witness than the bloody demise of their spirits and bodies as they’re either forced to blow their brains out or get eaten in the onslaught of the dead. As a character who wanted to see her community survive and grow, she reached within and pulled out that unyielding spirit of hope that even when she’s guaranteed to be one of the dead, she’ll fight on.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It’s a tie between Carl and Morgan. I liked that Carl stuck up for Ron even though he didn’t deserve it and really shows that he’s able to see past the era of kill or be killed. He’s turning into a man who can make practical decisions and not succumb to retaliation just to save his own hide. Meanwhile, Morgan is resolute in his defending a prisoner who doesn’t intend to change. This clash between him and Carol was perfect and should have had more time to develop because those two are so strong in their beliefs yet you just knew that when Morgan said she wouldn’t get past him, he meant it. I appreciate how these two characters handled themselves in this episode.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Now we know that it was Eugene who Daryl heard on the walkie-talkie which makes sense in hindsight. This means Daryl and the others won’t be sidetracked into another mini-adventure and will likely be gunning right through Alexandria when we come back in March to help save the day.

 

I’m really liking how Denise is dealing with her situations, especially talking back to the prisoner while holding her throat. I can’t imagine they’ll do away with her character, but it’s too early to tell if she’ll escape the prisoner or if she’ll in fact be the first one of Alexandria to meet with Negan or the Wolves group, assuming they’re aligned.

 

The guts on the sheets were unfortunately necessary to handle their escape although it seems off that they don’t cover their faces or wearing anything on their heads but if the smell is everywhere I suppose they don’t have to go all out. Seems a bit rushed not to mention Sam’s calling out to his mother at the end. Was that meant as an “Oh no” moment because he’s going to lure the walkers to him, or that because his world is breaking down he’s finally realizing what’s happening and needs his mother to hold him regardless of the fact that there are dozens of walkers within arm’s reach.

 

I almost felt bad for Enid after what Glenn said to her, mainly because I was expecting some moment where it turns out she was right to leave because by going back she’ll be caught in some horrid scenario where she gets bitten or devoured and Glenn said all this to get her to go back which could inevitably get her killed. But more so her returning will quash Ron’s sense of fatalism and return him to some sense of normality and this awkward love triangle with Carl too will live on.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Intense as it was, some moments felt very rushed and divided. It was too quick of an hour to handle the kinds of story elements they were putting on us when I’m certain all we wanted to see was Glenn and Maggie once more reunite. There were many moments at Jessie’s house where the tension just went away to allow for a tender moment between Deanna and Rick or Deanna and Michonne when a couch on the stairs barely blocks the living from the dead. There were bits of payoffs most notably Carl and Ron fighting as well as Morgan and Carol having their struggle end with the prisoner escaping anyway. Spencer’s survival is unknown but likely a definite along with other no-name survivors but we won’t know until March. The tales of Alexandria are far from over and we’ll be sure to start the next half with a flurry of bullets and mayhem as Daryl and crew will return with rockets galore. As always, thanks for reading and we’ll catch you in a few months when TWD returns.

 

 

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