The Walking Dead Review “Us” S4E15

Eugene leads into this episode entitled “US” with a great quotable. “That there is a video game worth the pre-order.” Those of us that pre-ordered The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct can disagree. We find Abraham, Tara, Eugene,  Rosita, and Glenn on the road. Abraham is focused on completing his mission to get Eugene to Washington. Glenn is focused solely on finding Maggie. Once he finds her note on a TERMINUS sign, he takes off running. 

TWD Us glenn sign

Daryl is still trying to fit in with Joe’s band of roughnecks. He is a wolf amongst a pack of dogs. After tracking a rabbit  for an entire morning, Len shoots the cottontail before Daryl and claims it as his own. The dispute quickly escalates as Len antagonizes Daryl about losing Beth. Joe intermediates the dispute and lays out the law of the group before Daryl has an opportunity to plunge his knife into Len’s chest.  “I laid out some rules to keep things from going Darwin every couple of hours.” Who knew that rednecks had such a large vocabulary? Just a quick comic book reference, there is one other guy who loves rules, and his name is Negan. However, Joe is definitely no Negan; he likely just represents the need for humans to keep rules to avoid plunging into mass chaos.

the rules

Carl and Michonne are bonding by walking the train tracks Stand By Me style. They share a tender moment after Michonne loses a bet, and gives Carl one of the few candy bars she has left.  Our band of Walker killers seems to force the kumbayah feel a little, but we are see them begin to normalize after the trauma of losing everyone at the prison. The whole scene with Rick, Carl and Michonne feels like a cheap novelty. After missing them in the previous three episodes, it really sucked to see our main protagonist as nothing more than a plot piece.

michonne rick and carl TWD Us

Abraham has the one-liner of the entire show, “I don’t give a monkey’s left nut!” To persuade Abraham to keep going, Glenn offers to give Eugene the riot gear in exchange for their help; let me just say that Glenn + riot gear = badass, but Eugene + riot gear = fifty more pounds of dumbass. Abraham’s group decides to split from Glenn and Tara when they come to a railroad tunnel that is infested with walkers. Glenn will stop at nothing to save Maggie, so he ventures in with Tara. Tara confesses her part in storming the prison to Glenn. Glenn has already forgiven her and is ready to move past what happened with The Governor.

barbed wire walker

Len is clearly over-compensating for the size of his bow. After setting up camp in a garage, Joe’s group lays claim to cars and goods, Daryl, in an act of defiance doesn’t lay claim to anything. Len accuses Daryl of stealing from him, when confronted he is outed as a liar and pays Joe’s price. He is beaten to death. Daryl sheds no tears and the group hits the road again.

While Rosita is driving, Eugene decides to trick her into doubling back for Glenn. When they reach the other side of the tunnel they are met with a big surprise. Glenn and Tara find themselves stuck between rocks filled with Walkers, and a hard place. When facing this wall of Walkers trapped beneath the fallen tunnel, Tara gets her leg caught underneath rubble and Glenn refuses to leave her. Regardless of the circumstances he won’t compromise his morality; he is no Shane. Walkers swarm the two of them, and the situation looks hopeless when, “Blam, Blam, Blam,” Maggie to the rescue, along with Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Eugene and Rosita. They make short work of the Walkers and we get the reunion we have all been waiting for.  Glenn quickly makes up a story about finding Tara on the road to protect her from Maggie. If Maggie knew that she was partly responsible for Herschel’s beheading, there may be more than a “Call Tyrone” domestic dispute.

TWD Us Tara, Eugene

At the end of the episode we find out that Joe’s group is tracking Rick because of the encounter at the house in “Claimed,” where Tony (the Chuck D lookin’ guy) spots Rick. We are unsure if Daryl knows this, but there are enough clues to assume so. Is Daryl using Joe’s group to find his lost friend’s?

Maggie and Glenn’s group combine forces and decide to trek forward to TERMINUS. The name TERMINUS is derived from the Western and Atlantic Railroad  through Georgia in1836. The area was named as the end point to the railroad. It was renamed, Atlanta, in 1847.  Our survivors arrive at the “sanctuary” and find a hippie commune. The gates are not locked, there are flowers growing everywhere, and oh snap! Is that Star Trek The Next Generation’s Tasha Yar? I mean, is that Denise Crosby? Things can only get weird from here on. TERMINUS has to be a trap. It seems too good to be true.

TWD Us Glenn and crew

Hush Comics gives “Us” a C for it’s lackluster… everything. The groups coming together for some reason or another in Terminus, but everything leading up to that point felt forced, illogical and uncharacteristic. Sure, there’s certain lesbian tension between Rosita and Tara, and yeah, there are a lot of skeletons that need to come out of the closet, not to mention Glenn and Maggie’s heart-felt reunion. As disappointed as we were, the ends kind of justify the means here. The Season 4 finale is gonna end on a crazy note. We predict that Daryl will have to kill Tony to protect Rick. Maybe Terminus really is the safe haven it claims to be and the war they bring to the doorstep puts them all in deep doo doo. Maybe Beth will show up on a dinner plate, where Terminus is full of cannibals. We do know there’s no gray area here as the Survivors reach the literal “end of the road.”

All media credited to AMC Television and Image Comics

Written by John Soweto

The Walking Dead Review “The Grove” S4E14

“The Grove” follows a similar formula to the last few episodes; where we slowly build a journey for each of the groups that have split after the mid-season finale. It’s served a good purpose of individually developing the characters, but it hasn’t pushed the story along at all; you’ve either loved the past six episodes or you hate them. It’s a style that’s heavily popularized Game of Thrones, where multiple parties push towards an inevitability (Terminus/Sanctuary in TWD‘s case), but the journey there is what drives the inching story.

Starting out the episode is a lot of small talk: Tyreese’s cut on his arm, Lizzie playing I Spy, and a lot of commentary about how Mika doesn’t have a “mean bone in her body.” We even get a bit of comedic relief by watching a walker fall down. Really though, this week’s episode of The Walking Dead stank of death from the moment it started. We join our makeshift Brady Bunch (Tyreese, Carol, Lizzie and Mika) as they settle down for a while inside of a house right off the tracks to catch their breath. Yeah, that worked out greeeeat, guys.

Lizzie and Friend TWD The Grove

To spoil or not to spoil…. ugh such a tough decision. SPOILERS, it is! We’re gonna toot our own horn here, as we called the dramatic outcome of this episode a month ago. Lizzie has just become such a handful emotionally to deal with, and the resurgence of Carol and her “do what has to be done” attitude spelled certain doom for Lizzie. After she almost murdered baby Judith in “Inmates,” there are so many things that foreshadow the death of Lizzie and Mika. Hindsight is 20/20, but here are a list of the times, in this episode alone, that spelled R-E-D-R-U-M for Mika:

  • Lizzie, AKA Son of Sam, says she can hear the walkers talking to her. From that line alone, it was obvious she was going to start killing bigger things than rats and little baby bunnies.
  • The death stare that Lizzie bestows upon Mika when she mentions Lizzie’s tolerance for dead rabbits.
  • Lizzie plays tag with a walker, hysterically threatens Carol when she kills the walker, and then calmly tells Carol “she knows what [she] has to do now.” Now I’m no therapist, but I can read between the lines enough to know that Lizzie was in trouble. Mother of the Year candidate Lori Grimes would have known. Just sayin.
  • The real moment we knew Mika was a goner was the when she decided to tell Carol that she needs to stay a good person, and that she feels bas for the people who try to kill her. It’s an ideal that has befell Dale and Herschel before her – thus dubbing it the Summer Santa Syndrome.

Tyreese TWD The Grove

Even baked pecans cannot quell Lizzie’s bloodlust. Her twisted, constipated mind believed that walkers were people inside. And she went to abhorrent measures to make her point. What I love about the scene – sorry, that is a poor choice of words; there is nothing satisfying about the scene… what I appreciate about the scene is how well it mirrored the scene in the comics books. Aside from the Michonne/Governor scenes, these were the most horrifying pages in the entire series. In issue #61, brothers Ben & Billy were in a similar situation – they had lost their father (Lizzie and Mika lost their father, Ryan, in “Infected“), had been adopted by Dale and Andrea, and had ended with Ben standing over Billy’s massacred body.

i didnt hurt his brain

The reaction that Carol and Tyreese have is much different from the book, and all the more powerful because of it. The comic book parents, Dale and Andrea, have no idea how to deal with the slaughter, sheltering Ben from the rest of the group (not well enough). However, the show takes the most difficult road possible, and “does what has to be done.” It’s an especially strong move seeing as Tyreese is standing nearby, holding a baby and watching on as Carol did the deed. The actual mercy-kill is one of the most saddening things in the whole series. The complete Of Mice and Men inspired execution of Lizzie was a poetic ending for a misunderstood, but dangerous, character.

of mice and men
Just look at the flowers, Lennie!

The conversation between Tyreese and Carol in the woods was a poignant moment in the episode.  While it is a nice sentiment that one day this will all be over, Tyreese sees the it for what it is.  The world is haunted, and there is nothing they can do to change that.  The walkers will be there when they die.  And it will be hard to forget all the things people did and had to do in order to survive.  It was an appropriate reflective moment about survival and afterlife for the show.

Carol has grown more than any other character in the series – from battered wife to emotional rock. Overwhelmed with it all, she even decides to tell Tyreese the truth about Karen and David. She slides Tyreese the pistol and tells him to “do what he’s gotta do” – it’s kind of a theme here. Tyreese, of course, forgives her. They head off together down the tracks and back on the route to Terminus. This was definitely a growing issue for Carol, and hopefully whoever left the Peletier bandwagon in the mid-season can hop back on.

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“You look at the flowers, you risk your life” – Herschel’s ghost

The loss of Mika hit extra hard, as she had been indirectly and directly compared to Sophia throughout the fourth season. She is now 0/3 in keeping children alive, so I’m hoping this brings out a badass-ness in Carol we haven’t gotten to see in some time. Judith has Tyreese and Carol, but who will take Griselda Gunderson? Doesn’t this world already have enough orphaned dolls?

Giselda Gunderson - untold victims of the zombie apocalypse
Griselda Gunderson – forgotten victim of the zombie apocalypse

Hush Comics gives “The Grove” a solid A. The emotional maturation of Carol and Tyreese gives Walking Dead fans something to chew on until we all reach Terminus in the finale (I mean, what else could the finale be alluding to?). Where previous episodes have straddled the line between filler and fundamental development, “The Grove” remains safely on the correct side. The Walking Dead also continues to push the envelope with sick new ways to show off walkers, this week with walkers that have been char-broiled from the house fire (we can only assume it’s the same house that Bethyl set ablaze in “Still“). With only two episodes left, we will turn our attention to “Us” next week. Just like in the first half of Season 4, I’m fearing that they will speed up everything, sacrificing for a logically consistent finale. We’re optimistic, though, that the road to Terminus will keep us on our toes.

All Walking Dead media credited to AMC Television.

Photo from Of Mice and Men film credited to MGM Studios.

written by Sherif Elkhatib

The Walking Dead Review “Claimed” S4E11

The next time you’re at a post-apocalyptic slumber party, remember to always make claimsies to the bed you were going to sleep on. If not, you might end up getting choked out and left for dead by your supposed buddies. As we sat on our couch and watched The Walking Dead this week (no choke-outs occurred… tonight), we were expecting more of a scattered view of the ensemble cast, similar to “Inmates”. Instead, “Claimed” focused in on two distinct groups – Abraham/Glenn and Rick/Michonne. We’re gonna skip around here in the interest of staying with a certain topic.

We still can’t stand Carl. Sorry, Chandler Riggs, don’t hate us! This kid couldn’t act his way out of a tub of chocolate pudding, which admittedly might be harder than it sounds. We’ve been fooled throughout the series into thinking that Riggs plays a good Carl because he only gets a few lines every episode, usually in childish rebellion. This season, when we got a real good look at him as an individual, his story has completely failed to come across as a genuine coming of age tale. We’re not completely turned off of Caaaarrrrl, but it’s gonna take some major convincing to get us to care about this kid again.

Carl and Michonne

“Claimed” depicts Michonne in a new light; we are exposed to a part of her that we had all but confirmed of her past – Michonne had a son, and his name was Andre. Carl spends the episode prying information from Michonne about her personal life and it’s convincingly heartfelt. Hush is extremely torn as to whether or not this new, sensitive portrayal of her is a good or bad thing.

Crazy Cheese

On one side of the coin, Michonne transcends gender. She’s a badass with a katana, and there is no gender associated with her. Men (and pugs) dress up as Michonne. Just an episode after she murders a herd of walkers, Michonne is brought to her emotional brink by a pink (pink… seriously?) room full of dead people who were once a family. Which to some may seem like a way for the show to make her seem weak just because she is a woman.  However, others in the Hush family feel that Michonne’s reactions were not weak, but rather essential character development.  Michonne is a bad-ass.  There isn’t a woman (or man) who watches the show and doesn’t want to go buy a katana.  But Michonne is more than that.  She is a mother, a lover, a fighter and a protector.  She is multi-faceted and utterly human.  It would only be in her nature to see that room that was more than just pink, it was the story of family who could not handle the world crumbling around them.  It was a family who lacked the strength Michonne has.  If Michonne had seen that room and not had an emotional reaction, she may not get empathy from the audience due to a lack of believability.

glenn and abe
Glenn lets big Abe have it

Let’s talk about the legend, the end-all, be-all solution to the zombie apocalypse. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eugene Porter. This motherfucker right here… This mullet-rockin dweeb in cargo shorts that haven’t been acceptable since 1998 is humanity’s last hope. It sounded a little far-fetched when I first read about it in the comic books, and I was skeptical. Now that I’ve heard it out loud, I can’t believe that Abraham and Rosita would ever believe him in the first place.

Nobody believes you, Eugene!
Nobody believes you, Eugene!

That’s not to say that Abraham and Rosita are unconvincing in their roles. Rosita does her best J.Lo/Tomb Raider impression, and is the best eye candy not named Lauren Cohan (Maggie). Anybody who takes the time to clean up like that, hoop earrings and all, is a great asset to have. Abraham plays soldier very well, blindingly following the “orders” from Eugene, who proudly proclaims, “I’m smarter than you.” Making a bit of comic-book prediction here, but we think Tara will soon switch teams and hook up with Abraham, ala Holly.

I hop she knows that she's not doing her back any favors.
I hope she knows that she’s not doing her back any favors.

The real winner of this episode is Rick. I often feel that Rick is expected to be the unquestioned leader. Since pre-Shane, really, we haven’t gotten a good look at Rick only trying to survive on his own. It reminded me a lot of “Nebraska” (S2E8), where he gunned down two men who threatened him in a bar. It’s a plain reminder that Rick Grimes is a force to be reckoned with when he is by himself. Although he unrealistically summoned his inner-superhero to do some damage on the scavengers, we really found ourselves rooting for Rick again – something we haven’t done since Rick led the charge to invade Woodbury and rescue Maggie and Glenn.

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Hush Comics gives “Claimed” a solid B. Overall, we really enjoyed the unique cinematography in this episode, and we can appreciate what they are trying to build here. Unfortunately, it is absolutely killing the pace of the show. Having all the groups separated and clearly not all going to meet up again until the season finale without great character development feels wasteful.  We also feel, for the first time, that the connection of the show to the comic books is becoming problematic.  At this point, forcing the show to fit into the lore of the comics is stifling.  With the development of Carl being absolutely terrible and the journey to the sanctuary by all the separate groups, it is getting hard to relate to the characters or believe that they are even still surviving.  The show has lost its touch when it comes to thinking about human morality and interaction.

There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse
There is a typographer and marketer who survived the apocalypse

All photos and awesomeness credited to AMC Television.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Adrian Puryear

The Walking Dead Review “Internment” S4E5

The Walking Dead “Internment” Review 

Naw man, it's cool. I'll just walk.
Naw man, it’s cool. I’ll just walk. Thanks anyway…

We open with Rick on his return trip to the prison. He is still struggling with his decision to banish Carol. He stares at the watch she gave him as he races down a deserted stretch of road, the camera focusing on his bandaged hand.

The epidemic is spreading. Herschel, Sasha and Glenn desperately fight to keep Henry alive by inserting a breathing device down his throat and squeezing air into his lungs.  These three have become the triage medics in the quarantined cell-block.  Herschel, played by Scott Wilson, was absolutely incredible this episode. He takes a commanding role in delegating responsibilities while maintaining a high sense of morality. He refuses to kill recently turned people in plain sight of the remaining survivors.  He inconsequently provided some much needed insight about the world that is now inhabited by the dead.  He does all of this and still finds time to give Lizzy a reading assignment; Lord knows that no child should be left behind in the Zombie Apocalypse. Tom Sawyer. This is an appropriate novel considering the circumstances and future events. Most lit-majors and bookworms may recall that Tom Sawyer didn’t get a Bible in Sunday school because of his deviant ways. This will come into play later in our episode.

Herschel reassures Maggie about Glenn’s worsening condition, restores faith to the infected while keeping them in their cells, and gives Glenn a much needed pep-talk. If not for Herschel’s temperance and hope we get the sense that all would be lost. Glenn, played by Steven Yeun plays a crucial part in this episode as well. His relationship with Herschel is built to a level that we haven’t seen before.   They are doing their best to keep the diseased from passing the point of no return with limited supplies, and time. Herschel appears to be the only adult in quarantine not showing symptoms of illness. The other is Lizzy.

Maggie is face to fence with hundreds of walkers. They are dangerously close to bringing down one side of the outer railing. She is cracking skulls and reinforcing the chained links with lumber.  She is over-whelmed, but calm. We get the sense now that anyone in our core group of survivors can make it on their own, including Carl. We’ll get to that later.

Rick returns. He explains why he voted Carol off the island and we are hit with a new twist. Maggie’s reaction seems odd. Instead of passing judgment, voicing an opinion, or showing some anger she asks if Carol “said she did it,” in reference to the murders of Karen and David. There was a moment of contemplation and confusion. This could be nothing, or it could mean that Carol was covering for someone else. The plot thickens.

Rick makes Carl his first priority upon his homecoming.  He forbids Carl from coming outside to help with the much needed tasks of walker defense and curing the sick, but Carl says, “You can’t keep me from it,” meaning the death and chaos of this world. Rick says that it is “his job to try.”  Carl seems defeated, but we know that eventually he will be needed.  There are only so many people who are not infected left in the prison. With Tyrese, Michonne, Daryl and Bob still gone, there are limited options.

“A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.” This quote from Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley: In Search of America seems to drive Herschel. It gives him the push he needs to ensure that lives aren’t lost in quarantine.  Herschel admits that he thinks that there is still a plan and a reason for everything that is happening. His faith has been shaken, but not broken.

The fence is failing. Rick and Maggie are working hard at keeping it up. Rick falls after a walker grabs his leg and Maggie chops its arm off. For those of you who read the comics, you are well aware that Rick lost his right hand in issue 28. We are once again teased in the series with the foreshadowing of Rick losing an appendage. We think that Rick will lose his hand by the end of this season.

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The situation in quarantine goes to shit. Several people have died, Glenn and Sasha have fallen seriously ill, walkers are now lumbering around free, chaos ensues and Mr. “Stay in your cells” goes to work.  Maggie leaves fence detail to help inside, and Rick is left with hundreds of the dead meters away from breaking their defenses. Rick, left with no choice, recruits Carl to help with the walkers. The fence comes tumbling down and Carl and Rick are exposed to the herd coming through the breach. They quickly decide to take arms and eradicate the on-coming threat. Fanboys, Carl finally gets his M-16! 

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The sight of Rick and Carl mowing down the herd warms the heart. It gives you that same fuzzy feeling you get when you see a father-son potato sack race. It was a beautiful union of gun fire and exploding heads! Carl clearly owned at C.O.D. before the turn. It’s such a spectacle that Rick has to take a moment to pause and absorb all of his son’s badassery.

Dafuq?
Dafuq?

Meanwhile, Herschel is alone in quarantine with several walkers, Lizzy wandering around like a lost kid in a department store, and he is still trying to avoid killing the dead in front of the others. What a guy! He eventually saves the day with Maggie’s help. They take out the residual walkers and stabilize Glenn. Carl and Rick make short work of the zombie mob and Rick clearly has a new respect for his son. All of the key players in this episode unveiled a character trait that almost guarantees them another day in this world.  Hell, even Lizzy put her life on the line to save Glenn. Daryl and the others finally make it back after things calmed and the medication they brought is distributed.

Father-Son Potato Sack Champions
Father-Son Potato Sack Champions

We finally get a quiet moment with Herschel. He takes a seat and opens up a Bible. The Tom Sawyer reference comes full circle. After all the trial and tribulation he is able to find his faith again. This moment is powerful and done to perfection. Before we fade to black Herschel sheds some much needed tears. We believe that these tears did not come from exhaustion or remorse for the infected people or the turned. We believe that he was crying because he still believes that the walkers are just sick people and that he just committed murder. Remember the barn full of zombies?  Hopefully we will get more insight into this theory as the season continues.

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As the zombie clean up around the fence continues we get a perimeter shot of the prison. Carl and Rick walk out of focus and our view widens.  Just yards from the gate a shadowy figure is revealed.  Holy shit! It’s the Governor! Somebody tell Michonne that she sucks at tracking. We knew that he would eventually show up because David Morrissey is still in the credits this season. We can’t wait for what follows. More gut-wrenching than the Governor’s re-appearance is the talk that Rick and Daryl will have to have about Carol. Could the best tag team since Gumby and Pokey really be over??

Why ruin it by asking about Carol?
Why ruin it by asking about Carol?

Hush Comics gives “Internment” an A for great character display, especially on the part of Herschel. Lizzy is still bat-shit crazy, Maggie reminded us that she is still a BA, and Rick finally realized what a Big Asskicker he has raised. Come back for next week’s return of The Governor and our recap of “Live Bait.”

I... HATE.... SPAGHETTI!
I… HATE…. SPAGHETTI!

written by John Soweto and Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television

The Walking Dead Review “Indifference” S4E4

We open with Carol speaking to Lizzy behind quarantined glass because of the flu out-break in the prison. The child and several others are still confined until Daryl, Tyrese, Michonne and Bob make it back with supplies from the college. The exchange between our favorite 40 something Jamie Lee Curtis replica and this eerie little girl is quite compelling. The entire conversation is about change, but the analogy of dying and turning into a walker is used here to explain a greater change, the change a person goes through when they have to make a hard decision.  As they speak we see cut-aways of Rick packing a vehicle he and Carol will take on a run, but the foreshadowing is almost too obvious. Rick is clearly contemplating Carol’s fate. Flashbacks of Karen’s murder seem to torment our anti-hero cop but not in that creepy, I still see Lori walking around in her pajamas way. Carol is clearly not the woman we met in the first season. Her hair is spiked; old woman cleavage is showing and she has a machete ready to split any walker in two! She tries to justify her actions to Rick on their road-trip, but it falls on deaf ears. She would have probably got a better response out of him from a game of Marry, Fuck, or Murder. They raid a house and end up finding two survivors. Our first official hippies of walker-land are unmistakably unprepared for this world. They need 5 or 6 bullets to take a walker down and don’t know that a blow to the head will take one out.

I don't know about these two. I think there's some trouble... A-FOOT. Ha!
I don’t know about these two. I think there’s some trouble… A-FOOT. Ha!

We finally catch up to our favorite band of Zombie killers. Tyrese, Michonne and Daryl are on the road and seem as comfortable as kittens in laundry.  And then there is Bob. I seriously wondered how long it would take the “other” black guy in the zombie apocalypse to die. He has the swag of a Star Fleet ensign beamed down to some M-Class planet with the OA team. Bob is struggling with addiction and he confides in Daryl. Daryl in turn absolves Bob of his past sins – ya know, the whole getting Zach eaten thing that happened in the premiere episode.

Carol and Rick have a great dialog about the necessity of murder while raiding a house and both make pretty good arguments. Carol has accepted her role in the new world and has become a threat to Rick. After looting the college for Herschel’s goodies and running into some much needed walker action Bob proves how worthless he is by refusing to drop a bag containing a bottle of ill-gotten booze into a school of biters. See what I did there? What happens next is precious. Bob reaches for his gun when Daryl threatens to toss the liquor into the walkers. NOT A GOOD IDEA BOB! Daryl punks Bob with the exchange of a sandbox brawl. I was immediately taken back to 4th grade. As non-violent as it was, it was intense and resulted in Bob getting his gun confiscated by Daryl. I felt bad for Tyrese and Michonne, they had that look like, “Ninjas always gotta mess it up for somebody!”

Veritas Aequitas, beee-yotch!
Veritas Aequitas, beee-yotch!

The end of the episode does not disappoint. Rick has made the decision to exile Carol. He claims it’s for her own good, but it is apparent that he is afraid of her. The decision to banish her, I think, can be attributed to more of a power struggle than differing opinions. Remember, Rick has killed how many to protect the good of the group? Rick is trying to establish his dominance over Carol, and when she will not submit to him, his response is to kick her out. Not only are the morals behind his decision fuzzy, but we at Hush Comics believe that this is a HUGE strategic mistake. She is one loose end you don’t want to unthread. A million things could go wrong. She could meet up with the Governor and combine forces; she could lead an army of creepy Brady Bunch girls, she could taint the prison’s water-supply. In all seriousness, where is she really gonna go? Would you just accept that you had been banished from the only ones in this world alive to you and go on about your merry way, especially when nobody else knows her secret? Either way, we feel like this decision will come back to bite Rick. See what I did there?!?!

You done messed up now, Sheriff!
You done messed up now, Sheriff!

After the past few episodes have focused on primarily the disease spreading, it was a refreshing change of pace to get back to some good old fashion zombies “soap opera” action. While the fallout from Carol’s exile is just beginning, my stomach is already churning from what will happen. Will Carol somehow find and join forces with the Governor? Will Daryl, in his angst, abandon the group and search for Carol the same way he did Merle? Is Tyreese going to find out and really get in a fight with Rick? Mostly though, I think it’s about time for Rick’s hand to go (“Are you a righty or a lefty?”).

“Indifference” is my favorite episode this season and I can’t wait to see what happens to Carol next. Yeah, I said it; Carol! There are a lot of waves about to be made from Rick’s decision, and I don’t think it will be a welcome choice, even after the truth comes out. Hush Comics gives “Indifference” a solid A for it’s great character-defining moments and the monumental decision to get rid of Carol (for now…).

written by John Soweto and Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television

The Walking Dead Review “Isolation” S4E3

So after thinking it over the past couple weeks, as all our Walking Dead favorites begin coughing, and then bleed out of their eyeballs and die, that maybe we should all pay better attention to our health and hygiene. Around flu season, especially, people! Every time I see a coworker cough on their hand then shake with it, or a passer-by sneeze into thin air, I want to pull out my kitana (which I carry with me everywhere, for obvious reasons) and chop off their diseased heads. Thanks for listening, and take your vitamins. I also wanted to talk about this big SPOILER right now, because there are some things said before the reveal that mean something totally different now that we know: Carol killed Karen and David, Rick found out, and Carol don’t give no shits about it. Holy crap. “Isolated” begins with Glenn and Maggie giving each other deep looks as the group begins digging graves for all the deceased in the previous episode, proving there’s still romance in the post-apocalyptic world. We get a good picture of how screwed everybody knows they are. Disease is an enemy you can’t really fight, and I think the group realizes this.

Tyreese, however, doesn’t care about disease. He only wants revenge for whoever burned the bodies. It’s sad to see him reel from this; when Rick and Daryl try to console him, though, he lashes out at them, punching Rick pretty damn hard in the face. It’s a scene that is supposed to pay homage to the prison fight scene, which is ironically about Tyreese hurting Carol by him cheating on Carol with Michonne. In the comics, it felt like an emotional climax that sadly had two good friends come to blows. However, in this instant, it felt nothing more than the portrayal of an angry black man, who lost his temper and got beaten up by a white cop. It felt completely out of character and I didn’t understand the need for the violence at the time. I might be a little out of pocket for thinking that way, but it is always an issue when it comes to race in television; even the best shows aren’t immune to criticism, however subtle it may be. Either way, it was the means to an end, as we realize that Farmer Rick is dead, and the Sheriff is back in town; it’s a hell of a way to open up the episode.

Police brutality doesn't die with the apocalypse, unfortunately.
Police brutality doesn’t die with the apocalypse, unfortunately.

We come back to Tyreese furiously digging graves for Karen and David. Bob politely tries to convince him that he needs to get some attention for the ass-whoopin that Rick put on him (albeit in a more polite way).  In a “brothas gotta stick together” moment, Bob helps Tyreese dig. We also find out that everybody is sick: Sasha, Dr. Submarine and Glenn (noooooo). Herschel comes up with a plan to snatch some supplies from a nearby Veterinarian College, and boldly decides that he should lead the way. That is, until Daryl hilariously reminds Herschel that he has a peg leg, and Herschel defeatedly offers to draw a map for them. Daryl, even though he’s always willing to step aside for Rick to lead, takes care of business when he needs to. Rick apologizes to Tyreese for going all LAPD on him. Tyreese is surprisingly cool with it, but is stern in demanding that Rick finds out who did it. Tyreese begins to get angry with Rick when he feels like Rick isn’t doing enough to look for the killer, saying “I’m starting to get that murder is OK in this place now.” It reminds me of the the rules that Rick set up in the comics. IF YOU KILL, YOU DIE. I’m starting to think that this will be his first plan of action upon returning to power. However, seeing as they’ve already killed dozens of people already, I’m not too sure about that. Daryl gets ready to go on the trip to the vet with Michonne and Bad Luck Bob when he decides that Tyreese would be a great addition to the team. Daryl says that he feels that whoever killed Karen and David will “have a bolt put in ’em.” I wonder how Daryl would feel about it if he knew his own sweetheart was the one that did it. Like a walker’s corpse, the truth floats to the surface sooner or later. In a great piece of symbolism, the painting in the hall has the words “Smooth Seas Do Not Make Good Sailors” written on it as Herschel tries to decide what to do with himself. As an obvious leader of the group, Herschel must feel pretty damn useless in this situation. He makes it harder on himself by gathering natural remedies in the forest so that others may feel better. He’s a truly good man and I suppose that is what scares me. As the moral compass of the group and then-Summer Santa of the group, Dale was the next target destined to be mowed down. I wonder how much longer the group, and the audience, will have the pleasure of Herschel’s company. Herschel gives an Emmy-worthy speech to Rick and Maggie later that was one of the best of the series.

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On the other hand, Carol’s “do what needs to be done” attitude, has her shove Lizzie into the sick room and lock the door behind her. This makes her just as strong, if not stronger than Herschel, but on the other end of the spectrum. Tyreese has an extremely sad moment with Sasha, as brother realizes that sister might die, and that going out with Daryl is the only way to really help the situation. Bob, not forgetting the shitstorm he caused in the premiere, asked Daryl if he should really be coming along. Daryl responds by having him read the label of a mediation that I do not dare repeat. It’s a pretty funny moment that finally shows Bob’s usefulness. Back at the yard, Carol is filling up water when Tyreese creepily stands behind her and waits for her to turn around and scare the crap out of her – what horrible post-apocalyptic etiquette! You’d get cut doin’ some shit like that around me. Tyreese kindly asks Carol to look in after Sasha (nooo!) because of how much Carol cares about the others. After Carol apologizes for what happened to Karen, Tyreese’s lips begin to quiver and he hurries away. This makes her feel like a total jerk and she responds by throwing the entire water supply on the ground. Smooth move, Carol.

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Next, we have the grandest scale of walkers ever. As Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Bob run into a herd of almost 10,000 walkers (which we learned from a video on AMC.com that they are actually 100 actors digitally changed into 10,000)! When they get stuck, spinning out Zach’s Dodge Charger’s (RIP) tires over a mountain of corpses, they take off on foot. With Michonne and Daryl fighting their way through the crowd, Bob begins screaming at Tyreese, who is looking like a kid that was forced to go to Home Depot. He just won’t get out of the car. As walkers overrun him, Bob is forced to leave with the others. In a great nod to his comic book gym slaughter, Tyreese somehow makes it out of the carnage and back to the group. How about that zombie distraction device that Carol built? Pretty cool! But what follows is not cool at all. While cleaning the cistern out, Carol is overrun by walkers. She manages to kill a few, but looks horrible doing it. I think Melissa McBride might need a stunt double for any actual zombie killing that is done.  Rick confronts Carol about  Karen and David, and she calmly admits to killing them and then walks away. What does this mean for her relationship with Rick? Will he tell the others? Will she keep killing? And is it really immoral?

It's like going to a Grateful Dead concert out here!
It’s like a Grateful Dead concert out here!

Lots of changes will happen in the upcoming episode, and I’m really worried about Sasha (not Glenn, there’s no way he’s not gonna make it) and Bob. Things will only get worse before they get better, and it will be just in time for the Governor to reappear. Hush Comics gives “Isolation” a B. Very little action and a severely out of place brawl between Tyreese and Rick hurt this otherwise thoughtful and character defining episode.

written by Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television

The Walking Dead Review “Infected” S4E2

Fresh off the heels of the Season 4 premiere, the second episode, “Infected,” keeps the party going with plenty more gore and thrills, but I feel that the story is finally picking back up. Right off the bat, PETA is pissed. Some sick fuck in with a flashlight is feeding the walkers mice, face first. Now we know why they’re all congregating to one area of the fence. It’s a pretty nasty way to start the episode, but they cut to a scene of Tyreese flirting with Karen, even trying to woo her with his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” This scene disturbs me for multiple reasons. Aside from the fact that we just saw a walker bite off a rat’s head like a gummy worm, and that the song’s title is not very PC for a post-apocalyptic make-out session, it’s Tyreese’s singing that made me feel uncomfortable. Chad Coleman may look like Curtis Mayfield, but he sure can’t sing like him. The former badass from The Wire is playing a badass TWD character, but he is so incredibly soft in this scene that it innately bothers me. On the contrary, it’s nice to see him being such a gentle man, because we know it won’t be long until Captain Hammer steps up.

No, no, no. Not Tyrese, TYREESE.
No, no, no. Not Tyrese, TYREESE.

As Patrick takes a stroll into Cell Block D, he makes a meal of some guy with a dastardly-looking mustache for what seems like hours. All the things you thought would happen at the end of the last episode do. There’s nobody to yell for help; it’s basically an all you can eat buffet for Patrick and his new recruits. Completely oblivious, Glenn and Maggie are sleeping in what looks to be Flame’s stable. Who knows what kinda kinky stuff they were up to the night before. As Rick and Carl, who has abandoned his Sheriff’s hat because it’s not a farmer’s hat (can you smell the BS in the air??), tend to the housewife duties of keeping after dirt and cucumbers. Shots break out in Cell Block D as the crew sprints into action, no scene more glorious than Steve Yeun’s flowing hair. Michonne, in a moment of weakness while sensing that the others are in danger, blindly runs back into action and is overwhelmed by walkers, spraining her ankle in the meantime. Until Carl “Fuckin” Grimes grabs a rifle and puts down a walker in time to save her. He used the gun for good and, by God, he likes the power back in his hands!

Who wore it better?
Who wore it better?

In the commotion, Daryl snatches a shotgun from one of the people nervously firing away and hands it to Rick. Subtle humor aside, the cell block scene is painful to watch, as many innocent people are slaughtered, but there are no characters of importance that die. Except for Mr. Samuels, leaving his two fucked-in-the-head daughters in the care of Carol. In some stupid logic that only Carol would have, she decides that the best way to toughen up these girls – Book Club obviously isn’t doing it – is to have the first person they practice on be the father. “You have to hurry up before he turns.” Jesus, Carol, have a heart. It may have been forever ago for us, but just about a year ago, she lost her own child and is trying to start fresh by preparing Mika and Lizzie for what Sophia was not. Also, enter Dr. Subramanian, or Dr Submarian as we will address him from now on. The West Georgia Correctional Facility Braintrust, with the help of Dr. Submarian, discover that an aggressive flu strain is causing people to over-pressure internally and bleed out of their orifices and die. Pretty messed up. As they decide how best to quarantine the problem, Karen and Tyreese frolic down the hallway, with Karen coughing along as she goes. Yeah, she’s a goner. As they separate Karen and another Woodburian, David, Carol and Daryl talk it out, with Carol asking Daryl if he’s okay. In typical Daryl Dixon fashion, he responds, “Yeah. Gotta be.” That is a leader, ladies and gentlemen.

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By the fence, Carol confronts Lizzie about being a total wuss by, ya know, not stabbing her dad in the head. In a fit of anger, Lizzie gets upset about Nick being dead. Ya know, nametag walker? Lizzie’s younger sister tells Carol, “She’s messed up; she’s not weak.”  This sentiment is particularly revealing for Carol; she too was once messed up, because of her relationship with her abusive husband and because of her missing daughter, Sophia, who turned out to be a Walker.  But now, Carol is strong, and she never really was weak.  Meanwhile, Daryl gives mad props to Rick, asking him to take back position as a leader. Just as the two reach in for a big hug (or not), Maggie brings to their attention that the entire prison fence is giving way to a herd of walkers. Rick, albeit reluctantly at first, gives in to his killer instinct and starts jabbing walkers in the face through the wall.

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Next, we have a moment that gives Beth a point in my books (Note: that puts her at a total of one point). She’s in the cell block with Michonne tending to Judith. Michonne is so angry with herself for letting herself get hurt and being “stupid.” Earlier, when Lizzie was called stupid, it was for caring for Nick. Does caring for somebody make you weak in this world, or is it just stupid? Michonne has always been the warrior, the asset – but she’s never been in the role to really care about others or feel part of a family. Beth says, in her finite wisdom, “when you care about people, hurt is part of the package.” It must have really hit hard at home with baby Judith, as she begins balling. This is where we notice Michonne’s first real weakness – crying babies! Judging from her reaction, there is definitely a more underlining issue there. Back at the fence, the walkers are breaking through, with so many pushing up against the fence that they begin making Walker Waffles out of the closer ones. Rick knows there is only one thing left to do. In a hilarious scene where Carl creating a makeshift cross for Patrick, only to discover that he was a “practicing Atheist,” Carol probes Carl to see if he’s told Rick about her Book Club. She doesn’t say it, but she might as well be head of the zombie apocalypse “Stop Snitchin” campaign; she tells Carl to lie not say anything to Rick.

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Beth begins to sing a lullaby to Judith, and Judith in turn thanks Beth by spitting up all over Beth. In a deeply sentimental moment, Michonne caresses baby Judith and begins sobbing into her. I don’t know who hurt her, but I wanna punch them in the face! Michonne has never been this vulnerable – in the show or in the books, and I feel a much deeper connection to her as a character. Is that why she’s been constantly going on runs? Is she trying to avoid being around Judith? It’s an issues that won’t go away and one that will hopefully see answers soon.

I knew it was gonna happen. The piggies just gots’ta go! Strike two against PETA. Rick lures the walkers down the road with a trail of piglets. It’s pretty much the saddest that’s ever happened in this show. As Rick cuts the last pig to lure in a batch of walkers, a splooge of blood hits him in the face, sending shame through him like a two dollar hooker after getting a moneyshot. Carl does the right thing and tells Rick what Carol is doing, but in a surprising move, Carl sticks up for literacy and tries to keep the Book Club alive. In an act of faith, Rick rewards Carl by giving him his gun back. He then rewards the entire female viewer population by giving them a good, long look at his abs – a bit gratuitous, but still hilarious to me.

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The episode ends with poor ‘ol Tyreese going to bring Karen some freshly picked flowers (wuh-chhh). Instead, he sees a trail of blood leading to two freshly burned bodies belonging to Karen (as evidenced by her Rock, Paper, Scissors bracelet) and presumably David. Before everybody starts freaking out, let’s consider the possibility that this was warranted. Patrick turned within half a day of feeling sick, and we don’t know that Karen and David weren’t headed down the same path. Second, who did it? Only a select few knew about those two, so my guess is either Herschel or Bob. The rest of them were on screen the whole time. Herschel because he cares more about the safety of the original group than of the Woodburians, and Bob because we’ve had two black men coexist in The Walking Dead for two whole episodes now; it’s time for one of them to go! Just kidding, Bob seems to be one of those guys who always tries to help the situation by making it worse.

Hush Comics gives The Walking Dead’s “Infected” an A. With Rick and Carl finally coming out of their shells, and Michonne opening up some deep scars, there’s plenty to look forward to. However, Carol’s insensitive advances towards Lizzie and Mika and Tyreese’s over-romantic advances to Karen kinda feel out of character, although they do serve a larger purpose. With the whole group snapping back to reality, it’s setting up something big and I can’t wait to find out what it is.

written by Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television