The Walking Dead Review – “Slabtown” S5E4

I’m going to warn you, I loved this episode.  In fact, this season has reminded me about why I fell in love with The Walking Dead in season one.  “Slabtown” was definitely a slower pace, and felt odd without Rick, but unlike season three, this episode actually had character development, and was just as badass without our regular team.

You tell 'em, girl!
You tell ’em, girl!

We finally got to see a taste of whatever happened to Beth.  She was saved, but really kidnapped to be an indentured servant, by two “officers” Dawn Lerner and her subordinate Gorman.  She wakes up in a hospital to find that she is there without Daryl, and that because she was saved, she now owes the group at Grady Memorial Hospital her “services” in return for food, clothing, and safety.  Because this episode centered around only one of “our” group and introduced a lot of new characters, it felt like a short film.  There was no time to waste in telling everyone’s story.  The writers (Matt Negrete and Channing Powell) did an extraordinary job of showing each new character’s essential qualities rather than telling us.

Dawn Lerner is a wonderful parallel to The Governor.  In fact, the majority of the episode felt like what Woodbury was supposed to be; in the comics Woodbury was a place where everyone had a job in order to keep the place going, but in never seemed quite “right.” It was also striking that Officer Lerner is of the law, under the same practice as Rick Grimes, but in a totally different moral realm.  Lerner believes there is still someone out there, and that her idea that forcing people to stay and work off their debt is for the greater good.  Everyone seems to think they are right in the apocalypse.  What struck me as odd is that Lerner killed her partner Hanson for letting their people die, but she allows Gorman to do something worse, believing that it is all part of rebuilding.

You so evil that the people voted you a worse leader than Gareth.. dammnnnn
You so evil that the people voted you a worse leader than Gareth.. dammnnnn

So what did Gorman do? Well he definitely raped Beth’s fellow patient, Joan, and attempted the same with Beth.  The scene with Gorman coming into Beth’s room and forcing her own lollipop in her mouth was one of the most uncomfortable television moments I have seen in a very long time.  It was reminiscent of what The Governor was like in the comic books combined with “Buck” from Kill Bill; totally and utterly creepy.  I was waiting with baited breathe to find out what would happen to Gorman.  However, I kept wondering why Lerner thought that allowing Gorman to rape the young women of the hospital would be a good part of rebuilding society once they were found.

You had that comin', pal.
You had that comin’, pal.

Dr. Steven Edwards was one of two new characters to care for in the hospital.  The only doctor there, and part of the team from the beginning, Dr. Edwards cares for Beth and seems genuine from the beginning.  From letting her listen to his music (we know how much Beth loves music), to feeding her, and standing up for her to the rapey Gorman, Dr. Edwards actually was doing something to try to rebuild society.  His love of music and art was a rare glimpse into the old world that we don’t really get to see from anyone anymore.  However, Dr. Edwards showed that he is just surviving just like everyone else, and by any means possible.  In his office, he tells Beth that “Art isn’t about survival it’s about transcendence.” But when another Doctor is brought in as a patient, Dr. Edwards forces Beth to kill him when she injects him with the wrong medicine.  The correlation between Dr. Edwards killing the other Doctor so insure his own life and the paining he keeps in his office, “The Denial of Saint Peter” was a beautiful comparison and one of the better moments of writing in the show.

The other character to root for was the patient Noah.  Come on, it’s hard not to root for the kid from Everybody Hates Chris.  Noah is the best person in the hospital.  He gives Beth the lollipop, gives her confidence in her own strength, and gives them both a way out.  He tells her that the hospital only keeps weak people because weak people can never leave, hence why his father was killed, because his father was too strong to stay.  When Noah and Beth begin their escape, it was easy to think, “Damn, they are gonna kill him already, huh?”  The bad towel rope, the disgusting fall into the pile of rotting bodies, and the walkers coming out for the dark just for him seemed so obvious.  When he was able to get out the fences, I found myself cheering and disappointed at the same time.  I was happy that a black man on the show was able to survive what seemed like certain doom, but by the same token, he left Beth behind!  It goes to show, that in this world, they are all just surviving, and there isn’t much room for transcendence anymore.

Let's hope we find out more about you!
Let’s hope we find out more about you!

The most impressive element to the episode was Beth herself. My God the character development!  I squealed as I wrote that sentence, too.  Even from the beginning of the episode to the end, it seemed like Beth had in fact, transcended, but not necessarily in the past sense of the word.  She went from looking for her lollipop to flat out murder in 45 minutes, and I loved every bit of it.  Beth is not to be under estimated.  When we met Beth, she is a scared little girl who cuts herself; something Dawn Lerner is sure to remind her, and us, of by pointing out the scar on her wrist.  But Beth is not that little girl anymore.  As The Talking Dead pointed out, she was raised by Hershel, and trained by Daryl.  But most importantly, Beth has realized her own strength beyond the men who helped her out on the way.  She may have had help from Noah in the hospital, but she alone killed Gorman by using her smarts, put together the clues that the man she accidentally killed was a doctor, and was a dead shot in the hospital parking lot.  When Noah got out, and Beth was arrested, her half smile was unexpected, but at the same time let the audience know right away that Beth is nothing like these other people.  Her final scene of walking in the hallway with the stolen pair of scissors after learning her sentence would be longer was absolutely chilling and a reminder that this world can change who our heroes are.  I am absolutely LOVING this Beth. She has quickly become one of my favorite characters on the show, and I really hope that they keep this whole crazy killer with a sweet face thing going with her.

The Walking Dead - "Slabtown"
Creepiest smile ever.

And this:

  • Did Beth really try to pull an IV needle on Lerner and Edwards when she first meets them? Ha ha.
  • Eating Guinea Pig is good enough for Peru, but not for Beth.  Because ew.
  • The song played in Dr. Edwards room was by Junior Kimbrough and titled, “You Better Run.”  Ain’t that the truth?
  • How does the hospital group get out to do runs if the hospital is surrounded by walkers?
  • How did Beth NOT run out of bullets in the parking lot?
  • They said “shit” a lot.  Just sayin’.
  • Beth has always had “a job” to do.  I’m guessing this isn’t the one she was asking for.
  • Um that ending.  That ending!  I think I could hear my neighbors shrieking, it was that shocking. But bravo to the writers.  It has been a LONG time since I have felt The Walking Dead was planning out a season so carefully.  Ok… SPOILER… The appearance of Carol in the hospital proves that there is a lot going on this season.  There are a lot story lines going on, and they are woven together incredibly well.  Because this is totally separate from the comic story, it is new and exciting to see what is happening and try to guess what happens next.
  • With that being said, Tumblr was on fire after this episode.  They gave us THIS theory, and THIS meme to go along with said theory.  Only click the links if you have seen the episode.  I applaud you, internet, I really do.

Hush Comics gives “Slabtown” an A, for solid character development, an interwoven story line, proving that the “weak” ones are never weak as they seem, and that Emily Kinney was able to carry the episode on her own.



The Walking Dead Review – “Four Walls and A Roof” S5E3

Every once in a blue moon, The Walking Dead takes a break from the divergent path it has made from the comic books in order to really bring it back to the source material. While the first three episodes of this season have varied in characters, their likeness to the comic books is completely uncanny. Whether or not it has done Robert Kirkman’s story justice is up for debate. If you’re having a hard time hitting the nail on the head, why not just get a bigger hammer, right? Viewers who have not read the comic books are in for a special treat, but avid readers may not get as much out of this episode as they would have liked.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22 4

In some ways, “Four Walls and A Roof” translates the events of the issues it takes its materials from (Volume 11: Fear the Hunters) flawlessly. The writers are able to seamlessly blend the events of the comic books with what has already happened at Terminus – a concept that doesn’t exist in the books – and make it all flow together. Word for word, the entire “Tainted Meat” scene is taken from The Walking Dead #66, and was a horrifying, yet appropriate way to open up the episode. We knew Bob had to go after we saw him legless at the end of “Strangers,” but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out in style, because he said the line we were all waiting for, and went out like a true G.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22

The Terminians, as the show has branded them, have always been a smart group of people. I mean, how else would they have been able to take back their camp, survive for so long, AND get the upper-hand on Rick’s group? Their downfall, however, would be their ridiculous arrogance. Leaving themselves a trail like Hansel and Gretel to get back to Terminus (is there even anything left there?) is inviting anybody – say, Morgan for example – to follow them. Also, while painting a big bloody “A” on the church when they returned Bob was spooky, a notion to the group that the Terminians still had them trapped, but it gave themselves away too early on.

However, Rick and Co. prove that their arrogance would be their undoing, as a small group trick the Terminians into entering the church under the pretense that all the strong members were leaving the weaker ones at the church to ambush the Terminians, but were rearing back around to surprise them. It was all going well until somebody, once again, decided to bring the baby to the apocalypse party. I swear, Judith better have the cure to the zombie virus because she is a complete crutch at this point. The scene where Rick finally finishes off Gareth and the rest of the Terminians is pretty quick. There’s not nearly as much build-up as I felt there were in the books, and even the poetic justice of Rick hacking away at Gareth with the red machete is a bit cliché. I would like to think that if I am about to commit gruesome revenge murder on somebody who just ate my friend’s leg, that I would have come up with a better punchline than “I already made you a promise.”

While the scene that unfolded in the comic books was not as visually vile as the one on the TV show, I felt an inane sense of horror reading it. The reaction that Rick, Sasha and Michonne get from the others is half-surprise, half-disgust. From the get-go, Maggie, Glenn and Tara have always known Rick’s group to be the “good guys,” which definitely challenges the idea of Rick gutting Gareth like a pig. Could that have been an influence for them to immediately join Abraham’s group in traveling to “Washington DC?” It seems as though Glenn has become the voice of reason in the group, and while Rick is not talking into disconnected telephones anymore, he sure doesn’t seem level-headed. Glenn even has to use his balls of steel to tell Rick to stand down.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22

With another episode of The Walking Dead in the books, we lose another group member in Bob. Bob’s character has gone through quite the transformation, going from the drunkard that Daryl almost through off a roof to a solid member of the team, and the only one able to crack the ice cold persona that Sasha had. The actor behind the Bob, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., has always been a Hush favorite. His place on the show has always been an auxiliary one, not one of great importance. Hey, at least he lasted longer here than he did on The Wire.

Speaking of that timeless show, the guy who really stole the show here was Seth Gilliam (Ellis Carver in The Wire), who plays the timid Father Gabriel. Under the confession-influencing blade of Sasha, Gabriel spills the beans about his cowardice when his congregation came to him at the start of the outbreak. Gabriel’s teary confession was both chilling and sad, making us really feel for him as a character. Gilliam plays the character to a T, really exploring the depths of his acting ability and making him instantly recognizable as the same character in the books. Although not necessary “useful” in the traditional sense of murdering scores of the undead, his spiritually-driven words will ground Rick Grimes, who seems to be teetering off the edge of normalcy.

The Walking Dead - %22Four Walls and a Roof%22 3

Aside from the fact that the episode is primarily taken directly from the source material, there are a few Easter Eggs that the show refers to that might be of interest:

Tyreese face...
Tyreese face…
... is the new Dale Face
… is the new Dale Face
  • When Father Gabriel voices his disapproval of the church slaughter to Michonne, and explains that he still hears the voices, Michonne coldly says, “Yeah, that won’t stop – hearing the voices.” This could be a reference to Michonne’s comic book character, who, like Rick and his phone, talks to her former lover through her Katana. When she states earlier that she did not miss the sword, perhaps she was trying to move on, but the pull of having it was a bond to more than just her killer, badass self, and more to the loved ones she has lost before joining the group.
  • The marquee in the church has a series of Bible passages that relate specifically to the zombie apocalypse, or the second coming of Jesus, or whatever:
    • Romans 6.4: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
    • Ezekial 37.7: “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.”
    • Matthew 27.52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised”
    • Revelations: 9.6 “During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
    • Luke 24.5: “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
  • Although not exactly in sync with The Walking Dead timeline, Morgan does make a brief appearance in the books about 15-20 issues after the Hunters are dealt with. It doesn’t look like Morgan is in the same frail state of mind we left him in Kings County seasons ago. Will he be good? Bad? Crazy?

Hush Comics gives “Four Walls and A Roof” a B for its solid adaptation of one of the most brutal chapters in this now over a decade-long series. The episode has effectively transformed Rick’s group into cold-hearted killers, where the role of the “good guy” is extremely subjective. The acting in the episode was phenomenal, from Andrew J West as Gareth to Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel. However, I feel like comic book fans got the raw deal here. Where the show largely succeeds is its variation from the source material, and what he got here was a complete reenactment of what we already knew would happen. We would have liked to see a bit more originality and suspense. We do know that next week’s episode “Slabtown” will at least give us that much, as we get to see just what the hell Beth has been up to. #praythestrainaway?

All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review – “Strangers” S5E2

I should have known when last week’s episode of The Walking Dead concluded that the happiness I felt would be short lived. In all honesty, I knew the peace and serenity would be short lived for the characters I love so much, maybe I just didn’t want to admit it. At least last night’s episode, “Strangers”, was able to snap me out of my delusions.
First of all, let’s talk about Father Gabriel. Is he good? Is he evil? Like basically every single other person they’ve come across? I’m no fool, I know how this works, and clearly that man has some darkness in his past that he is trying to hide. Something is up with him and it’s very obvious, from the knife carvings on the outside of his oddly intact forest church to how clean his clothes are. I don’t trust him, but I feel bad for him. The man is terrified, regardless of what he was up to before he met our group. Yet, it was still sad to watch him panic.
Am I good? Am I bad?  Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
Am I good? Am I bad? Does it matter since I was on The Wire?
For fans of the comics, the small screen adaptation of the Priest is spot on.  I was impressed with his skiddish-ness, his deer-in-the-headlghts looks, and fear of being “found out.”  So what did Father Gabriel do?  Well technically, he didn’t lie to Rick, answering the three interrogation questions as honestly as he could, but leaving out one major detail.  No, he hasn’t killed anyone; instead SPOILER, he just refused to let anyone in the congregation into the church because he wanted to save himself and all the food.  Is this just as bad as killing them himself?  It could be, but for a man of God, I think he really doesn’t care what others think, because only God can judge him, despite the ominous etching on the church that reads “You will burn for this.”
It is clear, though, that Father Gabriel judges himself.  He is very guilty about his actions, and this comes across flawlessly in this episode.  As fleeting as his character may seem right now, he is still around in the comics series.  He may be a character the audience will have to learn to love.  As a side note, Seth Gilliam, who plays Father Gabriel and is another alum of The Wire (Ellis Carver) is a fantastic actor.  This role is a total 180 from what I was used to from him.
“Strangers” was the good old The Walking Dead we all know and love, it was intense, gut-wrenching, and when it ended, all I could think about is how the hell am I going to make it to next week?! Not only that, but it was very aptly titled. The group doesn’t just meet a new stranger, who doesn’t repent to strangers, but in many ways they realize how they are strangers to themselves and each other at this point.
Do we really know any of these people?
Do we really know any of these people?
The beginning of the episode spent a lot of time on Carol and her “strangerness.”  There are things she has done that parts of the group don’t know she did: David, Karen and Lizzie.  Carol is a stranger to the group, and frankly to herself.  If this was the Carol who was around when her husband was beating her up or when Sophia ran off, she may have been never gotten beat and never lost Sophia.  But it was all that, and her acts of murder, that changed Carol from abused housewife to full-on Linda Hamilton.  Unrecognizable.
Even Carl is a stranger.  He is not the kid who runs out of the house foolishly, but he still has a glimmer of humanity left in him.  He innately wants to help people.  He always is the one to run towards screams in the woods.  Carl is the man Rick was before the apocalypse.  He doesn’t torment walkers anymore, now he investigates.  Carl will continue to change drastically, at least I would guess so.  He is a teenage boy growing up in a very dangerous landscape.  The things that happen to him now will shape what kind of man he will become, and that could go one way, or the other, if he survives.  With that being said, in the comic series, at this exact point Carl is a murderer.  He killed a kid his age.  I doubt they will show this in the series, but it is the definitive moment of the books for Carl, in my opinion.
And then there is Rick.  Between his wife being a whore (yeah, I said it), having to kill his best friend, battling The Governor, losing people he loves, and losing not-his-baby, Rick is the best stranger; he has nearly lost all of his old humanity.  But we still trust his judgement.  And by we, I mean the audience (I assume) and his group.  They even say so by agreeing to go into the church in the first place.  Let’s face it: Rick is a murderer.  But he is loyal to people who don’t screw him over, and for the most part, he keeps them alive.
And now, for some rapid fire thoughts:
  • From an outsider’s prospective, who doesn’t have to eat cesspool beanie weenies, it seems obvious that Eugene is a fraud. But I suppose that in a moment of “We almost got slaughtered” that he seems like their only hope, but he is no Obi-Wan for sure.
  • Would you get in a cesspool of zombies and water leakage that have been cooking together for about two years?
  • Would you eat the food that has been sitting in that cesspool whether it was canned or not?
  • Michonne doesn’t miss her sword? Well I do.  She does explain that she found it in the first place, just like she did in the comics.
  • Beth! Beth!  Carol and Daryl go after her!  Will they be in the next ep?  And so much for that whole, “we are sticking with Rick from now on” theory.
  • The amount of religious symbolism was beautiful.  Father Gabriel has been copying the Bible word for word.  The carvings and quotes around the church are particularly poignant.  Especially “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has Eternal Life” from John 6:54, in reference to Jesus’ promise of heaven on the last day.
  • Episodes written by The Walking Dead daddy are always great.  Thank you, Robert Kirkman for being so deliberate with your attention to detail.
At the end of last week’s episode we were shown how the “Termites” were once people, too, if you will, and that at one point all the survivors had their humanity intact, begging the question how much could a person take before they break? When Gareth comforted his poor mother in the train car I thought, “Okay, I might feel some sympathy for this guy. Maybe he’ll grow on me!” But after seeing what institutionalized evil becomes when it’s in the wild, I know that Gareth will only make the Governor look like the fat kid from Stand By Me.
Hey Beth.  I'm bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you.  Hope that's ok.
Hey Beth. I’m bringing my last girlfriend with me to come rescue you. Hope that’s ok.
But what about Bob? (Yeah that was an intentional reference to the Bill Murray movie) Ever since Bob was introduced, I have been watching week after week, biting (ha!) my nails, waiting for the terrible inevitable death that awaits him. He’s a moral compass for the group, but more than that, he is their ray of sunshine. Yes, baby Judith gives us all hope simply by surviving, but Bob tries every day to find the beauty in the life he has, which was clear in the game he and Sasha play. When Bob got pulled down by the sewer walker, my heart stopped, but then he rose up and seemingly triumphed. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sitting there for the rest of the episode waiting for the reveal that he had in fact been bitten.
It is clear that Bob is the new Dale.  Not only for the show but a stand in for the comic book version.  The moral compass never stays around too long. And even though we have no official confirmation he was bitten down in the flood water, if he is in fact replacing the Dale of the comics, he was.  Will we get the famed line, “Tainted Meat!”?  I certainly hope so; it is one of the hallmarks of the entire comics series.
Will our group meet Gareth’s group again? Will there be a battle a la the comics?  Will Gareth’s group die because they are eating someone who is about to turn?  And what the hell happened to Beth?  There are so many questions still looming! How exciting!  Hush Comics gives “Strangers” an A- because it gave viewers exactly what we look for; a major cliffhanger, intense moments of stress, and reminders of why we love these characters so much and we tune in to root for them week after week.
All pictures belong to AMC.  They are credited to Gene Page.

The Walking Dead Review “Alone” S4E13

This week’s The Walking Dead “Alone” continued to set up for our survivors to find the Terminus camp.  With the absence of Rick, Carl, Michonne, Tyreese, Carol and the three girls, and only three episodes left, it left one to wonder how epic this Terminus place is going to be.  Clearly it won’t happen in the next episode, which leaves two possible episodes to wrap up all this set up.  Let’s hope all this build up is epic.  The only way for that to happen is for Terminus to NOT be the answer to the comic’s Alexandria compound.  It would be to predictable for comic fans, and a let down for television audiences in the long run.  What do I think it should be?  Give me a week to answer that question.

The episode begins with the story of Bob.  Before the prison, he had survived the death of two previous groups, was alone on the road and got drunk off of Nyquil.  Times are tough when the apocalypse happens.  In his travels, he built a little house, found a truck trailer to sleep on top of, and eventually is picked up by Daryl and Glenn.  Daryl asked him the all informative three questions, “How many walkers have you killed?”,”How many people have you killed?”,”Why?”  Bob tells him he killed one person because she asked him to.  This intro was very short, but it’s hard not to care about Bob.  He is a man just trying to cope.  The lack of dialogue was great, because for once, TWD was able to show instead of tell.  When he is asked if he has any questions, he tells them it doesn’t matter who they are.  In the end, no one wants to be alone.

Bob eats

The convenience of the Bob getting bitten over his bandage on his shoulder was a little irritating.  As was Maggie overhearing Bob and Sasha’s conversation about Glenn being dead.  Also, wasn’t it nice that the one town Sasha decided to stay in, Maggie was also there?  It seemed too tidy considering how long everyone else has been separated.

Then there is the heart wrenching stuff.  Beth and Daryl.  Daryl and Beth.  Baryl.  Yeah, fan fiction with that little name will be crashing the net in a few hours to days here.  And I don’t mind.  Has Carol been getting hotter every season?  Yes, but she also kinda killed some people, or at the least burned their bodies.  She is no longer the woman who needed a Cherokee Rose.  And Beth kinda saved Daryl.  So yes, I will be a fangirl for those two.  This episode did a wonderful job of making us invested in them.  Turns out he likes her singing.  And he likes her.  She changed him, which he proves when he stares into her eyes when she questions why he changed.  Their scenes also gave the best line of the season.  When they find a stash of food in a mortuary home they stumble upon, Daryl says, “Peanut butter and Jelly, diet soda, and pig’s feet.  That’s a white trash brunch right there.”  If someone isn’t going to market Daryl Dixon’s Pigs Feet, I will.  All their scenes were very sweet.


But nothing is permanent.  After a scare of walkers that turned out to be a one-eyed dog (if you don’t watch The Talking Dead, the dog only has one eye because he lost the one saving his owner from a carjacker), walkers really do invade the home.  In the wake of the scare, Beth runs and Daryl leads the hoard to the basement morgue.  In one of the stirring moments of this season, Daryl used the examination tables to block the walkers into the room.  It is many a close call.  Does it seem likely that a table with wheels would hold a large group of zombies off?  No, but it does seem likely that Daryl would be able to get out of it.  But the big “What the fuck?!” moment came when Daryl runs outside, finds Beth’s bag and sees a car peeling away.  Who kidnaps people in the apocalypse?  Who would ruin BARYL?!  WHY???

Straight from Tumlr.  Thank you, shippers.
Straight from Tumblr. Thank you, shippers.

Ahem, anyway, the other plot of the episode was mediocre at best.  Sasha acts like a bitch about finding Glenn and Terminus.  She argues and mopes.  Bob is a good guy trying to cheer her up, but there is only so much he can do.  Maggie leaves them behind to find Terminus and eventually the others follow her.  Maggie had a major gross out moment where she killed a walker and used its guts to write a note to Glenn on the side of a shed.  It dawned upon me this episode that nobody uses hand sanitizer.  They all touch really gross things and then eat with their hands.  Ew. Too much time was spent focusing on Sasha.  She may be a tool, being used to make us to like Bob, but on the flip side, I already liked him.  He kisses Sasha to show her that there is hope in a world that she is afraid of.  She is really just afraid of finding out Tyreese is dead, which is understandable, but she reacts in such an adverse way.  More time could have been spent on Glenn, Mullet-Boy and friends, or even the show-runner, Rick, Carl and Michonne.

The most important scenes came at the end of the episode.  In the town Sasha decides to settle in alone, she finds the best loft apartment in Georgia.  Then she finds Maggie (coincidently).  Sasha and Maggie have their own zombie hoard to fight.  Armed with a sharp stick and a “No Parking” sign, the women easily defeat the walkers.  It was a little Buffy-esque and a reminder of the Buffy/Faith tag team.  No doubt I was lovin’ that.

maggie and sasha
I’ve never seen somebody kick so much ass in a sweater before.

However, once Sasha saw the walkers outside and away from where she was, why should she run outside, and she had none of her bags?  She is a woman who acts before she thinks.  It is amazing she survived this long with that train of thought.  Maggie gives the speech to Sasha that finally turns her attitude around.  The moral being that hope still does exist.  They catch up with Bob, who really isn’t alone anymore, which was a nice little wrap up to the beginning.

Daryl continues to look for Beth and sets down in the middle of a fork in a road.  Not to mention right by the train tracks.  Then the same biker gang Rick ran into surrounds him.  Daryl is forced to join them, but probably had a better chance of doing so then someone who wasn’t wearing biker attire.  I think it is of note that the actor who plays Joe the leader, Jeff Kober, rarely plays a good guy. Perhaps this is the group the comic book fans have been ready to eat.  I mean, meet. *wink*

daryl and the bikers
A wolf joins a pack of dogs

Finally, we see Glenn.  And he sees the map to Terminus.  It all starts to come together.  What can all this lead to?  Thoughts for the remainder of the season wonder if this will culminate into something worthwhile.  Who will die? Will it be Daryl with the foreshadowing of him sleeping in a casket?  Or, will he survive in the biker gang and never look back?  Is Beth a goner?  Where the heck is Rick?  There are still a lot of questions without a single answer of where we are heading.

Hush Comics gives “Alone” a B.  It was slow beginning with too much emphasis on Sasha rather than Bob.  The perk was the chemistry between Beth and Daryl as well as the real terror of the walkers entering their new found sanctuary.  But it still seems so far away from a way to wrap up the season with them all in the same group again.

All images belong to AMC.

written by Adrian Puryear

The Walking Dead Review “Still” S4E12

Honestly, tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead is hard to review because it is so easy to just say, “Well, in the comic books…”  But “Still” took away our crutch.  Since neither Daryl or Beth are in the comics, its time The Walking Dead reviews come down to just the television show.  “Still” was the first episode to only star two of the headliners of the series, which meant a lot of character development.  Considering we finally got an episode centering on the fan-favorite bad-ass Daryl, this episode was surprisingly quiet.  However, with all the conversations, Beth and Daryl are more likable and relatable, making for an episode that will be at the forefront when thinking of either character.

The first scene shows a ragged looking Beth and Daryl traveling at night through a storm.  They come upon a car, but once they realize walkers are near, they both jump in the trunk.  It is a very good thing that it was Buick and not a Smart Car they came upon.  The next part was filmed very oddly, though.  It was confusing whether A) the hoards of walkers we hear are real, B) the hoards of walkers are in Beth’s imagination, or C) they are part of her dream, if she ever fell asleep in the trunk.  Either way, they were very lucky that they could both fit in that car.

Back at their camp, things get very Swiss Family Robinson.  Beth uses the glass she stole from the car to make fire with reflection.  It looks like somebody was in the Girl Scouts.  Daryl sets ups a border with the hubcaps and rope he took to make noise if walkers approach them.  Then he kills and skins a snake.  And honestly out of all the things I have seen on this show, yes, including Well Walker, watching Daryl skin a snake has to be the most vomit-inducing scene this series has had.  It was TOO real.

Beth suddenly suggests she needs a drink.  She is only, what, 18?  When Daryl rejects her without having to do a thing but eat his snake, she wonders off like a typical blonde in the movies.  When she almost gets found by a small group of walker (after she weakly throws a rock to distract them), Daryl finds her and takes her back to hubcap camp.  And then Beth displays the most rebellious behavior she can; she flips him the bird.  Ever since she cut herself, wanting to get drunk and flipping Daryl off are the two most angsty things she has done.

Might as well do something

After Beth yells at Daryl that they need to “do somethin'”, they happen upon a golf course and the accompanying Pine Vista Country Club.  Seemingly nice, but eventually even the rich die.  They enter and all I can wonder is what does that place smell like?!  I mean there are piles of dead bodies everywhere.  Piles.  And hanging zombies who are just wiggling around in their nooses.  And they are all smelling.  And not even a wince from either of them.  As they scavenge, Beth finds a spoon that has the words Washington D.C. inscribed in it.  This could be a nod to the comics and that eventually, everyone heads to Washington D.C.  Daryl packs money of all things, even though it is worthless.  And as the walkers from the outside start to tear down the door, they make their way through the country club.  This part was pretty eery because it was so dark and there were so many dead walkers just laying around.  It was a great technique in filming for the horror part of the show.  When Beth finally finds a bottle that isn’t empty, she is instantly attacked by a walker, and she gets the best kill she has had.  Broken wine bottle to the face.  Its unrealistic, yet very cool.  But then she had to ruin it all by turning to Daryl and saying “Thanks for the help.”  They are only in a country club to get her some liquor, shouldn’t she be thanking him for even going there with her?  Ugh, teenage girls.

We got a reminder of how horrible the living can be, too.  Once the enter the store of the club, Beth finds a woman who has been cut in half and set on top of mannequin legs with a note nailed to her chest that says “Rich Bitch.”  Apparently, the workers of this golf course were none to kind to the people they worked for after things changed.  After trying to take down the Rich Bitch, Daryl covers her up. In the shop, Beth picks a new outfit, a nice yellow polo and white cardigan sweater.  Did no one tell Beth that you should wear white after the zombie apocalypse? .  They move onto a different room where they encounter many walkers.  But Daryl releases his inner Casey Jones and clubs them all with actual golf clubs.  The best part was Beth’s new white sweater getting ruined by the zombie head that Daryl clubs off, right at her.  Hmm, those stains will never come out. After a weak attempt to drink peach schnapps, Beth cries again.  It wasn’t about the destination, but about the journey.  And maybe drinking her troubles away won’t bring back her daddy.  Daryl smashes her bottle and lets her know schnapps is a sissy drink.  Even so, wouldn’t the alcohol been good for cleaning possible wounds?


Daryl takes Beth to a place he had found earlier: a home where the owner brewed his own moonshine.  Beth drinks up and Daryl seems weird about teaching her how and what to drink, but not trying any himself.  At this point, it becomes clear what Daryl was before this all happened.  He was a drinker.  A nobody.  Beth tries to guess before and after they get to the house, but doesn’t see what is obvious in this moment.  She is too busy calling him “Mr. Dixon” as if he is her lame parent.  They go through the house and Daryl opens up more about his childhood and the home he grew up in, which is very much like this one.

Beth then coaxes Daryl into playing a drinking game she learned from her friends.  The “never have I ever” game tells us Daryl has never been out of Georgia, but more importantly that things can turn ugly when one assumes he has been to jail.  Drunk Daryl isn’t so fun loving.  And he pees in the house.  Then he gets a little crazy with his “nevers” getting too personal with things he knows Beth has done, like cutting herself for attention.  Then he goes really over the edge when he forces Beth out of the house to learn to shoot his crossbow at a walker.  It would be pretty difficult to learn how to shoot when a man has his arm around your neck.  Beth then puts him in his place by stabbing the walker and then calling Daryl a jackass.  She finally makes her point, and it is a turnin’, too.  She talks about how long she has survived, and that even though she is no Michonne, she still made it.  She still matters, even if she is viewed as weak.  She still sees her life as valuable, which says a lot for how much she has grown since we met her.  She calls Daryl afraid, and the tough guy says he isn’t afraid.  Beth then recalls when he was scared when Sophia came out of the barn.  Daryl’s comeback is one everyone is thinking, though.  Beth’s great mission of getting drunk is just like “some dumb college bitch.”  And even though its true, Daryl then breaks down.  This moment was one of Daryl’s best.  He really is afraid.  And he regrets what happened at the prison with The Governor.  And he feels as out of control as all humans do.  Beth hugs him from behind, and as awkward as it was, it was also incredibly tender.


In one of the quieter moments of the series, yet most poignant, Daryl tell Beth a story from his past.  He talks about hanging out with Merle and almost getting killed by a junkie over a children’s cartoon show.  The delivery and pace of his speech was chilling.  He confirmed what we already figured; that he just followed Merle around getting drunk and high was his great life was before this.  He was a nobody, and the apocalypse made him better.

I was nobody

Beth then talks about what she imagined her life to be.  Even after the outbreak, she looked forward to her father growing old and Maggie and Glenn having a child.  She wished for all that.  And as much as viewers may not like her, Beth became very human in this moment.  Everyone wishes for the impossible when they are in bad situations.  She may not wield a sword, but she can still dream of a better future.  Unfortunately, she knows how ridiculous that is.  She gets honest about her own mortality and tells Daryl he’ll be the last man standing.  In her final form of happy, crazy, drunk rebellion, she suggests they burn the house down.

And in a montage of splashing moonshine in preparation for the future fire that Smokey the Bear would surely not approve of, Beth and Daryl finally bond.  And after the stack of burning money from the country club is thrown to the fuel, they flip the house off and walk away better able to cope with their pasts and their futures.

fuck you

Hush Comics gives “Still” a B.  The back and forth between Beth and Daryl was really good dialogue . She always questions him and he always has an answer back.  She realizes her mission for alcohol is silly, but at least its not laying around in her eyes.  Daryl knows her mission isn’t a good one, but he goes along for the ride anyway because he is a changed man.  But he is better built for this world than she is.  Then they come to the realization that he is still working through his past and she is working through her future.  Not to mention, the acting was great.  Reedus has always been one of the best on the show, but Emily Kinney proved her worth tonight.  In the past we have all predicted Beth and Daryl will become Baryl (ew), but it seems now they have a pretty good friendship.  The tension those two have is pretty thick, though. Beth seems way too young for him now, but if they do, we better keep that a secret from knife wielding Carol.  Kidding aside, this much human connection was one of the reasons the first season was so great, and this episode was able to rekindle all those feels.

all photos are credit of AMC.

written by Adrian Puryear