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.

tumblr_n1hn8hsyvK1rzvnudo2_400

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 “After” S4E9

After such an explosive season 4A finale, the season 4B opener of the The Walking Dead was a little lackluster.  It may be because the producers need to save money and not pay actors, but having an opener being Carl-centric was a bit disappointing.  Let’s face it, most people were concerned with Glenn and Maggie reuniting and Daryl saving the day.  But that is probably why we didn’t get to see any of that at all.  Instead, we got to yell at the idiocy of angsty pre-teen Carl Grimes.  The redeeming part of “After” was Michonne having emotions.

We enter the episode with Michonne returning to the prison after everyone has scattered.  But she is going back for only one reason: to finish Hershel off.  Along the way is one of the big plusses of the episode, the recreation of Michonne’s Walker Pets. Then we get a good ole’ “way too soon” shot of Hershel’s little walker head and Michonne stabbing it.  All the feels.

Hershel's Head

Enter Rick and Carl walking alone down the open road.  Carl walks ahead because he has tricked himself into thinking he is a badass.  It becomes clear that Carl doesn’t have respect for Rick anymore, but it is unclear why.  Is it because he realizes his dad isn’t invincible?  Is it because he thinks his dad let all their friends die?  Or is it simply that Carl is just a little shit?  It really could be all of the above.  They enter an abandoned restaurant and encounter Big Joe, the guy with the thickest skull this side of Wolverine.  Is it likely that Rick’s axe wouldn’t have killed Joe?  Probably not, but then we wouldn’t have gotten this piece of advice, “Every bullet counts.”  Rick says this to Carl after Carl shoots Joe.  Again Carl tries to show his upper hand by not doing what his father says.  They find a home and argue some more.  Then like a jealous woman, Carl brings up Shane.  Going for the jugular.  It was the moment for me that I realized that I don’t really like Carl, again.  He had half a season of being a tiny little Rambo, but now he just looks and acts like his stunt double, a 30 something woman.  It’s pretty terrible.

Michonne had a bad dream.  It seemed though that all of it really happened, just not in the same sequence as it happened in the dream.  We got a taste of her dressed up and talking like a normal human being.  She had a pretty nice apartment, too.  She has a “lover” and a child.  She also put her Katana in her knife block.  I am really hoping that a knife block featuring a Katana goes on sale at Target tomorrow.  Anyway, her dream got creepy and her boyfriend and his friend got their arms cut off before they were walkers.  But then she woke up!  But I guess waking up from a bad dream in the zombie apocalypse isn’t really waking up from a bad dream.

Back at the home Rick and Carl found, Carl sits in what was once a young man’s room.  A room with many of the same things Carl may have had if the zombies had never happened.  It was a simple little touch to what was an attempt at a coming of age story.  Unfortunately, this was the only good touch.  Rick is passed out on the couch and all Carl does to try to wake him up is scream at him.  He doesn’t even check his pulse!  It’s pretty ridiculous in a show about survival.  Anyway, of course his screaming attracted walkers.  And then Carl didn’t stay in the house.  Yeah, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that either.  I found this gem on Tumblr everywhere after typing in “The Walking Dead.”

carl still won't stay in the house

And he decides to mess with the walkers.  Remember last time he did that?  Well Dale died.  This time, no one died, but Carl should have.  He leads them away from the house, more than likely because he knows he shouldn’t be out in the first place.  Then he encounters a third walker and barely is able to shoot all three.  They do die on top of him and he has to wriggle his way out.  Then he throws up, wasting the milkless Wheaties he and Rick had argued over the night before.  Instead of being scared though, like a little punk he says, “I win.”  This kids needs an ass whoopin’.  He goes back to the house and yells at an unconscious Rick some more, this time about being such a badass blah, blah, blah and then says he doesn’t need Rick anymore.  Mmm, mmm, mmm, what a little asshole (credit to the secretary in Ferris Bueller).  And moreover, it seemed like not so great acting.  I was not moved.  It may have been the content, but isn’t every 14 year old kid too big for their britches?  Is it that hard to act it well?

Carl decides to go explore some more and finds a lot of pudding in the kitchen of a nearby home.  But then he also finds a walker, wastes lots of bullets and when that one bullet he needed was gone, he tries to scoot away.  Didn’t he think of pistol whipping him?  Well, obviously not.  In a big show of cat and mouse, Carl ends up getting away, although I’m not entirely sure how because there were plenty of chances for his leg to be bit.  But his shoe did get taken away by the walker.  And that was the whoopin’ he got.  And it probably will be the only time that he gets beaten up and his shoe stolen from a bully.  Then he went and ate that puddin’ on top of a roof.  It was a little sweet, a boy and his puddin’.  But then I remembered that Carl is a total A-Hole and it wasn’t that sweet anymore.

Michonne ended up in the woods with her new pets in the midst of a herd.  When she sees a walker who looks eerily like herself she starts to freak out.  Then she copes.  She copes big time.  She literally killed an entire herd by herself.  Well, and her Katana.  And that is how Michonne got her groove back.  A big thanks to my friend Robert for saying that (and the shoe thing earlier) while we watched tonight’s ep.  Michonne then follows the tracks in the mud back to people.  She is ready to be with the living again.

michonne

Back at the house, Carl sits with Rick in the dark.  Rick wakes up, and seems like an un-dead man.  But then it turns out he is just continuing his dead-like breathing with his broken ribs and didn’t want to say anything to build suspense.  Then he says “Carl” in his very strange way and passes out.  Carl finally admits he’s scared and then he cries like a little whimp.

Michonne finds clues as to where they are and reunites with Rick and Carl.  Maybe Michonne will be the saving grace Rick needs, because Carl certainly didn’t go out looking for medicine.  It was all about chocolate pudding.

carl and his pudding

Hush Comics gives tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead a C.  The only redeeming factor was more background on Michonne, her awesome zombie genocide and more emotional depth as to why she is the way she is.  Carl was the center of the episode and if I wasn’t invested in the rest of the group, it would have been a deal breaker.  Carl nor the actor who portrays him are ready for such a tall order of carrying an episode.  It actually mirrors the comic book content pretty well, but the delivery by Chandler Riggs comes off much more like a pubescent tantrum than a boy becoming a man.  This is made compounding disappointing by the fact that it was written by the man, Robert Kirkman, himself.  Robert Kirkman may have been going for a coming of age tale, but all it did was make me dislike Carl more than I already did.  He may be Southern, but he is no Huck Finn.

All photos belong to AMC Television.

written by Adrian Puryear

The Walking Dead Review “Dead Weight” S4E7

We open with chess pieces. The Governor is playing the strategy game with Megan again. They are in a new camp with a new group of survivors led by Martinez. Megan studies the board. Phillip Blake, still acting out the part of Brian Heriot, calls Megan “Pumpkin”.  We cut away to where “Live Bait” left off with Martinez pulling Brian and Megan out of the zombie pit. Martinez allows The Governor back to the camp with his brood, under several conditions, “One, I’m in charge. Two, no dead weight. That goes for everyone.”  The scene cuts back to the game. The Governor tells Megan that letting her win wouldn’t be winning – his daddy used to say so.  He also says that his daddy used to beat him in everything, including fisticuffs. Because of his tone, we are led to believe that Philip was an abused child.

We are introduced to a new crew of zombie killing roughnecks, Mitch, Pete, and Alisha. Alisha is  played by actress Juliana Harkavy of Graceland. Mitch is played by actor Kirk Acevedo, best known for his work on HBO’s OZ as Miguel Alvarez. Pete is played by Enver Gjokaj, known for his role as Victor on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse series. It was exciting to see TV junkie fan favorites in this episode.  I tend to give a series more credibility with known actors, especially  if they come from The Wire! (Dear Tyresse and Bob, please come back into our lives.)  Our new group is scouting the woods with “Brian” in the opening scenes. Sidenote: there’s some history in the book The Rise of the Governor that explains this more thoroughly, but we think that he changes his name because Brian only has one I…. get it?? One EYE! The exchange between Martinez and Philip is tense. Martinez immediately catches on to The Governor’s identity theft scam and plays along. We cut back to The Governor and Megan. The frame widens and just behind Brian is an army tank. Fans of the comic appreciate its significance.  It remains to be seen whether or not that tank will be used to its full capacity.

Well... FUCK.
Well… FUCK.

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead is titled “Dead Weight.”   We find Philip and Lilly clearly in a relationship. Their interaction reminds us of his relationship with Andrea. He deceived both of them. We are made to feel sorry for these women. If only they knew! Brian’s new family of Tara, Megan, and Lilly is dependent on Martinez concealing Brian’s true identity, the diabolical sociopath known as The Governor.

Martinez, Mitch, Pete and Brian go on patrol in the woods, and Mitch clearly doesn’t respect The Governor. He throws a jab at him. “Hey one eye, what you doing?” Brian is focused. We come upon a beheaded body strapped to a tree. The word LIAR is written on a sign and nailed to its torso. Back at camp Tara and Alicia have a flirtatious exchange.  Grrh.  The group finds another body, this time the word RAPIST is nailed to its cadaver. These bodies have led Martinez, Brian, Pete and Mitch to a cabin. MURDERER is nailed to the last body on the porch. They enter the cabin cautiously.  They investigate and are attacked by biters. Brian shows his prowess by saving Pete’s life and reasserting his dominance. The scene is horrid. The severed heads of the bound corpses are rolling about on the cabin floor. We are given no explanation as to why, and it adds to the loss of humanity in this ghoulish nightmare.

And you thought your exes were bad...
And you thought your exes were bad…

Martinez is clearly in charge. He tells The Governor that  he wouldn’t have saved him from the pit if he had been alone. Martinez has lost complete respect for him. He isn’t The Governor’s subordinate anymore. Martinez has made a place for himself now.  The four men spend the night in the cabin. Mitch finds beer and The Governor gives an disapproving  look. One of the funniest lines of the season comes at this point, “I can never tell if he’s winkin’ or blinkin’.” Said in a Southern accent by the gruff Mitch makes for some of the best comedic timing and delivery in the show.  In a tender moment, Mitch reveals that he was an ice cream truck driver turned army tank operator. Pete was at Fort Benning before the turn.  Hooah.

We return back to the camp with the girls. The Governor doesn’t like the conversation between Martinez and Lilly. He is visibly upset when Martinez hints to their past community at Woodbury. Martinez and The Governor clearly are in a pissing match. They are both the alphas. At some point they will have to lock horns.

If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory
If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory

Martinez invites The Governor to his camper.  Drunken, he shoots golf balls from the roof of his RV into the zombie pits. He reveals that Shumpert is dead  and it was Martinez who ended up having to put the bullet in him. Martinez hits the ball into the great beyond, and tells The Governor to grab him another. My how the tables have turned! In my head, all I could think was “Who’s the bitch nooow?” Martinez suggests that they share the crown, and that’s when the fun begins! The Governor clubs him with a 5 iron. It was a swing Elin Nordegren would appreciate. The Governor kicks him over the side of the camper. Once down, he drags Martinez, like dead weight towards the biter pits as The Governor blubbers, “I don’t want it,” The biters pull Martinez into the pit. Martinez is a sacrifice, and the image is almost Christ-like. His arms are spread, as if some macabre stage dive at a concert. The hungry mass pulls him in.

Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!
Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!

The Governor is upset about murdering Martinez. Lilly tries to comfort him, not knowing what he has done. He is conflicted. Pete now wants to control the camp, but is met with discord by the other camp members.  Why on Earth would he want that shit job? One thing that we can rely on in this world is that with enough time, heroes and loose ends meet their maker. Most of the camp look like extras from Duck Dynasty anyway.  Pete seeks Brian for help. They find another camp while on patrol. The three of them, Brian, Pete and Mitch, contemplate robbing the camp. Mitch wants to, but Pete still has morals and shit, and is not prepared to make the hard decisions. The Governor watches and plots. They return back to camp.

The Governor wants to leave . He feels like it isn’t safe. He doesn’t think the interim regime will last. He convinces the girls to leave. Alicia tags along because she and Tara have started a serious relationship, like a day ago.  They leave camp in the night and don’t get far. The road is blocked by biters in quick sand. Stuck in the mud, gruesome and alone, The Governor stands in the car’s  high-beams looking back at the RV of scared women with the biters behind him stuck waist-deep all vying to eat him; the scene is like a comic book  panel or one of those lame “Choose Your Own Adventure” Goosebumps books. They have no choice but to turn back.

Back at camp, The Governor wastes no time and kills Pete by literally stabbing him in the back.  How poetic.  Brian puts on his leather jacket and embraces his true self. He has his Mojo back!  Except that he forgot to pop his collar.  Oh, well.  He immediately goes to Mitch, gun drawn.  He offers a smoke and an opportunity. The nerve! He kills the guy’s brother and then cons him into believing that it was necessary because Pete was weak. The Governor talks about his own brother, a weakling, his first mention in the series. Easter Eggs, galore!!! The Governor tells Mitch a story about stealing his dad’s cigarettes. He and his brother smoked the Lucky Strikes, a clear shout out to Mad Men and Don Draper; plus we see what seems to be a Fleetwood Bounder RV in this episode, a subtle nod to Breaking Bad and Walter White.  Awww, look at AMC sticking together. He tells Mitch, that he won’t need to worry about doing the right thing or wrong thing, because they will do The Only Thing. This implies that morality is Dead Weight in our world and has no place. The two coldly craft a story about Pete’s death. The Governor intentionally doesn’t crack Pete’s skull to keep him “alive” as a biter. He dumps his chained body into a nearby lake. As Pete is reanimated, we see The Governor, standing above his submerged body. He is staring into the water as Pete the Biter tries to reach out of the water for him, much like he did with his heads in the fish tank. Fans of the books know that Phillip did this to keep strong – to erase any fear or doubt. Pete serves the same purpose; he will undoubtedly be visiting him often. Pete has now literally become Dead Weight.

That's cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. No hard feelings...
That’s cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. This scene will have him casted for Lady Gaga’s new video in no time.

The Governor is running the show with a  leather jacket and a swag in his step. He gives orders and people willingly follow.  He once again proves his badassery after a Walker wanders into camp and attacks Megan. While the others are unaware of what to do, he blows its head off, with his shirt open, blowing in the wind. It was a defining moment for the camp. He proved that he is the right man in charge. He won’t hesitate when threatened and they can trust him. He is back. With a new confidence The Governor drives his truck out to the prison. He watches Rick and Carl, once again plotting. He walks the perimeter and sees Michonne with Herschel. He raises his gun and…

governor shooter

Hush Comics gives “Dead Weight” a B for its awesome yet predictable portrayal of The Governor’s fall back into crazy. The next episode is the mid season finale entitled “Too Far Gone,” a title shared with the trade paperback of The Walking Dead Volume 13 in the comic series! The comics are far evolved from this point in the storyline that the show parallels, so we’ll see if there’s any connection to it on the mid-season finale. It’s been a wild ride so far.  Come back next week for our recap and review! 

written by John Soweto, Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television

The Walking Dead Review “Live Bait” S4E6

Last week we got to see a side of Herschel that Chuck Norris would be proud of. This week’s The Walking Dead continues with the individual character study and it does not disappoint. Welcome back, Governor! We open on the tail end of Phillip Blake’s bat-shit crazy assassination of his army.  He is tormented. He is defeated and alone. We see him burn Woodbury. He wanders the badlands like a Grateful Dead fan. He looks like a cross between McGuber and Forest Gump on his cross-country jog.  David Morrissey plays the nomadic drifter to perfection, although the 80’s Kurt Russell look doesn’t quite fit him. It is clearly No Shave November. As he walks, we hear a conversation as a voiceover. He is talking to a woman, and the voice sounds eerily like Carol, but we find out later that it may not be. He tells the voice, “I barely got out alive.”  All of this plays out over, The Last Pale Light in the West, by Ben Nichols.

Dodge-A-Walker champion goes to The Governor.
Dodge-A-Walker of the year champion goes to The Governor.

He is in a daze; he appears to not be aware of his surroundings. He comically sidesteps a walker, and it falls to ground. He had the grace of a Summer League Rucker player and continues on his sleepwalker roam until he sees a little girl in the window of a building.

This week’s episode is titled, “Live Bait.”

The Governor walks into the ransacked building and is greeted by a Smith and Wesson and a baseball bat. Completely alert and threatening are two women standing in a doorway, one with a gun aimed at his head, the other in a Jackie Robinson stance. There is a silent exchange; he hands over his bag and weapon. He is allowed to enter their home. We are introduced to Tara, Megan, Lilly and their father. For the true Fanboys these names will have meaning from The Rise of the Governor novel by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga.  Finally, we have comic book, novel and TV crossover all wrapped up into one neat little rotting flesh package. The immediate reaction in the room as we watched was one of shock. The Rise of The Governor is essential to The Walking Dead folklore and we recommend that you pick it up or download it from iBooks.  There are three books in the Governor story arc and they are crucial for understanding Wizard Magazine’s villain of the year 2010. Even more compelling is the fact that he tells them that his name is Brian Heriot, a name that was on a barn he passed while on the road. The use of the name Brian is very significant in the novel and could be seen as forewarning for future events. He is allowed to stay by promising by “pounding it up,” with Tara. We are sure the Obamas would be proud.

The girl’s dad is elderly and on oxygen. Miraculously, his tank is still full. Before the turn he drove for the Gorbelli food company and his truck is parked in the front of the building. This has been their primary food source.

They feed The Governor Spaghettios, and he throws them out in disgust. I guess Herschel’s Spaghetti Tuesday gets one less vote.

After a talk with the father about a game of Backgammon he goes upstairs to retrieve the game, he finds an immobile zombie in a tub, he puts #BathSaltZombie down and takes a gun that was by its side.

Lilly explains to Phillip that her father has Stage 4 lung cancer and he needs oxygen to live. He is nearly out and is dire need. She asks Phillip if he could go on the equivalent of a Taco Bell run and grab some tanks at the near-by retirement home.

He accepts. This benevolent Governor is puzzling.  Why is he doing this for these strangers? What will this ultimately benefit? Doesn’t he have a Michonne to torture and a Rick to kill?

The clinic is filled with zombies in wheelchairs, id-bracelets, and hospital gowns. Ironically they don’t look much different from what you would expect in a hospice. Once again he avoids them like some grotesque game of tag. Terrell Davis had nothing on this guy! Go Broncos!!!

He dodges and closes doors behind him; he has obviously found a way to manage avoiding them with little effort.  He is fearless, but his heroics seem misplaced. Why isn’t he killing zombies? After stirring up the Bingo room he can’t get all of the oxygen tanks out and brings back what he can carry.

He returns to the apartment with two full tanks and goes to his room. Lilly takes care of him and it is clear that they are forming a relationship.

The blonde haired, blued eyed girl seems to be the metaphor for innocence, or salvation in our world. It’s either that or an omen for really bad shit to happen. Megan is a cute little girl who resembles Penny, Sophia and especially Teddy Bear Walker from the very first episode of The Walking Dead Series. She thought the governor was her dad; that’s why she watched him from the building, which ultimately led him to this group of women. Megan’s real father left for a couple of beers and a Powerball ticket before the turn, and we’re guessing he didn’t win.

The Governor has alone time with Megan in the bathroom, but not that kind. She asks what happened to his eye, and he speaks freely to her, more so than any of the others. He says that he was trying to help people and got hurt as a result.

They Pinky Swear to keep the secret about his eye and she “crossed her heart and hoped to die,” but left out the “stick a needle in her eye” part because she probably didn’t want to seem insensitive.

He tells her that he is a pirate with a smile on his face. He laughs, almost in a jovial way and shows the first bit of emotion since the episode began. This tender moment shows us another side of Phillip Blake. He is the governor no more, at least not now.

He is working backwards. He teaches Megan to play chess, now clean-shaven; it seems as if Megan has brought him back to life. As he is explaining the basics it is apparent that he is talking about the events at Woodbury.

The Governor teaches us about the game, too.
The Governor teaches us about the game, too.

“You can lose a lot of soldiers and still win the game,” It’s the king; it’s the guy you want to capture. Megan takes a marker and puts an eye patch on the white king piece. “We start with the pawns.”

AMC does love their White Kings.... when will Don Draper get one?
AMC does love their White Kings…. when will Don Draper get one?

So who do you think is creepier with kids, Carol or Phillip? Phillip is bonding. He gives a jealous look to Lilly when she comes to get Megan as their dad is dying. This brief moment is strange enough to fill our thoughts will all kinds of devious acts that The Governor could be plotting.

As their dad dies and turns, in his reanimated state he grabs for Tara and Phillip smashes his face into the bed with his own oxygen tank. Splat!

Did anyone else notice that Lilly is like a less hot Maggie?

The next scene we find Phillip burying dad in the back. Megan is now fearful of the Governor and hides behind the couch when he comes back inside. Tara pounds him up for saving her life, but he is not concerned with her. Alone he burns the picture of his old family, they are now dead to him, he has found a new family, or has given up on the idea.  He threatens to leave them, but they stay together, taking to the road in the Gorbelli truck like a National Lampoon’s Vacation sequel set in hell.

Tara apologies to Phillip for lying to him about her occupation before the turn.  She asks if Phillip is lying to her, and he says no. His con-game is working; he has earned their trust and can manipulate the situation to suit his needs.

Megan is still afraid of Phillip. This is clearly upsetting him; he has to make things right with his pseudo-daughter.

They travel through the day and stop to rest.  In the back of the truck Lilly allows him to cuddle with her. They kiss, oddly, and seemingly make love. Yuk!

The next morning the truck breaks down and they end up walking. There is a small herd of walkers around the bend in the road, they swarm in hunger as Tara falls and injures her leg. Megan freezes and Phillip calls out to her, she runs to him, and he carries her away from the herd. We made note that he called to her instead of just picking her up because we feel like he wanted her loyalty. This is the long con.

While running they fall into one of his walker traps (Remember those huge pits he was using to build a zombie army?).  He immediately springs into action with the walkers in the pit and pulls a walker’s throat out in a completely badass move. Fatality!

Um. Ouch.
Um. Ouch.

He grabs a femur and uses that to pry the jaw off another walker.  This primal survival tactic seemed to be for Megan’s benefit. Remember, he got really good at avoiding the dead without using force. As he fights Spartacus style in the pit we hear gun fire in the distance. Martinez shows up with his machine gun at the end of the episode and now things should get really interesting. Upon Martinez arrival, he will have to maintain his Brian Heriot persona with Tara and Lilly. He will ultimately have to kill anyone who threatens his identity bluff or continue the deception indefinitely.  

Hush Comics gives “Live Bait” a B+. This episode pulled us deeper into The Walking Dead mythology but left us with more questions. There were epic kills and border-line restraining order behavior with minors. My vote for Governor goes to Brian Heriot.

Stay tuned next week when we recap Dead Weight, and don’t forget to visit our website! This week we have a special message from comic book legend Todd McFarlane!

written by John Soweto

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