Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead "Dead Weight"

Non Spoiler Review:
Continuing the Governor's story, Dead Weight finds Martinez taking his former leader and the girls into his own camp, and the subsequent power struggle and angst that results within the group. The Governor struggles to maintain his new family life despite the pressures of their situation that requires a strong hand to lead.

I'm enjoying the excess development forced upon the Governor and his own cast of characters, but the series is definitely feeling like it's plodding through molasses given this abruptly all came at the expense of the prison storyline. Despite this nitpick, the episode ends bringing things back to the present. And with the addition of a certain heavy-duty piece of equipment now under the Governor's command, the mid-season finale promises plenty of action.

Spoilers Now!
Martinez stares down at the Governor for a moment before reaching down to help pull out Megan and throwing the rope down to him. Martinez asks him quietly if he's been on the road all this time. He explains they have their own camp, but the Governor must accept he's in charge and there's no dead weight—contribute or be cast out. The Governor agrees.

The Governor and Lily set up house together in an RV, next door to a tank that a former army man brought. He wishes he could make it better for her (annoyed by the leaky roof) but she's optimistic.

He goes on a supply run with Martinez and some others, Mitch and Pete, to investigate a survivalist camp. They come upon a decapitated corpse tied to a tree with a sign on it saying liar. As they get closer to the cabin they find another labelled rapist. Inside they find another with murderer tacked on him, and who appears to have shot himself. There are two walkers inside—the mother and child—both quickly dispatched. But they also discover the still biting heads from the corpses. 

As they stay there for the night, finding some beer, Martinez reveals he would have left him in the pit had the girls not been with him, but he thinks the Governor's changed. They wonder what happened in the cabin to create such an odd scene. 

Back at their own camp and enjoying their beers, Martinez explains he wanted to recreate what they had before. Lily admits the Governor won't say a word about their former settlement. After everyone disperses, Martinez and the Governor golf on top of the RV. Martinez confesses his cohort is dead and got reckless after they abandoned the Governor. He notices a family really brought him back, though Martinez would never risk something like that again for fear of losing them. He offers to share the crown a little now that the Governor's here. The Governor abruptly hits him in the back of the head with a club and kicks him off, then proceeds to drag him to the walker pit. He doesn't want the crown, he tells him over and over again and feeds him to the walkers.

Lily and Megan return home to find the Governor sobbing. He explains he had a bad dream. In the morning Mitch announces they found the remains of Martinez in the pit, having gotten drunk and likely fell in. Pete takes leadership of the camp, prompting cries for a vote. He assures them it's temporary until they arrange something more democratic, and asks the Governor to come along on a hunt.

Pete confides in the Governor that he needs some help with leading, but they're distracted when Mitch finds another camp ahead of about ten people with ample supplies. Pete suggests they take them in, but Mitch counters they need their supplies, wanting to take what they need and go. Pete refuses. 

They manage to trap a few meagre animals for food by the end of the day. The Governor walks off and they follow him back into the other camp, which has been massacred and pillaged. Mitch is furious that someone else took the supplies, while Pete is horrified they're all dead. 

The Governor returns home, directing Lily and Megan to pack. Things are about to go very wrong, he explains, and he can't put them at risk. They leave at night, including Tara and new girlfriend Alicia, but they stop on the road when they see a crowd of walkers blocking it, trapped in the mud. They return to camp.

In the morning he goes to talk to Pete, and quickly stabs him in the back. Next he goes to Mitch, pulling his gun on him, sitting down to have a chat. He explains Pete is dead. He admits he was right about taking the other camp's supplies. Pete was weak for wanting to do the right thing. His own brother was similar, always being the hero. He's running things now and will do anything it takes to protect the camp, and if he joins him, he'll never have to worry about doing the right or wrong thing...they'll do the only thing.

Later the Governor drops Pete's body in the creek, telling the rest he died on a supply run. Everybody loves a hero. The camp begins to organize and starts construction of a secure perimeter. The Governor warns them to avoid strangers and report back what they see when they search for supplies. 

A walker gets into camp and nearly kills Megan. The Governor shoots it in the head and everyone comes running. The Governor goes down to the dock and stares down at Pete beneath the water. Pete is a walker, struggling to reach the surface. The Governor then takes the truck to the edge of the woods, spying on the prison as he sees Rick and Carl tend to their garden. With gun drawn he moves on to find Michonne and Hershel disposing of the bodies of the walkers from the fence incursion. He raises his gun.

The Verdict:
I'm torn between my appreciation of the the Governor's arc and the derailment of the momentum of the prison storyline. It's unacceptable that the whole Carol/Daryl revelation has yet to happen. I'm also left wondering what the point is if we've basically brought the Governor right back to his post-Woodbury mental state. Did we really need two episodes to hit the reset button?

It will be curious to see if the Governor can put his need for revenge against Michonne aside in favor of protecting his new family. Or if he will let that opportunity cloud his judgement (I'm assuming he doesn't shoot Michonne and Hershel in the opening act next week).

The massacre of the other camp didn't make much sense given the close proximity the Governor, Mitch and Pete must have been over the course of their day out and heard nothing. But it also means there's another dangerous group of survivalists running around close by too. Will they show up again?

What intrigues me more is the preview for next week which sees the Governor at the gates of the prison with his iconic tank—if this storyline is playing out as it did in the graphic novel then the mid-season finale is definitely going to bring an abrupt change of direction for the entire season. I don't know if I'm even ready for that level of plot development coming on the heels of such an erratically paced batch of episodes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead 116

Non Spoiler Review:
The standoff that ended last issue is broken pretty quickly as Rick and Jesus put their big plan into effect. 

Another fast paced, quick read, issue 116 was an enjoyable one, providing some surprises and call backs to lessons learned from earlier storylines. The result is a very satisfying conclusion to this particular chapter and the promise the war is only beginning.

Spoilers Now!
As Negan and Rick face each other down, the former suddenly realizes there's a mere handful of men from the Hilltop leaving, not half the army as Gregory promised. With that Negan pushes him off the wall and opts for a more diplomatic approach with the invaders.

Rick holds firm to his demands so Negan's men begin firing. Rick's army takes cover and begins picking off the snipers, then unleashes a barrage of gunfire to pin down Negan and his men inside. Negan orders Dwight off to warn the other outposts, but realizes too late just what Rick's plan is—the cacophony has drawn every walker in the area to their position. With the plan working, Rick loads up his troops on the buses, intending on ramming the gate himself with a car.

Holly rushes out to stop Rick, wanting revenge for Abraham. She realizes he's willing to strand himself inside with Negan to break the gate, but Rick assures her he's the only one he won't kill. Holly knocks him down and takes the car, breaking through the barrier and hitting a wall.

As Negan orders everyone inside before the zombies enter the compound, he finds Holly alive, advising her he won't be letting her off that easy. Outside, Jesus is pleased with their first victory, but Rick warns it's just the beginning of the war.

The Verdict:
Issue 116 had some unexpected twists, not the least of which was Rick managing to derail Negan on a couple of fronts. Having grown to expect regular defeat lately, this first victory was a long time coming. The use of the herd as a weapon comes from plenty of past teaching moments and it worked really well as a battle tactic. As Rick comments, he who attacks first, wins.

It looks like Dwight didn't make it out, so I hope Rick and company manage to take down the other outposts before they can be alerted to trouble. Negan does have, Holly, however, and I'm sure she's in for a world of hurt as Negan will certainly want to demoralize his enemies by making an example of her.

What didn't ring right was Rick's decision to drive the car through the gate. Was he planning on being captured? After all the talk from Jesus that his people need him alive as a leader? That makes no sense and he's mistaken if he thinks Negan still needs to keep him alive—what better symbol to parade to their troops than Rick's dead body?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: American Horror Story: Coven "The Dead"

Non Spoiler Review:
The Dead returns the focus to Kyle as he begins to reconstruct his memories and is reintroduced to Maddie, who herself is coming to terms with her return from the dead. Queenie begins to doubt her place among the Salem witches. Fiona's past catches up to her at the school, while she finds herself drawn to the Axeman.

The Dead was a mixed bag, still setting up new pieces in the storyline for future pay off. The Kyle subplot looks like it's finally getting somewhere and Marie returns to prominence, as well. It just felt a bit off and unexciting, but nothing surprising as American Horror Story tends to suffer from these lulls here and there between major developments.

Spoilers Now!
In a flashback to Kyle when he was still alive and hanging with his friends at the tattoo parlor, Kyle has big plans to make something of his life. He wants to be an engineer to insure disasters like Katrina never happen again, and he doesn't want a tattoo that's going to make someone judge him. In the present, chained up in the greenhouse, he's horrified to find his ankle has his frat brother's tattoo. Zoe arrives, holding a gun behind her back.

Zoe explains he knows how this has to end and she should have let him go. The only way she knows to fix it is to kill him. Unfortunately Kyle grabs the gun and puts it in his mouth. Zoe struggles with him and it fires through the ceiling, and she break down, admitting she doesn't want him to die.

Meanwhile, Madison, who has been numb to the world all her life, wants to be able to feel something. That includes taking any poison she can find, to no effect. Even fire doesn't hurt her now, and she can eat all she wants.

Delphine finds Queenie in the kitchen so they go to the drive-thru and enjoy a late night snack. While discussing their odd situations, Delphine suggests the other girls will never see Queenie as her sister because she's black.

Hank calls Delia in the middle of the night wanting to come home. She hangs up, but he promises to see her soon as he sits among an assortment of high powered weapons. Delia gets up and goes in search of Delphine but hears a noise behind her. Madison grabs her before she stumbles on the stairs and Delia gets a flash of her death, including her mother killing her.

Fiona has gone to the Axeman's apartment where he puts on some jazz and gets them a drink. In the bathroom she finds she's starting to lose her hair, but seems to miss the bloodied corpse of the apartment's real owner behind the shower curtain. After a kiss she decides it's a mistake for her and moves to leave. He suggests it's her destiny, but she turns on him. She's a miserable human being, she admits, and he should want nothing to do with her. He offers sex instead of love and manages to seduce her.

In the morning Zoe chains Kyle up in her room and tries to train him to speak. He gets frustrated and Madison comes in, asking who it is. Zoe questions if she remembers it's Kyle given she killed him. Maddie says Delia wants to see her so she'll look after him. When she's gone she asks Kyle if he saw a light when he was dead. She didn't. But they both came back. They're both wondering now if it's been worth the trouble.

Queenie arrives at Marie's salon. She's surprised it took her so long to come see her. Queenie doesn't think the Salem witches like her, but Marie suggests they care plenty. They care about her power, though they'll never be welcome here. Marie reveals they have evil under their roof—she buried Delphine and Fiona dug her up. Queenie doesn't think she's so bad but Marie challenges her to ask her what she's done. If Queenie ever wants to join her, the only price is Madame LaLaurie. As she leaves, she wonder what Marie will do to Delphine. Marie tells her not to worry about that.

Delia confides in Zoe that she sees everything now despite her blindness. The Axeman is a bad spirit that Zoe sent packing, which means she's very powerful and she now has a bulls eye on her back and Fiona is her biggest enemy. She admits her mother has only ever been on her own side. If Fiona concludes Zoe's the supreme, she'll try to kill her, just like she killed Maddie. Fiona is growing weaker but that makes her dangerous. They have to kill her. Zoe returns to her bedroom to find Kyle and Maddie having sex.

Fiona dresses to leave but the Axeman wants her to stay. Fiona suggests the dead body in his bathtub will start stinking up the place. She's no angel either, he says, but she always had someone to tidy up after her. She's called the police and they're on the way, she counters. He knows she'd never do that. She doesn't care to hear anything more about him. He's been watching over her since she was eight, he explains.

In a flashback young Fiona uses her abilities to retaliate against older bully Helen. After Fiona is pushed to the ground it was the Axeman who knocked a shelf down on Helen. Fiona demands to know what he is. He admits he saw her as a daughter at first, but she grew into a fearsome woman and he fell in love. Fiona doesn't believe in ghosts. He just wants to give her pleasure. She tells him to keep his distance and haunt someone else.

Spalding wakes up in his room tied to his bed and Zoe waiting for him, asking how he is. He says he's feeling fine, stunned that he can talk and has his tongue back. She found it in the alcove hidden in a box, still alive because someone enchanted it. He admits it was Myrtle Snow's magic, and that's why he cut it out. She kept it, but Myrtle wasn't powerful enough to restore it. Zoe is. All she wants is the truth, the one thing he can't refuse her. He confesses he didn't kill Maddie and it was Fiona. His family has served the coven for ten generations, he protests. Not anymore, Zoe replies, and stabs him to death.

Queenie goes to Delphine to ask her about the worst thing she ever did. The older woman says the past is best left buried. But Queenie claims she wants to be a true friend and has to see the ugly as well as the good.

Delphine recounts the story of her slave Sally, who gave birth to a baby with a light complexion, obviously her husband's. Delphine decided to make her her new handmaiden to help with her beauty treatments. In her bedroom Delphine explains her own beauty concoction is the only potion that works and asks Sally to guess the ingredients. Sally thinks it's blood. But there's something extra special, Delphine teases, from a boy newly born. She knows who the father is and she needn't bother giving the baby a name. Queenie is mortified and Delphine says she couldn't have a bastard growing up in her house. Sally killed herself the next morning and they buried her with her baby. Delphine points out it was a different time and a different world. She's grateful to have a true friend to guide her.

Zoe showers up to clean off the blood. Madison asks what she's been up to and knows she's upset a little about what happened between her and Kyle. Zoe realizes they can't be together anyway, but Madison suggests otherwise given he's already died once. Being with him is the only thing that made Maddie feel anything, but Zoe doesn't have to give him up either. She takes Zoe to the bedroom where Kyle is sitting and the two welcome her into their bed.

Fiona turns up at the Axeman's bar waiting for him to finish playing. She offers to buy him a drink.

Queenie takes Delphine out to get a new hair style. Delphine is nervous at the prospect, but is excited when they enter the salon, unaware that it's Marie Laveau's, who appears behind her welcoming her back. Delphine tells Queenie she doesn't know what Marie will do to her. But she does, Queenie replies, and Delphine is chained up. Marie suggests Queenie make the first cut and hands her the knife. She'd love to. Afterwards Marie applies the fresh blood to her face. Beautiful, she says.

The Verdict:
The Dead didn't offer anything memorable this week, and played to expectations. Queenie has shifted loyalties to Marie as I thought she would, though how solid that is remains to be seen.

The question of what lies after death continues, and I'm wondering if it will become a major theme as the series progresses. Is there a reason Fiona doesn't believe in ghosts? Is the Axeman more than a ghost? Did the witches do something to him that allow him now to walk the world in a physical form?

While Kyle's storyline hasn't been my favorite, at least there's been advancement on that front. When Zoe indulged in her undead threesome my first reaction was that it was totally out of character. But then I realized it does suit her given she kills everyone she's with. What better sexual companions than two undead ones?

Here's hoping that Spalding breaks the resurrection chain and stays dead.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead "Live Bait"

Non Spoiler Review:
Following last week's surprise reveal of the Governor watching the prison, Live Bait joins him immediately following the massacre of his citizens and his subsequent abandonment by his henchman. Alone and disconsolate, the Governor wanders aimlessly until meeting another group of survivors that reminds him of his past.

Live Bait succeeded in the impossible—humanizing the Governor again. It was also quite a slow burn of an episode, as well, coming on a string of them, but I found I wasn't bored at all. In contrast, there was a high level of tension given it's the Governor we're dealing with, and how he would respond to encountering other people. 

Live Bait refuses to go into expected territory, ending on a surprising note and playing against what most of the audience would have anticipated. The Governor's storyline will continue to get fleshed out next week, but there's the potential for interesting developments.

Spoilers Now!
Following the massacre of the Woodbury militia, the Governor and his two men make camp for the night. As he sits in a fugue in front of his fire he watches a zombie make its way towards him, trying to reach him through the flames until Martinez shoots it. Come morning he emerges from his tent to find they've abandoned him. He gets a rig working and returns to Woodbury, which he burns to the ground. 

Wandering for a couple of months he finally collapses on a street when he sees a girl in a window and goes inside to investigate. He finds two women with the little girl, armed with a gun and bat. He hands his weapon to them and explains the man in charge of his town lost it and he barely got out alive. He offers his name as Brian (from a message he saw scrawled on a barn). Tara, a former cop, and her sister Lily have been waiting for the National Guard. They also have their disabled father (suffering from lung cancer and requiring oxygen) and Lily's daughter Megan, who doesn't talk. They were lucky in having a food truck parked outside their building when the outbreak happened. They ask if he plans on staying, and he says just for the night. Tara warns him not to mess with her family or she'll put him down. Lily comes to visit him after, bringing him food. He takes it, but later dumps it out. 

The Governor brings the plate back and they invite him in. He helps them take their father to his bed. There are walkers moving around in apartments upstairs and the old man says Tara has tried repeatedly to kill them. He asks him to go to a friend's suite to retrieve a backgammon set, something that might make Megan talk again. The Governor does so, and finds the neighbour (who had lost both legs) now turned to a walker and trapped in the bathtub. He kills it and takes the gun in his hand. 

The Governor brings the game back to them, and in his room looks at the family photo he carries. In the morning Lily comes in with a few things for the road. She also gives him his gun back but he tells her to keep it as they need another one. He has the one he found upstairs, and explains that they have to kill the walkers in the brain. Tara's just been shooting them in the body. She reveal her father has stage four lung cancer and nearing the end, with just two days of oxygen left. She asks if he'll go to an old folks home to get any tanks he can find. 

The Governor walks to the place and finds it filled with the former residents. He discovers a dozen oxygen tanks and quickly heads out with them, but his activity has alerted the walkers and he can only escape with two. He brings them back but won't talk about what happened.

Lily insists on tending to his cuts. She admits Megan thought he was her dad when she saw him as he abandoned them a few years before the apocalypse. Megan stays with him while Lily goes for ointment and asks what happened to his eye. He confesses he's a pirate, and when they laugh he explains what really happened was he tried to help someone. 

The Governor stays awhile. Cleaned up and with a hair-cut, he proceeds to teach Megan chess as the girls tend to their dying father. When he passes, they finally bring in Megan to see him. The Governor urges them to go but she wants a minute. The old man's eyes open and he grabs Tara, and the Governor proceeds to bash his head in with the oxygen tank as the others scream for him to stop. The Governor digs a grave and Lily comes out to help bury her father. When they return Megan runs away from him but Tara admits he saved her life, and her father would have been grateful.

He leaves them alone, and when he returns home he burns the photo of his family. He packs up and tells Lily good-bye, but she wants him to take them with him to find some place better. He reluctantly concedes and they leave in the food truck. On the road, Tara admits she's not really a cop, though she was in the academy, and apologizes for lying. When they make camp Lily and the Governor wake up in the night and have sex.

The truck breaks down and they set off on foot to find a car. The Governor spies a herd of walkers ahead. Megan remains frozen but finally runs to him and they head into the woods. The Governor and Megan fall into a pit with a few walkers trapped inside. He violently kills them with his bare hands and promises Megan he won't let anything happen to her. That's when Martinez appears and looks down incredulously on them.

The Verdict:
Live Bait sets up a humbled Governor with a new group of survivors as a contrast to the prison. It's too early to make such grand predictions (after all, we only saw the Governor at the end of Internment). But the series managed to humanize the man in ways I couldn't have thought possible after last season, and raises the question if redemption is possible for anyone in the post-apocalypse. 

I felt plenty of apprehension watching him interact with everyone, and certainly relieved that Tara, Lily and Megan lived to see the end of this episode. Given how so many new characters are offed as soon as they break out of the gate, I hope they stay around as they've received more development in one episode than all the Woodbury characters. 

There's a comparison to be drawn between Carol and the Governor's abandonment of the past, which has become a running theme this season. Only once he lets go of his dead family can he move on and embrace a potential new one. Interesting to see if somehow Carol and the Governor cross paths how they might get along now. But the past isn't far behind with Martinez showing up with all the Governor's secrets. Will the latter kill him or can they agree to make peace now that he appears to be stable?

I'm still satisfied with the low key pacing of this season, mixed with a few skirmishes here and there, as I'm sure the mid-season finale promises a big event. However, it's irritating that we wait yet another episode to get to Daryl's reaction to Carol's absence. It feels like poor pacing to do that, especially if the Governor's story next week doesn't bring him closer to current events at the prison. 

Would I accept a redeemed Governor? It would certainly be an exciting storyline to pursue that would fly in contrast to the graphic novel and ripe for drama with all the characters at the prison coming to terms with the whole idea of it. I doubt that's going to happen, but at least the writers have succeeded in raising that hope. So if (and when) the Governor falls back into his old ways it will be just that more tragic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: American Horror Story: Coven "The Axeman Cometh"

Non Spoiler Review:
The Axeman Cometh introduces a new plot and character to the storyline, as a serial killer crosses paths with the school in 1919. In the present, Zoe's plan to consult a Ouija board to contact Maddie yields mixed results. Delia comes home from the hospital but her new found powers strain her marriage to Hank.

Much like the Black Dahlia from season one, Murphy brings in another historical character, the Axeman of New Orleans, and provides another historical flashback to the witch's school. I have no idea how important this character may be to the season, but he does get slipped into the plot to provide the girls some answers and will have an impact on at least next episode.

Though there were the usual weekly twists and surprises, I found this one to be a mixed bag and one of the weaker ones of the season, but it did have to follow the incredible Halloween two-parter. The Axeman Cometh still entertained, and served best as clean up for last week's mayhem.

Spoilers Now!
New Orleans, 1919. A narrator calling himself the Axeman, who has been terrorizing the city, declares his intention to claim other victims. He sends a letter to the newspaper announcing his plan to spare anyone whose house is playing a jazz band (given he has a thing for jazz). The witches at the school read the article and discuss finding some jazz to play to be on the safe side. One bold witch decides they are powerful (as well as suffragettes) and need to take a stand for once.

The axeman is actually a bartender, and as he walks the streets that night he hears plenty of jazz playing—except the witch school, which is blaring opera. He goes inside where one of the witches waits for him reading tarot cards. He tells her he made his intention clear as she pulls the Death card—his card. Then her schoolmates ambush him and stab him to death.

In the present Zoe goes through Maddie's things and a tiny bottle of liquor rolls out into the closet where she finds a hidden door containing an alcove full of old photos and a Ouija board. She shows the school pictures to Queenie and Nan, explaining how the school used to be full of witches a hundred years before, and now their numbers are down to three. She feels Madison wants them to find her—so she pours each of them a drink of absinthe and vows to watch their backs. Queenie is less than enthused, but partakes. They proceed to use the Ouija board despite Queenie's warnings how dangerous it is. 

First question—are we alone? It moves to no. Did you die here? Yes. Were you murdered? Yes. Who killed you? You did. They ask if this is Madison. No. They ask who it is. Axeman. Queenie puts a stop to it, telling Zoe she best know who she's talking to if she's going to play around with it.

At the hospital Fiona finds herself able to read the minds of those getting chemo with her, something that starts to drive her crazy. She never had the ability before and wonders if it's the medication. The doctor asks her to stay and finish her chemo. He assures her they've chosen an aggressive form of treatment for her. She realizes what she really wants is to belong to somebody.

Investigating the Axeman of New Orleans, Zoe learns he killed eight people and was never caught. Nan explains that his response that we killed him refers to the class of 1919, the year the Axeman disappeared. Nan and Queenie both refuse to continue communicating with him. Zoe is disgusted at their lack of solidarity, so proceeds herself.

She asks where Madison is in exchange for giving him what he wants. He tells her the attic. Zoe goes to investigate, and in Spalding's room is immediately assaulted by the stench. Maddie's decomposing body is in the chest, and Spalding grabs her from behind.

Blind Delia comes home from the hospital with Hank. She's angry she can smell roses. She needs chrysanthemums for strength and protection. Hank touches her again and she gets another vision of the red-haired woman. She demands to know who it is. She had to go blind to see things she couldn't before. Fiona is pleased with their relationship breakdown and laughs she finally has Hank's number. Delia warns him he'll be accountable for all his betrayals and sends him away. 

Fiona explains she's been given the sight, the greatest and hardest gift to live with. When her mother touches her she gets a flash of Myrtle's burning. She's horrified Myrtle is dead and refuses to believe she threw acid in her face. 

Zoe quickly knocks Spalding out with a doll and then Queenie, Zoe and Nan proceed to torture him to confess to the murder. Nan can hear his voice in her head. And he answers yes. He has unique appetites, he reveals. He wonders if they will turn him into the authorities and expose the coven, he adds. Queenie isn't so helpless, and takes a heated spatula and presses it against her face until a welt burns on Spalding's cheek and he passes out. They'll kill him, she says, but Zoe isn't sure he's telling the truth. 

At Misty's cabin, the witch has Myrtle buried in dirt, slowly healing her. Kyle arrives and she cleans him up, but that prompts a flashback of his mother and he freaks out. After breaking a variety of things, including her Stevie Nicks record, Misty is infuriated. Zoe arrives, shocked to find him there. Misty wants him gone, but Zoe says she's taking them both with her as she needs her help.

Hank comes to see Marie, announcing they have a problem. He's angry about the acid attack but Marie assures him she wasn't behind it. She thought she'd hired a professional witch hunter—six years in that house and for nothing. He protests he's killed nine Salem descendants for her (including Cayley, who visited Delia at the school as shown in a flashback). Cayley could start fires with her thoughts. She wasn't open to  Delia's offer and just wanted a good husband. But Marie didn't intend him to play house with Delia. Now Delphine is brought back to life and her Bastian is dead. Marie orders him to bring her the heads of all of them and burn the school to the ground...and she'll let him live.

Zoe takes Kyle and Misty to the greenhouse and chains him up. She shows Misty Maddie's body but she's already rotting and beyond Misty's power. Zoe presses her, providing Maddie's missing arm. Misty concedes and proceeds to do her work. With Zoe's help Maddie begins to revive and scream. Zoe explains everything to Queenie and Nan about their new house guests. Misty wants to be taken home but Zoe offers for her to stay so she has some place to belong. Misty wants to be alone. The school isn't her tribe, and there's bad vibes in the house, she muses.

As Delia takes some pills and gets ready for bed, the Axeman is sitting in the bedroom. I've always hated this room, he says. Delia demands to know who he is. He's been trapped inside the room all these years, until the young witch offered him his release in exchange for a favor. But when the time came for her to release him, she left. He's trapped in there with Delia and refuses to let her out. All she has to do is to sing and dance, he adds.

Maddie slowly regains her senses, but isn't sure how she died and remembers very little. Maddie recalls seeing red, but nothing after that. And there's nothing on the other side, she explains. Just black.

Delia's scream alerts the girls who run up to her room. Zoe says she promised to release him but Delia refuses to allow them. Zoe rushes downstairs to find a spell to make him move on. She pulls out a particular book that calls to her and it flips to the appropriate page. They cast the spell and rush back to Delia's room where she's alone and screaming.

Outside the Axeman walks down the front steps to the gate and starts on his way down the street. At a bar he takes a seat next to Fiona, asking what she's drinking.

The Verdict:
Murphy throws in another historical character with the Axeman, and I wonder how long he'll be wandering around, or how he will be involved with Fiona. What was the true nature of the spell that Zoe (had) selected (for her?). Is there some other twist to it that is yet to come? And is Zoe doing this because she's the supreme or someone else is pulling her strings?

The big revelation this week was Marie and Hank's connection. I was feeling some sympathy for Marie, but it appears she's been working against her truce with Anna for years.

I was surprised to hear the casual line given to Luke, who has been sent home already. Given Fiona's comments last week I assumed he would remain in the house recovering.

My big criticism here is yet another resurrection from the dead. Let's see—Kyle, Delphine, Maddie, Myrtle, and now the Axeman have found their way back to the mortal plane (except poor Bastian) . If death isn't going to stick it's going to be difficult to feel any sense of doom when it comes to character mortality.

To make matters worse, this week was very inconsistent in who can be resurrected—why is Misty leaving Myrtle planted in the ground to heal for so long when Maddie (who has been rotting in the attic and missing a limb, is brought back to life within minutes?). Of course, that might not be Maddie that came back. We definitely need to see some consequences to all this, and maybe that's what Murphy has in mind if some higher power (like the Devil) is going to make its displeasure known with the amount of dead bodies rising at the school.

Some idle thoughts—What's with Fiona's continued Good Samaritan hospital antics? Are they unmotivated acts of kindness or are they more nefarious? And her doctor seemed unusually suspicious, too. Are we to take anything from Maddie's comments that she saw nothing beyond death? 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead "Internment"

Non Spoiler Review:
Internment finds Rick returning to the prison as Hershel desperately struggles to hang on to the last vestiges of civilization while dealing with the worsening conditions of his patients. On the outside, Maggie manages the ever-increasingly herd of walkers pressing against the fence.

I found the first half of Internment a tad slow and uneven, especially following a string of slow-burn type episodes. But it really turned around for the second half and made for quite a tense and riveting hour when all was said and done. The dark tone of the series seemed extra heavy here, especially with the focus on Hershel, who has always had his faith in a higher power that their situation was happening for a reason.

The Carol revelation only got cursory mention given the more pressing events at the prison, so hopefully that provides suitable drama next week. The final act brought a satisfying cliffhanger that answers the anticipation of many viewers.

Spoilers Now!
Rick continues his drive home, staring at Carol's watch. Meanwhile, Hershel, Glen and Sasha try to save the seriously ill who are choking on their own blood, but people continue to die, and Hershel insists on removing them from the cell block before they dispatch with the body. Lizzie finds him and Glen taking out the latest fatality.

Hershel goes to talk to Maggie and reassures her Glen is resting. As she tries to clear the massing walkers from the wall, Rick returns, and she sees he doesn't have Carol with him. He reveals the truth about Karen and David and tells her to fill in her father. He then asks if she would have brought her back, and after a moment Maggie admits he was right to send her away. He goes on to find Carl and is relieved he hasn't had to use his gun. He passes off the food he gathered, but won't let him out of quarantine yet. Carl points out he hasn't gotten sick, but Rick needs to protect him for as long as he's able. 

Dr. Caleb believes he's past the point of recovery and urges Hershel to focus his attention on the others as well as securing the cells in case people begin to turn. Despite his best efforts, someone dies in the middle of the cell block and Hershel tells everyone to go back inside. A very ill Sasha comes over to help him take the body out. 

Rick finds him afterwards, learning they've lost three so far. Rick assures him the people still have hope. Hershel still believes there's a reason all of it has happened. Rick confesses what's happened with Carol, which weighs heavily on Hershel as he closes off all the cell doors. He finds Sasha unconscious and tries to save her, while in the next cell over another has died and begins to rise as a zombie.

Sasha wakes up and thanks Hershel for being so damn stupid to come in and care for them. Meanwhile, Glen has been looking after one of their patients helping him to breathe with a makeshift tube, but he starts to choke. Glen collapses himself before he can call out for Hershel. Lizzie finds him bleeding from the mouth just as the other wandering zombie takes down Hershel, and Glen's patient also rises from the dead. That makes three walkers on the loose as the others are roused to the commotion.  

Hershel gets up as Lizzie leads the zombie away from Glen. Lizzie falls down but Hershel throws it over the rail. He finds Glen struggling to breathe. Caleb has also turned and Hershel stabs him in the head. 

At the fence, a gunshot alerts Rick and Maggie that trouble is brewing inside. He tells her to go, as he'll take care of the fence, so she runs off. Rick goes to find Carl and gets him to come with him to help, but the weight is too great and walkers pour through a break. Carl and Rick run back into the inner fence.

Maggie finally breaks through the viewing glass window to get inside the quarantine. Hershel begins to draw another walker away and kills it, then returns to Glen's side. The other walker that was Glen's patient still has the breathing pipe in its throat and he tries to tear it out to use on Glen. Maggie arrives and shoots it in the head. They rush back, connect the tube to Glen and get him breathing again. Lizzie comes back, asking if it's over. 

As the walkers get through the second barrier, Rick and Carl start firing to hold them back. They finally manage to take down the herd and go through to ensure they're all dead. They see Daryl's group returning.

With the situation inside under control, Tyreese rushes to Sasha's side. Maggie brings the supplies for Hershel and Bob to begin dispensing and tells her father to go rest. He goes back to Caleb's cell and tries to read his Bible, but starts crying. 

In the morning cleanup of the prison begins. Daryl asks Hershel where Carol is. He suggests he talk to Rick about it. Hershel asks to tag along with Michonne as she drives out the pile of bodies. Rick and Carl taste the first beans from their garden as Rick delays talking with Daryl. Outside the gate the Governor watches from the trees.

The Verdict:
While some of Internment felt ploddingin hindsight I did enjoy the end result. The level of tension and foreboding was pretty weighty, and Rick voiced everyone's thoughts that life at the prison will never be the same again once this plot is resolved.

As people begin dropping like flies for a second outbreak, I was left with my criticism from the beginning of the season—we've never had a chance to see these Woodbury characters in any context other than about to die. While Rick and Hershel and the rest have had months to bond with these people, the continuing slaughter of the background characters doesn't provide the emotional impact it should. Even Dr. Caleb, who has had more screen time that most, didn't affect me in any way.

While we didn't get the anticipated Daryl/Rick confrontation, that must come next week. I guess Maggie's reaction doesn't surprise me, given her faith-based upbringing, but when all hell was breaking loose and the wall was coming down, my only thought was that they certainly could have used an extra set of capable hands like Carol.

Some well-deserved shout outs go to the Hershel focus this week, someone who is juggling his own character arc, as well as plenty of Dale stuff that passed to him from the graphic novels. Watching him struggle to kill the walker (given his previous history) was effective. Also great to see Maggie, who really shone in her command role. And finally to Sasha, for surviving the flu, given her character holds a lot of promise.

The reappearance of the Governor came sooner than I thought. I don't know if he can be the rat-feeder, given that person was operating from within the prison. But it suits his modus operandi to slowly wear down the prison defences with the herds as has been happening so far this season. It's more likely Lizzie, who is treating the undead like pets. As the The Walking Dead approaches its midseason break, I'm sure that events will begin to accelerate for what promises to be a significant cliffhanger.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: American Horror Story: Coven "Burn, Witch, Burn!"

Non Spoiler Review:
Burn, Witch, Burn! is a tense and wildly entertaining conclusion to the Halloween arc. A flashback to Delphine's earlier evil ways show that her daughters have much to be aggrieved about when they reappear as part of Marie's undead army. With the school under attack, the girls are left to their own devices while Fiona sees to a severely wounded Delia and the council returns demanding answers.

There's plenty of plot development among the carnage, as well as some interesting twists and turns. While a few plot points were glazed over relatively quickly, Burn, Witch, Burn! was easily the best episode to date. 

Spoilers Now!
New Orleans, 1833. Delphine's Halloween party has her eldest daughter flirting with a new gentleman. To spite her, Delphine invites him to tour her chamber of horrors. The bowl of eyeballs contains actual blood and eyeballs, torn from her slaves. He's not man enough for her chamber of horrors, she laughs. Her daughters later commiserate how they will never have a husband unless they rid themselves of their mother. Delphine learns of this and that night has the three of them dragged from their beds and thrown into the cages in the attic. They protest they were never going to go through with it, but Delphine warns they still only draw breath because she loves their faces. She'll set them free in a year.

In the present, Delphine looks upon the animated corpses of her daughters and slams the door shut, declaring it's too late for all them now. As they bang on the door, Queenie comes down to warn that something's going on outside.

Fiona hears Delia's screams and rushes to her side. She spies the hooded figure leaving. At the hospital the doctor explains sulphuric acid has burned through her optic nerves. They couldn't save her eyesight. After sitting at Delia's bedside, Fiona wanders the hospital until she comes upon the medication room. She finds some pills and washes them down with her flask, and in a fugue spies the hooded figure down the hall. One of the patients tells her she might have well thrown the acid herself. She then finds a woman in her room whose baby was stillborn. Fiona tells her it was a girl and brings it to the mother to hold, despite her protests. She needs to feel safe, Fiona says, urging her to talk to her. Then Fiona lays hands on it and the baby starts breathing. 

Nan explains the undead are surrounding the house—she can't hear them in her head. Zoe closes the drapes and secures the house as Luke chides them that it's just a prank. He goes out to handle them. The zombies remain motionless for the moment, until Marie levitates and utters begin. A few trick or treaters who have been complimenting the figures on their prosthetics are abruptly torn to shreds as the zombies become active. Luke is wounded as he tries to flee, but Nan rushes out to rescue him, taking refuge in a car.

Spalding takes Delphine and the still weak Queenie upstairs. Delphine puts Queenie to bed and goes to get ice for her, leaving Spalding to care for her. In the kitchen Delphine finds one of her daughters peering through the window. She unlocks the door and lets her in, declaring how sorry she is for all she did to her, wondering if there is something still inside her that remembers her mother. Delphine promises to make amends. The creature grabs her throat and lifts her off her feet.

Queenie sends Spalding to find out what's keeping Delphine. She hears a commotion in the hall and goes out to find him crawling away from Delphine's zombie daughter. It goes after Queenie, but she stabs her shoulder, inflicting the same wound on the creature. Queenie slashes her throat, but it keeps coming. Finally Delphine appears and impales it with a poker, which seems to kill it. She had a monster for a mother, Delphine confesses. This was the only kindness she ever did for her. She sobs against Queenie's shoulder.

The undead begin to break through the car windows until Zoe distracts them by banging pots, leading them away. She hides in the garden as they pile up against the door in pursuit. Zoe retreats into the greenhouse and finds a chainsaw.

Nan helps Luke out of the car, drawing the attention of the zombies again, who follow them back to the house. Zoe appears with the chainsaw and starts severing heads and bodies, dispatching with all of them, except for one. Cornered, Zoe holds up her hand, utters a word and the creature falls back. Back at the salon, Maria collapses to the floor, declaring there's some real power in that witch house.

Hank shows up in Delia's room after driving all night, finding an angry Fiona waiting. Fiona leaves, vowing that he needs to disappear. Hank promises his wife he'll never go away. As he touches her Delia suddenly wakes up with a vision of him and the red haired woman.

Come morning, Fiona oversees the burning of the undead as Zoe and Nan gather the bodies. Luke is sleeping but isn't well enough to leave. Fiona tells them he can stay until he recovers, and his mother will only call the cops anyhow. Fiona is pleased with Zoe's service to the coven and won't forget it. Delphine joins Fiona at the fire, languishing at the end of her daughters. They deserved a better mother. Fiona knows the feeling. Delphine suggests their shared tragedies can bring them closer together, but Fiona doubts that.

The council shows up, charging Fiona with gross neglect of the coven. The house is under attack by outside forces and her own daughter is in the hospital. They demand her abdication. The council shall oversee the coven until the supreme shows herself. Fiona curses Myrtle for trying to seize power and demands they sit and listen. 

Fiona explains the coven is under attack from inside. She saw the woman in the cloak and it was Myrtle Snow. Myrtle is outraged at the accusation. She loved Cordelia. Fiona implies she murdered Madison, as well. Pembrooke and Quentin are intrigued and want to hear more. Fiona reveals that Myrtle used an alias and has been in town all these weeks planning the coup—and she shows her pictures from Myrtle's hotel room which show a wall of photos of Fiona. Myrtle breaks down, declaring Fiona had to be stopped. But Fiona demands justice and tears off Myrtle's glove, showing an acid scarred hand. The others have no choice—burn her. Myrtle refuses to resist. She's used to being an outcast and will go proudly to the flame.

In the countryside Myrtle is led to her pyre. Zoe can't believe this is actually happening as Myrtle is tied to the stake and doused with gasoline. They watch her go up in flames. 

Fiona continues downing her pills and gets a visit from Queenie, who asks if she helped her frame a guilty woman or an innocent one. During the inquiry it was Queenie who dipped her own hand in acid to cause the wound on Myrtle. No one is innocent, Fiona says. Queenie doesn't know if she can live with it. Fiona teases that her mind is getting stronger and Queenie can rise to heights she can't yet imagine, even the supreme. Queenie likes the idea of that. Fiona asks for her trust and to follow her instruction, and Queenie, tempted with power, promises. 

Meanwhile Spalding sprays copious amounts of air freshener around his room and around the chest holding Madison's body. He tries to lift her out but tears her arm off.

Misty arrives at the site of the burning where feral dogs are eating the body. She lays her hands on the charred remains and Myrtle opens her eyes.

The Verdict:
Burn, Witch, Burn! was lots of fun, right down to the chainsaws cutting a swath through the undead. Myrtle's arc has taken a significant twist, and it appears she and Misty will be conspiring together. Could Myrtle find a kindred spirit in Misty, someone she could groom to be the supreme? Something tells me that Kyle may be making his way back to Misty, as well.

For that matter, how much of Fiona's framing of Myrtle was true and fabricated? Fiona's sudden revelation that she'd been investigating Myrtle's appearance in town all this time seems a bit contrived, so I don't know if the writers will delve further into this or we'll just be left to accept it at face value. Regardless, the council appears to be completely blind and impotent to everything going on.

Zoe still appears to be the too obvious choice for the supreme. Her new spell casting during the zombie attack could be a red herring (she and Madison did swear allegiance to the Devil in their resurrection spell for Kyle, so that definitely has to figure in to what's going on). Is the Devil going to be making an appearance at the school, given Marie detected some heavy duty witchcraft at hand?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Walking Dead "Indifference"

Non Spoiler Review:
With supplies running low, Rick and Carol leave on a food and medicine run as he copes with the knowledge of what she did in the prison. Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Bob attempt to find a new vehicle and salvage their mission to the veterinary college.

Indifference was another quiet but ominous episode, continuing this season's theme (in case we missed it) that people either change or die in the post-apocalypse. It was packed with moral questions and the two groups provided a contrast of how each deal with similar ethical obstacles.

I found the conversation between Rick and Carol very gripping and some of the best scenes of the season. Giving Daryl, Tyreese and Michonne some time together was also a nice move. It was all a welcome respite from the prison set. I thoroughly enjoyed this thought-provoking chapter, despite the conclusion which left me outraged at certain characters and is sure to divide fans into two camps. 

Spoilers Now!
Carol speaks to Lizzie through the glass partition, letting her know she and Rick are going on a run for food and whatever other supplies they can find. Lizzie informs her no one else has died yet, but she expects more will, and at least they will get to come back. They're still something, someone, she tells Carol. If she doesn't die she'll get bit, but she'll still be her, just different. That attitude worries Carol, who reminds her to run if there's danger. She can't be afraid to kill to save herself or her sister. Lizzie understands and Carol assures her she's a survivor. When Lizzie accidentally calls her mom, Carol asks her not to do that again. If Lizzie is still afraid to kill, Carol advises her to fight it, and one day she'll just change. They all change. Meanwhile, a pensive Rick loads up the car.

On the drive, Carol points out Rick doesn't trust her now and left Maggie in charge at the prison. She explains Karen and David were suffering, drowning in their own blood, and she made it quick. They needed the bodies gone and at the time were the only ones who were sick. She had to try to save lives. Rick says maybe

The two disembark in a neighborhood and find a car that appears to have been recently parked there. They set about investigating the houses. After cleaning out a medicine cabinet, Carol kills a zombie that comes tumbling down the stairs, and then a man and woman emerge, offering them food. Carol treats his dislocated shoulder as they explain they were trapped there after raiding a greenhouse. Rick watches as Carol manages to reset his shoulder and tend to it. The couple, Sam and Ana, were separated from their crew about a week before. They ran a refugee centre together until people trampled her in a fire and injured her leg. Sam saved her life. They've been on the move ever since. Rick and Carol share a look, and then he asks them his three questions.

Daryl's group cleans up at a creek and sets off in search of a new ride. Tyreese remains disconsolate that they're so far behind schedule and Sasha is likely dead. They come upon a service station where a car looks to have been hidden beneath some branches. As they clear away the vines to see what else is there, Tyreese accidentally cuts through the binds on the door, which is holding back all the walkers trapped inside. After dispatching them Michonne berates him for not working with the team.

Inside Daryl finds a battery for the car while Tyreese and Michonne wait. She tells him he should have let the walker go when they told him, and suggests he just wants to die. Anger makes him stupid, she warns. He counters she's still angry about the Governor. If he was here, she'd cut him in two, she admits, but she's not angry. She was. He asks why she still searches for him, but she confesses she doesn't know.

Daryl and Bob find those inside killed themselves by drinking antifreeze. They come across an older walker trapped under a desk. Bob puts it out of its misery. Daryl asks Bob about the group he was with before. Bob was found on a road by Daryl after having been with two different groups and ended up as the last man standing in both. It weighed heavily on him and he almost didn't come with Daryl. Then he confesses he came on the run to the big box store because he wanted a bottle, and that's what brought down the shelf and got Zack killed. Daryl tells him that's bullshit. He and Sasha picked the spot and there's no way he could have known. He's not standing alone. With the car working, the four of them head off in their new ride.

Sam asks if they passed their test. Rick explains the prison and the dire situation, but they're keen on the prospect of fences and walls and want to come. Rick tells them to sit tight while they sweep the neighbourhood. The others offer to help but Rick is reluctant. Sam promises not to take any chances. Rick acquiesces and gives them a gun to fire if they're in trouble, promising to rendezvous in two hours. He gives Sam his watch.

In another house, Rick asks Carol if it was right to let the kids come back with them. It was the humane thing to do, she says. Carol concedes if they're strong enough to help them survive then he made the right call. Carol asks why he hasn't said a word about her killing Karen and David. She wants him to face reality—he can be a farmer, but he can't just be a farmer. He was a good leader, she admits. He never murdered two of their own, Rick shoots back. Just one, she replies, referring to Shane. He doesn't have to like what she did, just accept it, Carol tells him.

Outside Rick picks some tomatoes growing in a garden and asks how Carol knew how to fix Sam's shoulder. She confesses she learned it from living with her abusive husband and being thrown down the stairs. She never thought she could be strong then but she already was. He asks why she doesn't say Sophia's name anymore. She's dead, she replies. He admits he wakes up expecting Lori to be there, too. As they come around the back of the yard they find a discarded apple box and blood, and Ana's torn off leg. Across the street walkers are consuming her body. 

Daryl, Tyreese, Bob and Michonne make it to the veterinary college. Inside they hurry to find the supplies Hershel outlined for them. They succeed in getting everything on the list and head out through the dark corridors, fighting their way out through crowds of walkers. Tyreese breaks a window and they escape on a landing on the second floor. Bob slips and nearly loses his bag of supplies to the undead below. Tyreese tells him to let it go, but he refuses and manages to get it free. Daryl looks inside and finds a bottle of booze and no meds. He should have kept walking that day, Daryl says bitterly, and makes to throw it. Bob warns him don't and puts his hand on his gun. Daryl gets in his face and takes his gun, while Tyreese asks Daryl to let it go. Bob didn't want to hurt anyone. Daryl gives him the bottle back and warns him not to take a sip until the meds get to their people.

They discuss a route home to get them back the fastest. In the car Michonne tells Daryl he was right. The trail went cold with the Governor. She doesn't need to go out anymore. It's a quiet ride in the car.

Back at the house Carol and Rick realize Sam is overdue. He wants to wait a little longer, but Carol tells him it doesn't matter because he's not there and they have to go. It was a nice watch, she says. As they pack the car Rick confronts Carol that Karen and David might have lived and it wasn't her decision to make. When Tyreese finds out he'll kill her. When the others find out they won't want her there. If everyone else dies, with just the two of them, he won't have her there either. Carol thought he was done making decisions. He's making it for himself, he adds. She could have pretended everything was fine, but she stepped up, she protest calmly. She refuses to go anywhere without Lizzie and Mika. Rick tells her they'll keep them safe. She's not the woman too scared to be alone anymore. She'll start over and find others, he says, and she'll survive. 

Rick helps her stock up Ana and Sam's vehicle. She hands him her watch that her husband had given her to replace the one he gave Sam. She has no use for the past anymore. She drives away. Rick heads back, keeping an eye on his rear view mirror.

The Verdict:
Indifference left me with plenty of anger and frustration with Rick's ongoing god complex. The pairing of Rick and Carol was long overdue and extremely effective. The survivors at the prison will definitely feel her absence.

The episode had another strength with the grouping of Tyreese, Daryl and Michonne and I enjoyed the interplay between these three. I can't say I'm getting attached to Bob at all given I doubt he will survive much longer (who knows, perhaps the writers will surprise us with a redemption). But he seemed to let the group down a little too easily given his confession. 

Interesting that Rick banished Carol but Daryl and Michonne saw fit to keep Bob. It reveals the poor decision-making that exemplifies Rick (which I shouldn't complain about given it's remaining true to the source material). Carol's growth has been a steady journey to leadership, despite the moral questions she's raised by her actions. Meanwhile Rick has made numerous bad decisions and suffered breakdowns, withdrawn from governance, and abruptly takes it upon himself to make decisions that will affect the entire community.

Carol brings up a salient point that Rick killed Shane, but as always, Rick justifies his own decisions when it suits him. I have no doubt Carol cares about the survival of the group as a whole, though she takes extreme measures to do so. And I have no doubt Rick would abandon the group if the situation was dire enough and he had to choose to save Carl and Judith.

Carol's contribution was immense and will damage their longterm viability. It's especially hypocritical when one considers how Rick's handled Carl's less than ethical actions. There has to be some fallout for this, and definitely some reaction from Daryl. I'm sure (hoping) that the chickens come home to roost for farmer Rick. At least Carol remains alive and can return, which is more than we got with Andrea. She's much too strong a character (and a great actress) to abandon so easily.

Sadly, Sam and Ana were too adorable to last. I really want them to work out with our survivors but this is The Walking Dead, of course, and they were quickly dispatched, leaving Sam's fate in question. On a final note, I'm growing more certain that Lizzie and Mika will play out the twins storyline from the graphic novel, which would be quite a bold move.
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