Friday, February 28, 2014

"Where Are They Now?" Eating Crazy Cheese, Of Course


“Inmates” and “Claimed”
The last two episodes were essentially “Where are they now?” catch-ups so we the viewers could find out what happened to everyone in the aftermath of the Governor’s (RIP—NOT!) assault on the prison. So, I will gloss over “Inmates,” in part because I’m eager to get on to the next episode, and also because it’s just so insubstantial. I felt like, “where’s the beef?”
We hear Beth reading old entries from her diary. Remember when the prison site held so much promise? It was safe, after all, with built-in fortifications, and functional rooms for people to hunker down in. Beth is traveling with Daryl. She holds out hope that the others are still alive, while Negative Nancy Daryl isn’t as optimistic. This is basically the entire episode: individuals traipsing through the forests of rural Georgia, sharpening their weapons, and warming themselves at crackling campfires, all the while wondering out loud who made it and who did not.
Now, I am happy to report that baby J is alive, as well as Tyreese and the strange two little girls, Mika and Lizzie, who Carol “adopted” when their dad died. Tyreese, in fact, is carrying Judith like any dad would, on his front, wearing a hastily constructed Baby Bjorn. I half expected him to be toting a Starbucks grande latte in the hand that wasn’t slinging the sub-machine gun. Problem is, babies whine and cry, and Baby J is no exception to this rule. The girls are anxious that her cries will attract walkers.
And yes, there is something wrong with Lizzie. She tries a little too hard to silence baby J. Keep the nasal passages clear, Lizzie, just cover the mouth! But no. I imagine that Lizzie is the kind of kid who enjoys frying ants with a magnifying glass or crushing baby birds with her bare hands. We have witnessed before (see: Carol; Shane) that psychopathic tendencies can serve one well in the post-apocalyptic world. Carol saves the day! Recall that she killed Tyreese’s girlfriend Karen, however, which doesn’t make for good small talk. Only Rick knows about this, so I suppose if he keeps his secrets, all will be well. I can see Rick justifying Carol's re-inclusion thusly: "She may be a murderous psychopath, but she's OUR murderous psychopath. The small group of Mika, Lizzie, Baby J, and Tyreese make their way—ever so slowly—along the railroad tracks. Do you know how much a baby drags you down, plus two little girls?
Maggie is alive with Sasha and Bob Stookey. She wants to go back to get Glenn and find the school bus that left the compound. The bus has been attacked by walkers; looks like it broke down. Everyone on it has perished.
At least he's among friends.

Glenn is alive, but surrounded by walkers at the overrun prison. He finds a shell-shocked Tara. After escaping, they meet some newcomers, who appear to be paramilitary wannabes. Tara and a seemingly unconscious Glenn join forces with them.
As “Claimed” opens, we note that the head ex-military guy, a burly ginger, smiles when he kills walkers, which is quite refreshing. It’s nice to see an individual who takes pleasure in a job well done.
Carl and Michonne are caught up in yet another domestic scene of bliss, sitting around the dinner table laughing and joking. Until he accidentally references Baby J, that is, whom he still believes is dead. Then it’s back to business for Rick and Michonne. Rick wants to stay camped out in the house for a while to regroup. Carl and Michonne go off in search of more supplies, leaving a debilitated Rick to fend for himself. Michonne wants him to take it easy.
"I have a hankering for some CRAZY CHEESE!"

Michonne finds “Crazy Cheese,” aka Easy Cheese in a can. She squirts some into her mouth with abandon. Really, Michonne? I know you were trying to make Carl laugh, but has all consideration of good nutrition gone out the window post-apocalypse? Michonne shares with Carl that she had a son, a toddler, pre-apocalypse. But first they need to clear the house.
Meanwhile, Rick wakes up from his well-deserved nap to hear voices—human voices. Are they recorded, or live? They are very much alive, with guns. Rick hides under the bed. One armed man lounges on the bed. Michonne and Carl are still in the house they are scavenging and clearing. Her son’s name was Andre Anthony; very nice name! Michonne is really coming into her own; first she is joking around with cheese and then this revelation. Michonne then makes a grisly discovery; the entire family of the house is dead and lying in beds in one of the rooms. They must have committed mass suicide; two small children are lying on one bed dead, as well as three adults positioned around the room. Michonne tries to shield Carl from the horror. Carl is coming to terms with baby J’s presumed death, mentioning that maybe Baby J and his mom are together in heaven.
The armed men with Rick still hiding under the bed are fighting over who gets the big bed—idiots! Apparently it’s a battle of life and death, or at least until one of them passes out. One good rule of thumb is that if you were a douchebag before the zombie bug struck, you will probably be an even bigger douchebag post-apocalypse.
Glenn awakens from his slumber to find himself in back of a truck—the military vehicle, to be exact, with Tara by his side. Sgt. Abraham Ford, Dr. Eugene Porter, and Rosita Espinoza are on a mission. Ford claims that Porter and he are on their way to Washington, DC and that Porter knows “exactly what caused this mess.” Ford exhorts Glenn to get back in the truck and “do something with your life.” Glenn is pretty mad and hits Ford. He’s a lightweight, though, compared to the beefy Ford, who then tackles him. While they are messing about and acting all macho, walkers rapidly inundate the area. The group quickly bonds together once more to kill all the zombies, but somehow the gas tank was shot up as well.
Rick is STILL under the bed. Now the man is snoring, and Rick looks to beat a hasty retreat out of the room. He slithers from underneath the bed. I would venture to say that these are not nice men. Rick tries to escape through a window. Rick surprises a man on the toilet and grapples with him in the bathroom, strangling him, till death or at least until he passes out. Rick is finally ready to leave out the window, with a gun for good measure, plus a swanky jacket. Oh no, Carl and Michonne are coming back to the house! Rick has to think fast. Luckily walkers descend upon the house and the idiot eating canned beans on the front porch near where Rick is hiding has to hoof it to help his buddies. Carl, Michonne, and Rick are on the railroad tracks. Perhaps they will run into Tyreese & co.? Going to be awk-ward meeting Carol again after he banished her and got her watch.
Back to the Ginger’s group. Glenn decides to forge off on his own, with Tara. The rest of the group decides to follow them until they come across a working vehicle. And so ends another nail-biting, yet fairly predictable episode. I have a feeling, however, that, as P.G. Wodehouse once penned, “shizz is about to get real.”

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