Wednesday, December 16, 2015

When Bad Teenagers Get Worse, We All Suffer

“From Start to Finish,” or It’s All Ron’s Fault

If you recall recent events, Rick gave Ron an unloaded gun to “carry around and get used to.” Huh? Rick just killed this kid’s dad. This is basically like giving a teenager a condom and telling him, “Just put this on your erect penis to get used to it. But don’t stick your wiener in anyone.” I apologize for using a graphic reference, but I'm trying to get a point across here, people! Naturally, Ron wants to get his gun on; he steals bullets from the armory. When the opportunity presents itself, he threatens Karl with a K with said gun.

When the zombie apocalypse dawned on human civilization, what’s one of the first, precious resources they saved? Yes, you guessed it, a scratchy phonographic recording of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” from the 1920s! Because the world really needs that. It’s not creepy at all when played during the show's opening. In other news, Al Jolson’s “Mammy” is currently on the top 10 list of songs that 9-yr-old boys enjoy listening to. Ron’s little brother with the atrocious bowl haircut is holed up in the upstairs closet listening to the phonograph and drawing. Wind up the Victrola, Hortense, we are in for a bumpy ride.

In the next scene, we see the tower fall and Rick’s “O!” face, only he’s not in ecstasy. He shoots at zombies with the Mayor, who is feeling her mettle. Morgan and Carol run. Carol trips! She’s OK, but has hit her head. Carol is to “trip” as Morgan is to “kill,” for you SAT fans out there: It simply does not happen. They reach the safety of a house and enter. Rick and Mayor are in the thick of it, and the Mayor falls and injures herself whilst battling zombies. I can’t see any of our current politicians doing any of this real shit. Good for her.

Poor Maggie is cornered by walkers but manages to climb up a tower with a safe platform for her to lie on and look up at the sky. Hey! Green balloons float by overhead. A tender message from husband Glenn to show he still cares. Pregnant and still skinny enough to squeeze into her skinny jeans. Not fair!

Rosita, Eugene, and the Other Lesbian (I’ll recall her name soon), hide in a garage. Rick, Michonne, Ron, and Karl with a K, plus a limping Mayor find refuge in a house. Glenn and Enid survey he situation. Enid is highly pessimistic, while Glenn is strategizing a way in. He mentions that Maggie is pregnant; he has something to fight for. Poor Enid does not.

Back to the crooning phonograph. Sam realizes the monsters are here. He has to turn off the durned music. Hairdresser Mom did NOT make out well in the kid department. Pasty Ron and Pale Sam.

Carol is a bit dizzy. She and Morgan are staying in an unfinished house. Carol may have a concussion. Or, she is faking it. One never knows with Carol. The Dr Lesbian is with the ailing Wolf that Morgan kindly saved. She tries to engage in philosophical discussion with him. Did you know that “killing” people is “freeing” them, he asks. Turns out he wasn’t bitten, but rather scratched himself on rusty metal breaking into a car. The wound looks pretty bad. The Dr lectures him on positive change, because this tactic works so well on unrepentant murderers.

Michonne examines the Mayor’s wounds and finds a bleeding bite mark. It is the end of the line for our intrepid politician! Given the course of the illness, however, she has several hours of lucidity before she feverishly turns. Hairdresser Mom and Rick share what is known as a “moment” against the soft backlight of the windows, which are covered in bed sheets.

Michonne praises the Mayor for her plans. The Mayor is thankful that she “got to do what she wanted” up to her death. She asks Michonne what she wants. It’s an odd question to pose at this time, but a fair one.

Karl with a K finds Pasty (now super sweaty) Ron despondent in the garage of Hairdresser Mom’s house. Karl is sanguine about the future and Rick’s competence, whereas Ron says they are all doomed. Ron points out Karl’s dad is a Killer. Karl retorts, I know he is, but so is yours! TouchĂ©, gentlemen! This stumps Ron, whose abusive dad was actually the first one to kill, albeit by accident (the Mayor’s husband’s neck got between him and Rick). 

Ron enters the death trance. We are all going to die, he repeatedly intones. He locks the door leading to the house and pulls out his loaded gun. Karl and Ron struggle. The noise attracts members of the zombie parade stumbling through Alexandria, and guess what? They easily break into the garage. Nice going, Ron! Your antics have made everyone’s life inexplicably shittier. Let’s point out that this was also Rick’s fault for letting Pasty Diaphoretic (that’s sweaty in medicalese!) Ron carry around a gun when he was so obviously seething with rage.

Karl uses gardening implements to fend off zombies. They manage to re-enter the house and push a sofa against the inner door leading to the garage. Karl totally covers for Ron and lies for him. He follows Ron up the stairs and pulls out a gun on him, demanding Ron’s gun. Karl with a K acknowledges that his dad killed Ron’s dad, yes; but he also points out what we have all thought. Ron’s dad was an asshole! Zing. Hmm. Ron appears silently defiant. Perhaps he, too, is an asshole? It’s genetic.

The Mayor seems to be eating Judith. Oh, wait, scratch that—she was trying to comfort her and has not turned yet. Rick points out that the Mayor needs a guardian now in case she turns and needs to be put down. She notes that she wants Rick to look out for her n’er do well son Spencer, the one who loves to munch on dry water crackers. Cue the soft music and some platitudes uttered by the Mayor.

Eugene is brushing up on his World History as Rosita and Tara look at the many zombie hands pawing at the garage door. I’ve rarely seen a garage so spacious. There are tables and chairs, for God’s sake. My garage is about as wide as a postage stamp. I have to suck my stomach in to squeeze between the car doors as I exit my Honda. Eugene offers to pick a lock for the two women. They may be able to enter the house.

Carol is still resting—or at least pretending to. And zip! She’s gone. Stupid Morgan.

Father Gabe is helping barricade the house against Ron’s disaster, but to no avail. They wedge a couch in the stairway leading upstairs, which seems to work. Nice stepping up, Fr. Gabe!

Carol rushes to the spot where Morgan has hidden the Wolf. The Dr is still there, protecting her patient. Do you think Carol gives two fucks about the Hippocratic Oath? Nope, she does not.

Rick drags a dead zombie up the stairs. Smelly! But life is about to get even smellier: Rick issues an edict that they will use the zombie guts to disguise themselves and leave the house. There is precedence for this (see: Season 1), and it does work. Fr. Gabe looks like he’s gonna barf, and Hairdresser Mom is next. Pasty Ron, however, is intrigued as the zombie viscera are exposed. Fr. Gabe is unsure as to where to place a stray bit of lower intestine; would it look better jauntily tossed over his shoulder, or should he rather tie it in a French knot at his neck? Fashion choices loom.

Carol and Morgan debate the moral implications of killing the Wolf. She has a knife, and Morgan is armed with his broomstick. I think you can guess what will happen next. Blah de blah, blah de blah—they debate. Carol threatens to kill Morgan to get at the Wolf, although she doesn’t want to. Morgan dares her to try.

Michonne is back by the Mayor’s side. The Mayor is sweaty, gray, and pale, barely an improvement over her previously desiccated state. Michonne clasps her hand, smiles, and leaves. She appreciates the Mayor’s resolve and expressions of hope. The Mayor reiterates that troublesome, unanswerable question: What Do You Want?

“Tiptoe Through the Tulips” still reverberates throughout the house. Sam is not enamored with the notion of shmearing his little self with zombie guts. Mom exhorts him to “pretend” to be brave. It seems to work.

Back to the Wolf! Carol and Morgan fight, Crouching Tiger, Flying Dragon Style! Morgan dominates. Carol’s out, so the Wolf knocks Morgan out cold, leaving him with the very frightened Dr. I’m no plot master, but I saw THAT one coming two episodes ago.

It’s all balls for Fr. Gabe, who commits himself to Rick in a significant moment. As you recall, in seasons past the priest has been at best erratic, and at his very lowest point, traitorous.

“You are so full of shit!” The doctor yells at the Wolf, after he lunges at her with a knife. But is he? He never claimed that he was anything else but a douchebag. Eugene, Tara and Rosita storm the room with guns just as the Wolf holds the knife up to the Dr’s throat. Forget what I said about Ron effing up; Morgan has done quite the tidy job himself.

The Wolf takes their guns and drags the Dr away with him, leaving the safety of the house and into the zombie hoedown. That’s all we see.

Rick moves the sofa and the bloody followers wordlessly weave their way through the zombie crowd. Everyone The Mayor is about to shoot herself in the head when she reconsiders. Instead, she opens the door to the bedroom and lets the walkers in, picking them off with bullets one by one. When she runs out of bullets, she lets out a wild YAWP and presumably confronts them head on.

Meanwhile, Daryl, Sasha and the Ginge encounter an organized biker gang blocking the road. Their leader wants their guns, the fuel truck, the extra maxi-pads stashed in the glove compartment, the half-sucked lollipop covered in dog hair sitting on the dash, and any other stuff that happens to be floating around in there. Why should we give them to you, Daryl wants to know. Because, the man says, everything now belongs to Nique.

At least that’s what I think he said. Could he be referring to Mo’Nique, the spirited American actress and comedian of the devastating film Precious? Is Nique a mysterious Frenchman who is hoping to assume power over Rick in the zombie landscape? We shall find out when TWD picks up once more; next year, my friends. Thank you for reading, and best wishes for a very happy and healthy new year.

Monday, December 7, 2015

99 Luft Green Balons

“Heads Up”: Or, Glenn’s Will to Survive is Nearly as Strong as Enid’s Appetite!

Everything you need to know about this ep can be summed up in two words: GLENN LIVES. Yes, my original prediction about our favorite former pizza delivery guy is true. After Nicholas shot himself in the head and inadvertently dragged down poor Glenn into the pit of writhing zombies, he fell on top of said Glenn. The undead ripped Nicholas’ flesh whilst Glenn was safely tucked underneath. Glenn then scooted backwards under the dumpster to escape the melee. WOW. Cheap plot twist, or best news evah? You decide.

Glenn finds Escaped Enid, who frankly is a little CuNextTuesdaY, if you get my drift. I’m sorry, but she simply is. Glenn tries to track her down to get any good news about his wife Maggie back in Alexandria, but before you can yell out “disgruntled teenager,” Enid disappears.

Back at Alexandria, Morgan has a secret. Remember, he’s hiding a Wolf? Rick finds the blood seeping through the steel wall. Huh, that’s weird. Maggie is on the lookout for Glenn. Rick speaks to her huskily. Blah, blah, blah. I’m a bit weary of Rick and his wiggly eyebrows.

A bloodied but unharmed Glenn finds that dude (now a zombie) from Alexandria who died near Michonne on the gate trying to escape. He finds the note the man wrote to his sweetie, which makes Glenn think of MAGGIE. Selfish Glenn, must it always be about YOU?

Rick gives an impromptu gun lesson to Pasty-Faced Ron and Karl. If that is not utterly fucked up, I don’t know what it. Karl apparently is offering instruction as well. Ron is an eager pupil. Rick gives him an empty gun to carry around. Perhaps Rick is not as foolhardy as once thought. Pasty Ron wants a loaded weapon for “target practice.”

The Lesbian Dr greets Morgan. She’s also a psychiatrist, so maybe Morgan will confide in her. However, it is Rick who wants to chat with Morgan. Rick and Carol confront Morgan about his not killing the Wolves. Michonne is there too, glaring. Morgan expresses confusion. People can change, he maintains, all life is precious, etc. Michonne counters that it’s not that simple. Rick reminds Morgan that at this point dirty deeds must be done to survive. Moral dilemma! Or, is it? Carol would take out Morgan in a heartbeat if she thought he was impeding the survival of the group. Michonne probably feels the same way. Rick, on the other hand, has a past with Morgan, who saved the ranger early on when Rick busted out of the hospital. That’s season one, folks.

A massive zombie horde has gathered along the walls of Alexandria. Michonne and Rick discuss. The dessicated Mayor zips over and presents her future plans to them that she has sketched out on paper. Erm, we’re sort of occupied with bigger problems right now, Mayor. My expansion can wait after you’ve sorted out the little zombie problem, she agrees happily.

Commando Rosita is teaching civilians to stab heads. Easily distracted Eugene gets a machete too, but he is not happy about it. Rosita lectures him on group safety. Hairdresser Mom and the rest of the class listen in.

Enid is out and about, hanging in a cafĂ©. Glenn finds her and says he’s going to take her home. Maggie, after all, would want him to take this grouchy teenager home with him. Enid is having none of it: she pulls a gun on Glenn. First Nicholas offing himself, then this? Can Glenn please catch a break? When will Enid stop behaving like a petulant adolescent? Also, who names their child Enid? It’s almost as bad as Hortense, for God’s sake.

Through clenched teeth, Glenn commands her to stop. He takes the gun away. She calls him an asshole. Nice. Time to go home, Enid!

Rick is doing some sawing, some planking, and other manly activities. An Alexandrian helps him shore up the walls with wooden planks. He confesses how scary Rick’s scruffy, unkempt beard seemed at first. “Don’t give up on us,” he says.

Enid is surprisingly handy with a sharp knife. She stabs a walker in the head as she and Glenn walk along a very pretty stretch of road. They find helium-filled balloons (?). Enid suggests they could use them to distract the walkers away from Alexandria. Glenn asks Enid about her life at Alexandria. She lived alone (recall that she’s an orphan). Do I detect the beginnings of a friendship here? Nope, Enid snaps at Glenn after he tries to get her to open up.

Pasty Ron is determined to fill his gun with bullets. He sneaks into the armory. Cue ominous music! Zoom in on Ron’s sweaty little hand filled with bullets! Egad.

Enid and Glenn have returned, and they come bearing balloons. There is also unfortunately a heck of a lot of walkers, and Enid is discouraged. What’s the point, she asks. Glenn affirms that it’s not fruitless. He convinces her to continue the good fight.

Spencer, the Mayor’s son and only surviving family member, is doing something very, very stupid. A couple episodes ago, he was munching on stolen water crackers. Now, he inches himself along a wire secured with a grappling hook to a wall across the walker hordes. Rick snarls at Spence to get down from there right now, dagnabbit, and put a halt to this tomfoolery at once! Tara and Eugene look upon the scene flabbergasted.

The hook slips and he falls dangerously close to the walkers. Then, he falls in. Tara tries to save him by shooting walkers whilst Rick and another man try to pull him up over the wall. Everyone, it seems, is trying to save this crazy 30-something. Rick is mad at Tara for risking his ass, and he’s positively livid at Spencer, who had some cockamamie plan that clearly wasn’t going to work.

Morgan returns to the psych—the Doctor is IN. She’s written down directions to herself on a chalkboard to remind herself how to actually practice medicine. Morgan is in search of antibiotics to treat a cut. A Wolf’s cut, mayhaps? Ugh, I’m really beginning to despise his misguided charity.

Carol holding baby Judith spies the Doctor departing from her house on foot and follows her for a bit. Nothing fucking gets past that woman; she’s like a terrier after..something it totally wants. She stops by the Hairdresser’s house to drop Judith off for babysitting so she can make more time for badassery. She then confronts Morgan about who he’s keeping in the cell. The jig is up when Carol gets your number. Morgan’s Wolf-harboring days are over.

Ron stalks Karl with a K. Rick is busily fortifying the walls. The Mayor thanks Rick and Tara for saving her useless son Spencer. Alexandria sees a bunch of green balloons floating across the sky. Maggie has a feeling that it’s Glenn, but architecture has other plans: A tower that lies just outside the wall crashes into the complex walls. Alexandria is about to contend with a lot of smelly, stumbling visitors.

Next episode: The Mid-Season Finale! Will Glenn return with the annoying Enid to reunite with a pregnant Maggie? Will Ron shoot zombies to defend Alexandria or succumb to the temptation of shooting Karl with a K? Will the invading walkers be invited to Alexandria’s annual potluck picnic? The answers to all these questions and more await.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Redheads Really Do Have More Fun and Other Myths Debunked

“Always Accountable”: Or, Never Underestimate the Power of the Ginger!

Sometimes, TWD truly baffles me. Mysteries abound within. I have watched this episode twice and still remain in the dark about Daryl, what the heck Sasha and her Ginger traveling companion are talking about, and the rules of re-animation when it comes to sleeping zombies. If you rely on my blog to answer these and other pressing questions, sorry—can’t help you.

Someone is peppering Sasha and the Ginge with a hail of bullets. Luckily, they are still in their car. Daryl is scooting around on his motorcycle, looking as greasy as ever. He pulls up into a charred portion of forest area and collapses on the ground. Who should be lying next to him but a very spooky burnt zombie wearing a helmet-like black hood that covers its face. Okaaaaaay. Early on, this ep has taken a puzzling turn.

Daryl pushes his bike slowly amongst the trees and burnt corpses, who all appear to be zombies. Kind of redundant: twice-killed zombies. Reminds one of baked mashed potatoes. Delicious, but did you need to go to all that trouble? Dead is dead and cooked is cooked. Daryl is bleeding. He hears some crunchy forest sounds and raises his crossbow. His weapon is no match for a scrawny, blond bearded fellow who whacks him on the head with a two-by-four. Before the whack, two grimy young women address Daryl: “We earned what we took.”

The man binds Daryl and the three of them walk through the charred forest. They make him drink water, a practice I find highly overrated. Hydration is in the eye of the beholder! The trio wants to pick up a chick named Patti. Blonde Beard set the fire to burn up the zombies. The “s” word gets bandied about, and by that I mean “stupid.” Daryl mentions that he has places to go, people to see, but Blonde Beard accuses him of being with “them,” the bad guys (does he mean Wolves?).

Patti is not where they left her. There are, however, an aimless bunch of zombies milling about in a lot with trucks and trailers. Waify Chick passes out as Daryl uses this distraction to beat a hasty retreat. After untying his restraints, he gets on the walkie-talkie to contact the Ginge, Sasha, anyone. No answer. He does have his crossbow and duffel bag back, though, which now contains a small cooler labeled “INSULIN.”

Waify Chick is diabetic? Probably why she passed out—hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). How the heck did she make it this long? Without refrigeration, insulin goes bad, and one cooler of it isn’t enough. Curious. That’s mystery number ONE.

Sasha and the Ginge are out of their car. The plan is to wait where they are until Daryl comes back. They find an insurance office to hole up in. Ginge comes across a decorated military uniform hanging proudly in a darkened room, along with a snapshot of the man who once wore it. Sasha tries to catch some zzzs. Ginge wants to chat. Sasha wishes that she had gone solo. Ginge replies that she needed him there because of her instability after her brother died (he was wonderful, but I can’t recall his name).

I’m not listening to their conversation, however interesting. I’m looking at Sasha. She is so beautiful, tough, and enduring at the same time. It’s quite an appealing combo. Ginge I am not so enamored with. As I mentioned a while back, I’ve only been attracted to one fire-headed man in my life, and he did not share the bulky physique or brusque manner of the Ginge. Pickins are slim here, however, so perhaps the Ginge’s charms will grow on me?

Back in the charred forest, Daryl finds Blonde Beard, Waify Chick (who has a Mia Farrow Frank Sinatra era pixie haircut), and other “girl.” He tosses the duffel back. Suddenly, a truck rumbles through the trees. These are the bad people the trio mentioned. I don’t think they are Wolves. Just some other assholes. Daryl ushers the trio to safety and gives Blonde Beard a gun.

One of the bad guys comes looking for the trio and gets a bite on the arm in the process. His comrade promptly chops his arm off, at his request. He’ll be fine! Just as long as he “walks it off.” Random Chick injects passed out Waif with insulin. I’m surprised that they would tolerate this kind of deadweight, and I wonder this as a type 1 diabetic myself. It’s hard enough to manage blood sugar levels under normal circumstances, but after an apocalyptic virus wipes out most of humanity? Impossible.

Ginge encounters a unique situation on the roof of the building. An impaled military zombie plus all the cool weapons said military man was toting around in the trunk of his vehicle. Missiles and Cuban cigars! Sasha probably won’t be as excited as Ginge about the cigars, but she may appreciate the missiles. I guess one would need some device from which to shoot the missiles and not simply toss them like javelins.

Sasha is pensive back at the office. Ginge returns, and he’s got quite the speech. He likes the cut of her jib and wants to get to know her “a whole lot better.” Sasha is rightly skeptical, and not quite sure if redheads turn her on or not. Perhaps the Ginge will grow on her as he is growing on me.

Anyhoo, let us return to the crispy forest, shall we? The trio plus the unflappable Daryl continue on. Tina the Waif runs toward a burnt-out small house. Two blackened dead people lie in the ruins with plastic bags covering their faces. The two women used to babysit them.  Suicides? Are they really dead? No. And Tina lays down right between them with an offering of flowers. She gets bit when one body wakes up, zombified.

After burying Dead Tina, the trio pushes on, sans Tina. Daryl offers to take them back to Alexandria, but Blonde Beard doesn’t trust him, threatens him with the gun, and takes off on his bike. However, Daryl is a frigging cat. He always lands on his feet. He finds a fuel truck covered in brush.

Sasha and the Ginge are relieved to see Daryl as he pulls up in the bitchin fuel truck. I half expect to see the mangled corpses of Blonde Beard and Nondescript Girl on the side of the highway as the truck drives along the highway! No such luck.