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! Touché, 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.




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