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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 16 - "Conquer"

Blair Fink (Twitter: @BlairMFink, Instagram: @BlairFink)
Steve Bethel (Twitter: @the_lazy_gamer, Website: steveisthelazygamer.blogspot.ca)

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 16, "Conquer"


WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE


It's a trap!


Good afternoon. I cracked open my gourde to consider implications maybe you hadn't. I will remark about those at this time.

So here we are. Season finale. Another season done and time for Blair and myself to not talk to each for another half year. As much as I complain to my wife about writing these things I do usually miss them over the break. But enough of that, lets get to it!

Nothing in this episode was as good as the opening scene. I can’t help but wonder if a show with only Morgan (The Walking Morgan? Staff Appreciation? Bo Money Bo Problems?) would be more interesting than the current narrative or the upcoming spinoff show. I am so intrigued by his character and what they do with him next season. I do, however, have my concerns about him thriving in a larger cast. He’s in his element being alone and quiet.

Morgan!! Finally, some screen time for a character we all like! Morgan and creepy wolf guy's friendly chit chat scene was excellent. It had everything you could want, action, suspense, banter, surprises. Who knew he was such a bad ass with the bo staff! I feel like he should be wearing some purple on him somewhere just as an homage to Donatello. 


Never bring a knife to a bo fight. Once the fight broke out I was really confused why creepy wolf was fighting with a knife and didn't just pick up the gun and shoot him. It makes sense once Morgan picks it up and has that shit-I-should-have-just-called-his-bluff-and-jumped-him look. I wonder if that is a bit of foreshadowing that these wolves are not as well off as they would hope. Which is not a good sign for Alexandria, when wolves are desperate they do some crazy things…

It's the closest thing to movies now.” I enjoyed that line a lot.

Then a bunch of stuff in the middle happened. There is a lot to this episode so I'm going to skip or lightly touch on some of this filler stuff. 
When Rick first talked about his plan, if it came to that, I was a little worried. Everyone seems to be happy in Alexandria. My fear was that Rick would go through with his plan and no one else would stand up to help. He would be left all alone, being forced out and abandoned by his group.

Rick out in the wild on his own might be interesting (if only for an episode or two). A little soul searching walkabout? Actually, they’d probably make him hallucinate Lori or something so…maybe not.

I feel like Maggie's warning wasn't received with the same weight that she was intending. She could have just said not to kick him out or else, but I understand not wanting to have Deanna think the worst and get spooked. 

Sasha is balls to the wall crazy. Yet I still don't care.

I enjoyed the visual of her lying down on the pile of zombies but other than that, her story is not hitting the emotional mark it’s aiming for (shooting analogy for a sharpshooter!). The whole thing had a very melancholy Garden State vibe to it.


By now it's pretty clear that Daryl and Aaron will be the ones to find Morgan. At first I thought red poncho was Morgan. Lone survivor, knows what he's doing, able to lose tracker extraordinaire Daryl. 

Daryl and Aaron are great together. I’m really enjoying their chemistry. Aaron sees through Daryl’s gruff exterior and into that heart of gold. Is it too early to start shipping Daaron? Aaryl? Hopefully next season is just gooey with romance and budding relationships. Daryl and Aaron. Enid and Carl. Rick and Michonne (NOT YOU, JESSIE). Tara and Eugene. Abraham and Rosita. Carol and the armory. Sam and cookies. How about it guys? The Loving Dead? I’m not kidding. That would be amazing terrible.

The tension and suspicion built up around these "wolves" has reached a fever pitch. The more that is revealed about them (which still isn't that much) makes me think they work/act in more of a pack animal psyche rather than as a democracy lead model a la Rick. This could lead to some very dynamic action. I'm starting to envision them as a pack, alpha hierarchy, pack mentality, pack hunters, they have their den, ruthless killers.

They obviously have a strong, shared philosophy and are organized. Are they (or are they led by) the three people Aaron mentioned that were exiled from Alexandria? Do they have a grudge against Alexandria? They have photos, that’s for sure? How did they get those photos? Some were of Rick and Carl. IS THERE A SPY!? Potential blog post title for next season: “Biter, Roamer, Walker, Spy”.

I don't know how believable it was that Daryl couldn't see this as a trap. Granted it turned out to be way worse than I expected but it did show him noting the scraps on the doors. Why wouldn't he investigate the door more? Did Aaron's drivel about licence plates and community throw him off?

There were cans on strings hanging EVERYWHERE. How did they not wonder what those were for? Admiral Ackbar would be so disappointed in Aaron and Daryl.

Good guy Daryl, trying to be the hero. As if people don't love you enough as it is. Too bad an even more beloved character beat you to it D! At this point I was racking my brain, does Daryl know Morgan? Does he know OF Morgan? Will they meet and disperse again? I was so worried right up until he handed over the map, and then pure joy!

This week on Carol’s Casseroles for Asserholes:

So Carol scares the shit out of me. She turns Pete into soft putty in her hand in a few calm choice words. I would rather meet a Walker in an alley rather than Carol!

Carol's embracing her darker, manipulating, intimidating side in a very Walter White-esque fashion (Carol is the one who knocks. With a casserole. And threats.). It's very thrilling to watch. My question is, somewhere down the line, does she turn darker than Rick (if she hasn't already), and try to take Rick's leadership because she thinks he's too weak or won't go far enough.

Add Glenn to that list too. I don't know if I agree with Glenn's choice of not completely destroying Nick. Perhaps it is to juxtapose Rick and his constant decision to kill anyone for any reason. What a battle! I like bad ass Glenn.

Glenn doesn’t give in to The Dark Side. Also, I was actually a bit worried for Glenn, especially after Maggie said “I’ll see you there” when they were talking about the meeting earlier in the episode. That was a huge red flag that something was going to happen to one of them.

Eugene & Abe have a moment. The only thing that I really enjoyed about this scene was Abe trying not to wake Eugene and Rosita "helping". Abe turning to Eugene's blank face also brought a smile.

Rejoice Blair! We get a very personal and intimate Richonne moment.

OH MY GOSH, JUST KISS ALREADY.

Is it enough to remind Rick of who his people are and why they are all still together? Through everything that has happened they are still a family. Still have each others backs. And most importantly, they all still have absolute faith in Rick.

I'm not so sure they have absolute faith in Rick but he's family to them and they have his back.

Rick sees the open gate and Rick does what Rick does best. (I think of Wolverine's motto when I think of Rick. "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice.")

“THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

The final like 45 seconds (not Michonne's scene) gave me the same rush and excitement and sadness, all in that order, as the barn scene. It was great, to have that iconic Walking Dead adrenaline rush.

I missed the post-credits scenes so had to go find them online. Red poncho man, we barely knew ya.

Push, slash, shock, sadness, anger, vengeance. To watch Deanna go from her way of doing it, to seeing Rick with the Walker and hearing his speech to instructing Rick to be executioner was fantastic! Rick watching her as she tries to save her husband, just waiting, not acting, but showing Deanna that she IS still in control was a good move. From her words, to Rick, turn, fire, no hesitation, no remorse, just getting the job done. I was cheering! And then, to see the look of shock and almost disappointment on Morgan's face brought me crashing back down.

Morgan and Rick have switched places a little bit it seems. Didn't Rick find a crazy Morgan ready to kill anything that moved a few seasons back? Rick talked him out of crazytown? We might see the reverse of that next season. All life is precious, Rick. All life is precious.

Michonne's final scene is probably a bit of foreshadowing too. That or maybe she realized that leaving a 4 foot Blade out in the open for any one to grab might not have been such a good idea. I'm a little curious as to how Pete found it though.

R.I.P. Porchdick.

How did everyone else enjoy the episode? Or the commercials? Being that this was a fairly major television event there were quite a few quality ones. Halo 5, both variations, Jurassic World, a whole lot of new series to maybe check out.


So what can we expect next season, besides a buttload of romance? How The Katana Incident changes Deanna as a leader. If Alexandria embraces Rick's way, how does Rick handle the power? Will Alexandria be ready for the Wolves? Will Gabriel and Sasha get their heads on straight and become more interesting, likable characters that do sensical things? And most importantly, WILL CARL GET A FREAKING HAIRCUT!?

QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
-will preacher be reprimanded for his actions? Or will the power of prayer at the end with Sasha and Maggie change his mind...again?
-I hate the preacher’s storyline. It’s so jumbled and awkward and almost pretentious. I get that he is struggling with his faith and his sins but he is the least self-aware character on the show. It’s annoying to watch. He just needs to exhibit a little bit of reason on occasion.
-will Deanna and Rick work together?
-Deanna is well on her way to being on Rick’s gang’s level in terms of personal loss. I hope next season starts out with Deanna lying on a pile of zombies with Sasha.
-all that build up to the wolves and we still don't really know anything about them.
-We know that one of them looks like Andrew WK.

-will Nick change his ways and be more cooperative with Glenn now?-Nick and Glenn will be best buds now, with the potential for a real Good Cop, Douche Cop dynamic.-how will Morgan react to Rick's cold blooded killing? Everything has a return.

Blair’s Rating: A-
Steve's Rating: 5 bo staffs out of 5

Blair’s MVP: Morgan
Steve's MVP: This is a tough one, everyone had fairly equal screen time with much bad assery, but I'll say Morgan

Blair’s Deadpool Pick: Enid
Steve's Deadpool Pick: Maybe we should start the Deadpool sooner next season.

FIVE WHO WON'T SURVIVE

Tie. Carry over to next season.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 15 - "Try"

Blair Fink (Twitter: @BlairMFink, Instagram: @BlairFink)
Steve Bethel (Twitter: @the_lazy_gamer, Website: steveisthelazygamer.blogspot.ca)
"Are you not entertained!?"

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 15, "Try"


THE WAY IT IS


Things are never gonna be the same.


Life’s been a bit crazy for both Steve and I this week so we're just going to do a quick bite-sized recap.

I wasn't crazy impressed with this episode. The was a lot of build up and a lot of focus on pairs of people. Sasha vs her demons, Glenn vs Nick, Rick vs Pete, Rick vs Deanna.

CRIME GRIMES AND PUNISHMENT

Rick’s ideas about justice differ from Deanna’s and how Alexandria does things. It’s a solid debate for these characters to have. The world is different, so what are reasonable changes you need to make to your moral code? Should you make any? Should you try to preserve your values from the world before or is it necessary to adapt to survive?

I enjoyed Rick and Deanna's talk, it really put it in perspective how differently you can run a surviving community. Neither of them are wrong per say, but I would say Rick's way has been working better in the "new world". He is right, if you just kick them out they can always come back, with more people. Rick knows that all too well...by being on the other side of it.

NICK'S DICK MOVE

To the surprise of no one, slimebag Nicholas is trying to lie and weasel his way out of taking responsibility for his actions at the warehouse last week. I appreciate that Deanna is not an idiot and doesn’t jump to any conclusions and seems to really consider everything. I think she knows who Aiden and Nicholas were/are and doesn’t totally believe Nicholas.

I did appreciate that she thought that all through and didn't just jump at accusing them. I also liked Glenn's talk with Nick. I'm assuming we lose Nick next week, along with a lot of Alexandria.

Extended 90-minute episode finale this Sunday. Will Rick be on trial? Are the Wolves (whoever they are) ready to pounce when the turmoil in Alexandria is at its peak and everyone is distracted and vulnerable? Will this new threat force Rick’s group and Alexandria to really work together and bond or will Alexandria’s incompetent stooges get people killed?

There is quite a bit to wrap up for this season, hence the 90 min episode I guess. We got "W'olves, Preacher snitching, Pete's fate, Rick's fate, Alexandria's fate. Do Daryl and Aiden find something/someone?

QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
-Carl hair update:
-Where’s Morgan? Maybe the W is an M that stands for Morgan? I doubt it.
-What's the story on Preachers snitchin'? Is anything going to come from that?
-Carl and Enid sitting in a tree (literally), K I S S I N G (almost)
-More Daryl & Aaron adventures please, they can take the place of Sash's scenes.

Blair’s Rating: B+
Steve's Rating: 3 tickets to Banana Town on the Crazy Train with Rick out of 5

Blair’s MVP:  Pete’s Punchable Face
Steve's MVP: Glenn, mainly for his monologue to Nick

Blair’s Deadpool Pick: I guess I gotta go with Sasha, because of…
Steve's Deadpool Pick: As much as I hope Sasha goes I'm rooting for Preacher


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 14 - "Spend"

Blair Fink (Twitter: @BlairMFink, Instagram: @BlairFink)
Steve Bethel (Twitter: @the_lazy_gamer, Website: steveisthelazygamer.blogspot.ca)
"Ew."

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 14, "Spend"


GUTS, NO GLORY


I'd shoot a grenade for ya.


Steve's been steppin' on the beach down in Puerto Vallarta for the past week so it's just me here. While I didn't end up making the interpretive dance video I know you're all clamoring for, I will include a few ideas I had for the dance had I actually done it. 

The likelihood of multiple deaths on the show is at an all-time high because, practically speaking, the cast has gotten way too big. There are too many characters to give them all a proper piece of the narrative so naturally, some have to go. Aiden's death was not a surprise and as shown by Steve and I's Five Who Won't Survive picks in the midseason finale review, neither is Noah's, really.

Interpretive dance idea: Play “Bruno Mars – Grenade” as I strut around and do my best cocky douchebag face. A lot of slow motion re-enactment of people getting blown back by the explosion.

I understand that the nature of this show leads to a lot of gruesome and gory scenes. That's part of the appeal. This episode however, at least for me, found the line between necessary gore and bad taste and then crossed it. It showed us toolbag Aiden getting his innards pulled out and we cringed. Then it kept showing it, and it was too much. It showed us Noah being pulled apart by zombies and we were properly horrified. Then it showed his face smushed against the glass before that was also ripped apart and it was, if we didn't care about Noah and it wasn't so disgusting, almost comically too much. Maybe I'm in the minority on this (let me know your thoughts in the comments) but it felt like I got the amount of gruesomeness I was accustomed to getting from this show and then it rammed more down my throat and that triggered my visual gag reflex.



Interpretive dance idea: Slowly releasing a handful of red confetti from stomach to represent Aiden's spilling his guts while “I Dreamed a Dream” plays.

Aside from the gruesome deaths, the warehouse run scenes I found very stressful. There was obviously going to be differences in protocol and safety between Glenn and Aiden's people and someone was going to get someone else killed. As soon as Aiden shot the grenade, I started worrying about how Glenn, Noah, Tara and Eugene were going to get blamed for it. I was thinking how, if the other toolbag (Nicholas?) also died and Glenn's group came back intact, how that might look after Glenn and Aiden's dispute a couple episodes ago. But they're hauling Nicholas back to Alexandria. I wonder what his story will be.

The other big development in this episode was Rick getting the excuse he was looking for to replace Pete as the man in Jessie's life. I am not a fan of this storyline and not only because I'm Team Michonne. Rick is falling too hard too fast and Pete being a drunk, abusive husband is just too convenient. Having Carol find out through Sam's unspoken words was a nice touch, though. Carol has taken on another role now: Lady Macbeth.

Carol held Rick's hand and they worked out a plan
And it didn't taken them long to decide
That Earl Pete had to die.

Nah nah nah nah naaaaaah
Goodbye Pete.


Interpretive dance idea: Something involving an owl costume and the drum score from Birdman.

QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
-Abraham's story was the smallest of the episode but the one I enjoyed the most and was a nice break from the horror going on elsewhere. Abraham steps up and gets the job done and it was nice to see Tobin recognize that and step down without a fuss. I don't think this is the case but how great would it be if Alexandria was playing possum with Rick's gang? It doesn't really make sense but it'd be a pretty big plot twist. Alexandria as the Venus Fly Trap that Terminus aspired to be!
-Two episodes remaining (the finale being extra-long) and what do we still need to be resolved? The obvious clash between Rick's group and Alexandria's people. The Wolves. Morgan. Carl's haircut. Is that it?
-Does Tara survive the head wound? I say she doesn't die next episode but the one after. Her death could be the tipping point that sends Rick's group over the edge.

-How seriously does Deanna take Gabriel's attempts to sow the seeds of doubt?
-Why was this episode called "Spend"?

Blair's Rating: B

Blair's MVP: Glenn

Blair's Deadpool Pick: Pete

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Walking Dead - Season 5 Episode 13 - "Forget"


Blair Fink (Twitter: @BlairMFink, Instagram: @BlairFink)
Steve Bethel (Twitter: @the_lazy_gamer, Website: steveisthelazygamer.blogspot.ca)

"I'm your daddy now."

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 13, "Forget"


PARTY PEOPLE


Everybody just have a good time.


House parties and party poopers. Buttons and motorcycles. 

"Party poopers in the hooooouuuuse tonight. Everybody just have a bad time....."

The house party was somewhat of a lull for me. I get it, everyone is happy, everyone is "normal" (well, old normal, not new normal) and there is nothing to worry about inside the walls that Reg built/designed. I'm still wanting to trust Deanna, and maybe I should, maybe all this is true and good and right but maybe it's not her who we have to worry about...maybe it's Rick. 

"You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain." -Harvey Dent

That line sums up Rick right about now. With Reg mentioning all the nice things everyone said about Rick he really is quite the hero. I'm sure Reg and Dea wouldn't be so full of praise if they knew his backup plan.

Seeing these characters attend a dinner party in dinner party-appropriate clothes was very strange. Maybe I'm reading into something that's not there but was there a bit of a class warfare undercurrent to the party scenes? The Alexandria elite were practically falling over themselves trying to rid these poor, unfortunate souls of their burdens by pushing chardonnay and profiteroles on them, as though the party was just an excuse to pat themselves on the back for taking in these poor ragamuffins.

Aww, Daryl made a friend! It's interesting to see the shift in Carol and Daryl in this episode. Last episode had Carol being the little shoulder angel and Daryl being the devil to both taking a hard turn to the other end of the spectrum (Daryl not even wanting to take a handgun!). After a day in the forest of almost getting a chance to break a horse to losing said horse, after some very broseph moments, Daryl might have a new buddy and a new job. I wouldn't say Daryl is getting soft but he seems to be enticed by Aaron and his kindness, mind you if someone gave me a bike I would be pretty happy too. Asking Daryl to be a recruiter seems like a bit of a gamble. I know Aaron thinks he has good intuition but Daryl isn't exactly a people person.

While a little heavy-handed with the Daryl is the Wild Horse, You Guys! Metaphor (“He always ran.” “You were just trying to help him.”), I thought the Aaron and Daryl scenes were the highlights of the episode. We all know Daryl is a big softie under that greasy, grimy, scowly exterior so to see Aaron slowly earn his trust is a nice thing to see. I really like Aaron as a character so far and I really hope he doesn't turn out to be a villain. Wait, maybe I do. After The Governor and Dawn, we could really use a villain that is smart and calculating and not just batshit crazy.

I didn't care too much about Sasha and all her inner turmoil. If I want to watch someone deal with PTSD I'll go watch American Sniper again. She's just not really a character I am concerned with as I've been given no reason to be concerned with her. The big push for having her up in the clock tower was very forced and awkward and Deanna was right to be a bit suspicious.

Zack Handlen's review of this episode over at The AV Club perfectly captured the problem with Sasha:

"Try, if you can, to describe Sasha, one of the show’s secondary ensemble members. But you have to follow a few restrictions. First, you can’t describe her by race, or by gender; second, you can’t describe her in terms of her relationship to other characters. So “black woman who was Tyreese’s sister and Bob’s girlfriend” is right straight out. Also, try to describe her without describing her specific emotional state in “Forget.” What I’m looking for is a word picture of Sasha that will bring to mind her fundamental traits as a person, the elements of her personality and history that set her apart from the rest of the group. I want to know who Sasha is—not her reactions to the present situation, but the core self that drives those reactions, that make us care if she’s happy or sad or bordering on homicidal."

I like Sasha and I think Sonequa Martin-Green does an admirable job with what she has to work with. However, I didn't realize until I read the above thought experiment exactly what was missing from making her a great character. It's because we don't know who she is or who she was. She's suffering from the same syndrome Michonne did until recently. She's got the look of a good character and a good actress driving the ship but there's no cargo. Ultimately, Sasha's inner turmoil in this episode isn't as effective as it should be. We feel it as though we're watching a co-worker or a casual acquaintance go through something tough rather than a friend: we understand she's having a hard time and we feel for her, but we don't really know her that well so it doesn't break our hearts. Damn it, The Walking Dead, we ant you to break our hearts!

Okay, if I didn't notice the possum playing Carol last episode it is apparent now. As far as they are concerned ole Carol McClane might as well be Carol Poppins. Carol is my MVP this episode because she knows exactly what she is doing and how to play everyone. Talking casseroles with the girls, cookies with the pantry lady, being a little flirty with Tobin, and instilling straight up terror in little Sam! That whole scene of making Sam shit his pants totally reminded me of this scene. The proximity of the characters, the detail in the explanation, the look of horror on the kids face, all of it pulled right out of Jurassic Park. Loved it! Will he keep his mouth shut? I sure would. They made a point to show her taking extra chocolate, is that going to come back and bit her in the ass? 

I thought of this bit. Cookies or death? Cookies please.

I suppose this was a half and half episode for me. I enjoyed Daryl's bonding and Carol's terrorizing, but was bored with the party and couldn't care less about Sasha. Oh and I suppose there was some Michonne stuff in there too...

ROMANCE UPDATE!

Damn it, Rick! Pump the brakes! First of all, going full Smolder Mode while talking to a married woman in a place you just arrived at is a swift road to trouble. He kissed her on the cheek right? Not the mouth? Second, and most importantly, what about Michonne you big dummy!? She's the one for you. What happened to Constables in Love? What happened to Richonne? Jessie and Rick don't even make a good portmanteau! Rickessie? Jessick? Jick? Just nope.

I don't even know what to do with Rick fingering his gun while looking at Jessie's husband putting his arm around her. Rick's got it bad.

Richonne!

QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
-Carl. Get a haircut. For real. In real life.
-Was Father Gabriel even in this episode? At all? Even in the background?
-Rick being initiated with his 'A' stamp, and then waving to the others with it all seemed very culty
-A “W” on the foreheads of zombies and an “A” on the hands of the citizens of Alexandria. Make of that what you will.
-Carol is such a bad ass! Hiding in plain sight like an Assassin! She is a ghost!
-This Week in Apocalypse Fashion: Michonne's constable jacket must have been too big so they cut it and sewed it up down the back. Looks rad. Being a tall, skinny guy, I often have problems with jackets that are too billowy in the midsection. I might have to use this technique with all my jackets.
-Why does Rick get to have his gun? Is it for show or is it loaded? And why does he hold his hidden gun when he runs?
-I don't even like horses and that scene where the zombies bring down the horse was not fun to watch. Poor Buttons!
-Final scene was very Face-Off-ish


Blair's Rating: B
Steve's Rating: 3 quarter bars of chocolate out of 5

Blair's MVP: Aaron
Steve's MVP: Carol

Blair's Deadpool Pick: Aiden
Steve's Deadpool Pick: Maggie, please, just die. I mean that in the nicest way.


Closing aside; my wife and I are off to Mexico this Wednesday and returning next Wednesday, so I will not be commenting on next weeks episode...unless Blair wants to delay it until I get back. As I type this I think to myself; I probably should have had this aside privately with Blair first...oh well.  VIVA MEXICO!!

I'll probably just post a video of me conveying my analysis of the episode through interpretive dance, so you're off the hook.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Walking Dead - Season 5, Episode 12 - "Remember"


Blair Fink (Twitter: @BlairMFink, Instagram: @BlairFink)
Steve Bethel (Twitter: @the_lazy_gamer, Website: steveisthelazygamer.blogspot.ca)

Aw yiss.

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Episode 12, "Remember"


TAME AS THE WILD ONES


"The kids deserve a roof over their heads. I guess."


I enjoyed this episode. Feeling out Alexandria, feeling out the people, finding roles for everyone. Sorry Blair, the beard is gone.

Rick’s beard had to die so that he could live.

Is it too good to be true? Alexandria I mean, not the beard. It has to be, right? Will we be sitting pretty and clean for four more episodes? Or does Alexandria hold a deep dark secret?

I think for once we are getting the point of view of the “problem group” in the meeting of two communities, although not on the same level as Woodbury/Governor's Gang and Terminus. Alexandria is on the level but Rick's group is just too intense for the people of Alexandria to handle.

So what do we want to break down first? Deanna and the intermittent video interviews? I found the over exposed "camera view" was a good way of trying to brighten up the mood. Putting that up against each of the tired and dirty characters really shows how worn down they actually are. I really want to trust her, I do. It all just seems too good. I find myself feeling the same as the characters, apprehensive, skeptical, scared even. Scared to be safe, scared to let their guard down. As stated by Carl and Carol, scared to get weak!

As attached as I was getting to the merkin on Rick’s face, I think it was the right time for it to go. I’d forgotten how legitimately handsome Andrew Lincoln was under that monstrosity. 

"Hey girl."

Not only is Rick looking slick, we now have the foundations of a potential love triangle with Michonne and Jessie. We do have that, right? Or am I just wishing desperately wishing projecting? I wouldn’t be mad if the next episode was just a romantic comedy starring Rick and Michonne titled Constables of Love.

Rick and Michonne get their jobs: constables. I'm sure no one saw that coming...I'm sure that is going to cause some static. As Rick mentioned, give these brand new people that kind of power? Is that a good idea? How will that sit with the "locals"? Like I said, I want to trust Deanna, but it's too fishy.

All they wanted was a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air and they got it, landing smack dab in the middle of Our Town. The question is, are they too far gone to fit into something resembling civilized society? I’m totally on board with the direction this Alexandria storyline is headed. I’ll admit, I was skeptical of yet another community for the group to join but now, juxtaposing just how much they’ve changed with a representation of how they used to be is very revealing. Our main characters are almost feral compared to the fresh faces of Alexandria. Almost everyone in the group is either able to comfortably settle into old comforts or at least pretend to settle into old comforts to keep up appearances. The only exception is Daryl, who spends the whole episode squirming and pacing like a rat in a cage. He’s the only one who doesn’t have a former domesticated persona to re-adopt. So far, Daryl is a wild animal on display in a zoo.

The interviews were a great way to show the dark side of what this group has been through. Carl's was probably my favourite interview. Straight up real talk, "I didn't lose her, I killed her.". Carol's was sad, the way she reminisced about her abusive husband was an interesting experience. It was good as a little reminder to the viewer, put it all on the table, this is what we have been through.

The only real conflict, besides the internal ones, is between Glenn and Aiden, turdbag son of Congresswoman Deanna. His schoolyard bully mentality immediate clashes with Glenn’s practical first-hand knowledge and approach. It was nice to see Deanna reveal to Glenn that her son is a toolpouch but will she still feel that way when his (incoming blind prediction) accidental death gets pegged on Glenn in a future episode?

The "runner" scenes were my favorite of the episode. Aiden is a tool. To have these people, who have been out there since the start, and not listen to them? That is crazy! Deanna wanted the group because of their experience outside. You would think that would register with Aiden. Everything Glenn did was great. Calling him out, insulting him about his dead friends. Great, I like when Glenn gets hard. Plus watching Daryl skulk about in the shadows always means a fight is about to break out! 

Daryl Dixon: Most Likely to Give Alexandria a Bad Yelp Review.

Enid. She is an odd duck. The other boys said she was new and came from beyond the wall, and that was it. Was she out there alone? Did she have a group? Parents? I hope we find out more about her. I have a feeling Carl will connect more with her than the soft boys. Why did she leave the grounds? Does she feel the same as Carl and doesn't want to get weak so she sneaks out and keeps her walker killing game strong?  All I could think of during that scene was "Stay in the god damn house Carl!" 

My favourite scene was the one I was dreading: Carl meeting the other teenagers. Being faced with the dilemma of playing video games or pool is something so trivial and unimportant, Carl has forgotten how to even process that kind of decision. What a great showcase for who Carl is now compared with what a "normal" kid his age would be like.

Carl hasn't quite mastered the art of tracking like Daryl, he loses Enid but somehow he finds his dad and they have a nice little bonding moment! Adorable. I think after Carl's comment about not getting soft got to Rick, he was more willing to have him stand beside him as an equal than to take the lead. Who took Rick's gun I wonder?

One of those pesky possums took Rick's Milkshake Gun I bet! For real, though, pretty sure it was Enid. Is Enid a spy for whoever the wolves (capital “W” Wolves?) are? We don't see any indication she has family in Alexandria.

So they have been there what? 2-3 days? Already we have conflicts; Glenn and Aiden, Rick and (probably) Jesse's husband, (will that lead to Michonne and Jesse?), Daryl and everybody, Carl and Enid (I imagine them being a Spiderman/Black Cat kind of team. Good team with a love/hate, banter fueled relationship)

I’m interested to see how the gang integrates itself into the community and either gels with it or takes it over because either way, they better do it fast, because if the hints mean anything…wolves not far.




QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
-Who was in the house outside of the fence that Carl noticed? Was it Enid, someone else from Alexandria, or some other entity?
-Michonne’s “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes” expression when she sees clean shaven Rick is what keeps my Richonne ship afloat
-Carole that gun is clearly too much for you.
-Everything Carol did in this episode was deliberate to mask her badassness. She is playing possum. Carol, you sneaky, sneaky lady! She’s going undercover!
-Symbolism in the last scene was heavy. Clean, fairly well lit Carol over Rick's right shoulder with dirty, sitting in the shadows Daryl over his left.
-That was a hell of a closing line...
-Rick is the one who knocks.

Blair's Rating: A-
Steve's Rating: 3.7 hot showers out of 5

Blair's MVP: Rick
Steve's MVP: Glenn

Blair's Deadpool Pick: Aiden
Steve's Deadpool Pick: Aiden

(singing): "I'm starting with the man in the mirror…"