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February 24, 2014 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Claimed

An hour and a half before the show…

Last week’s episode was a real doozy.  Maggie, Sasha, and Bob encounter the prison bus, now completely infested with walkers, and the three clear it out.  Daryl and Beth are on the hunt for other survivors.  Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and a miraculously alive baby Judith are on the run, and meet up with Carol.  They then find a map pointing them towards a community called Terminus.  Finally, Glenn grabs some riot gear and escapes the prison with Tara.  As they leave, they meet three new characters: Rosita Espinosa, Dr. Eugene Porter, and Sgt. Abraham Ford!  It was an awesome episode, and I’m incredibly interested to see how things to from here.

After the show…

Eeeeh… not the best episode.  Granted, it had its moments, and it was brilliantly tense throughout, but overall there’s just not much to say.  Rick, Carl, and Michonne are camped out at the house they had been staying in last time we saw them.  Carl and Michonne head out on a supply run while Rick gets some much-needed shuteye aaand these people are stupid.  Okay, sending two people on a supply run to a nearby house makes sense.  They can cover each other and all that.  But then having the one remaining person just take a nap?  No!  You don’t do that!  And sure enough, some guys come in and kill someone for… some reason.  Rick, intelligently, decides to hide under the bed, and then one of the guys lies on it.  Joy.

Google Images brought up too many creepypastas, so I leave you with this.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Tara are riding in the back of the Abrahamobile, after witnessing Abraham massacre a bunch of walkers earlier in the episode.  They call out for the truck to stop, and they all get out.  Abraham explains that the three of them are on a mission.

Hit it.

That mission is to get Eugene to Washington D.C. so he can connect with his government bosses and hopefully bring this whole thing to an end, since Eugene was involved in the creation of the virus.  And everyone who read the comic rolled their eyes.  Anyway, when Abraham says that Glenn won’t ever see his wife again, the two fight, and in the chaos, some walkers are attracted.  While the five of them manage to kill them all, Eugene’s rapid gunfire ruptures the Abrahamobile’s gas tank.  Ultimately, the five decide to walk to D.C.

After witnessing a strangling and committing another one, Rick manages to escape the house and get away with Carl and Michonne.  As they walk down some railroad tracks later, they see something on a train car that points in a direction.  They decide to follow those directions.  As the episode ends, the camera pans back to reveal it was a sign leading to Terminus, the same place that the Furious Five (Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith) were headed when we saw them last.

Honestly, this was a very underwhelming episode, compared to what I was expecting (an interesting study of the two new groups of five as they explored these new concepts), but I’m satisfied.  What I didn’t expect was how freaking tense this episode would be.  There’s a scene where Michonne is exploring an abandoned house, and I was expecting something to jump out at her.  But nothing did, and it instead led to a silent, really emotional shot of two dead kids and their mother, in a mercy kill/murder/suicide.  That left a mark.  Rick’s stealth venture through the house was interesting, if reliant on every one of the home invaders being completely blind.

And given a lot of stealth sequences I watch for entertainment, that says something.

And while it’s not all I wanted, Abraham and company’s interaction with Glenn and Tara is pretty good.  So, overall, this episode was like waking up to find your dad had gotten fresh bagels, but they were all out of chocolate chip so you have to settle for cinnamon raisin.  Still edible, and it’s a decent breakfast if you slather on enough margarine, but still not all you hoped for, and when did I turn into Ben Croshaw?  Regardless, I give Claimed a 7.  It was tense, and it held my interest, but it’s far from what I expected, given the big revelations last week.

Note to self: never do a Google Images search for “claimed” ever again.

 

February 17, 2014 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Inmates

Less than two hours before the show…

Not a whole lot happened last time.  Carl and Rick wandered around for a while before shacking up in a suburban household.  Rick went into a coma and Carl screamed at him.  Carl nearly died twice and then indulged in a can of pudding the size of his head.  Meanwhile, Michonne killed a big pack of walkers that had been following her, and the three are finally reunited.  Tonight, however, things are about to get a bit more Irish Catholic vigilante around here as we follow Daryl and Beth on their own endless Georgia odyssey!

After the show…

Oh, yeah.  This was basically the episode of “Hi!  I’m alive!”.  We start out with Daryl and Beth wandering through the forest, looking for survivors.  Daryl is getting really pessimistic, while Beth still wants to hold on to some hope.  Yeaaah, that hasn’t gone so well.  Meanwhile, Lizzie and Mika (who are basically the Robert Arryns of The Walking Dead, and that isn’t a compliment) are also wandering through the forest, but this time they have Tyreese, and more reassuringly, baby Judith!  Yay!  Hearing some screams, Tyreese idiotically leaves the three girls behind.  On their own.  In the zombie-infested woods.

Tyreese comes across two people fighting off zombies.  One guy gets bitten, but the other keeps fighting.  Back among the trees, the three are approached by several zombies, but they are dispatched.  On Tyreese’s end, the second guy gets bitten, but then Lizzie, Mika, and Judith arrive… accompanied by everyone’s favorite heartless pyromaniac (not Trashcan Man), Carol Peletier!  Recovering from his gaping neck wound, the bitten man says that there’s a community of survivors not far.  They leave him to cry, and sure enough, Lizzie and Mika find a sign with a map, marked with routes to a place called Terminus, the most awesome apocalypse community name ever.  Other than Rivet City.

Not THAT Terminus!

In another part of Dzala ertobashia (points if you get it), Maggie, Sasha, and Bob are hanging around.  Maggie decides to go looking for Glenn and the rest of the people who escaped on the prison bus.  She finds the bus… with everyone aboard dead and reanimated.  She kills all of the walkers, but Glenn isn’t among them.  As Maggie breaks down crying, we cut to Glenn, who is back at the prison, trapped on all sides by walkers.  He goes back into the cell block, grabs some riot gear, and heads out into battle.  As he’s making his way through the massive group, he sees Tara, one of the Governor’s soldiers, sitting in the garden, a shell of her former self.  The two band together and get moving, but as they leave, they’re confronted by three people: Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene.

There was a lot going on this episode, but it pulled it off really well.  The scenes with Lizzie and Mika were surprisingly well-done, and while I still really don’t like the two, and I think that they’re a ticking time bomb that might have gone off already, they actually had a nice moment or two.  Glenn’s storyline with Tara is really interesting, since they’re from completely opposite groups, and that ending was perfectly timed.  Maggie’s scenes weren’t as interesting, but they still had some impact, and they pulled off the “just separated” feeling the best of everyone’s stories.  Overall, I give “Inmates” an 8.5/10.  Sure, some of the scenes didn’t always work perfectly, but what went well really went well.  I cannot wait to see what happens next!

February 10, 2014 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: After

Forty minutes or so before the show…

And we’re back, after months of waiting and mourning, to The Walking Dead!  Last time, Hershel and the Governor were dead after the Governor and his crew attacked the prison with a tank.  Now, everyone is separated, the prison is now unlivable, and things are looking to get much, much worse.  Which says something.  Hold me.

Enjoy this neat cover of Bad Moon Rising while we sob in anticipation.

After the show…

That was… not insanely epic, but I didn’t expect it to be.  The episode revolves around Rick and Carl, who are fleeing the prison together and are facing some serious issues, and Michonne, who is on her own and having a bit of a nervous breakdown.  Rick and Carl continue moving through the apparently infinite apocalyptic Georgia wilderness, and things have gotten tense between the two.  Rick thinks Carl is growing up too fast, Carl thinks Rick is becoming obsolete (given the extent of his injuries), and both are reeling from Judith’s disappearance.  When Rick goes into a bit of a semi-coma, Carl leaves him for dead and strikes out on his own, which goes about as well as you’d think.  Carl nearly dies twice, and eats a massive thing of chocolate pudding, because you might as well.

It’s the apocalypse.  Live a little.

Meanwhile, Michonne has gotten her hands on a couple of new pet walkers.  She kills Hershel’s walker head, and leaves the prison, haunted by the ghosts of those she’s left behind and those who she’s loved who she’s lost, and eventually she snaps and kills a bunch of walkers in the aforementioned wilderness, and she’s a bit better.  Then, she follows Rick and Carl’s trail to the suburban house where they’re hanging out (Rick lives!) and the three reunite, with Rick simply saying to Carl “It’s for you.”  Mic drop.

This episode wasn’t exactly what I expected.  I mean, I didn’t think it would be gunning down whole herds with a railgun, but I wasn’t expecting this much malaise.  Still, it hit all the right notes pretty well.  The scenes where Carl nearly dies are insanely intense, a weird dream sequence involving Michonne is interesting, and it’s arguably one of the most realistic (in terms of how I’d be in the zombie apocalypse) episodes in the series so far.  Carl’s rage is understandable but uncomfortable to watch, while it’s just plain sad to watch Rick go from confident leader to a real wreck of a man.  It’s a great episode, just not a masterpiece.  I give it an 8/10.  Not much to say as of yet, just that this is a great show and I can’t wait to see what this half of the season holds.

January 1, 2014 / milesandhisfavorites

Resolutions I Can Actually (Try To) Follow

Less than an hour until 2014.  It’s been a decent year, although it’s been marred by some personal issues related to stress and heartbreak that we need not discuss here.  I started reading (and finished, and got addicted to beyond logical reason) George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, I volunteered at the National Zoo for two weeks, I got retweeted by Wil Wheaton and favorited by Mara Wilson (Is it sad that those were some highlights?  I don’t really care.), and other such things.  I made friends, lost loves, and decided that hey, just because Daenerys stands up to her abusive brother doesn’t automatically make her a good person.  And, like most people going into the new year, I have some resolutions.  These, unlike going to the gym every week or the like, I will make a good attempt to keep, especially since I kind of want to.  

1. When I want to binge-watch something on Netflix, actually binge-watch it.  Don’t just watch a few episodes and give up.  Actually, I’m already pretty on top of this.  I’ve spent the last week or so plowing my way through two seasons of Scandal, and I’ve got nine episodes to go.  Also, my somewhat skewed moral compass leads me to despise Olivia Pope.  I’m sorry, but if she (SPOILERS) rigged an election, defends torturers and murderers, and bugged a loving couple, I can’t call her a good person.  It’s like with the Gallagher Girls.

2. Finish the Gallagher Girls series.  And the Heist Society series.  I’m convinced that teen spy/thief writer Ally Carter can actually write decently.  But, Ally, Ally, Ally, can you pretty please give me characters  that my aforementioned moral compass can accept as the good guys!  Or at least have some genuine moral discussions on the fact that, if I ever hacked Gallagher Academy, I would make Edward Snowden’s revelations look like the work of a snotty teacher’s pet.  Despite this, I am desperately determined to read the rest of the books.  If she can make me like Cammie, Bex, and Liz (I consider Macey the tiniest bit redeemable, at least in the first book), then she will have accomplished a feat worthy of the gods.

3. Read the Wild Cards books.  This series is LONG.  Like, 15 books or more long.  And they have a massive cast.  And are told from a variety of viewpoints.  And yes, all the books were at least edited by George R.R. Martin.  Then again, if I can get my hands on a copy of the first book, that’ll be a little miracle.  Then again, it makes Watchmen look like the 60’s Batman show.  I’m not sure I even want to tackle that level of grittiness.

4. Watch some dumb movies.  Specifically, those of the 80’s action movie variety.  I’ve watched a bit of The Running Man and around half of Terminator 2, but I feel like I need to unwind from my never-ending criticism.  And what better way to do that than watch Snake Plissken run around alongside an idiotically oversized Statue of Liberty head, after New York was attacked by-wait, Cloverfield WASN’T a prequel to Escape From New York?  That was just a poster?  Whatever you say, voice of rationality.  Now shut up, “Long Tall Sally” is playing.

5. Don’t get so jealous.  This one is going to be the hardest to keep.  I have a tendency to get jealous of just about anyone.  My cousin is insanely good at choreography and kicked butt at Pippin (featuring the most ungrateful main character of all time, and yes, he probably WAS a hunchback)?  I’m jealous of her skill and her school’s level of funding.  Elizabeth has more cities than I do in Civilization V?  I’m jealous (even if she’ll never win that cultural victory).  Those are two completely different things, but I have a feeling of dread and hatred about both.  And that NEEDS to stop, because ultimately, it will always look like they have better lives than I do.  But know what the Trimurti is, and it is one of my favorite philosophical concepts ever!  And they probably don’t!  Okay, there’s a difference between not being jealous and being a bit too self-righteous.

And those are my resolutions!  Will I follow them!  At least I’ll get better at binge-watching and try to forgive the Morgans for their presumed crimes against humanity.  My jealousy problem probably won’t be going away any time soon, at least with the advent of social media.  But cousin Becca blocked me on Twitter, so that might help.  Happy New Year to all, and to all a good… new year!  Hope I can write more often here.  Oh, right, I actually am doing some writing on Fanfiction.net.  The name is EKHornbeck (my favorite cinematic character of all time).  Be wary, though.  My cathartic stories may not be for the faint of heart.

December 18, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

Steelheart, Grand Theft Auto, and Having THE POWER

I’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson’s book Steelheart recently, and unlike a lot of books, some of its themes really stuck with me, and caused me to have those internal moral/prediction/was this a smart move? conversations that I love to have with myself.  The book takes place after a mysterious occurrence takes place in the sky that gives people superpowers.

 

I’ve really been meaning to read this, but I’m terrified of the prospect, because this is like the James Bond of book series.  THERE’S JUST SO MANY OF THEM.

Not that.  The event, called Calamity, turns thousands of people into Epics, superhumans with varying degrees of powers, ranging from being able to fire a handgun without ever running out of ammo to flying and causing earthquakes.  It’s an excellent book, and I love how detailed these powers and the people who have them are, but it has some moral arguments in it that aren’t handled incredibly well.  Anyway, after a bit, the U.S. government decides to declare Epics (who wantonly kill and steal-this will become relevant shortly) immune to the law, since who’s going to stop a guy who can point at you and instantly turn you into dust?

If you were to crack open a thesaurus and look up the synonyms for scapegoat, one of them would undoubtedly be Grand Theft Auto.  This old and famous game series serves you a heaping plate of killing, stealing, and driving through a fictional city or three, with a big side of societal commentary.  While there have been a bunch of the games, we’re going to focus on the fifth and most successful (the entire production costs were made back in pre-ordered copies ALONE) installment, Grand Theft Auto V.

A.k.a. The Obvious Cause of All Violence Ever-Fox News.

In this game (and the series) there’s a story, but in between coordinating multi-million dollar heists and helping out your “homies” in the “hood”, “dawg”, you can partake in what the franchise is best known for: running down innocent people in expensive cars just because you can, punching people on the street, and committing general crimes against humanity.  And the thing about this is: you can do it with next to no repercussions.  Yes, you’ll get a wanted rating, but that goes away after a bit if you avoid the police who are now rapidly chasing you.  And if nobody sees you, you can do whatever you please.  And generally car theft goes unpunished.  In other words, we’ve created a Venn diagram between these two otherwise unrelated things: both let you get away with literal murder without either any legal problems, or minimal ones.

Why does this matter?  Well, consider this idea: if you suddenly got a boatload of incredible power, and invincibility, what would you do?  Now, you could always be a good human being and help the innocent, and I respect that.  You choose to take the Superman route.  But let’s say you’re given immunity because, as I’ve said before, you’re basically a force of nature at this point.  Who’s gonna stop you?  With all this power and no rules, how long would it be until you decided to, at the very least, take out some petty anger on a public place?

Or, you know, this.

Actually, Grand Theft Auto isn’t the only franchise like that.  Really, any sandbox game gives you this sort of power, from Skyrim to Saints Row.  Give a man a machine gun and a linear pathway through a bunch of evil ethnic stereotypes and he’ll kill said stereotypes.  Give a man a huge open world, a machine gun, and next to no rules, and you can’t really predict what will happen.

Yes, this is a high hillbilly drug dealer shooting clowns and watching them explode into color.

So, ultimately, both Steelheart and Grand Theft Auto ask a similar question, even if it’s not deliberate: what would you do if you were given all the resources and power in the world to do whatever you pleased?  In my case, it wouldn’t be pretty, as evidenced by the fact that my mother will never let me play Grand Theft Auto.

December 11, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

My Thoughts On Battle Royale

If you bring up The Hunger Games (book or movie) in a discussion with at least one person who hasn’t necessarily seen or read The Hunger Games but knows the basic concept, chances are they’ll say that it’s a ripoff of Battle Royale.  This isn’t such a far-fetched claim.  Both stories are about a group of children divisible by six who, at the behest of a totalitarian government, are sent off to a remote location to kill each other until only one remains.  Sounds convincing, I suppose… until you actually watch/read both films/books.  I’ve seen and read The Hunger Games several times, and I just recently watched Battle Royale.  And the two are not all that similar.  And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

If you don’t know the premise of The Hunger Games, check Wikipedia, because I’m not going to explain the mental conditions you must have to name your child after a type of root.  Basically, evil government sends 24 children into an arena each year to play Spartacus.  It’s a hugely publicized event, with plenty of hype, and the victor lives comfortably for the rest of their life.  In Battle Royale, after massive student strikes because… economic stuff, I don’t really know.  Point is, the government sends 42 children to an abandoned island to play Gladiator.  This is not nearly as hyped or publicized, although one of the first scenes DOES involve news media and the previous year’s victor.

Ju-on called.  They want their creepy kids back.

As you can imagine, I had a hard time following Battle Royale.  The fact that there are 18 more kids in play than there are in The Hunger Games (and even in THAT something like half of them went unnamed), PLUS the fact that the cast list reads like a Miyazaki credits sequence, meant that I really only knew a character’s name the moment they died, and even then, only because the film showed us onscreen their name and number, and how many kids were left.  It was actually a nice feature, much better than the Capitol broadcasts that served to show how insignificant some of the characters were.

And that’s another thing: in Battle Royale, every character is named, and has a backstory and usually a relationship with another character, which often turns out to be “I loved you the whole time oh no I just killed you” in nature.  This is harder to follow, but definitely gives more scenes impact.  I mean, in The Hunger Games, there were some decently emotional scenes.  Here, every other scene feels like a punch in the gut, from a simple stabbing to multiple girls being gunned down in a lighthouse.  And there is some excellent acting to keep that gut-punching going.  Although there IS the immersion-ruining factor of the necklaces and the danger zones and the… let me explain.

One of the biggest departures from The Hunger Games is definitely the time limit.  Much like Dead Rising 2, there’s a painfully short time limit on these games-three days.  If the battle continues, all the necklaces that the kids are wearing will blow up.  That’s exactly as gory as it sounds.  Plus, if you’re in a certain part of the island at a certain time of the day, the necklace will also blow up.  My question is: WHY?  You have no reason to keep such a time limit.  Scared the kids will starve?  You’re sending them to kill each other!  Don’t want to keep your loudspeaker guy away from his family too long?  Get a new one!  No reason!

Still, despite this MASSIVE plot issue/convenience/stupid thing, the film did something The Hunger Games could never actually do: scare me.  Unlike Katniss and Peeta’s futuristic dystopia, this is clearly set in the 2000’s.  This is the sort of thing that I felt could happen to me, even if I’m not a truant schoolgirl with a penchant for catfights and poisoning.  And in that sense, I think Battle Royale is honestly better than The Hunger Games.  It’s brutal, gory, and confusing most of the time.  But it’s more realistic, more interesting, and a nonstop terrifying thriller.  The Hunger Games is an excellent film.  Catching Fire is even better.  But-and not to sound like a hipster here, because FSM knows I don’t want to be-but Battle Royale beats them both.  Now all I need to do is watch the sequel, read the book, finish watching The Running Man, and then read The Most Dangerous Game.  Hoo boy.

Battle Royale

December 2, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Too Far Gone

SPOILERS AHEAD

An hour before the show…

After murdering Martinez, then his successor, then convincing the next successor to give the reins over to him, the Governor has finally assumed control of the camp.  With a new army and a freaking tank, the mid-season finale is poised to give us an epic showdown between the prison and the camp.  Who will live?  Who will die?  Will the Governor snap again and kill everyone?  AGAIN?  Eh, probably not, but the odds are decent that the group will have to abandon the prison after this.  There’s only so much one prison can take after two attacks.

After the show…

*muffles tears* Just… just… holy… *muffles tears*  ALL OF THE THINGS DIED.  Well, not all, but they pretty much all died.  At the very least, nobody can live in that prison anymore.  So, anyway… what happened?  Well, the Governor’s camp (save the Governor’s paramour Tara and the Penny 2.0., Meghan, and probably anyone else who can’t fight) take Hershel and Michonne hostage, and show up at the gates, demanding that Rick’s folks leave so they can move in.  And they have a tank, so there’s that.

Wrong tank.

So, the prison and the camp are at a standoff.  Meanwhile, while playing in some red clay down by the river and being way too far from Tara to be safe, Megan encounters a walker buried in the clay.  And, yeah… we’re going to need a Penny 3.0.  With Meghan dead, the Governor is poised to completely fall apart, mentally.  But no time for that as of yet!  After Rick gives a speech suggesting that they all live together, the Governor simply whispers “Liar”, and then…

R.I.P. Hershel Greene

The Governor hacks Hershel’s head off, prompting a shootout even more tense and epic than Internment’s.  Then, when the Governor is confronted with Meghan’s death, he shoots her himself, and orders a full advance.  Including the tank’s, which promptly blows the everything out of everything.  Bob gets shot (but lives), the two little girls Carol James Wesley Rawle-ed into hardcore not nice people actually do some killing, and Daryl stuffs a grenade down the barrel of the tank at the end, providing a much smaller explosion than would probably actually happen.  Rick sneaks up behind the Governor and begins to beat the everything out of him, but Sir Eyepatch manages to get him in a stranglehold, and almost kills him.  ALMOST.  Until…

Okay, you can rot in the bad place.

…Michonne comes up from behind and gives him a sword through the torso.  She does NOT, however, brain him, because let’s not give him a kind quick death.  Lily does that, followed by someone stepping on a chess king with an eyepatch drawn on it.  Not kidding.  Not gonna lie, it was some pretty dumb symbolism.  And THEN, once it’s been confirmed that Carl is alive, we find the empty seat that Judith was in.  It’s also a pretty bloody seat.  I know Kirkman can sink low, but… THIS IS LOW.  Well, maybe the Rather Stupid But Temporarily Awesome Children took her off to a nice farm, and… yeah, odds are she’s dead.  *buries head in hands*  Rick and Carl support each other as they sob and stagger away from the now-overrun prison, closing out the last episode of The Walking Dead of 2013.

This episode… yeezus.

By comparison, THIS was a video of three fat Pomskys gleefully trotting around.

But… it’s exactly what you’d expect from this show.  A realistically action-packed mid-season finale, with plenty of deaths and gore, with an ending that punches you in the gut repeatedly.

Example A.

Example B.

This episode killed me.  I’ll still watch the show, and I’ll of course recover from this.  But it’s a punch in the gut that will have you screaming at the television, and it’s a fine example of how this show can be truly amazing.  This is a 9.5.  It’s not truly epic, or perfect (the beginning isn’t all that great) but it’s the perfect reminder that nobody is safe.

 

November 25, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Dead Weight

Before the show…

SPOILERS.

Okay, on last week’s episode, we went from a turning point being reached in the prison plague to a redemption storyline for the Governor.  He’s alone, on the road, and ever-crazier.  But then he meets up with a group of four holed out in an apartment, which thanks to some lung cancer becomes four again (Guvna included).  They go on the road, but the Governor and the Penny 2.0., one of the members of the group (along with two young women, and yeah, this is very Rise of the Governor-ish), fall into a walker trap.  The Governor saves P-2’s life, and is found by Martinez, one of the two men who abandoned him after he killed literally several dozen members of the Woodbury Army.

After the show…

Meh.  Meh.  HOLYGAWD.  Meh.  Meh.  Meh.  OOO didn’t see that one coming.  Meh.  Meh.  Hm, this will be interesting.  That was basically my reaction to this episode.  It was better than Live Bait, but it still didn’t exactly live up to Indifference and Internment.  So, how does the episode go?  Well, Martinez (along with a small group) take the Governor Gang back to their own camp, which has a couple dozen people in it.  Things are okay.  They’ve got plenty of ammo, stable leadership, food, and they’re friendly.  It’s almost like…

There’s been plenty of allegory these last couple of episodes.  

But as it will in the zombie apocalypse, some stuff happens.  The Governor, by murdering Martinez and his successor, takes over, and the camp folks discover that they probably aren’t alone in this neck of the woods.  Another campsite has been ransacked, the people gunned down and looted.  There be bandits in these woods, and to add to that, the prison may be turning itself around.  And as the preview for the mid-season finale showed us, there’s going to be a very tense fight between the two.

Boomerangs optional.

So, the episode, like the one that came before it, didn’t have much to offer in the way of standing out.  Actually, scratch that, the murders of Martinez and his successor were some stand-out moments, but fairly inevitable ones.  And there was one tense walker scene that reminded me, of all things, of It.  But they generally weren’t mowing down a herd with AR-15s and I don’t care, that was an awesome moment!  So, yeah, not a whole lot to say about this one.  It had the usual handful of emotional character scenes, some walker gore, and a tense scene where the kid may or may not die and you feel genuinely afraid for them.  Dead Weight gets an 8/10.  It has a fresh setting with characters to match, some okay thrills, and is an excellent setup for an epic-looking midseason finale.  Until then, keep that hair short!

November 18, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Live Bait

Over an hour before the show…

It was a pleasure to SPOILERS!

So… last night, things simultaneously seemed to take a turn for the better and for the worse.  Mostly worse, since this is that kind of show.  The dead sick folks in the quarantine cell block reanimated, and killed one person, thankfully unnamed.  Hershel managed to take them all out, but among the sick (and dead, now) was one of the prison’s doctors, Caleb I’m-Not-Even-Going-To-Try-To-Pronounce-His-Last-Name.  Glenn was sick, but some emergency care saved his life, meaning that we will most likely have to wait for Negan before he bites the dust.  If you read the comics, you know what I mean.  Sasha also seems to be doing okay, while Rick and Carl took on a small herd of walkers with nothing but each other and a couple of high-powered AR-15s.  But now someone has returned, in probably the most shocking moment of the season (for me, at least) so far-the return of the Guvna.

Let off some steam, Tyreese.

After the show…

That was a good one.  Granted, it wasn’t the morality play that Indifference was, or the epic showdown that Internment was (incidentally, this ends the four-episode streak of episode titles that start with I), but it was a well-rounded episode.  We have plenty of character, some gory walker kills, and some awesome folk/alternative music (Ben Nichols’s The Last Pale Light In the West is the tune of the day).

So, the Governor, after slaughtering almost his entire army, is on the road with two of his most loyal men.  Who promptly abandon him, making him go even more off the rails on a crazy train.  He burns most of Woodbury, and wanders around for a while with a burly beard, before meeting up with four people in an apartment: two young women, an old man with lung cancer, and Penny 2.0.  He actually tries to be a good person, going hunting for oxygen tanks for the old man, and actually being nice to the Penny 2.0.  Finally, after the death of the old man, the remaining four go out on the road in an RV, where Guvna and Penny 2.0. are threatened by a small group of walkers after they stumble into a perfectly geometrical pit, with a few walkers inside.  The Governor goes all Boondock Saints on them (which is, to say, kills them with improvised stuff), and is discovered by Martinez, one of the men who abandoned him.

Martiza

This episode was just overall good.  The acting was good, the writing was good, and I could really feel the brutal desperation at times, like that fight scene in the walker trap.  But it wasn’t an episode that really threw anything new at me.  Yes, it’s the Governor being a good person, but that’s not particularly shocking, he probably was going to have a redemption storyline at SOME point.  The old man was probably going to die, the little girl is meant to be like Penny, the Governor’s daughter.  Really, the only surprise in the entire episode was Martinez showing up at the end, which didn’t exactly blow my mind or anything.  It was an episode that generally played it safe, and while it was good, and probably more realistic than shooting up a herd of walkers, it didn’t captivate me like the last couple of episodes.  I give Live Bait a 7/10.  Nothing special, but still a solid episode.

November 11, 2013 / milesandhisfavorites

The Walking Review: Internment

Roughly twenty minutes before the show…

Frankly my dear, there will be SPOILERS

So, here’s what happened: On two separate supply runs, we learned two things: Bob Stookey, the only definitely uninfected doctor, is an alcoholic, because when the world ends, you’re going to want some booze to keep you company.  And that Carol has become indifferent to everything, especially she killed Karen and David.  Because of that, Rick declares her a danger to herself and others (mostly others) and kicks her out of the group, giving her a car, a gas can, and probably some other supplies that could have been better used for the sick people, or the non-psychotic ones.  Oh, Carol and Rick met two other survivors, one of whom is without a doubt dead and the other most likely never to be seen again.  Then again, Merle.  Let’s go!

After the show…

o_O is all that I can say.  Remember how last week I said that I wanted to know how they could possibly top Indifference?  Guess what?  THEY FREAKING TOPPED IT.  BY A MILE.  Okay, so both groups (or, well, one group and Rick) get back, but at completely different times.  Hershel is still caring for the sick, and both Sasha and Glen are among them.  The episode revolves around one thing: all of the you-know-what hitting all of the fans.  The dead sick people reanimate and threaten everyone’s lives.  Glen is going into that phase of the sickness where you either live or die, and he seems to be leaning towards the latter.  And a very large group of walkers is threatening to knock down the fence and destroy all of the things.  So this is all well and good, but how do they wrap this up?  In one of the most mind-smashingly epic anything I’ve ever seen in an apocalypse… anything!  That includes the nuking of Vegas, that includes Yonkers, that includes… just… Jesus.  This was incredible.

You topped THIS.  THIS.

The episode starts out pretty unassumingly, so much that you may as well call it Stagnation, which would also be a pretty decent title if you want to mislead the audience.  Hershel is still caring for the sick, of which there are legion.  At this point, only Maggie is real guard/fighter left in the prison, so she’s got that burden to bear along with a father in the sick ward, a little sister in the administrative office quarantine area, and a sick boyfriend.  But the episode’s strengths come in the last twenty-five minutes or so.  Rick returns, the sick reanimate, and the part of the fence under siege collapses at last.  Leading Rick and Carl to do the only sane, rational thing when you’re confronted by dozens upon dozens of walkers.

Oh, yeah.

And so Carl and his stuff-and-thaaangs father fend off the small herd with nothing but resilience and a couple of high-powered assault rifles (sadly, not to the tune of AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill”), which honestly aren’t very good anti-zombie weapons.  Just a waste of ammo.  But anyway, with the help of the meds nearly sacrified for Jack Daniels, Glen survives his dance with the devil for the time being, and Sasha looks okay, too.  Sure, a couple of people died when the sick reanimated, but they weren’t even named!  To my knowledge, anyway.  And then, just as things are getting back to normal, the most inevitable thing in the show’s history, but the #1 thing I DID NOT EXPECT, short of Dr. Manhattan showing up and dancing the can-can, happens…  oh, come on.  If you have even the slightest familiarity with the show, you know what happened.  You know who that was in that last shot.

So, yeah.  They topped it.  With flying colors.  Don’t get me wrong, Indifference was FANTASTIC, and easily the episode that toyed with my inner thoughts the most (in the entire series), but this just… EPIC.  10/10s all around!

File:Oliphaunts on the Pelennor.jpeg

Cannot hold a candle.  I am perfectly serious.  Orlando Bloom included.