Friday, March 16, 2018

The Walking Dead S8E11 "Dead or Alive Or" 3/11/18

Once more into the breach.  This time, I really do think this is the last TWD recap.  Although I realize it's a boy-who-cried-wolf scenario at this pointBecause it's easier, I'm going to do a story-line grouping for the recap, like last time, even though this episode isn't structured that way. 

Daryl, Rosita, Tara and Dwight.  The Alexandrian escapees, led by Daryl, Tara and Rosita, make their way to the Hilltop, trying to stay off the roads so as to avoid Savior patrols.  Things are a little tense (moreso than usual) because both Daryl and Tara would rather kill Dwight outright, not trusting him for past offenses, but Daryl at least sees that he could be helpful - after they reach Hilltop, they'll evaluate.  Dwight, who has been protesting that he HATES Negan and can't go back to the Saviors, suggests that they cut through a nearby swamp since the Saviors avoid it, deeming it too dangerous.  While Daryl and Sandiq (?) clear out the numerous and squishy swamp zombies (kudos to the sound department for some horrific oozy noises there), Tara decides to take Dwight matters into her own hands.  She chases him through the woods at gun point and almost shoots him when a group of Saviors comes into view.  While she hides, Dwight sacrifices himself, so to speak, rejoining that Savior squad and leading them off, away from the hiding Alexandrians.  Tara is amazed that he would do that, especially since he's liable to be killed if any Saviors know of his betrayal back in that coordinated attack.  When she rejoins the rest of the Alexandrians, Daryl is pissed off that Dwight returned to the Saviors but Tara sticks up for Dwight.  They all make it to the Hilltop and share news of Carl's death; Enid is very, very sad.

At the Hilltop.  Maggie - who still doesn't look the slightest bit pregnant, wtf? - is very stressed because supplies are running low.  With the Hilltoppers already on short rations, she decides to stop feeding the Savior prisoners (and Gergory) entirely and denies the prisoners' requests for some exercise outside of the pen.  At the end of the episode, after the Alexandrian escapees have arrived, she relents.  Also, she is happy to learn that Sandiq (?) had some medical training before the zombie apocalypse happened, since doctors are in such short supply.

Negan and Eugene.  At the Sanctuary, Negan tells Eugene that he needs to start making bullets ASAP since they so depleted their supply clearing a pathway through the walker swarm an episode or two ago.  He sets Eugene and a small crew up at that machine shop.  Later, when Negan stops by to check on them, he is unimpressed with their progress.  Eugene tries to explain that it is a slow process and suggests that maybe in the meantime he could rig up some old school catapults and they could just chuck rotten zombie pieces over the Hilltop's walls, to traumatize and demoralize the denizens.  Negan's eyes light up and later he speechifies about how they're all going to coat their bullets and edged weapons with zombie guts: the plan is to wound the rebels, not kill them outright, so that Rick's people die slowly as walkers via infection instead.  I'm not sure that the science is right: people have been dousing themselves in zombie guts for camouflage purposes and no one has gotten infected from that.  Whatever.  I don't really care.

Carlson and Father Gabriel.  Father Gabriel and Dr. Carlson are the odd fellows, struggling to get back to the Hilltop after their Eugene-aided escape from the Sanctuary.  The car they took died and Gabriel's infection is affecting his eyesight.  Carlson is all doom and gloom and yet Gabriel continues to have a smile on his face and faith in his God to lead them where they need to go.  The doctor's skepticism takes a beating as (a) Gabriel hears wind chimes that lead them to a fairly well-stocked house with (b) antibiotics, which Carlson gives to the now nearly-blind Gabriel for the infection, (c) a map, showing them how to get to the Hilltop, (d) a gun with bullets and (e) keys to a jeep in the garage.  En route to the garage, Carlson steps into a beartrap that has been set to catch zombies.  His screams attract the attention of a few walkers.  As the wounded and snared Carlson struggles with a walker, Gabriel manages to find the gun and - nearly miraculously - shoots the attacking walker, saving Carlson's life.  The doctor is amazed; the priest merely believes his God is getting them through.  However, the gunshots have attracted the notice of a band of Saviors, who capture Carlson and Gabriel just as they try to drive off.  Gabriel is still calm and Carlson notices, then remarks that maybe God is indeed giving them opportunities - and he grabs a gun out of a Savior's holster.  But another Savior shoots the doctor dead - despite the group's leader bemoaning the fact that they were supposed to leave him alive, since doctors are so valuable.  They shove Carlson's body off the truck and drive off with Gabriel sitting in the bed, stricken and heartbreakingly wailing "NO!" to the heavens.  He is utterly devastated, seemingly betrayed by his God, and it is truly one of the saddest moments in this show's run, watching him lose his faith.

Previously on The Walking Dead / maybe next time on The Walking Dead

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Walking Dead S8E10 "The Lost and the Plunderers" 3/4/18

I'm back!  Mr. Mouse hasn't cancelled our cable yet so here's another TWD recap.  And the show structured things a little differently this time, sort of focusing on one character at a time and separating things into chapters, making it much easier to summarize.  Of course, no Carol or Daryl, so boo.

Michonne.  Michonne and Rick finish burying Carl and pack their things to leave Alexandria.  Random zombies wander through the village, coming in through the broken wall.  She looks a little stunned but still manages to take a bunch of them out as necessary.  On their way out of Alexandria, they see that a gazebo is on fire: apparently Carl used to sit on the gazebo's roof (?) so they are compelled to jump out and try to douse the flames.  They can't quite put it all out before the walkers move in and they are forced to get back in their van and drive off.  As they drive, Rick decides that they need to swing by the dump and try once again to enlist Jadis and her garbage people (or Scavengers, or whatever) to the cause.  He and Michonne enter the Scavengers' dump and manage to trip a trap that brings a bunch of junk down in front of the ingress/egress, effectively trapping them in the junkyard.  [For a chapter titled "Michonne," this segment was nearly as much about Rick as it was about her.  At least she had a decent role in Black Panther.]

Negan.  Back at the Sanctuary, Negan is experiencing some pushback from an antsy Simon.  Simon wants to full-on attack Rick and company and Negan has to remind him that people are resources.  He tells Simon that he is to go to the Scavengers and remind them of their deal with the Saviors.  "Deliver the standard message, take one out and the rest will fall in line.  Just one, Simon."  Simon presses his point, saying that the local communities are not falling in line as they should.  Negan snarls at him, "What we do, saving people, is hard.  But it damn well works."  Simon: "Not lately."  Negan says once they put Rick down, everything will be aces again.

Enid.  After killing the beach people's leader (Natanya), Enid and Aaron are brought into the village and shackled to a radiator.  It's up to Cindy, as Natanya's granddaughter, to decide what to do with them.  After a little while, Cindy et als come back, Enid's all, you shouldn't kill us because ultimately we're on your side even though we killed your leader and took all your guns.  Cindy decides to let them go, so they are walked out to a clearing a ways away and released, with a warning to never come back.  Aaron sends Enid back to Hilltop to tell Maggie what happened and where he is; he is going to stay and keep trying to convince the beach people to join up.  Because that seems likely.  Enid gives him a hug and walks off, back to their truck.  Aaron crouches down by a tree.  Whatever.  This was completely pointless.

Simon.  Simon grabs his crew and heads off to the landfill.  There's a bit of a standoff between Simon and Jadis, with their respective people gathering behind each of them, guns at the ready.  Simon - who seems rather crazier than Negan these days - demands an apology and all of the Scavengers' guns.  Jadis stands up to him as best she can but eventually, over the protests of her seconds-in-command, she capitulates, handing over all their guns.  When Simon reiterates his need for her apology, she punches him in the face.  He gets up and shoots two of her people, splattering her with their blood.  Then he signals his people and they mow down all of her now-defenseless people, taking care with body shots only, no head shots.  Jadis can only watch, shaken and upset.  When the Saviors return to the Sanctuary, Simon lies to Negan, saying that they did as instructed, collecting the weapons and leaving the Scavengers alive.  Liar!

Jadis.  Rick and Michonne are quickly surrounded by the now-zombified Scavengers.  They climb atop the piles of junk and find Jadis there.  She is barefoot, wearing only a white slip (did Simon take all her clothes?) and now speaking in full sentences, not the affected speech pattern we've heard until now.  She explains that the Saviors killed all her people, took away this new community she created after the zombie apocalypse.  Rick and Michonne don't have any time for her self pity, however.  They put together makeshift shields and make a run for it, slaughtering as many zombies as they can on their way out the way they came.  Jadis asks to come with them but Rick's all, [you're] no help to us anyway and they leave her behind.  After Rick and Michonne are gone, Jadis figures out how to save herself:  she positions herself on the far side of a trash shredder/compactor and as the former friends/now zombies approach, they fall into it and are chewed into bloody sludge.  It's a truly disgusting visual so kudos to the show for coming up with something new.  After the zombies are disposed off, she slurps down a can of applesauce (?) and ponders her options.

Rick.  En route to Hilltop, Michonne is looking through the letters Carl wrote.  She tells Rick that not only is there one for him, there's one for Negan.  Rick pulls over and grabs the letters, staggering out into a field.  He starts to open his letter, then instead reads the one to Negan.  He gets on a walkie-talkie (scavenged from a dead Savior before they left Alexandria) and demands to speak with Negan.  When Negan answers, Rick tells him that Carl is dead.  Negan seems genuinely sorry to hear this.  Rick then tells him that Carl wanted the two of them to stop fighting and work together but Rick ain't having none of that.  He's going to kill Negan.  And as Rick starts sounding crazier and more ragged, Negan can't help himself but preaching his own sermon: he's going to kill Rick and subsume all the outlying communities, taking them into the Saviors, etc., etc.  "You failed as a leader, Rick, and you failed as a father.  Just give up."  So much for Carl's hope for peace - I don't see it ever happening with these two dumbasses still in charge.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Walking Dead S8E9 "Honor" 2/25/18

Here we go, what may be the last The Walking Dead recap on Friend Mouse Speaks (I don't really know when Mr. Mouse is cancelling our cable).  And you know what, I am not going to miss this show at all.  I've been recapping it since the beginning - October 31, 2010 - and in the beginning, it was exciting and new and like nothing anyone had ever seen on television.  But over the last eight seasons, it has become a slog, a chore to watch, a suffer-fest not even enlivened by good writing.  I much prefer I, Zombie these days: there's still zombie action but with intricate plots, humor and characters I actually enjoy spending time with.  So, once more into the fray, my friends.  

In a nutshell: we have two through-lines this time around.  Carl got bit and he dies SPOILER throughout the episode; and Carol and Morgan rescue Ezekiel.  I just saved you 83 minutes.  Seriously, there is NO REASON this episode had to be 83 minutes long.

I'm sorry but I just rolled my eyes the whole time.  I have never liked Carl and to be honest, he got more character development in the initial Carl's-last-day-on-earth montage as he hid Sadiq away, took photos and painted hand prints with Judith, planted a tree and wrote letters to everyone.  Then, picking up right where the last episode left off, when Rick and Michonne catch up to everyone cowering in the sewers while the Saviors burn Alexandria down overhead, Carl lifts up his shirt to show them the bite on his stomach.  Throughout the rest of the episode, he gets paler and sicker and Rick and Michonne sweat and emote their pants off and everyone else sits around and looks sad.  In dying, Carl has become this missionary of peace: he has a vision of Rick rebuilding society, humans no longer killing each other but living together, making things grow and bloom.  He tells Rick and Michonne that they mustn't be sad or vengeful but must be strong for each other and Judith.  He also tells Michonne that she's his best friend which .... okay?  When did that happen?  Must have been earlier this season when we didn't see either of them for multiple episodes at a time.

Eventually the Saviors get bored with all the destruction and leave.  Rosita, Tara and Daryl decide to take the Alexandrian survivors - all of whom Carl did save, so there's that - to safety at Hilltop.  Daryl has Judith in his arms and promises a tearful, shaky Rick that he will protect her.  They leave, casting teary looks behind at Carl.  As he deteriorates, Rick and Michonne sweat and cry and stroke his face.   Then they decide to bring him up out of sewers because who wants to die there.  They manage to get him to the burned-out church where, after more sweaty, teary emoting, Carl grasps his pistol.  He says that he wants to do it while he still can, not wanting to put them through that.  They protect weakly for a little while.  Then, as Rick and Michonne stand on the front steps, we hear a faint shot.  They bury him.  Thus endeth Carl.

Interspersed among all the Carl death scenes is the more interesting Carol and Morgan show.  Carol leads the Kingdom survivors to her little cottage, telling them to hunker down there while she goes back to rescue the king.  Woman in a head scarf: "You versus all of them?" Carol: "Yeah." WiaHS: "They don't stand a chance."  Because Carol fucking rocks.  Young child Henry wants to help her - because Morgan taught him the staff and she taught him the gun - but Carol's all, no, you're staying here.  She sneaks back into the Kingdom (as does disobedient Henry), where Whatsisname and his squad of Saviors has captured Ezekiel, loading him and supplies into a truck to take back to Negan.  Carol runs into Morgan and the two of them systematically start taking out the Saviors.  Morgan has completely abandoned the way of the leaf (or whatever) and methodically stabs the Saviors to death with the sharpened end of his staff.  Carol is all, dude, you're getting a little scary, but this is what he does now.  Between the two of them, they take out about eight men, Morgan stabbing each through the skull after they're down to keep control of the zombification.

Whatsisname figures out things are going south when he can't raise his men on the walkie so he and his remaining Saviors grab Ezekiel and take refuge in the auditorium.  Carol and Morgan have collected semiautomatic guns from the Saviors they killed, however, and it turns into a full-fledged shoot-out.  Carol and Morgan and Ezekiel are ultimately successful but the Eeeeuww Moment of the episode comes when Morgan is wrestling with a Savior: the dude has a bullet wound in his belly and in order to beat the much bigger man, Morgan shoves his hand wrist-deep into that gut wound and pulls out the man's intestines with a squish and a splatter.  Whatsisname, fleeing with a superficial leg wound, looks back in time to see this and is all, HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT IS FUCKED UP.  He runs off but Carol, Ezekiel and Morgan find him outside.  Morgan has to be talked down from stabbing Whatsisname to death.  He relents to Carol and Ezekiel's convincing - and then the man is stabbed through the neck from behind from young Henry.  The adults are slightly aghast.

The last scene, after all of the Kingdom rescue and all of the interminable dying of Carl, is Rick, red-eyed and blinking in the sun, sitting under a tree from which stained glass windows have been hung.  He seems to be alone, and bleeding from an abdominal wound.  Who even knows what that may be about.

If I find a way (without spending extra $$, I'll pick this series back up because I don't like leaving things unfinished (abandonment of True Blood recaps notwithstanding), but only until they kill off Daryl.  That really will be the last straw.  Ciao for now, those of you who only came for these TWD recaps.  Stop by for little movie reviews when you get the chance.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time (...?) on The Walking Dead

Monday, February 19, 2018

Science fiction state of mind

Just so you know: We are giving up cable television at the end of the month - SO THIS MEANS NO MORE WALKING DEAD RECAPS UNTIL/UNLESS I CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO WATCH THEM, FYI - so I'm going to have to step up my game with movie reviews and maybe GASP start reading and reviewing books again. 

In the meantime, I've watched a couple of science fiction movies this weekend since I have been sidelined from skiing with an ugly cough.  Neither of them were anything particularly special but I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you here.

Extraterrestrial - After recently watching and enjoying Colossal, and mostly watching and kind of enjoying Timecrimes, I thought I should check out director Nacho Vigalondo's middle feature, Extraterrestrial (2011).  In Spanish with English subtitles, this is a slight science fiction/romantic comedy (?) hybrid in which the science fiction is almost incidental to the rest of what goes on.  Julio wakes up in Julia's bed, not remembering hooking up with her the night before.  As they try to sort out what happened, they are distracted by the sight of a huge flying saucer hovering over Madrid.  They are further distracted by Julia's creepy neighbor Angel, who threatens to rat them out when Julia's live-in boyfriend Carlos returns home.  The film's focus remains on these people, with the aliens never making an appearance and only affecting things by making people paranoid.  I think what I have liked best about Vigalondo's movies is that while they are all about people dealing with extranormal things (time loops, aliens, kaiju), the people themselves are very real and relatable.

The Cloverfield Paradox - The third of the three loosely-connected Cloverfield movies is pretty much straight sci-fi, a muddle of all sorts of well-trodden movie cliches, none of which really pan out.  The Earth is experiencing an energy crisis and as tension mount, a group of scientists on the Cloverfield Station are trying to get a particle accelerator to come up with free, unlimited energy.  Things go wrong, as experimental particle accelerators are wont to do, and the team finds itself dealing with all sorts of things that don't follow the rules of logic or science.  The movie is entertaining enough but it is not at all original and the short clips back on earth, which try to connect this movie with the other Cloverfields, are distracting and largely pointless.  The cast is solid, though: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, Chris O'Dowd and a cameo by Donal Logue.

Image result for cloverfield paradox cast

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sundry, various

January has been a little zoo-ey in the Mouse House and while I've needed to distract myself with sci-fi/fantasy-based movies and t.v., I just haven't been able to bring myself to write about them.  Here are snippets of what I've been consuming:

The End of the Fucking World - I didn't fully binge this one but I cruised through it two or three episodes at a time.  I thought it was fantastic and I hope they don't spoil the ambiguous ending by adding a second season.  What there is now is enough.  A little bit road trip movie, a little bit YA romance, a little bit gory and murdery, this is a weird one and I liked it.

Black Mirror S4 - The latest installment of Black Mirror episodes is a mixed bag, with some very strong ("USS Callister" and "Hang the DJ") and some very much less so ("Black Museum," I'm looking at you).  Still, I'm a fan of anthology series and am generally game for whatever Black Mirror wants to offer up.

Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimenes) - I watched Timecrimes (in Spanish, with English subtitles) because it's by the same director as Colossal, which I so liked.  It's a twisty, turny time-travel story about a middle-aged Spanish man who suddenly finds himself being chased by a man with a bag over his head.  I'm not telling you more than that.  Roger Ebert really liked it; I thought it was okay but realized that it's not the best idea to watch subtitled films if you keep dozing off - difficult to keep up with what's going on.

I'm also plowing through the DVR (the CW's superhero shows, SyFy's Happy! and The Magicians, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The Good Place), most of which are making me happy to some degree.  What are you watching these days?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mini movie review: Colossal

Here's the plot outline of Colossal:  when unemployed party girl Gloria (Anne Hathaway, playing against type) gets tossed out of her NYC apartment by her boyfriend, she is forced to scurry back to her small town hometown, tail between her legs.  Living in her parents' empty house, she reconnects with grade school friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis, playing against type) who gives her a job in his bar.  Gloria is a semi-alcoholic, self-destructive mess and Oscar is also a semi-alchoholic, self-loathing mess but they are rocked out of their navel-gazing when the news reports the appearance of a kaiju (giant monster) rampaging through Seoul, South Korea - which, they discover, is connected to/controlled by Gloria.

What makes Colossal an especially interesting movie is that there are no rom-com facets at all.  In a more typical movie, Gloria and Oscar would connect, bond over the kaiju, fight and then make up.  In this actual movie, Oscar is even more horrible than Gloria - an angry, jealous, entitled drunk.  I kept having to change how I felt about what was going on: some parts were funny, some pathetic, some infuriating, and I enjoyed the fact that things did not play out as I expected them.  There's not a lot of kaiju action in Colossal - in this movie, the monsters are much closer to home.

Image result for colossal movie

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Mini movie review: Kong: Skull Island

I'm not going to lie to you: 2017 has been a rough year.  I mean, I have had it exceedingly easy compared to most people.  But I have been anxious/unhappy/frustrated/sad/angry under our country's current administration.  I have needed to escape in pop culture that has no connection with current events, the more fantastical the better.  That's how I found myself watching Kong: Skull Island the other day. 

I liked Peter Jackson's King Kong film, finding myself appreciating and connecting with Andy Serkis's Kong.  This iteration does not have that personal connection: Kong disappears from the screen for long periods of time and when he is onscreen, he is all rampaging warrior.  His posture is strange: upright, like a human; but there is no personality peering out of those big brown eyes this time.  Still, K:SI is hugely entertaining.  And as has been said, sometimes you don't know you needed to see a gas-mask-wearing Tom Hiddleston slicing mutant pterodactyls with a samurai sword until you see a gas-mask-wearing Tom Hiddleston slicing mutant pterodactyls with a samurai sword.  Escape accomplished.

 Related image

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Walking Dead S8E8 "How It's Gotta Be" 12/10/17

One of the problems with The Walking Dead is that there is no spatial sense or sense of time.  How far are Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, the Sanctuary and Oceanside from one another?  In some episodes, it seems like just a few miles; in this episode, people seem to be driving for hours and hours and hours.  And how long has this all been taking, this carrying out of Rick's plan against Negan and its subsequent breakdown?  Days?  Hours?  Also, how long does it take to die of a zombie bite - one that doesn't rip your throat out but a flesh wound that merely introduces the virus into your bloodstream?  Asking for a friend.

Rick stares down into the Sanctuary, stunned by the epic falling apart of his plan.  At the first return of gunfire by the Saviors, Jadis and her garbage people cut and run and we never see them again for the rest of the episode.  So they were super-helpful.  Carol drives up, Jerry riding shotgun, and Rick dives into the car.  The three of them talk over each other, expositing that (a) the Saviors got out and (b) the Saviors are going to hit back with a vengeance so they need to warn the other communities ASAP.

This is interspersed with a flashback to Carl telling Rick that they need to stop fighting and start working on how everyone is going to live in the future, after this shit with Negan is over.

Back at Alexandria, WTF Daryl, you don't even stick around to see if your plan worked?  No, he didn't and he will be surprised to find out that no, it didn't, not really, since the Saviors got out.  In a house, a weirdly shaky Carl is writing what looks like goodbye notes - of course, if Negan has his way, there won't be anyone around to read them.  He has crap handwriting, btw.  That night, Michonne catches him dropping food down into the sewer; he's got Sadiq stashed there.  Then, they hear a pounding at the gate.  Michonne: "They got out!"  It's Negan, giving them three minutes before he huffs and puffs and blows their house down.

At the Kingdom, Ezekiel finally snaps out of his funk when the Saviors arrive and start throwing their weight around.  He hides, sneaking around, and setting off a big explosion.  The Saviors give chase, knowing that Negan wants his head on a pike.  In the confusion, some of the Kingdom people start to fight back, which is particularly notable since none of those left are fighters.  Carol directs the people on where to meet up outside and then she sees Ezekiel.  He has Shiva's old chain in his hands and he smiles at Carol as he closes and locks the gates, himself inside with the Saviors.  Carol's all, NO! And he tells her to save his people like she saved him.  Then the Saviors come up and knock him unconscious.  Luckily, Morgan is lurking there, outside the Kingdom's wall.

Out on the road, Maggie, Jesus and some Hilltop redshirts get ambushed.  Maggie: "They got out!"  One of the Hilltop redshirts gets shot and the Saviors throw their weight around, menacing and threatening.  The Hilltoppers are finally allowed to return home and toe the line.  When she gets back, Maggie calls one of the imprisoned Saviors out of the holding pen and, in front of a shocked Jesus, shoots him in the head.  She orders him tossed out of the Hilltop with a message: WE HAVE 38 MORE.  STAND DOWN.  "We aren't even but it's a start."  Then she starts planning for Hilltop to make the last stand against Negan.

In Alexandria, Carl has decided he is in charge and his plan is for everyone to run and hide in the sewers.  His goal is to save lives for what comes later.  Michonne protests that they can't just give their home up to Negan.  Carl's all, no - all we have to do is survive the night.  As Negan continues his countdown, Carl climbs up to the top of the wall and offers himself up: Kill me, if you have to punish someone, and leave everyone else alone.  Negan's all, that's tempting but it's much less fun when you volunteer.  So then Negan starts firing off grenades or RPGs or some such, exploding some of the houses.  Carl drops back down and as the Alexandrians start to scatter, they toss around smoke bombs so that soon the town's streets are full of smoke.  As Negan and his goons stroll through the town, Carl skulks around, unseen, heading for the sewers.

And on the back side of town, Daryl and some cohorts bust through the walls, with Dwight and some Saviors giving chase.  The Alexandrians get out far enough and then set up their own ambush: Daryl, Michonne, Tara and Rosita with big ol' guns.  There's a shootout, during which one of the Saviors realizes that Dwight betrayed them, then Daryl and his posse prevail, killing everyone but Dwight, who has gotten wounded.  It looks touch and go for a moment, whether Daryl et als. will let him live but in the end, they scoop him up and take him with them, sneaking back into Alexandria and into the sewers, as Carl planned (except for Michonne - she won't go down there).  Daryl does ask Dwight what happened, if what Daryl did allowed the Saviors to get out, but Dwight says that Eugene figured out how to get out.  Which begs the question: with all the recent focus on Eugene, why didn't we get to see this brilliant idea?

Back at the Sanctuary, Eugene's conscience gets the better of him.  He takes care of the guards (dosing them with laxative - heh) and gives Gabriel keys to a car just outside so the priest and the Hilltop doctor can get away.  Amazed, Gabriel asks him to come with them but weird ol' Eugene just leaves them to it.

When Rick finally makes it back to Alexandria - seriously, where the fuck has he been? how long does it take to drive from the Sanctuary? - he goes to his house and starts yelling for Carl and Judith like a fucking lunatic.  Negan is there, waiting for him, and the two of them have fisticuffs, Rick managing to dodge Lucille more often than not.  Eventually, Rick gets himself tossed out a window and just makes a run for it.

Michonne finds him, out there on the smoky streets, and leads him down into the sewers.  Everyone is there, sad and quiet, but safe for now.  Rick glares at Dwight and Sadiq, is relieved to see Judith.  He and Michonne go to Carl who for once is not wearing that STUPID FUCKING HAT.  And then Carl pulls up his shirt and shows them the walker bite on his stomach.  It's been there a while - hence the goodbye letters, hence the attempt to offer himself up to Negan since he's going to die anyway.  Michonne falls to her knees (and now I'm thinking that's why everyone else is so sad and quiet too) and Rick just stares at his son, stricken.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

Overdue notice

Oh yes, the latest recap of The Walking Dead is super-late.  I don't really have any excuses other than I just haven't been able to make myself do it yet.  WHY OH WHY IS IT AN EXTRA-LONG EPISODE?  There is absolutely no reason for it - they easily could have cut it down to a regular length episode (and still not much would have happened).  What could they have cut out?  All the "artsy" close-ups of people's faces.  Shots of characters grimly driving cars.  And Aaron/Enid's entire storyline. 

Here it is:  Aaron and Enid are going to Oceanside because Aaron thinks he can convince Oceanside to join the fight against Negan even though not so long ago, the Alexandrians raided their community and took ALL their guns and ammunition.  To sweeten the deal, Enid stops at a distillery - that somehow has not been entirely looted since the zombie apocalypse happened (which is bullshit, because no one is going to leave a distillery unplundered) - so they can load up a truck full of hooch.  They park outside Oceanside and that night, when Aaron confronts an Oceansider lurking nearby, Enid shoots her.  It turns out to be the community's matriarch so I'm pretty sure that's not going to help Aaron and Enid's bargaining position.  So what was the point?

Recap up tonight.  Promise.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Walking Dead S8E7 "Time for After" 12/3/17

First of all, WTF kind of strategist is Rick if his plan hinges on the cooperation of Jadis's junkyard people?  He thinks he's just going to walk into the junkyard with no back-up and convince them - using his silver tongue or effervescent charm - to join with him against the Saviors?  How's that working out for you, Mr. Stuck-in-a-Box?  What happens to the rest of your people when the junkers kill you?  Did you plan for being stuck in a box?  Also, I am not a Eugene fan so this episode was excruciating.

Prologue - Rick is let out of the box for a few moments so Jadis can photograph him and some other junker dude can make a quick sketch.  Jadis tells him this is so she can sculpt him: "After."

Eugene - At the Sanctuary, Eugene is being all Eugene-ish.  He has a face-to-face with Dwight and instead of picking a side - joining Dwight to help take down the Saviors or ratting Dwight's betrayal out to Negan - he simply decides to keep his mouth shut as long as Dwight keeps his activities quiet and doesn't let any innocent workers get hurt.  He spends some time with a dying Father Gabriel (apparently gooping oneself up with zombie guts can led to some fucking nasty infections (which of course Negan has not caught)) and rebuffs Gabriel's pleas for aid in getting the doctor back to the Hilltop.  He misses a deadline negotiated with one of Negan's "wives" for fixing her boombox but manages to cadge the bottle of wine she promised in payment because he needs help sleeping.  He has a one-on-one with Negan, who blows all sort of smoke up his ass, making Eugene feel important.

Daryl and Tara, et als. - Daryl, Tara, Michonne and Rosita go over the plan: crash the garbage truck into the Sanctuary, busting a hole in the building so the walkers swarm in and take out as many Saviors as possible, with the hope that the workers won't get caught in the crossfire.  Morgan, who has been in a nearby building on sniper-duty, joins them.  Rosita and Michonne are all, why can't we stick to Rick's plan?  Daryl's like, well, we don't have the numbers to take out the Saviors now that the Kingdom has been wiped out.  Rosita and Michonne bow out, which begs the question why they even bothered leaving Alexandria in the first place.  Also, Daryl seems to have a bit of a death wish going on, saying that it doesn't matter if he survives this operation - he just wants it to work.

Eugene - While fixing the wife's boombox, Eugene gets an idea.  He fetches Sasha's iPod from the coffin (which is conveniently stashed in some storeroom nearby) and affixes it to a radio-controlled model airplane: the plan is to draw the swarm of walkers away from the Sanctuary by playing music, just like those Saviors were going to do with the speaker-truck last episode before Rosita and Michonne took them out.  Dwight finds him and warns him not to do it.  Eugene actually grows some balls turns the speaker on and launches the airplane.  Dwight considers shooting Eugene in the head and then settles for shooting the speaker-plane out of the sky before it can distract the walkers.

Daryl and Tara - Daryl and Tara, with Morgan providing coverage, put their plan into action: getting the garbage truck in close, then Daryl putting a cinder block on the accelerator and jumping out.  The truck crashes into the building and the walkers swarm in through the gap.  Inside, it's carnage.  Unprotected workers are easily taken down by the walkers; the Saviors wield their semiautomatic weapons but there are a lot of zombies and they have to retreat.

Eugene - Eugene FREAKS THE FUCK OUT, watching the walkers invade the formerly safe Sanctuary.  He runs to Gabriel's bedside and shouts at him that he won't help as all he can do is protect himself.  But he uses a LOT of words and it is super-annoying.  Then he goes to Negan, promising that he can make enough bullets to replace the ammo spent on the walkers so that Negan can go on the offensive against Rick's crew as soon as this shit is cleaned up.  He also alludes to another revelation, something big - but they are interrupted by Dwight and Negan's other lieutenants.  With Dwight in attendance, Eugene is not brave enough to rat him out to Negan, so he just says that he can get the intercoms working again and scurries away.  If someone can explain to me why it was necessary to devote a whole episode to this twit, that would be great.

Epilogue - Jadis lets Rick out of the box, putting him in the center of the junkyard arena in his boxers, hands tied.  One junker stands behind him, keeping him there, while another comes out with a walker.  These junkyard walker designs are pretty awesome, actually: this one has a half-helmet, protecting its skull but leaving its mouth free, and a long pole is attached to the back of the helmet, allowing the junker to control it and stay out of reach.  Rick manages to get free, downing the two junkers by gaining control of the walker.  He uses the pole to fight the men, eventually twisting the walker's head right off, which is fantastic.  Then Rick tackles Jadis, knocking her gun away and wrestling her to the ground, her panicked face just inches away from the walker's still-gnashing teeth.  Rick's all, I'm getting my clothes and my gun back now and leaving, and if you don't join up with me, my people will come back and murder you all.  For some reason, the junkers don't just shoot him where he stands.  Instead, Jadis gives up and agrees to join him.  There's some negotiation - each community will get a fourth of the Sanctuary's supplies - and Rick explains his grand plan: they will go to the Sanctuary, he will offer the Saviors amnesty and then, after they give up, he will kill Negan and everyone has a happy ending.

Except, of course, when Rick, Jadis and the junkers get to the Sanctuary, it is no longer surrounded by a herd of walkers because they are all inside the building, chewing on the living.  I assume Rick recognizes Daryl's garbage truck but he really looks more stunned than anything else.  I dunno: I think I'm with Daryl and Tara in that Rick's plan seemed pretty far from likely to succeed.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead