Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Walking Dead S7E15 "Something They Need" 3/26/17

Barnacle-zombies are my new favorite zombies!

So Tara told Rick about the Oceanside women and their armory of guns.  And Rick, who is almost as much of a bully as Negan, truth be told, puts together a plan wherein the Alexandrians raid Oceanside, hopefully not killing too many of its denizens, and take their guns.  Seriously, Rick: that is totally Negan's M.O. ... and you're supposed to be the good guy here.

Hilltop.  Maggie is teaching the Hilltoppers to garden and Gregory is envious of the rapport she has with the hoi polloi.  When she goes outside the walls to dig up a wild blueberry bush to transplant back inside, he follows.

Oceanside.  The Alexandrians get into position, with Michonne and a sniper rifle up a tree, and Jesus and Daryl setting up lines of explosives.  Tara infiltrates the camp and finds Natania (the older woman leader of Oceanside).

Sanctuary.  (Is the Saviors' place called "Sanctuary"? I think it is but I don't know for sure and can't be bothered to look it up.)  Sasha has been captured and stuck in one of the cells.  One of the Saviors, David, lets himself into her cells.  She's tied up and he menaces her, tearing her shirt, touching her chest.  But when he stands up to unzip his pants, Negan is there.  Rape is definitely against the rules and in short order Negan has run a big hunting knife through David's neck.  When David is dead, Negan unties Sasha and starts his hard-sell, starting to work on her to get her to come over to his side.  My christ he likes to hear himself talk.  He's impressed with her balls-out bravery, raiding the Sanctuary on her own.  When he leaves, he leaves the knife and dead David behind, telling her that she can (1) kill herself with it before David reanimates, (2) sit there and wait for zombie David to eat her face off or (3) put David down before he can hurt her.  Her choice - he leaves it up to her, locking the cell door behind him.  Later that day, before David has reanimated - and the rules of this universe are inconsistent because it seems like people reanimate into zombies at different rates, depending on what's convenient for the plot - Eugene brings Sasha a lantern, some water and some blankets.  He tells her he thinks she should join with Negan, with him.  He feels safe with the Saviors and he is such a coward that that's all that is most important to him.  Eugene leaves just as dead David starts to twitch.  Sasha sits there in the corner of her cell, clutching the knife, staring at the not-so-dead-anymore guy.

Hilltop.  Outside the walls at Hilltop, Gregory and Maggie talk, trying to figure out a way to deal with each other - except that Gregory is really a weasel and is considering killing her with his knife when a couple of walkers approach.  Gregory has never actually killed one himself and he tries to be brave; he is too cowardly, though, and Maggie gets up to take it out herself.  Another walker shows up while she is thus occupied and Gregory tussles with it.  It almost bites him before Maggie can put down her own zombie and then kill the one attacking him.  Afterwards, Gregory retches, either from fear or from the yucky zombie splatter smeared across his face.  He goes to his office, starts drinking and pulls out a map.  Looks like he's on the verge of asking Savior Simon for help.  Such a weasel.

Oceanside.  Tara tries to convince Natania (and also granddaughter Cindy, the one who saved Tara's life before) to join with the Alexandrians and fight against the Saviors.  Or at the very least to give up their guns without a fight.  Natania is all NO FUCKING WAY.  Tara runs out of time to negotiate and outside explosions start going off.  The Oceansiders panic and are easily corralled by the Alexandrians.  In the confusion, Natania gets the drop on Tara and walks out to Rick with a gun to Tara's head.  The Alexandrians argue to convince the Oceansiders to join them in the fight against the Saviors and some of the Oceansiders consider it, including Cindy.  Natania is all NO FUCKING WAY.  The debate - if you can call it a debate when people are waving guns around - gets interrupted when a small herd of barnacle zombies make their way into the camp from the beach.  The Alexandrians and the Oceansiders work well together, systematically putting the zombies down.  Cindy ends up saving Tara's life again.  When the skirmish is over, more of the Oceansiders are interested in joining the fight against the Saviors, having seen the ruthless efficiency with which the Alexandrians put down the zombies.  But Natania is all NO FUCKING WAY and she tells Rick to "take your damn guns and go!"  So they do.

Sanctuary.  As we all suspected, Sasha kills zombie David before he can chew on her.  Negan is quite pleased and leans on her a little harder, telling her she should really join up, and she can help him figure out a way to put Rick down for good.  Sasha's all, shit.  Later, Eugene stops by to see her.  He can hear her crying through the cell door.  She begs him to get her something - a gun, a knife, some glass - she can't face being used by Negan to hurt her friends and she needs him to help her kill herself.  Eugene looks troubled, saying he'll consider it.  The camera cuts to an inside the cell shot and Sasha is of course playing him.  She wants the gun/knife/glass to try for Negan again.  Eugene comes back.  He's thought about what Sasha asked for and even though he hopes she will reconsider, he thinks she sounds like she's made up her mind.  So he's brought her something, which he slides under the door.  It's one of those poison pills that he made and he tells her it will do the trick in about thirty minutes.  Sasha stares at the pill in disbelief.  WTF is she supposed to do with that?

Alexandria.  When the raiding party gets home, Rosita is there to open the gate for them.  Everyone is like ???!?!!!? but she just says "There's someone here."  That someone is, of course, Dwight, who has been locked in a cell.  Daryl almost rips his head off, snarling, feral, while everyone holds him off.  Rosita: "He wants to help us!"  Dwight concurs and Rick, seeming more Negan-like than ever, pulls his gun and aims it at Dwight's head: "Okay.  Get on your knees."

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Walking Dead S7E14 "The Other Side" 3/19/17

Yawn.  Boring.  A whole lot of nothing much goes on until the very end.  If this show wrote better dialogue, that would help.  But no.  We get a little bit of character development for Rosita - apart from her usual angry and sullen affect - a nice moment with Maggie and Daryl and some solid weaselishness from Gregory.  Other than that?  Yawn.

On the plus side, this recap will go quickly because for the first seven minutes there's no dialogue.  Up at Hilltop, everybody makes and sharpens weapons, practices throwing knives, draws maps of the Saviors' compound for more efficient infiltration.  Maggie works hard, building her cred as the community's de facto leader; she gets a sonogram of the baby even though her stomach is as flat as can be.  Sasha weeds Abraham's grave.  Gregory sulks and drinks alone in his office.  Rosita shows up and asks Sasha for her help.  Jesus opens up to Maggie a little bit (he's gay!)  He also tells Sasha that he thinks she and Rosita should stay and not try for Negan on their own, but he knows they won't.  He says that they need to talk to Maggie before they go.

But the Saviors show up unexpectedly and (a) Sasha and Rosita sneak out of Hilltop via a secret tunnel under a woodbox and (b) Maggie and Daryl - both of whom are of interest to Negan for different reasons - have to hide in the root cellar.  When Savior Simon saunters into the Hilltop mansion, Gregory is all, I've got gin! Let's talk about why you're early.  Simon isn't here for drinking or collecting, however.  Hilltop has personnel that he has been sent to bring back to the Sanctuary.  We're led to believe that he knows Daryl is onsite but it's actually Hilltop's doctor that he's here for: ever since Negan killed their own doc, they need a replacement.  Gregory acquiesces, of course, but he does bend Simon's ear a little, saying that there may be some insurrection issues - nothing serious now, but what happens if something comes up?  Simon's all, come see me directly and we'll talk.  I was sure that Gregory was going to give up Daryl and/or Maggie but he actually keeps his mouth shut about them.

Meanwhile, one of the Saviors is skulking around, looking to see if there's anything interesting to bring back to Negan.  Enid tries to distract him away from the root cellar but she just gets her knife confiscated.  The Savior goes down in the root cellar and it's supposed to be all tense, like he's going to find them or Daryl is going to kill him.  Daryl does make a move in that direction (despite the fact that it would be immediately discovered, bringing ruin down on Hilltop), but Maggie stops him. The Savior grabs a bunch of food and leaves without discovering them.  After he's gone, they come out.  Maggie's all, Daryl, will you look at me please?  He doesn't want to, because he blames himself for Glenn's death, and when he finally raises his head, it's with tears streaming down his face.  "I'm sorry," he mumbles.  She grabs him into a hug, telling him that it wasn't his fault, and that Glenn - and she too - considered him one of the good things left in this world.  Aw!

In an extended segment, Rosita and Sasha try to find a working car to help get them to the Sanctuary faster.  Rosita is all cranky, still sore about Abraham leaving her for Sasha; Sasha keeps extending the olive branch, despite getting a constant brush-off.  Rosita's all, I don't want to talk about anything but the plan.  So the plan, as Sasha sees it, is to set up outside the compound and take Negan out with the sniper rifle Rosita has.  Rosita thinks that's too risky, that they need to get inside and get him up close.  Sasha thinks Rosita has a bit of a death wish and she's likely not wrong.

Back at Hilltop, a crossbow-bearing Daryl finds Jesus.  "Where's Sasha and Rosita?"

The two women set up in one of the buildings across from the Sanctuary, taking turns keeping watch for Negan.  They observe Eugene out there, ordering people around.  Rosita chuckles, assuming that Eugene is playing some angle.  As they wait, Sasha manages to get her to open up a little.  Rosita talks about her past, how she learned to be so capable by hooking up with different guys post-apocalypse - a survivalist, a mechanic, etc. - and then dumping them after she'd learned everything they had to teach her.  Except with Abraham it was different:  he immediately saw she could take care of herself.  Both of them cry a little over Abraham but it seems like Rosita has moved on from any resentment she had for Sasha.  Finally, when Simon's crew shows back up with their captured Hilltop doctor, Negan comes out into the yard.  But they can't get a clear shot since either the doctor or Eugene is in the way each time.  The women decide to move on to plan B: they will infiltrate the compound and take Negan out up close and personal.

After dark, they move to the fence.  Eugene is there, checking on the defenses he has set up.  Rosita's all, we're here to get you out!  He is shocked, a little tearful, but he backs away, saying that no, he won't go with them, he's staying here.  Rosita is all UNGRATEFUL LYING COWARDLY MOTHERFUCKER.  Eugene goes back inside and they start cutting open the fence.  Sasha tells Rosita to watch their perimeter while she cuts the fence.  But when Rosita turns around to climb through, Sasha is already inside and has refastened the fence, locking Rosita out.  Sasha smiles gently, saying, "Go, they need you, it's not your time."  Then she runs into the Sanctuary, shooting a couple Saviors en route.

Rosita bangs angrily on the fence for a moment, then takes off running.  When she pauses for breath, sobbing, there is a figure shown in silhouette in the shadows.  We're meant to think that Rosita's in for it but the silhouette looks an awful lot like Daryl.  (Yes, I suppose it could be Dwight, in which case she IS in for it.)  We'll have to wait to find out what happens ...

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Walking Dead S7E13 "Bury Me Here" 3/12/17

Ooh - it's a Carol- and Morgan-focused episode with NO Rick! Yay!

The episode opens with somber Kingdomites loading the back of a big truck with just one canteloupe.  Seems like we might be coming back to that.

A bad dream wakes Carol.  She wipes the tears from her face, lights a lamp and a cigarette.  Seems she's got her friends on her mind.  "Goddamn it," she mutters, getting up.  When the sun is just up, she leaves her house and walks to the Kingdom.  She encounters a number of walkers and briskly, efficiently puts them down, including a group of about five that are gathered outside the Kingdom's gates.  This is how she does it: she grabs a fallen One Way street sign, climbs up a tree and bangs on the sign.  As the walkers approach the tree, she stabs them in the head with the metal sign post, then hops down.  Benjamin is at the gate to let her in and the expression on his face is no less than awe.  Carol goes to Morgan's room and asks what happened with Daryl and Alexandria and the Saviors.  "You need to talk to Daryl about that," says Morgan.  He says that he kept her secret and it's not his place to tell her anything about Daryl now.  He offers to go with her to Alexandria if she wants to make the trip.  But she's not ready yet and heads back to her cottage.  Benjamin is waiting for her: he offers to walk her back home and he asks her if she will teach him to do what she can do.  She refuses and returns home alone.

As she passes through the outskirts of town, she doesn't see Richard watching her.  He ducks around a building and begins to dig.

Ezekiel gazes at his walled garden (where he had that heart-to-heart with Carol), Shiva loose at his side.  A woman cautiously comes out to speak to him, nervous about the tiger.  She tells him that they've found weevils in his garden and they need to cut and burn everything before the weevils get to the main production gardens in the courtyard.  He sighs, but she reminds him that everything will grow back and it will be okay.

Now the focus shifts to Morgan.  Before they leave for their delivery to the Saviors, Benjamin brings him a painting that he scavenged.  Morgan is touched.  He obviously has some affection for the boy.  So Benjamin's days are probably numbered.  Morgan, Richard, Benjamin, fat Jerry, Ezekiel and two or three others head out for the delivery.  En route, they have to stop because someone has blocked the road with a bunch of grocery carts.  They all get out, guns drawn, wary of an ambush.  They find an empty grave behind a building - where Richard had been digging, for what it's worth - makes with a sign 'BURY ME HERE."  Nothing pops out at them though so they clear the carts and keep going.

But they are now late.  And the Saviors do not like to be kept waiting.  Things get testy and guns get drawn, Kingdomites get beaten on.  The Saviors take all the Kingdomites' guns.  The lead Savior, Gavin, inspects the day's offering, which is supposed to be twelve cantaloupes (a strangely specific number, plus that's really not very much) - but one is missing somehow.  Ezekiel is all, there were twelve, I counted them myself!  But Gavin is not having any of it and intends to make an example of someone, to show the Kingdom that they need to follow the rules of the deal.  When a gun is drawn, Richard steps up, ready to sacrifice himself.  But the asshole Savior (who beat Richard up in a previous episode and who took Morgan's staff) is a bit of a loose cannon and it is Benjamin who gets shot.

He gets shot in the leg and it's bad.  He's bleeding out.  The Kingdomites are in a panic, begging the Saviors to let them leave so they can try to save him.  Gavin (who probably wasn't that bad a guy before the zombie apocalypse) yells at the shooter to drop the staff and get in the car.  But before he lets the Kingdomites go, he insists that they bring that last cantaloupe this afternoon, to finish the tribute.  Ezekiel screams that he understands but they have to go.

They drive to Carol's cottage since they gave her a bunch of medical supplies and her house is nearer than the Kingdom.  But they can't stop the bleeding and Benjamin dies, on Carol's kitchen table, holding Morgan's hand.

Everyone is sad - and Morgan runs out of the cottage.  He's losing it a little bit, having lost this boy with whom he was building a connection.  He screams, flashing back to his crazy days after his own son died.  [Some reviewers think that this is out of character, that Morgan wasn't close enough yet to Benjamin that he should have had this break.  I prefer to think that this just shows how thin Morgan's grip was - how much care he had to take, with the pacifism and all, to keep from sliding into madness.]  He kicks a plastic bin and when it goes flying, a lone cantaloupe rolls out from under it.  Morgan stares at it, remembering Richard being the last of them out of the truck when they were stopped by the shopping cart blockade.  And he puts it all together.

He confronts Richard later and Richard confesses to all of it.  He blocked the road to make them late, and hid the cantaloupe so they'd be short, all to provoke a conflict so that Gavin would have Richard shot, which would incite Ezekiel to join Rick's fight against the Saviors.  It was supposed to be Richard who died, not Benjamin.  But, he says, they can still use what's happened.  Ezekiel will be ready to fight.  So they will lull the Saviors with their agreeable behavior - showing them that they understand what is required of them - "We have to do something to make them believe us, to win their trust back" - and then they will put the Saviors down.  But, Richard says, "Morgan, you have to kill or otherwise you might as well just kill yourself."  He also promises to 'fess up to Ezekiel and everyone as to what he did that got Benjamin killed.  Morgan doesn't say a word through all this, just stares balefully at Richard.

At the second drop, where the Kingdomites bring that one sad cantaloupe to Gavin and his crew, Morgan pipes up, saying to Richard, "Did you tell Ezekiel?"  Richard's all, we'll talk about it later.  Morgan: not a fucking chance.  He picks up his staff from where it was dropped at the earlier drop.  When the Saviors arrive, Gavin asks after Benjamin.  When they tell him he died, he snaps at that asshole Savior who shot him to start walking back home now and if he even looks crossways, Gavin will kill him here and now.  The asshole leaves.  Richard brings out that last cantaloupe and hands it over.

And Morgan surges forward, clobbering Richard with his staff, dropping him.  While everyone - Kingdomite and Savior alike - watch in amazement and/or horror, Morgan slams Richard's head into the pavement and then CHOKES HIM TO DEATH.  Damn.  But no one stops him.  When Richard is dead, Morgan tells the assemblage about what Richard did, saying that he was trying to provoke a conflict.  To Gavin:  "I wanted to show you that we get it, that we understand what it is that we need to do, that we know how to go on."  And thus Morgan finishes Richard's plan, winning Gavin's trust back.

When the Saviors have gone, and the Kingdomites return home, Morgan stays behind, finishing Richard with a knife through the temple, dragging him back through town to the grave he dug.  He is struggling, trying to hold onto his sanity as he buries the man.  Afterwards, he stops by Carol's cottage.  He's a changed man now and he asks her if she wants to know what happened in Alexandria.  She can't help herself and he tells her the whole thing as tears stream down her face.  When he turns to go, she stops him, bringing him back, telling him he can stay in her cottage to be safe and away from people.

So he does, sharpening stakes on the front porch,looking around suspiciously at every little sound.  Carol packs her things and heads back to the Kingdom.  She finds Ezekiel replanting his garden with Benjamin's little brother.  She tells the king that she'll be staying here now.  "We have to get ready," she says, "We have to fight."  Ezekiel agrees: "We do.  But not today."

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

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Walking Dead S7E12 "Say Yes" 3/5/17

Not much happens here this episode.  It's almost cheerful.  Almost.

Rick and Michonne are out on a scavenging run, camping out of a van, scrounging dented cans and random pistols, knocking boots at night.  Rick, who hasn't been sleeping well because of, you know, EVERYTHING (like Negan/Alexandria/etc.), is really enjoying this interlude - getting away and just narrowing their focus, being together, killing all sorts of zombies, just doing what they do.  Michonne keeps saying that they really need to get back; he keeps asking for just a little more.  They both actually seem relaxed for a change.

Back at Alexandria, (a) Rosita is still pissed off and angry at everyone and antsy to get after Negan and (b) Tara is racked with guilt about keeping Oceanside's secret (you remember: those women and how they've got all those guns).  Repeat several times throughout the episode.

After a while, Rick and Michonne find an odd military base/rural carnival combination.  The compound is encircled with several fences, with a decent number of walkers lurching around inside.  Some of those walkers used to be soldiers and are still wearing guns and ammo belts.  Rick and Michonne climb up on the roof of a warehouse-y building to get a better look.  The number of available guns is encouraging and they are not put off by the number of zombies.  "I think this is it!" Rick exclaims excitedly.  And then they fall through the roof.

They are okay, however, and thrilled at what they've landed on: pallets of bottled water and canned goods, plus boxes and boxes of MREs ("meals ready to eat").  They giggle and laugh and gorge themselves, still relaxed.  Michonne brings up what the future will bring, after Negan has been defeated.  The various communities need to work together to succeed and someone is going to have to take the lead to facilitate that.  She thinks it should be Rick.  He doesn't want to do it alone and thinks it should be the two of them together.  She likes that idea.

In the morning, the plan is to clear the nine nearest walkers and then use a derelict car to block the gap in the fence, keeping the rest of the walkers out in the field.  Rick's all, I'll get that one and move the car.  Michonne:  "You're leaving me eight?"  Rick: "You can handle eight."  And she does, with neat efficiency.  It is Rick who can't pull his weight: he kills his one but when he goes to move the car, there's a former soldier zombie (wearing a helmet so Rick can't just stab its brain) stuck in the windshield who keeps falling apart disgustingly as Rick tries to pull him out.  He finally gets the walker out and starts pushing the car towards the gap in the fence.  Michonne helps push but when Rick gets in the car to steer, he discovers that the brakes don't work and the car just rolls through the fence into the field.  Inside the car, Rick rolls up the windows; Michonne hops into the trunk, pulling the lid closed.  "I think we overshot [the gap]," says Rick, "But it was a good plan."

They climb out of the car through the sunroof, taking refuge behind some flimsy fencing to try to pick off the zombies.  But the fences won't hold so they split up, picking their ground in the carnival to spread the zombies out enough to be manageable.  Despite the zombie numbers, they're staying calm, unfazed, secure in their zombie-killing history.  Michonne goes to a fenced-off slide and decimates her herd of zombies.  Rick retreats to the Ferris wheel and starts working through his too, until he gets cocky and climbs the Ferris wheel, thinking to take a shot at an oblivious (and obviously CGI) deer for some fresh venison.  He falls off the Ferris wheel like a complete dumbass as the walkers converge on him and the deer.  Michonne sees him fall and rushes over.  There's a big fake-out: Rick is nowhere to be found and the zombies converge on something, eating and slobbering intestines all over the place.  Michonne, not knowing there was a deer in the vicinity, completely loses her shit, dropping her katana and basically going catatonic.  Until Rick (not dead, of course not) climbs out of a hiding place, tosses her the sword and snaps her out of it.  They quickly carve up the remaining zombies and Michonne flings herself into his arms.  [I'm not a huge fan of this Rick-Michonne romance and I especially don't like the way she seems to be losing her self-sufficiency/bad-assery now that she's in love. Ugh.]  They spend the rest of the day picking up all the guns - and Rick catches a glimpse of Michonne, on her knees and crying as the fear and relief wash over her.

We get a little more wimpy Michonne on the drive back as Rick is all, we're going to fight and we're going to lose people, maybe even each other but we have to carry on because we're fighting for the future.  Michonne: "I can't lose you!" Bleh.

They collect Rosita, Tara and Gabriel and deliver the new guns to Jadis and her cult.  There are 63 guns.  Jadis is all, not enough, need more.  She and Rick negotiate a bit and it is agreed that Rick et als. will get more guns (because Jadis and her cult members don't actually DO anything, just take things from other people) and then they'll all fight together.

Back at Alexandria, Tara runs into Rick.  It appears that she can't take the guilt anymore and says she has something to tell him.  Looks like Oceanside may be getting raided soon.

Meanwhile, Rosita has HAD ENOUGH.  She takes one of the big new guns - a high-powered rifle with a scope - and goes to Hilltop.  She finds Sasha and the two women circle each other warily.  Then Rosita says she needs Sasha's help.  She shows her the gun and they make a plan to infiltrate the Saviors' compound and take Negan out.  They're not going to wait any longer.  And they realize that they can't get caught alive - this is probably a one-way trip for both of them.  But that doesn't seem to be a problem for these two.

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