TWD S4, E7: “Dead Weight” by Dusty

You can read Fremont’s write-up here.  It looks as though some of my grumpy old man views are rubbing off on her.  Progress!

What I’m drinking: Country Boy Jalapeno Porter.  Like last week’s selection, this is a local beer.  It’s tremendous.  A dark, smoky porter, with a little bite of jalapeno that hits you in the back of your throat.  Probably my favorite beer in the world right now, especially on a cold night.

Seven things that annoyed me:
1. I know “Brian” has been teaching Meghan for a while by this point, so showing them playing chess to start off wasn’t a complete stretch, but the opening was just another example of the writers trying very hard to show you how clever they are.  “He’s playing chess, and he’s plotting his next move.  Like chess!  Get it!”  There’s nothing subtle about the way these scenes are done, and they have at least one in every episode.  It’s clever, but they feel the need to make sure you know just how clever it is.  Like Dane Cook.  (I joke.  Dane Cook is not clever.  He’s making you a smoooothie.)
Is Dane Cook still a thing?  That’s a dated reference, I guess.  It’s alright.  I’m old.

2.  Martinez surrounding himself with people who don’t seem to understand life in a zombie apocalypse.  When searching a house that probably has at least one walker present, don’t talk incessantly, and don’t scream like a five-year-old girl when one grabs your shoulder.  That’s Zombie Survival 101.

3.  “You seem different now.  Changed.  Are you?”
“I am.”
Unlike Martinez, I would have required a little more proof than this little conversation before I trusted the Governor completely.  A simple response of “I am” doesn’t undo the dozens of innocent people he shot in the back.  I certainly wouldn’t proceed to get drunk with him and talk about the past (which the Governor clearly doesn’t want to talk about) and turn my back on him while he’s in the presence of blunt objects.  But I guess that’s why I’m still alive.

4.  The way Pete and Mitch assumed leadership of the group (which obviously riled up the camp), then promptly left.  That’s no way to calm everyone down.  To make matters worse, they immediately started yelling about random things in the woods.  Beyond the obvious threat of zombies, there also appeared to have been a group of people sweeping through the area, killing and robbing the groups they found.  And here stand two men yelling at each other and drawing attention to their location.  These are not intelligent men.

5.  The Governor did all of his killing in broad daylight.  I have a hard time believing that no one saw him.  A lot of the camp seemed to be tightly-packed RVs, too.  The intelligence level and observational skills of the people in this show are extremely low.

6.  Megan being attacked by a zombie – a slow moving, almost-on-one-leg zombie – easily outrunning it, and immediately crawling under a parked RV.  That is one of the worst things you can do in that situation.  I know she’s just a kid, but she’s a kid who has grown up in a zombie apocalypse.  Then again, I guess she was raised by people who didn’t know you had to shoot a zombie in the head to kill it.
A lot of these complaints drive at the same point: there are some supremely stupid people in this show, and all that stupidity comes out at the worst possible moment.  As I’ve talked about before, the laziest way to build drama is to have your characters make the worst possible decision at the worst possible time.  Time and time again, The Walking Dead has shown that this is their preferred method.  It’s like they took the characters from A Simple Plan and dropped them in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

7.  How did the zombie get in the camp?  They just spent a few minutes going over all the recent safety measures taken to keep zombies out, and yet one got in and was standing behind the laundry like some kind of zombified Michael Myers.  Or maybe more like a Mr. Riddle that could do more than just watch.

Four things I liked:
1.  Seeing Kirk Acevedo and Enver Gjokaj.  They’re fantastic in everything I have ever seen them in.  Sad to see Enver go so soon, but I’m still happy he showed up, if only for half an episode.  May you swim forever, Victor.

2.  Chomping zombie heads on the cabin floor.  (Pretty sure that’s a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song.)

3.  The overacting of some of the extras.  I’m a sucker for background actors trying hard to get noticed.  A lot of disapproving shaking of heads and hands thrown up in disgust and disbelief.  And it wasn’t just one: pretty much the entire camp was guilty.  World class overacting.  It absolutely killed me.

4.  Zombie Pete in the lake was a pretty cool visual.  It’s like the Governor’s wall of heads in aquariums, but the full body version, and chained to the bottom of a shallow lake, like Jason Voorhees.  The Governor just has to make sure no one with telekinetic powers shows up, or he’s the first to go.

Final thoughts:
Not a bad episode, but I kind of feel like we took two episodes just to show that the Governor is still crazy.  I already knew that.  They easily could have fit this into one episode.  I guess they wanted to show his softer side: to allow the viewer a chance to see where he was coming from.  But I never totally bought that angle, so parts of this really seemed to drag.
I’m excited to see what happens next.  They’ve set this up for a big finish going into the midseason break.  It’s going to be a stretch to get his new followers to go to war (after the last two leaders mysteriously disappeared not long after he arrived), but they will because the show needs them to.  If the last few seasons have taught me anything, it’s that they go big into the breaks.  That should be no different here.

What I listened to while writing this: Hammock – Oblivion Hymns.  I’ve been a fan of Hammock since they started (and Marc Byrd long before that), and this may be the best album they have ever released.  Beautiful soundscapes.  There is a lot going on in every song, but it never feels jumbled.  A great late-night album.