The Walking Dead- Season 7 Episode 4

The Walking Dead S7:E4 “Service”


Episode 3, aptly titled “The Cell” focused on Daryl, who was taken prisoner by Negan at the end of episode one. Daryl spends the majority of the episode in a cell, naked, forced to eat dog food sandwiches and listen to the worst song ever written on a loop. All this is an attempt to break him down. Dwight, who has a serious man-crush on Daryl, is both assisting in torturing him and trying to encourage him to join the Saviors. Dwight pulled the biggest dick move by giving Daryl the picture of Glenn, post-Lucille, then blamed him for his death. This only fuels Daryl’s fire to remain true to his family and not bend the knee to Negan.


“We’re on easy street and it feels so sweet. ‘Cause the world is but a treat when you’re on easy street.”


For episode 4, “Service”, we travel back to Alexandria where the residents are trying to put the pieces back together after Abraham and Glenn’s deaths.


The last two weeks have been stand alone episodes and this week began the integration of the locations with Negan and crew entering Alexandria. It was a “super-sized” 85 minute episode and, sadly, it was unnecessary. Let’s break it down.


Michonne is sneaking around, hiding rifles and practicing her sharp shooting.


Negan and his crew show up a week early, with Daryl in tow, still wearing his A sweatsuit. In typical fashion, Negan intimidates, while trying to be funny. He even makes Rick hold Lucille while they tour Alexandria. While Negan does not allow Rick to speak to Daryl, they do exchange some heartfelt glances.


The Saviors help themselves to anything they want with Negan’s approval, including the entire cashe of guns and ammo, leaving Alexandria with nothing to defend themselves with. When Rick questions this move, Negan’s response is, “Half is what I say it is.”


One of the Saviors finds Deanna’s video of Rick when he first came to Alexandria. Upon watching it and seeing how feral Rick once was, Negan exclaims, “I would not have messed with THAT guy! But that’s not you anymore, is it?” Further hitting home the weakened position Rick is in.


Negan asks about Maggie, with the intent of adding her to his harem. Gabriel appears out of nowhere asking if he’d like to pay his respects and takes him to a grave. We’re assuming Maggie is at Hilltop getting some medical care, but Negan isn’t any the wiser. Not yet, anyway.


When it seems Negan has asserted his dominance to the fullest and the Saviors are prepared to leave, Negan has one filthy parting shot for Rick involving oral sex. Before they leave, Rick does ask if Daryl can stay and Negan agrees if Daryl can plead his case. Daryl stays silent and leaves with his captors.


When Rick tries to get Michonne to understand why he’s trying to work with Negan, he drops a bombshell. He knows Judith isn’t his. He gives Michonne the backstory on Shane and Lori and says he’s always known, but he would do anything to protect her.


Final thoughts/questions:

Rosita, Carl and Michonne do not agree with Rick’s submission and Rosita is already starting her revenge game by asking Eugene to make her some bullets. Will Carl and Michonne play along and if so, for how long?


The truth about Judith is something we have pretty much known all along, but it was a powerful moment for Rick to admit it. This season is some of Andrew Lincoln’s finest acting.


Am I the only one who is over Negan already? I adore JDM and the season finale last year, after so much build up, was a great introduction, but the ongoing one-liners, combined with the over-exaggerated swagger is getting old.


Negan finds Father Gabriel creepy. I’m glad someone finally said it.


The Saviors take the mattresses from the Alexandria homes, but Michonne discovers them burning at the end of the episode. So why did they take them if they weren’t going to use them? Maybe the message is that they won’t sleep so easy anymore or that their lives aren’t going to be so cushy going forward.


When are they going to dispatch Spencer? Seriously, this guy is a knob and needs to go.


Next week we’re back at Hilltop and get to see what has happened to Maggie and Sasha. The war is about to begin.






The Walking Dead – S7:E2 “The Well”

If last week’s season premiere of TWD left you a puddle of emotions you can’t quite recover from, this week you were given a respite. Episode 2, “The Well,” focuses on Morgan and Carol, the two people we were certain were not going to perish at the hands of Negan.


When we last saw the zombie apocalypse’s favorite frenemies, Carol had run off to live a life of solitude and Morgan chased after her. After Morgan saves Carol from a member of Negan’s group, they are picked up by a posse on horseback and are taken back to a community known as ‘The Kingdom.’


As soon as Carol is up to it, Morgan takes her to see the leader of The Kingdom, King Ezekiel. Sitting along side the King is his pet tiger, Shiva, and his pun-loving side-kick, Jerry. Because you can’t have a tiger and not have a side-kick. As if this isn’t already a bit ridiculous, Ezekiel puts on a performance that Carol doesn’t quite buy into. We’re left wondering if the “King” is acting or is a complete lunatic. Naturally, Carol is already planning her exit.


In the meantime, Morgan is doing what he can to help out. He accompanies a group to round up some pigs, which are feeding on the dead. The group is attacked by walkers and both Morgan and side-kick Jerry have to aid a boy named Ben, who can’t seem to work any type of weapon. Ezekiel asks Morgan to train Ben on how to fight with a staff, since nothing else seems to stick. Morgan agrees, reluctantly.


While Carol wheels herself around the community, stealing weapons and clothes, and puts on her helpless homemaker act, Morgan works with Ben, who seems to take to the staff training, and the two begin to bond.


Morgan is asked to go with a group to deliver the pigs they rounded up earlier. The pigs have since been slaughtered and we realize, as does Morgan, why they’ve been feeding the pigs dead people. The pigs are an offering for Negan.


After the mission is over, Morgan spends more time with Ben. He discovers Ben is raising his younger brother after their father died fighting for Ezekiel. Ben also explains that the community is not aware of the deal with Negan and the Saviors for fear they will want to fight, something Ezekiel is trying to avoid.


Back to Carol, she’s sneaking out of The Kingdom, but not before helping herself to some fruit. Ezekiel is waiting for her and makes an entrance in the dramatic fashion we’ve already come to expect in the last 45 minutes. He tells her he doesn’t buy the innocent act and she can’t “bullshit a bullshitter,” then breaks character. Turns out, Ezekiel was a zookeeper (and an actor) and Shiva was the only animal left alive. He freed her and took care of her and the legend was born. Carol still isn’t really buying it, but Ezekiel basically tells her it isn’t all about her. They’ve all lost a lot. He then offers her a compromise. She can leave, but stay just outside of the community. Amazingly, she agrees, and Morgan and Ezekiel get her set up.


We see Carol getting her house in order when there is a knock at the door. It’s Ezekiel and Shiva. Carol smiles.


Final thoughts/questions:

This bottle episode lays a lot of groundwork, but leaves us with more questions than answers.


Ezekiel drops his act with Carol, at least that’s how it appears, but is that genuine? He’s an actor, after all. He wants to put up a brave front for those he’s responsible for, but is he more of a Deanna or a Governor? That remains to be seen.


Carol and Morgan are probably the most frustrating characters in the series. They both flip-flop in their moral codes as the series goes on, but Carol’s martyr act is getting very old. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of the end of that.


Ben is an interesting addition. What is his purpose? Ezekiel seems to want to make sure he stays alive so he’s important, which means he’ll probably die before the season ends.


Will Morgan stay on in The Kingdom and help unite them with Alexandria? Was that a dumb question?


Will Carol finally eat a pomegranate?


Kudos to the FX team on creating a halfway decent CG tiger. Just don’t use it too much.


Next week:

In episode 3, “The Cell,” we finally see what Negan’s been doing with Daryl. It also looks like Dwight might be developing a bit of remorse.


The Walking Dead – S7:E1 “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

Sunday finally brought the long-awaited season 7 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The season 6 finale gave fans the biggest bad of the series in Negan, but also delivered a cliff-hanger regarding the death of a major cast member. This play left a bad taste in the mouths of those who have stood by the show’s side through good and bad, as well as those who continue to hate-watch. Executive producers promised a satisfying payoff in the premiere.

By now, everyone knows we lost two beloved cast members. Surprising? Only if you live under a rock without access to the internet.

The premiere starts off after the big kill. That’s not exactly where we left off in April. Negan taunts Rick and tries to assert his power. Rick says very little and, although he feels the loss, he continues to be somewhat defiant. It isn’t until nearly 30 minutes in when we finally get what we came for.

The majority of the episode’s run time dealt with Negan trying to break Rick. A series of quick cut flashbacks slowly divulge the POV from the end of the season 6 finale. It was Abraham’s. Barrel chested and gutsy right to the end, he even gets one last signature Abraham verbal shot in at Negan, “Suck my nuts.” Then, just when we think we’ve seen the worst, Negan turns on his heel and kills the heart and soul of the show (yes, I said it), Glenn Rhee.

With Rick broken and two family members dead, the rest of the group tries to put the pieces back together as quickly as possible. Maggie, who has probably lost more than any other character, declares war on Negan and then sets to getting her husband home, with Rick, Carl and Aaron supporting her. Sasha and Rosita put aside their differences and come together over their love of Abraham.

The deaths, while gruesome and somewhat overwhelming, were not entirely unexpected. Abraham’s story had run its course and even actor Michael Cudlitz said he knew his character was on borrowed time. Glenn dies by the bat in the comic and he’s had so many close calls, not killing him would have been a cop out on the part of the creators.

Was this the satisfying conclusion fans were hoping for? The general consensus seems to be no. Could the episode still have had any shock factor if the audience knew who died at the end of the episode? Absolutely. Since there were two significant kills, with the least impactful being Abraham, why not show that death in the finale? That would actually make Glenn’s death in the premiere even more traumatic.

This is, perhaps, one of the most brutal episodes of the entire series and it’s been a hot-button topic since the episode ended, but let’s be honest, horror fans have seen far worse and viewers have the option of shutting it off or not watching at all.

With only a few days remaining before the second episode, people are still talking about it so whether you loved it or hated it, it certainly made an impact. Kind of like a bat to the face.

Final comments/questions:

  • We get it, Negan is a formidable foe, but the constant barrage of sardonic displays of power and the sexual euphemisms about Lucille will get old really quick. Tone that shit down.
  • Did everyone notice Abraham’s final declaration of love to Sasha? It was brief, but it melts your heart.
  • What is the significance of Glenn’s final statement to Maggie? Does this mean we’ll see Glenn again, maybe when the baby is born or when Rick has tough decisions to make?
  • Negan takes Daryl, knowing he’s valuable to Rick and Alexandria. Will Daryl submit or bide his time? This will probably be the most interesting development since Daryl doesn’t exist in the comics and we have no source to refer to.
  • Carl finally grew a pair and acted like the man he’s been claiming to be since second season.
  • Kudos to the entire cast for their performances, especially Andrew Lincoln.
  • Last season Glenn was looking at the Polaroids of bashed in skulls at the compound. At the end of the episode, you see a guy in the background taking a picture of the damage done to Glenn. The signs are always there.
  • The fuck with that Thanksgiving dinner scene?
  • Seriously, what is Dwight’s damage?

Next week we hook back up with the Oscar and Felix of the zombie apocalypse, Carol and Morgan, as they enter The Kingdom.

Fear The Walking Dead: Pilot


Finally!  Zombies to hold us over until more zombies arrive!  I mean, I guess you could always watch Night of the Living Dead during the summer or something, but that probably doesn’t happen in most households.  It’s okay.  We can still be friends.  As long as you don’t love Survival of the Dead.  Then we might have a problem.

Remember how the first episode of The Walking Dead kicked off with about 10 minutes of Rick being a sheriff and getting shot, then waking up from a coma to find the world had gone to hell?  Take that 10 minutes of nothing, stretch it out over 65 minutes, and you have the first episode of Fear The Walking Dead.  I’m not saying it was a total waste of time, but I am saying that it looks like we’re going to have to be patient if we want any action.  We did get a bit of payoff at the end, so perhaps that’s a sign of better things to come.

This entire episode hinges on whether or not you connect with the family.  I did not.  I liked Madison pretty well, but I can’t tell if I actually liked her character or if I just really liked her on Deadwood.  Probably the latter.  Travis was fine, if a bit bland.  Alicia is the perfect, boring, too-good-for-this-place-I-need-to-get-out daughter, while Nick fills the role of the family screw-up, who manages to have the best abs of any heroin addict I have ever seen.  Nick gets a lot of face time in this episode and is asked to carry some pretty dramatic scenes, but he just can’t quite pull it off.  Every time he started talking about his life, my eyes glazed over.

Heroin dens are great places to do stomach crunches.
Heroin dens are great places to do stomach crunches.

And then there is Tobias, who is clearly a 30 year old high school student.  He’s the first one who knows that something is amiss.  He says “zombies” without actually saying it.  And what does he do?  Why, he shows up at high school – a high school with a metal detector at the entrance – with a paring knife.  A paring knife.  What was the plan there?  The best case scenario is exactly what happened: a concerned teacher pulls you aside, confiscates the knife and releases you into the school.  So now you’re knifeless in the school while a zombie threat shambles ever closer.  The worst case scenario is that the knife is confiscated and you are either arrested or released into the world, sans knife.  Now you’re out in the open with no weapons and a zombie horde on the horizon.  It’s a lose-lose situation.  If he knew zombies were coming, he would have grabbed a baseball bat, crowbar, machete and a bunch of canned food and run for the hills (or whatever).  Get out of L.A.  Don’t walk into school with a tiny knife.  The only person that benefits from that is the zombie, who will laugh his terrible laugh as your knife doesn’t come closer to penetrating the skull.

"I have to go now and do my taxes...I mean, study school things? Yes. Study school things."
“I have to go now and do my taxes…I mean, study school things? Yes. Study school things.”

Let’s talk zombie outbreak for a second.  I figure the entire first episode covers a minimum of two days.  During that time, we know that the zombies are among us.  We know a couple zombies escaped from the church.  We also know – both from The Walking Dead and from Calvin at the end of this episode – that everyone is infected.  If you die, you come back as a zombie.
Now that we’ve got that established…
The population of Los Angeles currently sits a little below 4 million people.  On an average day, roughly 170 people die.  That’s 340 over two days (not factoring in the fact that zombies would cause more deaths than that).  Congratulations!  You now have 340 zombies that no one knows about.  Once the apocalypse starts, it will roll over a big city like a tidal wave.  The fact that we know there are at least a few zombies on the loose means it’s not confined to just one part of the city.  I have a hard time believing that there are just a couple random attacks, only one of which has been filmed so far.  Large portions of the city would likely already be thrown into chaos.  (According to a simulation run on Zombietown USA, Los Angeles would be more or less overrun within 48 hours.)
For the record, the reason Rick was able to wake up alive is because the population of Cynthiana, KY is only a little over 6,000.  The fewer people in a town, the fewer zombies there are.  Come to Kentucky. Survive the zombie apocalypse.  But not too many of you.  I don’t need you blowing up my spot.

But I assume L.A. will soon be overrun, so we can all be thankful for that.

I'm really looking forward to Fear The Benny & Joon.
I’m really looking forward to Fear The Benny & Joon.

Random thoughts:

– Loved the blood on the piano in the opening scene.  Seemed like something Neko Case would write a beautiful song on.

– The “I just threw up in my mouth a little,” joke has run its course.  The delivery here was particularly painful.

– “If there’s a problem, we would know about it.  The authorities would tell us.”  We all know that authorities would give the zombie outbreak an unfamiliar disease name (like, say, SARS) and cover it up as quickly as possible.

– I admire Travis’ bravery in going into a dark heroin den by himself, but I condemn his stupidity.  He took no weapons.  He yelled, “Is anyone there,” after he already saw blood.  Tense scene, but driven by the bad decisions of a character.  (I don’t really admire his bravery.)

– “[Jack] London tries to teach us how not to die.”  It’s like someone slapping you in the face.  “Survival.  Get it?!  Cuz zombies?!  And literature?!  It’s smart.  We’re smart.”

"Did you get it?  That guy got it."
“Did you get it? That guy got it.”

– There is not a chance in hell that a nurse would ever untie a patient’s restraint.  “Well, he said he had to pee really bad and I felt bad for him.  It’s not like I thought he could actually free his other hand in the process.  How would I know that?”

The Walking Dead S5E6, “Consumed”

Season 5 Poster

Another week down, another week late.  Sorry everyone.  I’ve been slacking pretty hard lately.  And during a good season, too.  I’m going to try to get back on track for the remaining episodes.  Can’t be falling too far behind with such a short amount of time left in the season.

1. I realize that Daryl and Carol were driving their car with the lights off, but I find it hard to believe the lead car wouldn’t have seen a car following them.  They drove a long way and there was no one else on the road.  Daryl stayed back a little ways, but not that far.  I feel like they would have been noticed.

2. All the talk about starting over.  We get it.  Blank slate and all that.  Roughly half the dialogue in this episode seemed to deal with this.  We get it.  There was no need to hammer it as hard as they did.  Daryl’s “The reason I said we’ve got to start over is because we gotta,” line was particularly eye-roll worthy.  You know what I don’t want any more of?  Vague, faux-philosophical talk about starting over or how little anyone can know anyone else.  It all just feels like empty, space-filling talk.

3. Carol being a smart survivor, yet using her three remaining bullets against zombies in close quarters.  That is not a good use of resources.

4. I loved the silence of the falling van, but watching it land on its wheels was laughable.  I know, I know.  “It’s a show about zombies, how can you expect realism?”  Because I do.  It may be a show about zombies, but it’s set in our world.  The normal rules of our world still apply.  And in our world, a van that falls nose-first off a bypass does not do a complete flip and land on its wheels.
It was a cool scene and the raining zombies (hallelujah) were cool, but watching that van land on its wheels was ludicrous.

1. When the car headed north on I-85, I loved that the northern route was clear, while I-85 south was jam-packed with cars.

It led to this question: in the event of a zombie uprising, where would you go?  Would you go south where the weather is warmer, or would you go north, where the zombies would freeze in the cold?  Surviving in the cold would be harder, but you know you wouldn’t have to deal with zombies for roughly 30% of the year.
For the record, I already have a place picked out, but I’m not telling anyone here.  Don’t want it to be too crowded, you see.

2. The scene in the shelter was terrific.  My heart broke a little when we saw the shadow of the child behind the door.  I loved Daryl taking care of both zombies and burning them while Carol was asleep.  This entire episode showed the depth of their friendship, but this scene really stood out.
Carol’s face when she saw Daryl burning the bodies was terrific.  Just a subtle change in her expression.  Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus did great work in this episode.  Reedus is normally pretty one-note, so he doesn’t usually impress me too much, but McBride is consistently one of the best parts of the show.

3. Every time I see a pillar of smoke, I can’t help but think about The Darkness Out of Carthage.  It’s a terrific visual that always gives off a feeling of dread.  (Also, you should buy The Darkness Out of Carthage, because it’s amazing.)

4. I’m a big fan of the “throw the burning notebook to distract the zombies” trick.  For a minute, I thought that notebook contained all of Daryl’s poetry.
Speaking of Daryl and his love of the arts…
“Looks like a dog sat in paint and wiped his ass all over the place,” was the perfect way to describe that painting.  I think Daryl missed his calling as an art critic.

5. Seeing the Georgia Dome in the background of a couple shots.  Haven’t seen that much destruction come to that building since the 2010 NFL playoffs.

6. A zombie getting a machete in his face.  It looked like something out of Zombi.  The head looked like it had the consistency of a rotted pumpkin.  A rotted, blood-spurting pumpkin.  When the skin starts rotting, does the skull start rotting also?

7. Back in my recap of the first episode, I made mention of Carol’s face looking much cleaner after the group caught up with her.  “How did she get her face all clean?” I asked.  They showed her wiping her face off with her poncho in this episode.  Well played, writers.  I still don’t think she could have wiped her face clean with clothes stained in zombie blood, but I like that they showed this.  It made me smile a little.

8.  In the scene where Daryl and Carol are waiting in the car and a hand bangs on the window, I thought it was telling that they sighed with relief when they found out that it was “just a zombie”.  Zombies are vile creatures that can kill you with a single bite.  And yet that zombie was way less of a threat than the people in the car they were following.  It’s a common theme of all post-apocalyptic stories: more often than not, the true threat is our fellow man.  No matter what is banging on our window, we’re the real monsters.

Final thoughts:
There were some moments I didn’t care for, but, overall, I really liked this episode.  I love the rapport – often non-verbal – that Daryl and Carol have.  (If you want to read a great take on the nature of their relationship, you really need to read Lisa’s recap of this episode.  She’s a terrific writer, and she absolutely knocks this out of the park.)
I really like the way this episode has gone.  Yes, we have spent a lot of time away from Rick and company, but I like that.  I prefer these episodes where we focus on another group the entire time, rather than spending 10 minutes per episode getting caught up with non-Rick characters.