Hi! I’m Luther Siler. I have somehow convinced the fine folks at Sourcerer that letting me do reviews of AMC’s The Walking Dead is a good idea. I am not sure how; it may have involved blackmail and certainly involved black magic.
Actually, I’m not certain that “reviews” is going to be an accurate description of what I’m doing. Maybe it’s a recap. I dunno; I’ll figure it out as I go along. Point is, now I’m here, all postin’ on somebody else’s blog and stuff. Time to break
shi… uh… things.
A bit about me: this is my blog, these are my books, and this is my Twitter. I work at a school as a day job and at a miniature golf course as a night job; my wife and my three-year-old take up the rest of my time. This post is running on the weekend because I don’t actually have cable– I’m a cord-cutter, meaning that I get my TV a season at a time by paying iTunes for it, but that I have to watch everything a day late.
Well, most of the time. I actually deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone to avoid spoilers, and then my wife and I got up at 5:00 in the morning on the Monday after the premiere so we could watch it rather than risk hearing something we didn’t want to hear at work. Anyway, point is that these will be running the weekend after a show runs, and I’ll throw in some predictions about the upcoming show to make it worth it.
(Holy cats does Sourcerer use a lot of categories.)
PREVIOUSLY ON THE WALKING DEAD: Season One was great. Season Two was not. Carl went missing, over and over and over and over again. Andrea dumbed herself to death at the end of Season Three. Season Four brought hope to legions by starting the first episode with five minutes where no one spoke, had a mid-season finale that gave me a heart attack and made me solve mysteries, killed a couple of little kids, and ended the season by locking everyone in a box.
Season Four was glorious.
So. Yeah. Season Five begins with our heroes still locked in a box, turning everything they still have with them into something pointy and sharp. My favorite bit is where a belt buckle gets turned into Wolverine claws. “Go for their eyes first, then their throats,” Rick says, which is a cue for someone to open up a hatch in the ceiling that no one noticed and teargas everyone. Whoops!
We’ve been hearing about the first five minutes of this season for weeks. They made sure to release this image early to terrorize all of us:
Oh god Glenn’s gonna die Glenn’s gonna die Glenn’s gonna die.
Then they show us the four dudes– count ’em, four, and ooh one of them is the dude from “Indifference” last season– the episode where Carol left. Four dudes? That’s way too many dudes to hit with baseball bats oh my god they’re hitting them with baseball bats and slashing their throats, and it’s all on-screen and it’s horrifying, but surely once you slit the fifth throat you have to adjust the show’s rating or something, right? Anyway, that happens to Indifference Dude, right before you realize that he’s the Penguin from Gotham, and then three other people, and Glenn’s next, but… c’mon. They’re not really gonna kill Glenn if he’s the fifth guy in the line… right? If for no other reason than Bob’s also at the trough, and he’s the last guy in line– he’s after Rick!– and this show always, always kills the black guy first.
Gareth shows up. Rick says he’s gonna kill Gareth, which is pretty tough talk coming from a dude who is tied up and kneeling in front of a blood trough. They fake-out killing Glenn two or three times, and then all hell breaks loose and something explodes outside.
When we return, Tyreese and Carol are walking along the railroad tracks. Tyreese is carrying Judith. They encounter a zombie, which Tyreese says he can’t kill, because… what, because Carol killed whatshername at the end of last season? That’s dumb, Tyreese. So Carol kills the zombie, inexplicably falling on top of it afterwards, and then notices the herd coming.
Hmmm. Time to go! They hide for a bit and then split, managing to find an outpost for the Termites and catching the dude inside by surprise, but not until after he’s expressed a desire to keep Carl’s stupid hat “once they’ve bled him out” into a radio. He deserves to die just for wanting the hat, I think. At some point (okay, I admit it, I’ve watched the episode twice, but I don’t have it running as I’m typing this, so if I get a detail or two wrong, please don’t kill me) they hear what have to be the initial bursts of gunfire– i.e., the ones from last season– and Carol leaves Tyreese and Judith with the Termite and heads off to go be awesome.
Tyreese goes on to have one of the most interesting conversations in the history of the show. I don’t know that we ever actually got the other dude’s name, but whoever it is gets some great lines. When Tyreese refers to Judith as “a friend,” he replies “I don’t have friends. Just assholes I stay alive with.” He’s adamant that 1) Tyreese is an idiot for keeping Judith with him; 2) Tyreese really really ought to steal his car and go, and 3) Tyreese probably ought to kill him before he does that.
At one point, he says “I don’t want to do this today.”
It’s an amazing line. The man’s talking about his own life. The “this” he’s referring to is staying alive. He’s basically telling Tyreese to man up and make a choice, and he’s tired enough of pain and struggle and fighting that he is completely beyond caring which choice Tyreese makes, even if it means he actually dies in the process. Think about how low you have to have been brought to do that. It’s an awesome line, and I don’t think the writers quite realized it.
Naturally, eventually he gets free and gets his hands around Judith’s neck. There are walkers outside. And he orders Tyreese to drop his gun and… go outside with them. Now, at this point, I was yelling rush him, Tyreese, he’ll put his hands up to protect himself, but Tyreese goes outside with the zombies, unarmed.
Meanwhile, Carol’s killed herself a walker, covered herself in guts, and blown up a propane tank with a few bullets and– get this– a fireworks rocket, setting half of Terminus on fire and strewing flaming zombies everywhere.
Because Carol is that awesome now. This is why I watch this show. Zombies on fire. The next big chunk of time is all action and gunfighting, as Rick reveals that he’s managed to cut his zipties with a chunk of wood and overpowers his two captors, the surviving group grabs weapons, and a whole bunch of people die in insanely improbable ways. Forgets Human Beings Can Roll Over Guy is my favorite– he tries to push himself backwards with his feet for like fifteen minutes before a roasted pork zombie eats his face. Termites are getting eaten left and right and Rick is shanking armed men like he’s in Shadow of Mordor, at one point completely unnecessarily gunning down four or five of them from behind with no warning and no remorse. They free a crazy man with a tattooed face, who is promptly eaten, and then free the rest of the group, who somehow haven’t eaten Eugene yet.
Second favorite improvised weapon: Did somebody break Michonne’s sword? Because it looks like she’s taken the haft of the thing and turned it into some sort of insane Darth Maul-esque double-sided spear. I love Michonne.
Anyway. Cannibalism is okay if it’s Eugene, guys. Eugene sucks. He spends a bit of time rambling about how Me Smart Guy You Dumb Guys, and god, I can’t tell if it’s bad acting or if they want us to believe the group is full of dumb people again or what but how can you not see through this twit. I know actual scientists! They don’t wear mullets! They are gonna be so disappointed when they get to DC.
Carol comes across a Termite who explains what happened: Terminus used to be real, but then was taken over by violent, sadistic people, who raped and tortured until the survivors turned on them. “You have to be the butcher, or the cattle,” she says, at which point Carol kneecaps her, lets a bunch of zombies into the room, and leaves her to be eaten.
(I should point out: the episode actually begins and ends with flashbacks to the Termites, locked in the same cargo car that Rick and crew were in, being tormented by these same people. It’s all thematic and stuff.)
Back to Sent Tyreese Outside guy: at some point, it gets very very quiet outside. This is because Tyreese has Hulked out and ripped a bunch of zombies to shreds with his bare hands, managing to impale one of them on a huge spike of wood through its mouth. He’s dumb enough to open the door. Tyreese beats him into a thin red mist with his bare hands. Judith is still okay. Note that You Must Not Keep The Baby Alive guy still didn’t have the guts to leave the baby behind and duck out the back door or a window or something.
Rick and everybody get back outside and get to the bag of guns (Oh! Rick shoots Gareth in the shoulder at one point. He’s up on a rooftop. He’s not dead, and he’ll be back.) And then: IT’S CAROL! The look on Daryl’s face? Priceless. The look on Rick’s face? Almost as good. Rick’s all about going back and killing everybody else but is talked out of it, particularly when Carol tells him (okay, this happens offscreen) that his daughter’s alive. Everybody reunites, tears tears happy happy joy joy, and off they go.
NEXT WEEK ON THE WALKING DEAD: (NOTE: This part will be wanton theorizing, and not spoilers. I know nothing. If something’s legitimately a spoiler, I’ll mark it as such.) Carol’s gonna die, guys, you realize that? Because she’s totally had the perfect character arc now, from battered wife to shattered mom to Trainer of Children in Usage of Sharp Things to Ultimate Slayer of FIRE ZOMBIES!!! and now it’s time for her and Daryl to get together exactly one time before she dies. You know it’s gonna happen.
And, from the “I wish they’d do this,” category: wouldn’t it be great if we just never saw Beth again? They’ll never do it, but I would respect the show so much if they did.
Oh, and sneakily, after the next week promo, we see… MORGAN! MORGAN MORGAN MORGAN IT’S MORGAN THEY GOT LENNIE JAMES BACK AGAIN!!! We haven’t seen him since “Clear,” which was one of the show’s best episodes. And I bet we don’t see him again for a few eps. But MORGAN’S BACK!!!
Is it next Sunday yet?