If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m not sure when I last published a coffee post. It’s been awhile. I’d have to go to the archives to figure it out. And no matter, it’s good to be here today.
I’d tell you I’ve not only been absent from the blog, but absent from the entire Internet for a week or three now. I’m on my way back, but it will take awhile to return to form, because blogging is like any other skill-based activity. You get rusty when you don’t do it for awhile — even if it’s only a little while.
And I’d tell you I am not sure where this blog is headed at the moment. I’m keeping it running at least through the first week of November, because that’s our two-year anniversary. At the very least, I’m marking that occasion.
Since Luther’s agreed to recap The Walking Dead (which starts tonight!) here on Saturdays for the duration of the season, and since he delivered his Fear the Walking Dead posts for the past few weeks even when I myself wasn’t posting. Well. We’re extended at least through the end of The Walking Dead’s season.
A not-so-random aombie from The Walking Dead – Season 1 – Episode 01
Which is probably long enough to get things back on an even keel and keep right on rolling for another year. (Luther’s got a new release coming this month, btw. I have a feeling it’s gonna be something a lot of people get interested in and fall in love with.)
From me, for the next little while, you can count on a #weekendcoffeeshare post on Sundays, an early-week gaming post, and weekend music on Fridays. If I do nothing but that for the next couple of months, and Luther brings the Walking Dead Saturdays, this blog survives into 2016.
But you know there’s gonna be more. You know once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll bring the photos back on the off-days. You know I am going to keep bugging active contributors for comics posts and sci-fi posts and even though we missed the interview this month, I want to keep doing the interviews.
I’m back, folks. Or at least on my way back. Still trying to take over the internet.
Remember this guy?
From here on out, the blog threads get answered first. Facebook and Twitter can wait. Every good thing that’s happened to me on the internet in the last two years has happened, directly or indirectly, because I built this blog.
I’m done neglecting it. I’ll neglect the entire rest of the internet first. Comments will be answered in good time either by me or by a contributor from here on out.
Have a music video. I’m off to write a post for tomorrow.
There were only a few ways the season finale of this show was gonna go, right? There was gonna be action. Daniel was gonna let those zombies out of the arena and all hell was gonna break loose. Somebody was gonna die. And they were gonna end up breaking everybody in the main cast out of Troublemaker Jail. The only real questions were who was gonna die and whether they were going to kill off the black guy they introduced last episode.
Let’s cut to the chase:
Because let’s definitely kill the most level-headed, non-dick character on the show. Why not? And it looks like Faustus is gonna end up lasting another couple of episodes even though we didn’t really ever get a reason why he was locked up with Nick.
Here’s the gist:
Remember the conversation between Eliza and the doctor about who was going to be able to go with them that I talked about last week? I must have seen a promo or something, because that conversation happens this episode. The military’s bugging out, and they’ve got few enough people around that a Chinook helicopter ought to be able to get everyone out. Eliza negotiates Chris and Travis onto the helicopter. Left unsaid: just how the hell they’re going to get there.
Daniel and Travis have an argument about what to do with Soldier Andy, who convinces Travis that there’s no way Daniel’s going to let him live. Travis has a problem with killing Soldier Andy. Left unsaid: how anything Soldier Andy says is going to help them actually find the people they’re looking for. Does he know the layout of the base? Maybe. Probably not, since he seems to spend most of his time in the safe zone. Is he gonna lie about it? Sure!
Daniel shows up at the base:
The soldiers are all, “Raah graah! Old man! Approach and die!” Daniel’s all, “‘Kay. But, uh, THIS!:”
So, just a few minutes in, and we’re kind of already at earth-shattering this was your goddamn plan? levels of stupid. Travis, who didn’t want to kill one guy, is apparently fine with the dozens of deaths unleashing thousands of zombies was going to lead to. And Daniel apparently has brass balls of steel (yes, brass balls of steel) because he just… what, wandered a few meters in front of the mob long enough to pull the entire thing to the soldiers, forgive me for the MMO language?
But wait! We aren’t done. Everyone else is in an SUV and they find a parking garage… somehow. And then they leave Chris and Alicia in the truck, because obviously you leave the healthy teenagers who can totally keep up with the group in the truck. Splitting your group is something you definitely want to do in situations of total chaos.
Nick and Faustus break out. Turns out Nick’s a skilled pickpocket, somehow; he has the key. They don’t let anyone else out of Troublemaker Jail. Everyone else is like raah graah let us out of Troublemaker Jail! and they’re like nah.
Zombies zombies zombies. A soldier has the death of the season when he gets bit and, knowing what he’s in for, kills himself by charging directly into a spinning helicopter rotor, which less decapitates him than vaporizes his head. In other “gross!” news, Faustus discovers the guy who took his cufflinks last episode. The guy is alive, but being eaten while he is alive. Faustus takes his cufflinks back but declines to kill the guy, because reasons.
He and Nick get trapped in a hallway, but it’s okay because right then is when everyone finds them. Their “plan” was apparently just to wander the hell around. Incidentally, Travis let the rest of Troublemaker Jail out. Unfortunately, those people are all going to die, because you let thousands of zombies loose, you fucking idiot.
There’s a fight.
Daniel finally gets around to asking Eliza where Griselda might be. Not sure, maybe somewhere in here:
Yes, those are giant piles of cremains. It’s… a pretty bleak moment.
MEANWHILE! The SUV gets stolen by soldiers who are sensibly cutting out, and Chris gets punched in the face, and Alicia turns down an offer of temporary safety in return for nightly gangrape. They somehow do not get eaten, and the rest of the crew somehow find them again, despite this being a stupid, stupid, stupid plan, and they eventually just find another car somehow, apparently.
In what is supposed to be a tense moment, Soldier Andy finds them, and holds Daniel at gunpoint for a minute, then instead shoots Ofelia, but only wings her, and Travis, who doesn’t like violence, beats the tar out of a younger, stronger, better-trained soldier, because FAMILY!!!, only he didn’t really like Daniel or Ofelia anyway and what did you think he would do if you let him loose? He doesn’t kill him, though, but he does beat him severely enough that he was probably a zombie snack a few minutes after he’s offscreen. So, thanks for that, I guess? Those few minutes of extra life were great for him, I imagine.
Dr. Faustus has a mansion on the ocean, which has not only not been looted it apparently hasn’t even been noticed, and a yacht, and it’s fairly strongly implied that next season will start on the yacht at least, and I’m already having PTSD flashbacks of the Farm, except more boring. Oh, also, Eliza got… well, it looks like she got scratched, because her wounds are in a really weird place for a bite, and do scratches actually make you turn? Do we have canon for that?
Travis shoots her anyway, and we’re all sad, and that’s the end of the season, and I spent five episodes defending the show but this really was an Idiot Episode, where no one made any decisions that made any sense and then they killed a sympathetic character because they felt like they had to because it was a season finale and not because the arc earned it.
HONESTY TIME: If you pay attention you might have noticed that it’s not currently Saturday. That’s because I forgot to post my recap on Saturday. It’s Sunday right now– or at least it’s Sunday if you’re reading this on the day it posted. You have a 1/7 chance of it being Sunday otherwise, I suppose.
How did I forget to post my recap on Saturday? Drugs! I’m on them. This is actually the second time I’ve had to write a recap while on mind-bending (disappointingly, legal) drugs. The first time, it was Vicodin. This time, it’s a little thing called Lexapro, proscribed as an anti-anxiety drug. Basically all it does is make me sleepy and really, really unlikely to, like, do stuff. There’s really no way I’d have just forgotten something like this otherwise. But, yeah: Luther’s doing another drug recap, guys! (Hilariously, the previous episode was called “Forget.”)
Oh, right, also: There’s been, like, all kinds of family stuff going on today and I haven’t had time to rewatch the episode like I usually do. It’s possible that this will be at least partially made up. And it’s totally gonna be completely out of order. Consider this less a recap and more of a disjointed set of recollections, much like the entire last week of my life.
Let’s start with the hospital people, it’s easier. Griselda? Dead, because they had to cut her foot off but she went septic anyway, which doesn’t really surprise anyone. Turns out that Doctor Whatshername is already fully aware of the rules of the game, those being: 1) Everybody turns, 2) headshots, 3) Bites are gonna ruin your day. We see one soldier being triaged into the cow-hammer line and Eliza actually puts a… bullet? Slug? Cow-killing pneumatic thing into Griselda’s brain after she dies, which makes a smaller hole than you might think it would. Eliza also finds out that everybody’s bugging out in the near future, and makes a deal to bring Chris and Travis with her. Chris and Travis aren’t there at the time, though, and we all know how these deals go.
(My wife insists that this conversation did not happen during this episode. She was there with me while I was watching. Entirely possible that I made the whole damn thing up. I dunno.)
Meanwhile, there’s this guy:
I don’t remember his name, so I’ll call him… hmm… Faustus seems appropriate. He’s in Troublemaker Jail with Nick and the really sad guy from last episode who we all assumed was dead but it turns out he isn’t. When we first see him, he’s ruining Sad Guy’s day by assuring him that his wife will be just fine after he dies, because she’s hot and she’ll surely glom onto some dude who will protect her so that he can use her body. For, one presumes, sex. So he’s saying she’ll be Lori, basically. Sad Guy bursts into tears and the guards haul him off somewhere. Then he bribes them not to take Nick away (why are they taking people away? Where are they going? How does Troublemaker Jail work?) for some reason and explains to Nick that he’ll need him for his particular skills as a heroin addict. Which include lying, stealing, and basically doing whatever one can for heroin. Also probably being hard to fight. Faustus is kinda cool but I can’t figure out what the hell he’s doing there and he’s black so they’ll probably kill him next week anyway. Also unclear: whether Troublemaker Jail is connected to the hospital or not.
Alicia and Chris break into a house, trash it, and spend the episode playing dress-up. Yeah, that really happens. They’re all disaffected and teenagery. There’s a couple of moments of weird sexual tension, like, eew, your parents boink and you don’t get to, but it goes away. They are rather definitively Not in the House, but no one notices. Seriously, no one ever pays attention to Alicia.
Travis tries to get taken to the hospital, gets crammed into a Humvee with about a half-dozen soldiers, doesn’t shoot this zombie in the head because he doesn’t wanna, and then the soldiers rush off into a building to get into a fight and it’s really heavily implied that they frag Captain Butthead from last episode. Anyway, the survivors pile back into the Humvee, tell Travis they ain’t taking him nowhere, and drop him off. He shows up in the next few scenes I’m going to tell you about but hell if I can remember what he did. Probably something wimpy.
Everybody else gets the cool part. Remember Ofelia’s boyfriend from last episode? She starts by throwing a bunch of bottles at the soldiers and screaming about her mother, which leads him to tell them that he’ll take her home. Next thing we know her boyfriend is duct-taped to a chair in a neighbor’s house (I ask again: how many neighbors do these people have?) and Daniel’s taking his shirt off. This isn’t gonna go well.
I can’t quite figure Ofelia out, guys. She’s basically all oh, so long as you don’t hurt him, Daddy, and Mercedes Mason is 23 but the character sometimes looks like she’s 40 and I really can’t figure out either how old she’s supposed to be or how naive she’s supposed to be. But… dude, you were okay with the taped-to-the-chair part? How did he get taped to the chair? Did Daniel knock him out or something? We don’t see that part and I have no idea how it happened and I’m really not sure how much Ofelia is supposed to know.
I do know that when she comes back later and Daniel has basically skinned part of soldier boy’s arm, she’s not super happy and kinda runs away screaming:
That looks a lot like a bite, by the way. Good luck convincing anyone it isn’t.
Daniel gets a lot of speechifying this episode, but here’s the gist: All of his stories about El Salvador were true, only he wasn’t entirely honest on which side he was on, and it turns out– oops!– he’s a war criminal. I’m trying really hard not to use the word badass to describe him at any point during this piece, because, again, war criminal. War criminal is bad. But yeah: Daniel’s a torturer. Griselda makes it real clear that she knew before she dies, and I still can’t quite put together what Ofelia knows.
Maddie shows up partway through too. She’s cool with it.
Basically he wants to know what’s going on. Here’s what’s going on: the soldiers are leaving. It’s called Operation Cobalt. Everyone at the hospital and in Troublemaker Jail is gonna be “humanely terminated.” Oh, and apparently they abandoned a couple thousand people in an arena nearby and just sorta locked the doors and left.
And guess where Daniel’s standing in the morning?
Is it next Sunday yet? Wait, no, that’s next week. Is it Sunday yet? Yes, it is. Go watch the finale tonight, is what I’m saying.
Weird thing about this show: maybe it’s just the difference in the number of seasons, but I have a heck of a time finding more than a handful of images from any given new episode that has aired for this show so far. This hasn’t been a problem with my Walking Dead recaps– I can frequently find a screencap somewhere, if not an actual .gif file, of any scene I might want to actually show in a review. That’s been very difficult so far with Fear. So I decided for this episode I would can the idea of using images specifically from this episode and instead go with a theme. See if you can guess what it is.
Maddie, looking through a window.
The episode begins with Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, because of course it does, and really every episode of every show should begin with Perfect Day. Nick floats lazily in the pool, which is full of mildew and other gross, like seriously people, maybe you have trouble getting chlorine right now, but toss a net in that damn thing before you go swimming. Travis jogs. Daniel… uh… looks out a window. Chris voice-overs. It’s day nine, and apparently Donald Trump is president because the military’s built a wall around the neighborhood. Chris’ voice-over is needlessly portentous even though he is actually describing the end of the world. Then he sees someone outside the safe zone flashing a light at him, and credits.
Maddie looks out a window
Maddie yammers at Alicia about repainting. Left out of this conversation is the part where there are bloodstains all over the wall that they probably want to get rid of. Travis comes back from his leisurely jog and Maddie gripes at him about how stressful life is, managing to toss in that she doesn’t know where Eliza goes during the day. I think you probably do, Maddie. Alicia shuts everyone up, because bickering is boring and shut up, grownups. Meanwhile, Chris is on the roof trying to get his buddy to flash lights back at him. He succeeds.
Travis looks out a window
Travis climbs up on the roof, and Chris tries to catch his interest in the light. “There’s someone out there! They said there wasn’t anyone alive out there!” he says. Travis is needlessly dickish. He does that a lot.
Maddie, meanwhile, is yammering at Nick and trying to get him to take his Oxy. She’s apparently found a pill just sitting on a counter. Nick counters that he’s clean, and his mother tries really hard to get him to take more of the drugs that he says he doesn’t have to take any more. ‘K.
Outside, a soldier is reading an announcement at a crowd that even given the circumstances seems weirdly defensive and hostile, like, they’re giving me teacher flashbacks as they’re hollering irrelevant questions at him. I’m sure he’s around at some other times than right now while he’s trying to disseminate information. Maybe wait until the end of the speech? Or something? Eventually he loses his temper and stops. They’re in one of twelve safe zones, apparently, and they’re supposedly “infect-free” for six miles around the perimeter.
“Be nice, before I have to shoot you,” he says at the end of his speech.
Nick looks out a window
The soldier goes looking for Travis, who is apparently some sort of liaison now or something like that? Somebody’s refusing to submit to a health screening, and Travis needs to talk him off the ledge. Travis tries to decline at first until the guy basically tells him that he’s going to shoot Doug if Travis doesn’t go fix him. This proves convincing, and Travis heads off to try and talk sense into the guy.
Alicia brings back a toy wagon full of… I dunno, food or something. Maddie paints.
“It’s gonna be okay,” Travis tells Doug, and tells him that that’s what he has to tell his kids. “Will they know that I’m lying?” Doug asks. Note that Travis doesn’t know he’s lying, so his answer to this is kinda obvious. Doug’s teary-eyed and not dealing with this well. No surprise there.
Little kids look out a window
Elsewhere, Alicia breaks back into the neighbor’s house, and wanders around, and we see that jar of pills on the table again. She pulls a framed picture off the wall; apparently Susan used to babysit them? And held onto a thank-you note for an inappropriately long period of time? She finds a note from Susan, presumably to her husband, and sobs as she reads it, rubbing the faded Sharpie mark on her arm as she does.
Elsewhere (I feel like I’m going to run out of transition words quickly today) Eliza is checking on an old man in a hospital bed. He’s got an IV in him and she reassures him that he’s got plenty of morphine (uh-oh) and he’ll be fine. The patient’s wife does her best to give Eliza food. Nick, nearby, hops out of the pool. Wait, is that even their pool? How many neighbors do these people have? He looks through the fence at the neighbor as she leaves.
Chris is now arguing with Alicia about his lights. Why doesn’t anyone pay attention to Chris? No wonder he’s so sullen.
Cut back to the old man, who is clearly struggling to breathe, possibly because Nick is hiding under his hospital bed with the morphine drip jammed between his toes. Jesus, Nick.
Chris peers through a window
We come back after commercials to the weirdest scene of the episode, as Ofelia makes out with some random soldier in his Humvee. He tries to take off her bra and she stops him. Is he seriously supposed to be on patrol alone right now? She asks him about medicine, so maybe she’s playing him for medicine for Mom, and he finally answers his radio call and says he’s heading back.
Nighttime, and Travis and Maddie are screwing in their car. “Is that make-up sex?” Travis asks? Dude, you don’t know? I feel like you should be certain. Maddie hops out of the car, denying her husband post-coital snuggles. Travis hounds her about what’s wrong with her, like, again, you don’t know? Dude there is seriously no reason at all to be confused about anyone acting stressed out right now, stop being dumb. She tells him to be nicer to Chris. He gripes about the light again. That is obviously a person flashing a light. It’s right there. Stop being dumb, Travis. You’re the dumbest dummy on this show. The two of them argue about the benevolence of the soldiers for a few minutes, only interrupted by Doug’s wife, who has lost Doug. He’s missing. Travis is sure he’s clearing his head. Sure he is.
Travis and Maddie stare out a window
Morning, and Maddie is flashing a flashlight at the building in the distance, and Travis has found Doug’s car. Somebody flashes a light back at Maddie. Commercials.
Captain Anger Management is playing golf, much like… well, somebody, and he and Travis argue about Doug, who the Captain claims they’ve picked up and taken off to get him some help so that he doesn’t go crazy inside the safe zone. Travis tells him about the lights. The Captain claims there aren’t any lights. What the hell is wrong with you people?
I know how this man feels. No window, though.
We note that someone has taken the time to put the words “REV 21:4” into the fence using Styrofoam cups. I do not approve wasting of Styrofoam cups in this fashion during the zombie apocalypse. Incidentally, the text of Revelation 21:4 is as follows:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This is obviously nonsense, as there’s going to be a lot more of all of those things. Sidenote: it’s called Revelation, people, as in The Revelation of St. John. Stop calling it Revelations. It makes the eyes of people with degrees in Biblical studies all twitchy, and that’s not nice.
Later, there’s an actual doctor, and the old man is missing, and it turns out that Eliza’s not a nurse after all (is she training to be one? Yes, right?) and the doc is totally on to her but wants her to keep faking it anyway. Meanwhile, Maddie’s sneaking out of the safe zone because I already called Travis a dummy in this recap and she’s jealous.
Ofelia peers out a window
She walks past a wall covered with missing signs– dudes, the best place to find someone in a zombie movie is clearly right next to these walls, because everyone in LA has a picture up there. Meanwhile, there’s a piece of cardboard on a fence nearby with a Bible verse on it. It’s… Revelation 21:4! Because there is only one Bible verse in Los Angeles.
There are bodies in the street all over the place. Shot dead bodies, with head wounds, and then there are soldiers, and Maddie dives underneath a car to wait for the commercial break. They somehow do not notice her despite it being their entire job to notice things while they’re walking around.
The doctor’s checking out Griselda, and suggests they head off to a nearby medical facility. Daniel, naturally, is somewhat untrusting. He says he’s going with her for the surgery she needs; the doctor doesn’t argue. A moment later, she’s checking on Nick, who may need Methadone, but says he’s fine.
“When’s the last time you used?” she asks.
“Uh… I dunno, when did the world end? A couple days before that,” he says. Which is awesome.
Nick isn’t looking through a window, but he totally just was.
Nick’s heart rate is elevated. “You’re a very attractive woman,” he deadpans.
Next door– how long has she been over there? Alicia is trying to tattoo the symbol onto her arm. Bye, Alicia, that’s all the screen time you get this episode. Maddie gets home and Daniel knows immediately she went outside the fence. She also admits it immediately, like it’s normal, and tells him about the bodies, which surprises him not at all. His reaction is worth actually embedding:
Daniel’s becoming my favorite character, behind Nick but closing in. Note also that this is the second “it happens quickly” moment in the series. And it’s clear that he really doesn’t think he’s ever coming back from this hospital.
“Look after your son,” he says.
I feel like this would be a good time for hell to start breaking loose. Maddie magically locates Nick in the neighbors’ house, rooting around for drugs, and proceeds to slap the crap out of him, then turns around and stomps back out of the house. Nobody ever locks their doors in this neighborhood.
Nighttime, and Nick is trying to keep Alicia out of the bathroom, because he doesn’t want her to see the bruises. Oh, okay, I guess she does get another scene in this episode. She’s being Caring Sister for the moment and gives him a hug and tells him it’s going to be all right. Maddie’s downstairs in the Sex Car drinking what may or may not be booze out of a mug.
Soldiers outside. They take Griselda away, but won’t let Daniel go with them. “We only have two names,” they say. “Griselda Salazar and Nicholas Clark.”
“Run,” Alicia says to Nick.
He doesn’t get very far.
Maddie looks through another window
There’s lots of yelling and fighting, but the soldiers end up winning, which isn’t terribly surprising, and Nick is hauled off in handcuffs. Meanwhile, the doctor is somehow convincing Eliza to go with them and help at the hospital. We see her mouthing “I love you” to Chris, who is– you guessed it!– watching through the blinds, and they take her away.
Maddie gets manhandled by the soldiers until everyone else is gone, then comes back and blames everything on Eliza. Sure.
“Eliza. She did this,” she says, and it’s the last spoken line of the episode. Maddie reads Susan’s letter again in voiceover as Travis climbs to the roof. Susan clearly thought the world was ending, and appears to have killed herself after all.
Travis, on the roof, sees a light off in the distance. Then a few more, only these aren’t so much signal lights as muzzle flashes. The signaler, whoever he or she was, is dead.