The Walking Dead: Nobody’s Safe? Really?

First off, let me just say that I’m sorry for the radio silence around here. I was super sick for the past several days, but it’s all good now!

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Back to the matter at hand! Fandom! Geekery! Zombies!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Walking Dead recap this week. Unfortunately, because of huge amounts of scheduling conflicts, I’m not going to be able to recap The Walking Dead at The Mary Sue anymore. It’s a bummer, and I’m so sad to have to miss out. However, I am going to be so incredibly busy in the next few months and I just won’t be able to do a good job for TMS recapping. I don’t know who is going to be taking up the helm, but I’m sure they’ll be great so check ’em out. And don’t worry, I’ll still be live-tweeting the show when I can and writing about the show here when I can.

I was able to watch the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, and I had All the Thoughts. So before I jump in, all those not caught up on The Walking Dead be warned:

Spoilers

My thoughts on the premiere? Overall it was a fun episode. It had lots of zombie gore and Daryl saved the day with a rocket launcher twice. Even so, I didn’t fully agree when I tuned in to Talking Dead and Chris Hardwick called it one of the best episodes ever. Why? There was drama. We watched Rick lose Jessie, a woman he was starting to allow himself to fall in love with. We saw Carl get shot, and then Rick got a great monologue where he told Carl he wanted to show Carl the “new world”. Dr. Denise and her Wolf captor had a lot of great character development, but I didn’t think it was the best because it didn’t exactly live up to the expectations I had.

After all, they were calling this premiere one of the bloodiest in a while, and touting how “everyone will NOT survive”. That’s the thing with The Walking Dead. The show always preaches about how “no one is safe” and that every single character could die at any moment. For a while, we all believed them. The early seasons brought us Carol’s husband’s death, Andrea’s sister’s death, T-Dog, Sophia, Dale, Andrea, Herschel, Lori, Tyrese, Beth, Noah, and Shane. All major characters whose deaths were shocking, but since Noah died last season, we haven’t had any big character deaths. You could maybe count Deanna in that, but since we were only just getting to know her, I’d say she wasn’t quite yet to the level of Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Carol, Rick, or Carl.  Instead of a major character death, we get situations like this:

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In case you can’t tell, in the center of that horde (in front of the magic dumpster) is Glenn Rhee. He survived this by simply scooting and camping out underneath that dumpster. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that Glenn is alive, but as more episodes go by without major character deaths and the show runners keep saying, “No one is safe!” it makes me wonder. Is that even really true anymore? Do I even want it to be true?

 

Over the past several seasons, they’ve seriously culled the herd of major characters. Now we’re down to a pretty small member of “main characters”–I’d say that’s Rick, Carl, Carol, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne. They all feel almost vital to the show. I can’t imagine The Walking Dead any one of those characters, but still, watching the show knowing that anyone who isn’t in the main bunch (or even the secondary main bunch like Sasha, Abraham, and Eugene) is essentially a Red Shirt really lowers the stakes for me. The Walking Dead is often likened to Game of Thrones, another show notorious for killing off its main characters. That show has killed off loads of highly popular, main characters, and it keeps on killing it in the ratings. It’s kind of awesome to watch a show not knowing exactly who will live and who will die. For a while, that was The Walking Dead, but I fear that they’re moving away from those crazy high stakes that we’ve come to love. Sure, it’s rad to know that our main characters will be safe more often than they’re endangered, but after a while doesn’t that start to remove the urgency of a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world? In the mid-season premiere, there were loads of times where the survivors wiggled away from a near death experience, and by the end of the episode, I almost felt like rolling my eyes.

No, I don’t want any of my walker-fighting babies to die, but part of what I love about TWD is how brutal the world is. If it’s only brutal to Red Shirts, that urgency and moral questioning is gone. Of course, this all could be lulling us into a false sense of security. If you know the story of Negan from the comics–don’t worry, not spoilers here–you know that he will be bringing some serious craziness into the safe lives of our survivors. So it could be that the stakes are just about to get higher.

Ultimately, it’s a fine line to balance, making sure there are enough characters for us to get involved in the show without losing the show’s edge. I don’t want to lose any of my faves, but I also am really concerned that The Walking Dead could potentially be losing its edge by giving in to fan pressure. Of course, only time will tell.

What do you guys think? Is The Walking Dead losing its edge by keeping so many of the core group alive for so long–even in crazy circumstances like Glenn and the dumpster–or is it simply taking time to develop characters before they launch into the next, gut-wrenching story line? Let me know what you think in the comments!  

The Mary Sue Post: Walking Dead Recap, “Now”

I’ll be honest, y’all. Yesterday I took a vacation day, and I had BIG plans to get All the Writing done, and it didn’t happen. Turns out I really, really needed a day to recharge my batteries and do nothing other than play Ocarina of Time. Because of that, I didn’t even link to my recap of Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. Fail for me.

Still, I wanted to be sure I linked to it because Sunday’s episode was filled with some solid character development, a big announcement, and still NO WORD on that certain character for which I’m still holding out hope of his survival. Here’s an excerpt (spoilers ahead, obvs.):

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…Deanna was not doing well after losing her son, her husband, after the attack on Alexandria, and then Rick leading a twenty-deep herd right to the city gates. It’s been a rough week for a woman who has essentially been riding out the apocalypse in a gated community. She spent most of the episode walking aimlessly around Alexandria and getting yelled at her drunk son.

As she’s processing the horrors she’s seen, Aaron confesses to the group that the Wolves found Alexandria after he and Daryl fell into a Wolves trap while out recruiting, and Aaron lost his bag—which led the Wolves right to Alexandria. Rick shoots Aaron a glance that I had a tough time reading—I’m not sure if it was one of anger, frustration, or understanding. Either way, he says they’ll talk about it more later, so we’ll have to see what comes of Rick and Aaron’s relationship. Regardless of Rick’s feelings towards what happened, it’s obvious that Aaron feels personally responsible for all of the death in Alexandria, and is looking for some way to try to make amends….

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue and let me know your thoughts on Sunday’s episode in the comments! 

The Mary Sue Post: Walking Dead Recap, Episode 3 “Thank You”

There will be MAJOR spoilers ahead in both my linked Mary Sue recap and in this particular post. If you haven’t seen last night’s episode of The Walking Dead yet, TURN BACK NOW.

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Alright, let’s continue.

This has been an AMAZING season of The Walking Dead. Every single episode has left me breathless. This week was no exception, certainly, but this week also reminded us that while The Walking Dead is full of gore and zombie thrills, it’s also a terrible, gut-wrenching, soul-destroyer of a show. This week was rough, you guys, and while the actual amount of roughness is still a bit ambiguous as we don’t know if Glenn is alive or dead. He was notably missing from Talking Dead‘s weekly “in memoriam” (though they did end that section with “Please don’t be true. Please don’t be true. Please don’t be true.”), and he wasn’t an infamous “surprise guest”. Scott Gimple released a statement that Chris Hardwick read on the show that, well, really told us a whole lot of nothing.

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We’ll have to wait until next week to find out what really happened to Glenn (PSA: Next week’s episode will be 90 minutes). I, for one, choose to believe he’s alive, but we’ll see what fresh hell next week brings us. It’s worth noting that on next week’s Talking Dead, there will be a “surprise guest”.

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Somewhere in the distance Chris Hardwick is screaming, “A SURPRISE GUEST DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING!!!”

So while we wait to see what comes of next week, let’s talk about what went down this week over at The Mary Sue. Here’s an excerpt of my recap:

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…the group ultimately decides to split up to help their people in Alexandria and deal with the herd. Sasha and Abraham stay in the car, directing as many walkers as they can, Daryl breaks off to head back to Alexandria, Rick goes off by himself to get back to the RV, and Glenn and Michonne take the rest of the group back to Alexandria. From there, Glenn and Nicholas (boo, hiss) break off to set a fire to draw the attention of the walkers.

Michonne really has a pretty rough job. She’s got to protect one Alexandrian, Annie, who has a sprained ankle, Scott, who was shot in the leg, one bitten by a walker (and offering his super sweet post-apocalyptic love story as the virus slowly destroys him), and Heath, who was super skeptical about Rick, Glenn and Michonne. Michonne manages to lay a serious truth bomb on Heath, shutting down his doubts against Rick and that entire group, proving that Alexandrians don’t understand the reality of this new, harsh world. Heath gets to see this first hand when all but one of his fellow Alexandrians met a grisly end at the hand of walkers, and finally starts to understand where Michonne was coming from. Though Michonne’s group isn’t wholly safe just yet, they seem to be the group in the best situation out of everyone.

Rick, on the other hand, is in a seriously sticky situation. He’s badly injured his hand while he was hacking through walkers, was attacked by the Wolves Morgan let go in last week’s episode—Wolves that Rick promptly killed—and is now stuck in an RV that is not working as the walker herd closes in…

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue! Let me know what you think will happen to Glenn (and Rick, as he’s in quite the pickle, too), and let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments. 

The Mary Sue Post: Walking Dead Season 6 Recap!

I am SO excited to have The Walking Dead back in my life. I missed that show so very much, and after checking out the spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, I only missed Rick and the gang that much more.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Happily, we’re back, and this season kicked off with a bang, a generous usage of band-aids, a walker-parade, and helium-filled balloons. Weird, I know. BUT the episode was fantastic, and I’m over at The Mary Sue talking about it. I hope you’ll join me there to talk about it.

Oh, and remember:

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…when we arrived back at Alexandria in the season 6 premiere, we find Rick calling the shots, acting as hardcore as when we saw him in the latter episodes of season 5. This episode is structurally different than most, as it bounces back and forth through time, showing flashbacks in black and white. The flashbacks start essentially the moment after Rick pulls the trigger to shoot Pete, and end with a mysterious horn blaring to derail the group’s attempt to address the issue of an enormous horde barreling down on the faulty walls protecting Alexandria.

The flashbacks largely center around the tension back at Alexandria. Several Alexandrians are very unsettled with Rick’s new role among the community, especially after shooting Pete, and they decide that they need to develop a plan to overthrow Rick. The group of dissenters is led by a man named Carter, played by the one and only Ethan Embry. Carter decides that the only way to make Alexandria safe again is to take out Rick, and he leads a group of people to try to develop a plan to kill our favorite sheriff…

Read the rest at The Mary Sue, and let me know what you thought of the premiere in the comments!

The Mary Sue Post: Fear the Walking Dead Finale Recap

Fear the Walking Dead aired its season one finale yesterday, and I have to admit that I was kind of impressed. If you haven’t seen my recaps of the entire season, be sure to check those out. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know that I haven’t been overly thrilled about how the Walking Dead spin-off has turned out. Happily, the season finale was the action, adventure, scares, gross-out moments, and drama that we’ve come to expect from a story told in the Walking Dead universe. I was actually quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the season finale, and it made me pretty interested in what season two had to offer. But I unpack this all a bit more in my recap over at The Mary Sue. I hope you’ll join me over there to talk about Fear the Walking Dead and the finale!

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk if you aren’t caught up on Fear the Walking Dead!

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Alright friends, the first season of Fear the Walking Dead is in the books, and it was a pretty intense finale. If you’ve been reading the recaps I’ve posted this season, you’ll know I’ve not been thoroughly impressed with the show, largely because I found the dramatic irony it relied so heavily on frustrating at best, and unbelievable and stupid at worst.

In the Talking Dead special, Chris Hardwick called out how hard fans have been on the survivors, mentioning that he hoped people wouldn’t immediately decide to shoot someone in the head if they looked sick in public, which is a fair point. Of course, the actor who plays Travis, Cliff Curtis, countered by reminding Chris of the walker who was discovered eating a dog, summing up my issue with the show pretty perfectly: No, you definitely wouldn’t shoot a stranger who looked sick in public, but if you saw a clearly sick individual doing something horrificlike eating a dog, you wouldn’t try to approach him and reason with him, right? If they tried to bite you or attack you, you’d protect yourself, wouldn’t you?

But that was the tough job Fear the Walking Dead had to try to tackle. How do you tell the beginning of a story to an audience who not only knows what’s really happening in the world, but they also know how to eliminate the walkers, that any quarantine efforts do not work, and how widespread the infection is. Essentially, how do you keep people interested in the beginning of a story when they already know the ending…

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue, and let me know what you thought of the first season and the finale of Fear the Walking Dead in the comments! 

The Mary Sue Post: The Walking Dead Recap

I’m back at The Mary Sue talking about last night’s episode of The Walking Dead! I hope you’ll join me over there!

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We’ve only got two episodes left in season 5, and things are definitely starting to get intense. However, before I jump into this week’s recap, be warned that there will be spoilers ahead.

Last week’s episode was relatively sleepy and character-focused. Though this week’s episode kicked off feeling equally sleepy and character-focused, it most certainly was not.

The biggest thing we realized this episode? Our concerns about Alexandria were pretty much right on the money. At this point Alexandria is no Terminus or Woodbury, but there is certainly a bit of a dark undercurrent in the midst of those perfect, suburban homes.

Unfortunately, one of those negative forces is coming from within our group….

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue!

The Mary Sue Post: Walking Dead Recap

The Walking Dead is officially back in full swing, so that means I’m over at The Mary Sue today talking about last night’s episode! I hope you’ll join me over there to talk about the crazy way The Walking Dead came back from its winter hiatus.

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If you haven’t seen the season 5 mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, be warned, there are absolutely spoilers ahead!

It’s been a long winter hiatus, especially given the particularly tragic way the first half of Season 5 ended. Jumping into the second half of Season 5, I was certain the worst was behind us–at least for a few episodes.

Yeah, not so much.

This episode picks back up with the group trying to find some sort of direction after the devastating loss of Beth, and Eugene’s unsurprising yet disappointing confession that his “classified” plan to save the world from the infection was nothing more than, well, an unsurprising and disappointing load of crap…

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue!

The Mary Sue Post: The Walking Dead Recap

It’s the last episode before the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, and I’m talking about it on The Mary Sue! I hope you’ll join me over there!

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Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead marked the last regular episode of the year before the mid-season finale, airing on November 30th. Though this episode certainly had its moments, it felt like this week’s episode was mostly laying groundwork for next week’s finale. As always, spoiler alert for those not caught up on The Walking Dead.

We picked this week’s episode up right where last week’s episode left off, after Carol was brought into the hospital, and Daryl brought Noah back to the church. After Daryl explains what is happening, Rick, Tyreese, Sasha, Daryl, and Noah head back to the hospital to rescue Beth and Carol, while Michonne, Carl, and Father Gabriel stay at the church with Judith.

Meanwhile, Abraham’s group is still trying to recover from the crushing blow that the only thing beneath Eugene’s Tennessee Tophat is a bunch of lies, not a means to end the zombie apocalypse. Abraham is still shell-shocked in the center of the road, Eugene is still unconscious, and Maggie, Tara, Rosita, and Glenn are still trying to figure out a way to help Eugene while they plan their next move…

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue!

The Walking Dead Recap at The Mary Sue

You guys, I have some super incredibly exciting news: I will be recapping The Walking Dead over at The Mary Sue this season! I love that website, and I’m incredibly excited to get to cover one of my favorite shows for them. So each week I’ll post a link here to my review over there, and I hope you guys will join me!

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This is how you do a season premiere, kids. The Walking Dead is back with a serious bang!

We ended last season with most of Team Prison trapped in a boxcar on Terminus, Rick filled with a strange sense of strength and hubris, saying Terminus’ friendly neighborhood cannibals were “screwing with the wrong people.” I’ll be honest, while I was certainly rooting for Rick and the gang to get out of Terminus, I really had no idea how they were going to get out. I figured they’d escape somehow, but there would be serious casualties, and it certainly wouldn’t leave Terminus feeling regret over capturing Rick and his pals. The pictures circulating of Glenn seemingly moments away from death only doubled these feelings…

Read the rest over at The Mary Sue!