Monday, March 19, 2012

“The Walking Dead” Season 2, Episode 13: Great Balls of Fire

Finally off the farm!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Cheers all around: We’ve finally left the freaking farm.

Of course, it took an entire horde of walkers to make it happen. Apparently one gunshot attracted all of them, or the herd followed them from Atlanta, but either way, a giant wave of walkers overran the farm, taking a few characters with them. That one guy who nobody cared about died, Jimmy (James McCune). Pretty unceremoniously too, as he could have just drove the RV a little faster. I’m not sure why we were wasting ammo when we had perfectly good cars to drive over the walkers with, and thank you T-Dog(IronE Singleton) for actually starting to use those wheels. And getting a few lines, finally.


Oh, and then Patricia (Jane McNeill ) died too. Is it bad that I didn’t care? Her death was gruesomely awesome, but honestly, I wasn’t even sure who she was until I checked, as Hershel’s family has very much been in the background and rarely important. The show has had too many characters from the get go, so it's been time for some house cleaning anyways.

It was fitting that it was Rick (Andrew Lincoln) who ultimately had to pull Hershel (Scott Wilson) off the farm, and as much as I was happy for them to finally leave it, seeing it overrun and up in flames was a tad touching. Hershel’s last look back at his home was bittersweet, and it was sad to see the whole place, once a safe zone, literally go up in smoke.

Daryl (Norman Reedue) saved Carol (Melissa McBride), which was also equally fitting, given their whole connection over Sophia(Madison Lintz). Glen (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) escaped together, and the reality of the world started to re-sink in: with no phones nobody knew who made it out and who didn’t. The show didn’t milk that notion for long, or nearly as long as I felt it could have, but I’m shocked they never had an officially agreed upon rendezvous point. Bad planning guys, bad planning.

The group, minus Andrea (Laurie Holden) and the deceased, luckily managed to convene where they started the season before they hightailed it out of there. After running out of gas and demanding that they stop to set up camp, Rick finally revealed the big secret from the CDC: Everybody is infected. Getting bit is no longer an issue, but I was a little let down with how the big reveal was treated. Everybody got mad at Rick for keeping it a secret, but doesn’t this spell game over for life in general? Even people who die of old age will become walkers now, right? That, to say the least, kind of sucks.

Rick then privately admitted to Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) that he killed Shane (Jon Bernthal), and is, in Rick fashion, placing a lot of the blame on himself. I don’t quite see it that way, but I do see how Rick, honesty prone as he is, felt that he needed to tell Lori that he wanted Shane dead. Lori was none too happy, and it was a great scene with her moving further away and retreating from Rick in the background as he confessed everything. Though Lori, it really is your fault for playing them against each other.

After he talked to Lori, Rick then let the cat out of the bag to the whole group. His reveal here, unlike the CDC news, was the best scene in the whole episode, and perhaps the whole season. Rick hasn't been scoring points with me lately, but it redefined who Rick was. He is starting to fall apart, especially given that he had to kill who was his best friend, and he isn't taking shit anymore. He gave the bickering group the option of leaving or staying: but if they stay that they are agreeing to do so under his new, non-democratic, rule. It was nice to see Rick finally grow a pair, even if it he seemed to be cracking.

On Andrea's end, she was, and awesomely so, saved by a hooded figure with two walker prisoners following him/her, which is apparently Michonne (Danai Gurira), setting up season three and the prison, which was the final shot of the episode.

The show did ramp up the buckets of blood for the finale, but it just didn’t have the punch I was hoping for, even with all the reveals and deaths. Everything seems to be heading in a much more exciting, and entertaining direction though, and at least the good moments were spread out through the episode instead of buried at the end. But, it did what a good season finale should do: Leave me anticipating the next season to come.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Walking Dead" Season 2 Episode 12: Who’s your daddy?

Not Vader, that's for sure

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 4:00 AM

*Full spoilers of this week's Walking Dead follows*

Another main character dead.A twist in the very development of how people become walkers.A character confrontation that has been building since the very start of the show.

And yet, I can’t get into the episode as a whole.


Perhaps it’s because it stuck pretty close to last week’s formula: Let nothing important happen for the first 30 some-odd-minutes and then have hell break loose. I’m being a little unfair but it felt like a return to the earlier shows this season: Lots of talking and very little actually going on.

It might have been that each scene felt disjointed, like we were getting small snippets of what everyone was up to, yet with the story’s wheels were stuck in the mud and not going anywhere. Several of the scenes were important, Lori(Sarah Wayne Callies), and Shane (Jon Bernthal), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), but everything on the whole felt scattered, like we were just biding our time on the farm waiting for something more exciting to happen. Sure, the wheels led somewhere eventually, but it was a destination we’ve all known was coming for so long it didn’t really need, or get anything for that matter, to move it forward.

Or it’s because I still am not really sure what made Shane break, and what made him finally decide he needed to kill Rick. Was it Lori admitting she didn’t know who the father of the baby was? Was it her coming within a few words of saying she had feelings for him? Lori enjoys manipulating people, but her emotions seemed genuine. But she must have known that setting Shane off like that would cause something to happen. I have no idea what she was trying to accomplish, but I don’t think she’ll like the results.

Whatever finally went off in Shane’s head, he went off and concocted a plan to solve two birds with one stone: Rick and Randall(Michael Zegen). He springs Randall free, but tried to set it up to look like an escape, only to lure Rick into the woods on the hunt alone.

What resulted was a great ending, and a finely crafted scene between Rick and Shane (The moon, the wide angel shots, the grassy plain, oh my!). This, more than anything else, is where the show has been headed for so long, and it might have been the overdue-ness of this confrontation that took away its emotional impact.They’ve fought before, and we all knew deep down inside it wasn’t over. Rick and Shane could not survive together, and Shane, willingly or not, gave Rick the chance to fight for his family and Carl. And no real surprise, but Rick won.

Oddly enough though, I still think I cared more when Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) died. Or perhaps Dale’s death was just more shockingly out of nowhere. Now I’m just glad that the Rick-Shane drama will finally be over, but I am quite curious to see how Rick handles the blood on his hands. He certainly isn’t the good guy anymore.

In an interesting twist, Carl stumbled upon his father and Shane’s dead body, which started to come back to life as a walker. Fittingly, it was Carl who put down walker-Shane, but this proved that anybody who dies in this world will be reborn as a walker, not just those that are bit. An interesting wrench to throw in the works, for sure.Doesn’t explain why it didn’t happen to Dale, though. (Perhaps that echelon of walker can’t dig, who knows).

But, as well executed as the ending was, it just took so long to get there, both in the series as a whole and in this episode. The show pulls off great and intense moments; I just don’t want to keep waiting through mediocre ones to get there.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

"The Walking Dead" Season 2, Episode 11: He’s a threat!

Or maybe he's a trap.

Posted By on Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Oh man. It took right up until the end, but Jesus tap-dancing Christ, everything managed to came full circle and end on such an intense note. Wow. This is why I love “The Walking Dead.”

Carl (Chandler Riggs) first and foremost, was an interesting case. A kid growing up with all this around him is bound to be a little on the fringes so to speak, but we haven’t seen a lot of him lately and all of a sudden now he was all gung ho and snippy. Hormones perhaps?


I really really really wanted to see him shoot something, be it a walker, or the prisoner, and the repeated suspense building with no resolution got old fast. Though, I’m not sure when Carl’s balls dropped, but he had some great moments, particularly with his father and with Carol(Melissa McBride).I’m starting to think his role is only going to grow as he does.

And Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn).Poor, poor Dale. I’ll admit this episode alone made my mind do summersaults over him. I used to be a huge Dale fan; the staunch old grizzly bearded man with a heart of gold. I’ve felt that ship sinking of late, and his moral crusade this episode started to wear me down.

With Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) back, Randall (Michael Zegen) in toe, Dale started a politician touring circuit, trying to change everybody in the group’s mind about killing him. Dale did have some good points; but I wish he didn’t make the argument so unlikable. He may be the remaining moral voice in the group (“Please, let’s just do what’s right”), but I just couldn’t figure out why he was taking this so personally and making such a stand on it.

The more and more he went on though, the more I liked what he was saying and felt bad for him. He wasn’t arguing to save the man’s life, but for his own ever-fading view of the world. He stormed off when the group decided they had no other choice but to kill Randall in fear he would lead his group to the farm, and Dale left a teary eyes and broken man.

In hindsight of what happened, that all hit a little closer to home.

On the whole Randall situation: I don’t know if I would or could have pulled the trigger or not. But that’s what makes the show so interesting to begin with. The morality is so far removed from how any of us can relate. Rick ends up pussing out at the execution when Carl walks in and tells him he should do it. Carl, again, moving and shaking the world.

With only a few minutes left I was utterly disappointed. Carl’s story seemed dead in the water, and Rick has yet again been unable to do what he felt he had to. But, it’s the end that made it all worthwhile.

And that brings us to Dale. Again, poor, poor Dale. Ambushed by the same walker that Carl has been early unable to kill. Ultimately, it wasn’t Rick(who can’t seem to fire a friggin’ gun) but Daryl (Norman Reedus) who pulled the trigger to put Dale out of hismisery. After going back and forth on how I felt about him, it was still a kick to the chest to see his entrails ripped out and him lying there. It reminded me that I did care about Dale after a whole episode had me going back and forth. His death did overshadow the Randall situation, and it just came out of nowhere. But that’s probably what made it work so well. We aren’t in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure.

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You might have assumed that the competition for the seats on City Council was locked up in the Democratic Primary in June. Rochester’s such a heavily Democratic city that the party’s primaries are considered the real election. But Green Party candidates Alex White, Chris Edes, and David Sutliff-Atias strongly disagree. White in particular bristles at the idea that he’s running as a third-party candidate. read more ...

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