5 reasons why I stopped watching ‘The Walking Dead’

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  1. Unbelievable marksmanship: The headshot is exceptionally difficult to pull off even for top sharpshooters. But in the zombie apocalypse that is “The Walking Dead,” even children are able to consistently shoot zombies in the brain.
  2. Soft skulls: I am not an expert in bone density, but it seems like it is awfully easy to smash zombie skulls in “The Walking Dead.” Skulls are getting crushed by boot stomp and punched through by fists. Bones are one of the few things that survive when the flesh rots of bodies. Maybe the skulls could be a little tougher to squish.
  3. Red shirts: The old gag on the original “Star Trek” series was if you saw a character wearing a red shirt that you didn’t already know, they were probably going to die. That’s been the case of “The Walking Dead” Season 4. The audience is introduced to scores of characters, some for less than 5 minutes of screen time, and then asked to care when they die. I don’t. I’m not surprised when they’re dead.
  4. Bad builders: One consistent threat to the survivors’ prison stronghold has been the zombie hordes pushing against the weakening chain-link fences. The survivors’ solution to this is to lean planks and boards against the fence at an angle. The boards aren’t anchored. They’re just kind of wedged in there. I am not an engineer, but this seems like a pretty lousy solution. A better solution might be to dig a trench. It worked for the Governor and his crew. Behind the trench, build a wall out of concrete and brick. If the survivors are already going out on runs for food, medicine and, in Bob’s case, booze, they could pick up some bricks and mortar or sacks of cement and use those two-by-fours to build a real line of defense.
  5. Boring: Most of the above complains are ticky-tack fouls. I would forgive them if the drama or the action were better quality. But they aren’t. They’re poor. I used to look forward to “The Walking Dead” on Sunday nights. I used to bemoan the fact that it got me so excited, I found it difficult to settle down before going to bed. Now I look at the coming of each week’s episode as a chore. I kept writing about the show because it was fun to poke fun at. But now I’m even tired of that. I’m not dead, but I’m walking away from “The Walking Dead.”

5-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead: Live Bait’

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Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”

Original air date: Nov. 17, 2013

  1. Memory gets fuzzy with age. I feel like I remember a time when I enjoyed “The Walking Dead,” when I looked forward to it each week and was disappointed when it was over because it always left me wanting more. But this seems inconsistent with recent evidence in which I find myself bored only a few minutes into an episode, easily predicting each turn in the thin plots.
  2. Then I have a flash of revelation. I got bored with the first season, too. I gave up near the end when they were hanging out at the Center for Disease Control. I reconnected in the second season. I liked that season. A lot of fans hated it. This season, though, I don’t like it. And the ratings are excellent. I guess it’s a matter of opinion. Mine is that the fourth season isn’t very good.
  3. The Governor (David Morrissey) returns. He drifts after his defeat at the prison and his own slaughter of his followers. He plays house with a family in an apartment complex. He teaches a young girl, Megan (Meyrick Murphy), to play chess. He smashes her grandfather’s head after he dies of lung cancer and turns into a zombie. He becomes instant daddy to the dead grandpa’s family, including Tara (Alanna Masterson), who claims to have police training, and nurse Lily (Audrey Marie Anderson), mom of Megan and sister to Tara. The group go on a roadtrip in dead grandad’s old delivery truck. While Tara and Megan sleep, the Governor and Lily have sex in the truck. It’s nice to see romance isn’t dead at the end of the world, but I hope Tara and Lily are deep sleepers.
  4. The truck doesn’t work in the morning. They walk. They run into a horde of zombies. Tara twists her ankle to continue the longest running cliche in the history of horror films and television: Women are unable to run while in danger. If Wilma Rudolph were in a horror film, she would twist her damned ankle when being chased by a monster. The Governor does one better and falls in a hole while carrying Megan. He kills three zombies with his bare hands. Then some of his old buddies from the village — you know, the one where he murdered a bunch of people when he lost his mind — show up.
  5. This was the dullest episode in a very dull season. I see the effort to humanize the Governor and try to use Morrissey’s formidable acting skills to make him seem like an anguished man beset by demons. It doesn’t work for me, but, again, the ratings are fabulous. As long as the checks keep cashing, it really doesn’t matter what anybody has to say. There are two episodes left before the mid-season hiatus. Now that’s something I’m looking forward to.

5-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead: Internment’

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Season 4, Episode 5: “Internment”

Original air date: Nov. 10, 2013

  1. The “The Walking Dead” version of “ER” ended as you would expect. Hershel (Scott Wilson) keeps hope alive, but people start dying in bunches and he has to, at last, kill some zombies. The fence collapses. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) team up to blast the horde with machine guns. Before the zombie apocalypse, Rick and Carl probably played catch with a football. Now they shoot zombies together. Greeting card companies take note. This is the father-son bonding moment of the 21st century. It was some good zombie slaughter, but nothing spectacular. You could do just as well to play one of the umpteen zombie games on PlayStation or Xbox and probably be just as entertained, if not more so.
  2. Despite the burst of action, “Internment” was mostly another dull episode. Rick and Hershel have a heart-to-heart talk, because this father-son relationship needed to be reinforced for the viewers who didn’t get they were the moral center of the show from the previous 217 discussions between the characters. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) talks about how competent she is, demonstrates it by hacking off a zombie’s, but then asks Rick for his seal of approval anyway. Feminism is another casualty of the zombie apocalypse.
  3. Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira) Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Drunk Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.) return with the medicine. All the important characters live. A cheerful Hershel goes on a zombie corpse burning run with Michonne. Rick and Carl have a quiet moment eating a snowpea in the garden. The writers will just not let this garden thing go. It’s probably a metaphor for something, maybe hope, but at this point, I really don’t care.
  4. Rick holds off telling Daryl about Carol’s (Melissa McBride) banishment. That’s an important lesson for young writers. Never do in one scene what you can string out for three or four. It creates the illusion the story is moving forward when it really nothing happens at all. For more examples, see every soap opera ever. Also, the Governor (David Morrissey) is lurking in the woods outside the prison. That’s suspenseful. They held out bringing the Governor back for so long I forgot he was a character on the show. The preview promises more of the Governor next week. The good news is there are only three episodes left until the show’s mid-season break. The Governor will only have two episodes to screw around and do nothing rather than the five the rest of the cast has had.
  5. I look at my watch a lot this season. Each time I think, “Isn’t this almost over?” I think there is a reason horror films are two hours or less. There is only so far you can go with this concept. “The Walking Dead” seems to be well past the point of doing anything interesting. The ratings remain staggeringly high despite its mediocre quality. AMC renewed it for a fifth season. But I’m very close to deleting this series from my DVR record list.

1-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead: Indifference’

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Season 4, Episode 4: “Indifference”

Original air date: Nov. 3, 2013

Here is how bad “The Walking Dead” has become in my estimation: I was actually thinking about “Talking Dead” during this week’s episode, “Indifference.” I wondered if it is hard for Chris Hardwick to be so enthusiastic about something so mediocre every week. I wonder if he feels a hit to his integrity. He might, but then he gets his direct deposit from AMC and that buys a lot of salve for the ego. This week in brief: Rick (Andrew Lincoln) exiles the murderer Carol (Melissa McBride). Bob (Larry Gilliard Jr.) screws up on a mission. Daryl (Norman Reedus) gets angry. Michonne (Dania Gurira) decapitates some zombies.  Someone named Ana, whom we’ve never seen before, is killed. The audience is supposed to care. I didn’t. Carol drives off alone. Rick drives back to the prison alone. Bob, Michonne and Daryl drive back to the prison. A sad song plays. And I become, just as the title of this week’s episode suggests, more and more indifferent with each passing hour.

5-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead: Isolation’

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Season 4, Episode 3: “Isolation”

Original air date: Oct. 27, 2013

  1. Tyreese (Chad Coleman) is angry. His girlfriend and a guy named Dave were murdered and their bodies burned. They have the plague. You know, because “The Walking Dead” is a hospital show now. We’re supposed to care about these dead people. We never met Dave and caught a fleeting glimpse of the girlfriend before she was toasted. Anyway, Tyreese, who was previously too weak-kneed to kill zombies on the fence and too scared to go on supply runs, suddenly has a backbone. Losing a good girlfriend will do that to you. He asks Rick (Andrew Lincoln) to investigate the murder. Rick tries to play psychologist. Tyresse punches Rick.
  2. Rick wakes up from the sedation he’s been under for the first two weeks. He beats up Tyreese. Later, Rick apologizes. Tyreese sneers that Rick has no urgency in his investigation of the murder of characters no one cared about. It’s good to know that even during the apocalypse, there is still race-based tension with law enforcement. Tyreese says it looks like murder is OK now. Let’s hope so. That would be fun to watch compared to “The Walking Dead: ER.”
  3. Maybe it’s “The Walking Dead: Victory Garden.” This week opens with the survivors digging in the dirt again. Of course this time they’re graves instead of gardens as in the season opener. But the theme of the heroic gardener continued. Hershel (Scott Wilson) goes into the woods to gather berries that can help the plague victims. Carl (Chandler Riggs) accompanies him. They have a chat. Carl doesn’t kill anybody, even a couple of zombies in the neighborhood. Ah, our little apocalypse survivor is growing up. Ain’t that sweet. Also, Carol (Melissa McBride) goes outside the gates to get the water supply unclogged as part of “The Walking Dead: Home Improvement” segment.
  4. Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Tyreese and another new guy, Bob (Larry Gilliard, Jr.), go on a road trip to a veterinary clinic in hopes of finding antibiotics for the plague. They run into a zombie horde. Their Dodge Charger has trouble getting traction on a pile of corpses. They should have bought the police suspension package. Anyway, Tyreese starts dicing up zombies as the others make their way to the woods. This feels slightly like “The Walking Dead.” Too bad the episode is almost over. Somebody get Chris Hardwick a hashtag.
  5. Also, Carol murdered the characters nobody cared about except Tyreese. They made that about as obvious as they could with her suicide run on the water. Rick figured it out as part of the “The Walking Dead: CSI” segment. He stared at some char marks on the ground and found some blood on a door jam. Give Andrew Lincoln a pair of shades that he can take off while listening to The Who and he’s ready to replace David Caruso. Carol confesses to Rick. Her punishment is to continue being on the show.

5-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead: Infected’

Season 4, Episode 2: “Infected”

Original air date: Oct. 20, 2013

  1. The Walking Dead” picked up from a slow and disappointing (but highly rated) fourth season premiere, but is still fairly weak. “Infected” further defines a new threat to the survivors: an airborne virus. But the writing feels heavy handed and graceless. Maybe it was always this way and the juicy squish made up for it. But the program seems to violate the old saw “show, don’t tell,” assaulting the viewers with plot points delivered through exposition or scenes so obvious as to allow no subtext. Also, the slaughter of newly introduced characters continues. As my friend Skyler Bartels, who knows more about zombies than anyone this side of an 18th century Haitian vodou priest, said, “The last thing the show needed was redshirts.”
  2. Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) newfound pacifism is mercifully short-lived. Nobody needs more brooding and self-pity. Rick surrenders his fantasy as a humble farmer to prevent a zombie herd from overrunning the fences. Rick slaughters the pigs he raised with son Carl (Chandler Riggs). He throws out the pigs, cutting their tendons so the can’t run and leading the walkers away from the prison. Even zombies can’t resist fresh bacon, apparently. This is quite the episode for animal cruelty. Someone is feeding rats to the zombies at night by flashlight. We’re treated to a zombie biting the head off a rat. Somebody cue the Sarah McLachlan music for those weepy SPCA advertisements.
  3. Carol (Melissa McBride) has taken it upon herself to be den mother and iron monger for the survivors’ children. One of the casualties this week is a father of two girls. The eldest girl wants to put her father down, you know, because this is the kind of thing that should be kept in the family. She can’t do it, so Carol does it. Carol follows with a heart-to-heart with the girl later, explaining that the girl is week and it’s kill-or-be-killed in the zombie apocalypse. The girl comes around and takes her knife back. There weren’t enough mental health counselors to go around before the end of the world. I guess Carol is doing the best she can.
  4. Tyreese (Chad Coleman) continues to be a wuss. Last week, he didn’t want to kill zombies on the fence because it upset him. He went to get supplies. People died and there were mean, nasty zombies everywhere trying to eat him. This upset him too and he announced he didn’t want to go on supply runs anymore. He romances his girlfriend by serenading to her while canoodling in the prison library. He wants her to stay overnight in his cell. She’s not ready yet. Even at the end of the world, women are don’t want to give it away too easily. More likely, she’s still trying to decide whether Tyreese really likes girls or just wants to be a girl. She’ll never know. She gets the plague. They send the plague victims off to an isolated area of the prison to either recover or die and turn into zombies where they can’t hurt anybody. The isolated area is death row. This is the level of subtle writing we’re dealing with here. Somebody kills Tyreese’s redshit girlfriend and somebody else and burns the bodies. Tyreese is mad. He will probably write some very dark poetry after this tragedy.
  5. Finally, we have Michonne (Danai Gurira). She’s a sword-slinging badass who decapitates zombies and hunts the evil Governor (David Morrissey). This week, she sprains her ankle fighting zombies like she’s a victim in a 1980s “Friday the 13th” sequel. Later, she cries while holding a crying baby as if the child were kryptonite. Maybe I wasn’t watching “The Walking Dead” after all. Maybe I was just watching the Halloween-themed episode of HBO’s “Girls.” That’s sure what it felt like.

5-paragraph review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 5 premiere

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Season 5, Episode 1: “30 Days Without Incident”

Original air date: Oct. 13, 2013

  1. The fourth season premiere of “The Walking Dead” was one of the weakest in the show’s run. Much of the hour is taken to introduce the audience to new characters, some of whom serve as chum for the zombie hordes. The underlying moral drama that makes “The Walking Dead” more than just a show about the juicy squish of zombie skulls felt dormant and distant. Some threads spun in the episode might be worthy of following, but the first effort under new showrunner Scott Gimple was a disappointment.
  2. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) gardens and listens to country music, drowning out the snarls of the walkers. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is a folk hero amongst the burgeoning members of the camp, putting the former thief and ruffian in an odd position of being both well-liked and well-respected. Rick’s son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), is staying up late to read comic books by flashlight and naming the pigs he and Rick raise. Carol (Melissa McBride) secretly teaches the camp’s children how to use weapons. Michonne (Danai Gurira) hunts for the Governor (David Morrissey) against the advice of Daryl and the scowls from Rick.
  3. Everything seems wonderful at the prison, except for the dirty business of killing the walkers pressing up against fences and dangerous trips outside the gates for supplies. A trip to Big Lots results in the roof collapsing on the team and zombies it raining zombies. One of the new guys, Kyle (Kyle Gallner), who is dating Beth (Emily Kinney), Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) youngest daughter, is killed. Beth doesn’t cry for Kyle. Neither does the audience. We knew him for about three paragraphs worth of dialogue. The whole mess started because another new guy, Bob (Larry Gilliard, Jr.), apparently a recovering alcoholic, wants a bottle of wine, but puts it back, leading to the collapse of the entire display and alerting the walkers on the roof to their presence inside. Bob lived. Kyle died. I’m unaffected.
  4. Speaking of Herschel’s children, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), his eldest, wants to have a baby. Glenn (Steven Yeun) isn’t keen on bringing new life into the middle of the end of the world. Maggie thinks they can handle it. So, expect a another baby. Rick goes outside the gates to gather food. Hershel has to harangue him to take his gun. Rick wants to pretend he’s a farmer. Outside the gates he meets a starving woman. The woman begs for help for she and her husband. The husband is a walker. She tries to feed Rick to her walker husband. She fails. She kills herself. Rick walks away. The scene is meant to have some emotional gravitas, but it just seems as if we’ve been here before.
  5. There were a couple interesting notes. The pig died. So did one of the new people, a kid named Patrick (Vincent Martella), who is buddies with Carl. Patrick gets sick and died. He turned into a zombie on the shower floor. Is this a sign the plague is getting worse or does some new disease threaten the survivors? Actually, that was the only interesting thing in the show. The rest of it felt perfunctory and placid. Even the special effects felt unimpressive in certain shots. Every show has duds, but “The Walking Dead” has largely avoided those, especially in season premiers. The program has enough good will built up from past entertainment for me to remove it from my DVD series recording lists. That said, this was the first time I can remember checking how much time was left in an episode and being disappointed there was so many minutes left to burn.

5 shows snubbed by the Writers Guild of America’s 101 Best Written TV Series List

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The Writers Guild of America put out a list of the 101 best-written TV Series in history. Lists are made to generation discussion. Memphis Paul, co-creator this blog, and I discussed the list for several hours Tuesday evening. I believe “The Wire” is the best-written show of all time, though the Guild places it No. 9. I would rate much higher “Mad Men” (No. 7) and “Breaking Bad” (No. 13). I’m impressed with the selection of the “Twilight Zone” as No. 3. “The Sopranos,” a show that held little appeal for me but was well-written, is No. 1. I quibble, of course, with shows I loathe, but were popular. I found “Seinfeld” grating and annoying, but it comes it at No. 2. I despise everything about “Friends,” rated No. 23. I lack any objectivity about “Friends.” If I could go back in time and prevent one thing from happening, it would be “Friends.” I hate the show that much. But a lot of people wanted to watch it. Other shows, such as “All In The Family,” I’m able to maintain some detachment. I found it shrill, unpleasant and irritating. I respect what was done with in the context of it’s time.

Then there are the omissions, some glaring to my way of thinking and others more of a slight to my particular sensibilities. Here are five shows, then, that I believe should have made the list:

  1. “Doctor Who:” I’m tempted to consider the entire body of the show that spans nearly 50 years, but since the tales of a time traveling do-gooder reached near perfection since the series’ 2005 revival. I know I dote on the Doctor, but it is a very good television show, particularly because of its optimism. As actor, comedian and fellow Whovian Craig Ferguson said in a song, “Doctor Who” is about “the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.”
  2. “The Walking Dead:” Many tune in for the juicy squish of smashed zombie heads, but this post-apocalyptic tale is a gripping morality play that challenges its viewers to think about the fate of humanity when faced with certain death. Writers masterfully ask the hardest question of all: At what cost comes survival and what do we become when all hope is lost?
  3. “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:” I was impressed the list included “Late Night with David Letterman,” a show which challenged the conventions of late night television. But Carson was a cultural force. If he made a joke about something, it became accepted as fact. People still tall the one about how there’s only one fruit cake in the world just continually being regifted. Because of Carson’s ribbing, people believe New Coke was a failure. It wasn’t. Coke gained market share when the beverage was on the shelves. But Carson’s humor was reality for millions.
  4. “King of the Hill:” Mike Judge’s most successful work never had the ratings of “The Simpsons,” but it was consistently the better series. The show produces some of the most authentic family moments since “Rosanne” and writers render Hank Hill (voiced by Judge) as a believable, bright, compassionate and thoughtful man in a world filled with meanness, stupidity and snark. TV, and the world, need more Hank Hill.
  5. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood:” The exclusion of this show is a sin. Fred Rogers showed that adults could talk with children about anything, be kind, understanding and warm without noisy antics and silly schtick. Mister Rogers was one of the finest Americans who ever lived and the example he set on his show was so powerful in its quiet grace that it defies explanation how it couldn’t make the list. Like Hank Hill, the world needs a lot more Fred Rogers.

5-sentence review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3 finale

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Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”

Original air date: March 31, 2013

  1. There are no happy endings in “The Walking Dead.”
  2. Thus those who hungered for a final, epic confrontation between the Governor (David Morrissey) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), possibly in grueling, hand-to-hand combat, must have forgotten what this show is about: the misery of survival.
  3. The Governor, easily one of televisions all-time great villains, is on top of his sadistic game: After beating his one-time ally, the Governor fatally stabs Milton (Dallas Roberts), who turns into a zombie while locked in a room with Andrea (Laurie Holden), who is handcuffed to a chair, the Governor leaves them with the sad moral of their world: “Kill or die or die and kill.”
  4. The finale draws a striking parallel between the Governor and Carl (Chandler Riggs): Carl murders a surrendering teenager who had attacked the prison and the Governor exterminates his own troops after their failure and both, in their own way, justify slaughter as a means of survival.
  5. In the end, Andrea dies by her own hand after a zombie Milton bite, a touching farewell to one of the series’ most dynamic, complex and vexing characters, and Rick invites the Woodbury survivors to live in the prison, to Carl’s disapproval, and while there is a calm fellowship in the air, the Governor is at large and, as we have said, there are no happy endings in “The Walking Dead.”

5-sentence review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, Episode 15

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“The Sorrowful Life”

Original air date: March 24, 2013

  1. Meryl (Michael Rooker) picked a side.
  2. “The Walking Dead” viewers met Meryl in the first season, when he was a caricature of a Southern racist — the first of many humans who survived the zombie apocalypse who managed to retain a soul and still make the world a crummier place.
  3. Meryl’s return this season was much more nuanced, a credit to Rooker’s fine work, for he was both ruthless enforcer, a dedicated brother and finally a man who gave his life to save Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors.
  4. Rick initially chooses to surrender Michonne (Danai Gurira) to the Governor (David Morrissey), backs out of the deal and brings democracy to his survivors: They must vote either to stand and fight or flee into the unknown, but Rick would not choose in a vacuum again.
  5. In the parallel story lines of Rick and Meryl, we again see the show’s steadfast exploration of the trials of humanity’s souls — and in the end, both men are killers and both seek redemption in the only way they know how, which brings about the end of Meryl and yet another confrontation for Rick’s group.

5-sentence review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, Episode 14

There was no luck for Andrea (Laurie Holden) on the St. Patrick's Day episode of "The Walking Dead."

There was no luck for Andrea (Laurie Holden) on the St. Patrick’s Day episode of “The Walking Dead.”

“Prey”

Original air date: March 17, 2013

  1. The clock finally struck midnight for Andrea (Laurie Holden) when Milton (Dallas Roberts) shows her the Governor (David Morrissey) plans to torture and murder Team Rick (Andrew Lincoln) no matter what.
  2. In previous reviews, I underestimated Andrea and attributed her stand with the Governor, rather than continuing to journey in the wilds with Michonne (Danai Gurira), as a betrayal, when I see now that it was a leap of faith — a desperate grasp to retain humanity, dignity and peace in a world where the qualities are all but extinct.
  3. Andrea, in essence, sought a happily ever-after in a cold, hard world, but she just happened to pick the wrong path and chose the ultimately treacherous arms of the Governor rather than the equally dangerous path alongside Michonne or Rick and the survivors.
  4. She goes over the wall to warn Team Rick and the Governor hunts her in the woods and an old building as they both chopping up zombies, a tense series of scenes the culminates with Andrea strapped into the torture chamber meant for Rick and his crew.
  5. “The Walking Dead” series always been a separate story from the comic series, but in the print incarnation of this tale, Michonne endures a parade of atrocities at the hands of the Governor and I cringe at the notion of what fate may befall Andrea if the writers dip even a toe into that reservoir of grim storytelling.

5-sentence review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, Episode 13

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“Arrow at the Doorpost”

Original air date: March 10, 2013

  1. Andrea (Laurie Holden) brokers a summit between the Governor (David Morrissey) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln).
  2. The scene proves to be the most intense meeting between two actors since Al Pachino and Robert DeNiro in “Heat.”
  3. On display is all of the Governor’s megalomania, from his boo-hoo story about the death of his wife (at this point in the zombie apocalypse who hasn’t lost somebody they love?) to his final offer, which is of course a lie, to trade the safety of Rick’s group for revenge on Michonne (Danai Gurira), who took the Governor’s eye and put down his zombie daughter.
  4. Rick, by contrast, is a man driven by fear, trying to keep his family and followers alive against an opposing force much larger and better armed while clinging to whatever remains of his morality and decency with humanity bent on destroying itself before zombies can gobble it up.
  5. “Arrow at the Doorpost” provides one tender moment, the sweet resolution between Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), complete with a love scene in a garage, but the euphoria quickly fades when Rick informs the group war is coming while he confides in Hershel (Scott Wilson) that he’s considering handing Michonne over.

5-sentence review of ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3, Episode 12

“Clear”

Original air date: March 3, 2013

5. Writer Thomas Wolfe observed “You Can’t Go Home Again” and seldom in fiction has the statement been so painfully and eloquently observed than with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) visit to King County — Rick and Carl’s hometown — in this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

4. History, they say, is the ultimate predictor of the future and what our heroes find in their former residence is the most disturbing prognostication of all: Morgan (Lennie James), the man who saved Rick a year earlier at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, as a broken man who survives in the absence of hope, dignity, perhaps sanity and begging for death.

3. Carl continues to evolve from the cherubic child who often wandered too close to zombie jaws into something new, something harder, perhaps forging a fresh archetype of what it takes for humanity to survive after the end: someone who can kill his own mother to prevent her turn and yet have enough sensitivity to the way things used to be to collect an old family photo from a burned out bar.

2. The true savagery of this world is told, not by the man vs. monster violence, but by man’s violence against his fellow man and the necessary callousness required for survival begets an amoral certitude on display in the opening and closing scenes of the survivors turning their backs on a lone, desperate man pleading for their help and receiving only cold, empty stares from the scarred crew who regard this living man with little more reverence than the zombies who seek to eat their flesh.

1. I’ve long contended “The Walking Dead” is a Biblical tale and in it we see the ultimate question of faith reflected in Morgan, who refuses to return with the group and says his former friend and his people will die by “teeth or bullets,” but is his message one of cynical realism, a delusion or perhaps an even darker understanding of his proclamation that his is the “meek who inherited the earth.”

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