This week we geek out simply because the episode had a cemetery and a mortuary in it (so cool), but our opinions are split on a lot of other aspects. Listen in as we break it down, report the latest WD news, and respond to your feedback. And also we announce our new sister podcast, Under the Comic Covers with Mr. Blahg and Gracie Lou. In fact, check out bit.ly/utccovers now for their first episode, featuring an in-depth interview with the illustrator of The Walking Dead himself, Charlie Adlard.
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The episode opens with a rough-looking Bob moseying around the woods all alone. Flashback, or are Sasha and Maggie dead and it’s one of those play-the-end-first type episodes. Bob finds a little shelter and sips some sizzurp while not giving a fuck that a walker might eat him in two seconds. He walks around some more and we see Daryl and Glenn pull up. Flashback, phew! Daryl asks the three questions (a couple dozen, one, because she asked me to) and they go off to the prison.
Back in real time, Bob, Maggie and Sasha have an awesome fog battle then contemplate leaving their camp behind. They have six bullets left and no sizzurp so they decide to go. They walk along the tracks and find a sign for Terminus. Sasha, having been kicked out of the prison once and fooled by the governor, thinks it’s too good to be true. Maggie tries convincing them to go since Glenn will likely look for her there. Beth who? Sasha’s being a Debbie downer and says that chances are Glenn is dead. Again, Beth who?
Sasha wants to find a safe place in a high building and in the middle of the night Maggie peaces out, writing a goodbye note in the dirt. Maggie finds another note-writing medium in walker gut blood as she writes to Glenn to go to Terminus. Bob and Sasha discuss following Maggie or taking residence in a talk building. Bob figures out that Sasha’s reluctance to go to Terminus may have something to do with her being scared that Tyreese is dead. I mean, it makes sense because Tyreese is a whiny baby. Everyone keeps walking and Bob decides her will try to plant one on Sasha to convince her to come with. He kind of strikes out so he goes to find Maggie.
Sasha heads up to her new abode and has a mini cry. She looks out the window and sees Maggie having a time out next to an ice cream truck with some walkers. Food coma? Sasha knocks out the window by accident waking everyone up. Maggie and Sasha take on the group using sharp sticks and street signs. Maggie tells Sasha she heard what she said about Glenn and Sasha admits she’s scared. Maggie tells her that she’s not giving up and she needs their help. They go and find Bob and walk towards Terminus. The end.
Daryl and Beth are in this one too and he’s teaching her to become she-Daryl. She tries to shoot a walker but gets stuck in a bear trap (??) and hurts her ankle. They have a sweet moment after she hobbles into a cemetery and sees a “beloved father” tombstone. He tells her she’s heavy as he piggy backs her into a well kept funeral home. Daryl digs his fingers in a dead dude’s face like it’s mud because why not and they continue scoping out the place. Beth starts singing again like it’s fun and Daryl takes in the tunes while lying in a cozy casket. The next morning he carries her to breakfast. They’re like an adorable newlywed couple with a cute one eyed dog.
They get ready to leave and Beth writes a thank you note. Daryl acts like a smitten schoolboy when Beth asks him why he changed his mind about good people left. She realized it’s because of her, goes “oh” and every woman instantly hates her for her poor, poor reaction.
Their lovely moment is ruined by a small horde of walkers at the door. Daryl leads them downstairs and Beth yells she won’t leave him. Then she yells “sike!” as she leaves him. Daryl corners himself and kills all the walkers in typical Daryl awesomeness. He runs outside and sees Beth’s backpack and a car peeling off. Did she leave him? Was she kidnapped? The next day Daryl runs, finds the tracks and has a sit. Some guys, the ones from the house perhaps, find him and one nerd calls dibs on Daryl’s vest… like her could pull it off. The leader introduces himself as Joe and he says “why hurt yourself when you can hurt others?”. WTF. And that’s it. Oh and Glenn finds the sign for Terminus. The end.
I was quite critical of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Still… but after seeing Alone, the thirteenth episode of the fourth season, much of what I was critical of (too much time with Beth and Daryl) paid off in a big way, and I stand corrected. I’m thinking that taken as a whole as opposed to taken as an individual chapter, Still was a spectacular lead in for what I believe may be one of my favorite episodes of the series to date, standing right alongside Days Gone By andClear as amazing examples of a show delivering an incredible balance of character development, horrific action sequences, and genuine dramatic tension.
The cold opens this season have been remarkable, and getting a glimpse into Bob’s backstory and how Daryl and Glenn came to find him was a welcome surprise, and a much needed piece of information for what has been one of the least developed characters in the show. Although we see little of his life before meeting up with our heroes, we do get a better sense of how it was he survived on his own… he was creative, clever, and chugging whatever form of alcohol he could find… and who could blame him. Being alone in that scenario just feels bleak and miserable, and his quiet determination to simply stay alive, whether it was building a make shift prison cell for himself or keeping high and silent in the middle of a herd, makes it very clear as to why he wouldn’t give a shit whether a new group was good or evil… Bob understands something that many others in the show have yet to learn (but are quickly getting the notion), you can’t survive in this world on your own.
It was also a wonderful call back to Rick’s three questions posed at the beginning of the season, and great to know that it wasn’t just Rick’s questions, they were the questions that all who wished to join the group must be asked, and Bob’s answers were precisely what Daryl and Glenn wanted to hear. It was from this first meeting that we get all of the characters, or groups rather, that Alone focuses on.
Two ladies… one man… finally, an apocalyptic
situation Bob can get behind.
Let’s focus on Bob, Sasha, and Maggie before going back to everyone’s favorite redneck hero and his warbling sidekick. We rejoin with the trio in what is one of the most movie like horror scenes we’ve seen to date, standing back to back in the fog, zombies moaning and growling all around them, and one by one taking them out. I cried out in terror as Bob was bitten into, thinking… well, he finally got some backstory, time to kill him off… but no, he was bitten on his bandage… and it’s just one more opportunity for him to get his shirt off and to make some more googly eyes at Sasha.
Come on… you’ve got to love Bob’s optimism and charming smile at this point. Considering that he didn’t lose anyone at the prison that he cared for, he has been the one lone wolf in the new group, it seems like this has snapped him out of his PSTD and he can see the silver linings of their situation more than the others who are currently scarred and traumatized. Plus, he is the one man surrounded by two hot ladies… bow-chika-wow-wow.
It seems to me that there are many who don’t want to see any romance in this series. I can understand the trepidation, not wanting this to become some sort of star crossed lovers drama as opposed to the zombie drama it is meant to be… but, I propose that we as people need love in our lives… and having that very human romantic connection with someone is a form of survival and is a needed and necessary component of life… and as critical to our well being as food, water, and air. If you have nothing to live for, why bother… and Bob has finally reached a point where he is able to make that move. For all the resistance Sasha has shown to being amenable to being wooed, by episodes’ end, she too has finally come around to seeing the futility and pointlessness of simply surviving as opposed to living.
Leading that charge of course is Maggie as she ditches her compatriots after hearing Sasha trying to persuade Bob to just stop running. Her love for Glenn has her on a one track mission, and she finally does the one thing that far too many in the show forget to do… leave a note. But even Maggie, who eventually tires to just moving forward, waits for the others to catch up to her… and again, realizing that although she could probably make it on her own, there would be no way for her to thrive without the others.
Now… how fucking awesome was that zombie battle with Sasha and her stick and Maggie doing some serious damage with her “No Parking” sign? Between her splitting a zombie’s head like a melon with the sign and digging into the belly of a zed in order to finger paint (it would have been hilarious if she literally cut off a finger and used that) her messages, Maggie Greene gets the badass of the week award… and yes, Daryl also got some incredible action in the funeral home, but from my perspective… Maggie looks ravishing even when covered in gore… and those boots and holster are simply hot. The Dixon’s can have their Vixens… I’ll take bloody Maggie any day of the week.
Redneck Lullabies… as performed by Beth Greene
Speaking of Daryl… I found myself enjoying the moments between him and Beth absolutely compelling and infinitely watchable. A complete 180 from my position last week… and this is where I understand why we had spent so much time with these two. We needed to understand why she could effect him as much as she now has, and for him to reach that very point Bob, Sasha, and Maggie also reached. I know much has been made about him toughening her up, and her softening him… but I don’t so much see a softening of Daryl as I see an honesty about where he’s at. For one of the first times in recent memory, I found Daryl to be a real person and not some redneck superhero. When he asks the question about whether or not they could just hole up in the house and be comfortable for while, I felt a vulnerability in the character I hadn’t seen before, and I wanted nothing more than for these two to simply set up house and live their lives out in the quiet solitude of the cemetery. Again… talk about your horror movie tropes used to amazing effect… and in ways that never felt cliche of ham fisted (one of my largest complaints about last weeks episode).
We often get one, maybe two zombie scenes in any given episode… but Alonefeatures a number of great scenes, including what may have been the most on the edge of my seat moments when the hoard of undead come charging into the funeral home, trapping Daryl into a literal corner as he fought back in harrowing fashion, only to be undone by the kidnapping of Beth by some unknown persons. Holy shit I didn’t expect any of that, and it took me a minute to realize that she has been kidnapped. I thought, wow, that sucks that she just left Daryl behind… before realizing that they didn’t have a car.
Before we get into what happens next, I want to reiterate why I enjoyed the scenes with Daryl so much more in this episode than at almost any time. In the walker attack, for what I believe may be the first time, Daryl looks frightened. For all of his bravado and cool guy emo hair, Mr. Dixon looked to be scared shitless, and it had such and incredibly humanizing effect that I couldn’t help but love every moment of that attack. By that point, seeing him crumpled at the crossroads, as the only character now not following the tracks to Terminus (save Beth I suppose… and at this point in the episode we still didn’t know where Glenn was), and being surrounded by the group of interlopers that broke into Rick’s temporary residence back in Claimed, I was truly concerned for what would happen next.
I have nothing funny to say here…
I felt really bad for Daryl.
Will Daryl join up with this roving gang of miscreants? Judging by Joe’s comments regarding hurting others, I’m going to say they are bad guys… which considering what we heard and saw in Claimed, that is a given. For a moment I was wondering whether or not these events could have happened before they terrorized Rick, but I noticed that the fellow Rick killed was not in attendance, but the rather large gentleman that was choked out for a bed was there, thus ending any discussion as to whether or not he was dead. For all intents and purposes, Daryl certainly looks the part as someone who would mesh quite well with this group… but as anyone who has been paying attention should know, looks can be deceiving, and I look forward to how this will all play out once this and our group eventually cross paths again… because at this point, it seems that all roads lead to Terminus.
One brief thought regarding the Sons of Anarchy gang… there is a point in the comic (I won’t spoil anything) where someone is watching our heroes in order to assess whether or not they could be a good fit for another group. One of the factors that they look for is whether or not they are traveling with women and children, and if so, how are they being treated. Even if these guys didn’t look as obviously “bad” as they do… the fact that they are all men sends red flags up all over the place.
Who the fuck took Beth? Was the dog and hoard of zombies part of someone’s plan to capture her? Were they the people living in the house originally, or were they there the whole time? Is Terminus a trap? And, oh yeah… Glenn is finally on the tracks and on his way. So many questions…
Overall, I found myself liking two characters I’ve been lukewarm towards, Daryl and Bob, and found the tension and slower moments to be balanced and well considered. The overriding message of “you can’t survive alone” is resonating throughout each character’s arc, and not limiting itself to Rick’s internal struggles as leader, thus fleshing out each character as both individuals and members of a real community instead of a bunch of random people yelling at each other and acting irrationally for the sake of false drama. If the final three episodes of the season are anything like this and previous episodes, The Walking Dead is finally raising the bar for itself and is becoming the drama that many of us who love the story from the comics know it can be.
Pig’s feet… it’s what’s for brunch, Cornelius J. Blahg
Mr. Blahg’s fine purveyances of ye olde poppycock, including this very post and so much more, can be found at mrblahg.com.
You get me drunk, piss in a corner, and don’t take advantage of me… what is wrong
I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts regarding Still, the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. One one hand, there was some great character development and a number of very well paced and acted scenes… on the other, this is an episode that focuses on my two least favorite characters. I can’t say that I was necessarily bored, I wasn’t quite as captivated as I have been in previous episodes this season. For me, this ranks as the worst of season 4.5 thus far.
Some of you may be shocked to learn that Daryl is one of my least favorite characters… and I always feel the need to explain… so, let me explain. I think he is a fine character overall, and one that I’m happy was included in The Walking Dead regardless of whether or not he is in the books. My issues with Daryl probably have more to do with Norman Reedus; the control he has over the course of his character, and my apologies for this… but the constant drone of fan-girls going on and on about his bad-boy charms drive me up the wall (send hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org). Mind you… I would be annoyed if there was a female character that got that much attention, so it’s not just some sort of jealousy of envy (which I’ve already been accused of), but it is more about pretension and making yourself unbelievably cool to the point that you become a cartoon.
Look… I can comb my hair with the
feathers on my bolt
On the flip side of that is Beth, who has never been properly developed as a character and has suffered greatly for the lack of consistency she has shown. One moment she is suicidal, the next she doesn’t care if her boyfriend dies, then she is a caring and nurturing surrogate mom for Judith, and now she hasn’t even mentioned the baby and seemingly left her in the care of Lizzie and Mika. Then again, she did just watch her father get decapitated… Judith was probably not at the forefront of her thoughts.
Still seems to be an attempt to correct much of what I just griped about in terms of beefing up the development for both of these characters… and as time passes between having seen it and now, I am warming up to this episode.
So what worked for me, and what didn’t? Let’s begin with what worked…
If there is one thing The Walking Dead is extremely skilled with, it’s the relatively silent cold opens and being able to convey so much tension and fear with relatively little effort… and the cold open as Daryl and Beth hide in a car’s trunk as a herd wanders past, oblivious to the tasty bento box on wheels, was a master class in horror. Follow that with some survival skills being put into motion as the pair work together seamlessly, much as our group had been doing at the beginning of the third season. Along these same lines, the moments inside the country club… mass suicide and murder, a horrific and evocative portrait of class warfare and desperation, and unlike some of my lesser appreciated moments of this episode, it wasn’t spelled out for us… the moment was allowed to stand on it’s own without commentary or exposition.
Stop asking me if I’m using product!
What didn’t work for me was a bit of a reversal in terms of exposition and having people yell their feelings at one another, and for as clever as having this pair get drunk as a means for that exposition to happen, it felt forced… and I just didn’t buy some of the over emoting and the notion that moonshine would be a better drink for Beth than Peach Schnapps, unless Daryl was trying to make sure she didn’t crave another drink in her life. The more recent trend towards showing us as opposed to telling us has been a great direction for the show… and this episode felt like a step back. Yes, it was good to learn something more about Daryl’s past, but so much of what we learn had already been inferred, and again, felt forced… at least the moment when he gets angry and decides to piss in a corner or sink or whatever it was he was doing before magically shaking and getting his junk zipped up in record time. Then again, what we did learn does inform us of who he is and what motivates him, and there was quite a bit of wonderfully written detail in his description of his less than stellar home life.
What I’m really saying here is that I am conflicted… I’m just not sure how I feel about Still. Would I have thought this were a better episode if there was another story arc happening along side this… maybe cutting back to Tyreese and Carol? Or was it specifically done this way to allow us to emotionally invest ourselves more fully into the despair these two are feeling throughout the hour? I’m also conflicted about what the overall theme of this half season is… my first thoughts were that this is a study in futility, that no matter what you do or try, everything will eventually turn to shit, regardless of intention. Since that time I’ve heard more people think of these as examples of hope… perhaps that is what we are meant to take away from these vignettes… that where there is a sense of futility, we continue on by leaning on hope when we need it most. InStill, Beth and her desire to have a drink were certainly more hopeful that Daryl’s brooding and stew of regret… in Inmates, it was Bob who was the beacon of hope to a despondent Sasha.
Uhhh… could you two take that
somewhere else… you’ve pinned me
to a tree and I would much rather
not watch this. Get a room.. geez.
Well, shit… I think I’ve completely reversed my thoughts on the episode. I’m now realizing that much of what I didn’t like did in fact work in terms of giving us the exact character development we needed for these two… and it allowed Daryl to specifically berate some of the traits that Beth has that has seemingly made her such a weak character (the singing, two boyfriends, the lack of survival skills). I still think some of the scenes between the two were a bit heavy handed and ham fisted, and I believe the pacing would have worked if we have another arc to follow… but I may have been a bit harsh in my original assessment.
Still had a number of genuinely terrifying moments, it had character development, and it was a well constructed contrast in two different views of the world in the apocalypse… I am not bothered by the lack of forward momentum of the plot, I rather enjoy it when a story takes the time to dig a bit deeper into motivation… but I’m still somewhat annoyed at the return to “let’s yell what we are feeling at one another” that reminds me too much of any Rick/Lori or Shane/human interactions from previous seasons.
Although my position has softened throughout the course of writing this review… I would still consider this the worst of the back half of season four, but we have another four episodes to go before the finale… hopefully it will remain at the bottom, and if this is the bottom, than it’s a great season indeed.
I’m confused and need a drink, Cornelius J. Blahg
Mr. Blahg’s fine purveyances of ye olde poppycock, including this very post and so much more, can be found at mrblahg.com.
This week’s episode was divisive among you guys and it was one of either Jason’s or Karen’s favorite in the series. Can you guess who? Also, tune in for an interview with First My Family and emergency preparedness expert Andrew Torres and find out how you can win a bonafide Walking Dead Survival Kit valued at $130. All that plus news, your feedback, and a very tiny peek at next week’s episode. Only four more left people!!!!
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I think a lot of us can relate to Beth in this episode. After a long week when everything has gone wrong, sometimes you just find yourself with a mission to get drunk and end up crying at a bar. Some of us just call that Friday.
After they spend a night in the trunk hiding from walkers (what Mindy referred to as the best night ever), Beth and Daryl are still playing the quiet game as they make a camp and round up any supplies they can. Daryl kills a snake and cooks it up and that, amongst other things, drives Beth to drink. She storms off like a rebellious teen, middle finger and all, until a couple of walkers foil her plan.
They make their way to a country club because there’s nothing more rich people like to do than drink and golf. Inside they find a bunch of hanging walkers and Daryl packs away their jewels and wads of hundos. Beth scurries away continuing booze-quest. As she steps over a dead walker for some wine, I waited for the bite to come like it did to Hershel. It didn’t, but another walker stumbled in and she uses her glorious bottle of red as a weapon. Daryl comes in at the end and she’s gives him some sass saying “thanks for the help.” He gives her a bratty “you said you could do it on your own.” They head deeper into the country club and Beth does some clothes shopping. She ditches her dirty, hip clothing for some preppy gear which is quickly ruined when Daryl takes his aggressions out on a walkers stomach. After this she *needs* a drink. Too bad she wasn’t matched up with Bob. She roots through the bar and finds some peach schnapps. For some reason she tries to clean a glass… what, you’re in a country club and wearing a polo so you should be proper. Daryl stops throwing darts at everything when he hears Beth crying. Naturally he smashes the schnapps and takes her to find a real drink: moonshine.
They find a cabin and Daryl leads us to believe for a second that it’s his. It’s not but his dad had one just like it; pink bra planter and all. “And here is where you spit your chaw.” Beth’s all “might as well make the most of it” and is seemingly hitting on “Mr. Dixon.” This flirtiness backfires when she begins a rousing game of never have I ever. So Daryl’s never been out of Georgia (because all the roads go in a circle probably) and has never been on vacation so Beth figures it’s because he spends all his time in jail. Trying to make a quick recovery she guesses that perhaps he was a prison guard or spent some time in the drunk tank like her dad. He goes nuts, takes a piss in the corner and freaks out about never having a pet pony or fro-yo. Both legitimate reasons to be upset because fro-yo is delicious and ponies are adorable. He also never sang in public like it’s fun (it’s not) and never cut his wrists looking for attention. Oooh burn. He hears a walker and grabs Beth so she can finally shoot a crossbow. As he tries to get her to do some target practice, she gets fed up, kills the walker with her knife and calls him a jackass. They have a true drunk fight and Daryl’s feelings come out. He feels guilt. He doesn’t think they will ever see any of the others again and he shouldn’t have given up his fight to find the governor. He cries and Beth hugs him.
Later that night, they settle their drunkenness and talk about how she’s a happy drunk and he’s a dick. They share stories and we finally find out what Daryl did before this… nothing. He was a loser that just followed Merle around doing whatever. Now he’s someone and has become a reliable leader. Beth tells him he needs to stay who he is and what better way to do that than drench the house in moonshine and set it ablaze. Like the angsty teenagers they acted like in this episode, they both stand there admiring their work and saying a symbolic fuck you to the past. Onwards and upwards.
Will Beth die next week since this was her big episode? When will they find the rest of the group? How badly do you want to light something on fire right now? Let us know at facebook.com/deadcast.