Reply The Walking Dead: SE9E5: What Comes After

I gave this a 60 out of 100.  I hated this episode. It also confirms severe plot armor for Rick Grimes. That’s on AMC and Scott Gimple. After plugging this episode for weeks as Rick’s final episode, you have to sit through every minute of it (literally) thinking at this point Rick will pass out and get eaten and he doesn’t. Instead they lurch the story forward (like a decaying walker) and wait until the final seconds of the episode when he is also ridiculously beyond near death and then he is whisked away by a helicopter; trolling the whole audience which just emphasizes how this show has turned from zombies into a huge troll.

I think the makers of this series have lost touch with what is needed (through character interaction and story movement) to truly keep the soul of the show going.

Following the program is an episode of Talking Dead where Scott Gimple breaks the story that Rick’s arc and character are far from over. In fact, they are going to make several feature length movies on him.

Again, serving up the audience with a mixture of feelings of being trolled and confusion.

We spoke about the Trolling part…Now for the confusion…

What they seem to be forgetting (the over arching arc of the current TV show series) is Rick Grimes’ story arc. How do they expect that show and story-line to survive without Rick Grimes in it; especially if you continue his story line in another show?

I think there has been minimal character interaction and story movement over the past couple of years to continue the show inertia.

I suppose Judith will go on. We know Maggie won’t be much longer. Daryl, Carol, Eugene and Michonne will probably all go on. The other characters after that have about as much story impact as nothing. There would need to be a lot of character development that presently isn’t there to retain my interest.

For me, a lot of these characters appear to be defined due to Rick Grimes’ story. There’s not enough characterization with them for me on their own to care about them. That’s because their interactions with other characters have had minimal emotional impact to me and their importance secondary to Rick.

I think the key with Rick is that we saw the man dealt with the apocalypse as it unfolded and he kept going; interacting with everyone we met along the way. We are well into the apocalypse now and we don’t have that with *any* other character nor can we. So for me, nothing can take Rick’s place. You can have new characters talk about how their lives were before the outbreak and get a story as to what they were doing up until now, but that would not have the same impact as Rick’s journey would it? It’s not something that can be done in one episode and it’s going to lack that interaction with our surviving characters because they weren’t with that new character since the outbreak so they won’t have the bonding or interaction history that is now missing due to Rick’s departure.

I have heard folks say they think the show ended a year or so ago and abandoned it already. Why? The most common thing I hear is they lost interest; no forward motion of the plot. The times the story didn’t move had little character development and interactions or normal complexity of human thoughts to merit interesting television for them. It’s finally starting to happen now (the character interactions) because it will have to in order to keep going.

It appears the majority of watchers of the show left are the ones that like plot twists (regardless of whether or not they make story sense or not).

This is really sad for me because the comic books are in a much better different place then the TV show. I am not sure after this Season there will be a show to write about or if I want to continue to write about it. I really liked seeing how the show Rick Grimes worked with Daryl and tried to make a life with Michonne and that’s all gone.

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Summary:

Rick pulls himself off of the rebar; climb on his horse and continues to lead the massive herd away from the settlements. Rick finds an old house and uses it to bandage up his wound that keeps bleeding.
Shane revisits him in his dreams to help him find his inner rage; while Rick tries to find his family and insists he has no more anger. He escapes nearly being bitten and gets back on his horse and rides out of there.

Jadis radios the helicopter who checks on her position and whether or not she has an ‘A’. Jadis gives her position and lies about the ‘A’ saying she has it; although she left Father Gabriel at the junkyard. (It turns out this scene is a future scene.)

While, Rick hallucinates, bleeds out and leads walkers away, Michonne is with Judith when Maggie shows up. She makes a speech asking Michonne to step aside so she can kill Negan for the sake of others. Michonne pushes back and tries to convince her that killing Negan won’t end everything but start up something new. She asks her if she can live with what comes after and Maggie says she can’t live with it now and Michonne hands her the keys to his cell.

Negan remembers Maggie and she orders him to get on his knees. Negan starts talking about Glen’s execution and Maggie reminds him of his name. Negan gets her all worked up as she opens the door. He asks Maggie to kill him and she asks why and Negan cries so he could be with his wife and says he tried to kill himself and couldn’t. He keeps pleading with her to kill him. She then orders him back into the cell and doesn’t kill him because she thinks he’s now worse than dead and a former shell of who he was.

Maggie comes out with a bloodless crowbar and Michonne knows she didn’t kill Negan.

Rick leads the walkers onward and hallucinates again trying to find his family. He goes to Hershel’s farm and we are greeted by Scott Wilson (RIP…He just passed away in real life from Leukemia). Rick apologizes for what happened to him. Hershel says Maggie and his grandson are strong. He tells Rick he doesn’t need to find his family and we will all get there (to normalcy.) He tell him to wake and Rick continues to move the walkers along.

He hallucinates back to the hospital from the first episode and busts through the doors that say dead outside don’t come in. He sees a pile of people not walkers this includes Carol, Jesus, Daryl, Beth, Maggie, Rosita, and Sasha.

Sasha gives a speech about how everything crosses over to the good and that those that sacrificed themselves is a behavior picked up by survivors and what they do is for everyone; not themselves; toward the brave; toward love. She says he won’t find his family because they are not alone and that he is not lost and reminds him to wake up.

He wakes up in a campsite and continues to bleed yet again and is slowly approached by the walkers of the camp. He fires his Python at all the ones that try and attack him and he gets up and staggers to the bridge (this the third time he is jolted into reality. At this point the plot armor is getting beyond ridiculous.)

He hallucinates again about Michonne who tells him he won’t die because he’s a fighter that won’t ever give up. He says he finally found his family and it isn’t real and he wakes up at the bridge.

His people find him for real and fight off the walkers trying to attack him. They go to the other side of the bridge and try to fight the walkers there. Rick fires a bullet from his Python into some dynamite on the bridge which blows up and most of the walkers spill into the raging river below. Everyone thinks Rick dies in the explosion; including Daryl who appears devastated. The montage continues with walkers falling into the river and Michonne; Carol and Maggie being devastated. Daryl walks off into the woods.

Jadis sees the explosion and then the helicopter appears (SEE The Bad). She spots Rick on the bank of the river as the helicopter pulls up. The helicopter has an A on it. Jadis makes a deal with the pilot and it lands. Rick is loaded inside to the hip hop beat of ‘Welcome to My World’ and Jadis tells Rick he will be okay and he’s flown away to parts unknown.

Same place he took off we fast forward to the future and five people are surrounded by walkers and five shots ring out. The group meets Judith Grimes a little older who not only has a katana.

To keep our attention they show scenes from the next three shows. It appears Henry is also older.

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The Good:

Nothing I liked except Daryl crying at the loss of Rick.

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The Bad:

* Repetitive near death too many times for any suspense to really hold me.

* No one sees the helicopter and runs toward it? I am finding that hard to believe. Jadis and Rick leave the site with no one spotting them? Impossible.

* Judith Grimes being a crack shot with Rick’s Python (which is about the size of her head) isn’t believable to me and a bit ridiculous.

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The Unknown:

* Where was Rick taken in the helicopter?
* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter? Who was Jadis trading with? The fact that she wants to trade so she can go with those new people says a lot about what they may have as a society.
* Was Jadis trying to torture Gabriel?
* Are there other groups out there?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* Who will provide the system of charter enforcement once Michonne is done drafting it?
* Is Michonne pregnant? Does Rick Grimes have a true heir left with this old group?

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Walking Dead: Comments: S9E4: The Obliged:

I give this episode a 78 out of 100. As mentioned in the previous episode, it’s been released and marketed pretty heavily that Rick will be leaving in one more episode and that this is also Laura Cohan’s last Season. I will only reference this to measure this episode’s impact.

I like the ideas being introduced by Jesus about justice having a shelf life (as far as a response to a crime). The time for Maggie to have taken out Negan was over a year ago. I agree with Rick’s assessment of taking him out now will just make him appear to be a martyr.

As you will read, I did not like Jadis’ story-line; too vague. Why do the thing with the walker to Gabriel? One minute you sleep with the guy, the next you have a zombies jaws snapping inches from his face. That’s what dragged down my score.

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Story Run down:

A visual montage shows time passes and Michonne keeps her edge by killing walkers occasionally.

She flips between, mother, leader, wife, warrior and lawyer.

She comes across a lynched black walker and realizes racism isn’t over. She nearly gets killed by a walker and has to defend herself with a bat that reminds her of Negan’s way.

Maggie comforts Hershel at Hilltop and she looks over the Hilltop grounds. She puts a crowbar in a knapsack and tells Jesus she will read Georgie’s latest letter later. He confronts her about leaving the camp with a crowbar and she tells him she’s leaving to take out Negan. He confides that he thought Rick not taking out Negan when he did was wrong and he just wants to make sure Maggie doesn’t make the same mistake (ie taking Negan out a the wrong time.) She doesn’t care.

Rick is concerned about river currents sweeping away the bridge. Eugene thinks long term the bridge will not hold. There are two herds they are tracking that show no signs of merging, however he says if they do then that poses a huge threat.

Carol is taking her people back to the Kingdom and leaving the Sanctuary people to fend for themselves. Rick is not in love with this idea but he accepts it. He says he has hope the most in Carol for figuring things out and she says she is trying like everyone else.

Jerry tells Rick that Maggie is on her way to Alexandria (to kill Negan). Rick tries to relay Alexandria to detain Maggie at the gate until he gets there. He asks Maggie to talk to him if she’s listening. The radio dispatcher is from Oceanside and she doesn’t relay the message to Alexandria and instead says off the radio out loud that Maggie is done talking. (Clearly there’s a shift in the leadership being followed by groups of people. Rick is basically down to his own group at Alexandria. Oceanside and Hilltop side with Maggie. Sanctuary is on it’s own and the Kingdom sort of is on Rick’s side.)

Daryl offers to give Rick a ride to Alexandria because they will get there quicker.

Nora tells Michonne that 25% of their tomato crops are being lost to the crows and Negan hasn’t been eating the past couple of days. Michonne says she will take care of it.

Daryl misses the turn off to Alexandria and Rick asks him to pull over. Daryl tells him his message didn’t go through and this time Negan was going to die. They struggle and end up falling into a huge hole that happens to be nearby.

Michonne visits Negan and insists he eat. He refuses unless she stays and talks to him. She gives him 20 minutes and demands he eats.

Rick and Daryl try getting out of the hole reaching for the roots. They go back and forth about killing Negan. Daryl thinks keeping him alive only gives his supporters hope that things will go back to the way they were. Rick says Michonne spoke with Maggie and she’s coming around to their line of thinking and Daryl said she went back and reveals to Rick that Oceanside is responsible for killing the Sanctuary members. Rick asks him if he could live with what they have done to the Sanctuary folks and Daryl does confide that it has started to get to him. Rick thinks killing Negan will turn him into a Martyr and that the whole war was for nothing. (The killings also become endless. Think of gang killings in our real world; the revenge is never ending.) Daryl mentions that Rick wants them to have faith all the other people outside of their original group, however he doesn’t have faith in his old group (the writers are forgetting that Rick’s old group is in the middle of deceiving him to take out Negan, so if anything if Rick truly doesn’t trust them then it’s justifiable.)

The most powerful part of Daryl and Rick’s interaction was tying Rick’s ideology to Carl. Daryl says those are Carl’s ideas and they just won’t work and Rick has to learn to let them and Carl go.

Negan tries to attack Michonne’s efforts at rebuilding the world and she pushes back and attacks him for who he became after his wife passed on from cancer. They talk about Carl and Negan probes Michonne to find a weakness and tries to find one with her lost son Andre but she knows better and just says he’s gone. Then Negan tries to tell her that the two of them were built to take on more than they are and that he could do more if he wasn’t behind the bars and that if Andre had made it all it would have done was make her weak. She leaves him.

Jadis tries to kill Gabriel with a walker and can’t so she covers his mouth with a rag. Not sure if this kills him or knocks him out. (SEE the Bad.)

The Saviors come back to the bridge campsite; armed looking for the Oceansiders to exact revenge for killing the Saviors that went missing. Jed tries to take keys off of Carol and is thrown off balance by Carol.

Gunshots erupt and we cut back to Rick and Daryl in the pit who are worried the gunshots will draw walkers. They struggle to get out of the pit.

Michonne continues to draft a charter but keeps looking at her sword (which means part of what Negan says is true.) She needs to be true to herself. She goes back and visits him and then gives him food. She asks him why he cares about what she thinks? He says they are the same and she says they aren’t. She’s trying to get people together and he’s trying to pull them apart. Negan tries an angle that she’s scared she will end up like him; not that they are the same. She asks him to eat and he takes a single bite. He asks her about Lucille and Michonne says no. They don’t have his bat and that it’s still out there. He was visibly upset beating his head against the wall as she left.

Walkers start falling into the pit Daryl and Rick fell into. They kill them at first and then they both use their efforts to climb out of there before the walker herd fills it and overwhelms them. Rick eventually pulls himself out and then pulls out Daryl. Rick tells Daryl he will lead the walkers away from the camp by horseback.

Gabriel wakes up in a trucking container in the junkyard with a note that says Jadis/Anne’s gone off by herself. (We leave him crying with an above pull away shot from a crane.)

Michonne reads a story to Judith and gets to a bat in the book and quickly finishes the story without proceeding further (Negan has got to her.)

Maggie and her riding companion happen upon dead walkers and are not sure what to make of it.

Rick leads the walkers to an intersection with the other walker herd. Rick’s horse rears up and throws him off. He lies pinned to a concrete piling skewered by rebar at the intersection of two roads where the two walker herds Eugene spoke about are about to merge. Its not looking good for Rick. The next episode we are told also is his final episode.

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The Good:

* Daryl’s dialog is actually pretty good. He confides to Rick that the Oceansiders killed the members of the Sanctuary and that he has had a hard time dealing with it so it’s clear that he has mixed emotions about whether it’s right or wrong to kill those who take lives from you. Also the timing of when you kill them…matters. So perhaps he believes killing Negan would make him into a martyr by his former people. They would then move to exact revenge for his execution so he would live on through them.

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The Bad:

* I hate convenient plot twist props or set objects. It causes stories sometimes to go tropic; rather than use writing to get out of the situation. The huge man made hole I think was too convenient for turning around the life or death struggle between Daryl and Rick. If is man made, why is it even there? If it was supposed to be natural it didn’t look naturally made. It’s just functioning as way to reset Rick and Daryl and using the fist fight to troll the audience in a way (since Rick’s last episode is the next one.)

* I thought Jadis’ price of admission was just bringing a Type A person to the helicopter people? Suspense over sense doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t the helicopter people need living people? Then why is Jadis trying to kill Gabriel? If she needs a walker why did she bother abducting Gabriel? If she needed Gabriel as price of admission, how did she get into the Helicopter group without him? Was there another option where she just took off on her own and she’s not with the Helicopter group now? Hard to say what is going on with this story-line. It’s too vague and thus not impactful as it should be.

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Unknowns:

* Who made the giant hole Rick and Daryl fell in?
* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter? Who was Jadis trading with? The fact that she wants to trade so she can go with those new people says a lot about what they may have as a society.
* Why couldn’t Jadis tell everyone else about these new people?
* Was Jadis trying to torture Gabriel?
* Are there other groups out there?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* How are they going to wrap up Rick’s story line in two more episodes?
* Who will provide the system of charter enforcement once Michonne is done drafting it?
* Will Michonne become pregnant with Rick’s baby before he departs in two episodes or will not having the chance provide yet another tragedy for Rick?

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Walking Dead: Comments: S9E3: Warning Signs:

I give this episode a 80 out of 100. As mentioned in the previous episode, it’s been
released and marketed pretty heavily that Rick will be leaving in two more episodes and that this is also Laura Cohan’s last Season. I will only reference this to measure this episode’s impact.

What keeps ringing through this episode for me is two ideologies pushing against each other: Rick’s ‘Every life counts’ versus Daryl and Maggie’s ‘eye for an eye’. There’s nothing really new about that idea to me except for it’s set in the zombie apocalypse. It appears ‘Every, life counts’ though is ideologically Rick’s legacy towards the show. After he’s gone I am willing to bet they will constantly nod at this way of treating people as ‘Rick’s way.’

The ‘who dun it?’ centered around Justin’s death and Arat’s disappearance is nothing knew either.

I supposed the warning signs being relayed here are that Rick’s ideology is being tested and it’s not working. People have their reasons for lapsing back to an eye for eye. It’s pretty clear though from a pragmatic standpoint that without cooperation from a lot of people there’s a limit to what they will ever be able to accomplish for the future of everyone.

Rick’s ideology (outlined in Michonne’s intended charter) I believe is meant to help deal with other groups out there (like Georgie’s and the Helicopter people) with more people; more technology. Otherwise they will be easy pickings from larger groups out there that all believe in the same things. This looks like the direction the show is taking.

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Story Run down:

* Someone killed Justin and he has become a Walker.

* Rick has some interesting exchanges with Michonne. She’s been trying to write a Charter for the people while Rick fixes the Bridge. Judith has a fever and they want to take her to see Siddiq. He wants to have a child with Michonne. (Knowing that Rick is leaving the show does point to the possibility that Michonne may end up pregnant during this season with Rick’s child.)

* Saviors stop Maggie who question her about Justin’s whereabouts and the ethanol that went missing. Jed the Savior tries Maggie’s patience and takes a Tomato and when she asks his name he says Mud. Another Savior tells her his real name is Jed and that he will pay for it and they move on. Maggie spots Walker Justin.

* Rick spends story-time with Judith and Michonne.

* They learn about Justin’s fate.

* A brawl nearly breaks out at the construction site between the Saviors and everyone else. Saviors blame Jadis and then Rick appears out of nowhere to break it up and to get them to start the redirect of Walkers. Rick puts on his police personae and asks Gabriel about Anne’s whereabouts. He tells Maggie that they need to figure out who killed Justin first and then get the bridge done.

* Gabriel questions Jadis/Anne and she asks him if he thinks she’s hiding something?

* Rick questions Daryl and vice versa. Rick makes sure it wasn’t him who killed Justin and Daryl takes the opportunity to tell Rick that bringing people together like he has been trying isn’t going to work; especially if some of those people are responsible for the deaths of their main group. Rick continues to profess his ‘every life counts’ new policy.

* Maggie and Cindy find Walkers in their grid and Cindy points out a house that was in an area the Oceansiders used to live at. They clear the walkers around the house (with Rick and company’s help) and plan on destroying the house before it draws more.

* Bea is found unconscious and Arat is missing so they need to figure out who took her asap.

* Meeting of leaders is called to investigate Arat’s disappearance and the community priorities. (this includes Jerry, Cindy, Carol and Maggie.) Jerry asks about the punishment of the executioners and abductors of Arat and no one seems to know what that will be.

* Carol goes out with Rick it becomes pretty clear she is at odds with Rick’s ‘every life counts policy’. She confides that she favors violent preemption at the outbreak of human threat to their group and found she had to administer fierce self restraint to obey his new law.

* Maggie and Daryl debate Rick’s policy. Daryl finds a spear gun bolt and says he knows who took Arat (and most likely he also knows who killed Justin.)

* Jadis/Anne goes back to the Trash people and pulls out a cached walkie and negotiates a trade of people for her passage to these people. Gabriel follows her and questions her and she knocks him out for the trade. It’s pretty clear that neither Jadis or the Helicopter people took the missing Saviors.

* Standoff with Rick versus Jed that has Carol at knife point. They want guns for Carol’s life. Carol manages to break free and they gain the advantage on the Saviors.

* Maggie and Daryl search the old Oceansider’s complex and stumble upon them executing Arat. It’s revealed that they were the ones killing the Saviors to avenge the deaths of their relatives. Bea for Justin having killed her husband. They did this after Gregory’s hanging because that showed them some of the leaders believed in an eye for eye. Arat killed Cindy’s 11 year old brother and Maggie and Daryl leave them to continue. Arat is eliminated; even after she begged for her life.

* Saviors leave the work camp.

* Maggie votes to see Negan and confides this to Daryl who accepts this choice.

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The Good:

* Jadis appears to be in touch with a various sophisticated new survivor group. They have really nice walkie talkies; helicopters and have been trading with her supplies for people. This reinforces for me the value of people and Rick’s reason for not killing people who do things wrong.

* Group list now has: Alexandria, Hilltop, Oceanside, Saviors, Georgie’s group and now the helicopter group.

* I love how Maggie was the catalyst for the Oceanside revenge killings. Her reaction to them during Erat’s execution was interesting. She looked regretful for knowing she triggered their justice, however she let them proceed because she understands why they feel compelled to exact justice and doesn’t stopping them; reinforcing the comment Michonne made last episode ‘Who’s job is it to exact justice?’. Jerry says the same thing when discussing what they were going to do whomever took Arat and killed Justin.

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The Bad:

* For some reason Arat’s execution wasn’t impactful for me (as far as feeling anything for her.)
I am not sure if that was intended though. Mixed emotions probably was what the writers wanted from the audience. I can see why Cindy felt compelled to kill her (due to Arat’s No exceptions order she was carrying out on Cindy’s family.) What works for me is when characters have interactions with other characters and then those help make other interactions or situations more impactful. If they had shown a flashback of what Arat had done to Cindy’s family I think that may have had added more impact to the situation rather than Cindy talking about it to Maggie and Daryl.

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Unknowns:

* What happened to Heath?

* Who owns the helicopter? Who was Jadis trading with? The fact that she wants to trade so she can go with those new people says a lot about what they may have as a society.

* Why couldn’t Jadis tell everyone else about these new people?

* Are there other groups out there?

* Where is Sherry?

* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?

* How are they going to wrap up Rick’s story line in two more episodes?

* Who will provide the system of charter enforcement once Michonne is done drafting it?

* Will Michonne become pregnant with Rick’s baby before he departs in two episodes or will not
having the chance provide yet another tragedy for Rick?

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The Walking Dead: Season 9: Episode 2: The Bridge

I give this episode a 77 out of 100. We have been told through the media that Laura Cohan is leaving the show along with Andrew Lincoln and that Rick’s final episodes are in this season (three more after this.) I will keep that knowledge out of the episode review, however it does beg some Unknowns at the end. Finally we are back to having dialog interaction between characters that’s providing their inner thoughts. This is helping weave some complexity and grayness into characterization.

Two quick examples:

Earl and Maggie: I honestly do think Maggie saw Hershel in Earl with his alcoholism and how giving folks a second chance benefits everyone not just that person. That’s some interesting politics that surprised me.

Jesus and Michonne: Jesus reveals that he has respect for Maggie’s decision as a leader to hang Gregory although it’s not clear to him caused her to do that (personal or for the community). He also didn’t see anything wrong with Tammy seeing Earl.

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Story Run down:

* Overall episode and main character interaction is Rick sharing the day with Negan and the difference in their ideologies. Rick thinks society can be rebuilt (‘a new beginning’: regardless of the zombies and human outlyers. Negan thinks any sort of progress (like the bridge) is just a reminder of what was not what will be and things will just slip back to his Savior days and that thing will just lapse back to Negan being in charge.

* We start in the bridge building camp (which is in day 35) of repairing the bridge. Carol will be taking over the Sanctuary. Alden tells Rick 6 Saviors have gone missing from the build since last month. Enid is a nurse under Siddiq. Food supplies are low.

* Michonne rides to Hilltop while Maggie breaks a wild horse. We learn that Ethanol from the Sanctuary to power the tractors to produce higher crop yield hasn’t arrived at Hilltop for some reason. She asks Maggie for their crop surplus and Maggie refuses because of the Ethanol situation.

* Justin the Savior tries to hog the water on the bridge and when Henry puts him in his place; Daryl steps in and then Rick has to step into to stop the fight between Justin and Daryl. There’s a nice interaction between Rick and Daryl. Rick’s politics are about getting the bridge complete (regardless about participant’s behaviors along the way); Daryl is about justice in the moment. Carol moderates and suggests Rick speak with Daryl.

* Tammy refuses to move off a stool until she gets to see Earl in his cell.

* Jadis/Anne helps Father Gabriel sketch out his old organist and makes a pass at him, which he doesn’t see to mind. Jadis pushes back on secrets as Gabriel relays his relationship.

* Tammy gets to see Earl while Rosita and Arat set off an explosion that redirects a herd of Walkers. Tara walkies Rick and he tells her to kick in the redirect plan. She walkies Jerry who hits the Siren which redirects them heading towards the lumber area where they are getting wood for the bridge. Justin was supposed to set off the second siren redirecting the heard from the Lumber area, however he doesn’t. Tara tells Rick and he sets off immediately to intercept walkers heading for the Lumber yard.

* The walker herd hits the Lumber yard where Daryl protects the group and saves Aaron who has a crushed arm. Rick and company arrive to finish the herd.

* Enid amputates Aaron’s arm and saves his life. Daryl beats up Justin for not sounding the second siren. Carol breaks up the fight. When Justin encounters Rick later, Rick ends up ordering Justin to leave the camp.(I thought it was interesting that he relied on his police background to determine Justin had to leave rather than heed Daryl’s opinion on the matter.)

* Anne makes a direct pass at Gabriel and he reciprocates. Later on Anne sees the helicopter while she maintains lookout over the camp.

* Rick watches Carol and Ezekiel. Carol puts the engagement ring on perhaps as a trial because she doesn’t want Ezekiel to make any speeches although he is clearly dying to profess his love for her to everyone.

* Rick rounds up the story for Negan.

* Justin gets jumped by someone he know.

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The Good:

* Jadis is finally getting some more character definition. She is still retaining her wildcard status on the show. She’s not against anyone knowing her
background, however she clearly has secrets she knows (one of them related to that helicopter.) We know that the helicopter is not in her head because Negan saw it. So there definitely is another settlement somewhere that she’s not telling this group about.

* I liked the cuts between the camps and the slowing down of the main action to work on character interactions so we get more character development. The major thing being how the politics of the situation is being heeded and relayed to us through interactions of leader characters between themselves and their subordinates.

* I loved slowing down the overall pace to the bridge construction and focusing on character interactions. Standout interactions were Maggie and Earl and Jesus and Michonne. After that it was Maggie and Michonne and Tammy and Earl. The little interaction friction between Rosita and Arat did not lead me to think that Rosita isn’t enough to make me think she was the one Justin encountered at the end.

* Earl has a bit more detail. Drinking slips him into poor judgement situations like stopping for drinks before picking up his son (and attempting to kill leaders of campsites he stays in.) He was sound enough to to protect his family (regardless of the alcoholism) and it’s clear his relationship with Tammy is strong. She didn’t leave him I think because he knew enough to call her to pickup him and Ken because he was too drunk to drive.

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The Bad:

* It’s hard not to address the fact the show runners have leaked these are Rick’s final episodes. It’s kind of a cheap way to try and inject some emotional impact into all his scenes over this and the next three episodes. Sadly for me, that doesn’t make a difference. Rick has nearly died so many times that when it does happen I am going to be like ‘Finally!’. What matters for me is what effect will his passing have on the show and major characters (emotionally) and I don’t think it will be enough to make feel like losing Rick Grimes was a real loss. I think part of this is other than Michonne, he only has Judith left to be the Rick Grimes we have known since the beginning. They are going to have start putting more scenes with him interacting with Michonne to give me more, however it may be too little too late.

* No one hears or sees the helicopter lights?

* I am pretty sure I am supposed to think Rosita, Daryl and perhaps someone else is responsible for Justin getting jumped and missing Saviors. I don’t feel that way with Rosita and I think that is possible with Daryl. I think it has to do with the lack of dialog or the briskness of the interaction between Arat and Rosita.

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Unknowns:

* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter?
* Why doesn’t Jadis/Anne tell anyone about the helicopter? Why is it no one else spots the helicopter lights at night or even hear it? Is it real or in her mind?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* Georgie is mentioned at the beginning of the episode. How advanced is Georgie’s group then all of theirs? Will Maggie end up going to be with Georgie?
* How will Rick finally go? Does it really matter?
* Is Justin dead? If so, who killed him? Daryl? Rosita? Someone else?

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http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/173
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The Walking Dead: Season 9: Episode 1: A New Beginning

I give this episode a 67 out of 100.

The show weaknesses persists for me unfortunately. Not much of a new beginning in my eyes. Same treatment on the dialog, characters and interactions as previous three years. The things worth noting at this point:

* I can tell you there’s only been a handful of times I have felt like I have been in the moment with the
thought processes of characters interacting with each other over the past three years.

* I have always felt like I was just an observer with this show; not feeling their pains or sharing their
thoughts; leaving unimpactful deaths and events.

* Motives aren’t clear or consistent for each of the characters with their interactions; leading to meandering story-lines that don’t allow for building character development or help show character evolution. Canon is the only way we get this with Rick, Michonne, Maggie and Daryl in particular. More annoying is characters reminding us of those past interactions to help establish why they are thinking or acting a certain way.

* The Comic book and the show continue to driver further and further apart, which is fine. The show is
the show and the Graphic Novel is the Graphic Novel.

* Punching up the season by telling me in commercials that this is Rick’s final set of episodes, is not compelling me to watch any more than I have in the past.

* Brett Butler the Comedian is almost unrecognizable as Tammy. Nothing memorable about her dialog.

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Story Run down:

It’s over a year and half later. “Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and the Oceanside came together to fight for a better future.”

Michonne, Rick watch Judith paint at Alexandria. Judith seems will adjusted considering her past.
Daryl requests a Run into DC to deal with lack of crops growing to get supplies to remedy that situation.

* Daryl requests a run into DC for supplies due to poor crop yield.

* Jesus and Aaron flirt while putting down walkers.

* Siddiq, Rick, Maggie, Gabriel, Carol, Ezekiel, Daryl, Enid, Anne and Ken (Only episode) shop for supplies in an old history museum.

* Ezekiel almost dies and is rescued by Rick and Company. Carol kisses him; making it clear they are
together.

* Ken dies trying to save the horses that got stuck in mud pulling a wagon rescued from the museum.
Maggie mercies him after he dies so they can take his body home to his parents.

* Tammy and Earl (Ken’s parents) are distraught and they bury their son back at the Hilltop.

* Gregory uses them to try and get revenge on Maggie for winning the election to govern hilltop.

* Daryl points out they have to go out further and further to get supplies. Rick then reasons they need to repair the bridge that is out asap.

* Earl tries to kill Maggie. Gregory tries to kill Maggie. They both fail.

* Carol confides to Daryl her thoughts about Ezekiel.

* Gregory is hung for his crimes against Maggie and Earl is put in Jail.

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The Good:

*Gregory finally being hung and killed off. Xander Berkeley is a fine actor and did what he could with
the role, however the writing could have done more than it has.

* World expansion here is good. That being said, entire communities are being represented by Rick’s crew:

Daryl; soon to be Carol (Sanctuary)
Maggie; (Hilltop)
Rick; (Alexandria)
Cyndie; (Oceanside);
Ezekiel (Kingdom);

SEE: The Bad

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The Bad:

* I am not quite sure how a walker herd can take out a bridge. It’s also part of the bridge which is
even more puzzling. The whole bridge should be out if this was due to a capacity issue. If it was due to a capacity issue, how is fixing the bridge going to solve the problem. Couldn’t the walkers just
accumulate and take it out again?

* Ken’s death was not very impactful. I grieved over the loss of young man who was edging into adulthood. He used to handle the horses apparently at Hilltop. Not much else going on emotionally for me here. I didn’t know him; he didn’t contribute anything of value to the story other than provide a way for Gregory to finally get hung and killed off. Consequences don’t mean much when I don’t feel anything for the characters involved in receiving those consequences.

* I never felt Hershel was in any sort of danger when Gregory attacked Maggie.

* I know that this is Rick’s last set of episodes. You can guess when the final episodes will occur; either at the half season or the total season ender. If I bear that in mind, then I know Rick’s safe at least for the first six episodes. The advertising about his final episodes once again isn’t helping.

* Rick’s crew is sketching out (in some regards) these communities that have a number of members. In the interest of time, it works however what’s lost here are the sizes of these communities to be able to tell what the impact is on crop deficits at the Sanctuary at other places.

* If you add too many characters the impact of deaths gets diluted. If you don’t add enough characters to interactions you also don’t get enough impact with interactions as far as their consequences and effects. Expansion of communities is wonderful if your impact and interactions with characters keeps up with it. It doesn’t here unfortunately.

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Unknowns:

* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?

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The Walking Dead: Season 8: Episode 16: Wrath: Season Finale

I give this episode a 70 out of 100.

Overall, weak sauce for me; very anticlimatic.

From a Comic Book and TV Show perspective, they did manage to tie some story elements together in this episode that are in both mediums. Hey, that kind of attention to the audience was kind of nifty (for us folks that follow both), but what about the price of doing that? I was surprised by the outcome of the war. Inspite of Eugene’s clever work with the bullets, I felt it kind of ended with a wimper after two seasons of building it out and up.

I feel like I am not exactly sure what this season built up to or into. The goals and objects of the war seems different for different characters. I never felt a victory or an impact when someone was eliminated on either side. It always felt like the focus wasn’t about how people affected the plot but rather how certain individual members of the groups vacillated between wanting to capture or kill the enemy.

*Eugene* gets wedged back into the Alexandria fold by surprising everyone with bad ammunition to bring the war to a halt. It was never fully clear who’s side he is on. Then again, we can explain away that by simply saying he’s a coward doing what he needs to do at the time for whomever he’s a captive of. That bent of thought preserves him as the shows best wild card (besides Negan).

*Dwight* gets to see if Sherry got his note and she does and it’s clear she still loves him. As a couple they have had to keep their relationship on the down low because of Negan, however their relationship has been off and on.

*Daryl* lets Dwight go and has it in for Rick because he kept Negan alive. Why did he let Dwight go if he believes in an eye for an eye? (See: the Bad). Wouldn’t going after Rick make sense if he killed Dwight?

*Morgan* seems to go between being normal and believing that everyone ends up being a zombie so you might as well kill everyone before that happens.

*Rick* seems to go between believing everyone deserves a second chance and showing no mercy.

*Negan* being put on ice now (jail). Does that technically make Negan a potential wildcard in the future?

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Other Observations:

* Who would have thought stain glass windows hanging from a tree (in the middle of nowhere) would have provided the glass shard used to end the war by opening up Negan’s throat? Aren’t they clever for putting the stain glass puffy red eyed Rick scenes all the way at the beginning of the season as a foreshadow. (Why is Rick puffy eyed BTW after defeating Negan? Shouldn’t that be a cause for celebration? No doubt it must be because Carl isn’t there to celebrate that with him. Is it a victory though?)

* How convenient was that slash Rick did that allowed Negan to live if he held pressure on the wound? How confusing was that?

Certain things that happened hint of bigger settlements that are out there:

* Heath’s glasses being found next to a key card.

* The door to door trio riding around the countryside in a van looking for vinyl in exchange for their freaky ‘do it yourself’ guide to survival in the apocalypse.

* The junkyard having a helipad and both Rick and Negan seeing a helicopter and Jaddis waiting for one.

Other things were left with no resolution, however for how long?

* Negan not paying for Abraham or Glen’s deaths.
* Dwight not paying for Denise’s death.

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Summary with comments:

* Rick responds to Carl with a letter of his own. He talks about a memory with Carl where he was leading him down a road and then realized that all that time Carl was leading him down a path instead. For me, this taps into the notion that teaching children leads to them teaching the parents important life lessons. I think Carl is trying to impart a life lesson of humanity over ego. This has been said by Rick, Carl, Jesus and a few other characters this season and last season.

* Negan sets up his own men by having them be at the points he marked on the map that Dwight gave to Gregory. He did this so Rick would put his crew into a hilltop position (overlooking a massive swarm of walkers) that is surrounded by Saviors.

* Saviors attack the Hilltop. Tara has them escape through a tunnel. The Saviors are firebombed by the Oceansiders.

* Eugene has his crew make bullets improperly which causes all the Savior’s weapons to explode in their hands; ending the war against the Saviors.

* Rick slashes Negan’s throat from a piece of glass that came from a hanging pane of painted glass on a tree in the middle of nowhere. Apparently there’s a species of tree which bears fruit that looks like painted glass that can be made into shards that can be used for killing. How convenient! He orders Siddiq to save him which causes Maggie and several others to start screaming in an uproar because they want him dead.

* The Saviors that were surrounding them all surrender and the war is over.

* Rick and Michonne want to keep Negan alive to rot in prison and show everyone how there are other ways for humans to coexist other than this old way.

* Maggie, Daryl and Jesus think keeping Negan alive was wrong (although Rick was right about the Saviors) and they will make their move against Rick and Michonne when they have enough forces. (Not sure what that means exactly.) Will they kill just Negan or also Rick and Michonne? It’s hard to tell how severe the impact of their words are.

* Father Gabriel visits the burned out church in Alexandria and thanks God for helping him see.

* Morgan decides to go. He visits Jaddis who he persuades to go be with Rick while he takes up temporary residency there.

* Jesus, Carol and Rick stop by the junkyard and try and persuade Morgan to come back, however he doesn’t want to.

* Morgan runs, walks and takes cars all the way to Texas.

* Morgan runs into a gun slinger, a videographer and is ambushed by other members of the cast of the Fear of the Walking Dead.

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The Good:

* Jaddis’ real name is Anne.

* I actually like that they captured Negan. He’s too complex to get off that easy. His death has to be a grand spectacle (hopefully an ironic one where he saves someone by giving up his own life). How good would that be?

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The Bad:

* Inconsistent Daryl behavior. Daryl lets’ Dwight go after killing Denise, yet he wants Negan dead?
Not sure what the thought process is there. Perhaps he couldn’t stop Denise from getting killed, however he didn’t have to hit one of the Saviors that ended up with Glen Rhee being executed?

* The war ends with a wimper. No major characters die any sort of dramatic spectacular deaths. All extras paying the price. Basically the Alexandrians are surrounded; some taunting by the Saviors; firearms backfiring; surrenders; Rick and Negan fight and it quickly.

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Unknowns:

* What happened to Heath?
* Who owns the helicopter?
* Can Father Gabriel see now?
* Where is Sherry?
* What will happen to Dwight? Will he meet up with Sherry?
* What exactly is Maggie waiting for with Rick? Is she waiting for a weakness in his defenses? A clear margin of force of Alexandria? Unclear.

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The Walking Dead: Season 8: Episode 15: Worth

I give this episode a 75 out of 100.

Overall, I think this is the best written show this season (which isn’t saying much). A few things stood out:

* Great development as far as Negan’s ability to judge internally the plots against him and to change his plans at the drop of a hat.

* The way Gregory was handled in the past two episodes has been a bit flimsy (See: the Bad).

* Big Reveal: Simon ran the Sanctuary before Negan and was responsible for killing all the men at Oceanside!

Summary with comments:

* Rick reads the letter Carl left for him, which I thought was emotionally moving in terms of the hopes and viewpoint of a child. Carl always felt safe around Rick and felt that was what life was about for when he grew older. He wants Rick to make peace so that everyone can pass on the feeling of being safe to their children again (including Judith).

* Gregory somehow makes it back to the Sanctuary (SEE: The Bad) and sides with Simon.

* Eugene tells his minions that Simon is in charge and has stepped up bullet production. He takes Father Gabriel off of bullet production because he figures out that he is purposely messing up the making of the bullets. Eugene goes outside to test rounds that were made and is captured by Rosita and Daryl and they run off with him towards the Hilltop.

* Negan surprises Dwight in the courtyard and tests his allegiances.

* Negan confronts Simon, who asks for a pass on his move to exterminate rather than infect the folks at Hilltop. Negan makes it clear that in the past it was Dwight that ran the Sanctuary before him and it was revealed that he was the one who killed all the men from Oceanside (not Negan). Negan forgives him.

* Negan lays out a plan to surround the Hilltop with caches of ammo so they can focus on picking off Hill toppers one at a time. I guessing the gradual plan is to starve them into surrender. He asks everyone to leave but Dwight.

* Rosita calls out Eugene for the traitor that he is (because he assisted the Saviors with their escape from the Sanctuary) and put all the deaths that occurred after that on him. Rosita wants to put him in the darkest hole and using his brains to make the world a better place.

* Eugene forces himself to throw up all over Rosita and hides in a pile of body ashes; escaping. He makes his way back to the bullet factory.

* Simon has a talk with Dwight and wants him to meet them all in the courtyard after rounds to discuss their plan for taking Negan down.

* Aaron is camped outside of the Oceansiders compound and fights off walkers. The Oceansiders find him and he struggles to convince them to fight against the Saviors; just like he fought the walkers around him.

* Dwight meets Simon, Gregory and some Saviors in the courtyard and Simon tries to persuade Dwight to be the one that takes out Negan (since he has the most beefs with him.) Negan shows up (probably because Dwight told on Simon to Negan behind closed doors.)

* Negan has a meeting with Simon surrounded by Saviors inside the Sanctuary and tells everyone how Simon went against his word and killed all the garbage people. He tells Simon that he’s going to give him one last shot to kill him to be the man. Negan fights Simon and wins with strangulation. Simon’s walker body is tied to the front gate with all the other walker bodies.

* Negan brings Dwight into a room where he reveals Laura, who he double crossed. She told Negan that Dwight tried to kill her and how he killed all the other Saviors in their party. Negan figures out it was Dwight who told Rick when to attack; how to get to the outposts and killing Sherry.

* Negan reveals he gave fake plans to Dwight that were sent through Gregory to Maggie to set up at trap.

* Michonne walkie talkies Negan and reads Carl’s letter to him. Carl says the way out is working together. You can see he’s affected although he vows to kill them all.

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The Good:

* I loved Negan’s maneuverings. I loved how he reacted to Carl’s letter. He’s definitely getting more complex than I had in my mind previous to this episode.

* Big Reveal: Simon ran the Sanctuary before Negan and was responsible for killing all the men at Oceanside.

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The Bad:

* Gregory. Someone has to explain how he escaped Hilltop; and was not amongst those in the Dive bar. How did he escape? Somehow Gregory makes it to Sanctuary. How did he do that? Gregory escapes execution fire in the courtyard (although he is out there with Simon and Dwight)? How do they know he isn’t on Simon’s side? Gregory is also trusted (as well as his intel) after he has escaped the Hilltop by Maggie and is allowed back in the compound?

* I understand that Negan killed Dwight partially for disobeying his orders. Now, that Simon is out of the way Negan is going with Simon’s plan to kill them all. You would think after Negan made such a large speech about using people as resources to Simon that his plans would still reflect that kind of logic. What exactly has transpired on the Hilltop side that has ratcheted up Negan to change the way he looks at things?

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Unknowns:

* What will happen to Dwight? Will they set him up so Rick kills him rather than kill him themselves?

* Does Maggie believe the plans brought over by Gregory and Dwight?

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