Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Season 6 episode 3

So, I don't watch "The Talking Dead." The host bugs me and the few times I have I've been frustrated with the content. I said all that to say, the internet is flooded with the lack of Stephen Yuen on the show. Maybe he died, maybe he didn't. The internet is also ablaze because of a picture of him on set, in costume, with a "future" chacter, but I'm not putting too much into that since it could've been filming flash back scenes or something of the sort. Anyway.

I don't know what to say about Sunday's episode. I saw it mentioned that Glen's death was foreshadowed in season 1 when he saves Rick in Atlanta - and after the last couple weeks leanings toward redemption in a world gone bad, we see Glen taken down by Nick again and Rick being put in danger because of the wolves that Morgan let escape (I had to watch both episodes again to see that, yes, the people who attacked the RV were, in fact, the same people who attacked Alexandria.) and, once again, his own stupidity for shooting the engine! I wouldn't be heart broken if our protagonist turned undead - since he basically is already and even said so himself - but he won't. The message this week seems to be what Rick said in episode 1, "I don't take chances anymore."

PS - am I the only one who thinks Maggie is pregnant?

PPS - I wrote this after two sleepless nights (not zombie related) and I realize now that it doesn't make sense.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Season 6 episode 2

Wow. That was intense. This is why I love The Walking Dead.

I expected tonight's episode to be about the giant hoard getting into the city. Instead, the enemy is human - or at least nearly so. While the warriors are gone, the colony was infiltrated by The Wolves. This is a tactic used historically in genocide. Wait for the strong to go hunting or fight a battle, and attack the old and the children while they're defenseless. Coincidence? 

Once again we see the contrast between those who have given up their humanity to survive and those who haven't. While last week was primarily about doing things humans do: like burying their dead and living with law and order, tonight's took it to an extreme. The Wolves live and kill like animals. Their humanity is past the point of saving. That stands starkly against the townspeople, most of whom are childlike and innocent. Did you notice that most of the town's people wore pastels? This signifies their innocence. Those who have seen violence wear darker colors - their innocence lost, if not their humanity.

And then there is Carol. After it becomes necessary, Carol is forced to give herself up as the sweet and helpless widow, but she trades her mask of apron and pearls for  a more sinister disguise, making herself look like one of the wolves. We know that Carol is both capable and willing to kill. She's been questioned and even exiled because of her actions, which seemingly come without remorse.

But tonight it's revealed that she is hiding something more. After the death of her daughter, Sofia, Carol changes. She is no longer helpless and defenseless, small, frail, and meek. She shrouds herself with either the clothing of the wolves, or of the sheep but in fact, she is the shepherd. And she protects her sheep at all costs and with no thought of herself.

And the remorse? It's there. She internalises it, taking on the blame when she's unable to protect others. Morgan may not be able to see it, but Carol might be the most human of all the survivors.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Season 6 Episode 1

After what feels like the longest wait of all time, The Walking Dead is back. I'm so excited to fill the Sunday night void. If you haven't seen this episode yet, push the back  button right away. Spoilers ahead.

Though it may have been several long months since we last saw them, season six starts out in the hours and days following the finale of season five. If you remember, Rick and the wife-beating doctor got into a scuffle and in a meeting to decide Rick and the group's fate, Dr. Pete comes in and  kills Reg (engineer and husband to Deanna the mayor of Alexandria) with Michone's sword. Deanna orders Rick to shoot him, which he gladly does.

Tonight's episode switches back and forth between past (defined by the use of black and white film - because yes, we're too stupid to figure it out without that) and present, giving us a glimpse into what happened to the town the days following Reg and Pete's deaths as well as why we see our group leading a giant hoard of quarry walkers through the highways - a plan to keep them from the town, which you know won't work because Rick's group came up with it and they aren't known for their good decision making skills. Though we're used to flashbacks in this series, I didn't feel it was pulled off well this time. Over at Insatiable Book Sluts they cover why this doesn't work and why it's a lazy way to write. I won't go into detail here, but I will say that I hope this stylistic choice doesn't last the whole season. There are recaps all over the Internet, so I won't bore you with the play-by-play.

The theme of season six seems to be a tale of redemption in which Glen and Maggie take the lead. Glen and Maggie show great strength through forgiveness of those who have wronged them in the name of survival and as they do, their strength of leadership grows. They've long since proven their ability to survive in a world where monsters roam and now they're proving they're strong enough to rebuild society. Not all have that strength as we're seeing in Carol and in Rick.

We know that since he had to shoot his best friend, Rick has been spiraling out of control and his humanity is almost a memory. Since then, Rick has always needed a moral compass. This season, it's Morgan - the man who rescued Rick after he woke up at the hospital. As Rick's moral decline parallels with Shane's (refusing to bury the dead, being willing to kill over "his neighbor's wife," putting others in danger to prove and secure his standing as leader...), Morgan's goal is to remind Rick of the man he is underneath the monster. Time and again he tells Rick, "This isn't who you are."

Morgan has lived in this world too. Like Rick he's killed the living in order to survive, but unlike Rick, he's been able to keep his humanity in tact. This greatly increases Morgan's already high mortality rate. In this world, the people with the strongest sense of morality - the strongest connection with their humanity, die. Hopefully it won't be until Rick remembers who he is and that what separates the living from the dead isn't the ability to survive - it's the humanity inside, it's the soul.

"It still might be too late" Rick says, "For them to come around. You'll see."  With the biggest hoard yet seen, his grim prediction may come true for our towns people, or it may already be true of Rick's humanity.