Tuesday 29 November 2011

Sometimes You Gotta' Shoot Your Own Dog

Rick Grimes taking aim at Sophia as she emerges from the barn in Season 2.
As the final scene played out in the 11/27/11 episode (Pretty Much Already Dead) and Rick was forced to shoot Sophia, I immediately thought of a classic movie I watched years ago. The moment was so reminiscent of Old Yeller that I am afraid this blog post may be telling people what they already know, but I simply can’t discuss the two and how they relate.

Old Yeller, released by Disney in 1957, is based on the book of the same name by Fred Gipson. Set just after the Civil War, it is the story of a rural family and the dog that wanders onto their property. Younger son Arlis loves the dog. Teenage son Travis, the man of the house while his father is away, immediately dislikes the dog, but ends up developing a close bond with it. Yeller is bitten by a wolf while protecting Arlis and the dog contracts rabies. In what is often described as “one of the most tearful scenes in cinematic history,” Travis must put Yeller down, both to put the animal out of its misery and to protect his family. Travis knows that you have to live up the responsibility thrust upon you and do what needs to be done whether you want to or not. Sometimes that means shooting your own dog. In doing so he leaves behind the boy he was and becomes a man.

Like Travis shooting Yeller, Rick steps up and puts Sophia down. He does what we’re not sure we could do. We all thoughtlessly yammer on about how “I’d shoot every walker; I don’t care if it was my Mother,” but this scene forces us to question whether we’d really have the stones to do it. Could we be that kind of man? Even as the scene brings us to those questions, it shows the kind of man Rick truly is. He feels to blame for Sophia having been turned. As much as it hurts him, as much as he doesn’t want to do what has to be done, Rick shuts down that emotion and lives up to the responsibility thrust upon him. This is the mark of a true leader, of a real man.

He does what Shane talked so big about being able to do while teaching Andrea to shoot. Shane yelled at Andrea to turn off her emotions and take the shot, but was unable to take the shot himself when doing so was crucial. When Sophia emerges from the barn, Shane bows his head and does nothing. Rick, who had been on the sidelines in this scene, moves figuratively and literally from observer to participant. He sets his jaw and casts his eyes sideways, in what appears to be Shane’s direction, seeming to acknowledge his duty. He then steps forward, unholsters his Python, and does what has to be done. He shoots his own dog.

This act is part of what sets Rick apart from Shane. Shane is an immature teenager, trying to get everyone to follow him into action by forcing a confrontation with Herschel and Rick about the barn walkers. Rick is a man, trying to stop Shane’s ill-conceived plan and when that fails, stepping in to clean up Shane’s mess. Shane will never be half the man Rick is.

Andrew Lincoln played the scene well, probably better than any other we’ve seen thus far. Lincoln's shifting facial expression - as Rick steps forward and draws his weapon - emphasises the enormity of the action that Rick's sense of responsibility requires him to do. The resignation rolled across his face like a storm cloud rolling across a clear June sky. His face showed - more than any dialogue could tell - that Rick was at a turning point. Does this indicate the much hoped-for shift from the overly cautious, often unsure of himself man we’ve seen in the TV show (childhood) to what readers of the graphic novels say is a much more decisive leader (adulthood)? I hope so. I look forward to a Rick who has more confidence in his leadership abilities, but he still tempers himself with compassion, maturity, and purpose.

And now, we wait...

I just finished watching the mid season finale Pretty Much Dead Already and my jaw is still on the floor. It was an absolutely fantastic episode! But now comes the wait until February...

Check out the promo videos below for when it does finally continue, it should help you keep going until then.

February Return Trailer

Sneak Peak

Tuesday 22 November 2011

It's About Time!

Well it’s about time. That’s all I can say after watching the 11/20/11 episode, Secrets. It’s about time that two things happened: 1) We finally saw women (and men) with some balls, and 2) Several characters finally said things they’ve needed to say for weeks.

In my last post, I complained rather loudly about the fact that none of the women seemed to have any balls, that they were all whiny scream queens doing little more than laundry while hiding behind the menfolk. I should’ve just waited a few days. On Sunday night, I was thrilled to see Andrea had gained control over her new skill. (Did you see that grouping she shot in the “o” on the “No Trespassing” sign during target practice?) She is well on her way to becoming the sharpshooter known and loved by readers of the graphic novels. All I can say about this development is HOORAY! Whiny, angst-ridden Andrea has begun to fade; she’s found her inner warrior now. Once her bad judgment issues are resolved, she’ll finally be of real use to the group.

Andrea’s sexual aggression with Shane showed she’s not stopped at being able to defend herself and the group; she’s taken more control of everything. Why the two of them hooked up has been of great interest to fans online. I believe the reasons Andrea took matters into her own hands with Shane are multiple: 1) The rush of power after proving that you’ve perfected a new skill, especially when releasing so much pain and rage in the process, can be a huge aphrodisiac; 2) Violence and sex can become very intertwined for us humans, especially when our emotions are already in overdrive; 3) Bad Boy Syndrome: even though or perhaps because he’s such a dick, Shane reeks of sexuality. Of course, he was the perfect target for Andrea’s, uh, affections. 4) When we are forced to stare death in the face, we cling even more to that which makes us feel alive. What makes you feel alive more than sex? It is the very act that can lead to life after all. This is something I’ve said for years and that was hinted at during Lori’s conversation Dale when she said she was with Shane because she needed to “feel something, anything.”

But Andrea isn’t the only one to grow a set. We saw even the minor female characters of Patricia and Beth as well as Carl grow some balls too in regard to firearms training. They, and even Herschel with his aversion to guns saw the importance of being able to defend themselves and the people around them. It’s about time.

This was not only the “grow a set” episode; it was also the “get things off your chest” episode. So many characters said things they’ve been thinking but keeping to themselves, both secrets and opinions. The most obvious example was Lori’s secrets, but I think the more important for far as character development were the things Dale said to Shane and Maggie’s ranting to Lori and Glenn.

Dale unloaded on Shane about the kind of man he believes Shane to be and that was the highlight of the show for me. Granted, it was because Dale didn’t like Shane and Andrea becoming involved and Dale probably needs to keep his nose out of most of the places he seems to be poking it. Still, he needed to know someone was on to him. Shane’s response, however, showed that he didn’t care. His character has been at a turning point for some time. The writers need to push him through it soon or it’s going to become the search for Sophia all over again. He needs to decide if he’s going to face off with Rick for control of the group and whether he’s going to accept that Lori chose her husband or continue his obsession with her and Carl. His decisions about those things will determine if he descends completely into madness or if he pulls himself back from that edge. Dale may have pushed him in one of those two directions.

Maggie found her voice as well and watching her stand up to Lori was priceless. It may have felt petty in some ways, but these are the day-to-day conflicts that would arise in such circumstances. Lori struck me from the beginning as spoiled. Maggie’s rant about Lori sending Glenn to get her “lotion and conditioner” showed us that Maggie, seeing Lori from outside the group, thinks of her this way too. Damn near becoming lunch for a walker certainly didn’t quell any of Maggie’s anger about the situation. Maggie’s shift in perspective about walkers was a big point in her character development and I think in the end it will make her character a stronger dramatic element. Her speech to Glenn emphasised that his place in the pecking order of the group is not fair. It was good to see him being told that the others don’t appreciate him for the intelligence and heart that he possesses. Let’s hope he remembers that. Maggie’s turning point about walkers and her verbalization about her view of Glenn are bound to bring conflict with her father. It may even act as a catalyst for her to go with the group when they leave the farm.

Lori and Rick’s scenes were interesting and made for good drama, but I didn’t see real character development in them. Rick stayed level-headed Rick when Lori confessed she’d been with Shane. Regardless of how much he may have figured out on his own, Rick reacted, unlike most men I know would have, no matter how reasonable they normally are. I wanted to see him lose it, yell at her, call her names, and tell her he didn’t care if she’d thought he was dead, but Rick disappointed me. Lori stayed hypocritical Lori when she went off on Rick for not telling her about Herschel’s expectation that the group leave soon while she still was keeping her own secrets from him. “I don’t understand how you could keep something like this from me.” Really, Lori? He should have given you every detail of this situation but you didn’t feel it necessary to tell him that you’re pregnant and the baby may not even be his? I’d thought earlier this season that I might be able to force a little sympathy for her, but that exchange killed it deader than one of Daryl’s squirrels.

And speaking of Daryl, no matter what I try to write about, he always seems to push his way to the front and demand my attention. This episode was no different. Although he was on screen for only 40 seconds - yes, I timed it - we saw a pretty significant leap forward for Daryl. When he told Andrea that he wasn’t holding it against her that she shot him since she was trying to protect the group, it indicated that he is focusing less on his ever-present anger and more on the group. (I can’t imagine the Daryl from season one taking such an event in stride.) Maybe Carol’s words did sink in and he is starting to see that people value him and that he is every bit as important as everyone else. I think Daryl’s assimilation into the group is important for his character to develop because if he continues to hold himself completely outside of it, he will never be able to become what he is capable of becoming. That said, I was still pleased to hear his parting shot to Andrea: “Next time you shoot me, you best pray I’m dead.” It shows that the writers are keeping his edges sharp. Good. We still need Daryl to be a badass.

I for one sincerely hope the forward momentum of character development we saw in this episode continues. After some dry, almost boring, episodes earlier this season, it was refreshing that the last two gave us so much meat to chew on. I am concerned, however, that after what is promising to be an excellent mid-season finale next week, things will drop off again and we’ll have less high drama to entertain us when the show returns in February.

Monday 21 November 2011

Season 2 Episode 7 - "Pretty Much Dead Already" Promo

Here is the promo video for next weeks mid season finale. Continues again in February, how can we survive the wait! :-(

And as usual here is the sneak peak as well :-)


Well, it seems someone finally cleaned out the skeletons in the closet. We’ve been waiting for this for some time now. Some aspects have been hidden longer than others. Shane and Lori’s “relationship” dates back to early in season one. We’ve all wondered how the affair would develop or end. It was only a matter of time before Rick would become aware of it. I had hoped Shane would’ve been the one to tell Rick himself. I know their friendship is strained as it is and Shane has shown a side of him that might not allow him to come clean about this or other events. Now he doesn’t have to.

Glen is such a great person. I really like him and his honesty, his simple sense of humor and compassion. He accepts his various roles within the group with grace and humility. By telling Dale everything he knew, he helped to protect the group. He put the group first before lesser, independent issues. Glen enabled Dale to confront Hershel about the walkers in the barn and may have pushed Lori to open up about her pregnancy.

I’m thinking that with Maggie being attacked in the drug store, it may bring her to understand more about how dangerous the walkers really are and that there is likely no cure for them. I like Maggie. She has spunk. I hope if the group has to leave, she goes with them.

The standoff between Shane & Dale is interesting in that now Dale may be more concerned for his own well-being. Shane is a loose canon in some ways. Certainly a bit unstable as we’ve seen
lately. He is capable of anything. I like Shane for his sort of “Git ‘er done” attitude. You need someone like him in any survival group. At least I’d want a Shane on my team.

Speaking of Shane, he seems to have brought Andrea around. Nothing like standing in the
middle of a street full of walkers to get your game on. Once she cleared that jam in her pistol,
she was calm and methodical in her killing of zombies. She seemed to enjoy it and wanted more. Perhaps Amy played a part in her mindset as well. Shane’s gun class has paid off.

In this episode, Daryl took a back seat for the most part. Although I loved the apology from
Andrea and his response. “Next time you shoot me, best pray I’m dead” On a side note, Daryl & Carol seem to have similar personalities, in a way. If they find Sophia, they would do well by being close.

That leaves Rick & Lori. I’m glad that Lori came clean about everything. I’m not sure how that is going to play out as the show progresses. If I were Lori, I’d have to give serious thought to the notion of bringing a baby into the world at this point. I know she wrestled with her choices.

There are practical and moral issues here that require her and Rick to come together on this, get on the same page. We have no idea how things will play out or how it will all end up. I just don’t think keeping the baby is a prudent thing to do. There are arguments to be made about Lori’s choices. Having the child in the midst of a zombie apocalypse is crazy at best. But another new child to help perpetuate the human race is a good thing. The dangers a baby would pose to the group would be formidable. Just the baby’s medical & nutritional needs would almost be too great to adequately sustain the child.

I doubt if Rick really accepts his own justification for Lori’s actions with Shane. He wants to be able to accept it but he is hurt and torn now. We’ll have to see how that unfolds in E-7.

The zombie factor was decent in this episode. I enjoyed the scene in the pharmacy with Maggie. Seeing the walker with its head dangling off by a few strands of muscle was great. This shoot out in the development was worthy of my respect as well. Shane at his best in his element and Andrea coming into her own on the weapons and gaining control of her emotions in a stressful situation. Very well-done. I like those two together. It would be nice to see some more cohesion between the members of the group like that.

So, what did Dr. Jenner say to Rick back at the CDC?

All in all, it was a very good episode.


After watching this episode my heart is breaking for our hero Rick Grimes. After everything he has been through already here comes not one, but two massive blows.

Finding out your wife is pregnant during the zombie apocalypse would be bad enough but to then also find out that she slept with your man-whore of a best friend because she thought you were dead would be devastating. Poor Rick just takes it all in stride, he doesn't scream at her just asks a simple question: "The world went to shit and you thought I was dead right?" But Lori hesitated on answering this question. Maybe it's just me, maybe I look too much into things but I was wondering on what this pregnant pause (pun intended) meant? Were Lori and Shane having an affair prior to Rick getting shot? Does she realise what she could have lost and not want to tell him this part as it would be the last straw? Is that why she was so unhappy and caused an argument with him about nothing like we saw in the flashback? I don't know but it is definitely some food for thought.

I am so glad that Dale confronted Shane in this episode. About Otis and sighting his gun on Rick. Those two things had been bothering me as I knew Dale had caught on. Dale doesn't seem like the type to beat around the bush, so I am glad he didn't here. All though now I think he has to live in fear that Shane is going to turn him into barn bait. Shane and Andrea getting it on bugged me even though I saw it coming. I haven't had a problem with Shane, I just feel like he says what he wants to suit him. Like last week when he told Lori all that mattered to him was keeping her and Carl safe. Obviously, having a quickie with Andrea doesn't hurt his feelings any either. And yes I know Lori told him to move on but I don't believe he did. This was Shane being self-serving as always. As for Andrea, I am still mad at her for grazing Daryl last week. I see where they are trying to go with her character and Shane seems to keep on heading downward.

As for Glenn and Maggie, I wish she would stop being so mean to him. You'd think she was in grade school the way she love/hates on him. But I guess Glenn likes the abuse. Can't be too picky during the end of the world anyway, am I right?

Even though Lori made a bad decision when she thought Rick was dead, I hope Rick forgives her and they stay together. I feel like she loves and respects him because he is a reasonable, law-abiding, upstanding man. Even though some of those things cause him to make decisions that get on her nerves. She knows he does what is right for everyone, her and Carl included.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Why Do None Of These Women Have Balls? Gender Roles and Killing Walkers

I have just one question for the writers of The Walking Dead: Why do none of the female characters seem to have any balls? I know I am not the only woman who feels this way. I’ve talked with dozens of female friends and we all agree. We want to see STRONG female characters that we can relate to. Thus far, few of us “real women” can see ourselves acting like the women of TWD. They are too much like 1950’s B-movie scream queens, cowering behind the men when walkers show up.

Women have come so far in our society and our entertainment since those movies were made. Many of the women who are fans of TWD feel cheated that the females on the show don’t seem aware of this development. Yeah, the show paid lip service to women’s rights and equality issues during the first season as the women complained while doing laundry at the quarry. Then they discuss what they miss most since the world went to hell, which included automatic washing machines and coffee makers - items of domestic importance. (I will admit the women were liberated enough to talk about missing their sex toys too. I didn’t really understand this dilemma as there have to still be batteries out there somewhere!)

Personally, I like to think that I would be a very different kind of survivor. I like to think I’d be trying to dispatch walkers if they posed an immediate threat to my survival or that of my children. If it were our lives on the line, I would not wait weeks for gun training. I would demand it as soon as possible. Firing a gun is not always the best option - Andrea showed us that - but it is a skill I would want to master as quickly as possible. Of course, unlike Andrea, I would be smart enough to know that you don’t take a shot from 200+ yards away when: 1.) you can’t get a clear view of your target in the scope, and 2.) four people less than 10 feet away from said target aren’t acting as if he is a threat.

Still, as it looks now, Andrea is our best bet for a woman with balls in this series. She’s decided she’s not going to be a victim anymore; she finally stopped whining and started doing something. Unfortunately, what she did was an exercise in stupidity. My husband tells me that the kind of bad judgment Andrea displayed, in his opinion, is very common among people who have just learned a new skill, especially those who’ve just learned to shoot. They are so eager to show others what they can do now that they often do it at inappropriate times. Yeah, I didn’t like having that pointed out to me by a man, even if I am married to him! I was busy screaming at the TV because of her idiocy; he was genuinely evaluating the circumstances of it.

Carol gets a pass on not having balls. I don’t expect her to have them. She was beaten down by her hellish husband, Ed, and as a result may never grow a set. An abuser often controls every aspect of a victim’s life. In some cases, victims can become unable to make even the simplest of decisions for themselves. Forget about a victim being able to stand up for his/her self. Long after an abuser is gone, serious damage to a victim’s psychological state can remain. So Carol gets a pass. She's earned one after what she's been through.

Since Lori is pregnant, she won’t be growing balls any time soon. I doubt she’ll do much walker-killing for quite a while. I can accept that as realistic. While pregnant or with a young infant to care for, she will be too vulnerable to be of much use in her own or the group’s defense. Granted, Mama Lion syndrome will kick in if a woman’s child is in danger, but it’s still hard to hold a baby and a rifle simultaneously.

Maggie definitely has the potential to have balls, but as long as she is sympathetic to the idea of holding walkers in the barn waiting for a cure, she won’t become a walker-killer.
Now I know that in a zombie apocalypse, it might be very likely that men and women would revert to traditional gender roles by default. (And trust me using the word “traditional” in relation to gender roles grates on me even as I type this. I hate to ever link the two concepts together, but I feel that I must in this instance.) It might be easier if we returned to the roles society seems to impose on all of us, no matter how independent we are. We can redefine those roles later if and when survival is longer our primary goal.

Even a feminist like me admits that the physical differences between men and women cannot be denied. Some things are just easier for men to do then women. (Shooting, however, isn’t one of them.) In a survival scenario, we are likely to revert to the men doing things that require greater upper body strength. Women who are doctors and lawyers in a pre-apocalypse society may well be fine with darning socks and roasting squirrels over the campfire while the men chop firewood and hunt game. I would probably be okay with that, but I would still want to be able to protect myself. After all, there would to be times when the men folk won’t all be there and I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck.

I’m not looking for the women to stand guard all the time while the men wash clothes and cook meals. I just would like to see the women take a more proactive role in defending the group and, more importantly, themselves. I don’t want the women to all suddenly become kung fu experts or sharpshooters. I do want to see least one of the women charge a walker, taking control of her own defense, instead of hiding behind Shane and Rick.

I know most decent men (i.e. not guys like Ed) are very protective of their wives or girlfriends and their children. Nature? Nurture? Probably some of both. My husband knows I’m no wallflower; he is after all the one who taught me to shoot. But if there was a clear and present
danger, such as a walker, his first instinct would be to shove me behind him in order to protect me. I’d likely let him because I know he is better equipped - both in physical strength and shooting skill - to do things like kill walkers. (I am independent, not stupid!) I could easily see the women doing the same thing in the world of TWD. It would just be easier and life if hard enough already.

I’m not unrealistic. I realize the characters on any TV show aren’t based on me or how I think I would act if faced with what they face. I realize there are dramatic elements that must be included to make a story work. I realize there are physical differences between the sexes that are simply givens in survival situation. I realize that we women who feel this way may just be getting our feminist panties in a bunch. But still…. Please give us some women who will stand up and fight when the need arises. Please give us some women we can relate to.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Origins Of The Epidemic

Rick on horse in the pilot episode.
In the beginning… As an avid viewer and fan of The Walking Dead, I have become somewhat obsessed with the origins of this epidemic. How did it start? Where was the first major outbreak? Think about it, who became the first zombie? It is fascinating to think about those early hours of the outbreak and what people must’ve thought. Here, your family member, your neighbor, the shopkeeper. They’ve died but then they’re back! On a larger scale, what became of governments and the military? The show depicts attempts by the military to contain and control the situation without success. It all leads me to think that the “fever” spread very quickly.

Infrastructure and resources became overwhelmed and any defensive posture was
quickly overrun by the sheer number of zombies. I am puzzled by one detail though, how did the zombies become so mangled and torn apart? I can see where some cuts or bites would be apparent. I’ve been told that the writers never really addressed any of this in the comics and such. Little has been discussed in the TV series as of yet. 'TS19' touched on it somewhat but only in the context of the doctor’s wife. I suppose that given the scenario, the characters wouldn't really know much about the details. In discussing this with other fans, I’ve heard a few theories.

One suggests the virus entered and contaminated the water supply. This seems quite plausible due to the fact that the effects were almost immediate. It certainly wasn’t an airborne pathogen. Everybody would be a walker by now. There wouldn’t be any survivors. Food-borne? Cross-contamination? Some rare plant or insect inadvertently imported from China? Certainly well within the realm of possibilities. Like any outbreak, it can be traced back to one place and one point in time. When Rick is first brought to the hospital, everything was fine. By the time Shane goes back to check on him, everything has gone to hell. This actually brings up some questions regarding the time-line of the story. I’ll try to address those in a later post.

To illustrate my obsession on this topic, I have to share a dream I had in which I was at a sporting event where one of the concession stands featured some exotic cuisine. The virus was in one of the strange ingredients used in the preparation of the menu items. As the cooks prepared the food to be sold to the spectators, they contracted the virus through the handling of the mysterious herb. This small group of food-handlers thus became the first to fall victim to what would become the end of the world. Having arrived early, I was talking to one of these folks when they became afflicted with the disease. Sadly, I became the first person eaten by a zombie and woke up in a sweat, disturbed by my horrible dream.

Not so far-fetched really. Imagine a stadium full of people eating from these stands in an enclosed area. The unrealistic aspect of the dream is that the concession stand worker died and came back within minutes. As per the story, the fever takes a few days to kill its victim and according to the CDC, anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours before someone’s brain re-starts. (See TS-19 in season one)

The fact is that it had to start somehow, somewhere. I want to know and I need to understand!

Dixon Family Reunion

Dixon Family Reunion
Brothers - Merle and Daryl
If the comments I’ve read online in the past 24 hours are any indication, the much anticipated Dixon Family Reunion that finally occurred in the 11/13/11 episode (Chupacabra) left many fans unfulfilled. Many fans wanted Merle back, but not as an evil Jiminy Cricket telling Daryl to shoot Rick in the face. They wanted Merle back “for real,” not just as something Daryl imagines while drifting in and out of consciousness.

Here in the other camp, I am pleased with the way Merle was worked into the story line and not just because that’s what I predicted in my blog post last week. Michael Rooker is an incredible actor and I‘d love to watch him each week, especially acting opposite Norman Reedus, but I suspect I would be disappointed in how his character was returned to the series if brought back permanently. There just isn’t a feasible way to do it.

Using Merle as the voice of Daryl’s inner struggles was a smart move on the part of the writers. It not only provided a feasible way to bring back a very popular character, but it also propelled Daryl’s character development forward. We’ve seen Daryl becoming a little less angry and a little more human each episode this season. This has been accomplished by both the writing and Reedus’s portrayal of Daryl, which has expertly reinforced the evolution of everyone’s favorite anti-hero. It is Daryl’s conversation with himself, through Merle, that shows us just how far he has really come.

Many of Rooker’s lines were over the top in their silliness, but that is in line with what we have seen of the one-dimensional Merle previously, so it was to be expected. His exact words aren’t really as important, however, as are the sentiments they express. As Merle berates Daryl during his weakest moments, we truly understand what Daryl’s life growing up must have been like, what he endured in the name of making him a “man.” We see Merle literally kick him when he’s down. Most important is the fact that Daryl says them to himself, showing us how this kind of treatment shaped his view of himself and his value to other people. By having Merle say it to him, the writers have allowed us into Daryl’s head without having the character do something unrealistic, like confess out loud all his fears and doubts to someone else.

Merle’s abuse becomes Daryl’s catalyst to survive, to prove himself to himself. Because anger is obviously the only emotion with which Daryl is comfortable, he gets angry at Merle as a way to keep pushing himself on. When Merle tells Daryl how he was the only one that ever cared about his little brother’s “worthless ass,” Daryl snaps back, saying “You never took care of me. You talk a big game but you was never there. Hell, you ain’t here now; guess some things never change.” (Sounds like something he should have told Merle years ago.) In this dialogue with himself, we see Daryl perhaps start coming to terms with his past and admitting that Merle treated him like the dog shit Merle says the others in the group think Daryl is.

Will this be a turning point for Daryl? Maybe not in and of itself. But combine it with things like Carol’s peck on the forehead and her telling him that he is every bit as good a man as Rick or Shane and he may finally break free of Merle’s abuse. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who met both brothers wouldn’t know that Merle beat the shit out of Daryl on a regular basis. Carol would know more than anyone else in the group that long after the abuse ends, the damage remains. If anyone would understand why Daryl would think he was not as good as other men, it is Carol. She would know how someone like Merle would tear you down inside and the high price you would pay just for being in his line of sight. Reassurance like the one from Carol, whether Daryl believed it or not, can only propel him forward even more in becoming what he is capable of being. He may even start to believe in himself and his worthiness to be included in this ad-hock family.

Season 2, Episode 6 Promo - "Secrets"

And here is the sneak peak as well ;-)

Post your thoughts and predictions for this episode below in the comments section!

Saturday 12 November 2011

The Only Doctor Avaliable In A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie World

Hershel Greene & Lori Grimes
....just happens to be a veterinarian.

On the second episode of The Walking Dead, titled: 'Bloodletting', we were introduced to Hershel Greene, played by veteran character actor, Scott Wilson. We see Rick running across a field carrying his son, Carl, in his arms, because the boy had been shot when a bullet passed through a deer that was being hunted by Otis, Hershel's farmhand. Rick is seen approaching the farmhouse by Hershel's daughter, Maggie, who then yells for her father. Hershel comes out onto the porch and the first thing he asks Rick is, "Was he bit?" ....that is certainly not an unusual question to ask someone since the 'fever' has taken over our world.

When Rick says that Carl had been shot, Hershel orders Rick to, "Get him inside...INSIDE!!!" The farmhouse becomes an ER, with the good doctor telling his family to get him the medical necessities (painkillers, coagulants, alcohol, iv fluids) that he needs, in order to save Carl. Carl will need a blood transfusion, and it's fortunate that Rick is the same blood type as his son. Hershel tells Rick, "Don't wander far, I'm gonna need you." Hershel discovers that the bullet has broken into fragments...six to be exact...and that he would have to perform surgery in order to remove them. Carl is also bleeding internally...a bullet fragment nicked a blood vessel...so Hershel would have to go in and find the bleeder, and stitch it up. Hershel is highly capable of performing this life-saving surgery on Carl, except he needs a few things; a respirator to keep Carl breathing while he is under anesthesia, sutures, drapes, and extra surgical supplies. Now where to get these items, since the hospital had burned down. It is suggested by Otis that they could be found at the high school, because it had been turned into a FEMA shelter. Otis and Shane go on a mission to the high school, to get the medical supplies needed in order to save Carl. In the meantime, Maggie went out to find Lori, and she brought her to the farm. And as any mother would be upset, over what had happened to her child, she wanted to be sure that Hershel would be able to perform this surgery.

"You've done this procedure before?"
"Well yes, in a sense."
"In a sense?"

I totally understand her concern. It's not out-of-line for one to question a physician's capabilities.

"You're a doctor, right?"
"Yes mame, of course. A vet."
"A veteran? A combat medic?"
"A veterinarian."

Total shock came over Lori's face, and I thought for sure that Rick would pass out, in fact he did fall into the chair.

"And you done this surgery before on what? Cows? Pigs?"

Ok Lori, we get that you have an issue with Hershel being a veterinarian, but don't be snarky with the only one who is truly capable of saving your son! I doubt very much that you would be able to find a 'people doctor' in time, so a highly qualified vet is what you get. As it turned out, the surgical items that Hershel needed, were indeed found at the high school by Shane and Otis, but not without tragic results...we all know what happened, so I will not go into that right now. Hershel was able to operate successfully on Carl. So never underestimate the knowledge, or skills of a veterinarian...especially in a post-apocalyptic zombie world.

This is my first blog post, and I hope you all have enjoyed reading it. I want to add that I've been a devoted fan of Scott Wilson for three years now. Scott was the perfect choice for the role of Hershel too. I also work in a veterinary hospital, so...with my favorite actor playing a vet, of course I'll root for Hershel 100% :-)

Thursday 10 November 2011

Is Merle Really Coming Back Or Is It Just A Dream?

Merle and Daryl in Season Two of The Walking Dead
Will Merle return for real?
I’ve been thinking a bit about the much-anticipated “return” of Michael Rooker’s character Merle Dixon that was teased in the final seconds of the promos for the 11/13/11 episode. All around the internet, there are discussions and debates about just how Merle’s return will be worked into the plot. A couple of the more "out there" theories that I’ve read/heard on this topic:

Theory #1 - Merle just strolls up to the farm. The reason why it won’t work: The odds against both the group and Merle chancing to go in the same direction out of Atlanta and end up in the same, fairly remote, location are just too great. Sorry, I just can’t suspend my disbelief enough to accept that idea. Yeah, I know, I can suspend it enough to accept zombies, but not that Merle would just randomly stumble upon them … I would be seriously disappointed in the writers if this happened. Disappointed enough that it might make me stop watching. It would be a cop out and lazy writing.

Theory #2 - Merle did, in fact, take the panel truck last season and has been using it to “tail” the group, plotting his revenge. The reason why it won’t work: Too much time has passed for this to happen. He would’ve made his move against them much earlier if indeed he’d been stalking them. Yes, Merle is a hunter; hunters must be patient and remain unseen by their prey, but I just don’t see his character being THAT patient. Considering the circumstances under which he was left behind, I think his rage would overcome patience and he would’ve struck by now. If nothing else, he’d have wanted to get to his saddlebags on the motorcycle and get to his meth.

Theory # 3 - Merle is holding Sophia hostage somewhere and when Daryl finds the two of them, all hell will break loose between the brothers. The reason why it won’t work: See my notes on Theory # 1 and the suspension of disbelief.

In the “exclusive” preview shown during Hell on Wheels and Talking Dead, Daryl is riding a horse through the woods and is thrown from said horse when it is spooked by a snake. He ends up tumbling down a steep and rather a lengthy embankment and landing hard in a stream. (Why is Daryl now riding a horse?) This preview shapes my own theory about what is going to bring Merle back:

Merle isn’t really “back.” Daryl hallucinates that Merle has returned while he is lying in the creek bed, dazed, injured, and possibly even clinging to life. Merle is the embodiment of Daryl’s struggle against himself. Merle represents the part of Daryl that knows he has to move if he’s going to make it; he is the mechanism that Daryl will use to get his ass up and moving instead of just lying there and dying. Now, I don’t think Merle will give Daryl a pep talk – Merle isn’t a pep talk kind of guy – but I do think the things Daryl tells himself using Merle’s voice will be what Daryl needs to motivate himself to survive. Will he do it because of Merle? No. He’ll do it in spite of Merle.

Maybe there will be no flashbacks and it will simply be Daryl getting pissed off enough at Merle to do what he needs to do. Maybe there will be flashbacks to their lives as brothers that lead Daryl to find his inner strength when he needs it most. Maybe it will be a way for Daryl to come to terms with the newfound emotions that were hinted at in the last episode – you know, the ones that AREN’T anger – by confronting his own past, in the form of Merle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Daryl to turn all emo and start hugging people, the group definitely needs a bad ass around, but character growth is never bad. Since we were first introduced to him, Daryl has been pretty one-dimensional; it would benefit the character and the show to stretch his emotional limits a bit.

But no matter how the writers work Merle into the script, I am looking forward to the episode like no other episode thus far. I am looking forward to seeing Rooker and Reedus acting together. Both actors play bad asses like few others–after all, Rooker played serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and Reedus played Murphy McManus – and the Dixon brothers are uber bad asses. Just seeing these two actors play off each other will be worth the price of admission!

We’ll see which, if any, of these theories, is correct on Sunday night.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

TWD 2.4 Cherokee Rose (SPOILERS)

This is my first time ever blogging! My friend Iain asked me if I would like to combine my two loves, Writing and The Walking Dead and give it a shot. That being said, I hope you enjoy!

My favorite part of last Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead, was when Daryl gave Carol the Cherokee rose and then explained why he was doing so. The reason I liked this so much was because back on the highway Andrea tries to comfort Carol and Carol stops her. I felt like Carol was saying don't patronize or pity me, just let me have my faith. I feel like Daryl was adding to her faith. I can tell you if it were me I wouldn't be leaving until my child was found. Dead, alive, or walker-fied!

That might not sound like much but you need to know one thing about me: I hate "walkers"! I have hated them for a long time, they scare the bejesus outta me! In fact, I didn't even watch the first season of TWD when it aired because I was afraid. I watched all the episodes from season 1 all in one day, all in broad daylight! But I think that is why I am so infatuated with this show. It has made me less afraid and I love the characters! They are so worth a little scare and gore.

As for Shane in this episode, at the memorial service I don't think Dale was completely buying his story. I think Dale knows something is not right there. I also think Dale will confront Shane if this is the case. I also think Shane was confessing to Andrea what happened with Otis. I am assuming at this point Andrea didn't catch on or doesn't care because she still thinks they may be leaving together. Or maybe she just loves the shaved head and overalls look?

Two things that irked me about this episode were that no one asked Shane about his shaved head. Everyone else has greasy hair, dirty bodies, and filthy clothes and Shane just goes for a new look? Especially when you are staying in a place that has (presumably) limited electricity? I just wanted one person to ask him to hear his explanation. I know it could have been easily explained I just wanted to hear it. I guess I am a details person. The other thing was that no one told Hershel about the well walker. I am thinking that is something the land owner should be notified about but maybe that will be covered this Sunday. I am really glad after watching this episode that I have a covered well for my well water.

There were 3 omg/wtf moments this episode:
1. Welly split in half!
2. Maggie and Glenn "going to the pharmacy"!
3. Lori's pregnancy tests positive!

Well that is it for my very first blog post, I hope you enjoy reading it because I sure enjoyed writing it!

Five Reasons Why Daryl Is My Favorite

I will be up front about two things, since this is my first entry on the blog:

1.) I am not a critic of any genre in any way, shape, or form. I’m just a fan of The Walking Dead. I won’t always look for deeper artistic meaning. I will however look for character development. I am particularly interested in that aspect of TWD. After all, you can get zombies in a thousand different places, but you don’t always get good characters along with them.

2.) I am a Norman Reedus fan girl. There it is... my secret is out. (OK, so it wasn’t a secret to anyone who has seen my Facebook page.) I was vaguely aware of him as an actor before TWD, but as Daryl Dixon became my favorite character, I began to look at the actor more closely and was impressed with most of what I saw. Doesn’t mean I won’t call out what I see as bad acting, but I will be more willing to forgive. Get over it or read someone else’s blog.

As you might imagine - based on point #2 above - for my first entry, I will be talking about the five primary reasons that I like Daryl so much and why it is that I like the way Reedus plays him.

First: Daryl is a wild card. Since he’s not in the graphic novels, there is no back story for him and we have no idea what direction he might ultimately go. Plus, he is a powder keg holding his own lit match so no one knows how he's going to act/react in a given situation. While I sometimes like characters because I “know” them and what they will do, there is no such familiarity or comfort in Daryl. He keeps me on my toes.

Second: Daryl is Mr. Practical. A good example is his omnipresent crossbow with its advantages of silence and reusable ammunition. A better example is Daryl’s absolute lack of sentimentality about walkers and the fact that they used to be humans. While others have mixed feelings about this point, Daryl has no emotional garbage getting in his way. He was ready to shoot Amy before she reanimated and take a pick axe to Jim before he was even dead. You don’t get more practical than that.

Third: Daryl calls it like he sees it. There are numerous examples of this. In season one after Rick draws down on Daryl – who is about to take that pick axe to Jim - and says “We don’t kill the living,” Daryl’s immediate response is “That’s funny, coming from a man who just put a gun to my head.” In season two when Andrea wants him to shoot the walker swinging from a tree branch, Daryl tells her “He made his choice; let him hang.” Part of being Mr. Practical is being Mr. Brutally Honest. I want a character to be honest with himself and with me as the viewer. I also want a character that says what I am thinking and Daryl often does just that.

Fourth: Daryl is decisive. He is the most likely of the group to shoot first and ask questions later. In a zombie apocalypse, that’s a good thing. This is probably what I like most about Daryl. In any situation, real life or fictitious, I want to know the guy with me is going act without hesitation and with extreme prejudice to eliminate any threat to my safety. Not that I’m not capable of shooting a walker myself – no shrinking violets allowed when the dead roam the earth – but it would be good to know that someone’s got my back.

Fifth: Daryl has feelings, but he doesn’t let them control him. A lot has been said online in the past couple of days about how sweet Daryl was in giving the Cherokee rose to Carol on the November 6th episode. There have been a lot of starry-eyed fan girls saying, “Aw shucks, we never knew Daryl had FEELINGS.” Well, this starry-eyed fan girl knew it... In one of his first scenes, when he asks Shane if Merle’s dead, there is the slightest crack in his voice, a hint that he isn’t Mr. Practical when it come to the thought of losing his brother. Then, even as Daryl is trying to kick Rick’s ass for leaving Merle behind in Atlanta, he’s fighting tears. Yeah, the emotions are there, but he isn’t going to let anyone see them. The scene also shows how anger is often the coping mechanism of choice for boys raised to never talk about feelings. You got ‘em, fine. Just keep ‘em to your damn self. You can’t be Mr. Practical if you’re busy being Mr. Emotional. Anger is the only emotion you’re allowed to feel and Daryl’s reaction to the news about Merle drives that point home. It didn’t make me think Daryl was a badass or just an ass. I think it was a hint of the depth of this character that has not yet been fully explored. I am expecting to see a lot more of that in next week’s episode when he and Merle are “reunited.”

Reedus does a good job portraying these larger aspects of Daryl but he does an even better job at the small details that offer insight into Daryl’s personality. Now, how much of that results from how a director blocks scenes and how much is Reedus’s interpretation of Daryl, I can’t say. Of course the lines are the work of the writers, but some of the small body language may very well belong to Reedus alone.

Regardless, there are several seemingly minor things I’ve noticed that I think help to build our understanding of Daryl. The cracking voice and almost tears that I mentioned earlier are two of them. Add to that the squints and glares and it’s obvious that the only emotion Daryl is completely comfortable with is anger. The rest are new territory for him. Last season, when the group left Jim at the side of the road, everyone went to say goodbye. Not Daryl. He stood off a bit and after everyone else was done he just gave Jim a nod and walked off. That nod acknowledged that Jim made his choice and Daryl respected that. (Reedus has said that this was not in the script but how he wanted to play the scene in order to keep Daryl consistent. After all, Daryl had just come close to putting a pick axe through Jim’s head earlier that morning.) This season while at Otis's memorial, everyone is standing with their hands clasped in front of them, looking sad. Not Daryl. He stands with his arms crossed and a look on his face that says "Let's get on with this; I’ve got a little girl to find." His posture sets Daryl apart from the others and tells us that while he is in this group, he still isn’t a part of it.

For the most part, the writers are being consistent with Daryl’s character development and are doing it without pushing the character too quickly. We see a little more humanity in him each episode. Guys like Daryl don’t change in just a few weeks, not even when zombies are shambling around. Reedus has said in interviews that the writers have given him some say in Daryl’s character development. This is wise on their part because an actor makes you believe in a character most when he is part of the process in creating the character. I hope that process continues, but please don’t take away too much of Daryl’s edge. I’d hate to get too comfortable with him.

He's Baaaaaack!

So, It would appear from the teaser for next episode that Big Bad Merle Dixon is back FINALLY and I for one am looking very forward to seeing Daryls wild man of a Big Brother returning. I think He'll show Shane a thing or too about cold hearted cruelty.

What will happen to the already fracturing group of survivors, what does this mean for T-Dog? and more importantly, will the return of his big bro make Daryl go back on his new found soft side? We can but hope viewers

Feel free to comment if you will Peeps.

Interested in joining the team?

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I have been gathering a few fans to become bloggers on this site. After all it is a 'Fan Blog' so it only makes sense that I get as many fellow fans that are willing to help out involved, right?

I am currently putting together a team of writers who will be posting what they can, when they can about The Walking Dead on this blog. This will involve stuff related directly to the TV series as well as the comic books. It will range from talking about specific characters to certain scenes and individual episodes plus much more. This will be great for all readers of the blog because you won't just have to put up with me and my posts anymore, you also have other bloggers and their posts to check out as well!

If you are reading this and are thinking to yourself that you would also like to be part of this blogging team, then please leave a comment below and I will get back to you. The only requirement is that you are a true fan to The Walking Dead and are willing to post things from time to time. These posts will be getting read by hundreds of people on a near daily basis, so they must be of reasonable content and quality.

Just leave a comment with your email below and I will invite you to the team and then we can take it from there, thanks!

Monday 7 November 2011

Season 2, Episode 5 Promo - "Chupacabra"

Here is the promo for next weeks episode. Look who happens to make an appearance again near the end!

My Thoughts on episode 4 'Cherokee Rose' *SPOILERS*

Just finished watching episode 4 for the second time and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on it.

Firstly, it is good to see Carl is all better now. I know a lot of viewers really didn't want to see Carl die, and to be honest I thought it was pretty obvious he was going to pull through, which is exactly what he did.

Secondly, moving onto Shane again. It is obvious he is struggling with what he did to Otis, you can tell in nearly every scene when he is on screen. He really is an excellent actor and I think he is doing a fantastic job playing the part! The opening to episode 4 when Shane spoke on Otis's behalf was extremely convincing. Also the scene with Andrea where he is talking about turning off the switch in your head that deals with your emotions. It is fairly obvious that Shane was talking about Otis there!

Thirdly, the zombie in the well, or as I call it the Boomer (you will know what I mean by this if you have played the Left 4 Dead games). That thing was a mess! It has obviously been stuck down in that well for a hell of a long time. The way it split open after getting pulled out was awesome! Shame it completely ruined their ideas of getting it out without contaminating all the water. Although the way T-Dog killed it shows he is possibly developing into a stronger, more violent character. This would be good if so because up until now T-Dog has been shown to be one of the weakest in the group.

Fourthly, Glen got lucky! Oh yeah, the asian kid managed to hit it off with Maggie the farmers daughter in what was a fairly awkward but hilarious scene. Poor Glen was so caught up in the moment that he had no idea what to say.

Fifthly, lets move onto everyone's favorite character, Daryl Dixon. Wasn't he just an amazing character in this episode, oh wait he is like that in every episode, my bad! The cherokee rose that he brought back for Carol was just so thoughtful, along with the story he told her to try and comfort her a little. Who would have pictured Daryl having a soft side like this back when we first got introduced to him in season 1, not me that's for sure!

Finally, Lori Grimes and the pregnancy test. So now we know that Lori is pregnant, and we can tell by her reaction that she is extremely upset by this. To be honest I saw this coming way back in episode 2 of season 1 when we first got introduced to the fact that Lori and Shane are having an affair after they had sex in the woods. Lori is now obviously regretting this a great deal, especially since Rick is back on the scene and alive. How long til everyone else finds out her secret?

Sunday 6 November 2011

Episode 4 Tonight, Excited?

Not long to go now fans, episode 4 'Cherokee Rose' is upon us. Are you excited? I know I sure am!

What are you hoping for from this episode? Do you think they will get any more clues to Sophia's whereabouts, if she is still alive that is. What about Shane and his shaven head, will questions be asked and doubts be raised over that?

Post your predictions, comments and thoughts below and let us know what you think tonight's episode will bring :-)

Catch a sneak peak below ;-)