Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Good & Bad: 'The Walking Dead' (10/12/14)

"No Sanctuary"

Plot: When we last left the gang, Rick was ready to John Cena his way out of a boxcar prison in the middle of the cannibalistic town of Terminus. When we meet up with them again at the start of season five, the gang is arming themselves to the teeth with all sorts of homemade weapons, provided your home is a boxcar. But before you can say “nail punchy thing,” the Terminus people spoil the sneak attack by dropping a gas grenade into the boxcar and taking Rick, Glen, Bob and Daryl to the kill room to turn them into hamburgers. Right before anyone important can die, an explosion interrupts the festivities. From there, Rick and company have a merry adventure finding/rescuing their colleagues and killing dead any Terminus people they see.
                Elsewhere and earlier, Carol, Ty and Judith, the lovable anchor-baby they’ve been saddled with, still aren’t at Terminus. They stumble upon a guy who’s talking into a walkie talkie about wearing some punk kid’s sheriff hat and playing around with some lady’s samurai sword. Well, Carol and Ty only know so many punk sheriff kids and lady ninjas, figure he’s a bad guy and take him prisoner. They find out Rick and crew are in trouble, so Carol goes to help, leaving Ty to watch the baby and the prisoner. This goes belly up real fast and eventually Ty is forced into full-on beast mode to fix things.
                Carol douses herself in blood to hide her scent from the walkers and launches a one-woman, Schwarzenegger-esque assault on Terminus. We find out she’s the cause of the explosion that saves Rick and crew. She helps the walkers overrun Terminus and then everyone has a big happy hug fest reunion at the end of the episode.
                Also, the episode begins and ends with some Terminus backstory and Eugene spouts off some mumbo-jumbo about reverse-engineering viruses to kill walkers or something.

Good: Will they or won’t they? Now look, there are a handful of people on “The Walking Dead” who probably aren’t going to get killed ever (Rick, Carl, Judith). But even still, they had me pretty well suckered in at the start. I had no clue how Rick was going to get out of that predicament. Very tense.

Bad-ish: Thank god the bad guys decided to line everyone up at the kill trough based on their importance to the show, extras first, main cast members next. You know, that way you can still kill people just not anyone anybody cares about. Cool sequence, but maybe let’s be less obvious about it next time, yeah?
Bad: Terminus people, your boxcars have way too many potential weapons in them. Maybe, you know, clean them out? There’s enough crap in there for the gang to each make two weapons.

Good: Terminus backstory. Backstory is very nearly always gold on “Walking Dead.” So Terminus used to be a sanctuary. Then a bunch of murders and rapists showed up and changed everything. The Terminus people fought back and rid themselves of their tormentors, but rather than ever be prey again, they decided to become hunters. I love that, after the sort of cartoon evil of the Guv, Terminus is more tragically evil. They swung too far in the opposite direction, but they did what they felt they needed to do to protect themselves. Rick’s group has done some crazy, xenophobic things already, could his group ends up like Terminus?

Good: Carol, Rambo meets Predator meets Jamie Lee Curtis. Next to Rick, Carol’s probably had the most interesting story arc of any character. Or at least the busiest. Remember when she was an abused housewife? Or a grieving mother? Or a weapons instructor? Or a surrogate mother to a budding serial killer? Now, she’s a skinny, grey-haired 80’s action hero. Amazingly … it works.

Bad: Ty, worst prison guard ever. Really, Ty? You just had to look out the window and leave the baby RIGHT next to the prisoner? The prisoner who is bound with nothing more than a frigging seat belt? Great plan. Five stars.

Good: Ty, Destroyer of Worlds. Ty loses the baby to the guy, gets tossed out into a world of zombies and not only survives, but he kills everything. Everything. Then he comes back in and punches the prisoner into oblivion and saves Judith. Worst and best day ever for Ty.

Good: So much action. So much. Is there anything better than a fire-zombie eating a cannibal? Oh right. A swarm of fire-zombies eating a town-full of cannibals! Ah yes. This is what we fought the Ottoman Empire for. Machines guns, homemade weaponry, explosions and zombies eating everything in sight. Episodes like this one are the reason why people don’t mind the slower moments, or as I like to call them: season two.

Good: That setting. My god. There are ominous messages about trust scrawled on the walls. A room full of candles for some reason. Human torsos hanging every old where. Cool stuff everywhere. You know, we just saw a bunch of urban combat in Woodbury not that long ago, but with that cool setting, I’m not complaining.

Good: That twist. Rick defaces a sign to inform people that Terminus isn’t all that great. After the closing credits, an unknown period of time later we see a mysterious stranger reading that very same sign. Then we get to know who that unknown stranger is and it’s Morgan! It’s like a Marvel movie! That loving father from season one and the crazy, booby-trap-making nut job survivalist from season three. He’s back, alive and walking around.

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