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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S3E3 Teotwawki

Alicia and Nick fall in with new crowds; Madison discovers Otto’s past mimics her own.

Fear the Walking Dead slows things down after the exciting debut double episodes of this season and we learn more about the Otto ranch as an ominous cloud feels like it slightly rolls in.

The episode kicks off with a video featuring the Ottos that plays intot he show later as we get a more definitive take as to what their deal is. From the short 30 second opener it’s clear that the Ottos are survivalist of the stereotypical type and Jeremiah is looked up to for his “predicting” the fall. There’s an undercurrent of religion but it’s mostly anti-government focused.

What’s interesting though is that we see some outtakes from Otto’s video later and we learn more about him and his family and why he’s the way he is. It’s tragic in many ways and Madison is able to relate to him a little more over it. Jeremiah though comes off as a bit tragic, sad, and a monster over it all. We also get a better sense of the Ottos as a whole and why one son is good and the other, not so much.

Through the madness of it all, we get a better view of Madison and her family as well. Nick is out of it as usual, scheming and planning and just not all there. Alicia goes the other side assimilating well in a Carol sort of way.

Then there’s Strand who we get a better idea as to where he was going and what’s on his mind. The series would be stronger if they cut him from the episodes and their short bits, instead saving them for an entire episode and longer segment. The short bits aren’t enough, but it’s clear his story will eventually dovetail back.

The episode isn’t bad, it’s just not as strong as the previous one. While the first two episodes were the introduction and a lot of the set up, this episode begins to play out what’s been lined up. As part of the whole it’ll be fine and while there’s some interesting moments, the episode is ok to watch but not all that exciting or intriguing… until those final moments, when things are pulled out from under us and thought lost character returns.

Overall Rating: 7.07

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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S3E1 Eye of the Beholder/The New Frontier

The Clark family find themselves in a terrible predicament; Strand faces resistance as he attempts to hold power.

Fear the Walking Dead kicks off its third season with two episodes that shakes things up. To say it shakes things up is an understatement. New characters are introduced, new locations are explored, more dynamics are set up, and a major character apparently dies. A lot of criticism has been levied towards the series and this first two episodes feels like it addresses some of them by upping the action and really shaking things up.

When the last season ended we saw individuals dressed in military uniforms either shooting or capturing some of the individuals we’ve come to know and this episode drops us into the horror as those same military individuals are murdering them to see how long before they turn. It’s twisted and weird but from that a lot of conflict arises and it’s best to not reveal everything.

There’s lots of good in the fact that we’re dropped in the action and there’s a hell of a lot of conflict. The bad is some of that conflict deescalates rather quickly. It does come off as using each other for convenience but the fact there’s not a bigger grudge on display is a bit of a headscratcher. There’s easy ways to explain this away but it’s a little odd and stands out as the biggest negative of the first two episodes.

The new locations and characters are what really stands out. We’re taken to a new community that feels like a ranch the Bundy’s might like while taking a stand against the government. They mention they’re putting together a new society and community, which adds a slight ominous tone to what otherwise would be Herschel’s Farm Part 2. And that all is part of the excitement of these first two episodes. Lots of new characters and locations and we have to figure out who is on the level and who will be an obstacle and threat.

The episode too also catches us up on Strand who everyone thinks is a doctor for that truth is revealed. The episode may have been stronger without that and more being devoted in another, but his short segment does answer some questions that have been left hanging last season.

But, the biggest thing is the death of a major character. The fact the season kicks off with a major character seemingly dying (and I’d be surprised if they survived) lets us viewers know that everything is on the table and anything can happen. It also greatly shifts the dynamic as to what this season may bring.

The third season kicks off in a way that I’m excited to see what happens the entire show is shaken up in a way that it feels like a whole new series. What might happen? We’ll find out and I’m excited to see. I wasn’t excited about the series returning but after this episode I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall Rating: 7.97

Preacher Returns June 25 for Season 2

Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy are on a mayhem-filled road trip to find God — but Hell is coming after them.

AMC‘s Preacher, based off of the classic comic seires, returns June 25 and the first official trailer has been released.

The Walking Dead S7E16 The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

walking-dead-5 photoThe stakes continue to grow higher as paths cross; the group enacts an intricate plan.

The Walking Dead‘ wraps up its seventh season with a bloody extended episode that teases us a quick war that may end before it even begins.

Last episode saw Dwight defecting letting Rick know Negan is on his way and allowing for Rick to plan with the Scavengers to take on Negan and his Saviors. Things don’t go easy with double crosses and a shootout battle that feels like the cathartic release we’ve been craving this entire season.

But, the episode is an interesting one as it really focuses on Sasha in her sendoff episode. We know her character has to take off in some way due to the actress being cast in the new Star Trek series, but how will it go down?

That’s where the episode is interesting in that it teases you the entire time taking us through a construct of Sasha as she talks to Abraham in a dream-like sequence where we don’t know if this is her imagining things and hallucinating or if she’s dead and that’s juxtaposed with moments between Sasha and Maggie. It bounces between the two and it’s touching in numerous ways as an almost angel and devil on the shoulder debate.

I’m not going to spoil the crosses or the battle, but it’s absolutely worth it and the best moment of the season. This is the first volley in the massive war to come and there’s lots of emotional moments and small nods throughout the battle to keep you wondering who is on what side. Is Dwight turning into a face? Is it a put on? There’s lots of clues. And who turns and when is most interesting.

What I think is solid in this episode is that I felt like I was on the edge. I didn’t know where it was going to go and who was going to get killed and who would live. That’s impressive. I’ve read the entire series and still this episode had me guessing. Would it vear from the comics?

What’s great too is the Kingdom and Hilltop each have their moments as they still debate their actions and decide if they’ll rally or not. It’s quick but also a build up to the release.

But, it’s the end that stands out as Maggie and Rick recount what they’ve been through. It’s not just Rick, Maggie takes center stage as in the comics the series becomes her story as much as his. She steps forward as the leader in ways and we see that here. It’s solid and touching and as the episode wraps up it’s emotional. We’re taken through where they’ve been and get glimpses as to where it’s going as we’re reminded for all of the bang, the show is still about the people.

Overall rating: 8.65

The Walking Dead S7E15 Something They Need

walking-dead-5 photoA group of Alexandrians embarks on a journey; one member of the group must make a heartbreaking decision.

The Walking Dead‘ is setting up the next season which most assuredly is “All Out War” as Rick and his crew head to grab the gun cache we discovered exists in the isolated community of women from earlier in the season, Oceanside.

The episode is an interesting one as it shows where Rick’s head is right now and sets things up for what’s to come. While there’s some negotiations in an attempt to get the guns, there’s also a full out assault, though a non-lethal one, and it’s interesting where things go and who is willing to stand up and fight Negan and who’s not.

By the end of it all ends there’s some good stand up moments and you can see some of the characters breaking out at some point and going mainstream.

What’s great is some of the walkers we see at this point. The episode really takes advantage that Oceanside is ocean side and we see walkers ravaged by water and some of what you’d expect. It’s some amazing make-up and the detail is amazing. It puts the Pirates of the Carribean to shame.

But, it’s not all Oceanside.

Sasha is slowly slipping into madness in Negan’s custody where she still plots to kill him and Negan attempts to bring her on his side. Then Sasha attempts to bring Eugene to hers with a twist that’s really interesting and throws up the question as to where Eugene’s loyalty really is. We know it won’t end well with Sasha as the actress is heading to another series, it’s just a question as to how she’ll go.

The final part of the episode involves Maggie and Gregory. Gregory is a snake and the episode goes back and forth between his attempting to take out Maggie and not. Will he snap and turn her and Rick in? That’s part of the tension of the episode and Gregory is one that’ll get is comeuppance at some point. But, things are revealed about Gregory that’s key like he’s never killed a walker before. You can see Maggie slowly standing up and taking over the leadership role at Hilltop and this episode is another piece in that puzzle.

Then there’s the end of the episode where… well I’ll leave that one to viewing.

The episode is all about the build-up to the season finale which is the next episode and then the eventual war that’s about to break out between Rick and Negan. This is the set up with the pieces of the puzzle coming together. This is slightly different than how it shakes out in the comics so as a reader, I’m fascinated to see where it goes and what changes. You can feel the tension building to what I’m sure will be a cathartic explosion.

Not the best episode, but there’s more than enough action and lots of interesting interactions that’ll keep fans pleased.

Overall rating: 7.85

The Walking Dead S7E14 The Other Side

walking-dead-5 photoThe Saviors visit the Hilltop unexpectedly, surprising everyone, with plans of taking more than supplies.

The Walking Dead‘ continues to build the tension as the episode focuses on Sasha and Rosita going after Negan and Negan’s crew heading to Hilltop to get a new doctor now that theirs is dead.

The episode falls into the slow and plodding but full of tension type of show with things building throughout and everything presented being rather subtle. You never know what will set off an explosion and lead to greater escalation. This is an episode full of subtle things.

An example is early on with Jesus talking the Maggie where he officially comes out on the show. It’s something fans have wondered since his comic counterpart is gay and its been confirmed that he is, but this is the first official nod to it. The interaction with Maggie is excellent and his movement and look to see Maggie’s reaction says more than words could. The same goes with Maggie’s reaction. It’s a touching moment.

There’s the Hilltop issue with Daryl and Maggie having to hide. The tension there isn’t the will they be found question. The tension is if Gregory will turn them over. The dude is a snake and it’s a question of when he’ll turn them in, not if. That’s the build up here. But, it gives Maggie and Daryl a moment to talk where Daryl has an emotional moment that you can tell he feels guilty over Glenn’s death. It’s great acting and as a viewer I felt the pain being presented on screen.

The bigger part of the episode is Sasha and Rosita’s plan to assassinate Negan. But, that goes sideways as they come across Eugene. Now, it’s left to the viewers to decide. Has Eugene really been brainwashed and going along with Negan? Does he have a plan? The show plays it really well so viewers are unsure of where things are going with him. Sasha and Rosita’s plan is busted though which leads to Sasha to take matters into her own hand. We know things are probably not going to go well for her since the actress who plays her is going to another show, but you never know!

The episode is good in the subtle things it does, but is another episode setting up the war to come. Not the best, but there’s a lot of small things to keep viewers engaged and looking to dissect. The episode is full of tension, but never quite delivers in that department.

Overall rating: 7.65

The Walking Dead S7E13 Bury Me Here

walking-dead-5 photoThings do not go as planned when a group of Kingdommers delivers goods to the Saviors during a routine supply drop-off.

The Walking Dead‘ focuses primarily on the Kingdom in this episode that ramps things up through tragedy and sees one character slip towards bloodlust. The episode is very Morgan-centric as it tests his pacifism as things become tense with the Saviors.

The episode focuses on the Kingdom’s payment to the Saviors which is sabotaged by a member of the Kingdom in hopes it’ll spark the war between the Kingdom and the Saviors. It’s a twist that was easy to see coming and of course if goes horrifically wrong.

Those events orbit Morgan who is forced to make a decision and teeters on the brink of going back to his blood fueled days or if he remains the pseudo-pacifist that he has become. He’s presented with the truth as to why things went wrong with tragic results and

But, at its heart is Morgan and all of the tragedy he’s experienced over the seasons. There’s lots to his backstory that we don’t know and you see some of it come out here. This is a man who is traumatized from his actions and like someone experiencing PTSD it comes out here in his actions and what he says after. It’s a flip in many ways with the killer released, the Morgan we knew seems to be gone, but at the same time it’s not the warrior leading an uprising. This unleashed Morgan seems more to have accepted the world as is and that it’s kill or be killed.

But also important in this is Morgan’s interaction with Carol who he reveals exactly what has happened in Alexandria. As much as Morgan’s shift is important, Carol’s reaction is more so becoming the catalyst for what seems like the Kingdom’s shift. We’re not 100% sure that’s the case, we have to wait until next week to be sure.

The episode is one that mixes slow with shock twists. There’s multiple deaths, interesting reactions, and character development and depth added. It’ll be a pivotal episode in some ways and the ramifications will reverberate for a long time to come. The Walking Dead is its strongest when it mixes character development and shocking moments and this episode gives us that and then some.

Overall rating: 7.95

The Walking Dead S7E12 Say Yes Review

walking-dead-5 photoThe group scavengers for supplies; back in Alexandria, someone must make a morally challenging decision.

The Walking Dead‘ gives us an interesting episode as various members head out to go scavenging in hopes of finding guns so they can pay off their end of the bargain with the garbage people. It’s an interesting episode because while there’s some solid action sequences a lot of the episode is focused on Rick and Michonne as they spend time alone. Rick keeps mentioning how he’d like a few more days to scavenge with her and it feels like it’s almost a vacation for the two of them.

It’s cute to see the two as they find supplies including weapons and food in a destroyed carnival that feels like the thing of nightmares at times. It’s all rather interesting because it feels like the series is foreshadowing death. It’s a topic the two discuss, so makes you think something is being set up that might shock the viewers. It also could just be moments to set up the relationship more and we the viewers will feel a bit more tension if either of the two is put into danger.

But, other than that, there’s not a whole lot that happens in this episode. Rosita and Sasha scheme to take out Negan, but it’s an episode focused almost completely on Rick and Michonne. This is one of the “character” moments that some fans seem to flip out due to lack of action. But, the episode is a solid one focused on relationships and how they exist in this new world.

The setting of a building and a carnival is amazing in that there’s so much detail and every little bit gives the viewers a story. The walkers, the weapons, where things are placed, there’s just an amazing attention to detail that tells a story itself and the viewers are left to figure all of that out themselves.

The moments are subtle, the acting is key, and you almost forget how messed up the world is. Almost. It’s a good episode focused on characters and relationships.

Overall rating: 7.85

Briggs Land Returns with Briggs Land: Lone Wolves

Welcome to Briggs Land: nearly a hundred square miles of rural wilderness, representing the largest anti-government secessionist movement in the United States. The battle continues in the second series: Briggs Land: Lone Wolves, featuring New York Times best-selling writer Brian Wood and interior artist Mack Chater, and colorist Lee Loughridge. Matthew Woodson and art legend Kim Jung Gi lend their respective artistic skills to the cover and variant cover.

The first issue Briggs Land: Lone Wolves finds Isaac Briggs seeking the solace of the hiking trails around Briggs Land as he comes to terms with his past military service in Afghanistan. When two random backpackers accidentally wander onto the Land, an innocent situation quickly turns dangerous and threatens to expose the Briggs family to the media.

Brian Wood is currently adapting Briggs Land for AMC TV, serving as writer and executive producer, with producing partners A24.

The first issue Briggs Land: Lone Wolves (of six) goes on sale June 14, 2017.

briggs-land-lone-wolves-1-cover-by-matthew-woodson briggs-land-lone-wolves-1-variant-cover-by-kim-jung-gi

The Walking Dead S7E10 New Best Friends Review

walking-dead-5 photoWhile searching for a missing Alexandrian, Rick and his group encounter a mysterious collective, its inhabitants unlike any they have crome across.

The Walking Dead‘ Is building up and this episode really gets the ball rolling as we find out about the mysterious group that we were introduced to at the end of last episode. Much of the episode is the politicking and maneuvering for what will be the eventual conflict to come.

The new group is interesting in that it puts together a couple of different plot threads from earlier in the season and it’s a new type of group we haven’t seen before. They’re more of a collective and not very vocal which is unsettling for a few so many reasons. To me, this new group reminded me of something we’d see in a Mad Max film, and while different, it works. They are clearly the numbers that are needed for Rick to go unilateral, but adds some realism as to how Negan will eventually be defeated.

There’s also some movement in the Kingdom as Daryl bounces around talking to folks and finds there’s some allies, though they might not see eye to eye as to exactly how to go about things. But, the biggest thing of the episode is an eventual reunion between Daryl and Carol. The two are some of the cutest things on the show and there’s a bond there that puts a smile on my face every time we see them together.

The episode is a good on in that it sets things up for what’s to come and gives us something new, but it’s not the most exciting episode. The new group is interesting, we get a new walker, we get some plot lines answered, and Daryl and Carol are brought back together. There’s a lot, but it’s not all that great.

This episode is the set up episode building what’s to come. As a bridge, it does a solid job, but on its own, it doesn’t quite stand.

Overall rating: 7.85

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