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TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E3 Ghosts

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead focuses on the characters and psychology in the third episode “Ghosts.”

The threat of the Whisperers return leads to paranoia sweeping over Alexandria; in the meantime, Carol battles with the need for revenge.

The episode is a focus on the slog of it all and the impact on the survivors. It opens with hours after hours as waves after waves of walkers attack a town and need to be repelled. Something is driving them and it’s unclear if it’s the Whisperers or not.

How does that impact individuals?

Carol, Aaron, Michonne, and Negan are all spotlighted as they struggle to deal with the situation. That includes interactions with the Whisperers and facing the threat that looms. Carol and Daryl have their moments as Carol’s mindset is explored especially after the death of her “son.”

Negan and Aaron are key too as Negan is tasked with helping Aaron. Has Negan changed and what of his past crimes? The tension is there and their back and forth are interesting. Aaron has lots of resentment towards Negan. Negan does come off as wanting to reform and leave his past behind. But, at the same time he’s not sorry. His words indicate that he sees it all as what needed to be done. It’s clear Negan will have his redemption in this season, the question is how and when.

The episode is a tense one as danger looms and the focus is squarely on the pressure of it all. It’s a good episode that revolves around the characters as the series always does. The Walking Dead isn’t about scares. It’s about the survivors and their dealing with this new world. The episode is important hinting at what’s to come and reminds us where the characters currently are.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E2 We Are the End of the World

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead takes things back in the second episode with a flashback episode that reveals the origins of Alpha and Beta. Alpha attempts to toughen up Lydia as they prepare to walk with the dead. The Whisperers also create their herds.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is interesting. You could also call it “When Alpha met Beta.” That initial meeting isn’t quite as interesting as expected but it’s what unfolds that becomes really interesting, that of Lydia.

Through various glimpses, we get a sense of the horrors the Whisperers have done to survive in this new world. Those horrors eventually cracks Lydia and we see her break down and the repercussions of that. It highlights the abusive road that some have gone down and the deep psychological scars inflicted.

While not touched upon, contrast all of this with how the children of the various towns have endured and lived.

There’s some impactful moments that as a father of a daughter just chilled me. Lydia’s struggles. Alpha’s rejection of being called mother. It creates a cold and chilling experience. Add in Alpha’s actions and what she says it’s an interesting episode.

But overall, the episode focuses on the loss of self in this new world. Names are eschewed. It’s a shedding of identity and connection and with it humanity. Again, compare this to the communities and what they’ve done, endured, and built.

But despite that, there’s still something understandable about it all. These are individuals who have chosen a different way to survive. They see the walkers as both protection and destiny. This is a new reality and with it, new rules and norms are needed. And, as presented there’s a quasi-religious aspect to it all. But, Alpha still has depth and that’s in the form of her feelings for her daughter.

The episode creates a complicated relationship between Alpha and Beta and Alpha’s outlook on the world. It’s all much more complicated than what’s expected and the episode adds depth to characters who otherwise could easily have none. The revelations toward the end, such as where some of their walker masks come from, create a group that has layers.

It’s a creepy episode that focuses on the big evil of the season giving them history that makes them both more understandable and scarier at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.35

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E1 Lines We Cross

The Walking Dead Season 10

In the season 10 debut of The Walking Dead, the group in Oceanside continues to train in case the Whisperers return; tensions are high as the heroes struggle to hold onto their concept of civilization.

The Walking Dead returns with a packed episode that covers a lot of ground. It’s an interesting episode that attempts to explore the new normal and question who the heroes really are. With the threat of the Whisperers still looming, the civilization must focus on what reality is. Death looms over everyone as they reflect on those that passed and face new dangers.

The episode has some smart explorations, such as what happens to the infrastructure above. Satellites pose a risk and we see here what a challenge one presents when it crashes. It, as well as the opening, are reminders that this world doesn’t have the security that we take for granted. A fire in a forest is as much a threat as walkers or rival groups.

The episode’s highlights, like so much of the series, is the character and actor interactions. Norman Reedus’ Daryl and Melissa McBride’s Carol are the heart of the series still. Their friendship will be the emotional journey of this season and it does not bode well based on the finale.

While not an exciting start, the season 10 debut does a nice job of setting up the season to come. It’s not one of action but one of reflection and foreshadowing.

Overall Rating: 7.75

Movie Review: Black Panther

Lets get this out of the way, Marvel films are rather formulaic. We get the origin of the hero in the first third of the film, the second third is the set up where they are beaten down, then the last third turns into a fist fight. This is generally what we can expect and as more films are released, that formula grows a bit old. So, the question is, with each new release, can Marvel Studios deliver enough “new” to keep the audience engaged and interested. Black Panther delivers a lot new and then some, though suffers in that last third due to the formula.

The story is a bit James Bond as Black Panther must bring to justice a man who stole the country’s precious Vibranium decades earlier. Cool gadgets are plenty as illegal deals are attempted to be broken up all as we learn more about these cast of characters.

While we know some of Black Panther and the Dora Milaje (his elite bodyguards/warriors) from Captain America: Civil War where they debuted, the world of Wakanda is mainly unknown and this film is far more than the few that debuted in what seems forever ago. In a sense, this is an origin story like so many other Marvel Studios releases as T’Challa takes up the mantle of King as well as Black Panther. But, where Black Panther stands heads and above what’s come before is how it does that origin story and it’s focus on not just one man.

Played by Chadwick Boseman, T’Challa is conservative in many ways. There’s not as much ego or brashness, instead Boseman plays the character as the leader of a nation but also one who is clearly learning. He doesn’t go it alone or “have to learn,” he seeks council and relies on those around him. This is a very different superhero and the movie does an excellent job of recognizing that. Where it really stands out from those before is the supporting cast which is large and in charge. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, it’s the women (especially the Dora Milaje) who steal the show. Wonder Woman showed us kick-ass women, this film takes it to the next level in so many ways. And, while they definitely kicked ass, their presences was a statement too. The Dora Milaje are not one size fits all. While all members are athletic, the heights, build, and skin tone differ for each. While I expected a general uniform look (something more like the Amazons in Wonder Woman), I was surprised at the vast differences. In one scene in particular one rather tall member is next to a shorter member and I can only think this was done on purpose to emphasize this. Wright especially stands out for her enthusiasm and Q like character. She delivers the tech that makes Black Panther (and Wakanda) function. As T’Challa’s sister, there’s also a healthy relationship that feels fresh and like it’s been missing from movie screens.

But, it’s not just the young brilliant and kick-ass women who add to the film. Angela Bassett as Ramonda and Forest Whitaker as Zuri add a gravitas in a way and feel like they’re passing the baton to a new generation of Black actors.

But, what is a Marvel film without its villains? Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue and Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger step into those roles in what may be the best Marvel villains to date. We’ve seen Serkis’ briefly in a previous Marvel film, but here he’s able to amp up the sleaze to the next level both having fun with it all and making the audience feel dirty. But, it’s Jordan’s Killmonger that delivers a character that’s complicated at at times sympathetic. It’s difficult to truly dissect everything without spoilers but he’s an American whose goal is to take over the throne of Wakanda. His Western Imperialism embodied but one whose past and history makes him sympathetic.

And that complicated nature is what also makes Black Panther stand out as one of Marvel’s best films. This is a film, that in numerous scenes, debates the isolationist policy of Wakanda. It debates how this wealthy African nation leaves other nations and specifically Black individuals to suffer. While it prospers it does not provide aid, instead pretending it too is a Third World Nation. It directly addresses the concept of Black individuals “making it” then leaving others, the debate about supporting one’s own community. While the film takes place in Wakanda, it’s a debate that’s had right here in American communities, about supporting Black owned businesses or creators. It’s that sort of layering and detail that again makes the film stand out and the films’ writers Ryan Coogler (who also directed) and Joe Robert Cole deserve accolades for that.

Coogler’s direction, while good, falls a bit short of my expectations. Coogler is known for Fruitvale Station and Creed (both starring Michael B. Jordan). When it comes to direction, both of those films surpass Black Panther. But, visually, the film is amazing delivering us something that would make Jack Kirby cry. This is Afrofuturism on screen and through all the wonders of the city, when we get to the streets it feels lived in and real. Visually the film is stunning and you do see Coogler’s touches with small looks and moments that create a story that feels natural and how individuals actually interact.

As I said, the film does stumble a bit towards the end with a typical battle that has become standard in Marvel Studio films. This one feels like a bit of escalation with the amount of individuals involved so it does shake things up in some ways. It’s not just the usual hero fighting bad guy. But, the film does stumble in typical Marvel fashion. If it had come out earlier, before the pattern of stories was clear, this wouldn’t have been as much of an issue. But, the pattern and formula is pretty clear now.

Black Panther feels fresh though. The women steal the show. The first 2/3s feels more like a James Bond film than typical superhero movie, and there’s a healthy dose of exploring real world issues. There’s an enthusiasm and enough freshness about the film to make it stand out from the pack as one of Marvel’s best. The fact that everyone on screen doesn’t look like me is a large portion of that. Hopefully the film is as much of a success as I expect it to be and we see much more of this to come.

Overall Rating: 8.75

Entertainment Weekly Gives Us a First Look at The Walking Dead’s Michonne

I guarantee Michonne will go down as one of the best female characters on television and Entertainment Weekly has given us a first look at her.

Image credit: Gene Page/AMC

As for why they cast the relatively unknown Danai Gurira for the pivotal role, Kirkman says, “We looked at a lot of talented people that were really fantastic, but we were waiting for that one spark, that moment where everyone was completely in agreement and completely excited, and we felt like we had found the essence of this fictional character that just randomly appeared in another person, and that person was Danai Gurira. She kind of came in and really just blew us all away. She’s got incredible presence, and she’s got a theater background, and is very physical, and was just perfect for the role.”

AMC casts iconic character in “The Walking Dead”

AMC CASTS ICONIC CHARACTER MICHONNE IN
“THE WALKING DEAD”

New York, NY – March 18, 2011 – AMC has cast actress Danai Gurira (Treme/The Visitor) in the coveted role of Michonne in its original series, “The Walking Dead.” Tonight’s season two finale first featured the iconic character who will reappear in season three of the AMC series.  Michonne, a fan favorite from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, is a mysterious woman armed with a sword.

“The Walking Dead” tells the story of the months and years after a zombie apocalypse, following a group of survivors who travel in search of a safe and secure home.  The series goes on to explore the challenges of life in a world overrun by walkers, where the interpersonal conflicts often present a greater danger than anything else and  over time, the characters grow willing to do almost anything to survive.

“The Walking Dead” received rave reviews from countless critics, both domestically and internationally. “Above all else, “The Walking Dead” hasn’t lost the most important ingredient in its strangely successful recipe: it’s thrilling” (The Hollywood Reporter). “…with Dead’s riveting cast of characters, the personal dynamics are almost as potent as the gory thrills” (US Weekly). “The Walking Dead is a feast.  Dig in.”(The Guardian- UK).   “It doesn’t even take three minutes to realize that this series is setting standards” (Der Tagesspiegel-Germany).

“The Walking Dead” secured a 2010 Golden Globe nomination for best television series and won the 2011 Emmy award for outstanding prosthetic make-up. It is executive produced by Glen Mazzara, Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman and Dave Alpert.

About AMC
AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series – Drama for three consecutive years.  Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories.  AMC’s original stories include “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Killing” and “Hell on Wheels.”  AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with its slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About.  Available in more than 97 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv.  AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters Here SM.