Tag Archives: Television

The Walking Dead S7E8 Hearts Still Beating Review

walking-dead-5 photoNegan’s unwelcome visit to Alexandria continues as other members scavenge for supplies; things quickly spin out of control.

The Walking Dead‘ this season has been criticized for being slow, meandering, and really down. Not the usual story of survival, community, and family that we’ve seen for the last six seasons.

This mid-season finale, while not the best we’ve seen, is the best of the season and is as much of a message to the viewers as it is to the people of this universe.

It picks up from the previous episode where Negan has been hanging out in Alexandria waiting for Rick’s return and being rather domestic by cooking and having dinner. It’s interesting in we see a relaxed, almost charming Negan. This is one that would almost be a productive member of society. But, we know that’s not the case.

It’s hard to describe most of what happens for the Alexandria setting of the episode. Two individuals die and it’s not too shocking as to who it is. That takes away some of the emotional aspect of it, but how and why is interesting. It ramps up the tension of the series and really sets into motion what those who have read the comics know is coming…. “All Out War.”

But the episode really is about that catharsis. Rick, when we get to those final moments, is back in his “don’t fuck with him” mode and ready to take on Negan for the greater good. Up to this point he’s been broken by Negan, but there’s a change here and we almost see the switch in Rick as he goes through some motions.

And there’s a hell of a lot of emotion as well. Daryl makes it out of Sanctuary and back to the group which results in a reunion where I teared up a little. But the group as a whole comes together and in those final moments march on to what happens next. It’s a reunion that screams the band is back together and game on. It’s the emotional moment which has been lacking for much of this year.

The end of it all feels like a message to the viewers as much as everyone on the show. Rick is back. Rick is ready to kick ass. Negan’s reign is coming to an end as Rick’s “ricktatorship” is back. Rick has a message for fans, buckle up because all hell is about to break loose.

Overall rating: 8.85

The Walking Dead S7E7 Sing Me a Song

walking-dead-5 photoA deeper look at the Sanctuary and the world of the Saviors; members of Alexandria look for supplies.

The Walking Dead‘ focuses on the Sanctuary in this episode that picks up on Carl’s trip to try and kill Negan. It’s an interesting one in that we get a much better idea as to who Negan is and what the “rules” of the Sanctuary and Saviors are.

A lot of the episode is Negan talking to and dealing with Carl after Carl kills a few of his members. It’s scenes that come straight from the comic as Negan breaks down and tries to figure out who Carl is and more importantly what he should do with him.

It’s an interesting episode because we see a different side of Negan. He is his usual dickish self, but he also backs up a little when he thinks and realizes he’s dealing with a kid. We also see Negan explaining his thought process is and how things run.

We run through Negan showing off the world of the Sanctuary and get a better idea as to how things work. It’s more detail than we’ve seen before and better sense as to how people react around him. And based on looks and reactions, it’s also clear there’s some issues within the ranks. We get a better idea that there’ll soon be an uprising against Negan and his loyal followers.

There’s other parts of the episode as folks look for items, but nothing really stands out. Like the previous extended episode there’s a bunch that happens, but nothing exciting and it felt like there wasn’t much of a reason to have the extra thirty minutes. Maybe an extra ten or fifteen (with ads, much less), but the extended episodes don’t feel like they take advantage enough of the time (and that says something for a show that tends to stretch things out).

The episode is the Negan spotlight we haven’t had and presents him in more depth than we’ve had before. What’s interesting is the live action version is just a slightly different version of Rick as opposed to the larger than life character presented in the comics. Still, he’s a slightly different challenge and based on how this episode ended, I’m looking forward to seeing how the mid-season finale wraps up in the next episode.

Overall rating: 7.75

The Walking Dead S7E6 Swear Review

walking-dead-5 photoAway from all the tragedy caused by Negan and his Saviors, Tara and Heath run into trouble after crossing paths with a mysterious new group. A brand new society unlike anything seen before.

The Walking Dead‘ really shifts the focus with an episode completely focused on Tara and Heath who have been awol for the season. I honestly had forgotten about both of them until this point, which I’m not sure what that says about their two characters.

We knew that Corey Hawkins (Heath) would be leaving the show in some way as the actor is the lead in the 24 reboot, 24: Legacy which begins soon. It’s just a question of how, not an if, and this episode sort of answers that.

The episode bounces back and forth between the present with Tara stumbling upon a new group of individuals and her and Heath’s journey. It’s an interesting episode as we learn about this new community as Tara does with little bits of information being teased out little by little. We don’t know if they’re friend or foe and honestly I’m not quite sure what the answer is by the end of the episode.

We learn they’ve had their run in with the Saviors. That they’re very distrusting. That they’re pretty well armed. And my guess is they’ll come into play later this season. It’s just a question as to how. And I have some ideas, but I’m not 100% sure.

The biggest thing about the episode is Heath’s good-bye. It’s an interesting sendoff and one… well I don’t want to spoil it at all.

But, the real emotional punch is the end of the episode as Tara makes it back to Alexandria. She’s been away through all of the events so how will she react? The last few minutes are the real punch to the gut and few words are said as Tara and Eugene exchange glances. It plays into something Tara says earlier in the episode and the impact is felt instantly. The show does some of its best work with what’s shown visually instead of verbally and that scene in particular is a perfect example.

The episode is a slow but interesting one that pays off in the last 15 minutes which show the emotional rollercoaster the show excels at and reminds us at its heart it’s all about those still living.

Overall rating: 8.15

The Walking Dead S7E5 Go Getters Review

walking-dead-5 photoSaddled with grief and surrounded by enemies, members of the group try to find safety at the Hilltop before it’s too late.

The Walking Dead‘ changes its focus in this episode from the Savior’s camp and Alexandria to Hilltop where we get to see Maggie, Sasha, and Jesus.

But the episode is so much more than that too.

First, we find out how Maggie is doing and Sasha is by her side the entire way. There’s news about the baby and I’m not a spoiler person so you’ll have to watch the episode or go elsewhere to find out.

But, the episode is really more about Maggie coming in to her own in a way and standing up to Gregory, the spineless current leader of Hilltop.

The community is sent a message by the Saviors which results in Sasha, Maggie and Jesus taking the lead to deal with it all barking out orders and making the situation safe. It’s a stark contrast to Gregory who grovels in front of whatever the Saviors say. And that contrast is the spark of the power play to come. As a comic reader, I know how this ends, but it’ll be interesting to see how the show varies from the source material.

There’s also something with Carl and Enid. They go on a road trip and again I don’t want to ruin it as to where and why. Something happens between them and we’ll just leave it at that.

The episode is an interesting one in many ways but what stands out to me is it wasn’t about how scary or imposing the Saviors are. Instead the focus is on Maggie the badass and her standing up. That is something I’ve been looking forward to and think from here on out it’s as much Maggie’s story as it is Rick’s and hopefully the show will recognize that as well.

Overall rating: 8.15

The Walking Dead S7E4 Service Review

walking-dead-5 photoThe remaining members of the group try to keep it together in Alexandria; they receive a sobering visit.

The Walking Dead‘ is interesting in that the Saviors come knocking in Alexandria to demand their payment. It’s the first confrontation between Negan and Rick since the events of the first episode and first payment to be made… and they’re early.

The episode has two main points, for Negan to dominate and for Rick to come to a realization of what the new reality is. And that’s the interesting thing about this episode. There’s not a lot of flash, it’s all about the subtle moments, words, and interactions.

Most of that surrounds around Rick as we see him go through the steps of resistance and eventually acceptance. He at first resists Negan a bit and then eventually gives into his demands and wants. He gives up goods. He gives in to demands. And we eventually find out why.

Though the episode is an extended one, it’s the last 5 to 10 minutes of it that’s really key. In a discussion with Michonne, Rick gives up what’s on his mind and he goes through a lot including what happened to Shane and the truth about Judith.

This episode can best be described as the psychology of Rick. We get a sense of where he’s at with the reality of what’s going on. It’s a key episode because of that. Because now we know where Rick’s starting from mentally, we can get more interested into where he goes from here.

Overall rating: 7.65

The Walking Dead S7E3 The Cell Review

walking-dead-5 photoA new group of survivors seem to have it all in their impressive community; however, there is a price.

The Walking Dead‘ focuses on Daryl and Dwight in this episode that’s really paired down in a lot of ways. The episode takes place mostly in part of the Survivor’s community, the Sanctuary, and a lot of it revolving around Daryl’s incarceration by Negan.

The episode is fascinating is that it really drives into the psychological control Negan has of his followers. But, is that control absolute? What we see in this episode is some of those first cracks and that has to do with Dwight.

The episode is about control and control. Negan wants to break Daryl and make him a member of the Saviors and Dwight has made that a mission of his. But what’s Dwight’s motivations?

For me, it feels like Dwight is focusing on Daryl because he himself is torn over being broken by Negan. Dwight wears Daryl’s vest. Dwight rides Daryl’s motorcycle. Dwight uses Daryl’s crossbow. It’s clear Dwight is a bit fascinated and obsessed in a way over Daryl. We can guess why, but most likely it’s due to Daryl’s being free and standing up compared to Dwight’s emasculation.

We get some of Daryl’s backstory which ties slightly into what we saw of Dwight last season. There’s some pieces of the puzzles coming together there and what happened to Dwight’s face. It’s interesting and throughout the episode Negan looms over everyone.

We also learn more about Negan. We get some of his moral code. We get some of his philosophy. And we get the sense of his control over everyone. It’s a slow tease of the villain who isn’t as much as a villain as may think. Maybe he just sees a different way to create order.

As I said, it’s an interesting episode that shows how much things have been played out, but we also begin to see cracks in a new world full of so much order.

Overall rating: 7.95

The Walking Dead S7E2 The Well Review

walking-dead-5 photoFor a number of familiar faces, a new, well-established community seems too good to be true.

The Walking Dead‘ changes pace in the second episode of the seventh season as we get to learn about a new location, The Kingdom through the perspective of Carol and Morgan.

We got a glimpse of the Kingdom at the end of the sixth season when a person on a horse rode up to the two with Carol injured and Morgan trying to protect her.

The episode is a fascinating one for so many reasons.

The biggest thing about the episode is the perspective of the world through Carol’s eyes. She’s hurt. She’s broken. She’s seeing the world as it was and as it is, but at the same time she also has enough of her mind that she’s able to put on an act for King Ezekiel and his followers. It shows so much about Carol in that she not only is broken, but is still able to protect herself and act in a way unlike who she is to get what she needs.

But lets get to that Kingdom.

Through Carol we see the absurdity that is this new location. But, we also see how hopeful it is. And that’s the amazing thing about it all. The first episode was all about the loss of hope, but this episode is the complete opposite as we learn about this new community that’s built itself up on what amounts to fantasy.

There’s also an interesting reckoning in many ways between Carol and Morgan. The two haven’t exactly seen eye to eye and the episode is peppered with moments between the two that shows that even through the animosity there’s a respect and a friendship. The last moments of the episode, while simple, are also some of the most touching too.

The episode blends a pivotal scene from the comics that feature Michonne, but instead it’s Carol who finds out the truth about Ezekiel and the Kingdom as he gives a speech about why it’s needed.

But, there’s reality too.

The Kingdom too is dealing with the Saviors and have welcomed Morgan and Carol to their community knowing that they’ve dealt with the Saviors and beaten them in their own way. We get to see the friction and what they have to give up to their overlords.

It’s a lighter episode that brings back the hope and community and many ways. It also has given us some of the most entertaining characters in a long time. And with that, what was off the rails gets right back on and moving in the right direction and the conflict that’s still to come.

Those final moments of the show feel like they are a microcosm of so much of what the series is about. Community. Family. And hope.

Overall rating: 8.15

The Walking Dead S7E1 The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be Review

walking-dead-5 photoAs the members of the group remain helpless, Negan takes action that will forever haunt those who survive.r.

The Walking Dead‘ seventh season debut may be one of the most anticipated season debuts of any show. The sixth season ended with Negan figuring out who will be the one that’ll receive the end of Lucille. The seventh kicks off with Rick swearing he’ll kill Negan as blood sits on his face.

Much like the summer, the episode is all about the build up to what amounts to be a brutal 10 minute span as we find out the victims of Negan’s “justice.”

20 minutes. That’s how long we have to wait to find out who is on the other end of Lucille and it can only be described as brutal and excessive. I remember first reading The Walking Dead #100 and the scene in that comic was so over the top it had me contemplating giving up reading the comic series. What’s portrayed on screen is excessive with an amount of gore that’s kind of shocking to see on television that’s not paid premium channels. It had my stomach churning at the brutality.

What’s impressive is we all knew what was going to happen this episode yet the writers are able to stretch things out and leave us guessing as to what happens next. Death after death as Rick in shock reflects on what his decisions has lead to.

But, what’s interesting is it’s not until almost the one hour mark that we get our main cast talking to each other. For almost the entire hour we’ve had what amounts to a soliloquy by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who channels Negan with a fury and messed up charm that makes it all gripping.

But, even though it’s gripping, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing.

I don’t know what it is about the episode. I was enthralled to see who was killed, but when that moment comes and goes it feels empty. Shock for shock’s sake. It’s not until the final minutes of the show the real emotion hits as Maggie, Rick, and the rest of the survivors begin to talk and react to what’s happened. And in that moment it shows off the heart of the sow. It’s not about the shock. It’s not about grossness. It’s about these characters and their relationships. It’s about the humans of this world and how they survive through it all.

The episode wasn’t quite the tour de force that I was hoping for, but it’s a hell of a start that sets the seventh season off on one hell of a journey.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S2E15 North

fear-the-walking-dead-posterIn the second-season finale, Travis’ rage causes unrest at the RBH; and Madison must decide if she will stand by Travis. Meanwhile, Nick takes on leadership of the Colonia as Narcos close in.

Fear the Walking Dead shakes things up with the second of the two-part season finale as Travis’ actions causes Madison to have to make a choice as to what to do and then there’s Nick and Colonia, with those drug dealers closing in.

Shit goes down at the hotel which shakes things up and forces Travis and Madison to take off, but they also head out to find Nick and like the last episode this one is split into two parts but the exact opposite is the focus. Nick takes center stage and his role with Colonia.

The hour was action packed and pretty damn gory. As a clash between the Colonia crew and Narcos was coming it was a question whether they should fight or run and the latter is chosen with Nick taking over as leader of the group… which doesn’t go well at all.

The episode is about decisions and consequences and also ramping things up. While it’s the zombie apocalypse, but the need to kill, and kill humans, hasn’t been there as much, but this episode and the previous one feels like a switch has happened. The show has no problem killing characters, and they kill off some big ones here. There isn’t quite the same connection as with its sister series, so the killing of characters can come fiercely and quickly, like it has here. And some of it comes quick and in unexpected ways.

And that ending! Didn’t see that coming at all and I don’t want to spoil things, but who opened fire? Is this the US government? Is this Minutemen-ish people? We’ll have to wait until next season to find out, but it looks like we’ll finally see what’s going on in the US!

Overall Rating: 7.95

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S2E14 Wrath

fear-the-walking-dead-posterTravis is blindsided by new refugees at the hotel. Meanwhile, Nick must make the decision to leave Colonia or stay with Luciana.

Fear the Walking Dead begins to wrap its second season with the first of two episodes and boy is there a lot to cover in the final two hours of the season.

Wrath continues to be broken up into two parts with part focused on the hotel and the other part of Colonia, both of which bring a decent amount of drama and tension.

The big part of the show is the fate of Chris which Travis finds out from the two individuals they spent time with in the season. We get the news of what happened and I’m not going to ruin it, but with the actor who plays Chris also currently on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s no surprise as to the news. But, what’s interesting is what Travis does and the actual truth to it all. It’s a brutal scene full of cathartic rage and one that’s not unjustified. Much of the season has been void of the brutal violence we’ve seen in its sister series, but the entire season has built up to this moment and the question is, where does it and Travis go from there?

Then there’s Nick and Colonia where the truth of things are revealed, though that’s not the main point of the episode. The main point is Travis’ actions and what he does when he finds out about the truth of his son. It’s a hell of an ending to the episode and will absolutely change things going forward.

Overall Rating: 7.95

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