Fear It!: Season 3, Episodes 4 & 5 – 100 & Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

I was off on a vacation last week, and, because of that, I didn’t get a chance to watch the fourth episode of this season until just last night. But that meant I got to experience more joy, with binge-watching two episodes of this action-packed show back-to-back! Or it means that I had to plow through two hours of characters completely throwing aside things that previously defined them all for the sake of trying to give us something different. Take your pick.

It also means that this post is going to encompass both episodes. First up, we got to see more about Daniel’s wild ride ever since the fire that almost wrote him off of the show. But hey, a man with Salazar’s background surely wouldn’t be defeated by something as simple as fire, especially one that he set himself. It’s not like he was dancing before he set it (oops, getting somewhat ahead of myself with that comment). Anyway, let’s dive in and take a look at what happens when Daniel keeps it 100.

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Via AMC

5. Daniel

Make no mistake, Daniel Salazar is fully a character that should have a good chance of making it through the apocalypse, given his background fighting in the civil war in El Salvador. And it would be remiss to ignore that his encounters at the beginning of the episode was hampered by the fact he had recently walked away from pretty intense burns. However, when the dog ended up being the only thing that prevented the walker from deciding to dig deeper than the over-cooked leg meat, maybe Daniel should have gotten up and tried to find a different location? Instead, it’s pretty apparent that he hid underneath the car, and ended up sleeping there. He’s incredibly lucky that Efrain was there the next morning.

4. Efrain

Efrain’s actually pretty smart when it comes to gathering the water. He may not know where it came from, but he is aware that once a week, he gets to fill his buckets, and take it others who desperately need the hydration. Maybe his blaring radio isn’t the best choice, given its ability to lure looters, walkers, and Dante’s guards, but it’s also an effective way to let people know they can get a drink. However, when out scavenging, shortly after Daniel’s procedure, Efrain decides to bring the limping, cane-hobbled man with him. When you know that you’re headed into dangerous territory, and have a lot trying to take away your safety, maybe keep the guy who will slow you down tremendously at home.

3. Lola

Lola’s actually fairly lucky that Daniel is trying to protect her, and that Dante and his men aren’t great at tracking down the thief, but she really should have done more to cover her tracks. Instead, she seems to believe that she will get away with siphoning water at the exact same time every week, and sending it to the fountain for her friends to drink their fill. Heck, it still might have worked, if it hadn’t been for her jumping in to stop Efrain from suffering more torture. To think, all of it could have potentially been avoided if she had just decided to not try and cover for Daniel upon his arrival at the dam.

2. Strand

Remember when we all thought Victor was incredibly smart, calculating, and one of the few people who should survive? Yeah, those were a good couple of episodes. Now, we’ve got a Victor Strand who has literally been stripped off anything that made him the man we first met, and who can’t even keep his story straight. He actually had Daniel almost willing to spring him from the jail, until he mentioned that Ofelia was “waiting for him”. Great, buddy. She’s waiting for a guy that everyone, including her, was convinced was dead? Good thing you still had some use.

1. Dante

Oh, Dante. You got your dam. You even sussed out the truth about Daniel, all because he refused to stand for your entrance and JC wasn’t willing to let that moment slide. Maybe you should have been just a little more careful with a man you knew could kill literally any and all of your men with little provocation. Showing yourself to not be working for the side of the angels put Daniel into a tricky position, but it also snapped him out of whatever reverie he was in that allowed him to believe working for you was his best, or maybe only, option.

That was just the first episode consumed this week. Well, for me. Everyone else probably parceled out the episodes the way the network intended. Instead, now that we’ve been reacquainted with Daniel, and he and Strand start their buddy epic, we also get to go back to the Otto ranch, and check in on the Clark family. They may be Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame, but they also have a new recruit to their beliefs, or at least someone willing to pretend and help. Maybe the dancing old couple should have been put on display earlier for other potential recruits.

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Via AMC

5. Troy

Troy seems to still be insistent on proving his worth to his father. Not only is he going to lead the search for whoever shot down the chopper, but he’s going to lead the bucket brigade to attempt to extinguish the fire at Russell and Martha’s. Sure, it was a huge waste of water, but it actually showed a level of concern for others. However, Troy was also the one to lead the group to Phil’s outpost, and then straight into the trap Walker and his people had set for them. Listen, folks, in the apocalypse, if you see someone strapped to a chair, with a bird pecking out their brain, maybe don’t investigate? Just a thought.

4. Jake

Maybe Alicia just wanted to feel something. Maybe she was still in a bit of a cloud after spending the previous night at her “Bible study”. Maybe she’s taken a shine to Jake as one of the few new people she’s met who’s actually shown any kindness to her and her family. If only she’d known that shortly after sex, he would try and gift her a Charles Bukowski book. What, didn’t Jake have any Ginsberg or Frost available? Listen, Jake, even pre-apocalypse, giving a girl Bukowski after you’ve slept with her probably isn’t the best move. Just saying.

3. Strand

It was already mentioned above, in the previous episode, that Strand has difficulty holding on to his story with Daniel. The question now is why he wouldn’t have taken literally any point during the apparent day of travel to tell Daniel the truth about Ofelia. Yes, she had gone to the hotel, but then she left. Strand could have stated that at any point, and the worst-case scenario would have been being abandoned on the side of the road, where he was in the open and not surrounded by a horde. Instead, the timing of his admission led to Daniel depositing him at the hotel. To be precise, inside of the hotel, with plenty of the reanimated dead lumbering towards him.

2. Madison

Forget about Madison walking into the trap with Troy and his squad. Forget her trying to usurp control of said squad from Troy. Let’s instead just look at the early combat with the walkers, and remember that Madison has fought a great many corpses already in her adventures. Maybe she was dealing with a heavier weapon than she was used to, but why did she strike at the zombie’s neck? She failed to destroy the walker, which almost led to her facing an early demise. Thank goodness the rest of Troy’s crew thought she was worth saving, having “proven herself”, apparently by not backing away from the fight.

1. Nick

Nick doesn’t trust Jeremiah, Troy, or the rest of the people at the Broke Jaw Ranch. He is only staying until Luciana can be rehabilitated from her injuries, and then the two of them are leaving. Wait, no, scratch all of that. That was Nick before he watched Russell and Martha dancing on their porch. Suddenly, Nick sees the benefit of staying behind, and is willing to put in the extra effort to scrub clean the fire-destroyed home. He even thinks that Luciana will agree with him. You can’t say that he’s doing it to keep his family together, since that clearly stopped being a concern last season. Nope, instead Nick now wants to stay. This will surely work out well for him and everyone else.

That wraps up both of these episodes. If math is on my side, we’ve got three episodes before the mid-season finale, and maybe we’ll actually get to see more of Ofelia’s story by then.

Fear It!: Season 3, Episode 3 – TEOTWAWKI

Well played, Fear the Walking Dead. Thanks to you, we now have a clever phrase to use when we are talking about that great R.E.M. hit from 1987. And by clever phrase, I mean something that looks silly when typed out, and somehow sounds even sillier when said out loud. Thanks, though, for letting us know how the Otto family was able to be so prepared for the end times. Makes you wonder why any character from the original series that would’ve started out near there would have decided that Washington was the better bet. After all, the way that VHS video was packaged, it certainly seemed like Jeremiah and his family knew what was up. They even included the prerequisite scenes of utter destruction, while slamming the national government as being complicit. It really works on the one level that those types of videos need to work.

So that’s great. It didn’t start with an earthquake, or birds, snakes or aeroplanes, but it did start with a massive amount of people not using more caution around the recently reanimated dead. We’ll have to wait to hear how Lenny Bruce feels, but we’re guessing that he isn’t all that afraid. After all, it is TEOTWAWKI, and we feel fine.

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Via AMC

Willful use of the lyrics above aside, this week we got to witness some more of this show’s trademark “huh?” moments, so let’s run them down.

5. Vernon

Vernon is angry. He wants to get revenge on whoever took down the helicopter, leading to Charlene’s death. Truthfully, his anger is completely justified. But Vernon is missing a key detail; the ranchers don’t know  single thing about what brought the chopper down other than gunfire. Heck, for all they (and, truthfully, we) know, it could have been Troy ordering some of his men to remove that pesky brother from his side. Instead of sending a raiding party out with no information, Vernon should instead be pushing to get all of those details.

4. Jake

Look, brotherly connections are great. Family is important, especially in a post-apocalyptic world. But Jake needs to start understanding that Troy may just not be redeemable. We know about Troy’s “experiments”, and there have definitely been hints that this isn’t the first time. Heck, Jake even points out that the ranch wouldn’t accept Troy if they knew what he truly did. There comes a point where you have to question why he keeps covering for him, unless Jake has an even darker secret to hide.

3. Strand

Strand thinks he has his next move all worked out. He’s going to visit with his old friend and business partner, and the two of them are going to ensure each other’s safety. Except Strand seems to have forgotten that most of the things he did while working with Dante are not necessarily the most moral of activities. There’s literally no reason why Strand should simply assume that Dante will want to work with him, knowing what he’s capable of. Even when Dante is tossing the other criminal off of the side of the dam, Strand seems to believe that his charm and previous working relationship will see him through. Strand may have changed thanks to his time with the Clark family, but he never should assume that Dante has had a similar, benevolent influence.

2. Alicia

So, Alicia gets invited to a bible study, but the ranch’s local rebellious teen gang. They even promise she’ll get to meet “Jeff” if she goes. For some reason, the character that has been becoming more cautious and guarded now decides to throw that caution to the wind, go along with these other kids she has literally only spoken to for 30 seconds, and even willingly is the first one to enter their secret study lair. It’s all good, though, because they’re just going to sit around, get high and drunk, and “talk” to a reanimated head they call “Jeff”. Yup, just another day in TEOTWAWKI. Oh, and the sister of the drug addict didn’t even take a moment to question what might be in the pipe? Sure, weed is likely, but there’s no guarantee.

1. Daniel

NO! You were free! You had escaped any further obligations to this show, and the other characters! Why did you come back?! Of course, now this means we might get our buddy comedy The Walking Dead: Open Road, showing Daniel and Strand kicking butt and showing complete disregard for anyone not them as they drive across the country, hoping to make it to Portland in time to hit the most awesome flea markets, so it isn’t all bad.

That wraps up this week’s episode. Next week is already looming on the horizon, so let’s just get wrap this up and prepare ourselves. And realize we only have a short time before we start getting our Preacher palate cleanser.

 

Fear It!: Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2 – Eye of the Beholder & The New Frontier

Previously on Fear the Walking Dead, there was a deliberate effort to kill off any of the reasons people may have wanted to actually keep watching the show (Daniel. I mean they killed off Daniel). After that moment, we got to watch Chris go more fully psychopathic, we witnessed Madison ignore her own declarations about how to stay safe, and we got to sit by as Travis just kept Travising his way through the post-apocalypse. With a second season like that, what could they possibly do in the third season?

Well, for starters, they could drop both of the first episodes together into a supersized season debut, giving us all absolutely no real time to adjust to the new reality before it gets stripped away again and replaced with yet another rebuild of a more successful Walking Dead set piece. They could also try and up the stakes, which implies that the audience as a whole is doing other than rooting for total destruction for these characters. Oh, and they could bring back one of the few compelling stories, and give us all a chance to once again scratch our heads at this man who seemed to start out his existence in this world playing mutli-dimensional chess, but is now apparently settled on Connect Four. When presented with the Eye of the Beholder, do we really get a New Frontier? Or do we just plod along with more of the same?

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Via AMC

Since this was a double-episode, that means I’ll be delivering a double list. Let’s start with our friends during Eye of the Beholder.

5. The Soldiers/Troy

Let’s just start with the most obvious of things. DON’T CREATE WALKERS! Sure, the soldiers may have convinced themselves that they were doing it for scientific purposes, trying to learn about how long it takes for different people in different circumstances to reanimate, but really, it all just boiled down to being a bunch of jerks, killing people, and creating a potential hazard in your own space. Something about not doing certain things where you sleep.

4. Willy

You’ve been creating walkers, and the time has come to evacuate the fortress you’ve been living in. While leaving, you hear scratching in the walls. It’s probably a good idea to just ignore the scratching, keep your head down, and leave. After all, why do you care if there are rats in the walls? You’re not going to be around to deal with it. Of course, Willy isn’t around to deal with it any longer, thanks to his odd curiosity, that lead to him being pulled into the wall by hidden walkers. Next time, dude, just leave.

3. Travis

You’ve got plenty of evidence that the people running this fort are not super-connected to reality, especially in relation to how the world used to work. You know what’s going to go strongly in your favor? How about you spend time antagonizing them, and taking the strangest route towards appeal by calling their actions “criminal”. Oh, and let’s just pretend that “criminal” means the same thing with how society has deteriorated. Travis is lucky that he didn’t get jumped to the top of the list, before he could formulate a plan.

2. Nick

Escape is imminent. You’re going to get out of this enclosure, and you’re going to get your wounded girlfriend to safety (admittedly, without knowing whether safety was really on the other side or not). Don’t be Nick. Nick didn’t really have a lot of choice about sending Luciana into the tunnels first, but he probably could have tried anything other than shouldering the gate securing the other end, so that it was broken beyond repair. Oops. Now the walkers outside have a clear path to the buffet.

1. Troy

Troy almost lost his eye during Madison’s escape effort, thanks to a well-placed spoon. The eye wasn’t lost, but it was heavily bandaged. When the dead invaded, and Troy was forced to take up arms to try and get everyone out, he made a point of aiming down the barrel, which is good for someone trying to line up the head shots needed to take out the walkers. However, his aim put the barrel and sights perfectly in line with his bandaged eye. I get not being able to adjust to your non-dominant eye on the fly like that, but maybe just try not to take the extra time to aim down a bandage?

So that was the first episode of this third season. But wait, there’s more! It was a FTWD sandwich, with episodes surrounding some commercials as the meat (well, depending on how you watched it, I guess). So what happened in The New Frontier?

5. Nick

Let’s see. You’ve made it to what appears to be something resembling a safe space. You could embrace the safety for a short time, formulate a plan, and see if their family reunites your family. Or you could be Nick, and try to head out, with no idea of the surrounding geography, or where the missing members of your family might be. Make sure to be a petulant asshole about the entire experience!

4. Jake

When looking for Charlene, Jake split from Alicia, giving her a sidearm just in case there was a need. The group had already lost Travis through no fault of their own, and there was no desire to lose any more. Jake’s personal connection to Charlene may have clouded his judgement somewhat, but the man got to the edge of a rise, looking down on where Charlene had probably gone. It’s fairly clear he knows where the edge is, right up to the point where he blindly takes one step forward and falls, almost ensuring his own demise.

3. Nick

You’re heavily outnumbered. You’re also heavily outgunned. You’ve spent your entire time in this particular encampment being upset that you have to even pretend to play nice. They see your wounded girlfriend, see that she’s wounded, and see that it’s doubtful she can pull through. She’s also another mouth to feed, and one that can’t contribute a lot in the immediate future. In a lot of ways, the ranchers had the correct idea with what to do about Luciana, and letting Nick be the one to take care of things was actually a compassionate move. Leave it to Nick to decide that, hey, I’m just going to threaten Troy, aiming the gun at him. That’s taking a huge risk, given that he doesn’t actually know how the family feels about Troy, and that the ranchers wouldn’t just immediately eliminate all of the new people in their midst.

2. Strand

Remember when we met Strand? He took Nick under his wing, because he saw a certain special something. There at least seemed to be some level of calculation in what Strand did, and, while that did backfire with regards to the entire family being brought about his boat, it didn’t really change who he was. Now he’s wandering through life, his fellow survivors having moved on, and the love of his life having succumbed to death’s final embrace, and he’s shifting his entire concept, saving people seemingly at random? Sure, the people outside of the hotel gates were likely to force their way into the hotel, taking out those who kept the gates locked as revenge. But Strand is the type of character that previously would have found a way to connive his way to safety. Well, that was before. Now, he’s the type of character that opens a balcony window for a clear suicidal, and doesn’t think to keep a close watch on either it or her.

1. Nick

“We are not civilians”. Okay, SuperJunkie. Okay.

That does it for this week’s back-to-back premiere! How will the family fare without Travis there to try and talk his way into and out of every situation? Will Alicia again be given the magic of silky, conditioned hair, just because she’s been able to rinse it off with something other than rain water? Will Nick just keep being a complete jerk to everyone around him, until even Madison can’t take any more? And will Strand continue to strike out on his own, eventually leaving for a better quality show? Only time will tell.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 16 – The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

That’s it, folks. Seven seasons in the bag. 99 episodes of zombie mayhem. This season began with a huge emotional impact, and then sort of meandered its way to the finale, feeding us a few extra-long episodes along the way. In many ways, season seven was all about setting the stage for what comes next. Now that war is coming to The Walking Dead, there are definitely indications that the eighth season will be bigger, louder, and messier than seasons past.

As for the finale itself, we got taken on a bit of an emotional journey over the course of it. That journey? We got to follow along with Sasha’s personal voyage, including flashbacks to her conversation with Abraham before the fateful trip to bring Maggie to the Hilltop doctor. It was nice to give Sasha such a high-impact send-off, but the way that the narrative cut back and forth between Sasha’s quieter moments and the action at Alexandria definitely slowed the story down. Also, let’s be honest. Sasha, while taking a bigger role over this season, was still truly a second-rank character. Crafting The First Day of the Rest of Your Life in such a way means that we’re bound to have a full season long goodbye should we ever see Rick, Daryl, Michonne, or a few of the others put on the chopping block. Or was this an attempt to make up for what they did to Glenn?

Please don’t be mistaken. Sasha’s final story was a great one. The episode being cut the way it did made the pacing weird, but man, is there another character who would have gone to the lengths that Sasha did, just to try and get that last shot at Negan? It may not have worked out the way she planned, but you can’t say that she didn’t eventually go out on her own terms.

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Via AMC.

5. Jadis

“I lay with him after”. Listen, Jadis, even if it wasn’t for the fact that you were totally planning on switching sides, and helping the Saviors, that just isn’t something you say to Michonne about Rick.  In fact, you don’t say that about anyone, ever. Even if they’re into it. Because it’s weird, and unsettling. Maybe you should have just said that to Farron in private, or at least sotto voce, so we could pretend Rick and Michonne were freaked out over nothing.

4. The Saviors

Guys, there’s a tiger loose on the battlefield. Sure, you didn’t know that Shiva was there before she jumped in to save Carl, but you’d think that, once you know about the fierce animal, you’d spend at least part of your focus keeping an idea of where she’d gone off to. But alas, Shiva got to make a couple of the antagonists into a quick lunch. It does go to show that Ezekiel makes some pretty good friends.

3. Morgan

I get it. You’ve basically watched as the entire creed you’ve been living by has been trashed, all because of some bad choices by others in The Kingdom. You’re angry, and you’ve turned your staff into a spear. But none of that means that you should throw everything away in a suicide mission (especially since other characters followed that same route, and did it better). Setting an ambush is a smart idea, but you know that The Kingdom has some capable fighters, and they just got tougher with Carol returning to the fold. Be a little more tactical next time, because not only did you almost get yourself killed, and The Kingdom directly attacked, but you ensured that your companions had to waste extra time, almost making them too late to make the Alexandria rescue.

2. Daryl

You’ve got Dwight at knife-point. Nobody trusts him. Tara, one of the more level-headed of your group (generally speaking) wants you to finish him off. Even Rick and Michonne seem content to sit back and let you do the dirty work. And then Dwight spins a little story about how much he wants to see Negan eliminated, which saves him? Um, okay. Look, Daryl, you have absolutely no reason to trust him, and you’ve seen with your own eyes how willing Dwight is to say and do whatever to save his own skin. Maybe this isn’t the best time to put your faith in what he’s saying.

1. Rick

Speaking of putting your faith in the wrong people, Rick is so convinced that he proved to Jadis and the rest of her people the value of his plan, that he trusts them completely. He even makes sure that his people and her people basically work in tandem. Rick is on the battlements with Jadis, and Michonne is on a rooftop with Farron. Not even the comment of “I lay with him after” gave you any sort of pause. If it hadn’t been for walkerSasha kicking everything into a chaotic gear, the saga of Rick would have been over. I mean, they forced you to fight an armored, bladed walker just for the chance to bring them guns. Why would you trust them so much? I get that you needed numbers, but that doesn’t mean you should be so willing to hinge your entire plan on a group of people that you barely know, and have already had to struggle against just to be heard.

That does it for this season. Fear the Walking Dead is just around the corner, so we’ll get to be reminded about characters that we actively root against the entire time. It’ll give us something else to do until October, when the big show returns for to break the century mark, with episode 100. See you around.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 15 – Something They Need

If you’re going to have a big, bloody mess of a season finale, you can’t really do that without getting all of the pieces together. For The Walking Dead, it means making sure that all of the characters are starting to gather together into their different factions, and that those factions are properly armed. That was exactly what was being set up with this week’s episode, as we got to see Rick and his group take a visit towards the beach, getting the guns they desperately need to fight back against Negan. We also had a couple of side trips to the Hilltop community, to remind us all that there’s still a lot of angst between Gregory and Maggie. Oh, and the big reveal about who found Rosita at the end of the last episode? It was clearly meant to be more shocking, except it’s been telegraphed ever since Dwight took Daryl’s stuff the first time.

So how does the episode stand up, overall? Well, it was just another episode moving us towards SOMETHING happening. Sure, we got to see the Alexandrians and the Oceansiders team up to take out the threat of the water-logged walkers, and we did get to hear Negan drop the line “beach ball-sized lady nuts” a few times (because someone had to take over for Abraham’s strange turns of phrase), but it was just place-setting. After much of this season moving at a relatively slow pace, partially because of the limitations of having so many different set pieces, we should be in for an action-packed finale. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s what we’re going to get, but it’s clearly Something They Need to do, to hopefully avoid the frustrations within the fanbase they had last season.

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Via AMC

5. Negan

Alright, clearly the big boss man behind the Saviors has a plan, and it’s actually worked in his favor with regards to Eugene. But man, there’s just something that seems extremely foolish about not only taking Sasha captive, but also giving her a weapon, no matter how short of a time. This is a man who doesn’t take kindly to offenses against him, and trying to storm his stronghold completely alone, while displaying those “lady nuts”, is also a pretty big affront.

4. Carl

Our little Romeo-wannabe got asked by Enid if he’s ever thinks about the people he’s killed. Much later, Carl replies that he also thinks about the people he didn’t. I know the kid is messed up thanks to everything he’s seen and done, but at some point, we would have hoped he’d picked up a little bit of the skill of how to small talk with a love interest from his dad. I mean, there’s awkward teenager, and then there’s Carl. This is why he should’ve stayed in the house all those years ago.

3. Sasha

You’ve got a knife, thanks to Negan. You’ve learned that, no matter how evil Negan might be, there are certain acts that even he cannot tolerate. Because of that bit of knowledge, you’re also locked in a darkened room, with a body that is bound to reanimate unless you do something. Knowing that Sasha is not the type to roll over without a fight, why did she let David start to reanimate in the slightest? Heck, if she is planning on getting closer to Negan to later try and take him out, wouldn’t dropping the knife into David’s skull right away have been a better course of action? But no, take the risk that you end up not being able to find his head in the complete dark. Good plan.

2. Rick

First, Rick attempts to absolve Tara of her guilt about revealing the Oceansiders existence by taking the “greater good” route, only really successfully making it clear that the greater good is whatever serves Rick and his whims. Even that can be excusable, though, as Rick truly does believe that his plan to fight back against the Saviors will make the entire area, and the world by extension, a safer place. It’s his plan with regards to the Oceansiders that rings hollow. No, he doesn’t want to hurt them, but he certainly isn’t above scaring them, and possibly allowing some collateral damage to occur. The explosions are definitely the type to draw attention to the community that has successfully remained hidden, as was evidenced by the barnacle-encrusted walkers. But maybe give Tara more than five minutes to try and convince Natania that Rick’s group is in the right. Nobody from Alexandria is THAT convincing.

1. Gregory

Truth be told, this spot almost went to David, because he made a point of attempting to break one of Negan’s rules, without taking any precaution to keep Negan from finding out. But no, this belongs entirely to the current leader of the Hilltop. After all, this is a man who is so concerned with losing his power, he’s willing to sell out his community at the drop of a hat. In this episode, seeing Maggie outside of the walls, Gregory even made it clear that a large part of him really wanted to eliminate the woman he views, rightly so, as competition. When the walkers came upon the two of them, that was a great chance for Gregory to at least try to let that particular loose end get tied up, without having to get his hands dirty. Instead, it only served to prove just how much more capable Maggie is, and the fact that it was witnessed by members of the Hilltop just made it that much worse for him. Clearly the only thing he truly did right was to rope Kal into his planned voyage to the Savior compound.

Next week is an extra-long season finale. It needs to be extra long to tie up as many loose ends from this season as possible. It also could be the time where we say goodbye to a few of our friends from the past few seasons. Oh, and Gregory. But we can’t call him a friend. He’s just a jerk that we’ve put up with.

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 14 – The Other Side

Maybe it was just me, but the first few minutes of this week’s episode really had me wishing that The Walking Dead would do an entire episode without any dialogue. The opening scenes actually carried with them a certain tension, and emotion was not in short supply. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be treated to a zombie-infested version of Hush, instead being forced back into characters speaking, even in situations where those words were completely unnecessary. Alas, we’ll only have those few minutes of relative silence, and they included what certainly appeared to be a “blink and you’ll miss it” joke of sorts with Maggie’s t-shirt, as she brings Daryl food. Yes, it really does look like she’s wearing a shirt that reads “Mom’s Diner” on it.

So how did the rest of the episode play out? Well, we got to watch Gregory be even more of a general piece of garbage than we’ve seen before. Sure, he’s trying to hold on to his power and control but he has to realize how quickly things are spiraling against him. We finally got our reconciliation moment between Daryl and Maggie, where Maggie lied because it really was for the greater good. And we got to spend time with Sasha and Rosita on their grand adventure, in moments that both redeemed them as characters while conveniently (for me) making them be pretty stupid. Turns out that Rosita may not actually have any military training, instead banging her way to all of her knowledge. No, seriously, she admitted to Sasha that, with the exception of Abraham, she dated and slept with guys partially because it conveniently allowed her to learn all sorts of survival skills. Man, I’d hate to see what might have been left on The Other Side.

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Via AMC.

5. Jesus

“It’s a long life, and then it isn’t”. Look, man, I get that your nickname is taken from a man whom an entire religion is based around. However, you really aren’t the type of person who should be trying to sound deep while in conversation with someone else, especially as any sort of way to dissuade them from their potentially suicidal plans. Maybe it was this exact moment that helped Sasha decide that she needed to carry through with her mission.

4. Simon

Maybe this is all part of a convoluted trap, where you’re testing how much Gregory can be trusted (hint: only as long as the Saviors are the toughest group of survivors out there), but it just seems incredibly foolish to give the man your home address. I’m fully expecting that we’ll learn that Simon didn’t actually give Gregory what he claimed, but, until that reveal, we need to accept that Gregory was given a free pass into the Savior compound, which is about the worst thing to give to someone as spineless as Gregory is. And that’s without having any knowledge that people are starting to rally around the idea of eliminating the Saviors.

3. Gregory

Oh, you incredible suck-up. Sure, you’ve now got Simon’s note, and a sweet crate full of aspirin, but you have to be aware that any control you once held is being whittled away by the mere presence of Maggie and the others. You’re just going to keep making it worse by trying to assert small levels of control over the rest of the Hilltop community. But you think it’s all going to be fine, as was proven by your threat to Jesus. Except it wasn’t a threat. Because you just enacted Schrodinger’s Douchebag.

2. Daryl

Count your blessings that you and Maggie were able to get into the root cellar before the Saviors found you. This moment of survival allowed you and Maggie to finally have a heart-to-heart about Glenn, where you apologized, she pretended it wasn’t your fault so that she could actually move on and keep you as an ally, and then you hugged it out. Oh, but remember when Roy came down into the root cellar? When the two of you were incredibly well hidden from barely prying eyes? If it hadn’t been for Maggie being in the cellar with you, there would have been a dead Savior, and a whole lot of dead Hilltop residents. Good thing she stayed your hand, because it was about to get extra bloody.

1. Sasha

What point does Sasha get dinged for? The random car fire? The moment where she and Rosita completely bailed on Maggie, despite stating that Maggie was incredibly important for the Hilltop? Not taking the shot at Negan when she actually had a relatively clear one? Her sacrifice, after failing to spring Eugene from the Saviors’ grasp? Or how about the “everybody get just BARELY more than an arm’s length away from each other as we practice knife fighting”? Really, this was not a shining episode for Sasha, even if it was one where she was finally given moments to flesh out her current character. At least she had Enid admitting that she was going to give Sasha only 10 minutes before letting Maggie know that she was going after Negan.

That does it for this week. Only two more episodes to go before we bid a fond farewell to this group of survivors, and have to return to hate-watching Fear the Walking Dead. Maybe this will be the season where Nick finally snaps, kills off everyone, and the big reveal is that Strand and Daniel have been living peacefully in Tijuana. Hey, I can have hope, right?

The Walking Dumb: Season 7, Episode 13 – Bury Me Here

Not going to lie to you, folks. I was waiting for this episode. Well, not necessarily THIS episode, exactly, but I was waiting for an episode where more happened than just a slow progression of character-driven story. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being able to learn more about the motivations behind these characters, but this is a show that has never really handled the quieter moments well. It was nice to see a return to form, as now there’s actual momentum pushing things forward, with people that we’ve known for slightly longer than a blink.

That doesn’t mean that the momentum spoken of wasn’t created thanks to moments fraught with stupidity. After all, we’re still talking about The Walking Dead here, and they just can’t escape completely from trying, and failing, to be clever. This episode finally gave the Kingdom the push that they needed to really start moving against the Saviors, and caused a total flip in action between Morgan and Carol. Maybe Richard was really the smartest one of them all (spoiler alert, he wasn’t). If you need to ask someone to Bury Me Here, there’s certainly other options to get there.

TWD0713b

Via AMC.

5. Jerry

Dude, it’s a cobbler. And people in the Kingdom seem to be pretty respectful. Just ask literally any of them to keep an eye on your cobbler while you’re gone on your delivery trip. You’ll come back, and get to finish. Or, in case you don’t come back, bam. Someone else gets half of a free cobbler. But that’s going to get all over the truck if you bring it with.

4. Gavin

Yes, as the leader of this particular recovery team of Saviors, you have to prove a point. The delivery you requested (seriously, one dozen cantaloupe? You’re going to blow through that much gas for just a little bit of fruit?) was shorted, and you can’t let this affront go by. However, instead of letting Jared shoot someone of his choosing, why not have him use the staff you stole from Morgan and just hit someone with it a few times? Jared is clearly looking to make others hurt, and, if he hadn’t shot Benjamin, maybe the line in the sand wouldn’t have been drawn. Instead, you let this situation unfold, and now the Kingdom has their backs against the proverbial wall.

3. Ezekiel

When Morgan is lashing out against Richard, there is LITERALLY no reason why he shouldn’t be trying to send members of the Kingdom to break up the fight. Sure, it can be assumed that, maybe, Gavin and his crew had trained firearms on any of the Kingdom looking to stop what was happening, but that takes a bit of a leap, and wasn’t explicitly shown. Keep in mind that, at this point, nobody but Morgan knows what Richard did. Richard has been a loyal member of Ezekiel’s guard for a longer time. Morgan is still relatively new, and his biggest contribution, aside from a staff taken by Gavin, has been to teach Benjamin how to fight, and bringing Carol to the Kingdom just so she can stay away. And yet Ezekiel sits back and not only watches, but condones Morgan’s attack on Richard. That’s the kind of action that could seriously imperil a King’s standing within his community, tiger or no.

2. Morgan

Our man with a plan is kind of all over the place in this episode, and that’s before he realizes what Richard’s done. He is visited by Carol, and first decides to keep the truth about Alexandria from her, because it isn’t his place, but then suggests that the two head to Alexandria together, so she can find out for herself. He seems conflicted in general, and, when he is getting the confession out of Richard, he even tries to sound as though he isn’t going to sway from his “no killing” rule, only to then lash out and attack Richard during the exchange of the single melon. Sure, it’s clear that, by this point, Morgan is having a bit of a breakdown, but even before that he’s making some really bad choices. Oh, and let’s not forget his proclamations against anyone heading outside of safety alone, so that he can then go it alone himself. All told, though, why wouldn’t he have taken some time to pull Ezekiel aside earlier, and tell him what happened? Why risk it all in the first place?

1. Richard

Poor Richard. Ultimately, this guy may actually have realized exactly what needed to happen to make sure that the Kingdom decided to take up arms against the Saviors. It certainly seems like his plan that Morgan is now pushing forward. But he spurred it all on by randomly stealing one melon, and then making sure that he looked supremely guilty the entire time that there was a confrontation over said missing melon? I get that nobody in the world of The Walking Dead has any ability to read facial expressions, but surely someone other than just Morgan had to see what Richard was telegraphing. Also, Richard clearly has no comprehension of the term “collateral damage”. Yes, you’ve stepped up and made yourself a target for Jared, but why on earth would you think the Savior would go for the obvious route? That isn’t how your opponents operate, and you had to know that someone else was going to take the fall for what you did. But hey, now that you’re gone, Morgan has told Carol the truth, she’s spurred into action to help mobilize the Kingdom, and Ezekiel seems open to joining forces with Rick’s group. If only there had been literally any other way to enact this plan, like, oh, finding out what happened with Negan and the people of Alexandria, and telling Carol yourself.

That wraps up another week. We’re inching towards the finale, and, at this rate, we’re probably looking at one of the bloodiest finales in a while. The big question is going to be whether or not the people behind the show learned from the outrage they received after trying to give the audience a cliffhanger, like they did last season. Just as long as they make SOMETHING happen, they’ll probably get at least a little bit of a pass.