Fear It!: Season 3, Episode 6 – Red Dirt

Another week, another hour to spend with the family that just won’t die. At least, not completely. Sure, there are still questions that abound as to exactly how this particular collection of people has been able to make it this far into the apocalypse. Those questions just lead to unsatisfying answers, however. At least the doomsday preppers that we’ve started to get to know prepared for something to happen, and seem to have some level of survival training that would have helped them get to this point.

This week, we spent a lot of time fretting over Walker, and his tribe lurking somewhere outside of the walls of the Broke Jaw Ranch. This allows our characters to delve into the story aspect of humans being the true monsters for this season (face it, this metaphor is pretty much needed every year). While the reanimated are still a threat, they are definitely playing second fiddle to people that have been wronged by other people. With the mid-season finale looming, we’ve only got so much time to enjoy all of this Red Dirt. Well, maybe “enjoy” is the wrong word, when you’ve got people ignoring common sense just this frequently.

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Via AMC

5. Jake

Maybe it’s the glow of getting to sleep with the newest member of the community, and one that you didn’t spend all of your childhood growing up around, but Jake suffers from a crippling attack of dumb when he’s at the range, practicing his shooting skills. Well, he’s actually fine until the moment he knows that Alicia is there, and willing to learn. He’s got hearing protection available for both of them (do they just hang out at the range for anyone to use, or did Jake bring a second pair just in case?), but then he neglects to actually cover his ears with them before Alicia starts firing. Maybe we just don’t see that moment, or maybe Jake is just preparing himself for the inevitable gunfire without hearing protection that looms in his future, but it seems like he would have been more careful.

4. Alicia

Alicia has her own issues at the shooting range, but more troubling is what she decides to do after Jake has departed to find Walker and his people. She spends some time trying to convince him that Jake is heading on a fool’s errand, and that this is different than any situation where he confronted (and beat) Walker before. Then, after Madison, Nick, and Troy return with their news about the Trimbol family, Alicia decides she’s going to head off to the reservation after him? Because a young woman setting out on her own will totally help change Walker’s mind about the Broke Jaw Ranch.

3. Troy

You and your patrol group have just returned, limping and dehydrated, from an exploratory mission that went wrong, and where Walker sent a message to the Broke Jaw Ranch. You’ve listened to your friend Mike let the cat out of the bag regarding how dangerous Walker and his people may be. So immediately try to push to bring the attack to the man who ambushed you. I mean, at least take some time to heal your feet, and maybe think about getting some reconnaissance before launching your revenge schemes.

2. Jeremiah

On one hand, Jeremiah was able to talk Troy back from the ledge, keeping him from launching an ill-advised attack against Walker that the Broke Jaw Ranch wasn’t ready for. On the other hand, he’s seemingly willing to underestimate what Walker is capable of, and doesn’t seem terribly disturbed by watching people from within the Ranch break away from his power center. In fact, his way of reacting to the fact that he is the only founder left of the ranch is to drink, but not actively do much to change his fortunes.

1. Madison

Okay, so you’ve been spending some time getting to know Jeremiah and his family. You’ve gotten the community to start seeing you as someone who is more help than they originally believed. You’ve also got plenty of reason to try and keep Troy from exerting any level of control over the people living at the ranch. So why are you siding with Troy? No, seriously, I’m going to ask again, why are you possibly siding with Troy? Especially with all the evidence pointing to the possibility that the Trimbol deaths were not caused by Walker, but by the man you almost cost his right eye? Unless you’re planning on supplanting him yourself, which could be your gambit. Is it worth it, though, to align so clearly with a man who, mere episodes ago, almost killed your husband and family just for his experiments.

That’s it, everyone. Just one more week, until we’re fed a two-hour mid-season finale. This is the second time we’ve been delivered two episodes in the same sitting. It’s almost like even the powers that be are looking to make sure that we don’t have too many weeks to put up with these characters. Check back in next week!

Preach On: Season 2, Episode 2 – Mumbai Sky Tower

The second season of Preacher certainly got off to a bang, and left us all with a little bit of a cliffhanger, as the Saint of Killers clearly had Jesse Custer in his sights. While we all know that there’s no way they’re killing off the main character so early into the second season, there was still a nervous tension, wondering how exactly Jesse would get himself out of this particular mess. Especially since it was made pretty clear the Genesis doesn’t actually work on the Saint.

Thankfully, due to some clever scheduling, we didn’t have long to wait. The second episode aired a mere night after the first, while the resolution of the face-off between Jesse and the Saint was still on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Not only did we get a little more insight as to how things could play out down the line, but this episode gave us the ability to tie up some loose ends. After all, when you visit the Mumbai Sky Tower, sometimes you win, and sometimes you end up becoming the Amazing Ganesh.

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Via AMC

Back to the opening segment, and Jesse’s direct confrontation with the Saint of Killers. It would be easy to write off the sheer ridiculousness of how Jesse escaped the Saint’s bullet, with the random truck just happening to show up at the perfect time. It could easily be taken as just another crazy gonzo scene wrapped into this show, the way that so many previous have been. That would be disregarding it far too much. For one thing, the crazy gonzo scene happened when Jesse got the gun conventioneers to fight on his behalf, before realizing that he was just putting more people straight in death’s gaze. Secondly, this sort of deus ex machina actually makes some sense within the world of Preacher, and it may give a nod to the idea that Jesse is actually on the right path. Sure, we know that God is missing, but we don’t know that God is powerless. Maybe the truck was sent to save Jesse, so that he can complete his mission. Ultimately, it lead to another narrow escape for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, but one that didn’t feel as cheap as it easily could have in any other series.

In this episode, we start to really see another side of Jesse Custer. Yes, he’s still a man consumed by the incredible belief that he is making the correct choices. But within the confines of this episode, we also see a man who knows he is literally outgunned, and is trying somewhat frantically to save himself and those he cares about. We also see a man forced to come to grips with the utter destruction of just about everyone he ever knew, and Jesse does a typically poor job of dealing with that part of reality. Annville is gone, the trio now knows it, and Jesse’s first thought is to try and marry Tulip, so that she has family again. It’s a kind of sweet sentiment, but it isn’t Jesse addressing his own issues stemming from the methane explosion, or the cowboy tracking him down.

Tulip’s arc in this episode is a somber one, as she is not only the first of them to learn the news about Annville, but she ends the episode going back to one place she had hoped was behind her. If Cassidy was the heart for the group in On the Road, then Tulip carries that emotion this time around. She even softens to Jesse’s admittedly ludicrous marriage proposal, perhaps searching for something normal to use as an anchor. Her confrontation with Gary, tying to her past exploits in New Orleans, changes her mind, and the discontent is clear on her face when she learns that is exactly where Jesse wants to head next. Even through all of this, she is able to maintain some level of sanity where Jesse is concerned, all while making sure to not present herself as too vulnerable around him. After all, she still doesn’t completely trust Jesse’s motivations with Genesis.

Cassidy, our third major player, almost seems as though he is once again going to strike out as someone more of a danger to himself and those around him than anyone else. However, he is the only one of the three able to make any actual headway in their investigation. The exchanges between Cassidy and Fiore indicate something that we’ve only seen glimpses of before; when he isn’t crying out for attention, Cassidy is a phenomenal judge of what could help others. It is Cassidy who gives Fiore one truly happy span of time, and it is only because of Jesse’s self-righteousness that Cassidy’s efforts truly hit a brick wall. He may not be carrying the emotional weight in this episode, but we get to see Cassidy utilizing his particular skills to make a big impact, and this is something that we cannot take for granted moving forward.

Even with all of that, the main thrust, and focus, of this episode isn’t truly on any of Jesse, Tulip, or Cassidy. No, it belongs to Fiore, part of the pair of angels we met last season, and the only one remaining after he and DeBlanc visited Hell, and hired the Saint of Killers. Ever since his return to Earth, Fiore has been listless. The montage of his repeated suicides is both something played for laughs, and full of pathos. After all, Fiore lost his companion, and not even death could release him from his suffering, thanks to his constant angelic reinvigoration. It is in the Mumbai Sky Tower that Fiore is able to rebrand himself as The Amazing Ganesh, literally killing himself in front of packed houses night after night, and this is how Jesse and the rest find him. When Cassidy spends his two hours and forty-five minutes with the angel, we see a man looking for release in any way he can possibly achieve it. Drugs, decadence, even the hint of sex; all of these avenues are open to Fiore, and watching his sheer glee so shortly after his complete and utter depression felt redeeming. If it wasn’t for Jesse’s insistence that he still use Genesis as he sees fit, it truly felt that Fiore would have been willing to call off the Saint of Killers. Instead, Fiore sees the reality he tried to escape crash around him again, and Jesse’s final command to “find peace” leads to only one answer. The depravity of the people in Jesse Custer’s world is underscored through their chorus of boos, but it was also a triumphant moment for Fiore, who was finally free of his own personal demons.

Mumbai Sky Tower wrapped up one loose end from the first season, while reminding us that Eugene is still trapped in Hell, and that it’s Jesse’s fault. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are heading towards New Orleans, thanks to Jesse finally remembering Tammy’s words about God venturing to the strip club for the jazz, and not the girls. What awaits them in New Orleans, only time will tell. Time also holds the answer to exactly how long it will be before Jesse uses Genesis again, only to learn that Fiore didn’t send the Saint away after all. Knowing Jesse, it probably won’t be too far down the road.

Preach On: Season 2, Episode 1 – On the Road

If it feels like we’ve been waiting for an awfully long time to be reunited with the trio of Jesse Custer, Tulip O’Hare, and Cassidy, it’s because it was almost a year ago that we watched the three bid farewell to the town of Annville. They had just embarked on their journey to try and find God, and they started their epic road trip at a roadside diner, munching on some french fries while plotting out their course.

Of course, not everything was sunshine and puppies. Annville was gone, thanks to a methane explosion. The Saint of Killers had been unleashed on the world, due to DeBlanc and Fiore hiring him to kill Genesis. And, well, God is missing. Completely, utterly missing. Not even the heavens seem to know where God has gotten off to, and that certainly can’t be good for a preacher imbued with the power Jesse received. There may have been a long gap in time between episodes being aired, but that doesn’t mean it’s been terribly long in Jesse’s world. This trio of unlikely heroes is On the Road, and it isn’t looking to be an easy trip.

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Via AMC

When the action kicks off, Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are blazing down the road, their journey to track down the Almighty well and truly under way. It doesn’t take long for the show to remind us of the bombast that made the first season so much fun, even in weaker moments, as a police car quickly enters the scene, and attempts to get Tulip to pull over. That sets up an insane car chase set to “Come on Eileen”, an empty gas tank, a confrontation with the police, and an incredibly bloody shootout, courtesy of our killer cowboy. Moments of levity are mingled with some serious, darker beats, but the show very quickly reminds the audience of the tone set in the first season, and lets everyone know that the second season isn’t going to lighten up. In many ways, the extra-long opening segment was like seeing a good friend; the kind that you can pick up right where you left off, no matter how long you were away. It also raised the stakes for Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, but those raised stakes could present a difficult balancing act down the line.

It may be early in the season, but we’re already seeing an extra level of swagger to Jesse, as he’s willing to take the easy way out and utilize Genesis wherever he sees fit to get people to do what he wants them to. Sometimes this serves a greater purpose, such as his questioning of Tammy. Sometimes, it leans towards the ridiculous, such as Jesse commanding the police officer to “mace your balls”. This isn’t to say that Jesse can’t be contrite, as he shows in his interactions with Mike, but carrying Genesis certainly hasn’t hurt Jesse Custer’s ego.

The flip side of that particular coin is Tulip, who has her own level of swagger, but provides a balancing force for Jesse. She doesn’t want him to take the easy way out, and she also clearly knows that she can play Jesse like a fiddle herself when the need arises. She is probably the only person who comes close to truly understanding Jesse, and that includes Jesse himself. It carries extra weight that Tulip voices some of the opinions on events that the audience is probably having, but then dives in headlong anyway. After all, some of this may be psychotic, and they may “grow dumbass crazy here”, but this is the life Tulip knows. And she’s on an epic road trip to track down God; it doesn’t get much crazier than that.

Rounding out the trio is Cassidy, who careens back and forth from being something of the heart of the group and being an attention-starved third wheel. He begs Tulip to admit to Jesse about their relationship, and gives the two of them the space they so desperately crave when he can. He also converses loudly about his conspiracy theory regarding circumcisions, and directly leads to Tammy’s death due to his poor impulse control. Cassidy may seem off-kilter, but that’s because he’s trying to find exactly how he fits into this particular threesome; the Irish vampire, his best friend, and the woman both of them love. Without Cassidy, the other two would probably slide off of their individual rails pretty quickly, but he is able to keep them pointing somewhat in the correct direction. We saw last season how a third almost ruined things for Jesse and Tulip, but right now Cassidy is the extra leg that the others need to be able to stand.

Over the course of the episode, the three get to progress on their path, and we’re introduced to a world outside of Annville that isn’t any less dark and disturbing that what we saw in the first season. It would have been easy for the creators to ground things a little more after stepping away from the isolated little town, but the first serious exchange on their voyage lets us know that the world of Preacher is an incredibly messy one. After all, Jesse is willing to overlook Mike’s controversial ways of “helping” his congregation, either because he trusts that his friend knows what he’s doing, or, more likely, because Jesse is thoroughly convinced that Mike can help him track down God. In Jesse’s eyes, there’s nothing more important than finding the missing deity. One almost dead-end lead the group to the She She, and Cassidy almost closing that particular avenue before Jesse was at least able to get the clue about music. Thankfully, Cassidy is also the one to get the next nugget of information, seeing an old “friend” appear on television as he tunes out the noises coming from Jesse and Tulip’s room.

Let’s not forget that the entire time this is occurring, there’s the ever-present dread of the Saint of Killers. The cowboy of death is following the path carved by Jesse and his friends, and leaving a trail of bodies behind him. The state troopers and the gas station attendant show just how ruthless the Saint is, and how single-minded in his purpose. His appearance mere yards away from Jesse at the end of the episode even brought a tinge of concern, despite knowing that this is only the first episode of the second season. We know Jesse is going to survive this. We also know it’s going to take something special. But that doesn’t take away from the immediate dread, and the knowledge that people are going to die very soon.

The first episode definitely brought back the feel of the first season, and gave us absolutely gonzo moments, like Tulip’s method of siphoning gas, along with some truly powerful, emotional steps, like Mike’s way to prevent himself from giving up Jesse’s location to the Saint of Killers. The initial run of episodes of Preacher set a tone for the world that was sometimes a little hard to balance. With On the Road, it certainly feels like that balance is closer to having been achieved.

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.

TWD0716e

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.