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Saturday, November 23, 2019

[RECAP] Season 10, Episode 7 of The Walking Dead, "Open Your Eyes"

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C/o Undead Walking
To start, please forgive the lateness of this critical recap but it has to be said that I needed some time to marinate on all the events that transpired.  I think it's pretty safe to say that very few of us saw what was coming to us Sunday night via the seventh installment of "The Walking Dead" entitled "Open Your Eyes".  While many had their suspicions, we (or at least this TWD comic book fan) was completely thrown for a loop by how it all ended for Siddiq.  So let's just get the obvious out of the way shall we?  Let us have a moment silence for Siddiq, our resident doctor and sole survivor of the barn deaths that resulted in the heads on a pike Whisperer border.  Oh Siddiq.  I'm so glad you had a moment to bond with your daughter, as brief as it was, and that you didn't die in a malicious manner?  Kind of/Sort of?  Are we convinced that Dante is beyond redeemable and is a full on Whisperer through-and-through?  Ugh...I'm not so sure.  Let's get into it:

C/o TV Movie Fix
We have a few storylines going on in this episode with the most minor one being the continuing "meet ups" between Aaron (the man with the metal hand) and Gamma.  They seem to acknowledge that they both have been sent by their respective communities to get intel on each other but Aaron doesn't seem particularly interested in this.  He would much rather prefer to  About nothing in particular.  Nothing crucial.  Just talk.  Even talking about the daily bread production at Alexandria (daily bread???  That sounds like a little piece of heaven).  Gamma seems okay with this small talk until he seems to hit a nerve asking her about her family before all this and sharing with her a drawing from his daughter.  She scurries away, reminding herself on their Whisperer mantra and Alpha gives her few lashes on her arm to "toughen her up", keep her from weakening to Aaron's words and of course to remind her on how much Alpha "loves her".  It's classic abuser manipulation on a whole other level.  It does work however, and the next time Gamma meets up with Aaron she is having NONE of his small talk and even hold him at knife point for some REAL intel.  It's at this point that Carol shows up, putting an end to this stand off...with Lydia at her side.  

This COMPLETELY disables Gamma.  Remember: To all the Whisperers they are in a full worship mode of Alpha because of this fable that Alpha sacrificed her OWN DAUGHTER for the greater good of the pack (Kind of God-like if you will, very cultish).  To be confronted with that fact that Lydia is very much alive undermines EVERYTHING that Gamma believes and this leaves her crippled and sobbing in the woods, unsure of what her next move is.  After all, why did she sacrifice her OWN sister for Alpha if Alpha would NEVER actually sacrifice ANYTHING for THEM?  On the flip side, on Lydia's part, she is ENRAGED that Carol would use her as a pawn to freak out Gamma and the Whisperers and not even be honest with her on her plan.  She's tired of being manipulated by both Alpha and Carol and runs off into the woods.  Personally, I can't see running off into the woods as a good idea but we are talking about a teenager here so....Yeah.  Guess we'll see how far SHE gets.

I would be very interested to see if she DOES rejoin the Whisperers and Negan (don't forget he's at their camp) comes to witness the typical ritualistic "training" (ie, abuse), perhaps being inflicted from Alpha to Lydia, upon her return.  If this IS the case, this could set up the stage for Negan to decide to go after Alpha himself, since he has already come to protect Lydia once already.

But speaking of Carol and Lydia, let's discuss the Carol and Daryl storyline.  From the last episode, we know that Carol captured a Whisperer and they bring him to the cell at Alexandria.  Father Gabriel is VERY weary of all this since really, NO ONE consulted him on ANY of these decisions that put the community at large at risk.  Completely understandable but of no concern to Carol (of course).  Instead, Carol warns Daryl that this Whisperer will likely not easily bend during interrogation.  Daryl doesn't seem to want to deal with it and instead elects to spend some quality time with dog, shirtless in his room (I'm sure Norman Reedus fans were losing their minds during that scene).

C/o Newsweek
In any case, we ultimately get to the interrogation and we see that Carol is trying the kill him with kindness approach first.  She offers him a tray full of bread and all sorts of homemade fruit spreads (which is ALWAYS amazing).  We get a moment of hope where we think that perhaps this Whisperer is so starved for this kind of indulgence that he is going to take one bite of this food and fold immediately.  Unfortunately, that is not what happens and instead he chews...and spits the food right into Carol's face.  PERSONALLY, that would've been immediate fighting words (or actions, I suppose).  Rightfully so, Carol goes from killing him with kindness to holding herself back from just plain out killing him.  She pours salt on the wound (well, actually reaches INTO his wound but that's okay) and proceeds to "Bad Cop" questioning.  The Whisperer isn't budging though and even goes as far as make a disgusting comment to Carol, insinuating how if they were out in the wild he would "take her" (ie, rape her).  This is all she needs to hear to calmly put her wedding ring back on, reach back and beat the living hell out of this Whisperer (YES CAROL YES).  In his grogginess though, he does mention the same point that came up with Gamma: This Whisperer is ALSO under the mindset that Alpha sacrificed her only daughter for the good of the pack.  This immediately mobilizes Carol to want to go fetch Lydia and present her to this guy, in order to make his whole theology fall apart. But Daryl stops her, imploring with her that Lydia has been through enough, she doesn't also need to be used as a pawn by her.

Unfortunately, we learn that Carol didn't apparently listen, as evidenced by her interaction with Gamma (refer to passage at the start of this review).  Now we need to see if she's put the whole community of Alexandria (and Hilltop) at risk by not protecting Alpha's most valuable asset: Lydia.

C/o Indie Wire
Finally, let's get to the heart of the story and the topic of much discussion: Siddiq and of course, Dante.  We see from the start of the episode that the people of Alexandria are still sick and Siddiq is making the rounds of house calls to try and understand what is causing all of this illness.  Dante is still actively treating patients as well but Siddiq is taking notes of all their symptoms and referring to the journals and books he has at his disposal to try and "crack the code" if you will.  He especially of course makes sure to look after Rosita, who by the end of the episode, seems to be on the upswing and doing better.  They have a tender moment together where Rosita feels remorseful for her behavior toward Eugene (AS SHE SHOULD) and Siddiq marvels at the fact that they have a child together (awww).

Throughout all of these scenes, however, we keep seeing these brief and sporadic flashback moments that Siddiq keeps having.  These nightmarish flashbacks to that night at the barn.  But during these flashbacks, this time around, we get more tidbits of information.  We find that Siddiq is mostly plagued by not acting to protect ENID, his protege, who had to just stay there and watch her be killed right before she tells him goodbye (UGH, heart-wrenching).  We find out that Siddiq's guilt comes primarily from NOT acting during that evening's massacre (as opposed to what many of us suspected of Siddiq being a participant in the murders).  We also find out that there was a Whisperer that held him down and mandated him to "Open his Eyes" and witness these horrific murders happening in front of him.  This all happens after a failed suicide attempt by Siddiq, only stopped by a recovering Rosita, who jumps into the lake and pulls Siddiq out after he throws himself in, in an effort to stop these nightmares.  Rosita wants no more excuses and that allows Siddiq to finally talk about his PTSD openly and his feelings of shame and guilt that haunt him every single day.  Rosita gives him some tough love but also gives him loving reassurance that he is NOT in this alone and that he has the support of everyone around him, including her.

Before all this comes to a head however, we do get an element of psychological horror where we're not quite sure (as viewers) what's happening to Siddiq.  We see him awake from his sleep to being held down by a man's hands.  During his moment with Dante in the cell with the Whisperer prisoner (who assures Dante that "of course" he wouldn't dare do anything), he starts having flashbacks, since the prisoner can actually remember Siddiq from the barn.  Dante takes over from here, so Siddiq can have a moment outside.  When we return to the cell later, the whisperer prisoner is in very bad shape and eventually dies.  They come to find out that what was given to him was hemlock and not the appropriate medicinal herbs.  Siddiq questions Dante as to WHY he would administer this but Dante tells him that he only used the pack that SIDDIQ packed for him.

So is Siddiq's PTSD getting the best of him that now he's not functioning at the capacity where he should be?  We're not entirely clear as viewers at this point.  Eventually, after the talk with Rosita and his mind is clearer, we see him have a moment of epiphany and realize that the water filtration system had been tampered with and of course, water is the common thread among all the victims.  AH HA!  Problem solved!  Kind of.

C/o Talking Dead Podcast
In the end, we see Siddiq in his home staring out the window, pondering it all.  Dante comes into his home apologetic over the water filtration system and how he should've been more cognizant of that.  Siddiq takes full responsibility though and blames himself for not being functioning at full capacity mentally, to pick up on this.  Dante puts his hand on his shoulder and tells him he's his friend and proceeds to reassure him, explaining to him that this community works as a village and the blame is not on one, it's the fault of all.  Just as it's the credit of all, to get to the bottom of it and rectify the problem.  Then...he makes a little "tick" click noise with his mouth.  And that's when the pieces of the puzzle start to come together.

Siddiq goes into flashback mode and realizes the reason he has so many "moments" in Dante's presence is because it was DANTE that was also at the barn that night, it was DANTE that held him down and told her to "Open his Eyes", it was DANTE that was getting the townspeople sick.  DANTE is a Whisperer.  Siddiq comes to this realization and attempts to quickly get the best of Dante, only for the two men to tussle with Dante eventually overpowering Siddiq and tearfully and remorsefully pleading with him that he didn't want it to be him, not like this.  He holds him in a sort of sleeper hold and pleads with him to now "Close his Eyes".  Except that sadly Siddiq doesn't.  He dies in Dante's arms, eyes wide open, for the first and last time.

SO.  Where do we go from here?  The reason, at least partial reason, that this ending was such a HUGE shock is because many comic book readers are well familiar with Dante from the comic version of the show.  As soon as Dante came to light on the show, most viewers were deliriously happy because the actor on the show (Juan Javier Cardenas) epitomized the comic character of Dante to a T.  His look, his words, his attitude were VERY much in line with his comic counterpart and in the comics, he plays a huge role alongside our heroes.  This is why it was such an incredible shock to learn that TV Dante was apparently a Whisperer spy who seems to have infiltrated Alexandria to cause havoc and chaos from within.  But the question that still needs to be answered (besides the question of HOW did he get into Alexandria in the first place) is WHAT are Dante's current motivations?  He seemed completely gutted at feeling that he had to kill Siddiq, once he realized that Siddiq recognized him.  Does this mean that the time at Alexandria has changed his mindset?  Or was that just a brief moment of weakness?  Is he now on the fence like Gamma?  And can he ever be redeemable or will he be swiftly killed by our heroes?

From my personal perspective, I happen to think that if Negan is redeemable (after let's not forget, murdering dear Glenn and Abraham), then I would imagine so would Dante.  Also, the comics are not great at providing all that much depth to even the most vibrant of characters.  So that being said, giving Dante this complex background, while still perhaps positioning him to be an eventual hero, would be a very rich character development worth tuning in for.

I'll definitely be tuning in to see what will befall this newly discovered Whisperer spy during the mid-season finale on Sunday.  We have many storylines in motion at this point so it'll be very interesting to see how they will all converge and set the stage for the second half of the season.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9:00pm EST on AMC.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

[Episode 78] Season 10, Episode 7 of The Walking Dead, "Open Your Eyes"

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↑↑↑↑↑↑Click the above graphic to listen in your favorite Podcasts App↑↑↑↑↑↑

While the plague at Alexandria reaches its peak, the people we love slip right through our fingers. We're here to help you get through it all.
BONUS: those of you have bought us a Coffee should've already received links to the RAW, Unedited version of this podcast!

David Cameo:
Carol Gallardo:
Rachael Burt:

  • #MichaelCudlitz directed episode
  • Buy us a Coffee
  • Screening for spoilers
  • We believe there’s #HopeforDante
    • #DanteTWD is still a mystery
    • “It takes a village” for community to work
  • #CarolPeletier’s actions are reflective of #AlphaTWD’s
  • Against all odds, Dante may survive
    • Why kill the Whisperer prisoner?
    • If not Dante, who switched the water lever?
  • #FatherGabriel steps up, finally
  • Hashing out timelines
  • Communication can solve a lot of problems
    • Troubled waters between Carol and #DarylDixon
    • Daryl’s bachelor pad
    • Physical scars vs. Emotional scars
    • Shared abusive pasts; Carol, #LydiaTWD, Daryl, #GammaTWD, Alpha
    • Lydia chooses herself
    • Negan and Lydia share a bond
  • Confidence is okay, say “yeah, i’m kind of awesome”
    • Dante shows remorse
    • Dante’s journey from the barn, to now
    • OG SQUAWKING D Carol G saw the days numbered for Simon, not so sure about Dante
    • Will Dante admit what he did?
  • Dave shares the significance of bread in #Judaism
    • Different strategies for #AaronTWD and Gamma
    • Gamma’s world is turned upside down
    • How much time has really passed?
    • What’s really making Alexandrians sick?
    • Gamma withholding info from Alpha
    • Similarities between Gamma & Aaron with #EugenePorter & Stephanie
    • What’s the point of the meetings?
    • Community is a threat to Alpha
  • Who is #BetaTWD w/o Alpha?
  • #ChristianSerratos with us a bit longer
  • Is Dante redeemable?
  • #Michonne’s departure, #JudithGrimes’ future is questionable
  • #TheWhisperer beat-down approved... by Carol and Rachael anyway
    • The imprisoned Whisperer shares vital information
    • Carol still carries #KingEzekiel’s ring
    • Comparing Alpha/Carol’s behavior
    • It’s Alpha O’Clock
    • When is enough, enough?
--- Send in a voice message

Sunday, November 17, 2019

[RECAP] Season 10, Episode 6 of The Walking Dead, "Bonds"

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Care of Den of the Geek
The sixth installment of of The Walking Dead season 10 felt slightly anticlimactic in the sense that it felt very much like a set-up episode for far more impactful things to come.  Now that's not to say that this isn't GOOD, but this episode felt like the necessary step in order to get us closer to what will be a dramatic conclusion to many of our current storylines.  At least for this first half of the season.

We continue to see the "bond" if you will between Carol and Daryl, as he joins Carol in her pursuit of...well, that's not entirely clear.  To Daryl, she says that she wants to do a sweep for the still missing Negan but we definitely get the impression that there's more to it than Negan.  Nevertheless, Daryl will be damned if he allows her to venture off on her own and get herself killed so he goes along with her.  It's during this outing that they have a bit of a heart to heart and Carol insinuates that she knows that there's something brewing between Daryl and Connie.  Daryl, true to form, denies that there's anything there.  Nevertheless, Carol advises him that even if he's not thinking about going that route, he SHOULD be considering it because he cannot live the rest of his life living like a recluse with dog as his only companion.  Daryl considers it but agrees to least not in this episode.

Ultimately, we end up finding out that Carol's adamant desire to venture out had nothing to do with Negan but everything to do with Alpha and trying to find her.  When pressed, Carol tells Daryl that her goal was to come out and destroy Alpha's walker horde.

Care of TV Line
Huh?  I have to say this kind of behavior from Carol was really disappointing because this whole "plan" seems so lofty, ill advised and reckless from such a seasoned warrior such as her.  Daryl indicates that he feels similarly but at the same time, abandoning his best friend to her own devices is the last thing he wants to do.  Instead, he sticks by her and tells her that if they're REALLY going to do this, they need to be very smart about this because they're putting their communities at risk by challenging Alpha.  Eventually, they make their move but are quickly separated and become at risk of being overrun by a portion of Alpha's horde.  It's at this moment that Daryl, in a moment of slick cunning, incapacitates a walker and uses their guts to cover himself and essentially mask himself among the incoming herd.  It works but when he reunites with Carol, he discovers that Carol has taken a Whisperer hostage to bring back to Alexandria.  Daryl KNOWS that this can only lead to some serious ramifications but it's too late now, especially since this whisperer now KNOWS who they are.

At the same time, in a bit of a goofy blooper reel kind of format, Negan is the odd man out, trying to fit in with his captors at the Whisperer camp.  Beta is clearly VERY threatened by Negan, all to Negan's amusement (which is awesome for OUR amusement of course).  Alpha however, tells Beta that he needs to test him and ultimately, it's her word so...he obliges her.

Care of Lyle's Movie Files
Via this wacky sequence, we see the many ways Beta tests Negan including digging a hole, killing a boar and scalping walker skin.  The whole montage is silly (which is what it's MEANT to be), with its kooky music, not to mention jarring considering this a show STEEPED in seriousness and drama.  To be confronted with this scene sequence is definitely...different.  Ultimately, Beta doesn't warm to Negan at all (despite all his humorous one-liners, surprise surprise) and he attempts to leave him in a precarious enough situation within the horde that would kill most men.

MOST MEN.  Negan is clearly not MOST MEN and as a result, he strolls right through the Whisperers (in SUCH a freaking cool scene), in his leather jacket, covered in walker blood and walks right up to Alpha, ignoring Beta.  He formally introduces himself to Alpha and pledges his undying allegiance to her and an offering of any information she wants on Alexandria and Hilltop.

So the question is: Is Negan serious?  Or is he playing the LONG con?  There is a part of me that thinks he is playing the long game however, a larger part of me thinks that they may play to the comic source a little by being all on board...until he perhaps gets a better glimpse to the type of abuse that Lydia was subject to by Alpha.  Let's not forget that Negan's life was hanging in the balance because he rushed to protect Lydia from attackers at Alexandria.  Therefore, if he gets wind of the kind of physical and mental abuse Lydia had to endure at the hands of her mother, that may turn the tide for him and he potentially COULD be the one to attack Alpha from the inside (as it occurred in the comic).  But we'll need to see how this plays out further to determine that.

Care of You Tube
At the same time, things are going from bad to worse at Alexandria with more and more individuals falling ill to some sort of flu like ailment.  Dr. Dante appears to managing it all on his own, while Siddiq spends time with his baby girl CoCo, and deals with his further escalating PTSD.  We keep getting more and more glimpses to Siddiq's deteriorating mental state on account of...whatever happened the night of the pike deaths.  It's becoming more and more evident that there was SOME level of involvement from him on that fateful night that is accounting for all the guilt and flashbacks he's been having.  From what we can gather, it seems that in the next episode we will FINALLY get some answers as to what secret is haunting him and I have to say, I'm really not looking forward to reliving that awful moment in the barn.  But, considering how in the comic there is NO explanation as to HOW the whisperers gathered all our heroes, and HOW they went about killing them, I do appreciate the show (ie, Angela Kang) making the decision to "flesh out" this storyline so to speak and make us understand the WHY and the HOW.

Care of The Hollywood Reporter
Finally, in a piece that is exciting to me, we see Eugene continue his conversation with a mysterious woman/pen pal on the other end of the ham radio.  After casting aside all the formal, technical jargon, the two of them lower their walls (well, more so Eugene) and get to know each other better.  Eugene tells her that he's originally from outside Dallas, TX and she tells him how she was from a small town in Pennsylvania that Eugene was actually very familiar with.  It was actually kind of touching to hear two people sincerely bond and talk over these OLD memories at something so charming as an ice cream shop, something so safe and comfortable...and long gone in this awful, post apocalyptic world.  And frankly, I'm just happy FOR Eugene to be sincerely bonding and speaking to a woman who seems to value his conversation.  This is unlike Rosita who seems to LOVE to keep stringing men like Eugene along for amusement and in a fit of feverish delirium wanted to talk to Eugene over the ham radio, after totally being a b&*$h to him....even though he was essentially nanny dearest to her baby while she was working out.  Whatever Rosita.

Care of IGN

Frankly, Eugene's segment was probably the most exciting for me purely because of the probability of what's to come down the line (most likely in the second half of this season), based on the comic lore.  But, beyond that, the impression is definitely given that things are going to come to a head in the next two episodes, in major climatic fashion.  It's at the very least on the horizon.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday night at 9:00pm on AMC.

[Episode 77] Season 10, Episode 6 of The Walking Dead, "Bonds"

Why miss out? Subscribe to our blog via E-Mail!

↑↑↑↑↑↑Click the above graphic to listen in your favorite Podcasts App↑↑↑↑↑↑

HOW FAR will bonds bend until they finally break? Rachael and Dave try to hash it out in this week's podcast.
BONUS: Those of you have bought us a Coffee should've already received links to the RAW, Unedited version of this podcast: The first hour, Rachael & Dave bond, themselves (a podcast in its own right)!

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:

  • Dave’s backstory
  • #comicbook similarities
    • #BetaTWD’s codependency with #AlphaTWD
    • #Negan and Beta dynamic is everything we wanted
    • Rachael has #HopeforBeta
    • Alpha is recruiting
    • Alpha enforcing power through fear
  • #EugenePorter: Taterbug
    • RositaEspinosa is missing Eugene
    • Who are YOU in the apocalypse?
    • Have we heard “the voice” before?
    • Eugene establishes trust
    • Cake or Waffle cone?
    • We learned what NOT to do from #AliciaClark on FEAR
    • #MargotBingham is panicking
  • Similarities between Carol and #KingEzekiel waking up
    • Hopefully a different outcome
    • The many manipulations of #CarolPeletier
    • Is Carol behaving like Alpha?
    • Carol needs to snap back to reality
    • Carol leaves a terrified #DarylDixon in the woods
    • 10.04 companion episode
    • Daryl is feeling the pressure of leadership
  • #TheWhisperers sound like #Heapsters
    • Alpha/Beta on the rocks?
    • #SamanthaMorton’s take on Alpha vs. the comics
    • Who is Beta without Alpha?
    • Community works - "it’s no bullshit"
    • All knives hate Negan
    • #Logcille
    • TWD dictates their own timelines
    • #TheSaviors among The Whisperers
  • Dave is in LOVE with #DanteTWD
    • Is Dante who he says he is?
    • #MichaelCudlitz directs next episode
    • Characters that most impacted #RickGrimes’ journey
    • Is Zeke’s condition real?
    • Proper Spy behavior
  • #TWD3 timeline
    • including the trailer, which clearly states in the begining where TWD3 story takes place: 10 years after the start of the #ZombieApocalypse
    • also including a tweet thread from @SarabethPollock on the tone of the series, which is anything but teenage:
  • #SneakPeeks
Send in a voice message

Sunday, November 10, 2019

[Episode 76] Season 10, Episode 5 of The Walking Dead, "What it Always Is"

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↑↑↑↑↑↑Click the above graphic to listen in your favorite Podcasts App↑↑↑↑↑↑

LITTLE PIG, LITTLE PIG! LET. US. IN! we discuss the web and the odyssey that was this episode! So many repeating themes, parallels, and call-backs! 

David Cameo:
Carol Gallardo:
Rachael Burt:

  • Tons of story, standard time allotment
  • First Impressions: Growth?
  • #Negan & #TheWhisperers: #Comicbook canon?
    • Brandon releases Negan in the comics, not show.
    • Was it #CarolPeletier? Hers & Negan’s pragmatism
    • Carol is emotionally reckless
    • All the call-backs
  • Ideally, prison = reform: Negan = reformed(?)
  • Comics vs TV Brandon
    • Call-back to Lizzie
    • #AlexandriaSafeZone: in comfort, we turn on each other
    • Brandon trusted to guard Negan?
    • Brandon isn’t real
    • Negan needs to be “Negan” for his community
    • Brandon romanticizes #TheSaviors, incorrectly: Negan’s Legacy
    • Saviors’ sketchy recruitment
    • #Lucille 2.0
    • #SaddamHussein now agrees with #RickGrimes’ version of community
    • Alexandrian “immune system” unprepared for the #ZombieApocalypse
    • Amelia calls #Walkers “Hissers”. #AndreaHarrison + Rick & Negan in the RV vibes
    • Negan saves, Brandon doesn’t react
    • Milo = missed-opportunity #CarlGrimes. #JudithGrimes #CaileyFleming #JeffreyDeanMorgan
    • Brandon represents “Savior Negan”, now dead
    • Dave, rooting for Negan to “blow your house all the way in”
  • Carol: a bazooka in a knife fight, blinded by vengeance, and f*cking crazy
  • #DarylDixon speaks! …in TWO languages!
    • Compiling the #ConnieTWD & Daryl moments
    • #CARYL: baggage & poisoned wells
  • I’m just #AaronTWD from Vermont
    • Eerie moment between #GammaTWD & #AlphaTWD
  • #KingEzekiel’s unexpected diagnosis
    • No time for haters or even abrasive opinions
  • Aaron’s & #AliciaClark: prepared to wield #TWDJesus’ sword
    • Call-back to Aaron’s recruitment, now with fighting skills!
  • Walkers are still dangerous! Doubly so with Kelly’s hearing loss
  • Annoying whistler, Brandon, “Enemy of my Enemy”
    • Negan talks about Lucille
  • #ForbiddenKnowledge: #Siddiq saw Henry die
    • How does Zeke feel about this?
    • Rachael’s needs the details, no matter what
  • #Magna & Yumiko’s (possibly unnecessary) backstory
    • Magna guilty of murder, but righteous motive?
    • Negan & Magna: prisoners
    • Magna’s group’s secret stashes
    • #TheHilltop formula: Gregory & Jesus, #MaggieRhee & Jesus, Jesus & #TaraChambler, to Zeke/Magna & Yumiko
    • #SelfFulfillingProphecy: Magna thinks Yumiko looks down on her
    • #TalkingDead’s “surprise guest” one of them?
    • Reconciling with a long buried lie
  • Magna listening to Pre- #BetaTWD, singing over #EmilyKinney’s “The Turtle and the Monkey”
    • “Oh, It’s sad but true” exact
    • “Call you up to apologize” exact
    • “And oh, oh, it’s a cold hard fact” exact
    • “We’ve served some colorful vocabulary, baby, that we can’t take back” similar
    • “And oh, oh we used to hold each other tight under sparkling trees” exact
  • Siddiq asks #DanteTWD about #RositaEspinosa, not Coco. #FatherGabriel
  • Alpha confirms the tree fall at Hilltop: grand plan = submission
    • Gamma infected? #PTSD
    • Alpha, The #Skinwalker
  • Negan, Aaron, Alpha, Gamma, Zeke, and Siddiq donning masks
  • Zeke doesn’t want Carol’s (possibly manufactured) pity/indifference
    • Will she risk not saying goodbye to Zeke to kill Alpha?
    • How will #TWDJERRY react? Might already know
    • What it always is & I/You know what it is
  • Gabe not at Alexandria? looking for Negan?
  • #ReleaseTheNegan: Carol both spray-painted #SilenceTheWhispers and let him out?!
    • Beta’s double knives at Negan’s throat; Negan/Alpha relationship; Negan’s Lydia knowledge
    • Carol seeks to destroy the horde
    • You’ve got a friend in “Classic Beta,” Office Linebacker. Testing Negan
    • Daryl FINALLY calls out Carol for making things worse
    • #EugenePorter / “TaterBug” on the radio; Who is on the other end? #FTWDCharlie #TheCommonwealth #TWD3
  • Clearing up TWD3 details; #TWDprincess, soon?
    • Eugene positioned for Commonwealth love interest?
    • Definition of CRM? 3 Communities
  • Debbie/Deborah: one of Alpha’s masks
  • #EasterEggs to other series, but no more #crossovers
  • An unlikely romance between Eugene & Alicia

[RECAP] Season 10, Episode 5 of The Walking Dead, "What it Always Is"

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Little pig, little pig...LET ME IN.  So after episode 5 of this season of The Walking Dead, are more fans FINALLY letting Negan into their black little hearts?  I certainly hope so!  This episode continues to follow Negan on his wild journey to redemption (with a sort of “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” vibe), albeit an unconventional one.  While this is certainly the main storyline, episode 5 is filled with substance from various storylines all happening at the same time, set on a sure fire collision course, and the repercussions are still very much undetermined at this point.

But let’s go through each specific storyline since we have quite a few to get through:

We get to see Gamma again and, via some conversations between Gamma, Alpha and Beta, we get confirmation that the Whisperers are indeed behind some of the various nefarious incidents that have occurred (the tree falling on the Hilltop’s border, the waves of walkers on Alexandria, etc).  Alpha is essentially playing the long game and is trying to wear down our heroes to a point of submission and/or to a point where conquering them will be an easy feat.

As an additional point of wearing down our heroes, Gamma has been tasked with essentially poisoning the water supply by spilling walker guts and blood into the river.  Biowarfare is a very real thing folks.  We do see however cracks in the membrane as Gamma has a momentary breakdown and lets out all her pent up frustration over the ways of The Whisperers, the death of her sister, all on her walker “Guardian” (a fellow Whisperer that was brutally murdered by Alpha by offering their democracy here).  In her stabbing ferocity, she accidentally gives herself a pretty bad gash on her hand...only to be thrown some gauze by a hovering Aaron (who shares that he’s from Vermont...interesting right?).

Like a little timid mouse, Gamma silently takes the gauze and scurries away back to the Whisperer camp.  She seems almost afraid to show Alpha her bandaged hand, in fear that Alpha might see that as a betrayal.  Instead, Alpha sees this as another calculated opportunity to potentially entice Aaron and find yet another way to attack Alexandria and the Hilltop via another source.  But who’s side is Gamma ultimately on?

The start of the episode focuses on Kelly wandering in the woods, roaming around in a bit of a muffled daze, further illustrating the deterioration of her hearing.  And why was she out there?  Apparently to hide goods and supplies, in conjunction with Magna, who has been in on this whole thing for some time.  Ultimately they are found and retrieved by Daryl and Connie (more on that later) and when Yumiko finds out that Kelly and Magna were swiping supplies, she’s not surprised.  It’s at this moment that we find out that Magna had been in jail for seemingly acting in retaliation toward an attacker of her niece (it’s not clear if the crime toward her niece was a murder, a rape, etc) and she still seems to harbor a sense of mistrust of everyone in general (hence the secret stockpiling).  Magna also seems to have a bit of chip on her shoulder that Yumiko was this (apparently) fancy pants lawyer with fancy degrees before the world fell apart and throws that back in her face, which seems to really hurt her.

So where do we go from here with this information?  I’m not quite so sure...getting all this backstory would make one think that it has to be relevant for a reason but what the reason is yet is still not quite clear (at least not to me).

Ah, Connie and Daryl.  Or “Donnie” as many wishful fans call the two.  They go out in the woods to find Kelly, once it’s known that she’s gone missing.  During the tracking in the woods, these two continue to get to know each other more by way of sign language and writing in Connie’s notepad.  It’s a very interesting dynamic to say the least.  Connie seems to blame herself for Kelly’s disappearance but Daryl is supportive and ensures her that she shouldn’t go that route.  He even shares an old memory of his brother Merle (man, that’s a name we don’t hear often right?) that makes Connie laugh...and even go as far as take Daryl’s hand (*gasp*).

Ultimately, they end up finding a wounded Kelly and a hovering (didn’t she kind of look like a walker in that moment??) Magna along with the stolen goods.  Daryl is livid at this revelation but Connie tells him that they’ll bring it all back to the camp and tell them that they “found” the goods while they were out looking for Kelly.  She’s apologetic later to Daryl for the behavior of Kelly and Magna but Daryl understands and says, hey, they’re family: I get it.  But I mean, you know, in his own Daryl way.

Poor King Ezekiel.  He’s already been having a tough go of it what with the loss of...well everything that he’s had right?  We saw in last week’s episode that he’s been borderline suicidal as of late and we attributed it to all the loss, already discussed.  What we DIDN’T realize is that in reality, there’s another reason altogether for King Ezekiel’s behavior: Turns out that he has a significant growth on his throat/neck that seems to be an indicator that he is going through thyroid cancer (a disease apparently hereditary in his family).  Before the apocalypse, the survival rate from this type of cancer was quite high actually but sadly during these new times, Ezekiel essentially knows it’s a death sentence.  Siddiq is the one who uncovers all this and he tries to console him and gave him some sage advice which boils down to not going through this alone and sharing this information with his loved ones.

He comes close to doing this on the ham radio when he’s almost connected with Carol to speak with her but before that can happen, he opts to end the connection.  In truth, how do you have that conversation with anyone and let them know if your fatal diagnosis (apocalypse or not)?  And more importantly how in the world is JERRY going to take all of this??

And finally our main attraction: Negan & Brandon.  Who is Brandon?  Apparently a sociopathic teenager that was Negan's keeper and has been OBSESSED with him, since his father's former Savior days.  Important to note however is that Brandon was NOT the one who freed Negan, since Brandon at one point in their journey asks him if he'll ever tell him how he got out of the cell (Negan ignores him of course).  No, Brandon is just an obsessed sociopath that follows Negan's footsteps and even went as far as to bring to him his leather jacket and a makeshift Lucille, as an offering, if you will.  Negan refuses to handle either, saying that it'll make him an easy target for anyone trying to find him.

Instead, Negan and Brandon come across an adorable little boy named Miles and his mother trapped in what appears to be a Greyhound bus.  Negan goes into high gear and goes in and saves both mother and son from peril, even having some light hearted, one-on-one uncle type chat with young Miles.  This moment made me incredibly wistful for what COULD HAVE BEEN with Carl, but at the same time, we are least getting glimpses of these moments with Negan and Miles and obviously between Negan and Judith.  Negan however, wants NOTHING to do with Brandon since he can very easily tell that he is a complete psycho.  After he basically tells him to get lost and has a great heart to heart with Miles, he goes off to scavenge for wood, knowing that it'll be dark soon and he'll need to start getting a fire going quick.

Sadly, when he returns, he comes to find Brandon back, whistling the old familiar Savior tune, and standing over the bodies of both little Miles and his mother, having killed them both to "prove" himself.  P-S-Y-C-H-O.  Before Brandon can finish uttering the famous line "I am Negan" Negan beats his face in with a rock and brutally kills him, letting out all his grief for what this deranged teen did to this innocent family.  He then picks up his leather jacket, puts it on, takes his Lucille 2.0 and walks off into the unknown.

After dark, Negan roams the woods, in the hunt for...perhaps the Whisperers?  Knowing that they're out there...baiting them?  He confidently strolls and talks loudly trying to draw them in, even stating the phase "Little Pig, Little Pig..." just as he did when banged on the gates of Alexandria asking them to let him in.  This finally does draw some walkers in a great scene in the dark, but under the gaze of moonlight.  He immediately begins taking down walkers with his new Lucille, just as old Negan used to do until...he is violently thrown to the ground and he turns and notices that he isn't surrounded by walkers anymore.  He's surrounded by Whisperers.  Including a hulking, angry Beta.  GAME ON.

For me the biggest curiosity, will be how the show handles the interaction between Alpha and Negan, because it'll be a HUGE indicator of what direction the show will now go in.  Will the show stay true to the comic material?  Or will it diverge from it and let Carol (potentially) be the one to enact her revenge on Alpha?  

What happens next on the show will surely set the stage for some heavy material to come...

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9:00pm EST on AMC.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

[Episode 75] Season 10, Episode 4 of The Walking Dead, "Silence The Whisperers"

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↑↑↑↑↑↑Click the above graphic to listen in your favorite Podcasts App↑↑↑↑↑↑

As our survivors succumb to Mass Hysteria, loved ones with strong bonds drift apart like glaciers from permafrost as the music, in kind, guides us through this episode.

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:

  • Gordi's "Heaven I Know" and how it plays into the episode (some guidance from Atwood Magazine)
    • #AngelaKang is Dave & Carol's baby
    • Platonic bonds remain, even though their nature changes
    • #LydiaTWD with #AlexandriaSafeZone and #TheWhisperers or #Negan and #TheSanctuary
  • #MobMentality / #MassHysteria is Dave's biggest fear. #WalkerStalkerCon
    • age mellows you out, even during #ThanksGiving. #TheGoonies #MamaFratelli
    • Dave loves clowns #Coulrophilia. #Coulrophobia
    • oh, what #dreams may come. #AmericanHistoryX #HellIsRepetition
  • #TheHilltop, background actors, and #TWDLuke's weapon
  • #DarylDixon's smile and growth; #RJGrimes mocking The Whisperers; #CarolPeletier dinner callback to #TWDseason2
    • where #CARYL's relationship might be headed. Measured Daryl. Dangerous Carol
    • and revisiting #Arsonist Carol in #TWDseason9
  • #AaronTWD change: enables Lydia's bullies. #SelfFulfillingProphecy
    • distractions, wearing them out, and #JudithGrimes isn't real? #SharedDelusion
  • #Comicbook comparisons: #Michonne & #KingEzekiel, and the Carol, Michonne & #Tyrese love entanglement
    • Zeke (and Carol) is not fine; does Carol need to kill #AlphaTWD?
    • how about #BetaTWD or Lydia? #GammaTWD kills all of them
    • Michonne doesn't fault herself/Zeke for that kiss; the partner-in-crime right under her nose
    • Daryl, too: #RickGrimes' blind faith vs Michonne's warranted proxy
  • Negan does the right thing while Daryl neglects Lydia (Daryl Jr)
    • Lydia's teenage outburst made the environment so much worse
  • #Siddiq's flash of #EnidTWD
    • #SilenceTheWhispers = #Paranoia
    • we ALWAYS credit #TalkingDead where due!
    • who did the graffiti? #LauraTWD #DJTWD #TheSaviors #FatherGabriel
  • #Magna & Yumiko schisms
    • Miko is the natural leader, but bad partner. Their group stopped voting, too
    • their troubles bear backstory fruit
  • Is there even a Whisperer herd/horde? #DemocracyDiesInDarkness
    • #ItsAMood, #WeStan Gabe
  • #SneakPeeks
    • Deja vu Negan Breakout; Brandon, the accomplice?
    • Negan saves a woman on a charter bus. #AceVentura
    • Oscar ( @AnthonyMichaelLopez89 ) tells #ConnieTWD that #KellyTWD hasn't come back
    • Siddiq & Daryl arrive at Hilltop, tracking Negan, talk to a possibly sick Zeke. Daryl trying to get Zeke & Carol to talk?
    • Alpha shows some affection for Gamma
    • Connie, Daryl, and Dog reprise: finding Kelly. Gamma's digging for guts. Aaron, nearby?
    • Alpha, "Patience. Shifts in strategy take time. The boarder, it'll crush them"
  • The order of BLATTODEA: Survivors and Whisperers
    • every little thing has meaning!
  • Luke's long goodbye to his core group to pursue Jules, from #TheOceanside

--- Send in a voice message

[RECAP] Season 10, Episode 4 of The Walking Dead, "Silence the Whisperers"

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In this latest episode of The Walking Dead, “Silence the Whisperers”, we get a glimpse of the dynamic at the Hilltop (I’ve been wondering who’s running the ship over there). But more importantly, we get to see how Alpha’s reign of terror over our heroes is causing turmoil from within the community, that could potentially threaten the very fabric of stability they have worked so hard to create.

We start seeing this right away, in the sense that there appears to be a small contingency of highwaymen and teenagers that have it out for Lydia. Every time she’s in their presence, they’re quick to poke fun at her mom, Alpha, as a sort of masked Boogie Man and point out that she’s essentially the “red headed stepchild” if you will. The adopted child that is reminded of this fact at every turn and how her very presence is a nuisance to them all. Lydia tries to keep a brave front, but it inevitably gets to her and, upon Negan’s advice to not allow these folks to get a rise out of her and let them see her upset (good advice by the way), she pulls a bit of a showy move in the dining hall (dissecting a squirrel and then making a hush sign with her fingers) to essentially freak out these guys.

It works but Daryl insists that this was probably not the best idea (good point). You have to feel for Daryl who has basically been tasked with being the “second in command” in Michonne’s absence while she tends to the Hilltop’s need and helps walk King Ezekiel off a literal ledge (more on that later).

The situation with Lydia quickly escalates when one night she is assaulted by this gang of three (two teenagers and one highway-woman), in a particularly disturbing scene. I’m not sure if there was any intention to harken to this part of the comic, but in the comic version of the story, Lydia is the unfortunate victim of what appears to be a Whisperer culture of systemic rape and in this moment during this assault, I actually worried that the show would potentially “go there” with this scene. Particularly since this assault was meant to humiliate and degrade Lydia, to the point that she would run off and leave...or face essentially being beaten to death. Luckily the show doesn’t go that route and before she is killed, she is actually SAVED by NEGAN, of all people. Negan’s MO has always been that violence against women and children is DEPLORABLE and OFF LIMITS and this moment is no exception, considering he considers Lydia a “kid” and obviously a young girl. He pulls off the highway woman who was the ringleader of this assault off Lydia and flings her against a wall...killing her in the process (wow, that was quite a strong throw, right?).

It’s at this point that the townspeople gather to see what all the commotion is about and see a beaten up Lydia, a dead highway woman (who deserved it, mind you) and a Negan standing in the mix of everything. This of course leads to everyone wanting Negan’s head on a silver platter (no pun intended) but the council is torn on whether to deem him GUILTY and sentence him to DEATH or deem him INNOCENT and spare his life. Really? The man saved Judith and dog in a snowstorm, saved Aaron’s life and now defended Lydia from murder and possible rape and you all are still torn on what to do with him? #JusticeforNegan. In any case, the townspeople want blood though and Daryl knows this (who also advocates in Negan’s defense, particularly since he knows this group was tormenting Lydia. How times have changed...).

SO. Does this mean that it was Daryl who set Negan free? Because before the council can make a final decision, Father Gabriel discovers that Negan is no longer in the cell and is GONE.

So who let him out? The most likely culprits would be Daryl or Carol, both of who are aware that Negan is NOT the threat that everyone should be worried about but my guess is that more will be revealed in episode 5 and HOW exactly he was able to escape. We are also quickly progressing toward a highly anticipated collision course between Negan and The Whisperers, as per the comics. Check out in case you want to get an idea of who might've been involved in Negan's release and what his focus will be now that he's a free man.

And on side note: How funny is that Carol is still bitter than Daryl didn’t take her up on leaving it all and heading to New Mexico? Daryl chose COMMUNITY instead. DARYL. Think about that for a second. Again, how times have changed...

Meanwhile, Michonne has her hands full trying to keep the Hilltop alive. The community has been under siege of an onslaught of walkers brought on by a humongous fallen tree, which has created an opening in their security wall. What caused the tree to fall? Was it an “accident”? Or was this tree provoked to fall by some Whisperer help? That still remains to be seen.

In any case, the group at the Hilltop needs to simultaneously pull out any community members stuck under the collapsed tree and at the same time keep the walkers from infiltrating and wreaking havoc. Some of our more martial members (Yumiko, Magna, Luke, Connie and crew) volunteer themselves to handle the walkers while Jerry and some other community members work on getting those that are stuck out. The threat starts to become overwhelming...that is until the Calvary shows up in the form of Eugene, Michonne, King Ezekiel and Judith. We also get some really BAD ASS scenes showing Michonne and “daughter” Judith fighting with their respective swords, side by side, which harkens back to scenes with Rick and Carl shooting together (*tear*). Eventually the threat is quelled and Eugene decides to stick around at the Hilltop to help fix their damaged protective barrier (and also to avoid Rosita, but whatever). Luke, on the other hand, volunteers to join Michonne and Judith, since they are on their way to Oceanside.

And Magna and Yumiko are left arguing about Yumiko’s apparent leadership at the Hilltop, since Magna informs her that she is “no longer her lawyer” and apparently doesn’t have any control over her actions anymore.

Wow. We know Magna was a criminal so was Yumiko her defense attorney? And between Michonne and Yumiko then apparently we have two lawyers heading communities in the apocalypse? I suppose that makes sense since they understand more about rules and regulations than most but yeah, interesting right?

Finally, we need to discuss Ezekiel’s mental breakdown and near suicide attempt that was prevented when Michonne LITERALLY, as I already mentioned, talked him off a ledge. His mindset is understandable in the sense that he has lost his home (the Kingdom), his wife (Carol), his “children” (Benjamin and Henry) and his pet (Shiva). That is a TREMENDOUS amount of loss for anyone to endure and at some point this will of course, take its toll. Michonne successfully convinces him to reconsider (again, it’s that being a lawyer and having a way with words and logic) and he is grateful...and shows that appreciation with a kiss.

Now, is there anything to this moment? In my opinion, NO. It was purely a moment to essentially give a “wink” to the comics, since in the TWD comics Michonne and Ezekiel are the ones in a relationship (Carol dies very early on in the comics). They even joke around that they would never work out in the long term and the moment passes very quickly. Ezekiel vents his pent up sadness over his losses to Michonne and it is cathartic for him, but it allows him to refocus and return to the Hilltop to stop the walker threat.

Something to consider is that Ezekiel’s suicidal mindset might NOT be a passing moment and may rear its ugly head again. In that sense, the show may be setting up Ezekiel to have a significant comic book death, remixing the original story as the show often likes to do. But we will have to see how the show progresses to see if that theory has any legs so to speak.

My real excitement however comes from wanting to see Negan in the wild next week, on a very probable collision course with Alpha and Beta, straight from the comics. I honestly cannot wait for that moment.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9:00pm EST, on AMC.