The Walking Dead Review 4.09 'After'
Posted by Josh Syvertsen on 02.09.2014
The Walking Dead returned with a vengeance last night after it's mid-season hiatus. 411's Josh Syvertsen catches you up on everything that happened in this weeks Walking Dead Report!
"It's been such a long time...It's been such a loooong time...do do chicka chicka do do chicka chicka do do do..." Alright! Big thanks to special guest Tom Scholz from the legendary rock band Boston for the intro. I don't know why he felt the need to actually type out the instrumental part of the song but he's the musical genius, so we'll let him do what he wants. That being said, it has indeed been a very, very long time, over two months if my tiny brain can process the passage of time correctly since we've all gathered together in your favorite corner of the interwebs to discuss The Walking Dead. So let's get right back into it with everyone's favorite part of the column: Housekeeping!
Caveat #1:First, and most importantly for some of you I guess, I have not read the acclaimed graphic novel series on which the show is based. I have not done this for a myriad of reasons, the first being laziness. I'm a busy man people. But the second and most important, is that this column/review is about the television show The Walking Dead, not the graphic novel series. It would be unfair to the show and unfair to you, the reader, if I was constantly bitching about how the show is different than the source material (and believe me I would bitch). Think that's wrong? Hit me up on twitter some time and mention 'Under The Dome' - watch my head explode. I will make this promise to you who are ever so pissed about my lack of The Walking Dead graphic novel experience, that someday when the show has completed its run, I will check it out.
Caveat #2: Have fun. What's expressed here is one solitary, bitterly lonely mans opinion. If you believe something different, write about it! Let everyone out there know what you think, but don't be a dick. It's a television show - not life or death.
Reader Mail Scratch reader mail this week. It's been a really long time ("Such a long tiiime..." - Thanks Tom, but I've got it from here) so we are going to forgo the regularly scheduled programing for reader mail for this week (just this week my little padawans) because I wanted to try and get down some thoughts about something very close to my heart. It's been roughly a week (depending on when you read this) since the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It hit me pretty hard for a couple of reasons, the first being that Boogie Nights changed my life. Literally. I grew up in the Amblin-esque 80's, a fan of seeing movies, only paying attention the what surface entertainment value a film provided. Boogie Nights changed all that for me. For the first time I went from "watching a movie" to analyzing a film. There are a couple of reasons for this, Paul Thomas Andersons wonderful camera movements, the opening tracking shot and the pool party introduction are two of my favorite shots of all time (it was a short time later that I discovered DePalma had been doing that kind of stuff for years.) The other thing that really popped the film for me the first time I saw it was Hoffmans performance as Scotty J. Like most of the general public, I had no idea who Hoffman was at the time. What he's able to do in a film where everyone is an insider, is portray Scotty as the ultimate outsider. There is not a frame of that film where Scotty can be described as remotely comfortable. It's one of the saddest, yet most empathetic performances I've ever seen. After repeated viewings I cam to appreciate what Wahlberg, Reynolds, Moore and the rest of the cast were doing as well, but it's Hoffman as Scotty J. that is always the first performance that I think of when I think of that film.
Now I'm sure some troll out there will call me out for trying to extol the virtues of an obvious drug addict. A teacher I had once told me: "The problem with drugs is that they work. Drugs make you feel good. If they didn't no one would use them." For some folks that's all they get from it. They feel good for a few hours, get up the next morning and make some eggs, or whatever normal folks do. But for certain people, and as an acquaintance of Bill W. ("I don't make friends, I keep acquainted") I can speak from first hand experience, there is something else at work in our brains that keeps us searching for something missing. Everyday is small battle in a life long war. Some battles you win. Some battles you lose. You only hope that should you lose you have the opportunity to pick your self up, dust yourself off, and get back n the war. "One day at a time" is not a joke or a catch phrase, it's a way of life. Unfortunately, there are some folks who lose the war despite winning many battles along the way. Rest in Peace Philip Seymour Hoffman. May your afterlife be free of the battles you were forced to fight in your earthly life.
Okay...thank you for the indulgence, that's been stewing for a while. Now back to the project at hand: Season 4, Episode 9 of The Walking Dead
"Lost in the Dark I feel like a Shadow of Myself..."
Last Week On The Walking Dead: Wow...who can remember that far back? Well to keep it succinct, The Governor hatched his new plan to take over the prison, seemingly justified by his desire to keep his new "family" safe. With the help of a tank and a captured Herschel and Michonne he knocked on Rick and Co.s front door asking them to leave. Rick, declined, but only after floating a number of other plans that The Governor turned down. In the end he attacked the prison, which led to it's destruction. Hershel lost his head - literally. And The Gov met his end via a katana stab from Michonne through the stomach and a shot to the head by Lily (although the last part is a bit debatable). Ricks group and the remnants of The Governors group are seemingly spread throughout the immediate surroundings pf the prison...which leads to...
This Week On The Walking Dead: We start with an establishing shot of the carnage from overhead. There is indeed much of it. Michonne stumbles into frame and shambles towards it. She passes The Governors corpse, affirming his death I guess. Although it would be cool to see a walker-fied Governor come back and lead an army of the undead against the living, like Romero's Land Of The Dead...or maybe not. Anyway, she captures two new "pets" before coming upon Herschels walker-fied (no, not Herschel Walker's) head. She stabs him with her katana and walks off into the opening credit scene!
Rick and Carl are walking, or should I say that Carl is walking and Rick is struggling roughly 10 yards behind. He begs Carl to slow up, but Carl is kind of over this "dad" bullshit. They find a BBQ place and Rick tries to be the protector again, despite barely being able to walk. There is a walker trapped behind some furniture, rather than just shooting it, Rick draws him out and tries to take him out with his axe. Carl shoots it in the head and take a tongue lashing from Rick. The next stop on Rick and Carl's Bogus Journey is an abandoned house, on an abandoned street, in a dead end town. Rick again tries to be the protector/Dad. Carl calls bullshit and even brings up Shane at one point. Rick leaves his now foul mouthed son and checks himself out in the mirror. He's pretty fucked up to say the least.
Michonne seems to be hosting quite the dinner party in her dream/flashback. Mike, her lover, argues against bringing the family to a refugee camp. Michonne is only concerned with the wine and cheese platter. Oh, and she has a ridiculously cute little baby. The two men quickly turn into her original "pets" - so that's where that come from. She wakes suddenly in the front seat of a car. Back at the house Carl makes some breakfast (the most important meal of the day) but can't get his father to wake up. He starts to panic when suddenly some walker start banging on the door. He sneaks outside to lead them away, when he's set upon by another walker from behind. He manages to shoot all of them but his father won't be very happy with all those wasted bullets. He leaves his regurgitated breakfast with the dead walkers as a reminder before getting all Arnold and declaring "I win." Feed the ego my little friend, feed the ego...
Carl makes it back to the house and starts bragging to his still unconscious father about his walker kills. He launches into his Patton speech before having it devolve into an "everything is your fault because you wanted to be a farmer" bitch fest. He declares that he wouldn't care if Rick died. Me thinks that may come back to haunt him. It really was some good stuff by Chandler Riggs though, unlike the creepy kid frm Once Upon A Time, Riggs is actually growing into the role rather than pretending he"s a child.
With the run of the neighborhood, Carl gets the genius idea of trying to clear a house himself. Full of himself he tries to bust the door down and almost knocks himself out. Once he finally does get inside, he heads straight for the kitchen, where he discovers a huge can of chocolate pudding - which is awesome. He heads upstairs and finds himself surprised by a walker. The walker knocks him down forcing Carl to to waste three bullets, only hitting him with one. Carl manages to escape losing only his shoe, but he is smart enough to mark the room where the walker is locked up. He then crawls out on the roof opens up that can of pudding and goes to town.
Michonne has a funny little thing where she's walking with a pack of walkers right next to a walker that looks like her. Freaked out, she speeds up a little bit, but something just isn't right. The walker that looks like her really fucked with her mind. She decides to take it out, but then something snaps and she takes them all out - even her pets, before she breaks down crying. After losing the, now headless pets, she starts tracking again, coming upon a set of footprint. She makes her way to the BBQ place where Rick and Carl were earlier. She breaks down again and has a conversation with Mike about what it all means. Finding her resolve, she continues on.
Carl waits by his father side as he sleeps. Rick starts to make some very walker type noises and winds up reaching for Carl he falls off the couch and tries to crawl towards him. This is called a tease, and Carl, thinking Rick has turned, breaks down and starts crying. Then Rick speaks before collapsing again. He tells him not to go outside and to stay safe, it's a little too late for that I'm afraid. Carl confesses how scared he is to a once again lifeless Rick.
The next morning Rick is awake and slightly more alert. He and Carl bond over 112 ounces of chocolate pudding. It' was a nice moment. Michonne enters the neighborhood and finds the house where Rick and Carl are holed up. She peers through the window, seeing them she starts to cry - this time for joy. It was a nicer moment. She knocks, which puts Rick and Carl on edge. Rick peer through the peep hole, turns to Carl and says "It's for you." End Episode.
Elsewhere: Nothing. All Rick, Carl and Michonne.
Reaction: Well thank god this is the way show runner Scott Gimple and Co. have decided to move on with things becasue my head was literally going to explode trying to weave a narrative together from everyone's stories. And while certainly the Carl/Rick stuff got the bulk of the screen time, it really was the Michonne stuff that was the driving part of the story. Tonight's episode really helped put a lot of her previous decisions in context. The prison falling left her, essentially back at the beginning. She reverted, automatically, to pre-prison Michonne, immediately getting two new pets and becoming Michonne against the world. Seeing the carbon copy walker forced her to confront the fact that if she didn't do something different she was in essence no different than that walker. Her slaughter of the walkers is her metamorphosis from the Michonne that existed before the prison, to the one that has emerged after the prison falls.
The Rick/Carl stuff was pretty good as well, although a bit predictable (anger, cockiness, mistake, contrition.) The tension between Rick and Carl had been growing for seasons - really since Shane was killed. It's good that they finally got that out of the way, it was uncomfortable, which it should have been. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of the way it played out, the fact that it was capped off with a lighter moment at the end made the bitter pill go down better. Plus, like I said earlier, Chandler Riggs was tremendous in this episode.
So where does the show go from here? Obviously Rick, Carl and Michonne are going to be together. Will the brief sexual tension that surface between Rick and Michonne in the prison come back to the surface? Does Carl have a little thing for MIchonne? I'd hate to see it turn into Days Of Our Lives, but there is that potential there. Lot's of questions for these three, but it looks like it will be a couple of weeks before we get back to them. But we will cover that later...
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich"
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The 411: Another really good episode. The Michonne stuff was top notch and handled really well. After fulfilling her mission of killing The Governor there was a big question of where her loyalties and motivations would lie. This episode did a lot to cement where her character is headed for the rest of the season. The Carl/Rick stuff was okay, but a bit predictable and safe. Still Chandler Riggs was very, very, good.