THE WALKING DEAD 415 AND 416: US AND A

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So, I failed and didn’t get a review of “Us” out before the season finale. I know. I am disappointed with myself too. To be fair though, my brother did get married last week (on a Friday nonetheless) so things were a little hectic in my outside-the-blog life. Plus, I spent the first 4 days of the week reading the entire Divergent series of books. Looking back, it was probably not a great use of time (but, in case you are wondering, the series is not a difficult read). However, those are the choices I made, so I (and unfortunately you) must now deal with them. Luckily, I don’t think I really had much to say about last week’s episode. I will make a few mentions of it below, but mostly let’s just focus on the finale. Don’t hate me for saying this, but I was a little disappointed in how the final episode went. Let’s get to talking about it though.

1. So about “Us” – A few weeks ago I said I was over the whole Glenn finding Maggie thing.  And, perhaps the Glenn and Maggie reunion was dragged out a little too long (and was probably the least compelling story we had in the second half of season 4).  However, I did spend a lot of “Us” balling, yes, literally sobbing, over them reuniting. And, I am tearing up just thinking about it.  So, maybe I was more invested in the story than I originally thought or maybe I am really just such a girl.  Now, if only they didn’t get immediately thrown into a train car right afterwards (more on that later). At least they are together, right?

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2. Some other thoughts on “Us” – I will admit I was a little surprised by Eugene’s insistence on going back for Glenn and Tara. When did he get so attached to Glenn?  I mean Tara is hot, so I get the desire to help her (even if she does prefer the ladies).  However, I don’t necessarily find Glenn to be the type of guy to rally behind.  At least the decision by Eugene gave us the badass moment where Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Maggie, Sasha, and Bob came through the tunnel and saved Glenn and Tara’s butts. I might have done a fist pump at that moment.* It was kind of awesome.**

*Have you ever looked at the actor, Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene in real life? He was on Talking Dead last week. I would not have recognized him in a million years, even if he was standing in front of me poorly shooting a machine gun. See what I mean?

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**I don’t want to spend too much time on “Us” now that we have seen what happens next. Ultimately, “Us” just reinforced how bad Joe’s crew is and raised a lot of questions about Terminus. Questions we still don’t have many answers to.

3. Now let’s talk about the finale – HERSHEL!! I would say that Hershel flashbacks were somewhat unnecessary, if I didn’t love Hershel so much.  So, if I am being completely honest, I was happy to see Scott Wilson again.  However, I felt like the flashbacks got a little excessive.  Now, I understand that this season was largely about the evolution of Rick both as a man and as a father. Thus, flashbacks of Rick transforming into farmer Rick were meant to emphasize the stark contrast of the now post-prison (and post-Hershel) person Rick has become (i.e., a man who is confident in his abilities to overcome just about anything).  I am just saying that I don’t know that I needed so much of a reminder of how everything that happens can shape a person.  I got that Rick has now become a confident badass willing to do whatever it takes to save the people he cares for.  The whole Joe confrontation solidified that point for me.

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4. OMG!! – That was my reaction first when I saw Joe’s crew holding Rick, Michonne, and Carl and gun/knife-point. And, then Rick bit out the guy’s neck and I screamed. I mean, he literally took a chunk out of Joe’s neck! I didn’t know that was possible to do. It was gross, it was awesome, and it was epic. That being said, my problem with the whole scene was that I felt like the show was rushing to the end of the Joe/Rick manhunt and ultimate confrontation. It was just last week that we found out that Joe was hunting Rick.*** Then, within the first few minutes of this episode we had Joe find Rick and Joe get killed. It happened too fast and that took some of the drama out of it. Really, the episode should have been longer so we could have seen more of the pursuit. Then, I would have been even further on the edge of my seat when the actual confrontation happened. As it stands though, I feel the conclusion of that aspect of the story was rushed.

***I thought Daryl figured out last week that Joe’s crew was hunting Rick.  Did anyone else think that?  Based on Daryl’s comments to Rick post-confrontation though, I guess he hadn’t.

5. Do you think Rick and Daryl will get matching tattoos? – I think Rick and Daryl just made their bro-mance official. Let’s just say it was a special moment when Rick told Daryl he was his brother. I have no doubt that this meant a lot to Daryl, given that it finally means he has a family–one that might not be totally psychotic either (well except when they are chewing through someone’s neck).  Sometimes the family ties you find are stronger even when they aren’t necessarily ties by blood.

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6. More rushing – Going back to my point earlier, this whole episode felt rushed to me. And, honestly, the episode could have been better served with an extra 15 minutes.**** The resolution of the Joe storyline happened too quickly, as stated above, and, in my opinion, the whole Terminus thing happened too quickly. I know that the writers wanted “everyone” to get to Terminus by the end of this season, but I felt like most of the finale episode was just an outline of plot points that the show decided needed to happen before season 4 ended: (1) find Terminus; (2) go inside Terminus; (3) realize things seem weird; (4) get shoved into a train car; (5) give a great last line. However, had the episode been extended (or had more of the final few episodes been spent in Terminus) the story may have been given time to breathe, so that when the chase scene happened and then the train car prisoning occurred, the audience would have been so invested into what was happening at Terminus that a certain level of devastation would have been felt for the situation the characters now find themselves in. Instead, all I really remember about the Terminus scenes is a lot of shooting, some BBQ, and Rick’s last line.*****

****Or, I would have ended the episode at the point where Rick sees Hershel’s/Glenn’s watch.  Then more of the Joe story could have been dealt with and we would have ended on the cliffhanger of Rick with the watch-stealer as a hostage and guns pointed at him.  Cut to black.  Sounds like a good cliffhanger to me.

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*****We all know Rick would have dropped an f bomb. I don’t buy Rick Grimes saying “they’re screwing with the wrong people.” Is he a 13 year old girl?

7.  Where is Beth? – And why does no one care?  I don’t see how Daryl can just say that Beth is “gone” and Rick can just accept that.  Daryl, why didn’t you tell Rick what happened?  Maybe the 4 of you could have gone on a Beth search instead of walking into the death trap that is Terminus.  I NEED TO KNOW WHERE BETH IS AND I DON’T WANT TO WAIT 7 MONTHS TO FIND OUT.  Someone get Scott Gimple on the phone.  But, please tell me creepy Mary isn’t wearing Beth’s sweater.

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8. The million dollar question – Are there cannibals at Terminus?  So, if you have read the internet today, you know that there is a cannibalism storyline in the comics.  Now, the show doesn’t always conform to the comics so much of the speculation today (and last week) has been about possible cannibalism.  I think there was some evidence of it in the few glimpses of Terminus that we got, but I don’t think there is any way of knowing until we reach season 5.  Which, let’s be honest, is really annoying.  (I am not the only one annoyed, clearly: http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2014/03/walking-dead-creator-robert-kirkman-addresses-terminus-questions/).  Here is what we know though:

  • There was a pile of skin and bones as Rick, Carl, Michonne, and Daryl were running through Terminus;

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  • The residents of Terminus were clearly not trying to kill the group of four and instead were forcing them to the train car with their shots, so they want them alive for some reason;

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  • You can hear people in other containers screaming to be let out as the group runs through Terminus (they must not like living in the containers);

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  • Messages in the “church” room like “we first, always” seem to indicate that Terminus people value themselves a lot more than outsiders;

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  • A lot of BBQ-ing is happening, Mary always seems to be at that grill;

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  • It’s clear that the people at Terminus want to lure others to their location, hence all the  signs and radio communications;

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  • And, there are some weird phrases said by Terminites that could mean various things.  For instance, Mary tells Glenn and co. “We’ll make you a plate” when they arrive and another resident tells Rick and co. “The more people become a part of us, we get stronger. It’s why we put up signs, take people in.  It’s how we survive.”  That’s creepy;

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  • Powdered milk (used to fatten livestock) is outside the train car; and

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  • Finally, there was a lot of talk in the final episode between Rick, Michonne, and Carl about hunger, food shortage, and trapping.  Foreshadowing perhaps?

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Don’t worry we have a long time to think about all of this.

-LJ

PS.  For those of you interested, I will start discussing Game of Thrones on a weekly basis after it premieres this Sunday.  CJ says he may try to do weekly posts about Mad Men too.

THE WALKING DEAD 414: THE GROVE

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FINALLY.  The moment I have been waiting for since we first saw crazy Lizzie naming the walkers.*  Lizzie is gone.  Unfortunately though, so is her sister.  Not that I was attached to Mika, but that has to be one of the most brutal deaths in Walking Dead history.  And, we didn’t even see it!  Anyways, let’s get to talking probably about one of the most controversial episodes so far in the show.  (At least, I am assuming there is some backlash for killing a kid.)

*To be fair, I have not necessarily been plotting Lizzie’s death since she first appeared on screen (also, I can’t remember if her and the other kids naming the walkers was Lizzie’s first appearance, but it was at least the first one I can recall off the top of my head).  But, we have all known that this girl has been a psycho, so for the safety of everyone and for my own sanity, I am glad she is gone.  Now, do I feel great about the execution of a child…no, even in the zombie apocalypse that is a tough pill to swallow.

1.  Did Carol and Tyreese make the right decision?  This, I am sure, there is some disagreement about, but I ultimately think Carol and Tyreese did make the right decision, especially after the many wrong decisions that had been made with respect to Lizzie (i.e., leaving her alone with the other children repeatedly).  This episode brings about a tough question though, what do you do with someone who is a psychopath in the zombie apocalypse?

If that person is an adult, you kill them.  No question.  I feel like that is a decision anyone can easily make.  But, what if that person is a child?  There aren’t any mental institutions anymore, so you have three options: (1) you keep the psycho with you; (2) you leave the psycho to fend for herself; or (3) you kill the psycho.  Admittedly, none of these are great options.  But, then again, is there ever really a great option in The Walking Dead world?  No, every option sucks, so you try and pick the one that sucks the least (that is my expert analysis anyways).  Carol and Tyreese could not keep Lizzie with them.  She had already told them that she planned to dissect Judith, just like she did Mika.  And, it is virtually impossible for them to watch Lizzie 24/7.  Further, they also can’t take her around any other people now that they are aware that Lizzie is capable of killing any living person.  So, option 1 is definitely out.  I personally think leaving Lizzie alone is the cruelest option and would almost certainly end up with her turning into a zombie and hurting others.  So, you are left with option 3.  Yes, it is disturbing to think about and disturbing to watch.  But, there is literally no other viable option.  The zombie apocalypse is about making tough choices and this was a choice that I think Carol and Tyreese had to make.  And, frankly, I am glad that they did.   I literally could not handle any more Lizzie.  RIP girlfriend.**

**I feel like the writers did not need to rehash every creepy thing Lizzie did at the prison for us to realize how crazy she was.  I am pretty sure every audience member figured out Lizzie was the one feeding the rats to the zombies at the prison as soon as we saw her with a mouse (actually we pretty much had it figured out before then too).  I am also pretty sure we figured out pretty easily that she was the one that did the dissection as well.  So why did the writers feel the need to spell everything out for us after Lizzie killed Mika?  I am really not sure.

2.  I killed Karen – One of the things that drives me nuts with The Walking Dead is when the writers are so obviously building to an event on the show.  Ever since Carol and Tyreese got back together, we have all known that they will have the Karen and David conversation; it has just been a matter of time.  And, as soon as I saw the previews last week, I figured that this would finally be the week where Tyreese learns the truth. (This was further confirmed by every word out of Tyreese’s mouth being about Karen).  Sure enough, it happened.  Granted, I thought the scene was nicely written and extremely well acted, especially by Melissa McBride (Carol).  But, I wish I wasn’t expecting it the entire episode.  I wish I didn’t know it was going to happen.

3.  No backstory on Tyreese? – What’s up with that?  The cold-open this week was crazy Lizzie playing with a walker.  In my mind, that did little to help the storyline.  We already knew Lizzie had an unhealthy  relationship with the zombies.  I didn’t need this confirmed by anything else.  What I did need was more info on Tyreese and Karen because all I remember is the two of them being together for like a minute on the show before she died.  However, if there had been a flashback showing the two of them engaged in a really meaningful moment or demonstrating their love and devotion for each other, then Tyreese’s choosing to forgive Carol at the end of the episode would have meant so much more.  Instead, I still think Tyreese sounds like a crazy love-sick puppy who was way too emotionally attached to a woman I never fully saw him develop a relationship with.  You missed a serious character development chance here Walking Dead.

4.  What if Lizzie really could hear the walkers? – I admit this is somewhat weird to think about and possibly unlikely, but Lizzie told Mika that she could “hear them.”  WHAT IF SHE REALLY COULD?  No, really think about it, what if the walkers actually could communicate and Lizzie could hear them?  What if somehow Lizzie could have been a clue to finding a cure?  What if Lizzie was the only sane person on The Walking Dead and Carol murdered her?  Don’t think about it too hard.  It will blow your mind.

5.  The fire – Does it seem likely that the fire we saw burning in this episode was actually the house Daryl and Beth set ablaze?  These character development episodes we have been getting in the back half of season 4 seem to be jumping around in time, so it is entirely possible that the fire was caused by Daryl and Beth.  After all, there were a crap load of walkers going towards the house when Daryl and Beth finally fled, so it wouldn’t be surprising that burned walkers would have resulted from the house fire.  Plus, it seems like everyone is so close to each other in terms of location (and yet at the same time so far away), so it is possible.  I still don’t understand why the group didn’t have a rondevu point planned out.  This bugs me immensely.

6.  I miss Rick, Carl, and Michonne – That’s right.  I said it.  I miss these three.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  It’s been too long.  I need to know what is happening with them.  Next, I need to know what is happening to Beth.  Then, I need to know what is happening to Daryl.  I could wait awhile before I see the Sasha/Bob/Maggie storyline again though and for some reason I don’t really miss Glen all that much.  Missing Carl is a strange, strange feeling and one that I am not all that comfortable with, to be honest.

7.  Walkers aren’t the only ones to fear – Season 4 seems to focus on a certain theme:  Humans might be greater monsters than the walkers.  This episode again proves that point.  In the end, it was a human (Lizzie) that did the most destruction in The Grove.  Again proving that whether you are alone or with a group, you are never truly safe in the zombie world.

What did y’all think?

-LJ

THE WALKING DEAD 413: ALONE

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This is definitely the “what about Bob” episode of the season.  So, I figured we might as well give Bob the honor of having his picture on this week’s review.  Judging from the largely un-interestingness of his character, I think it safe to say that this may be a one time thing.  Who knows though.  Anything can happen in The Walking Dead right?  Let’s get to talking.

1.  NOOOO, BETH!! – Yes, I screamed that in the middle of the episode this week.  Who the heck has Beth and why have they taken her?  I am traumatized.  Once again The Walking Dead is very good at reminding the viewers that walkers aren’t the only thing to fear in the zombie apocalypse.  Humans are still pretty horrible too.  Interestingly, the in depth character analysis of Beth and Daryl in last week’s episode was apparently effective on me because I now care deeply about what is going to happen to Beth.  I want her to be okay.  I want bad things not to happen to her.  And, I want her and Daryl to continue whatever relationship they are having (whether it is friendship or love, or whatever).  I somehow doubt I will get my wish.

2.  Poor Daryl – There are soo many things to talk about related to Daryl this week.  First, I was so happy to see that he was finally willing to let a little positive outlook into his life.  Second, him scraping the makeup or gel or whatever off the dead zombies face, super gross.  Third, Daryl you are so badass at killing zombies.  How did you get out of that mortuary alive?  Finally, my heart broke for you as you sat in the middle of the street not knowing which way Beth went.  I am afraid that any shred of hope left in you is gone.  And, I am more afraid that you will revert back to your pre-zombie days where you just followed Meryl around doing bad things (although this time you will be in a group of really bad dudes).  Is it possible that you are just going to pretend to be bad until you figure everything out?  Something tells me we won’t find this out for awhile.

3.  Bobby – Not going to lie, Bob, I kinda wanted to punch you in the face with all of your smiling.  I mean, I get it.  When the prison got attacked, you managed to gain a “family” (with Maggie and Sasha), which for you, seems like a pretty good deal.  But, seriously, stop smiling.  Sasha and Maggie are going through some serious stuff right now and you smiling might be bothering them as much as it is bothering me.

4.  Defense mechanisms – Not literal, more the psychological ones I mean.  We don’t know that much about Sasha other than she is Tyreese’s sister and was part of another group and lived in Woodbury for a bit.  Clearly, she is trying to deal with what happened in the prison by not dealing with it at all.  But, we don’t have enough of her backstory to understand why she is choosing to deal with the potential loss of her brother this way.  At least with Michonne, we knew she had lost a kid, so presumably losing her “family” again turned her into an emotional zombie for a period of time.  But, we know nothing about Sasha.  So, to me, it just seems like she is being a poop-face.  Yup, a poop-face.  I said it.

5.  Terminus – We don’t read the comics, so I really don’t know anything about this place (and please don’t tell me anything if you have read them).  But, something bad is going to happen right, if literally everyone is going to venture there?  As of now, we know that Carol, Tyreese, kiddos, Rick, Michonne, Carl, Maggie, Sasha, Bob, and now presumably Glen and co. are all heading that direction.  I don’t feel good about this one bit.

6.  The puppy – I know the dog in this episode was somewhat minor.  But, according to The Talking, the one-eyed dog, Dooley, actually lost his eye in real life while saving his owner from a carjackers.  *Tear.  I hope you are surviving the zombie apocalypse as well.

What did y’all think?  I am really not looking forward to next week where it appears that Lizzie and her sister will be back.  They are still the worst.

-LJ

THE WALKING DEAD 412: STILL

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I am giving myself a virtual pat on the back for timely posting this Walking Dead review.  I am also silently cheering in my head, “LJ, LJ, LJ!”  Given the recent posting inconsistencies on the blog, I feel like this self-praise is totally justified, right?  Anyways, this week we spent an hour with Beth and Daryl, which I LOVED.  Come on, it’s Daryl.  I would spend a lifetime watching Daryl.  Personally, I think we need a Walking Dead spin-off which follows Daryl in his pre-zombie apocalypse life.  Anyways, let’s get to talking.

1.  I would have gone for the peach schnapps – Don’t get my wrong, the moonshine discovery ended up leading to a very intense and much needed conversation between Beth and Daryl about life both before and after the zombies.  But, when Beth originally found the peach schnapps, I couldn’t help but think now that is the perfect first drink for a teenager.  I enjoy when events happen in The Walking Dead world could also happen in a non-zombie world (like Carl trying to convince his dad that he is a “grown-up”).  And, Beth having peach schnapps as her first drink would have also likely happened in a non-zombie world.

2.  “Never have I ever” – So Beth and Daryl playing “never have I ever” might have been the greatest thing to happen on The Walking Dead this season.  If you have never played the game, then I hate to break it to you, but you did your teenage years wrong.  Albeit, this is a much darker version (I was really hoping for statements like “never have I ever been skinny dipping” and the like), but I got a great laugh out of Beth convincing Daryl to play.

3.  Speaking of laughs – In the world of The Walking Dead, as I have mentioned several times, humor is a much needed thing.  And, Daryl beating the crap out of the zombie with the golf club, while simultaneously messing up Beth’s new outfit was hilarious.  Was anyone else hoping that Beth was going to take the string of pearls off the “Rich Bitch” zombie and add it to her ensemble?

4.  Beth turns out to be the strong one – Who would have thought when Daryl and Beth got paired up that Daryl would end up needing Beth just as much as she needs him?  Beth’s honesty about the fact that she will likely die shows that she has come to terms with this zombie apocalypse much better than Daryl in some respects.  Whether its Rick or Carol or now Beth, Daryl seems to need an emotional support system to carry on and I am glad that he has found one with Beth.

5.  F*ck you – I know a lot in terms of the big picture story didn’t happen in this episode but the final scene with Beth and Daryl sticking up their middle fingers to the past sure the hell was worth the drama of looking for booze.

6.  Romance – There has been a lot of talk on the internet regarding Beth and Daryl’s relationship, i.e., whether it is more of a brother/sister one or whether it will turn romantic.  Look, I love me some zombies, but you know what is better than zombies…zombies plus a new romance.  So, I am on Team Beth and Daryl, and I say go for it.  Age means nothing in the zombie apocalypse.  Plus, who else is Beth supposed to date, Carl?  Vomit.

7.  Trunk – Hiding in the trunk.  Genius.

What did y’all think?

-LJ

THE WALKING DEAD 409, 410, 411: AFTER, INMATES, CLAIMED

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That’s right, I am finally doing a much-overdue Walking Dead post.  Apologies for the delay.  February has been a hectic month for us:  lots of travel, busy at work, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  I personally blame the depression from turning 30 as the reason I have not been motivated to write a blog-post.  But, enough about me…let’s talk about what is happening on The Walking Dead.

*Because I am so behind in commenting on The Walking Dead since it returned to TV, you are going to get one post about the last 3 episodes.  Sorry, but, we all need to put on our big-girl panties and deal with it.

1.  I think I actually like Carl – Carl has become a less and less annoying character as the show has continued, partly due to the fact that the character has grown up a bit.  That is not to say that he still doesn’t have his moments when he acts like a child (see the temper tantrums in “After”).  But, still, I am starting to like the kid.  Especially when he is hanging out with Michonne.  The Michonne and Carl pairing is one of the best ones on the show and often times gives some of the funnier and more heart-felt moments, which, let’s be honest, we need.  Now, if only I could stop screaming “Judith is alive” at the TV constantly (I’m sure my husband appreciates that so much).

*If Tyreese and co. is heading towards Sanctuary and Rick/Michonne/Carl is heading there too, it seems that we will have a reunion in the future.  It also might be possible that Glenn’s group is heading there as well since they were following some train tracks.

2.  “Inmates” was not my favorite episode – What splitting the group into smaller groups has shown me, is that I really, really don’t like some people.  I think we can all agree that crazy Lizzie and her sister Mika are the worst, seriously, the worst.  I am fairly certain that Lizzie is a psychopath (you saw more dead bunnies, right?) and her sister is an idiot.  Having to watch the two of them and Tyreese bumble their way through the forest in episode 410 was awful and stupid.  Also, having them run into Carol at the end of that episode was just too coincidental.  At what point will she tell Tyreese about Karen?  You know, what, I don’t even care.  Very over that storyline.

3.  Beth’s voiceovers – What’s up with Beth’s voiceovers?  We got plenty of them in episode 410 and the previews for next week make it seem like we will be getting more of them.  I assume the show is trying to give Beth a more central role, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just wish I didn’t feel like the character and her optimism wasn’t getting shoved in my face constantly.  Let’s please have Beth and Daryl do something other than wander around debating whether you should view the world as sunshine and rainbows or as the crap-fest it has turned into.

4.  Glenn got off the bus – So, Glenn got off the bus.  Was anyone else wondering when that exactly happened and how he was able to get himself that high in the prison when he was on his deathbed?  Nonetheless, I am glad Glenn didn’t die like the rest of the bus-riders.  I also kind of like his pairing with Tara.  Hopefully there isn’t a love-triangle story coming in the future though, because I love Maggie and Glenn.  PS.  Let’s not pretend like Glenn’s riot gear wasn’t totally bad-ass.

5.  The new kids – We got more of the new kids on the block in this past week’s episode.  In case you can’t remember their names, we have Sergeant Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinoza, and Dr. Eugene Porter.  So, Dr. Eugene thinks he knows what caused this whole mess, great, could he please clue us in also?  I haven’t decided whether I believe this doctor or not.  And, his inability to use a gun, isn’t really helping me buy his credibility.

6.  Bathroom guy – Let’s pause and reflect on the awesomeness of Rick strangling the bathroom guy and then leaving the door open for zombie bathroom guy to potentially take out some of the other bad dudes squatting in Rick, Michonne, and Carl’s house.  Genius.  I can’t imagine that we will see the end of this band of largely unknown and seemingly very bad men.

What have y’all thought about this half of the season so far?

-LJ

WHAT TO WATCH: FEBRUARY 2014

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February on TV is not necessarily all that different from February at the movie theater. It is traditionally known as a dumping ground, but there’s always some good, if not great, stuff mixed in. This February is an interesting month. Thrown off by the Winter Olympics (which 100%, completely and totally will NOT be anywhere near this list–as boring as I find the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games are far, far worse), but still a testament to the changing face of television. The traditional television season, with pilots, show orders, September/January premieres, is all becoming a thing of the past. Cable networks set their own schedules, which allows them to nurture a show in ways not afforded to the Big 4 networks. Most importantly, they are not tied down to the structure of pilot season, giving them access to more and bigger named actors for their projects.

Now on to the list for February:

10. Growing Up Fisher (NBC–Feb. 23): This is a show that I know virtually nothing about, and in most months, would never make this list. But like I mentioned above, February is just a weird month. What puts this show on this list is the top line: JK Simmons, Jenna Elfman, and Jason Bateman. A JK Simmons project is always going to at least get a view from me.

 9. Questioning Darwin (HBO–Feb. 10): Again, a project I know very little about, but what I do know, tells me I’ll at least watch it. I generally enjoy the HBO documentary series (which this is a part of), and I’m always interested in a story about great scientific minds that have shaped the world, of which, Charles Darwin is certainly one.

 8. Legit (FXX–Feb. 26): One of the old FX comedies that got pushed over to the new network, Legit is the story of a standup comedian, Jim Jeffries, his best friend and his best friend’s quadriplegic brother. It’s not the finest of the FX/FXX comedies, but it has funny moments. Jim Jeffries is a talented comedian and that shows at many points in this comedy. Although, perhaps what I should be pointing out here is a show that I missed in January, Archer: Vice on FX. The new season of Archer throws the entire premise on its head, and is probably as good as or better than the show has been in its 5 seasons.

7. Mixology (ABC–Feb. 26): Another new network sitcom premiering at the end of February. Can’t be a good thing, right? I don’t know. This show has kind of an interesting premise, with 10 people spending one night in a bar. How can a premise like that go on, I’m not sure. But I’m at least interested in seeing what happens on this one, presumably crazy night. Although I don’t think I’ll get too attached, because I’m not expecting this to be a long term show on ABC–who has been struggling like crazy to find a comedy block to surround The Middle and Modern Family.

6. About a Boy (NBC–Feb. 21): Finally a show I actually do have some high expectations for. Not that I expect it to be a commercial success (although, I do expect it to be a critical success), but it is a show that I am greatly anticipating. Brought to us by Jason Katims, the man behind Friday Night Lights (TV), and starring David Walton (NBC’s short lived, but brilliant “Bent”) and Minnie Driver, the pedigree behind this show has all the makings of a great sitcom. The only thing that I can think of that would make this better is if NBC went all in on the “Bent” reunion and had Amanda Peet in the Minnie Driver role. But hey, I’m about as big a fan of “Good Will Hunting” as there is out there, so I won’t complain with the role being played by the namesake for my dog.

5. The Walking Dead (AMC–Feb. 9): Part 2 of season 4 premieres this weekend. LJ has posted a review of Part 1 of season 4 to get everyone ready for Sunday night, so I’ll direct you to her comments. She’s also a much bigger fan of TWD than I am, so I think it’s best to let her convince you to watch. Let me just say, I am NOT excited about the return of The Governor. Come on Scott Gimple. You killed him. Let him just be dead. No more Rick hallucinations, no more flash backs. Just let David Morrissey go on to his next AMC show.

 4. The Red Road (Sundance–Feb. 27): So this is one of those interesting situations where I’m going to say I know NOTHING about this show, but I couldn’t be more excited for it. First of all, just look at the cast: Khol Drogo himself, Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson (one of my favorite gingers), and Tom Sizemore–that is great stuff. Then, it’s on Sundance, who so far has given us Top of the Lake, Rectify and The Returned. I hope that this show will be just as brilliant as those 3, and I fully suspect that it will be.

3. House of Cards (Netflix–Feb. 13): House of Cards reminds me a lot of “Oz” from the early days of HBO. A great show, but it is most important because it paved the way for what came next. Like Oz, House of Cards was not technically the first Netflix original, but it is the first one of note. And like Oz, House of Cards is overshadowed in many people’s minds by what came after it. For Oz, it was obviously the greatest TV show of all time, The Sopranos, and for House of Cards, it was arguably the best show of 2013, Orange is the New Black. Nonetheless, more House of Cards is something to be excited about, including the news of a season 3 in 2015.

2. The Americans (FX–Feb. 26): As I reflect on my top 10 list from 2013, I am really upset at myself for not putting this show higher. The Americans suffered from what many shows do, it simply appeared too early on in the year, leaving me too much time to forget how great it was, and how much I enjoyed it. My vow is to not let that happen this year, and to let it sit up there with the other great FX shows including Justified, The Bridge, Archer: Vice, Louie, Sons of Anarchy, The Strain, and Fargo. Good night alive, it looks like it’s going to be a GREAT year for John Landgraf and FX.

1. Hannibal (NBC–Feb. 28): I will put Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikklesen’s performances in Hannibal up against any 2 performances on any show, including Olyphant and Goggins, Cranston and Paul, McConauhey and Harrelson, or Hamm and Kartheiser. The difference is that no one pays any attention to Hannibal for some reason. And, adding Michael Pitt to the cast for the upcoming season is only going to make this rich cast even richer. It’s the most beautiful show on TV and telling one of the most thoughtful crime stories ever put to film. Getting a second season is a gift we could have never expected. But hopefully, with the foreign financing, making this show brutally cheap for NBC, we will get as many seasons as Fuller and the gang want to do.

-CJ

THE WALKING DEAD: MID-SEASON RECAP

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Get ready folks, The Walking Dead is back this Sunday (insert cheers or zombie growls here)!  We, here at YBTV, felt like a little refresher course in the events of the first-half of season 4 might be helpful to put us in the right mindset for Sunday night.  So, here are some things that you don’t want to forget about season 4 thus far.

6.  Poor rats and bunnies – Don’t forget that there appeared to be some crazed lunatic who was feeding rats to the zombies in the first-half of season 4.  Also, Tyreese found a dissected bunny in the mid-season finale.  We really don’t have much of a story as to who has been torturing these animals, but it seems that someone isn’t completely right in the head.  My money is on Bob or Lizzie.  This could become more of a focal point now that the groups are much smaller.

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5.  Judith is M.I.A. – Yes, Lizzie and company abandoned Judith in the midst of the prison battle (stupid, stupid girl) and Carl and Rick found a bloody car seat.  But, we certainly didn’t see a dead baby in the midseason finale, so that begs the question…Is Judith still alive?  There has of course been much speculation that Tyreese is actually carrying the baby while he is running away.  I personally don’t think we have seen the last of Judith.

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4.  Carol got kicked out – Although we don’t have much of a ‘”group” at the moment, don’t forget that Carol was coldly cut out of the group by Rick in episode 4 of this season.  We know that Carol admitted to killing Karen and David, but that’s about all we know of Carol at the moment.  She is set to make a return appearance in this back-half of the season, but when and where we don’t know.  I feel like she has to come across Tyreese doesn’t she?

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3.  Who was on the radio? – Remember when Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Bob heard that mysterious radio broadcast?  It is easy to forget about that part of episode 3 because the group quickly encounters a herd of zombies, but who was on the radio?  And, what does that mean for the group?  The radio transmission is set to be revisited in the second-half of this season.

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2.  Hershel is dead – R.I.P. Hershel.  I am still not sure that I am quite over this event from the mid-season finale.  Seriously, how am I and the group going to survive without Hershel?  I assume that it means Bob might play a bigger role, since he is now the resident doctor in the group.  Also, Danai Gurira has indicated that Michonne has taken the death of Hershel pretty hard and now that she is all alone, we can only imagine what sort of mental problems she is facing.

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1.  Splitsville – Probably the biggest thing that happened in the beginning of season 4 is that the group has been split into fragments.  So here is a refresher for you:

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  • Carol is alone (we presume) – we have no clue where is she or when she will reappear
  • Rick and Carl are together – although Rick appears to be pretty hurt
  • Glen is alone (with a bus full of people) – we aren’t sure who else is on the bus or who is even driving it (there is some speculation that Lilly’s sister Tara is actually driving the bus)
  • Daryl is with Beth – I am most excited about this pairing
  • Tyreese is with the kids – and maybe baby Judith
  • Maggie, Bob, and Sasha are together – Sasha is still kinda sick and Bob is shot (and my guess mentally unstable)
  • Michonne is on her own
  • Who knows where Lilly is – although I am not sure that we care

Sunday really can’t come soon enough!

-LJ