Valentine’s Day and Romantic Films That Don’t Suck

happy-valentines-day-2Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? All the romance and intimacy; sharing tender feelings with your significant other over candlelight dinners. The flowers, the jewelry, sexy lingerie and Hallmark cards that cost four bucks apiece…

Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day?

Me. This girl. Right here. Just like all the other single people in the world, February fourteenth is just another day in the week for me. I don’t have to think up meaningful gifts, plan an outfit to wear to the fancy restaurant, or shave my legs for the obligatory sex at the valentines-day-2014-messages-for-facebookend of the night. But my sad and pathetic social life means that I have the time to do things like write this article for the benefit of those who are not sad and pathetic. I’m a great humanitarian- what can I say? But before I get to the advice part I thought I’d give people a little reminder of why we celebrate this so special day.

Oh, and anyone wondering why someone single should be giving out any kind of relationship advice can shove it. Thought I’d clear that one up right off the bat.

Despite the accusations of the loveless and cynical, this holiday wasn’t invented by the flowers and greeting card companies: more like the Romans and Christian church.

Every February 15th the Roman’s held a festival called Lupacalia to celebrate Faunus, the god of Agriculture, as well as commemorate the founding of Rome by the twins Romulus and Remus. Priests went to a sacred cave and sacrificed animals, then ran around the city slapping crops and young women with whips dipped in the blood. This was to ensure both the women and the land’s fertility and in turn, the prosperity of the Roman people. Then during the 5th century, pagan celebrations were outlawed by the Christian church. But not unlike the holiday Samhain (aka Halloween or All Saint’s Day) the church realized cupid-with-red-roses-valentines-day-clip-arthow much people enjoyed these naughty Pagan traditions and so instead of struggling to stamp them out, decided to place a Christian celebration right on top of it. This way the people could keep doing all the fun stuff without being sacrilegious and the church could retain popularity instead of being a huge buzzkill. So at the end of the 5th century we have Pope Gelasius declaring February 14th the day of Saint Valentine, who was some Saint of some kind…no one really knows which because there were three. Though the origin stories of these saints named Valentine or Valentinus are all unclear and have become more legend than fact, we do know that all were martyred and some had a loose connection to love and sacrifice that appealed to people’s sense of romance. By the Middle Ages St. Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France, where it was also believed that the middle of February was the start of the mating season for birds. This forever cemented the association of fertility, love, romance, and mating with the feast of St. Valentine on February 14th.

Christian Church-1, Pagan Festivals-0.

It wasn’t until after the 1400s that written St. Valentine’s Day greetings became popular, but by the 18th century it was a common occurrence across all social classes in several countries.  The first mass-produced Valentine’s Day card was created by Esther Howland in the United States sometime during the 1840s and according to the Greeting Card Association an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. Also, there is an actual Greeting Card Association. These greetings, given along with tokens of affection like flowers and sweets, evolved to become the frenzy of spending and inundation of cutesy teddy bears, roses, hearts, and all things red & pink today that we’ve come to know and loathe, I mean love.VaentinesDayCupidOn top of leaving you more educated and full of fun facts to impress I’m also offering my assistance in an area that has become not only a Valentine’s Day tradition, but a staple in the entire dating/relationship world: the date movie.

Ever since the creation of moving pictures, people have sat through shit that they didn’t really want to and pretended to like when the really didn’t in order to make another person happy and possibly get lucky. I don’t want to stereotype all women and say that this is my list of suggested alternatives to traditional chick-flicks in order to reduce the suffering of men nationwide…but basically that’s what this is. Obviously there are the rare and exceptional exceptions such as me to the preconceived notions of how women think and what we like, but for the sake of this article let’s just go with the conceptual majority and argue over the prevalence of girls who prefer explosions over expressions of love some other time, ok?

If you’re worried about what horror show of cheesetastic love stories and films starring Sandra Bullock your girl will pull off of Netflix or drag you to the theatre to shell out 20-30 bucks for, why not take matters into your own hands this year? Here to help are my fourteen suggested chick-flick alternatives that feature unconventional love stories and unique characters that provide enjoyable entertainment while staying on-topic. I’ve divided them into five sub-categories based on their second most prominent element for those who prefer action over humor, sex over cinematography, and so on.

Weird/Artsy:

These three films each garnered acclaim for their special flavor of brilliance at Sundance, and while they couldn’t be more different from each other, the journey they take you on is a poignant and enjoyable ride worth watching and discussing at any time.

Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind-movie-poster-1020192924Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) 108 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0338013/?ref_=nv_sr_1

How much easier would life be if one could simply erase all memory of painful events? Sure our psychological scars are what molds our character and helps to define us as individuals but is it always better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all- and what if we could decide that? A top-notch cast that includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, and Kirsten Dunst explore the idea that our memory is the arch-enemy of our happiness.

larsandtherealgirlr1artpLars and the Real Girl (2007) 106 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805564/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Before he was a badass in Drive or melted hearts and panties alike despite a scraggly beard in The Notebook, Ryan Gosling convinced us that it really was possible for someone that gorgeous to be painfully shy and socially inept in Lars and the Real Girl. Not just a wonderful story about the transformational properties of love, this film is a testimony to the truism that a man can overcome anything with the help of a good woman; or even just the idea of a good woman.

06-wristcuttersWristcutters: A Love Story (2006) 88 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477139/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

In a strange, sad kind of Purgatory reserved for people who have committed suicide, a boy named Zia wonders what to do with himself and reminisces about the former girlfriend who broke his heart. When he discovers that she committed suicide not long after he did, Zia hits the road with his friend and failed rock musician Eugene in search of the lovely Desiree. Along the way he meets others living out their eternity in the same joyless way, including a pretty hitch-hiker named Mikal who claims her presence there is a mistake and is searching for the People In Charge to correct her situation. Darkly humorous with a sort-of tongue-in-cheek philosophical air, Wristcutters is an unexpected pleasure that will make you appreciate all the things (and people) in your life that are easy to take for granted. Patrick Fugit plays Zia and the lovely Shannyn Sossamon is Mikal.

Weird/Sexy:

For those of you who want something to jump-start your evening, so to speak, these are some films that you may not have seen that’ll give you a whole new point of view on the interconnections of love, sex, pleasure, and pain.

Quills_posterQuills (2000) 124 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180073/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Kate Winslet appears on my list again in this story about the amorous adventures of the Marquis de Sade while interned at an asylum. She plays the part of Madelein, a maid who secretly aids the Marquis in putting the debaucheries of his imagination down on paper in order to reach the public. Joaquin Phoenix plays the Abbott running the asylum with the best of intentions while Geoffrey Rush plays the original sadist. This story is a bit less focused on love and romance but remains a great story nonetheless. Or maybe I just have a sick mind.

Secretary (2002) 104 minssecretary poster

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274812/?ref_=nv_sr_6

One of my favorite films of all time, Secretary is the very definition of an unusual love story. Maggie Gyllenhal plays Lee Holloway, a lonely and repressed young woman who takes a job as a secretary upon her release from hospitalization. James Spader is excellent as her boss who secretaryerleads her one step at a time into a relationship few ever experience and fewer still can understand. It’s a window into the world of BDSM that’s far more authentic than Fifty Shades of Grey will ever be.

young_big_picYoung Adam (2003) 98 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289635/?ref_=nv_sr_1

People should see this movie if for no other reason than the fact that Ewan McGregor appears naked in it briefly. That is the nude scene is brief, Ewan is in it the whole time. In fact what I remember most about this movie is how much sex he had in it. He also manages to pretty much screw up the lives of everyone around him with sex as well, but he looks damn good while doing it (pun intended.) Probably for the best it was rated NC-17 eh? Tilda Swinton plays the female lead/person naked the 2nd most frequently.

Weird/Thought-Provoking:

I have no other way to describe these but feel like both deserve mentioning. Both films deal with the unfairness of life and the capacity each of us has for love, longing, heartache, and obsession. They aren’t your typical Valentine’s Day feature but if you don’t watch them now I recommend that you do at some later date and time.

Womb (2010) 111minswomb pic

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1216520/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

When the love of her life is taken from her before they are able to even begin their life together, Rebecca decides to have him cloned. Where things get strange is when she also decides to be the one to carry and give birth to her love-clone and then raise him as her son so that there’s a freaky Norman Bates-esque quality to their relationship. Matt Smith plays Thomas and the Thomas clone while the beautiful Eva Green plays his love and his mom. Is it still incest if he’s not biologically related to you? Maybe I should email Woody Allen…

The Lovely Bones (2009) 135 minsLovely-Bones-Poster

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380510/?ref_=nv_sr_1

The surrealism of living in the afterlife is portrayed parallel to the all-too-real grief and frustration of a family fractured by the disappearance of a child. The stark sadness of a young girl’s murder pales in comparison to the heartache caused by refusing to let go of what’s already lost. The story directed by Peter Jackson makes my list because it is a beautifully well-acted tale that will leave you with eyes welled up. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play the parents of the victim while Saoirse Ronan plays Susie.

Weird/Action-Packed:

If you’re like me you might prefer a bit more excitement to your romance tales than the average love-story usually accommodates; if so, these suggestions are for you. Additionally they each deal with a form of the undead, which always makes love extra-fun in my opinion.

the_returned_season_1_www.kepfeltoltes.hu_The Returned

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2521668/?ref_=nv_sr_1

This isn’t so much a film as it is a French television series that aired on IFC but I felt compelled to mention it because I’ve never come across anything like it in all my vast experience with zombies. The strangeness and foreboding are matched only by the centrality of love in all its forms. It’s the story of a small town where one day, out of the blue, people’s deceased loved ones start coming home as if no time had passed since they had…well, passed. Some have only been gone a few months while others return to apartments that have new tenants and fiancés that have new husbands. I can’t say that I know any of the actors in it but they do a great job, and if you get through the whole season please drop me a line so that I can ask you to explain to me wtf was going on…

Kiss of the Damned (2012 version) 97 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959438/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1kiss-of-the-damned-review-2

A vampire movie where no one sparkles- so a real vampire movie- that was remade in 2012, Kiss of the Damned is a sexy, fun romp in the realm of eternal darkness. Paolo is a screenwriter who became entranced by a beautiful stranger while seeking isolation to focus on his craft. Drawn to each other as though it was meant to be, the mysterious Djuna is unable to scare Paolo off or resist him despite her (sortof) best efforts and so creates a partner/lover for forever. However their blood-sucking honeymoon is interrupted when her wild and unpredictable sister shows up unannounced. What could be more dramatic than a house full of tense vampires? Milo Ventimiglia plays Paolo, Josephine de la Baume is Djuna, and Roxane Mesquida is Djuna’s sister Mimi.

The Crow (1994) 102 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109506/?ref_=nv_sr_1brandon-lee-the-crow

Based on the brilliant comic book by James O’Barr and made into a real-life tragic love story after the actor playing the main character is killed in an accident while filming, The Crow is another of my all-time favorite films. Brandon Lee plays Eric Draven, a musician turned avenging angel after he and his fiancé Shelley Webster are tortured and murdered by a gang of thugs. His soul is brought back by a crow in order to “set the wrong things right” in this dark, violent, and moody tale that proves real love is forever.

Weird/Funny:

Everyone’s sense of humor is a bit different so I selected three films that couldn’t be more different from each other in nearly every way except for the fact that all of them are love stories.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) 95 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248845/?ref_=nv_sr_1hedwig pic

I believe the correct term for this film is “rock opera.” Full of catchy musical numbers, this film chronicles the life of Hedwig and her battle for fame, love, and acceptance. Angry and hurt that the boy she once believed truly cared about her became a rock star without her but with the songs they wrote together, Hedwig is bitter and cynical, keeping people at a distance and putting a strain on all the other relationships in her life. Other than the costumes and makeup and humor and scenery, by far the best thing about this movie is the soundtrack, which has never left my iPod. I dare you to listen to “The Origin of Love” and not think it’s brilliant.

Garden State (2004) 102 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0333766/?ref_=nv_sr_1garden state sundance channel dot com

I think Garden State may actually be my favorite movie of all time…I know I’ve said other aforementioned films are my favorites and I just told you how much I love the soundtrack to Hedwig, but this might be my one favorite movie and movie soundtrack of all if I could only list one. Zach Braff wrote, directed, and starred in this as well as personally selecting all of the music. This left him with very little money left in the budget for things like say, filming, but also earned him a Grammy for best compilation soundtrack album for a motion picture, television or other visual media. Braff plays Andrew Largeman; a quasi-successful actor living in LA who reluctantly returns to his home in New Jersey in order to attend his mother’s funeral. Shortly after the burial he meets Sam, played by Natalie Portman, who changes his entire view on life in only a few short days. The story is quirky and has a randomness to the way events unfold that goes well with its strange sense of humor. These surround a poignant and genuine-feeling drama that I believe nearly everyone can relate to on some level. Overall the tone of the movie manages to remain light even though the plot centers on a traumatic loss, and combined with the superb performances by the supporting cast members it is most assuredly an experience you won’t forget.

I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) 98 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045772/?ref_=nv_sr_1I Love you pm pic

Another film starring both Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, I Love You Phillip Morris is by far the lightest and most humorous of all my weird/funny films. Carrey plays Steven Russell, a man who meets his true love, played by Mr. McGregor, while in prison for insurance fraud. Everything after that is wine and roses- the only problem seems to be his complete and utter inability to tell the truth. There are some wonderful tender moments, laugh-out-loud moments, shocked and scandalized moments, and plenty of coarse gay humor. I highly recommend this one for a great time and anyone who can appreciate a good sight-gag.

This extra list is comprised of films that most people have seen before and nearly everyone has at least heard of. They’re fourteen of your more your traditional V-Day movies but if you must go that route these are what I recommend as being the best options. (You might also want to keep them in mind in case your first selection from the list above crashes and burns with your viewing partner’s film tastes.) No synopses, no links- just some titles to keep in mind. I can’t do all the work for you, can I?

Last of the Mohicans

Titanic

Moulin Rouge

The Painted Veil

Black Swan

Knocked Up

Legends of the Fall

Warm Bodies

The Notebook

Untamed Heart

An Education

Sixteen Candles

True Romance

What Dreams May Come

2014-valentines-day-facebook-wallpapers1So instead of seeing Endless Love or Winter’s Tale, which both look stupid, stay in and save your money for more important things- like comic books. And remember: if your bf or gf asks you to watch any part of the Twilight “saga” dump them post haste and run like Hell.free-clip-art-of-valentines-day

Your Bitchy WMD Valentine,

Dianthrax

Sources: the internet movie database, history.com, SundanceChannel.com, movieposters.com
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The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale Episode IV: No Hope

collected group shot2Review of AMC’s The Walking Dead  Season 4 Episode 8: The Mid-season Finale

**As always my reviews contain adult content, language, sexuality, fantasies of violence, and all kinds of other fun/naughty stuff. The images may be disturbing as well as my sense of humor. Reader discretion is advised. There will also be spoilers so if you decide to read a review about an episode of TV that you haven’t watched yet expect to be even more outraged than usual. Also, you’re dumb.**

Yes my lovely readers I have made my triumphant return to blogging and writing and the world of the living! Like a bad case of Herpes I just keep coming back to inflame, annoy, and make my presence impossible to ignore. I know you’ve missed me; please stop crying. Or maybe you’re just upset that there won’t be a new episode of Walking Dead until February? Honestly, how very much does that suck? The only show that’s actually worse is Game of Thrones and they have a cast of 50 billion and film in like, 12 countries plus outer space! Come on AMC- get your shit together!

Now I know I’ve been gone a while and should have a whole lot of catching up to do…but I’m not gunna. If I tried this article would become a “companion guide” that never gets finished so instead I’m just jumping in. If you’re reasonably intelligent and you’ve kept up with the show you’ll be just fine.

So where to start, where to start…

Ok, how’s this: Judith isn’t dead, Carol is coming back, and one of the children is the psycho responsible for butterflying that kitty Tyrese found.

Do I know all of this for sure because I have a secret inside source that hacked the network Exec’s email accounts and read them all with my jaw on the floor yelling “Oh my God!!” to my laptop screen, frightening all the other customers at Starbucks?

 No- I don’t go to Starbucks.

But I sound pretty sure don’t I? These are just my personal theories combined with wishful thinking because I would rather see Daryl hook up with almost anyone other than Carol. I know that I’m in the minority here but the idea makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Beth, Michonne, Sasha; anyone else is an improvement. Daryl luvs Ty

Actually I think it would be super-awesome if Daryl turned out to be gay. I mean, he’s always gotten along better with Glenn and Rick than any of the women, and think of all the stereotypes it would destroy to have the show’s red-neck superman playing for the other team! Plus all of the homophobes watching the show & buying crossbows on eBay would never recover. Dixon Vixens would be hurling themselves from rooftops left and right! It would be hilarious!

To be fair I don’t dislike Carol just because I think her little sexual innuendos with Daryl are creepy and gross; I have never liked her. Back at camp in season 1 while everyone else was looking for food or keeping watch, Carol was ironing clothes and nicking Rick’s grenade. Who even brings an iron or ironing board with them when fleeing during the end of the world?? All Carol ever did was cry and whine and blame everyone else for all of her problems while expecting them to take care of her and her kid. Remember in season 2 when she couldn’t protect or keep track of Sophia so she blamed Rick for not doing it for her? Did she even once go out and look for the kid after the 2nd day? You know, the day she went into that church and admitted she was aware that her sleazy husband was molesting her daughter yet did nothing about it? Yeah. Then when the herd came through Hershel’s farm and she waited around for Daryl to rescue her, she decided to go back on every positive/affirming thing she told him about himself in order to manipulate him into running off from Rick & the others. I mean, it was three fucking seasons before Carol even killed a walker!

Many people think that her transformation over seasons 3 and 4 has been impressive and admirable. I’m sorry but going from a useless bag of bones to a psychotic, murderous bag of bones is NOT an improvement. All the things she said to Rick when trying to justify killing two members of their group were pathetic and defensive. She wants to feel relevant S4A (16)and in control but she still needs someone else to bail her out. The only problem I had with Rick dropping her off and saying “hit the road” was that I knew it wouldn’t be the end of her. I would’ve given her the Otis and been just fine with it. This is why I’m sure that Carol will be coming back- not because I want that to happen, but because I’m just not that damn lucky.

I also do not believe that Judith is really dead. Yes there was a bloody car seat, yes no one saw her escape but we didn’t see a body, either. Admittedly I don’t think the network would be ok with showing a baby ripped apart by monsters and eaten like some giant jelly-doughnut, but  whenever we don’t see a person die and simply assume they’re gone they end up coming back with a knife-hand or deer parts or an effing tank. It also doesn’t seem likely that there would be this kind of buildup around a pregnancy and birth and a baby if she was just going to end up dying as collateral damage during an attack without any kind of fanfare. On the other hand, I’m sure it would make the show’s production a lot less complicated without worrying about an infant on set or trying to write to make surviving on the road with one a plausible situation. I don’t really care one way or the other since we hardly see her.Ep8Me (8)2

So speaking of children we hardly see, my theory about which sick bastard is responsible for killing small animals is that it’s one of the girls Carol took under her wing- probably Mika, the older one, who had no problem shooting a chick in the face. Side note: is it just me or does everyone in that camp seem to have magically accurate shooting skill? Each person is able to take down walkers from a distance with a head shot. Even kids who have never been to a shooting range can apparently nail you between the eyes with one round.

It’s almost…unbelievable.

Feeding the rats to the walkers seems to me like something a kid who names them and insists that they’re “just different” would do. You have to feed your pets don’t you? Though animal mutilations and cruelty are usually the bailiwick of males, I have to assume that in this kill-or-be-killed world little girls are just as likely to be all evil as little boys. Regardless I don’t think this will be something that just remains a mystery; someone’s going to be revealed as completely crazy-pants during one of the remaining 8 episodes.

Now that all that crap is out of the way I think I maybe should start talking about the episode I’m supposed to be reviewing.

Ep8Me (18)I never believed that the Governor had actually changed- not for a single minute. He’s a sadistic psychopath who enjoys killing and causing pain. He’s also a malignant narcissist who justifies the shit he does by presenting an altruistic front and telling himself that he’s doing it all for his family. I am so done with everyone who says that he’s a better leader than Rick or that he’s the better survivor or more fit to live in this world or any of that nonsense. He didn’t care about that chick or her kid- they were just surrogates for the family he lost. Remember how he said “I won’t lose you again”? That’s because he doesn’t care about who they are as much as he does whom they represent to him. He also didn’t kill that soldier guy and put him in the lake as a reminder to be vigilant or some bullshit like that. He did that for the same reason that he kept fish tanks full of heads: because serial killers take trophies. He kept that guy hidden enough to not be overt yet near enough to be discovered, just like he did with the heads at Woodbury, because he gets off on doing all of this right under everyone’s noses & feeling powerful, smart, and in control. Like I said: psychopath.

Meanwhile, back at the prison…

So um, if there’s barely enough gas to power people’s cars or possibly a generator or two, how the Hell is a moron like Mitch fueling up a freaking tank?? Considering it takes about one gallon of fuel to travel a single mile, either the Governor’s camp was practically on top of the prison or someone towed the thing up to the gate. Was no one keeping watch over there? I get that a bunch of people died from the bleeding-eyeball flu but after an army of walkers breached the fence shouldn’t it have become a priority to keep an eye on things (no pun intended)? How do a tank and a squadron of trucks sneak up on anything, let alone a prison surrounded by huge fields and fences? It didn’t even make sense to have this confrontation. If I was one of the people at that other camp there’s no fucking way I would risk my life to fight a bunch of strangers just because some guy with an eye patch said I should. If you ask me it was far too easy to get everyone behind that messed up plan. Oh yeah, and all nonchalantly saying “I kidnapped a couple of people to hold as hostages and force compliance” isn’t a glaringly huge indication that your new leader is a lunatic. Everyone over there is either stupid or insane and I’d be running over to warn Rick’s people about the imminent shit-storm before I’d ever march into battle against living people who’ve never done a damned thing to me or mine. Sorry about your daughter and your eye buddy but you’re on your own for this one.

While we’re on the subject of dead kids can I just take a moment to ask: what the Hell is wrong with all the parents in the post-zombie apocalypse world?? Lori was always running off and leaving Carl to roam around on his own and he ended up getting Dale killed, Carol lost track of Sophia & she ended up in the barn with all of Hershel’s relatives, then the kids at the prison were all over the place and Daryl had to run in and rescue them (when they Ep8Me (12)weren’t busy with Carol’s knife-fighting story time or teasing the walkers at the fence, that is.) Then we have the Governor’s wife 2.0 who’s chilling on top of an RV while her kid plays in the mud 20 yards away! Though to be fair it was only a matter of time for poor little Meghan. Hanging out with the Governor is the kiss of death; just ask Penny.

Or Andrea.

Or Milton.

Or Merle.

Or Martinez.

Or Pete…

You get the idea.

And I’m not saying that the kid had it coming but to be fair she did have a freaking metal sign in her hands when the flash-flood walker grabbed her. If she couldn’t bash its head in she at least could’ve put the thing between her shoulder and it’s snapping jaws until mom came over and shot it. Mika and Lizzie went and found guns then blew the brains of Tara’s girlfriend all over the prison yard and all this kid could do was scream and make mud PB&J sandwiches?!

Yet we’re supposed to believe that she plays chess in her spare time. Riiiight.

And of course, I already went off about Judith.

One would assume that a guy would make it a point to keep track of the kid his wife died Ep8Me (57)bringing into the world but at some point during the formation of the emergency plan people were too busy stashing guns right in front of the chain-link fence to designate a babysitter. No one was keeping track of Little Ass-kicker and because of that all of us had to see Rick’s ugly cry-face AGAIN. So not sexy.

I suppose I should talk about Hershel being executed O-Ren Ishii style. Then again I’m sure that’s what everyone and their mother is talking about so I really don’t think there’s much I can add. However I was sorry to see the Governor go, no matter how just and fitting his end was. He was truly terrifying at times, great at being a complex and devious flavor of evil, and Laurie Holden was right: he really is pretty damn sexy. I’d totally hit that. Preferably before he lost the eye, though. It’s a whole depth perception thing…never mind.

Ep8AMC (9)3Overall the episode was pretty sweet. There was a lot of gunfire and carnage, fire and explosions, child soldiers, grenade throwing, plus the tank. How often do you have a tank roll over some zombies? I thought Lauren Cohan and Emily Kinney both gave amazing performances: their reactions to their father’s murder felt very visceral and real and was very impressive. I also liked the juxtaposition of Maggie telling Glen at the beginning of the episode “I’ll be right back” when she went to get him some water, and then again when she leaves him on the bus in order to search for Beth. It was pretty cool seeing Clara the crazy “it’s just ahead” lady from the first episode as a walker amidst the hoard drawn to the prison, too.

But what I really, really, REALLY didn’t like was the super-cheesy and nonsensical attempt at being artsy and metaphorical shot of a walker stepping on the king from the Governor’s chess set that Meghan drew an eye-patch on.

We get it: the Governor’s reign of terror has ended, he has been de-throned, he got what was coming to him, karma’s a bitch, blah blah blah. The whole katana-through-the-chest-&-gunshot-to-the-head thing made all that pretty clear. Maybe that shot would’ve been more palatable if it wasn’t completely random and implausible. So the Governor decided to pocket a chess piece for good luck and bring it to his hostile takeover, then it went flying out of his pocket way over to a part of the yard he wasn’t anywhere near yet still Ep8Me (56)2miraculously remained intact? And showing him picking it up before he left his camp so that the audience would know how the Hell it got out there was just too much? Cut out because of time constraints?

Epic fail Walking Dead production people.

I’d also like to say once again and for the record that this whole “mid-season finale” bullshit is fucking retarded. No new episodes until February 9th? How am I supposed to spend my Sunday nights, watching reruns of Duck Dynasty?? Hell no! Just because I can’t get my Daryl fix doesn’t mean any old redneck will suffice! DiP (60)

Only a Dixon can satisfy my addiction.

And don’t think that putting on “Love Actually” helps at all, because it doesn’t.  Just because it has Andrew Lincoln in it doesn’t make it any less of a chick flick. I’m on to you AMC.

Well this wraps up my magnificent return to writing stuff and posting it online. I hope you enjoyed it as well as the obscenely huge collection of images I assembled for you. I’m sure I’ll find something to complain about in the meantime but on the off chance that I don’t I’ll have a spankin’ new post in February.Promo collage

Until then my fellow freaks and geeks,

  -Dianthrax

P.S: Am I the only person who noticed the sign at that gas station in episode 3 spelled out “Hell” with numbers, as in the price of gas per gallon? There’s a picture of it in case you don’t remember.

Pretty clever production designers! *wink, wink*

Also, be sure to check out my fabulously extensive image gallery. There are photos from episode 8 as well as behind the scenes shots, walkers galore, and images from the first half of the season. There’s also a lil something at the end that I do for my own enjoyment: I call it “Daryl Is Pretty”. You’re welcome ladies.

(All images property of The Walking Dead and AMC Networks)

A Titanium Rain Change, Crazy Mary, & Grieving for The Dead

A Few Updates:

A Titanium Rain change:

Above is a link to a news article about the audio comic of Titanium Rain Vol. !; an amazing graphic novel/ comic book series by Josh Finney and Kat Rocha. I reviewed it a while ago for a couple of comic book news websites; here is a link to one such review so that you can get an idea of what I’m talking about & what the audio version would be like:

http://www.metalmachine.net/blog/2012/01/21/finney-rocha-titanium-rain/

But you can check out some info about it and other awesome audio works at This Is AudioComics

You’ll also be getting some info very soon about some chick called “Crazy Mary” & her kickstarter campaign with all of it’s donor benefits. Visit the Crazy Mary website to learn more & keep watch for updates from me…maybe even an interview…anything can happen!

One last thing- I haven’t forgotten about The Walking Dead & my reviews or image galleries; I’m just still grieving over the end of season 2 and the 7-month dry spell ahead before season 3 even comes close to premiering. I figure we all need time to grieve so they’ll be up when I’m ready and I feel like you guys are too; hope you stick with me until then because I do have some pretty cool things to share.

But I do miss it; I think I’m even getting withdrawals…

The other day I was reading a 2-page newspaper advertisement for a sporting goods store with tons of little pictures all over it of everything from hunting gear to yoga mats. After about 10 minutes of looking I realized I was mentally cataloging all the items that I would want with me during the Zombie Apocalypse!

(Binoculars? yes.  Night-vision periscope? Oh yes. Steel-toe workman’s boots? Yup. Boxing gloves and bag? Not so much) and so on, just like that, in my head. I’ll probably do it with next week’s paper, too.

Sometimes even I find myself disturbing.

Update Concluded:

Dianthrax Out.

Additional Info/Image Sources: http://01publishing.com/  http://www.glitchwerk.com/titanium/about.htm  http://crazymarycomic.com/  The AMC Press Resource Center

The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 11 Review

The Walking Dead:

Season 2 Episode 11 Review

*Warning: The same old stuff- episode spoilers, mature language, graphic content, etc. etc.- so  proceed at your own risk.*

There’s something about episode #11 in a 13 episode season that feels different from 9 or 12. I think it’s that the countdown to something going off is usually from 3. (Except for countdowns from 10; like NASA launches and New Year’s Eve.) When you were a kid you counted to three before you jumped in the pool from the high diving-board or raced your best friend just to know who was faster. In Mario Kart it’s always 3-2-1-Go, and when you were in trouble your parents said things like “If you aren’t over here cleaning this up by the time I count to three I’m throwing away all of your Legos!!”  For whatever reason three is the magic number that seems to perfectly fit the interval of time required to prepare for that green light- that jump into the pool.

It’s also this big symbolic deal thing in numerology and mysticism and like, virtually every religion there is.

And it has its own “School House Rock” song all about it.

But coming back and bringing my original point with me; episode 11 feels like the first step in the countdown to dropping the nuke and obliterating everything we’ve come to know about these characters and their world. I know this is episode 3 in the 3, 2, 1- season over, so it should feel that way. I never got that feeling at any point while watching the first season; obviously not when only three episodes remained out of 6 episodes total, but just in general it never felt like this to me at any point. I didn’t have this increasing anxiety that each of the last three episodes is a step closer to devastation.

With that I give you my take on Step #1:

We learn a great deal about all of the main characters in this episode as far as who they really are as people and what they’re capable of. It starts with a bit of the old, squirrel-tossing Daryl coming out to play for a while in order to get information out of Randall, who is chained up in what must be the smelliest barn in history. He bloodies up his knuckles and takes out that giant freaking knife of his to threaten to re-open Randy’s nasty leg boo-boo, but eventually the kid gave up the info. It is not good news. A giant group of heavily armed men who go out “scavenging” for supplies and should the opportunity present itself, occasionally force fathers to watch while they gang-rape his teenage daughters. Oh but Randall would never do such a thing! He never laid a hand on those girls- he just watched.

I think Daryl should’ve saved everyone a whole lot of trouble and just killed the little fucker right there. He’s as much of a rapist as whoever he was with since he let it happen when he could’ve done something to stop it. And I can hear the argument now: “How do you know he could’ve done anything? He was out-numbered and I’m sure they were armed- if he tried to stop them he probably would have been killed!”

Well then he should have died.

If he couldn’t stop them without managing to get killed by them then he isn’t smart enough to survive. If they would kill him or shoot it out rather than stop raping a girl if he stood his ground and threatened to kill some or all of them then he can’t trust them and isn’t really safe with that group anyway. And if they would threaten to hurt/kill the girls or the father or call him a traitor with no loyalty to his own group then he only has two possible futures anyway: become a monster like the rest of them and assimilate or eventually be killed over something awful enough that he can’t ignore it.

I don’t buy that he couldn’t do anything- I don’t think he wanted to do anything. I think he’s sadistic and manipulative and all this talk over being innocent and just trying to survive is bullshit. For those of you who believe in that sort of thing, the Bible claims “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17

But my summation of choice for how I see this situation comes in the form of a quote from one of my favorite movies:

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” (Btw- 100 Super-Awesome Points to those of you who can tell me the name of the film in the “comments” section! 😉

This notion is important and brought up later in the episode, too.

After telling the rest of the group what he learned (except for the teenage rape story), Daryl, Rick, and all the others were pretty set on executing the guy rather than risking his release. Dale is the lone voice of dissent and convinces Rick to give him until sundown to talk to the other people in the group and look at other options before they kill a person who, for all they know, could be innocent. He has several very impassioned conversations with Shane, Daryl, Hershel, and Andrea before everyone gathers together in the farmhouse living room to have a group discussion and vote.

I particularly enjoyed Dale’s talk with Daryl; it made me happy that someone other than Carol showed they care about him. Saying that he’d have to do more than just move his tent away from the rest of camp if he wanted to “get away” from them was a surprise to me coming from Dale- up until that point I hadn’t realized anyone else actually noticed Daryl as a person, let alone as one they weren’t willing to lose. He still doesn’t think his opinion counts for anything and that no one looks to him, claiming he’s better off on his own. When Dale disagrees and says that he and Rick are decent men while Shane isn’t, I don’t think he was prepared to hear that Daryl figured out what happened with Otis a long time ago and, more importantly, that Rick did too- he just didn’t want to admit it to himself. Daryl says the group is broken. Dale looks a bit broken himself after that little exchange.

I think he counted on Hershel backing him up since he was such a religious man, but Hershel surprised both Dale and me by saying he didn’t want Randall anywhere near his daughters and that he was leaving the whole thing up to Rick. (Since the guy is a creep and a rapist I’d say Hershel has good reason for feeling the way he does.) Though where he is now compared to where he was when we first met him in the season, Hershel has such vastly different morals and convictions! It’s like all of his confidence has been squashed out and he doesn’t trust himself not to let everyone down again by making the wrong choice, so he doesn’t make any choices and leaves everything up to Rick. This isn’t something he can just shake off, either- meaning Dale couldn’t count on his support to stop an execution of a possibly innocent man on his own land.

Satan was snowboarding in Hell because Dale even approaches Shane to plead his case and *gasp* Shane was actually pretty reasonable about the whole thing. There’s a particularly important bit where in arguing the numbers: 12 of them and 1 of him but 30 of his gang, Dale tells Shane “killing him doesn’t change that; but it changes us.” Killing this one man won’t really make them any safer- it wont make a difference when it comes to the threat of attack by an armed gang- but it will make them less than what they were. It will diminish the humanity of the group in an irreparable way.

However Shane is certain that this is the right choice to make. If they spare Randall- let him join the group, see if he’s useful and maybe even a nice guy- one day he will kill someone, and that will be blood on Dale’s hands. It isn’t a matter of convenience or just being ruthless- Shane truly thinks that Dale is wrong. Yet he agrees to back him up if he can get the whole group to share his opinion on the matter. That’s a whole lot more than I ever would’ve expected from Shane. Honestly that whole conversation was more than I expected from him.

I think maybe Shane’s going to kick it at the end of the season and this is the start of a campaign to make him into less of a psycho and more of a good guy so that he doesn’t die a creep and a villain. I’d even go so far as to say that I think he might die in order to save someone else- like Carl or Lori or my favorite, Rick. That would be cheese-tastic!

I think Hershel is going to bite it as well- though I’ve said that before. Giving the watch to Glenn felt a bit like his character was having his affairs put in order- wrapping up his loose ends in the sense of making sure Maggie has a good man to “take care of her.” One who also cares about and will help her look after her little sister once he’s gone and there’s no one else to do it. At the same time he’s also letting Glenn (and therefore Maggie) know that they have his blessing/approval as a couple, in case he never gets the chance to tell her so outright. It may have seemed a bit lame and contrived to some of you but I thought it was a nice way to cover an important moment in the progression of those three characters.

It felt real, too, because of Steven Yeun’s portrayal Glenn’s surprise and awkwardness and not really knowing what to say or do in that situation. I mean the guy is given a very precious and meaningful family heirloom and he says “thanks” like he was just given a bag of Doritos! I’d have gone with something like “thank you, sir” at the very least! There’s totally no breaking up with her now, either! For all intents and purposes Glenn just got married to the farmer’s daughter, and in this world you have to fight tooth and nail for a divorce- literally- because the only way out of a marriage is if one of you fails to fend off the teeth and nails of the walkers!

Another important character we get a good look into the nature of is Carl Grimes, who’s always somehow in the story and important to it, yet still manages to be peripheral. We see what this world and all this loss and death and violence has been doing to him because you just know it’s gotta be turning him into a little psycho! Virtually all serial killers have violent, abusive childhoods and I’d say that’s not a poor description of Carl’s life lately. He’s been showing little signs of coldness and detachment and this episode we saw some real creep-factor behavior on his part.

First I’d have to mention how he was sitting in the barn, looking down at Randall in chains like he wasn’t a person. Randall starts talking; appealing to Carl’s concern for safety for him and his family, his sense of mercy, and trying to seem like a nice guy. Carl looks at him without a response, as though he couldn’t hear a word the guy was saying. He stared at him the way people who don’t like animals stare at some exotic creature in a zoo- curious and interested but without any emotional involvement or sympathy. He’s so empty in those moments that it seems almost fake for him to be afraid of getting in trouble with his parents when Shane catches him. It’s a great way to show that while he has this morbid, developing darker side he’s still just a kid.

I can understand him lashing out at Carol; anger is a stage of grief. I can even understand playing around at Daryl’s campsite while he’s away. There probably isn’t much for him to do and for a young boy Daryl would have some really cool stuff. He’s like the older step-brother whose room you’re never allowed to go into or you’ll get your ass kicked, which means, of course, that you have to see what’s in there so you sneak in while he’s not home & just try not to move/break anything so that he never knows you were there. Only Carl doesn’t seem to get that last part- the not wanting him to know you were ever there part- because while playing with the super-sweet motorcycle that would give Daryl a stroke if he caught him touching, he just pockets a gun that was stashed in there.

First of all, if there’s anyone at camp that you do not want to steal from or piss off, it’s Daryl. Second, you might get away with maybe taking a knife or one of the animal skins, but a gun is something that is going to be missed. Third, that gun was there for a reason- what if Daryl is on his motorcycle and counting on having it to save his ass, then reaches in and finds that someone has stolen it?! Fourth- it’s stealing! What the Hell is wrong with you?! You steal a gun from someone when guns are “worth more than gold” then like a retard, you lose it!

So is carrying a stolen gun to go for a stroll in the woods the substitute for stealing your dad’s cigarettes to smoke with your friends? You know- the stupid shit kids do to feel like grown-ups? Because it didn’t seem like he had any plan in particular in mind while on his little hike. It was more like he wanted to do what the grown men do and not be afraid to go into a dangerous area because he can protect himself with his stolen gun. Or at least that was the idea when he found the walker stuck in the mud.

As soon as he stopped the more appropriate running away in order to do the far more disturbing staring and throwing of rocks I knew that walker was going to get out of the mud and go for him. My other thought was that Carl must really, really, really want to shoot someone/thing. Think about it: if he puts down the walker with a gunshot the whole camp is going to hear it. Not to mention other walkers in the area; aren’t they supposed to be drawn by loud noises?? Everyone is worried about a gang of armed men coming to the farm and attacking them, so if all the adults are accounted for and Daryl gets back from hunting and says it wasn’t him, who do you suppose they’ll think is shooting in the woods? That would surely speed up Randall’s “trial”! Plus for all we know that gang actually could have scouts or something nearby who hear the shot and because of it, find the camp!

But as soon as that shot goes off Lori and Rick will want to know where Carl is and when they can’t find him right away they’ll have everyone searching around camp for him. It’s not going to be possible for him to just sneak back out of the woods without someone seeing him and telling Rick and Lori, who will want to know what he was doing out there. He’ll probably be so excited about shooting his first walker that he’ll tell them everything; including the little detail about how he used the gun he stole from Daryl after he found it while going through his things. But no matter what his parents are going to find out about all of it and then his ass is toast- and none of this occurred to him because he’s a kid and wants to be an adult and he really wanted to shoot something.

He also wants to hear the group debate over the fate of Randall, but he isn’t allowed. That’s a bit of a shame because Dale was simply amazing. Jeffrey DeMunn was captivating, arguing with so much passion and feeling and eloquence. It was like watching the play “12 Angry Men” (or when I was in it “12 Angry Jurors” since there were chicks involved) and Dale is Juror #8- the single “not-guilty” vote trying to convince a room full of people who were so set in their “guilty” verdict that they thought there wasn’t even any need to discuss the matter. Dale pleads so effectively and with such sound arguments that you almost find yourself changing from “guilty” to “undecided” in Randall’s case. Then Carol speaks up, proclaiming that she just wants the arguing to stop and for someone to decide, but either way to leave her out because she wants no part of it.

Dale tells her “Not speaking out, or killing him yourself; there’s no difference.”

Really Dale? Then by your own logic you’re arguing to save the life of a violent sex offender- a man who is, by your definition, a rapist, ephebophile, and a sadist. (Here is where that whole doing-nothing-to-stop-someone-from-committing-an-atrocity-makes-you-just-as-guilty-as-them thing comes in.)

But the only person who heard that story and knows what a piece of trash this guy is won’t say anything and claims not to care: Daryl. Maybe that wouldn’t make a difference to Dale.

No one is in agreement with Dale- not even Glenn who is usually on his side in everything. I thought it was interesting when Glenn says “he’s not one of us.” What defines “us” versus “them” to the group now? It used to be just the living and the dead, but Rick said things changed when the living started trying to kill them too. Obviously Hershel and his people are among the “us” even though Otis was expendable. I’d be curious to hear how Glenn defines the two and when exactly Hershel’s people became a part of the “us” group.

Another surprise comes when Andrea speaks up in agreement with Dale, though it doesn’t matter since everyone else is still all for offing Randy. Dale is disgusted and asks if they’re going to watch too; then saying “no, you’ll hide in your tents and pretend we aren’t slaughtering a human being.” I thought that would be an interesting concept; saying that everyone who votes to execute Randall also has to watch that execution be carried out. No one can cast a vote to end someone’s life then pretend they had nothing to do with it while Rick, Shane, and Daryl do the real dirty work. In one of my favorite sci-fi book series the main character becomes a politician and makes some really radical social changes. One of them deals with the death penalty and forces the sentence to be carried out by a family member of the victim. So if a guy rapes and kills a girl & is found guilty, that girl’s mother or father or husband etc. has to be the one to shoot the guy in the head in a public execution. That way the family gets their own brand of justice & the government isn’t responsible. That’s because if the person can’t carry out the execution- if they just can’t do it- then it doesn’t happen.

I think they should’ve done something like that for Randall. Everyone who votes for his death has to watch and has their name put in a hat to randomly decide who has to be the one to do it. I think it may be more difficult for people to vote if they knew it meant they had to watch the kid beg and cry for his life, and even more so if they knew it could possibly mean they had to be the one to pull the trigger. If they can’t stand to see it or can’t make themselves do it, maybe it’s because they know it’s wrong? Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with it- mostly because I would’ve killed him a long freaking time ago- like back when he was Shish Kabob-ed on a fence- without him seeing it coming or asking for a group vote.

He’s taken out to the barn and about to be blown away when probably the only thing that could possibly make Rick stop actually happened- Carl went all uber-creepy and snuck away to watch them kill the guy and urging his dad to do it. I knew there was no chance Rick was doing it then and he tells Daryl to take him away.

Just like I knew something bad was going to happen when I saw Dale out by himself in a field at night.

Sure enough there was a still-living but completely eviscerated cow lying in the grass, which is seldom a sign of imminent safety. Dale turns and is pounced on by the nasty shirtless walker with no eyelids who doesn’t manage to bite him but does tear open his abdomen and create a hubcap sized hole in him before Daryl gets there and stabs the thing in the head.

A few notes/questions on this situation- what made the walker stop eating the cow to creep up on Dale? Shouldn’t he have been in a feeding frenzy and thus distracted? The walkers eating that horse Rick rode into the city on in season one didn’t stop eating in order to chase him, even though you would think human is preferable to animal. In fact that was how he was able to get away; so why did this walker leave his tasty living cow meal when he should’ve been distracted and all up in that shit?

Also, for those who wonder about how the walker was able to rip Dale open like he was a birthday piñata I have a theory that explains that in great detail in my article “Talking The Dead to Death.” Check it out if you’re curious about zombie super-human strength.

And finally; what the fuck was up with Daryl sharpening his knife while he has Randall all tied up and gagged and hanging by his wrists from the ceiling with no shirt on in some secluded part of the barn?? I mean, obviously I know what that’s about but what I don’t get is why that scene is put in there at all? Implying that Daryl is going to torture Randall to death after laying all this groundwork to show that he’s a good man makes no sense to me! I thought the whole thing was stupid, especially since they had him be the one to find him, kill the walker, call for help, and be the one to “put Dale out of his misery” immediately afterwards!

You knew there was no saving him but they needed Hershel there to tell say it and make it true, otherwise he wouldn’t have been there. None of the other people from the farm were present, but every single member of “our” group of survivors was there for Dale’s final moments; even Carl who was told to go into the house. Of course Carl also had to be there in order to see that it was the walker he failed to kill and pissed off enough for him to free himself from the mud- the walker he knew was out roaming the woods and didn’t tell anyone about in order to avoid getting in trouble- that killed Dale, making it his fault. But it was also worth noting that the entire group was gathered together and present when they lost another one of their own. Rick couldn’t bring himself to end his friend’s suffering, so Daryl has a very emotional moment with Dale, who puts his forehead up against the barrel of his gun and urging Daryl to do it, so he says “sorry brother” and pulls the trigger.

Dale was the voice of reason and morality in the group. He kept them from veering too far off course and forgetting the kind of people that they are and want to be- and now his voice is gone.

Their Yoda is dead and strong the temptation of The Dark Side is…

Second step- episode #12- this Sunday at 9.

 

Not Spending My Life Trying to Conquer Time,

-Dianthrax

Info/Image Sources: the AMC Press Resource Center, AMC networks

*Sorry for the lack of an image gallery. I hope to upload more episode 11 images very soon, after I finish editing them.*

The Very Special “Oscar Edition” Review of The Walking Dead!

The Walking Dead:

Season 2 Episode 10 Review

*Warning: like all the others, this review comes with the same advisory against impending spoilers, mature content, etc. and so on. Please enjoy immensely and at your own discretion.*

For those of you who care about that kind of thing, this past Sunday was also Oscar Night and the NBA All-Star Game. It makes me wonder if they wrote this episode of TWD with those facts in mind and purposely made it less interesting.

Was it just me or did anyone else feel like this episode was short and teetering on the boring side, despite the heavy walker presence? Maybe it was because there were none of the characters I find most interesting- Daryl, Glenn, and Dale- and so no further exploration of their various complicated relationships. Maybe it was because I expected more from Rick and Shane’s confrontation, or from Beth’s situation. I thought she was going to be infected, not fake-suicidal! The extent that I care about that character and her drama begins and ends with how she will affect the people I actually do give a shit about, and being infected will stir up trouble for everyone. Yes, I understand her significance to the story and the setting, but did that series of events really need to be like, 1/3 of the whole episode?? They could’ve fit in another story arc- like more with Carol and Daryl or where the Hell is T-Dog and what is he off doing? It seemed lazy. Anyway…

 Welcome to my special “Oscar Edition” review of The Walking Dead, episode 10!

Unlike the real thing there’s no paparazzi, no Red Carpet- except for any female readers who happen to be natural red-heads, no talk about designer dresses, no celebrity presenters, and you have me for a host instead of what’s-his-face. But there will be intense emotions, competition, people who can’t stand each other acting as though they’re friends, and hoards of the soulless shells of what was once a person now left emotionless and dead inside ( just without the Botox and Xanax.) Enjoy the themed review of the show!

 This week has the two main storylines: the major one is Rick and Shane finally having it out while dropping off their “guest-age” (part guest, part hostage) Randall. The second is about Beth and her collapse/fever-coma which seemed like infection and made fetching Hershel so urgent, which is now just her moping in a bed and stealing cutlery for attention.  It’s also about Andrea being the dumb ho that she is, only this time it’s really obvious because she both acts like and mouths-off like one.

We start with Rick and Shane driving out an agreed upon 18 miles to drop off their human cargo and coming to a crossroads….I mean they literally stop at a real crossroads and Rick gets out to finally talk to his increasingly crazy buddy. No symbolism there-no sir! He tells Shane that he knew about him and Lori long before Lori had to tell him and that it took everything he had not to kick Shane’s face in. He basically says “ The only way this works is if you accept right here and now that  that’s my wife, my kid, my baby and you will back the Hell up off of them and recognize that I will be staying alive and keeping them safe because that’s my job. You’re done being scary and following your own agenda. You are no longer a threat to me.

Shane can barely look at him and it’s like seeing an obnoxious spoiled 2-yr-old finally getting caught and punished by Mom and Dad. He tries to make excuses like he does with everyone, claiming that back at the hospital there were soldiers shooting people and then walkers were coming through and there was just no way the two of them could make it out- he knew it. But leaving Rick was something he couldn’t have lived with if he didn’t have Lori and Carl there to keep him from falling apart. He swears he never looked at Lori before that and “Brother I’d take it all back if I could!”

And the Oscar for Best Improvised Bullshitting goes to…Shane Walsh in: I’m Really Not A Bad Guy! No, Seriously!

Wait a sec…didn’t he tell Lori back in season 1 that he truly thought Rick was dead? That he put his ear to Rick’s chest and swore he couldn’t hear a heartbeat and that was the only reason he left him and told her that her husband was dead? In fact in episode 9 while arguing over his lie about Rick being back at the Farm she says he can’t seem to stop lying and brings it up again, to which he responds with “When are you going to stop throwing that in my face? I thought he was…” and stops, but essentially he tells her again that he really believed Rick was dead.

 Now he’s changing his story and telling Rick that he had no choice but to leave him and just assume he would end up dead? He also told Lori during that argument that “what they had” wasn’t the mistake she claims it to be; but that “it was real and right and a long time coming.” A long time coming you say? Yet to Rick you swear you never looked at Lori before you thought he was out of the picture.

And the Oscar for Most Convoluted Web of Lies goes to…Shane again! This time for his role in: I’ve Wanted My Best Friend’s Life & Now I’m Going to Steal It from Him

Another interesting thing that Shane decided to share with Rick during their crossroads confrontation is his confession of killing Otis in order to survive, claiming one of them wasn’t going to make it out and it had to be Otis. He says “One shot to the leg, Carl lives” and tells Rick that he wouldn’t have been able to do it. “Rick you can’t just be the Good Guy and expect to live.” Really? Then what’s the point of living if you’re only going to be raising children to become “bad” people and live in a world populated with only “bad” people? What are you living for? (That’s the question that Beth needs an answer to, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Shane also provided his personal commentary on Otis’ death, stating that “Reality is he had no business being here…”

The Oscar for Best Interpretation of Being A Total Dick goes to…Shane once again for his innovative portrayal of the character “God”!

Why exactly did Otis not belong here if he had survived this long? The guy obviously had some useful medical knowledge, was a good shot (totally nailed Carl right in the torso through a deer for Christ’s sake!) was a hunter/provider, had a girlfriend who loved him, a sense of honor and morals, plus I’m told he played the guitar like an Angel.

My guess is it was because Shane was jealous. He was all used to being the hottest, manliest, beef-cake survivor on the block but when he saw Otis he knew there was just no way he could compete with all that sexy, so he got rid of him.

It’s so sad how jealousy can drive people to do terrible things.

Back to the actual happenings of the episode: they get back in the car and keep driving. Rick is chattering about winter and actually making some good points. He understands what things will be like and that they need to stockpile food, fuel, warm clothing, and other necessities now even though winter seems far off. This tells me how Rick really does “get it” and demonstrates why he’s the best choice the group has for a leader. Shane is barely listening, staring out the window at a lone walker striding across the middle of a field.

There’s been a lot of talk about the meaning of that walker and here is part of how I saw it:

I took this as an indication that the area must be filled with fucking things. Considering they aren’t supposed to be very active during the day and yet there’s one strolling in the sunshine like he’s headed to Burning Man, how many of them must there be meandering around in the woods or just lying in cars and buildings, chilling until nightfall? I would estimate more than just a few and if Shane is thinking like I am he probably figures poor Randall won’t stand much of a chance after they drop him off. Since he wanted the guy dead from the get-go, I’d say this was Shane seeing a good sign- one that he neglects to point out to Rick. But there’s actually much more to it than that, only we won’t realize it until the end (which is where I’ll finish my interpretation.)

Once they get to the decided left-to-die location and take out a pair of Security Walkers, Shane points something out that hasn’t come up yet and I think this is how it’s introduced to us and all the explanation we’re going to get: he says the walkers didn’t have any bites on them. That means they must be “scratchers”- infected via nail scratches on skin, thus infectious themselves in the same way. Now we have a whole new way for people to become infected and it’s a lot more difficult to avoid than a bite. Yay!

Seriously though, what did I tell you about not knowing anything about this illness and how it spreads?! (see my review of episode 8) One more thing I totally called! And I still think Beth is infected, too- not bitten but scratched during the tussle with her dead mum- we just haven’t seen the more obvious stages yet. Or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking.

So now there’s scratcher-walkers and they’ve already found two- this is clearly an AWESOME place to leave Randall tied up with only a knife a few feet away. It also seems like the totally perfect place for the two guys to fight! Burned corpses, random sharp and/or rusty debris, possible infectious materials, disease-riddled dead bodies that have been all over touching on everything…let’s give each other open wounds and smell like dinner!

Poor Randall is virtually hog-tied and begging Rick and Shane not to leave him- trying to find anything that will make them change their minds and take him back to the farm with them. He argued that he wasn’t like the other guys but that he had to be with them because one man alone doesn’t stand a chance. He really did sound and look pathetic, laying on his side on the cement while yelling that he’s just a kid- he went to Church on Sundays and went to the same High School as Maggie and had been to her house and was on the football team…and then they stop and turn.

I thought it was because he’d finally said something that could be taken as a reliable character reference, but I should have been thinking more pragmatically. If he’s been to Maggie’s house before then it won’t matter where they take him to drop him off; he’ll be able to lead others to the farm regardless.  This, of course, seals the kid’s fate in Shane’s eyes who’s ready to execute him then and there, but Rick wants to take him back and think about the situation for another day. Shouldn’t it mean something- shouldn’t you have no other choice if you’re going to take a man’s life?

Of course this irritates Shane. That’s when he says those magic words that make Rick’s rage pimple freaking explode and unleashes the wrath of a man who has been patiently waiting but just dying to strait beat the shit out of the asshole who fucked his wife:

“And you think you can keep them safe?.”

Ka-fucking-boom!!

I wish I could say that Shane got his ass stomped by Rick, who was so full of righteous fury that the fact Shane’s upper-body looks like it belongs on a G.I. Joe didn’t matter…but it kind of did. I think Rick would’ve been dead if Shane hadn’t been preoccupied with taking out Randall, who was inch-worming his way to the knife they left him. Shane even took some shots at the kid, which was super-smart because if there weren’t any walkers around before there most definitely is going to be some heading there now! Then everything became completely insane, starting with Shane’s attempt to flat-out murder Rick “Clue” style: It was the douche-bag in the parking lot with the lead pipe!

Yes, he threw a rusty metal pipe at Rick with enough force that if it had hit him it would’ve been lights out for good. There was that moment where they stared at each other, both aware of what just happened, and I wish we could’ve found out what would have happened next between them but a second later they were busy trying not to get scratched or eaten by the outpouring of walkers coming through the window Shane’s murder weapon smashed open.

Here’s the mayhem and carnage and everyone’s close call, etc. etc. etc. I’d just like to say that I think Randall’s little overkill killing of the female walker and calling her “bitch” does not indicate to me someone who’s just a sweet, innocent kid who fell in with bad people. Rick should’ve really left Shane there on that bus, too. Maybe called out the window “At least I didn’t shoot you in the leg!” as he drove off. Shane would’ve done that to him- you could tell by his devastated “my-puppy-has-cancer” look on his face when they left and the look of utter shock when they came back. Randall was the rescue driver and the kid was acting like this made them a team and they were all going to get friendship bracelets or something now. They pulled over to tie him up and stuff his ass back in the trunk deprived of all his senses.

Here Rick takes a minute and has another brief heart-to-heart with Shane, saying something about how it’ll take more than a wrench to kill him.

Yes; lets deal with your psycho former best friend’s attempt to kill you by making light of it! It’s not like that’s a sign of how seriously dangerous the guy is or anything. If he hadn’t missed and Rick had been killed by that pipe what do you think Shane would do? Rush over to Rick’s limp body and bleeding head, shake his corpse yelling “Wake up, brother! You’re not dead! You can’t be! I’m so sorry Rick- I didn’t mean it! Nooo!! Whyyy?!?” with his face upturned towards the Heavens and big man-tears streaming from his eyes?

Yeah- and Daryl likes to sing show-tunes in the shower.

Shane would make sure Rick was dead, go kill the kid, then drive back to the farm and probably make up some story about how Randall attacked both of them and he was the only one who lived through the fight. The Empire would win; Vader would be in charge and the galaxy would be screwed.

Instead we’re back to where we started only now Rick is in even more danger because he thinks he’s fixed things and that Shane isn’t a threat anymore, so he’s let his guard down.

And the Oscar for Most Painfully Oblivious goes to…Rick Grimes for his truly committed performance as the “Too Trusting Friend/Leader” in the Action/Thriller: Imminent Betrayal!

Another recipient of that award as well as the winner for Best Supporting Stupid-Ass Ho is Andrea! Her easy acceptance of the manipulations of Shane and talent for just being a stupid, selfish bitch made her the clear choice! Let’s take a look at those roles in her recent production: I Think I’m So Smart and I’m So Much Better Than Lori!

First of all, she picked that fight with Lori by telling her she mishandled the situation and shouldn’t have taken the knife away from Beth. (Yes, because when I want advice about preventing a loved one from committing suicide the first person I’d go to is Andrea. ) Then she says it’s just like what Dale did to her when he took her choice away and that it’s wrong for someone, like say a person’s sister, to force her to stay and take away her options.

An older sister who refuses to let go of her beloved younger sister? A sister who would do anything to protect her and would be devastated if she killed herself? That doesn’t sound a even a little bit familiar to you Andrea? You aren’t being just a wee bit hypocritical?

See what I mean? Self-centered and freaking retarded.

Then Andrea and Lori got into how the household stuff- laundry and dishes and other things that us women like to do- & how it was more of a burden on other people because Andrea, as Lori put it, “you sit up there with your rifle and work on your tan”- referring to her acting as lookout. Somehow this turned into Andrea throwing a fit and telling Lori how she hasn’t had to deal with loss like everyone else has- how she’s had everything go her way and now she’s got it made. She has her husband, her son, baby on the way, and she tacks “boyfriend” on the list.

And that right there is what it’s really about: jealousy. Andrea wants Shane and knows he wants Lori, and since she’s too stupid to see past what she wants she ignores/forgets about all the shit Lori has been through. She wants to see Lori’s life as easy and perfect so that she can be the one who’s had to struggle.

Andrea thinks Lori has it easy??

A woman who was lied to and made to believe that she was a widow who’s now terrified of the man she thought she could trust, pregnant in this Hell the world has become with another child to protect and a husband who may have returned to her, but also feels responsible for saving everyone and so is constantly leaving and putting his life at risk??

Oh yeah; her life is all candy and rainbows.

Any survivor with children has it far, far worse than those who don’t. Imagine the relentless stress and terror constantly trying to protect not just yourself; but also a dependent that needs you. If you die you know that almost certainly your child will die too. Someone you love more than anything- the center of your whole world- is in endless mortal danger and there’s only so much you can do to protect them.

At least Carl is older (though even then he still nearly died in a freak accident) and somewhat independent; a newborn, baby, toddler- every kid too young to understand death and dying- is not just in danger but also dangerous themselves for everyone around them. They can’t stop crying because a walker is near or not throw a tantrum because everyone needs to be quiet and hide at night. They need inoculations, special nutrition, diapers, toys, someone or some way to hold/carry them…

Being pregnant isn’t really a blessing, either. It’s not exactly comfortable even if you don’t have morning sickness. Your body is swollen and your stomach enlarged so movement/running or maneuvering to hide is difficult. You need more food and water, tire easily, and can have complications. Then there’s the actual birth- I don’t think I even need to get into that.

Then to bring up Shane and say Lori has a husband and a boyfriend just shows how totally retarded and clueless she really is. Plus that’s just a tacky, low-class thing to say.

But clearly Lori has the best life ever! She’s as carefree as Charlie Sheen.

As far as Lori’s point- Do I think that Andrea should help out more with the household work? Yes. Do I think that being the lookout and guarding the farm is a job for just the men? Fuck no! I think everyone should be helping out more with the household work- including the men. What’s the ratio of men to women in that place? They have four chicks doing the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for themselves plus the eight men, which = 3x the work a single person would be doing if everyone just took care of their own shit.

I can tell you right now there is no freaking way I’d be washing “the men’s” clothes, ever. But then I wouldn’t expect anyone to wash mine for me, either. I also wouldn’t be cooking all the meals for everyone then doing all the dishes, all the time. I’d pitch in and do my share- but I’m not interested in “taking care” of a bunch of guys.

What are they doing all day, anyway? Hershel tends fields and animals- but Lori and Patricia do, too. Why shouldn’t the men have to do their share of the other work? It just automatically falls to the women to do this shit?? I don’t think so. Everyone should be pulling their own weight in every way.

After her little rant at Lori, Andrea really over-steps some boundaries and butts into something that should never have been her business. She thinks she’s some kind of expert now about people who are grieving and considering suicide and decides to screw what Beth’s loved ones want or think, she’s going to help the girl her way-which is obviously the best answer. She’s going to give Beth the helping hand she needs in figuring out if she really does want to die, or if she’s just in pain and wants it to stop.

First she lies to and manipulates Maggie into letting her watch Beth, acting like she’s looking out for Maggie and wants to help. She agrees to “stay” with her so Maggie can get some food and rest, then she just goes in and tells the girl that the pain will never go away but you learn to deal with it, and leaves. This gives Beth the opportunity to do it, being out from under someone’s watchful eye- which was Andrea’s intention. Beth cuts her wrist but not seriously and Maggie is able to get to her, meaning to Andrea that she doesn’t really want to die. She tells a pissed off Maggie this and is all smiles, clearly very pleased with herself for being right. Maggie tells her never to set foot in the house again-which wipes her smug smile right off her face. I hope she sticks to that & never lets her inside again!

Lori tries to defend her a little, saying sometimes you have to cross lines, blah blah blah. Bullshit. That was NOT Andrea’s place to arrange something like that and she should’ve minded her own dumb-ho business. What if she had really wanted to die and killed herself in that bathroom while Maggie thought she was being watched? Andrea would say “It was her choice to make” or some other stupid shit but do you really think Maggie- or anyone in the family for that matter-will be ok with it? Andrea lied to give her a chance to die and she did- do you think she’d be forgiven for that? She killed Beth and thinks what she did is the right thing; that whole family would want to murder the bitch. Plus suicide is a mortal sin; so really she also sent Beth to Hell (according to the people who believe that stuff.)

But even though she wants to live and didn’t die from bleeding out, the wound she gave herself could still end up killing her. She now has a fresh injury in a location that’s not exactly easy to keep sterile while deadly and infectious creatures drawn by the smell of blood who have a tendency to go for arms and wrists could show up at any time. Hell, she could get just a regular infection that ends up being so bad she gets blood poisoning if whatever antibiotics they have left don’t work. I doubt she swabbed her wrist with alcohol before slicing it open and it’s not like they’re in an ER getting stitched up with sealed, sterile needles and threading by a doctor in gloves who just used some Purell! Did any of this shit occur to Andrea when she decided to go all Mrs. Kevorkian? I doubt it- she’s a stupid ho!

The episode wraps on that heart-to-heart I mentioned earlier between Rick and Shane, followed by their drive back to the farm.

 My “Oscar Edition” review of episode 10 wraps with one last award, and it’s a the most awesome one of the night in my opinion:

The Best Use of Extremely Subtle Foreshadowing which goes to….the walker in the field!

This one is well-deserved for the walker’s starring roles in both Driving Away From the Farm and Driving Back Towards the Farm and his identically spot-on performance in each!  Parts one and two of a three-part series, these have made for the perfect setup for the walkers role as well as the general theme in the final installment: A Whole Bunch of Bad Shit Is Coming- Impending Chaos at The Farm! Bravo symbolic walker!

(Pretty damn clever of those writers, don’t you think? Love this freaking show!)

Walking In the Field on The Driver’s Side,

-Dianthrax

Image Gallery:

Info and Image Sources:  The AMC Press Resource Center, AMC Network

Thought Merle Dixon Was Bad? AMC Casts ‘The Governor’!

Pedophilia, Necrophilia, & Incest: All At The Same Time!

Say ‘Hello’ to The Governor and the Actor Ready to Portray Him

*Warning…I think: This may possibly require something like my usual warning: graphic images and content, etc. and possible spoilers if you know nothing about the comics at all or completely lack the ability to put 2 and 2 together. Meh. You’ve been warned.*

AMC has revealed some major info about season three and the fate of some of the comic book characters that seemingly everyone has been longing to loath and aching to admire in live-action format via their TV screens ever since The Walking Dead first aired!

Today it was officially announced by AMC that British actor/director and BAFTA Award nominee David Morrissey will be joining the show as “The Governor”- a man so vile and sadistic he makes the Dixon brothers look like a fluffy little bunnies. Morrissey has appeared in many acclaimed British series, though is probably most famous for his role in the miniseries State of Play. Morrissey is also known for his leading roles in feature films such as “The Reaping”, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, and recently wrapped “Welcome to the Punch” opposite James McAvoy.

A character from Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel, The Governor is the leader of Woodbury, a small settlement of survivors, and becomes the chief antagonist for Rick Grimes and his group. To say he is a guy that has some issues would be like calling Lethal Injection a sleep aid. Not the least of said problems is the relationship he has with his “daughter,” which I wonder if the show will even touch with a 29 ½ foot pole considering it makes me want to puke and then immediately shower just thinking about it.

Kirkman had already confirmed in a previous interview that plans to bring in the katana-wielding badass “Michonne” were definite, and with The Governor joining the cast in season 3 I wouldn’t put her too far behind. Now that it’s official I’m also curious about who they will cast to play her, as to the best of my knowledge that has not yet been decided, and how they will handle her interactions with The Governor, which were also on the borderline of vomit-inducing at times. No doubt they will clean it up- it is network television after all. Though I’m fairly certain we’re bound to see some twisted shit in season 3.

But will crazy-pants Shane/Jon Bernthal be among said twisted shit? Fans are worried since rumors began flying about him playing the lead in Darabont’s new series “L.A. Noir”- as though he couldn’t do both if he wanted to. I guess TV actors can remain in a series only if they’re simultaneously cast in a film, but not in another TV series.

I’m not saying he won’t die or leave the show- things between him and former BFF Rick have been awfully tense lately. Andrew Lincoln said in an interview with AceShowbiz.com that “When [Lori] says, ‘I don’t feel safe; I’m scared’ – that’s enough. But then she also says, ‘[Shane] says that you’re not up to the job.’ That’s enough to push anybody over the edge, even someone as rational and as considered and as smart as Rick. He can’t avoid the issue much longer.”

Rage pimple pop-age time! Pus all over the place!

(I really should’ve found a less nasty metaphor.)

I think he is going to get it. When the group finds Woodbury they’ve taken a beat-down and are lessened in number. I think Shane will finally get his, if not from Rick then probably from the Otis-walker; or maybe that’s a bit too cheesey. But I don’t think he’ll be the only one we loose. I think Carol might get it just to clear the way for a possible Daryl and Michonne hook-up. I wouldn’t be sad if Andrea died, but I would if she took Dale down with her or he died trying to save her.

Andrew Lincoln is not very comforting, either, saying “Not everybody gets out alive. We’re not shy of blood, sweat and tears in the last four episodes.”

So the real message here: you win some, you lose some. We now know we’re getting The Governor and Michonne next season. We’ll also be gaining three episodes, as Season 3 has already been approved for a 16-episode format vs. season 2’s mere 13. We also know some of the people we’ve become so familiar with and, in certain cases, become really attached to, aren’t going to make it to next season. They start filming in Spring.

And if Daryl dies I won’t be reviewing or reporting on the show anymore.

Knows What It’s Like to Hate The Governor,

-Dianthrax

Info Sources: The AMC Press Resource Center, www.ComicVine.com, http://blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/2012/02/david-morrissey-cast-as-the-governor.php http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00048190.html,
Image Source Links:
http://images.tvtome.com/tv/images/genie_images/story/2012_usa/w/walkingdead_governor.jpg
http://www.comicvine.com/the-governor/29-59467/all-images/108-217468/6244126/105-688243/
http://www.comicvine.com/the-governor/29-59467/all-images/108-217468/adi_and_alex_730247/105-688242/
http://www.comicvine.com/michonne/29-46819/all-images/108-207570/untitled_2/105-1179597/
http://www.comicvine.com/michonne/29-46819/all-images/108-207570/michonne_5/105-1070385/
http://www.comicvine.com/michonne/29-46819/all-images/108-207570/walking_dead__001/105-689314/

The Walking Dead Episode 9 & Nipple Reviews

The Walking Dead:

Season 2 Episode 9 Review

*Warning: As per usual this review will contain episode 9 spoilers as well as mature content, including but not limited to adult language, graphic imagery, and mature subject matter. Choose to read at your own discretion- you have been warned.*

I was at a torrent site the other day and came upon a file to download The Walking Dead episode 9 that had something like 29 or 30 comments on it when usually there are only a handful. So I checked out what so many people had to say and the commotion started with one guy who posted a comment that read “Oh man, I can’t believe they let Shane die!” What proceeded this declaration was a string of outraged fans who hadn’t seen the episode and who believed him, using both colorful and creative expletives to describe this person and their irritation at having something like that ruined for them.

What I took away from all this was not that some people are stupid, selfish assholes who like doing douchey things just for the Hell of it- I already knew that. What surprised me was the number of people that believed his claim!  No one said “There’s no way that would happen- this guy is just trying to eff with us.” No one even said that he was probably lying; they all just believed that Shane dies in episode 9. If this were True Blood and someone said “I can’t believe they killed off Vampire Bill” I’m confident some fan would say that’s BS, even though characters get killed (the permanent kind of killed) in TB almost as often as TWD. Someone would realize that they aren’t going to let a major character die essentially mid-season with no build-up and no big Entertainment News explosion immediately after the episode aired.

Yet people totally believed the death of Shane.

The writers/producers for Walking Dead wanted the viewers to feel like no one is safe; that just like in the comic books, anyone can go at any time. I think they succeeded.

Even if I hadn’t seen the episode already I wouldn’t have bought that Shane died in episode 9. They’ve invested too much into developing his craziness and working on the tension between him, Lori, and Rick that ending it in episode 9 doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t mean I don’t think he could die- he could totally bite it at the end of the season. I find that less likely, though, than someone like Dale, T-Dog, or Hershel and his family. I still think comatose little sister is infected; it just hasn’t been long enough for the fever to kill her. I think that’s going to play a major role in how things go all to Hell at the farm over the next few episodes, too.

Like I predicted, Lori survived the car crash with minimal damage and apparently no damage to the baby (I was so sure of that one!) She even did a good job defending herself against two walkers- one of which tried to get at her through the windshield and did this awesomely horrible face-shredding thing on the glass! Loved it. Though no one even realized she was gone until she was missing from the dinner table.

All those people roaming around, all those windows, the long winding driveway, and the now out-of-place sound of a car starting/on the road and no one saw or heard her leave?? Carol has to find out from Daryl about it over at Camp Pouts-A-Lot where he’s now living, along with his animal pelts and the ear necklace he somehow got back from Rick.

(How did that conversation go? “Hey Rick-I was wearing this necklace of ears I cut off of walkers strung on a shoelace when that dumb ho shot me in the head and now I can’t find it. Any idea where it is? I’d really like it back- for sentimental reasons.”)

Now Carl is upset because mommy and daddy are both gone and it’s up to Shane to go rescue Lori- which, of course, he does. He also lies and says Rick is back at camp in order to make her get in the car and be compliant, which he says she never would’ve done if he hadn’t told her that. Then he spills the big pregnancy semi-secret like a total tool, which is how Carl finds out about it.

Carl says the sweetest, saddest thing after they go inside while he’s asking Lori questions about the pregnancy; he wants to know if they can name her Sophia if the baby ends up being a girl. Which makes me wonder how hard the loss of the real Sophia has been on him; how much he was counting on her being found, and what the realization that your parents can’t always keep you safe- that kids aren’t always found when they get lost in the woods- has done to his view of life and what’s really important.

I know a lot of people don’t find Carl or his interactions with the others and with life in this world to be of very much interest. When it comes to action and forwarding the plot he isn’t terribly thrilling, but for character analysis and as a window into the future of this harsher, more violent, new world and the kind of people who will be living in it, Carl is one of the most informative and fascinating of all the survivors.

Of course Shane has to bust in and ask Carl to leave so he and Lori can have a private discussion. I thought that was pretty messed up since they were obviously still talking about the pregnancy Shane just blurted out that Carl should’ve heard about from his mom and dad together, and also since it was very clear Lori didn’t want to speak with him. Even Andrea tried to tell him to back off but no- Shane’s a selfish dick who has to have what he wants the way he wants and when he wants them.

This conversation is a turning point for Lori. When she tells Shane she confessed everything that went on between them to Rick and that he understood she was grieving and scared and it was a mistake, Shane refuses to accept it. He insists that what they had was real- the two of them and Carl together was real and right and she knew it. He even claims that she loved him since before Rick was shot and basically the three of them (now four) were meant to be together. So now she knows how serious his delusion is and she’s been warned about how far he’ll go for survival or to protect what’s his- she has to be seriously scared.

If it were me, I’d tell everyone-just come totally clean about everything (except maybe not to Carl yet) and have everyone as a group stay safe, keep Rick safe, and vote Shane off the island.

Speaking of Rick, when we last saw him he was all sexy and badass, having just taken out two creeps. Now it’s time to be smart and get the Hell out of there- stopping to check their bodies for weapons and ammo, though. I was pleased and impressed to see them being so pragmatic about the situation. Then other people show up looking for Tony and Dave and this is when shit starts getting less impressive and more “Are you freaking kidding me??”

It turns out that drunk Hershel is still an excellent shot, which makes you think he might’ve been cool at some point before he became a Bible-thumping jackass

I also feel I should point out that I was right- sex really is making Glenn stupid. Or rather Maggie is making him stupid because loving her is sapping his courage. Suddenly he has something to lose and someone who will hurt if he doesn’t make it back and that idea paralyzes him when it’s time for him to face the bad-guys and do his part. I didn’t really notice him doing anything particularly cowardly or selfish- it’s not like he shot Hershel in the leg so he could get away or something- but apparently it’s a big enough deal for him to cause him to pull away from Maggie upon their return.

Shots between the three of them and the unknown number of guys outside draw walkers right to them. One guy takes a shot at Glenn so Hershel, who’s covering him, fires back and hits the guy who drops like a stone, moaning in pain. Then walkers descend on the poor bastard and Hershel gets a good look at what could’ve happened to him or Jimmy or anyone in his family if the barn walkers had ever gotten out. It’s a slow death, allowing for his screams to go on and on as one walker tears off part of the guy’s face while others work on his extremities. For Hershel it’s a big, horrible dose of reality, but one he adapts to with impressive ease.

Another shooter on the roof of a building tries to jump down to his buddy so the two of them can bounce, and one would think the guy would’ve aimed for somewhere else- anywhere else- than the spiked gate thingy when he took his hop off the roof. Instead he brutally impales his leg and clearly wont be bouncing anywhere, prompting his friend to take off without him, yelling “sorry” out the window as he speeds off. Now there’s nothing stopping Rick, Glenn, and Hershel from getting out of Walkerville…except for the kid screaming for help and begging them not to leave him there with his leg impaled on a fence. Rick wouldn’t be Rick if he didn’t go over and see if he could save the guy. Here’s where Hershel shows how much his views have adapted to allow survival in this world: he tells Rick there’s too much damage to the muscles and he’s bleeding out too fast so there’s little chance he would make it- maybe the kindest thing to do would be to put him down!

Maybe it’s because he’s a vet and not a doctor. Veterinarians are taught that putting an animal out of its misery when there’s no hope left is the right thing to do, while doctors are taught to preserve any form of life possible for as long as possible with any/all means available. He even said “put him down” like the guy was a horse or a dog or something! But I choose to think that it’s because Hershel is starting to get the nature of life outside his sheltered little farm and believes it’s a kindness to shoot the guy rather than let the walkers just have at him since they don’t have the time or means to help him.

That’s what I would do; shoot the guy I mean. I’d just walk up kind of behind him where he couldn’t see me, maybe stroke his hair like I was coming over there to comfort or talk to him. Then I’d just pop off a round in the back of his head without him ever knowing it was coming- problem solved. So while Rick and Hershel are arguing over whether or not cutting the leg off below the knee would work and walkers are coming in from every direction, I’d take care of the situation so we could leave.

They didn’t take care of the situation like I would have. They didn’t cut his leg off either. But they did rip him off the fence then blindfold him during the drive back to the farm where Hershel fixed up his leg as much as possible. The plan is for him to get patched up until he’s ok on his own, then give him a few provisions, drive him away from the farm and let him go his limpy way. For some reason this pissed Shane off. Now I guess he thinks the guy will lead his friends and the rest of Dave and Tony’s group back to the farm to start a war of some kind? Who the Hell knows. He’s probably mad Rick is still alive and feels like he has to contradict every decision that he makes.

He has an interesting little tete-a-tete with Andrea after making his opinions known to the group as a whole who tells him that his choices- stopping the search for Sophia, the barn massacre, lying to Lori the other night- were all the right choices, he just didn’t approach them the right way. Okay….

Just like I’ve always thought: Andrea is a complete and total idiot who’s as selfish as Shane and too busy being flattered and admiring him to realize that her idol is manipulating and lying to her.

Now that’s a weird soap opera-esque story: Shane loves Lori and believes she really loves him and not her husband Rick who is supposed to be Shane’s best friend who wasn’t really dead like Shane told Lori he was, which made her start sleeping with Shane until her not-dead husband shows up so she starts sleeping with him again while Shane starts creating an ally in Andrea & sleeps with her even though he really wants Lori and since Andrea doesn’t know about the situation with Lori and Rick & how she’s being used, she ends up falling for Shane and siding with him no matter what!

Meanwhile, Daryl is off riding horses, killing things with a crossbow, fighting hallucination-Merle, and walking around sweaty/dirty/angry and obscenely sexy.

Speaking of, he’s been in his own isolated little camp far away from the group since Sophia and in tonight’s episode Carol shows she’s not going to let him distance himself again. She tells him to “go ahead” as he viciously rips into her, bringing up anything and everything that would hurt her or make her angry or upset enough to drive her away. He blames Sophia’s death on her being a bad mother who doesn’t watch her kid, says she’s only bothering him because she’s alone and afraid now, with no husband and no daughter, he tells her he flat out does not want her around- and when he gets close enough to where he’s practically yelling in her face, his arm moves in a certain way that makes her flinch a bit. It’s obvious the reaction comes from the habit of expecting to be hit by a man when he’s angry and taking it out on her. Then she just turns her face kind of up to him. It’s her saying “go ahead” again- she’s not afraid and she can take whatever he does to her, but it’s still not going to make her leave or give up on him.

That makes him pause. Go Carol!

People in forums keep asking about the possibility of the two of them as a couple.

I gotta say I am not down with that idea.

The way Carol treats him is so nurturing and caring, which is so alien to him and so difficult for him to accept, that I get a very motherly feeling from her. He needs that more than he needs a romantic relationship, which is far less stable and much more turbulent. A warm, steadfast and unwavering friendship/love to help him see that he’s valued and worth caring about is what I think he should have.

Norman Reedus described their relationship as “damaged people being drawn to other damaged people.” But who among the people in that group isn’t damaged in some way?

The episode ended with what people have called Lori’s manipulation of Rick or how she’s playing mind-games with him, but I don’t see it that way at all. I see her finally realizing how scary Shane really is- how far into his delusion that she loves him he really is- and telling her husband because she’s afraid; both for him and for herself. He doesn’t even know about most of the things Shane has said and done right under his nose- he isn’t aware of how dangerous he can really be and Lori wants him to take treat this like the serious threat that it is. She’s not manipulating him- she’s admitting that she’s scared of losing him. I think she should tell him what happened at the CDC, too. That’s should’ve been a sign of worse things to come, not something you sweep under the rug and forget or write off as one bad night. .

Things are in motion- big, heavy, bone-crunching, landscape-changing things. It’s like I’ve been holding my breath and keeping very still, waiting with my eyes wide open for the other shoe to drop. I know something bad is coming; the big, heavy things are about to start gaining momentum and the vibrations of it make 7 days feel unbearably long. I’ve had 9 episodes and nearly 5 months to prepare for this: bring on the mayhem!

The One Who’d Put The Fence-Guy Down,

-Dianthrax

Stills Gallery From Episode #9 and

Three Sneak-Peak Stills From Episode #10!

A Little Something Extra:

( Just as an aside and something to check out while your flipping through the photo gallery- Rick may be quite pretty to look at pretty to look at…but he also has freakishly huge nipples!  Like, weird-looking, distractingly big! They look like they could engulf and eat Daryl’s nipples and feed a baby at the same time! Look::

See? Freakishly huge in comparison! Also: You’re welcome 😉

Sources: the AMC Press Resource Center, AMC