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

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