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And the Front Door is Open….AGAIN!

Well it’s been two weeks!  How’d you guys handle a solid fourteen days without even a booster shot of the Walking Dead?  Season 1 is dead and gone, but its memories shall linger on.  Was it good?  Bad?  Review time!!  Let’s open this up with a speed run, shall we? 

(Of course, spoilers are on the way, and if you have not seen the show, you’ll probably leave this really confused…)

And GO!

The first episode had Rick escaping the SNAFU’d hospital with one snazzy transitional scene thanks to those wilting flowers.  The flip side of that coin, sadly, was just how lame the intro shot was of Rick shooting the obviously turned teddy bear zombie girl, and how much the hospital bit reeked of 28 Days Later.  Luckily this was left behind without a seconds thought as Rick passed by the Half Biker Girl Zombie torso and he met up with Morgan, who quickly threatened to kill him at least half a dozen times.

Morgan and his son Duane got Rick up to speed and out of town in no time flat.  They even had time for a shower!  Anyone drop the soap? 

/crosses fingers!

Duane has a heart wrenching moment where he is unable to put down his unliving wife and Rick puts the barely there Biker Girl Zombie to final rest before ‘borrowing’ a horse and trading it up for a tank and a grenade.  End.

Shane and Lori, spread eagle near a tree.  C-O-U-P-L-I-N-G!

Guts starts off with Glenn helping Rick escape, some crazy old blonde chick puts a gun to Rick’s head, racist southerner gets ‘cuffed to a flimsy and eroded pipe, Rick and Glenn get a deep tissue massage made from deep tissues, and a clumsy black guy drops a key.  Glenn likes him some sports car.  End.

Frogs shows that Shane and Lori might actually be decent characters after two terrible showings in previous episodes.  But!  Oh noes!  Rick’s back!  Lori tells off Shane who immediately reflects this anger and ever-so-mild distemperment into Ed’s skull after Ed is seen slapping his wife.  Racist Redneck decided drilling through his ‘cuffs was too hard, but didn’t think to go through the thin, corroded metal twig, and instead recreated Saw with magically almost no blood loss.  Mighty fine grip you got going on with your belt there, Amos!  End.

Vatos!  Ah, how I’ve missed you.  Rick attempts to snatch his cache of weapons and radio, but in exchange he loses Glenn to a marauding latino gang.  Racist Redneck Jr. gets a butt shot off before they get away though, so so it’s all good.  In the end the Vatos were just posing as tough guys and Granny gives Rick a tour of a medical facility…that Rick never thinks about holing up in with the rest of the people back at camp.  Oh, bother.  And zombies attack the campsite, leading to a very fulfilling chaotic zombie battle, with bats, shovels, shotguns, crossbows, and rifles.  Woot!  End.

Wildfire lingers far too long.  Andrea should be shot.  Jim is the real man’s version of Rick without Main Character Powers.  Black Lady is offensive and does not visibly have a relationship with T-Dog.  Shane wants to shoot Rick for no reason.  Andrea wanted to shoot Rick for no reason.  Mr. CDC hijack’s our TV and takes us by surprise before blowing up his wife’s remains in a botched experiment.  It made me laugh, though.  End.

TS-19 was another great episode, yet it is fairly split on the love/hate-o-meter to the reviewing audience.  Mr. CDC explains to the dum-dum casual audience what zombies are and exactly what we should have known from day one.  He could have said “Watch Shawn of the Dead” for the first half of the episode and saved a lot of exposition.  I still liked it, thought he acted wonderfully, and hope he gets a lot of great work after showing off his abilities here.

Back to super short recap:  Everyone likes wine (‘cept Carl, boo!), Shane is mad in the shower, Rick and Lori are very happy in the shower, Andrea is wasting our time as well as theirs with all that hot water washing down the drain, Shane fails at Surprise Sex, Rick’s drunk, Mr. CDC locks everyone in for no honest reason, and then he lets them go before getting all Lost in Translation with Rick.  Black Lady and Mr. CDC die in a massive explosion that, again, half the reviewership thinks was over done or out of place and fake.  A short sandbag wall blocks the flames from killing Andrea, sadly. :( 

TIME!

Woo, not bad.  I’m outta shape for all this.  Should have stretched before-hand or something…  sheesh I’m getting old…

So with that breifish recap outta the way, as we all should have know that already.  Overall I liked the season, and I’d probably give it a B+ if I used a grading scale like that.  The highlight of the season was Vatos, TS-19, and the pilot.  Though hearing my Dad exclaim in surprise and horror as Carol pickax’d her deceased husband’s earcanal was right up there.

But what now?  What do we thinx gonna happen next season?  Well, I gots me some theories and things I’ve noticed (and a lot more I forgot!).  Here are some that I remembered:

Where is the story headed from here?  We have quite a lot of extra characters still not in the comic that can easily be zombie fodder.  Carole/Beaten Wife is not a completely pointless character.  She was in it to make Ed look bad (check) and to give Rick a grenade at the magically correct time (double check.)  Her use is now fulfilled, and as she and the Keymaster from the second matrix share a common theme, hopefully she meets the same end as him.  Hmm.  Might sound a bit harsh…but she was the omnipotent extra in Mist which Darabont had a bad hand in, so I still stand with my ‘Keymaster Her’ proclamation.  If you need a reason as to why she ends up dead, she STOLE a grenade from a Police Officer for gawd’s sakes.  How dim can one be to…that’s like hitting a parked cop car.  And I’ve seen it happen.  (Now we all know why Ed kept slapping her!  Ooo!  Dark comedy!)

Also, currently her daughter does not have a point to exist.  She was only really seen leaving her dad in the tent, and crying when the Mexican Family (still don’t know their names) left in Wildfire.  G.G. Carl?

T-Dog currently is a decent character.  He’s had a few lines in a few episodes which, I’d say, makes him one of the better tacked on characters.  There is a strong African American male character in the comic that should show up fairly soon if they are back on the comic’s track…which might turn into him instead of the actual dude it was in the book.  Merle could easily be thrown into the mix as I’ve heard Governor arrives at about the same time?  Comic geeks would know, but not I.

Speaking of Geeks, they really used that term a LOT in the ending episodes which I did not notice the first time through.  Why is it no one calls them zombies, ever?  Walkers, Geeks, ‘one of them,’ etc.  Just call em out!  It’s not like a religious slur or anything because of the distant voodoo connections, people.  Besides they were saying the n-word just fine in the second episode, so if they went with “geeks” to avoid offending a religious background, but were ok with potentially inciting an entire racial background…eh.  Worst of all, ‘geek’ is fairly accurate in terms of largest target audience of this show.  Way to offend your fan base, guys.  Smooth moves the lot of ya’!

It has come to my attention that the bomb that would self-destruct the CDC building was a Thermobaric weapon, defined as:

“a ‘fuel-air bomb’  is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of casualties and causes more damage to structures”

Any fans of Command and Conquer: Generals (and the expansion Zero Hour, of course) will know about this baby.  It was the USA General’s special power and one of my favorites.  It could be upgraded to a MOAB, of Dubya’s Iraqi War fame, but I didn’t like it.  Wasn’t as strong, and didn’t have enough ‘heart’.  Before the Fuel-Air Bomb went off there was that hint of silence, and then the fireball started, grew, and then bah-BOOM!  Twas’ a favorite, and now that my raving is complete, here is a video of it in action. 

Note any similarity to the ending?  (Which can be seen here, by the way,) While it might not be a large consolation to fans of the comics, I think it does mimic at least a video game’s representation of the same type of explosive.  And the bombs are intended to burn a bit, not just kablooey right off the bat, ya know.   Though there will still be ‘it was overdone!’ people yelling at me from the nay-sayers camp,  I still likes it.

Jacqaui is the name of the black lady, by the by.  Anyone else find that she and T-dog’s ‘relationship’ to be at least…eh…unpolitically correct?  Let me give you an example from a completely different show, The Tester.  It’s a Playstation thing where people fight a really rough battle just to get an entry position that normally is done by people that are not paid for their time, and generally are pulled in right from the street.  Not kidding.  Why these suckers put themselves through hell for such a terrible spot in a company is beyond me. 

Back on topic, in one episode they were split up into two teams.  The white team and the black team.  There are two black contestants in the show at this time, and guess what team they went to?  Both were placed on white team.  Why?  Because if they were put on the black team it would be racist, says the politically correct textbook.  And why did they have to be in the same group, why not one on each?  Because *that* might be considered racist, too.  Why didn’t they just call it the Red and Blue teams, I have no idea.  But now, back to Walking Dead.

The ONLY two black people on the show just happen to be in a relationship.  Maybe.  It could be they were connected for years, hooked up during the zombieggon, or T-dog just has a preference to black women.  We don’t know.  They were not in the comic, so I can’t even say ‘oh, the fans will know if they read it’ much like how Harry Potter movies panned out, because they were only brought into existence in the tv show.  Whatever was in the show is all we have to rely upon, and from what we were given, they just happened to be black and they just happened to be in a relationship.  Maybe.  At no point in the series other than just before they were going to blow up did anyone even suggest the two were an item.  It was badly handled and was a very weak attempt at conflict or drama.  To be clear: All we know is that they are black, at this point.  And now they happen to be together?  Why?  The one time the two were ever physically near one another was after T-dog was attacked by Merle, some four episodes ago for about thirty seconds of on-air time.  She spent MORE time with Jim and they were not together.  Why was she and T-dog coupled?  Race.  Smooth move, again, writers.  Smooth.

Ah!  My good buddy Foucault had an issue with, was they these survivors ain’t durty!  In the comic they looked rugged and worn, weathering zombie attacks should take a toll on one’s physical representation, eh?  Well, I gotta defend the show a smidgin’ here and note that at the very beginning of Wildfire, they were all messed up.  Dirt on their face, clothing mangled, all that jazz.  How they got from this to super clean I think is supposed to be explained by yet another painfully obvious shower scene at the CDC, but still, I can see the complaint that they all shouldn’t be super models by now.

Note:  Saw the end of Wildfire last night again, Dad finally got around to sitting down the day before Comcast took it off Demand, and had more time to listen to Jenners.  (First time heat came on and muffled it a bit, and thought it was a commercial at first.)  He said Wildfire has been going on at that point, for 194 days and about 64 since it went global.  (As far as he knows, could be yet another throw-back to 28 days later that all he ‘knows’ is that the government told him.  He even says ‘I bet there isn’t [anyone] still  listening out there, is there?  Is there?”) So that means somewhere in that timeline there, Rick got shot and left for dead by Shane.  Morgan said power’s been out for about a month, but I don’t think he was keeping track of the time.  I still think Rick only lasted about a week or two, the most that Popcorn Logic (movie’s use it all the time) could allow.  He woke up dehydrated, voice scratchy.  So he drained that IV and was running on empty for probably a day.  If Morgan did not keep track of time, and was obviously torn about seeing his wife, I do not think his word is as scientific as Jenners.  The only other person keeping track is Andrea, who should be shot as how they handled her character in the series so far, and Dale.  But Dale only knows what time it is, while she knows what day.  Maybe their kids will be astrologers!  Anyhoo, did that specific CDC spread the virus or whatever?  Still don’t know where it came from, which is not gonna bother me, but could bother some.

Small things that bothered me was just how ‘throwaway’ their names and the music was.  If I didn’t type up these reviews I would have NO idea what anyone’s name was.  The music is the same way, minus the intro that is repeated every episode, I can hear it, feel it, and then it is lost and not coming back to the memory banks until I re-watch the episode in question.  This is the oddest thing I have witnessed in a long while.  I can explain the names, as they aren’t used that often at all as generally we don’t go up to people and use their name every sentence we say (that would be creepy.  Happened to my younger cousin on WoW once though haha  “Hello Palmogranite.”  Good stuff.  And yes that is his human warrior’s name.  He plays on Trollbane, Alliance side. Give him a pat on the back for trying to level up as a tank, which for a newer person to the game is quite commendable.  Of course I talked him *into* doing that…)… but as far as the music goes, it is weird.  I cannot explain how I can’t remember it at all, to me it is almost like the show has no music playing ever, and I distinctly remember hearing groaning and other shuffling ambiance in Guts while they were talking outside or on the roof.  Was a great audio moment that reminded me of a great deal of zombie-based games like Left 4 Dead.

Finally, is the topic of Darabont helming the writing almost entirely solo.  Sigh.  This I actually take issue with, as it could lead to Very Bad Things.  The main point of contention here is the dreadfully awful The Mist which he had a big hand in failing.  To sum up my ire for this…film…is that everything before the last 10 minutes was good and the problems forgivable…UNTIL THE ACTUAL ENDING FAILED TO DELIVER.  That is the extremely short version of my rant.  So now, we have failed horror attempt man penning yet another horror.  Is he basing it on the comic?  His own?  Did he dislike season one because it strayed from the comic?  Is he just going to do a shot for shot recreation to appease the book fans, making most bored of it before the next season starts?  We don’t know…but as he will be in charge, might I throw in my bid for terrible-idea-that-might-just-make-it with Frank in charge?

We need for the main group of people to keep doing whatever.  Do that stuff for a long long while, and then get to a really tight spot.  Lots of death, huge number loss and maybe it’s just down to Rick and Carl, and Carl just got bitten.  He ends up putting his son out of misery before he turns and he just happens to be out of bullets to off himself.  Follow me so far?  K.  So now as he’s angushing about putting down his last family member a shuffling sound can be heard growing louder and louder and finally we see…not a horde of zombies, but military men in gas masks!  They are clearing the way!  Rick is saved!  But!  Oh noes!  He could have cured his son if only he waiting a teeny bit more.  Oh, the not-really-ironic-or-dark-comedy-non-irony!

But for that to ‘make sense’ we’ll need another person or group of people to show the audience what Rick should have done, because no one likes anything more than seeing a good main character fail.  Something that will spit into the face of our mind’s logic as we are forced to accept it as decent, not because it actually was, but solely because it is different!  No room for well written endings here, no, we still need that group to show Rick how wrong he was…someone that left for no real reason, adding nothing to the story, but existed solely to re-exist days later so I can laugh manically at the audience for not predicting the pointless character was the right one all along… someone like…

Shoulda followed us. Your bad, not ours.

That Mexican Family who left for no reason, but was done in such an obvious way so that we can use it to tie in the terrible idea of a finale!  YES!  Let’s do that!  What do you mean you don’t like my wonderful idea, staff writers?  Yer’ FIRED!

Also, saw a bit of the ‘forbidden fruit’ yesterday and paged through some of the first compiled section of the Walking Dead in comic form.  From what I saw, massively, massively better.  Didn’t sit down and read it, just when they got attacked (and Jim was actually shown bitten, who’da thunk it?) and Andrea popped of Amy at the drop of a hat.  Didn’t dwell on it.  Didn’t stretch it out painfully and pointlessly.  Didn’t damn her character by pointing a gun at Rick for no reason, AGAIN.  Sigh.  That’s what happens when Hollywood enters the picture…any gamers out there would understand this as either EA or Sony gobbling up a decent game then meddling with it and wondering why the money stopped coming out of it.

But there is still hope!  All in all it was still a great season, I just can’t read the comic or I probably won’t be able to watch it by comparison haha  Still, ‘for TV’ it was good.  Hope next season is better!  Less empty drama, more solid action!  I leave you with a funny that I thought up, considering how many people were surprised or rather upset that Merle was not shown at all since the third episode. Enjoy, and thanks for reading again, yall!

Perhaps Season 2 Will Be "Where's Merele NOW?"

3 responses »

  1. First off, thanks for the plug. =)

    I had a discussion at a holiday party the other night (the good one, not the boring one where people talked about children and cruises) about The Walking Dead. We decided the last two episodes weren’t good; they insulted the audience’s intelligence and assumed we can’t understand literal events. The shower scene, which everybody always complains about, was jeered beautifully and the final explosion ridiculed. Of course the person I talked to was drunk and stoned, ranting on and on. At least their thoughts were coherent, regardless of inebriation.

    I really liked the pilot episode and that’s usually a rare thing. So many shows have mediocre pilots: Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mad Men, and so forth. In this case the earlier episodes outshine the later ones. I find this rare in a show’s first season or two since it usually takes a quality series a few episodes to work out the kinks. Hopefully the Kirkman/Darabont helmed second season takes a different turn, sticking to the source material’s sentiment even if it deviates from the plotline. There are many instances when an adaptation diverges from the original and it still works. A great example is American Psycho, which moves differently than the novel but still captures the intentions of Ellis’ critique of 1980s American culture.

    Moving back to the condescending scenes in TWD’s final episode, it’s really obnoxious the show believes its audience is brain dead and stupid. The show’s rated TV-14, which means the majority of the audience is probably over 14 years old. If I remember correctly I learned about metaphor, simile, symbolism, and the like in elementary school or possibly early middle school. I know America’s public education is in the dumps but we’re not mentally challenged; we understand what’s going on and don’t need it handed to us in a sappy fashion. I mentioned before in a previous post that the shower scene tells us what to feel and that’s just insulting. Zach Snyder’s recent film abomination (that horrible Owl movie) had a trailer where Snyder and the producer relate the film’s story to the audience, telling us what to feel, to think, and so forth. Is their film so awful that it can’t speak for itself, instead relying on outside voices to give us the gist of the tale? That’s usually a telltale sign of bad writing, which I felt the shower scene was doing. The narrative speaks for itself, we don’t need somebody holding our hand and treating us like children. That bothered me and damages the show’s integrity.

    I have high hopes for season two considering the recent layoffs and Kirkman’s increased involvement but I’m still skeptical. Hopefully AMC won’t get too involved and mess up the show. Mad Men is a great show and AMC seems generally hands off, allowing the show to grow naturally. Darabont has about a year until next season and I’m sure he can do something great with the extra time. =)

    Reply
    • Haha, no problem man. I actually would have liked to swing in more links to other sources, but the longer I typed (actually finished most of it a week ago) the more I was unsure if I should even throw it up here at all. This is about double the length of my longest post, and meh. I’m okay with it, but I’m not ‘in love’ with this post of mine. I’m glad you enjoyed it though :D That means I didn’t stink it up too badly hee hee

      I saw some clips of the making-of as I was editing this and surprised how similar Kirkman and Whedon look. Not identical, of course, but cousins perhaps. I thought it odd how Kirkman was saying the series is just like the comic, just slightly different, like a different parallel universe so both new fans and fans of the comic could enjoy. That is a good thing, hopefully they keep it different but similarly based on the comic’s happenings next season.

      I think the major problem with this first season was the constant exchange of writers and directors. There should only be one voice and one vision, and in that regard I praise Darabont’s decision. I just hope what that decision leads to is a flawless season. Let us raise a glass to their year ahead, and hope their idea pudding has a bit more time to congeal compared to this season :)

      Reply
  2. Pingback: The Walking Dead – Speedy Recap o’ Season One! « Encrazed Crafts

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