You know what really gets me here? It’s not that she’s the insignificant daughter of an over hyped former vice-presidential candidate and failed Alaskan governor, or that she’s only 20 years old (actually, both of those things get me too) it’s the target audience. Who is the target audience for this book!?!?!?!?!
Seriously, I want to know. If it’s you reading this, let me know why in the comments because I don’t understand who could possibly want to spend money on and read this. What has she done? Is her time on Dancing with the Stars really that interesting?
There’s also the whole “she just signed the deal and the book comes out this summer” thing. Don’t think for a second that she’s started it, she’s just going to write it in 3 months.
NOTE: If you can write your life’s story in 3 months, you’re (a) exceptionally dull, (b) extremely forgetful, (c) lying, (d) in no position to be writing your memoirs.
The Jist: In the wake of the camp ambush (where surprisingly few of them died…) the survivors decide to move on. Jim got bit. Grimes wants to go to the Centre for Disease Control in hopes of finding a cure. Shane wants to go to an army fort in hopes of finding protection. Lori sides with her husband. To the CDC! I foresee conflict.
This week’s episode begins at dawn, hours after the campers were jumped by Zombies. Grimes is on his radio, warning the Joneses to stay the heck out of Atlanta. Meanwhile the campers are dealing with the aftermath of the ambush, burning the dead-undead (redead?) corpses and burying their own.
Jim’s been bit. He says he’s fine. Dwayne wants to kill him. Grimes says no. They talk it out and put Jim in the Winnebago, presumably so that when he goes full Zombie he has access to the kitchenette.
Andrea is still hovering over the dead body of her sister. Amy sister wakes up. There’s a tear-felt apology for never really being there from Andrea. Amy tries to bite her face off. Andrea blows her brains out. Ah sisterly love.
Rick and Shane do the routine sweep of the perimeter and discuss what their next steps are. Rick is set on heading to the CDC. Shane not so much. Rick says that if it were Shane’s family he’d understand. Seeing as it was Shane’s family for a while, though Rick still doesn’t know that, Shane is kind of pissed. They separate for a bit and Shane, with a pretty spot-on display of crazed murder-lust by Jon Bernthal, lines rick up in the sights of his shotgun, just barely deciding against taking Rick down. Dale sees. Dale sees all. Looks like Shane is pretty damn close to his boiling point.
Back at camp the survivors make the decision to make a run for it. Grimes wants to head for the CDC in hopes of finding a cure. Shane wants to head for an army base on the other side of Atlanta. Lori sides
with her husband. Shane looks pissed-er, but eventually falls in line with Grimes. So does everyone else. Except for one family who decides to head for Birmingham instead, hurray for write-offs!
Grimes leaves behind a car and a map in case Jones finally makes it to camp and the campers head out for the CDC. On the way there Jim’s condition gets worse. He asks the campers to leave him behind. They do. I get the feeling we’ll be seeing Zombie Jim at some point in the series.
Weird Scene: A series of video messages from a CDC scientist. He looks like Brett Favre, so for now we’ll call him Brett Favre (yes, that IS how you spell Favre). He’s working on a cure, but having little success. We also get the distinct feeling he’s alone. Yep. He’s alone. And not paying any attention. And he contaminated his samples – they appeared to be working? I’m not really sure…except that that’s not what it looks like under a microscope… Aparently the CDC has one explosive decontamination procedure as his lab gets blown up. Now he’s even more depressed. Note: his samples were called TS-19, which is also the name of the season finale.
Meanwhile, the campers reach the CDC. Things don’t look so good. I have beef with this scene. There should have been way, way, way more bodies with the fortifications around the building. But the amount of flies and reaction to the stench seemed about right. It’s getting dark, Zombies are appearing and no one is answering the door. People start freaking out. Grimes yells at the security camera. It moves. Grimes yells some more. Zombies are coming. The door opens. A flash of white light…
Best episode of the season, except for the first one. I’m really, really hoping we get some answers next episode, and it’s looking promising. As usual we’re left with one glaring question: Where the hell is Meryl? I’m still convinced that he’s responsible for the attack on the camp, and I’m thinking he just might get to the map/car before Jones does…
The Jist: Grimes, T-Dog, ShortRound and Daryl can’t find one-handed Merle. So they go after Grimes’ guns. They get jumped. Turns out there are other survivors. There’s some conflict. It gets resolved. Back at camp, Jim digs some holes in the heat. Then things go south…
This week begins at camp with Andrea and her sister Amy, played by Emma Bell (Frozen), fishing in the quarry. They talk about their father, and Amy asks Andrea if she thinks that Florida may not have been hit as hard (by the outbreak). Andrea doesn’t respond. Though it’s just a throw-away line, the thought does finally give us viewers some idea as to the scope of the outbreak. It’s fair to assume at this point that at very minimum the Zombpocolypse as affected the Southern U.S. Back at camp, Dale, played by Jeffery DeMunn (The Shawshank Redemption) notices that Jim, played by Andrew Rothenberg (Stranger Than Fiction), has been digging atop the hill in hundred degree heat for some time (that’s like 35ish for us metric folk). Shane goes up to have a chat with Jim, but Jim just keeps on digging…and being strange…and scaring the children. So Shane tackles him. Because it’s what Shane does. Shane tells him “everything is going to be OK.” Jim says that’s a lie. Shane ties him to a tree. Because that’s responsible. Turns out the heat really did get to Jim – he doesn’t remember why he was digging, just that he dreamt it. Jim also informs us that he lost his wife and sons to the Zombies, only escaping himself because the Zombies were too busy lunching on his family. Seriously Jim, you’re scaring the children.
Back in Atlanta Daryl is just a little distraught over his brother’s absence from the roof he had be chained to a day or so ago. Then he remarks what a tough S.O.B. his brother is for cutting off his own hand and forming a truncate to limit the blood loss (that answers all the “where the heck is the blood” questions from last week!). There is a slight trail heading down an alternate exit from the roof…I guess Merle is pretty lucky that Zombies aren’t the most observant or skilled problem solvers. They head down but still can’t find Merle. However, they do find a piece of metal over a flame with flesh seared to it…cauterized the wound…yep, one tough S.O.B. indeed. ShortRound figures they should make a play for the guns before resuming find-a-Merle. Or rather, he should make a play for the guns while the others cover him down the side streets. Of course the Zombies notice ShortRound grab the guns…and Grimes’ hat, you never leave the hat. As he makes a run for it, Daryl is grabbed from behind…by a living person. Confusion ensues, some Zombies die, a man gets an arrow in the rear and ShortRound is kidnapped. Fortunately Daryl grabbed the guy who first
jumped him, so we can make a trade right?
Unfortunately, the Leader of the Other Survivors – Guillermo, played by Neil Brown Jr. (Fast and Furious) isn’t into a one-for-one and demands the guns and his man in exchange for ShortRound, or he’ll drop him from the roof and make him FlatRound (yes, that’s what passes for humour here). Grimes leaves to think about it. Which translates to coming back with bigger guns. Grimes and Co. are ready to shoot it out before an elderly lady comes down looking for medicine.
Turns out that the building is a hospital, Guillermo was the janitor and one of his buddies was a nurse. When the Zombification happened the old people were left to die, so Guillermo and friends took over the hospital and scavenge the city for food and supplies while taking care of the old and sick. Is your mind blown? Mine too. But I swear, if it turns out they were on an island or dead this whole time I’m going to flip. Grimes gives them some guns, because he’s a nice guy like that. Guillermo gives him ShortRound, because he’s nice like that too. Everything is happy…except the Zombie Horde that has taken over Atlanta…but really, who’s thinking of them at a time like this?
Grimes & Co. give up on finding Merle and head back to their truck…but the truck’s not there! How in the heck?…oh right. Merle. Not Cool Merle. They take off at a run back to camp…
Meanwhile at camp, Jim isn’t tied to the tree anymore, and everyone is sitting around the fire, eating fish and being merry. Dale remarks on the importance of keeping time. Amy has to go to the bathroom. Wife-Beater Ed is alone in his tent, sporting heavy bruises from the Shane beat-down. Ed hears something. It’s not a squirrel. Goodbye Ed. Unfortunately no one heard Ed’s screams…so Amy is taken off guard and bitten. The other campers hear her screams. By this time the camp is flooded. Honestly I’m still not 100% sure who died. Ed and Amy for sure, I think they also got Jacqui…and maybe someone else…it was
dark all right?!
Grimes & Co. get back and kill the remaining Zombies. Laurie Holden (Andrea) gives and excellent scene here, holding her sister close as she dies in her arms…all I could think at this point was “Boy I hope that’s from blood loss because if she comes back in a
moment…” After the bloodshed Jim surveys the damage and remarks “I remember why I was digging holes now…”
At least the rest of the Campers are safe…for the moment.
How much you wanna bet Shane blames Grimes for the deaths because he, and 3 other able-bodied men, weren’t there when the Zombies struck? Also, I’m loving Daryl Dixon – anyone who kills Zombies with a crossbow bolt to the forehead is ok in my book. The lingering question from this episode: Didn’t that van, supposedly taken by Merle, have a large storage trunk?…as in large enough to carry people?…a lot of people?…just saying…
The Jist: Having successfully rescued the other survivors from becoming Zombie lunch at the mall, Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes is welcomed into their camp. He doesn’t know his wife and son are there. He’s happy to see them. His son is happy to see him. So is his wife. Sort of. It’s complicated. Oh, and Dixon is still on the roof, the guns are still on the street. They have to go back.
Picking up where we last left off, Rick Grimes’ plan has saved the day and the survivors are on their way back to camp. Anyone who was wondering where the heck ShortRound was going as he sped out of the city in his newly acquired Charger will be pleased to find out that he got back to camp just fine – and by just fine I mean in his stolen car. The one with the alarm. The very, very loud alarm. Hey, remember how in the last episode the idea that “sound attracts hordes of Zombies” was really hammered home? The campers were none too pleased. Grimes and the other survivors pull into camp shortly afterwards, everyone is happy to see their family members and fellow survivors. Of course Grimes brings up the rear and we get a priceless look of shock on Shane’s face – the “Oh crap I thought you were dead and have totally been sleeping with your wife, I bet that comes back to bite me in the ass” look – before Rick’s overjoyed son jumps into his father’s arms and Lori rushes to her husband’s side, throwing a look
at Shane that was closer to dirty than apologetic or even worried, but more on that later. We also get a shot of Dixon on the roof, screaming to Jesus and no one in particular (again, about that noise thing…) Fortunately T-Dog, played by IronE Singleton (The Blind Side), padlocked the door after he dropped the key to the cuffs, barring any Zombies from getting to the roof…though not for lack of trying. A seriously crazed Dixon finally realizes the hacksaw is within reach!
After the initial relief of seeing their loved ones again, the survivors realize that the scavenging party is a man short. No one’s especially upset that Dixon didn’t come back; however, there’s some worry about the reaction his brother Daryl, played by Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints), is going to have when he returns from his hunt, which is in dramatic fashion as Grimes’ son can be heard screaming from the forest. A Zombie is feasting on a deer recently taken down by arrows. He’s dealt with by the campers, but finished off with a crossbow to his decapitated head by Daryl. Dismayed at the prospect of not having deer to eat, he at least has the dozen squirrels he caught while stalking the deer. The campers tell him of his brother’s fate. Naturally, he’s upset.
After a romantic reunion with his wife (right beside their sleeping son! I know times are bleak but man, really?!) Grimes states that he’s got to go back for Dixon, much to his wife and son’s displeasure, mostly because he’s heroic like that but also because he’s got to warn Jones & Son (from episode 1) that Atlanta’s not safe. Oh, and the guns he dropped are still there, and everyone knows a Zombie story needs the extra ammo.
As Grimes, T-Dog, ShortRound and Daryl head for Atlanta, we’re left in camp, and get some insight to a couple of newly introduced campers – wife beater Ed, played by Adam Minarovich (Wise Guys v. Zombies) and his beaten wife Carol, played by Melissa McBride (The Mist). The women are washing clothes and talking about the things they miss (washing machines, coffee makers, vibrators – the usual things one misses when living the Zompocolypse) when Ed walks over feeling like they’re not doing their work. Meanwhile Shane is teaching Grimes’ son Carl, played by Chandler Riggs (Get Low), how to catch frogs. Lori takes exception to this and tells Shane never to talk to or look at her son or her family again. Shane tries to reason with her. She informs him he’s lost the privilege to do so before informing the viewers that Shane told her Rick was dead. The look on Shane’s face – “yeah…i’m kind of a dick…” As she storms off Ed hits his wife. Shane, already angry beats Ed within an inch of his life. Shane’s having a rough day.
Maybe my favourite shot of the series, back in Atlanta the rescuers get to the roof, the door still padlocked, to find the handcuffs exactly where they left them. However Dixon is not. The episode ends with the shot of a severed hand on the ground.
This ending raises a heckuva lot of questions. Well, three. Where did Dixon go? Remember the door was still locked and it looked like the only way out was the stairs or the twenty story dive. If he’s alive, how did he get off the roof? And most glaringly for me, where’s the blood? I mean the guy cut off his own hand! Shouldn’t there be blood? A lot of blood? Also, as he’s no longer on the roof, a trail of blood indicating exactly where he went?
Although still a good episode, this one was a little more focused on character building than action. The Zombie kill count was only two – so I expect some serious head exploding in the next episode. (also for those keeping score we’ve had bullets to the head, shovels to the head, bats and a crossbow – ONE decapitation!)
In limited screen time I love Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon. Those few minutes of rambling, incoherent screaming as the Undead attempt to push through the door were brilliant and played exactly as someone who’s chained to a post and about to be eaten alive would react. Score another one for The Walking Dead’s sense of realism in an unrealistic *fingers crossed* world.
The Jist: Rick Grimes meets other survivors in Atlanta. Zombies notice. They aren’t pleased by the survivor’s “Not Eaten” status. They strive to change it.
When we last left Rick Grimes he was caught between a Zombie and a hard place, taking refuge in an abandoned tank. We pick up the story in that very spot, maybe an hour after we left off last week. Rick contacts the voice on the other end of the radio, the voice says he can see Rick, and that his best chance is to make a break for it. Now, I don’t want to nit-pick. I mean, being stuck in an immobile tank surrounded by Zombies is a pretty lousy place to be. But seriously, “make a break for it”? I’ve seen how that one goes. The guy who makes a break for it? He gets eaten. Alas, it’s Rick’s only choice; unable to reach the bag of guns and ammo he dropped while scrambling into the tank he’s left with a single clip, a hand grenade he found in the tank and about 2 blocks from the voice’s location. With accuracy liken to John Wayne, Grimes shoots and sprints his way to safety, climbing the fire escape to the top of a mall, where we meet Glenn, played by newcomer Steven Yeun who looks so much like Short-Round of Indiana Jones fame that we’re going to call him Short-Round from now on.
Short-Round and a group of survivors (we later find out they’re from Shane and Lori’s camp) have come into the city to scavenge what they can – quietly come in and quietly exit – a plan that’s been ruined by Rick’s shooting, as they find the building surrounded with no safe exit and the undead horde slowly breaking in through the glass doors. Meanwhile, up on the roof, Merle Dixon, played by Michael Rooker (The Bone Collector), is sniping Zombies and making a whole lot of noise while being racist – Can you say villain? When the group gets to the roof things get inflammatory before Grimes subdues Dixon and handcuffs him to a pipe.
Meanwhile, back with Shane and Lori’s camp (that’s going to need a nickname) Shane and Lori sneak off to practice some extra-circular survival techniques. I still foresee a conflict. We also learn (unsurprisingly) that the survivors in the city belong to this camp, communicating via radio. Unfortunately the radio doesn’t get the best reception so all the Campers hear is that the survivors are surrounded before the radio cuts out, leaving everyone anxious about their fate.
While Short-Round and friends look for an exit, Grimes and Andrea, played by Laurie Holden (The Majestic) share a moment while standing on guard. I foresee a love interest and a conflict.
Unable to find a safe exit (and running into PETA complaint #2 during the search – Rats are high in brains…probably…) and upon learning that the undead can sense the living via smell, Grimes comes up with a plan. You know what doesn’t smell like the living? The dead. One corpse, many full-body axe swings and some clever intestine draping later, Grimes and Short-Round are doing their best Zombie walk out of there, and nothing could possibly go wrong…unless it rains. After a quick chase scene Grimes and Short-Round move on to phase 2 of the plan: distraction. Distraction involves Short-Round making noise to draw the crowd of undead away from the building long enough to allow Grimes to get the other survivors into a truck and drive them to safety. Making noise involves a car alarm. Naturally that car is a Charger. Oh, and remember Dixon? Grimes gives the guy he beat up the key to his handcuffs. After some internal struggling he decides to free Dixon (instead of letting him get eaten alive, nice fellow) however he trips and the key falls down a grate. So he leaves a raving Dixon (“You all rot in hell) on the roof, chaining the door shut behind him, as the Zombies begin to break through the front doors downstairs. The observant of you will have noticed that the guy tripped over a toolbox while running to free Dixon, and a hack-saw fell out. I’m guessing Dixon lives. And is going to be pissed. Really, really pissed.
We end off the Grimes having saved the day, the survivors in the back of the truck…and Short-Round doing about 180 on the open highway out of Atlanta, car alarm blaring, with a “yee-haw!”.
The one thing that really nagged me in this episode was the hand-grenade. There was ample opportunity to use it and create one heckuva Zombie-splosion and yet nothing. We also still have no indication as to the current date or any history of the Zombie-apocalypse, but it is nice to introduce a non-Zombie villain, especially one as gritty as Dixon who will make the day-to-day survival aspect a little more interesting when there aren’t hordes of Zombies crashing down on the survivors…of course, that’s assuming Dixon survives the afternoon…
NOTE: There may be some spoilers here for people who want to know nothing about the show, but to be honest I don’t think this is the kind of show where knowing what happens affects your watching it (and it’s a recap so really you should have seen it already shouldn’t you?) Also, this one’s a bit long as it was the premier and an extra half-hour long. Enjoy!
The Jist: Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes is shot during a – chase and falls into a coma. He wakes up. There are Zombies. There are a lot of Zombies. Holy **** that’s a serious amount of Zombies.
If you haven’t heard of AMC’s highly anticipated new zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead you may just be one of them. Adapted from Robert Kirkman’s ongoing comic series of the same name by
writer/creator Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) the show stars Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually) as Deputy-Sheriff Rick Grimes, a coma patient who wakes up alone in an abandoned hospital to find the undead walking, crawling, and slowly shuffling the earth.
After a brief prologue detailing how he was shot and wound up in a coma, the show begins from the point of view of a comatose Grimes, able to see and hear but not speak or react, he watches as his partner Shane – played by Jon Bernthal (Eastwick) – places a vase of flowers beside his bed and wishes him a speedy recovery. In the next shot Grimes wakes up, answering his partner’s quip only to find he’s not in the room, before turning to the bedside table and finding the flowers dried out and wilted – but not completely decomposed. This is one of my favourite shots in the episode and, in my opinion, a well executed stroke of genius by the writers/director; with a quick shot of a vase of flowers, they were able to convey the passage of a substantial amount of time, without giving any exact dates, leaving the viewers to wonder how long has he been out? And more importantly in the long run, when did the Zombies rise? The more observant viewers will also have noticed that the wall clock in Grimes’ room had frozen – dead batteries? Some kind of blast? – along with the other clocks he passes in the hospital.
Grimes struggles to his feet an exits his room in search of help, a little too quickly for a coma patient if Kill Bill Vol. 1 has taught me anything about coma patients and motor function. At this point my roommate posed the question “At what point does your mind go to Zombies?” Is it when no one answers your call for help? When you exit the room and see flickering lights in a trashed hallway? When you notice the bloody, smeared handprints on the walls riddled with bullet holes (that’s where it is for me!) or when you peek through a door and see a disembowelled corpse on the floor? (Note: If you’re not thinking Zombies at this point, well, it was nice knowing you) Grimes finds his way out of the hospital and to the parking lot, which is filled with hundreds of dead (but not reanimated) bodies and a broken-down helicopter and humvees outside an abandoned make-shift army base – again hinting at the length of time Grimes has been out and Zombies have been on the loose.
Like any husband and father, Grimes’ first move is to search for his wife and son, finding his house empty, but with evidence of a hasty departure rather than a violent one Grimes exits the house to find a man slowly approaching him from the street, as the viewer sees a figure approaching him from behind. As the man on the street comes into focus, clearly not a man anymore, Grimes is knocked out from behind by a boy with a shovel, as his father disposes of the Zombie via pistol shot to the head. When Grimes comes to he’s in the company of Morgan Jones, played by Lennie James (Jerhico) and his son. At this point we finally get some information, namely, Jones sets out the Zombie rules. Like most traditional Zombie flicks, a bite/scratch gets you infected – you catch a fever, you die, you un-die (the unfortunate fate of Jones’ wife). The Walking Dead’s walking dead also do just that, they walk; however, they’re not slow. The best way to describe them is excitable. When something edible grabs their attention they’ll get their hustle on, but they need the motivation, otherwise they just shuffle around or in some cases, lay motionless until something passes through their field of vision. These Zombies also tend to be more active at night, and are drawn to loud sounds, so while it’s fun to blast them away gun fights should be a last resort.
Grimes’ time with Jones and his son is short, but is a well written glimpse into some of the day-to-day living, from relying on canned food to the giddiness that comes with experiencing running water and a warm shower in the post-apocalypse world. Jones points Grimes towards Atlanta, home of the CDC and army-protected refugee camps, figuring that if his family went anywhere it was probably there. They part ways with the promise of seeing each other again soon, Jones taking a few days to teach his son to shoot and re-learn himself with weapons taken from Grimes’ old precinct. Before he takes off, Grimes has one last piece of business to take care of. Easily the most stunning piece of special effects I’ve ever seen in a television show, A Zombie, or rather the upper half of a Zombie crawling on its arms, inch by inch through a park, is put out of its misery when Grimes puts a bullet through its head whispering “I’m sorry this happened to you” reminding the viewer that humanity hasn’t died out yet, a point the writers look to emphasise throughout the series.
We get our first scene not involving Grimes, a camp of survivors somewhere off-road, led by Shane and including Grimes’ wife and son. Grime’s wife Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), wants to put a sign on the road warning people that they shouldn’t go to Atlanta, but is talked out of it when Shane declares it too dangerous. Shane and Lori kiss…I suspect that’ll come into play later in the
Grimes inevitably runs out of gas on his way to Atlanta and is forced to ditch his car on the road, fortunately near a farm with a horse (whose owners are very dead) which sets up the iconic image of the series, an overhead shot of the deputy-sheriff in uniform, riding a horse on an empty highway into Atlanta – the entering city side barren, the leaving city side jam-packed with burnt out and crashed cars in grid-lock – and not a sound to be heard aside from the horses’ hooves on the pavement.
Honestly we knew it was coming. Atlanta is abandoned. As Grimes rides through the littered streets, corpses start to take notice and slowly follow him – not really an issue as Grimes easily has the speed advantage…until he turns a corner and walks right into a horde of undead. Grimes, knocked off his horse, manages to narrowly escape being eaten alive by crawling into a tank and locking himself in. Meanwhile, Horse isn’t so lucky and suffers a fate that will no doubt draw the first of many, many complaints from PETA. As Grimes sits in the tank, Zombies banging on the outside, a voice comes over the radio, delivering the best line of episode “Hey, you! Dumb-Ass in the Tank? You’re going to have to sit tight for a while” He’s not alone, but as the camera pans out in a bird’s eye view of the tank, covered in Zombies trying to get in, while more are descending on what’s left of Horse. Grimes will indeed have to sit tight for a while.
I stand by the belief that Zombies are not going to replace anything in either popularity or screen time (teenage girls are not into corpses, they’re in to sparkling British men); however, The Walking Dead’s debut was brilliant, combining the right amount of Zombie killing action and intrigue to keep viewers interested and engaged in the story, which unique in that it’s not about the mowing down the Zombie hordes, or even the mystery surrounding their origins, but about the day-to-day survival that one would be faced with if they had to live through the Zombie-apocalypse.