Archive for October, 2016

Away from Negan’s chaos, Morgan and Carol are approached by a couple of young men checking if they are alright. They lead Morgan and Carol back to an unknown community for her to recover. When she wakes after 2 days, Morgan takes her to an auditorium, where she meets Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva. Taken aback by the medieval presentation, Carol goes into survival mode while she continues to feel out her safety and look for a chance to escape. Meanwhile, Morgan continues to explore the intentions of Ezekiel and find his place as part of the Kingdom.

Carol’s Trust Issues: When we last left Carol, she was ready to die. Taking lives just weighed too much on her, so to be dragged into a new community left her in a state of distress. She cannot accept Morgan’s attempts to try to save her physically, emotionally, and morally. While she can be real with him, she also refuses to listen to anything he says. The sweet persona works on the residents of the Kingdom initially, but Ezekiel saw right through it. He told his story in an effort to make a connection, but it was actually his refusal to let her live in peace outside of the Kingdom that may have finally taken a brick out of the wall.

Morgan’s Purpose: Throughout the episode, Morgan spent much of his effort trying to protect Carol and convince her not to leave the Kingdom. Since leaving Rick, he has made it his mission to protect a member of his new family. Now at the Kingdom and with Carol trying to make her escape regardless of his effort, he has decided to spend more time with Ezekiel to understand how this community seems to work so well. It was a shock to him to find out that the Saviors know about and syphon off resources from the Kingdom, but he also seemed to understand Ezekiel’s hesitation with revealing the reality of the Saviors to the rest of his people. While he first believed that Ezekiel brought him along because of his last encounter with a Savior, he discovered that Ezekiel actually respected Morgan’s desire for peace.

Ezekiel’s History: For fans who have not read the comics, the presentation of an overdramatic king and his tiger probably felt like the show has lost its way. Not until Ezekiel revealed his backstory did he seem to have a true sense of understanding of the world he was in. Being a zookeeper seemed like an odd place to have started from to become the leader of this community, but anyone walking in with a tamed tiger makes sense for becoming the king of the kingdom. What his story truly revealed was that he was just trying to find a sense of purpose like everyone else after the apocalypse. Being able to help people feel safe and be productive made him feel good. He looks to be a significant influence on Carol, helping her try to recover her broken connection with the world and with those that care for her.

Palate Cleanser: A couple of quick things…this episode was necessary after the season premiere. It was quite gruesome and many actually had significant issue with it. There were even some groups that wanted to attack the show for going too far and being too gory for children. The show airs at 9pm on Sunday and is rated for more mature audiences. The comics provided the roadmap for the deaths of Glenn and Abraham (even if only slightly altered). I agree that the images were hard to get out of my head, but that moment was so iconic of the show that I can accept it for what it is. Just like the Red Wedding for Game of Thrones, Glenn’s death and Negan’s reveal are critical for pushing the story forward.

If you are too put off by the first episode of season seven, then do not worry about continuing with the show. Things are only going to get more gruesome in a zombie apocalypse.

Question of the Week: Given Carol’s attempt to distance herself, do you think there is opportunity in her meeting Ezekiel to find a meaningful connection to the world?

In Memoriam: a handful of walkers

Advertisements

On the heels of Negan’s show of force, Rick’s crew is left with realizing that they have lost part of their family. Watching Abraham stand strong but left to become a pool of death, anger and loss immediately overwhelmed the group. Not wanting to let it stand and unable to deal with Negan’s taunting, Daryl lashes out and gets a punch on Negan’s chin. Rather than immediately retaliating and hitting Daryl, Negan takes a moment reflect on the backlash. Choosing to respect Daryl’s grit, Negan turns his bat toward Glenn and strikes. Rick is dragged into the RV, fails on an attempt to take out Negan, and is later returned with a similar loss of control. Believing that Rick still did not get it, he forces Rick to believe he had to cut off Carl’s hand or sacrifice the entire group but stops him just before the cut to capture that moment of Rick’s full break. Negan gathers his crew, throws Daryl into the back of a van, and leaves the rest of the group to pine over the loss of their family.

The Great Reveal: While I believe that I called the deaths of both Abraham and Glenn, it still does not prepare anyone for how the production crew would pull off the scene. Abraham’s moment of strength likely encouraged Negan to pick him. In the comics, Abraham would have died a couple episodes earlier when dealing with the Saviors, pre-Negan. This felt like more of a continuity correction than Glenn’s death did, but it was well-crafted to weave into this telling of the story. No more one liners from the king of one liners.

Glenn…we will miss you. The scene was so well acted and mirrored elements of the comics almost perfectly. Having his head bashed in with his eye popped out was just incredible, shocking, and devastating. You could feel the pain from Maggie, Rick, and the others as they watched the moral compass of their group have the life drained out of him. The image of Negan in the shadows and backlit still wailing on Glenn’s husk of a body was haunting. This will be a moment of building for the group, but Daryl will not be able to let this go.

negan-proceeds-beat-living-hell-out-glenn

Balance of Power Shifted: The entire episode was a tribute to Negan’s strength and power. Fans were so angry at the end of season 6 because of the cliffhanger ending. I believe that the significance of Negan’s introduction was lost. The episode did drag out the reveal a bit, but I believe that the focus on suspense was perfectly done.

Now to the actual power, Negan has an army and now Rick’s confidence in his pocket. He has taken out two of Rick’s closest people and stolen away Daryl. He nearly forced Rick to cut off Carl’s arm. He broke him. Rick had that moment of confidence that he and his family could do anything, survive anything. The group will need time to rebuild their strength and their sense of purpose. They will need to figure out how to save Daryl. For now, Negan is king.

Dealing with Loss: This will be a season/series-long issue. While there has not been much conversation about most of the people who have been lost for a while, their presence is still felt and Glenn and Abraham will remain a spiritual part of this show for years.

Sasha and Rosita were able to grieve together for a moment, but both of them will be lost for a while. For Rosita, she had somewhat separated from Abraham, but Negan taunted his death in her face while Sasha had to fear and cry indirectly in the shadow of the encounter. Sasha and Abraham were envisioning a life together. She was seeing hope, which is something you never want to do in this type of world. Just as Rick’s confidence is gone, Sasha now has had her life stolen from her. Whether she will become reckless or break into despair will remain to be seen.

Daryl’s lashing out against Negan was the type of lone wolf response you would expect from him. He finally felt like part of the family and struggled watching Abraham’s sacrifice and Rosita’s torture. He will likely be at the whim of both Negan and Dwight, while torturing himself for feeling accountable for Glenn’s death.

I’ve already talked about Rick’s tourture…but then there is Maggie. She lost the love of her life and had to watch the brutality in-person. She should be completely broken. Once Negan left, she was driven to want to fight back. Knowing what her comic future looks like, she is showing immediate leadership qualities. She wants to avenge her loss, not be paralyzed by it. She will bring to question whether people trust Rick to continue to lead Alexandria or trust him against the rule of Negan. Maggie will likely appear to be the stronger of the two and may take away any sense of leadership people still connect with Rick.

negan-jeffrey-dean-morgan-the-walking-dead

Question of the Week: What do you believe Daryl’s fate looks like considering his misstep against Negan?

In Memoriam: Glenn & Abraham…rest in peace…

I have not posted on this blog for quite some time, as this has mostly become a Walking Dead-related focus, but I would be remise if I held in my opinions about the current state of the election season. It has been said that holding in such stress/tension can be bad for your health, so let me do this for my betterment.

The election process this time around can be said to be one of the worst of American history. Whether you focus on the scandal or the continued division of the American people, both major party candidates hold the highest disapproval ratings in history and neither seems to be the real choice that their parties would have preferred rise to the surface (Clinton better than Trump but still not with much confidence). The third party candidates are laughable, either because they lack understanding of the global community, foreign policy, or economic growth or simply because they are too narrowly focused to understand the breadth of presidential responsibilities.

 

I could go into a breakdown of Hilary versus Donald, but most people know the issues (or at least the surface-level presentation of the issues). What I want to address is truly how bad this election is.

The Better of Two Evils: Although I do not believe that Hilary is truly an evil candidate, the way that people are voting seems to be more about preventing one candidate from getting elected rather than truly believing in their party’s nominee. So many Trump supporters now did not support him in the primary. They have gravitated to him because they are so against Hilary and are simply voting on party lines. The same could be said for Hilary, after the Sanders fans struggled following their candidate’s loss to Clinton.

Trump is truly the evil candidate, as his character is in constant question.

The Question of Preparation: There has been an interesting question about whether preparation is a good or bad thing. I agree that canned answers and soundbites are off-putting. Tim Kaine was a huge example of this during the VP debate, as was Hilary with the Alicia Machado addition to the end of the first debate with Trump. I am not saying that their prepared statements lacked value, but that value is distorted by the fact that they appeared to simply be inserting these comments as soon as they could be relevant.

The bigger concern to me is this idea that Clinton is too much of an insider rather than simply being an experienced candidate. I agree that corruption exists in Washington and Clinton is tied up in some of that. She is still the most prepared candidate in American history, having held positions in multiple states and throughout DC.

On the other hand, Trump has no political experience and is touting this as making him incorruptible. As much as he wants to promote this, he seems to be representing all of the evil elements of politics in his public statements and debate involvement. He has his own canned answers and flip-flops on issues all the time. He dodges and redirects with almost every question answered from reporters and moderators. The lack of experience seems to me to be a major negative rather than a reason to select him over Hilary.

Character & Temperament: With Clinton, it is simple. She has remained level-headed and metered throughout the campaign. She has certainly participated in the negative campaigning against Trump, but she has used his own words and temperament against him to contrast her readiness. Her issue is trust. The emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation have been areas she still is trying to explain away, and they will haunt her throughout the rest of the campaign and beyond. She has apologized and attempted to show remorse, but it seems that people also have trouble with her being more of a facts & figures leader rather than an emotionally-aware one.

Clinton’s biggest challenge is that she is a woman. It is still hard for many to believe that a woman can be president. It is hard for people to see a more metered, focused, and intellectual woman and label those qualities as presidential. Instead, people assume that she is unemotional and untrustworthy. While some of her issues are related to trust, her temperament should not be misattributed as unprepared or non-presidential.

Then there is Trump… This is a candidate who does not care about going off the handle or insulting large populations of people. He has discriminated against every population in American and abroad, and he somehow still holds a strong enough population of voters to be considered a threat to Hilary’s potential win. The latest controversy with women is the most disconcerting because of how it paints pictures for both candidates. For Hilary, she is being forced to answer for her husband’s infidelity while also having to answer for the way she handled the women associated with the scandal. For Trump, he has been quoted supporting sexual assault and his involvement in assault behaviors and actions. While Bill Clinton have been paraded out to alter the conversation off of Trump’s indiscretions, there are now accusers speaking out against Trump and his foolish and abusive behavior.

Turning away from the offensive comments he has made, Trump also fails to pass the honesty test. His constant changing of opinions makes it too difficult to nail down what his true beliefs are. He used highlight liberal ideology but has changed to conservative opinions since he chose to run as a Republican. Even during the current campaign, his opinions have changed week to week, day to day.

Is the System Rigged?: The answer is both yes and no. The news media tends to be more liberal than conservative, so more liberal ideas tend to dominate the airwaves than conservative ones. At the same time, Trump could not survive without the media coverage. He has been a glutton for media coverage. His empty podium gets significant coverage, leaving correspondents to fill the void with Trump talk.

It this election more rigged than other elections? No! Trump’s negative representation in the media is his own doing. While Hilary is not clean by any account, she does not parade her issues in speeches and debates. She gets to focus on her platform and responding to Trump’s crazy comments. Trump has continuously thrown his indiscretions in people’s faces. He cannot complain about the coverage if he is creating it.

Voter fraud is also a non-factor. It has been studied on numerous occasions and has been found to have virtually no effect on elections. Trump has been boasting about his awareness of the rigged nature of the election process, but he is simply creating doubt in the event he loses. He wants to ensure that people question his lose to help him save face. If he wins, he will claim it a victory for the truth. Let it go…


I don’t know how the election will truly go, but I hope that people find some sense and just elect Hilary. She may not be the cleanest option, but she has prepared for this moment and will at least keep things stable following Obama’s term in office. A vote for Trump is a vote for chaos. The third party candidates do not have enough experience or awareness to take on the responsibility. Let’s get this election over with and move on to the real issues and demand better from our politicians to work together to get it done.