Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Shock horror news! Can #TWD survive without Rick Grimes? #TWDFamily


Following the shock horror news that Andrew Lincoln will be leaving TWD after S9, a few people have already asked me this question.  My answer, after I'd picked myself up off the floor and shed tears in anticipation of his departure? Of course it can.

Rick is, as someone said to me, the heart of the show, but I imagine that, as he is only to appear in six episodes of S9, it means that we will become used to others being central to more storylines.  Daryl is set to take over as the lead character, which will please 99% of the the female population of the known world.... and as long as there are still a few (well, five, including Judith!) who have been there since Atlanta, Hershel's farm and the prison, it won't become a different show from the one we started out with.


The Atlanta 3, in colour; soon to be the Atlanta 2

Yes, it will move on and new people will be introduced ~ but life tends to do that.  Most of us are naturally resistant to change, especially when we love a show, or the genre in which an author writes, or whatever, but a new phase can be just as good.  Look, it'll all be okay, alright??! 😎

I was thinking, when re-watching lately, that the most effective post apocalyptic warrior of them all is not Rick, but Carol.  Not only did she save everyone, twice (at the CDC in S1:6 TS19, and at Terminus in S5:1 No Sanctuary), but she always sees the bigger picture.  As Rick says in later episodes about the furore when she killed Karen and David back at the prison, to try and stop the killer 'flu, 'If I was back there now, I'd have killed them myself.'  Carol saw straight away about the Deanna and the Alexandrians that 'these people are children, and children like stories' ~ she didn't try to jump in and impose her will on them.  She knew how to play them.  Later she took time out, and when she came back she could see what had to be done about the Saviours.



We still have Michonne, and we still have Daryl, two of the most important and popular characters.  We still have Maggie (never a favourite of mine, but I get that she's popular).  We have Rosita, Aaron, Alden, Enid, Ezekiel, Jerry, Tara (the last 3 of whom get on my nerves, but they're no more irritating than early characters Dale and Lori!)  But.... I do think that it's time for the writers to stop killing off the main cast...

...and can I do something that's probably never been done before in the history of female TV watching, and ask for some more strong male leads????  You've got rid of Glenn, T-Dog, Abraham, Shane, Hershel, Tyreese, Bob, Oscar, Noah, Merle, Carl and now Rick - let us keep some of our guys!!!


Michonne and Maggie can lead every bit as effectively as Rick did, and possibly more so, as they don't have that ego thing going on that all the alpha male guys have (Negan, The Governor, Merle, Simon, Rick, Daryl - they all have it).  I don't think Carol will be a leader - she's too much of a loner, instead saving everyone from her chosen place in the shadows.  More the renegade agent!

Writers, don't change too much.  And keep it real.  Don't start making it too Hollywood, or too sensational.  Keep it chiefly about the humans vs Walkers, about the inner conflict and torment the characters go through, not just the fighting, and this show can keep going indefinitely.

But yeah.... I'm gutted about Rick!




...and how will Michonne cope???

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Free Books :)


On impulse, I've put four of my older books on FREE for 5 days, 
from May 9-13th.  Click on title for universal Amazon link. πŸ˜ƒ

The first book I published on Kindle, in 2011 ~ You Wish  is a 'quirky contemporary drama' in which image-conscious Sarah chases after the elusive Size Zero, Petra yearns to fall in love, and Ruth longs to tell them to be careful what you wish for... 

Like most of my earlier books I now think it needs tighter editing, and it could also do with a professional proofread, but it's got lots of genuine good reviews and I'm still pleased with the story, which is quite an unusual one.



Dream On is a light-hearted look at the music industry, featuring pub rock band Thor, ditzy Melodie (who just wants to be famous), a TV talent show, and a bit of love and stuff.  A couple of my regular readers say this and its sequel, Full Circle, are still their favourite of my books ~ I hope I've improved since 2012, when it was published, but I do have a certain fondness for Dave, Shane, Ritchie and Boz, my idealistic rockers!




I'd all but forgotten about Nine Lives, but then writer Georgia Rose reviewed it on her blog!  It's a collection of short stories I published in 2013.  Most of them were originally written in the mid-90s, and I updated them for this collection.  Link leads to Georgia's review, which contains Amazon links.




Round and Round is a romance/paranormal novella, asking the question 'what would have happened if I had chosen the other path?  Except there are 3 other paths...



Monday, 16 April 2018

'My mercy prevails over my wrath' ~ Review: #TheWalkingDead Finale S8:16 WRATH #TWDFamily

Last week: Review: S8:15 WORTH


Lumps in the throat everywhere, with that very first scene of Rick and little Carl, many years ago .... I've been so looking forward to this episode, and it was worth the wait. πŸ˜ƒ


A round of applause for everyone who sussed out that Eugene was secretly working against Negan (though maybe not from the start; I think he just couldn't see all his old friends killed, in the end) - I admit to not being among that number at first, but of course Gabriel's unintentional dodgy bullet had to be there for a reason.  As for the Last Battle ~ Negan's whistle never fails to be terrifying, especially when you can't see where it's coming from, and the sight of the Saviours appearing over the hill reminded me of Vikings, Braveheart, all those battle scenes in which the enemy appears over a hill in far greater numbers than expected ~ but as soon as the camera panned to Eugene's face I thought, ah yes, yes, he's done the bullet thing!


I couldn't imagine how Negan's end was going to come, but Morgan talking earlier on about Rick going back on his word should have been a clue... Rick lulled Negan into a false sense of security, pressing his buttons by talking about Carl, and then... slash!!!  And at last we saw what really happened under the swinging stained glass, and what he meant by 'my mercy prevails over my wrath'.


Negan should have done his research before he came out; Rick did similar when killed Shane in S2:12 Better Angels.  Just like he stood in front of Negan, looking as though he was going to collapse/cry/beg, he let Shane think he was weak, and pretended he wanted them both to back off.  (The scene below is so worth watching again, by the way!)


So we finally had the promised wrap-up of many storylines, but this is The Walking Dead ~ there can be no happy ending without a sinister threat lurking down the road, and this time Rick might need to watch out for his own family.  Will Maggie really turn against him? If so, I'm totally on Team Richonne.  The proposed fate for Negan, ie, sitting in a cell for the rest of his life, watching the rebuilding of Rick's new Utopia, is a far more suitable punishment than a quick death.


...but is Maggie right?  This is Negan we're talking about, not any old prisoner; he's streets ahead of most in cunning, intelligence and manipulation, and I can imagine him persuading someone to let him out, sometime.  He may pretend to have changed ... pondering on this made me think of Crighton Dallas Wilton in S6:4 Here's Not Here; I still think Negan is a complete psychopath who will say and do anything to get what he wants, and wonder if Maggie, like Morgan's cheesemaker chum Eastman, will be the only person to see through him. 


Either way, I hope the writers don't overplay this.  Daryl going along with Maggie I can understand, as he hasn't been his lovely self since he (thinks he) caused the death of Glenn (and feels he owes Maggie), but I don't quite get the inclusion of Jesus in the secretly mutinous trio.  Isn't Jesus the peacemaker?  That evil nod he gave as she outlined her plans was a new expression for him.  Although I've never cared much for Maggie, it's totally feasible that she feels the way she does ~ hell, millions of us want to avenge the death of Glenn! ~ but it's going to have to be subtly done to work.  Don't want any sudden changes of character, with previously decent people taking on Negan/Governor-like qualities.

'It's not over until Negan's dead!'

But back to the finale ~ looks like Siddiq has been accepted into the fold now, and Rick probably sees that in honouring his new pal's mom, Carl was also honouring Lori, but... nah.  Still doesn't seem right without Rick looking for Coooorrrrl all the time....


 'Daryl could have washed them before he handed them over...'
I'm super pleased that Dwight got away, and hope he will carry on into future series, and assume Jadis-Anne will become a fully paid-up member of the gang.  You never know, maybe we will, one day, get to see the super-mega-zombie masher in action again.....


.... and talking of useful bits of kit, I suspected that an escape would be made from Hilltop via Sasha's log store tunnel, and that Oceanside would show up in the nick of time, so no surprises there.  Also predictable (but not in a bad way) was that Morgan would need to go off on his own, now to be seen in Fear The Walking Dead, I've since discovered!  So I might have to start watching that; I wasn't that impressed by Season 1 but have been told it gets better.


I hope our people are not all going to split up too much ~ looks like Carol's staying at the Kingdom (cue cosying up with Ezekiel?), Richonne and Gabriel appear to be at Alexandria, but I hope Tara, Eduardo and Rosita were only dropping off the glass and don't stay too long at the Sanctuary ~ which is in good hands, now that Tanya and Frankie have exchanged Negan-Wife LBDs for Hilltop Chic.  

 'Never mind the poison pills, can you make us some workshirts and jeans?'

 πŸ˜²πŸ˜²πŸ˜²πŸ˜²πŸ˜²


My prediction is that Maggie will get together with Alden; such initial overt hostility is usually an indication that clothes will be shed and love will follow.  And she was pretty crappy to Glenn at first, if you remember!


Still feel so sad about Glenn, it's just not right that he's dead; I want this!
...with Abraham and pregnant Sasha in the background...
 
I loved Rick's speech at the end, an echo of the one he gave in episode 1 of the season, and the reminder that the real enemy is that massive herd down the hill ~ or, for Rick, is it going to be nearer to home?  Now the wait until Season 9 ~ I've read that Heath may be back, which I'm pleased about, and that Maggie may not be around for much longer ~ apparently, S9 will deviate from the comic book story.  Okay.  One more thing: please, writers, now that the wings are back on the right person, can we have the old Daryl back?   Come on, Dixon, Rick's your brother....




ps, saw Jerry in this film Den of Thieves the other night, it's a terrific film!








Monday, 9 April 2018

'Starting over is about killing every one of you' Review: WORTH #TheWalkingDead S8:15 #TWDFamily

Last week: Review: Still Gotta Mean Something




OMG, as they say ~ and, having looked forward so much to the comeuppance of Simon, it was almost an anti-climax compared with what's coming!  Didn't you just love the Negan whistle from behind the big black bin?  And Simon was still chattering away even after he'd turned.  Shame to see Steven Ogg go, though; I loved the character and he's such a good actor.



So Gregory 'wandered off into the wilderness with his dick in his hand' and a diagram showing all that mis-information that Negan had fed Dwight ~ yes, we were right, TWD Family (thank you, Shelley!), it was Laura Saviour in Negan's car.  I did think, when Negan outlined The Plan, that it seemed like he was being a bit too specific about times, etc, but I didn't guess it was a trick.  Clearly I do not have what it takes to run the Sanctuary.



And so to Eugene.  I was a bit baffled by Daryl and Rosita's slow saunter as they escorted him; given that they feared he would already have been missed, I expected more urgency, or at least some hiding in shop doorways/looking for a vehicle.  And yes, Rosita had his sicked up, garlic-laced macaroni cheese all over her shirt, but she was still fairly slow off the mark when he made a run for it, and that big, lumbering goon is hardly difficult to chase.  

'The real reason I'm staying at the Sanctuary?  They got this lady who tints eyebrows.'
 

There's no covering up his treachery with excuses of being scared anymore, and he didn't even try; by the end of the episode, he almost out-Neganned Negan in his determination to make enough bullets to kill everyone.  Remember when Rosita said, back in S5:5 Self Help, that people had died trying to get him to Washington?  He could name them all but showed no remorse; Eugene's only ever been looking out for Eugene.  Negan is his Abraham replacement, that's all; his protector.  His sticky end will be cheered even more loudly than Simon's... then again, I could be wrong; Twitter friend Andrew thinks Eugene might turn out good in the end, and be secretly working against Negan.  It's a nice thought!

 Even back then, he knew what he was doing...
 
Talking of Walkers, I have a question to ask Aaron.  Why, instead of staggering towards that small pack in the woods to kill them with a stick/your bare hands, didn't you just run?  I've occasionally had cause to wonder this, the most curious example being when Tyreese came across those two guys fighting them on the road to Terminus in S4:10 Inmates.  The last one to get bitten was the chap who told him, Carol, Mica and Lizzie to 'stay on the tracks'.  Next time you're watching it, observe how easily he and his friend could have just... run away. 

 'Stay on the tracks, you'll get to this great place.  Nice mock railway carriage aparments, and as much meat as you can eat.'

But back to Aaron ~ I'm guessing he'll persuade Cyndie, Beatrice & co to fight the men who killed their men (even though we now know it was Simon who orchestrated that particular massacre, but it's all the same gang, right?).


 
😲😲😲😲😲


Something I liked about this penultimate episode is the way we were reminded about Rick's normality, in Carl's letter, the contents of which were finally revealed ~ and didn't they bring a tear to your eye?  The memories of his pre-Walker childhood and his hopes that Rick will take Judith on those walks, too, then seeing her with Michonne; made me almost miss Lori, too. 


So we started the episode seeing Rick's basic persona as the good guy, husband and father, and ended with Negan showing less of the 'humanity' we've seen of late, and more of the psycho within.  When Michonne read Carl's words to him—'Start over ~ you still can'—he only became more determined to kill every one of you; seems he was only keeping them alive because he thought he could get them to work for him.  They were a potential resource, that's all.

No, Negan, Rick didn't make all this happen.  The Saviours would have reached Alexandria eventually, whatever happened, and 'killed one of them, right off the bat', to demonstrate their authority, and probably more, too.   It wasn't the first shoot-out at the outpost that started it all; it was Daryl, Sasha and Abraham coming up against the bikers on the road, when Daryl had to kill them to save Sasha and Abraham. 

'What a bunch of assholes'

...and you can watch Negan killing Dr Carson II again, if you like!


So what are our hopes for some kind of happy ending at the end of the season finale next week?  I'm really, really hoping it's not going to be Season 6 all over again, with everything going tits up.  Possibilities:
  • Gabriel will do something clever with one of the bullets (we've already seen that he knows how), and possibly even sacrifice himself for the greater good. 
  • Aaron will charge in with Oceanside.
  • Sherrie come back and help Dwighty-Boy escape, and deliver details of the true plan.  (I hope so.  I want him to survive)
  • Jadis will appear with the helicopter in the nick of time.  
Or maybe Carl's letter will do some good, after all....remember his fantasy future, in which Negan was working in the garden?



Incidentally, I think it's time Daryl and Rosita got it together.  He's drop dead gorgeous and the numero uno new world warrior, while Rosita is beautiful, smart and totally fab.  There aren't many women worthy of Daryl, but Rosita is. 


Can't wait for next week.  I feel nervous already! 

And here's the trailer....







Monday, 2 April 2018

So many reflections of the past ~ Review #TheWalkingDead S8:14 STILL GOTTA MEAN SOMETHING

Last week: Review Do Not Send Us Astray

Well, I hope no one failed to notice that Carol found the missing Henry in a place almost identical to Sophia's final hideaway.... if not, you should go back and watch S2:1 What Lies Ahead immediately!

'...keep the sun on your right shoulder...'

The 'tears in my eyes' award goes to Rick telling Michonne he loved her, and vice versa; it's not something you often hear on TWD.  One of the things I totally rate about the show is that romantic shenanigans do not feature highly; this means that on the rare occasions we see a bit of love stuff, it has such an impact.  I'm such a Richonne fan, and yes, losing AndrΓ© affected her in the same way as Carl's death has him: she just fought through it.  Oh, and writers, we want to know what was in Carl's letter ~ I thought we were going to hear it, read out in his voice!  Or maybe that's for the finale.

 

So many reminders of the lost children this week ... when Rick asked Morgan why he saved him in S1:1 Days Gone Bye, I knew it was going to be all about Duane...  there's something about Morgan's 'I don't die' stance that makes me think that when the end comes (and I hope it won't be for many more seasons), he and Rick will still be together, as they were at the beginning.



I think this season is getting better and better.  I am not one of those 'waving the banner for women' people, in particular, but a theme I noticed in this episode was conversations in which the women were emotional but still practical, while the men were just emotional: when Carol talked to both Morgan and Ezekiel, when Michonne talked to Rick, when Tara talked to Daryl....the guys were off on their personal missions (or just skulking around at Hilltop, in Ezekiel's case), while Maggie, Rosita and Diane were in the office talking about bullets.  


So many reflections of the past and so much to think about in this episode ~ the helicopter!  Ideas, anyone?  As for the Jadis and Negan scenario, yes, yes yes, it's all very sad that his wife was called Lucille, but let us not forget that her namesake is a weapon used to beat in the skulls of total angels like Glenn.  Sorry, Negan, I'm not moved, however hunky you are!  btw, I did like Jadis's unexpected super-clean hideaway, complete with pull-along suitcase. πŸ˜‰


Good ol' Mr 90°!!
 

...and good old Alden for telling Rick where to find the escaped Saviours... loved it when Rick repeated the 'there's not a lot that means much these days, but a man's word has gotta mean something' speech that he gave the guy in the yellow trousers before Daryl shot him in S8:3 Monsters, but this time didn't intend to keep to it, either: 'I lied'.  


Maybe he lied this time because he doesn't feel there is much to fight for now....  I'm sure Michonne will talk some sense into him.



Didn't you love the look on Morgan's face when Evil Jared was chewed up by Walkers, following the shutting of the handy concertina-type sliding door?  One more down, just Simon and Negan to go.... 

Sorted



Meanwhile, back at the Sanctuary, the smiling snake Eugene comes out to collect his bullet making materials.  Rosita, you should have shot him, right there. 


 And finally.... who did Negan pick up on his way back?  I think it was Dwight, having wondered if it was Gregory, then Simon.  Any thoughts?


Days Gone Bye....


This time, she went and found him herself :)