Monday, 25 March 2019

'I have a feeling it's going to be a hard winter' ~ Review: #TheWalkingDead S9:15 THE CALM BEFORE #TWD #TWDFamily

Review: S9:14 SCARS

An episode that has to go down as one of the TWD all time greats - a round of applause to Laura Belsey for directing, and Geraldine Inoa and Channing Powell for writing.

Jaw drop in amazement time, or what?  There was me, thinking that Carol turning round to wave goodbye to Ezekiel as the gate closed meant that it would be he who died... little knowing that all those cute/positive/amusing scenes with Enid, Tammy Rose, DJ, Tara, etc were to be their last.  I was even thinking, you know whatI'm really starting to like Tara now.  

She was the one who saw that as long as they had Lydia, everyone was at risk.  When they sent all their best fighters off to Hilltop, I so wanted to do that 'he's behind you' thing ~ knowing that Alpha had already been told that everyone was at the Kingdom.  Would Rick have made the same decision, I wondered?

Oh, but that ending...TWD gold.  The discovery of 'Alpha's border' was so emotive, with the grey sky and the wind blowing, and the mournful violin music as background (round of applause for that)... and Daryl trying to stop Carol from seeing the end spike.  Then the final scene, with Daryl and Lydia on the hill, the first flakes of snow blowing across the ground.  Perfect suspense, atmosphere, acting, everything.  Bravo.

The only aspect of this brilliant episode that I wasn't so sure about was the end of Siddiq's speech, when he talked about the ten lives being cut short, them dying as heroes but honouring them (that was the sort of talk that got Carl killed, mate); the terrible scene when the hapless ten tried to fight off the Whisperers could still have been shown, but I thought Siddiq's heartwarming sentiments came too soon after the losses, and were not in tune with the shocking, stark horror of the end, which was every bit as tragic and heart-wrenching as the morning after the night in the woods with Negan.  I think if anyone had made a similar speech to Maggie, Sasha and Rosita on that day, it would not have been well-received.

How will the lost of Henry impact on Carol and Ezekiel?  Well, we did say that he was going to get people killed...



The fair itself was a delight to see, and Ezekiel's tribute to Rick, Carl and Jesus most moving, though someone ought to have reminded him that whenever he does rousing and inspirational, lots of people die... Jerry should have nudged him and said, dude, remember Some Guy?

Some lovely reunions, though, the one between Michonne and the King bringing a tear to my eye, and Carol and Judith; I was waiting for Carol to tell her about when she first saw her :)

The pre-titles part was inspired, too—I do love a flashback showing how someone got to where they are now.  Later, it was pretty gross to think that Alpha was not only wearing Hilda's hair but her scalp.

The anticipation of the horror to come built when Alpha took Daryl high up, to see the herd that the 'skins' walk amongst, steering them... Daryl still showed no fear, when he said that Alpha's people living 'as nature intended' was 'just the bullshit you feed your sheep to keep them following you'.

Alpha talked about marking the border between their territories, but what filled me with dread was just before; she said that as the alpha she had to assert herself, and Daryl said, 'What did you do?'.  His voice was laden with apprehension, the fear returning, like he just knew that something horrendous had gone down.  I expect I'm not the only one who thought it was going to be Ezekiel's head, as per the comics, though I give myself a pat on the back for not falling for the Rosita red herring later on!

Then there was the relief when he was reunited with Carol, Michonne and Yumiko in the sunny dawn, with the slightly mournful but 'it's okay now' music... not knowing what awaited them.

Other stuff I liked:
  • The scene with Rosita and Eugene; loved how he got a bit bold, and she said, 'Don't push it.'  Abraham would have been proud of her.
  • The grown-up Rachel from Oceanside - very well cast.
  • Michonne's speech at the signing of the agreement between the communities, about giving people a chance.
  • The lingering look that Daryl gave Connie when he asked her to look after Dog...💓

~ Maybe there is a TWD afterlife, where Enid can go to be with Carl again ~

~ RIP ~

(couldn't find a picture of just Ronnie and Addy!)

The storm is coming....


Monday, 18 March 2019

Review: #TheWalkingDead S9:14 SCARS #TWD #TWDFamily

Review: S9:13 CHOKEPOINT

The answers we've been waiting for since episode 6 - and, true to TWD form, the reason for those scars and the rift between Alexandria and the other communities was NOTHING like I expected!  Thanks to Corey Reed and Vivien Tse for writing and to Millicent Shelton for directing this unusual and fascinating episode.  I expect comparisons with The Grove; very different, but equally as shocking and as well executed.

I love a dual timeline; it's a structure that can be so effective (as in S6:1 First Time Again, my all time favourite episode) and Scars was a perfect example, as the two stories unfolded alongside and finally came together, when we at last learned why Michonne is as she is now...and who could not feel understanding for her?  I try to avoid spoilers, but I'd seen that Michonne killed children to save herself and Judith, and wondered how it could happen while maintaining our sympathy for Michonne, but it absolutely worked - Michonne's torment was heartbreaking.

The strong emotional ties between Daryl and Michonne were so evident in this episode; after all they had been through over the years, losing and searching for Rick cemented the bond, and their shared secret even more so.  The short exchange between Daryl and Aaron was equally touching; as ever, with TWD (one of the things I love about it), the depth of friendship was conveyed in the eyes, the brief touch of hand on shoulder, rather than in schmaltzy words.  

(btw, now we know the real reason for Michonne's new hairdo, i.e., to avoid confusion between the colourful now and the sepia-tinted past.  It's okay, though; we would have been able to tell the diff, because six years ago Daryl's shirt still had two sleeves.)


A round of applause for the lovely scene with Daryl and Judith by the water; shortly afterwards Judith exhibited more of her best Grimes traits by taking off on her own to help the friends of Alexandria - Carl going off to kill Negan, anyone?  

...and what a good case for nuture over nature, as Negan pointed out to Michonne that Judith is exactly like her mother, and not one to take shit lying down.  (Real mom Lori was better at making dinner and caustic asides.  There was the time she went to rescue Rick from rescuing Hershel, but she had to be rescued by Shane.  No, I'm being too harsh; having Judith in the first place was brave, in itself.  And I got to understand/like her more as I watched S1, 2 & 3 again.)


Now, Jocelyn.....

When Michonne's old pal was first allowed into Alexandria (yes, Aaron, you were right, as ever), we were given no idea of how insane she really was, i.e, bringing up the kids to know that the strong survive and thrive, and that stringing up, branding and slashing at pregnant women is the way forward.

Particularly pertinent that they escaped through the manhole cover.  That whole scene when Michonne was crying out to Negan-in-waiting Linus, 'I don't want to have to hurt you' was so-oo good.  I'm gutted that Michonne is leaving in Season 10, but I hear she may join Rick - hope so.  With Judith and RJ too, preferably, though Judith would be a great loss for the show, too.  Love that she remembered exactly what happened, all along.

Other stuff I liked:
  • Nice to see the lovely Scott again, in the flashbacks, and a special guest appearance of ex-wife-of-Negan Frankie, with not an LBD in sight - wonder what happened to the two of them?  Tanya, too?  Don't think I've seen them since the time jump.
  • In the end scenes, I loved Michonne and Judith's horsedrawn wagon made out of an old car!
  • Throughout, I was once more struck by what a good actress Cailey Fleming is.

Incidentally, I notice that TWD episode 14s are always particularly good, a sort of coming together/blowing up of all that has happened in that season, before the crescendo of the last two episodes - like when Morgan and Rick's pain reached boiling point in S8:14 Still Gotta Mean Something, Maggie finally talking to Daryl again and Sacha and Rosita making up in S7:14 The Other Side, and the real start of the Negan war in S6:14 Twice As Far.  If you binge-watch the seasons again, you really get to notice the structure of the whole.

Meanwhile, back at the Kingdom... 
...the Whisperers know where you are...

And finally - talking of all that Daryl and Michonne have been through together, here is a look back at a few of those moments - from the wild woman who turned up at the prison, until the saddest moment of all.