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The Walking Dead 7x10: NEW BEST FRIENDS (or not)

                                     Jerry is MY new best friend

I wish the show itself had the same tone as it’s titles. NEW BEST FRIENDS suggests something so much more fun than what actually happened during this (sorry, not sorry) straight up filler ep. I’m going to spit some hard truths about The Walking Dead in this post, you have been warned. I am also 100% including a gif of Daryl petting the tiger so there is still a silver lining.

        Rick hobbling away with this cat statue also really tickled me

TWD has never been known for it’s groundbreaking writing, but this episode was…pretty rough. Yes there were nice fan service moments, but they felt like the sparkle stickers you would smack onto a terrible childhood drawing in an order to make it aesthetically pleasing rather than organic moments of emotional payoff.

The best of these was Carol’s reunion with Daryl, something that we have all been waiting for since Carol skipped town at the end of last season. Carol and Daryl have one of the best relationships on the show, beyond the natural chemistry of the actors, the characters have a deeply loving platonic bond that is rarely seen (I guess some people ship it- but I like that this particular relationship is non romantic). The great appeal of Daryl as a character is that beneath his external growling and badassery lies a gentle soul capable of unwavering loyalty and affection (I feel like this could be easily visualized in some way, maybe by connecting him to a some kind of -i dont know- predator animal? Something to think about). As genuinely moving as Daryl’s decision to lie to Carol rather than reveal the extent of Negan’s carnage was, it still felt a bit hollow and meaningless. Just as Daryl almost immediately discovered the truth behind Morgan’s lie about Carol from the previous episode, it is virtually guaranteed that Daryl’s own deception will be uncovered sooner rather than later. Literally all the people who visit Carol know the truth, as do all the people who would ever want to visit her. All that aside this was still the nicest scene in what was otherwise a slog of an episode.

Let’s move on to the German performance art troop that live in the dump. Woof. I try never to speak negatively about an actor’s performance (at least in a public forum), and it is a testament to the overall solid casting of The Walking Dead that a bad performance really sticks out. I’m talking here about Jadis, the monotone leader of the trash cult. She has a great look, I’m not sure who is maintaining that bob in the apocalypse, but I like the Fifth-Elementness of it. She also looks a bit like Olivia Williams, which maybe made me fantasize about what Olivia Williams would do with such a part. For a new group leader though, Jadis is just not cutting it. This is a world where leaders have tigers, fetish bats, and colonial mansions - there is no room for lackluster. The whole encounter with Jadis’ group was a bit underwhelming, even Rick’s fight with the Pan’s Labyrinth reject monster was a little anti-climactic, I mean he used…trash…to kill it. Also at first Rick’s smiling was roguish and assured, now its become a little disquieting and…contagious?

Overall though this episode acted to illustrate a larger problem with the series - which is that it fails to generate compelling conflict. Currently many episodes have been dedicated to setting up two sides of a “moral conflict” around whether or not to fight back against Negan. However, this is not really a moral conflict because there is not really a choice to be made. There is no peace to be had with Negan, the decision to cooperate with the Saviors is the decision to prolong a death sentence at the cost of steadily weakening the group. There is only one move to be made that will advance the story, there is only one move that makes any sense in the context of the show - and that is to kill Negan. There is no moral ambiguity in this choice, no matter what the writers seem to think.  Morgan’s counter argument is not a viable choice or course of action - merely an obstacle to be overcome. To contrast this conflict, think about Game of Thrones, a show that is compelling due to the moral ambiguity of the choices it’s characters are faced with. In Westeros there are very few inherently ‘right’ or 'wrong’ choices. One character’s savior, is anothers executioner. What one character sincerely believes to be right, is not necessarily morally so.

But with Negan, there are no shades of gray, he is a BAD GUY. He is a ruthless bully who treats his own people just as brutally as his enemies. Negan has no redeeming qualities, he is not dark timeline Rick, he is a mustache twirling villain. Yes, people COULD die in an offensive against the Saviors, but doing nothing ASSURES death. There is nothing wrong with a character such as Morgan voicing objection, but to force the plot to resolve around this point of objection for an entire season is frustrating and nonsensical for the world the show inhabits.

                                        It’s a symbolism 

As entertaining as Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been as Negan, an over-the-top 'Big Bad’ has been disastrous for the show’s plot, and this season has been overall one of the poorest. The conflicts and drama that hit home on The Walking Dead have always been on a smaller scale. One of the series most memorable episodes is season 4’s “The Grove” where Carol is forced to deal with the increasingly unhinged behavior of Lizzie, a little girl who seems to think zombies are her friends (they are not). This is an episode with only four characters, there is no big bad, there is only a set of difficult circumstances our survivors must navigate. It is an emotionally visceral episode that deals with the cost of survival and the value of life on a small scale, but the punch it packs is anything but. No one is forgetting 'look at the flowers’ anytime soon. Even typing it was rough.

All in all I can’t wait for Negan to go, (and not just because he is a fucking asshole who killed my sweet Glenn), but because his presence has created a void of  conflict that is challenging or interesting. Yes I will revel in the eventual massive group raid on the Saviors, but I will also be relieved to have this particular chapter of the show in the rearview.

Hey here’s that gif I promised:

                                                  Dreams

XO MD

PS If Jerry dies, we riot.

WE ARE CARYL <3

To all my CARYL shipper friends around the world. Tonight we will once again after a long while witness the King & Queen reunite. So many have fallen off or have given up on this ship, but not us. We have pushed on like a movement through all the overpowering seas and we can finally see land again. As the beautiful sunset dissolves and the night comes prepare yourself for Daryl & Carol will find each other once again in that death-filled world that surrounds them. I am so proud to be here to witness this with all of you. I am so proud to be a SHIPPER with all of you.
TO THE KINGS & QUEEN, DARYL & CAROL, D & C 4 L.I.F.E, SHIPPER, A PROUD SHIPPER 4 LIFE.
-Rayon

The Walking Dead 7x09: Return of Tiger

It’s baaaaaacckkkk!

As I pressed play on the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead I thought “ugh did I even miss this show?”, ten minutes after that I was crying because Maggie became the first female president of Hilltop. This is a both a reflection on my own emotional unbalance as well as my tumultuous relationship with our favorite zombie program.

Let’s be honest, this season has been rough. A season that began with over-the-top brutality against a beloved character, and then devolved into morose wheel-spinning for the next half a dozen episodes is not what I would describe as ‘entertainment’. The Walking Dead almost seemed to revel in its own misery, dedicating overlong episodes to torturing Daryl and finding new excruciating ways to break down Rick into little bits and pieces. It made me question as a viewer what responsibility (if any) a show has to be actually enjoyable. That isn’t to say that a show can’t explore themes or storylines that may make the audience uncomfortable, but TWD’s series of unfortunate events combined with a stagnant, unmoving plot (see Tara’s ship-in-a-bottle episode) was starting to become unbearable. The producers publicly proclaiming and then denying that the show’s graphic violence had gone too far and needed to be scaled back, was also not particularly comforting. At the very least, it suggests the creative forces are not on the same page regarding the tone and direction of the show. Sadly, behind the scenes infighting is usually not conducive to thoughtful storytelling.

                    I straight up thought he walked into a shelf 

However, there was a bright spot of light in the first half of the season and that was the episode two introduction of The Kingdom, and, more importantly, THE TIGER! The zombie genre is so popular because at the end of the day it’s a FUN genre. Fantasizing about surviving a zombie apocalypse is FUN, ridiculous zombie-death sight gags are FUN, tigers are FUN (and majestic, beautiful animals).  Watching a grown man brought to bitter emasculated tears over, and over, and over again = not fun. Thankfully in the mid season finale, Rick snapped the fuck out of whatever depression haze he was in, and decided to resume the plot.

In my post about the mid season finale (if you want to read it again, and why wouldn’t you, click here), I hoped that the story would continue to progress and that there would be more tiger. And guess what! THERE. WAS. MORE. TIGER!!!!! Also more King Ezekial! And more Jerry!

                                               Hi Jesus!!!

Sure, it was a little convenient that Jesus suddenly announced his knowledge of King Ezekial and the Kingdom (Me: How does Jesus even know him?? Boyfriend (duh voice): Jesus knows EVERYbody). Jesus rolls deep, even grumpy cat Richard is down with the J-Man.

                                              Hi Jerry!!!

However, despite Rick’s very convenient parable about the rock in the road (he had to have just made that up right?), King Ezekial refuses to participate in the uprising against Negan (rude). He does however agree to hide Daryl from the Saviors, a decision which will almost certainly end badly. Sidebar: Can we also briefly discuss the weird lie Morgan told Daryl about not knowing where Carol was? Like, she lives right down the street…she frequently shows up in the surrounding wilderness. You go visit her like every day Morgan. Anyway, whatever. Here is what I think is going to happen- the Saviors show up at the Kingdom, it goes bad, either a) Richard or b) teen boy are killed and then Ezekial realizes he has no choice but to take up arms and join Rick. I can only hope the tiger is not harmed in any way.

Moving on, this little Death Race sequence on the highway was AWESOME. THIS is why people love zombies movies! Mowing down a herd of zombies with a metal cable between two cars is dope as hell. Thank you for that. However, my blood soon ran cold when Michonne whispered “We’re the ones who live” into Rick’s ear. Do not be saying shit like that Michonne! What is wrong with you! Know what show you’re on!

Anyway, let’s talk about stupid Gabriel. At the beginning of the episode we see him peacing out of Alexandria after looting a great deal of food and supplies. After discovering this deception, the group is torn over whether Gabe has ditched them, or has some sort of greater mystery plan (not sure what that could even be tbh). Honestly, I am tired of giving this guy the benefit of the doubt, let us not forget he doomed his entire congregation to death and then tattled on Rick’s craziness to Deanna. How many second chances does one guy deserve? He does leave a very unsubtle clue in ye old inventory composition book, which leads the group to the previously visited Loch Zombie where they come across…wait for it….. ANOTHER NEW group! Has Gabriel been bringing supplies to this group in an attempt to court them? Are these the people whose mysterious shoes we have been seeing? I don’t know. All I know is that next week’s episode is called 'New Best Friends’ and that is EVERYTHING to me.

                                It’s guy love between two guys….

Overall this episode felt very different than its seasonal predecessors. While there was a suitable amount of peril and danger, the tone was light, hopeful even, and for once I did not feel like I was being punished for watching it. The mere fact the episode ended on Rick’s knowing smile rather than another one of his patented twisted grimaces gives me hope for the future.

More of the same please!

XO MD

PS If I hear one more weird sexual thing said about Lucille I am going to FREAK OUT

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Gregory and Maggie in The Walking Dead 7x05 “Go Getters”

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Shiva in The Walking Dead 7x02 “The Well”

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From Beginning Until Now!

The Walking Dead: The Journey So Far, Next Sunday 9/8c on AMC.

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The Walking Dead: Daryl & Carol (xXx) SEX-Y TIME PT.4 (GIF ADDITION)

I NEED THIS I WANT THIS! IT’S WALKING DEAD TUESDAY, LETS GET HOT AND HEAVY RIGHT NOW!!!!<3<3<3<3<3!!!! NEW VIDEO IS UP!