spicks & specks

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On this day in music history: July 14, 1967 - “Bee Gees 1st”, the US debut album by the Bee Gees is released. Produced by Robert Stigwood and Ossie Byrne, it is recorded at IBC Studios in London from March 7 - April 14, 1967. Following their breakthrough success with their twelfth single release “Spicks And Specks” (#3 AUS Pop) in Australia in late 1966, The brothers father Hugh sends demo tapes of their work to The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Epstein passes the tapes on to Robert Stigwood (Cream), who invite the band to come to England in February of 1967 to audition for him. Impressed by what he hears, Stigwood becomes the bands manager, with the Bee Gees moving back to their native UK. He secures them recording contracts with Polydor Records in the UK and Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco in the US. The album is actually the third full length release by the band, but is their first to be released internationally. It spins off three singles including “New York Mining Disaster 1941” (#14 Pop), and “To Love Somebody” (#17 Pop) the latter of which is originally intended for Otis Redding. The albums’ cover is designed by artist and musician Klaus Voorman. The album is remastered and reissued in 2006 as a two CD set featuring the original mono and stereo mixes, along with unreleased tracks from the sessions and early takes. “Bee Gees 1st” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200.

The Guilt of Sasha Williams

(I’m combining asks since they cover the same topic essentially.)

When Sasha sacrificed herself in the finale this spring, her flashbacks to the music box scene increased discussion on her connection to Beth (X). But I’ll come back to the music box scenes in 7x16 later. 

Sasha’s first connection to Beth and cars goes all the way back to 4x01. In that episode Gimple seeded many future plot elements from Rich0nne to the Gl3ggie baby. In this episode, Daryl quips the infamous “damn romance novel” line, foreshadowing his future relationship/arc with Beth, which fits the arc of a romance novel perfectly (X) (X) (X). As he says that, the camera pans past him and passes over Tyreese and Sasha as they load up a car. They put in black crates with white crosses on them. The order of these shots is not a coincidence.

In Alone, Daryl does the best he can to confirm his feelings for Beth (X), and before he can finish, in the style of a romance novel she is kidnapped. For months, the only clue we and Daryl have of what happened is a black car with a cross on the back window.

Fast forward to season 5. Sasha and Tyreese have opposing views on how to save Beth and C@rol, and she’s also struggling with Bob’s death. They discuss the situation while overlooking the Grady parking lot. @bethgreenewarriorprincess​ and I theorized that Team Family could have taken the truck and later left Beth in it (X). The truck has a fridge in its bed, which would resemble a marble tomb. The truck also has a red bandanna tied to the radio antennae, similar to the red bandanna that Daryl used to tie the car trunk shut in 4x12. The truck even mirrors the Grady car, with the black body and white on the back. As I mentioned in my linked meta, the truck functions as a symbolic hearse. 

In 5x07, Sasha’s grief leads her to misjudge Grady!Bob, and he escapes. His death leads to Dawn having no allies, leaving her to ask for Noah back. It’s a chain reaction, a ripple effect like Martin said in 5x09 (X). 

In the span of a few weeks, Sasha loses her boyfriend, her best friend’s younger sister, and her brother. Sasha never sees her brother die, only being able to say goodbye at his funeral. They were alike in a lot of ways, and they both experienced guilt because of Beth, Ty’s was just more overt. Twice in 5x09, Tyreese focused on a female walker that was trapped in a car, and the shadowed walker looked so much like Beth that during the midseason hiatus, members of Team Delusional were convinced it was the actual Beth. In its first appearance, the walker caught the whole group off guard. I showed the scene to my old roommate, and she even noticed the group’s distress, and she doesn’t watch the show (X). By now, one trapped walker should not disturb these people. Unless of course, it reminded them of the girl they left behind.

The second time we see the walker is when Tyreese is dying. He stares at it as Rick drives away, and afterwards, Ty sees Beth as the driver. It is the last time we see her onscreen in any sense of “alive”. We see her onscreen one more time in 5x13. (This is also the last time Emily and Chad’s name appear on the title card.)

When the group reaches Alexandria, everyone struggles to adjust to the community’s fucked-up idea of “normal”. Sasha is one of the members having the hardest time, for obvious reasons. In 5x13, Sasha goes to Alexandria’s welcome party but quickly starts having flashbacks to various events in season 5. The flashbacks manifest as quick flashes of visuals and sounds. At 0:56, viewers see a clip of Daryl carrying Beth out of the hospital. (Unfortunately the video that the second anon linked no longer works so I recorded the scene myself.)

The shot is not from Sasha’s point-of-view, as she was behind Daryl and to his left (our right in this shot). The fence shot would be at the opposite side, behind Abraham. The flashback serves to remind the audience of Beth having no funeral, no closure for her family or for us, as it was juxtaposed against shots of Bob when he died beside Sasha and Ty being buried. It also reminds the audience of Beth and Daryl’s relationship, of his love for her, both of which are reinforced as Daryl has a “serious spaghetti” dinner with Aaron and Eric in this episode instead of going to the party. (This was also the episode with Buttons, when Daryl said, “You used to be somebody’s, now you’re just yours.” Which, jesus fucking christ the show is kicking us in the groin over this and I can’t sometimes.) The shot is also in motion, and rather than ending on the last shot of Coda, it leaves the story open for Beth in this moment, since we never saw what happened after. (I recommend reading this old meta on the flashback: X.)

Furthermore, Rick’s interest in Jessie continued to develop in this episode. @bethgreenewarriorprincess once theorized that he was drawn to her as a way to compensate for losing Beth, as she was designed as a Beth proxy: X. (Just compare pictures of her in the show to pictures in the comics and the differences are obvious.) He sees Jessie trapped in an abusive marriage, akin to Beth being trapped in an abusive community, so his subconscious sees it as a chance to save the girl he failed. He made the mistake of giving the Governor a chance, and it cost him Hershel and the prison. At first he wanted to just go into Grady guns blazing, but he deferred to Tyreese’s plan, and they still lost Beth. It’s why we see Rick go into Shane-mode in 5b, becoming more aggressive as Pete becomes more possessive and as his abuse comes to light. Rick can’t take chances anymore. In addition, at the end of the episode, after seeing Jessie with Pete, Rick hears a walker on the other side of the wall. He checks it out, and the scene is filmed with a strange, dreamlike mood to emphasize the effects of P.T.S.D.. A way TPTB did this was to use the song “Spicks and Specks” by the Bee Gees, which include these lyrics: “Where are the girls/I left far behind/The spicks and the specks/Of the girls on my mind/Where is the sun/That shone on my head.” And as we know, in TWD symbolism, Beth IS the Sun: X.

To resume, after having this flashback Sasha starts to bury walkers, specifically in 5x16. Like Rick, she is trying to “correct” her past mistake. She couldn’t stop the herd, and she couldn’t bury Beth, so she’s going to put down every walker that she can and then put them in the ground. It’s reminiscent of Morgan in 3x13, but Morgan just burned the bodies. Sasha is paying mind to the walkers’ past lives, and TPTB are alluding back to the funeral home caretaker and Beth’s “don’t you think that’s beautiful?” philosophy.

Towards the end of the episode, Sasha seeks out Father Gabriel for guidance. Gabriel instead accuses her of sins, also implicating her brother in her actions.

Why wouldn’t you want to die? You don’t deserve to be here. What you did can never be undone. The dead don’t choose, but the choices you made, how you sacrificed her

I know what you’re doing

Bob was mutilated. Consumed. Destroyed because of your sins. 

Stop it.

Your brother felt he was apart from it. He was a part of it. He didn’t deserve to be here. You don’t! 

Stop it! Stop it!” [emphasis mine]

(Subtitles note that Gabriel said “your own”, but this is wrong. I’ve listened to the audio, with and without headphones, as well as showed it to two friends. We’ve all heard “her”, which is very different from “your own” linguistically). 

I believe that during those 17 days Gabriel brought the walkers down on the group, similar to him leading the walkers from the school to the church in 5x08 (X). In 5x14, he told Deanna that the group was bad, as Maggie eavesdropped with a heartbroken look on her face. He saw them leave behind one of their own, and Maggie couldn’t confront Deanna about Gabriel’s as she couldn’t face losing Beth again. (Maggie copes by compartmentalizing to the extreme.) Tyreese and Sasha made the decision to put Beth, because of Gabriel’s mistake, so of course Sasha would be a walking reminder for what he did. That’s why he lashes out at her. The guilt would be even higher if the three of them believed that Beth was alive, as you don’t sacrifice a body. You sacrifice something alive. (I also believe that Abraham was involved, such as being the one to actually come up with the idea, because of marketing and certain narrative elements: X. It would partially explain why he and Sasha clicked so much in season 6.)

Overall, 5b focuses on the group coming to terms with losing Beth in different ways, especially those who feel most responsible. Towards the end of the summer hiatus TPTB continued to connect Beth and Sasha, using a Beth-walker in several character posters and promos (X) (X) (X) (X). 

In a massive meta Christy and I worked on last year, we noticed that the missing 17 days likely had similarities to the No Way Out arc in 6a and 6x09 (X). Everyone, but especially Rick, Sasha, Abe, and Daryl were struggling struggling in 5b and some of 6a as they hadn’t resolved Beth. I think we saw many similarities to the No Way Out arc is because the No Way Out arc is how Rick and Co. came to terms with losing Beth. Hence why we saw that Beth walker in so many posters leading up to season 6. They hadn’t fully come to terms with the loss of Beth until they relieved it and accepted that what happened happened and couldn’t be undone.

They lost Jessie/Beth again, but saved a whole community from a herd. It’s like Tyreese/Bob said in 5x09, “It went the way it had to. The way it was always going to.”

Beth had to be left behind so the Grady people could retrieve her, giving her needed medical treatment. Narratively, Beth also couldn’t just leave Grady. She had to escape there on her own (X).

Season seven is a retread of 5b and 6a. The group loses an emotional pillar of the group as well as a pillar of physical strength back-to-back, again, and all of TF has to rebuild, readjusting to new communities and changed dynamics. In the end, Sasha sacrifices herself for her family. The story comes full circle. While I worked on this meta, Christy and I talked about how the Williams siblings are twins, symbolically. As we’ve thought in the past, their deaths book end Beth’s “death” and resurrection. Go and rewatch 5x10, which is Beth’s resurrection in allegory. In two separate scenes characters talk about “being the same”. Michonne counsels Sasha, who was grieving through anger like Tyreese did with Karen. Then C@rol reached out to Daryl, acknowledging their similarities while also acknowledging that they grieve differently. The story keeps going in circles, keeps going back in time to Beth and her story, moving the characters through a funhouse. Sasha becomes the final mirror, committing suicide, as Beth once tried to, except to save her family. She dies in the coffin, which is covered by a yellow sheet, and “comes back”, disrupting the group’s confrontation with the Saviors as the ballerina’s resurrection inside the music box disrupted her and Maggie’s confrontation with Aaron. That’s why we saw original flashbacks of the music box scene four times. TPTB wanted to draw connections and show the parallels between the flashbacks and Sasha’s last stand.

Be patient, loves. It’s only a matter of time before Beth comes back from her own music box.

Judy Garland’s daughter was on Spicks and Specks and just told the story of how they were staying at a fancy hotel and everyone left their shoes outside of their doors and Judy took her daughter around each level swapping people’s shoes around. Her daughter asked “won’t we get in trouble for this?” Judy replied “I hardly think people will believe Judy Garland did it”

Love it.

TSDF Exclusive!  Scenes from “Forget”:

Sasha wakes up glancing at a family portrait left behind in her new house. She gathers up the pictures and takes them outside the walls, determined to use the pictures of strangers as target practice. At one point she sits down on a tree stump and quietly says to herself, “Come and get me.” Sasha is real tired of your shit, zombie apocalypse!

While at the location where Rick lost his blender gun, Rick, Daryl, and Carol start scheming to steal back the weapons that were taken from them when they arrived. Nobody disarms Team Family! A walker creeps up on them and Carol puts it down with her gun. The trio notices the letter “W” carved in the walker’s forehead. (Uh-oh. Is trouble lurking?)

Back at Ricks house, he and Michonne discuss the possible reasons why they have been made security.

Daryl takes a stroll through the woods. He bumps into Aaron who is surprised that Daryl can tell the difference between a walker creeping up and another human just by the sound they make.

At Deanna’s house, she explains a bit more about Rick and Michonne’s job securing the community. She explains that Maggie will be helping her with politics and that she has a vision that one day the community will be a town that has services just like before. (A government, public services, etc.). Outside she tells Rick she can’t have everyone walking around with guns. Sasha approaches them saying she wants to man the bell tower with her sniper rifle. She’s pretty serious about doing as many shifts as she can. Deanna does not like the idea, but will think about it.

Carol is playing little Miss Friendly with the local women. Super sly Carol sneaks off with Rick to discuss plans to steal back the guns. (Note: They aren’t planning to overthrow the community. They just want protection in case something goes wrong. Like Boy Scouts, our group just wants to be prepared.)

While outside of the walls, Daryl and Aaron stumble across a horse. Aaron states that he has been trying to catch him for months. Cowboy Daryl approaches the horsey, but it’s spooked away by some walkers, which they fight off.

Carol has been given a baking job. She goes to grab some supplies off a local woman from the storage room. However, Carol has ulterior motives beyond simply baking. While in the storage room, Carol unlocks a window to the gun room.

Party at Deanna’s house! You can tell the group is struggling to fit in. Perhaps they just need some liquid courage to ease them back into normalcy. Because nothing ever goes wrong with alcohol and a bunch of tense strangers.

Abe and Rosita enter the party all dressed up. Abraham is in a polo shirt (golf anyone?) and she’s wearing a dress. He notices that there is beer (as would Prime & Slicey) and has chugged a few by the end of the party. There’s a short scene with him talking to Michonne. Michonne comments about his having a few and he replies with, “I’m a big guy.”

Meanwhile, back in the woods, Daryl and Aaron catch up with the horse. Unfortunately for their four legged friend, he gets cornered and eaten by walkers. Bye Javier II! Poor horsey never stood a chance on this show.

When Daryl and Aaron make it back inside the walls, Daryl stands outside of the party. He doesn’t want to go in. Aaron invites Daryl over to his house for some dinner. 

Rick gets a cheeky look at Jessie from across the room (maybe it’s the whiskey?) Her son Sam gives Rick a hand stamp with the letter ‘A’ like some sort of community badge. (Hmm. The letter “A”, you say?)

Aaron then shows Daryl his garage that is full of old motorcycle parts. He tells him that his job is replacing Eric as a recruiter, saying that he knows how to take care of himself and that he knows the good people from bad. Daryl starts to take a liking to Aaron. (As a friend, guys!! Aaron is already taken.)

Carol goes into spy mode as she sneaks into the gun room. She is followed by Jessie’s son Sam. Little Sam believed her to be some kind of cookie baking wizard and followed her out of curiosity. Carol tells him that “if he repeats what he saw to anyone he will "wake up outside the walls, tied to a tree, screaming while being torn open by walkers.” Sam stares at her, shocked. (Little guy might be needing some therapy after this conversation.)

Jessie hands Judith to Rick, who in turns gives her a nice awkward kiss on the cheek. After a blush and a smile she walks off.

Sasha has a panic attack at the party, overwhelmed by everyone being there. She shouts at a woman before storming off. The next morning Deanna tries to comfort her and then lets her out of the community gates with her gun.

Carol, back at their meeting spot, hands Rick and Daryl a gun. Daryl says, 'I’m good’ and refuses to accept the gun. She hands a gun to Rick. He takes a snub nosed revolver.

Rick back at the ASZ gets a “hey Rick” from Jessie, who smiles at him and flashes her hand with the 'A’ symbol on it. He smiles and flashes his own hand back. As she walks off with her husband Rick puts his hand over his holstered gun.

He then hears a noise from the wall and runs over to it. A walker is banging on it from the other side. Rick puts his hand on the wall and stares at the letter 'A’. A haunting version of the Bee Gees, “Spicks and Specks,” plays. ~ShinyFirely

Credit: Baby Judith

Photo from IGN.com