Wow!

I'm on the iPad and will say more later on a proper keyboard. tl;dr: We likee.

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"Wow!" indeed! That's the way to launch a season!


Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Wow!" indeed! That's the way to launch a season!

No kidding! I'm, not usually roused by TV, but the TWD premiere knocked me out of my usual analytical mode. It was 90 minutes long, and felt much shorter. Here are some thoughts, observations and questions, in no particular order.

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* That was a LOT of zombies! Anybody who felt short-changed by Fear the Walking Dead should have that particular itch scratched. Even accounting for CGI, there were zillions of close-up shots of real, live zombies (you know what I mean) and some great "gags," as Nicotero calls them. Nicotero said they made up maybe 1,000 extras, and I believe him. The actual horde on the screen -- the biggest we've ever seen, well up into the thousands -- was petrifying.

* This episode was so big, in fact, it felt like a season-ender, complete with cliffhanger. I know that they can't pour this kind of time, money and love into every episode, but this is a helluva start. It may be the best episode yet.

* This is the second "pied piper" routine we've seen in as many weeks (counting Salazar on Fear). The image of greasy redneck Daryl motoring slowly at the head of a ravening army of the undead was an instant classic, worthy of a poster. There was something chillingly symbolic about it.

* Who was the face in the darkness watching Carl and Enid? Story logic says Ron, but I couldn't tell.

* Who is blowing the horn? Story logic says Wolves, but it could be Deanna (she's been acting awfully weird) or Ron (teenage idiocy) or even Father Gabriel (we all belong dead).

* Glenn is such a better man than me. I'd have put a bullet in Nicholas' face. But it isn't writer's fiat that Nicholas is still alive; it's six seasons of consistent characterization that sells it, and it does. The scene where he drags Nick into the infirmary had a lot of good acting, as Glenn lies (badly) about what happened, Nicholas' eyes wordlessly beseech him not to tell, Maggie finds the bullet hole and gives Glenn a WTF look, and so forth.

* Rick is a borderline villain. He's right about everything he says -- and the story always proves him right -- but he has no, shall we say, diplomacy. He could make life easier for himself by at least pretending to listen to what others have to say. He's already become Shane and is well on his way to being the Governor.

* I  actually felt sympathy for Carter until he pulled the gun on Eugene. He's got good reason to resent and fear Rick, who represents the horrible outside world and seems to be bringing it inside, and somehow taking over as well. He's wrong about all that, of course, since the outside will eventually come in whether he likes it or not. But given his cocooned existence and limited experience, Rick represents everything he fears. If someone in Alexandria DIDN'T rise up to contest Rick's bloodless coup, it would not be believable. But killing Eugene for just overhearing his plans -- and I have no doubt he would have pulled the trigger -- is outright murder by his own standards. Sure, RIck does stuff like that, but it's morally wrong when Rick does it, too, even though we tend to give him a pass because A) he's half-crazed from his awful experiences and B) he's usually right in killing who he kills.

* We know from previews that Morgan will eventually try to stop Rick. The acting and directing in this episode show Morgan coming to that decision, and they do so convincingly. It would have been a lot less convincing had Morgan taken a contrary position from the outset.

* WIth Morgan and Heath both in for the long haul, maybe those complaints about black men always dying on TWD will fade away. (I don't count Gabriel. I don't think the character is salvageable. I could be wrong, though.)

* Speaking of Heath, he's considerably more pudgy in the comics. I'm glad they dropped that aspect; I don't think anyone should be pudgy in the apocalypse! But also making him leaner makes him a more formidable (and plausible) zombie-killer.

* I thought showing the flashbacks in B&W really helped the viewer  -- at least this viewer -- follow the non-linear narrative. Plus, it looks cool.

* We're coming up on the part of the story where Carl loses an eye. I genuinely hope they won't do it. I like the TV Carl a lot more than the comic book Carl. Also, I didn't find it plausible in the comics that Carl survived with such a horrific injury in a world without emergency rooms. Also, there's the practical aspect, that a one-eyed boy would not live long in the apocalypse, and also because it means Chandler Riggs would have to sit in a makeup chair for hours every day. I'd rather that time was spent making more walkers.

* I was glad to see Jessie give Rick the smackdown. It wouldn't be plausible for her to be interested in him romantically (she was in the comics) after he killed her husband in front of her kids. And he really has no right to play Dad with Ron and needs to stop. (It's a marker of how far gone Rick is that he thinks the boy would listen to him.) She might become a romantic interest later, but to be plausible Rick would have to redeem himself in her eyes like, say, saving her and her boys from thousands of zombies descending on Alexandria. But if it happens, it should take a while.

* Rick was right that screw-ups like Carter don't last long in this world. Too bad he personally delivered the coup de gras, and especially right in front of Morgan. He was justified in every step, but it's the optics -- and his brutality -- that's turning Morgan against him. He could have, for example, stunned/knocked out Carter so he'd stop screaming, and he could have taken him back to Alexandria to die with his family. But no, he took the short cut. And it looks like he'll pay for it.

* I didn't understand the significance of the tractor-trailer falling into the quarry at first. But my wife getting something from the kitchen and I played it back for her, and got it the second time. Walkers on one side of the truck, not on the other, then truck falls and they walk past that point. Duh, got it! Then later they explained it, and I was pretty durn proud of myself for figuring it out first! But it took watching it twice ...

* Let's fact it, Rick's plan is freaking dicey. But, OK, I'll accept that the geography somehow forced his hand in bringing the horde to the crossroads. But I think I'd have winnowed down the numbers in the quarry first. They could have thrown molotov cocktails in there, and shot a bunch of them, with the noise of the gunshots keeping them hanging around. Come to think of it, they've got enough people that they could spare a few to stay at the quarry 24/7 banging drums or something. Now that I think about it, Carter's idea to shore up the weak spots wasn't really that bad a plan, if they could have kept the walkers distracted by noise while walls were constructed at key points out of earshot of the quarry.

* But I'm not giving Carter any more credit than that. What a whiner. "But we're not reaaaaddy!" Shut up, b*tch.

* I don't think the comics gave any reason for why Alexandria was spared. The natural walker trap was a pretty good reason, and I'm glad they came up with it. It should spark ideas on how to trap/hold walkers in future. The Wolves already know how to use walkers instead of just killing them.

* Lennie James (Morgan) is awesome. The scene where he lets the Zen mask slip and queries Michonne about the protein bar (with a querulous voice) was weird but strangely endearing. Zen master or not, he's still mad about that protein bar! Also, Morgan seeing through Carol's mask was pretty impressive, and could lead to some interesting moments between these two.

* I am tired of seeing the phrase "zombie hoard" on the internet. I instantly tune out any reviewer/blogger that can't spell "horde" and doesn't take the time to look it up.

* Andrew Lincoln's face seems more filled out this season. He's less gaunt. Is that the actor aging, or a reflection of a better diet in Alexandria?

* Sasha seems better. Abraham seems worse. Rosita still dresses for effect.

* Eugene. What can I say? "Hello." Bwah-ha-ha!

* Rick: "I would have had some lookouts ..." Carter really didn't know who he was dealing with, did he?

* When the tractor-trailer falls into the quarry, forcing the gang's hand, someone shouts "we'll do it live!" Did anyone else think that was a Bill O'Reilly reference? Or was it just coincidence?

I'll probably think of some other things later, as I always do. What did y'all think?

Right up until the end, I thought that this was going to be nothing more than an exercise in zombie social engineering. And if it had been only that, I would have been happy. It was a huge undertaking with a deadline like a ticking time bomb. The non-linear storytelling drew me in, and by the time I figured out what was going on, I was hooked. If they pulled this off without a major hitch I would have been satisfied. But then the horn!

“Who was the face in the darkness watching Carl and Enid? Story logic says Ron, but I couldn't tell.”

It was Ron. I missed it and Tracy asked, “Did you see the other kid?” We went back and it was Ron.

“Who is blowing the horn?”

I think we’re supposed to think it’s Ron, but I agree with you: story logic says Wolves.

“I actually felt sympathy for Carter until he pulled the gun on Eugene.”

“Uh… hi.” Of all the recent flashbacks presented in counterpoint to the present action, the one with Rick explaining that Carter was going to die juxtaposed with him actually dying was the most effective. Man, he didn’t even have the good sense not to scream like a girl. (No offense to “girls” such as Maggie and Carol.)

“But given his cocooned existence…”

Man! Talk about living on borrowed time!

“-- and I have no doubt he would have pulled the trigger –“

I can see it going either way. I think he’d’ve been just as likely to lock Eugene up in a basement somewhere and play dumb if rick and co. hadn’t walked in. I glad the plot didn’t go that route.

“We know from previews that Morgan will eventually try to stop Rick.

Morgan and rick on different sides… Daryl and Rick on different sides. And I really liked the interplay between Morgan and Carol!

“I don't count Gabriel.”

GABRIEL: “I want to help.”

RICK: “No.”

“I thought showing the flashbacks in B&W really helped the viewer -- at least this viewer -- follow the non-linear narrative.

Agreed. This episode would have been so hard to follow otherwise.

“Plus, it looks cool.”

Agreed.

“We're coming up on the part of the story where Carl loses an eye.

I doubt they’ll go that way (just as they didn’t go the way of Rick losing a hand). That doesn’t mean someone else won’t, though.

I was glad to see Jessie give Rick the smackdown. It wouldn't be plausible for her to be interested in him romantically (she was in the comics) after he killed her husband in front of her kids.

Speaking of the comics, I wonder if her fate will play out similarly now…?

After this summer’s TWD famine, we now have the feast of not only the sixth season, but the 12th HC shipped last week, too.



Jeff of Earth-J said:


“We're coming up on the part of the story where Carl loses an eye.

I doubt they’ll go that way (just as they didn’t go the way of Rick losing a hand). That doesn’t mean someone else won’t, though.

Say, I hadn't thought of that. They gave the lost hand to somebody else (Merle), so why not the lost eye? Tara and Rosita are kinda extraneous at the moment ...

And it was Tyreese who was beheaded by the Governor in the comics, but on TV it was Herschal. What goes around (in the comics) comes around (on TV)... one way or another. Exraneous cast members... wear your protective eye wear!

Wasn't there some cast member -- Enid, I think -- who was creeping in and out of Alexandria? And wasn't she taken in by the town shortly before Rick's group arrived? My suspicion is that she's a Wolf, and has been from the start, biding her time. In fact, when she was flicking her lighter off and on up on the roof when Carl showed up, I figured she was signalling someone. 

I might be misremembering details and have a totally wrong idea, though.

I don't think Enid is a Wolf. (I don't want her to be, anyway.) Carl and Enid didn't get much screen time this episode, but judging by next week's previews, the attention is going to shift to them in episode #2.

Hmm... was I right about her circumstances, though? Traumatized and taken in by Alexandria beforehand, and regularly sneaking out of the town undetected?

Because if I am, honestly the only reason I could see for that scene even being there is so the series could remind us she existed before she turns traitor. Checking in with Carl doesn't seem a good enough reason.

I don't recall how long before Rick's group arrived that it was said she joined, but yes, those are the circumstances as I remember them, too. Aw, man! Now you've got me doubting Enid.

Sorry, man! 

The other reason I could see putting her in this episode is that it reminds us that she's someone important to Carl -- someone he'd put himself in jeopardy for. Of course, both reasons can dovetail -- she's important to him, he risks his life to save her, only to learn that she's not in need of saving all along.

Of course, if she IS a Wolf, and she's intentionally drawing the walkers to Alexandria, why is she sticking around once the horn has blown? I guess she's hoping she'd be safe because the Wolves plan to swoop in when they're weakened from the zombie fight, and then take over?

All speculation, of course. But if the Wolves do have an inside man in Alexandria, I can't think of a better candidate.

I've had all those thoughts as well, Rob. But like Jeff, I really don't want Enid to be a mole. So Cynical Cap is arguing with Warm Fuzzy Cap, and there's only way out of this dilemma ...

I'm going to keep watching the show.



Captain Comics said:

* Lennie James (Morgan) is awesome. The scene where he lets the Zen mask slip and queries Michonne about the protein bar (with a querulous voice) was weird but strangely endearing. Zen master or not, he's still mad about that protein bar! Also, Morgan seeing through Carol's mask was pretty impressive, and could lead to some interesting moments between these two.



My two favorite moments of this episode. Great writing. We learn so much about what the relationships will be like in only a few seconds of screen time.

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