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James Olchak
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Okay, everybody, it's Monday and it's winterish, which means it's the right time to watch the new episode of "The Walking Dead" that was on last night, and talk about it, figure out whether it was any good, whether it had any grievous flaws in storytelling or basic logic, general criticism stuff.  As I learned in art school, to "critique" is "to find fault with." It's an important part of any artist's bag of tricks, to critique skillfully, and also to accept sincere criticism gracefully. Fortunately, we are only responsible for one of those aspects of the process today. Let's begin! Walking Dead, Season 5, episode 12, "Remember." How was it?

It wasn't very good. Boring. There was one transcendent bit, and a couple nice beats, packed safely in a straw-filled crate of "who cares." Off we go.

We begin this week's episode moments after the end of last week's episode, in a nice tight bit of continuity.  Our intrepid band of slow adults, plucky teens, and characters nobody cares about are preparing to enter "Alexandria," the settlement pitched to them last week by assertive community headhunter Aaron. The whole group is on edge, clutching their weapons as the two-part corrugated iron/wrought-iron gate slides open.  CORAL spies a girl peeking at him from behind some broken windows, and everyone nearly suffers a bout of "Bonus Eruptus" when an oddly non-nocturnal possum noisily turns over a trash can. Daryl shoots it, scooping it up by the tail and offering what will be the best line of the night to the bemused Alexandria citizen opening the gate:

"We brought dinner."

Aaron leads them in. The group scans the environment as the gate closes. Immediately, the jagoff on gate duty wants them to turn over their weapons. "If you stay, you'll have to turn them over." "We aren't sure we're gonna stay," says Rick, matter-of-factly. As aaron tries to convince "Nicholas" that it's okay, the buck is passed to a non-present character named "Deanna," who is some kind of local font of information regarding the community. As the gate slides closed, Sasha snipes a wandering walker outside the gates. "It's a good thing we're here," says Rick.

When we get back from the commercial, Rick is meeting with Deanna, a middle-aged lady in a clean shirt in a clean house.  Rick stares at the walls like he has no idea what they are. She sets up a video camera to record their interview. "Deanna" was a politician, a congresswoman. She's smarmy like one. She asks Rick what he was, before, and he replies that he doesn't think it matters.

Deanna gives Rick some info about the town. Self-sustaining solar grid, it's own cisterns: "A Planned Community." She was in Washington when things went bad, and she never made it back to Ohio. The walls were built by her architect husband from materials lifted from a mall construction site. As people arrived, they became part of the community. Tellingly, the citizens of Alexandria have rarely, if ever, ventured outside the walls. "We need people like your group who've been out there."

"You should keep your gates closed," says Rick.

He explains that the people outside the walls are opportunistic, brutal, cunning. "The measure you by what they can take from you." Deanna cannily asks whether Rick is already looking out for the community. She tells him that his group is the first group in a long time considered for the community, and she believes she can trust Rick.  

An Aside: It's unclear how, exactly they became aware of Rick's group, who until very recently, a week past, perhaps, lived almost six-hundred miles away from her. When she says she's good at reading people, she means from a still-working spy satellite, I guess.

"I want you to help us survive."

It's an okay scene.  Rick is shellshocked, malnourished, dehydrated, brown as a nut. Deanna looks like she just got back from lunching with a tobacco lobbyist. "I'm a good judge of people, Rick. If I didn't win reelection, I was going to be a professional poker player."

"I was a sheriff," says Rick. "I thought it was something like that," says Deanna.

When next we see our group, they're piling their guns on the gun trolley THANKS OBAMA as Deanna explains that they're still "your guns," you just can't pack heat in town.

Carol hilariously and awkwardly extricates herself from her assault rifle strap, placing it on the trolley. The zaftig lady who's job it is to run the gun trolley says "I should've brought another bin."

Aaron, now visibly bruised from Rick's right cross last episode gives Rick two houses. One for Rick, Judith & CORAL, one for Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, Rosita, Tara, Eugene, Sgt. Abraham Ford, Gabriel, Noah and Sasha. I guess. "I live four houses down, if you need anything." EXIT AARON.

Rick and Carl enter the spacious-if-not-opulent house, leaving Judith on a curb somewhere, I guess. It's furnished, the house, there are picture frames, bedclothes, comfy chairs, running water. Rick takes a shower and shaves his hobo beard. Good thing, too, because as shirtless, moist, freshly-shaven Rick wanders out of the bathroom, there's a knock at the door. A SEXY LADY KNOCK

It's Jessie, from the pantry, bringing by some food and one of those springy pet balls for Judith, who is still baking in the sun in the gutter, I guess. Jesse's post-apocalypse look is the "no-makeup makeup" look with a flannel shirt.  Nothing says "post-apocalyptic" like a flannel shirt worn by a plus-sized lingerie model. She offers to cut Rick's shaggy hair. "You don't even know me." says Rick. Sure I do, says Jessie YOU'RE THE NEW MAN IN TOWN RAWR RAWR

So Jessie cuts Rick's hair. Jessie has two sons, one about CORAL's age.  We should introduce them if it's okay with you and..."Just me," says Rick. OH SO YOU'RE SINGLE RAWR RAWR

This is a dumb scene. It's like something out of Desperate Housewives. And maybe I overstated Jessie's reactions to Rick, but fuck all, it's not a subtle scene. OH HI I'M FROM THE LOCAL SEXY NEIGHBOR COMMITTEE

Now Deanna's interviewing Daryl, who's pacing around her living room dragging a possum. "You can sit down if you like. Do you not want to be here?" "I deserve a roof, I guess," says Daryl shruggingly.  Seconds later he's gutting the possum on Rick's front porch. Rick has recovered Judith from whatever possum-infested trash-heap he left her on while he showered, and CORAL goes next door with Carol for some reason. Carol immediately comes out again to have a secret meeting with Rick and Daryl (in the too-narrow space between house 1 and house 2), while CORAL wanders around house 2.

The Secret Meeting: Rick, Daryl and Carol are still unsure about this whole thing. "They took our weapons, separated us...we should all stay under one roof, tonight." GREAT SECRET MEETING GUYS

CORAL, meanwhile, hears unexpected footsteps from upstairs in House 2. WHO COULD IT BE? One of the other dozen characters who are going to live here? CORAL thinks not. Drawing his masterwork feycraft dagger, CORAL investigates. Flinging open a suspicious door, he finds an unfinished room that the neighborhood kids have clearly been using as a treehouse.  A knotted rope hangs out the window, and comic books and teen debris litters the plywood floor.

As the whole unwieldy group lounges around Rick's living room, Michonne waxes rhapsodic about her new toothbrush. Deanna stops by to see how the group is adjusting. She makes small talk with Rick in the doorway, as the group stares stonily at her.  She talks about the "jobs" that she's lining up for the group, really just that she's lining up jobs for the group. FINE LADY JEEZ I'LL LOOK FOR SOMETHING TOMORROW

Returning from commercial break, Michonne is in the interview chair. She's wearing her yesterday clothes, so I assume that everyone was interviewed one-by-one as they were brought in, and that these interviews (part of Alexandria's dedication to 'transparency') represent the "audition" that aaron mentioned last episode. Michonne basically says that if the place is legit, then it's exactly where the group wants to be. "All of you?" asks deanna.  "...all of us," says Michonne, unconvincingly.

The next day, the group piles out of the house to "explore" Alexandria, at "their" urging.  Daryl is content to sit on the porch with his crossbow.

An Aside: It's funny that he got to keep his crossbow, and nobody got to keep their guns, but the reason crossbow hunting is as big as it is is that felons are allowed to own crossbows. So I guess they're following that rule. Sorta.

Rick chats with Daryl about how he and LOORIE used to dream about living in a neighborhood like this. "Lori sucked, Rick," says Daryl, "She was the absolute worst, and you should be glad that she's dead." OKAY NOT REALLY

Rick goes to join the "wander around" party, then immediately has a panic attack, because the rest of the group has wandered completely out of sight. This makes a great deal of sense. Rick's hyper-vigilance has eked the group through a bunch of dodgy situations, and him losing sight of CORAL and Judith no doubt immediately brings back memories of the various cannibals and molester-militiamen Rick's had to savagely butcher.  But really it's just an excuse for Rick to run into Jessie again, who takes the sweaty spaz to the elderly couple down the street, where CORAL is hanging out. "It's been awhile since anyone's seen a baby. She's gonna have to put up with some pinched cheeks. Until we sacrifice her to Gamushthazor, our black and hoary lord!" BUT THAT WON'T BE UNTIL THE SOLSTICE

Not really. Rick apologizes for freaking out, and agrees to let CORAL go visit Jessie's son. CORAL meets the affable son Ron, his affable friend Mikey, and surly new girl Enid (Coleslaw) who also recently arrived from outside.  CORAL has a visibly tough time navigating the alien concepts thrown at him in this scene, things like school (held in a garage, kid school in the morning, teen school in the afternoon), videogames, strict parents, and pool tables. As the group admits that they used Coral's new house as a fort, you can see he's starting to have the same kind of freakout Rick did. The enthusiasm of his new acquaintances is threatening to give him an anxiety attack. "Hold it together, sport," says surly Enid, and he does.

Flashing back to Carl's interview, we hear Deanna mention that Carl "lost" his mother. "I didn't just lose her. I killed her. Had to be me." "Have you ever heard the good news of Gamushthazor, Carl?" says Deanna.

Not really. Back home, Carl confesses that he likes Alexandra, but that the people are weak.  "I don't want us to become weak."

That night, Rick is sleepless.  The equally-sleepless Michonne goes to commiserate with him at the moonlit window. She wonders why she hasn't been asked to do a job, yet. Rick is still unsure about Alexandria, about the jobs. He has doubts. Michonne claims to not share them. "So why are we both still awake?" Rick decides to take a walk.

Rick meets a new face on his walk, Jessie's surly ass husband, smoking on his own porch. "You're rick. My wife cut your hair." Rick confirms the man's contention: "yup." "Welcome to Alexandria," says the surly man. Back in bed, Rick still can't sleep.

Carol's interview is the first interesting thing anyone has done in the episode, because she lies her ass off. She refers to her dead husband as "that wonderful man," and contends that she didn't have much to offer the group, saying that she "kinda became their den mother" and they've been nice enough to protect me. She asks about community outreach: "Do you have anything like the junior league?" Her devotion to treachery also explains her awkward "how did I end up with this big ol' gun?" bit from earlier.

When we next see her, Carol is dressed like a soccer mom, and is literally heading out to make casseroles for the elderly. "A good way to meet people." She regards the unwashed Daryl, still staking out the porch. "Take a shower, we have to keep up appearances. I'm gonna wash that vest, too." When he demurs, she retorts with "I'll hose you down in your sleep!"

An aside: Carol is the best. She's the only one in the group with a fucking plan.

Good god, Glenn has an interview now. "We have to make this work. We were almost out there too long." 

Rick ventures outside the walls, seemingly to check them. Which, hey, "wall checker" is probably the last thing on his resume before "machete killer." Carl, sitting at home, sees Surly Enid sneak out of town, using a clever system of improvised pegs to scale the 15-foot iron wall. Glenn, Tara, and Noah meet Aiden (Deanna's adult son) and Nicholas, the gate jagoff from earlier. They prepare to make a "dry run," basically a training exercise to familiarize them with the lay of the land outside the walls. Aiden brags a little about his ROTC training coming in handy when shit blew down, and everyone's else roll out of their heads.  He hands out guns, and off they go.

Meanwhile, Coral is trailing surly Enid through the woods, but he loses her.

Outpacing a sluggish cadre of walkers. Rick doubles back to the spot where he stashed his backup gun in a blender. BUT IT'S GONE THERE'S THAT OLD PARANOIA AGAIN

Carl, using his magic "Home in on Dad's location accidentally" powers (Last seen in Season 2, Episode 12, "Better Angels") arrives in time for a good old-fashion pointless action sequence. But the two of them even seem to realize that it's a pointless action sequence. Drawing their knives, they stand side-by-side, ready to slaughter the four or five walkers vaguely shambling in their vicinity. "Get ready," says Rick. "FOR THE GLORY OF GAMUSHTHAZOR!" shouts Carl.

Not really. The two of them let off some steam, spiking walkers, and despite a limp attempt at tension as a Freddy-Kreuger-lookin' one lunches out of a pile of trash to grab Rick's ankle, it's clear that there's no threat here. Rick prepares to use a Spud bar to spike the crawling enemy, but Carl gives him the "hey, my turn" look, and does it himself.  MALE BONDING

Aiden explains the two-party Walker patrol system (which boils down to "if group one gets in trouble, they shoot a flare gun, and group two comes to help them"), and talks about how they lost four people last month. "They were scared. Didn't follow the system." He then contends that he knows he's a douchebag...

An Aside: Attention everyone who knows they are a douchebag. The way you become a fully realized person is to recognize your faults and then work to change them. The amount of brownie points you get for doing the former without doing the latter is negative fuck all. This statement is the same as saying "I recognize that intentionally shitting on the floor of a steakhouse is wrong, because people are trying to eat, and they don't want to smell my rancid shit," then intentionally shitting on the floor of a steakhouse. Fuck. You.

So Aiden the Douchebag contends that he'll come off as a hard-ass, but they'll have to follow his orders in the field because what he says goes. He and Nicholas the Jagoff have a ritual to help everyone get their heads in the game before a "run," which involves a captive walker strung-up "to remind us what we're up against," which has only been said before, in earlier episodes and contexts about eleventy-jillion times. BUT WHAT HO

The Captive walker is missing! The two numbnuts start whistling into the treeline to lure it back out (against everyone's objections), then futilely try to get the dangling, gore-slick chain back around it, basically playing grabass with it. At one point it gets shoved towards Tara (who, like Glenn and Noah had been instructed to "stay back." When she tries to grab the thing's shoulders, it's entire back peels off in her hands, causing it to wheel about on her, as if to say "Hey! That's my back-skin you're peeling off!"  As she struggles with the thing, with no help incoming from the poopyfloor twins, Glenn spikes it, to Aiden's outrage. "What the hell, man?!?" "Yeah, what the hell?" replies Tara.

Returning to Alexandria in disgust, Aiden tells the group that they're "Not ready for runs!" to which Glenn replies "You've got that backwards." This escalates, with Aiden reiterating that they need to "follow his orders," Which Glenn points out got their last run-squad killed. Aiden, who has been living in a gated community for the entirety of the apocalypse attempts to intimidate Glenn, using the tried and true "stare down and push, while your buddy stands behind you." 

Noah tries to break it up, while a crowd of onlookers gathers, including Daryl and Michonne. Glenn, his face a perfect mask of icy murder, tries to convince Aiden to relent. "You're not impressing anyone. Walk away." Deanna, who is Aiden's mom comes out yelling for them to knock of their nonsense. Aiden tells her that "...these people don't understand our ways!" and asks "Why she brought them in." Glenn replies "Because we actually know what we're doing out there." OH SNAP

Aiden wheels around with a wild haymaker, which Glenn dodges, knocking Aiden on his ass with a single punch.  _In. Front. Of. His. Mom._ Aiden's friend rushes in to help his dipshit frat brother, and gets a faceful of Daryl, who pounces on him, pins him to the ground, and begins strangling him in a feral, terrifying fashion. The just-arrived Rick shows up to pull Daryl off Nicholas the Jagoff whispering things like "Not like this!" Daryl does that tiger-pace thing while Rick jockeys to keep himself in between him and Nicholas, who scrabbles to his feet, hacking and coughing. Meanwhile, Aiden leaps up to find Michonne in his face. "Wanna get knocked on your ass again?" 

Deanna gets things under control, announcing that Rick's group are "part of the community, as equals," and that's the way it is.  She orders the poopypants twins to see her in the principal's office, and thanks Glenn "for knocking him on his ass."

Once that's done, she asks Rick to take a job, as "constable," offering Michonne a similar position, deputy, I guess. "It's what you are," she says. He and Michonne accept. CORAL looks up from the mayhem (who the fuck has Judith?) to see surly Enid looking at him. "You don't like me, do you." It's not a question, like hopeful, it's more like "Jeez, you really don't like me." She departs without answering.

That night, we get a quick repeat of Rick's key interview question, where he talked about why they shouldn't open their gates. On Rick's porch, The group looks at Rick in his new constable jacket, which is a kind of windbreaker, I think. It's not that great. "So, are we safe?" someone asks. "We can sleep in our own homes, I think." Carol echoes CORAL's earlier concern about becoming weak. "Hey, CORAL said the same thing," says Rick. "We won't be made weak.  It's not in us anymore. If things go bad..." intense look at Daryl and Carol "...we'll just take this place ourselves. FOR THE ETERNAL REIGN OF GAMUSHTHAZOR!"

Not really. Thoughts?

#WalkingDead #TheWalkingDead #WalkingDeadSeason5 #TheWalkingDeadSeason5 #Remember
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I'm really excited that this is Mythbusters last season, not because I don't like Mythbusters (I do), but once Mythbusters is gone, I will never have a reason to put the Discovery channel on, ever again. And will thus, never have to see any more commercials for shows about rednecks in the woods, rednecks working dangerous jobs, fake Amish criminals, or rednecks making motorcycles/birdhouses/windchimes.

#Mythbusters   #Discoverychannel   #goodriddance   
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What's this "fake Amish criminals" thing now?
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Okay, everybody, every Monday at this time of year, I write a thing which starts "Okay, Everybody" which is your signal that The Walking Dead was on last night, and it's time to deconstruct it, hopefully in an enlightening and hilariously overwrought manner. So! Last night's episode, season 5, episode 11, "The Distance," how was it?

Well, it was actually really good. It had enough content that half of what happened this week could have fit into last week's terrible, pointless episode, and made two perfectly cromulent episodes. But that's not what happened. Instead, we shit-canned an hour of screen time for nothing, last week, and crammed a bunch of stuff in an episode that maybe could have breathed a little more.  It's okay, it was still a highlight of the season. Let's begin.

The episode begins with the group still sitting glumly around the wind-proof barn they discovered last week, mere moments after last episode's conclusion. Maggie and Sasha gingerly come into the barn with Aaron, the earnest, too-clean fellow that showed up in the waning seconds of last week's episode. "Hey, uh, everyone, we found this guy. We took his gun, and he says he wants to tell us about a great new real-estate opportunity." Everyone snaps to alertness, and assumes the "stand around and look menacing" pose. Rick hands Judith to Carl, and Maggie hands Aaron's gun to Rick. Rick pockets it.

Aaron nervously begins a sales pitch, regarding his community, and how they want Rick's group to "audition" to join it. It's a scene that's been kinda done a few times, with Woodbury (Security and walls!), the Terminus radio broadcasts (Sanctuary for all!), and Grady Hospital (Enjoy our reasonable prices! You can never leave!). So the audience can be rightly expected to be fatigued by another one. Fortunately, it ends quite abruptly. As Rick shuffles through the information packet Aaron brought (complete with photos of their walker-proof wall, made up of steel plates reinforced with square steel beams), Aaron starts talking about how 'people' are his community's 'greatest resource' and Rick exchanges a glance with Michonne, then punches Aaron in the face, knocking him unconscious. BBROKK

An Aside: I genuinely feel that this was a narrative cheat, but it's a good one. Much like Mad Harry setting off an explosion in The Muppet Show, or wounded arriving in MASH, it's good to have a device that allows a writer to elegantly end a scene that needs to end. And This is one of them.  We got just enough of Aaron's pitch to know what it was, and related to the exhaustion of the characters (who have been through this so many times before), and then it was done. Good punch, Rick.

As we return from the commercial break, Michonne chides Rick for misunderstanding their shared glance. "That wasn't a 'punch the guy' look!" It's a funny line. Meanwhile, Rick has dug through the guy's backpack, laying out his belongings, which includes a flare gun. As Maggie reluctantly sits the now-bound and (reasonably unruffled) Aaron back upright, Rick begins his interrogation. "How many of your people are out there? The flare gun is for signaling someone, right? How many." GOOD QUESTION, RICK

Aaron artfully deconstructs the problem with "enhanced interrogation" techniques by saying that "It doesn't matter" how many are out there, "Eight? Thirty? Four-hundred?" because if Rick doesn't trust his response, then whether it's true or not doesn't matter. Aaron is good in this scene.  He's clearly not happy to be trussed up and growled at by a sweaty-beardy-punchy-man, but he's keeping his shit together. Rick reiterates the question: "How many?" 

"One," says Aaron. He reiterates that he means them no harm, accurately pointing out that he (and his hypothetical group of killers) could've set the barn on fire overnight and mowed them down when they tried to escape the front door. "Hey, I was the guy leaving you water, not stalking you to take your stuff." Aaron wants to drive them to his "community," but Rick is balky. "How are we gonna fit in the car you and your one friend brought?" Aaron tells him that there are two vehicles, waiting nearby, one of them an RV. "We drove separately."

Rick is convinced, sight unseen, that this is all bullshit. "There are no cars." he whispers to Michonne. But Michonne. Needs. To. See.

An Aside: Two episodes ago, I tried to convince the fictional group of post-apocalyptic slow adults to "stop wanting 'to see,'" but this isn't an example of one person going "Hey, it's trashed and dangerous, and you should just believe me (because we are friends and/or allies) and not go poke around in the dangerous place, for no possible gain." Rather, it's a situation that gets us past the thorny problem of whether we can trust anything the new guy says. If you're not going to try and confirm or debunk anything he tells you, stop asking so many questions, it's a waste of time.

Michonne unilaterally decides that she's gonna take a group (Glenn, Maggie, Sgt. Ford, and Rosita) out to check if the vehicles are where Aaron said. Rick doesn't dissent.  A lot of their conflicts in this episode are kinda handled like this. Rick seems dead set against something, Michonne says "I'm doing it anyway," and Rick kinda shrugs and lets it happen. Whether it's supposed to represent a fracture in the group's leadership, or Rick subtly delegating authority to Michonne, I'm not clear on. Could be either, but it doesn't feel like the writers are just being coy--it's just the characters interacting. Personalities pushing against each other. It works, and while I'm on the subject:

An Aside: When Tyreese was killed off a couple weeks ago, the actor who plays him (Chad Coleman) had some slightly bitter (but reasonable) feelings about how his character was kinda sidelined. While the comics Tyreese becomes Rick's right-hand-man, Mr. Coleman thought that that position was filled in the TV show by Daryl, leaving his character with no upward mobility in the group. Here's the thing. He's not wrong, necessarily, but I think his proper nouns are. Michonne, not Glenn, not Daryl, has been Rick's second-in-command, ever since everyone got split up after the prison was destroyed. Daryl has been beset by trauma after trauma, and seems content to take the role of "background enforcer" this season. He's going along for the ride, letting others handle matters of authority.

So Michonne's group heads out, and Rick dispatches the rest of his force to surround the barn and watch for threats. Since the Walkie-talkies are conveniently dead, Rick sets a one-hour curfew for the group's return, after which he will kill Aaron. Aaron's response is interesting and measured. He basically says that before the Apocalypse, he worked for some kind of foreign-aid organization (I didn't catch who, exactly), and had "bad people" point guns at him many times. "I've been following and watching you. You're not bad people."

Rick doesn't dispute this. "We're not bad people, but I'll still kill you if they don't make it back."

There's a short scene of Michonne's group walking the roads (if you didn't get enough last week), where they discuss what to do if they run across anyone. "Do we just shoot anyone we see? What if Aaron's on the level? What if they're not even part of Aaron's group? Is shooting the default, now?" Glenn's sure that it's a self-solving problem. "We're five angry-looking people with guns. Nobody's going to come say hello." Crouching behind a distant tractor, unseen, is that "nobody," who is watching the group.

Okay, this is my favorite scene in the episode, the applesauce scene. It really, really works to distill the relentless paranoia that these characters are steeped in into a bracingly absurd, kafkaesque shot of narrative bitters. It may be my favorite scene of the season.

So, back at the barn, Aaron is tied up to a post. Rick is holding Judith (who is crying) with one arm, and futilely using the butt of a pistol to try and grind up some acorns. Are we to believe you can feed a baby ground acorn-paste? Is that a thing? also, chew them up, Rick, jesus, the gunbutt method isn't working. Aaron is nervous about the crying.

"Rick, there's applesauce in my bag, you had to find it. I'm not pointing this out to be nice, or convince you I'm nice, or whatever, but pragmatically, if her crying attracts "roamers" to our position, I'm the first one dead, because I'm tied up."  Rick regards the little jar of applesauce, suspiciously. Rick scoops up some on a spoon and brings it to aaron, to taste. Aaron is rightfully nonplussed at this.

"You think I'm trying to poison your baby daughter? Now? My circumstances being what they are, why would I do that? How on earth would that help me, right now?" Rick mumbles something about there being something that wouldn't kill her, but just make her sick "so that we'd have to go where you want, to help her," which is just such a tangled, byzantine bit of motivation. He continues to hold the spoon out for Aaron.

"...I hate applesauce. I only have that to demonstrate we have an orchard, nearby. My mother always made me eat foods I didn't like, she was good woman, but maybe misguided..." Aaron hilariously rambles. As I'm imagining the scene degrading into the sunglasses scene from They Live, ("Eat the Applesauce!" punches face "No!! Fuck you!" seven kicks to the crotch), Aaron winces, and eats some. Rick, satisfied, goes off to feed Judith. BRAVO I LOVE THIS SCENE

Meanwhile, Michonne's group has found the two vehicles. As they order a mysterious figure in the bushes to show themselves, it turns out to be a walker, quickly dispatched by Sgt. Ford and Rosita, who seem to be on the outs. Rosita seems to be on the outs with Sgt. Ford, anyway.  The two of them investigate the camper, finding canned "S'ghetti Rings," which I wish was "Beefarino," on account of it's being fit for a "king or queen-o" (http://tinyurl.com/qahpgae). After waxing rhapsodic about canned pasta, Sgt. Ford wants to clear up what's going on with Rosita: "At the fire truck, after Eugene, did you think I was gonna hurt you?" No, she says, "It's nothing to do with me." They return to the barn.

Rick crows about the cache of canned pasta: "This is ours, now." Aaron rolls his eyes: "There's plenty." "Whether we go or not--" says Rick, and Michonne cuts him off: "We're going. If you have objections, speak up." "This barn smells like horse shit," says Daryl, spending AMC's profanity allowance for the episode. Now they have to hammer out how they're going to get there, and good christ Rick is gonna try his hardest to turn this into a catastrophe. Moreover, he's gonna fuck up his only current narrative job, which is being paranoid.

Aaron just wants to drive them to the community. "I'm in the driver's seat." 

Rick just wants to know the location: "We'll go right now." 

Aaron doesn't want to just tell them where his community is, instead telling them he'll give them step-by-step directions, GPS-style. "I'm okay with risking my life, I'm not ready to risk all of my friend's lives." 

Rick immediately wants to take a different route than what Aaron suggests: "we'll take North 23 instead of North 16."

Aaron is emphatic this a bad idea. "North 16 is cleared. North 23 is a bad idea."

Rick also wants to go at night, so they have cover against whatever traps might be waiting "Also, that way the ridiculous zombie fight we get into will look more dramatic."

Before departure, Rick examines the car, poking under the driver's seat while talking with Michonne. He explains why he feels so unsure about this. "When you were outside the Woodbury wall, what did you hear? Terminus?" "Nothing." says Michonne. I have to make a decision, in that moment, whether or not to take my family into a place I might not be able to get them out of." MEANWHILE, he fucks up his car search, causing the blowup that will derail the night convoy.

Night convoy is in motion. Glenn drives the car, Rick rides shotgun, Michonne rides in the back with Aaron. The RV, with everyone else...
Hold up. where is Aaron's friend? They left him in the woods, and just took the vehicles away? Aaron was okay with this? How was this supposed to work?

Anyway, Aaron (whose arms are bound behind his back) chats with the group.  Rick opens the glove compartment, finding a stack of license plates. "I'm trying to collect all fifty states, put them on the wall of my house." "You have your own house?" Michonne says, poking through his manila envelope of photos. "Why aren't there any photos of your people?" "We took a group shot, but it was overexposed." BUT THEN

Rick finds one of those parabolic microphone listening devices, either under the passenger's seat, or in the world's biggest glove compartment. In the car.  That he searched earlier in the day. Everyone is aghast that he might've been listening in on their conversations, despite the facts that:

(A) He completely admitted that he followed and observed the group for some time, and

(B) He knew Rick's name, so fuck, you knew he was listening to you guys somehow, but

(C) Everyone freaks out a little, anyway

"The others might have these! They might've heard our whole plan!" shouts Rick, or Glenn or somebody. Then Glenn plows into a goopy walker (who splatters across the windshield like Emil from Robocop), because he's not paying attention and North 23 isn't fucking clear. He keeps plowing through a large-but-scattered herd, afraid of being rear-ended by the RV, if he stops too quickly. Spinning out onto a side-road, the group sees that they lost the RV. "We'll double back and find them!" Glenn wipes walker guts off the windshield with his sleeve, and tries to start the car (why was the car shut off, to begin with?), but it won't start because there are rubbery walker limbs jammed in the grille, which Michonne starts pulling free. SPLOOP GLOOP

BUT THEN a flare goes up, nearby. "Who did that?" says Rick. "Aaron's demeanor instantly changes. "Okay, this is over, now. I need to go." Aaron then (I swear I saw this) kicks the door off the car sending Michonne sprawling. Holy fuck, is Aaron actually Spider-Man? He runs into the woods, with Michonne in pursuit. Rick calls her off.  "We have to find the others!" They head for the flare, assuming that the others would have headed toward it, thinking it was them. REASONABLE

Glenn is quickly separated from Michonne and Rick, and ends up in a ground-and-pound grapple fight with one walker, smashing it's head into a rock, repeatedly. He then finds Aaron, back against a tree, using his foot to fend off a walker, which, after the car door, should have just exploded. Glenn rescues and frees the man from his bonds. "You can run if you want, I have bigger problems." "We make it together, or we don't make it" says Aaron, reversing his stance from moments earlier, and regurgitating something Glenn said last episode.

Michonne and Rick are acting out the climax of every Lucio Fulci film, about to be overrun by zombies, as Rick's revolver comes up empty. He fires the flare gun into one walker's eye-socket, in a really good bit of FX. They are rescued by Glenn (who has the assault rifle) and Aaron. "You can tie me up again if you want, but do it quickly, cause we need to move." They run, without doing so, heading towards "The Water Tower," (where they saw the flare go up) coincidentally ending up back on Route 16. Instantly, they find a few buildings in what seems to be a small town.  The RV is parked there, and the others trickle out of a building, They're all okay, but Aaron is looking for someone named "Eric." "Eric? Eric?" Eric, who is Aaron's boyfriend/husband is also pretty much fine, although he broke his ankle hiding from some walkers. Maggie has applied a splint. "I like her." says Eric. They kiss, because the gay agenda means that even the Apocalypse isn't free from political correctness. "The canbals and rapests and living dead and fat greasy child molasters were fine, but I aint tryin' ta show mah kids no gay stuff!" says the straw homophobe I just made up who doubtlessly still exists on Twitter.

Aaron thanks everyone profusely for rescuing Eric, (he panicked after seeing Eric's flare) and tells them that the community is in Alexandria. The plan is to stay the night in this defensible building, then leave for "Alexandria" the next day, but Rick wants to keep Eric (whose ankle is broken) and Aaron separated because Rick is from Georgia, I guess.  Aaron is like "Fuckin' shoot me, then, cause I'm staying with him." Glenn talks Rick down, again referencing their morbid conversations from two episodes ago RE: harming people out of fear or anger. "It does matter how we do this."

Now they're on the road again, in the RV and (recovered) car. Aaron is watching over the sleeping Eric when Noah (who I completely forgot existed) comes in with some painkillers for Eric. Aaron doesn't want to wake him until they reach Alexandria, to which Noah responds in utter mumbly gibberish. Tyler James williams isn't typically inarticulate, it's totally an aberration in his performance, but three rewinds were completely insufficient to unravel whatever he said. He hands the water and pills to aaron, who then asks about Noah's persistent limp. Noah relates that he was in an accident with his dad in Atlanta, which is news to me, cause I thought it was from falling 30 feet onto the piled corpses in the Grady hospital basement, but I guess he always had that limp. Aaron says they have a surgeon in Alexandria who might be able to help. Up front, Sgt. Ford is driving the RV. He is concerned about a warning light on the dash, asking how much further they have to travel. "We're halfway there," says Rosita. "We can make it.  We can make it." says Sgt. Ford, affirmatively. CUT TO

The immobilized RV. "Dammit! Where are we gonna find another battery?" Sgt. Ford is frustrated, but Glenn knows another battery (for running the appliances?) is located under the stairs. The Ghost of Dale's RV looks down from heaven like Mufasa and winks one headlight, while a single tear runs down Glenn's cheek. Not really, but whatever GOOD FOR YOU REMEMBERING SHIT FROM A COUPLE SEASONS AGO GLENN

Michonne and Rick have one last conversation, regarding Rick's continuing anxiety regarding the new community. He takes a pistol to a nearby house, stashes it in a blender carafe, and buries it for later. Not a bad idea, Rick.

So they've reached the Alexandria walls, er, gate. Rick sits in the car for a moment, listening. He hears children, playing. His immediate concerns allayed, he gets Judith out of the back seat, ready to go in. Carol takes him aside.

"Even if you were wrong this time, you're still right." Nice capper Carol.

Thoughts?

#walkingdead #thewalkingdead #walkingdeadseason5 #thewalkingdeadseason5 #thedistance
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Jason Dawe's profile photoJames Bright's profile photoJames Olchak's profile photoKenneth Judy's profile photo
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A walker with a Baby Bjorn on it would be hysterical, +Jason Dawe. 
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You've probably read about it, even if it didn't really register. Something about a backlog. Something about unions. Imports and exports. Now the dispute that's paralyzing 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast has the potential to affect all of us--and to empty the shelves in countless stores.
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Lesley Gore died. I only just found out she was gay. Puts songs like this in a new perspective, though it may just be coincidence (although she did write it, so...).

Great song, one of many. She was lovely and talented and we are richer for having been exposed to her art.

#RIP   
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Michelle Clark's profile photoNoah Stevens's profile photo
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So it goes
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Okay, everybody, like I say every week this time of year, it's Monday, and that means it's the day where I watch yesterday's "The Walking Dead" episode (Season 5, episode 10, "Them"), and write a too-long-to-be-read-casually review-recap-commentary on genre writing...thing.  And then we chat about it. So, this weeks episode, how was it?

It was eminently disposable. Hands down the most pointless episode this season. Not as annoying as the Grady Hospital episodes, but that's literally its only narrative virtue.  It's flawed in so many ways, guys holy crap. Get ready, this is going to be a marathon, so hydrate and carbo-load.

Okay, to begin with, the entire episode can be summed up, in terms of things that happened in one sentence:

"During a sixty-mile walk to somewhere, the group faces thirst, hunger, grief, and randomly-spawning groups of walkers, before emotionally bonding as a group and meeting a suspicious newcomer."

That's all that occurs. Naturally, there's some filler. 

Major Flaw A: This filler mostly takes the form of whispery conversations, mostly about the nature of hope, which breaks down the exact same way every time.

Character 1: "I am losing hope, because of our dire circumstances."

Character 2: "You have to hang on. We will get through this." 

Well, how would you fix it, James? Maybe we could have two of the hopeful/determined characters talk to each other, and shore each other up. Or two morose/grieving characters could feed on each other's despair, in an orgy of nihilism. It adds nothing that wasn't there already, but saves us from doing three or four nine versions of the same scene, in different locations. Stupidly enough, Sasha was in four of these conversations, flip-flopping positions each time.

Anyway, we begin with Maggie, crying next to a tree, while a Walker noisily shambles up behind her. It looks for a moment as though she's lost all hope and is attempting to commit suicide-by-walker, but she goes through the motions of spiking it. She has...decided...to live. 

Major Flaw B: There is entirely too much of this currency spent in this episode.  Every scene is that isn't a conversation about losing hope is a scene where someone demonstrates that they have lost hope (or conversely/subsequently demonstrates that they have regained hope). Gabriel, in particular, demonstrates a whiplash-inducing swap between these extremes.

Anyway, Daryl and Sasha are scouting the woods for water. In Virginia. In summer. And the creek is dry. The identically-posed, upside-down (to disguise their plastic toy construction) frogs are all dead. Daryl has trouble digging up a single earthworm to eat.

An Aside: I live in North Carolina, probably an hour from the mythical location where this episode takes place. When we have what's considered a "drought" here, in summer, it means that it only rains every other day, instead of every day. The humidity is 89% from May to October. The creeks don't dry up down here. If the show was filmed in Hollywood, I might forgive this a bit more, since they only have a quart of water left in the whole state, but the show films in Georgia, which may as well be the wreck of the Hesperus, in terms of how much water is nearby. The conflict of this episode is "we're thirsty" and all the water in the American south has been sucked into the earth's mantle because writers. Is dildos, Toki. 

Returning to the bedraggled group in the distance, Maggie moans about how they clearly didn't find any, either. "How much longer we got?" says Maggie. "Sixty miles," says Michonne. "I meant until the season finale," says Maggie okay, no she didn't.

After the commercial break, the group's vehicle runs out of gas because of course it does.

Major Flaw C: A couple years ago (http://tinyurl.com/lfs83av), I brought up how scarcity in a narrative needs to be consistently applied. It defies immersion when one week everyone's talking about how supplies are low, and the next week everyone piles into a convoy of tanks and RV's and SUV's and drives 75 miles to have a gun battle where ten-thousand rounds of ammunition will be fired. It's bullshit. Even if you don't intensely analyze shit like this to the extent I do, you still notice that some elements of the ongoing tale can be fairly and consistently ignored, because this week's plot-point "A" has no causal relation, ever, to next week's plot-point "B." It's corrosive to the notion that these are real people in a life-and-death situation, and reinforces that it's just pretend.

So, despite the fact that last week they had at least two functioning, full-of-gas vehicles, and seemed to have ready access to water (at least), this week, suddenly, they're at death's door from lack of these things.

But James, they explained that, because it's been three weeks since Atlanta. YES I KNOW, RHETORICAL CONSTRUCT. But here's the problem, that doesn't work, either. 

Major Flaw D: If you count on narrative shortcuts like jumping ahead three weeks to explain why the group is suddenly starving to death, you have to explain why none of the other important elements in the story have changed. EXAMPLE: 

Maggie spends the whole episode distraught and hopeless because her sister, Beth was killed two episodes ago, in Atlanta. She seems to have given up, and attempts to talk to her made by other characters are met with stony silence. Gabriel, Glenn and Daryl each talk with her about this loss. So why did it seem like this was the first time they had broached the subject? Glenn just let his wife stew in her grief for three fucking weeks? She was on the verge of suicide all that time? Gabriel waited three weeks to try to use religion to soothe someone's pain? Daryl waited three weeks to comfort one of his dearest friends about the death of her sister? This is built on narrative swampland. The foundation is fucked.

So, the group is on foot now. If you ever thought to yourself: "There's not enough sweaty people walking on rural road in this show," then please seek help, and also, enjoy this episode, because that's where we are for the next forty minutes. 

Anyway, after someone shoehorns "It's been three weeks since Atlanta..." into an unrelated conversation, Gabriel attempts (as I mentioned earlier) to use his religion to engage Maggie. She tells him off. "Your job was to protect your flock, and you hid, and let them die. Don't act like that never happened." Gabriel does the Homer-Simpson-bush-fade (http://i.imgur.com/tZOS8.gif) back into the "nobody cares about this character" box, to emerge only for a moment, later. Carl takes a moment to remind viewers that he's in this show, and gives Maggie a music box he found while looking for water. "Thanks Coral. Can I eat or drink this?" Maggie doesn't say.

An Aside: I thought for sure this music box was going to go off at an inopportune time, luring a bunch of walkers to where the group was hiding. Nope. It had no narrative point. Just a limping gag at the end, like Tara's yo-yo, making an appearance in the last few seconds of the show, then never mentioned again.

Time for the parade of conversations about hope to start. I will paraphrase for expediency, since they're all essentially the same.

Hopeversation 1: DRRL/CRRL:

CRRL: "Beth saved me. I bet she saved you, too. You have to let yourself grieve." (hands Daryl Beth's knife)

DRRL: "..." (tortured, stony silence)

After noticing that the sluggish crowd of sweaty people have attracted a crowd of sluggish walkers (in the slowest-speed chase since OJ's white Bronco in 1994), we are treated to:

Hopeversation 2: MCHNNE/SSHA

SSHA: "I wanna go back and kill those walkers following us, because I am filled with anger over my brother's death!"

MCHNNE: "You're kinda like your brother. He let his feelings get the better of him sometimes, too."

SSHA: "I AM NOT LIKE HIM I'M TOTALLY NOT ALL TWISTED UP WITH CONFLICTING ANGER AND GRIEF"

So it's about time for a really by-the-numbers action sequence.  The group has reached a bridge. Standing in lines on either side, Rick, demonstrates how the plan which we were not made privy to is meant to work.  As the first walker staggers up to Rick, he deftly shoves it down the slippery bridge abutment, into a "not our problem" zone.  The grass is slippery, naturally, because it's always really moist in the south in summer.

Anyway, Rick demonstrates the "Ole'!" technique for walker herd thinning, and everything is going fine until Sasha decides to RAGILY RAGE, stepping forward to spike one, instead. "Plan's dicked," says Sgt. Abraham (the beefy ginger guy who you all forgot existed). It's not clear why Sasha's two-foot step out of position causes such a problem, but immediately, they're involved in one of those spazzy any-one-could-be-bit-at-any-second clusterfuck-type walker scrums. Michonne orders spazzoid ringleader Sasha to step back before she gets somebody killed, and Sasha gives her crazy eye because black people are always simmering with anger, and being around them (as pointed out last week) is a recipe for disaster, maiming, or death. Rick is almost bitten on the arm just like Tyreese, and during Sasha's crazy knife-flailing, she slashes through a walker's neck and follows through across Sgt. Ford's deltoid. NICE SHOT SASHA YOU DINGY BROAD 

An Aside: They're really casual about this happening. I guess blood-to-blood contact with a walker isn't as bad as I thought, meaning that the agent that turns virus "A" (the virus that makes you come back from the dead) into virus "B" (the lethal fever that kills in 12-to-24 hours) is only present in walker saliva. OR there's just no consistency. Either-or. Hey, maybe Abe will slowly succumb to the infection from this cut, and die later on in the season! (No, he won't).

The group finds a new cluster of abandoned cars, and investigates. Maggie carefully peeks into one vehicle, pops the door, and searches through the useless bits of glove-box and center-console detritus for anything edible or drinkable. Pulling the keys out of the ignition, she goes around to the trunk. In one of the few interesting (if particularly morbid) bits of business this episode, she opens it to find an apparent kidnap victim (long since dead and zombified) in the trunk, trussed and gagged.

An Aside: A zombie can bite through human flesh in a split-second, but not a cloth gag in several years?

Anyway, it's a walker that was clearly a young blonde woman OH MY GOD JUST LIKE BETH WHO WAS ALSO KIDNAPPED. Maggie shuts the trunk, disgustedly. But then the thumping and banging makes her rethink simply abandoning the ghoul. She goes to pop the trunk again, and in a staggeringly apt example of how the writers just arbitrarily make things happen, the keys no longer work. Maggie futilely jiggles and wrenches at the keys, drawing her gun in frustration, readying it to shoot the lock.

Major Flaw E: It's not only women that exhibit signs of chronic profound idiocy syndrome (if you suffer from symptoms of CPIS, ask your doctor if Claridryl would be right for you: http://tinyurl.com/oqfcokd ), but rarely do the men behave in quite this doltish a manner. At no point during Maggie's frustration with the whole "trunk won't open" problem does she think to take four fucking steps and pop the trunk from the fucking driver's seat. Thankfully, a man shows up to help her with this intractable trunk conundrum. After hearing about the trunk-zombie, Glenn gently takes the keys in hand, jiggles it in the same fucking way Maggie did, and the trunk opens. He then spikes the captive. There is no reason for characters to be this dense. Moreover, Glenn didn't even solve the problem by being cool-headed and popping the trunk from the front seat (which would have at least been a minor sort of joke). He solved it by jiggling the keys with his man hands, when Maggie's useless lady-hands weren't jiggling them properly.

About this time, Sgt. Ford pulls out a flask of brown liquor and takes a slug. Tara, Rosita, and Eugene talk about him as if he can't hear them, despite the fact he's sitting about seven feet away. "Booze will just make things worse," says Tara. "I'm not sure things can get worse," says Eugene.

Major Flaw F: Remember when Bob had a drinking problem, supposedly? And how nothing came of it? And then they killed Bob off? Well, you can't just leave that fertile character trait on the table, can you? Just bolt it to another character, until you can bring it to some kind of fruition! Or don't! Just keep making dire, cryptic references to things and never follow up! BOLLOCKS

So, Daryl comes back after a fruitless hunting sortie, and they all rest, dejectedly by the road. SUDDENLY FERAL DOGS ATTACK RAWR FERAL DOGS

Well, they don't attack, really. They rampage out of the woods, slicked down with vegetable oil to make them look scary, stop dead and bark at the group, lined up as if trained to do so.  Sasha shoots them all with a high-powered, silenced sniper rifle, and they're instantly eating fire-roasted feral dog. WELL THAT WAS ALMOST A THING 

While eating, Gabriel removes his priest collar and throws it in the fire, because he has lost hope. Noah talks to Sasha.

Hopeversation 3: NOH/SSHA

NOH: "Hey, your brother tried to help me.  But I don't know if I think I'll make it."

SSHA: "Then you won't. Unless you stop thinking and start seeing."

This is a terrible exchange. I can add nothing.

Sgt. Ford walks with Sasha, and generally seems like he's doing just fine.

Hopeversation 4: ABFRD/SSHA

SSHA: "That's gonna make things worse."

ABFRD: "You're gonna make things worse if you don't chill out.  Don't lose hope, you're among friends!"

SSHA: "YOU'RE NOT MY FRIEND AND I'M NOT FILLED WITH ANGER"

Getting back on the road, Glenn tries to get Maggie to have some of the dwindling water supply (low is not out).

Hopeversation 5: GLN/MGGE

MGGE: "I didn't think she was alive, but then she was alive, and then she was dead again, and now I'm not sure I'll make it." 

GLN: "You'll make it, we can do it, together! Don't lose hope!"

It's worth noting that Glenn was the morose one last week. Nobody has any convictions.

After Maggie relents, taking a drink of the water, Glenn tries to get Daryl to have some.  Not wanting to make the audience sit through another hopeversation, Daryl fucks off to "look for water." But really he just sits in the woods and has a smoke. He looks at a barn in the distance. He puts the cigarette out on his hand (because he's tortured by grief), and cries.

When Daryl gets back, after the commercial break, Rick hands him a piece of clean white paper. "From a Friend" it says. At first, it seems like Rick took time away from his precious survival attempts to make Daryl a birthday card, but no. The group, in a seemingly deleted scene, found a cache of water bottles in the middle of the road, labeled with the note. SUSSSSSSPICIOUSSSSSS

They all do that thing where they furtively glance into the woods while holding guns, threateningly, while surreptitiously sneaking glances at the water.

An Aside: If, while, say, Eugene was staring at the water cache, the bottles had blurred and wavered and been visually replaced by broiled steaks, chicken legs, hot dogs and roasted turkeys, I would have laughed until I passed out.

Everybody thinks the Water is a trap, but Eugene is ready to take the risk, grabbing up a bottle to test it, pragmatically calling it "quality assurance," but Abe slaps the bottle out of his hand. It's a tense scene, where it looks like they're going to have to make a hard choice, but it's immediately negated, because a clichéd clap of thunder precedes the instant arrival of a downpour. The kind that happen quite a bit in the summer, in the south, which is why the grass is slippery, the trees are green, and the creeks are always full of fucking water and not dead toy frogs.

The group rejoices at the arrival of rain, with Gabriel melodramatically apologizing to the Lord for briefly being demonstrating the human trait of being discouraged, earlier. Rosita and Tara lie down in the road, mouths open. The grumpy members of the group stand there and keep looking sour. Rick gets them back on task, and they begin laying out bottles and hats and things to catch the water, but Baby Judith's Spider-Sense is tingling. She begins to cry. BECAUSE OH MY GOD IT'S A HUGE STORM MOVING IN

"I saw a barn!" says Daryl. "Where?" says Rick. Just think, if Tyreese were still on the show, he could have been the one who saw the barn.

In the barn, just in case we didn't fucking get it yet why Maggie is upset, she's the one who finds a walker, who was also apparently a young blonde women. Carol sees her regarding the walker.

Hopeversation 6: CRRL/MGGE

CRRL: "Hey, don't give up or some shit, don't lose hope."

MGGE: "Hey, I think I'm slowly regaining the will to go on or some shit, but thanks Carol. Did we just pass the Bechdel test?"

Everyone rests around the Barn. Sgt. Ford hits the flask again, finishing it off. 

An Aside: Sgt. Ford's flask holds no more than six ounces, and was a little over half full at the beginning of the day. So that's like three full servings of alcohol, over the course of what, 8 hours? And he ate feral dog and had some water toward the end, and weighs about 240 pounds. Which means the whole drinking plotline means fuck all.

Everyone sits around a fire in the barn, while Rick gives everyone a pep talk.

Hopeversation 7: RCK/ERRYBODY

RCK: "Well, when I was a kid, I asked my grandpa about WWII, and he told me that was grownup stuff but one day I asked him if any natzis tried to kill him and he said he felt dead every minute he was on the battlefield and had to keep willing himself back to life, and that's like us, we are the walking dead."

Now, Rick's story is actually better and more nuanced than this, but at this point in the show, My eyes had completely glazed over from the fatigue induced by this tedious parade of awful, awful pep talks. What's funny is that Daryl seems to be equally exhausted by them. "We aint them." He stomps off to pace by himself for a bit.

So, some time later, Daryl is still pacing.  It's still storming, and most of the group is asleep. The barn door is closed by a chain, and it's rattling in the wind. Daryl peeks out through the gap OH MY GOD THIRTY OR FORTY WALKERS HAVE SPAWNED OUTSIDE IT'S SO EXCITING NO IT'S NOT

Major Flaw F: Okay, let's review what we know about walker behavior. Being undead creatures, have walkers shown any sign of requiring or seeking out shelter? No. Not at all. What do they seek out that could cause them to unerringly march, en masse, towards the proper entrance of this barn. Noise? Movement? Light? Smell? There's a violent storm in progress, complete with thunder, lightning, high winds, and drenching, scent-obliterating rain. The entire vicinity is filled with stimulus that supposedly "attracts" walkers. Why would they do this? Faced with such a superfluity of diverse stimuli, why would simple creatures driven by simple drives, march directly towards a flimsily-secured gate on a nondescript building? Because the writers needed a scene where the team came together. It's completely arbitrary, and the narrative resolution of the scene is even bloody worse.

Daryl slams himself into the barn door, holding it shut with his body. He doesn't shout for help, because he's afraid to make noise? It's thundering every second! And the walkers are already trying to push the door down! But Sasha sees, and joins in, and Maggie, and eventually everybody, is piled up on the door. Everybody except Judith, who Carl is seen placing carefully in the dirt, a scene devised to avoid the audience wondering if she's strapped to some poor character who's accidentally crushing her into Sgt. Ford's armpit. Anyway, there's an artsy, lightning-lit montage of the determined group, as they mash their exhausted bodies against the barn door, working as a team, united in survival. 

And then they're asleep again.  Because the walkers...just...went away? Nope, stupider than that! Maggie gets up and goes to talk to Daryl, who has cleaned the mechanism on her music box, which we will never see after this episode.

Hopeversation 8: DRRL/MGGE

DRRL: "Your dad who died was tough, and your sister that died was tough."

MGGE: "They were, and now I have hope. I better go see if I can get sasha to have hope, too."

Maggie wakes Sasha up, and takes her outside. She brings the music box. HEY WHAT ABOUT THE WALKERS

Well, shit, trees fell and smooshed them all. Really. Really. All of them. The walkers just wriggle under fallen pines, broken limbs flapping around. Fiat wrote them in, and fiat wrote them out. 

Maggie and Sasha go to watch the sunrise.

Hopeversation 9: MGGE/SSHA:

MGGE: "Hey looking at this sunrise makes you feel pretty hopeful, right?"

SSHA: "Yeah, I feel more hopeful. Play your music box, I guess."

MGGE: "Hey, I wound it but it still doesn't play."

SSHA: "Let's laugh about it, like we're in a yogurt commercial!"

But then, in the waning seconds of the episode, holy crap the plot moves. A new character, a nondescript white guy in a clean outfit, strolls into a clearing, and makes himself known. "Oh, I didn't mean to interrupt, but hi!"

Maggie and Sasha pull guns on him, while he meekly and diplomatically asks to meet with "Who's in charge...Rick, I think his name is?" OMG HOW DOES HE KNOW WHO RICK IS SUSSSSSPICIOUSSSSS

While the new fellow, whose name is Aaron, contends that he's "a friend," the music box suddenly starts. Maggie and Sasha look at it, but keep their guns on Aaron.

SHOW OVER

Thoughts?

#walkingdead #thewalkingdead #walkingdeadseason5 #thewalkingdeadseason5 #them
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Jason Blaesing's profile photoMarinus Calamari's profile photoJeamus Ken's profile photoKenneth Judy's profile photo
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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh 
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Have him in circles
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Hey, this lady does good work.

#buysomething   #athingofbeautyisajoyforever  
 
Just promoting the shop - our furnace died at some point last night, and I'm hoping to get some spare change in the bank account.  

Also, I'm branching out a bit and have started doing custom Funko Pop toys, if anyone is interested in something like that!  I'm working on my first, so everything is an experiment, but rest assured that any project will still be the same quality that you'd expect from my work.

#buyhandmade   #homemade   #arttoys  
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So who do you know that likes ponies? BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION, BRENDAN
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There's not too much I feel I can add to the Leonard Nimoy memorial internet Paella. He was great, obviously, on Star Trek, and unlike everyone else on that show, he seemed to be liked by everyone, which is unique in that cast.  

He was in a ton of great non-Trek stuff, too.

Leonard Nimoy was in one of the best, funniest Simpsons episodes (Marge Versus the Monorail).

He hosted the delightfully camp pseudo-scientific TV documentary series In Search Of.

He was in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the really creepy one from the 70's.

Leonard Nimoy directed a bunch of films, including the highly-successful Three Men and a Baby, which was a funny if disposable 80's comedy filled with 80's mainstays (and source of one of the pre-internet era's most pervasive movie-related urban legends).

He played Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie, still the finest film made about robots that change into other things and shoot lasers.

So hey, lets remember Leonard Nimoy, who was alternately Spock, then he was not Spock and then Spock, again. He was our Hollywood actor pal.

And hey, the Trek Trivia video by the guys at +Cinemassacre  opens with questions about Spock. So check that out, to lighten your mood a bit.

#RIP   #LogicForever   #IDIC  
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"When he isn't saying wacky things about non-science, David Tredinnick makes decisions about real healthcare and real science on both the Health Committee and the Science and Technology Committee of the British Parliament."

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/feb/25/astrology-help-nhs-claim-conservative-mp-david-tredinnick

Any of you Brits wanna explain this? I mean, you give us plenty of shit for our crackpots and warmongers in government--I'm not saying we don't deserve it, but if you're gonna elect these guys you might as well drop those pretentious accents and crack open a can of Cheez Whiz. Hey, what's the cockney rhyming slang equivalent to "'Murica?" 

"Doctorin'? Naw, thass fer folks aint got Merkerry in retrograde!" (dances hillbilly hoedown while drinking Marmite)

#haha   #singleteardownStephenFryscheek   #NHS  
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Cod Codliness's profile photoJdog 16's profile photoRobyn Wittlief's profile photoSultan Saini's profile photo
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+Jdog 16 who are  you asking to repeat/ clarify what they just typed?
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TALK to the fishes and
BURN the sea witches and
SWIM to my kingdom of

AT-LAN-TUSSSS

#haha   #wow   #dccomics   #aquaman   #JasonMamoa  
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Adrianne Zoretich's profile photoLoki in New Orleans's profile photoJames Olchak's profile photoJen Spacey's profile photo
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I'll be honest, I'm not sure what aspect of this worries me the most.  DC's supposed "No humor" decree, going for a Dark Knight-style grudge match between Superman and Batman (when they haven't had a chance to develop a grudge yet), shoehorning in half the DC Universe in glorified cameos to prime the pump for a Justice League movie, the relentlessly drab and dour aesthetic...

Nothing about this thing is encouraging.
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Okay, let me get this straight, first off.  

I don't have any feelings about Beyoncé, positive or negative. Not her music, not her endorsements, not her family, not any feuds she might have. I do not know or care about these things. I understand that she is both wealthy and popular, and her fans enjoy her music tremendously.

And while I think that photoshopping your models until they are unrecognizable as themselves, is gross, that's not really what I want to talk about, today, anyway.

Here's what I want to talk about. If Beyoncé (or anyone else, really) is going to license the use of her likeness to a cosmetic company, and they're going to essentially going to redraw her whole face, changing its contours, the shape and size of her eyes, mouth and nose, and what kind of cosmetics she has on, then why the fuck does she need to show up and have photos taken. She's obviously pretty fuckin' busy.

Having her show up for a photoshoot, just to have artists draw an entirely new face over the photos is bullshit for a lot of reasons, but If I was her, I'd mostly be pissed about my time being wasted like that. This is a lark for her, it's not her day job.

With technology at the level it's at, there is no logical reason that companies that want to use "Beyoncé" as a model for their product couldn't scan her face one fucking time (like in the HBO 80's classic Looker, or how they make likenesses for action figures) and take that render, polish it, remove all blemishes, reshape what they want to reshape, and then layer their illustrations on that. there's nothing left of what she looks like in the final spreads, anyway. 

Listen, it's Beyoncé.  If anyone can make virtual modeling happen, it's her. And she fucking should! Better than a mega-millionaire wasting an afternoon having photos taken that are going to be trashed (or worse, released on the internet so people can gawk at your zits). Why should she put up with that?

#terriblethings   #lookerthemovie   #Beyoncé   
Unretouched photos of Beyoncé have leaked. And guess what? She looks like anyone whose had to wear a shit ton of make-up under hot lights with the pimples to prove it. She looks like a very pretty member of the rest of us. The kicker here; the BeyHive was so offended for their Queen that Beyoncé World--the site that leaked the images--deleted them in fear of retaliation.
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Pristine S.'s profile photoJames Olchak's profile photoNoah Stevens's profile photo
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I probably saw it and Coma like a thousand times

And Firestarter

House

Saturday the 14th
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Dateline Raleigh: Black ice threat extends through week

"Ice and snow cover most of the state this morning. Please be safe and stay inside if at all possible this morning," Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata tweeted well before dawn.

Those conditions are expected to hang around while temperatures stay below freezing.

"There is not much we can do to treat black ice," Gov. Pat McCrory said.

(http://tinyurl.com/ppjqtjl)

#scarytrickyruthlessstuff   #blackiceperserveres  
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