Prison Life In The Walking Dead

To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.

-George Orwell

 Do whatever you gotta do to keep this group safe…and do it with a clear conscience.

-Lori Grimes, to her husband Rick

The pre-credits scene of episode two of The Walking Dead, “Sick” opens where episode one left off; as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the survivors in the walker-infested prison are amputating Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) leg, the survivors are surprised by a group of five prisoners who emerge from a side room. Removing the barricades from the door, the survivors kill the approaching walkers and race against time, wheeling Hershel to safety.

Back in the survivors’ safe cell block, while the group struggles in providing Hershel with medical attention, the prisoners followed the survivors and arrive at the cell block’s entrance. In a tense, armed standoff, the two groups communicate for the first time. The dominant prisoner, Tomas (Nick Gomez) – a Latino gangster– demands rights to the survivors’ cell block (“C”); the survivors flatly refuse. Rick, although suspicious, tries to diffuse the tension but learns that the prisoners have been shut away for ten months, and while aware of walkers, they are unaware that society has collapsed (no phones, computers, police, etc.). To make his point, Rick leads the prisoners outside to the yard to view the walkers – both animated and dead. Emerging into the sunlight, the two groups strike an uneasy deal; Rick and the survivors will help the prisoners clear out the prisoners’ cell block from walkers in exchange for half the prisoners’ stored food; in return, the prisoners will stay to themselves and avoid all interactions with the survivors. As Rick, T-Dog (IronE Singleton), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) return with heaping boxes of canned goods, the women struggle without medical supplies in tending to the unconscious and barely alive Hershel. Rick wisely takes no chances; in the event that Hershel dies and is re-animated as a walker, he orders Glenn (Steven Yuen) to handcuff him to his bed.

Off to the side, in a chilling conversation, Rick updates his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). Admitting to her that the prisoners’ pose a possible threat, he calmly reveals he may need to kill them. Lori reacts with approval.

Later, Rick and the others return to the prisoners’ cell block as agreed upon. Rick briefly instructs them on battle tactics (maintain formation, head shots only), but when the action starts, the prisoners, armed with pipes and crowbars, break ranks and go berserk in what can only be described as “prison freestyle”. After Daryl corrects their wild techniques, they kill more efficiently; but one hulking prisoner, Big Tiny (Theodus Crane), edges to safety at a side room and is scratched by walkers. Afterwards, both groups consider what to do before Tomas suddenly bludgeons him to death. Continue reading

Seed Of The Walking Dead

AMC’s The Walking Dead, now in its third season, centers on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a former deputy sheriff from Georgia leading a small band of survivors to safety in the aftermath of devastating zombie apocalypse. Called walkers (they roam endlessly and never tire), the moaning, decaying, zombies are a deadly lot, as they shuffle in wandering herds, seeking live flesh. The first two seasons, a ratings and critical smash, showed Rick and a diverse band of survivors seeking safe refuge while fighting walkers, other survivors, and each other. The Walking Dead is loosely based on the comics of the same name, and uses it as a springboard rather than adhere to it faithfully; this approach enables plenty of twists, surprises, new characters, and red herrings.

Law-and-order man Rick Grimes has the heart of a lion, a classic good guy so pure in his outlook and valiant in his mission he’s more like a knight from a medieval tale or a hero from a Greek myth. Joining Rick are his pretty wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), his pre-teen son Carl (Chandler Riggs); Daryl (Norman Reedus), a redneck archer/tracker/outdoorsman and Rick’s wingman; Glenn (Steven Yeun), a Korean delivery boy turned resourceful street rat; T-Dog (Irone Singleton), a tough, stocky black guy; Carol (Melissa McBride), a gentle widow, having lost her husband and daughter in seasons one and two; elderly Hershel (Scott Wilson), an upright, religious country vet in whose farm the survivors sought refuge; Hershel’s two daughters Maggie (Lauren Cohan), romantically linked with Glenn, and the emotionally-troubled Beth (Emily Kinney); Andrea (Laurie Holden), a former lawyer, whose character developed over the first two seasons from a jangled bundle of nerves to a straight shooter; and the newest addition, the mysterious katana-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira).

In last season’s exciting finale, “Beside The Dying Fire”, the walkers overran Hershel’s farm, killing his daughter and son-in law, and exiling the hapless survivors. Separated from the group, Andrea is saved by the laconic Michonne, while Rick asserted his indisputable leadership (or “Rick-tatorship”, as fans are calling it).

In season three’s premiere, “Seed”, the slam-bang pre-credits sequence opens with a twisted mockup of Lost, where the camera spirals away from a walker’s eye – cold, reptilian, lifeless. Seeking refuge, Rick and the survivors burst into a simple country house. Fanning out like a well-oiled SWAT unit (including Carl), they secure the house by killing that walker and other undead inhabitants. Just as they settle in, T-Dog spots a herd of walkers converging on the house. The survivors grab their gear and flee…

Later on, while hunting food, Rick and Daryl spy the prison shown in last season’s “Besides The Dying Fire”. Realizing its potential for refuge, Rick devises a plan with the group to clear the yard of walkers and break into the prison (the second time this episode where we see the survivors work brilliantly as a team). Reveling in the safety of the prison yard, they whoop and holler with joy at the open space. In the morning, they clear out a ravaged, overturned cell block and settle in.

Meanwhile, we get our first glimpse of Michonne since her brief introduction last season. Entering a dilapidated pharmacy in a small town, she coolly beheads walkers while finding aspirin for Andrea, who is sick and resting safely in a nearby meat locker. Andrea urges Michonne to abandon her, but Michonne refuses. Then the two women along with Michonne’s two chained, pet-like, armless and jawless walkers set out.

Back in the prison, the survivors find an ammunition stash and prepare to clear out the rest of the prison, in hopes of finding the cafeteria and infirmary. Armed and ready, they light the way through the unlit, ghoulish cell block by flashlight, stepping over bloody and decaying corpses while Glenn marks their trail with spray paint. At the far end of the block, they stumble into walkers; in the ensuing chaos, Glenn and Maggie separate from the others; Hershel backs up to locate them and is bitten in the leg by a walker. Reuniting, the group quickly finds safety, where Rick, in an attempt to halt the spreading infection, unsheathes a hatchet and amputates Hershel’s leg below the knee. Hearing noises, they look up, and realize they are not alone; they are being watched by live prisoners… Continue reading

Season Two Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part II

Vendettas & Confrontations

Episode Twelve: The pre-credits scene of episode twelve of The Walking Dead’s second season, “Better Angels,” opens at Dale’s funeral.  Killed by a walker at the end of the previous episode, the gory sequence jump cuts between the solemn burial – with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) eulogizing over the elderly victim – and the survivors engaging in what can only be described as a walker vendetta. Shuttling around the perimeter of Hershel’s farm in a pickup truck, they approach the shuffling undead, smashing and crushing their skulls. Rick explains, grimly, that Dale would have wanted them to pull together and take control of their lives. The survivors listen silently and reflect on the message…

Post-credits, the survivors take stock of their situation. The impending winter will soon dry up the swamp and nearby creek, eliminating the natural barrier against the walkers. The farm is left open and vulnerable, and Hershel (Scott Wilson) is allowing the group to move into his house for refuge. As Rick barks guard duty and lookout tower instructions, it’s evident that he elevated Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) to his second-in-command, leaving Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) somewhat grumbling and bitter. Rick’s son Carl (Chandler Riggs) reveals to a stunned Shane his guilty feelings over Dale’s death. Later, Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) bares her soul to Shane, sharing her appreciation for him, but it’s a sly ruse to keep Shane with the group.

dead-walker[1]Later, Shane sneaks into the barn where the prisoner Randall (Michael Zegen) is held. Feigning discontentment with the group, he tricks Randall into taking him to his renegade comrades. On their way, he murders the boy then smashes himself into a tree to fake assault injuries to the group. A search party goes out for Randall, with Rick and Shane in one pair and Glenn (Steven Yuen) and Daryl in the other. The latter two find Randall, now re-animated as a walker, but suspiciously he has no bites. Meanwhile, Shane leads Rick further away from the farm; Rick sees through his trick and confronts him…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Twelve

 

Gory Climax

The pre-credits sequence for “Besides the Dying Fire,” the thirteenth episode and exciting season finale of season two of The Walking Dead, opens with the lead-in to the previous episode’s finale. In an eerie glimpse of deserted Atlanta, inhabited only by walkers, a helicopter passes overhead. As one walker mindlessly follows, hundreds soon join, forming a terrifying mass herd. Incapable of tiring, they shuffle on, day and night, drifting out of the city and into the countryside until they end up at the gate to Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) farm. The rickety, weather-beaten wood is no match for their sheer mass and the groaning undead crash through. Hearing the gunshot (that killed the re-animated Shane) they plod on in that direction, confronting Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs)…

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Post-credits, the survivors in the farm react uneasily to Daryl Dixon’s (Norman Reedus) news that their prisoner Randall (Michael Zegen) re-animated with no bites. Daryl slips out of the house into the darkness to look for Rick but stops upon seeing the approaching walkers. Outside, Rick thinks fast; ordering Carl to follow, they run to the barn, dodging walkers on the way. Once inside, Rick sets it on fire and flees up to the barn’s hayloft with Carl. In the thrilling, twelve-minute action sequence, the other survivors arm themselves and prepare for the fight, but things turn awry: Jimmy (James Allen McCune) drives up to the barn, saves Rick and Carl (who jump onto the RV’s roof and to the ground), but the RV is overrun by walkers; Patricia (Jane McNeill) is killed; Andrea (Laurie Holden) and T-Dog (IronE Singleton) barely escape; Carol (Melissa McBride) is cornered but rescued by Daryl on his chopper; T-Dog picks up Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Beth (Emily Kinney); and Glenn (Steven Yeun) escapes with Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

trapped gene pageHershel intends to stay and protect his land, hopelessly firing away with his shotgun, but is finally convinced by Rick to abandon ship. In the ensuing chaos Andrea, armed with only a pistol, gets separated from the rest and escapes through the woods. Running for her life, she stays alive, picking off walkers until running out of ammo…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Thirteen

Evan Rothfeld

Season Two Of The Walking Dead Concludes, Part I

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Cliffhanger Opening

Episode Ten: Episode ten of The Walking Dead’s second season, “18 Miles Out”, opens with a smash – literally. In an exciting pre-credits scene, walkers crash through the windows of an abandoned factory and chase Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) and last episode’s hostage, Randall (Michael Zegen) – his hands tied by rope – through the factory’s lot. As the trio attempt to escape it’s every man for himself: Shane holes up in a school bus, straining to keep the doors closed to prevent the walkers from swarming in; Rick runs from a walker, barely escaping; and Randall, abandoned by the other two, crawls to reach a knife a few yards away….

Post-credits, the events unfold via flashback. Deciding not to kill Randall, Rick and Shane agree to abandon him several miles away from the farm where he has a chance of survival. On the way, Rick – looking haggard and sounding hoarse and exhausted – stops the car at a quiet junction to have a much-needed and long overdue man-to-man with Shane. Laying it out calmly and carefully, but with a firm edge, Rick tells him that he knows the truth about Otis’ mysterious death and about Lori’s pregnancy. Shane questions Rick’s survival instincts, but Rick stresses that he is a fighter who will do what he needs to do to protect his family.

Continuing their drive, Rick thinks ahead, making survival suggestions for the group’s upcoming long, cold winter on the ranch. Shane is passive and pre-occupied with his thoughts. They pass a walker plodding through a nearby field; Shane sees it but says nothing.

Throwing A Wrench…

Reaching a creepy, abandoned industrial plant, they kill a couple of walkers and break in. As they explore the silent premises, they are shaken up by charred bodies lying in a gruesome outdoor pyre. Further in, they see two dead security guards lying side-by-side, methodically placed, but with no bites. Rick, staring at the bodies, episode 10 fightsurmises that it was scratches. They drag Randall to the perimeter, rip the duct tape of his mouth but leave his hands and feet tied, and then abandon him. As the two walk away, Randall desperately tries appealing to their sense of good will and reason, to no avail. Only after shouting that he went to school with Maggie do Rick and Shane stop – both know that this knowledge is dangerous. Thinking that he might find his way back to the farm, Shane prepares to shoot the boy. Rick kicks Shane’s pistol away, igniting a brutal fistfight. Bloody and bruised, the two ex-deputy sheriffs each take a beating, with Rick coming out slightly on top. Shane throws a huge wrench at Rick, who ducks but it smashes through the building window…and walkers alerted to the commotion start pouring out (hence the show’s opening)…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Ten

A Bunch Of Angry Men & Women

Episode Eleven: As the second season of The Walking Dead finishes up, the pre-credits scene of episode eleven, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” opens in the barn as Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) brutally interrogates Randall (Michael Zegen). The young hostage initially yields little info, but after Daryl’s beatings and not-so-subtle threats, he reveals that his renegade friends numbers thirty men, armed with semi-automatic rifles. He reveals to Daryl that they once kidnapped and gang-raped two farmer’s daughters and forced the farmer to watch. Daryl reacts furiously…

Post-credits, Daryl passes the grisly findings to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the others: if Randall’s friends pass through, the survivors are dead meat. Rick decides that the execution continues as planned; all agree except Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), who argues that they have no right to take a life. Additionally, he puts forth that Randall is “just a kid”, he needs due process, etc. This leaves Rick unmoved. Dale next tries Andrea (Laurie Holden) and plays on her past as a civil rights lawyer, together with a call to maintain their humanity in the face of a changing world. This yields similar results, although Andrea agrees to guard Randall from the others.

Later, while Andrea is outside the barn guarding the young hostage as promised, Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) reveals to her his disgruntled suspicions that Rick will spare Randall at the last minute. Shane further reveals his thoughts about Rick’s incompetence and bad decisions as leader, coldly hinting about the need for “change”… Randall hears all this through a crack in the barn wall, but spots young Carl (Chandler Riggs) sitting on a loft in the barn watching him out of boredom. Using a slick buddy-buddy tone, he tries to persuade Carl to release him. Shane barges in and shoves a pistol to Randall’s face, but is stopped by Andrea. Shane warns Carl and promises not to tell his parents Rick and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies).

Sentenced

While preparing for the hanging, Rick announces to Lori his intentions of clearing out the barn for the survivors’ new lodging, and strategically placing lookouts in the loft in preparation of the upcoming bleak, cold, and of course, walker-saturated winter. Even better, he suggests that they ask Hershel if they can stay in the house, to which Lori agrees.

stuck walkerAfter an incident in which Carl is rude to Carol (Melissa McBride) – calling her an “idiot” for believing in heaven – the young boy nicks a gun from Daryl and leaves camp, unsupervised. Ambling around the outside, he finds a walker stuck in the mud near a riverbed. He throws rocks at it, but gets too close: the walker frees one leg trying to get the young boy…

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Eleven

Evan Rothfeld

Rising Dread & Other Complications On The Walking Dead

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In the previous episode of The Walking Dead, “Nebraska”, Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) set off to find and bring home her husband Rick but hit a walker on the way and crashed into a tree. The pre-credits scene of episode nine, “Triggerfinger”, shows Lori on the deserted road after dark , lying unconscious in the overturned car. A walker approaches, spotting the trapped and helpless woman and moves in for the kill. As the snarling creature smashes his way in, Lori awakes, and in a desperate fight, kills him.

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Back at the bar, Hershel (Scott Wilson), Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) calm down and take a deep breath over the previous episode’s killing of Dave (Michael Raymond-James) and Tony (Aaron Munoz), two working-class strays who made not-so-subtle-threats about seeking shelter in Hershel’s farm. They confiscate the dead men’s weapons, but noises outside reveal some other men pulling up to the bar. From their conversation, we learn that they are part of Dave’s and Tony’s renegade group and are looking for their (unbeknownst to them) dead buddies. Their shadows in the glass show they are armed. glenn-rickThe trio dims the lights, and hide – guns ready – but the men prowl the perimeter and decide to check the bar. Calling in through the window, they ask about their friends with a frightened urgency; it seems that the town is rapidly filling with walkers. A deadly cat and mouse game begins, as the men try to find and (presumably) kill the trio…

Evan Rothfeld

Please click on the link to Deadloggers to continue reading about Episode Nine