This episode was jam packed with story and action. But the most impressive secnes were with negan and his long awaited reunion with his Lucille. This episode has some tough moments which reminds you of how dark the show can still go and willing to go.
Aaron discovers Gamma has been killing walkers, opening them up and spilling them into the river, trying to contaminate it. While Gamma was killing one walker she flashbacks to what she did to her own sister, sacrificing her to save Alpha and seemingly having regrets about it. She slices her hand open and Aaron comes along and throws her some gauze because Aaron is always prepared with first aid. She runs off and tells Alpha what happen who sees that developing that relationship could be useful.
Supplies have been going missing and Yumiko has her suspicions that Magna is behing it. Magna is still acting weird. Kelly goes out hunting and her hearing is worsening and she gets in trouble and is injured trying to get away from some walkers. Daryl, Connie, magna and Dog go looking for her. When they find her, she needs first aid (Where’s Aaron?) and Kelly tells Magna to fess up. They have been creating an emergency get away stach of supplies. Daryl is pissed and so is Connie who didn’t know about it. Connie asks Daryl to say that they found the supplies but not who hid them. He syas he understands and signs the symbol for ‘family’. Connie communicates to him that she and he are family and makes the same sign. Awwwww. She really does like him and he trusts her which is a lot for Daryl.
Meanwhile, Yumiko and Magna have it out again and magna lets her know that she resents Yumiko from pre-apocalypse times and Yumiko decides that Magna needs to find a couch to crash on.
Ezekiel has been moping around but it’s not just from missing Carol. He reveals to Saddiq that he has thyroid cancer. He shows him a big bulge in his neck. He had family that had the same thing and beat it but that was pre- zombie apocalypse when you could treat it with chemo and other drugs. He knows that this is a death sentence. Saddiq calls Alexandria and tries to get carol on the radio so that Ezekiel can talk to her and let her know but he hangs up the call before talking to her.
NEGAN AND BRANDON
“We’re both Negan!” Brandon
Daryl and Saddiq went looking for Negan but couldn’t find him but someone did! Brandon! His parents were Saviors who died in the war between Ricj Grimes and The Saviors. He now lives in Alexandria but he’s heard the tales of Negan and he is full on star struck. Negan puts up with it but is clearly annoyed.
Zombie Kill Of The Week! Negan uses barbed wire to slice off a walkers head and then stomps on it for good measure! Then Brandon presents Negan with a gift; a new Lucille!
“You like it, right?” Brandon asks.
“Does pig shit stink?” Negan answers.
They hear some screaming and come to the rescue of a young woman and her young son. We get another gruesome Negan kill using a door! “Classic Negan!” yells Brandon. Negan tells Brandon to go home, back to Alexandria. When Brandon doesn’t take the hint, Negan makes it more clear. He doesn’t want or need his company. He takes the young boy under his wing and he bonds with the young boy by teaching him then art of “nut tapping”. It’s a great scene and you see a different side of Negan, albeit, he is still very much Negan. He tells the boy that he will take him and his mother to a place that will take them in and where they’ll be safe. But first they need some wood for a fire for the night and they’ll head out in the morning.
But when Negan returns with the wood he finds that Brandon has returned and has killed the mother and her son. He’s proud of it! He thought that Negan was testing him when he told him to go back to Alexandria. He says this is just what Negan would have done, right? And look at all the good stuff they got now! Negan is pissed! He picks up a rock and just as Brandon yells out “We are Negan!” Negan smashes his head in and proceeds to pound it to a pulp. Negan’s past sure casme back to haunt him. He has changed a lot in the last seven years. He isn’t the same guy that led the Saviors but by the end of the episode we see him in his leather jacket and Lucille on his shoulder. “Little piggy, little piggy! Let me in!” This is what he said the first time he came to visit Alexandria. He summons a group of walkers which he proceeds to take out one by one with Lucille until one of them throws him down. It’s Beta.
“All right you big ass freak, let’s do this” Negan says to Beta.
It was interesting to see that this young man was such a Negan fan. After all this time! He even did the whistle! Negan acted like a rock star stuck in an elevator with a super fan.
Man, Ezekiel continues to have a run of bad luck. This is the first instance on the show that one of the characters must deal with getting cancer in the apocalypse. Should be interesting to see what kind of creative treatments they come up with.
I’m not so much interested in the Yumiko-Magna relationship. Hopefully, they don’t spend too much time on this.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Gamma and Aaron will become friends
2 Aaron will be captured by the whisperers
3 Negan will save Aaron
4 Negan will kill Beta
5 Carol will kill Alpha
“Nothing Ever Ends” Adrian Veidt
Look, you will need to have patience in these first few episodes as information gets doled out seemingly willy nilly but I assure you things will come into focus and you will be amazed.
The opening segment shows a German officer in WWI who draws up a propaganda flyer targeted at black soldiers. It says that they are unwanted in their own country and that Germany has no such prejudice against them. The soldier from the first episode who gets his little boy to safety, saved one of these fliers from the war and writes on the back of it “Watch Over This Boy” and stuffs it in the little boy’s jacket. That little boy is now 105 year old Louis Gosset Jr., his name is Will and he is holding that flyer when Angela finds him by the tree where Judd has been hung. He claims he did it but Angela doesn’t believe him and neither should we right? Instead of arresting Will she takes him to the bakery.
“He had skeletons in his closet” Will
We already know that Judd is not what he seems from the first episode. He was doing cocaine during family dinner! He din’t like Black Oklahoma because they didn’t have enough spirit. If Judd is to Watchmen the Series as The Comedian was to Watchmen the Graphic novel and Film then Judd does have some skeletons and they will surprise Angela.
During the course of the episode Angela goes through her stages of grief and eventually starts thinking, was Judd not who I thought he was. We see a flashback to White Night, the night that the Seventh Calvary targeted 40 cops and attacked at the same time. Angela and Judd survive. Every cop resigned out of fear which is why cops now wear masks and Angela became Sister Night. Judd and Angela bonded after that and became like father and daughter it seems.
Angela tries to figure out who Will is and goes to a memorial where she interacts with a digitized Louis Henry Gates who is now Secretary of State. She takes Will’s DNA from the coffee cup he was drinking from and submits it to find out more about him.
When Angela goes to comfort Judd’s wife, Jane (Frances Fisher) she finds a full house of people including young Senator Joe Keen Jr. (James Wolk) who has presidential aspirations. Angela faints seemingly from grief but it was just a feint to snoop around the hosue and boy, did she find something. Talk about a skeleton in his closet! She finds a KKK outfit, complete with police badge attached. She confronts Will about it, asking if he planted it there. He’s in a wheelchair, which he points out to her, couldn’t have been him. While she’s arguing with him she gets a call with the results of the DNA test. Another bombshell! Will is her grandfather! She decides to finally officially arrest him and takes him out to her car. But before she can get in a spacecraft of some kind comes along, drops a big magnet on the car and whisks it aay with Will in it. What the hell!!! Who was that? Doesn’t seem likely that this was Seventh Calvary, they don’t seem that technologically advanced. Angela is left staring up at the sky in disbelief. The audience stared at their TV screens in disbelief as well.
In other news, we get more bizarre scenes at Veidt manor. We get to watch Veidt’s play “The Watchmaker’s Son” performed by his odd but loyal servants Mr. Phillips and Ms. Crookshanks. It tells the story of how Jon Osterman became Doctor Manhattan. He forgets his watch in the de-atomizing chamber and is zapped1 In this play, Veidt uses an old fashioned detonator and sets poor Mr. Phillips on fire! Tears from Ms. Crookshanks and down from the rafters floats down Doctor Manhattan who we discover is also played by Mr. Phillips? Yes, our suspicions were confirmed. Phillips and Crookshanks are robots or cyborgs or Lord knows what.
So looks like Angela’s kids are actually her old partner’s children. He and his wife were killed on White Night and she took them in.
The wonderful character actor Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad, Deadwood) makes an appearance as Angela’s adapted son, Topher’s easily bought off grandfather.
We get to see an episode of American Hero Story! This one is about Hooded Justice and it’s pretty damn awesome (and violent).
In a scene of vigilante anger Red Scare leads the cops on an assault on an all white trailer park with a giant statue of Richard Nixon. Nobody is in charge now that Judd is gone.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Judd was a double agent!
2 We will see a Westworld crossover!
3 Holy shit! Judd’s not dead! Veidt made a robot eouble!
4 Who whisked Will away? Had to be Veift, right?
5 The baby that young Will saved in the first episode is Angela’s great grandmother.
Pedro Almodovar has made some cutting edge films in his day (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down, High Heels) and he has become one of the most respected filmmakers of his time. Now in the later years of his career he delivers a memory film, a character study of an aging director reeling from the death of his mother and facing the existential questions of life; Why go on? What’s left for me? Pain and Glory is a beautiful film. It is a straight forward drama, no tricks, no splash, just human beings at their most naked.
Salvadore Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is a film director who seems to have given up. He is afflicted with various ailments that keep him from working. The thing that sparks some fire in him is the remastering and rerelease of one of his most famous films. He seeks out the actor with whom he had a falling out while making the film and that reunion sets in motion a series of events that brings Salvadore back to life. Interspersed throughout are flashbacks to Salvadore’s youth and memories of his mother, Jacinta (Penelope Cruz) as well flashbacks of the days before his mother dies. Almodovar is working out a lot of personal feelings here and it instills the film with a real genuine quality. Salvador’s Madrid apartment in the film is actually Almodovar’s own apartment in real life. Safe to say, this film is very autobiographical. The acting is so natural and emotional it feels like your eavesdropping on your neighbors.
There is a particular scene between Salvadore and an ex lover he hasn’t seen in 30 years that is so lovely and feels so real that it is a revelation. In these days of non stop action films it is a real treat to see such a lovely scene between two people that brings out such well earned affection.
The entire casts is excellent from Cruz to Nora Navas as Salvador’s good friend, Mercedes, to Leonardo Sbaraglia as Frederico, Salvadore’s ex-lover. But it’s Antonio Banderas who delivers a master class in acting. A long time collaborator of Almodavor’s, in fact, he and Almodovar had a falling out and that seems to be reflected in the relationship between Salvador and Alberto (Asier Etxeandia), the actor he reconciles with in the film. Banderas is sure to finally get an Oscar nomination.
Almodovar’s direction is assured and patient and he injects the right amount of tenderness and somberness that never lets the film slip into sentimentality. It’s beautifully shot and structured and I won’t be surprised if Almodovar brings home another Oscar for himself.
There were several story threads running through this episode which I’m sure will get their own episodes before the season is through. This week it’s Hilltop’s turn to have a walker problem. Another strong episode. New show runner Angela Kang has got the show back on track with good story telling and good character development. I still miss Rick, though.
EZEKIEL (No longer King)
A huge tree falls and crashes through the walls of Hilltop. Walkers started pouring through!!!
This triggers Ezekiel to have a meltdown. He gets so down that he contemplates suicide! Good thing Michonne finds him before he jumps off that cliff. This is where that kiss comes in that caused so much controversy when the promo was released at Comic Con. It turns out this wasn’t really a romantic kiss. Michonne conects with him over the loss of Carol and Kingdom and at this vulberable moment he kisses her. So calm down, people! She hasn’t betrayed Rick!
Magna, Yumiko, Luke, Connie and Kely assemble like the Avengers outside the walls to fight off walkers. For some reason, when it comes time to retreat, Magna refuses to leave. Yumiko finally drags her away and we later find out that Yumiko used to be Magna’s lawyer, presumably how they met
LYDIA / NEGAN
In Alexandria, everyone is paranoid about The Whisperers which means Lydia is getting even more nasty looks and harassment. She’s about had it. Negan seems to be her only friend. They can relate to each other, both being unwanted outsiders. They are each some kind of trophy from past battles. How do you not see them and remember the horrible things that happened before? How can you move on? Lydia triggered the most horrific moment in the whole show, granted she didn’t actually do the deed. Her mom did and her mom is still a threat. I get it. Daryl tries to bond with her but she’s not feeling it.
When a trio of Alexandrian punks actually attack Lydia, Negan comes to the rescue and accidentally kills one of them. Immediately the council debate giving Negan the death penalty. Aaron, whose life Negan saved last week, votes to hang him! Daryl votes against, beleiving Lydia who says it was an accident. The swing vote comes down to father Gabriel who needs to sleep on it. But Negan doesn’t wait around for the verdict. He escapes1 Lydia claims to have let him go but she says that so that they lock her up in Negan’s cell. At least it will be safer for her.
Now that The Negan has been released what will he do? Looks like in the the next episode we’ll find out.
We get a steamy love scene between Magna and Yumiko! It’s unbeleivable to me that there hasn’t been more hanky panky happening in the apocalypse. I can only think of two other scenes in the whole 10 years (Glenn and Maggie -Season 2 – Abraham-Rosita – Season 4)
I loved seeing Michonne and Judith fighting side by side, each with their size appropriate katanas! Michonne is confiding in Judith too, discussing problems openly with her and hearing her take. Judith is being groomed to be the future leader. What carl should have been!!!
Saddiq keeps having PTDS attacks. He needs to seek help! Father Gabriel!!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1. Yumiko was Magda’s lawyer in an assault and battery case pre-apocalypse.
2 Luke’s love interest must die!
3 Negan will infiltrate The Whisperers camp as a double agent, befriend Beta.
4 Lydia will face off against Gamma
5 We’re finally going to get Negan flashbacks!
When Zombieland came out 10 years ago I wasn’t so sure about it. I liked the cast but it looked like it might be silly. Well, it was a little silly but it was also really clever and more importantly very funny! The cast had great chemistry and the Bill Murray cameo is one the all time classic funny bits. Jesse Eisenberg went on to become an Oscar nominee for The Social Network. Emma Stone went on to win an Oscar for La La Land. Woody Harrelson went on to do True Detective. I never thought a sequel was even a thought. But damn if the powers that be determined that we needed more and the entire original cast was up to getting knee deep in the zombie killing muck.
In the last 10 years our leads have survived and bonded as a normal family. Tallahassee (Harrellson) has become a father figure to Little Rock (Abagail Breslin) who is seeking to leave the nest. Ohio (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wichita (Emma Stone) are a couple that are in a rut. When Little Rock hits the road and hooks up with Berkeley (Avon Nogia) it sets the show in motion and we meet several new characters.
The best of which is Madison ( Zoey Deutch) a dippy blonde Ohio meets in the mall. She could have been a cliche but Deutch plays her do well and milks every ounce of humor out the part. It’s no surprise that Deutch is the daughter of Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch (Some Kind of Wonderful). The story is simple, the action is fun, the finale is exciting and the whole thing is laugh out loud funny!
I was worried that after 10 years this sequel would be called in and stale. Anchorman 2 was that kind of disappointment. But up my surprise, Z2 delivered big laughs and introduced new characters that added to the story and to the returning lead characters. It helps that Z2 doesn’t take itself too seriously and is able to poke fun at itself and even take a shot at The Walking Dead.
Woody Harrelson expands on his character and is given a love interest (Rosario Dawson). The Zombie Kill of the week is even better than ever. There are even new evolved zombies that create problems for our heroes. They’re getting harder to kill! And for those wondering if Bill Murray could possibly be back for another awesome cameo all I can say is, stay for the credits.
Things got very hallucinogenic fast! This was a Carol episode but The Negan was finally released! And we did get some juicy scenes between Negan and Aaron.
The episode started by showing a montage showing a never ending attack of walkers on Alexandria. Hour 4. Hour 8. Hour 12. We kept seeing scenes of our friends battling walkers. At first I thought, oh, we’re going to see some of this and then they’re going to doible back and show us how we got to this place but they didn’t. They kept going. Hour 24. Hour 30. Were they being sent by Alpha? Lydia doesn’t think so. Eventually gamma shows up and says Alpha wants a meeting at the border, meaning the place where the 10 posts still stand that had the heads mounted on last season. Michonne agrees and takes a small group with her including Daryl and Carol.
“There is one rule between our people. One law: Stay where you are. Yet, you disobey.” Alpha
Carol hasn’t been sleeping, taking speed to stay awake and it’s affecting her judgement. She has become overwhelmed with thoughts of revenge. She hides a gun in the back of her belt and when faced with Alpha, who taunts her by saying that Henry called out her name when she chopped off his head, she pulls it out and takes her shot. Michonne gets there first and grabs her arm, causing the bullet to hit the ground. Alpha was in a forgiving mood, being a mother, too. She knows that they have crossed their land three times! How does she know that? She does. She says she down’t want retribution she just wants more land. Michonne can only concede and move on. But on their way back to Alexandria, Carol thinks she sees some Whsiperers. She shoots at them. The group decide to take refuge in a nearby school until morning. This is where Carol has a trippy night.
Daryl starts opening up to her about how his dad was a truck driver and he took pills to stay awake. He’s worried about Carol but she keeps popping pills and goes on patrol. But her sleep deprivation is causing her to lose time and sees hallucinations of Henry. Eventually she walks into the gym and steps into a trap, gets lifted into the air upside down. Bad time for a group of zombies to wander in looking for a pick up game! Carol manages to become a ‘reverse pinata’ and kills walker after walker before cutting herself loose. By the time Daryl comes Carol has finished them off but she has a chunk of glass in her arm. When the time comes for Saddiq to pull it out he has another PTSD attack and his new assistant, dante sees this, takes over and covers for him. I’m still not sure if I like this guy or not.
Carol finally gets some sleep and dreams of domestic bliss with Daryl and of course, Henry is sitting at the breakfast table. She doesn’t want to sleep because she dreams of Henry but even awake she is seeing Henry. She asks Daryl if he believes that she saw those Whisperers and he gives her a half-hearted yes. At the very end of the episode we see the bodies of walkers that Carol killed in the gym and tracks out of the gym and stops on a body that is obviously a Whisperer. They open their eyes and have obviously turned. So Carol got one!
“Or what cowboy. Ah, you know what I see? I see someone that’s pretending. Come on, man, let’s go.” Negan
The other story in this episode deals with Negan who Father Gabriel enlists to help fight the onslaught of walkers despite Aaron’s protests. “Peanut butter (Aaron) meet Jelly (Negan) as Father Gabriel exclaims and Aaron reluctantly takes Negan on patrol. They battle walkers side by side but Aaron will only allow Negan to use a broom stick while Aaron has fashioned a mace to his stump. Aaron hates Negan, blames him for the death of his boyfriend, Eric. Negan counters that maybe Aaron should have taken better care of Eric. Then Aaron brings up Negan’s wife. They get face to face but refrain from coming to blows. Eventually Aaron gets some hogweed in his eyes and is blinded. Negan disappears. Come nightfall, Aaron comes across a house and there is Negan, calmly sitting in the dark. Aaron is overcome by walkers and Negan comes to his rescue. They stay there til morning and by then Aaron has regained his sight. They come to an uneasy truce. Their scenes are exciting and fun, mostly to see the danger and menace of Negan re-emerge. Obviously, he will be very useful down the line when the war with The Whisperers goes into full swing.
Aaron’s mace arm is awesome! Reminiscent of Merle’s ‘knife on a stump’!
It’s amazing that only Carol and Saddiq are suffering from PTSD. They should all be on sedatives at this point.
Samantha Morton is crazy good!
That last scene showing a Whisperer open it’s eyes to reveal that it had turned had me confused at first. Now I see that it was proof that Carol did see Whisperers and that she killed one. Believe Carol! (Even though she’s acting a little crazy)
The book carol sees on the floor in the school showed a family with 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys, representing the children carol has lost over the years.
Daryl has spoken more in these first three episodes than he’s spoken in the last three seasons!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Negan and Aaron are going to become pals!
2 Aaron will die saving negan in the season finale.
3 Look, Eugene will end up with Rosita by the end of the season. She can’t be with Father gabriel and Saddiq is falling apart.
4 That Hogweed that blinded Aaron could come in handy if they can weaponize it. I’m talking to you, Eugene!
5 I don’t know a lot about Gamma but I have a feeling she has a plan that doesn’t include Alpha or Beta.
“Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick Tock”
David Lindelof co-created my favorite show LOST. It was a challenging, complicated piece of work that was also incredibly emotional and sentimental. I loved it but it also incurred the ire of a large amount of people who came to hate it and be highly disappointed with its conclusion. Lindelof also co-created the HBO show The Leftovers, which was based on a popular novel. He went beyond the novel and adapted the story and infused it with his own special touches. He created another complicated maze of a story that also divided audiences into those who loved it and those who were annoyed with it.
Now he has adopted Watchmen. This may prove to be his most controversial and divisive project yet. Watchmen, the immensely popular and influential 1986 graphic novel by Alan Moore was made into a three hour epic film by Zach Snyder in 2009. It received a mixed reception. I actually loved it! So when I heard that Lindelof was doing his own adaptation for HBO I was very excited. But this isn’t just another version of the comic or the film, Lindelof has set his story 30 years after the action of the comic and the film and he’s constructed a fresh story that is sure to enrage fans of the comic and divide audiences yet again.
The original comic took place in the 1980s in an alternative reality where The US won the war in Vietnam, Nixon has been President for 30 years, the Watchmen are outlaws and the threat of nuclear holocaust loomed large while the world watched as the Doomsday Clock got closer to 0. Lindelof dubs the comic “the old testament” and his adaptation as the “new testament”. Just as in LOST, ‘what happened happened’ , everything we know from the comic exists but as the past. The new threat to humanity is white supremacy.
Check out this video that explains the Black Wall Street Massacre that is depi
The first episode opens in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. We see a recreation of one of the most violent acts of racial violence to take place in the United States. I’ll be honest, I was not aware that this happened. This is a horrific event. We see a young black couple and their little boy trying to escape the city. The little boy survives as does a little baby. In the present we are introduced to a character played by Louis Gosset Jr. and I’m thinking he is that little boy.
“all the whores and politicians will look up and shout, ‘Save us!’…and I’ll look down and whisper, ‘No.’”
Lindelof is tackling a big subject here, racism, white terrorism, which is a real and current problem still and perhaps, with the current politics I the country, more front and center than ever. It’s quite daring.
The differences in this alternate reality are many. The action takes place in Tulsa, 30 years later. The police all wear masks for their own safety. The white supremacists call themselves the Seventh Kavalry who follow the writings of Rorschack, an original vigilante from the comic. They organize in protest of President Robert Redford’s reparations (Redford-ations) to those who suffered from racial injustice. They wear the Rorschack masks and attack the police and are plotting some sort of terrorist attack. . Don Johnson is the chief of police Judd Crawford and Regina King plays an ex-cop who goes into action wearing a mask and calls herself Sister Night.
Jeremy Irons plays Adrian Veidt, another original from the comic. He’s living in a castle, riding horses and being looked after ny some very odd acting servants. What does he have to do with the current story?
The first episode is the set up. A cop is killed. The Seventh Kavalry, quiet for years has now re-emerged. We meet all the characters most notably ex-cop now the masked vigilante Angela Abar aka Sister Night who will be our main protagonist. We see another terrible murder that is a shocker. And away we go……
As with all of Lindelof’s other projects, there are a lot of things thrown at you that are not explained. He gives you pieces of the puzzle, episode by episode and you need to figure it out. There are a lot of references to the comic expecially the final shot of the episode. It is a very challenging and entertaining first episode. I look forward to delving deeper into this new world and seeing what Lindelof has up his sleeve.
SIDE TICK TOCKS
What was with the raining squids? Something from the comic I think.
Loved the use of the song Unforgettable in the episode. A nod to the the film.
I loved seeing The Watchmen space pod make an appearance. It crashes but I’m sure they’ll get it back in the air.
Talk about topical! Lynching is being used by our President these days and just like that Watchmen catches the zeitgeist!!
The final shot of the blood dropping on the police badge is a nod to the blood stained Happy face pin that signaled the death of The Comedian. As with the comic, the murder of a main character ignites the investigation by another character.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Adrian Veidt is behind what The Seventh Kavalry is planning
2 Kavalry was collecting watch batteries. Watches seem to be a thing of the past. Veidt’s servants gift him a watch for his birthday. Tick Tick indeed.
3 We will see more Don Johnson. Flashbacks!!
4 Regina King’s character is related to that baby that survived the Tulsa attack in 1921
5 Tim Blake Nelson’s character – Wade aka Looking Glass could be a double agent
The series finale of Breaking Bad was perfect. It was as perfect as a series finale could be. Walter White set things right, got some revenge and freed his old friend, Jesse who went screeching off into the night, screaming joyously! Free! He’s free!
But, what would happen to Jesse? At the time, Vince Gilligan imagined that he’d be caught and face an official comeuppance but that just didn’t feel right. Jesse has been through so much and manipulated and used, first by Mr. White then Gus Fring and even Hank Schrader which led to his imprisonment with the Nazis and Todd. So Vince Gilligan came up with a story for Jesse that would tie up loose ends that would, hopefully satisfy fans of the show and if Jesse. Well, El Camino does just that.
There is a short recap of Jesse’s life to date via Breaking Bad clips and you’re reminded just how bad he had it! The movie picks up right where we last saw Jesse, screaming for joy as he drive off in the El Camino. But we see now it wasn’t really joy. They were howls if pain and agony. The films shows Jesse’s attempt to get out of town and alluding the cops. He has nothing, no money, dirty clothes and a lot of anger but he has s plan and with the help of done old friends he puts his plan in motion. Vince Gilligan has written a very exciting and realistic tale while throwing in surprises here and there. We get a lot of flashbacks, mostly of Jesse with Todd but also with other favorites. These are new scenes filmed just for this movie. It’s shot in that familiar Breaking Bad photography and Ruth the familiar score that echoes the original show but is definitely new music. I liked that Gilligan didn’t try to do too much here. It isn’t fantastical. It’s methodical abd reasonable and very suspenseful and edge of your seat viewing.
Aaron Paul is excellent. It’s his show and he carries the load well. We also get to see Robert Forster in his final performance. It’s a good swan song. There are lots of other surprises that I don’t want to spoil for you. Just stay alert and keep your eyes open for all the nice, little touches that Gilligan slips in. This may be the last piece of the Breaking Bad story and if it is, it is a fine addition and a satisfying coda.
“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.” Arthur Fleck
Well, there is very little that is happy in Joker. It’s a dark, dreary tale of a sad, pathetic man who gets stepped on one too many times and lashes out. Joker directed by Todd Phillips, is not a Marvel film. There are no flippant smirking heroes and wise cracking bad guys and soaring heroic music. This is more of a Martin Scorsese film, in fact, Scorsese is one of the producers and Robert DeNiro is a co-star. While the film does exist in the DC world, the film is set in Gotham in the early 80s and we see Thomas and Bruce Wayne, it also echoes the New York of Taxi Driver, King of Comedy and even a little touch of Network. It’s a dark journey through a sick mind. It’s challenging and it throws new twist in the Joker origin story.
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a working clown and he seems like a good clown but that doesn’t matter to a gang of street kids who takes his sign and beats him to a pulp or a trio of young white business bros from taunting him with a creepy version of Send In The Clowns and beating him up on the subway. Arthur looks after his confused, feeble mother (Frances Conroy) who used to work for the Waynes and has a crush on the single mother down the hall (Zazie Beetz). Arthur’s life’s ambition is to become a stand up comic but he has a tourette’s type tick of laughing that usually pops up a the most inopportune moments. Arthur and his mother watch The Murray Franklin Show every night and he fantasizes about being on the show and impressing Murray who he sees as a father figure.
“All I have are negative thoughts” Arthur Fleck
Joker did strike a nerve for me. I grew up living with a brother who suffered from schizophrenia. The only treatment back in the 70s and 80s was keep them heavily drugged. Arthur sees a social worker and is on 7 different prescription drugs. But when social services gets a budget cut Arthur will no longer have someone to talk to and no access to his medication. Arthur is a severley damaged person. A series of events drag poor Arthur to the pit of despair and when he gets his big chance to appear on The Murray Franklin Show he’s already past the point of no return. The film does shine a light on how little is done to help the mentally ill and the few choices the very poor have in society. Is this an anti ‘Rich” film? Not necessarily. There are very few people who are rich in this country and more and more people who have less and less. Arthur Fleck is not a hero or even an anti hero. He’s a mentally ill man who feels betrayed by everyone in his life. He gets angry and acts out. I don’t think the film makes excuses for mass murderers or incels any more than Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or the Joker character in The Dark Knight.
There has been a lot of controversy about this film. I don’t understand it, really. It’s a familiar story. It’s violent but no more so than many other films, less so, frankly. There are some more violent material on your TV every night. I think it’s much ado about nothing. This is a new retelling of an old story with a fantastic performance by Joaquin Phoenix. Love it or hate it but don’t judge it if you haven’t seen it.
I liked that the film stays rooted in reality. There is no CGI, no action sequences. He didn’t have super hero strength or was diabolically smart. It reminded me a bit of Unbreakable (2000). It plays it straight. This also makes it scary. How many Arthur Flecks exist out there? Out here?
I liked it. It’s not going to be for everybody. That’s what Marvel fims are for. This is not that. This is a character study and it’s disturbing. It’s also well acted, well shot and powerful.
I’m still watching! Are you? If you are then you’re a true fan and you are being rewarded for your loyalty. Angela Kang took over as show runner last season and her fresh take on things have really helped. I hate losing Rick last year and we will lose Michonne this year but Maggie comes back next season and we’ll probably see the Rick Grimes Films starting in the Spring. But for now we have the OG show and it’s still going strong.
The opening scene had me wondering if I had it on the right channel. A Russian satelite floating through space starts p;ummeting to Earth. We will see it hit the atmosphere three times from three different groups on the ground. It starts a large forest fire that brings everyone together to fight and keep from reaching Oceanside. Of course at some point they are attacked by walkers and we get to see our heroes slay them in glorious slow motion. Eugene, or as Luke (Dan Folger) calls him, “Eugenius”, convinces Michonne to allow him to bring part of the downed satellite with them to mine it for useful data or parts.
I liked the training on the beach! They’ve got shields, they’ve got spears, they’ve got archers! They take on a boat filled with walkers in a very Roman army type way. This scene I suspect is foreshadowing how they will take on The Whisperers at the end of the season but The Whisperers will be moving faster and it won’t be as easy.
The comic relief was watching how Eugene took care of Rosita’s baby while also conducting scientific research into how many times he poops and even how many times he smiles a day. Rosita, meanwhile is working out and getting back in fighting shape. Father Gabriel looks serious throughout. Siddiq is showing signs of PTSD. He was there when Alpha beheaded his friends! Of course he’s damaged.
The Brave Man On the Bridge. What a lovely tribute to Rick Grimes! Judith tells the story to little AJ about how the Brave Man saved his friends by blowing up the bridge filled with walkers and sacrificed his life. Judith is now a trusted warrior as well. She was right there on the beach with her Katana!
Negan is being allowed out of his cell now. He’s tending to the garden just as he was in Carl’s vision. It looks like he will be befriending Lydia this season. No one trusts either of them. Negan has a nice scene with Father Gabriel. He sees what’s happening with the re-emergence of The Whisperers. He gives solid advice and I’m sure Gabriel is going to see that Negan will be useful in a more meaningful way than picking tomatoes in the future.
Michonne is definitely the leader of the whole shebang. She will be the one orchestrating the battle strategy against The Whisperers. Danai Furira is leaving the show after this season and it’s still a mystery how they plan to do it. Could it be in battle?
The main event, of course, was Daryl and Carol. We see Daryl and Ezekiel waiting on the dock as Carol sails in on her boat. She’s been on the high seas! Ezekiel is so happy to see her but their reunion was a bit awkward. Meanwhile, she runs into Daryl’s arms! They get on his motorcycle and ride into the woods then go hunting. They take a break and call each other besties and Daryl even makes friendship bracelets for them. They talk about just going away together and being free from everything. But…..then. After putting out the fire they wander over to the valley where Alpha kept her horde of walkers and they are no longer there! Where did she move them?
Daryl walks away but Carol stays behind and wouldn’t you know it, out of the brush down below, Alpha emerges. Carol and Alpha have a classic stare down. And you KNOW it will be going down before the season’s over!
Michonne mentions they haven’t had any letters from Maggie in a long time.
Daryl has a book on Sign Language in his back pocket
Who is that weird doctor that interacted with Saddiq? He was creepy!
Aaron is going to become a hothead this season!
Looks like Kelly is losing her hearing too.
King Ezekiel isn’t Talking Shakespeare’s anymore. Ain’t no more Kingdom!
We all need friendship bracelets like Daryl and Carol!
Next week’s episode will be the origin story of how Alpha Met Beta
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Carol and Alpha will have an epic showdown
2 Negan and Beta will have an epic showdown
3 Daryl will get together with Connie not Carol
4 Siddiq’s ptsd will have serious consequences for someone
5 Ezekiel is expendable this season