We finally got the episode we have been waiting for since we saw those X scars on the backs of Daryl and Michonne. It’s a good episode and well directed especially the final act which is horrifying.
THE SEARCH FOR RICK
The episode opens with a flashback to Michonne searching for Rick along the river. She digs his gun out of the mud and cleans it lovingly. Time passes and we see that she is now pregnant yet still out there searching. She runs into Daryl who is also searching. She tells him he should come back to Alexandria but he doesn’t want to until he can bring Rick’s body with him.
Half the episode plays out in flashback as an old friend of Michonne, Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley), shows up with a group of kids who seemingly were in need of help. Alexandria welcomes the newcomers, especially the children who have learned how to hunt extremely well and have caught a couple of deer that they prepare for a feast. Machine and Jocelyn get reacquainted, they knew each other in college and it’s been fifteen years since they last saw each other. All seems merry and bright until the next morning. Jocelyn and the new children are gone along wit Judith and the children of Alexandria and all their food and medicine. Michonne is horrified and scared! She and Daryl alone head out in search of Judith an the other children.
VISITORS AT THE GATES
“I’ve done things to protect this place. Some things I’m not proud of. Some I try to forget. To save my people, I had to risk others. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s what I had to do. I’ve made my peace with that. It might be easier if the only life I had to risk was my own. If I could just walk away and take all the risk with me to make everyone else safe, I would.” Michonne
In the present, Daryl shows up at the gates of Alexandria and Michonne reluctantly lets them in. She doesn’t trust Lydia and rightfully so especially as we watch the flashbacks of the last time she let someone in. She gives Lydia a talk, talking about her own experiences but basically telling her that she needs to leave. They do but this upsets Judith to no end!
“I’ve heard the stories. How you all fought the Saviors and won. You can do that again.” Judith
“You haven’t heard all the stories.” Daryl
Judith is really upset with Mom. She wants Alexandria to be more inclusive. She wants to implement the “Carl Doctrine”. She really misses Uncle Daryl. They have a nice scene on a bridge, the first between the two. Judith is so upset that she sneaks out of Alexandria and follows her Uncle.
When Michonne can’t find Judith she goes straight to Negan thinking she might be having one of their talks but she’s not there. Negan tells Michonne that they don’t talk about anything in particular but she has lots of questions about her dad and Carl and the past and he answers all of them with candor. Michonne loses it. She’s been trying to shield Judith from all those things, trying to let her be a child as long as possible. Now she finds that Judith has been told about everything! From Negan of all people! When Michonne finds the note Judith left for her she takes off after her.
X MARKS THE SPOT!
Machine and Daryl are hot on the trail of Jocelyn and the children and they find them in an old school but holy crap! These kids are crazy! They get captured and strung up and Jocelyn forces the children to brand them with a big ole’ X! So now we know how that happened. Somehow Daryl frees himself and they split up to try and stop Jocelyn and the kids from leaving. Michonne ends up getting the crap beat out of her by Jocelyn before eventually overtaking her and killing her. Then, she has to face all those crazy kids! I was getting mad that she was trying so hard not to kill them! I was yelling at the TV! When one of those kids slashed her pregnant belly I just about lost it! Finally, she started wiping them out but the scene was cleverly cut with present day Michonne wiping out a small herd of walkers. It was well edited and exciting. The conclusion of both past and present scenes was that Michonne rescues Judith. Her mom instincts are strong!
Mom and daughter have a heart to heart and Judith convinces her that they need to help their friends no matter what. So with that, they saddle up the family punster and head out to The Kingdom to attend The Fair picking up some hitchhikers along the way (Daryl, Lydia, Henry and Connie).
The last scene is ominous. A couple of Whispering scouts lurking outside of The Kingdom. Wait until Alpha and Beta arrive!
It was great to see Rutina Wesley! I wish it was more than just one episode but she was effective. I was a big True Blood fan!
Where the hell was Daryl when Michonne was facing off with those crazy kids? He shows up conveniently after all was said and done!
Interesting that in the flashbacks Aaron didn’t have a prosthetic arm yet.
Jocelyn and the kids escaped through the manhole and the sewer. Rick and Michonne had used the same thing to escape when Negan attacked Alexandria. They should have been on the alert to that threat!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Daryl, Carol, Ezekiel, Rosita, Negan, Judith, Henry and Tara will not die.
2 Father Gabriel, Saddiq, Eugene – one has gotta go!
3 The Fair will be the zombie apocalypse’s version of the Frye Festival.
4 The Highwaymen will help fight The Whisperers and their leader will die in the process.
5 Lydia will go off with Alpha, Beta and the rest. OR she may die! Causing all out war for Season 10!
The Kingdom experiences some hiccups pre Fair. A possible new enemy emerges. Beta and a hunting party go after Lydia and Daryl finds it difficult to be an Uncle.
“With all due respect, Your Highness, screw their letter. It was a grammatically correct death threat, yo.” Jerry
No sooner are we introduced to The Whisperers but we’re faced with another batch of bandits called The Highwaymen. Jerry is hijacked on the road and is given a ransom note that says that unless their demands are met they will not allow anyone to enter The Kingdom for The Fair. They even took Jerry’s sword! King Ezekiel gathers a squad to take them out but carol has reservations. She didn’t mind wiping out a whole gang of Saviors earlier in the season but she’s still sensitive about too much violence and violence as the answer to every problem. She convinces Ezekiel to try negotiation first and then if necessary, kill them.
I thought this was a terrible idea and when Ezekiel, Carol and Jerry entered the building and were quickly surrounded by Hghwaymen I thought I was right but, thank God, they had a plan. The rest of their team surprised the Highwaymen from behind and got the advantage. The deal offered was that they secure the roads for their guests and by doing so would be welcomed into The Kingdom as friends. That wasn’t enough so carol had to sweeten the pot and since she didn’t have any cookies handy she got creative.
“When was the last time you saw a movie?” she said all smiles.
“Are you serious?” they asked.
Wow! Carol is a mastermind.
So when Tara, Magda, Yumika, the blacksmith con baby ran into trouble on the road to The Kingdom and were about to be overtaken by walkers here came the Highwaymen on horseback to the rescue!
“We’re your escort to The Kingdom!”
But when they arrive at The Kingdom Carol asks Tara where Henry was. Awkward. Well, he was put in jail for a few days and while in there he met a crazy girl who wears dead people’s faces and then her crazy mom came looking for her and traded some of out people for her and took the crazy daughter but Henry took a liking to her and went after her so daryl and Connie went after him and gee I thought they’d be here by now. So, what’s up with you?
KILL BETA VOL.1
“This Beta, is he their best? (Lydia nods)
“Good. “We’ll kill him first.” Daryl
The meat of the episode is Beta going after Lydia and how Daryl and Connie handle the Henry-Lydia situation. Daryl does not want to take Lydia with them and he’s right. They take Henry and get away but with Lydia it means they will have to fight and kill their way home and possibly bring the battle back to Hilltop. Henry keeps saying he won’t leave her behind. Sure, kid. You stay with her and The Whisperers and you’re dead before morning. Connie, on the other hand, has a plan. She wants to go one way and Daryl wants to go another. Their back and forth is funny but Connie eventually just takes off in the direction she wants and Henry and Lydia quickly follow. Daryl pauses for a moment and then he and Dog follow suit and follow Connie.
Connie leads them to an abandoned building where they uncover a secret spot where they find water, MREs, first aid and a sleeping blanket. She writes down a not for Daryl explaining this is a place she’s been before and had stashed this stuff in case of emergency. Daryl is impressed.
Meanwhile, Lydia asks Henry why he came looking for her. Henry says because she didn’t want to be there and he wanted to do the right thing but Lydia wasn’t buying it. Really. Why? “I care about you” he tells her. That’s the ticket! They start kissing but that’s when Daryl, who has been watching them, chimes in and puts an end to that! No funny business you two!
Connie and Daryl have a note argument over whether Lydia stays with them or not. Connie wins! I really like these two together. They make a dynamic duo and they both have a set of skills that are complimentary. The Bow and the Slingshot!
They create a choke point. The stairwells are blocked via barricade so only non walkers aka Whisperers will be able to climb over. They set up a series of traps for whoever comes at them. Daryl locks Lydia in a closet with Dog. I wan’t sure if this was for her safety or for theirs. I was thinking she may have second thoughts and turn against them and help her people.
Sure enough a herd of walkers come up the street as Lydia and Henry are on a balcony making eyes at each other. Luckily, they pause long enough to notice and it’s game on. They get on the building and climb over the barricades but Beta sees through the plan and knows it’s a trap. The battle sequence with Connie and Henry fighting off the intruders is well staged. Connie may not be able to hear but her other senses are acute and she is alert to changes in light and shadows and almost seems like she has eyes on the back of her head! Lydia and Dog sense danger and Lydia finds a crowbar and they get out just in time for Dog to save Henry who has been badly stabbed in the leg.
Meanwhile, Daryl is fighting a different wave of Whisperers led by Beta. He manages to slit one guy’s throat and hatchet in the chest the other guy but then it was down to Beta. This guy is huge and strong! he was tossing Daryl around like a rag doll! They really went at it! I didn’t think Daryl could overtake Beta but I also knew neither one would die. Luckily, daryl does get the better of Beta and tosses him down an elevator shaft. Done and Done. They decide to head for Alexandria and get Henry patched up.
The last scene we see Beta’s listless body on top of an elevator. Dead? Nah. He stirs and stands and looks upward with a face full of rage! Yikes. So now, he’s going to get Alpha and they’re going to descend on Alexandria!!!!!!!
Beta gets scarier with each episode.
Henry gets more annoying with each episode.
The Guardians are walkers who The Whisperers use to hide amongst and some of them are ex Whisperers. When one gets bit and turns they put him to good use. That’s sweet.
There are so many characters! Is it so that some of the actors have time to do other things like make movies (Danai Gurira) or just give the veterans more time off for good behavior? You need up getting storylines with characters you don’t really care about or stories that seem like filler. This episode could have used more of the Daryl, Beta, Connie, Genry, Lydia storyline and less of the the rest. Juts saying’.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 I thought the big trouble was going to happen at The Fair but it just might happen at Alexandria.
2 Beta and Daryl death match looks likely for Season 10.
3 Romeo and Juliet ended tragically and so will Henry and Lydia. Bye Lydia.
4 Daryl and Connie will get together but not until next season. The fist pump to Connie’s shoulder will haver to suffice for this year. #Donnie
5 Negan will win Michonne’s trust in the finale when he saves Judith from The Whisperers.
Michonne comes under fire! Rosita tries to round up all her suitors. Henry seeks his Juliet. You thought Alpha was scary? Meet Beta! Is Negan becoming a good guy? Are we OK with that?
REVOLT AT ALEXANDRIA
“I know that you just want what’s best for us. But what does it mean for Alexandria to survive if means that the Kingdom falls?” Siddiq
“It means Alexandria Survives.” Michonne
Machine is facing a revolt back at Alexandria. The council wants more say. They don’t like that Nichonne has set it up so that she alone can veto any thing they vote to do. They’re right! She’s set herself up as a dictator just like her long lost love, Rick, once did back in Seasons 2 and 3. They all want to participate in The Fair that’s being sponsored by The Kingdom but Michonne doesn’t want anyone to go anywhere! She has the grieving Aaron’s support but that’s it.
She blamed Father Gabriel for allowing Negan to escape but he, amazingly, came back on his own and is back in his prison cell safe and sound. She confronts him but is met by a calm and reasonable Negan who makes a case for being allowed back into society as her ‘consigliere’ basically. He thinks he can be trusted and useful. Michonne is not there yet. Then, she sees Judith lingering outside Negan;s cell window.
So, next Michonne confronts Judith who admits she’s been talking with Negan. This just freaks Michonne out! She tells Judith she’s to never again go near Negan, that’s he’s a terrible person who killed friends of theirs. But Judith doesn’t know THAT Negan. She says Negan isn’t that person anymore.
“I get why you want to believe that, but people don’t really change.” Machine tells her.
“You did.” Judith zings back.
“Go to your room!” Michonne orders, her head about to explode!
“This is what parents says when they know they’ve just lost an argument with their kid” Ron Funchess, Talking Dead.
Meanwhile, back on “As Alexandria Turns”, Rosita tells Gabriel she’s prejudgers with Saddiq’s baby and that he will be involved with raising the baby. Gabby is none too pleased. But would he really give up being with Rosita? Eugene doesn’t think he should and offers up some very intricate and funny charts weighing the pros and cons but makes the case that he’d be stupid to dump Rosita! He admits that he’s in love with her and doesn’t quite understand why she loves Gabriel but she does and they love each other so he wants her to be happy. He tells her to go make up with her and even gives him a gift to give to her, a pair of “pantalones for Rosita’s ever expanding bread basket.” Gabriel looks perplexed throughout but he takes the advice to heart and ends up going to Rosita, with the ‘pantalones’, and they and Saddiq all smile at each other and walk into the house as Eugene watches intently outside. This is one weird foursome.
NOT JUST WHISPERING DIXIE
Alpha, with her daughter back in the fold, leads her group back to their camp. It was funny seeing Lydia walking like a walker but without a walker mask. Alpha sounds creepier while wearing the mask than without but proves damn lethal either way.
Of course, Henry catches up to them armed with nothing more than his ‘Morgan” styled staff. He is quickly found and rounded up by Beta. Beta is one big, scary dude. he wears a half walker face because most of his face is covered with a ZZ Top beard. He is Alpha’s right hand man and probably lover man.
When a young couple try to challenge Alpha’s leadership Beta restrains the guy while Alpha confronts the woman. The woman backs down but it’s too late. Alpha garrotes her and slices her head clean off! She holds it up and presents it to the others as a warming. The look on Henry’s face is priceless. “What did I get myself into?” He gets another show when he gets to watch Beta carefully remove the face off of a walker. Yuck!
Alpha and Beta discuss what to do with Henry. They wonder what happened between him and Lydia while she was captured? How attached is she to him? Was there any hanky pinky? They decide to put her to the test and have her kill Henry. Henry protests but Lydia picks up the knife and then…. a herd of walkers invade the camp! They start feasting on the unmasked Whisperers which makes sense. Looks like Daryl and Connie, who had been tracking Henry, used the real walkers as a distraction so that they could sneak into the camp and free Henry. Daryl is even wearing a walker mask himself! When in Rome! But Henry refuses to leave Lydia behind! This idiot! Daryl says to leave her but it’s not happening. Henry drags her with them as they flee into the woods.
This is just plain stupid! Henry! You’ve just witnessed what these people are willing to do and the evil they are capable of. By taking Lydia you are committing all of your friends to go to war!!!! A pox on both your houses!
Daryl thought he had trained Dog to retrieve his arrows but just as he was about to hand it to him he broke it in half! Apparently not planned that way but it was so cute they kept it.
Love the intricate charts Eugene made to convince Father Gabriel to stay with Rosita. Check them out here.
Alpha and Beta make a great power couple.
I love the Whisperer’s theme music.
Wouldn’t it be funny if the film Jerry showed at the fair was the original Dawn Of The Dead?
Ron Funchess needs to be a permanent guest on Talking Dead. When asked what he thought about Alpha decapitating one of her followers he said, “her neck was weak! She went through it like string cheese!”
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Beta will not be killed this season. He’s too good a character.
2 We will see more of Jesus in upcoming episodes.
3 I think we will see Maggie in a flashback!
4 Alpha and Beta will get Lydia back.
5 Dog gonna die!
A lot happening in this episodes two track, two timeline stories. In one, we get to know Alpha (Samantha Morton) a little more and just how strong Henry feels for Lydia and in the other, we get a good old fashioned action adventure with The Kingdom and a scary movie theater with a rock n roll score! A first, I think, for the show! We get more Jerry! And why is Jesus still alive?
“Maggie’s not the biggest fan of Michonne right now” Jesus
The episode opens with a brief flashback. as we see Jesus and Alana meet up with King Ezekiel, Carol (with shorter hair) and Jerry who just announced that his wife is ‘preggers’ with their first child! They are picking up some medical supplies from the Kingdom, apparently there was some outbreak of illness at Hilltop. Maggie and Michonne are feuding and Tara hands King Ezekiel the document that Michonne had drawn up that would be the new constitution of principles. I suppose once Rick died she gave up on that concept but had already created the document.
A BULB! A BULB! MY KINGDOM FOR A BULB!
“It’s movie time!” Jerry
Jerry now has three kids! Love is in the air at The Kingdom! The King and Queen (”Don’t call me that!” says Carol) are the biggest lovebirds of them all! Ezekiel just melts in Carol’s presence and Carol loves his puppy dog eyes and wagging tail. But Carol is not happy about the King’s decision to go off on a mission to retrieve a film projector bulb from a decrepit old theater (The Royal) as a herd of walkers approaches. He didn’t even want to tell her about it because she would have put a stop to it but once she finds out, of course, she insists on tagging along.
It had been 5 years since their last projector bulb burned out. Ezekiel wants to give the ‘gift of joy and lifelong friendship” back to his community and all the new children that have been born on the last 5 years. So Jerry pops a cassette in his boom box and they begin the assault on The Royal!
Jerry finds a bulb and carefully wraps it and then drops it into the theater when a walker surprises him. Ezekiel is disappointed but willing to leave it because of the oncoming walker herd. Then the ‘Queen’ surprises him by saying they should get what they came for and there’s only 30 or so walkers in that theater so they could do it! That is love!
Ezekiel also decides he wants to take one of the glass encasements meant for displaying movie posters so he can put Michonne’s constitution in it, again, for The Fair. So at the end of this story Ezekiel places Michonne’s document in the poster case. It is meant for all surviving communities (including The Sanctuary) to sign it.
“Wrong answer!!” Alpha
Alpha just wants her daughter back. Daryl is dead set against it but he really has no choice once Alpha offers to return Alden and Luke in exchange. But Henry doesn’t want to let Lydia be given back so he takes off with her which means they have to be found before Alpha does anything to Alden and Luke.
One of the Whisperers brought a baby for some reason and when a herd of actual walkers come along she is forced to set the baby down on the grown because she can’t keep it from crying. They were perfectly willing to sacrifice a baby! We’re almost in “The Road” territory now. Good thing Connie is hiding in the wheat field and dashes out to save the baby. She manages to fend off walkers and we get to see her POV as a hearing impaired person trying to defend herself. Daryl eventually comes along to help her out and bring her back to safety.
Enid finds Henry and Lydia and tries to convince him to let Lydia be traded for Luke and Alden. Henry does not want to do it but, to her credit, Lydia proves to be brave and agrees to the trade and gives Henry a tender kiss goodbye.
Daryl brings Lydia out to Alpha and they make the prisoner exchange.
“Sorry, momma.” Lydia says just before Alpha slaps her. Shen then brings her in for a big hug,
“You call me Alpha, just like all the rest” Alpha says sweetly in Lydia’s ear.
Tammy and Earl are still around. Earl’s arthritis and tendinitis is kicking up and he sure would love to retire if only his new apprentice could stay out of jail and trouble long enough to learn the trade. At least they get the baby to take care of.
“I can’t live with it” Henry and Connie (both In written form)
Meanwhile, Henry takes off after Lydia. The idiot! The things men do for love! So Daryl and Dog have to take off after him. Connie wants to go along and eventually does despite Daryl’s protestations. I think these two would make a good couple. neither one of them talk much.
What is that symbol we see as Ezekiel and Carol ride into town? Khary Payton on Talking Dead alluded that it represents yet another group of survivors.
I love the King Ezekiel – Jerry relationship. The business with Jerry’s gum getting on Ezekiel’s jacket and Jerry just grabbing it and putting it back in his mouth was great! “Jeeeerrrrry!”
There is a lot of build up happening for The Fair. You know that this is going to happen in the season finale and it’s going to be a shit show.
Zombie Kill Of The Week! (ZKOW): Concession stand zombie! Popcorn Machine Zombie! The King for the win!
Henry brings up the scars on daryl’s back and says “I know what you had to do in Alexandria……” before daryl interrupts him. What DID happen? I believe we will see flashbacks about that before the end of the season.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Looks like Henry will not become a blacksmith anytime soon.
2 Tara needs a new love interest. Perhaps a love triangle with Yumiko and Magna!
3 The Whisperers are going to want that baby back.
4 We better find out what’s going on with Negan in the next episode.
5 King Ezekiel is going to die in the season finale! People that much in love and happy in the zombie apocalypse cannot be allowed to be happy too long. Maggie? Glenn?
On March 26th 1990 the 62 annual Academy awards were presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. Daniel Day Lewis won the first of his three Best Actor Oscars, Jessica Tandy became the oldest person at the time, to win a competitive Oscar and Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars for the very first time. The show ran three hours and twenty seven minutes and was watched by over 40 million people.
Everyone has an opinion on the Academy Awards. Even if you hate them and don’t watch you can’t help but think to yourself, “That wasn’t the Best Picture of the year!” and then decreeing that the little seen Indie film you loved IS “The Best Picture of the year!”. Art is subjective. We all have different tastes and you can’t make everyone happy.
I love the Oscars! I’ve watched them every year for as long as I can remember. It’s one of my favorite days of the year! One of my high holy days along with my birthday, the Emmy Awards and Christmas. I love movies! Yet, even I have had my share of disagreements with the Academy from time to time. For example: In 1967 the Best Song award went to Talk To The Animals from Doctor Doolittle but I think Look Of Love from Casino Royale should have won. I’m a big Burt Bacharach fan so I may be biased. In 1974 Best Actor went to Art Carney for Harry and Tonto but I believe it should have gone to Jack Nicholson for Chinatown. And in 1977 how could not one Bee Gees song from Saturday Night Fever earn a nomination for Best Song!!
But rarely have I had such a complete disagreement to the level I had with the nominees for Best Picture of 1989. Just to refresh your memories here were the nominees:
Born On The Forth Of July directed by Oliver Stone (nominated and won for Best Director)
Dead Poet’s Society directed by Pete Weir (nominated for Best Director)
Driving Miss Daisy directed by Bruce Beresford
Field Of Dreams directed by Phil Alden Robinson
My Left Foot directed by Jim Sheridan (nominated for Best Director)
The award went to Driving Miss Daisy, which also won Best Actress for Jessica Tandy and Best Screenplay Adaptation for Alfred Uhry. This was a film based on a play by Uhry which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1988. It was about a black chauffeur and the white woman he worked for. It was a good film. It was entertaining. It had a good message. It was a safe choice. Field of Dreams is a great feel good film, Born On The Fourth of July was about Vietnam and those who came home, My Left Foot was an Irish film about a man with such severe cerebral palsy all he could control was his left foot and he became a world renown artist and Dead Poet’s Society showcased a brilliant Robin Williams in a good old fashioned film about awakening youth. I’m not saying that these five films are not worthy to be considered the best of that year but for my money I think there were five other films that were more worthy. Here’s my five nominees for Best Picture of 1989:
Crimes and Misdemeanors directed by Woody Allen (nominated for Best Director)
Do The Right Thing directed by Spike Lee
Glory directed by Ed Zwick
Sex, Lies and Videotape directed by Steven Soderbergh
When Harry Met Sally directed by Rob Reiner
Crimes and Misdemeanors is one of Woody Allen’s best films. It was dark and serious and extremely well acted. Allen was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay, Martin Landau and Anjelica Huston were nominated in the supporting categories.
Do The Right Thing is probably still Spike Lee’s best film. This film was controversial when it was released. It was everything Driving Miss Daisy was not, challenging, risk taking and unsettling. It dealt with race in an honest way that scared people and it offered no easy answers.
Glory was powerful film about one of the first all African-American military units in the Civil War. Denzel Washington won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor that year. It was directed by Ed Zwick who was most well known for creating and helming the successful TV series thirtysomething.
Sex, Lies and Videotape was written and directed by Steven Soderbergh and was his first film . It won the Palme d’Or the at Cannes Film Festival. It marked the beginning of a new Indie film revival, rejuvenated Andie MacDowell’s film career and turned James Spader into leading man. It explored the sexual lives of four people in a frank and unique way.
When Harry Met Sally was written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner and made movies stars out of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It almost single handedly started the ‘rom-com’ era. It was incredibly funny, charming and romantic.
Of these five films, four of them received the consolation prize of being nominated for best Original Screenplay. They all lost to Dead Poet’s Society.
These five films were seminal. They were important markers as we headed into the 90s. They are now considered classic films that live on forever on cable. Being nominated for Best Picture is like making the Super Bowl. It’s hard to get back and sometimes you never do. Spike Lee received his first Best Director nomination this year for Black Klaansman and the film was his first to be nominated for Best Picture. Allen was soon to hit scandal and controversy and it wasn’t until 2011 that one of his films was back in the Best Picture category with Midnight In Paris. Soderbergh hit his stride in the late 90s and had two of his films nominated for Best Picture in 2000, Erin Brockovich and Traffic, winning Best Director for Traffic. Soderbergh also became only the third director to be nominated for two films in the same year. Ed Zwick found more success in the 90s but never had a film back in contention. Rob Reiner made it back for his 1992 film A Few Good Men but was not nominated for Best Director.
Beyond these five one could also make a case for four other films;
Henry V (nominated for Best Director Kenneth Brangh)
Parenthood (Dir. Ron Howard)
Enemies: A Love Story (Dir. Paul Mazursky)
and The Fabulous Baker Boys (Dir. Steve Kloves). When you think about it, 1989 was a helluva year for movies.
The Academy now allows up to ten films to be nominated for Best Picture and if this had been the case in 1989 some of these films would have made the cut. But the truth is they didn’t. Just think about this; how many of these films have you watched more than once? Which of these films do you return to time after time? I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched Driving Miss Daisy since I saw it in the theaters. On the other hand, I’ve watched most of the other nine films I’ve mentioned multiple times. What does this mean? I liked them better!
But as The Dude says, “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like uh, your opinion, man.”
“Your mom, where is she?” Daryl
“Be glad you don’t know.” Lydia
Great episode! Very lean storytelling and filled with suspense. We get Lydia’s backstory and the origin story of Alpha, the leader of The Whisperers. It’s a very creepy and scary episode. Welcome to the family Samantha Morton! I’m looking forward to being terrified by you this season!
A search party goes out looking for Alden and Luke but only find their horses being feasted upon by a crew of walkers. The “newbies” Rumiko, Magna, Connie and Kelly want to split up and keep looking but Tara makes the first of a series of good decisions in this episode and pulls them all back to the safety of Hilltop until they learn more about what they’re up against and come up with a plan. This makes perfect sense but the ‘newbies’ don’t take to that idea and decide to sneak out in the middle of the night to look for their old buddy Luke. What a stupid plan! Let’s search the woods in the dead of night! Of course, the second they run into a walker they get spooked and decide it was a bad idea and Yumiko and Magna head back to Hilltop. Connie and Kelly decide to stay out in the woods and cry while The Whisperers looked on. Luckily, Tara, in another smart move, figured they would sneak out and had them followed for their won safety. Yumiko apologizes to Tara and instead of getting mad Tara tells her that if she or anyone had any disagreements about her decisions that they should come to her first. Fair and reasonable. I think she’s learned to be a good leader from both Maggie and Jesus.
“Some people ain’t meant to be parents.” Daryl
Daryl’s plan is working. Lydia starts opening up to Henry while Daryl and apparently, Tara took turns eavesdropping, trying to get any info on their new enemy. Lydia starts to weave a tale that takes many twists and turns and various versions of when her and her parents were trapped in the basement of a building at the very start of the zombie apocalypse. In one version the dad is a terrible person and the mom is protective, in another the scenario is flipped. She has memories of her dad shaving his beard off and being clean shaven and others showing her mom shaving her head and dad still bearded. You wonder if she’s deliberately trying to mislead or if she really is so screwed up she can’t tell what’s true from what’s been told to her over time.
But when Henry starts telling her about The Kingdom and how far away it is Daryl comes storming down and pulls him out. When henry finds out that he was being used he gets angry. he believes Lydia to be a good person who’s been abused and can be redeemed. Daryl isn’t quite on the same page.
Henry goes as far as to take Lydia out of her cell and showing her around Hilltop. I thought this was a terrible idea and I was almost proven right but when Lydia sees a father holding a baby and seeing that this place has survived for many years she starts to have second thoughts about taking out Henry as she was about to do. She actually asks Henry to put her back in her cell. She was worried about what she was capable of. She was starting to see that what she believed, told to believe may not be true. There may be another way than what her mom had told her. One thing Lydia and Henry shared in common was that both their moms were not to be messed with and would do whatever it took to protect their children.
As Daryl begins to probe Lydia’s story further we get to see more and more about that time in the basement. When one of their people gets stir crazy as they hear shooting and screaming outside, mom takes matters into her own hands and tries to subdue the dude, crushing his trachea and killing him in the process. Now since this is happening at the very beginning no one yet knows that once dead everyone turns, bitten or not, so eventually this guy comes back and starts attacking. Mom decides it’s time to go but dad disagrees which only means one thing; dad is weak and needs to be taken out. It turns out that this is what actually happened. Mom was the hard one and developed the idea that in this new world you either do what’s needed to survive or you’re weak and needed to be weeded out. This lead to making walker face masks and finding a way to survive amongst the dead.
Daryl was now convinced that Lydia was being straight with him and that she was not responsible for the company she kept and could be turned around. He set out to speak to Tara about what he learned but before that could happen Hilltop received some uninvited guests.
Just as Connie and Kelly were headed in from the woods along with the team Tara had sent to look after them, a mob of walkers, well, Whisperers dressed up as walkers descended upon them led by their leader, Alpha, Lydia’s mom, not wearing her mask and looking scarier without it! Kelly and the others made it into Hilltop but Connie had to take cover.
“I want my daughter!”
And so the first showdown begins.
“I’m not gonna lie. Walking around in dead people’s skin is pretty messed up.” Henry
When Alpha appears at Hilltop at the end of the episode she looks scary as hell, not at all like Samantha Morton came across like the last time she appeared bald for a role in Minority Report (2002)
I haven’t watched Norman Reedus’ show Ride but it looks like I’m going to have to watch at least three episodes this year; the episodes with Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun and Melissa McBride.
I’m also going to watch Whiskey Cavalier just for Lauren Cohan. If the show doesn’t work she should end up back on Walking Dead for season 10 which will be much needed now that we know that we’ll be losing Dania Gurira.
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 Alpha is more ruthless than Negan
2 Henry and Lydia are The Walking Dead’s version of Romeo and Juliet.
3 Daryl’s dog gonna get dead.
4 It’s being set up, folks! An Alpha – Carol showdown!
5 Alden is going to die!
Slice of life, memory play, character study, art house film; these could all apply to director-writer Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autographical film Roma. Carol has crafted a stream of consciousness film that makes you feel like a voyeur into one family’s life during the course of one year.
The film centers a middle class family living in Mexico City in which both parents work and they have two women who look after the house and the children. Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the younger woman is the main character and she is a lovely, sweet natured woman who works morning till night, washing, cleaning and minding the children. The father is often gone and early on leaves for what may be for good as you can see the couple are having marital troubles leaving Sofie (Marina de Tavira) distraught. Cleo, meanwhile, has a life of her own outs of the house and she makes some decisions that put her in some trouble as well. Somehow, the family needs to stick together and Sofia and Cleo come to need each other more than ever.
Roma is almost a silent film. It could tells it’s story without any dialogue at all and you could understand it and be moved by it. Cuaron is really interested in the details and the little things that happen and you miss. I loved that the movie the family goes to see is the science fiction film Marooned (1970). I remember seeing this film when I was a kid and funny enough, that film also has a very leisurely pace as stranded astronauts float in space. The New Year’s Eve celebration in the little village is so amazing, so rich in detail and dissection of the middle class and the servants that work for them but when a fire breaks out in the nearby forest they all must lend a hand to deal with it.
The film moves at a leisurely pace, sometimes a little too leisurely but for the most part, the pace is effective in creating a mood. It’s lyrical and melancholy and absolutely gorgeous to look at. There is very little dialogue and the dialogue that is there is mostly conversational and commonplace. The most unusual and entertaining conversations take place between Cleo and the youngest child, Pepe (Marco Graf). While Cleo is doing the watch on the roof, Pepe comes along and lays down.
Cleo: “Talk to me”
Pepe: “I can’t. I’m dead.”
Cleo then lays down as well, her head pressed against pope’s.
Pepe: “Talk to me”
Cleo: “ I can’t. I’m dead. (Pause) It feels good to be dead.”
Roma may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Our attention span is so much shorter today after being weened on a diet of Marvel films and Fast and Furious spectacles but don’t shy away from this thoughtful, black and white family drama. You may find yourself thankful for the reflective break.
“Why’d your people kill my people?” Daryl
“It’s us or them.” Lydia
The midseason premiere picked up exactly where we left off; Jesus is dead. The gang are still in the creepy cemetery and they have to fight their way out while trying to carry Jesus’ body with them. Now that we know that these Whisperers are disguised as walkers it is not so easy to do battle since, at any moment, one of these walkers may duck or be armed! It truly adds a new dimension of fear into the show.
On the road back to Hilltop, Michonne and daryl have a heart to heart. Several tidbits are revealed. Machine vouches for the new people. She says it will mean a lot to Hilltop being able to bury Jesus.
“Sorry I couldn’t do that for you” Daryl tells her.
“Thank you for trying to find him and thank you for after” Michonne says.
The ‘after’ I am assuming refers to the X scars they both have on their backs. We should see flashbacks in the coming episodes that will finally explain this.
They run across a band of walkers approaching on a bridge. Daryl smartly shoots one in the leg, no reaction. Then he shoots another one in the leg and it’s a whisperer. he screams out in pain and immediately is descended upon and eaten. Another whisperer pulls a knife from his sleeve and attacks Michonne. Silly Whisperer. A third drops its knife and gives up. Its a woman who pleads for her life and says that they killed all the others and she’s the last one. LIES!! Daryl decides to take her with them as a prisoner. Machonne is not so hot on that idea.
What a sad scene! I teared up as everyone saw Jesus’ body slung over the horse. Everyone will be looking to Tara now to make the decisions and be their leader.
Sadie sets Eugene’s leg and this is the moment Eugene decides to tell Rosita he loves her which sends Rosita fleeing the hospital to go throw up. But it’s not because of Eugene. She’s got a bun in the oven. And the father is Sadiq!!! Father Gabriel is not going to like this! Neither does Eugene who overheard their conversation through the window. TV Eugene never had a chance. Comic Book Eugene was luckier. They ended up together.
Machine and Tara interrogate the prisoner while Daryl looks on. Henry is still down there in a cell as we’ll which also upsets Daryl. The prisoner plays dumb and cries a lot. She claims they killed the rest of her group but nobody believes that. Michonne plans to take her people and head back to Alexandria. Daryl assures her he will get the prisoner to talk.
“If she doesn’t you know what to do.” She tells him.
Daryl interrogates the prisoner again by himself. He;s tough on her, throwing her around the cell. Henry implores him to stop. He gets her to tell him her name is Lydia. She admits that her mom and her were part of groups with walls before but that places with walls can’t keep you safe and always fail. So they found a way to coexist with the walkers. Daryl chastises Henry for defending Lydia. Lydia then starts talking to Henry and Henry eats it up with a spoon, Of course, this was Daryl’s plan all along. He sits outside by the window and listens to their conversation, hoping to glean more info.
NEGAN’S FIELD TRIP
“You know there’s nothing out there for you, for anyone” Judith to Negan
Now that he’s free the first order of business was to pluck a tomato off the branch and eat it. He then went into the big house and into Michonne and Judith’s room. He took a compass. It’s broad daylight before he tries to jump the fence and gets caught by Judith. He manages to talk his way out of being shot and she allows him to go.
“But if I see you again I’ll shoot” Judith tells him.
Out on the road, Negan runs into wakers for the first time in 7 1/2 years! He kills a few with a shovel but it’s obvious he needs to get in killing shape. he later drinks some bad water and has to throw up on an open field. ironically, it’s the same open field where he bashed Abraham and Glenn’s heads to mush. Creepy.
He finds a clothing store that has a ‘Leather Goods” section. He finds a new leather jacket, but no red scarf. Then security shows up: three growling canines! He runs for his life! He manages to bust through a door where a waiting walker is there. He throws him into the store and closes the door. We hear the whimpering of the poor dog. Jeffrey Dean Morgan assured us on Taking Dead after that no dogs were eaten by zombie during the making of the episode.
He finally reaches home. The sanctuary. He finds a pipe which he swings on his shoulder like a makeshift Lucille and does his tardemark whistle The place is a mess. He does recognize one of the walkers roaming around. “Big Ritchie!!! Loyal to the end.” He tries to clean up a little and makes a little living room in the middle of the empty warehouse.
Eventually, Negan goes out in the yard and starts killing all the remaining Savior walkers except Big Ritchie. He can’t do it at first but then knows he has to. As Thomas Wolfe said, ‘You Can’t Go Home Again”.
he hops on his motorcycle and heads on down the road back to Hilltop when Judith appears and takes a shot at him. He takes a spill. She missed on purpose but she did say she would shoot at him next time she saw him, He gave her back her compass and
LUKE AND ALDEN’S BIG ADVENTURE
“Two man band. Symphony of awesome!” Luke
Luke and Alden go looking for Michonne, Jesus and the rest and not knowing that they’d already returned to Hilltop go on an unnecessary excursion further and further out. They find a trail of arrows that Luke recognizes as belonging to Yumiko.
They come across a lone walker and just as Luke is about to approach it, the walker stops and stands still. Uh oh. they soon realize they are surrounded by silent and still walkers only these ain’t walkers. The leader pulls out a sawed off shotgun and points it at them.
“The trail ends here.”
The leader of the Whisperers is Lydia’s mom. her name is Alpha and she is being played the terrific actress Samantha Morton!
The opening scene of dead Jesus and the blood oozing out of him. Thanks.
“You sure as shit did, kid” Negan
“Language! I’m a kid, asshole” Judith
Dwight (Austin Amelio) is joining the cast of Fear The Walking Dead!!
5 THINGS I THINK I KNOW
1 The Whisperers are going to be a formidable enemy and perhaps the scariest and deadliest yet.
2 Negan will no longer be a prisoner and will become a leader in the fight with The Whisperers.
3 If you’re shipping Henry and Lydia you’re not alone. ‘Henia?’. He’s going to get everyone in trouble but he’ll betray her before the end of the season.
4 So Rosita is pregnant with Sadiq’s baby but involved with Father Gabriel and being wooed by Eugene. The most sought after woman in the zombie apocalypse! One of these guys are going to die before the end of the season. This kind of tension can’t hold!!
5 Danai Gurira is leaving TWD!!!! How many main characters can you lose! You can’t keep whisking them away on a helicopter! She’ll be back for a few episodes in Season 10. I don’t think they can kill her. I think they just don’t show her but acknowledge she’s still at Alexandria.
M Night Shyamalan has had his good films and his bad ones over the years, no question. One of his good ones was 1999’s Unbreakable. People are divided over this film and that’s fine. I found it to be absorbing and intense. It was a superhero movie before Marvel came along and developed it’s very own brand of comic book style and superheroes. Those films are fun and some are very good but Unbreakable is a superhero film more in the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight universe. It’s dark and realistic and quite sad. It’s premise was exciting; what if super heroes and master villains really did exist in the real world? This is what I loved about the film and why I had always hoped for a sequel. The film was only considered a modest success and so Shyamalan moved on to make the mega hit Signs (2001). The quality of his films thereafter declined as did his Hollywood status.
When Split came along in 2017 Shyamalan was experiencing a career resurgence and I was excited to go see the film, hoping for some of that old ‘Night magic”. I happily enjoyed the film! It was a solid thriller with a great performance by James McAvoy. I would have been satisfied with that but when the score from Unbreakable started playing near the end of the film and the film continued beyond what would normally be an ending, I started getting suspicios. Then, we got that final scene in the diner. Everyone was watching the news on the TV about this terrible villain called The Horde. It reminded them of another murderer from the past with a funny name. “Mr. Glass” a voice rang out. It was Bruce Willis. It was David Dunn! We’re going to finally get that sequel!! I was downright giddy! Shyamalan was taking a chance though, by using his newfound Hollywood cache to make a sequel to a twenty year old mild success.
Glass isn’t as good as Unbreakable or Split. It depends mostly on the dynamic between the three main characters, David Dubb, The Horde and Mr. Glass and the secondary characters are mere witnesses to they’re drama. It’s a lot of pressure to put on the story and the action mostly takes place in a sanitarium where they have all. conveniently been placed. The film, however, works as ‘wish fulfillment’. It was fun to see these characters exist in the same world. The idea from the first film is still alive here. How would such characters be perceived in real life? They would be considered insane. The conclusion is a fabulous finale of super hero and villains in a duel to the death.
There’s much fun seeing Willis and Jackson back in their original characters. I wish there was more interaction with them and rumination on what happened before and what David Dunn has endured since. It all seems to happen so fast. It doesn’t have the reflection of Unbreakable or the suspense of Split. We get to see Mr. Glass’ mother (Charlene Woodard) and Dunn’s now grown son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and accomplice back in the fray. Sarah Paulson shows up as the psychiatrist tasked to study these men who has alternative motives.. Anna Taylor Joy also reprises her role as the sole survivor from Split who now all of a sudden has some sort of relationship with Kevin Wendell Crumb, the original identity of McCoy’s character. It’s uneven to be sure but as a fan of the first two films it was fun to watch how Shyamalan tried to make the third leg of a trilogy work. He is very inventive and willing to take chances. I hope that he continues to surprise and make entertaining films.
It’s that time of year again! The Academy Award nominations are being announced Tuesday morning January 22nd. We have seen the results of many critics groups, the Golden Globes and just yesterday The Producers Guild. We know there will be some shocks and surprises, there always are. Here are my picks on who will hear their name called on Tuesday.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
MAHERHSALA ALI GREEN BOOK
ADAN DRIVER BLACK KLAANSMAN
SAM ELLIOT A STAR IS BORN
RICHARD E. GRANT CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
SAM ROCKWELL VICE
My wild card in this category is Sam Elliot. Maybe it’s just my sentimentality but I think he serves the nod. If not, then expect to see young Timothy Chalet grab the nod for Beautiful Boy.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS VICE
CLAIRE FOY FIRST MAN
REGINA KING IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
EMMA STONE THE FAVOURITE
RACHEL WEISZ THE FAVOURITE
Regina King is racking up the wins! This line up seems to be set but don’t be surprised to see Michelle Yeoh grab a nod for Crazy Rich Asians.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
DEBRA DAVIS, THE FAVOURITE
PAUL SCHRADER FIRST REFORMED
NICK VALLELONGA, GREEN BOOK
BRIAN HAYES CURRIE
ALFONSO CUARON ROMA
ADAM MCKAY VICE
I will be very upset if Paul Schrader does not pick up his FIRST Oscar nomination for First Reformed. But if he doesn’t expect to see an opportunity to recognize Crazy Rich Asians.
BEST SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION
SPIKE LEE BLACK KLAANSMAN
NICOLE HOLOFCENER CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
JOSH SINGER FIRST MAN
BARRY JENKINS IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
BRADLEY COOPER A STAR IS BORN
These seem to be the safe bets here but a surprise nom could go to Diablo Cody for Tully.
YALITZIA APARICIO ROMA
GLEN CLOSE THE WIFE
OLIVIA COLEMAN THE FAVOURITE
LADY GAGA A STAR IS BORN
MELISSA MCCARTHY CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
This category has a lot of wild cards. Close, Coleman and Gaga are sure things. McCarthy deserves a nod and with Roma getting a lot of attention Aparicio should make the cut but never count out Julia Roberts and her well received performance in Ben Is Back or Saorsie Ronan’s fierce performance in Mary, Queen of Scots.
CHRISTIAN BALE VICE
BRADLEY COOPER A STAR IS BORN
ETHAN HAWKE FIRST REFORMED
RAMI MALEK BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
VIGGO MORTENSON GREEN BOOK
I really want to see Ethan Hawke get his first Best Actor nod but Willem Dafoe is also looking for his first Best Actor nom for At Eternity’s Gate.
BRADLEY COOPER A STAR IS BORN
ALFONSO CUARON ROMA
PETER FARRELLY GREEN BOOK
SPIKE LEE BLACK KLAANSMAN
ADAM MCKAY VICE
No matter how many films get nominated for Best Picture only 5 directors will get nominated for their celebrated films. There could be a surprise and Farrelly could get left off in favor of Barry Jenins for Beale Street.
A STAR IS BORN
The category has been allowed to have as many as ten films but that has only happened once (2010) since the change was made in 2009. You might see If Beale Street Could Talk or Crazy Rich Asians. Looking forward to watching the nominations announced live tomorrow morning!!!