A Look at The Walking Dead #126: “All Out War” Finale

The Walking Dead #126 Cover

The finale to “All Out War” was a mixed bag for me. There are moments for character growth and development, primarily for Rick, Negan’s rule over The Saviors comes to an end and we’re given a bit of hope and optimism for the future after the folks of the Alexandria Safe Zone have endured so much carnage.

Where the issue suffers is in its pacing. For a finale that had so much buildup, the ending didn’t really fit all of the anticipation that Robert Kirkman teased from issue to issue. The resolution to the Negan problem is over fairly quickly. Also, it felt as if the first few pages had to wrap up the ongoing conflict with The Saviors pretty fast in order to spend more time with the Alexandria folks.

The Walking Dead #126- Rick and Michonne talk

I’ll start with the smaller moments, first. Rick has had the burden of leadership saddled upon him. He has to be the one to make the decisions that no one else, except for maybe Carl, wants to make. When Michonne tells Rick that she’s learned not to question him and believes he has a knack for leadership, it shows that while people may not agree with Rick’s decisions, they ultimately believe he’s making the right ones.

As he did with Andrea, Rick showing optimism in the face of so much danger shows that he truly believes that something good can come out of all the bloodshed the folks have dealt with at the hands of The Saviors.

The Walking Dead #126- Rick tells Carl, Andrea and Maggie that he wants Negan alive

And yet Rick, as designated leader, doesn’t really take much blame for anything that’s happened under his watch. From what I remember, the last time we saw someone take out their anger on Rick for his decisions was Maggie punching him over and over for not stopping Negan after the events of issue #100.

And here we have that terrible moment referenced when Maggie asks if it’s wise to let Negan live, considering, you know, he beat Glenn to death with a baseball bat.

But Rick believes that they are ultimately better than Negan because they have a chance to make something out of the world they live in. This is what they’ve wanted since arriving in Alexandria, but Negan’s presence put a stop to that. Now that he’s not a threat, Rick doesn’t think there’s a need to kill him because that would make them no different than him.

Had this been the Rick we were with back at the prison, I doubt he’d be as forgiving. Andrea and Carl certainly aren’t. Heck, Rick wanted to have Thomas hanged back during the prison arc and now Andrea would prefer that Negan is publicly executed.

The Walking Dead #126- Carl about to kill Negan

And Carl was ready to pull the trigger himself. Sure, Negan let Rick live, but, as he pointed out, he did it because Rick was the leader. He wanted Rick to suffer by watching everything he’d worked for crumble all around him.

It’s the reason Negan didn’t kill Rick, but made him watch Glenn be killed before his eyes. The rules in the zombie apocalypse world constantly change and that’s reflected in Rick’s decision to let Negan live and see the folks of Alexandria prosper.

Even after the loss of one of his best friends, losing both his wife and daughter, his son losing a chunk of his face, after everything that he’s been through, Rick still believes there’s a world worth fighting for.

I’m sure Carl does, as well, but his bloodlust, I doubt he’ll be as open to the idea of a brand new world where justice is served instead of vengeance. After all, vengeance can change a person. As with the show, Rick and Carl are fighting to save their own humanity and steer off the dark path.

the-walking-dead-126-dwight-tells-the-saviors-to-follow-him

As for Dwight and The Saviors, it was clear that he’d try and usurp power from Negan. He did still do his part and help Rick and the others bring Negan down and he, like Rick, wants an end to all of the fighting. Whether The Saviors choose to follow him is another thing, but if so, maybe there can finally be some peace between the two groups.

The Walking Dead #126- Negan breaks Rick's leg

So let’s wrap things up with Negan. The man is a bonafide fighter. Despite having his neck slashed with a blade, he continued to fight until he couldn’t go on any longer, even going as far as breaking Rick’s leg.

It was a bit suspect that he was suddenly so open to Rick’s idea of an alliance, and no surprise, it ended up being a ruse. Now that he’s out of commission for the time being, it will be interesting to see Negan adjust to life without power or an army. He probably wishes Rick would have just killed him, rather than keep him alive.

Like I said, the finale to this arc was mixed. It didn’t need a giant, bloody shootout like we got when The Governor destroyed the prison, but it felt as if we moved through this issue a bit too quickly. However, despite that, there’s a genuine sense of optimism and hope for the future that we see in Rick’s speech to the people of Alexandria.

Some would say that killing Negan would have been justice for Glenn, but Rick prefers that Negan watch the citizens of Alexandria prosper. Killing Negan would let him off easy and be too predictable for this series. Like Negan letting Rick live, Rick wants Negan to see that all his efforts to terrorize were all for naught. With so much chaos throughout this arc, maybe now the group will have a chance to rebuild.

A Look at Veep- Season 3, Episode 4: “Clovis”

Rule of thumb: make sure you don’t have a porn parody site if you decide to run for President of the United States.

This week’s episode of Veep takes Selina and some of her crew to Silicon Valley to get cozy with the rich and powerful internet tycoons.  It wouldn’t be Veep without a few verbal hiccups along the way, and there are some but, in my opinion, the main storyline takes a backseat to the story’s secondary plot.

Clovis- Cassie Langley calls out Selina's flip-flop

The episode begins in Palo Alto, California where Selina has just finished giving a speech in Silicon Valley.  While meeting and greeting locals, Selina has a run in with one stand-out woman named Cassie Langley, played by Lindsey Kraft.  Meyer doesn’t immediately remember Langley despite the fact that she worked on her campaign.  Whoops.  But luckily, Cassie isn’t there to reminisce about their first meeting.  No, she takes issue with Selina’s current stance on environmental issues, given how she campaigned as being very pro-environment.  The others take no time at all in getting Selina out of there before the fracking flip-flop flashback can go back even further.

Clovis- Jonah's blog post on Selina's fracking flip-flop

Word spreads quickly, though.  Back in D.C., Dan watches Danny Chung speak about Selina’s flip-flop.  Worse than that, Jonah posted a story about it on his blog and he’s racking up hits as the story quickly goes viral.

Clovis- Ben and Dan talk at bar

With the day not going his way, Dan complains to Ben that night at a bar.  He still believes he’ll make a great campaign manager if Selina picked him, but Ben tells him that such aspirations would mean getting down and dirty with anything he can get his hands on.  For example: there’s word that, while in Iraq, Danny Chung and his unit got into some questionable behavior.

Though Dan has no way of proving it, that doesn’t mean he can’t casually let it drop in conversation during a poker game with Jonah and a few others.

The next day in California, the group is about to leave, but Gary is the last one ready after a man leaves his hotel room.  All right, then.

Clovis- Melissa Conners shows Selina and company around Clovis

They meet Clovis Chief Financial Officer Melissa Conners, played by Mary Grill, who lets them know that Craig would like to meet them.

Clovis- Craig Jergensen meets Selina

We’re then introduced to Craig Jergensen, played by Tim Baltz, who gives Selina a smart watch.  A smarch, if you will.  It’s supposed to swap Clovis profiles, but when Craig and Selina shake hands, it doesn’t work.  Selina takes it for a test run and tries to look up her campaign site, MeetMeyer.com, and she gets taken to Sea World’s home page.  Meh.  Close enough.

Clovis- Jonah after calling Dan about potentially running with the Danny Chung torture story

Jonah, meanwhile, is on the fence about going with the Danny Chung torture story since there’s no verification and no leads.  However, he decides to go ahead and just put it out there in the hopes that it will catch fire.  After all, that’s Journalism 101.  I think I missed that class.

Clovis- Meating Meyer

More testing with the smarch.  Kent tries to look up MeetMeyer.com, but gets directed to MeatMeyer.com, a parody site.  The group tries again, only this time they get MeatingMeyer.com, a porn site depicting Selina getting porked.  Surprisingly, there’s no page that asks to verify your age before entering.  What an open and welcome porn site.

When it’s time to talk business, Craig admits that he doesn’t follow politics all that much, until he brings up the repatriation tax.  Clovis is very post tax.  And he at least likes Selina’s initiative to put tablets in the classroom.

All of a sudden, Jonah’s blog post pops up and when Gary slips how Jonah is well known in D.C., Craig decides he wants to buy Ryantology.  Way to go, Gary!

And when Jonah gets the news, he’s ecstatic, more so since, you know, just lost his job at the White House.

Clovis- Melissa tries to court Amy

Melissa pulls Amy aside and tells her how much she admires her potential.  She cuts to the chase and offers Amy a job at Clovis.  The pay is no tiny sum, either, but Amy turns it down, saying that the life of a Clovis employee just isn’t for her.  Kent doesn’t take the offer either, lucrative as it is.

Oh, and because this had a point, Gary addresses that he’s had great shoulder pain for the last few days, so he had a masseur come and give him a rubdown.  That makes more sense.

Clovis- Selina talks Danny Chung and torture

When Selina finally gives her speech at Clovis, she does so in front of a word cloud containing many, well, words.  Among them are “Danny Chung” and “torture.”  When asked about the torture story, Selina, while refuting the claims, continues to use the words “Danny Chung” and “torture” over and over again.

As a result, as Dan lets her know, the media and everyone else believe the two are synonymous.  Whoops.

Never mind, though, as Danny Chung speaks at a press conference and lets everyone know that documents reveal that the torture claims are bogus.  Too bad, Jonah.

Rand Paul signs Facebook wall

Appealing to high tech billionaires has proven to be a must for politicians.  The most recent real life example that comes to mind is Rand Paul’s visit to Mark Zuckerburg and him signing the Facebook wall.

Clovis- Selina about to sign the Clovis wall under Ron Jeremy's name

Again, I like when Veep can pull from real life examples and make comedic moments out of them, as with Selina almost signing her name under the likes of Lance Armstrong or Ron Jeremy’s.  How do you get Ron Jeremy mixed up with Jeremy Irons, by the way?

Clovis- Selina asks if Jeremy Irons fucked her

But, as this is Veep, things can and will go awry for Selina.  Whether its Gary drawing attention to Jonah or Amy constantly texting, the crew gets lost in their worlds.  This is what makes Veep work: separately, the characters can probably perform very well, but combined, they’re a guaranteed wreck.  That said, I enjoyed the visit to Clovis and it’s Google-like appearance down to the website’s logo looking very similar to the current one used for Google Chrome.  Also, while I’ve never experimented with them, the Smarch watch gave me a Google Glasses vibe.

Clovis- Melissa tries to court Kent

This A storyline was funny, but it wasn’t as interesting to watch as the other plot.  More on that in a second, as I wanted to touch upon Melissa courting Amy and Kent.  She sees that the two have potential and could do great elsewhere.  Obviously they turned down the offers, but I think the episode could have gone further with this.  Dan and Amy are dead set on becoming Selina’s campaign manager that being courted by others may not have entered their minds.  Such was the case here, but the problem I had was that the courting came so late in the episode that it didn’t really have any impact.  I’d have much preferred if Melissa noticed Amy and Kent earlier and tried to court them, but obviously the focus was Selina’s visit to Clovis.  I just feel this could have been developed more.  Yes, Melissa does say early on that she knows all about Amy, but that’s really it.  It’s delivered almost as a throwaway line.

The same goes with the mother calling out Selina’s flip-flop.  As a politician, and especially as the Vice President, every single word that comes out of Selina’s mouth will be scrutinized, analyzed and criticized.  We live in an age where comments caught on mic have the potential to go viral if they aren’t remarks a politician wants the general public to hear.  I hope I’m not the only person thinking of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark or Barack Obama telling Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after his last election.  Now that she’s running for President, she can expect a microscope to examine every single word she says.  Again, this wasn’t the crux of the episode, but given how it’s a flip-flop, I think it could have a larger impact than it did.  As is, it feels like by the end of the episode, the flip-flop is all but forgotten.

Clovis- Bar talk

But as I said, I much preferred the storyline in D.C. where we see the impact of Selina’s flip-flop.  Much of this had to do with the slower moments, such as Dan’s conversation with Ben about getting down and dirty as a campaign manager.  Ben strikes me as the politician that has seen it all, which is why he has no qualms with Dan sacrificing his dignity for a cushy job.  As we saw during “The Choice,” there’s very little he cares about, so whether Dan lands on his feet or his face doesn’t matter.  He put in Dan’s head the idea that Chung may have been involved with torture, so his job is done.

Clovis- Jonah's site was linked on Playbook this morning

And as usual, Timothy Simons turns in a great performance as Jonah because we see not just his desperation to get the jump on a potentially big story, but we see his desperation and anger at those who thought he would never make something of himself.  Going viral with the fracking story was the first step and even though the universe would be misaligned if Jonah were to become rich, I’m positive he will bounce back from this.  He always does.  Though I have to wonder where he went to journalism school if he thought it was all right to just publish a story without all of the facts.  I mean, sitting back and hitting “Publish” so you can wait for the post to snowball?  Shoddy journalism, Jonah.

Clovis- Selina, Melissa and Amy

Overall, this was a good episode.  Not bad, but not great.  Just good, and that’s just fine for Veep.  There’s nothing wrong with the episode, per se, and, as usual, there was plenty of humor to be found, but I just felt that the main storyline had a lot of threads that could have gone somewhere, but didn’t.  The Selina at Clovis plot didn’t feel as engaging as the events going on in D.C. with Dan or Jonah.  I’d like the flip-flop reveal to come up again later since, well, it’s a flip-flop and Selina would have to own up to that without ducking behind secret service and her team.  Will it?  Probably not, but now we know that there’s one mother probably reconsidering her vote for Selina Meyer.

Clovis- Gary asks Selina what she thought of the random man who left his hotel room

Oh, and Selina?  Pay Gary a little more attention.  He’s more than earned it and that would probably ward off any suspicion about why a random man walked out of his hotel room.

 

A Look at Fargo- Season 1, Episode 2: “The Rooster Prince”

“Highly irregular is the time I found a human foot in a toaster oven. This is just odd.”

There’s a difference.  And if you’ve got an easier time recollecting gum from your childhood than the events surrounding your wife’s death, of course you look a bit suspicious.

“The Rooster Prince” delves deeper into Lester’s attempts to reconcile with what happened to him, but at the same time conceal his role from Detective Solverson. Meanwhile, Lorne Malvo takes up the priesthood and two newcomers show they mean business through some serious sign language.

The Rooster Prince- Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench

The episode begins with two men arriving at Hess & Son Transports to meet Max Gold. Mr. Numbers, played by Adam Goldberg, and his mute accomplice, Mr. Wrench, played by Russell Harvard, finally get to meet Mr. Gold, played by Brian Markinson, and let him know that Fargo sent them to find out what happened to Sam Hess and whether it was connected to any other business. After Hess mentions that Lorne came to size up Sam, the two newcomers decide to help find the killer.

The Rooster Prince- Lester and Chaz at funeral home

At a funeral home, Lester and others gather to remember Sam. Lester’s brother, Chaz, played by Joshua Close, and his wife, Kitty, played by Rachel Blanchard, suggest that Lester move in with them for a few days while his house is cleaned.

The Rooster Prince- Molly suggests to Bill that they re-interview Lester

After spending some time at Vern’s gravestone, Deputy Solverson meets up with Chief Bill Oswalt, played by Bob Odenkirk, and she has a proposal: go back and question Lester Nygaard about what happened the night his wife and Vern died. Bill comes to Lester’s defense, noting that in school, Lester fainted at the sight of blood. He believes a drifter did it. However, Molly finds the sequence of events a bit too coincidental and believes they should still go ask Lester for more information.

The Rooster Prince- Solverson and Oswalt pay Lester a visit

Back in his own home, Lester examines some of Pearl’s belongings and replays the events of that horrible night. His dream is cut short when Solverson and Oswalt pay him a visit. Bill, who leads the conversation, asks about Lester’s possible connection to Lorne. He remembers very well that Sam used to bully Lester in high school, which is another clue for Molly, who doesn’t share Bill’s drifter theory. When Molly asks Lester to remember what happened that night and if he met a man when in the hospital, Lester dances around the question, saying that he can’t fully remember what happened. Bill, satisfied, decides to drop it and leave, but not before he and Lester remember a type of gum they liked when they were kids: Hubba-Bubba. Good that he remembered that long, forgotten detail.

The Rooster Prince- Lorne discovers he's a minister

Lorne heads to a post office to pick up a package. Lorne tells the clerk that his name is Duluth, but since the name of the town he’s currently in is named Duluth, every single package will have Duluth on it. Tough, since Lorne won’t show any identification. The clerk does indeed find and hand Lorne a package addressed to Duluth. The package includes a book, entitled “American Phoenix,” and an ID inside. Turns out that Lorne was a minister all along.

The Rooster Prince- Lorne meets with Starvos Milos

He heads to the Phoenix Farms Shopping Mart to meet the book’s author, Stavros Milos, played by Oliver Platt. Milos received a blackmail letter about ransom money and has brought in Lorne to take care of this problem.

The Rooster Prince- Officer Gus Grimly and squad hear about murders

Meanwhile, at the Duluth Police Department, Officer Gus Grimly and the rest of the squad hear about the murders, though Grimly has a clear memory of his run in with the man who gave him the chance to walk away and return to his daughter alive.

The Rooster Prince- Gus talks with Greta

At home, he speaks with his daughter, Greta, played by Joey King, about bullying and confronting dangers head on, as he did a few nights ago. But Greta, if confronted, tells her father that she’d stop the bully no matter what.

The Rooster Prince- Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench meet Lenny

Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench go to the stripper joint and talk with the woman who was with Sam the night he was killed. The owner tells the two about a man named Lenny, played by Paul Braunstein, one of the regulars who had apparently once said something about guys like Hess.

The two kidnap and bring Lenny to Max Gold, but he doesn’t think that’s the guy they want.

The Rooster Prince- Helena Milos and Don Chumph

Lorne, under his identity as Minister Frank Peterson, talks with Stavros Milos’ wife, Helena, played by Allegra Fulton, and her bronzed trainer, Don Chumph, played by Glenn Howerton.

My goodness, Dennis got himself one hell of a tan.

Anyway, Lorne tries to get into Stavros’ fortune, which Helena places at $15 million or even higher.

The Rooster Prince- Muscle tries to intimidate Lorne

Later, one of Stavros’ right hand men approaches Lorne in his hotel room and tells him to get out of town. Lorne’s response? He enters the bathroom, drops trou and has a seat while reading a copy of “American Phoenix.” Guy couldn’t even be bothered to close the door.

The Rooster Prince- Bill wants Molly to lay off of Lester

Bill calls Molly into his office to see if they’re on the same page with Lester. He wants to focus on the break-in angle and suggests that they call other towns that have had similar occurrences.

Back in his own home again, Lester pulls off the back of the washing machine and takes out the hammer he used to bash Pearl to death.

He then has dinner with Chaz and his family before he realizes his hand, which has been irritating him throughout the episode due to an injury, is bothering him even more.

The Rooster Prince- Molly has a few more questions for Lester

So he heads to a drug store to get something for a wound in order to stop it from infecting. And who should show up but Deputy Solverseon, who has more questions about his hospital encounter with the mysterious man. She still sees a connection between that and the murders and follows Lester all the way to his car. He tries to play it off and claims that Solverson is harassing him, but she just wants to get to understand these coincidences. But Lester, like Bill, believes the matter is closed and that she’s wasting her time.

The Rooster Prince- Molly talks to her father

The next day at Lou’s Coffee Shop, Molly talks with her father, Lou, played by Keith Carradine, about the coincidences. Lou remembers when Molly was a young girl, she was put under anesthesia for her teeth. It may have had an effect, but the point he’s trying to make is that there’s evil in the world and she needs to understand that. But luckily, she carries a gun now.

The Rooster Prince- Bill tells Molly she's off the case

In enters Bill, who received a phone call from Lester about Solverson questioning him. Bill makes it clear that while he and Molly may disagree on the case, he’s still the new chief. He had hoped people would line up behind him on this matter, but that’s not the case. As such, Molly is taken off of the murder case and will instead be the new lead on the frozen man case.

The Rooster Prince- Putting Lenny on ice

The episode comes to a close as Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench, on the middle of a sheet of ice, drill a hole into the ice before dropping in poor Lenny to take a long, cold nap.

“The Rooster Prince,” like the ending of last week’s episode with Gus Grimly running into Lorne, showed the dangers of getting too close. Sticking your nose into a sticky situation is a good way to tempt fate. And you can, like Detective Solverson, push deeper and keep poking at fate, or do what Officer Grimly did last week and back away when warned.

The Rooster Prince- Lester remembers Hubba Bubba gum

I’m interested in where this show will take Lester. The lapses in his memory have already clued off Molly, so he’s trapping himself without much effort. To not remember the events surrounding the death of your wife, but be able to recall a particular brand of gum from your childhood looks suspicious and it’s clear from the scene between Lester and the officers that he’s trying to paint himself as a victim.

In Lester’s mind, he’s not the one at fault, but the maniac who murdered his wife is. He’s trying to come off as confused and uncertain, so as not to create suspicion, but he’s not doing a good job at it. In fact, when Lester became increasingly agitated at Detective Solverson’s questions, it’s no wonder why Molly doesn’t just see these murders as random.

The Rooster Prince- Lester pulls out the hammer

It’s clear that Lester does feel some level of remorse for killing his wife, as evidenced when he revisits his home and goes through his wife’s belongings. The hammer he keeps is like a trophy: a constant reminder of how he’s now a changed man through his reawakening. Granted, that has to do with his interaction with Lorne, and though the two don’t interact at all this episode, Lorne is still present in Lester’s mind through what he did to Pearl. We don’t spend a lot of time getting into Lester’s head, and that’s fine since he’s not the focal point of the episode.

The Rooster Prince- Solverson and Oswalt

Molly, however, may be getting in a bit over her head. She’s by no means a bad character. Much like Frances McDormand in the original film, she’s the good cop. As is Bill, but he’s more concerned with moving on than getting to the bottom of the case.

The Rooster Prince- Detective Solverson

Deputy Solverson has good intentions and sees the obvious connections between Lester and Lorne. She doesn’t have a vendetta against Lester- she’s just doing her job the best way she knows how. But it’s because she’s doing her job that got her taken off the case because she’s asking too many questions too soon. At this point, it’s easy for Lester to paint himself as the victim. As Molly reminds him, however, he wasn’t the only one who lost someone close that night. It’s no wonder Bill was so quick to take her off the case, but at the same time, this shows her commitment as an officer to investigate the truth and not just accept things as they are. Even though she’s off the case, I’m certain she’s not done just yet.

The Rooster Prince- Lorne comes to pick up a package

As for Lorne, the man has no fear whatsoever. He literally doesn’t give a crap about threats or intimidation. Again, Billy Bob Thornton plays the role well and it was nice to see him have some more light-hearted moments, such as with the postal clerk. Again, it felt reminiscent of the coin toss scene from No Country for Old Men. Hopefully we get to see him do more than just be intimidating, though, because that can get very old very fast, particularly if he doesn’t meet anyone who can match him.

“The Rooster Prince” was another strong entry for the miniseries. I’m enjoying where the show is taking Deputy Solverson so far and hope they find a way to continue her involvement with Lester’s case. I’m interested in the exploits of the side characters as well, particularly the newcomers, Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench. Gus Grimly, so far, seems like an outsider, but I appreciate that we’re given snippets and small moments with them. That way, the episode doesn’t feel overstuffed with constant appearances. Looking forward to the next episode.

 

A Look at Veep- Season 3, Episode 3: “Alicia”

Never let it be said that Veep leaves the little guy or gal behind.  Not all of the time.  We see the world come hard against Selina as almost everything that could go wrong or be potential setbacks for her do indeed happen.  Let’s jump right into it.

The episode begins in Anacostia, before we then cut to a section of D.C. that looks absolutely nothing like Anacostia, but such is most television shows that try to depict the District of Columbia accurately.  Getting way off topic here.  I’m a local.

Alicia- Jonah tries to stop Alicia and Dee

A woman named Alicia Bryce, played by Tracie Thomas, and her friend, Dee, played by Edwina Findley, place up signs about a walk to the White House.  The walk in particular promotes universal child care, not exactly high up on the list of priorities for politicians when they actually enter office.  Nonetheless, it attracts Jonah’s attention, as he wants to tell Alicia’s story.

Turns out that Amy does, too, so Alicia goes with the more legitimate looking individual and talks to Selina on the phone.

Alicia- Kent tells Selina that universal child care is of no value

Selina promises that Alicia will play a key role with the campaign.  How big a role that is, we’re not told yet.  Kent tells Selina that child care is of no value in the world of politics.  As a result, bringing Alicia in would do no good, even with the two weeks rehearsal needed to prepare for Selina’s speech.

If that wasn’t enough, Dan brings Selina more bad news: Saturday Night Live has done a sketch making fun of her, an elected official, which we’ve never actually seen before on SNL, ever.  Dan suggests that Selina take it in stride and learn to laugh at herself, but Selina says nuts to that and demands NBC fix this.  It’s already starting a chain reaction that could turn off some potential voter groups.

Alicia- Mike hands out advance copies of 'speech' to press

Mike hands out advance copies of the speech, which turn out to just be press releases, just as Alicia arrives.  The choir that was supposed to be in the crowd behind Selina has fallen ill.  Selina comes in and meets with Alicia to give her just enough time to tell her that 38 percent of children don’t have health care.  Only 38 percent.  But then Senator Doyle shows up for his meeting with Selina.

Alicia- Doyle tells Selina to drop universal child care

Doyle recommends that Selina dump child care because it’s a bottomless money pit.  To play it safe, he says, she should play up the AARP.  As much as people may not want to believe it, older people actually vote.  Seniors are the easy vote.  Ben suggests Selina pick another principle.  Somehow Leon gets wind of a rumor that Selina will drop child care.  If she doesn’t, Doyle believes that politicians en route to Selina’s speech will suddenly get stuck in traffic for a long time.

Oh, and Dan learns from SNL that they plan to do another sketch.  Lovely.

Alicia- Catherine shows up in same dress as her mother

And Catherine shows up in a dress similar to Selina, who wants her out of it.

Selina doesn’t want to buckle to pressure, but she recognizes that the Party will dictate to her.  They will not, however, claim ownership of her.  So she decides to lose child care and replaces that priority with seniors.

And the bearer of the bad news would be Amy, if she didn’t pass on the honor to Mike, who has to break the bad news to Alicia and Dee, who has just arrived.  The two are understandably angry, and they don’t really do Mike any favors when he tries to calm them down.

Alicia- Mike unintentionally calls Alicia a stupid cow

So what does Mike do?  In his anger, he calls Alicia a stupid cow.  Yeah.  And Jonah heard it, too.

Alicia- Ben finds Mike in the room of regret

Ben later finds Mike sulking in the room of regret, but he has a solution: he must go lower than Jonah.  He must apologize.

Alicia- Mike begs Jonah to not run the cow story

But this is Jonah, and as he doesn’t have a better nature, it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t milk it a little bit by having Mike sing a Civil War song in an accent.

Alicia- Catherine talks some sense into Selina

While in her depressed funk, Selina gets a pep talk from Catherine, who reminds her that she’s had a shitty time as the vice president’s daughter and missing out on having a normal life.  However, it’s been worth it if she becomes the daughter of the next President of the United States, Paul Ryan!

I mean, Selina Meyer.

So Selina comes out and decides to wing any speech.  The speech has to actually be written, though, so there’s that.

Oh, and Lorne Michaels tells Selina that SNL will stop doing sketches about her.  After doing one more about her.  Hey, at least he told her.

Jonah still intends to write about Mike’s meltdown, but then he goes and blows it by asking Alicia to confirm and comment on the remarks.  Alicia denies it, but once Jonah is out of sight, she still tells Mike off for, you know, calling her a cow.

Selina announces her presidential candidacy off-screen, though we hear snippets of the speech and though she dropped child care, she did include a mention of Alicia’s daughter in the speech.  Selina tells Alicia that someone from the vice presidential team will travel with Alicia to one of her events.  Not her, though.  She’s the Vice President and stuff.  Far too busy for a commoner.  The burden falls on Catherine, who, after schedule confirmation, also cannot attend.

Once again, never let it be said that Veep leaves the little guy behind.  Sort of.  Well, let’s clarify.  Never let it be said that Selina and company intentionally leave the little guy behind.

No, that doesn’t work, either.  All right, how about this: Selina and company try to make time for the little guy, but it doesn’t always work out, which is pretty much the case for this week.  In one of the more character driven episodes for Selina, we see her grapple with sticking to her principles in the face of fighting a battle that won’t, in the eyes of other politicians, reel in new voters that will help her clinch the presidency.

Alicia- Alicia watches Sue prepare the crowd

The little guy, the commoner, they don’t have overflowing pockets of money, don’t own their own super PAC and have little to no name recognition.  Alicia is one of those people in the eyes of Kent, Ben, numerous other politicians and maybe even Selina, too.  To them, Alicia is just another faceless name in a crowd that symbolizes America like a United Colors of Benetton poster.

Speaking of, I did like the storyline of trying to arrange who will stand where behind Selina when she announces her candidacy.  Anytime you watch a politician give a speech, watch the background behind them.  Chances are they’ll try to have one of every flavor, creed, color and gender.  It makes everything look diverse.  In addition, politicians will name a particular person or two to highlight their personal struggle or achievement.  Those little moments humanize the politician and it helps make them personable and relatable to voters.  A good example of that would be then President-elect Obama telling his daughters that they would be getting a puppy since they were headed to the White House.  People remember things like that because they make the politicians appear normal, like us, as opposed to being bought and sold by special interest groups.

Selina wants to maintain that human side of her, but this week, nothing goes her way and it brings her to a low point before she’s even declared her candidacy.  She wants to aid Alicia’s child care efforts, but it’s a losing battle.  She’s under pressure from all sides to do what they believe is the right decision, which justifies Selina’s anger when she realized her party wanted to pull her strings instead of letting her do for herself.

Alicia- Selina and Catherine in same dress

This doesn’t mean Selina is without fault, as she’s got a snarky retort for most situations, but being flanked from all sides shows just a taste of the pressure she’ll receive during her presidential run to bend to many sides just to make everyone except her happy.  Dreyfus shows a lot of frustration in her performance, much of it done without saying a word, and it shows, again, her range as an actress on a show that’s mostly known for its comedy.

And we did get some humor here, but I wanted to address two things: so Jonah wants to blackmail Mike.  He knows what he heard.  Why didn’t he just run with it instead of going to Alicia for comment?  Sure, Alicia may have screwed him over either way, but he was a witness to it, so I’m not sure why he went out of his way to get Alicia to comment.

Alicia- Selina parody on Saturday Night Live

And I did enjoy the Saturday Night Live subplot that ended with Selina appearing on the show to thunderous applause.

Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live

An obvious reference to Sarah Palin’s appearance on the program and made even funnier by the fact that Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself is a Saturday Night Live alumna.  I am curious as to why the show didn’t use someone who’s currently on SNL to parody Selina, but that’s coming from the perspective of someone who regularly watches the show and would actually notice that.

Alicia- Kent talks to Dan about the speech rewrite

The reality of Selina’s situation is that older people vote and child care isn’t going to win her the presidency.  She doesn’t like it, but that’s the nature of politics.  Money talks and politicians gain a boost in name recognition if they go hand in hand with special interest groups.  That, in turn, makes them career politicians who lose touch with their constituents and more in touch with the political cesspool that is Washington and the little club called Congress.  Child care sounds good on paper, but come election time in November, it may not make a difference.

This episode showed Selina at a crossroads.  She wants to back the little guy, but she can’t realistically win the presidency without the big guys.  After years of having to deal with POTUS’ problems that end up lumped onto her, she’s making a run for the presidency.  And there’s much at stake, as we see when Catherine explains that her crappy life will be well worth it if Selina becomes president.  “Alicia” tackled the complexities of trying to integrate to everyday voters while not ignoring big donors.  It pushed Selina to a low state, but then launched her back to reality when she proudly announced her candidacy for the president of the United States.

Let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

Alicia- Not Anacostia

Seriously, this looks nothing like Anacostia!

A Look at Fargo- Series Premiere: “The Crocodile Dilemma”

Turning a film into a television series can be a challenge.  You don’t want to just use the exact same story, premise and dialogue, word for word because people will write it off as more of the same.  At the same time, if it doesn’t capture the spirit of the original, you may wonder what the point was in trying to create something new out of something old.

Fargo, first and foremost, is not a remake or reboot of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film.  The only things these two share are name and location.  The new miniseries still takes place in the town of Fargo, Minnesota and, right from the start, manages to retain the same dark, comedic tone of the original movie.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lorne in car

The series begins on a dark, lonely Minnesota road, where we’re introduced to Lorne Malvo, played by Billy Bob Thornton, as he overhears some thumping from his trunk.  As he navigates through the night, he collides head on with a deer, causing his car to careen off the road.  As Malvo regains his composure, a man forces his way out of the trunk and makes his way further into the Minnesota night.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Insurance salesman Lester at work

We’re then introduced to Lester Nygaard, played by Martin Freeman, and his wife, Pearl, played by Kelly Holden Bashar.  Lester is a salesman and a bit of a sad sack.  And poor guy, he gets a run in with an old high school bully, Sam Hess, played by Kevin O’Grady, who reminds him and his two sons about how he once put Lester in an oil drum and banged his now wife of 15 years.  Sam lays it on thick and it looks like he’s about to sock Lester in the face, but he doesn’t.

This doesn’t stop him from running face first into a door, though.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lester and Lorne meet at hospital

At the hospital, he finds himself sitting next to Lorne, who lends his ear as Lester talks about his problems.  Though in Lester’s version of the story, he was outnumbered and outmatched.  Lorne, however, is to the point and tells Lester that if a man like Sam had insulted him, he would have killed him.  Men like Sam don’t deserve to draw breath.  If Lester wants Sam dead, he just has to say the word and Lorne will do it.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Officers Vern Thurman and Molly Solverson

Looking into the case of the wrecked car are officers Vern Thurman, played by Shawn Doyle, and Molly Solverson, played by Allison Tolman.  The deer that Lorne hit is in the trunk, while further into the void, they find a frozen man resting against a tree.

There’s a lot to cover in between, but for brevity’s sake, let’s just say that Lorne heads to Hess & Son Transports to get a good look at what’s he dealing with.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lester and Lorne meet at diner

Sometime later, Lester, already swimming in a sea of problems, heads to a diner to meet up with Lorne, only to learn that Lorne has taken care of Lester’s big problem.  Why?  Because Lester’s spent his entire life thinking that there are rules.  Turns out there are none.  Not with Lorne.

Fargo is off to a great, dark and twisted beginning.  I was unsure what to make of a Fargo television series where the only similarities were title and location, but out of the gate, this shows a lot of promise.

Creator and writer Noah Hawley took what worked about the film and, for my money, found a way to make it work for television without straying far from the original formula.  That’s hard to do if you don’t have a lot of faith in the source material, but I could clearly buy this as a universe inspired by the Coen Brothers.

The tone feels much darker, yet not too far off from the style and feel of the film.  I had to remind myself at times that this was a miniseries and not a full length feature film because of the high production values.  Like that, this is a quiet Minnesota town racked by sudden acts of violence.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lorne inquires about pets

And despite how gratuitous the violence is in the pilot, there’s a surprising amount of genuine humor to counterbalance the dark elements.  Lorne has a great moment where he checks into a hotel and he asks the woman at the desk about what pets are allowed, only for him to say that he doesn’t have a pet.

I’m impressed with how well the pilot is paced.  We get just enough information and insight into Lorne and Lester’s characters without giving too much away, but just enough to maintain interest.  Obviously we know less about Lorne since he’s shrouded in mystery, but his very persona is what made him such an interesting character to watch.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lorne explains that there are no rules

Lorne is a force and Billy Bob Thornton carries a commanding presence whenever he appears.  He’s sadistic and out to show Lester that the world is bleak, but also larger than either of them knows.  He has a very straightforward view of morality: if he wants something, he’ll take it, no need to dwell before or afterward.  What Lorne lacks in conversation, he makes up for through brute force and strength.

Anton Chigur

In a way, he’s very similar to Anton Chigurh.  He has no compassion for the weak and will use raw strength to get what he wants.  Like Anton, he doesn’t think he’s insane, but that the world around him has problems.  He doesn’t believe in rules at all, though Anton believes that rules can be of no use if they bring you to a dire, no-win situation, as was the case with Carson when he met his fate at Anton’s hands.

He strikes fear into average citizens and can get them to bend to his well, proving how much influence he has over the power of rhetoric, but also how weak willed some individuals can be.  After all, he got a kid he’d never met to take a leak into his boss’ gas tank just because he had said he’d done it once before himself. It’s scary how much control he can wield.

This makes him a perfect counterpart to the bumbling Lester.  After a few encounters with Lorne, Lester comes out of this episode a changed man.  The people around him, from his brother to his wife to Sam, all chipped away at his dignity and sense of self-worth.  He’d been a man just walking through life waiting for some misfortune to come his way.  All this time he’d been going through the motions of life, but Lorne offered a chance to rebel against the forces that held him down.

The Crocodile Dilemma- Lester in the hospital

And Martin Freeman is as charming as he is bumbling in his performance.  It’s similar to what William H. Macy did with the original film, but it’s important to note that, as this series isn’t a reboot or remake, we aren’t looking at the same character or even a re-imagined version of the character.  It’s just another unlucky sap that’s having a bad time.

He’s made sympathetic by being at a low point in his life that we want him to rebound, but he’s not entirely relatable due to some of his actions.  It sets him down a dark path, I’ll say that.  It’s the start of a beautiful friendship between these two men.

“The Crocodile Dilemma” was a strong start to the miniseries.  Though it felt familiar, we entered into new territory thanks to the new direction and vision that Noah Hawley has crafted.  There’s a lot that’s set up and established that will play out as the series continues, most of which includes just how much power and influence Lorne can wield.

I didn’t even get to mention roles like Colin Hanks, whose only here for a brief appearance near the end, or Allison Tolman, whose character feels inspired by Frances McDormand’s character from the original, but rest to say they play their parts well.

This felt like a very ambitious project and it shows through the direction, but rest assured that the folks behind the scenes know what worked about Fargo and found a way to translate that formula to television.  I was hooked from the start and look forward to watching the rest of the series play out.  If you’re a fan of the film or even just a fan of dark comedies, give Fargo a watch.

A Look at Veep- Season 3, Episode 2: “The Choice”

Who doesn’t love controversy?

Veep mixes it up with the wonderful subject of abortion. In addition to wanting to be the first to make or clarify a statement, Veep, through its great humor, shows just how complex it is to nail down a position on this topic, even more so when you’re a politician who has presidential ambitions.

The episode begins with Gary receiving a call from honeymoon Mike, who lets him know that Wendy got the heads up that the President’s bodyguard is quitting. He teases that Gary could fill that slot, but Gary is completely loyal to Selina, right?

The Choice- Meyer Campaign Office

Speaking of Meyer, we cut to what’s supposed to be the Meyer Campaign Office in Maryland, though Amy clarifies that this building doesn’t exist and no one should know that it exists. Looks pretty bland, to be honest, but it will do for now. Richard, despite being left in Iowa, has somehow made it to the area along with Kelly, played by Dana Powell, who will be working on the campaign as a photographer. Hopefully they’ll be more useful than the phone, which doesn’t even work. Splendid.

The team is preparing to tag along with a night patrol for some pre-campaign campaigning. Dan offers to stay behind, but Selina won’t have any of that. Gary suggests that Selina just come out and say that she’s running for President, but it would look bad if she made this announcement while the sitting President was still in office.

The Choice- Veep team at Baltimore Harbor

So at the Baltimore Harbor, we learn that Dan doesn’t do boats that well. That could be a problem, as the group learns that a vessel carrying suspicious cargo has been intercepted.

The Choice- Jonah visits Mike

Mike gets an unexpected visit from Jonah, who already knows that the Veep team has a real estate office. However, he’s there because he’s starting a consulting firm and wants Mike on board for what he refers to as “Ryantology.” A D.C. insider becomes a D.C. outlaw.

Back on the water, the team finds the perp, but Selina is unable to make it over to him for a quick photo. Oh, and turns out he even voted for Selina. How nice of him. But Amy alerts everyone to a sudden announcement from the President: he’s suddenly pro-life after so much time being pro-choice.

The Choice- Team Veep discusses POTUS' and Selina's abortion stances

When the team returns to the impromptu campaign office, very late into the night, Selina talks with Ben, who had no idea that the President would make such a big announcement. Selina knows, however: the President is trying to screw with her, and on such a controversial issue, she has to tread lightly. The team decides to bring in some special interest groups, with pro-choice in the morning and pro-life in the afternoon to prevent any sort of philosophical scuffles.

Mike, also in on the call, tells Selina that the media are awaiting her stance. She can’t identify as a woman because men hate that, and women who hate women hate that. Gary brings up that Selina does mention abortion in her autobiography, and she did, but her explanation is vague and such political fodder that anyone would say without wanting to offend any side, so that’s no good. If she goes with that, she’ll appear weak. But she better come up with a position fast, as Kent has booked her for a 7 a.m. appearance on Good Morning America. Canceling the appearance would make Selina look bad, so she sticks with it, even though it sucks.

The Choice- Jonah's first video blog

Jonah’s made his way from Mike’s home to his own apartment, where he does a video blog about trashing old media. He plans to do more updating than he does dating, which is apparently a lot. Funny, Jonah. Very funny.

The Choice- Defining Selina's stance on abortion

With the Veep and company, they’re still trying to come up with a defined position on abortion that won’t offend anyone. Dan, however, has been pushing for Selina to push one way or the other. Selina realizes that she’ll screw over constituents whichever way she leans: if she’s pro-life, she’ll be a traitor to her sex. If she’s pro-choice, she’s a traitor to the President. The key is to make abortion safe and accessible for vulnerable women.

Maddox, meanwhile, issues an ambiguous statement: science may have given us the map, but we are lost without morality’s compass. How very vague, indeed.

The Choice- Dan explodes

While everyone else isn’t convinced, Dan acknowledges that Maddox said something rather than nothing at all. He goes on a long winded rant about picking a number for the cutoff number of weeks, which no one there has done so far. When he’s done ranting, he apologizes for exploding, and Selina accepts it while also retaining the right to fire him.

The Choice- Cardinal Branzini

She sends him home just as Cardinal Branzini, played by Michael Salconi, arrives. Gotta appeal to the Catholics, after all. Amy delegates tasks: Gary is to bring in Rachel Hordenthal, from Planned Parenthood, Mike will steer in Michael Cunningham, who is pro-life and should stay away from Hordenthal, and Sue will help Kent finish polling.

The Choice- Gary arrives with Rachel of Planned Parenthood

Gary brings in Hordenthal, played by Meredith Holzman, but Selina is still speaking with the Cardinal, so he tries to distract her by taking her to a break room. Next up after the Cardinal is the ACCDP, who Mike has on the phone. What does ACCDP stand for and what’s their stance? Mike doesn’t know. But one thing’s for sure: ACCDP’s stance has not changed. So Mike leaves the room to bring in Cunningham, played by Bob Cusack…

The Choice- Awkward confrontation between pro-choice and pro-life

…just as Gary returns with Hordenthal. Of course, the two groups run into each other and Amy ends up picking Cunningham to come in first. A very insulted Hordenthal storms off, but not before telling Gary that he should quit the job and find something he’s halfway decent at.

At least Jonah gets a bit of good news. I mean, the Huffington Post cancels on him, but MSNBC wants him on at 7 a.m.

When the dust at Selina’s office has settled, Mike comes in with an early copy of Danny Chung’s abortion statement, 10 minutes before he planned to announce. Mike didn’t actually read Chung’s stance, he just printed it out. How thoughtful. But Chung believes that a 22-week cutoff is appropriate. It turns out that no politician in the history of anything has ever suggested a 22-week cutoff. Selina realizes that Dan may have been right when he said to just pick a stance and go with it. Amy suggests going with the same number, but Mike reminds everyone that the press will just believe that Selina copied Danny. They’ll also call her names like Copycat Selina, Me Too Meyer and Shit for Brains. Maybe not that last one, but it’s on the list somewhere.

The Choice- Kent's survey data

Kent and Sue return with the survey data: turns out that a whole lot of Americans just flat out don’t know their position on abortion.

How about that?

So Amy just says that Selina should just issue a version of what her book said, just different from what Dan wrote.

When Selina appears on Good Morning America, she states her vague and generalized position, all while pointing out that she is, in fact, a woman.

The Choice- Jonah on MSNBC

Oh, and Dan threatened to break Jonah’s legs if he said anything about Selina’s abortion position on MSNBC. The interview goes as well as you’d expect.

So Selina is put between a rock and a woman’s right to choose. Much like last week, this episode worked due to the biting satire on the political process of picking a side on a controversial issue. It showed the complexities of trying to narrow down a specific viewpoint without offending other potential voters. With the President changing his position from pro-choice to pro-life and getting praise and hate for it, we also see how common it is to flip-flop from one side to another and still act like you’ve come out on top. But we wouldn’t know anything about that Romney, Obama, Bush Jr., and probably a slew of former American presidents and presidential candidates.

From the photo-ops to staged promos in order to make candidates look good at the right time, Veep skewers candidates who make supposedly random appearances at specific locales for a quick photo shoot and are out in a few minutes.

Paul Ryan Photo-Op

I love that the writers are poking fun at this, particularly given all the fuss about staged photo-ops, the Paul Ryan one being the most recent that pops in my head.

The Choice- Selina on Good Morning America

Not to mention all the problems that come into play once all the starry-eyed dreams of becoming President fade away when you realize you have no campaign, no infrastructure, no money or even a competent staff, as is the case with Selina. Granted, she and her team are inept regardless, which is part of what makes them so much fun to watch, but when you put these personalities together toward the goal of making Selina, there are bound to be screw-ups, and they are very funny.

The Choice- Maddox on his Christianity

Abortion will probably always be a touchy subject for Americans despite so many not having any real opinion on it. And politicians have it even harder when trying to appeal to us. As such, like the potential candidates in Veep, their stances are vague and filled with such typical political jargon that doesn’t even help define a stance. When one of Maddox’s men tells him not to base his stance on his Christianity, but to be ambiguous, we see how the pro-life camp has to walk a thin tightrope to define their stance without contradicting their faith.

I like how layered this episode managed to be in the span of half-an-hour. Through Selina, we see how much harder it is for women to take an abortion stance that will win them voters, but not alienate others. There’s a lot of truth to what Meyer said about female politicians having a much more difficult challenge because they could end up offending their gender. I give a lot of kudos to Selina, though, for not just picking a side for the hell of it, which could go against her personal beliefs. Despite being inept every now and then, Selina is a driven politician. She knows what she wants, but she’s unable to get it because almost every single thing that could go wrong for does go wrong. But I did like the honesty in her tone when she suggested that the government just get “out of my fucking snatch.”

The Choice- Dan threatens Jonah

As far as the others go, Jonah is just as stuck now that he’s not at the White House anymore. He must think he’s hot stuff if the highlight of his day is getting free water bottles when a car from MSNBC picks him up for his interview. Heck, show up to any sort of social gathering and you’re sure to find more than just free water bottles up for grabs. Whether he’ll keep buckling under pressure from Dan remains to be seen.

The Choice- Dan after exploding

After all, Dan is unhinging and could be on the way out the door as a result of his long-winded rant. I get the point of what Dan is saying: pick a position and stick with it. But in a politically charged environment, nothing is ever that simple. And even more so when it involves abortion. His anger seems partially based on the fact that Selina still hasn’t decided on a campaign manager, and given Dan’s outburst, I wonder if he’s even still in contention. And if he’s going to go around threatening Jonah, which isn’t exactly undeserved, that won’t make him look good since he’ll still be associated with Selina’s office. He didn’t have any snarky humor to help balance out being on edge, but it was funny how he couldn’t even handle the thought of being on a boat without wanting to hurl.

The Choice- Snarky Gary

Also, a snarky, sarcastic Gary is one that I like a lot and would like to see more of, even if he’s back to running around and having to clean up messes. At least Selina, despite everything that’s going on, very much appreciates all he does.

By the end of “The Choice,” Selina had a vaguely defined and ambiguous stance of or relating to the subject of a woman’s decision to make the choice of valuing life and having a say in the matter at the same time, but at different points. Sounds kind of vague. It poked fun at politicians and their inability to just pick a stance, but also the challenges in staying committed to your point of view when you want to run for the White House.

Just be sure you’re both pro-choice and pro-life at the same time and you’ll be fine.

 

A Look at The Walking Dead #125: “All Out War,” Part 11 of 12

The Walking Dead #125- Cover

So we’re almost done with the “All Out War” storyline of The Walking Dead and we’ve got a supposed game-changer on our hands. I say supposed because we don’t know Negan’s ultimate fate, but we’ll get to that in a second.

With Nicholas gone, that’s one less character from the Alexandria Safe Zone. And while it’s unfortunate to see him go, given the deep bond he had with Mikey and Paula, I am glad that he didn’t go out with any grudges toward Rick and the rest of the newcomers, as he did when first introduced.

The Walking Dead #125- Nicholas died, Rick and Andrea talk

This death also allowed for a brief, but important character moment between Rick and Andrea, with Rick telling Andrea to remind herself that they don’t die. I like that even in the heat of the things, these people maintain their survivalist mentality. It’s what made them such a different, yet strong looking group of people compared to most of the people they’ve run into. Despite losing some of their own in gruesome ways, they move forward.

The Walking Dead #125- Carl talks to Mikey

Another small moment I liked was Carl’s brief talk with Mikey about not holding onto feelings of sadness or fear. Burying those emotions can just cause them to boil under the surface until they come out the wrong way at the wrong person. But holding onto those feelings keep these people human. It gives them something to feel instead of just walking through life and accepting that everyone around them is eventually going to die.

As for Rick, I first want to talk about his injury. It seems like Dwight went against Negan’s order and shot Rick with a clean arrow instead of a contaminated one. That doesn’t explain his brief fever explosion last issue, but at the same time, that shot looked pretty painful. And yet Rick is walking around perfectly fine. The guy is already missing his right hand and he’s made due, but an arrow to the body, particularly where he took it- no one should be able to just shrug that off. The same can be said for Carl having some of his face blown off, yet he can still shoot well. He’s got a blind spot, yes, but he’s still ready for a fight. So was Rick’s injury really as big of a deal as everyone made it out to be, given how fast he seemed to recover?

The Walking Dead #125- Rick and Negan talk

And then, of course, there’s Rick and Negan’s conversation toward the end of the issue. The look on Negan’s face was priceless, as if no one ever just came up and told him how much of a prick he’d been because of his system where he takes half of people’s items just so he won’t be forced to kill them. Well, maybe people did, but they probably got a hot iron to the face. You get the sense that Negan truly realized the error of his ways and was very much open to a barter system. He talked of being a hungry dog and draining supplies from other groups to hoard it all for himself, but after Rick’s speech, maybe Negan could actually change.

But then, this is The Walking Dead. And Robert Kirkman, as always, throws in a curveball on the last panel to entice readers to anticipate the next issue. No idea what will happen to Negan and the saviors after Rick’s surprise attack. Dwight may side with the Alexandria group, given how much he hates Negan, but maybe he just wanted Negan’s position of power for himself. We’ll see.

The Walking Dead #100- Prediction

And how ironic is it that the very action Negan dared Rick to do to him back in issue #100 has now come to pass?