A Look at Fargo- Season 2, Episode 3: “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Time to get confrontational.  This is “The Myth of Sisyphus.”

The Myth of Sisyphus- Hanzee pets a rabbit

The episode begins with Hanzee petting a rabbit because as he remembers his school days when he watched a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat.  One dead rabbit latter, Hanzee heads on his way towards the Gerhardt home.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Gerhardt family meeting about the Kansas City syndicate

The Gerhardt family meets with three associates.  Otto is present, but unresponsive.  Dodd explains to the men that he had a stroke.  Until he’s better, they talk to Floyd, as she’s in charge.  The Kansas City offer does promise good money, but after you sign, Dodd says, your balls get taken with a straight razor and you’re fattened up like a housecat.  That’s harsh.

It’s their business, Dodd says.  You can’t just write a check.  Floyd argues that this family has been peaceful since Kennedy’s days.  You don’t just pick up a gun and go to war with a Kansas City mafia.  Dodd wants to hit the mafia hard or they’ll all wither and die.

Floyd concedes that they may have to fight and she’s not afraid of a war, but if it comes to that, it will be on her terms as a last resort.  She needs to know, now, if the men are with her.  The men won’t say they’re going to war.  Promises were made in blood generations ago.  They won’t make the first move.  But if Kansas City comes shooting at them, there will be hell to pay.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Joe Bulo and Mike Milligan talk Rye and shampoo

At the Pearl Hotel, Joe Bulo has breakfast with a late Mike Milligan.  They talk of shampoo brands since it’s hard to work the hair.  Nothing on the Gerhardt family yet.  Maybe kill them if the market says so, that or offer more money.  All depends on what the market says.  This Rye kid, though, apparently gunned down a judge, Mike says, then disappeared.  Maybe it’s for the best that he’s on the run, but Joe orders Mike- and only Mike- to find him for leverage.  This way, they can hopefully avoid a firefight.

In Luverne, Minnesota, Lou Solverson speaks with Hank to find out about the judge’s caseload.  Hank is calling because of a print match on the gun, which belonged to a Rye Gerhardt- the youngest heir to the Gerhardt syndicate out of Fargo.  Lou will mention it to Fargo police.  And Lou will be a late, so he tells Hank to inform Betsy to not wait up for him.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou meets with a young Ben Schmidt, played by Keir O’Donnell

When Lou arrives in Fargo, he meets with a young Ben Schmidt, played by Keir O’Donnell, who works in Forensics.  Ben is working things up here and hopes to drive over to see the crime scene himself, even though Lou offers to show the photos.  When Lou mentions that the prints on the shooter’s gun belonged to Rye Gerhardt, Ben pays closer attention.  He’s not saying that Lou’s life would be easier if it were his prints on the gun, but that’s the lines along which he should be thinking, you know?

Ben shares some history about the Gerhardt family.  Otto took over after his father, Dieter, took 19 bullets in the head in 1951.  Lou asks if Ben has heard of either Mike Milligan or the Kitchen brothers.  They were sniffing around the crime scene, but there was no reason to hold them.

Lou, we learn, served in the Navy- two tours as a lieutenant.  Swift boat.  Infantry for Ben, outside Da Nang.  Both are familiar with Fubar- so when you put a dead judge, the Gerhardt family, and some hitters from Kansas City in a bag together, Be thinks that it may just be better to confess to the crime yourself and then go live a long life in a cell somewhere with hot and cold running water.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Hanzee asks Simone about Rye

So, back to the Gerhardt clan.  Hanzee asks Simone about Rye’s location, and she eventually concedes to going there with a boy for some weed. Sometimes a girl just wants to bust a nut, she says.  Were people saying that in the 1970s?  But she spills that the location is over on 13th by the train station.  Hanzee wants her to show him.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Hank observes Rye's wanted poster

Hank goes over the murder weapons and Rye’s wanted poster…and he still has the damn shoe on his desk.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Betsy tells her theory to Hank

At the beauty shop, Betsy tells Constance that she’ll soon be losing her hair due to the chemotherapy.  Peggy’s cousin had melanoma, yeah.  Didn’t lose a single hair…except for her eyebrows.  Peggy tells Constance that she’s agreed to attend the Lifespring seminar because she wants to be the best her that she can be.  As for what Ed said?  Well, Peggy sort of skipped out on that part.

Then Hank pops in and lets Betsy know that Lou will be late tonight, but he’s also here to put up a wanted poster of Rye Gerhardt.  To kill all of those people for a bit of money?  Tragic.  But Betsy gets to thinking about the shoe in the tree and the fact that the shooter left his vehicle behind.  What if he got hit by a car?  After all, there were glass and skid marks on the road.  So what if the killer just got himself struck by a passing motorist?

Before Constance can recall a similar incident involving one of the employees, Peggy argues that a motorist would stop after hitting someone?  Not like you’re gonna just drive home with a Gerhardt in your windshield.  Lou is inclined to agree.  However, rather than looking for men, Betsy suggests that the officers look for a car.  Well, at least we know smarts run in Molly’s family.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Peggy tells Ed that they have an emergency

Following this, Peggy stops by the butcher shop to get Ed for an emergency.  She fills Ed in on Betsy Solverson’s theory, so they have to deal with the car today.  Luckily, Noreen isn’t paying much attention to much of anything outside of her copy of “The Myth of Sisyphus.”  When Ed sees the wanted poster, he knows that something must be done.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou and Ben question why Skip was at the court building

While Molly soaks in some television, we resume with Lou Solverson, who spots a man staring into Judge Mundt’s and then gets spooked before taking a second glance.  Lou and Ben catch up with Skip at his car and ask for his identification.  Skip is his Christian name, didn’t you know?  He talks about his business that is all set to reopen and the new typewriter models that will be in any day.  They’re not just for women, anymore.

So why’s he at court and idling around Judge Mundt’s office?  Skip explains that he had a hearing on a small bother related to back taxes, but it’s been postponed.  Nothing scandalous, but time sensitive on account of needing cash to cover the new models.  Is that why he went by Judge Mundt’s office?  Well, he heard what happened and wanted to pay his condolences.  Lives hang in the balance.  And typewriters.

Lou figures Skip for a squirrelly fellow.  He figures Skip should be brought in for questioning, but Schmidt disagrees.  And it’d be a hassle to go through Mundt’s cases.  He cuts Skip loose.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Skip goes looking for Rye, finds Simone and Hanzee instead

Skip then rushes to Rye’s apartment and knocks on his door, but ends up meeting Simone instead.  Simone figures that Skip could use a drink.  Or he can watch her drink and possibly dance.  Oh, and Hanzee’s here as well, but Simone assures Skip that Hanzee is boring.  Rye spoke of a deal with a fella downtown.  Skip not only gives his name, but also admits that he’s here to pay off some debts.

And Skip can’t pay Simone because he doesn’t have the money now, but he will.  Soon.  So yeah, he came by to not pay the money and he’s a patriot to boot.  Simone decides that it’s time for a drive.  If Skip has any appointments, he’ll be missing them.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Ed and Peggy have an idea

Ed and Peggy drive to an icy, remote location to put a possibly stupid plan into place…a plan that involves a tree in the distance.  See, Peggy’s uncle used to drive his truck while drinking Old Milwaukee.  After every crack-up, he’d drive his truck to some deserted spot till he sobered up, fake a new accident to cover the damage he did drinking.  So, Ed and Peggy do the damage, file a report, and their problem is solved.  Peggy gets out and Ed cautions her to watch her toes.  With that, he speeds towards the tree.

A repair crew shows up soon after to pick up the car.  He got it right the second time afterward.  Ed figures that he got the whiplash.  If anyone asks, Peggy backed into the garage door.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Charlie and Bear argue

Back at House Gerhardt, Charlie talks to Bear.  Floyd thinks that a piece of the business can be sold to Kansas City.  Bear worries that if Charles doesn’t return to school, he’ll run astray and not make something of himself.  But, Charlie argues, he is something- a Gerhardt.  Bear argues that this is not negotiable.  And Dodd has nothing to do with this- Charlie is Bear’s son.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou and Ben arrive at the Gerhardt home and ask about Rye

Lou and Schmidt arrive at the Gerhardt compound and meet with Floyd Gerhardt.  Floyd is familiar with Schmidt, but is unfamiliar with this new cop from Minnesota.  The two fill her in on the murder investigation, including the death of a state judge.  Lou tells the family that Rye’s prints are on the murder weapon.  Now, he’s wanted in connection with three murders, Lou says, and he doesn’t want to resort to violence.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Dodd and Lou almost dance

Then, Dodd arrives.  He doesn’t think that Rye killed a judge since the family owns all the judges.  Lou admits to Dodd that he, not Ben, found the murder weapon, so if Dodd has problems and wants to dance, he’ll have to tangle with Lou.  Lou isn’t scared off by Dodd trying to intimidate him, even to the point where the two almost come to blows.  In addition, Lou mentions that one Mike Milligan may also be looking for Rye.  Charles informs Dodd that Hanzee called for an important matter.  Confrontation averted for now.

In town, Lou figures that he can get a warrant to search the Gerhardt premises.  As luck would have it, the two happen upon Skip’s typewriter shop.  Ben has an excuse, but Lou can go it alone.  I suppose it’s a good thing this is apparently the only typewriter shop in town and Lou has a pretty good hunch.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou faces off with Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers

Anyway, Lou finds the door ajar and enters to find the shop under construction…as well as Mike Milligan and the Kitchen brothers.  Lou claims to have met the owner, so Mike can’t be him.  Lou asks if these folks are indeed Mike Milligan and the Kitchen brothers…which sounds like a band name.  That is a great name, I must admit.  Mike points out that, as a Minnesota cop, Lou is out of his jurisdiction to be in North Dakota.  Mike mentions he saw another guy from Minnesota- he liked him as much as he likes Lou.

Not that Hank was friendly.  But it’s the way Hank was unfriendly…he was so polite about it, like he did Mike a favor.  After the standoff subsides, Mike and the brothers leave.  Also, Mike swears to Lou that he is not a crook.  I wonder who else said that.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou stops at an auto shop

Later, Lou stops by Alec’s Auto Services.  One of the owners talks about circular patterns in the sky.  The visitors always come in sets of three during the odd months.  Visitors from above, yeah.  They apparently take up people and probe them in places you don’t want to mention.  Strange happenings.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Ed and Peggy on the bus ride home

That evening, on a bus ride home, Ed and Peggy wonder whether their plan worked.  Peggy is sure that it did, though there’s no way she could be so sure.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou arrives at home

Meanwhile, Lou returns home to find Hank and Betsy playing a game of cards.  Lou fills in Hank on his run in with the Gerhardt and the Kansas City syndicate.  So maybe Lou will needs two pieces of cake, but Betsy only brings one.  How selfish of her.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Dodd and Hanzee question Skip on his relationship with Rye

That evening, Dodd and Hanzee get ready to deal with Skip.  Dodd orders Simone to get back in the truck and even smacks her across the face, even though she’s the one who found him.  Simone dares Dodd to hit her again, but instead, he throws her back into the truck. Dodd confronts Skip about the ideas he put into Rye’s head over the typewriters, the meeting with the judge- everything.  Where is he now?  Skip claims to not know about Rye’s location and says that he didn’t talk to the police, either.

By the way, there’s an open hole in the ground nearby and Hanzee orders him to get in the ground.  Skip asks for two days in order to find Rye.  He eventually spills that Mike Milligan came looking for Rye.  Though he offers to make a call, Skip’s life comes to a close as the truck backs up and empties its load onto the grave.

Dodd orders Hanzee to drive to that Minnesota town to find Rye.  If anyone gets in Hanzee’s way, kill them dead.

Fargo’s strength, in my opinion, doesn’t come from the level of violence or brutality, harsh as it can be.  The show and film excel because of the dialogue and the threat of violence, not necessarily the act itself.  If you’re a great writer and director, coupled with a competent cast and staff, you can pull off tense situations without the use of violence at all.

“The Myth of Sisyphus” doesn’t have anything excessive in it and there’s no shootout, but the constant threat of it is always there as the separate storylines intersect and everyone tries to get to the bottom of their respective matters.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Mike Milligan is not a crook

Right now, Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers are a step ahead of the authorities and haven’t had to make any major moves yet.  For now, they’re still in the planning phase because they’re hoping to turn Rye against his family.  We don’t know yet just how much influence and power this syndicate possesses, but they carry a great deal of presence.

It also helps that while there may be something off about them, there’s no reason to treat them as suspects at the moment because they haven’t done anything.  But Lou, as we saw last season and now, he has a sixth sense when things don’t add up right.

And even when confronted with a dangerous situation, he refuses to back down and cower.  Lou has been to war.  He’s seen horrid things that bring out the worst in people and lived to tell the tale.  He’s not a braggart.  Lou sticks to his guns and while some, like Schmidt, may think he’s overstepping his boundaries, he has a job to do.  He may have evaded conflict with Milligan, but I get the feeling that it rattled him a bit, after feeling empowered when confronting Dodd.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Lou and Dodd face off

I like that we see more of an assertive side to Lou here.  No blood is shed- no human blood, anyway- but Lou gets dangerously close.  Twice, in fact, as he’s able to get under Dodd’s skin.  Again, he’s not doing it to show off, but it’s his mission to get to the bottom of this murder and a brute like Dodd won’t keep him from that.  Though this case may be different than what Lou is used to, he walks into it with the same determination as he would other cases.

He doesn’t throw Mike Milligan off, though, but he’s at least able to stand his ground in the face of what could have been a deadly situation.  Like Malvo, Mike Milligan is a man with no fear.  We don’t know much about him, but you get the feeling that a situation could escalate fast when he’s around.  Maybe it’s the smile or delivery, but he’s so unassertive that you wouldn’t think he had a bad bone in him.  But he also wants to avoid a confrontation because it’s not worth his time.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Floyd is not afraid of war, but on her terms, as a last resort

That was a constant in this episode: avoiding the firefight.  Or at least not wanting to make the first move.  Every confrontation felt like a game of Chicken.  The Gerhardt family has firepower and backing, but they’re not willing to strike unless they’re attacked first.  They won’t shoot Lou because he’s an officer of the law, and Lou won’t shoot them because that won’t help his investigation.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Peggy thinks that the plan worked

It’s too soon to come to blows because no one has the full picture.  Ed and Peggy are the only ones right now who know what happened to Rye, but no one’s pointing the finger at them just yet.  In fact, aside from what Constance knows about the car, there’d be no reason for anyone to assume they’re involved.  And yet, they’re going to great lengths to cover a trail that no one may be following.  If anything, the cover story gives us another look at Peggy’s twisted thinking.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Peggy almost exposed by Betsy Solverson

The scene in the beauty shop was another tense moment because of the sheer fear on Peggy’s face, helped by Kirsten Dunst’s performance.  Hank and Lou wouldn’t have a reason to look at the Blomquists because, as of now, there’s nothing tying them to the Gerhardt family.  But the mere idea that Betsy could point Hank in Peggy’s direction based on nothing more than a wild hunch shows that Peggy and Ed aren’t completely in the clear.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Betsy Solverson figures Rye was hit by a car

It also goes to show just how smart the Solversons are, and while Hank doesn’t think much of Betsy’s theory, Lou isn’t one to just let something go.  Like how he found Skip squirrelly or Mike Milligan suspicious, Lou may latch onto that as a reason to question Ed and Peggy.  Plus, Constance saw the damaged car and Ed didn’t get the crash right the first time, so their problems are far from over.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Skip confesses to Dodd that Mike Milligan came looking for Rye

And poor Skip.  Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and got his tongue tied around the wrong Lou Solverson.  Chances are that Lou will want to follow up with him as well, but since he’s a bit buried at the moment, that could be hard.  Though that tie sticking out of the ground could still be a factor later on…

“The Myth of Sisyphus” was good.  Some good tension as the various factions crossed paths with no one firing a single shot.  Peggy and Ed think their problems are over, but far from it.  Meanwhile, the investigation and search for Rye from all sides continues.

The Myth of Sisyphus- Skip's tie

Not for Skip, though, but hey- at least he died a Patriot.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 6: “Rise of the Villains: By Fire”

Previously, on Firefly…

By Fire- Butch wants to work for Theo Galavan

The episode begins with Butch telling Galavan about Penguin going crazier than he’s ever been before.  Apparently Butch set up the raid.  He’s a traitor and a rat.  Butch explains that he got away when Penguin slipped on some of the blood.  Butch ran as far as he could, and the next thing he knew, he woke up at the hospital.  All he wants is for Theo to give him a shot.  Theo wants to help, but he already has several capable folks already.  But then, they don’t know Gotham like Buch does.

Theo eventually believes Butch, but Barbara remembers that Butch once held her hostage one time.  Even still, at this point, Butch has nowhere else to turn.  Tabitha and Barbara are more into the idea of what they can put on Butch’s stump.  Eventually, Theo welcomes Butch to the team.

Oh, and a congressman hanging in the background.  He eventually decides to back Galavan, and that’s what gets him cut down.

By Fire- Gordon and Strike Team need information on Bridgit Pike

We then cut to Jim running after a perp through an alleyway.  He’s intercepted by Strike Team.  Jim wants information related to Luke Garrett’s death, but this guy isn’t a firebug.  Jim decides to violate protocol by knocking the guy around, but he’s more focused on getting information.  The perp hasn’t heard of a female firebug before.  The two Strike Team members tell Jim that they’ve been authorized to report any infractions, even by superior officers.  Go right ahead.

By Fire- Bridgit cleans at Selina's 'home'

So Bridgit is cleaning up at Selina’s less than homely home.  She can’t sleep and doesn’t know what to do with herself…apparently that’s the point of being free, Selina says.  But Bridgit killed someone.  She doesn’t have the money to get out of town, but that’s apparently no problem for Selina.  Selina admits that she’s only helping because Bridgit reminds her of herself…if she was a doofus.  You’re not far off, Selina.  Trust me.

We then cut to a shady underground location.  Two women are brought up not to fight, but be sold.  Bridgit and Selina watch from above, but they’re there to steal the money- not help these girls.  Selina gives Bridgit instructions to bust a safe she already busted.  After that, wait for Selina to make her move.

By Fire- Selina and Bridgit hold up a gathering

Selina slips in, climbs onto the cage, and knocks out the announcer.  Somehow, Bridgit managed to get past everyone as well.  Because this is Gotham, everyone present turns over their cash and valuables to a pair of little girls.  Bridgit leaves, paying no mind to the trapped women.

By Fire- Barnes is pissed at Gordon for beating up a suspect

At GCPD, Barnes puts a note in Jim’s file for beating up suspects.  Barnes gets it.  Luke was a good kid and meant to be ready for this city, and now he’s dead.  This is war, but this doesn’t give GCPD the license to break the law.  There’s a line.  Butch learned that the hard way, but, Jim returns, this is Gotham and there are gray areas.  He learned that the hard way.

Luckily, Barnes has available surveillance footage from last night’s raid that identifies both Bridgit and Selina Kyle.  Good thing there was apparently a surveillance camera capturing this and that the coverage of a trafficking ring robbery was airing just when Barnes turned on the television.  Jim recognizes the other person besides Bridgit, but he doesn’t give her identity to his commanding officer.  Why?  I have no idea.

By Fire- Alfred teaches Bruce how to box. Again

At Wayne Manor, Alfred teaches Bruce to box- again, mind you- and how to not dance like a bloody schoolgirl.  Also, your enemies will fight dirty, which prompts Bruce to bite Alfred.  The computer will be fixed by Mr. Fox soon.  Also, Silver St. Fox called and wants to go to dinner with Bruce.  That causes Bruce to stop…and gives Alfred enough time to sock him in the face.

By Fire- Nygma has a riddle for Kringle

Nygma overhears Kristen talking to Leslie about her ex, who she feels could be dead.  It worked out for the best, she says.  She calls him gentle…almost too gentle.  A man needs to have a little fire and danger in him.  Also, she thinks that Nygma could be holding something back from her.  All she wants is for him to open up.

Hey!  What do you call a three legged cow?  Lean beef.  This is Nygma’s riddle as he enters and invites Kristen to supper at his place.

By Fire- Bullock asks Ivy about Selina's whereabouts

Okay, time for some ginger to ginger talk.  At GCPD, Clare Foley returns as Ivy Pepper, who is interrogated by Bullock on Selina’s location.  She’s not cooperating at first, but she will with a candy bar.  Jim, meanwhile, has struck out.  She’s in a condemned SRO off of Jenkins, Bullock confirms.  He thinks that he and Jim should watch their step around her.

By Fire- Pike brothers abduct Bridgit

Selina sees Bridgit out of town.  Bridgit thanks her for her help, but come on, you know we’re not done yet.  This goodbye is interrupted by a speeding van.  The Pike brothers emerge and pick up Bridgit.  Selina manages to pick off one of their guns, but does not use think about using it on the speeding vehicle.

By Fire- Jim and Selina have a stand-off

Not long after, Selina loads up on ammunition just as Jim arrives at her location.  He bursts through the door and the two find themselves at a standoff.  Selina claims to not know about Bridgit, but she also says she was forced into doing all those horrible things by her brothers.  What Selina doesn’t know is why the Pikes burned down a Wayne Enterprises building.  Jim tells Selina that there a lot of angry cops that may shoot Bridgit unless Jim gets to her first.  Selina gives up her name and the brothers as well.

At first, Selina refuses Jim’s help.  She claims that Bridgit is no one to her except a girl in the neighborhood.  Jim gives his word that he’ll keep her safe, but Selina has to stay out of it.

By Fire- Bridgit cuffed to a radiator

So Joe and Evan count Bridgit’s money while she’s chained to the radiator.  They’re pissed that Bridgit left.  Joe throws sparks in her direction, furious at her betrayal.  Does she want to be part of this family?  She eventually says yes and is released, but she won’t go too far.  If she tries it again, both she and Selina will die.  Instead of making supper, Bridgit heads off.

By Fire- Butch has a mallet hand now

Butch’s hand is replaced by a mallet, which is actually kind of funny.  His news for Penguin is that he’s in and asking questions.  If he pushes too far, Galavan will be onto him.  Penguin, frustrated at this lack of an update, asks Butch if he’s his servant and still obeys him.  If so, why does he bring excuses?  Go find Mom before Penguin chops off another hand.

By Fire- Bridgit burns her brothers

So Joe and Evan screw around and don’t notice Bridgit until she arrives in her Firefly costume.  Yeah, she burns them.  Well, those were brothers.

By Fire- Jim and Harvey find the charred Pike brothers

Jim and Harvey arrive at the Pike location and find two charred bodies, but no Bridgit.  But one is still barely alive and scares the hell out of Bullock, who kicks him…apparently to death.  But why would Wayne Enterprises hire these arsonists?  Bullock is more concerned with finding the freaky chick arsonist.

By Fire- Theo instructs Tabitha to help Butch

Butch does some snooping at Galavan’s and watches surveillance of Mama Cobblepot when Theo pops in.  He promises Butch a good future due to his loyalty.  If only he was loyal to Galavan instead of Penguin.  Yeah, Theo is wise to Butch’s plan, but how did he get Penguin to do that?  He’s a servant due to tinkered wiring.

Tabitha enters with her whip.  Theo tells her that Penguin has brainwashed him and needs help.  She wraps her whip around Butch’s neck and strangles him until he passes out.

By Fire- Jim speaks with Barnes about Bridgit's abused past

Back at GCPD, Jim tells Barnes that a perimeter has been set up and officers are keeping watch on Selina Kyle as well.  Jim tells Barnes about Bridgit’s abused past and how he promised his informant that Bridgit will be kept safe.  However, Jim also talked about Luke Garrett’s future, but he’s now dead.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep.  Barnes tells Jim to take down Pike, no matter what.

By Fire- Selina tries to talk some sense into Bridgit

Selina finds Bridgit on a rooftop where they used to watch birds.  As Selina talks up old times, Bridgit works on her flamethrower.  She’s not afraid of them.  She’s not herself anymore- she’s free, just like Selina said.  She’s going to go after the rest of the people who hurt them.  Selina claims that no one ever went after her. Also, rule number one: look after number one, that’s you.  These are the rules of the streets, I suppose.  She begs Bridgit not to do this or she’ll get herself killed.  But hey, Selina doesn’t care, mind you- she just thinks that Bridget is being dumb.

Oh, and she hugs Bridgit.  I wonder if that will be important later.  Not that I’m asking for consistency on Gotham, but Selina?  Please make up your mind.  First, you wanted this girl to be free, stay strong, not let anyone push her around, and now you don’t want her to cross certain lines.  Pick one.

By Fire- Theo and Tabitha have dinner with Bruce and Silver St. Cloud

That evening, Theo has dinner with Bruce and Silver St. Cloud, though Tabitha joins with a bit of blood on her cheek.  Theo toasts to family- at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.  Theo hopes that, in time, Bruce will think of them as family.  It’s been some time since Bruce had a dinner like this.  He and Silver can, you know, hang out and whatever.

By Fire- Supper with Ed and Kristen

So Kristen and Nygma have that supper.  He wants nothing more than to spoil her- which Kristen finds forceful.  And nice.  He also tells her something that he hopes won’t scare her away: he likes her very much, but this is interrupted by a kiss.  Then Kristen spots Nygma’s bedroom.  I just hope it’s not decked in question marks.

At GCPD, Jim has a phone call.  Selina reminds Jim of his promise and tells him Bridgit’s location.  Part of me wonders why Selina didn’t just walk into the GCPD since it’s easy enough to slip in without problems.

By Fire- Bridgit surrounded by the police

We return to the trafficking ring as Bridgit frees the trapped women.  Gordon, Barnes, and Strike Team arrive at the scene and confront Bridgit.  Jim steps forward, saying that he knows Bridgit didn’t mean for any of this to happen.  She was forced and Jim believes that.  She won’t have to go to jail.  She’s a juvenile, so there can be an arrangement.  Unless she went Jerome levels of crazy, I guess.

By Fire- Bridgit goes up in flames

Bridgit’s suit starts to leak, but she sprays away anyway at the cruisers.  One goes up in flames and the explosion spreads to Bridgit.  She falls to the ground and screams in horror.  Now, Bridgit, what did you think was going to happen?

By Fire- Theo speaks privately with Bruce

Theo and Bruce have a moment alone to talk.  Theo talks about an executive at Wayne Enterprises who has been reported missing- Sid Bunderslaw.  Bruce confirms that they’ve met.  No one knows what happened, but it’s not good so far.  Theo has been following the going-ons at Wayne Enterprises for a long time and knows that Thomas Wayne was a good man.  Despite that, bad things happened to his company.

And Theo knows that Bruce cares about this.  Once Theo becomes Mayor, he’d like to be the person to help Bruce.  Bruce, in kind, appreciates the offer.  Again, they shake hands.  This is how you seal the deal.

By Fire- Butch knows where to find Penguin's mother

A bruised and beaten Butch confronts Penguin with his mother’s location.  They have to go now.  Penguin promises that Butch’s loyalty will be returned.  He heads off to gather the troops.

By Fire- Jim finds Selina holding a gun to Leslie

Selina has small talk with Leslie Thompkins.  Jim arrives and Selina lowers her weapon.  Unfortunately, Jim tells Selina that Bridgit isn’t going to make it.  She didn’t want to go quietly.  It’s like she wanted it to end this way.  Selina, who claimed to not care about Bridgit, tears up at this news.  Jim still needs to know who hired the Pike brothers, and Selina claims to still not know.

It’s not like Jim is going after his little friend.  Like Penguin.  Why would Penguin hire them?  Selina sulks off, telling Jim that he doesn’t care about people like her.  She even lambasts him when he says that he wanted to save Bridgit, but things went another way.  She leaves, promising to never talk to or trust a cop again.

Sorry, am I supposed to care about Selina’s plight right now?

By Fire- Nygma and Kringle have a moment

Back to Nygma and Kristen, who is afraid of Tom Doughtery.  He used to tell her that if he saw her with another man, he’d kill her.  Nygma tells her that she does not need to worry about him.  Kristen tells Nygma that he’s not a fighter and couldn’t possibly take him on.  What does that mean?  Nygma tells her of their altercation.  Long story short- he killed him.  But Kristen laughs.

Then Nygma continues, telling of how Tom was outside of her apartment.  He even still has Doughterty’s badge.  A now shocked Kristen wants out of this, surprised that Nygma would do this.  She calls him a psychopath and claims that horrible things will happen to him in prison.  Kristen hits Nygma over the head a few times and tries to escape.

By Fire- Nygma chokes Kringle

So Nygma covers Kristen’s mouth with one hand and puts another around her neck, telling her how much he loved her.   Kristen’s lifeless body slumps to the ground.  It’s from Nygma’s tight grip, but maybe she decided death would be better than a relationship with Edward Nygma.

By Fire- Penguin locks and loads

Elsewhere, Penguin’s team locks and loads.

By Fire- Selina cries

While Selina cries by the bird cage.

By Fire- Bridgit somehow survives

Two doctors, meanwhile, move Bridgit’s body to a site for testing.  Apparently, she was only mostly dead.  There’s a big difference between being mostly dead and all dead, you know.  Bridgit is brought into Block 3 of Indian Hill- a division of Wayne Enterprises.

Where do I even begin with this episode?  Well, I’ll start with the stuff I liked.  Or, at least, sort of liked.

By Fire- Barnes has learned the hard way about crossing a line

Barnes’ demeanor.  He was brought in to clean up the GCPD and, so far, he’s living up to that promise from what we’ve seen of him.  I would figure he has a bigger presence, but here, like Essen, he’s mostly at the department.  And he’s even more of a boy scout than Jim, given how he reamed Gordon out for his brute force against a potential witness.  Barnes is very much by the book and it doesn’t matter if Jim is out for blood.  There are rules.

By Fire- Barnes wants Bridgit Pike taken down

But then he’s committed to taking down Bridgit Pike.  He doesn’t say by the book- he just wants her brought down.  I get that he wants to avenge Luke Garrett’s death and I like how he calls Jim out on his double talk, but either he wants Pike taken down or brought in.  If it had been left to him, part of me wonders whether Barnes would have killed Pike.

By Fire- Nygma has Dougherty's badge

Nygma overplayed his hand and let his confidence overwhelm him.  So instead of just one, he now has two murders on his hands.  It’s unfortunate not just because I find Chelsea Spack to be incredibly attractive- though that’s a big part of it- but there seemed to be something going there with her softening up to his weird side.  Her revealing what she wanted to see from Nygma pushed him to be even more assertive instead of playing it cool.

So, like any other person, she’s horrified that Nygma would commit murder and stalk her.  There’s a line you don’t cross and Nygma did just that in regards to his feelings for Kringle.  It feels like a waste because these two didn’t start getting serious until this season, but now she’s dead, leaving Nygma to go even madder than he already has.

By Fire- Theo and Bruce shake hands

Theo continues with his game of getting in Bruce’s good graces, and right now, he’s on the right track.  He needs Bruce’s trust, so he also latches onto the conspiracy going on in Wayne Enterprises.  Like Jim and Alfred, Theo comes off as a father figure to Bruce, which helps since Bruce doesn’t have that family dynamic right now and it’s nice for him to have some semblance of a family.  Though, this being the kid who would grow to become one of the world’s greatest detectives, I wonder if he senses anything off about Theo’s intentions.

If anything, it’s good that Theo and Tabitha were able to smell Butch’s intentions from the start.  So now Butch looks to be playing the same sort of double agent game that Penguin played.  But I don’t see how Theo can call Butch such a loyal person when he’s done little to prove it in his eyes.

By Fire- Bridgit plans to strike back at people who bullied her

The main storyline with Selina and Bridgit annoyed me to no end.  First off, Bridgit’s motivation and Selina’s pushing felt very haphazard.  First, Selina wants Bridgit to be assertive, but not too assertive.  If Bridgit isn’t careful, she could get herself killed, never mind that Selina has killed before and gotten herself involved with mobster types like Fish Mooney and Penguin.

By Fire- Selina hugs Bridgit

Sure, Bridgit’s brothers deserve a hefty amount of blame for bossing Bridgit around the way they did, but Selina set her over with her brand of encouragement.  Selina made such a big deal of being free and living as she wanted, as if she wanted Bridgit to walk a similar path.  But now that she did, she fears her going over the deep end.  She even tries to justify the bad things Bridgit did by saying the abuse by her brothers pushed her to this point.

By Fire- Bridgit wants revenge

That doesn’t excuse what the two of them have done at all and Gotham doesn’t do much to make me sympathize with either Selina or Bridgit, even after she goes up in flames.  Her transformation from abused teenager to pseudo psychopath happens too fast for there to be any sort of realistic character development.  In the span of one scene, she goes from being handcuffed by her brothers to setting them on fire.

If she’s had this anger inside her all this time, why wouldn’t she do this as soon as she put on the suit the first time?  Why even go with Selina if she was so hell-bent on revenge?  This could have been the first thing she did after suiting up.  But then, she is wanted, so not like she can just roam the streets of Gotham.

She makes a big deal about wanting to get back at bullies and abusers, whom we never see outside of her brothers, so I don’t feel the extra sympathy I should because her dark turn is too fast to seem realistic.  An episode that focused on just her would have been nice.  Maybe she gets in over her head or something and doesn’t follow through on a potential murder.

By Fire- Selina doesn't care about Bridgit

And Selina doesn’t help, either.  She claims multiple times to not care about Bridgit, when she really does.  Selina’s never been afraid of speaking her mind, so she could just come out and say that she cares about her.  She wants to have her cake and eat it too, being the supportive, yet distant friend.  She’s motivated by desperation because she worries that Bridgit will do something stupid, which she does, but Selina gave her the push she needed.

By Fire- Jim and Selina clash

Sticking with Selina for a second, her relationship with Jim irritates me.  She only wants his help when it suits her, but she also wishes that she never trusted him.  Okay, so why continue telling him about Bridgit?  Why not do it yourself or, hell, get Penguin’s help since you work for him?  And she flips out on how Jim reacts to Bridgit’s supposed death, when she didn’t think twice about pushing Reggie out of a window?  That’s ridiculous.

I also wasn’t a fan of the bit with women being sold because it didn’t serve the story other than to make Bridgit into some sort of savior.  She sees some helpless women that she’s never met before, and now that she has the power to fight back against abusers, she’s going to help those who are as powerless as she was.  But her whole reason for being here was to get money, so saving some girls as a bonus doesn’t turn you into a saint.  Plus, I hesitate to believe that a big crowd would cower in the face of two young girls.

By Fire- Indian Hill

Well, at least there’s that ending with Indian Hill, which we’ve heard Maroni and Falcone allude to a few times last season…but now it’s under the banner of Wayne Enterprises.  Interesting way to end the episode on, even if the location looks like that hall of secret projects from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

“By Fire” isn’t as entertaining as “Scarification” and it’s a so-so way to wrap up this two parter.  Sure, having Bridgit alive leaves the door open for her to return later, but even then, I’m still not invested in her storyline.  Meanwhile, Nygma continues down a dark path, Penguin appears to be on the path to rescuing his mother, and Theo continues his quest for greatness.  Not the show, though.  That’s still just trudging along.

By Fire- Who is that

Oh, and who the hell is this?

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 6, Episode 3: “Thank You”

Warning: beware of herds.  The Walking Dead continues with its parallel storylines as we pick up with Rick and company after they heard a loud, blaring horn coming from Alexandria.  This is “Thank You.”

Thank You- Annie falls as the group runs

The episode begins with a blaring horn.  Glenn rushes through the woods as fast as he can as Rick radios in to Tobin, who gives him no response.  Everyone’s on the move as Rick radios to Sasha and Abraham about what’s happening.  The horn, coming from the east, isn’t stopping.  Daryl tells Rick that they’ll need help, but Rick tells them to keep going.

Naturally, Annie’s ankle hurts.  Heath figures that the horn is coming from home.  One Alexandria resident is bitching, so I’m guessing that he’s about to die soon.  Everyone is done, but Michonne shuts him up and tells him to move.  I mean, really, the guy has no real reason to complain right now.  Rick has a new plan: he’ll come back, get the RV, and circle the walkers so he can lead them away.  Everyone else, get home.

Thank You- Rick speaks privately with Glenn and Michonne

He tells Glenn and Michonne to kill whatever they encounter…and he doesn’t want their help.  If the others can’t keep up, these two, at least, need to return.  Try to help the others if they’re in danger, sure, but if not, keep on going.  Unaware to the three, Heath overhears this.

Thank You- Someone gets bitten

Oh, and one guy went and got himself bitten.  Eh.  No real loss, really.  At least the horn eventually stops.  Rick checks the man’s gear before telling the others to get back safe.  He heads off.  So where is Morgan at this point?  Again, he wasn’t too far from them.

Glenn and Michonne lead their group through the woods, even though they have no idea what lays ahead.  These Alexandria folks are a bit too timid for my liking.  Glenn instructs the folks to not worry.  Whatever’s ahead, they have no choice but to keep moving.

Thank You- David after being bitten

Michonne, Heath, and Glenn start hacking through a small group of walkers.  The Alexandria folks?  They eventually join in and manage to put up a decent fight, save for Will, who accidentally shoots Scott in the leg before running off like a bitch.  Heath manages to save one of Scott before he’s bitten.  Oh, and David else gets bitten.  He knows what’s coming next…keep moving, right?

Thank You- Daryl goes on ahead

On the road, Daryl tells Sasha and Abraham that he’ll spin at the next intersection, which isn’t the plan.  Without him, though, Sasha admits that the walkers may stop them, even though there’s nothing stopping him from leaving.  He soon speeds off.

The group continues on through a seemingly clear patch of road.  Michonne looks at David’s walker bite.  It’s about what you’d expect.  Why isn’t this David dead yet?  He’s been married for three months.  Not his wife from before.  Not long after Aaron found David, who was on his own, the two found Betsy on the way back to the community.  She still saw him.  She became his first friend, then made him more- better than he used to be.  If David makes it back, he wants to tell her that meeting her in the middle of all this was worth it.

Thank You- Group arrives at a plaza

Glenn concedes that the group can find a spot to stop for a bit.  Not for long, though.  They arrive at an empty plaza and begin searching the cars for anything that can take them back.  Glenn tells Michonne that he needs to get back, but he won’t leave them alone.  Michonne believes that Rick knows what he’s doing.

Heath and Nicholas talk.  The people on Nicholas’ team who died weren’t afraid, even though Nicholas and Aiden didn’t know what they were doing.  Heath concludes that they need to keep moving.  Since Nicholas was the last person there, he can show them the way.  So we have two limping characters and one who has been bitten.  Remember that.  On the way, Nicholas finds a very familiar looking hat.

Thank You- Group finds walkers feasting on Will

He takes charge and leads the team when they happen upon a group of walkers feasting on Will.  The group falls back, but walkers are approaching.

Thank You- Group plans while taking refuge in a pet store

The group takes refuge in an abandoned pet store.  Walkers are currently blocking the way out of town.  Michonne figures that they need to be led out of town.  Not the best idea, Heath says, but at least Michonne is trying.  She’s not giving up.  Glenn has an idea.  If they can distract the herd by burning one of the buildings, they can’t make it back to the pet store.  Michonne opts to burn it, but Glenn decides to do it himself- this is his idea.  If he gets stuck, the others must keep moving.

Nicholas points out that there’s a reed store nearby with a lot of dry stuff.  He offers to draw up a map, but instead, Glenn orders him to lead the way.

Thank You- Rick on the run

Rick, meanwhile, is on the run.  He receives a transmission from Glenn on the group’s current position and Glenn’s plan to set a fire.  While the message does come through, Rick is too focused on cutting down any and all walkers in his path, even taking every weapon he can find.  However, he does end with a pretty bad cut on his left hand…

Thank You- Patching up the wounded

The Alexandria folks are patched up with just enough until they return the infirmary.  Annie and Scott want to be left behind since they’re slowing everyone down.  If it won’t be done now, it will be done eventually, but Heath insists on the group staying together.  They don’t leave people behind.  Not them, he adds, casting a glance at Michonne.

Thank You- Michonne and Daryl argue

She speaks to Heath alone and asks if he has a problem with her.  Heath claims that he’s just looking out for his people.  He heard what Rick said about how some of them wouldn’t make it and that they can’t keep up.  Even still, Glenn is out there risking his life.  Things will get worse, but in Michonne’s mind, the people of Alexandria haven’t survived like Rick and his group have.  Has he ever done something that shocked him?  Has he been covered in so much blood that he didn’t know if it was human or walker?  No?  Then he doesn’t know.

Well, that was an argument.

Thank You- Glenn tells Nicholas that he's a changed man

Nicholas and Glenn continue along as Nicholas talks about Will- he was only 19 and the team left him behind.  Glenn insists that Nicholas isn’t that man anymore.  After willing himself to do it, Nicholas kills the walker.  The two hear shots ringing out.  Thinking it’s coming from home, they head back.

Back in the pet shop, Michonne’s group also hears shots, but they remain in hiding for a bit.  Walkers begin heading in the direction of the gunfire.  Once the walkers are gone, the group will head for the feed store.

Thank You- Rick arrives at the RV

Rick is still a man on a mission and arrives at the wall marked by the orange balloons.  He enters the RV and drives off.

After reading David’s note to Betsy, Michonne insists that he’s getting home.  Well, she writes it on her arm, but the sentiment remains.  Some banging from the back gets their attention.  Michonne cuts through the walkers inside, which alerts the attention of the incoming herd heading their way.

Thank You- Annie's final stand

With no other choice, they open the doors and begin running from the oncoming herd.  Annie falls and manages to kill a few walkers before she’s devoured.  Busted up ankles will do that to you.

Thank You- Glenn and Nicholas surrounded

Nicholas and Glenn arrive at the store, but find it already burned to the ground.  Well, someone else was at least smart.  Walkers approach from both sides, forcing the two to find another way.  They arrive in an alley, but the fences are blocked by walkers.  Trapped, the two kill as many walkers as possible, but they’re severely outnumbered.

Thank You- Climbing the fence

Michonne’s group arrives at a fence.  Everyone manages to make it over except for David.  He’s slowly dragged back into the herd.  Luckily, Heath managed to kill the walkers holding onto Michonne’s leg.  Damn, David’s note doesn’t even make it through.

Glenn and Nicholas, still very much outmatched by the walker herd, make a stand on a dumpster.  Nicholas, seeing the death all around him, is snapped out of his funk by Glenn, but he thanks Glenn before shooting himself in the head.

Glenn is thrown into the herd as walkers begin to rip guts apart…

Thank You- Michonne, Scott, and Heath make their way through the water

So Michonne, Heath, and Scott managed to escape the herd, but he’s still falling and slowing them down.  They eventually reach a river.  So the show can have a callback, Heath looks at his reflection in the water and notices all the blood on his face.

Thank You- Rick radios in to the others

Rick, meanwhile, arrives at a spot and radios to Glenn, but gets no response.  Nothing from Toby, either.  He does hear from Daryl.  Won’t be long, now.  Rick will be headed towards Sasha and Abraham soon.  Rick overhears the gunfire.  They’ll have ignore it and hope that the people of Alexandria can take care of what’s happening.  What Rick and his group is doing, they’re doing for the community.

Thank You- Rick ambushed by Wolves

But then Rick is ambushed when Wolves enter the RV.  Daryl calls out for him, but gets no response.  But this is Rick Grimes.  He manages to kill both men.  He checks one of the men’s pockets and finds a tiny container of baby food.

Looking through the mirror, Rick spots others approaching.  He picks up the machine gun and fires at the wall.  Rick has X-Ray vision.

Daryl manages to meet up with Sasha and Abraham as the three keep moving forward to lead the massive herd behind them.

In typical TV and movie fashion, the RV will not start when Rick attempts to leave.  And walkers are slowly approaching his location.  Well, at least he’s not stuck in a tank.

With “Thank You,” we have another case of episodes running parallel to one another.  It picks up right where “First Time Again” ended, and then takes place at the same time as “JSS.”  Again, while unconnected episodes of The Walking Dead are fine and are more than capable of standing on their own, connecting these episodes make this feel like one long episode.

And it was just as heavy as the previous two, even more so because while the people back at Alexandria were able to ward off the Wolves, at great costs, the group on the outside has one problem lumped onto another with little time to breathe.  From a narrative point of view, it’s a good way to maintain suspense and tension throughout the episode.  Sure, we get those quiet moments like the discussions in the pet shop or Rick in the RV, but there is a constant threat because they still haven’t led the walkers to a safe enough point.

People have said this last season, but it’s a testament to how ill-prepared the people of Alexandria were for what lays beyond their no-longer safe walls.  They complain about death, waste precious ammunition, don’t stay aware of their surroundings, and overall just have no idea how hard the real world is.

Thank You- Rick says keep going

This is the kind of stuff that Rick and the rest of the group have dealing with all along, and they’ve paid for it.  Despite losing people very close to them, loved ones who they thought would make it to the end, they’ve kept on going forward because there’s no point in going back.  Even if the group has settled into Alexandria, they refuse to let themselves get weak because they’ve had to live in the middle of this harshness for so long.

It makes me wonder what’s keeping Rick’s group from just taking Alexandria now when they have the resources, power, and fearlessness.  At the same time, they still hold out hope that these people will learn.  They don’t have to become killers overnight, but they do need to wake up and start defending themselves.  It’s why Rick wanted them to learn how to take care of walkers.  Like the situation at Alexandria with the Wolves, the people will find themselves in a situation where they need to fight.  They can’t and shouldn’t expect someone like Rick Grimes to come in and rescue them.

Thank You- Heath and Michonne argue about survival

While there was a lot happening in this episode, Heath and Michonne’s argument was the most memorable moment for me and a pretty good exchange on its own.  It hits home at the major differences between our main characters and the people of Alexandria, but more than that, it highlighted just how much these people have been changed by the world around them.

Merle gone

Carl had to kill his mother, Carol watched her reanimated daughter executed, Daryl found Merle turned and made the impossible decision of having to kill him, Beth and Maggie watched their father decapitated right before their eyes- there are plenty of examples of these people walking down dark paths and can’t go back to their normal selves.  You need to adapt to this new world if you want to make it to the next day.

There are no rules in this world anymore.  And whenever there are, they change on a case-by-case basis.  It’s one thing to claim toughness in a harsh world, but that can change when you’re thrust in a situation where you have seconds to make a potentially impossible or life threatening decision before you’re killed.

Thank You- David talks about his wife

The problem with the people from Alexandria is that they aren’t moving fast enough.  They’re plagued by weakness and that’s going to keep them from surviving.  In this episode alone, we had four Alexandria residents fall to the walkers due to injuries and not being prepared for this world.  Some of the deaths are too telegraphed, though: if a character complains, they’re probably going to die.  We literally just had this happen with Carter and now we have someone else bitching about how hard it is.  And I don’t even know the guy’s name, so I care about him even less.

At least Annie knew her limp was holding everyone back and gave in, as opposed to further slowing them down.  And David, like Noah before him, had a moment to talk about his future.  You know how it goes with optimism.  Too much of it and you’re dead, mister.  And once your friends fall, like Rick said, you keep going forward.

Thank You- Daryl considers going to help Rick

Which is what made it all the more surprising that Daryl would consider going against Rick’s plan just to help him, but in the end, he decided to head back to Sasha and Abraham in the end.  These three haven’t been given much to do aside from lead the herd, and there’s only so much you can do when they have to drive slow, but hopefully they get something beyond this.

Thank You- Rick is afraid

Rick being ambushed by the Wolves was a surprise moment and helped this further emphasize the parallel storylines, as this means that the Wolves just retreated from Alexandria.  But this is also a slight negative.  Exactly where is Rick in the RV in proximity to the Safe Zone?  The Wolves had been battling for a while, so I assume that they’re not running at full speed.  And yet, they showed up at the RV not long after they were chased off by Morgan.  Yet they ambushed Rick like they were in peak condition.

So I suppose what I’m getting at is I wish we got a better sense of where everyone is in proximity to everyone else.  They’re surrounded by tons of threes, but they’re still able to be in pretty decent communication as opposed to just getting static.  They can’t be too far from home since Morgan made it back to the Safe Zone in no time, so what gives?

Thank You- Nicholas is afraid

Okay, so Nicholas and Glenn.  It’s not worth still harping over the fact that Nicholas got Noah killed.  We know it happened and it’s something that Nicholas will have to live with for the rest of his life.  But like everyone else, he can’t just dwell on the past.  He has to become a different person.  Credit where it’s due, Nicholas did show signs of changing.  He became more careful when it came to handling walkers and knew his way around when trying to lead his group to a safe location.

So does his final act of redemption come with his death?  He thanks Glenn, as if he’s grateful for Glenn waking him up and showing that, despite all the horrible things that he’s done, he could change.  Or was it a spur of the moment decision because he knew that the two of them were in an impossible scenario?

Thank You- Glenn and Nicholas overtaken by walkers

That image of Nicholas and Glenn surrounded by walkers on all sides was quite chilling and harkened back to the pilot with Rick stuck inside the tank with walkers on every side.  It’s a scenario where there’s literally no way out except being torn apart.  Nicholas chose suicide to prevent from being taken by the walkers first.  And he took Glenn, a staple character since we first heard his voice in the pilot, with him, killing off another member of the crew who has been with us from the first season.

But…are they both dead?

Thank You- Glenn covered in blood

I’m not one to jump onto theories or conspiracies so soon after an episode airs because I’m caught up in emotions and don’t want to believe it.  We’re not talking about Jon Snow here, but something feels…off here.  Glenn has been with us for a long time.  If he were to die, I don’t think it would be this way.  Having a character ripped apart by a swarm of walkers fits a character we don’t know, but most of the main characters, even people like Merle, have been given deaths that carried major significance.

Thank You- Glenn tells Michonne that he needs to get home

Glenn is quick and nimble.  He’s able to figure himself out of most situations he’s in, even when cornered.  Yeah, this was a massive swarm in a tight corridor, but let’s think back to “Conquer.”  Nicholas left Glenn to be devoured by a pile of walkers, but Glenn emerged from that impossible scenario just fine. We’re given no explanation as to how and that’s still a big question mark, but the point is he got out of that situation when he should have been killed.

Thank You- Glenn and Nicholas fall

Furthermore, I subscribe to theory that, more often than not, if a character dies, you need to see a body.  This isn’t always the case and I’ve gladly eaten my hat when proven wrong, but on this show, if a main character dies, we usually see it happen.  There are exceptions.  We didn’t watch Andrea shoot herself in the head, but she’d been bitten and knew what she had to do.  We still heard the gunshot on the other side of the door as Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Tyreese listened.

And we didn’t see Carl shoot and kill Lori, but we heard it along with Maggie.  Also, the fact that she doesn’t emerge from the prison and, you know, Maggie performed a damn C-section on her- how much proof do you need?  And remember how Rick and Carl thought that Judith was dead, even though there was no proof she hadn’t been whisked from the prison?

Again, people, we’re not talking about Game of ThronesThe Walking Dead comic may be willing to cross certain lines, but the show isn’t that daring yet.  Impossible and crazy it sounds, I’d be willing to bet that Glenn makes it out of this alive.

It also doesn’t help that I just don’t feel this is Glenn’s time.  Yeah, part of that is being up to date on the comic and knowing what’s in store for Glenn, but given how he didn’t even have much of a final moment with Maggie, and how much this show loves to play up emotional moments before a character’s death- Bob rings a bell- I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Glenn.

I could be completely wrong here, but we’ll see.  And even with this in mind, “Thank You” was another very good episode that had the away team facing trouble on all sides and they’re not even done yet.  Glenn’s left up in the air, Sasha, Daryl, and Abraham are still leading the herd, and Rick is on his own with walkers right outside the RV.

The episode had great tension throughout and helped bring Heath up to speed with the horrors of this world.  I do with the location and timeline were a bit better defined and I wish this show didn’t have the cliché character that hurt their leg and is slowing everyone down shtick, but in this world, the strong survive.

A Look at Fargo- Season 2, Episode 2: “Before the Law”

After Fargo reestablished itself with “Waiting for Dutch,” let’s see where things pick up when some Kansas City syndicates begin to make their move.  And after Peggy and Ed’s less than perfect clean-up job after dealing with Rye, they do just as great of a job trying to maintain normalcy.  This is “Before the Law.”

Before the Law- Floyd sends out her grandson, Charles, played by Allan Dobrescu, to get his father and uncles

The episode begins with Joe Bulo and three associates being arriving at the Gerhardt home.  As they’re checked for weapons, we head inside where Floyd sends out her grandson, Charles, played by Allan Dobrescu, to gather up his dad and uncles.

Before the Law- Dodd and Hanzee talk to a dead man

In a barn, Dodd, with Hanzee, tells a story about his grandfather fighting in the war.  The Brits caught him in a raid once and hung him by his thumbs for six days straight.  Riveting tale, but the hostage can’t hear because he’s a. dead and b. his ears have been cut off.  Charles enters to let Dodd and Hanzee know that Grandma wants them.  Did I mention that the dog starts going through the bucket with the dead man’s ears?

Before the Law- Floyd tells the family about the Kansas City syndicate proposal

Dodd, Bear, and Charlie head for the house just as two of the four newcomers exit.  These goons, turns out, are from Kansas City want to buy them out.  They can’t talk to Otto, so they talked to Floyd instead.  Dodd doesn’t want Simone, played by Rachel Keller, to overhear this conversation since she’s a girl.  But, as Floyd points out, girls grow up to be women that change boy’s diapers.  Still no word of Rye, though.  Denise only knows that he had things to do out of town.

Here was the pitch from the Kansas City associates: in this new world, there’s no room for family business.  They’re offering to buy the operation and paying the family to run it.  For a bit of change, they may earn more, but they’d report to Kansas City instead.  Floyd said that she would consult with her partner.  But due to the stroke, Otto is not in a lucid state.  He may never be again.  Grandpa built this business, but he’s no longer capable of running it.  Dodd, as new boss, suggests telling these Kansas City bosses to piss off.

Dodd doesn’t want Floyd to be in charge.  But then, she’s got ties to Winnipeg.  Plus, she’s in good with Carter B and the Solkerk crew.  She’s trusted.  But Dodd, as oldest, declares himself to be the boss.  End of story.  Floyd orders everyone out, but Dodd wants Hanzee to stay, for some reason.

Floyd wants to have her say: how will things go for them in the next few weeks?  Grandfather left the ashes of the Weimar Republic and came to this country to build a name for himself.  He built an empire from a shoe shine box and only then did he send for Dodd’s father.  And Dodd really doesn’t know this story, even though he says otherwise.  If he did, he’d know that he’s just a small part of this.  That’s what an empire is- bigger than any son or daughter.

Against his best judgment, Dodd begins to eat as Floyd tells him that his time will come.  This moment, now, isn’t it.  If he stand by Floyd, then as soon as this crisis is over, she’ll hand this legacy over to him.  Now, though, the family needs to find Rye.  Whatever he’s doing, bring him home.

Before the Law- Talking about lobster metaphors

The four men, Joe Bulo one of them, discuss the liquidation plan and their approach.  Maybe they can get to the youngest one, Rye.  The older ones may be harder. To use a metaphor, lobsters have pincher and crusher claws, but which one’s which?  As in which son is which claw?  Actually, screw the metaphor.  Management says acquire the territory.  Whether that’s cash or sending bodies the morgue, that’s up to the Krauts.  First Gerhardt to switch sides gets a shiny red apple.

Now, Mr. Bulo’s associates do have names, but I’ll introduce them later down the line.

Before the Law- Hank examines a shoe

At the Rock County sheriff’s station, Hank actually has the damn shoe that he saw stuck in a tree.  He examines it as if looking for a hidden clue to pop out at him.

Before the Law- Hank stops by House Solverson

In Luverne, Minnesota, Hank stops by House Solverson and has small talk with Betsy and Molly, who really wants to hear a story, so Hank and Betsy share a tale about oysters…which boils down to the time Hank and Betsy came to eat hot dogs for dinner once again.  Betsy tells Hank that one of the victims from the massacre was a judge.  Hank figures it was the old woman.  But, as Lou joins the family, therein lies the question: was the judge just in the wrong place at the wrong time or was this about her?

Before the Law- Ed and Peggy agree to keep up appearances

We then cut to Ed and Peggy’s wrecked car.  Smart people would have gotten rid of this and removed any evidence of a struggle or blood, but Ed just sits in deep contemplation and goes through Rye’s wallet.  They’re both still rattled by the turn of events and Ed doesn’t want to go to work, but Peggy encourages him to keep up appearances.  She doesn’t want to, either, especially with her eye.  But there’s still work to be done.

Before the Law- Dodd tells Hanzee to find Rye

Dodd considers everything that Floyd told him.  He tells Hanzee that Bear’s thrown in with Mom, and that’s his loss.  If Dodd presses hard, the distributors will stand with him, but he needs Rye.  Dodd tasks Hanzee with finding Rye and bringing him to Dodd.  Not Mom, but Dodd.

Before the Law- Constance Heck, played by Elizabeth Marvel, speaks with Peggy about the seminar

After a quick stop by Bud’s Meats to fill Bud in on Ed’s whereabouts- bad clams, you know- Peggy heads to work at the hair salon, where coworkers discuss the Waffle Hut massacre.  First Watergate, and now this.  What’s the world coming to?  It’s here that we’re also introduced to Constance Heck, played by Elizabeth Marvel, who asks if Peggy told Ed about the seminar.

She did, and though it’s a lot of money, Peggy insists that they’re saving up for something else.  But Constance sees this as Peggy thinking that Ed’s needs outweigh her own.  And though Peggy says that we, meaning her and Ed, have a plan, Constance points out that the word “we” is a castle, hon, with a moat and a drawbridge.  You know what gets locked up in castles?  Princesses.  Don’t be a prisoner of “we,” Constance says.  Take the seminar.

Oh, and someone apparently took the case of toilet paper from the back.  Why someone would do that, I don’t know.

Lou Solverson talks to a superior and now believes that this massacre will lead to interstate issues.  He’ll coordinate with Sheriff Larsson and head to Fargo soon.

Before the Law- Mike Milligan, played by Bokeem Woodbine, types a letter while also choking Skip

Back at Watson’s Typewriters, Joe Bulo’s associates pop in just as Skip is taking a call.  Skip claims that the call was about being double billed.  The place isn’t technically open, but the men are fine with that.  After all, they’re not really customers, but they want to know Rye Gerhardt’s whereabouts.  Skip plays dumb, thinking that the men need a character reference, but the men know that Rye worked for Skip.

How do they know this?  Skip, after having a few drinks, told Big Jim Suggs at the Pig ‘N Poke that he had a Gerhardt in his pocket.  One of the men, looking to speed this along, puts Skip’s tie through the typewriter and keeps him there while waxing a tale about a problem he experienced with an automated coffee maker from Sears that is, pardon my French, a real piece of shit.  The man types his complaint, choking Skip with every key stroke.

The damn coffee maker sounds like a fat man having a heart attack.  Is this why our once great nation is going down the crapper?  But anyway, the man completes his letter- yours in peace: Mike Milligan, played by Bokeem Woodbine.  Skip eventually spills that he told Rye to talk to Judge Mundt.

Before the Law- Ed stares into the fire

Back at House Blomquist, Ed gets to work cleaning the car.  After taking a quick peek at Rye’s frozen corpse, he tosses some garments into the fireplace.

Before the Law- Lou, Betsy, and Molly on a drive

After a quick scene of Betsy getting a blood transfusion, we cut to her on a drive with Lou and Molly.  Lou’s captain said to hold off on going up to Fargo so some chain of command nonsense can be sorted out.Lou stops at the now closed up Waffle Hut.  As he looks around for something that he missed, he spots a can of bug spray.

Before the Law- Betsy and Molly find a gun in the snow

Outside, Betsy and Molly build themselves a snowman.  Molly heads over to grab some sticks and instead picks up a balloon that reads “Get Well Soon.”  Random, but then Betsy does some more digging and finds a gun buried in the snow.  Neither of these items will serve as good arms for the snowman.  Lou heads out to find his wife doing his job, but then also spots a car passing by with three men looking in their direction.  Not ominous at all.

Before the Law- Wayne Kitchen, played by Todd Mann, and Gale Kitchen, Brad Mann, answer Hank's shoe size question

Mike and his associates continue along until they’re stopped by a police barricade manned by Hank.  Mike does the talking since the fellas up front doesn’t like to talk to strangers.  When the three men exit, they present their identification to Hank.  Turns out the other two men are brothers: Wayne Kitchen, played by Todd Mann, and Gale Kitchen, Brad Mann.

So what’s this stop about?  Hank asks if he would find weapons if he searched them.  Mike tells Hank that they were just passing through and though they’d stop for waffles, but imagine their surprise when they found the location closed and now a crime scene.

Hank asks about the men’s shoe sizes- a truly odd question indeed.  Mike is a 10 and judging from the Kitchen Brothers’ middle fingers, they’re an 11 and not a 2, because that would make them toddlers.  Seeing that no crime has been committed, Hank lets the men go, but he does note that he has the men’s names and their license plate.  He’ll radio ahead to make sure the men make it out of State.  But if not, he’ll put out an APB to have them rounded up.

Mike considers this a minor miracle.  The state of the world today and the level of conflict and misunderstanding, that two men could stand on a lonely road in winter and talk calmly and rationally, while all around them, people are losing their mind.  Mike and the Kitchen brothers depart.

Before the Law- Ed brings Rye's body into Bud's Meats

That evening, Ed waits for Bud and Noreen to exit Bud’s Meats for the night.  After they leave, Ed spots Peggy leaving in Constance’s car.  Once Peggy’s left, Ed starts up the truck and pulls up outside Bud’s Meats.  He then gets out and pulls a burlap sack into the building.  Nothing about this is a good idea.

Before the Law- Constance finds rolls and rolls of toilet paper

Peggy arrives at home.  Constance decides to pop by the bathroom.  As she washes her hands, though, she’s unable to find any paper towels.  When she checks the cabinet, she finds rolls and rolls of toilet paper.  What, does Peggy need that much just to wipe her ass?

Anyway, Peggy finds the car spotless, save for the big damn hole.  Constance calls Peggy a bad girl.  She can usually tell, but Peggy had her fooled.  That bruise on Peggy’s face?  A dust-up, even though Peggy apparently wasn’t in the car.  Constance is not mad about the toilet paper.  All she had to do was ask.  Or maybe Peggy likes breaking the rules.  Constance leaves.

Before the Law- Hank and Lou sit outside The Waffle Hut

Hank joins Lou at The Waffle Hut.  Lou informs him that Betsy found the murder weapon.  Now he’s wondering what else he missed.  Hank says that the fellas he met were interesting, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Lou wonders why he’s still at this spot.  It’s a convergence, Hank says, but Lou isn’t in the mood to talk about it.  Lou mentions a guy on a boat that liked to smoke cigars.  Out on the river, one day in 1974, Lou was on the wheel and this kid, maybe around 19, came up, lit his stick, and didn’t see the bullet coming his way.  Was shot right through the cigar.  One in a million shot.  The look on his face when he fell, just like the cook, was one of pure bafflement.

Then Hank talks about a German captain that hanged himself in a bunker in 1945.  Eyes bugged out and everything. Then, in 1962, Hank responded to a suicide.  Found the fella in his bathroom, swinging from an electric cord.  Times are different now, though.  After World War II, the area went six years without a murder.  These days, sometimes you wonder if the boys brought the war home with them.

Before the Law- Ed feeds Rye's body through the grinder

Ed, with complete clarity on his face, feeds Rye’s body through a meat grinder.  He’s unaware of a certain Lou Solverson pulling up right outside Bud’s Meats.

Before the Law- Ed wraps up some bacon for Lou

Just as Ed turns off the grinder and hacks off a hand- sending fingers scattering on the floor- he hears a knock at the door.  He spots Lou, who talks about his double shift and what happened at The Waffle Hut.  Lou asks if Ed can help him out with a third of bacon since Molly really loves it for breakfast and the family is fresh out at home.  Though Lou offers to pay, Ed insists that it’s on the house.

But then one of Lou’s coins goes rolling on the ground not too far from one of Rye’s fingers.  The two go to pick it up, but the phone rings.  Ed eventually takes the call- it’s Peggy, who doesn’t like being home by herself and wants her husband to come home.  As Lou heads off, Ed, seemingly safe for the moment, picks up the finger and heads back to the grinder as the episode comes to a close.

If there’s a thought going through my mind while watching Fargo, it’s something along the lines of “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”  The thing about both this and the previous season of Fargo is that it takes some time for the storyline to get going and for the puzzle pieces to even begin piecing together.  That’s evident here in “Before the Law.”

While it’s a bit slower paced compared to “Waiting for Dutch” and not as humorous, this episode help create the familiar sense that this small, unassuming town has just been rattled by this unexpected murder.  Granted, Rye’s death hasn’t gone widespread yet.  We hear murmurings of it discussed at the salon and both Lou and Hank are still trying to find connections, but even in a small town like this, world travels fast.

Before the Law- Lou and Hank talk

Lou and Hank’s discussion towards the end gets at the heart of what’s happening all around them: after a period of peace and quiet, some force comes in and begins to unravel the calmness, throwing things into hysteria.  Again, we aren’t there yet, and given Lou’s description of this case to Malvo in Season One, we’ve got a long way to go.

But in essence, Lou and Hank’s talk shows how unforeseen circumstances, even if minor, can turn everything upside down because of the evil in people.  The smoking soldier on the boat didn’t expect the one in a million chance of being shot and Hank didn’t expect that this homicide would come after this long period of peace.  In the grand scheme of things, three people being killed in a small town waffle diner isn’t the end of the world, but in a quiet population like this, it’s enough to shatter what little quiet there is.

Before the Law- Mike complains about a coffee maker

And despite a triple homicide and the world apparently going down the crapper around them, there’s still time for civil conversation.  Mike Milligan has a keen, if not cynical, outlook on the world.  In between so much madness, the possibility of liquidation, and questions of shoe sizes, and despite being questioned by an officer due to suspicion, Milligan maintains this calm demeanor about him.

To Milligan, the world might be in a shit state right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to be complacent.  Take action, fight back, write an angry letter, or tell your competitor that their best days are behind them.  We don’t know much about Milligan right now, which I like, but he seems like the person who, if he wants something, he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Before the Law- Mike and minor miracles

There’s a quiet menace to Bokeem Woodbine’s performance.  I’ve seen a few reviewers compare him to Lorne Malvo in the first season, and I get the comparison, but think it’s way too soon to make that call.  He seems to have a dark side to him, but from the smirk on his face, he has more of a sense of humor than Malvo did.  I’ve seen Woodbine in a few performances, but each time I’ve seen him, he’s always carried a sense of presence in a short amount of time.  The best example I can think of this is Jasper, Texas.  He’s not in the film very long, but with what little screen time he had, he gave a memorable performance.

It’s interesting how much of the ongoing issues make their way back to Rye.  The man may be dead, but he’s the linchpin to everything happening now: the Kansas City syndicate is searching for him, as are the Gerhardts, Lou and Hank still have yet to figure out the shooter’s identity, and the Blomquists are just ready to get rid of him.

Before the Law- Gerhardt family meeting

With him gone, the Gerhardt family is more stuck than they already were, in addition to Otto’s stroke.  And the power struggle has divided the family, with Floyd, being the matriarch and best connections, as the favorite to maintain leadership.  Like grandfather going from having nothing to something, Floyd is looking this potential negotiation in the long term.  She sees the big picture, but now Dodd, who just wants to be in charge because he feels that it’s his turn.

Before the Law- Ed and Peggy compose themselves

Meanwhile, the Blomquists appear to be a tad more careful than Lester Nygaard, but just as fearful that they’ll be discovered.  But even with them being as unassuming as they are, it’s not hard to see that there’s something different about their ordinary routine.  The scene with Lou coming very close to discovering Ed grinding Rye’s body- a nice callback to the wood chipper scene from the film- had a good amount of tension to it.

At this point, there’d be no reason for Lou to suspect Ed at all.  In fact, he seemed to be giving Ed the benefit of the doubt since they were both working longer shifts than usual.  So Lou knows the feeling, but we also know that the Solversons, based on what we know from the previous season and how Betsy and Molly found evidence for Lou, are meticulous when it comes to investigations.  If something is off, they’ll get a whiff of it.

Before the Law- Lou drives while Betsy receives a blood transfusion

Sticking with the Solversons for a second, I like how we’re getting little scenes with Betsy and Molly that tells us plenty with so little.  We know that Betsy isn’t in the best condition right now, but she’s doing her best to remain an active part in Lou and Molly’s lives.  And she’s careful.  When Molly finds the gun, Betsy makes sure to hold it by the barrel.  So it’s not hard to see how Molly picked up her detective skills.

Before the Law- Peggy exposed by Constance

Peggy is an odd one.  She’s also trying to keep up appearances, but is less careful about it than Ed.  Sure, Constance isn’t suspecting her of a hit-and-run, but she at least gets that there’s a bad, looser side to counter Peggy’s normal personality.  Well, as much as you can glimpse from her stealing toilet paper, which is another issue by itself.  Ed and Peggy don’t appear to be desperate for cash, so unless Peggy’s ass is always caked with shit, which isn’t out of the realm of impossibility, or if she’s a kleptomaniac, it’s strange that she’d need so much toilet paper.

Oh, and Constance looks like she may have the hots for Peggy, but we’ll see if that pans out at all.

So “Before the Law” was another solid installment of Fargo.  This being the first episode that creator Noah Hawley directed, it was an impressive watch.  It built on the premiere’s story while giving us more of the lurking men of the Kansas City crime syndicate.  Lou and Hank see that there’s darkness afoot, but they’re still fighting to stay one step ahead of any madness while remembering that, even if it’s a one in a million chance, it doesn’t take much to create havoc.  At the same time, the mild-mannered Blomquists are trying their best to avoid detection, and they look to be in the clear right now, until someone notices something fishy about the meat.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 5: “Rise of the Villains: Scarification”

Firefly has finally returned to Fox. Well, not really.

Scarification- Penguin attempts to negotiate with Theo

The episode begins in Theo Galavan’s tower of terror.  Penguin has arrived with a trunk and is glad that Theo calls him a friend, even though it’s a figure of speech.  Penguin feels he will be of much more use to Theo as a friend and ally.  If he wasn’t worried about his mother, he’d be a better tool and would do his bidding.  Mom just needs to be released.  Even Butch knows who’s boss.  Tabitha wasn’t listening.

But Theo’s answer is still no, so off Penguin goes.  He and Butch retreat, but not before Theo tells him to stay by the phone.  Meanwhile, Theo needs a bored Tabitha to play her part.

Scarification- Tabitha approaches Sid Bunderslaw

So who’s inside the box?  Sid Bunderslaw, who recognizes Theo Galavan.  Why?  He’s the garbageman for Wayne Enterprises and he’s going to tell everything that he knows.  There’s torture later if he refuses.  For now, Theo needs to borrow something from Sid.  Tabitha asks left or right.  She approaches Sid and pulls out a blade.  The rest you can guess.

Scarification- GCPD and Strike Team break up one of Penguin's operations

We then cut to men counting money in one of Penguin’s count houses.  The operation is soon broken up by the GCPD and Strike Force.  But like most gun fights, someone remembered to bring a rocket launcher.  Really?  Even Barnes is surprised, but this is Gotham City.

Strike Force bags the money, which equates to $2 million- a strong blow to Penguin.  Whoever gives up where the rocket launcher came from gets to keep their pants.  Jim tells Barnes about a place called the Merc that supplies weapons.  They haven’t been hit because the supply the City Council.  So time to hit the Merc.  This means no one gets pants.

Scarification- Penguin rants to Butch

Penguin rages to Butch.  They need an idea.  Even if they Penguin gets Tabitha, he doesn’t think that Theo loves her as much as Penguin loves his mother.  It’s a bad night that gets worse when Penguin learns that one of his locations has been hit.  You know the saying ‘Don’t kill the messenger’?  Penguin takes his anger out on the poor messenger before inspiration strikes and he gets an idea.

Scarification- Nygma tells Jim and Leslie that he's been dating Kristen

At GCPD, Leslie speaks with Jim, who is in a good mood.  Strike Force is going out on another raid.  As for plans tonight, Jim wants to sleep, but he can’t since it’s date night. As if on cue, Nygma,  shares that he’s been dating Miss Kringle, who mentioned that it would be nice to go out with other people.  Hence, Nygma wants to invite the two to dinner.  Leslie even got some new fondue plates.  Jim can think of a thousand other things he’d rather do.

Scarification- Theo asks for Jim's endorsement

Like talk to Theo Galavan, who also waltzes into the GCPD like he owns the place.  Theo can’t stop thinking about that night at the gala.  He’s never killed a man before and he relives that moment over and over.  Do those thoughts ever go away?  Jim says no, but over time, they lose their power.  He tells Theo that he did the right thing.  But for Jim, Theo says, he does the right thing every day.  He’s a symbol of hope and honor to the people of the city.  That’s why he’s here: he wants Jim’s endorsement for mayor.

Jim is flattered, but policemen and politics don’t mix.  Even still, Jim does still play a role in the policeman’s union.  Jim refuses.  He doesn’t do endorsements.  Theo understands, but he does want Jim to think about it.  They can really help each other.

Scarification- Tabitha gives Penguin an assignment

Tabitha drops by Penguin’s to talk.  The bird has lost a lot of money, but it’s immaterial.  Someone close must have betrayed him.  Tabitha has a job: addresses of places he’ll burn, starting tonight.  Fine, but Penguin needs a trustworthy arsonist.  And whoever starts the fires will need a special item.

Scarification- Butch has a proposal for Selina Kyle

And then we get a scene with Selina Kyle, who is sleeping in a boiler room instead of one of the many locations she can sneak to, when she gets a night visit from Butch.  He needs her to take him to the fire bugs in the narrows.  Why?  She can vouch for Butch.  The Pikes are the best arsonists in town, but they’re loyal to Fish Mooney.  She’s gone, though Selina is adamant that she’ll be back.  Fish loved Selina and is willing to help…for a price that she ultimately doesn’t get.

Scarification- Butch speaks with the Pike family

At a location similar to the one where Jonathan Crane had a vision of his wife, Selina reunites with Bridgit Pike, played by Michelle Veintimilla.  Selina asks for Bridget’s brothers, Joe, played by Leo Fitzpatrick, and Evan, played by Noah Robbins.  They’re pissed at Butch for shooting Fish.  True, it happened, but for right now, Butch has a nice job for these guys.  They need the best arsonists around.  Butch hands the addresses.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s for a lot of pay.  Luckily, the guys have enough firepower to burn Gotham twice.

Joe orders Bridgit around and Selina, the only other female around, isn’t a fan of this treatment.  But whatever.  No time to think about that.  Butch hands the brothers a box.

Scarification- Selina tells Bridgit, played by Michelle Veintimilla, to stick up for herself

Oh, wait, we’re not done yet.  Selina speaks with a crying Bridgit outside and tells her to take stay strong.

Scarification- Cale, played by Ari McKay Wilford, shops for explosives

We then cut to a factory where the youngest brother, Cale, played by Ari McKay Wilford, loads up on flammables and explosives.  One of them is a tad expensive, but that’s why we have robbery.

Unfortunately, the GCPD happen to arrive.  Cale rushes out, but runs into a dead end.  As he pulls out a gun, Barnes and Gordon open fire.  Their bullets are so damn powerful that the poor guy explodes!

Okay, Gotham, you can’t ask anyone to take you seriously after that.

Scarification- Double date, toast to friends

Time for double date night, with Nygma talking too much about melted cheese and Kristen just wanting to eat.  Jim finally enters after his explosive day.  Leslie finds it odd that Nygma is maintaining this strange sort of cool.  There’s apparently a lid for every pot.  Since Jim has arrived, Nygma proposes a toast: the less you have, the more they’re worth.  To friends.  Here, here.

Scarification- Pike brothers decide to use Bridgit

At the hideout, Joe and Evan lament Cale’s explosive death.  They need another body and it’s time for Bridgit to get a promotion, but she doesn’t like fire.  Bridgit insists that she’s not their family, but Joe reminds her that she’s got no one else right now.  Her mother was a ho and she’s dead.  Joe and Evan put a roof over her head.  If she won’t cooperate, then Joe considers tricking Bridget out.  Does she want to be a whore or with family?

Scarification- Jim tells Leslie that he couldn't endorse Theo Galavan

Jim lets Leslie know that he couldn’t endorse Theo.  He may like Theo, but that doesn’t matter.  He doesn’t endorse politicians.  Leslie believes that people look at Jim as a respected figure, but he treats that like a burden.  It could be a source of pride if Jim just let it.  And that is Leslie’s diagnosis.

Scarification- Bridgit with Bunderslaw's eye

So since Bridgit chooses family, she begins by setting fuses in one of the buildings, all while receiving instructions from Joe and Evan.  As she gets out the flame, she learns that she has a minute and a half to get out before things go boom…but there’s one more thing to do.  The safe on her right?  Get to it.  She takes out the box and we learn what’s inside: an eye.

Bridget puts it to the center and we learn that this is, indeed, Bunderslaw’s eye.  However, that’s where the instructions stop.  Bridget grabs the knife inside the safe.  Now it’s time to get the hell out, but she forgets the eye.  She manages to escape, but not before her leg catches a bit of fire.  Joe and Evan are more concerned with hitting the remaining four spots.

At GCPD, Barnes and the team learns of the five fires.  The lab analysis confirmed that the fires were started with thermite and high-end accelerants, so the team is looking for a professional arsonist.  Why would a pro do five jobs in one night?  Hell, what if they’re not done?  Barnes tells Jim to find a pattern before Gotham burns to the ground.

Scarification- Selina and Bridgit clash

Bridgit goes through a bunch of gear and begins assembling her supervillain suit.  As she puts it together, Selina arrives to pick up the knife for Penguin when she learns that Bridgit got burned during her first assignment.  Selina warns Bridgit to be careful, though Bridgit insists that she’s doing the family business.

Selina strikes back, saying that these brothers aren’t Bridgit’s family.  Look at Selina.  She’s as free as a cat!  But Bridgit remembers a time when she was little.  Selina used to show up at the Narrows to look for her mother.  Selina gets defensive about this.  Bridgit asks what good is freedom if she’s alone, and Selina responds by asking what good is family if you’re a slave.

I have a question: what good is uninteresting drama if I don’t care about either of the characters?

Scarification- Penguin wonders why Galavan wants an antique knife that belonged to the Wayne family

Meanwhile, Penguin notices that the Wayne Family Crest is on the bottom of the blade. Why, he wonders, does Galavan want an antique knife that belonged to the Waynes? There has to be something to understand Galavan in order to beat him.  Butch says to talk to Edwige, who runs the old antique shop in Butch’s neighborhood.  She knows things.

Scarification- Edwige, played by Mary Joy, talks about the bad blood between the Waynes and other famous Gotham families

We then meet Edwige, played by Mary Joy, who knows the knife, but can’t help.  Penguin senses her fear.  If there’s one thing he knows, it’s a liar.  So what’s the deal with the blade?  This knife has a cursed history- almost 200 years ago, it was used in a terrible crime.  Back then, five families ruled Gotham’s high society: The Elliots, the Kanes, the Crownes, the Dumas, and, the most powerful of them all- the Waynes.  How could you have missed that one?

Back then, people called Celestine Wayne the crown jewel of Gotham.  She was promised to the eldest son of the Elliot family, but another coveted her: Caleb Dumas.  One night, during an Easter party at Wayne Manor, Celestine and Caleb went missing and were later found in an illicit embrace.  Celestine swore on her mother’s grave that Caleb had forced himself on her.  Women.  Am I right?  So Celeste’s brother, Jonathan, hacked off Caleb’s right hand.

The Waynes went mad with rage.  They seized the Dumas’ holdings and banished them.  Caleb Dumas went into exile overseas, to a penitential religious sect founded by his family’s patron saint.  Celeste, meanwhile, died an old maid.  The Waynes forbade the press from even mentioning the Dumas.  They then wiped the Dumas family out of Gotham City’s history.  The remaining Dumas were forced to change their name.  To what?  Galavan.  Like the fella running for mayor.  And that’s why Edwige is afraid of this knife.  She fears that Penguin is getting in deep waters.

Luckily, that’s where penguins thrive.

Scarification- Jim has a hunch about the next fire

At GCPD, Jim tells Bullock that all the buildings that burned down had one landlord: Wayne Enterprises.  If the arsonists stick to their pattern of moving east to west, there’s one obvious target that they may hit tonight: Gotham City Book depository.  I thought we were past Jim’s random hunches.

Scarification- Penguin and Butch come up with a plan to trick Galavan

Penguin and Butch prepare to have a drink.  Butch doesn’t want to, but Penguin insists. You don’t say no when Oswald Cobblepot offers you a drink.  Butch can’t refuse, but he knows that Oswald sounds a bit paranoid.  How can he be normal when his mother is out there?  Maybe he is going mad.  That or he found Galavan’s weakness: the knife that maimed his ancestor.  This is a blood feud against the Waynes.

Galavan is acting out of emotion and that can be manipulated.  Butch is to go to Galavan and say that Penguin went nuts and accused him of setting up the count shop raid.  Once Butch is in Theo’s good graces, he’s to find Penguin’s mother and rescue her.  This is a basic plan, Butch says, and Theo is a smart man.  How do you get around that?  Penguin isn’t worried. He believes that Theo will assume Penguin knew that Butch turned traitor.  Penguin has sold his paranoia, but now he needs to sell Butch.  How?

Well, Penguin can hack off Butch’s hand, for one.

Scarification- Bridgit burns the area

Stakeout time.  A van pulls up to the depository.  Jim and Bullock make their move- with Selina having nothing else to do but also keep watch from above.  Jim orders all units to converge just as Bridgit, in her completed costume, is abandoned by her brothers.  She begins burning the area all around her, but the weapon jams.  In the process, she even sets fire to Luke Garrett in the process.

So the point of Selina being here was to help take Bridget home.  Again, am I supposed to care?  And how did no one from the GCPD arrive in time to stop her?  Where’s the rest of the team?

At GCPD, Theo stops by again just as Barnes announces that Luke Garrett has passed away.  GCPD will mourn him, but not now.  There is a cop killer on the loose and the person responsible will pay, with every legal method at their disposal.

Scarification- Jim prepares to give Theo Galavan his endorsement

Jim heads over to Galavan and tells him that bad guys aren’t playing by the old rules anymore.  The police need every method at their disposal, and not just more guns.  Jim doesn’t know how bad this will get, but if he has Theo’s word that they won’t face this alone, Theo will have Jim’s endorsement.  Theo promises to provide everything that Jim needs.  The two shake hands.  That seals the deal.

Scarification- Theo reunites with Father Creel, played by Ron Rifkin

That evening, Theo finds a figure in a black robe waiting for him: Father Creel, played by Ron Rifkin.  It’s been a long time.  Father Creel is glad that Theo has surrounded himself with luxury, but Theo has to play the part, especially now that he has the blade.  However, Theo does not have the Wayne boy yet, but soon.  After almost 200 years, this family can be patient.  The day of redemption is coming.  Gotham will be redeemed in blood and Bruce Wayne will die.

No, he won’t, but sure.

So, this was an episode.  And to be frank, even though we’re continuing with this whole “Rise of the Villains” storyline, the new villain introduced isn’t all that interesting or even as engaging as Theo Galavan’s plan.

Really, the Bridgit stuff feels like an afterthought because it’s mixed in alongside Penguin’s plan to get revenge against Theo, Barnes dropping the hunt for Penguin to pursue this arsonist, Nygma’s double dinner date, the flashbacks to early Gotham, Father Creel’s sudden appearance…not that this episode felt overstuffed, but much of it just didn’t feel important.

Scarification- Strike Force learns of Luke's death

Given how we were introduced to the Strike Force just one week prior, I figured that this episode would follow up on their introduction and allow us to get to know them as characters.  In addition, we met them all at once and know next to nothing about their individual personalities.  This may sound like I’m rewriting the show, but why introduce Barnes and this new Strike Force team if we’re immediately going to shift gears to another new villain?

Scarification- Firefly

The stuff with Galavan has played against the rest of the season’s storyline, so I’m fine with that continuing throughout, but if we’re going to bring in Firefly, this episode may as well have just brought in Strike Force as new cadets all at once because I don’t feel any attachment to them.

And this is what makes Luke Garrett’s death all the more ineffective.  We know about as much about him as Gordon did and already one of these new recruits is dead.  Introducing him in the previous episode, telling us little about him, and then killing him off isn’t good writing.  It feels like a way to jus thin the crowd.  Let’s say Luke pulled through his injury, lived to fight another day, and promised to become a better officer.  That is character development.  Plus, he just rushed in to attack a perpetrator with a weapon.  A flamethrower at that.  Not the smartest idea.

But I don’t feel the weight of his loss because I don’t know him.  Even more confusing is why the hell Barnes now shifts gears towards catching this pyromaniac.  After all, what happened to his grand plan of taking down the Penguin?  Now his plans have changed because Bridgit killed someone?  Stick to something.  Or at least still divert resources to pursuing Penguin.  Hell, we got a taste of that when GCPD raided the count house, but that was the end of it.

Scarification- Jim's lucky guess

The early half of Season One had Jim make one too many convenient hunches when it came to cracking a case.  The show gradually grew away from that and I had hoped the trend would continue, but now it’s too easy for Jim to think that just because the arsonists are going in a pattern that they would target the building that he thinks they will.  This is Gotham City.  Like he said, criminals don’t play by the old rules, so it’s a massive shot in the dark for him to think the depository is the next target instead of doing something random.

Right now, he doesn’t sense anything sinister about Theo Galavan.  He just needs backing to ensure that the police have every method at their disposal to deal with criminals.  Is Jim doing this out of desperation?  If so, seems like he’d just fall back on Penguin again for assistance or the occasional muscle.  But because Theo presents himself as an upstanding figure and outsider, just like Jim, he feels the two have a connection.  He’s embracing that pride and respect that Leslie wanted him to let in, but for the wrong person, like a deal with the devil scenario.

Scarification- Theo speaks with Father Creel

Theo, meanwhile, has a grand plan that boils down to a beef with the Wayne family.  He’s motivated to restoring the honor and pride of his family legacy.  And we’ve seen that he has the money and resources to do so.  Why he even bothers with Penguin is anyone’s guess when he has Tabitha and Barbara at his disposal, not to mention Aaron Helzinger is still out there.  But if he didn’t need Oswald, there’d have been no reason to kidnap his mother, I suppose.

However, if the show believes that we should be holding our breath in suspense at the idea that Bruce Wayne will die at this point, it has another thing coming.  The Wayne history presented in the flashbacks, to my knowledge, is original.  And I’m fine with the show going its own way so long as what we get is compelling.  Right now, this isn’t and if the Waynes had such a stranglehold on influence in Gotham City, then I suppose it’s no surprise the family has so many secrets.

Scarification- Bridgit argues with Selina about being free or a slave

I…really don’t have much to say about the origin story for Bridgit.  Like Bruce, Selina, Jerome, Ivy, Jonathan Crane and so on, she’s another character with a messed up childhood and mixed motives.  She’s complacent with helping out her family, but one pep talk from Selina Kyle is enough to make her second guess herself?  Even then, she still suits up and becomes a supervillain.

The show makes a point of saying that Bridgit and Selina Kyle have a history, so if Bridgit was so sick of her brothers, leave and go live with Selina.  Not that Selina’s life is any better, because it isn’t, but she’d be playing by her own rules.

The argument between the two felt very forced.  Who is Selina to call someone a slave for taking orders just to get by, when she takes her marching orders from Penguin?  And before that, Fish Mooney, who she barely knew.  And when did Fish and Selina become such fast friends in the span of one episode?  Until the Season One finale, Selina operated on her own.  But now she has this reputation of being good chums with Fish Mooney.

Scarification- Penguin thinks

Penguin’s desperation was the closest we got to an interesting subplot.  He wants to save his mother, so he’s sending Butch down the same path he walked when he became Falcone’s mole and infiltrated Maroni’s inner circle, all while making it appear that he still worked for Fish.  We’ve come full circle with Butch taking up the mantle and I buy that Penguin would be crazy enough to hack off Butch’s hand just to keep up appearances.

Again, I find Penguin at his best when he’s maniacal, and it’s a gamble to risk this move all on Theo not showing as much love for his sister as Penguin does for his mother.  But at this point, he finds that he has few options.

Scarification- Cale before he explodes

Oh, but this episode did make me laugh for a solid minute when Cale exploded.  So cartoony.  Either Jim has expert aim or Cale had explosives all over him.  Either way, I laughed.

Gotham has been decent so far in its second season run, but with “Scarification,” the show is sliding back into that mediocrity that plagued its first season.  I feel nothing for Luke Garrett’s death, I don’t find Bridgit interesting as a character or villain, I don’t need Jim to get random hunches again, and I can do without a double-talking Selina Kyle.  But hey, looks like a multiple episode arc, so maybe things will pick up later.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”

JSS. Stands for ‘Just So Surprised’ at what happened in this episode. I mean, it doesn’t stand for that, but it might as well.  Let’s jump right in.

JSS- Enid keeps watch as walkers approach

The episode begins in the past.  Enid sits in a truck…somewhere with her parents.  She’s looking out and spots some approaching walkers in the distance.  Just as walkers approach from behind, we cut to Enid watching walkers feast upon remains.

JSS- Enid takes cover

Enid then walks the lonely streets in the rain, covered in blood and on her own.  She should have had a poncho.  She protects herself as best she can to avoid being protected when she hears walkers, but she still has no weapon.  Instead, the writes JSS in the dirt.

JSS- Enid eats turtle

The next day, Enid continues and finds a car with not a body, but a walker outside of the door.  She kills the walker and takes shelter inside…this time writing JSS on the window.  You get it?  As Enid continues along, she spots a turtle.  And she fucking kills and eats it!  I mean, we’ve seen characters eat dogs, so this isn’t too out of left field, but come on!

JSS- Bones JSS

Oh, and JSS out of bones.  I sense a theme here.

JSS- Enid arrives at the Alexandria Safe Zone

Enid’s journey takes her to some abandoned and quite wrecked homes right by a giant wall.  She hears voices within the gates and waits.  At first, she turns away, weighing her options, but after giving it more thought, and scrawling JSS on her hand, she approaches and is welcomed within the gates of the Alexandria Safe Zone.

JSS- Carol stocks up

In the present, Carol stocks up from the armory to prepare a soup.  Since supplies are running low, she’s thinking about mixing up ingredients.  Hell, she once made a miracle with water chestnuts.  Of course, Carol keeps up her mask.  She even offers to teach Shelly make pasta.  In exchange, though, she wants Shelly, who enjoys cigarette, to take her smoking outdoors.  There are already enough things that can kill you.

JSS- Carol tells Sam to get over Pete's death

Carol tells Sam, who is on her porch, that Pete is dead and it’s done. Live with it or it’ll eat you up.  That and go home.

JSS- Jessie wants to give Ron a haircut

Jessie, meanwhile, calls for Ron to come downstairs for a haircut, which he doesn’t want.  It’s all set up, but Ron sees through this: Jessie just wants to talk to him.  She asks if he blames her for what happened.  That and to raise his left hand.  He can’t.  Pete was dangerous, but Ron says that Rick is dangerous as well.  Jessie stands by Rick, as the two are friends.

JSS- Deanna and Maggie about to start working

Outside, Maggie and Deanna are set to put up some panels for a hard day’s work.  Maggie gives Deanna a card about a nursery with supplies like tomatoes to plant.  The expansion needs to be finished and the wall needs to go up.  Rick wants the community to grow, as does Deanna, as everyone is here because of her.  Now it’s time to show that they’re all still there.

JSS- Denise and Tara

Elsewhere, Eugene and Tara discuss potential expansion.  Denise, the new doctor, played by Merritt Wever from Nurse Jackie, overhears this conversation.  Eugene doubts her ability, but then, Denise doubts him as well.  She’s at least a psychiatrist and wanted to go to medical school.  But then the outbreak happened.  Eugene is still skeptical, but Tara is willing to give her a shot.  Pete didn’t want Denise there, but she is.  So why the aspirin?  Tara and Eugene are working on a platform at the guard tower and Tara got a bit dizzy.

JSS- Gabriel tells Carl that he wants to help out

Carl takes Judith for a walk.  I assume someone in Alexandria was nice enough to lend him a stroller.  Anyway, he spots Enid and Ron, but Gabriel approaches him.  He admits that what he told Deanna was about himself, not the group.  He still wants to help and Carl did teach him at the church, so he’s ready to learn.  Carl responds that he needs to tell everyone, and to come around three o’clock.  They’ll start with the machete.  Rather than just continue on, Carl continues to watch Enid and Ron.

JSS- Wolves attack out of nowhere

Following this, Carol gets to cooking, but she spots Shelly smoking before they’re hacked down to size by a random attacker.  That escalated fast.

JSS- Molotov cocktails hit the walls of Alexandria

Maggie and Deanna hear a scream.  They call out to Richard, who is attacked by Molotov cocktails and subsequently burned.  No, seriously, this shit is escalating very fast!

JSS- Jessie and Sam hide in the closet

As chaos reigns outside, Jessie prepares to head out and tells Sam to lock himself in their home, but they hear a noise and soon head upstairs and lock themselves in the closet.

JSS- Carl and Enid hide and wait

Enid grabs a set of keys and meets up with Carl so she can say goodbye.  She’s not staying, but Carl insists that she stay. No one is getting inside or, preferably, outside this house.  So the two sit back to back.  When asked if she saw them, Enid says that they’re just people.  There are too many blind spots and this place is too big to protect.  Right now, Carl does not want Enid to tell her goodbye.

JSS- Carol ends suffering

Carol watches men massacre some Alexandria members and use their blood to mark Ws on their faces.  She finds one man just as he hacks one of the women in her stomach.  Carol, in no time at all and quick thinking, puts her out of her misery.

JSS- Spencer fires at oncoming truck

Up in the guard tower, Spencer takes aim and shoots who he can see, but then the bad day gets much worse when he spots a truck approaching.  At full speed, the truck rams into the gates of Alexandria.  Ah, so that’s where we got that sound.

JSS- Aaron and Rosita bring Holly into the infirmary

The attackers retreat as the horn continues to blare.  Spencer makes his way out of the tower. Aaron and Rosita bring Holly into the infirmary while Denise and Tara prepare to operate on her.  Aaron rushes out to help.  Eugene, though, is kept inside since, let’s be honest, he wouldn’t be of much good.

JSS- Morgan kills a walker as Spencer hesitates

Before Spencer can kill the walker inside the truck, Morgan enters the scene and takes care of it and the horn himself.  He learns of the situation and tells Spencer to hide when he doesn’t answer about helping.

JSS- Carol kills a Wolf

Inside, Morgan comes face to face with one of the Wolves, who stares him down with an axe.  Carol kills the man and tells Morgan that they need to get to the armory.  Morgan insists that they don’t need to kill, but Carol’s insistent on getting to the armory.

JSS- Maggie and Deanna meet up with Spencer

Deanna and Maggie run into Spencer.  Deanna chooses to stay outside with Spencer.  After all, she doesn’t have a weapon and she can’t fight, so this is the best thing she can do.  So she gets inside the truck next to the walker.

JSS- Eugene tells Denise that she doesn't want to be a coward

Back in the operating room, Holly is bleeding internally.  She could be fixed by a surgeon, but Denise doesn’t have that kind of experience.  Though Denise is afraid, Tara insists that she try to help her.  Eugene bucks up and tells her that she doesn’t want to be a coward.  Truer words were never spoken.

JSS- Carl kills one of the Wolves

For whatever reason, Ron is out on his own and is almost killed by one of the Wolves, who is shot in the leg by Carl.  The man pleads to not be killed, but just as he prepares to attack again, Carl shoots and kills him.  He tells Ron to head inside where he can be protected.  Rather than do the smart thing that makes sense, Ron runs off.

JSS- Jessie kills one of the Wolves

Jessie and Sam continue to wait.  Despite noises, Jessie heads out and tells Sam to lock the door behind him.  She’s tackled from behind and appears to be knocked out, but grabs a pair of scissors and stabs the intruder.  Over and over again.

JSS- Ron sees his mother kill one of the Wolves

And then Ron enters at this very moment because we need him to be horrified.  Whatever.

JSS- Carol and Morgan spot Gabriel being attacked

Carol takes Morgan as an assumed prisoner and manages to fool some of the Wolves.  He stops when he spots Gabriel being attacked, but Carol continues on and makes quick work until she runs out of bullets.

JSS- Carol finds Lydia in hiding

Carol reaches the armory and takes down one of the Wolves, but another escapes.  She opens the nearby cupboard and finds…Olivia, who doesn’t know how to shoot a gun, but will soon learn when Carol tells her to take aim and fire if another member enters.

JSS- Captured Wolf tells Gabriel and Morgan that people don't belong in Alexandria

Gabriel and Morgan tie up their captive, who prepares to tell them something about not belonging to the area before he’s quickly killed by Carol.  In no time at all.  She hands the two guns, but Morgan hands his to Gabriel, who is no better with guns than Morgan.

JSS- Morgan surrounded by Wolves

While Aaron and Rosita take down some more of the Wolves, Morgan later finds himself surrounded by five of the Wolves.  He tells them to leave, warning them that the people have guns.  Despite not having a gun, Morgan holds them off with his staff.  The Wolves could be under aim right now through a sniper’s scope.  If they keep choosing this life, they will die.  But, one of the Wolves protests, they didn’t choose.

As the Wolves retreat, Morgan closes the gates.

JSS- Carol considers smoking

The massacre over, Carol stands over a body and swipes her pack of cigarettes.  Why not?  I mean, not like she’s gonna be using them anymore.  Plus, Daryl smokes, so at least they’ll have something in common?  As Carol attempts to remove the W off of her forehead, she notices an A on the staircase.  Ass?  Anarchy?  I dunno.

JSS- Aaron sees that the Wolves had photos of the Alexandria Safe Zone

Aaron, meanwhile, checks and knifes all bodies he can find just to make sure the Wolves are indeed dead, but then he starts going through a very familiar backpack.  Inside, he finds an envelope with photos of Alexandria- the same photos that he showed to Rick’s group.  Whoops.

JSS- Denise fails to save Holly

Denise, giving it her damn best, tries to revive Holly, fails as Holly flat lines.  Tara tries to console her, but right now, Denise wants to be left alone.  Well, all Tara was going to tell her was to get her brain.  That is important.

JSS- Spencer and Rosita talk

Spencer talks with Rosita about the massacre.  This happens all the time outside the gates, so how do you live with that?  She responds that the group gives you something worth dying for.  Maggie tells Deanna that they’re still here, but no, Deanna disagrees…not all of them.

JSS- Carl finds Enid's note

Carl goes looking for Enid and instead finds a note that reads ‘just survive somehow.’  And there’s where we get our episode titled acronym.

JSS- Morgan runs into one of the Wolves he met last season

Morgan walks the streets of Alexandria and takes out a random walker.  Spotting an open door, he heads in and encounters a Wolf…the same Wolf that he first encountered out on his own.  Morgan manages to get the upper hand and overpowers him.  Apologizing for what he’s about to do, Morgan brings down his staff.

JSS- Morgan and Carol cross paths

The episode comes to a close as Morgan and Carol walk down the ruined Alexandria streets.  As the two cross paths, they exchange no words before continuing on their way.

Rick said something very profound at the end of the previous season.  He asked the people of Alexandria how many of them he had to kill in order to save their lives.  Time and time again, we’ve seen some of the people in the community live sheltered lives.  They’re too comfortable in their ways and trying to get back to some kind of normalcy.  But the world is no longer and never will be the way it was before, so you have to know how to protect yourself.

This is a point that has taken much more time than necessary to sink in for residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone because they haven’t roughed it the way Rick and his group has.  Same with Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita.  They’ve done their time in the outside world and done whatever it takes to survive.

JSS- Stocking supplies

But these people haven’t and while you don’t want your friends and loved ones to die in order to shake you out of complacency, sometimes that’s necessary when you’re afraid to fight back.  And we’re not even talking about walkers in this episode.

JSS- One of the Wolves begs for his life

These are actual human beings that managed to weaken Alexandria’s defenses, kill many members of the community, and pose an actual threat.  When Rick and others in his group tell the people of Alexandria that they need to be ready for any and every kind of assault, this is what they were talking about.

JSS- The Wolves attack

This was already a good episode that was, for the most part, well-paced in both action and slower moments, but what made it work is just how sudden the attack started.  I mean, it literally came out of nowhere, beginning with Shelly being attacked, and continued to escalate with the Wolves attacking from all sides.

And these attackers were ruthless.  The people of Alexandria as a whole weren’t prepared for this type of onslaught, but our main characters have and would be able to neutralize this threat.  It wouldn’t be a complete cakewalk, but they would fare better than the massacre we saw play out this week.

Deanna and the residents have already had one wake-up call when walkers made their way inside the gates, but now we have people entering the community with no other purpose than to cause chaos.  If anything, this just validates Rick’s philosophy of kill or be killed because eventually, whether walkers or other humans, or even cigarettes, I suppose, something out there is aiming to kill you.

JSS- Morgan refuses to carry a gun

So we have two warring ideologies: Rick’s philosophy, or Morgan’s more pacifist approach.  He won’t kill if he doesn’t have to, but like Rick, he knows that this new world is harsh.  Killing is an absolute last resort for him.

Even if it means letting potential attackers return instead of stopping a threat when he has a chance, Morgan won’t allow himself to easily cross that line that people like Rick and Carol have no problem crossing because to them, safety comes through killing first, maybe ask questions later.

JSS- Carol kills one of the hostages

Hell, Morgan and Gabriel even managed to tie up one of the Wolves’ members who was quickly killed by Carol without a thought.  In hindsight, I do think it would have been helpful to keep at least one of the Wolves alive for information.

JSS- Aaron finds photos of the Safe Zone

But, at the same time, Aaron learning that one of the Wolves had photos of the Safe Zone raises the question of whether these people were considered for Alexandria, but rejected.  I’ve thought for some time that the Wolves were the show’s replacement for the Scavengers since they also attacked Alexandria, but that’s still speculation at the moment.  But, as a friend pointed out, it makes more sense that this is Aaron’s bag and one of the Wolves found it…meaning that this attack is pretty much his fault.

This episode had a lot of action, yes, but the problem with seeing so many people killed is that we know nothing about them.  We know that the main characters aren’t going to be killed at this point, so the show tries to justify the carnage by killing off a bunch of no-name characters and we have no attachment to them.  The attacks and murders are brutal, but I can’t bring myself to care because I don’t know who these people are.

When we do get into the thick of battle, we’re mostly with the same characters.  We see Morgan in battle, Carol sheds her Suzie Homemaker skin and shows the people of Alexandria just how much of a badass she is, and Maggie sticks with Deanna and Spencer, but we don’t see them in battle often.  Hell, Aaron and Rosita get involved as well, but we don’t see them for very long in the firefight.

JSS- Deanna admits that if she enters the gates, she'll be a liability

Side-note, I’m fine with Deanna not trying to be a hero and forcing herself into a situation where she could be killed.  She knew that she would be a liability, so rather than use this as a chance to prove herself, since this was a level of carnage no one in Alexandria expected, she decided to keep her distance.  Hopefully she becomes more proactive later.

JSS- Carol teaches Lydia how to fire a gun

This isn’t a big issue, but if this episode showcased the newcomers revealing to the citizens of Alexandria how prepared they are for warfare, let us see that on screen.  The closest we got was Carl saving Ross or Carol showing Olivia how to shoot, but show us more of that.

JSS- Carol on the move

A word on Carol: thank goodness she finally let loose.  Carol ranks up there alongside folks like Rick, Daryl, and Michonne as far as being able to handle herself no trouble and this episode again showed us how capable of a fighter she is.  She’s quick, strategic, smart enough to disguise herself as a Wolf in order to slip past them unnoticed, and keeps moving to stay one step ahead of people trying to kill her.

JSS- Carol with a W on her forehead

But, as we saw in “The Grove,” Carol may be an expert marksman and show no hesitation to kill, she still does have emotions and isn’t as cold as Rick.  I mean, her threat and continued coldness to Sam say otherwise, but she still lowers her defenses when she weeps over Shelly.  That’s good and it’s important that we see that because it allowed for a very human moment in the midst of so much chaos.

JSS- Operation Save Holly failure

What didn’t feel as necessary was watching Denise, Tara, and Eugene deal with Holly…another character who we’ve heard of, but never met.  It seemed to break the pacing when we already had slower moments with people like Morgan.  I think we could have easily just been told that Holly died in battle, but at the same time, I appreciate that Denise was forced into a situation where she had to try and save someone’s life, even when she was reluctant.

Plus, turning a happy ending on its side, Denise failed to save Holly.  Though Denise gave it her all, the lack of experienced proved costly.  But, again, I think this could have just been relegated to a mention, especially since we know next to nothing about Holly as a character.

JSS- Jessie rages

While I’m over the Anderson family reeling about Pete’s death, I did enjoy the sequences with Jessie and Sam in hiding.  They had just the right amount of tension balanced out by action when, at last, Jessie managed to kill one of the Wolves.  And she got to let loose all of that rage she’s been holding onto, so there’s that.

JSS- Enid's past

As for Enid’s backstory, it was a nice, well-paced way to start the episode and explain how at least one of the other members of the community first arrived in Alexandria.  And given how she managed to rough it, we can see that she’s more than capable of handling herself.  And if she’s actually gone, that puts a pin in the potential love triangle with her, Carl, and Ron.  This show has been smart about not going in that direction, so far.

Her message of JSS tied into the episode’s overall message of finding some way to survive in the constant face of danger.  It’s a harsh world out there, but with quick thinking, you can make it to the next day.  Yes, even if that involves eating a turtle.

I do like the timing of this episode.  From what I can glimpse, the events of “JSS” take place alongside the present events of “First Time Again,” which is a nice way to tie them together and make this feel like one big episode.  The question remains how Morgan managed to reach Alexandria first when he wasn’t too far from Rick and the others.

“JSS” was a very good episode.  It showed what life on the outside is really like for the people of Alexandria, who have remained sheltered for so long.  It had a slow build to an unexpected and action packed attack on the Safe Zone.  Carol got to show how much of a fighter she is, which is always welcome, Morgan fought to maintain his sense of self while still protecting the area, and the episode left things up in the air since I’m guessing this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Wolves.  As for Enid’s disappearance…I’m not ate up about it, and at least she left a note.

Now what’s left is for Rick to return so he can say ‘I told you so.’

A Look at The Walking Dead #147: “Out in the Open”

The Walking Dead #147- Cover

The Walking Dead #147: “Out in the Open,” much like #146, deals with the aftermath of the 12 murders committed by The Whisperers, but this issue asks and answers the question “What’s next?”

So how do the communities decide to take action against The Whisperers?  Well, for starters, they can’t because they really don’t know what they’re up against.  What they do know is that they’ve lost people close to them and will take any and all means to strike back, even if they aren’t thinking rationally and just come up with half-assed plans.  Right now, people just want revenge.

The Walking Dead #147- Rick and Andrea disagree with Eugene's idea for what to do about Lydia

And this is how Eugene is trying to justify his suggestion of using Lydia to their advantage.  It’s out of left field for someone as quiet and reserved as him.  Between him, Abraham, and Rosita, Eugene was often the most timid and least likely to resort to violence.  Now he’s advocating using Lydia not just because of what she’s capable of, but what she’s done.  It’s guilty by association, as far as Eugene is concerned.

He has motivation: Rosita and her unborn child are dead.  Sure, Eugene is a better man than he’s presenting at the moment, but he’s just lost someone important to him and he’ll never take care of the child that he knew wasn’t his.  He’s less interested in calming down and more in just seeking vengeance.

Given the reactions after Rick announced the murders, Eugene’s warning that others in Alexandria would also want to seek revenge is all but certain.  And both Rick and Andrea have to know this.  Hell, I imagine this has been on their minds since locating the bodies.  I get that Rick doesn’t trust Lydia all that much, but I don’t get how he’s so willing to trust Carl, particularly when the boy went out of his way to travel with The Whisperers and say that the world, not his own father, raised him.

The Walking Dead #147- Rick tells Michonne that he feels closer to Andrea than with Lori

The talk between Rick and Michonne builds off of their conversation from #139 about finding and holding onto happiness in light of missed opportunities.  With Ezekiel now dead, Michonne realizes now all the time she spent distancing herself could have been spent better getting to know Ezekiel.  It’s a pain that will stay with her forever and she’s forced to live with it, but rather than dwell on it, she can choose to move forward and find new happiness.

In a way, that’s what Rick has done in his newfound relationship with Andrea.  Hell, not even Jessie could fully replace the lost love life he’d endured since losing Lori and Judith to the Governor.  But Andrea, someone who has been in the group for a long time, has formed a bond with Rick that goes beyond anything he had with his actual wife.

The Walking Dead #147- Rick tells Michonne that Lori and Judith had to die for him to be happy

It is pretty fucked up and damn screwy for Rick to come out and admit that, yes, his wife and baby daughter had to die for him to be as happy as he is now.  He now has a surrogate wife through Andrea, who has become a new mother figure for Carl.  Part of me wishes we got to explore more of Rick’s psychosis when it comes to his relationship with Lori.  He spent so much time talking to her voice on the phone after she died, and now he’s admitted that he’s happier than he’s ever been due as a result of Lori and Judith’s deaths.

Death is all too common in this world.  Less so now that there are ways to neutralize the threat of roamers, but as Rick and company have progressed, from Atlanta to Alexandria, they’ve adjusted to loss.  Andrea and Dale took in Billy and Ben as their own despite not being their birth parents, same thing with Maggie and Glenn adopting Sophia.  Rick is adopting an entirely new spouse through Andrea and he’s happy, but what does that say about his state of mind where his real wife and child had to die for him to attain some semblance of happiness?

The Walking Dead #147- Michonne tells Rick that she pushed Ezekiel away

And what does it say for the characters to acknowledge said pain, but just bury it, knowing that they’ll hate themselves for feeling that way?  It’s like wearing a mask, and Michonne knows plenty about that.  Right now, as Rick advises, she needs to find something that makes her happy and never let go, as opposed to beating herself up over the past.  The past can hurt, yes, but it hurts more if you refuse to move forward.

The Walking Dead #147- Lydia thinks Carl and Andrea are out to take her back to Alpha

The ending is a bit abrupt.  Now, I get the need to have a cliffhanger to entice riders, but it doesn’t ring all that true to me because I don’t see Lydia shooting Andrea.  Threaten, maybe, but not outright shoot.  I get that she’s confused about her situation.  Carl told her that his people take care of their own, now she’s being taken away from said people in order to protect her life.  She doesn’t get that she can be tied to the Whisperers, even if she didn’t commit any of the 12 murders.

So I’m not understanding why she doesn’t think this through, or why she’s just learning of this now.  Wouldn’t someone like Rick or Andrea inform her prior to this point?  And Rick and company have kept Lydia safe so far, so I don’t see why she’d turn on them so quickly.  Again, it’s a quick way to end the chapter, but we’ll see what becomes of this confrontation next time.