Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TREK_GOD_1, Aug 15, 2021.
The final season of The Walking Dead begins August 22 with "Acheron: Part I".
Up today for AMC+ members.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this episode. It felt like something from the pre-Saviors era. We've wasted too much time on soapy stuff and this gets right back into the action.
The Walking Dead
Season 11 - Episode 1 - "Acheron, Part 1"
Daryl & Carol: Entering a long-abandoned military base, Carol, Maggie, Rosita, Magna, Kelly and Lydia enter by abseiling from the roof. Carefully working their way around some rather dusty walkers (SEE NOTES on walkers who do not eat), Magna and Kelly locate crates of survival rations; as the team attempt to pull a sack of the rations out, but Daryl cuts his arm in the process, and one drop of his blood lands in the mouth of a walker, awakening it--and the entire room of walkers. Initially not wanting to use guns, Maggie follows Carol's lead, recovers a rifle and shoots down enough of the walkers to escape.
Maggie: Returning to Alexandria, some of Maggie's other companions from Meridian (Duncan, Agatha and Frost) arrive, but this happy reunion does not remove the tension with Negan. Recalling how most of that group's well-stocked home had been attacked by the Reapers--the group recently fought by Maggie and Daryl--it is decided that a trip back to Meridian is worth the risk of running into the Reapers again, rather than starve.
Commonwealth captives (Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, & Juanita AKA "Princess"): Eugene and the others interviews by "auditors" for the Commonwealth, coldly subjected to personal questions--from education (making judgements based on how much education they had), Ezekiel's goiter, toilet habits, parents, home addresses, vaccination and other intrusive questions. As Ezekiel tries to get into the head of a man he thought was the leader, he suffers from a coughing fit--drawing special attention from the "auditors".
Although the others want to escape, Eugene believes they should give the Commonwealth the benefit of the doubt, reminding the others that Michonne--"our Michonne" kept people out of Alexandria for years using the same testing/interview methods. Eugene's mind is soon changed as another fearful captive is dragged away for more "reconditioning"...
Apparently, Princess claims to have collected much information on the Commonwealth soldier, identifying those in some sort of relationship, another with an injury, etc. With knowledge of when two remove their armor for sex, the group waits for that moment, and steal two suits of armor, allowing Yumiko and Eugene to escort Ezekiel and Princess out of the compound...until they discover a wall covered with photos of the "lost"-including a photo of Yumiko...and her thought-to-be-dead brother. Without hesitation, she refuses to escape with the others...
Maggie's group: Traveling through a train tunnel during a storm, Negan suggests waiting it out and resting but Maggie and Daryl are not interested in listening to him, with Daryl being particularly nasty with the man (mocking any notion that there's any sort of camaraderie between the two). Negan warns that the tunnel has visible water lines against the walls, indicating how much it floods during storms, but as usual, the others press forward, ignoring him...
Piles of bound bodies--wrapped in plastic with their throats cut are discovered; Maggie seems to believe they were killed during the "fall," but Negan questions that--hinting that it could be an active dumping ground. One of the members is attacked by a walker, but saved by Negan...who is left to fight the creature alone. Negan refuses to follow the group, and accurately psychoanalyzes Maggie, accusing her of taking him along to kill him away from the eyes of the others at Alexandria; Daryl is disturbed by this truth never shared with him. Of course, Negan has to go too far, telling Maggie that he's not going to be taken out in the "jungle" to be killed "like an animal...like Glenn." With that remark, Daryl punches him, and Maggie--aiming her gun at him--admits she does think of killing him, but she brought him along to help for the sake of the others...but dares him to keep pushing her...
Their fortunes sink fast, as their exit is blocked by a train car, while three of their group--one tasked with carrying their ammunition and batteries--run away, triggered by Negan's warnings. Failing to break into the locked train, the group climbs on top of the car, except Daryl, chasing after Dog who discovered a narrow passageway through the rubble holding the train in place. Negan makes his way to the top, and stares at Maggie's struggle to pull herself up. Expressionless, Negan leaves, just as Maggie is pulled to the ground by a number of walkers...
The final season begins with an enormously tense set of stories; the Maggie v. Negan conflict has reached its boiling point, with Maggie's murderous intentions laid out, so it was no shock to see Negan refusing to help her as the walkers pulled her down. Episode two's teaser has Negan talking about doing "what needed to be done", and Duncan slamming Negan against the train, as if Maggie died.
Maggie dying--or being bit--remains to be seen. It would be unbelievably tragic if she suffered a bite, ending up on a protracted death march, which would be a terrible shroud draped over the entire season.
Regarding the Commonwealth half of the story, Ezekiel's health is now, more noticeably on the decline than ever before. Considering his lack of treatment and the size of the goiter, I can see his life coming to an end soon, barring some Commonwealth miracle medical treatment.
All in all, this was a fantastic start to the season, keeping up the potent characterization that's returned the series to its memorable heights.
I'm not going to talk about until next week, but Part II is one of the best episodes the show has ever done. Some really top notch writing and directing this year.
This sure was a dark episode. By that I mean it wasn't brightly lit. Yeah, I know, makes things atmospheric, but watching this in a dark room, well, it becomes less pleasant when we switch rapidly from a darkened military base at night to the brightly lit opening credits. Or when we switch from the darkened subway to a brightly lit commercial.
But otherwise, I quite enjoyed this and an excellent start to the new and final season. Things are grim in Alexandria, and indeed the physical damage to the community appears to be even worse than it seemed in the bonus episodes at the end of season 10, though I suppose given the nature of those episodes, they didn't have the budget to go into how bad things were.
The subway scenes were quite enjoyable, particularly when things came to a head with Negan venting his frustrations with Maggie. While Negan's no saint at all, he's not wrong about Maggie either, a fact she even admits herself. And while I don't believe for a minute that Maggie is going to die, that was one hell of a way to end the episode on with her getting pulled into the herd.
The Commonwealth detainment facility where Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess are being held at is an interesting mix of imposing and odd with people being pulled away at random for "reconditioning" and then the interrogators ask increasingly odd and ridiculous questions like how many bowel movements a day one has. I liked the fact that Princess apparently can pick up on various personal details of the Commonwealth guards, like those two who go off to have sex during their breaks, which apparently must be true since otherwise, how else did Eugene and Yumiko get their armor? The fact that Princess apparently can read people this accurately and this quickly helps explain a problem I had with the bonus episode that centered around her back in the spring, being that since that was almost entirely in her imagination, how did she get such accurate portrayals of Eugene and Ezekiel's personalities and mannerisms. But now we can explain that off as part of her gift of reading people so quickly,
The Commonwealth storyline also seems to be drawing on a lot of stuff from today's events, a rarity for the Walking Dead franchise. The detainment facility certainly has some undeniable similarities with an ICE facility, Ezekiel comparing Mercer to a "fascist cop" has some obvious parallels. Even on more lighthearted notes, the question during the interrogation about how many bowel movements do you have and what do you use to wipe felt like a reference to the toilet paper shortage of spring 2020, and the preview clip for episode 2 shown on Talking Dead shows Princess becoming a "Karen" and demanding to "speak with the manager." Anyway, this is an interesting touch, and certainly the Commonwealth storyline in the comics has a lot of plot points in it which are relevant to today's world, so it'll be interesting to see our modern times reflected in the Walking Dead world.
Reminiscent of Strand kicking Morgan into the walkers aboard the submarine, and a bit of Glenn falling into the walkers.
The bowel movement question--from non medical professionals--seemed like an intensely personal question just to gauge reactions. Some viewers thought the question was to get a sense of how much the captives are eating / used to eating (as a measurement of the demand they'd put on resources). Either way, it was a ridiculous interrogation question.
So, zombies sleep now?
They're called Roamers and they behave differently than the Walkers. They are in the comics but I don't think they've been featured in the show much.
On Talking Dead, Angela Kang claimed they have been on the show before, but this was the first time they were focused on in a prominent manner.
I'll admit, I don't remember them being on the show before.
In theory, its not that they're sleeping, but they were always the walkers who had been isolated for some time, and not being able to eat, they appear to "wind down" as they continue to decompose. Once Daryl's blood dripped into the mouth that one walker, it was like putting a few gallons of gas into a car that was down to a few ounces.
Ugh only 2.2 million tuned in. Sightly higher than the bonus episodes of last season and nothing else. This show is television history and deserved to go out with a bang.
As evidenced by how few posts there are about it in this very forum. In the early years, this place was abuzz with activity.
I do believe that is the first time I've ever used the word "abuzz" on the interwebs.
Nielsen ratings are basically pointless now. Almost all viewership in this demographic has moved to streaming.
What ever happened to the Rick movies? I think they missed the window of opportunity to release them.
I think so too, but they will still release them. First, World Beyond has to finish as that likely Segways right into the Rick movies.
I suppose the Rick movies will tie-in to the series finale of TWD, so in addition to those movies having a Rick & Michonne reunion, one would imagine TWD's regular cast might wrap up their story with their own reunion with Rick.
The pandemic happened. At least that was the line at first, various interviews last years said they would have begun filming had it not been for the pandemic. This year, Andrew Lincoln said filming was supposed to start in the spring, but here we are the end of August and nothing's happened.
The Walking Dead
Season 11 - Episode 2 - "Acheron, Part 2"
Commonwealth captives (Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, & Juanita AKA "Princess"): In addition to Eugene nearly crying about everything (and telling the "auditors" almost everything about himself, including wanting to meet Stephanie, being a virgin, etc.), he is temporarily separated from the others, but reunited with the ever-talkative, information-gathering Juanita.
Having enough of the secrecy and needed to get into the Commonwealth to find her brother, Yumiko demands and is granted an audience with the "auditors" again. Openly putting on her attorney hat, she turns the tables on Clark and Evans, using their own behavior to reach conclusions about their pre-apocalypse professions and how that is used in the Commonwealth. From this line of questioning, she also believes the Commonwealth still uses the U.S. dollar as a tool / symbol of value to its residents. Granted entry into the Commonwealth. Eugene is taken to his companions, but is approached by a woman introducing herself as Stephanie (SEE NOTES).
Subway tunnel group (Maggie, Daryl, Negan, Father Gabriel, Alden, Duncan, et al.): Returning to
Maggie falls on the subway tracks with walkers pulling at her; she shoots the dead away from her, and crawls under subway car...
The group shelters in one of the subway cars--except Maggie...and Negan was the last person to board the car before her.
Maggie enters the train from a service exit in the floor, and wastes no time hitting Negan in the face with her gun and charging:
Maggie: "I slipped. He saw, and he left me to die!"
Negan: "Yeah--okay. So what?"
Alden--always ready to attack Negan accuses him of trying to kill her. Negan--real as they come--clarifies:
Negan: "She was in trouble, and I didn't help.There is a big difference."
Duncan slams Negan against a wall, threatening him (and reminding him he has no support among the group), but Negan continues to be brutally honest:
Negan: "She was just talking about murdering me--sooner, rather than later--and yet somehow, I'm the big 'ol asshole 'cause I didn't risk my nuts for her??"
He continues, taking earned credit for saving the lives of most of the communities Alden's retort--that Negan also helped burn down Hilltop is swatted back with:
Negan: "I killed Alpha. If I hadn't done that, every person you know--their skull would be on a spike!"
"I did what needed to be done."
A "drop the mike" moment if there was one on this show. Agatha is bloodthirsty and suggests Maggie give the word and they will kill Negan, but Maggie is hesitant (SEE NOTES).
Before Maggie can reply, Gage (the teenager who fled the tunnel with their ammunition) appears at the entrance to another car, begging to be let in, as walkers enter his car; Negan is the first to step and try to open the door, yelling for Duncan (or "Sasquatch" as Negan referred to him), and Alden is physically prevented from helping the teen who begs for his life. Maggie vetoes the effort, saying they don't have enough ammunition to eliminate the walkers, which would pose a risk to the group. Gage's fear and pleading turns into rage, and as the walkers are inches away from him, he locks his stare squarely on Maggie, and stabs himself to death before he's eaten alive. Obviously, the walkers still rip the teen apart, with the entire group as witnesses, at long last beginning to see there's a problem with Maggie (SEE NOTES). Still having to fight the walkers, Maggie hands Negan a gun...
Chasing after Dog, Daryl finds his best friend in what used to be some sort of maintenance room of the subway tunnel. There he finds dead bodies, pictures of survivors (pre-apocalypse) and a number of illustrations (of what would be "regular" people against those with power and/or wealth) and statements scribbled on the walls, such as:
"It Comes for Us All"
....and below that graffiti, the corpse of man with an amputated arm still handcuffed to a briefcase filled with money....
Eventually, Daryl makes his way to the subway car from the opposite entrance, where he meets the others. Armed with a recovered grenade, he opens the train door to the walker horde long enough to shove it in a walker's mouth, shut the door and take cover. Yes, the grenade destroys an entire car of walkers.
Maggie continues to prove how dark she's become with a the story of how she was nearly kidnapped by a group who had a number of pregnant women as captives--each with all of their limbs removed, throats cut & cauterized, and their tongues removed. She was going to share their fate, but in short--to quote Negan--did what needed to be done. The fact she killed a group of barbarians does not ease the fact that she's become so coldblooded.
Finally leaving the subway, the group trudged through a wooded area, only to be stopped by the grisly sight of several bodies hung from trees--by their ankles. Before they can react, an arrow slams into Roy's skull, and a group of armed, masked men aggressively march toward Maggie's group....
While Yumiko probed into the background of her interrogators and concluded that the Commonwealth still used the U.S. dollar as currency, recall the crude, seemingly anti-money/capitalism drawings on the subway walls; it seems to suggest that whoever lived there had both an ideological and direct conflict with the Commonwealth. Eugene's group could be jumping from the proverbial frying pan and into the fire, and on that note...
Stephanie. A number of viewers are wondering if she's the genuine article, or a plant designed to get more information out of Eugene and his companions.
Agatha was itching to kill Negan, but even the brutal Maggie could not make that call, instead, deciding to trust him during the subway car fight. Teasers from upcoming episodes show Maggie and Negan separated from the others during their fight with the Reapers. One can be sure the two will finally open up about their shared past (namely Glenn), and what that means going forward.
Regarding Daryl, his lost love Leah will be making a return to TWD--allegedly as one of the Reapers. Some fans are wondering if Dog will survive the coming conflicts, and if so, will he rejoin his previous owner, or depart with Daryl and Carol for their spinoff series?
Season 11 is off to a very solid start.
Enjoyable. At first when Maggie began telling her story about the horrors at that house she found way back when, I sarcastically thought "oh, they'll be cheap and tell without showing" but when the story was done, I was glad they only told without showing. The content was disturbing, but I'm not being squeamish when I say I was glad they didn't show it. I'm glad because, IMO, this is the kind of story that works best when it's left to our imaginations of how grotesque it was rather than actually seeing it. That actually turned out to be a very well done scene.
Meanwhile the Commonwealth has granted access to our visiting party, and Eugene gets to meet Stephanie.
Based on press release material, I suspect this woman is not really Stephanie, since that is not the same actress who voiced the radio conversations in season 10, even though it's already been stated that actress is returning in season 11.
And so we get our cliffhanger offering a glimpse at the Reapers, who appear to be very nasty bastards. At the very least, they certainly appear menacing in that final scene.
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