All Eyes on the SMALL Screen: The Walking Dead, Ep 8

Episode 7 didn’t see a lot happen in Robert Kirkman’s universe for The Walking Dead. So I decided to forgo a review on that episode and wait for the midseason finale, which slowly built to a painful end. Although for most followers of the show, it came as no surprise that a main character would be killed off, considering all of the interviews and warnings that this week’s episode would be “heartbreaking.” So enough chatter, let’s get into the episode.


Plot Breakdown

Back at the Hospital . . . 

Beth is still residing at the Grady Memorial Hospital with Officer Losing Control, otherwise known to us as Lerner, being on the receiving end of about 900 speeches that somehow justifies Lerner’s actions to herself, in her own mind. Carol finally wakes up, despite being taken off life support, thanks to Beth’s sly skills of obtaining medicine. Lerner has connected the dots that Beth knows Carol. Oh, and Beth helps Lerner take down one of her officers after he overhears the two ladies discussing that Beth will be eternally indebted to Lerner for her protection.

Back at the Church . . . 

Michonne, Carl, and Father Gabriel are holding down the fort at the church. Carl has lent Gabriel a knife so he can “defend himself.” Of course, Gabriel uses the machete to break out of the church, go to the school, and discover the remains of what the Termites left, allowing us viewers to revisit Bob’s cooked (and tainted) foot. It’s questionable why this scene would matter, much less make it into this packed episode, aside from the fact that it seems like the writers were trying to be metaphorical. Gareth’s mother, Mary, had apparently left a Bible, which Gabriel discovered. I’m not sure of what the connection there is, but at least the Father’s eyes had finally been opened to the reality of the apocalyptic world they are living in.

When a group of walkers break down a door, Gabriel is forced to retreat back into the woods to get to the church. Again, we get to see the tables turned as he bangs on the door, begging to be let in. We get to see the words scratched on the outside of the church, the place where others died when the Father locked them out. Being the good people they are, Michonne and Carl let him in, and in doing so, lose hold of the stronghold the church has become.

But what better time for the calvary to arrive then now? Abraham, Rosita, Tara, Glenn, and Maggie, along with a bedridden Eugene, return to the church in a firetruck. Michonne breaks the news that Rick & Co. are retrieving Beth and Carol from a hospital in Atlanta, and for the first time in season 5, we get to see Maggie truly care that her sister is, indeed, alive. They quickly decide to join forces with the rest of the team to recover Beth and Carol in Atlanta.

Back in Atlanta . . . 

Rick and his crew have been successful in acquiring a few of Lerner’s police officers in order to organize a friendly exchange with no bullets fired. Simply put, it’s a few of Lerner’s guys for Beth and Carol. It doesn’t get too complicated until after Sasha’s let her guard down, and one of the officers escapes, running for his life. When Rick finds the runner, he hits him with a police car, puts a bullet in his head, and tells the dead body to “shut up.”

Back at their base, the other officers plead for a friendly exchange despite losing one of their men. The plan continues, and we’re finally back in the hospital. Carol is first exchanged with one officer. Next, Beth is exchanged with another officer. And then Officer Lerner, perhaps in an effort to not seem weak in front of her officers, demands that Noah returns to them since he was one of her best workers. Noah doesn’t put up much of a fight, but Rick’s company struggles to stand for this, considering the deal was already made. Emotionally struck by the situation, Beth hugs Noah, faces Lerner, and using the scissors she hid in her cast, strikes Lerner in the shoulder. Sadly, the next action ends in a bang (I couldn’t help myself), and Lerner reacts by shooting Beth in the head. Following suite, Daryl shoots Lerner. An all-out gun fight is about to start, but one of Lerner’s officers puts it to a halt before any more blood is shed.

Of course, the episode has built to a dramatic finale. The rest of the group has just arrived to see Rick leading the group, giving a quick, solemn shake of his head, followed by an emotionally distraught Daryl carrying Beth’s dead body. Cut to one devastated Maggie, who never got to reunite with her sister after the battle at the prison from season 4.

And that, folks, is the end of the first half of season 5. And if that picture below doesn’t kill you inside, then you might have a heart. Just kidding.

Discussion Questions/Thoughts for Episode 508

  • Will Eugene live? It’s a likely possibility this guy will live, but what good is he now?
  • How will Maggie and Daryl deal with Beth’s death? We’ve seen characters, especially Rick, go through every emotion in dealing with a loved one die. Beth’s death hit harder than most, considering the way in which she died, and the fact that she never reunited with her sister or other friends beforehand. Maggie’s been a strong character throughout the show, and she has a husband to lean on. Daryl has lost yet another close friend, yet he seems to box up his emotions whenever necessary.
  • What are the repercussions of Beth’s death? Adding to my previous question, how will the rest of the group’s dynamic and emotional state be affected by Beth’s death? Will it push them to make another decision? The preview for the next half of the season seemed to point to that.
  • What’s next for the gang? Speaking of that preview, Michonne got to talking about a destination, versus their wandering. A lot of people are predicting the next big set will be Alexandria, a safe zone that includes electricity. Yet how will they deal with the idea of a safe zone when the last two included a sociopathic Governor and a herd of cannibals?
  • How does Father Gabriel fit into things? Is there something more to the Father than what we’ve witnessed so far? How will he influence the outcome of the remaining episodes of the season?
  • When will Morgan finally join up with Rick? We got another lovely little tidbit featuring Morgan, who always seems to be just a bit behind Rick. Yet he didn’t know it was Rick until he found the map in the church, which had Abraham’s note including the name “Rick Grimes.” So my question is, when (and where) will they finally meet up?!

 Favorite Moments from the Episode

  • Glenn and Maggie returning to the church to reunite with Michonne
  • Daryl shooting Lerner in the head
  • Morgan’s post-credit scene

We got a lot of answers, a heavy episode that included a major character death, and now some new questions. What did you think of the mid-season finale? Do you think it was too early for Beth to die? (I did.) Sound off below, because I’d love to know your thoughts!

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All Eyes On the SMALL Screen: The Walking Dead, Ep. 1

With all the hype leading into The Walking Dead‘s season five premiere, I along with millions of other fans was anticipating this premiere, and for me, probably more than previous seasons. Having just come off a solid fourth series, The Walking Dead seems to be moving only up, having already been renewed for a sixth season before season five even opened.

To amp up the excitement more than where it already was, AMC decided to release the first four minutes of the first episode online the day of the release. If you haven’t already seen it but are interested, check it out below:


Plot Breakdown

As the first four minute preview, along with the next several minutes following proved, the premiere fulfilled its promise to be bloody and gruesome, providing the most horrific footage the show has ever released. Terminus, only a sanctuary in name, a place that offered the promise of relief and help, attracted most of the groups separated from the battle at the prison with the Governor (David Morrissey).

The end of season four left us with Rick’s group, which now included Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Daryl (Norman Reedus), arriving last. Their lack of trust in others was only confirmed when the folks at Terminus turned on them, forcing them into a train cart, where they were reunited with Glenn, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and the rest of their new group.

We’re left on a very intense cliffhanger at the end of season four. We’re brought back into the train car as season five opens, but instead, it’s different characters talking, with the caption “THEN.” Gareth (Andrew J. West), recognizable as one of the Terminus prison guards, is in the car, terrified. The episode shifts to the present, and the train’s current occupants are Rick and the gang, gearing up with pieces of wood, belt buckles, anything that can aid their situation to fight back and regain their freedom.

Terminus’s guards decide to gas their victims in order to tie and gag them, leading them into a human butcher shop. It’s exactly what you’d imagine in a haunted house, except they’re butchering humans instead of animals, smashing their heads with baseball bats, slitting their throats with machetes, hanging body parts and limbs from the ceiling, and operating on bodies with chainsaws. There’s no other way to describe the scene other than inhumane. Gruesome. Bloody terrifying.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl, and Glenn (Steven Yeun) are in line to have their heads smashed in, when all of a sudden a bomb goes off. Who better to save the day than Carol (Melissa McBride), who earlier was banished from the group for killing humans at the prison who caught the flu and were spreading it to the others. The episode’s name is “No Sanctuary,” but it could be renamed “Carol Saves the Day,” because the show would not have gone on without her.

After the group successfully kills off most of Terminus, it experiences yet another reunion when Carol leads them to the hut with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Judith, where we see happy tears on the show for possibly the first time ever.


Discussion Questions/Thoughts for Episode 501

  • The Walking Dead has been revisiting characters that have died or disappeared since the beginning of its run. In season one, Merle (Michael Rooker) was left for dead, handcuffed on the roof of a building, yet he made it back into the show in season three as one of the Governor’s cronies. Even after Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died at the beginning of season three, she still returned in future episodes as a ghost haunting Rick. When the Governor kills Hershel (Scott Wilson) in season four, Hershel shows up later in the season’s finale in flashbacks. Death or disappearance on The Walking Dead doesn’t mean we’re saying goodbye for the last time to a major character. At the very end of this episode, we get an unexpected return when we see Morgan (Lennie James) from both seasons one and three, following Rick. Check it out:
  • Rick is ready to kill after a season of wanting only to plow and garden. He’s recovered (mostly) from his wife’s death, and he’s taking action. But when he and the rest of the victims have fled Terminus and made it to safety, he wants to take anyone else at Terminus out. This leads to arguments between the survivors, but my thought is, isn’t he just trying to cover all the bases? Last time he killed a dude and then ran away, the guy returned with his friends to get his revenge. Is Rick going crazy again, or is he just playing it safe?
  • Where is Beth? We know she’s alive. The season five trailer told us that, but even if it hadn’t, we haven’t seen her death on screen, so we’re expecting her to be alive. Also, if I’m being analytical, Emily Kinney’s name finally made it onto the opening titles alongside Chad Coleman’s. So she’s alive, but the real questions is, where did she go?
  • The people at Terminus were (/are still?) out for blood. But why were they BUTCHERING humans? My personal guess? Cannibalism. Did anyone else wonder what “food” Mary (Denise Crosby) was offering the visitors to Terminus? I’m banking on some kind of human organ or body part. Like both mother and son quoted in the premiere, “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.” Kind of makes you think of this season’s tagline, “Hunt or be hunted.” Is that the new theme of the season? It sparks moral questions the characters have been openly discussing and dealing with last season, especially Carol and Tyreese. It seems that while the disease was the primary “villain” of the show in the beginning, the characters are starting to learn that it’s bad people might be more dangerous than walkers.

  • Are they going to find the cure? We just got introduced to new characters at the end of season four, and it looks like they’re here to stay for now. Eugene (Josh McDermitt), the genius who holds the classified secrets that could supposedly cure the illness, has no fighting skills or ability to defend himself. His bodyguard, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), protects him at all costs in hopes of leading him to Washington so he can help with the cure. But after the deceit and destruction of both Woodbury and Terminus, how can the characters really rely on the possibility that Washington hasn’t already been corrupted by villainous leaders?

 Favorite Moments from the Episode

  • Every scene Carol was in, especially when she goes all ninja on Mary and takes her out.
  • The reunion of Daryl and Carol. *cue the tears*
  • The reunion of Rick, Carl, and Judith. *cue some more tears*
  • The Morgan reveal at the end of the episode.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of The Walking Dead season 5 premiere? Where do you think Beth is? What do you think Mary was trying to feed the Terminus visitors? Please join the discussion below, because I would love to know your thoughts.