The Walking Dead showrunner answers midseason finale (and prologue) burning …

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Walking Dead’ recap: Alexandria is safe no more as zombies attack.

Killing off characters is not a constantly used tactic on major drama series. Once the walkers made their way through the broken-down walls of Alexandria, it was clear that not everyone would make it out alive, and the character of Deanna Monroe happened to draw the short straw, as Deanna was bit while attempting to help Rick flee from the oncoming herd.The two-minute clip, which aired after the mid-season finale titled Start To Finish, showed Negan’s biker gang The Saviours as they confront Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) near Alexandria. “What in the holy s***…?” said Abraham, as the road was blocked by the eight-strong group of heavily armed bikers, as the leader threatened the surviving trio to “come on out, join us on the road.” He said on spin-off The Talking Dead: “We’ll be finding out a lot more about the Saviours, Negan’s group, soon.

Every week for the sixth season of AMC’s post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, Lenika Cruz and David Sims will discuss the latest threat—human, zombie, or otherwise—to the show’s increasingly hardened band of survivors.The Alexandria Safe-Zone becomes anything but safe as a zombie mega-herd invades the formerly protected community on “Start to Finish” (Episode 608), the midseason finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” “Everyone get back,” Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) yells as undead “walkers” stream in after a damaged tower collapses and creates a breach in the wall. “Get into your houses!

And thanks to a controversial plot twist — or un-twist — AMC’s cash cow re-entered the dreaded “cultural conversation” in a major way this fall, generating think-pieces aplenty about whether pretending to kill off characters constitutes bad faith or good business. Feldshuh reveals what was in those notes for Spencer and Maggie, the different types of takes that filmed for her last scene with Andrew Lincoln, and the alternate story lines she pitched showrunner Scott M. She accepts her horrific fate with courage and humor. “I’m lucky,” Deanna tells Michonne (Danai Gurira). “Working with my family for a better future, it’s all I ever wanted. Gimple has continued to move ahead slowly (perhaps too slowly) with the story from writer Robert Kirkman’s original comics, putting pieces in place for a grand conflict that could be unlike anything TV’s TWD has attempted before.

Gimple to keep Deanna alive. (Click though through both pages to read the entire interview.) TOVAH FELDSHUH: He was incredibly respectful and he felt compelled to give me quite a bit of notice. I don’t demand a high body count from this show, but killing off Deanna does not count as a major development, and Alexandria getting overrun by zombies was a flat conclusion to a mostly exciting run of episodes. In a teaser promo for the second half of the season, Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) are driving down the road, minding their own business, when they happen upon a group of bikers brandishing weapons.

I loved the format of this half-season—in total, encompassing two or three days of action—but I figured there’d be more of an eye on the future in this episode. But Deanna hasn’t “turned.” She just wanted to gaze at the little girl one last time. “Will you look out for him like you look out for your people?” Deanna asks in earnest. “Guess what? He notably kills Glenn Rhee within moments of meeting him, and after show favorite Glenn (Steven Yeun) barely survived this season on the TV series, fans are obviously wary of this new baddie.

To briefly recap: The church tower collapsed on Alexandria’s wall, allowing zombies to pour into the town, and this somehow led to a lot of scenes where characters had philosophical debates while glancing furtively out of a window. Though we have not seen him on the screen yet, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast in the sadistic role, and it’s clear we’ll see him in February when the show returns. Sensing an opportunity to seize control of an already-fortified location, our heroes plotted to take over the location; but in last March’s finale, after schemes were exposed and many shots were fired, Rick instead convinced his hosts that they needed to follow his program and toughen up. Well, this fall’s arc started with the Alexandrians following their new leader on a mission to herd hundreds of walkers away from their home — a plan that went awry when a loud noise drew a frighteningly large number of those zombies right back. Carol and Morgan came to blows over the fate of their Wolf prisoner, with Morgan refusing to kill him and Carol’s dark side tipping towards unreasonable violence.

Rick, meanwhile, devises a macabre but possibly effective way of reaching the armory, where he’d shoot flares into the air and hopefully draw the zombies away. While that was happening, the largely unguarded safe zone was overrun by marauders; and in the day or two that followed, more of the scattered townsfolk were either killed or frightened into making life-threatening decisions. His plan involves slicing open a couple of walkers and removing their entrails. “We’re gonna gut these things,” Rick explains. “Cover ourselves with the insides. The closing moments were a weird throwback to the show’s first season, with Rick and company donning zombie guts to sneak by the invading foes, a trick that they should honestly pull all the time, since it’s so incredibly effective.

Tovah Feldshuh is a wonderful actress, and she did a lot with the role, but the character seemed marked for death after she tried to kill a zombie by stabbing it in the chest a few weeks back. At the end of last season, it seemed the main antagonists waiting in wings would be the roaming nihilistic ravagers who call themselves “Wolves” (and who helpfully mark their foreheads with carved “W”s, making them easier to spot). Since she didn’t represent a philosophical threat to Rick—in fact, she wouldn’t shut up about how much she agreed with everything he was doing—she served no logical purpose to the show. But while those feral bastards have definitely made their presence known by invading Alexandria and spreading their ideology of mayhem, there appears to be a more potentially destructive adversary encamped not so far away. In the episode “Always Accountable,” Daryl met a trio of refugees from a cruel, dictatorial community, and got a glimpse at some of their foot-soldiers.

But even those who get all their Walking Dead info just from the show itself should be able to recognize that Rick’s side is dangerously underprepared for the multiple waves of human enemies waiting outside their crumbling walls. And that’s not even taking into account y’know, those hordes of flesh-craving zombies, which have been frighteningly plentiful and extra-disgusting this fall, thanks to some reported behind-the-scenes improvements in make-up effects. In the other corner, there was Carol, whose basic argument is sound (these guys are crazy and they need to die) but whose execution is a little lacking.

As soon as the Glenn situation unfolded, viewers were online, within minutes, speculating that his suicidal sidekick had fallen on top of him and it wasn’t Glenn being devoured. It didn’t take long into this season before Carol dropped her cookie-baking, violence-averse happy homemaker act and revealed that she’s kind of a psychopath — convinced that the only way to survive in this post-apocalyptic world is to cull the weak, remorselessly and relentlessly. This is what he felt was best for the series and I could not convince him otherwise, so now my sentence is, “Who do I have to sleep with to be in a flashback?” I thought she should try to interconnect the various pods of humanity.

One of this season’s best episodes, “Here’s Not Here,” explained how Rick’s first savior went from suicidal to Zen — and how he learned the art of doing serious damage with a wooden staff. As much as his skeptical allies insist that it’s impossible to stay alive without constantly killing, Morgan’s sense of calm and his undeniable capability suggests that there may actually be another way. I wanted Rick to be my brawn, to be my Colin Powell, to be my great general, and I wanted to be the political brains behind a building web linking one decent community to another, even if it was just a dozen people. Not counting the gap-filling scenes in episodes one and four, this season has covered just a few days in the lives of the survivors, beginning with Rick’s botched zombie “cattle drive” and ending with the desperate scramble to protect Alexandria.

And as a narrative experiment, Gimple and his writers have essentially retold the story of this 48-to-72-hour period from multiple perspectives, following characters who’ve been separated in the general melee, and who have no idea whether their friends are dead or alive. These episodes have been a string of interrelated mini-crises, set in the same general vicinity, bookended by big opening and closing action sequences. Daryl, Abraham, Sasha, Rick, Morgan, Carol, Aaron, Maggie, Enid, and — most notably — Glenn have all been in life-or-death danger, and all have emerged relatively unscathed.

She wants to infuse into Michonne the fact that she must carry on this legacy of the possibility of a sane civilization returning to the planet Earth, which is now drowning in blood and negative forces and evil. But it was—the show indeed ended on a slow-motion scene of the Alexandrians covered in zombie guts, clasping hands and walking through a sea of zombies, because they too are the monsters. The writers apparently felt these episodes were necessary to reinforce the series’ themes before heading into one of the most complicated parts of Kirkman’s epic.

The cold open was very eerie, very Blue Velvet, with the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” playing and the ants swarming Sam’s uneaten cookie. (A little heavy-handed? But due to the circular approach of these episodes, it took way too long for us to learn that he was actually hunky-dory, after we’d been made to believe he’d been disemboweled.

The only other thing I could have done, which I didn’t think of until last night, was to jump out the window, and have them eat me alive and distract them from Rick and his mighty band, who escape by wearing the guts of other human beings on ponchos. And given that not much had changed between the “death” and the “resurrection,” the long delay before revealing his fate didn’t just seem like a cruel tease; it felt pointless. She says, “I’ll do it myself” and we see her with the gun to her head, but why then does she not take herself out and instead gets up to shoot and scream at the approaching zombies?

And it’s better even if you only have five bullets left in your gun barrel to kill five walkers and five of the enemy and sacrifice herself, because clearly we believe she would get mauled. As you noted, David, for an episode populated by thousands of terrifying zombies, the show found far too much time for sentimental bedside/window-side chats.

I groaned (not even inwardly) when I realized that the tower’s collapse was simply a ruse designed to drive all these characters indoors to work out their issues with one another. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. So she starts as the politico, and — in the last minutes of her life — becomes the warrior that she needs to be with a valiant fight for the survival of the human race.

She does the very best she can, like the great Marines climbing to the top of the hill, knowing they’re going to die, but still killing the enemy on their way up. I say vaguely dramatic because not a single viewer could have seriously considered the possibility that she and her baby would be eaten by walkers—especially not after the show couldn’t stomach keeping Glenn dead. Or it goes extra myopic, busying itself with the most banal moments of its characters’ lives without bothering to imbue those with a new or greater purpose. If the short prologue from the midseason premiere is any indication, Darryl, Abraham, and Sasha won’t make it to Alexandria any time soon, at least not in time to help anyone with those RPGs. So I tell my son to be wise, to listen and learn, and to always remember the four principles: always try your best, keep your word impeccably, presume nothing, and nothing is personal.

And though the physical entity of Alexandria may or may not go up in smoke, the principles that I brought to bear in Alexandria I believe will go forth.

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