the walking dead season 5

S05xE12: “Remember”

After spending so much time out in the wilderness, fighting for their lives against walkers and the living, the Tribe has finally come across a civilized town that may allow for them to settle down, establish roots and create a home. Alexandria has potential to be a safe haven for Rick and his group, and yet, they are not just on the defensive, but on the offensive; already thinking ahead to what they may have to do if the people of Alexandria and the Tribe do not share the same values. In a post-apocalyptic world where survival is the only thing that matters, will these two very different factions learn to work together?

Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…

the walking dead season 5

So5xE11: “The Distance”

We have come across all types in the Walking Dead universe, from cannibals to crazies, but no one as clean and downright suspicious as Aaron. The Tribe is weary and in desperate need of redemption from the foot travel lifestyle they’ve been leading since the prison was overrun. Starvation, dehydration, shelter and safety are basic needs that they struggle to meet, and what Aaron represents (peace, comfort, friendship) feels foreign and difficult to comprehend for Tribe members. Trust and hope are hard emotions to wield in a post-apocalyptic society in which individuals are often out only for themselves. For the Tribe, decisions have to be made and barriers must be broken in order for everyone to survive.

Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…

the walking dead season 5

So5xE10: “Them”

Post-apocalyptic life has never been more clearly defined as in this episode of The Walking Dead. For the living, it is heartbreak, hunger, loneliness and fear, punctuated by moments of reprieve that include family and friends. For the Tribe, the basic physiological needs must be met in order to move forward on their journey to Washington D.C., while psychological issues threaten to tear the group apart. After the recent losses to the Tribe, what will it take to keep them together, sane and safe?

Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…

The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead debuted this week and boy, was this one a doozy. The intense character development of Carl and Michonne reminded viewers how much the zombie apocalypse has changed those who are living through it.  Carl has traded in the modern comforts of video games, flat screen televisions and chocolate pudding for a hand gun and dry cereal. He spent much of the previous season by his father’s side and only now has begun to break away and question Rick’s abilities and judgement. Carl is becoming a man with his own thoughts and views and it is terrifying. For Michonne, the waste land of post-apocalyptic America has turned her into a zombie-killing machine; she is good with a sword and never hesitates when it comes to slicing off the head of a walker. She is a loner with nothing to lose because she lost everyone she loved long ago.

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Episode: S04xE09 “Walkabouts”

All I Want For Christmas is the Supernatural Hellatus to End

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I’ve experienced a few series hiatuses (yes, I looked it up and that is the plural word) in my time. The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, friggen Sherlock! Still, none as acutely as this ridiculous holiday hellatus that is the Supernatural Christmas break. When did I become so attached to this show? It happened sometime this summer, me thinks, when I put in more hours on Tumblr and AO3 for this fandom than I ever have with any other. In fact, if I’m being honest, I never felt more part of a fandom than with the SPN Family. Sherlockians are scattered, Whovians are pretentious, Walking Dead fans are, well, strange…but the SPN Family is just that, a family. From the cast and crew, to shippers, to the fellow mommy from Texas that is my friend on Twitter (shoutout to Brenda!), these are salt-of-the-earth (and salt all the windows and doors, too) folks who value the SPN mythology as much as I do and are not afraid to show it.

The Walking Dead holds a dear place in my heart because I’ve enjoyed it since the beginning, week by week, for the past 4 years. After my last post, obviously this is a big deal. I’m also a huge zombie film fan. One of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was a list of my favorite zombie movies, that I pretty much live by. Never before this show has this strange passion of mine been so well represented on the small screen. The Walking Dead has really revolutionized the way audiences view the undead and the post-apocalyptic world that deals with the phenomenon. In the past 4 years, classes on zombies have popped up at respectable universities, Long Beach and other cities host annual zombie walks, and TWD has had a prominent place at San Diego Comic-Con, including a 2013 arena-wide zombie fest at Petco Park that gave fans the chance to experience getting chased by walkers, Daryl Dixon style.

Writing about this series has been intense. Diligently, if not a week or so behind the rest of the class, I have been listening to lectures in my UC Irvine course, “Society, Science and Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead” and trying to incorporate what I’m learning into my weekly discussion on the show. Writing this way has helped me process this fairly intense season, while objectively watching my beloved characters slowly spiral into a very bleak situation. Because, while this series has instilled in audiences a healthy fear of how to deal with the undead, interacting with the living has always been a truly frightening notion.

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Episode: S04xE08 “Too Far Gone”

I purchased a Netflix account a few years back, after I subscribe for the 30-day trial and then forgot to cancel. For a good while, I only rented movies, but then one summer I decided I wanted to get caught up on True Blood. I’d never watched a TV show on Netflix, just because the process seemed a bit overwhelming and I really didn’t know where to begin. True Blood was only available on DVD and I wanted to watch 3 seasons in the month’s time, so that I would be caught up before the 4th season premiered, so I upgraded my account to get 3 DVDs at a time, and I jumped right in. I started off watching 3-4 episodes a day, and after a few weeks, I finished the series. It was an amazing feeling. I understood the story arc, the character development and the themes and premise of the show seemed solid and easy to follow. The writing flowed well and instead of focusing on the little inconsistencies (that a week between programming can magnify), I was looking at THE BIG PICTURE.

And so it began...

In the last 2 episodes of The Walking Dead, we have exclusively explored the world of Brian/the Governor, the antagonist to Rick and the prison tribe in season 3. With the producers and writers taking so much time to evaluate the character before the mid-season finale to be aired on Sunday, Dec 1, I can only assume his antithetical role will be reprised as a major plot push for the second half of season 4.  I truly enjoy the Governor as an anti-hero to Rick’s prison tribe and have enjoyed these episodes more than I thought I would. It is important to remember that times in the post-zombie apocalypse are difficult enough to warrant mental breaks in even the gentlest demeanors. Note both Carol and Beth. These women shifted from weak, scared individuals to cold and calculating because of the experiences inherent to the world situation. What about those who are not as calm and balanced? Those who have a penchant for violence or ambivalence, or even those who have seen too many horrible things happen and cannot mentally heal? Let’s talk about the Governor.

The Governor and his daughter. cr: AMC
The Governor and his daughter. cr: AMC

Episodes: S04xE06 “Live Bait”

and

S04xE07 “Dead Weight”

As the prison-tribe begins to establish concrete roles in terms of leaders, nurturers and warriors, we see individuals strengthened by the choices they make. The expectations of life pre-apocalypse do not exist. Hershel is not just a veterinarian, but the group healer, with the patience and skills to help those in need; Maggie is not only the farmer’s daughter, but a warrior woman who protects the camp bravely and efficiently; Carl is not just a dumb kid mindlessly following around his mother, he is a savvy soldier who follows his father’s orders (much better than he ever followed Lori’s). Since the beginning of the show, audiences have watched racial, gender and ageist stereotypes shift as individuals in the group prove themselves able to accomplish more than pre-apocalyptic archetypes allow.

The Prison-Tribe (and the Gov).
Prison-tribe selfie (plus, the Gov).

Episode: S04xE05 “Internment”