Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Last Week in TV #25

Just a quick note on the Walking Dead episodes: I made a point to watch them separately and write about the first before watching the second, so my reactions wouldn't be colored by the finale.

The Simpsons: Them, Robot


An episode featuring killer robots voiced by Mr. Data doesn't have to work very hard to win me over, so not surprisingly, this episode was a lot of fun.They was some satire about the current state of the economy built into it as well, but it was largely toothless. As the episode seemed to focus mainly on the robots, so too will I, and the result was decent and entertaining episode.

Homer: Thank God it’s T.G.I.F.

Robot: The designated hitter corrupts the purity of an otherwise elegant game. Illogical. Illogical.

Robot: We cannot take the inferior one.
Milhouse: My heart makes up for my shortcomings, like Rudy!
Robot: Rudy was only put in at the end of a meaningless game. We will notify you if this game becomes meaningless. 

Burns: Ah, the solarium. We’ll be safely cornered in this glass room with one door.


Bob's Burgers: Bob Day Afternoon


Bob's Burgers continues to come out of the gate strong, with a second episode that is even better than the excellent first one. While I'm a much bigger fan of The Goonies than Dog Day Afternoon (I've never actually seen the latter), this episode was crammed full of rapid fire jokes. Though Bob took center stage, everyone got a moment to shine, just as in the last episode,  from Louise's paper to Gene's visions of robot college ("oh oh oh oh oh!") to Tina's money to Linda's sexual favors. There's a manic energy to this show that everyone shares, and this episode used it to great effect. It was one joke after another, but you never knew who was going to drop the next one. Every character on this show can be funny, and that's one of its greatest strengths.


Family Guy: Forget-Me-Not


This isn't the first high concept episode Family Guy has done this season, but thankfully, it was relatively more funny than most of the previous efforts (excepting "Back to the Pilot"). The "group of characters wakes up with amnesia" plot is pretty much a cliche at this point, but this episode managed to put Family Guy's own unique spin on it, such as Quagmire deciding he must be named ShirtPants, and Joe believing he's a stripper because of the cop uniform in his closet. We also got the old "two character believe themselves to be closer than they really are"bit , with Brian believing Quagmire to be his owner, allowing us the several great moments as Quagmire's disdain for Brian's pretentiousness shone through. For a show like this, the end result of these episodes rarely matters much beyond how funny it was, and this one was pretty funny.

Other Thoughts
Other bits I enjoyed: the closing gag featuring the women attacking each other three minutes after waking up with no memories, Quagmire confirming he's not a secret assassin, and Peter and Brian "sneaking" out of the house at the beginning.

While still not quite 100%accurate, the depiction of laser tag in this episode is probably the closest to reality I've ever seen on TV. 


American Dad: Stan's Best Friend 


Rarely does American Dad go for all-out sentiment, but this episode suggest that it could do it more often, managing to be touching without losing its comedic punch. It's not the funniest episode of the season, but the jokes are there, and do a nice job of defusing the emotion built up by Stan dealing with his grief over lost dogs. Or to put it another way: it's sad when Kisses gets grievously injured, but funny when it's caused by a hot air balloon full of pirate cats. We even got a decent Jeff/Haley story (their first since getting married), and the idea that Roger creeps out Jeff is one I hope the show returns to again.

Francine: Five years ago you got Steve an old dog that peed dust and you killed it. We also had another dog named Fuzzy that you didn't like, or something.
Stan: Francine, those were obviously dreams. I refuse to discuss your dreams in the daytime.

Jeff: I think the dude who lives in your parents’ attic has a crush on me. Makes me uncomfortable.


Once Upon a Time: Heart of Darkness


No big overarching thoughts on this one, so let's do some quick hits.

This episode featured some much-needed forward momentum on both the ongoing Storybrooke plot and the Snow/Charming FTL story (that world's only true ongoing narrative), with Emma given more reason to believe Henry and David briefly crossing over into FTL, while in FTL the whole "Snow forgets Charming" twist is put to bed.

Opening the FTL with Red using her new-to-us wolf abilities to buy Charming time was a nice use of the show's unfolding narrative and episodic nature, giving us a plot point that couldn't have occurred earlier in the season but seems to have been part of the plan all along.

The compare/contrast between Storybrooke and FTL was strong again, with Mary Margaret trying to convince everyone she's not evil while Snow did her best to convince everyone of the opposite. The two narratives got a nice boost when David briefly channeled Charming at a most inopportune time (which suggest all kinds of crazy questions about whether or not FTL is unfolding at the same time as Storybrooke, even though it can't, because Emma came about after the events of FTL, but then again, it could, because magic). That Snow is redeemed because Charming wouldn't give up on her while Mary Margaret is stuck alone because David is a cad is a striking comparison.

That said, the frame-up on Mary Margaret is laughably obvious, even for the idiots of Storybrooke. I know there's nothing Emma can do without proof, but seriously people, she'd have to be the stupidest killer in the world based on the evidence.

Of course Mr. Gold is a lawyer. Also, I appreciated the follow-up to the "Mr. Gold was arrested" plot.

Mysteriouis Sexy Writer also seems to believe that Henry's book is real. Anything that suggests forward momentum on that plot is a-ok in my book.


The Walking Dead: Better Angels


As much I've been yearning for Shane's death for a while now, partially because his character's been stuck in a rut (either become a villain or do something redemptive; quit straddling the fence) and partially because he's annoying, I never expected the show to actually go ahead and kill him off. As much as Shane didn't become an outright villain (at least until this episode) he's been positioned as the show's antagonist, at least this season, and it seemed unlikely that the show would eliminate it's best source of intra-group tension. More troubling, as much as Shane and his approach to things has always struck me as wrong (once you've tried to rape someone, you kinda lose the moral high ground), at times the show itself seemed to suggest that Shane's approach to life in a zombie-poc wasn't necessarily wrong. It's one thing for Rick to placate Andrea by telling her Shane's heart is in the right place even if his methods for communicating it are poor, and another thing for the show itself to suggest the same. And for a good chunk of this season, it seemed like they were.

So I figured Shane was safe, and was pleasantly surprised when he was killed off, not only because it removes an increasingly-annoying character off the board, but because it seems to be a repudiation of his perspective on the part of the show: Shane was wrong, and Rick had to put him down for the safety of the group.  

Other Thoughts
While characters like T-Dog (who got a few more lines in this episode) remain underdeveloped, that's almost better than a character like Lori, who is maddeningly inconsistent. Two episode ago she's Lady Macbething Rick into killing Shane, now she's cozying up to him again. Blegh.

Goddamn it, Carl, stay put! Also, it's impressive that he was able shoot Zombie Shane in the head, at that distance, in the dark, with a gun he's never fired before, but that's TV, I suppose.

So, Zombie Shane (and Randall). That makes it pretty clear that everyone is infected, and you come back whether a zombie got you or not (and I'm pretty sure that's what Jenner told Rick back at the CDC, since Rick made a point to shoot those guys in the bar in the head). Can anyone think of any cases where someone died without being shot in the head and didn't come back? Cuz I can't.

Beside the Dying Fire


In its short history Walking Dead has already earned a reputation for strong finales, with both season one and mid-season two ending strong, and this episode definitely continues the trend, essentially blowing up the farm and changing the group dynamic, effectively setting the stage for the next season. While the centerpiece of the episode was the zombie attack on the farm, the stuff that's triggered the most reaction has been the fallout from Rick coming clean with the group about Jenner and Shane. He confirmed that Jenner told him everyone was infected, and later admits to killing Shane, leaving the group aghast. On the former, I can understand their reaction (though it was perhaps a bit too extreme). Glen compared it to the walkers in the barn, and while there's some risk involved in Rick keeping it a secret (in case someone killed a non-zombie), the threat doesn't seem as immediate as the barn walkers did (on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure why Rick kept it a secret. I mean, it doesn't fundamentally change anyone's situation, other than making sure you head-shoot any non-zombies you kill).

Regarding the latter, I have to remind myself that not everyone in the group is as aware of Shane's psychoses as the audience, and thus, Rick admitting to killing him would come as more of a shock. Still, considering only three episodes ago Lori was trying to get Rick to kill Shane, her revulsion at Rick's confession felt contrived and forced. More importantly, after being assuaged in the last episode that the show wasn't trying to present Shane's viewpoint as valid, the group's horror at Shane's death and Rick's declaration of authority once again has me thinking that maybe the show is trying to say that Shane's way is the right way. It will, of course, all depend on how it plays out, but the beginning of the "Rick-tatorship" is unsettling, not because it's a bad creative choice but because I'm uncomfortable with what it says about the show's view of its hero.

Other Thoughts
So the helicopter at the beginning was obviously the same one that Rick saw in the second episode of the series. At first, I wondered if the show was trying to suggest the copter led the zombie horde to the farm, but then accepted it was just trying to show us how the horde got started/moving in that direction.

The structure of this episode was interesting, in that everything that occurred after farm was abandoned (Rick and Hershel's discussion, the various groups coming together, Rick spilling the beans and setting the stage for the new group dynamic) all felt very much like season premiere material (showing the aftermath of the barn burning "finale" and establishing the conflict of the new season). It's not a bad choice, but one worth mentioning.

So I assume the chick with the swords who saved Andrea is Michonne, one of those characters from the comics I've heard about despite having not read the comics. Those of you in the know, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (I don't consider that much of a spoiler).

Similarly, that's a...prison, in the distance, right? I assume that's where we're headed for the next season (a la Hershel's farm in this season). 

After killing off Dale and then Shane, I can't really complain, but I did note that the only two people to die as a result of the zombie horde were Jimmy and Older Farm Woman.

I've seen plenty of cracks online about the seemingly unlimited supply of ammo, especially for Hershel, but I was more distracted by everyone's propensity for headshots despite driving over rough ground in vehicles at night. And ultimately, it's fun to laugh at that kind of stuff, but it's TV, and doesn't bother me that much. 


How I Met Your Mother: The Broath


Thanks to an unseasonable thunderstorm rolling in, my viewing of this episode was disrupted by a couple weather alerts and a rare signal loss that cost me the last few minutes of the episode (I gather online that Barney and Quinn tossed around the M word, but that's about all I got). So I'm not entirely qualified to comment on this episode, as the whole thing felt jumbled and incomplete to me.

That said, I'm worried about Quinn and Barney. They're obviously good together, sharing a love of manipulation and crazy schemes, and Barney is certainly right that his friends can be meddlesome and judgmental, and deserve to be put in their place. But for most of the last several seasons, Barney has been maturing, slowly becoming a real boy, and I worry that Quinn is a step in the wrong direction in that regard. They're too much alike, and she's not going to push Barney out of his bad habits. If making that point is where the writers are headed with this story, fine, but I worry they don't see if that way, instead thinking that a Female Barney is the perfect match for the character, when in fact, it's probably the worst. The season finale is very close (five episodes away), and right now, it looks like the show is trying to position Quinn as the woman Barney is marrying, and I don't think that's the best end to this story.

Other Thoughts
If my friends ever throw me an intervention, puns had better be involved. Marshall's insistence on using the Quinn puns was a bit out of character, given the perceived gravity of the situation, but I still laughed.

Ned, Martin and Millie were also very funny.

Thankfully, I didn't miss out on Barney's depiction of the (attempted) assassination of Julius Caesar. History can always use more ninja stars.  

Ted: There’s a working fireplace!
Robin: Patrice is ironing my pants all wrong!


Alcatraz: Clarence Montgomery 


More bullet points...

A better-than-average con of the week helped give this episode a lift. Having someone who was wrongly imprisoned on the Rock but a killer in the present was a neat twist, and the conditioning Clarence experienced back in '63 was an interesting piece of the mythology puzzle.

I'm assuming that conditioning will be the explanation for the cons which, after arriving in 2012, seem to be on some kind of mission (and possibly even offer an explanation for their lack of culture shock/questioning their situation). Though the fact that Beauregard was the one doing the conditioning makes me wonder how aware of it Hauser is.

This the first time a 63er was killed, right? Everyone else is in Neo Alcatraz, I believe. Of course, Clarence was wrongly imprisoned, so it's fitting that he's not part of Neo 'Traz.

Madsen's "oh, my God…" response to Doc needing to confirm that Nikki was asking him out and not Madsen was probably the comedic highlight of the show so far.

Were the Warden's efforts to integrate the prison genuine, or was he trying to stir the pot? I can't decide.

Also, the Warden being cryptic does not an episode-ending cliffhanger make. 


Community: Contemporary Impressionists 


Another strong character-driven episode (though not as all-around great as last week's episode), despite the fact that the premise was clearly designed just to stick the cast in funny costumes and let them do celebrity impressions. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as it was tons of fun seeing the cast's various impressions (as an avid watcher of The Soup, casting Jeff as a taller, more handsome Ryan Seacrest was hilarious on multiple levels). The ending, in which Troy realizes he's going to have to force Abed into reality on occasion, and Abed accepts that he's going to have to allow Troy to do so, was a poignant moment between the two, though I hope Abed's going off alone, failing to respond to their handshake, and the presence of Evil Abed isn't meant to suggest an forthcoming end to their friendship, even though such a thing is, likely, inevitable.

Other Thoughts
As I mentioned on Twitter, the Dean's reaction to Jeff's aviator sunglasses was perhaps the funniest thing I've seen on any show all season. I'm very hit-or-miss when it comes to Dean Pelton (when it works, it really works, but when it doesn't, it really doesn't), but more and more often lately I've been enjoying him, and Jim Rash is a terrific comic actor, as that scene illustrated.

NBC clearly flipped the episode order between this episode and the previous one, as the gang referenced returning from winter break at the top of this episode. I'm usually bothered by such things, but NBC at least had a good reason for making the switch, as last week's episode was definitely a better choice for a mid-season premiere that should have caught more eyes (and judging by the improved ratings, did).

I'm pretty sure the Moby impersonator/DJ was the same guy whom the HIMYM gang thought was Moby in that show's New Years Eve episode from season one.

17 comments:

Phantomas said...

Yeah you have to kind of suspend the disbelief a bit for those things you mentioned about ammo and aiming there. I think people who let it bother them so much need to realize they are watching a show about people dying and getting back up and killing and eating anything that is alive. They are at least equally unbelievable.

Yes that is Michone at the end there. As you already know she becomes a major player in the series so get used to seeing her and her nice little sword around a bit. I won't spoil anything else about her for you than that though. :)

Overall I though it was a very good couple of episodes. I also thought it was a little odd that they all regrouped right away. I figured they would focus on them as separate groups for a little bit at least as well. It seemed a little forced the way they just showed up but I am willing to accept that they maybe set up the highway as a meeting point in case of emergency and we just never saw it.

I am glad they kept Shane around longer than they did in the comic as he added quite a bit to this season like you said. I am also glad he is gone now as his and Rick's differing views being together for so long would have been really forced for much longer. It played out nicely and Carl still technically got the killing shot like he did in the comic. He was just a zombie this time.

The main reason I could see Rick not telling them about what Jenner told him is that he didn't really have any proof till Shane and it would only serve to take away one more shred of hope that everybody had.

As much as I hate to say it I think that the season got much better after Darabont left. The second half in my opinion was much better than the first. I was worried after hearing he was leaving but it seems to be in good hands and I am eager to see what they do next season.

Sarah Ahiers said...

It was nice to see Shane die but we had a lot of rage issues in the last episode.
We had a problem with the headshots, especially since most of them just learned how to use a firearm. Even Daryl at least stopped his motorcycle to use his bow. I just don't know how they even ended up losing two people. The zombie are slow movers. You can outrun them. Just send someone in a car to lead them all away from the farm.
Also, Lori being angry at Rick seemed more that she was angry that it was Carl who killed zombie Shane, like she was mad that Carl had to take on that responsibility. But then, tough shit, this is a zombpoc. She should be proud that he's able to act in such a way to save both himself and his father. Also, Lori keeping secrets, ala the attempted rape, is what led up to the point where Rick was forced to kill Shane, so she really shouldn't be flinging any shit.
And, why did so many of them freak out once they left the farm? T-dog and Herschel especially were all "too late. Everyone's dead. Let's run" as opposed to taking 5 bloody minutes just to wait and see.
AND the ridiculous use of bullets. I mean, they were just starting to embrace the idea that they need to conserve ammo. And here comes this giant herd. Do they have enough bullets to kill all the walkers? No? Then why waste a single one? Just get your ass out of dodge.

We've also become irritated by the fact that apparently none of them can hear shuffling, moaning zombies approaching before it's too late. Dale, Rick and Rick and Carl all were snuck up on by at least one zombie. Wtf? Can't they hear them?

As for "Michonne", when she showed up, that was the first time I really felt like the show was clearly based off a comic, with her two chained zombies. I mean, that made no sense. Yes the zombies are missing arms and mandibles. But why would that stop them? Hell, in the first episode rick was "chased" by a zombie that was barely more than a torso. Why are her two maimed zombies just standing there calmly? They still have maxillas. Unless they have no teeth (which is possible) they could still do a lot of damage. But more importantly, they should still be trying to do damage, even if they're effectively neutered.

I just feel like sometimes the show really asks me to suspend my disbelief a bit too far in multiple directions.

Teebore said...

@Phantomas: I figured they would focus on them as separate groups for a little bit at least as well. It seemed a little forced the way they just showed up

I totally thought we were going to be in for half a season of following the various splintered groups before they all came together again in the mid-season finale of season three.

While all of them meeting up again so quickly does seem a bit forced, I'm glad everyone came back together relatively quickly. While breaking the group down into smaller parts for awhile would probably allow for greater character development, I think it would have further stalled what little narrative momentum the show has, and I don't know how much of The Adventures of Lori, T-Dog and Farm Girl Who Is Not Maggie I could take...

The main reason I could see Rick not telling them about what Jenner told him is that he didn't really have any proof till Shane and it would only serve to take away one more shred of hope that everybody had.

I get that he didn't have proof, but hope does this knowledge eradicate? I mean, everybody already doesn't want to die; does this somehow make them want to not die more, and that's a bad thing? I mean, why does it matter what happens once you're dead? You're dead. For me, the fear of zombies is getting eaten alive, not getting bitten and turning into one. All this really changes is that everyone needs to make sure that whenever they die for whatever reason, to make sure someone caves in their skull after the fact.

The second half in my opinion was much better than the first. I was worried after hearing he was leaving but it seems to be in good hands and I am eager to see what they do next season.

I agree with you on all points. I was worried about Darabont's departure, but the second half of the season was light years better than the first. Compared to the glacial, wheel spinning first half, it positively raced along. There's still plenty of underdeveloped characters, but at least stuff is happening now.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: The zombie are slow movers. You can outrun them.

I think they've established on the show that the zombies speed up when they hear noises/smell blood/realize food is around. There definitely seemed to be some faster-moving zombies in that horde.

Just send someone in a car to lead them all away from the farm.

The problem in this case, I think, is that the horde was too big. They probably could have led a good chunk away, just like the barn fire drew some away, but in the end, there were just too many (which truly is the strength of zombies).

That said, this group is terrible about planning for zombie attacks. I get that this particular horde snuck up on them, but they should have plans in place for stuff like that. If a zombie wanders in, do this. If it's ten zombies, do this. If it's X many, pack up and run.

The nice thing about zombies is that they are (eventually) finite, and follow set patterns of behavior, so you know what to expect. With that in mind, you can take steps to prepare for attacks.

Agreed on both your points about Lori. I honestly think she's the character that pisses me off the most, especially now that Shane is gone.

T-dog and Herschel especially were all "too late. Everyone's dead. Let's run" as opposed to taking 5 bloody minutes just to wait and see.

Yeah, I get that no one wanted to risk going back to the farm, but I don't feel like there was much harm in hanging out at the road for a little bit. At the very least, you'd see zombies coming, and THEN react accordingly.

Do they have enough bullets to kill all the walkers? No? Then why waste a single one? Just get your ass out of dodge.

That's the discussion they should have had while moving into the house. "Okay, if a group X large shows up, we fight. If it's a group Y large, we run. And when we run, we go to Z. Agreed?"

On the one hand, I can forgive the characters some of this because their situation prevents them from thinking about it logically (and they didn't grow up with zombie fiction to help them figure this stuff out pre-poc), but on the other hand, sometimes it seems like they just act stupid because the show needs the drama that results from that.

Usually, the show manages to land close enough to the former that their stupid actions can be written off, but sometimes it lands far too close to the latter.

Dale, Rick and Rick and Carl all were snuck up on by at least one zombie. Wtf? Can't they hear them?

These zombies don't moan much, I don't think, at least until they really riled up, but Dale getting snuck up on was especially egregious, given that he was alone in an empty field at night.

Why are her two maimed zombies just standing there calmly?

Having not read the comics, perhaps we'll find out that zombies can be tamed/made more docile somehow, for some reason? At the very least, the Michonne scene was clearly a teaser for next season, so I can wait to pass judgment until we see what comes next.

They still have maxillas.

I don't know what that is, Biology Nerd. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

heh. Maxillas are the upper jaw. Mandibles the lower

Anonymous said...

I think the main reason knowing abut the universal infection destroys hope is that the survivors are no longer 'survivors,' they're just zombies who haven't turned yet. And if everyone is going to end up a zombie, what's the point of trying to survive, or rebuild society? If zombies were only people who had been bitten, eventually they would run out of carriers and it would be over. But now every time someone keels over there's going to be a fresh apocalypse.

The only real danger of Rick not telling the group is accidental death. What if Hershel had a heart attack and died in his sleep? He'd reanimate in a house full of sleeping victims. They wouldn't know what hit them.

They explicitly stated at one point that they had been searching for Sophia for a couple weeks, and a further week passed as Randall healed. I choose to believe they spent some of that time doing target practice, improving their aim. Also, some shots missed, or weren't outright head shots. And there's a possibility that Hershel was reloading every time the camera cut away from him. That's a lot of hand-waving, I know, but it sorta works.

What doesn't work is Lori's flip-flopping. Sarah is correct that Lori seemed more angry that Carl had to do the shooting. But she was totally leading Shane on again. You can make the case that she was just making nice and trying to integrate him once she saw her earlier ploy to get Rick to remove him didn't work. And not knowing how delusional Shane was getting, she didn't realize that would be the tipping point. But still, she needs to wake up to the fact that this is a zombie apocalypse and kids have to grow up fast and people need to stop being so wishy washy. Maybe learning about the universal infection will turn her around. Maybe she'll realize she made everything ten times harder for Rick and just go along with the "Ricktatorship." I don't think I can take another season of her bipolar disorder.

The second half of Season 2 definitely improved on the first, and yes, If Darabont was responsible for the glacial pace, I'm glad he's gone. Though I should stop complaining about staying at the Farm too long, because all indications seem to point to the Prison being around for awhile.

Yay Michonne! I don't care if armless zombies and katana blades are unrealistic, that was just a flat-out cool scene. Hopefully the actress they've cast can really make the character something special. It seems there's no Tyrese on the horizon though. Still, yay Michonne!

- mortsleam

Teebore said...

@Sarah: Maxillas are the upper jaw. Mandibles the lower

Yeah, I deduced as much from context, but I still like pointing out your nerdliness. :)

@Mortsleam: If zombies were only people who had been bitten, eventually they would run out of carriers and it would be over. But now every time someone keels over there's going to be a fresh apocalypse.

I dunno, I feel like it doesn't change things THAT much. All it really does is change the method of dealing with bodies after death. Now, when someone dies, you don't just bury them, you smash their brain THEN bury them (or whatever). It's not pretty, granted, but it's not the end of the world (and I feel like the zombie-poc is still finite: kill all the zombies, then make sure everyone treats their dead correctly).

What if Hershel had a heart attack and died in his sleep? He'd reanimate in a house full of sleeping victims. They wouldn't know what hit them.

Yeah, I hadn't thought of that at first (the other one I've seen online is if Beth had killed herself, suddenly there's a zombie in the house). And if that is what people were upset with Rick about (keeping something from them that could harm them), I could understand it, but Glen was pretty much the only one who seemed to take it like that, whereas everyone just seemed mad on principle.

That's a lot of hand-waving, I know, but it sorta works.

Yeah, I give the show credit for establishing
A. There was a finite and dwindling suppy of ammo
B. Rick and Shane were giving everyone shooting lessons.

That at least suggests a reasonable framework around which you can speculate like you did, that people were practicing off screen and whatnot. And there were plenty of times where the camera cut away from Hershel that we could assume he reloaded then.

Bottom line, it's boring to watch people reload or miss, no matter how realistic it may be, so I get why it doesn't happen, and if there's an out to explain it away (like the cutaways, or the implied target practices), that makes it easier to accept in context.

That said, I'm still going to notice/point out the unrealistic amount of ammo/accuracy, and mock it. But it's not like I'm going to stop watching the show because of it. :)

But still, she needs to wake up to the fact that this is a zombie apocalypse and kids have to grow up fast and people need to stop being so wishy washy.

Agreed.

Though I should stop complaining about staying at the Farm too long, because all indications seem to point to the Prison being around for awhile.

I'm not as worried about the prison in that regard for two reasons. First, the beginning of this season set up Fort Benning as the group's ultimate destination, so until that idea was scuttled in the first episode back midseason, it made the farm seem like a big narrative time waste, even though, in retrospect, it's what the entire season was about. Now, we're heading into a new season, and if the prison is going to be the "thing" for that season (or more), so be it. At least we know that's the objective of the narrative, and isn't being presented as something getting in the way of the real plot.

And secondly, in terms of genre fiction, prisons > farms.

I don't care if armless zombies and katana blades are unrealistic, that was just a flat-out cool scene.

Agreed. Yes, it was very comic book-y, but frankly, this show could use a little of that from time to time.

Blam said...


The Simpsons: Them, Robot

Robot: The designated hitter corrupts the purity of an otherwise elegant game. Illogical. Illogical.

Amen, Robot!

Once Upon a Time: Heart of Darkness

Opening the FTL with Red using her new-to-us wolf abilities to buy Charming time was a nice use of the show's unfolding narrative and episodic nature, giving us a plot point that couldn't have occurred earlier in the season but seems to have been part of the plan all along.

I agree, but hadn't quite thought of it that consciously 'til you mentioned it.

My big pet peeve this episode was Henry trying all the old-fashioned keys on that ring, most of which obviously wouldn't even fit in the lock let alone open it.

then again, it could, because magic

Ha! I didn't really see it as suggesting simultaneity so much as his previous/real self breaking through. Although it's neat to think that, say, the curse that brought everyone to Storybrooke could actually be an illusion, a Matrix-style world that simply damns them to perceiving reality as a far less magical place.

The Walking Dead: Better Angels

My big pet peeve for this episode qa nobody really stopping to add up the facts that Shane is a loose cannon — which I grant not everyone has seen evidence of, certainly not in front of the group as a whole except for the whole opening-up of the Barn Full o' Walkers — and that the frickin' padlock was still on (or actually removed and put back on) the door to Randall's "guest house", which is a major clue that somebody with a key got in and took Randall out rather than Randall breaking out himself.

As much I've been yearning for Shane's death for a while now ... I never expected the show to actually go ahead and kill him off.

Neither did I — not 'til I had it spoiled for me shortly after the previous episode ran, anyway.

I didn't see Lori as "cozying up to" Shane, but manipulating him just like she was Rick. The only thing that I wasn't clear on was whether she was leading him on to make a move on Rick, secure in the feeling that Rick would kill Shane, or if she was simply setting up a battle of the alpha males in which whoever ended up victorious would be Her Man. Then came the next episode.

Your point about Carl's aim is well taken. Then came the next episode.

Blam said...


The Walking Dead: Beside the Dying Fire

I know what you mean about the extended "epilogue" part of the episode feeling more like a season premiere than a finale. The show felt to me like it was scattering the group to the wind for the break, and I was surprised to see them all come together both for storytelling reasons and for in-story ones — like, in one of the dumbest (non-)moves ever, the group didn't have a contingency rendezvous point for if, which clearly was turning into when, they had to abandon the farm, and yet they all had the bright idea of going back to stuff they'd left for Sophia. I know that Rick, Carl, and Hershel got there first, and that we got some lip service to everyone else finding one another before caravanning the rest of the way together, but it all seemed to happen awfully fast given T-Dog making that big show of turning around from the opposite direction and all that.

Still, considering only three episodes ago Lori was trying to get Rick to kill Shane, her revulsion at Rick's confession felt contrived and forced.

This is a big-time "WTF?!?" for me. Honestly, I really did get the impression that she wanted Rick victorious — notwithstanding the slight spin on your premise that I described above — and I don't understand Lori's reaction at all, which bugs me all the more because I really have to chalk it up to poor storytelling more than Lori just being an unfathomable nutcase.

not because it's a bad creative choice but because I'm uncomfortable with what it says about the show's view of its hero

I think that the first thing I typed after watching the episode was "So Rick killed Shane only to turn into Shane. His idea of honoring Dale's memory by trying to live up to his standards didn't last long."

the only two people to die as a result of the zombie horde were Jimmy and Older Farm Woman

I have very little confidence in my ability to suss out the farm "family tree" anymore, but I'd thought that Older Farm Woman was Hershel's second wife and Beth's mother until it was mentioned recently (and probably not for the first time) that his wife was one of the walkers in the barn. Sometimes I remember to look this stuff up and sometimes I don't. I just ended up at a wiki that clarified Patricia as Otis's wife; Otis as a longtime farmhand for the Greene family, which I did know; and Beth as Maggie's half-sister regardless of Maggie's reference simply to "Mom" when they were talking after Beth's indulgent coma.

You are wise in your newly over-30 state to hedge your bets with descriptions like "older". I practically guarantee that it shan't be long before you lose most certainty in pinning down the ages of men and especially ladyfolk, concomitant with being surprised when you IMDB or Wikipedia someone and become shocked as $#!% to discover that they are older and/or younger than you.

Some other quick things that I mentioned at Nikki's blog but had jotted down for discussion here even before that:

I loved the walker on the highway with the preppy sweater (the kind with those diamonds on it).

The message left for Sophia as they drove off the highway was really poignant until the camera kept pulling in tighter and hitting us over the head with it.

I'm glad Lauren Cohan / Maggie is still around. As I said earlier, I've liked her on Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and Chuck, none of which I think you, Teebore, watch(ed). And I'm also glad that Scott Wilson / Hershel is still there, for reasons we discussed in a previous week; there's more to be milked from his presence as a generational outlier in the group.

VW: compery — Rackin' up freebies.

Blam said...


How I Met Your Mother: The Broath

I didn't love the episode.

The Lily/Marshall stories were not funny. I'm not a prude; it just didn't work. And I don't like Quinn.

worry they don't see if that way, instead thinking that a Female Barney is the perfect match for the character, when in fact, it's probably the worst.

Yeah. Robin is just enough Female Barney that getting them together worked (at first) surprisingly well — them going from opposite-sex bros (enjoying fine cigars and Laser Tag) to sackbuddies.

I really liked the ninjas, though.

Ned, Martin and Millie were also very funny.

I didn't catch their names in the episode, but wondered after I got the joke if they were similar to Ted, Marshall, and Lily. Frankly I didn't even get the joke the first time we saw them, although the sandwich gag registered; at the end I got it and loved that they looked just enough like our protagonists in their college flashbacks for it to be clever yet not stupid.

Alcatraz: Clarence Montgomery

This the first time a 63er was killed, right?

Wrong! Hauser shot one of them in, like, the third episode, because I remember commenting that it was interesting to find out that they could apparently die. Wait... Yeah, Episode 3, Kit Nelson, and a wiki confirms that he was at least brought to New Alcatraz dead.

That Black Orchid T-shirt on Hot Coroner Chick is one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

Community: Contemporary Impressionists

I don't know. The whole piercing the veil of Abed's reality / belief system / whatever is a tricky thing to take on, especially when it's Troy doing it. Poignant? Yeah. Something that doesn't kinda retroactively invalidate suspension of disbelief for all of Troy and Abed's shenanigans, though? Yeah too. I get that Troy buys into Abed's fantasy world in an escapist way, whereas Abed really does live there, perceiving the world in a meta and malleable way, but it's a fine line that it's tough to have Troy cross, especially considering the end of just the previous episode.

NBC clearly flipped the episode order between this episode and the previous one, as the gang referenced returning from winter break at the top of this episode.

Which actually reinforces my criticism from above instead of invalidating it, because having that happen after the events of this episode, while it should assuage your fears of the writers having Troy's little wake-up call endanger their friendship, makes even less sense.

I'm pretty sure the Moby impersonator/DJ was the same guy whom the HIMYM gang thought was Moby in that show's New Years Eve episode from season one.

I really want that to be true, because it was the first thing I thought of when I realized that the DJ wasn't actually Moby (which would also have been hilarious).

VW: ginears — Bad hearing brought on by a state of drunkenness.

Blam said...


Phantomas: I think people who let it bother them so much need to realize they are watching a show about people dying and getting back up and killing and eating anything that is alive.

Well, I don't mean to sound defensive, and I appreciate the hand-waving explanations, but at the same time there's a difference between a fantastic premise that requires the viewer to buy in with a suspension of disbelief on a certain point or points on the one hand, and on the other a legitimate frustration with known, real-world things not being portrayed as accurate.

Phantomas: I figured they would focus on them as separate groups for a little bit at least as well. It seemed a little forced the way they just showed up but I am willing to accept that they maybe set up the highway as a meeting point in case of emergency and we just never saw it.

Teebore: I totally thought we were going to be in for half a season of following the various splintered groups before they all came together again in the mid-season finale of season three.

Yeah. Me too.

Sarah: Do they have enough bullets to kill all the walkers? No? Then why waste a single one?

Yeah. My thoughts exactly. (Sorry... I'm a week late as it is, but I did want to chime in.)

Sarah: They still have maxillas.

I love that point so much that I was moved to do this. (Dunno if Sarah will check back at this point, so, Teebore, share the love.)

Teebore: "Okay, if a group X large shows up, we fight. If it's a group Y large, we run. And when we run, we go to Z. Agreed?"

Yeah. My thoughts exactly. 8^)

Teebore: and they didn't grow up with zombie fiction

Despite the fact that I don't think anyone on the show has ever referred to the walkers as "zombies" I haven't exactly gotten this impression — so I kind-of take failure to make any such references as one of the show's failings, as while I wouldn't want it to get too meta winky I think that a certain amount of black-humor (or even genuinely dramatic) comparison would naturally occur.

Blam said...


mortsleam: If zombies were only people who had been bitten, eventually they would run out of carriers and it would be over. But now every time someone keels over there's going to be a fresh apocalypse.

I'm with Teebore here. Whatever happens to "us" — our essence, without getting too metaphysical — after we die would presumably still happen, be it souls goin' to heaven or a complete cessation of existence or whatever. So except for the new wrinkle, and yeah it's a hell of a wrinkle, of dead bodies needing to be dealt with in a particular way lest a virus reanimate them into something mindlessly murderous, life itself isn't changed by everyone being infected except for the hordes of walkers that already exist having made everything so treacherous. Sure, it's sad, and from within the bubble it might bring on a sense of hopelessness, but intellectually there's no great difference between this and the real-world need to bury the dead before the stench and disease and carrion-eaters and such become a problem — unless, of course, there's this potential added wrinkle of the virus possibly making folks a bit nuts before death.

Blam said...


Earlier Blam: Despite the fact that I don't think anyone on the show has ever referred to the walkers as "zombies" I haven't exactly gotten this impression — so I kind-of take failure to make any such references as one of the show's failings, as while I wouldn't want it to get too meta winky I think that a certain amount of black-humor (or even genuinely dramatic) comparison would naturally occur.

Oy... I'm worn out and trying to catch up on too much too quickly, but this really came out worded poorly. My point was that I didn't/don't take The Walking Dead to exist in a world without zombie fiction the way people in horror movies (at least pre-Scream) have obviously never horror movies, and so I find it odd that there's been not even an offhand reference the way, like, cop shows now have the occasional line "That only happens on television." Of course there could also have been a reference to TWD being set in A World Like Ours Except Without Zombie Fiction from some interview with Kirkman, Darabont, or Mazzara that I'm not aware of.

Teebore said...

@Blam: Amen, Robot!

Yeah, I thought that was pretty good.

My big pet peeve this episode was Henry trying all the old-fashioned keys on that ring, most of which obviously wouldn't even fit in the lock let alone open it.

Right, as well as Emma giving up so easily considering none of the keys would obviously work on that lock, which is completely different from Henry being wrong about Regina having a key.

the frickin' padlock was still on (or actually removed and put back on) the door to Randall's "guest house", which is a major clue that somebody with a key got in and took Randall out rather than Randall breaking out himself.

Seriously! I mean, Rick's a cop; you'd hope he'd notice something like that (then again, you could argue Rick did notice, and let things play out as they did to force his conflict with Shane to come to a head.

which bugs me all the more because I really have to chalk it up to poor storytelling more than Lori just being an unfathomable nutcase.

That's what bugs me the most about it too. There's "poor storytelling" where I simply disagree with the direction writers are taking a character/show, then there's "poor storytelling" where things just don't make sense to the point where I start to think, "jeez, I could do better than this, and I certainly couldn't do worse", and with Lori, we're definitely at the latter end of that spectrum.

His idea of honoring Dale's memory by trying to live up to his standards didn't last long.

And that's really the saddest part of all...

concomitant with being surprised when you IMDB or Wikipedia someone and become shocked as $#!% to discover that they are older and/or younger than you.

This happens to me all the time with baseball players. As someone who's been into baseball since I was a kid (when EVERYONE is older than you), I still get weirded out when I realize most ball players are now YOUNGER than me (and making way, way more money than me), because part of me still sees them as the much-older-than-me guys they were when I was a kid. Which is a feeling that will, of course, only get worse as I get older.

The message left for Sophia as they drove off the highway was really poignant until the camera kept pulling in tighter and hitting us over the head with it.

Agreed.

And I'm also glad that Scott Wilson / Hershel is still there

Yeah, I did not expect Hershel to make it off the farm, but I'm glad he did, and ditto Maggie as well.

Teebore said...

Robin is just enough Female Barney that getting them together worked (at first) surprisingly well — them going from opposite-sex bros (enjoying fine cigars and Laser Tag) to sackbuddies.

Well said. Maybe that's part of what bugs me about Quinn: they already have a better "female Barney" in Robin.

Hauser shot one of them in, like, the third episode, because I remember commenting that it was interesting to find out that they could apparently die.

Ah, yes, I remember that now.

I love that point so much that I was moved to do this.

Ha! I love it.

but intellectually there's no great difference between this and the real-world need to bury the dead before the stench and disease and carrion-eaters and such become a problem

That was my thought as well. "This is just like how we need to bury/cleanly dispose of our dead now, only more immediate. Once you get used to it, it's not the end of the world."

Of course there could also have been a reference to TWD being set in A World Like Ours Except Without Zombie Fiction from some interview with Kirkman, Darabont, or Mazzara that I'm not aware of.

Yeah, I've never seen it/read it myself, but I understand from third hand sources that Kirkman has said in interviews (including the post-show Talking Dead that I don't watch) that the world of the show is one in which no zombie fiction exists, thus they never call them zombies, nor have any of the characters (even any pop culture saavy ones like us) ever engaged in any casual "what to do in the zombie poc?" discussions.

Which, on the one hand, fine, whatever, and it does explain some of their behavior, but on the other hand, it seems kind of like a cop out, an easy explanation for some poor and/or narratively-expedient character actions that you'd only know if you sought out material supplemental to the show/comic.

Blam said...


Teebore: I still get weirded out when I realize most ball players are now YOUNGER than me (and making way, way more money than me), because part of me still sees them as the much-older-than-me guys they were when I was a kid. Which is a feeling that will, of course, only get worse as I get older.

Yes. Yes it will.

I appreciate the info on zombie fiction not existing within TWD's world after all, although like you I kinda think that it's a cop-out and I can't help but think of the world as too much of an Alternate Earth because of it (which totally takes away from the series' most frightening aspect, which is its general world-outside-your-window realism).

Teebore said...

I can't help but think of the world as too much of an Alternate Earth because of it (which totally takes away from the series' most frightening aspect, which is its general world-outside-your-window realism).

Ditto. That's my biggest problem with it too.