The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 1 – Mercy

“Those who use, and take, and kill, to carve out the world and make it theirs alone – we end them!”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

OK, I know I let the last half of The Walking Dead’s last season slide by without writing a word about it. It wasn’t that it was terrible; it’s just that it wasn’t terribly good, either. Let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can see the guys encountering a new bunch of survivors being terrorised by Negan before it starts getting a bit repetitive. If it had been dreadful, it would have been interesting to write about; if it had been good, it would have been interesting to write about. As it was… meh.

Still, the show’s back for its 8th season. AMC aren’t going to let their cash cow die, even if the show about zombies has become something of a zombie itself. The season premiere is also a milestone (if not a millstone) for the production team – it’s the show’s 100th episode. That leads to a certain amount of expectation, and to be fair, that’s always hard to live up to. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 1 – Mercy”

Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf

“This isn’t about living in harmony. It’s just about living.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

This truncated season of Game of Thrones has often seemed to move at a breakneck pace, sacrificing the nuance and complexity of earlier seasons in favour of tying up the multiplicity of plotlines as fast as possible. This has led to a lot of tick-box exercises in plotting, as with last week; it’s also led to a lot of artistic licence to keep things rattling along, particularly in terms of distances. Many people have been pondering how, last week, Gendry ran all the way back to Winterfell, a raven was dispatched to Dragonstone, reached it, and Dany’s rescue party arrived in what could only have been a few hours. Continue reading “Game of Thrones: Season 7, Episode 7 – The Dragon and the Wolf”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 – Hearts Still Beating

“Either your heart’s beating or it isn’t. Your loved ones’ hearts are beating or they aren’t.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

And so, a generally low-key half-season has come to an equally low-key climax. OK, it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t usually describe a mid-season finale in which one of the main characters is gutted by a smiling psychopath while playing pool in the street “low-key”, but this is The Walking Dead. Anything less than a massive battle, a huge explosion or a vast horde of hungry corpses seems a bit anticlimactic. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 8 – Hearts Still Beating”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, episode 7 – Sing Me a Song

“You mowed down two of my men with a machine gun, I want something in return for that. Sing me a song.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Another week, another tense but leisurely look at one of the post-apocalyptic communities in this week’s The Walking Dead. Following on from episode 3, this week saw a return to the Savior HQ, the Sanctuary, as the ever-genial Negan welcomed his most recent subject – Carl Grimes. I’d been wondering if the show would adapt this aspect of the comic, which sees Carl and Negan building a twisted Clarice Starling/Hannibal Lecter bond, and I’m glad it has. It just had to find a different way of getting Rick’s obstreperous son there, as his place was taken in the season opener by Daryl. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, episode 7 – Sing Me a Song”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 6 – Swear

“If it’s you or someone else, you choose you. You take what you can. You take out who you have to. And you get to keep going. Nobody’s in this together. Not any more.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

A truly interesting sidestep for The Walking Dead this week, as David Leslie Johnson’s clever script took one of Alexandria’s less interesting residents and put her into a situation the show’s not done before. Tara (for it was she) carried the whole episode with some aplomb as she found herself washed up on a beach next to a hidden community that was populated entirely by women. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 6 – Swear”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 5 – Go Getters

“Everything just feels wrong.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

Another week, another community menaced by the Saviors. In this week’s The Walking Dead, it was the turn of the Hilltop to be menaced by Negan’s ever-helpful ambassadors, in an ep that did a great deal for developing characters we already knew but not very well; along with answering the mystery of just where Maggie had got to while the Alexandrians were cleverly pretending she was dead.

Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 5 – Go Getters”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 4 – Service

“Let me put this to you all as clearly as I can. I’m not in chare any more. Negan is.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

It was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in The Walking Dead this week, as Negan took the opportunity to make his first visit to his new conquest – Alexandria. Last week we saw how these goods collections go from the Saviors’ point of view; now we got to see it from the perspective of their victims. And understandably, nobody seemed to welcome their new bat-wielding overlord. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 4 – Service”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 3 – The Cell

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“Whatever he’s done to you, there’s more. There’s always more.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After last week’s side trip to the Kingdom, this week’s Walking Dead got back to Negan, but not to Rick and the gang. Instead, this was an interesting glimpse into Savior HQ, showing just how Negan runs things. As last week, it had a tight focus mainly on two characters. Fans may have been delighted to see an ep where Daryl was centre stage; but really, the story was as much, if not more, about Negan’s faithful lieutenant Dwight. In the process, seeing things from the perspective of one of the ‘bad guys’, we came to understand more about how Negan stays in charge. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 3 – The Cell”

The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 2 – The Well

“They needed someone to follow, so I acted the part. And I made it.”

(SPOILER WARNING!)

After last week’s gruelling exercise in emotional endurance, this week’s The Walking Dead was a change of pace, as is the show’s frequent wont. Not immediately following up on the devastating consequences of last week’s events by switching to another plotline is one of the show’s common tactics – it helps keep you in suspense about one group of characters by building up new suspense with others. Though quite frankly, after last time a change of scene was something of a relief. Continue reading “The Walking Dead: Season 7, Episode 2 – The Well”

Fear the Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 – Monster

“It’s mob rule on land. What makes you think it’s any different out here?”

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(SPOILER WARNING!)

 After a storming season finale for AMC’s ratings behemoth The Walking Dead, the long wait for resolution to that controversial cliffhanger ending is now being filled by the return of previously lacklustre spinoff Fear the Walking Dead. Fear’s first season was mediocre at best, seemingly taking an age to reach the point of its zombie apocalypse, then avoiding showing us any of the actual detail in favour of following a group of unlikeable characters in a military quarantine. It was (eventually) interesting enough, but felt like a missed opportunity. Continue reading “Fear the Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 1 – Monster”