Better Call Saul – “Pimento”

March 31, 2015

Season One, Episode Nine

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Grade: A-

Boy, if things haven’t been bad enough for poor Jimmy McGill, things just got a lot rougher for him. Already one of the strongest characters who we feel bad for every episode, the penultimate episode in season one dropped a bomb on everything that Jimmy has believed in since he was younger. His own brother, Chuck McGill, the prestigious lawyer and idol to Jimmy, doesn’t even respect his younger brother. Jimmy has been knocked around a number of times before, but this is the biggest blow in his life.

Let’s back things up a bit and concentrate on the events leading up to all of this. The McGill brothers are taking on Sandpiper for a multimillion dollar lawsuit that spans across several states, and for everything that they’ve already dug into, things look very promising for the McGill brothers. Then the lawyer-ing comes in and the Sandpiper lawyers begin to slow the process down by throwing boxes upon boxes of paperwork their way, something that Jimmy and Chuck must go through. Sure, they could do everything by themselves but like Chuck put it, two people can’t build a bridge. Jimmy realizes the uphill battle they have and agree with Chuck to bring the case to HHM.

Up until this point, it was Howard Hamlin who has been standing in Jimmy’s way of working with his brother in the law firm, but at the end of the episode we find out that it’s been Chuck’s doing all along that has been keeping Jimmy from landing a job. It’s certainly a trick that has paid off from excellent writing since the beginning of the season. Patrick Fabian has been playing Howard as a weasel, someone who seems to have a stick up his ass and who hates Jimmy for some reason. But as Chuck erupts at Jimmy, he explains to him that he’s not a real lawyer and he’ll always be a crook, and a crook cannot change. After working hard and devoting a large part of his life to achieving everything he has, Chuck couldn’t bear to see Jimmy with an office in the same firm after taking shortcuts. Does he have a point? I guess he does, but he shouldn’t have been dragging him along all this time. There was still honor left for Chuck if he would’ve told Jimmy how he felt long ago, but after everything Jimmy has done for the older brother he looked up to, this is inexcusable.

Meanwhile, Mike’s B-story shows us what kind of work he’s doing for the veterinarian. Everything that we see from Mike this episode reminds us of why he loved him so much on Breaking Bad. He provides a dog for Kaylee. His quiet demeanor pisses off one of the “bodyguards” until he shows everyone why he’s the real tough guy on the show. His job this episode was to be the muscle for a nervous guy who’s about to sell Nacho a lot of pills. Everything runs smoothly, which Mike anticipated and he gets a nice $1,500 payday for his work. While Mike’s story is a lot of fun to watch, his conversation with the man is what makes it important. Mike explains to him that though he’s now a criminal, it’s up to him whether he’s a good or a bad guy. This is something that Jimmy has been going through with his life. After the stunts he pulled as Slippin’ Jimmy, he’s been trying to atone for his actions by remaining a good and loyal person. He could’ve taken the money from the Kettlemans, but he gave it all back. He could’ve allowed Tuco to kill the skateboarding idiots, but he talked him out of it. Unfortunately to Chuck, it doesn’t matter how many good things he does, he’ll always be Slippin’ Jimmy.

So how’s Jimmy going to respond to this? It sure doesn’t look like he’s going to be talking to Chuck anytime soon, and if anything he has another enemy to fuel his fire. The only person on his side is Kim. It’s a lonely road ahead for Jimmy, but if he takes the deal then he’ll at least have a bunch of money to spend figuring out if he still wants to pursue this whole lawyer thing. Wouldn’t it be funny if he somehow joins the Sandpiper team just to spit in Chuck’s face?

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The Walking Dead – “Conquer”

March 30, 2015

Season Five, Episode Sixteen

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Grade: B

The Walking Dead still has a problem. I’m fascinated by how many people watch and love this show, because to me it’s really not much more than just a guilty pleasure. There are zombies, there are people doing everything they can to stay alive, and that’s pretty much it. The acting is mediocre at best, the writing is often questionable, but the real meat of why people keep coming back to The Walking Dead is because of its thrilling scenes. I’ll admit, TWD knows how to really pump up the suspense and they cranked that all the way up for the finale.

What Worked:

We all knew that Glenn and Nicholas were going to have their showdown, but wasn’t it stupid that Glenn followed Nicholas into the woods after seeing him hop the fence? First, they hate each other, so knowing that Nicholas is a pathetic, dumbass, wouldn’t Glenn just pretend he didn’t see him hop the fence assuming he’s going to die? Second, what was Glenn’s plan when he caught up to Nicholas? “Hey dude! You shouldn’t be climbing that fence and running into the woods by yourself! Now let’s go back!” Whatever the reason, it was dumb because that’s what got Glenn shot (good thing Nicholas can’t aim for shit), and almost bit by a handful of walkers. Speaking of, how did Glenn escape that heart-pounding scene where he was wounded on the ground with a walker on top of him and at least two more within a few feet away?

Aside from Glenn reaffirming his status as a badass with a heart, the Daryl and Aaron story-line was great. The two have really bonded over the idea of recruiting new members into the community and both have each others’ respect as they track any nearby people. Just when they let their guards down, they fall into one of the Wolves’ traps and are surrounded by a hundred walkers. Things looked real bleak for these two characters, and for a moment I really believed that at least one of them wouldn’t make it out alive. Since they’ve been in Alexandria, Daryl’s importance has took a major hit, to the point where he hasn’t had much contact with Rick going crazy and Carol’s plan to overthrow the town. He’s been fixing bikes and following tracks with Aaron, so I questioned if this was the end of the road for the former Walking Dead MVP. Thank goodness that it wasn’t, because they were saved by…

Morgan! The opening scene with Morgan made me giddy like a teenie-bopper in line at a One Direction concert. TWD has been dropping teasers for the past year that Morgan would meet up with Rick for a reunion to remember, but his scenes of him tracking Rick on a map were too vague and far in-between. Still, he remained an anticipated commodity that we finally see in action during the finale. Last we saw Morgan in “Clear” he was a mess, still mourning his family and unable to come to terms with the world. Now, he’s at peace with it all but not without being able to kick some serious ass when he has to. On top of dismantling a couple of Wolves, he saves Daryl and Aaron from the herd of walkers. Morgan to the rescue!

What Didn’t Work:

Gabriel wants to commit suicide. It was strange to me how such an important scene where Gabriel is warning Deanna about Rick and company went practically undetected. Maggie heard the whole thing but didn’t bother to mention it to anyone? Anyway, Gabriel already threw his collar into the fire but since joining Alexandria he’s been back to the faith. Well not anymore, because Gabriel is “ready” to sacrifice himself to leave the cruel world that it has become. Isn’t this all a bit too much out of nowhere to insert into a season finale? We literally didn’t see Gabriel for two whole episodes once they reached Alexandria (seriously, not even in the background anywhere!) and we’re expected to be engaged in a subplot where he’s damaged and suffering from his faith? This only dragged the episode down.

What else didn’t work? The meeting. It seems pretty clear that Deanna and the residents of Alexandria want to throw Rick out of their community. Even though Deanna says they’re just meeting to talk, everyone from Maggie to Rick himself knows this fact. But is that really the big moment of the finale? A bunch of people sit around and talk about their feelings, especially Rick’s company who defend him to the very end? This would’ve been a great story-line to the penultimate episode, but not the 90-minute season finale. Sure, Rick made his point and saved the town from a few rogue walkers, which led to Pete’s death after killing Deanna’s husband. So Rick is in charge now? Is there any viewer who didn’t already believe this would happen?

Listen, there were plenty of great scenes in the finale, but as to moving the plot forward almost nothing happens. There wasn’t a big showdown between Rick’s people and Alexandria. Instead, we get a fight in the woods, a well-planned zombie trap, and in the final seconds we have our reunion of Rick and Morgan. Their dynamic is going to be counted on to carry the emotional dilemmas during the next episode. Morgan is at peace and doesn’t seem to be into killing, while Rick is literally killing his way to wherever he has to be. That should be a very interesting clash of beliefs.

And then there are the Wolves, a very dangerous group of people (not counting the two who let Morgan slip away) who are as demented as they come in this post-apocalyptic world. They’re going to present a very dangerous obstacle for our survivors in Alexandria. Can Rick teach them enough in time to defend the walls? Also, how many more times is Glenn not going to kill Nicholas? Overall, it was a good episode, but not a great finale.

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Seriously! How did Glenn walk away from this after he’s been shot in the shoulder and beat up?


The Americans – “Do Mail Robots Dream Of Electric Sheep?”

March 26, 2015

Season Three, Episode Nine

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Grade: A-

This season we’ve witnessed a bunch of gruesome and hard to watch scenes, such as Philip shoving a human body into a suitcase, having a tooth extracted from Elizabeth’s mouth, and lighting a man on fire. We’re used to these sort of things on The Americans, but what the show hasn’t really done much of thus far is providing true, emotional punches that hits straight to our hearts. In “Mail Robots” we get that scene and it’s heartbreaking.

Poor Betty, another person simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is something that Philip and Elizabeth both know because it comes with the territory at achieving the goal, which is what Elizabeth describes as “making the world a better place.” If they have to kill innocent people here and there for the greater cause, they don’t even second-guess themselves. Should they? Philip does a little bit, but he can be as tough as nails when he needs to. This time around it’s Elizabeth who knows that she can’t let Betty live, but what makes it so intense is how close Elizabeth gets to breaking.

Betty was a sweet, old woman who loved her family and enjoyed the quiet of late night to do her paperwork. Her and Elizabeth talk about their families, their relationships, and Betty’s sweet personality is certainly infectious. But my heart dropped that moment when Betty realized that she’s not going to live to see another sunrise. The great part about this scene is how you can tell Elizabeth is feeling something for this woman. Sure, there are ways that things need to be done when you’re a secret agent like she is, but in her own, ruthless way she was gentle with Betty. She allowed her to go out by swallowing pills, instead of shooting or choking her. My favorite part was the final seconds of Betty’s life when she left her sweetness behind and called Elizabeth evil. Can you blame her? Even when Elizabeth explains what she’s doing, Betty responds by saying that’s what evil people say. And if you distance yourself from a viewer who’s been watching Philip and Elizabeth the past few years, it’s easy to agree with Betty.

Phew, that was some powerful stuff. Plenty of other things happened in the episode, too. For one, Martha was quite giddy when she saw Clark next. Is she playing him for a fool? Like we need another double-agent huh? I personally don’t think Martha is savvy enough to trick Clark, but you never know. At least she postponed adopting a kid. There is also no new developments with Paige aside from her telling Henry to go to sleep. Just let him finish the video game, or else he’ll start breaking into houses again! Thank goodness there was no Kimmy in this episode.

And then there’s the Stan/Oleg collaboration. This is one story-line that I’m already tired of seeing and can certainly do without. They’re teaming up to try and get Nina out, but is that really necessary? One of them is bound to either get caught, or to trap the other. You have to assume Oleg would be the first to go because Stan is way too important in the show. I’m still waiting for the day when he discovers who Elizabeth and Philip really are, but I think that’s a final season story-arc.

Then we have the ending. The ending is extremely powerful and if you haven’t been on Team Philip yet, you will now. During another game of Scrabble, Philip drops two bombs on Gabriel. He tells him that he simply doesn’t trust him anymore (this is after Gabriel insisted that he and Elizabeth trust the organization) and that he’s going to do things his way to protect his family. Matthew Rhys acts the hell out of this scene and there’s no doubt in Gabriel’s mind that he means business. And about the other bomb? Well, Philip played a 59-point word. Boom!


Movies to Watch in 2015

March 26, 2015

Last year was again dominated by super heroes, animated features, and fantasy flicks. Though to be fair, the highest grossing movie of the year was surprisingly American Sniper ($344 million domestically). But to put that in perspective, American Sniper is the lowest grossing film to lead all movies in its calendar year since 2007 (Spider-Man 3 with $336 million). Are we getting tired of super heroes and sequels? Possibly, but 2015 has something I’m going to call “mega-sequels.” In addition to those mega-sequels, there are some films I am highly anticipating in 2015. Let’s go to the list!

The list is in the order of when the film is released.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

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Do I really need to explain why, along with everyone in the world, I am really excited for this sequel? The Avengers was a box office giant, grossing over $623 million domestically (third on the all-time list only behind Avatar and Titanic). I don’t think it’s really that hard to think that Age of Ultron will become the all-time highest grossing film after this year is over. It helps that the Avengers film universe is still growing, with incredible success from Captain America: Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy from last year. Age of Ultron is being released in the prime of the Marvel film universe and it helps that it’s the unofficial first blockbuster film of the summer season. This mega-sequel is on the path to shatter all kinds of records. Oh, and it looks awesome too.

Tomorrowland (May 22)

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If you’re thinking, “Ugh, not another Disney ride that’s turning into a movie,” then hold your thoughts for a minute! I had that exact same thought for Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Curse of the Black Pearl was amazing! Plus, look who’s in charge of Tomorrowland: Brad Bird (director of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and the under-appreciated live-action Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol) and writer/producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers, Prometheus, Star Trek). Did I also mention that George Clooney is in the film? I have a really good feeling about Tomorrowland, plus the trailer is great.

Jurassic World (June 12)

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So remember when you were blown away from the grandness of seeing dinosaurs on the big screen as Sam Neil and Laura Dern (along with some annoying kids) ran for their lives? Yeah, that was 1993, and apparently there were two sequels after Jurassic Park blew your mind. 14 years after the latest sequel, we have Jurassic World. Why am I excited? First off, it’s written and directed by the duo that brought us Safety Not Guaranteed. Sure, that doesn’t really make me certain they can pull off a huge action flick, but it’s a decent start. I guess we’ll have to see if Chris Pratt can pull off another blockbuster hit. Is this a mega-sequel? In my mind, it is.

Irrational Man (June 24)

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Writing and directing his one millionth film, Woody Allen is back again with this mystery-comedy boasting a cast that includes Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey. Sure, Allen is very much hit-or-miss, but nonetheless I’m excited whenever any of his films are released.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (July 31)

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In my opinion, Ghost Protocol is still insanely underrated and remains one of my favorite action films of all-time. How much of that is because of Brad Bird? I’m not exactly sure, but with Bird out let’s look at who’s in. Written by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim-uncredited, and the Ghostbusters reboot) and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), we should be in pretty good hands.

Steve Jobs (October 9)

No, you haven’t already seen this film. This is not the Ashton Kutcher movie, this is the highly anticipated, biographical drama starring Michael Fassbender, written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Danny Boyle. Yup, this is certainly on The Academy’s radar until the film actually gets released, but it’s safe to say there is a lot of talent inside of this project. Now, we just have to wait.

Bridge of Spies (October 16)

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If you thought the film above has an impressive group of people, wait until you research this historical spy thriller. Directed by Steven Spielberg, written by the Coen brothers, and starring Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. This is like the prime rib at the five-star restaurant of movies. I’m salivating just thinking about the potential of this film. Can’t it just be October already!

The Hateful Eight (November 13)

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Quentin Tarantino is back with his eighth film, and it’s a Western! My fingers are tingly just imagining what he’s going to do with the Western genre. It’s also starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. While I’m still fresh from Oscar fever, I’m wondering if this could be Tarantino’s chance at possibly a Best Director statue? He is backed by The Weinstein Company for this flick, so anything is possible.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (November 20)

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Finally, the franchise comes to an end. While I wasn’t too fond of the decision to split the last book into two films, I’m excited to watch the war between the citizens and the Capital play out. This one is going to be epic!

The Martian (November 25)

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Science fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, so let’s put together the minds that brought us Alien, Blade Runner, Cloverfield, and The Cabin in the Woods! That’s right, written by Drew Goddard and directed by Ridley Scott, we get The Martian, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Jeff Daniels. It seems like it’s going to be a survival film about a man stranded on Mars. Count me in!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December 18)

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If there is any film that can compete with Avengers: Age of Ultron as 2015’s biggest film, it’s this one. This is the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, written by the veteran Lawrence Kasdan (who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and directed by JJ Abrams. Can you tell there’s a lot of hype surrounding this film? I mean, it’s Star Wars for crying out loud! What else needs to be said?!

The Revenant (December 25)

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Fresh from his Oscar wins for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, Alejandro González Iñárritu is back with The Revenant, a thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Is it possible to have back-to-back Oscar wins? Will this finally be the year DiCaprio wins his Oscar? Let’s see what kind of twisted tale Mr. Iñárritu will present to us this year.

Joy (December 25)

Last but not least, David O. Russell is back right in the middle of Oscar season. He’ll be bringing in the big guns again with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro starring. No, it’s not a Silver Linings Playbook sequel, but if there’s one thing to be sure of, this is going to be full of great acting performances.


Girls – “Home Birth”

March 25, 2015

Season Four, Episode Ten

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Grade: A

There are plenty of things that Girls does very well, but one thing that I haven’t been sold on has been the acting… but hot damn did Lena Dunham act the hell out of that scene in the hospital! Kudos! But let’s rewind a bit and recap everything that leads up to that heart-breaking moment.

It’s the season finale and everyone is on their way to different stages of their lives. After all the interviews that Shoshanna has failed, she finally gets an offer from a company and a job she truly loves. The catch? She has to move to Japan. Is this good or bad timing? She’s been sort of seeing the handsome and kind guy whose company she doesn’t respect, plus her work as campaign manager for Ray is over. It sort of makes sense for her to go to Japan, right? But if that means we’re not going to see Shoshanna on the show anymore, then I vote for her to stay! Please don’t go Shosh!

Meanwhile Marnie and Desi are happily engaged for a brief moment, until Ray confronts Desi at his coffee shop. Desi has always been a tool bag, and Marnie has always been a sucker, but Ray tears Desi a new one by calling him out on all of his bullshit. I never would’ve imagined myself going along with things that Ray says, since from the beginning he’s been ranting about such outrageous things. But here, he hits all of his points right on the head. Desi is completely using Marnie and he knows that she’s wrapped around his finger. They have a volatile relationship and Ray is smart enough to know that it’s not going to work. At the same time, he’s wrong about Marnie when he compliments how caring and smart she is. Marnie is just as bad as Desi and in a way they deserve each other, but Ray is just over-the-top in love with Marnie that he can’t see through his own blindness.

His message is heard and Desi disappears that night, when him and Marnie have a super important gig. While Marnie is crushed, Ray is there to pick her pieces back up (once again) and pushes her to perform by herself. She nails it, but you just know that once Desi apologizes Marnie will be wrapped up in her arms again. You hope that Ray can learn to distance himself and walk away from Marnie, but it looks like he has it way too bad.

Meanwhile, Jessa and Adam break free from their relationships after Mimi-Rose decides she wants to be free from all men. You feel the worst for Adam because he seemed like he particularly liked Mimi-Rose, but she just wasn’t right for him. The confusion sets in with Adam because when he left Hannah for Mimi-Rose, he was in such a different relationship. It was more stable and arguably healthier than anything he ever had with Hannah, but with Hannah he’ll always be able to be himself. It’s very common for someone to go back to their ex when things don’t go right, and that’s exactly what Adam does, which brings us to that crucial scene towards the end of the episode.

In the hospital, Caroline finally has her baby delivered and Adam, Jessa, and Hannah are there to celebrate with her. Adam and Hannah share a moment alone with the baby and that’s when he informs her that his relationship with Mimi-Rose is over. Hannah gives her condolences, but doesn’t seem to expect how Adam begs her to take him back. A lot of this season has dealt with Hannah trying to keep moving forward with her life, even when everything doesn’t work out the way she wishes. She attended the writing workshop, which was a big step for her writing career, but that didn’t work out. Her relationship with Adam also didn’t last since he left her for Mimi-Rose. Then she decides she wants to teach and starts subbing at a high school, but over-steps her boundaries with a student and is told to take some time off. On top of that, her dad came out of the closet. Yes, it’s been quite a difficult period of time for Hannah, which is why her response is that much more powerful when she tells Adam, “I can’t.” Her eyes are overwhelmed with tears, but Hannah is at a point in her life where she’s moving on. It might not be as quickly as the world is turning, but she’s doing the best she can, and that involves distance from Adam.

It’s a brave decision for Hannah but as we see in the six-month flash-forward it pays off. She’s seen walking in the snow with fellow teacher, Fran, and even kissing him. She looks happy and the relationship looks healthy. It’s something I wouldn’t expect Girls to do, but I guess after everything that Hannah has been through this season, it’s nice to know that she does find happiness eventually. But this isn’t a series finale, although it certainly feels like it. Will Girls pick up six months later next season? Is that just a teaser that Hannah and Fran end up dating, but we’re still going to take the ride leading up to it? Or maybe in six months, Shoshanna can be re-located back to the city so the gang is back together! Maybe Marnie will have a record deal without Desi, Ray will be making moves up the political ladder, and possibly Jessa and Adam become besties. Hey, it can happen.


Better Call Saul – “RICO”

March 25, 2015

Season One, Episode Eight

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Grade: A-

Saul Goodman was always a character you simply loved. Sure, when we meet him in Breaking Bad, he’s sleazy and crooked, but you can’t say that he didn’t know what he was doing. Here, he’s lovable in a much different way because time after time again we witness Jimmy climbing up the ladder only to be knocked down. In the opening flashback scene, we see Jimmy working hard at Chuck’s law firm as the mail-room clerk. He learns that he passes the bar exam and celebrates with Kim, Chuck, and his mail-room co-workers. He dreams of becoming a lawyer at HHM, only to be shut down by Howard. It’s a crushing moment in Jimmy’s life and he’s been trying to work his way up ever since.

This brings us back to Jimmy McGill, being paid $140 for every client in his new focus on elder law. It’s not a lot, but it’s getting him by until a client of his isn’t able to pay him until her next allowance. The home controls when its residents receive an allowance of their own money? Jimmy smells that something is off and starts digging. What he does find is that Sandpiper is over-charging its residents for everyday things such as toilet paper, Q-tips, etc. Jimmy sees a great opportunity here and even gets some assistance from Chuck, who decide to tackle this together.

Jimmy has always been very enthusiastic in his work, which shows great persistence since he’s constantly being pushed around from the bigger lawyers and companies that surround him. But he’s the exact kind of lawyer that most people should want by their side. He’ll jump through hoops, and even through garbage, just to win his case. It’s great to see Jimmy and Chuck working together and it’s a great scene when they meet with the lawyers of Sandpiper who are trying to buy them off, but when Chuck drops the bomb on them demanding $20 million, even I felt he was shooting high and allowing his nerves (and craziness) to affect him. But it seems like they know what they’re doing. I’m excited to see the McGill boys in action!

Meanwhile, there’s a very small B-story involving Mike who realizes that Stacey and Kaylee are in trouble financially and he’s going to take it amongst himself to do some dirty deeds to scrape up some extra cash for them. We meet the veterinarian again. I wonder what kind of people that guy actually knows. I’m sure it’s nothing that Mike can’t handle.

Just as everything seems to be turning for the McGill brothers, the final scene had my heart pounding out of my chest! It’s something that probably should be a lot less suspenseful, but knowing the connection between Jimmy and Chuck and how they’re totally buying into the idea that Chuck has hyper-sensitivity completely amps up the scene to 11. Without even thinking because he’s so wrapped up in this new case, Chuck goes outside to grab a bunch of files from Jimmy’s car. He does so without that tin foil blanket and without acting like a crazy person. He gets all the way to the car, unlocks the trunk, grabs the boxes, and is about to head back to the house when Jimmy sees him in his normal state, which for Chuck is very abnormal. And then it hits him. Chuck freezes when he realizes where he is and what is happening. In that perfect wide shot, Chuck drops the boxes. Does he faint or pass out afterwards? We don’t know. It’s a small cliffhanger but one that I’m so desperate to find out! Well done.


The Walking Dead – “Try”

March 23, 2015

Season Five, Episode Fifteen

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Grade: B

Even though Alexandria has been the most civilized and respectable community Rick and company have come across, this is still The Walking Dead, so of course there are going to be huge problems! Because if Alexandria was the promise land that everyone believed it was, then that’s the end of the show, right? Don’t get me wrong, Alexandria is practically heaven compared to everything Rick and company have gone through. The residents aren’t eating other people, nor do they have a psychopath leading them straight to the ground. Deanna is still the person in charge and she is logical and smart. I want to believe that she didn’t entirely buy the crap that Nicholas was spewing out on camera about the death of Aidan. And her confrontation with Rick makes complete sense with what she’s trying to accomplish, but that makes this showdown that much more difficult to watch.

I’m still waiting for Deanna to unveil Alexandria’s secret weapon of some sort, because I find it unlikely that they would’ve survived for this long with the group they’ve been currently boasting. Are Aidan and Nicholas really the toughest guys they have to make runs? Are they really that poor at shooting that Abraham single-handedly took out more walkers than half-a-dozen Alexandria men? The walls constructed are pathetic, proven when Carl and his girl hop over it frequently without being caught. What is interesting is how the domestic abuse situation in Alexandria is being handled by Deanna. Is it right how Pete abuses Jessie? No, it’s not, but Pete’s a doctor and has saved plenty of lives in Alexandria. Though no one wants to admit it, Deanna knows that he’s more valuable than most of the residents, therefore he gets a pass.

But Rick knows that life as it was doesn’t exist anymore. There aren’t laws nor are there authority to make sure the laws are obeyed. This is still a survival of the fittest world where the weak die and the strong live on. Something that Rick and company have enforced that Alexandria doesn’t have is the family-first, everything else second mentality. The people of Alexandria are too quick to leave another resident just to save themselves. That’s not how Rick and company work and that’s what kept them so strong for all of these years. Was Rick wrong in confronting Pete? It might cost Tara’s life, but Rick desperately wants Jessie to be a part of his group. And then he goes on that crazy rant, screaming at Deanna, which didn’t do him any good. Michonne was certainly in the right when she knocks him out.

What’s scary for Rick and company is that there are now rules to follow. They’re slowly being domesticated, which some of them feel will make them weak, but at what point can you look around and admit that things are better than they were before? If Alexandria is for real, which it sure does look like it is, then yes they have stumbled upon an incredible opportunity. But even though they have good reason to be cautious, they haven’t exactly been the best dinner guests to the party. At the same time, the people of Alexandria aren’t nearly as efficient as they could be. This is why the merge between the two groups sounds like a perfect match, but now we’re coming down to the showdown. There will be casualties, but only one group will survive. It’s really hard to make a case for the Alexandrians, but we’ll see.

And now the smaller stuff. Sasha seems to be going through the worst trauma out of the entire group. Just think of it as a veteran who just came back from duty, trying to adapt to civilization. Some can make the transition, but usually it’s difficult. Carl and his girlfriend talk about the same thing, how they rather be out in the woods in the wild than behind the walls, passing time and not being productive enough. And then there are Glenn and Nicholas, who will eventually get a chance to kill one another soon (I’m assuming). Even those who have never liked Glenn can finally stand behind him, mainly because Nicholas is that pathetic. Finally, Daryl and Aaron go out recruiting but get spooked as they continued to pass by some gruesome deaths, with the “W” sketched into their foreheads. From what we’ve seen so far, this is the real person everyone should be fearing. Maybe it’ll be the reason why the two groups will actually merge.

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