The Walking Dead

Podicus Wrecks #62 – Until Dawn

With Halloween approaching, I thought we should have a couple Halloween-centric episodes.  So first, Scotty joins me to discuss our experiences playing Until Dawn.  This is a horror movie inspired game, centered around story decisions and quick time events.  It is a spoiler-filled discussion, as we not only go into our mindset while playing this game, but also the repercussions of our actions.  Casey then wraps up the episode with his minute recap of the Season 8 premier of The Walking Dead, “Mercy.”

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The Walking Dead – “30 Days Without an Accident”

The fourth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead kicked off last night, drawing in over 16 million viewers and dominating the ratings for everything not football related. The episode drew more than six million viewers than the season three premiere, and nearly four million more than the season three finale, continuing the trend of The Walking Dead being the highest rated show on cable. Scott Gimple takes the series’ helm starting with this season. He’s the third show runner for the series; replacing Glen Mazzara, who’d just taken over for Frank Darabont after season two. Gimple was responsible for writing some of the best episodes of season three, which managed to find a nice balance of emotional, character driven stories and gory zombie goodness. If this episode is any indication of how season four will play out we’re in for some good times. Now, with a healthy dose of spoilers both television and comic book related, let’s get into the story…

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The Walking Recap – “Seed”

Here we are with the premiere of season 3.  We last left the group with them just camping out on the side of the road, after all hell had broken loose on the farm.  In between seasons, the winter season finished, and the group has been traveling continuously looking for safe shelter.  I won’t have the usual play-by play at the end of this article, because I didn’t have my laptop with me as I watched this episode, but that’s alright.  Not a whole lot of different things happened.  Sure, it was a good, full episode, but extended action sequences make the recapping portion much easier.  Some spoilers below.

After accepting that going from house to house looking for shelter isn’t going to work, the group stumbles upon a prison.  Rick believes that if the prison was taken over early, there may still be plenty of provisions inside.  The only problem is, the prison is overrun by walkers.  But, that’s not really a problem.  The group is able to shoot the walkers in one fenced in area, as Rick runs through them to close off a gate to separate this yard.  It’d be a walker massacre, except I’m not certain you can massacre something that’s already dead.  They secure the yard, but Rick’s not satisfied.  He leads a group further inside, and secures another section of the prison area and a cell block for the group to call home.  Still not content, Rick leads a group to look for the cafeteria and infirmary.  On this trip however, Hershel gets bitten on the ankle.  They take him to what seems to be the cafeteria, and Rick hacks off his lower leg, in hopes of stopping the infection from spreading.  There, they find four inmates that were holed up.  In a town, Michone has been taking care of Andrea, who’s been sick, but they decide that they need to leave.

This was an episode for everyone that believed there hasn’t been enough zombie killing in the series, because this episode was mostly gruesome zombie killing.  There were some character moments thrown in.  Carol “jokingly” propositioned Daryl.  Lori told Hershel that she’s worried about her baby possibly being miscarried and turning into a walker inside her.  Personally, I think that would be an awesome way of killing her off.  She’s also worried about dying during childbirth, and turning and attacking the baby.  Not as awesome.  I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like Lori.  And Rick is on the edge of snapping.  He’s walking along the cliff, feeling responsible for everyone and exhausted.

The hacking off of Hershel’s leg was brutal.  All Rick had was a small hatchet, and it took several attempts to finally do it.  I just cringed with every shot.  And to go from that, to the inmates looking at them, and *poof* episode over.  Damn, I hate cliffhangers.  I should just watch full seasons at a time, but gosh darn it, I want to see it as soon as I can.  It’s quite a conundrum.

As for the rest of season 3, it’ll likely include lots of zombie killing as they continue to secure the prison, but what’s really interesting is what is going to happen with the Governor.  He’s only appeared in teasers, but it looks like Michone and Andrea are the ones that find him.

See you next week.

Is it Hollywood validation or just exposure?

In a recent blog post, Image Publisher Eric Stephenson looks at the sales figures for the four Robert Kirkman books released each month (The Walking Dead, Thief of Thieves, Invincible, Super Dinosaur), and notices that The Walking Dead and Thief of Thieves are selling much better than Invincible and Super Dinosaur.  He believes that this increase in sales is due to the two properties being attached to AMC shows.  As you know, The Walking Dead has finished two seasons, and as you probably didn’t know, Thief of Thieves has been optioned by AMC.  Now, I don’t dispute that connection to AMC and popularity of The Walking Dead show has boosted sales.  What I’m disputing is the why this is bad.

Here’s a bit of what Eric Stephenson has to say:

There are way worse problems to have, obviously, and I’m not complaining, but it is a little disconcerting that the dividing line between The Walking Dead and Thief of Thieves and Invincible and Super Dinosaur is the attention the former two titles have received from Hollywood. Is that a good thing for those books? Absolutely. But it’s a bad thing for comics as a whole, when we sit back and let mainstream popularity guide how we as industry order and sell comics and how we as a community buy and collect comics. In essence, we wait for someone outside comics to tell us something is worthwhile before accepting it ourselves.

Now, I’m not an industry insider or anything, and maybe my cynicism is still asleep in bed, but is it possible, just maybe the sales bumps are not due to comic fans that now believe these books are okay to buy because there is now a show based on them, but instead from people exposed to these books for the first time because of the show.  Image has succeeded where the Big 2 usually fails, and has actually gotten a bump in sales from a movie or show.   But, maybe Stephenson has some polling statistics that back up his beliefs as to why more people are buying those books, but it is too simplistic of a view to take without any solid stats.  (more…)

The Walking Recap – 3/18/12 – “Beside the Dying Fire”

We last left our hardy band of survivors with…well, let’s face it.  Things are not looking good.  There’s more death, and a gaggle of walkers were making their way to the farm.  And with this being the season finale, we’re certain that things are going to go to hell tonight.  So, read on, if you dare.  And oh yeah.  There are spoilers past this point.  You’ve been warned.

As you recall from last week, Rick killed Shane, and then Carl had to re-kill Shane.  But there’s no time for that right now, because there’s a freaking flock of walkers headed to the farm.  Apparently, a group of walkers were in the city, heard a helicopter pass, and just decided to follow the sound of it.  Then the most recent gunshot drew them to the farm.  So, the walkers make it to the farm.  You can read exactly what happened bellow in my detailed recap, but here’s what you need to know.  Jimmy died after driving the RV up to the barn to save Rick and Carl.  Patricia died while trying to escape with Lori, Carol, and Beth.  The group defended the farm as best as they could, but ultimately things went to hell, and they got separated.  Maggie and Glenn were in one car.  Daryl and Carol were on his motorcycle.  T-Dog, Lori, and Beth were in one truck.  Rick, Carl, and Hershel were in the other truck.  Lastly, Andrea was left on her own, running away from walkers.  But, only the Andrea part is important.  Everyone else gets back together on the highway, after briefly considering going their own way.

In the end, Rick goes off on everyone.  His leadership gets questioned when he reveals that Jenner told him in the CDC that they were all infected.  People start thinking that maybe they’d be better off on their own, and he goes off.  He tells them that everything he’s done is to protect them, even killing his best friend.  He invites anyone to leave, but if they stay, it is going to be a dictatorship from now one.  Oh yeah, someone which a sword and two walkers on chains saved Andrea in the woods.

I would just like to say that this would have been a perfect time to kill Dale.  He could have sacrificed himself to save Andrea.  A noble ending for a beloved character.  Okay, now I’ll drop it.  Overall, this was a nice way to end the season.  There are those that have complained because there hasn’t been enough action this season.  I’m not one of those people.  Yes, I agree that the first part of the season, did go slowly.  But it was all character development.  Character development is not a bad thing.  There just has to be a balance.  If you have a lot of episodes where the group kills a lot of zombies, then the threat needs to be ramped up with each successive attack.  You can’t have the group successfully defend themselves from an attack from say 40 walkers, and then be threatened more by only 20.  So, you have to use the attacks sparingly so that each one has meaning.

But let’s talk about the ending.  First, having Jenner tell Rick that they were all infected was kind of a letdown.  You’re explaining why people come back as walkers, when you don’t really need to explain it.  I don’t know if this was the plan from the start when they had the group go to the CDC, but it was kind of pointless.  Why wouldn’t Jenner have just told everyone when he was trying to convince that they’d be better off dead?  “Hey, you’re going to become a zombie however you die” seems like a good selling point to allowing yourself to be incinerated.  Secondly, it’s nice to see Rick really take charge.  I liked that he went off on everyone.  Him being the “leader” of the group had never really been established, other than everyone just considering him to be the leader.  So, this was a good moment for Rick to assert himself as the unquestioned leader of the group.  And hopefully, they never have someone, like Daryl, challenge him on it.

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The Walking Recap – 3/11/12 – “Better Angels”

We last left our group of bereft survivors dealing with the death of another companion, and still trying to decide the fate of their prisoner.  Be warned, spoilers lie ahead.  Seriously, don’t keep reading if you don’t want things spoiled for you.  I’m actually still typing in this opening paragraph so that when I post this link to Facebook, spoilers from last week’s episode don’t show up.  That’s how much I care about not spoiling things for people that haven’t had a chance to see it yet.  So, we should be good on Facebook.  Now, if you’re on the blog now, turn back, this is your last warning.

As expected, a portion of this episode was spent dealing with Dale’s death, but not as much as I was expecting.  More of the episode dealt with setting up the next character death.  So, we did get a funeral for Dale, and there was an emotional moment when Andrea and Glenn tried to get the RV running in order to movie it closer to the house.  Oh, Carl also confessed that he had seen the walker that got Dale, but no one was upset that he ran off by himself and then led a walker back to the farm.  Seriously, there were no consequences.  No, you need to think before you act.  No, you need to alert the group if you think there might be trouble.  Just a couple, it’s not your faults, and people are going to die eventually.  So, not only did Dale get randomly killed off, but it was also a meaningless death.  Hell, if they wanted just kill Dale, they could have had Shane do it.  At least that would have meant something story-wise, and help up us get to the events of this week.

I’m just going to come right out and say it.  Rick killed Shane.  Of course, Shane was going to kill Rick.  Here’s how it went down.  Rick was going to take Dayrl with him to release Randall far away.  Rick didn’t want Shane with him for obvious reasons (they nearly killed each other last time, if it wasn’t obvious).  Of course, Shane feels slighted.  While no one is looking, he takes Randal out into the woods.  Long story short, Shane breaks his neck, and then breaks his own nose on a tree.  Shane comes back, says Randall jumped him, stole his gun, and ran off.  Dayrl is already doubting Shane’s story when he and Glenn take a different route then Shane and Rick.  Later, Dayrl finds Randall with a broken neck, but right now, that is unimportant.  Eventually, Shane and Rick come to a clearing, and Shane draws his gun on Rick, but he really knew it was coming.  Shane says he’s better than Rick, Rick says they can still work things out.  In an act of surrender, Rick goes to give Shane his gun, but stabs him before Shane can do anything.  Carl sees Rick kneeling over Shane, and draws his gun on Rick.  Rick is trying to calm Carl down, when Shane stands up, now a walker.  Carl shoots Shane in the head.  Oh, and there’s a heard of walkers walking through the woods.

Carl shooting Shane here makes Dale’s death even more meaningless.  Coming so close together, this could have been the moment that Carl matured.  Shane could’ve killed Dale, Rick suspect it so he takes out Shane before Shane gets a chance, Carl comes up and shoots zombie Shane.  And poof, Dale’s death would have been a part of something.  I kept expecting Daryl and Glenn to come rescue Rick from Shane, since they realized that Shane likely killed Randall, but that never happened.  So, not showing that Shane killed Randall when it happened was kind of meaningless.  Like entirely meaningless.  Especially since you showed us Shane taking him and doing something to him.  Had we not known that Shane took Randall, then yes, Dayrl and Glenn discovering foul play would have been a major revelation.  But instead, we knew the entire time Shane’s story was all a set up.

But anyways, Shane is finally dead, twice.  Him becoming a zombie has me trying to remember if there were any other instance where someone died without being bitten, and didn’t become a zombie.  The only time I’m recalling is earlier in this episode.  But that is probably because the brain stem was broken when Shane snapped Randall’s neck.  Can you think of anytime else?  Although, now that I think about it, this could be what they were foreshadowing when Rick and Shane came across those two guards that were zombies, but hadn’t been bitten and they assumed that scratches were involved.

And it looks like shit will hit the fan next week, since the story needs to move beyond the farm.  A herd of walkers just happens to be moving through the forest, undoubtedly on their way to the farm.  But whatever.  It’s too late to develop a reason for the herd to be drawn to the farm.  And don’t tell me that they’ve been setting this up by having the weather get colder, so the muddy areas will freeze up, allowing walkers to pass.  That’s bullshit.  If they’d been setting that up, there would have been more walkers getting stuck in the mud.  They haven’t had one before Carl’s zombie since the end of the first part of the season.  But I guess, realistically, they don’t need a reason to start heading to the farm now.

Full episode rundown is below the break.

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