Flock of Seagulls.
Flock of Seagulls.
on this date in 1543 a joint force of Portuguese soldiers and Ethipoian soldiers (led by King Gelawdewos — “Claudius”) defeated the Ottomans at The Battle of Wayna Daga.
TWD has always walked a shaky line between being the kind of character-driven drama AMC is known for, and the gritty Zombie Apocalypse horror show of the comics it’s based on. Up until recently it’s leaned toward the former, but with “New Best Friends” the show embraces its pulpy roots and goes the full Mad Max (or at least as close to it as we’ll likely get) with the introduction of a strange new community that lives in a massive garbage heap. Taking a cue from Father Gabriel, who led him there, Rick views this bizarre and initially hostile group not as a threat but as an opportunity: a group of badasses who have fully embraced their postapocalyptic potential can be very useful when you’re trying to start a war.
The episode starts in The Kingdom, with gung-ho Daryl trying to get King Ezekiel to join the upcoming war against the Saviors, and nonviolent Morgan continuing to dissuade him (although as tensions between the Kingdom and the Saviors escalate, his zen attitude is eroding further and further). Richard (the other member of the Kingdom that understands what a threat the Saviors are) attempts to enlist Daryl in setting a trap that pulls Ezekiel into joining the war, but when Daryl realizes that said trap involves sacrificing Carol’s life, he refuses – and makes a few not-so-subtle threats to ensure Carol’s safety.
Later in the episode, he goes to see Carol and they have a very emotional reunion (easily one of the most touching scenes of the season so far, very well-played by both actors). Carol asks him what happened with the Saviors while she was gone, and Daryl chooses not to tell her that Glenn and Abraham were murdered. His reasoning for this is left unclear: either he didn’t want to ruin Carol’s newfound peace, or he didn’t want to risk her life by getting her pulled back into the conflict, or both. Either way, she’s bound to find out eventually, and she’s going to be pissed at Daryl for keeping things from her, but that’ll be nothing compared to how pissed she’ll be at Negan. Hoo boy.
Back with Rick and his group, they have been caught by this new community, a bizarre Mad Max-esque group that styles themselves like punk ninjas and have been living as an insular group for so long that their speech patterns have started to change. With the help of a quick-thinking Father Gabriel (who gets his turn to deliver the customary “Rick is awesome” speech), Rick convinces them to give him a chance to prove himself. This “chance” involves him being tossed down a giant pile of garbage into a gladiator pit with an armored Walker embedded with spikes. (I’ll give you a moment to process that last sentence. Totally hyperrealistic show, you guys!)
After what will no doubt go down as one of the most memorable zombie fights on the show, Rick defeats the spiked Walker and convinces the group’s leader, Jadis, to join his fight against the Saviors in exchange for (a) some guns, and (b) a third of the eventual spoils of war. So he has his first successful recruitment! Now all he has to do is find a bunch of guns to give them. Fortunately he just happens to know someone (Tara) who is hiding a secret about another unknown community with plenty of them…
Random thoughts on this episode:
*After the well-made but glum first half of this season, it’s so refreshing to see the second half embracing its share of absurdity, humor, and even cheerful optimism. (That shot of Rick walking bloodied toward the group with a big grin on his face was great.) The Saviors are still an effective and credible threat, and the ultimate confrontation with them will no doubt be bloody and heartbreaking, but I kinda love the fact that the show is determined to have fun in the moment anyway.
*Oh man, those Saviors should not have taken Morgan’s staff away. I have a feeling he’s going to be getting that back by the end of the season, and not under pleasant circumstances.
*Between last week’s “zombies suck at limbo” scene and Rick’s fight with the spiked Walker in this episode, the writers have gotten really good at delivering fun and imaginative set pieces. And unlike in previous seasons, they feel organic to the story rather than gratuitous fan service. (“Hey, look, Daryl just decapitated three zombies with one swing of a chain, because that’s totally something that could happen!”)
*Fun fact: the trailer we see in this episode is the same one that was used in Smokey and the Bandit. I now want to believe that The Walking Dead and Smokey and the Bandit take place in the same universe. The fan fiction possibilities are endless.
*Man, that Daryl-Carol reunion was really powerful. Melissa McBride continues to be probably the best actor on the show (now that Scott Wilson is no longer on it), and her chemistry with Norman Reedus is fantastic. His “why’d you leave?” hit me a lot harder than I expected.
*The fact that Daryl could tell Richard was talking about Carol when he said “she’s got more balls than you and me” was perfect and hilarious.
*Rick not only emerged triumphant from the gladiator fight, but he brought back a cat-shaped decoration from the junk pile as a gift for Michonne. A funny callback to Season 3 (when she took a hand-painted one from a store) and appropriate considering Valentine’s Day was last week.
*Loving the bromance that’s been developing between Rick and Father Gabriel. Echoing the latter’s religious nature, it’s interesting to see how this part of the story hinges on these two characters having faith in each other, and having that leap of faith rewarded.
25 years ago today, The Simpsons aired the ringers-laden softball-themed “Homer at the Bat” episode, featuring Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith, Don Mattingly, and more MLB stars. Combine that with recently unearthing the below lyrics during packing for my move to Arizona, and, voila, any excuse to resuscitate a mention of Looking for Oscar, previously chronicled here before the Threedonia-pocalypse.
Sing (or just read) along as necessary, to the tune of “Talkin’ Baseball,” by Terry Cashman, who, I’m humbled to say, approved of these for inclusion in my documentary. Sadly never happened, but a honkey-brutha can still smile widely it could have.
A young woman (Anne Hathaway) who is struggling to get her life in order discovers that she has an unexpected connection to a gigantic monster that is rampaging through Korea. Also stars Jason Sudeikis and Tim Blake Nelson.
I’m not a big Anne Hathaway fan, but this looks like a fun and unique twist on the giant monster genre.
As anyone who follows the mainstream media knows, rich celebrities are freaking out about President Trump’s cracking down on Middle Eastern migrants and illegal aliens, to the point where they are threatening to cancel the Oscars. (If only…) But never fear, conservative actor Robert Davi has a proposal for the ceremony:
Read the whole thing – it’s an excellent takedown of the Glitterati’s raging hypocrisy on this issue.
And since a race-shaming hashtag was so effective at last year’s Oscars, I suggest that if these virtue-signaling elitists don’t take Davi up on his offer, then we should get a new hashtag going: #OscarsSoHypocritical. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Finally, a chaser from a like-minded fellow across the pond:
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