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Tuesday Open Thread


The Walking Thread: Heads Up (S6:E7)

TWD Heads Up

Well, let’s get this out of the way right now: HE’S ALIVE! HOLY CRAP, GLENN’S ALIVE! *regains composure*

That’s right, after teasing us about Glenn’s fate for three episodes, the show finally reveals, at the very beginning of this episode, that Glenn survived the assault of the Walker horde back in “Thank You”, apparently by hiding under the dumpster and using dead Walkers as a shield to keep the other ones out. That Glenn, one resourceful SOB.

And I must admit, while leaving us guessing for this long was a shameless stunt, it was one of the cleverest stunts in TV history, one that I suspect pop culture enthusiasts will be discussing for years to come. It was a gutsy and brilliant move, leaving fans torn between (a) not wanting Glenn to be dead, because he’s such a great and beloved character, and (b) not wanting to find out that we were being so blatantly tricked when “Thank You” very clearly appeared to show his death. As a result, finding out he’s alive made us feel both relieved and frustrated at the same time.

The bulk of the episode, however, focuses on Rick back in Alexandria. And oh man, does he have his hands full trying to keep Alexandria moving forward following the Wolves’ attack and the arrival of the Walker herd on the walls. He and Michonne confront Morgan about letting the Wolves go (these would be the same ones that later tried to murder Rick), and Morgan doesn’t try to cover his ass. He defends his belief that all life is precious, pointing out that Rick spared him back in Season 3 and he was able to become a better man because of it. Rick and Michonne press him that things aren’t as simple as those four words, and they’re right. Every attempt a character has made to show mercy on this show has ended in disaster, and Morgan’s keeping a Wolf alive in his basement (which the ruthless Carol seems have figured out) will not end well, either. Team Rick finally gets around to teaching the Alexandrians some basic weapons skills, which leads to some moments both funny (the mulleted nerd Eugene attempting to swing a machete) and tense (Rick teaching Ron to use a gun, while unaware that Ron hates both him and Carl with a passion).

The centerpiece of the episode is a scene in which Spencer, Deanna’s son, idiotically tries to rappel across the town walls to a car outside, in an attempt to lead the Walkers away from town. It’s an unbelievably stupid move, and it almost gets him killed (Rick and his team manage to save him with some well-placed headshots to the Walkers swarming him), but he makes a good point when he tell Rick that if he’d suggested it to Rick beforehand, Rick never would’ve listened. Rick still has trouble seeing the Alexandrians as anything other than sheep at best (and potential zombie chow at worst), but this episode does an excellent job of humanizing them and not letting Rick off the hook for his callous insensitivity toward them. The attack by the Wolves hardened them, and they’re a lot more like him now – it’s up to him to meet them halfway.

The episode appears to end on a happy note, as Glenn manages to get a signal to Alexandria that he is still alive, but then everyone’s happiness turns to shock as a tower outside of town suddenly collapses, bringing down part of the wall with it and giving the Walker horde a chance to swarm in. As unprepared as everyone is, they’re all going to have to fight together to survive. Next week’s midseason finale looks to be very intense.

Random thoughts:

*Glenn convinces Enid, the teenager who escaped from Alexandria, to go back with him. She actually tries to pull a gun on him, which he practically laughs off. The guy just survived an entire horde of zombies, and you actually think pointing a gun at him is gonna scare him? Good luck with that.

*Father Gabriel puts up signs for a prayer group, and Rick (who is apparently still pissed at him for betraying the group last season) rips one of them down out of pure spite. Douche move, Rick.

*Even though the town’s bullets are supposed to be under lock and key, Ron (a teenager with apparent murder on his mind) is able to get them so easily it’s laughable. Even in the post-apocalyptic future, gun control doesn’t work.

*I like that even though Deanna’s lost almost everything and fully aware of the reality she’s living in, she’s still making plans for the expansion of Alexandria. The message of this show shouldn’t be “abandon all hope”, it should be “don’t let na├»ve hope turn you into an idiot.”

*Tara flipping Rick the bird was hilarious and awesome. I know that he is supposed to be the tough, pragmatic hero, but telling her she shouldn’t be risking her life for one of the Alexandrians, as if they’re lesser mortals? Not cool.

*That one-two punch of the balloons flying in the air and the tower coming crashing down has to be one of the best episode endings in the show’s history. Very powerful stuff.

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Monday Open Thread


Silents Are Golden

This short feature on Buster Keaton by “Every Frame a Painting” is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Sunday Open Thread


Sunday Gospel

The Fading Cross: Christianity in European Cinema #CriterionBlogathon


(This is my entry for the Criterion Blogathon, which looks at films in the Criterion Collection.)

There’s no question that the 20th century, particularly the second half, was when Christianity saw a major decline as a political, social and cultural force in Europe.

It’s not hard to understand why: with two generations largely lost in the two World Wars, their descendents grew up unmoored from the traditions and teachings of their parents and grandparents and embraced anti-religious “intellectualism” and utopian leftism instead. As humanity has moved into the new millennium, and Christianity has continued to grow and flourish on every other civilized continent, what used to be the main driving philosophy behind European culture has been reduced to empty pews and only mentioned in European popular culture as an outdated figure of mockery. But looking at the films produced in European cinema during the 20th century (many of which were made by nonbelievers), there are some common themes that suggest where modern European society broke with traditional Christianity, and what Christian values they continue to celebrate.

Note: I cannot discuss these films without describing how they end, so spoiler warnings going forward.

Continue reading The Fading Cross: Christianity in European Cinema #CriterionBlogathon

Saturday Song

Debut song from Jake Evans… opening for New Order this Winter.