The Walking Dead, S4 Ep. 5: I Am the Warrior

Sooooo.  The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 5.  “Internment”, they called it.

Oh, right, before I so one step further…


There.  That should clear up any confusion.

So, The Walking Dead.  Thankfully, this seems to be the end of the megaflu story arc, which is fine with me because I’ve had quite enough of people with bleeding eyeballs.

Bad things are in store for poor Dr. Caleb.

Bad things are in store for poor Dr. Caleb.

Zombies are one thing, but hemorrhagic fevers?  Ewwww.  Quite another.


Here’s what we’ve got: One-legged country veterinarian and closest-thing-to-a-doctor-on-site (see: poor Dr. Caleb), Hershel, has voluntarily locked himself in quarantine with the infected survivors in the prison, to try and administer some sort of medical hoodoo.  Carl, Rick’s 14-year-old son, has had a little bit of a romantic past with his gun, though he’s becomes almost freakishly competent (if a little militaristic, she said in a mastery of understatement).  He’s in a separate building, in charge of the vulnerable population (the elderly, small children) but is rarin’ to go in the fight to defend their claustrophobic, PTSD-inducing way of life.  And zombies are massing at the outside fence.

More or less.

The warrior core–Daryl, Tyreese, and Michonne–are out on a supply run (and Glenn is laid up with the flu; Glenn, if you remember, officially became a badass last season, when he broke free from the chair he was bound to and used a chunk of said broken chair to kill the zombie that was locked in the room with him).  Thus, the defense of the prison is left to the kinder, gentler, gentleman-farmer incarnation of Rick, his teenage son Carl, and Maggie, who’s got a lot of fight and isn’t afraid of hard work and a little zombie slaughter but doesn’t usually occupy the front lines.

Oh! And Hershel, an amputee in his…mid-60s?…who can walk thanks to a prosthetic leg they made for him out of spare prison parts.  Don’t ask me what his leg is made of I DON’T KNOW.  I just know he gets around pretty good for something welded out of old cafeteria tables.  Hershel is the constant voice of humanity, the reminder that we need to remember we’re humans and not devolve into winner-take-all, soulless greedmongers, as opposed to this.


It’s MINE! All MINE! I’m rich, I’m a happy miser.
Image from

Kind of like zombies, but with pulses.

Before I go a step further, I’d like to point out that the primary definition of the word “internment“–in any dictionary–generally means imprisoning a bunch of enemy combatants and/or perceived threats.  It does also simply refer to the state of being confined, but its intial definition has an overt military aura.  When the US rounded up Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they didn’t say they were putting them in safe houses to protect them from unreasonable mobs.  They went into internment camps.  This word underscores the notion that these people at the VERY LEAST are going to have some severe PTSD, that their group operates militarily (even if they don’t want to admit it) and subsequently the kids are growing up to be child soldiers, which is horrifying in its own right, with or without the zombies.

There were a few themes in this week’s The Walking Dead that stood out.  Parents, in this episode, kept trying to protect their kids, and it kept not working.  Hershel doesn’t want Maggie to enter the quarantine building.  Rick doesn’t want Carl to leave the safe zone with the kids.  And this guy didn’t want Hershel to know just how badly his kid was doing in fighting the flu…

Though on second thought, maybe this guy should've told Hershel his kid was on the road to Zombietown.

Though on second thought, maybe this guy should’ve told Hershel his kid was well on his way to Zombietown.

Hindsight.  C’est la vie.

Carl summed up the futility of the (nevertheless completely understandable) parental attempt to protect their kids in the crazy world they live in.  “You can’t  keep me from it,” Carl says to his father and, when his father asked from what?  “From what always happens.”  The shit, he’s saying, will eventually hit the fan and I’ll be in the middle of it, fighting for my life or running, no matter what you do.  So I should be a part of it.

And he is.  They all are.  It’s not long before Rick asks Carl to help him shore up the outer fencing, which has been tremendously weakened by constant external pressure from thronging, pushing zombies.  The braces break, the outer wall is breached, zombies flood the inner walk, and Rick and Carl run for the heavy artillery–machine guns and lots and lots of rounds of ammo–to take down the enormous herd of walkers looking at a Rick & Carl lunch.

Not quite the bonding time one might hope for, but in a zombie apocalypse, you take what you get.

Not quite the bonding time one might hope for, but in a zombie apocalypse, you take what you get.

OK, a Rick & Carl dinner.  Because it’s night, see?

But that brings us to our second theme: everyone’s a warrior, no matter what you might think.  Carl saved his dad’s bacon.  Maggie shot her way in to the internment site because she knew trouble was going down and wanted in.  (In fact, Maggie may be the perfect soldier; she was told to stay out by her father–from one perspective he could be considered her commanding officer.  When gunshots were heard coming from the hospital she initially did not go in to help them and balked at the idea of leaving her job on the fence even though her father and sick husband were in the middle of some gunplay, until she received permission from Rick, who at that point was the officer on duty.)

Rick and Carl did manage to have a quiet bonding moment, eating beans instead of telling Daryl that Carol was banished.  Because who wouldn’t want to put that off?

Here, son.  Have a bean.

Here, son. Have a bean.

But you know, you can’t keep him from it.  Oh, snap!  Did I just quote Carl?

And Hershel.  Sweet, gentle Hershel.  Played by actor Scott Wilson, this episode was Wilson’s shining moment to date.  He was fantastic, almost as cinematically impressive as Agnes Moorehead’s one-woman tour de force The Twilight Zone episode “The Invaders” (for those unfamiliar with this episode, watch it here and learn).  I only give her slightly more cred because she was essentially the only actress for a half-hour show.  But.

Hershel’s running around, saving people, dragging them back to their cells to rest.  He had his first zombie kill (I’m trying to remember…this can’t be his first-first, can it?  or is it just his first in the claustrophobic hospital setting?), which was a solemn moment; he even tried to keep it dignified by pulling a sheet over the zombified’s head.

I understand that the first one is the hardest.

I understand that the first one is the hardest.

But it didn’t take long for him to start breaking zombie arms.

Because he, NEEDED...that gun.

Because he wanted…no, NEEDED…that gun.

Stabbing zombies in the face.

Poor, poor Dr. Caleb.

Poor, poor Dr. Caleb.

And throwing them over stair railings.



Go, Hershel!  Fighting the flu, fighting zombies, intubating the sick with his left hand and stabbing zombies in the head with his right.  I love this guy.

So.  Even the most unexpected person can be called upon to fight in the post-apocalyptic world.  Which is good to know, because next week sees the return of The Governor and the crazy’s about to ratchet up a notch or two.

Totally taken from the good people of

So that’s the third theme in this episode: How do you hang onto hope and hold off the crazy?  Rick and his bean eating, and Hershel and his (usually) gentle philosophy, are the bastions that maintain what we think of as civilization.  Hershel’s running around quoting Steinbeck: A sad soul can kill quicker than a gun.  Smiles, everyone.  Smiles.  How do you stay buoyant?  Somehow through the crazy, when you’re facing someone whose dead son comes running up to eat and kill him, when you’ve got to stab the shell of a former friend in the face to survive…how can your heart stay open?

Look, someone got me a birthday cake with a picture of my six-year-old self on it.  And I had a hard time stabbing a rice paper representation in the head.  So, if it’s me vs. my BFF and one of us is dinner if the other doesn’t get a poke in the brain…If that doesn’t make you a little nuts, I don’t know what would.

And speaking of crazy…

How about our little Lizzie in this episode?  Calling the zombie like it’s a dog?  “Here boy!  Here, come on, good boy.”

Who's a hungry zombie?

Who’s a hungry zombie?  Yes you are.  Yes you are.

Side note: I wonder what book she’s reading.  Anyone?

It seems stupidly brave but also adult and manipulative.  Lizzie knows how to draw the zombies off.  Not only do I think she’s the one feeding them, I think the Governor taught her how to do it and she’s spying for him.

And what was UP with Lizzie playing toesies in the blood and sputum that Glenn horked out of his lungs when he was about to die from the flu?

Girlfriend has issues. That's all I'm saying.

Girlfriend needs a hobby. That’s all I’m saying.

That’s it for this week!  I’ll leave you on a happy note: please enjoy Bugs Bunny in “Ali Baba Bunny”.  I felt like I had to include it since I posted a still earlier.

The Terrors of Being a Couch Potato: Calendar Edition

Did you ever need a calendar and not want to get up from your laptop (as you sprawl on the couch) and walk ten feet to your desk?  So instead you just Google image the month you need so you can feast your eyes on one of the trillion digitized maps that are just at your fingertips?  Did you ever open that in a new tab so you wouldn’t have to “mess up” where you are and go back through your browser to return to your very important reading material regarding Dave Matthews getting stranded while riding a bicycle in Hershey PA before a concert?  And then…

Did you ever forget that you had this new tab open, then open like ten more because you’re an unrepentant tab junkie, then completely forget what you had open on all of them so you had to scroll through each tab to see if it was worth keeping open?  So when you get to the tab that has the calendars on it you don’t know what you’re about to see and it looks something like this:

August August everywhere...

August August everywhere…

And then your brain starts to hurt because time is just flying at you and time and months and TIME and this was like something out of The Twilight Zone and you’re all “Paging Mr. Serling…Rod Serling, please report to my cerebral cortex” only he doesn’t show up because right now you’re on your own with nothing but your wits and perhaps a rudimentary lathe to save you.  (p.s. Rod Serling was an early childhood crush of mine, so…let that rattle around in there for a while.)  Then the page starts to swirl in on itself and your cat’s looking at you like he’s in on some giant universal secret (but then again, when doesn’t he?) and…

Maybe he's screaming because it's so effing hot out.

Maybe he’s screaming because it’s so effing hot out. I would imagine Norwegians wither in the heat.
(How’s that for a little Edvard Munch humor?)

And then you’re like HOLY CRAP WHERE DID ALL THIS TIME GO?  What is my place in the universe?  What is my legacy?  Why am I sitting on my couch thinking about cured meat?  Is this the heat?  Who’s up for wiffle ball?  Where did those hairs come from?  Who gave the green light to the Shake Weight?  And: why?  Am I forever doomed to think like a twelve-year-old?

What happens if I apply HeadOn somewhere other than directly on my forehead?  The horror…the horror…

Or is this just me???

(p.p.s: My regular Monday food blog will show up on Tuesday.  Sometimes, you’ve got to go where your brain takes you.)

Trilogy of Terror

It’s the most! Wonderful tiiiiiime!  Of the year!

Yes, October is my favorite month for TV watching.  In about a month or so I’ll be doing everything I can to hide from schlocky sentiment-laden ABC-Family movies starring Jenny McCarthy as a plucky, streetwise single mom just trying to make the holiday spirit happen for her love child with Santa, with the aid of an elf who bucks the North Pole system and a sentient Christmas hamster.  (Maybe I should pitch this; ABC Family people…call me.)  Ugggggh, kill me.  But now?  My DVR is jammed with Ghost-this and Paranormal-that.  Except for Paranormal State and Ghost Adventures.  I never could get behind those shows; they’re a little too hair gel and Ed Hardy for my taste.

As I’ve been watching and watching and watching my SpookyTV, I’ve come across more than a few shows that feature evil dolls.  Now, I believe with all my heart that dolls are inherently creepy, except maybe for Barbie dolls since they’re clearly not anatomically relevant to human beings at all.  (Alien-headed Bratz dolls are creepy in an entirely different sort of way, but I digress.)  There is, however, no doll quite so creepy as the evil Zuni doll that hunts the one-and-only Karen Black in the 1975 made-for-TV movie that strings together a series of vignettes, Trilogy of Terror.

When dolls get stabby.
Photo from

One could point out that the Zuni people are gentle farmers-turned-herders who carve kachinas and produce quality jewelry and pottery.  One could point out that they’re not befanged even in the least.  But as our current state of media reminds us daily, no one cares about facts.  What’s important, though, is that this is the best of the best of the murderous dolls in all of Hollywoodland with the possible exception of Talky Tina of The Twilight Zone fame (and let’s have a shout-out to Telly Savalas for his work in the Zone as dickish dad Eric; no lollipop, just pure Telly, baby. Brilliant.).

I would put the Zuni warrior up against Chucky any day of the week.

While all of Trilogy of Terror is worth a watch for any horror fan, the final segment (called “Amelia”) is the crazed doll must-see.  It is Karen Black’s one-woman-vs.-evil-doll tour-de-force that forever elevated her in my heart to horror goddess (though her performance in Burnt Offerings runs a realllllly close second).  If I remember correctly it scared the crap out of my mother when it first aired.  I looked for a clip of just that vignette but I couldn’t find one so here is a link to the entire movie in all of its Karen-Blacktastic glory.

“Amelia” starts at about 45:50 if you want to forward right to it and skip the first two stories that are not required Halloween viewing.  As for me, I’m going to interrupt my haunted house DVR queue for an hour and twelve minutes, enjoy the whole show, and start planning my Karen Black movie marathon.

Happy Halloweening!  As an added horror bonus, I have included a link to Telly Savalas’s version of “I Walk the Line”.  If this doesn’t keep you up at night, nothing will.


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