Review: The Walking Dead S5E11 “The Distance”


“The fight it turns on you. You have to let it go.” — Michonne

[spoilers within]

Just when there’s been a sliver of doubt that the show has lost some steam because of last week’s episode which some have called a throwaway due to little to no action. When people say this it means the show barely has the so-called zombie action it has become known for. A show titled The Walking Dead always goes back to surviving the zombies around Rick and his people. Yet, the show needs to take the sort of breather that last week’s “Them” provided not just the characters but the audience.

Tonight’s episode looks to be the start of a new story-arc that mirrors a similar event in the comic book. The group has a journey where food and water has become scarce. A night trapped in a barn with zombies about to break through and hurricane winds and rain just outside. These people are true survivors. Rick’s leadership (questionable at times) have seen the group through the Governor and Woodbury, a viral outbreak, fall of the prison, Terminus and right up to Gareth and his Hunters. All these events have culled some of the more soft-hearted members of the team and just about left nothing of the group but the hard inner core.

They remain good people trying desperately to hold onto the humanity and compassion, but all the things they’ve gone through has begun to affect them in so many ways. Tonight we see how the burden of leadership and seeing how their trust has been betrayed over and over when it comes to strangers has begun to weigh on Rick. He sees how being on the road has weakened his people as water and food run low, but trust seems to be leaving him when it comes to those he sees as not his people.

Tonight we see Rick’s mistrust of Aaron (introduced as the mysterious “friend” who left the group bottles of water on the road) and his promise of a safe community reach paranoia level. The rest of the group have their own levels of doubt about Aaron, but willing to entertain the prospect of getting off the road and be somewhere safe even if just temporary. Rick doesn’t see it that way. What he sees when he looks at Aaron and listens to his words of safety and community are the same things the Governor and the Terminus radio message had promised in the past. His defense mechanism has become so pervasive in how he deals with the unknown that he’s lost sight of how this world needs pragmatism over anything else if one was to survive.

Michonne and others in the group understand that Aaron’s offer could be a trap and another Terminus, but they’ve become such pragmatists in this hellish new world that before they dismiss the offer as a danger they need to find out more. They see this offer as a way out of the road. A solution to the emotional toll their nomadic life has taken on them. Yet, Rick focuses on seeing this new development as just another trap that he needs to stop before it gets sprung.

The whole episode we see Rick’s mindset get questioned by not just Michonne, but others such as Glenn, Maggie and, to a certain degree, even Daryl knows that they need a viable and safe place to hold up. A barn that is stinking of horseshit would not do. Rick would back off his initial orders to take the fight to these new mysterious “benefactors” but we could see in his eyes and behavior that the others might be willing to give Aaron a sliver of trust but he won’t.

It takes some words of wisdom from Michonne herself who has noticed that Rick has begun to slide into a state of nihilistic behavior. She knows exactly how Rick feels. She herself was were Rick was when she first showed up to save Andrea all the way back in season 3 and when she first meets up with Rick at the prison. Rick has become so focused on his anger at all the people they’ve lost because of the “bad people” they’ve encountered that he doesn’t seem willing to want to trust anyone outside of those he already has. He has begun to let nothing but anger, distrust and paranoia dictate his decisions instead of letting his emotions tempered by pragmatism rule the day.

Will Rick give up the fight and allow himself to return to being the compassionate leader he was when this all began? Or has the Governor, Joe and Gareth worn his principles down to the point that he cannot go back to being that compassionate leader?

This season has been a gauntlet for the group. Rick might not have loss anyone like Carl or Judith, but as their leader every loss weighs on him and distances him from everyone. One could almost wonder if this was how the Governor, Joe and Gareth turned. Were they good people who were suddenly forced to kill and kill more people just stay alive. It will be interesting to see whether Rick joins those three or will he bring himself back from the brink.

The Walking Dead will always have it’s dosage of gore and zombie action. It will have it’s level of soap opera moments. This is a show that has begun to accept the fact that it will not be on the level of Game of Thrones or it’s stable mates like Breaking Bad or Mad Men. It has gradually embraced it’s very pulpiness and horror roots. For some people it’s way too late, but for those who have stuck around and gone the distance with this show then it looks like there’s hope yet both in new stories to come and how it’s writers have finally gotten what it’s all about.


  • Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, “The Distance”, was directed by Larysa Kondracki and written by Seth Hoffman.
  • According to some little details revealed in this episode Aaron has been tracking and observing Rick and the group for over two weeks now.
  • The sequence at night with Rick, Glenn, Michonne and Aaron driving down route 23 and suddenly running into a road full of zombies was one of the highlight’s for the show tonight.
  • Glad to have the Winnie back even though it’s a different one and not Dale’s.
  • Nice throwback to the show’s early days when Glenn showed Abraham that they had nothing to worry about the Winnie’s dead battery since they had an easy spare to use.
  • Talking Dead guests tonight are the series’ own Dania Gurira aka Michonne and film director and writer Paul Feig.

Season 5

What Lisa Watched This Afternoon #114: Babysitter’s Black Book (dir by Lee Friedlander)

Earlier today, I watched last night’s Lifetime original movie, Babysitter’s Black Book!


Why Was I Watching It?

I love Lifetime movies about out-of-control teenagers.

What Was It About?

Ashley (Spencer Locke) wants to go to a good college and is terrified of getting stuck at a community college.  She’s even started a babysitting service in order to help pay for school.  However, she soon finds herself having an affair with one of her clients (Ryan McPartin).  Meanwhile, one of her employees has turned the babysitting service into a prostitution ring.

And while that may seem extreme to some, never underestimate the lengths people will go to avoid having to enroll in a community college…

What Worked?

Before I watched this film, I thought there was a very good chance that either Sugar Daddies or Back to School Mom would be the best Lifetime film of 2015.  But then I watched Babysitter’s Black Book and oh my God!  Babysitter’s Black Book is one of the best Lifetime films that I have ever seen.  How good was it?  It’s almost as good as Confessions of a Go Go Girl!

(And that’s pretty freaking good…)

Babysitter’s Black Book features everything that you could possibly want from a Lifetime film.  Melodrama, comedy, pretty clothes, sordid happenings in artfully decorated settings, and wonderfully over-the-top dialogue.  When Rachel tries to convince her friends to have sex for money, she very reasonably says, “Use it before you lose it.”  When Mark offers Ashley something to eat, he tells her, “Try it and you’ll never want to have another thing in your mouth.”  How can you not love this film?

The film was also remarkably well-directed and acted.  In the role of the greedily pragmatic Rachel, Angeline Appel stole every scene that she appeared in.  Another scene stealer was an actor named Jeff L. Williams.  Playing the role of the decadent Walker, Williams only appeared in a handful of scenes but he definitely made an impression.  The minute he smirked and said, “Let’s take some real pictures,” you just knew that bad things were going to happen.

This was exactly the type of film that we watch Lifetime to see.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  This was a perfect Lifetime movie.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Not that we ever would but, if for some reason we did decided to start a prostitution business, I would hope that my best friends and I would be as cheerful, giggly, and supportive about it as the girls in this film.  And I really do think we would be.  That’s one of the best things about Babysitter’s Black Book.  It’s a film that — much like Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring — is honest about the fact that sometimes it’s fun to be bad.  (Especially when you’re still too sheltered and naive to understand the consequences…)

Babysitter’s Black Book perfectly captured the feeling of just how exhilarating and scary it can be to have your entire future in front of you.  Whenever Ashley dreaded the prospect of having to stay home and attend a community college, I found myself nodding and thinking, “Oh my God.  Just like me….”

Lessons Learned

Actions have consequences but it’s still fun to have money.


Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For February


Well, tonight’s the night!  Soon, we will know which 2014 films have won Oscars.

And, as soon as the ceremony ends, it will be time to start speculating about which 2015 films will be nominated next year!  I am sharing and updating my predictions on a monthly basis and below you’ll find my latest predictions.  You can read my predictions for January by clicking here.

Some of these films and performers — like End of the Tour and Grandma — were acclaimed at Sundance.  (The recently concluded Berlin Film Festival, on the other hand, mostly just served to confirm that Knight of Cups and Queen of the Desert will probably not be contenders.)  Kristen Stewart recently won a Cesar Award for Clouds of Sils Maria.  Otherwise, the majority of predictions below are the results of my own wild guesses.

A year from now, we’ll probably look back at these predictions and laugh.

Best Picture

Black Mass


The End of the Tour


The Hateful Eight

In The Heart of the Sea

The Revenant

St. James Place

The Walk

Woman in Gold

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

Matt Damon in The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Michael Fassebender in Steve Jobs

Jason Segel in The End of the Tour

Best Actress

Blythe Danner in I’ll See You In My Dreams

Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

Lily Tomlin in Grandma

Best Supporting Actor

Jim Broadbent in Brooklyn

Albert Brooks in Concussion

Paul Dano in Love and Mercy

Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight

Best Supporting Actress

Julia Garner in Grandma

Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Kristin Scott Thomas in Suite Francaise

Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

Meryl Steeep in Suffragette

Best Director

John Crowley for Brooklyn

Ron Howard for In The Heart of the Sea

James Ponsoldt for The End of the Tour

Steven Spielberg for St. James Place

Robert Zemeckis for The Walk

Clouds of Sils Maria