TV Review: The Walking Dead 8.9 “Honor” (dir by Greg Nicotero)

So, has everyone seen the latest episode of The Walking Dead?  If not, why are you reading this review?  I ask because, on another site that I write for, I’ve got two people bitching at me for revealing too many spoilers about the shows that I review and, as a result, I felt the need to post an apology to those people.  As far as apologies go, it was fairly passive-aggressive and I’d hate to have to be that insincere on this site.  So, in other words, if you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, don’t read this review.  Thanks!

(Okay, I think I’ve rambled on long enough that anyone who didn’t want spoilers should have left by now.)

On Sunday night, the eighth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead resumed and oh my God, I have got such mixed feelings about what I just watched.  Before I go any further, allow me to share something that I tweeted back in April of 2017:

In other words, I can’t say that I’m shocked that Carl’s dead.  In fact, to a certain extent, I kind of respect the show for following through as opposed to coming up with some last-minute contrivance to allow Carl to live.  At the same time, I do think that the death of Carl has robbed the show of some potentially intriguing future storylines.  In the comic, Carl is still alive and he’s even bonded a bit with Negan.  During Season 7, the show seemed to be laying the foundation for that storyline but apparently, Negan’s going to have to bond with some other kid now.  Maybe Henry.  Maybe Judith.

I guess the main thing that bothers me about Carl’s death is that I really do feel that it was mostly due to the fact that the show’s pace has slowed down to such an extent that Chandler Riggs was getting too old to play the role. The Walking Dead has been on the air for 8 seasons but how many years have actually passed in the show?  It’s hard to say but really, it doesn’t seem like Carl should be any older than 14 or maybe 15.  Meanwhile, Chandler Riggs is closing in on 19.  It’s hard not to feel that the show’s producers decided to kill Carl off rather than maybe just wrap up a few storylines and have season 9 open with a “Four years after the defeat of the Saviors” title card.

Myself, I’ve frequently gotten annoyed with Carl as a character, even though I’ve always appreciated Chandler Riggs’s performance.  That said, Carl was one of the few characters left on the show with room to grow.  Rick is never going to change.  If Negan does become the friendly gardener that we saw in Carl’s fantasy, it’s going to have more to do with expedience than anything else.  Carl, though, was still discovering who he was and what he believed.  The majority of the characters have spent the last three or four seasons in a rut.  By virtue of being young, Carl was one of the few characters who actually had a chance of breaking out of that rut.

I mean, to be absolutely honest, I always assumed that the show would end with Carl shooting Rick before he could reanimate.  If you go all the way back to season 1, that’s the ending that the show has appeared to be logically building up to.  Now, I guess Judith will have to do it.

As for the episode itself … again, my feelings were mixed.  This episode was determined to wring every last drop of emotion out of Carl’s passing.  When it worked, it was largely due to the performances of Riggs, Danai Gurira, and the always underrated Andrew Lincoln.  At the same time, there was a part of me that started to resent just how much the show dragged out Carl’s death.  I know that AMC likes to do “super-sized” episodes of The Walking Death but, in this case, I think this episode would have been more effective if it had just been an hour.  Yes, that single gunshot was heart-rendering but, up until I heard it, there was a part of me that feared the show was planning to drag Carl’s death out over the entire rest of the season.

While Carl was dying, Carol, Morgan, and a few other people went off to rescue Ezekiel.  Gavin, who was always one of the most obnoxious of the Saviors, is now dead and yay for that.  Morgan has apparently decided that he’s okay with killing people again.  Morgan also apparently now has Jason Voorhees-style super strength.

It wasn’t a bad episode, though it certainly didn’t carry the power that it would have carried if it had happened during the fourth or fifth season.  On the one hand, I’ve always appreciated the fact that anyone can die on The Walking Dead.  On the other hand, characters die so frequently (and then pop up on the Talking Dead to say goodbye) that it’s now easy to get cynical about the whole thing.

In fact, it may be too early to say whether The Walking Dead handled Carl’s death the right way.  It depends on how this all plays out.  Will the show use Carl’s death as an excuse to go off in an unexpected direction or will we promptly get back to Negan chuckling and Rick giving speeches?  I’m actually looking forward to next week, just because I’m interested in seeing which Rick we’re going to get.  Are we going to get the crazy Rick who appeared after Lori died or are we going to get the catatonic Rick who showed up after Negan executed Abraham and Glenn?  Or maybe it’ll be the return of the Stoic Rick who shot zombie Sophia because he knew he had no other choice.  Which Rick will it be?

We’ll find out next week … hopefully.


Lisa’s Favorite 2018 Super Bowl Commercials!

Well, this is quite the quandary.

Usually, at the end of the Super Bowl, I post my ten favorite Super Bowl commercials.  However, this year, most of the commercials were kind of bland.  There were a few that were undoubtedly terrible and tasteless.  I definitely could have done without the commercial that suggested the best way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. was to buy a pickup truck.  And there were a few commercials that were cute.  Fortunately, we didn’t have any of the condescending “super woke’ commercials that we had to deal with last year.  But, at the same time, there was a general lack of brilliance this year.

In fact, the majority of my favorite Super Bowl commercials were for movies and TV shows.  But I already posted all of those.  Posting them again would be … well, kinda of exhausting.

I was tempted to just not post a favorite commercial list this year but … well, if you know me and my tendency toward compulsive behavior, you know not making a list is never an option with me.

So, here are six commercials that I did like.

1. T-Mobile “Evil Babies Planning On Taking Over The World and Killing Everyone In Their Sleep”

I liked this commercial because it was hella creepy.

2. Doritos Blaze “Don’t Fuck With Peter Dinklage”

3. Mountain Dew Ice “Morgan Freeman: The Cold, Hard Truth”

4. Tide “No Exit”

5. Sprint “Ex Machina Part Two”

6. Solo “Oh my God!  It’s Donald Glover”

Here’s The Super Bowl Commercial for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan!

This is actually the second Super Bowl commercial to feature John Krasinski.  He’s also the director and (I believe) one of the starts of A Quiet Place.

I’d be lying if I ever said that, while I was watching him on The Office, I ever imagined that John Krasinski would become an action star.  However, it appears that he’s managed to do just that.

Here’s The Super Bowl Spot for Castle Rock!

Castle Rock, the latest big Hulu series, is based on the writings of Stephen King.  This Super Bowl commercial gets things off to the right start by name dropping Shawshank Prison and then going on to create an effectively creepy atmosphere.

(Usually, I tend to be skeptical about Stephen King adaptations but, with the success of both It and Gerald’s Game last year, I’ll be more than happy to take a chance on Castle Rock!)

TV Review: The X-Files 11.3 “Plus One” (dir by Kevin Hooks)

It’s time for a creepy twin episode!

If there’s anything that I’ve learned from television and the movies, it’s that twins always have special powers and that those powers often lead to people dying.  I’ve also learned that, roughly 75% of the time, one twin will be saintly while the other will be a total jerk.  I have to admit that, whenever I meet twins in real life, it’s always a bit of a let down when it turns out that they’re not planning on taking over the world or opening up some sort of soul-sucking vortex.

In this case, the twins are Judy and Chucky Poundstone (both played by Karin Konoval).  Judy is in a mental hospital.  Chucky is a hoarder.  Both Judy and Chuck are also inhabited by Demon Judy and Demon Chucky, which could be a sign of either multiple personalities or demonic possession, depending on what you believe in.  All four of them are constantly playing a telepathic game of hangman, spelling out the names of the people who have annoyed them.  (Chucky, in particular, has a judgmental streak.)  Early on, it’s mentioned that their parents both hanged themselves.  Look at their old hangman games and you’ll see drawings of both “Mom” and “Dad.”

People are dying.  The authorities say that they’re all committing suicide but almost all of them, before dying, claimed that they were being pursued by a doppelgänger.  When one man manages to survive being attacked by his doppelgänger, that’s all it takes to get Mulder interested in the case.  Scully, of course, is skeptical about whether or not people are actually being murdered by their doppelgängers.  Not Mulder, though.  He has Twin Peaks experience, after all.  He knows better than to laugh off talk of doppelgängers.

This was a stand-alone episode of The X-Files, a monster of the week episode.  There was no talk of conspiracies or the Cigarette Smoking Man or William or anything else.  Judging from the reaction on twitter, a lot of people were happy about that.  Myself, I found it a bit jarring to go from the paranoia of This to the relatively straight forward investigation featured in Plus One.  I guess I’m just always surprised to discover that Mulder and Scully are not only still working for the FBI but they still take their jobs seriously.  Speaking for myself, if I had been through half of what they’ve been through, I’d probably end up fleeing the country and living off the grid in Canada.

That’s not to say that Plus One wasn’t a good episode.  I didn’t like it quite as much as everyone else did but, at the same time, it did have its share of creepy moments.  To be honest, anything involving a doppelgänger is going to be creepy.  I also enjoyed the deliberately absurd scene where the lawyer attempted to suicide-proof his house.  How many guns and swords does one attorney need?  For some reason, the fact that Mulder and Scully didn’t really seem to care that much about any of the “innocent” people who were killed amused me to no end.  I don’t know if that was deliberate or not but there was just something very amusing about the way both of them just shrugged at the idea of the lawyer chopping off his own head.  Eh, they seemed to be saying, we’ve seen worse.  Karin Konoval played both Chucky and Judy.  She was great as Judy but a bit less convincing as Chucky.  (In all fairness, the scenes between Mulder and Chucky featured the episode’s clunkiest dialogue.)

One final question raised by tonight’s episode, what is the current status of Mulder and Scully’s relationship?  Judging from tonight’s episode, I would say that they’re friends with benefits.