Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Walking Dead - S6x07 Heads Up

Photo Credit: The Walking Dead / Gene Page
Straight off the heels of Daryl, Sasha and Abraham finally heading home, we returned behind Alexandria's barriers to see what's going down with this band of survivors. The latest episode of The Walking Dead episode Heads Up was chalk full of warnings, dangerous tarzanian escapades and a long-awaited resurrection. Below include spoilers of the series's so far. You've been warned but hope you enjoy!

6. Ricktatorship 2016
While waiting for the others to come home, Rick took over the role of Alexandria's leader - which was pretty much given to him on a silver platter by Deanna. Rather than  treating everyone as inferior, he tried to establish some camaraderie and give hope - of what little there was to give.

When checking the fences Rick was joined by Tobin to reinforce some of the barriers. They both noticed blood trickling through, but he tried to assure Tobin everything was going to be okay. Rightfully all the Alexandrians were scared when he burst into the community meeting, blood trickling down his face, pretty much executing Pete, and taking their way of life from a snail's pace to a NASCAR race. I liked seeing them work together, and even Tobin stepping up to ask Rick not to give up on them. It was nice to see an Alexandrian pitch in and actually talk to Rick rather than avoid him and nothing ever changes.

One of my favorite scenes was Rick and Maggies' conversation. They shared some reassurance especially Rick trying to tell Maggie that Daryl, Sasha, Abraham, and especially Glenn will return, that they all have come back from harder fights and further away. What's been really essential during Glenn's 'disappearance' is that the hope for him is still alive. Even Rick thought they could clear the area before they returned so they could just walk right in. Something about this suggestion was very hopefully romantic and actually tugged on my heartstrings a little.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, Rick is still looking out for number one. And, this is one of those instances I can't blame him.

Spencer foolishly wasn't thinking his plan through when he decided to pull a Tarzan and throw himself over the barriers. Of course, he fell into the walker hoard below. If it wasn't for Tara shooting at the zombies, as well as Rick and Tobin pulling him to safety, he would've died doing something very foolish. Was he drunk again? That remained to be seen.

Rick was pissed at Tara for taking a chance with her life. But was he wrong?

Spencer is a Hagrid-esque tall, 280 pound dude. The walls might be made of steel but they are already feeling the pressure of the walkers crammed up against it. His weight alone probably had an affect to the wall that connects to the watchtower. If he had chosen an ever weaker wall with the horrible hooks he used to zipline, the whole thing could have collapsed. If he didn't want to play off the heroics so much, maybe he should have done it from a different vantage point. Or pass his plan by Rick, just so they all could pitch in and try to make it work. Even if he thought he could clear the area of walkers, get into a car, and lead the them away, his approach revealed so much of his dumbassery.

So Rick's hastiness and his Us versus Them mentality showed itself. He's in a different headspace than he was last season when he was ready to overrun Alexandria and kill them all off, but he still considers his family more important than anyone else.

But, was Tara in over head? She expressed that they are all stuck together, which is sorta saying that they aren't with anyone else so why not be all-in. But in admitting that she didn't even think about dying, and that outlook is very excessive. Yes the impulse is there to help someone in need, but is it worth to risk your well-being in the process - especially someone who doesn't take other people's lives in consideration?

Once hearing that Spencer nearly died and Rick with three others rescued him, Deanna finally showed her face to give thanks. She's taken a backseat to Rick leading Alexandria, which is for now what I hoped wouldn't happen. She's been walking around as if the lights are on but nobody's home. I'm starting to miss the poker player from the fifth season who called Sasha's inability to believe in Alexandria as bullshit, and sent her packing around the gates with a pack of bullets.

Honestly, her only appearance in Heads Up was disappointing. That ferociousness we saw a few weeks ago has yet to return. I don't even know what to think about her leading, if all she does is draw up plans for an expansion. Unless scenes were missing of Rick consulting Deanna over his plans to keep the community strong, she's not making relevant decisions to solving their current problems.

On the one hand, we have Rick instilling hope into Alexandrians and his own group, and on the other hand, we have him grappling with a trigger-finger.

When Spencer was on the ground, Rick revealed that he could have left him there to die  The walkers could have eaten Deanna's son alive, and in that gap of them being distracted, Rick thought about making a run for a car and leading the rest away. But he didn't. This is a major improvement but it's still an issue of ensuring you and other survive, others might die.

Rick still struggles with keeping his humanity at bay; having a balance between saving some people to save others, killing to keep himself/other people safe. He mostly keeps all of this locked up though, compartmentalizing which sacrifices are right or wrong. In between, he still manages to get all kinds of jobs done; they may not be in the most patience or forward-thinking way but someone has to strap the boots on in this place.

Part of me thinks that he's a broken record by offering his leadership since he's been doing it most of the time. This doesn't make him boring or uninteresting, but how much of his heart is really in The Game of Life? Does having too much of a heart make any survivor a liability?

5. Ron'll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid!

Apparently the Grimes family never took part in the 24-hour marathons of A Christmas Story. Maybe they could've learned a thing or two - like give a kid gun and he's most certainly going to shoot his or another kid's eye out. Like this lil' jerk Ron.

Yep, Rick and Carl gave him a gun so he can feel the weight of it and started giving him shooting lessons. There was a few nice emphases between Rick to Ron, making sure he saw his targets clearly, aiming for a walker's head, checking how the barrel was empty, and getting the gun up to eye-level. Everything is right on track for Carl to lose his eye soon. If not, I'll be very surprised.

Of course, this was topped off with a nice little cherry when Ron stole real bullets from the armory and was trailing Carl with his hand on the gun. Oh, boyyeeee.

Carl instructing Ron on how to use a gun was an interesting parallel to season three when he executed one of the Governor's teens without hesitation. At that time, Herschel was around to point out that Carl could be heading down the same path Rick was. A few months of farming and Rick teaching his son  to survive without killing people barely managed to diffuse that time bomb. Sadly, nobody is around to teach Ron the right things. Pete was an abusive alcoholic, who didn't give him the time of day except to hurt his mom, his brother, or himself. Enid was his one escape, but she was barely interested in him at all considering how much she spent planning to leave. Carl managed to gain enough of her attention, and then Rick killed his father, the body of which wasn't even going to be buried in the community. Ron is heading down the same scary path Carl was and nothing is gonna stop him.

Oh wait, there's Jessie. Why isn't she concerned about where he is or monitoring her son using weapons for the very first time? Oh yeah, she's attending weapons lessons without Ron, making cookies and trying to lure her other son out of his cave. Nevermind....


4. Catch Our Breath
Most of the sixth season so far has allowed us to catch our breath. There's been some action but most scenes have allowed us to digest Glenn's apparent death. Also the divide of multiple characters lends to the story splitting into timelines and locations.

But as Rick and Michonne discussed what to do in their downtime, I couldn't help but think how much Alexandria started to rally together in this episode. They're finally trying to make their time within the walls as effective as possible by having weapons training sessions and guards are on the towers. However, perhaps one of the ways they are failing the most is not considering an escape plan or rendezvous point. Other than his mistrust of people, I'm surprised Rick hasn't learned this even from season three and four. With the threat of The Governor hanging over them, the council nor Rick NOR HERSCHEL ever thought of a good place for everyone to meet-up in case of an attack occurred. To me, especially now, it would seem like a good idea. The quarry is pretty empty, so perhaps that's the best place?

Rick and his people know more than anyone that some enemies come back again and again until they have what they want. It feels like nobody really explained to him Wolves' true risks. They didn't want their houses or to make cover within the walls. The Wolves were not simply wanting their territory; they were killing everyone, taking their supplies and then bailing. If I were him, I would be making sure at least his people had a place to reunite if all hell breaks loose again. Whatever they do to strengthen Alexandria's defense, it might not be enough...

3. Council Meeting Now In Session
Will Alexandria have a council similar to the prison? It seems so, as Rick with Michonne and Carol spoke with Morgan about the Wolves attack. Carol brought up her concerns that Morgan refused to kill, even when people were being burned alive. Obviously Carol isn't having his all life is precious mantra, neither are the others.

Rick posed a question to Morgan if anyone can really make it now without getting blood on their hands. He has compromised with most of his enemies, even if it resulted in a laundry list of deaths on his hands. But Rick is always kinda one to talk. He was poised to kill Pete way before there was any knowledge of his abuse towards Jessie, and was planning to overrun Alexandria before the community meeting. Even if Rick has killed people before to keep his entire family safe, no matter how irrational it might have been in the moment, Rick's perspective is also one of tunnel vision.

So what becomes of the man with the ethics? The council seem to think it's a probability to keep watch on Morgan but possibly a lot more - perhaps an exile similar to Rick banishing Carol in season four, only this time it might not be a sole decision but a group one. Now is a more prevalent time than ever for trust and honesty, and Morgan is missing all of those opportunities to be forthcoming. Perhaps he's waiting for his DIY project to successfully come to fruition. For him it's a matter of holding onto Eastman's ideology and not killing if he doesn't have to. His principles aren't easy and neither would it be for him to just let it go, but he'll be facing one hell of an ultimatum at some point or another.

It's interesting that Carol was banished from the group earlier for killing people; for stepping up and doing what she thought was right to stop the flu from spreading in the prison. But, she did it in such a hasty way behind everyone's backs. This is why Rick stopped trusting her. She's learned what happens when you cross Rick. He might have regretted sending her away, but she managed to earn back his familial love by saving his family's life on countless occasions. They're now on the level with each other. In contrast, Morgan might be exiled because he won't kill to save his friends. He's about to learn what happens to people who don't come clean and put Rick's family in harm's away. No matter how deep and rich their history may be, Rick isn't beyond getting rid of people who could potentially be a bigger risk than their real, more threatening enemies.

Even in Carol's adamant beliefs on annihilating anyone who is a threat, a bit of her true colors or conscience peeked through in her momentary visit to Jessie's house. Sam, who refuses to come downstairs asked her 'if you kill people, do you become a monster?' Her response, which seemed to even stun her was, the only way you can't become a monster is to kill people. She's definitely feeling the weight of her survival and her friends' murders from the Wolves. She won't stop fighting anytime soon but the collision of her beliefs could cause some turmoil.

Morgan wasn't very good at camouflaging that a Wolf is his pet because he approached Alexandria's resident doctor Denise for help. Being at the right place and time, Carol immediately noticed suspicious activity between the two of them and started to investigate. After handing Judith off to Jessie, Carol trailed the pair to Morgan's house and wanted to know what the hell was up.


2. Rosita Ain't Having It
Previously the broship between Abraham and Eugene reached a resolution when the two had a hug-out and baring of man feelings. But what about Rosita and Eugene? Well, interestingly enough in this season, the two longtime roadtrip pals were not in same vicinityvery often. In Heads Up, we immediately knew why. Rosita wasn't having any of his cowardice.

Her new role was teaching Alexandrians how to use weapons. First lesson was how to wield a machete. While the others were following orders, Eugene stood in a fog barely moving nor considering how to use the sword. Rosita had enough before the day even began.

I really enjoyed Christian and Josh's scene together. It was a lot like a brother and sister quarreling, or older sister ranting at little brother - and a part of me can't blame her.

Everyone has a different way of surviving, and Eugene's was to lie about having a cure for the apocalypse. Plenty of people were gutted along the way until he finally came out with the truth. Rosita took Eugene flat out told him to stop being afraid of dying; what's worse is that other people are dying all around him and he's not doing anything to keep them here.

She has a lot of unexpressed pain and anger to have risked herself and probably had to take others out on the road for a lie. She had a find way to keep living passed so many other people's deaths and that's the hardest part.

I wonder how she is going to put Abraham in his place when he returns, if his friendship to Sasha has escalated quickly.

My question in relation to Eugene is that why isn't he given a different task, non-weapon related? Maybe he can learn to fight a little so at least he knows how, but his job doesn't have to be going out on runs, that could and should be used to the benefit of someone else who is capable of being a member of team.

But on another note with Eugene, he seems to be well-acclimated to the group even if people find him awkward. Understandably his plan to get to Washington D.C. did get Rick's group to Alexandria, however - should we consider still shunning Gabriel? His way to survive was taking shelter in his church. Yes his neighborhood died off around him, and he tried to exile our group from Alexandria after they saved his life a dozen times...but is a lot of that any different than Eugene - dozens of people died for his safety over a lie. Gabriel seems to be making a turn for the better. They may not be fairly comparable methods, but I did feel a twinge of empathy for him when he was hanging up his prayer meeting signs and Rick took them down.



Most of us saw what was coming but yes GLENN IS ALIVE. It's still one of the best feelings in fandom history. The pizza boy who gives us all the hope in the world has officially survived. While his intestines made for a nice brunch , Glenn crawled underneath the dumpster. Any walkers who sensed him sneaking away, he managed to stab in the hand or leg, and eventually the head when they fell down. Inadvertently, he gave himself a barrier from other walkers trying to reach for him and covered him his smell.

Over a course of that night and next day, walkers got distracted anyways from rolling cans in the street, perhaps also Maggie shouting at Aaron in a nearby sewer during one of the earlier episodes. When the coast was clear Glenn finally set foot into the light, safe but dehydrated.

And who was there to turn up by Enid, tucking herself safely inside the nearby building and her apparent home away from Alexandria for who knows how long.

In true Glenn spirit, once finding out that Alexandria was in trouble, he wouldn't let Enid stay out there by herself. JSS proved to be an interesting episode for Enid's backstory but I'm not sure how much longer she will remain interesting. He made several attempts to demand she came home with him, almost taking on a father/emo teen daughter role already. Would I have continually tried to get her to come home when she didn't want to? Not really. At some point everyone's survival is up to themselves, and she left for a reason - her is obviously not wanting to be with anyone else and nothing is going to convince her anyways.

Enid's position is that the world is dying and we should just let it. But beyond that - what is there to stay alive for if you're not going to make any contact with other people? Aren't you by default dying yourself or at least cutting yourself short even in an apocalypse?

Glenn obviously has a different point of view. When he truly dies, he will go knowing he did everything for humanity. Taking the deserted roads back to Alexandria, they conversed in what it means to survive. What's interesting is that we assumed Glenn's reason for bringing Enid back with him was for Maggie; she wouldn't leave her behind either. She's obviously a huge part of his life, as well as her pregnancy. But more details come to light that this is just as much for Glenn as it is for his wife too; there's almost an immediate adoptive bond from Glenn, taking everyone under his wing. His family is no longer just those who've been with him the longest, but anyone who has a chance to survive.

Even though Glenn always manages to survive somehow, he continues to honor the dead, even if he's scared. This attitude is what makes up our love and admiration for him, but I'd like to see more of a deeper affect on him following Nicholas' death. Glenn is like a sponge, soaking up everyone's weaknesses and trying to strengthen them, playing on a team, and helping everyone survive. But he's been through a lot of torment. The toll on his psyche has to reach a limit at some point. I just can't see him going on much longer without succumbing to some sort of exhaustion or loss of hope, even if it just gives him a temporary edge. Let's not dwell about this happening by Maggie getting killed or him taking Rick's place as Mayor in Crazy Town, but will the grace of Glenn ever weaken or move into some sort of deeper struggle?

What becomes of Glenn's survival and their journey home, is that those green balloons (originally intended to be released when the quarry mission was complete) finally flew like never before. As they took flight into the clear blue sky, of course, no good happy feelings last long. Maggie, Rick, and the others saw his signal and knew he was alive. THEN, the literal walls, the watchtower fell into Alexandria's front yard. And the hoards of walkers came barreling through. Glenn and Enid could only watch in horror from the outside.

Of course, this was the episodes' ending, gearing us up for the mid season finale. May we see another classic save by Daryl and the others driving their truck into the yard and taking out some of the walkers? Who will we lose in the mid-season finale when the dust settles, if it does? Eeek, I don't want to know
. Heads up to my inner fangirl, and yours too - it'll probably be a fair few.

Quick Thoughts

+ LOVED the pause between Maggie and Rick's conversation when she said Judith is starting look like Lori.. It was literally like. "She's starting to look like.......Lori"

+ The title for the episode fit pretty well. Everyone was calling each other out that they had to be more aware; and it also played nicely with Glenn's signal via the balloons and the tower falling.

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