Monday, October 19, 2015

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Two: JSS

This episode begins with Enid standing by the roadside waiting for her parents to fix their car.  When Enid sees the walkers, she calls out for her parents to hurry but they tell her they are almost done fixing the fuse.  The next time we see Enid, she sits in the car alone and the windows are covered in blood.  When Enid looks out the window, she sees a walker happily munching down on mom and dad.  Enid wanders aimlessly through the woods. As she hides behind a tree she draws JSS in the mud.  Enid kills her first walker when she finds it hanging out of a car and again writes JSS but this time on the dirty window.  Later, Enid comes across turtle and actually eats it raw.  It's gruesome but speaks to her desperation.  Enid lays the bones on the ground to form JSS.  Enid is now at the Alexandrian fence and she can the sound of people inside.

Carol is in the pantry and she is busy playing happy home maker. I think she's even scarier like this. Carol grabs the celery soup and says that since they are running low on staples, she will make something with the things now one wants.  Carol adds that she used to make her husband Ed spring cleaning casseroles.  Shelly takes the opportunity to whine about not having a pasta maker. I don't know how Carol didn't scream at her about getting some bloody perspective.  Carol calmly tells Shelly that she can teach her how to make pasta with her own two hands but adds that Shelly would have to stop smoking in the house because it is a disgusting habit which will kill her. Carol points out that there are too many things trying to kill her already before leaving.

Sam sits on the stairs and Carol bluntly tells him that his father used to beat him and now he's dead. Carol simply states that it happened and now it's done.  Carol tells Sam that he can either live with it or it will eat him up before sending him home. Notice how Carol's warm and sunny ways always seem to disappear around Sam?

Jessie calls out for Ron, who comes to his mother's call.  It seems that Jessie wants to cut Ron's hair and he calls it bullshit saying that this is his mother's excuse to talk to him.  Jessie is adamant that there are things they need to talk about and that there are things he needs to learn.  Jessie questions if Ron blames her and asks him to lift his left arm above his head.  Ron cannot do this, so Jessie points out that Porch Dick was dangerous.  Ron however counters with the fact that Rick is dangerous but Jessie answers that Rick doesn't have anything to do with this.  Ron storms off in a huff when Jessie admits to being friends with Rick.

Maggie talks with Deanna about the fence. Maggie hands Deanna some packets of seeds and suggest that they can plant them here after they finish the expansion. Maggie then reminds Deanna that Reg wanted this community to grow and that she wanted it to as well.  Maggie tells Deanna that she needs to show the people she is still here and hand her a shovel. Maggie learned from Hershel because this is just what her father would have done.  Remember when Rick had his farmer days?

Eugene is arguing with Tara about the fact that the community is building a church and Eugene says walled in space is at a premium. Tara suggests sharing the church. What they don't know is that Denise has heard the whole conversation.  Denise says that she is nervous because she went to med school but after panic attacks got interested psychology.  Eugene asks if Denise can do this and she answers that she is all this town has and Pete didn't want her here.  Tara explains that she is there for aspirin because she gets headaches.  Denise says that Tara is her first patient and with that symptom, she is positive that she cannot kill Tara. Eugene being Eugene, points out that it is possible if Denise misses a hematoma .  Both women turn and give Eugene some side eye. Yup Eugene had it coming and then some.

Carl walks down the street, pushing Judith in a pram.  Carl stops when he is called by Gabriel, who immediately brings up what he said to Deanna about the group.  Gabriel explains that he was talking about himself and not the group and that he knows that now. Gabriel claims that he wants to help and that he is ready to learn now.  Carl suggests that Gabriel tell everybody and Gabriel agrees.  Carl tells Gabriel to come by around three and they can start with the machete. Carl is far more forgiving of that spineless bastard than I am.  As Carl continues to walk, he watches as Enid embraces Ron. Mmmmm jealousy?

Carol is cooking in her kitchen and when she looks out the window, she sees Shelly outside smoking. Suddenly an armed men charges Shelly, knocks her to the ground and then bludgeons her. Do you get the feeling that if that W hadn't of shown up that Carol would be taking Shelly out for smoking when she told her to stop?  Deanna and Maggie are digging when they hear the screams. Deanna calls out to Richard, who is on guard to ask what is going on but he bursts into flames after molotov cocktails get tossed into Alexandria.  Oooh this is going to be another action episode. Strap in everyone. Maggie pulls out her gun and starts moving with Deanna hot on her heels. The women stumble through the smoke and Maggie stops when she sees Richard's burning body, causing Maggie to have to urge her on.

Carl tells Carol that the invaders are coming from all over and Carol heads out after telling him to keep Judith safe.  Sam desperately holds onto his mother but Jessie promises Sam that he will be fine, adding that she has to go and find his brother. Jessie tells Sam to hide in a closet and to close the latch. Before Jessie can leave, there's the sound of breaking glass downstairs, so both mother and son hide in the closet and close the latch.  Jessie pulls her gun and we hear more breaking glass.

Carl walks through the house with a rifle.  Enid lets herself in with her keys and Carl almost shoots her. Enid says that she is there to say goodbye and Carl is adamant that she is not going anywhere and that the invaders are not getting inside this house.  Carl asks if Enid saw the invaders and Enid answers that they are just people and that Alexandria is to big to protect because it has too many blind spots.  Carl is adamant that all of the invaders are going to die. Carl tells Enid not to tell him goodbye. The two sit back to back on the floor and Enid agrees.  Clearly Enid wants to say goodbye to Carl because she didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Carl.  It's also interesting how Enid noted the weak spots in Alexandria.  Clearly when she was outside of the walls she was looking for escape routes and checking on how secure she is.

Carol sneaks around the bushes and watches as the citizens are either slaughtered or dragged through the streets in chains. One invader marks the letter W on his head with blood.  Carol comes across Erin being attacked and manages to kill the invader.  Carol wraps her arms around the wounded Erin and when Erin does not stop crying, Carol slips her blade into Erin's skull, dropping her body on the ground.  Carol pauses to grieve. Damn Carol is stone cold.

Spencer looks out on Alexandria with his sniper rifle. He tries to take out a W and misses. Yep, another Alexandrian fails.  If it weren't so dangerous I bet Rick would be hiding behind a tree laughing about how right he is about them. Spencer then turns his attention to a tractor trailer speeding towards the fence of Alexandria and opens fire. This is when we hear the horn which is what threw the zombies off course in last week's episode. Tara brings injured people into the medical area. Aaron tells his boyfriend that he needs to help and takes off. Tara and Aaron decide that they are going to do something and Eugene suggests that he would be best off in the medical area. Yep, he's being the cowardly lion again.

Outside the fence, Morgan kills the zombie which fell on the horn. Morgan learns that Alexandria is under attack.  He asks an Alexandrian to go with him to fight but the man stands still, causing Morgan to amend his instructions, telling him to go and hide.  Morgan enters the town and is immediately confronted by a wolf with an axe.  Morgan tells the man to leave please and is informed that he will have a slow death.  Before he can attack Morgan, Carol stabs him in the ribs.  Carol is draped in a covering that even hides her face. The get up looks oddly like a burka. Morgan tells Carol that he could have handled the W.  Carol paints a W on her head using the dead man's blood. Morgan continues to talk about how he could have dealt with the W, but Carol is fixated on getting to the armory after noting that the attackers do not have guns. Morgan tells Carol that she doesn't have to kill people but Carol won't be distracted from the armory.

Spencer meets up with Deanna and Maggie on the other side of the fence.  Deanna is adamant that she cannot go back into Alexandria because she doesn't have a gun and doesn't know how to fight. Deanna argues that she will be another person who has to be saved and adds that the best thing she can do is stay out here.  Maggie tells Spencer to keep his mother safe and heads back into Alexandria. Spencer stands guard as Deanna hides in the tractor trailer.

Denise notes that her patient is bleeding and dying because her femoral artery has been severed.  Tara questions if it can be fixed and Denise says it could by a surgeon and that she is not a surgeon. Tara argues with Denise that she was going to be.  Tara says that the patient was guarding them and says that she doesn't care how afraid Denise is.  Eugene steps forward to tell Denise that he knows by experience that she doesn't want to be a coward.  Well for once, Eugene had something useful to say. Denise gives orders in how to proceed.

Ron is hiding behind a tree and when a W approaches he takes off running. The W chases Ron but is shot in the leg by Carl.  Carl approaches and the W cries and begs Carl not to kill him before grabbing the gun. The two struggle over the gun and Carl shoots the W dead.  Carl tells Ron to come in the house promising to keep him safe but Ron takes off running. Carl watches before being called back into the house by Enid.

Jessie is hiding in the closet with Sam when Ron arrives.  Jessie unlocks the closet and tells Sam to lock it behind her.  Jessie creeps through the house with the gun in her hand.  When Ron twists the door handle, Jessie calls for him to wait outside.  Jessie is attacked by a W and fires three bullets but misses. The two fight on the ground for the gun.  Jessie gets knocked unconscious briefly by the W so the W turns her back.  Jessie grabs the scissors that she was going to use to cut Ron's hair and stabs the W repeatedly. Ron enters the house in time to see his mother in mid blood lust.   Who knew that Jessie had it in her.  I guess the mama bear came out to play.

Carol and Morgan continue to move through the streets with Carol dragging Morgan behind her in chains.  I do not like this visual in the least little bit.  Considering The Walking Dead's negative history with Black male characters I don't know what they were thinking even doing this. Carol and Morgan stop when they see Garbiel being attacked. Carol instructs Morgan to keep moving but he heads off to help, leaving Carol on her own.  Carol meets up with a woman after shooting two W's and she and the women move on together.

Gabriel is on his back with a knife to his throat.  Fortunately for Gabriel, Morgan intercedes and saves his life. Why Morgan why? We were so close to getting rid of this awful Benedict Arnold of a character.

Carol and the woman enter a building where the woman is attacked by a W. Carol kills the W and then puts a knife through the woman's head.  Carol finds Lydia hiding in the closet and orders her to barricade the door behind her.  Carol starts gathering guns and tells Lydia that if anyone comes through the door, she is to pull the trigger until the person is on the ground. How is it that Lydia didn't think of that her self?

Morgan ties up the W, as Gabriel watches in awe.  Morgan explains that he learned how to do this from a cheese maker. Wait, is Morgan really doing the Geneva convention thing in the middle of a zombie apocalypse? The W tells them that they are freeing the Alexandrians because they need to know that people don't belong here anymore.  Cue Carol, who arrives and shoots the man in the head, much to the amazement of Morgan and Gabriel. Carol gives Morgan and Gabriel a gun each. Morgan hands his gun to Gabriel, who says that he is not good with guns.  Morgan says that he isn't either and walks away.

Tara and Aaron sneak up on a house and manage to kill a few W's. Carol very systematically kills a W she comes across.  Morgan, looking a little lost walks through the town and everywhere there is the sound of gunfire.  Morgan comes across the W who tried earlier to take his things.  Morgan quickly finds himself surrounded and he tells the group to leave because his people have guns and the W's don't.  One by one, the W's attack and Morgan keeps them at bay with his staff. Morgan advises the W's to get the hell out of here and never come back. Morgan adds that if the man keeps choosing this life, he will die and the man responds that he didn't choose before taking off.  The group of W's follow Morgan's assailant out of Alexandria.  Morgan gives chase and stops and closes the gate.

Carol stands over Sally's dead body looking down at the pack of smokes.  Later, we see Carol sitting on her porch, blood W still on her head.  Carol tries to wipe it off with the smoke in her hand.  When she looks at the railing, she notes A also painted in blood.

Aaron walks through the streets, and pauses to stick a knife in one of the invaders heads.  Aaron pushes the body away and finds his bag under the man.  Inside the bag is an envelop and it contains pictures of Alexandria.  Is this invasion all Aaron's fault? Did he unwittingly lead the wolves to Alexandria?

Denise pumps Holly's chest as the machine indicates that Holly has no heartbeat.  In frustration Denise unpluggs it and Tara tries to assure Denise that she tried and that is a doctor.  Denise asks everyone to go. Before Tara leaves, Tara tells Denise to make sure that she gets Holly's brain. Well it seems that Tara is sympathetic and practical.

Spencer asks Rosita if this is what happens outside and how do they live knowing that this is the world. Wait, he's still asking about the state of the world?  Rosita explains because she has Abraham and this place.  Maggie and Deanna walk around the perimeter and Maggie takes out the now burnt and zombie Richard.  Maggie assures Deanna that they are still here but Deanna points out that not all of them made it.

Carl looks out briefly at the body of the man he killed and then calls out for Enid.  Carl finds a note under the door which reads, "just survive somehow." I guess we know now what Enid meant when she kept writing JSS.

The alarm Carol set for her casserole goes off and Carl takes it out of the oven.  This means that the attack lasted exactly 45 minutes.

Morgan walks through the streets and takes out a zombie he sees ambling towards him.  Morgan then notes the open door to a house and decides to check it out.  Morgan is attacked by a W and a fight begins.  The W tells Morgan that he can't kill him  after noting Morgan's reticence and adds that Morgan should have.  The man attacks again and Morgan tells him he is sorry before killing him.  Morgan is back to walking through the streets when he passes Carol.  Both are clearly haunted and neither says a word as they head in opposite directions.

Now we know why Enid kept writing JSS - Just Survive Somehow.  It was a mantra and explains how she kept going and even why she ate the tortoise raw.  Of all the stomach turning scenes on The Walking Dead to date, this is the one that got me the most. My stomach just crumbled.

This has also got to be my favourite Carol episode.  Carol absolutely rocks and I think I've never loved her more.  I loved that Carol immediately suited up for battle and became the leader I know that she is.  It's telling that Morgan tried to take her off track but she stayed focusd.  They're approaches were different, with Morgan trying to capture the Wolves and Carol killing them on sight. In the end when we see Morgan apologise before killing W, it's an acknowledgement that Carol was right.

Okay so we have to talk to Carol telling Sam to just get over his father's death.  When I originally watched this scene I thought that Carol was cold but after more thought I think she was right.  Porch Dick beat his family just like Ed beat Carol.  Carol knows all to well from what she has seen that if someone gets lost, it's difficult to come back.  There's simply no room for lingering emotional issues in The Walking Dead.  There's also the issue that Sam well and truly scares Carol.  If you think about it, all of the children Carol has interacted with are dead.  She tried to save the children of the prison by teaching them how to fight and that ended with Lizzie look at the flowers.  I think the relationship between Sam and Carol is going to get even more complicated than it already is because of Sam's vulnerability and Carol's fear of caring for a child.

I think with Morgan, he is desperately trying to hold onto his humanity and civilization.  He warns almost everyone he comes into contact with and tells them to leave.  He even tried to take one captive before Carol wisely put a stop to it.  Morgan looked distraught as he walked through the streets at the end of the episode which makes me wonder if his perspective has changed. Will he continue to try and be the conscious of a group who seeks to kill first and ask questions later? As much as I like Morgan I am still miffed that he didn't let Gabriel die.  As much as I don't want to see another dead Black men on The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel needs to go yesterday.

We have to talk about Carol leading Morgan in chains through Alexandria.  I actually had to look away. What the ever loving hell. I know that the wolves were leading away the Alexandrians in chains and that Carol and Morgan were trying to look they were actually wolves but the visual on this is awful.  The last thing I need to see is a Black man being dragged around in shackles  by a white lady, no matter how much I love Carol.  The visual on this was disgusting and absolutely invoked slavery.  It is further complicated by the fact that The Walking Dead has a horrible history when it comes to Black male characters.  What in the ever loving hell were they thinking and this comes after writers and producers deny that The Walking Dead has a race problem.

Much of JSS served to prove how right Rick was about the Alexandrians.  They were absolutely not prepared to fight and in the case of Deanna, incapable of shooting a gun.  Spencer didn't even want to get in the fray and stayed outside to protect his mother. Lydia who was in the armory actually chose to hide in the closet. Think about that for a moment.  The woman was surrounded by guns and chose to hide unarmed in the closet.  All of the Alexandrians would have died were it not for Carol.  It's worth noting that even after an epic gun battle in which so many Alexandrians died, Spencer is still asking if this is the way the outside world is.  Did he miss all of Rick's ranting?  WTH