Sunday, March 27, 2016

WALKING DEAD: L'East [Updated Below]

Carol leaves, meets some random Saviors on the road, shoots them all. Rick and Morgan, trying to find her, happen on the aftermath of this and, trying to find Carol, follow a blood-trail across a field for a while. Meanwhile, Daryl goes off in search of the armed group he encountered last week; Rosita, Glenn and Michonne follow; all end up captured by said group (and Daryl shot).

Such is "East," this week's installment of THE WALKING DEAD. As so often happens on the show, it's 15 or 20 minutes of actual plot packed with padding as plentiful as it is pointless. Anything to drag it out until it fills the contractually obligated hour.

As usual, getting it there involves a lot of stupid decisions.

There are groups of armed hostiles in the area who both know of the safe zone and have designs on it and our heroes are uncharacteristically concerned about it and looking to beef up their defenses but when Daryl leaves, no fewer than three of the top fighters also leave in pursuit. Their purpose isn't to help him track down and battle the baddies, which would actually be a somewhat acceptable excuse for such a force. They just want him to come back. They're obviously not going to wrestle him down, hogtie him and bring him back against his will, so why do three of them need to go? And when they do catch up, the writers have Glenn display a spectacular lack of self-awareness by making him try to guilt-trip Daryl for leaving the safe zone shorthanded. "We need you. And everyone back there needs us right now." Daryl is on the trail of an enemy that could be very near; deep in Injun Country, the others opt to loudly argue with him.

Last week, Carol left Tobin, a stranger, a Dear John letter as if they were involved in some sort of romantic relationship--she told him she was leaving town. At the beginning of this ep, the writers include a short bit intended to retroactively shoehorn into the series the relationship between the two they'd entirely failed to establish up to that point. Tobin apparently didn't get the memo that he was the retconned romantic interest; he doesn't go after her. Instead, Rick, learning that five of his best fighters (constituting nearly all of his muscle) have left town, displays some of those same keen leadership skills so often lauded on this blog: he decides the best course of action is that he and Morgan should also leave in pursuit of Carol. And yes, a little later, he repeats his "I don't take chances anymore" line.

While Morgan and Rick and trailing Carol, they talk about her having killed those sick people at the prison and Rick exiling her. Aware that this continues to be a real stain on Carol's character, the writers have Rick tell Morgan that if that happened today, he would thank Carol--probably the low point of this episode. Morgan prevents Rick from winging a fleeing fellow who could have provided them with some information then goes into an incredibly obnoxious "all life is precious" speech. It seems to go on forever but unlike last week with Denise, no arrow streaks through the air to put a merciful end to it. Morgan confesses he captured one of the Wolves and kept the fellow locked up, tells about Carol trying to kill said Wolf, the Wolf getting free, kidnapping Denise and rushing right out into the zombies outside. That Wolf, as he tells it, then ended up saving Denise from the zombies. This, he says, means people can change. And because that Wolf saved Denise, she was there to save Coral. "It's all a circle. Every thang gets a return." Of course, if Morgan hadn't imprisoned that Wolf, whose actions in protecting Denise were self-interested, Denise wouldn't have been in any danger in the first place and, in fact, would have been in the infirmary when Coral needed medical attention, but while such a gap in this logic can't help but be apparent to any reasonably intelligent viewer, it still manages to entirely escape Morgan.[see Update below] Earlier this season, I noted Morgan had been reduced to a one-note caricature and ever since, this "all life is precious" schtick has become Morgan's one note in his every scene. His character has been as thoroughly assassinated as any currently on the show--he can't die quickly enough.

When Rick and Morgan follow that blood trail off the road, one of the Saviors whom Carol had shot emerges from hiding and appears to follow them. A little later, Rick returns to his vehicle and drives back to the safe zone but he never encountering this fellow. Back in town, Maggie is having tummy pains, probably the start of a miscarriage. At the end, Daryl and Rosita are made to get really stupid, walk into an obvious trap and get themselves captured. Dwight, the leader of the thugs who catch them, then shoots Daryl. Blood spatters the camera and that would have been a good last image but the writers haven't the guts to make it even appear as if they're killing Daryl, so they have Dwight offer a final line, assuring viewers Daryl isn't dead.

"East" was a lousy, underplotted episodes full of scenes that go on and on but don't actually go anywhere. A delaying action to get to the season finale.



UPDATE (28 March, 2016) - Morgan's logically empty "circle of life" argument in this ep brought to mind something I'd written earlier this season in reaction to "Here's Not Here":

"Morgan, when he was introduced, was a fellow who just couldn't bring himself to kill the zombie that had once been his wife. This made him very human. It's the reason the character became so beloved. Later, in 'Clear,' it was revealed that he'd continued to put off killing the creature until, one day, it killed his son. In last night's opus, he senselessly murdered a fellow but didn't pike the fellow's brain. As Lebeau notes, that was an entirely arbitrary decision and as I wrote, the fellow Morgan murdered came back as a zombie and bit Morgan's Jedi sensei. 'One can see this as being Morgan's fault for killing the fellow but given Morgan's recent actions, the reading of it that screams to the viewer is that this was a situation with which Morgan failed to properly deal and that came back with disastrous consequences--if he'd have piked the fellow in the brain, his sensei would still be alive.' Toward the end of last season, one of the Wolves turned up at the now-'enlightened' Morgan's camp. He announced his intention was to take everything Morgan had, including his life. Morgan allowed the fellow to live; the same fellow later came back with his Wolf buddies and carried out horrendous atrocities against the Alexandrians. When Morgan faced those marauding Wolves, he stood around like a naive idiot who had never lived so much as a day in this zombified world and didn't know what to do, trying to reason with them while they were committing gruesome murders he could have prevented. When he faced down the final group of them, he told them to run away and allowed them to escape. Minutes later, storytime, they attacked and tried to kill Rick. In arbitrarily imposing this "all life is precious" business, the writers have not only reduced this once-very-human fellow to a one-note caricature--his one all-time-worst mistake repeated into infinity--they've now made him ideologically committed to being nothing more. Morgan, the dumbass who gets others killed because he can never learn his one lesson."

When those Wolves attacked Rick, they had the gun they'd stolen and shot the RV Rick was using, rendering it inoperative. As a result, Rick wasn't able to lead away the zombie herd then marching on the safe zone. The safe zone was surrounded, the creatures eventually got inside and a whole hell of a lot of people died. Morgan is trying to make a case for a "circle of life," but his own life has become nothing but a circle of death for everyone around him--death for which he is responsible.


  1. Aaaahhhhhhhhh!

    What the heck. This episode was so bad. Glenn deserved to get caught they were out in hostile territory stomping around arguing loud....these writters are dumb. Twice in a row the same charecters get caught in the same area by being loud and stupid. They didnt even have the guts to show daryl being shot. It was off screen and CGI'd. There was once a time on this show they relished in the chance to show main charecters being eviscerated:TDOG,Herschel,Dale...
    The producers have turned into cowards. So this is the second time this season they end on a cliffhanger of whether someone is dead or not. They could have mirrored Darryls brothers death when he went on his own to kill the governor and died trying. But they had darryl get shot just being stupid. Blah...

    1. Ha! I'd just added a line about that "loudly arguing: business just as you noted it.

      The people behind TWD have always been cowards. Everything they adapt from the comic is watered down to nothing; they're never willing to take any chances. They had Dwight blast Daryl, the blood-spatter, the fade-to-black should be the end but they were unwilling to let stand even the implication that they may have killed Daryl. Ridiculous.

    2. Time for a new showrunner. That always seems to break all the dullness that pops up in this show!

  2. A pile of stinking dog turd.
    With flies.

    Quite simply a terrible 40 minutes of TV.

    Dumb people doing dumb things.

  3. The worst thing that could have happened to this show was Darabont getting fired. I don't understand how Gimple and his crew can have the answers to the test and still fail. At this point the show is a sad parody of its self.

  4. Soooo, Carol is such a badass she has semi-automatic gun in the sleeve of her coat and exactly why did she decide to ride around with all those poles sticking out of the car? Right when you think this show can't get any worse, it hits rock bottom and starts to dig.

  5. As written by a major website that recapped the ep, this episode was bad with a capital "B". The fact that Gimple has a story credit in this ep was extremely disheartening. It's disappointing too that Mike Satrazemis, the director-of-record of the ep, used really gorgeous shots for this episode.

    Expect a stretched out 90 min finale - it's supposed to be super calm before Negan's arrival, and since Kirkman might be writing the ep, lower your expectations down to the bottom.

    1. They haven't yet announced the writer of the finale, which is quite unusual--we usually have that info many weeks in advance. Kirman hasn't been credited with a script yet this year, so he's probably one of them but I don't think he writes the scripts with which he's credited and I'm betting the reason we haven't gotten an identified writer yet is because that final ep has been worked over so many times by so many different people and the final credits weren't yet hashed out when the info on the others was released.