The Walking Dead: No Way Out
February 14, 2016 8:14 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

With walkers inside the gates of Alexandria, Rick and the group are scared, outnumbered and things are only getting worse.

RIP, Jessie and your entire family. But all of our gang are safe, of course. I loved how when Jessie was getting chomped, Rick was having flashbacks to a clean safe Jessie, in case we forgot who that person was and why we should care.
posted by mama casserole (153 comments total)
 
Yay: Every character that died
Meh: Every character that fought
Ugh: Every character that narrowly survived
posted by Sys Rq at 9:13 PM on February 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've been saying Abraham is a character from a John Carpenter film, I guess he was doing his best President from the end of Escape From New York in this one.

I still can't see how those guys on the motorcycles wouldn't notice Daryl in a death struggle with that guy at the back of the truck.
posted by Catblack at 9:24 PM on February 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was pretty good! Some stupid stuff, but enough action to make up for it. Plus they cut a lot of chaff from the cast, which is great. Also the whole "set the zombies on fire" plan is great! If only the zombies had been contained in a big central area... some sort of mine... or pit... well, whatever, at least now we know that they're attracted to fire and extremely flammable. Surely the survivors will use this valuable knowledge to avoid any risky scrapes they might otherwise have to get themselves into, like herding a bunch of zombies twenty miles away from the place where they live in an easily foiled and completely idiotic plan. No more of that, with the power of fire!
posted by codacorolla at 9:49 PM on February 14, 2016 [15 favorites]


I am wondering if they just created a real-life hazardous waste situation by setting that pond on fire.
posted by larrybob at 10:23 PM on February 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also the whole "set the zombies on fire" plan is great!

Right? It might be improved slightly, however, by the omission of an earlier episode in which it is said that setting them on fire doesn't kill the zombies, but rather just makes them sort of...on fire.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:34 PM on February 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


(Someone in the writers room should probably make a list of the Zombie Rules. They seem to keep forgetting them.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:35 PM on February 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


This ep seems to exist only to squash every storyline generated by the last one.
posted by alrightokay at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


Say what you will about plot expediency, at least the death of Jessie's family was predictable based on their previously demonstrated behaviour: little kid was sure to freak out in a crowd of zombies; Jessie was sure to be upset about losing one of her children; and the older kid was already in a snit over Rick killing his dad, so watching Rick get his mom killed would reasonably put him over the edge.
posted by cardboard at 3:03 AM on February 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Total waste of one of their (3?) RPGs to light the lake on fire though. Daryl doesn't have a Zippo he can throw away?
posted by cardboard at 3:04 AM on February 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


They said they needed to gather all the zombies in one place before leading them out with the truck. So I guess that's the plan? Not sure why they'd do it in the pond at the middle of town rather than by the gate. But no one ever accused WD characters of being smart.

Sure hope the central pond isn't their water supply.

I was willing to write off Darryl knifing the guy and grabbing the grenade launcher without anyone seeing... until they show the dead body is clearly within view of the rest of the gang. Give a little more effort than that, show.

Otherwise I guess it was a mostly satisfactory episode. Get everyone out of their respective sticky situation so the board is clear for this season's plot. Get them all in one place with a little ray of hope (that you can subsequently destroy). Kill some annoying characters. What more can you ask for?

Except...

WHO'S GOING TO GIVE CARL A HAIRCUT NOW?
posted by 2ht at 4:59 AM on February 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


WHO'S GOING TO GIVE CARL A HAIRCUT NOW?

Right now, Carl's hair priority is probably going to be growing out some bangs.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:26 AM on February 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Much better way to end the Wolf/Denise storyline (of an infinite amount, likely): Denise and Wolf guy get separated within sight of wall/exit, Wolf guy looks like he is going to get killed, Denise pushes something over to block the zombies from him, Wolf guy has to leave, knowing this lady whose life he held no regard for, cared enough to save his. Then they could bring him back later or not bring him back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:31 AM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


little kid was sure to freak out in a crowd of zombies;

I guess we have Carol to thank for that. Not that I wasn't happy to see Sam get his face bitten off, but hearing Carol's threats running through his head reminded me of that creepy conversation. But with those guys gone and Wolfie gone I'm ready for a re-set. I lost my enthusiasm for the show a couple of seasons ago because the story wasn't really moving forward. I prefer the scenarios where they have a base because I like seeing the snippets of new-world building played against increasingly tense outside threats against their home. I'm hoping that's what we get with Alexandria and Negan, but if our heroes end up on the road again I may be finished.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 AM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, this is just trivia at this point: but that Wolf who took Denise had a name that never made it onto the screen, apparently: Owen. I was just calling him "Off-Brand Skeet Ulrich" but sure, Owen is fine.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:04 AM on February 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wait. No. Carl does not get shot in the eye from five feet away and survive. It's like this show is punishing me for continuing to watch it. They're just trolling us, right? Fucking CARL. I seriously might quit now. I swear.
posted by something something at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Or does Carl survive without brain damage? Is the bullet still in his head?

The failure of the zombie-gut-coat made me wonder if the writers were mad that people wondered why the characters didn't wear zombie guts all the time.
posted by armacy at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


This doesn't disprove that zombie-gut-coats don't generally work, only that they don't work when you stand around screaming and acting distinctly non-zombielike. That's definitely off-label use.
posted by cardboard at 9:03 AM on February 15, 2016 [16 favorites]




I think the not-entirely-unreasonable intended takeaway from Sam getting killed even with the zombie-gut-coat is that while said coat can make you less likely to catch walkers' attention as a target, stopping in one place and then shrieking, crying, trembling, and flailing like a piece of helpless, delicious meat may still be enough to get you killed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:42 AM on February 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


You can clearly see that as the bullet hits Carl, his head goes back... and to the left.

I am wondering if they just created a real-life hazardous waste situation by setting that pond on fire.

On Talking Dead, Greg Nicotero says they used propane rather than gasoline for the pond fire effect. As it's a gas rather than a liquid, I'd expect any unburned material to evaporate into the air harmlessly rather than collect in the pond to cause a hazard.

In-universe, though... yeah, now they have a pond full of dead walkers and gasoline. I really hope they weren't drinking that water.

One thing my partner asked last night that I don't think the show has bothered to show at all, but I might have just missed it: What's up with Aaron's husband? As far as I know, we haven't seen him more than once since Rick's people came to Alexandria, and we haven't seen him at all since before the Wolves attacked.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:57 AM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had a "surely this" moment watching what turned out to be a really brutal episode. Michonne once again saved Rick. Then she was a vital part of Coral being stitched up. The instant she was able to, she was the one leading the charge out the door to fight alongside Rick, and basically save him again. Later in the episode, she's the one holding Judith while Rick is with Carl. So this bad ass sword wielding woman in the zombie apocalypse is everything the hero could ever want. A fighter, a leader, a caretaker, a survivor. She's the one who got through to Carl a season or two ago when he was being rebellious. Not even bringing into it that there's a legitimate and awesome sexual tension between the two of them. The writers need to have them be a couple. Surely this.
posted by cashman at 10:01 AM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Much better way to end the Wolf/Denise storyline

Not for me. I'm glad he's dead. Way too many times nasty and evil people get redemption arcs when they shouldn't He had a chance and hit a crossroads and decided to be evil still. Bye. It's only too bad Carol didn't take him out with a headshot.

I loved the doctor's acting. When she was with the now-dead Wolf guy and she was hyperventilating, it was nervewracking. She really drew me into that scene and I am loving how realistic her portrayal of having gone from timid and reluctant, to beginning to take control and go for it when situations arise that only she can handle. I hope she lives a long, long time.
posted by cashman at 10:06 AM on February 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


One thing my partner asked last night that I don't think the show has bothered to show at all, but I might have just missed it: What's up with Aaron's husband? As far as I know, we haven't seen him more than once since Rick's people came to Alexandria, and we haven't seen him at all since before the Wolves attacked.

We've seen him here and there, but he hasn't had a significant role. He has been in the infirmary a couple times. He was out fighting zombies last night. He's just part of a cast of minor characters that haven't fit in the main story for awhile.
posted by 2ht at 10:37 AM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


These four month breaks in the "middle" of a season really throw me off. I kept thinking that this was a new season, but how much the episode felt like a season finale than a season premiere.
posted by 2ht at 10:40 AM on February 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Not even bringing into it that there's a legitimate and awesome sexual tension between the two of them. The writers need to have them be a couple. Surely this.

Where are you seeing the sexual tension? I got none from them. Also, no, I would much prefer them to be best friends and equals than a couple. I want there to be one male-female friendship on a major television show that doesn't devolve into a romantic relationship.

Also, Rick is crazy AF. Michonne deserves someone a little more sane.


Onto my thoughts for the episode:
Giving the baby to Gabriel: No! WTF? Everything he does is terrible and makes things worse for the group. DON'T GIVE HIM THE BABY!

And on Carol's little speech about doing things for "us" and how she regrets not killing Morgan: WHY HAVEN'T YOU KILLED GABRIEL YET, HUH CAROL???

Otherwise I thought it was a great episode, probably because it centered on action and not much dialogue between the characters. TWD sure does know how to do premiers and finales very well. Great shockers this time: the blond lady's kid, the blond lady, Carl.
Also we got to see Michonne be a total bad ass like she always is and we got a crazy Rick going on a rampage.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:04 AM on February 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


I loved the doctor's acting. When she was with the now-dead Wolf guy and she was hyperventilating, it was nervewracking. She really drew me into that scene and I am loving how realistic her portrayal of having gone from timid and reluctant, to beginning to take control and go for it when situations arise that only she can handle.

This house is the Merrit Wever fanclub, for sure. We liked her lots in TWD, and then my partner started watching Nurse Jackie and straight-up fell in love with her. She's great, and she's selling a character arc we don't see enough of on these kinds of shows.

Usually, characters are pre-sorted into "can't hack it" or "does what needs to be done without hesitation", especially in the last few seasons of this show. It's good to see someone actually evolve from one kind of character to another so convincingly, especially when their version of personing-up doesn't involve the casual deployment of violence. (I liked this about Beth, too. And, obviously, Carol, even if she got the more traditional version.)
posted by tobascodagama at 11:22 AM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also we got to see Michonne be a total bad ass like she always is and we got a crazy Rick going on a rampage.

Michonne stabbing the shit out of Porch Dick, Jr. was pretty great.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:23 AM on February 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I always try to focus on the positive with The Walking Dead, just to keep from being a constant downer when discussing it, but this episode was taxing from that standpoint - they didn't deliver on much of the tension established before the (momentum draining) winter hiatus.

So, uh, on that note:
* Killing off the annoying kids was pretty good. Jesse was cool, but it was worth losing her to ditch that dead weight. Plus, now we're spared an inevitable Rick/Jesse romance.

* Michonne was fun. The only real downside to watching her kick so much ass is the certainty she'd be a better leader than Rick, but will never get the nod. Still good to see her do it.

* Enid sort of getting through to Glenn was good, as his interactions with her were making me loathe him.

* Denise is, indeed, awesome. I actually did like her stuff with Bad Teeth Guy. It's so weird to see anyone offering up actual human emotions on this show, but there she was. Like a champ.

On the other hand:
* The 'confrontation' with Negan's men was a good example of how badly the show sucks compared to the comic. I can't believe I'm calling Negan subtle and well written compared to anything as he is specifically where I fell out of love with the comic, but here we are: he was better than this. Everything about that scene was terrible, from the 'tell, don't show' going on with the head gang guy, ("Normally, I'd shoot one of you, but it's awkward," really?), to the sheer improbability of everyone's reactions and Daryl's resolution to it.

Really, Daryl being able to silently overcome his captor and rocket launcher the bad guys *right* as anything interesting might ever happen sums up all the show's worst impulses.

* Rick and the gang just getting out there and working the mob by hand. Zombies are already not scary enough on this show due to the plot armor worn by various protagonists - letting people go kill them by the dozen without consequence isn't inspiring, it just makes them increasingly non-threatening.

* Rick letting the priest watch Judith. In a lifetime of bad decisions, I never thought Rick might find a lower place, but that one was indefensible even by his standards. (At least without sending Carl to help or something.)

* Not enough Carol. Whenever she's not on the screen, the other characters should be asking "Where's Carol?" Also, she should be louder, angrier and have access to the RPG they picked up.
posted by mordax at 11:41 AM on February 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


I've said for years that the most interesting possible thing could do is also the thing it'll never do. Namely, kill Rick. So many interesting characters and potential conflicts living in his shadow that will never be allowed to bloom as long as he's around to swagger into a scene and yell about WE GOTTA DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

Glenn and Michonne have time and time again shown themselves to be capable leaders. Self-sacrificing, decisive, but thoughtful in a way that Rick seems incapable of. Carol's loose-cannon tendencies come into sharper relief when we don't have Rick running around making decisions on everyone else's behalf.

Rick and the gang just getting out there and working the mob by hand. Zombies are already not scary enough on this show due to the plot armor worn by various protagonists - letting people go kill them by the dozen without consequence isn't inspiring, it just makes them increasingly non-threatening.

Yeah. Especially all the Alexandrians who can barely handle a small pack of walkers with guns, never mind hand-to-hand. If this terrifying "mega horde" can be taken out by a dozen people with machetes, how did civilisation ever fall in the first place? The last thing you want to do in a show like this is call attention to how ridiculous the premise is.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:59 AM on February 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've said for years that the most interesting possible thing could do is also the thing it'll never do. Namely, kill Rick.

They should've killed him off in the very first episode. He was a good intro to what's going on, but we didn't need him after that. What we did need was the establishment of Valar Morghulis, which has been sorely lacking ever since.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:12 PM on February 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you're a fan of Merrit Wever/Denise/the doctor on TWD, you really should see her speech for her Emmy win, which is bar none, THE BEST SPEECH EVAR.

That might be my third time linking that here. No matter, I'm going to do it a few more times on top of this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:16 PM on February 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


The most adorable possible Emmy-winning speech, to be sure. I especially like that Edie Falco had to practically push her out of her chair.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:34 PM on February 15, 2016


shit sandwich

rick is newly inspired to show coral the brand new world that includes little kids getting eaten alive in front of their romantic interest moms, then the romantic interest moms get eaten alive. yeah great world Rick

great that Rick and co are basically indestructible when it comes to zombies, but maybe use a spot of sense and send to the church the kid whose eyes are about bulging out of his head. Hell, they could send the mom, she's not a fighter anyway.

I mean they waited hours and hours without one person being all, "I bet we could hack our way out and then set off some fireworks or whatever to lead the rest of them off"

so Jessie gets eaten alive and the whole time she clasps Carl's hand? Really? Because I imagine that if somebody starts eating me, I will shove them away with TWO hands
posted by angrycat at 1:36 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've said for years that the most interesting possible thing could do is also the thing it'll never do. Namely, kill Rick.

They should've killed him off in the very first episode.


I would've been willing to wait for a season finale or other breakpoint, but yeah, it needed to happen long ago. Making him invulnerable is terrible for the dramatic tension of the story, and all the writers seem to know to do with him is make him increasingly unstable and horrible. (The only thing that impresses me about the character work with Rick on TWD is how they're always able to make me hate him just a little more, no matter how much I did before.)

The last thing you want to do in a show like this is call attention to how ridiculous the premise is.

Exactly, so much this.

rick is newly inspired to show coral the brand new world that includes little kids getting eaten alive in front of their romantic interest moms, then the romantic interest moms get eaten alive. yeah great world Rick

Heh. I'd sort of mentally checked out by that scene - the bit where they effortlessly busted up the horde was too much - but I feel like it's completely sincere on the part of the writers. The whole 'zombie apocalypse as Libertarian fantasy' is deeply woven into TV-TWD.

so Jessie gets eaten alive and the whole time she clasps Carl's hand? Really?

Yeah. I know they wanted to invoke a similar scene from the comic, but even if she *was* holding on, I think the first axe blow would've gotten her to stop. (IIRC, in the comic version, it's a single clean cut, which makes at least comic book sense.)
posted by mordax at 1:54 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've said for years that the most interesting possible thing could do is also the thing it'll never do. Namely, kill Rick.

Yes, yes, yes. Rick wore out his welcome a couple of seasons ago. At the very least he should become a background character. I just don't care anymore about this redneck sheriff and how TORTURED and UNHINGED he is.

And Coral survived a fucking gunshot to the face only because he's Rick's son. They're like unkillable plot characters in a role-playing game.

If this terrifying "mega horde" can be taken out by a dozen people with machetes, how did civilisation ever fall in the first place?

Also yes. During this whole act, I was like "dear God, how many people are they going to kill off in this episode?". Because surely, when a small band of fighters (many of them inexperienced) go mano-a-mano against an entire horde of zombies, without any kind of plan or forethought, someone's going to get bitten.

Nope. Not a scratch. They might as well have been clearing brush.

It's not an awful show. If it were, I would've stopped watching by now. But it so consistently, stubbornly falls short of being the great show that it occasionally hints at. There are no long-term stakes, no overarching arc, no meaningful exploration of any particular theme—the characters are just wandering from arbitrary plot point to arbitrary plot point. It's just an excuse to show a bunch of zombie-choppin' and bad-guy-shootin'. And now that the main cast is essentially invulnerable, even that is losing its interest.

I miss the early days, when everything was vulnerable and uncertain and unknown. The writers would need to make big and fundamental changes to bring that feeling back. I wish they had the guts to do it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:28 PM on February 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


The one thing that draws me to a show & keeps me coming back is "is it plausible?" I will take just about any premise if they stay true to it & keep the narrative alive with details that reinforce it. Mostly this show has delivered but this episode is really testing the limits of that.

First, the herd hunt. Blows the foundational narrative, that zombies are always more dangerous & unpredictable than you can plan for or react to, out of the water. It has to be a one-time thing or else the character of the show just dissolves. I get the feeling the writers painted themselves into a corner then used this implausible scenario to write themselves out of it.

Father Gabriel & the Baby Judith. I get that this is the heroic battle where everybody rises up as one to defeat the Herd but it was just a couple episodes ago that Rick repeatedly & dismissively refused Gabriel's offer to take a part in the plan they were planning. Even if Rick recognizes that the heroic spirit has captured Gabriel & made him invincible along with the rest of them there's no way he's turning his baby daughter over to him to test that theory out. "OK I'll overlook your unbroken history of cowardice & betrayal & trust you with the care of the thing that matters most to me in the world. But if Baby Judith gets eaten by a walker because you utterly predictably turn coward again, there will be consequences." Never mind the footprints in the paint.
posted by scalefree at 3:29 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Where are you seeing the sexual tension? I got none from them. Also, no, I would much prefer them to be best friends and equals than a couple. I want there to be one male-female friendship on a major television show that doesn't devolve into a romantic relationship.

They've shot the show in the past few half seasons in a way that ended up keeping them apart, and during that time Rick got his "new Alexandrian woman" on. But when Michonne showed up "invisible" at the prison gates, when Rick and Michonne were looking at each other and not saying a word, there was lots and lots of talk about the sexual tension between them. They've had plenty of moments together throughout the show, and I loved how Michonne 'tamed' Coral when he wouldn't listen to people and was doing dumb things. I mean, dumber than the other dumb things he's done as he tries to outdumb his dad.

But this is too often the way when black women are on television shows. "Let them be friends!" when in any other situation the two kickass characters would be love interests easily. I mean it's kind of obvious what's going on and it's sad. But at least they didn't do something dumb like change the race of the character, or kill her off.

it so consistently, stubbornly falls short of being the great show that it occasionally hints at

I feel like around the time the Lori & T-Dog (T-dog, good god) thing happened, that's about the time it dropped down a notch. When they came up with nonsense reasons to kill of Andrea, it lowered itself another tier.

It's just an excuse to show a bunch of zombie-choppin' and bad-guy-shootin'.

Pretty much. It just goes from setup to setup at this point. And they talk about it as such when they describe the production of the show. "We were riding past a barn one day and saw a pig in mud, so we thought, what would it be like if there was a walker stuck in mud or somethin, heh heh".

But at least it allows for less focused viewing. As far as the rules - well it's basically like zombie snl. Just a bunch of zombie skits. If there were rules, the "everybody has it" thing would never have been floated. That was one of the first huge rule breaks. Since then, they seem like they've made it clear they're not worried about any kind of rules.
posted by cashman at 3:33 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


And now that the main cast is essentially invulnerable, even that is losing its interest.

My guess is Glen is next. The writers were slowly pushing him out of the main group and now they keep almost killing him.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:36 PM on February 15, 2016


I mean it's kind of obvious what's going on and it's sad.

Yeah: The writers gave the black woman some sense.

I do NOT understand the Richonne shipping in the slightest. Do you really think it would be better if she was getting it on with that psycho dipshit? The high point of her arc is that time she knocked him the fuck out. More of that, please.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on February 15, 2016 [15 favorites]


It's tough to watch all sorts of movies and television where things are one way, then all of a sudden when it's a black female in that role, magically now the main female character that everyone agrees is badass and awesome, is not desirable. It's not like they can't write Rick to become sane once he and Michonne get together.

It's only more irritating than shows where the show sticks to the source material almost exactly, but then because the female lead is black, they wildly divert from having the two as mutual love interests. There are current television shows doing this very thing.
posted by cashman at 4:18 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


it's a black female in that role, magically now the main female character that everyone agrees is badass and awesome, is not desirable.

Man, of *course* Michonne's desirable. Rick's a monster. I would not enjoy that pairing much because I like her, and feel like using her to further his manpain, (the only role his past love interests have had), would be a huge waste of a pretty awesome character.

It's not like they can't write Rick to become sane once he and Michonne get together.

They really can't, because they think they're writing Rick as a decent protagonist *now*. Admission would be the first step to fixing it, and it ain't coming.
posted by mordax at 4:26 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well hopefully they do it. Then maybe the show would get interesting again. It was never as compelling as those episodes when Rick's only care was finding his family again in one form or another. Whether it was the initial search for his wife and son, or it was treating Glenn like family and going to rescue him, or him treating Hershel's family like family and hoping they would accept his family and let them stay. All the while Carl was barely alive and Lori was questioning things and Rick was trying to hold his family together. Then Shane literally tried to kill him and take his family with that "I'm a better man than you" speech. And on and on. So I look forward to Rick perhaps finally finding his family. A battle hardened one eyed son, and a futuristic sword wielding nurturing force who will kiss the kids on the cheek and go out and slaughter zombies. It's only right.
posted by cashman at 6:37 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was just calling him "Off-Brand Skeet Ulrich" but sure, Owen is fine.

it is actually an acronym for Oral hygienist's Worst Ever Nightmare
posted by poffin boffin at 7:20 PM on February 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Once they got away from the house, and there was the possibility of getting any of the children to the church, why why why would they not send them all? Even Carl, to watch his sister. It makes no sense. For that matter the mom, too. She has no zombie experience. Plot-induced stupidity, again.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:47 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Grah!
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2016


So I look forward to Rick perhaps finally finding his family.

For what it's worth, were this the comics, I'd actually agree with you - I like comics-Rick well enough. (He's not a perfect guy, nor do I want him to be - comics-Rick is complicated and thoughtful is all), and in that continuity, he and Michonne actually did have some pretty good chemistry when last I checked. I just... don't trust the show to ever really get him right again. Even when it's good in recent years, it's in spite of him, not via him.

Your point about women of color not being objects of desire is a valid concern, too - I really do want to agree about that. I guess it's time for my obligatory Z Nation plug - in addition to Warren being a woman, POC, team leader and thoroughgoing badass, she has a good romantic relationship for... well, plot armor's in shorter supply over that way. (Much as I love Carol and Michonne, neither of them are quite as awesome as her, either - she's in charge, as they would be in a just world.)
posted by mordax at 8:50 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why did it take me until right this very minute to realize that the reason why Abraham has always seemed so familiar to me is that he reminds me of a live-action version of Sgt. Hatred from The Venture Brothers?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:47 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Because you haven't been paying attention.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:52 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


cashman: "But this is too often the way when black women are on television shows. 'Let them be friends!' when in any other situation the two kickass characters would be love interests easily. I mean it's kind of obvious what's going on and it's sad."

I'm totally 100% with you on this - this is a thing that happens annoyingly often on TV shows, and it's certainly happening here - but it's kind of overridden by the much more glaring point at the center of the show: invincible white guy, who is very often stupid and selfish and dumb, must survive and be the leader apparently by virtue merely of the fact that he is a white guy. I don't know anybody sane who thinks Rick and Michonne should be together - but that's because they all think Rick is dumb and needs to die. The show just barely crept close enough to a rationalization for this in the first half of this season - to wit, 'a big dumb white monster needs to be in charge because women and POC shouldn't have to put up with the shit of being kicked around as leader, and anyway if you're lucky you'll get a dumb white monster who's just intelligent enough to listen to the women and POC and do what they tell him to' - but I'm still not totally convinced that Michonne or Morgan or even Carol, god help her, wouldn't be a better leader than Rick.

But he can't die, right? He's the center of the show - him and his family. Even though this show has progressed from sexist as fuck and marginally racist to - well, less of those things than most shows on TV - we have to hold on to that vestige of darker times. So here we are.

I agree with everyone that says Michonne deserves better than Rick, anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 10:26 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'd rather see Michone kill Rick than kiss him.

I didn't see this episode yet--actually I stopped after Glenn was trapped under the dumpster. I assumed I'd catch up, but I can't seem to make myself do it yet. I do enjoy these threads, spoilers and all, though, so I'll keep reading.
posted by mmoncur at 1:47 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I agree with everyone that says Michonne deserves better than Rick, anyway.

That's the same thing that gets said to excuse away when a black female lead isn't getting romantic storylines mysteriously. Here's one from a couple years ago, with the popular Vampire Diaries show. The writer tweeted, trying to dissuade fans from wanting the black female lead from being in any kind of relationship with the white male lead. Which was ridiculous, and people called her out on it. People were upset and saw through what she was doing, and she apparently deleted the tweets, but it was her 'Twittergate'. Same thing is happening on a completely different show currently airing.

Like Anita Sarkeesian says - it is completely fine to critique media and point out racist and sexist flaws in it, and still consume the content.

Anyway, I hope there's a turn in the show that makes it interesting again. I don't mind the contrived situations for the most part, because sometimes they manage to stick some great music in a scene, or do something unique enough that it is pretty and watchable for a few minutes. But it would be neat if they came across a novel group of people, or some kind of non-traditional living situation.
posted by cashman at 6:36 AM on February 16, 2016


My objection to Richonne is the same as my objection to Reylo: the male half of the pairing is not merely inadequate but a totally garbage person who the female half really ought to kill for the good of Alexandria/the Galaxy.

I'm on Team Michonne/AnyoneButRick. (Actually, I'm on Team Tanise, but yeah.)

Seriously, it would be nice if a black female character got a romance story on my American TV. But maaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyybe shacking her up with an abusive control freak law man is not the best way to make that happen? For, like, lots of reasons both narrative and political?
posted by tobascodagama at 6:44 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


cashman: “That's the same thing that gets said to excuse away when a black female lead isn't getting romantic storylines mysteriously.”

You really don't think they'd find a way to make "subservient black woman falls for the big strong white guy, who is big and strong and saves everybody, and she learns to shut up and do what he tells her to do" seem racist?
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


(I just really, really, really don't think a Michonne/Rick romantic subplot would solve any of this show's problems. At all. I get what you're saying, and in a show that was more about romantic subplots, that might make sense. But romantic subplots on this show are almost always sexist and bad and terrible, because this show apparently can't find its way to give women enough autonomy to be creative about what options exist and what they mean; having a romantic subplot with Rick means inevitably making yourself subservient to him. Having Michonne "fall for" Rick would completely destroy one of the greatest characters this show has put together merely to prop up the worst one. There is only one solution: RICK NEEDS TO DIE. I would say that again if it would emphasize it more, but it seems like I've said it enough.)
posted by koeselitz at 6:57 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Actually, no: I would accept a hybrid of these solutions, if it'd make you feel better, cashman:

Rick is being a shithead and doing something stupid to put the community in danger again. Michonne does her thing of pulling him aside and telling him not to be such a shithead. They kiss, or whatever, and spend the night together, thus having their romantic connection. The next day, as they're trying to follow through on Rick's current stupid shithead plan, Rick gets bitten and falls, and as he's laying there dying he looks up at Michonne and says: "I was wrong all along. You were right. You are a much better leader than I am. My son and daughter would be better off if I had died many years ago. Take care of them for me." Michonne will silently nod. And then Rick will turn, and she'll sadly slice his head in half with her machete.

That's really the only romantic subplot between Rick and Michonne I could stomach. Because anything else – particularly anything else that leaves him the patriarchal white leader of the group over her – is just bad and wrong.
posted by koeselitz at 7:06 AM on February 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


this show apparently can't find its way to give women enough autonomy to be creative about what options exist and what they mean

I mean, I like Glenn & Maggie just fine, but she literally hooked up with him because "there aren't exactly a lot of options these days". Literally that.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:09 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Exactly. We're talking an armageddon scenario here; all bets are off as far as civilization. Everything has fallen apart, apparently, except patriarchal expectations about how romantic relationships should go. If anybody has seen The Fall, Gillian Anderson's character there had some very interesting ruminations on what it would mean for women to take complete control over their sexual relationships, and some sad thoughts on how viable this might be in the context of modern society. But where Gillian Anderson's character had to put up with the limitations of the society around her, Maggie and Michonne and Carol and Sasha and Denise and Tara (and Lori Grimes! and all the rest!) don't have to deal with that at all – they ought to have the free space to seize control of their relationships and run them as they see fit. This could be the context for a complete paradigm shift in how relationships work, a shift toward something more equal, or (even better) toward something which tilts a bit more toward women's autonomy than men's. But it isn't – which is unfortunate, and a little boring, frankly.
posted by koeselitz at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


also Father Gabriel totally bails on Judith to completely unrealistically go toe-to-toe with zombie horde. Love that actor, but Father Gabriel is so poorly written.

i guess the show goes after this to Negan, but who cares about the freakin' zombies anymore? As long as you're not a whimpering child or a mother maddened with grief or i guess a wolf with dental hygiene problem, zombie horde, no problem!

which makes the initial set up make even less sense. there's this huge horde that they MUST lead out past the compound or very bad things will happen. OR according to the new rules set by this episode, you could just set them on fire plus have a determined group of fighters take them out.

Also, none of the Alexandrians save Jessie and sons are bitten? These cattle people are magically master fighters with no casualties?

Also, it's hard to hate watch this show because it's like, here, see this child being ripped apart and the resulting arterial blood spray.

I guess I'm watching because I want to come in here and sternly lecture the writers as to how to write a proper zombie show.
posted by angrycat at 7:51 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


alrightokay: This ep seems to exist only to squash every storyline generated by the last one.

I call this episode Do The Super (Happy) Twist - just when things are at their darkest, everything turns around!
  • Daryl bests Negan's man so quietly, even while getting stabbed in the shoulder, that he can sneak around and blow up Negan's Dudes!
  • Rick's stupid plan of the episode (how far would they have to walk to the open pit mine?) only kills off disposable love interest, her too-soft-for-this-world son and her Porch Dick Jr. son!
  • And the only tragedy from that ill-fated plan was that PD Jr.'s wide shot actually hit Coral in the eye, but he survives!
  • Denise goes into the zombies with bad teeth Owen (too bad Denise wasn't a dentist), and not only does she survive, but in a change of heart, he saves her! And Carol kills him, so he's not a liability!
  • Glenn gets Enid back on Team Let's Survive Together, and when it looks like he's about to be crushed by zombies while keeping them away from Maggie and Enid on the rickety tower, Sgt. Hatred and Sasha show up and save the day!
  • Rick goes into the zombies in a killing frenzy, and the townfolk get zombie killin' fever!
  • And when it looks like their desperate attempt to reclaim the town will fail, here comes Daryl, Abraham and Sasha with their terrible plan to pollute the pretty pond great idea that saves the night!
This was in turns just another episode of The Walking Dead (bad decisions turn out badly and people die when they could have survived with a bit more planning), and an episode of Bizarro Walking Dead (crazy plans that just might work don't turn out badly and everyone else survives! Even the nameless townies!), which was a fun turn of events. It was almost enough to forget about how this would have gone better on Z Nation (I've been watching Season 2 on Netflix, so it's fresh in my mind as a comparison to this show).

I'm no Richonne shipper, but I do love Michonne's love for Carl and little ass kicker, who is so very big now! I fully expect her to get her first zombie kill next season.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think pairing off the two biggest badasses (well two of the four anyway) would be deadly boring. Compare to how they made it look like they might pair Carol and Darryl, when actually what they ended up doing was proving they had a weird bond as hardened survivors of abuse.

I don't think the writers are that boring. Stupid, occasionally. Lame, ill-explained. Sure. But not usually mundane.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:08 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Super Happy Twist of this episode would have been more believable had somebody looked off to the West at dawn and shouted, "The Eagles! The Eagles! The Eagles are coming!"
posted by tobascodagama at 8:09 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Denise is playing the Bilbo role in my version of that scene.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:10 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Owen is Gollum, obviously.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:11 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


My objection to Richonne is the same as my objection to Reylo

She's good - on the good side. He is evil, and on the bad side. In this show, Michonne and Rick are both on the good side.

You really don't think they'd find a way to make "subservient black woman falls for the big strong white guy, who is big and strong and saves everybody, and she learns to shut up and do what he tells her to do"

This is just a creation. As in, just completely made up. There is nothing in Michonne's tv character that has her being subservient or being told to shut up and her doing what she is told like a meek mouse. Are there moments in the show in the season's Michonne has been on the show that you're referring to that I've missed? She seems to protest pretty well when she isn't feeling something. I've watched since the pilot, but I'm open to recontexualizing events if there's something you noticed.

I just really, really, really don't think a Michonne/Rick romantic subplot would solve any of this show's problems.

And why on earth would their relationship need to solve some problem?

All these objections are just hilarious. It would be boring because they're both bad asses! Lets find every single possible non-reason to keep the black female lead from a romantic relationship. This is what happens. The funny part of this is that until they were on screen together, I never thought about them being together. All I knew is that there was some amazing invisible black woman with a sword and two walkers on chains coming.

We can move on and talk about other things though, the show will do whatever it does. And speaking of what the show does, I suppose they really are committed to staying in the summer every single season. I do love a hot Georgia or Virginia summer, and it would be crazy for them to go further north and risk winter's perils, but it would be cool to see some ice walkers.

The other thing they could do is go back to some iconic settings. The highway scene was the 'cover' for the show for a long time. Since they're in Alexandria, can they make it to DC so we can see ruins of the capital? Or can we have an episode all along the Appalachian Trail?
posted by cashman at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2016


I don't think this counts as a spoiler because this show is unprecedented in its fearlessness for disregarding the source material. So what happens in the book often means precisely nothing. But if the idea of a vague hint about something peripheral and kinda minor that happened in the book that may or may not be echoed in the show bothers you, skip the next graf.

But Michonne has a love interest from the comics in the cast now. So that may happen. Maybe not. But saying her and Rick don't feel right may come out of that previously implanted idea for readers of the books. Either way, it isn't Rick or a life of loneliness. There are options.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lets find every single possible non-reason to keep the black female lead from a romantic relationship. This is what happens.

I understand that this is what happens alot on TV and that really sucks. But not wanting Rick and Michonne to get together is not the same as not wanting Michonne to have any love interest ever.

There are multiple unnamed Alexandrians that the show could elevate to become Michonne's interest. Maybe he's super annoying/totally not her type and she just wants to be friends until she realizes that the one she's wanted to whole time has been right in front of her.

The writers could write in some other plucky survivalist dude who isnt crazy as balls who could happen upon Michonne while they're out and about. Maybe they bump into each other and drop their weaponry and all the weapons get mixed up like some movie meet-cute.

Maybe both of those things happen and she accidentally makes plans with both of them on the same night and crazy hijinks ensue!
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's just what Julie Plec said. Same thing. Anybody but the male lead, can't have that. There's some discussion of how Jessie's actress talked about it a while back. Andrew Lincoln said some things along the same lines, but framed it as "allowed himself to", which doesn't make it much better. But again, let's just see what the show does.
posted by cashman at 9:24 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


the purpose of rick's love interests is to die horribly in order for him to have An Emotional Moment. i'm not interested in seeing michonne die, especially not to further the dubious character development of some mediocre white dude.

HOWEVER if they did start a relationship and then he got bit and she had to kill him, that would be SPECTACULAR.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


me: “You really don't think they'd find a way to make 'subservient black woman falls for the big strong white guy, who is big and strong and saves everybody, and she learns to shut up and do what he tells her to do'”

cashman: “This is just a creation. As in, just completely made up. There is nothing in Michonne's tv character that has her being subservient or being told to shut up and her doing what she is told like a meek mouse. Are there moments in the show in the season's Michonne has been on the show that you're referring to that I've missed? She seems to protest pretty well when she isn't feeling something. I've watched since the pilot, but I'm open to recontexualizing events if there's something you noticed.”

You say you've watched since the pilot – so why are you acting like you haven't seen the show at all? I know Michonne's character isn't that way. But haven't you watched Rick? Racist, sexist, generally stupid Rick? The only way – the only way – for Michonne to be with Rick would be to destroy her character, for her to become subservient and meek and mild, just exactly like every single love interest Rick has had on the show, starting from and especially including his wife, whom he badgered into keeping a baby and guilted for attempting an abortion without his permission.

Why would you want the black woman, the badass of the show, perhaps the best character the writers have come up with, an exceedingly interesting person who's overcome her own justified darkness to find peace in a world of turmoil, to be set up with the white supremacist sexist goon of an oafish idiot who is in no sense the badass of the show and who continually gets people killed because he is dumb?

RICK NEEDS TO DIE.

cashman: “The funny part of this is that until they were on screen together, I never thought about them being together. All I knew is that there was some amazing invisible black woman with a sword and two walkers on chains coming.”

Uh huh. Heh. And you don't even mention thinking about Rick, did you? Because you didn't. Because he is not worth thinking about. At all.

It would be awesome for Michonne to have a relationship. I would love to see her with Daryl. I would love to see her with Abraham. I would love to see her with all of them, in sequence, however she chooses to have them. But putting her with the racist sexist goon, forcing her to bend and scrape (since that is, as we have seen, the price of being Rick's concubine) – ugh. No.

RICK NEEDS TO DIE.
posted by koeselitz at 9:27 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


(Or – here's one of my personal fantasies for the show – all the men die, some of their deaths are tragedies, some of them are joyful occasions, whatever – and Tara, Rosita, Carol, Denise, Sasha, and Michonne take Judith with them and found a new colony of women who don't give a fuck and don't have to anymore. It's remarkable how many of the show's problems this would solve. And the relationships would be much more interesting and satisfying.)
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 AM on February 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


cashman: “Anybody but the male lead, can't have that.”

Maybe this is a better way of putting it: why on earth do you think Rick should be the male lead?
posted by koeselitz at 9:34 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I get that Rick can be annoying. But the reason why he has to live isn't because he is the Male Lead. It's because the premise of The Walking Dead is to go beyond the standard 90-105 minutes of a zombie movie and stay with one person (and his rotating cast of companions) to see what happens to a human being who lives through a zombie apocalypse that does not end. Whatever we'd gain in relief from annoyance from ditching him now would be peanuts compared to undercutting the central premise like that.

That's not to say he can never die. But they'd really have to weigh the wasted opportunity factor carefully.

A better solution is for the writers to simply work on finding him better arcs.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:35 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Actually, I don't think cashman is totally wrong. I do agree that it would be nice if people didn't just recoil at the idea of the best character and the lame, lackluster male lead getting together for no other reason than that the best character is black.

I can see some awesome story lines where Rick starts to fade into the background and learns to shut up and learns his place and lets Michonne run shit, and then she chooses, for her pleasure, to take him as a lover, with the understanding of course that he's to shut up and stay on the sidelines if this is going to work.

In other words: if Rick stops being the lead, and stops forcing all his girlfriends to be subservient, I think it would be cool to see him and Michonne together.
posted by koeselitz at 9:39 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I do agree that it would be nice if people didn't just recoil at the idea of the best character and the lame, lackluster male lead getting together for no other reason than that the best character is black.

Did a single person here do this? I'm pretty sure the objections were, in no particular order that: a) no chemistry was noted; b) Rick sucks; c) there are better options for her. There might have also been a bit of d) it's the zombie apocalypse and she's a fearsome warrior, who gives a fuck about her dating life?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:40 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


eh, that's true, I just mean I do think it's a thing that happens in the world a lot, not necessarily that it's a thing happening in this thread
posted by koeselitz at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2016


I personally find focusing on who female characters date to be tiresome and reductive, sort of the action drama equivalent of greeting an esteemed writer director at an event and asking who she is wearing. And I find the tendency to assume any bond between a male and a female character to necessarily be reflective of will they or won't they? romantic tension to be sad. "But if they're not going to end up fucking, why are a man and woman even talking to each other?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:45 AM on February 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Since they're in Alexandria, can they make it to DC so we can see ruins of the capital?

Seriously. No one is curious to see if any of the federal government is back up and running? Wouldn't it make sense to drop by the White House every now and then to see if anything is going on?

I get that Rick can be annoying. But the reason why he has to live isn't because he is the Male Lead. It's because the premise of The Walking Dead is to go beyond the standard 90-105 minutes of a zombie movie and stay with one person (and his rotating cast of companions) to see what happens to a human being who lives through a zombie apocalypse that does not end.

I get that, but Carol and Glenn have been on the show almost as long, and Carol's arc has already been a lot more interesting than Rick's. For that matter, I wouldn't mind shifting focus to Carl. Suppose Rick turns and Carl has to kill his dad to save Judith? I would be pretty interested in the adventures of an orphaned teen who was forced to kill both his parents and is now the primary guardian for his baby sister during the zombie apocalypse. Or Michonne has to kill Rick and steps in as a kind of mother figure for Carl and Judith.

Unless the writers get really clever really soon, Rick as a character is played out. We've seen bold Rick, smart Rick, dumb Rick, crazy with grief Rick, megalomaniacal Rick, sociopathic Rick. I don't know where else to go with this guy. Kill him and re-shuffle the deck.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:46 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pater Aletheias: “Carol and Glenn have been on the show almost as long”

heck, Rick's been on the show literally ten minutes longer than Morgan, right?
posted by koeselitz at 9:49 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


They're already building up to Rick's next arc, which looks to be taking over as a sort of political leader, building to the future. This may be interrupted or complicated by another survival challenge, though, naturally.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:50 AM on February 16, 2016


Pater Aletheias: Unless the writers get really clever really soon, Rick as a character is played out. We've seen bold Rick, smart Rick, dumb Rick, crazy with grief Rick, megalomaniacal Rick, sociopathic Rick. I don't know where else to go with this guy.

I know, let's get him a talking cat, then they can enact scenes of Rick and Lou. (Has anyone done a mash-up of scenes of TWD with texts of Rick and Lou? If not, I'm tempted to do so. You know, in my free time.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:11 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hey Coral
posted by entropicamericana at 10:40 AM on February 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


I love that the Coral gifs are back. It's a horrible scene and I shouldn't be laughing, and the puns are consistently terrible but I always get a goofy laugh out of those.
posted by cashman at 10:42 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I get this feeling Rick Needs To Die. Not sure where that's coming from, but something is giving me that feeling.

Seriously though, the point of everybody's actual love interests on this show is to die horribly. Andrea loved her sister. Amy died horribly. Came back as a walker and had to get killed again. Carol was beaten by her husband but she had her child who she loved. Sophia got chased into the woods by a walker. Her death wasn't on screen, but I think it's pretty certain she died horribly. Came back as a walker and had to get killed again. Daryl's only relation left in the world was his brother Merle. Died, somewhat horribly, came back as a walker and had to get killed again. Michonne was close with Andrea. Died. And so on. You can even throw in Andrea & the Governor. People in this show die horribly period. It isn't limited to somehow revolving around the Rickster.

As far as the writing, it would be like asking for a black female character to come on the show as a sword wielding bad ass when prior to that, the black female character on the show didn't get much to do besides a witty comment here or there and a suggestion, and saying "see! the writers would never write a black woman has having a sword and doing incredible moves with it, chopping off walkers heads and saving people. Look what they did with Jacqui! It's just a poor excuse as to why Michonne and Rick, based on the television storyline, aren't getting together.

Regarding female characters and their dating lives, that's where ye olde intersectionality comes in. That may be a problem for white female characters, but it isn't typically the problem of black female characters. There was a character on another show that was being positioned as the damsel in distress, and a bunch of people jumped up to decry that, until the actress and fans pointed out that black female characters don't get to be in that situation where they get desired and saved by the male lead. So it isn't one size fits all here. Michonne has been on the show for years and to the point, it's the storyline that has brought them together. This whole thing was prompted by the observation that Michonne and Rick have been revolving around each other for a while, and have had a lot of moments together, and especially in this episode, she was 1000 per cent by Rick's side. You can't ask for more. She saved his life, possibly Carl's because porch dick could have just kept on firing, then saved Carl's life again by holding him while the doctor stitched him up, then went and saved Rick's ass again by leading the charge out the door to fight the walker crowd. I mentioned her previous taming of Carl, and their relationship and bond. I didn't just say they should be together, I explained through specific scenes in the show, why that would be a great direction to take.

I don't think they should kill Rick off yet. He's still a compelling figure, even with all the ridiculously stupid decisions he makes. I did think it was interesting in this episode that they called back to when he was in the hospital. I don't recall him talking about that directly in a long time, if ever.

No one is curious to see if any of the federal government is back up and running?

I could really use some discovery scenes. I mean their ratings are through the roof still I'm guessing, so I know they have enough budget to do something. At some point it's nice to hearken back to the days of wondering just where the world is going, and trying to find some kind of solution. Especially since Fear The Walking Dead is such a non-story.
posted by cashman at 11:05 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


(Or – here's one of my personal fantasies for the show – all the men die, some of their deaths are tragedies, some of them are joyful occasions, whatever – and Tara, Rosita, Carol, Denise, Sasha, and Michonne take Judith with them and found a new colony of women who don't give a fuck and don't have to anymore. It's remarkable how many of the show's problems this would solve. And the relationships would be much more interesting and satisfying.)

I wish Z Nation had done a little bit more with that farm. The way they disposed of Murphy's baby mama (which term I only use because that's what she was reduced to in the end) was disappointing.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:10 AM on February 16, 2016


God. Z Nation is frequently incompetent, but at least it's usually reach-exceeds-their-grasp incompetence and not just boring staleness.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2016


I gave up on this show a long time ago. I haven't given up watching it. I've just given up on it ever being anything more than a weekly b-movie about zombies.

So I liked this episode. Things exploded unexpectedly, zombies ate some people, 15 or so people spent hours hacking up hundreds of zombies and no one got bit, and that biker guy with the winged vest shot an RPG into a lake of gasoline and there was lots of fire.

I honestly couldn't care any less about any of the characters. I mean, why bother? Oh hey Carl got shot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh hey Morgan learned a thing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh hey Rick made a speech ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh hey, Rick likes Gabriel now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh hey, Rick's girlfriend's family got wiped out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ None of that is going to matter next week when the board resets and everyone on the show, internal motivation or logic be damned, settles back into being just a gear that grinds the plot forward to whatever super explody decapiatey bloody mess of a set piece they have for the next mid-season-mid-month-year-end finale pre-finale whatever episode.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:14 AM on February 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Or – here's one of my personal fantasies for the show – all the men die

boy is this ever going to be in your wheelhouse.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:25 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I gave up on this show a long time ago. I haven't given up watching it. I've just given up on it ever being anything more than a weekly b-movie about zombies.

Yeah, that's pretty fair. What bothers me is that the show doesn't act like this. It acts like it's, I dunno, Breaking Bad with Zombies or something. Just, tonally, you can feel that kind of "This is important... This means something" oozing out of every shot. Except it can't deliver. It annoys me to no end.

I mean, the only reason I watch it any more is that my partner is absolutely obsessed with zombies and insists on watching just about everything zombie-related. So, for television, it's pretty much this and Z Nation and kinda-sorta Helix.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2016


Danai Gurira does a fantastic job with Michonne; she's one of the top five actors on the show. But I've always felt that the writers kinda limit Michonne, in terms of the directions they're willing to explore with her.

Michonne is hard as hell, with plenty of smarts and sense to boot. But she seems to exist mainly so that her ferocity and wit might serve everyone else. We never see Michonne getting hers—she just kinda stoically bears the burden of being this stalwart warrior.

I'd love to unpack that more, but I have an appointment to run to.

it would be nice if people didn't just recoil at the idea of the best character and the lame, lackluster male lead getting together for no other reason than that the best character is black

Yeah, don't do this.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:04 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sorry - don't do what?
posted by koeselitz at 2:07 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like Anita Sarkeesian says - it is completely fine to critique media and point out racist and sexist flaws in it, and still consume the content.

Oh, for... What does Anita Sarkeesian have to say about media where the women always turn out to be objects of desire for the male characters?

Michonne hooking up with Rick would be completely out of character and would make zero sense. It would be last-season-of-Dexter terrible.

There's nothing saying she can't end up having a romantic relationship -- you know, aside from maybe not being in any great hurry to lose yet another loved one and every man left on earth being a total bag of manure -- but Rick? No.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:47 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Out of character how? I already linked an article that showed the looks they were sharing, and to illustrate the point that it wasn't like I was just making things up. Look at the comments on that article - there are people who really want to see it happen. It's like, I can believe zombies can walk the earth, but a black female lead getting with the main white guy? That makes zero sense! That would be terrible!
posted by cashman at 3:19 PM on February 16, 2016


What do you mean how? What show are you watching? Rick is a fucking lunatic, and Michonne is not a moron without taste or standards. That's how.

It's like you want her to be with him just because he's the white male lead, and she's a woman in his viscinity, and the only possible reason there might be for them not to be boning is racism. In what way, exactly, is it not completely regressive for the white male lead to get to bed every woman who dares to stand near him?

If that's what you want, go watch a Bond movie.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:44 PM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


tbh i don't think the way they look at each other is any different than the way michonne looks at glenn or daryl or carol or anyone else of any race or gender that she's been through utter fucking hell with. it's nothing like the 100% loving interaction that's being ignored between abbie and ichabod on sleepy hollow, for example, which is a totally fucking obvious and creepy avoidance of an undeniable romance.

literally the only reason i don't want to see them get together is because it would absolutely be used to kill michonne off and that's when i stop watching forever. i don't want to see my favourite character thrown away like trash, and the writers aren't capable of dealing with that situation in any other way. obviously i'm not going to deny that racism exists and motivates people to say "i don't want to see this happen" but to deny that any other possible reason could ever exist is kind of silly.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:49 PM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Whoa man. I'm not sure where you get "just because", since I have time and again described scene after scene, interaction after interaction, and situation after situation that I think shows that the arc of the show, that's where things would be going. It's not like the show is over, so it could still happen. We'll see. There's no need to continually throw straw men up about how Michonne would have to be to be with Rick, or try to do some kind of oh it's reverse racism trick when I've been pretty specific about what has happened on The Walking Dead that in most other situations would result in those two characters being in some kind of a relationship. If you want to feel the way you do, go for it. There's plenty of other topics to discuss with this show.

the 100% loving interaction that's being ignored between abbie and ichabod on sleepy hollow, for example, which is a totally fucking obvious and creepy avoidance of an undeniable romance.

Another one, huh. I always hated that situation because Ichabod was married (until his wife betrayed him or whatever, because I stopped tuning in), so ultimately at least there was that. But I'm glad this discussion called that to mind for you, because I think some people are oblivious to how often this happens on television. I think their looks are pretty obviously something, and it's pretty clear plenty of other people do as well, but at the end of the day it's a fictional couple.

I think when things start getting invented, for example "it would absolutely be used to kill michonne off", that's the problem. It would be one thing to say "I'd love for her to, but I hope they don't kill her off" is one thing. But there have been 3 or 4 excuses in here that it is literally not possible to write Michonne and Rick together in a love story. When you get that level of pushback it kind of gets transparent. We had a guy literally surrounded by walkers, and incapacitated, a bloody corpse on top of him, and he lived and got nary a scratch. But all of a sudden, it is just impossible, just impossible guys, for Rick and Michonne to have any kind of a romantic relationship! Impossible.

Lets move on. We're not getting anywhere. Regarding that biker gang they encountered, I am SO glad that ended quickly. I didn't need a repeat of that group Daryl was with. And the whole Barbaric man leads gang of killers thing is so yawnworthy. So I forgave Daryl's Houdini act with the rocket launcher, because I absolutely didn't need some goofball on a bike spitting philosophical garbage as he killed people.
posted by cashman at 4:18 PM on February 16, 2016


Another one, huh. I always hated that situation because Ichabod was married (until his wife betrayed him or whatever, because I stopped tuning in), so ultimately at least there was that.

oh you have no idea, it got even worse when they got rid of the wife but then WHAT A SURPRISE suddenly there was a new black male character who showed up and, gasp! had a romantic interest in abbie! who ever could have guessed something so unexpected might occur! especially when he was introduced in the same episode as a mysterious (white) woman from ichabod's past!

so yeah please trust me when i tell you that i am not fucking oblivious to the treatment of nonwhite characters, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, in every form of media ever since the dawn of actual media, thanks.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:41 PM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


There are way, way, way more "Fuck you Rick" looks from Michonne than there are any that are preceded by "I'd like to" -- and I'm not at all convinced there are *any*of the latter. Certainly not the ones you've linked, even out of context.

Go ahead and call it racist to suggest the black female character have agency instead of being nonsensically romantically drawn to someone she barely tolerates, whose idiotic plans she begrudgingly goes along with, whose actions have gotten countless numbers of her companions killed, whose only value to her is as one of the numbers there's strength in, for no other reason than that he happens to be the protagonist. Go ahead and say it'd be a triumph of civil rights for the white male protagonist to get to shag the black woman despite his being completely horrible. I'll just be over here rolling my eyes.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:44 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why, oh why did someone point out to me that all the zombies have long sleeves? I watched this whole episode scanning for short sleeves or a vest and was absolutely delighted at no shirt with guts hanging out. But it doesn't really count does it? If they have a top on they have long sleeves. Every single one of them.
posted by unliteral at 4:54 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


you mean if they were clothed? 'Cause there was Naked Zombie with Half-Eaten Stomach wandering around.
posted by angrycat at 5:05 PM on February 16, 2016


I had that similar thing happen when it got noted how drab all their clothes are. Like, none of the walkers are wearing red, or bright yellows, or anything pastel. Whether they have seemingly been walking around forever or they were just found locked in a room.
posted by cashman at 5:08 PM on February 16, 2016


none of the walkers are wearing red, or bright yellows, or anything pastel
You're not making it better.
posted by unliteral at 5:11 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorry!
posted by cashman at 5:43 PM on February 16, 2016


I don't think they should kill Rick off yet. He's still a compelling figure, even with all the ridiculously stupid decisions he makes. I did think it was interesting in this episode that they called back to when he was in the hospital. I don't recall him talking about that directly in a long time, if ever.

His Make Alexandria Great Again campaign certainly got the locals fired up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:42 PM on February 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Say what you will about Ron, but he tried to kill Rick for us and he shot Coral in the face.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:49 PM on February 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling Michonnes.
posted by cashman at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


If my count is accurate, there were exactly zero female characters inconveniently spraining their ankles in this episode, so that was a breath of fresh air.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:58 PM on February 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


So, I can't believe I've fallen far enough down the fandom hole to ask this question, but: if Michonne were going to have a romantic interest, who would it be?

We know that she had a boyfriend and a son before the apocalypse. It was also implied (though never made explicit) that she may have been romantically involved with Andrea (or maybe I read too much into that).

I'm definitely on Team Michonne Is Too Good for Rick. He's a violent, unpredictable, haggard ex-good-ol'-boy with control issues and dangerously bad judgment. She's strong and shrewd and independent, but also graceful and thoughtful and giving. She's gonna want a man (or woman) who's on her level.

Candidates who aren't currently attached, and aren't kids:

Gabriel: hell no.

Morgan: he's older, but...maybe? They have a similar outlook, I think. And they've both lost children and partners, so they share similar pain. And they can give each other melee tips.

Daryl: they have great chemistry, but it's more of a brother-sister kind of relationship. That said, this could be amazing if I trusted the writers to handle it well. You have two fan-favorite, long-running characters, both chronically unattached (and who have both attracted commentary because of it). Let 'em fall for each other, and blow the fans' minds. It could be brilliant, but it'd probably be a disaster. The writers just aren't that smart.

Carol: I don't see it working, personally. Too much of an age gap; too much of an empathy gap. Carol has herself under control better than Rick, but she's almost as cold and ruthless.

Tara: another strong option. (At least we know she bats for the right team.) I think there's definitely a mutual respect and some kindred spirit there.

Eugene: absolutely not. Just, no.

Sasha: meh. This would feel forced to me, on a couple of different levels.

Denise: meh.

Heath: can see this working. I've been hoping they develop Heath more anyway—the character is a smart guy with the makings of a leader, and the actor who plays him does a good job.

There are also lots of minor Alexandria characters—and if they're gonna give a love interest to a long-running lead character, developing a minor character is probably the way to do it. But I'm not gonna sit here and list everyone who's ever spoken a line onscreen. I'm already pushing my shipping quota.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think when it comes to characters who have been on the show for a long time, it makes sense to look at their interactions with other characters when imagining who they'd be with. Like I'm not going to watch Big Bang Theory and start searching minor characters for Penny to be with. You're going to be looking at the characters she's interacted with, that she has history and events, and common ground, or some type of events with, even if they were confrontational (that isn't necessarily bad). I'm not going to watch Scandal and start searching for minor characters for Olivia Pope to be with. I'm going to look at who she interacted with the most, who she's looked at, who she's worked with, who she's had crazy times with. If I'm watching Gray's Anatomy, I'm not going to look for minor characters for her, it's going to be McDreamy - someone she sees, someone she interacts with and talks to a lot. If I'm watching How to Get Away with Murder, I'm not going to look for minor characters for Annalise, I'm going to look for the guy she's interacted with a lot, the one who has come to her office, the one who she has do her dirty work, the one who took a fall for her, the one she's conflicted over, who she shares things with. If I'm watching The Flash, I'm not going to look for some random character to be Iris's love interest. It's going to be someone she's interacted with at her job. Someone she talks to, shares things with, confides in, revolves around, meets with. Show after show after show operates this way, but for some reason we're going to resort to picking through people like Eugene and Denise, who don't even seem to have had a single scene with her. Wow.
posted by cashman at 8:49 PM on February 16, 2016


My main problem with Rick is that he's essentially the Thesis Statement of this show. Their Thesis Statement, via Rick, is that humans are at their core dumb, tribal, and brutish. That given the least amount of adversity, your average person will turn against everyone except for the people who agree to work for him, and then act like a petty tyrant and major asshole to the rest. Humans are shortsighted, mean, cruel, and self aggrandizing. Every villain that they've encountered has been some facet of Rick stretched out to the extreme. It's not even an interesting treatment of that particular line of thought, since Rick (invariably) gets out of all of the stupid scrapes that he gets the people unfortunate enough to be proximate to him into. Because he's Rick. And Rick is the point. And if you kill Rick then you kill the point that the show is trying to make. Like a zombie snake swallowing its tail.

Typically they have to contort not only reality as we recognize it, but also the reality that previous episodes have established to fit with this Thesis Statement that is incredibly, insanely wrong for so many reasons. However, at this point, the Rick Thesis is the centerpiece of any sort of banal, braindead idea that the writing team is trying to advance (and there are a lot of them).

Rick won't die until the show does, because it can't and he won't. Anything good that happens on screen is directly in spite of Rick, and in spite of whatever terrible, asinine point that the writing team is attempting to make with Rick.
posted by codacorolla at 8:59 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Screw The Slow Burn, Seriously
"It might work for white couples on US TV where everyone is rooting for them, but it’s become clear that it’s actually harmful when half of the pairing is a Black woman.

Slow burn works when the default is the fast burn, instant infatuation, of course they’ll get together. When the default is invisible, romantically irrelevant, or I just don’t see it, it doesn’t work. It looks like all it’s doing is reinforcing those defaults – and for all we know (looking at Sleepy Hollow and The Walking Dead especially) they are reinforcing them.

We don’t have precedent to assure us that it probably really is a slow burn (not on US TV). It’s important that they follow through, but it’s also important for shows to give Black women love stories that develop faster than slower (and where they’re not the dirty secret, PLEASE).

Sleepy Hollow is getting a lot of criticism (including from me) for seemingly choosing to play it safe by pairing two secondary characters (Jenny and Joe) in an interracial relationship instead of/before Abbie and Ichabod. I suspect they are using Joenny as a diversion, hoping it will placate Ichabbie shippers (it won’t), but in doing so they’ve actually highlighted all that’s wrong with their treatment of Ichabbie. Joenny, imho, wasn’t rushed or undeveloped (they have less screen time than Abbie and Ichabod, but they do have their own arc, and it did build their relationship). Them getting together within seven episodes makes sense. Drawing out Ichabbie for years and giving him all kinds of extraneous love interests is what doesn’t.

Bottom Line: The unromantic Black Best Friend is a tired and racist trope that leads directly back to Mammy, and when a Black woman is put in a “slow burn” relationship, that’s what she becomes for an extended period. US Media needs to realize that they’ve not yet progressed to the point where the Black woman as best friend instead of romantic interest is empowering, positive, or feminist. All it does is make Black women feel unworthy of love while they play games and throw romantic attention on white love interests instead."
posted by cashman at 9:09 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


cashman (and everyone else who is on this "If You Don't Want Rick And Michonne to Hook Up, then You're Racist" tip): maybe take a step back, and take a few deep breaths? This thread has gone in a really weirdly hostile direction. As difficult as it seems to be for you to imagine, there are possible reasons for having different opinions about which characters should hook up on a fictional zombie soap opera that aren't "I'm a fucking racist".

FWIW, my reasoning about developing a minor character as a love interest (as opposed to an established main character) is this: Michonne and the other members of The Group have already had plenty of time to develop romantic feelings for each other. It hasn't happened. It's certainly not unheard of for two people who've known each other for a long time to develop mutual romantic feelings—but it's kinda the exception. People tend to sort each other into "people I want to be friends with" vs. "people I would like to be naked with" pretty early on. For an established character to be romantically interested in a new acquaintance seems more natural and believable to me than "oh, by the way, these two characters you've been watching for three seasons, who have hitherto shown zero signs of romantic attraction, have suddenly decided that they're into each other".

And I haven't watched the specific shows you cite, but it's not at all uncommon for a show to introduce a new character to serve as a love interest for an established character. Anyway, I cited three main characters (who've all been on the show for at least a full season) as promising love interests for Michonne.

I'd be totally fine with Michonne (or any other black character) hooking up with Rick (or any other white character), if I thought it made narrative sense. For these particular characters, in this particular show, I don't think that it does. That may be hard for you to understand. Regardless, I encourage you to give me the benefit of the doubt, and not assume that it must be because I'm racist.

My involvement in this particular thread of conversation is now over. I have better things to do than play the "agree with Internet randos' opinions about TWD shipping, or admit that you hate black people" game.

It's hard to imagine this conversation happening anywhere but on the Internet.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:27 PM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Cashman actually has a really great point about intersectionality that some people seem to be missing. Yes, it's frustrating that (white) female characters are defined by their romantic connections. But there is an entirely different problem of (black) female characters utterly lacking in romantic connections. These two things coexist in pop culture and people who are very aware of the first can be entirely ignorant of the second. And, yes, there may be very good reasons why Rick and Michonne shouldn't get together, but there are always reasons why the black woman can't get the white lead or the Cohen brothers movie is so white or there aren't any people of color in medieval fantasy or whatever. I'm not saying that people are wrong about Rick/Michonne being a terrible idea, but some people are being really deaf and defensive about cashman's larger point. (I think. Cashman, I apologize if I'm misstating what I think you're saying.) Pointing out pervasive institutional racism in pop culture is not the same thing as "admit you hate black people."

It kinda reminds me of Ren/Poe shipping, which I was pretty vigorously against (bc why does she have to be someone's girlfriend) until a friend of mine said it would mean a lot to him to see a black male romantic lead in a movie like Star Wars.
posted by Mavri at 9:50 PM on February 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think we can talk a little about the racism of this show's general audience without going to the "you're racist / are you saying I'm racist?" place.
posted by koeselitz at 10:12 PM on February 16, 2016


And by Ren/Poe, I meant Rey/Finn. Oy.
posted by Mavri at 10:15 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


But there have been 3 or 4 excuses in here that it is literally not possible to write Michonne and Rick together in a love story. When you get that level of pushback it kind of gets transparent.

... yeah. I would normally follow the call of 'let's stop talking about this,' but I'm actually pretty offended by that shitty statement.

I'm *very* not white, and I'm very tired of never seeing a guy who looks like me as anything but Terrorist #17 in a Hollywood production. I am also deeply tired of characters like Rick, whom everybody defers to simply because they are white even though they are giant squalling manbabies. I am irked by the notion that he should be in charge, get the girl, or even continue breathing after being such an idiot, time and time again, when a guy who looks like *me* would never be considered. I can only imagine how much more annoying that must be for women of color, as I'm at least lumped in with serious antagonists in the grand scheme of pop culture instead of being the door prize.

What happened here is simple: you are fixated on a particular 'ship, and are misreading a lack of support for your preferred scenario, (which would have some deeply problematic racial undertones of its own), as a lack of support for a broader, valid concern.

You should probably not conflate those two issues. Lack of support for the two characters you want to see make out is not the same as lack of support for women of color.

Moreover, it is offensive that you would brush off the concerns of other participants in a given discussion as 'excuses' covering for either latent or overt racism, because it's rude, untrue, and especially insensitive because their arguments also have valid racial components.

Please don't do that here again.

In the meantime, I'm stepping outta the thread too. All I wanted to do was shoot the breeze about TEAM CAROL and offer my obligatory weekly reminder that even The Asylum is writing a more engaging show. This is suddenly too much work.
posted by mordax at 4:02 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm actually pretty offended by that shitty statement.

I'm sorry this offended you. The community of writers and producers that produce media has given similar excuses for eons. They have told us they just can't do these things with nonwhite characters. In response to criticisms of stereotypical characters and problematic portrayals on television shows, in films and in commercials, we have been told "It is just not possible. It is too hard." So when those same excuses pop up, it looks pretty similar.

Moreover, it is offensive that you would brush off the concerns of other participants in a given discussion as 'excuses' covering for either latent or overt racism, because it's rude, untrue, and especially insensitive because their arguments also have valid racial components. Please don't do that here again.

See above. Many in positions of power (producers, directors, writers) long swore that it was audiences that were the problem. That they couldn't do things with characters that weren't white, because audiences wouldn't accept it, wouldn't attend, wouldn't watch. If these ideas and critiques of media featuring black characters is startling to you, it isn't because they haven't existed.

If you call a black person "boy" and then bristle as you get glared at, and you say "it is offensive that you would take a word and ....", it may be because you weren't aware at the time of the context of the situation. And that is what I am saying here.

This isn't something I invented when I made that initial "surely this" comment about the characters. These problematic portrayals of black women have taken the same forms. The same excuses and non answers have been used. I linked to and told the story of another popular fantasy show with a prominent black female lead, and described the bad elements of the interactions the writer of the show had with fans that resulted in her deleting her tweets. Yet comments later, someone used that exact same rationale.

These tropes are harmful. If you are watching a sitcom and saying "well what's wrong with this sassy black best friend character, she's hilarious," and you're dismissive of those who attempt to point out the history of the sassy black best friend to you and how much of an issue that character is, that's going to seem pretty transparent.

Are you familiar with the "magical negro" trope? If you start talking about a character who fits that bill, and you start giving the same reasons and rationales that people who think about these things and have analyzed and critiqued this media for years have seen over and over, it is going to look pretty transparent to those people.

This post about intersectionality is from September of 2015.
To understand the intersectionality of feminism and race in media (and, by extension, fandom), one must understand the fundamental differences between what is considered empowering for white women vs. what is empowering for Black women. (Hint: due to many years of dehumanization of Black women while white women have been portrayed as The Ideal, these two perceptions are almost diametrically opposite.)

Take the Strong Woman who isn’t there to be loved. White women love this trope, because white women in media are so often primarily seen as love interests. I can understand how that can be frustrating, and how it can be refreshing to see, say, Furiosa in Mad Max. But – and this is important – the Strong Woman trope, applied to a Black woman, reads entirely differently, and to ignore that ignores intersectionality altogether.

Black women have almost never been the ones who need protecting in media. Black women aren’t sick and tired of always being love interests. The Strong Independent Woman (thanks in part to fandom repeatedly using the term to try and keep women of color in their romance-free place) has become virtually a slur when it comes to Black women in media in the same way the Damsel in Distress makes white women’s skin crawl. If you care about intersectionality at all, it’s important to understand that.
....
Otherizing Black women is not yet widely considered un-PC. It still continues in the media we consume every day. And just because they’re often glorified for being so strong, so tough, and so independent it doesn’t make it OK.

Abbie Mills is a tough, independent badass – but Katrina embodied “womanhood,” precious and pure. Michonne is a tough, independent badass – but Jessie embodies “womanhood.” And on and on.

It has been said so many times, but it hardly ever seems to sink in: It is progressive and feminist for Black women to be the precious ones, the love interests, the damsels who need saving.

So if you instinctively ask why a Black woman can’t just be strong or get upset if she is “reduced to a love interest,” allowed the kind of romantic storyline you take for granted and spit on, the answer is: Your brand of feminism doesn’t apply here.

And, you know, that doesn’t negate that brand of feminism. Intersectionality (of all kinds) asks you to look at feminism as something that is complex, not a set of one-size-fits-all rules.

Lastly, I'm surprised this is suddenly too much work, given what you've described about seeing people who look like you being portrayed horribly on television. I am sure you have to have been through many many conversations, online and off, where you have to explain to people how much of an issue things are that they weren't really paying attention to. The work is seemingly neverending, and probably makes one think of the "101" conversations that often get debated when these issues arise, where some want to discuss the permutations of various established concepts, while a segment debates the existence of any problem at all. Again, I am sorry you were offended. I think part of it is that what is being shown through the transparency is the same things that have arisen before. It isn't an attempt to characterize it. I'm not interested in the what you are conversation, rather the discussion is about the material. Of course you're free to bow out. Or you can just talk about Team Carol in here. That would be a great conversation.

Carol is an intriguing character to me. She came so far since her initial introduction, and now she's even past that. It's like she lived, lived through the end of the world, transformed and lived through that, and is now a brand new person, post-the-person-she-was-after-transformation. I feel like she answers to no one. Like she's just fighting the world itself, and everybody's just in the way, her friends and (adopted) family included.

Like, Carol's now more of a loner even than Daryl. He's always connecting himself back to the group and seems to care about their survival, even if he's annoyed with them at times. He also still has that little boy like quality where you feel like he's an overgrown child who can take care of himself just barely, in between times where he can find a support system. He still seems like it would be a progression for him to become a person who was someone who loved to just sit around and talk, make dishes in the kitchen that weren't squirrel, and cut his hair shorter.

But Carol is learned. She has experienced it all, and I experience her character as someone who has taken everything in, had it all (good and bad) at one time or another, and lost it all. As much as they try to force Morgan's pathologies down our throats, his situation still feels contrived to me. Carol's seems real. When Morgan tries to be brooding and focused on "clearing", I don't feel like we have enough about him to truly feel it with him, even with that silly backstory episode. But with Carol, we watched her cower from Ed. We saw her cry for her lost child. Then saw her cry over her child lost. From Rick's ridiculous banishment to her saving the group, to "look at the flowers", and taking out tyrese's sick girlfriend, to this whole ideological impasse with Morgan, Carol is the one who has turned into the character who embodies the "clear" mantra completely. She's surely developing a thousand yard stare.
posted by cashman at 6:56 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Walking Dead: Bad Faith Arguments
posted by tobascodagama at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, I can't believe I've fallen far enough down the fandom hole to ask this question, but: if Michonne were going to have a romantic interest, who would it be?

Are you strictly interested in spitballing or do you want to know if any of these folks are people she is romantically connected to in the comics?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am coming around on the argument that giving Michonne a romantic interest would be a good way to delve further into her character and a nice counter to all of the sexless black female friend characters. The argument that this must be Rick sounds dumber and dumber to me, though, the more I think about it. He's The Worst, guys. THE WORST.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, I'm not sure on this, but I have a fuzzy memory that they might have dropped some hints that Michonne and Andrea were romantically connected during their time together out of the main storyline. I don't think they ever really got serious about giving an answer on that, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:02 AM on February 17, 2016


I'd be totally fine with Michonne (or any other black character) hooking up with Rick (or any other white character), if I thought it made narrative sense.

Lucky for you, or not I guess, the writers themselves have never been concerned with making narrative sense!
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:20 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


cashman: “I'm sorry this offended you. The community of writers and producers that produce media has given similar excuses for eons.”

Look, I'm sorry, but every situation where people don't want a black character to get together with a white character isn't a miscegenation panic.

“They have told us they just can't do these things with nonwhite characters. In response to criticisms of stereotypical characters and problematic portrayals on television shows, in films and in commercials, we have been told ‘It is just not possible. It is too hard.’ So when those same excuses pop up, it looks pretty similar.”

It might look similar to you, and I tried to defend your perception of it, but – when people keep saying "I just don't want to see them together," and you keep saying "that's just what a racist would say," it's hard to see that as anything but an accusation of abject racism. And a pretty poor one, right? "That sounds like a similar argument to racist arguments" is a fair enough place to start – it's good to examine these things – but if we've examined them, been over and over them, and ultimately the only thing you can come up with is "well, that still sounds like a common argument used by racists," isn't there something problematic with pushing that line of inquiry further? It feels like we're in "Hitler was a vegetarian" territory here. Again, is literally every instance where people don't want a white man and a black woman to get together an instance of abject racism?

More to the point: what did you make of the fact that, in the very last episode of this show before this one, a white guy made a pretty bald-faced confession of love to a black woman, who seems like she might tentatively share his feelings? Do you feel as though people here were disgusted by that turn of events? Or are you sticking to the notion that, while they might accept it in lesser characters, they don't want to see it happen to the so-called "male lead"?

“I linked to and told the story of another popular fantasy show with a prominent black female lead, and described the bad elements of the interactions the writer of the show had with fans that resulted in her deleting her tweets. Yet comments later, someone used that exact same rationale.”

Who used the "exact same rationale"? Who said that Michonne was a nice girl? I think maybe you're seeing what you want to see here.

“This post about intersectionality is from September of 2015.”

I really don't think you're using the word "intersectionality" appropriately here at all. "Intersectionality" doesn't mean "I get to use the same trope to attack as racist every single person who doesn't want a particular black woman and a particular white man to get together." It doesn't mean we apply exactly the same critique to literally every instance where several details are similar. It means we consider a lot of different vectors of the concerns of critical theory. It means that, in this case, we actually weigh Rick Grimes' sexism against the desire to see a black woman allowed to have a relationship with a male lead. I think it's pretty clear that you're the one ignoring the intersectional issues because you're stuck on this one trope that has bothered you in past media. And, as I said, that's fair enough – it's an unfortunate trope, and a real one. Still, it does not mean, again, that every time someone doesn't want a particular black woman to get together with a particular white man, that means that someone is being a racist and perpetuating racist tropes.
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this discussion is never going to end, let's talk about Carol!
posted by cashman at 8:34 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Carol will be alive and calmly dispatching walkers decades after the rest of these pukes are all dead.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:37 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


What did you think of the callback to Carol's "No one will hear you" scare speech to the kid during his death? Were they trying to call her culpable in his death, saying that her scaring him like that made him extra-vulnerable? Or were they saying she'd called him as a weak link a long time before and her prediction was coming true?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 AM on February 17, 2016


I thought they were sort of blaming her, but ultimately it was on the adults for sheltering him in the first place. Which can be linked to that same discussion Lori and Rick had about sheltering Coral after he got shot....the first time. But even if they did kind of link his death to Carol's scaring him, I don't think Carol will care. The world is the world.
posted by cashman at 8:46 AM on February 17, 2016


Carol gives zero fucks, that much is certain.

There's a definite faceoff coming between her and Morgan, who are sort of the show's candidates for what might be the best possible philosophies for life after the outbreak. Carol represents maybe the absolute perfect disposition for surviving the world as it is, in a lot of ways, whereas Morgan might represent a semi-plausible philosophy for changing it into something better.

I hope they dramatize it better than a single scuffle in an abandoned townhouse though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just hope they both live. Neither philosophy will go away - there is always the need to survive versus the desire to make the world some place to survive to be in. I'd love to see them dramatize it and hold us in it, instead of giving the audience a way out of it, or having one of the two die to feel like there is a 'right' way to choose.

But right now, Carol is so much more compelling to me than Morgan. I feel like at any moment, Carol could wander off and just start killing walkers and any wolves she came across. Morgan seems like he just wants to dispatch whoever gets in his way, but ultimately he wants to get away from it all, even as he's trying to convince others to adopt his mindset.

The neat thing is, both of them have lost their spouse and child and there's a sense that they have nothing to seek. It would be great to see both of them come to terms with that and get despondent, searching for livable identities.
posted by cashman at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2016


entropicamericana: Hey Coral

Too soon.

(But not really - it's actually quite funny)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:42 AM on February 17, 2016


do you want to know if any of these folks are people she is romantically connected to in the comics?

No, thanks—I would prefer to remain ignorant of the comics. Thanks for asking before spoiling :)

Actually, I just realized that this isn't a show-only thread. Guess I'll need to read more carefully.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:50 AM on February 17, 2016


I posted in FanFare Talk to solicit thoughts on spoiler policy for future posts ("Show Only" vs. "Books Included"). Please feel free to chime in, if you have an opinion.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:01 AM on February 17, 2016


I hope they dramatize it better than a single scuffle in an abandoned townhouse though.

I agree. The Carol/Morgan stuff is reminding me a lot of the half-hearted attempts the show made at presenting moral dilemmas through Dale and Herschel in early seasons. The difference being that the people in conflict this time are actually listening to one another -- albeit in between the trading of blows -- rather than shouting each other down with THIS IS THE WAY THINGS HAVE TO BE NOW.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:48 AM on February 17, 2016


wait, why wasn't Carol with Rick when they make their plan to go wherever. Jessie and PTSD kid go, but not Carol?
posted by angrycat at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2016


Carol was in the makeshift prison, fighting with Morgan.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:21 PM on February 17, 2016


I agree that:

* Michonne is way too good for Rick
* Rick does not deserve Michonne
* Female characters shouldn't be default love interests
* In-world evidence that Rick and Michonne as they have been written would want to be together is severely lacking

However, I also think if the "character slot" of Michonne had been filled by a hot white actress instead of a hot black actress, at the very least the show would have addressed the possibility of a relationship between these two characters in some way -- even if only to overtly discard it. The fact that the very idea hasn't even been raised in the show -- that's the thing I have to side-eye.

Historically, the default expectation has been that if you have two prominent, attractive, white, opposite-sex characters in your show, they will eventually begin a romantic or sexual relationship with each other. Writers have had to deal with that expectation, even if only to explain why the two hot white leads aren't having sex. When one of the two attractive leads is black and the other white, the historical default expectation has been that they will not get together. Since it wasn't expected to start with, there was no need to deal with it in the narrative-- and so narratively, the question would not need to be addressed.

I'm saying "historically" because I've seen a lot of positive changes in this area (in other shows) recently, and I like that. But these things have been largely true for a long time -- so when you see something that looks like that happening on your screen, it's not weird or crazy to say, "Hey, that looks a lot like that thing TV does that's kind of racist."

Plus, I don't think any of these ideas are mutually exclusive. Like, when Isaac eventually gets eaten (please God may it be soon), mine will be the loudest voice in the hallelujah chorus. Few characters deserve to die more than Isaac does. But his death, while satisfying and right and oh so richly deserved, will also be yet another instance of a black dude getting killed off on TWD while a lot of white dudes continue to be breathing assholes.

So, no, I don't think Michonne and Rick as written should be together. But I do think it's possible -- especially in a show that routinely kills off black dudes and lets even the most useless of white dudes continue to breathe -- that Michonne's blackness has been allowed to cancel out her femaleness as far as these writers are concerned, rendering the narrative conversation about romantic entanglement unnecessary in their minds.
posted by kythuen at 2:41 PM on February 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


That's fair.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:14 PM on February 17, 2016


Thanks, kythuen. That's a very good way of putting it.
posted by koeselitz at 3:50 PM on February 17, 2016


That's a very reasonable theory in a lot of ways and touches on a lot of valid points.

That said, consider that it is also possible that Michonne has a romantic interest in the comics and they're getting to that. They may just have an arc in mind in which everything that has happened to her does not make this come naturally and it's pretty far down on her list for now.

It isn't Degrassi High after all. Getting a boyfriend is probably not a commonly held top priority. Some of the characters may have issues, baggage, preoccupations, or survival concerns that have so far far outweighed dating in their day to day lives.

I mean, Darryl is probably one of the characters most parallel to Michonne in terms of badassery and not-quite-engaged-with-the-others-ness. Despite some fervent Beth/Darryl and Darryl/Carol shipping from the fan community, he hasn't paired off yet either. He may even still be gay as far as we know.

Carol hasn't had a love interest either.

I don't think it's entirely necessary to do a full-on sociological dissection of the writing staff's ideas on race, gender, storytelling tropes, and intersectionality to explain why a warrior on a zombie apocalypse show hasn't found time to date.

Christ, I bet if her mother's alive somewhere she doesn't give this much of a shit about whether Michonne dates.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:42 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's entirely necessary to do a full-on sociological dissection of the writing staff's ideas on race, gender, storytelling tropes, and intersectionality to explain why a warrior on a zombie apocalypse show hasn't found time to date.

Christ, I bet if her mother's alive somewhere she doesn't give this much of a shit about whether Michonne dates.


I think storytelling is the way we bipeds work out a lot of our sociological issues around race, gender, and intersectionality, so I'm not sure why a conversation on a fan discussion forum has to meet any standard of necessity -- or who would make that call if it did.

I also think framing this as a conversation purely about dating is a great way to marginalize a conversation about race, gender and intersectionality.

Consider, maybe, that everything you've said about Michonne and her future love interest and her mother's opinion of her dating can be true, and this can STILL be an area where the show is being really hinky about racial issues.
posted by kythuen at 4:56 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


he hasn't paired off yet either
Carol hasn't had a love interest either.


I totally remember Daryl and Carol being kind of an item at the prison but it kind of fizzled out when Carol got kicked out for murdering those people.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:17 PM on February 17, 2016


He may even still be gay as far as we know.

He is officially straight.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:42 PM on February 17, 2016


I don't know, really I'm annoyed with the development of Rick as a sexual character.

Rick post Lori is written as an asexual character, I'd say, and then he sees Blondie and it's like suddenly the man has a penis. It's like, she cuts her hair and she's clean. And she needs to be saved. That's it.

I don't know, it's the zombie apocalypse, probably smelly, not that sexy.
posted by angrycat at 5:48 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know, it's the zombie apocalypse, probably smelly, not that sexy.

It's absolutely true that hot and badass as Daryl is, I would not want to cuddle him without some significant evidence of showering. I don't think he's washed up since the LAST time they covered themselves with zombie guts to escape a horde...
posted by kythuen at 5:55 PM on February 17, 2016


she cuts her hair and she's clean

The difference between the male and female characters, in terms of grooming, is laughable. Rick, Daryl, Glenn—they're always smeared with grime and sweat and zombie goo. Maggie, Blondie, Tara, Rosita, Michonne—they're always fresh-faced, with clean, well maintained hair (maybe just a bit mussed), relatively clean clothes, and freakin' makeup. Often they wouldn't look out of place in a mall in the real world.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm just going to lay this out there because I'm tired and this is not a no-spoiler thread, so run if you need to run but: Michonne is a black lady who likes black men.

She's not intended to be desexualized, she just likes black guys and pickings inside her favored range have been slim. (I mean, really: you want a lawyer to date T-Dog?) Her tastes didn't change because of the apocalypse. She didn't suddenly develop a yen for white guys because of lack of options, let alone because it might make unspecified people beyond the fourth wall feel better about representations of black females.

She is black and likes black people.

At one point in the comics she hits on Heath, even though he kinda seems to annoy her. But hey: he is a not terrible looking black male of appropriate age with some finer qualities.

She likes black guys. That's why no Rick or Darryl or whoever to this point in the comics, that seems to be the case.

While there is definitely a case to be made that writers can be lazy when it comes to only pairing black people together (I'm thinking of the hilarious scene in Grand Canyon where Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard realize they've been sent on a blind date because they're the only two black people their circle knows), there's also a weird, untoward undercurrent in tv and film writing where black women only get legitimized through having relationships with white men.

It's probably okay if a black character likes black people. TV could stand to see some of that, not as lazy pairing off (cough* Mickey and Martha on Doctor Who) and have it be accepted as okay.

Michonne is involved with a black guy in the comics. It's a pretty good story. Maybe wait a bit and see how it goes.

And, as has been pointed out before, if we're really going to indict the writers for leaving black women single and being afraid to pair them off with white characters... we are watching Sasha's current storyline, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Again, I don't see this as an issue of who the character Michonne wants to date, whether on the show or in the comics. For me, it's about who the show treats as a viable option for Rick to want, and why Michonne does not seem to be on that list.

For what it's worth, I don't "ship" Rick and Michonne, or Rick and anybody -- I'm much more comfortable with him being an asexual lunatic than anybody's love interest. But I do think if Michonne had been as blonde and pretty as the pretty blonde love interest in Alexandria, the show would have felt compelled to explain narratively why Rick wanted some random blonde Alexandria-lady instead of the badass, back-having, Carl-befriending, katana-wielding survival-partner Michonne has turned out to be. That she's all those things plus black just means the show doesn't have to bother with that conversation -- which is at best lazy, and at worst a symptom of a much bigger problem.

DirtyOldTown, I'm tapping out after this comment - I think we've both made our points and disagree, and that's fine. Whatever the actual reason is, I think the conversation was worth having.
posted by kythuen at 7:14 PM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


I do think if Michonne had been as blonde and pretty as the pretty blonde love interest in Alexandria, the show would have felt compelled to explain narratively why Rick wanted some random blonde Alexandria-lady instead of the badass, back-having, Carl-befriending, katana-wielding survival-partner Michonne has turned out to be. That she's all those things plus black just means the show doesn't have to bother with that conversation -- which is at best lazy, and at worst a symptom of a much bigger problem.

Bingo!

Anyway, I hope they shuffle off to another town now. I mean I guess Coral's condition is going to be a problem for him to move like that, but it's not like he's got a nice hospital bed in the middle of a sprawling metropolis where he can just lay there for a few weeks. Errrr, well I guess that's not exactly something Rick would want for his kid anyway. But really, Alexandria is used up at this point. I hope that its proximity to DC is going to be the payoff somehow, because otherwise this will approach rivaling the stuck-at-the-farm season in terms of maximum sigh levels. I wasn't fond of pretty much any person they encountered. Wolves, residents, any of them.
posted by cashman at 8:14 PM on February 17, 2016


Just got around to watching the episode. I liked it! There were many plot holes, but whatever. I was very happy when Sam's body was consumed by the living dead. You've got to adapt little kiddo! Made sense that his mom would not let go and was also consumed. Who wants to be that mom that let her son get consumed and then left him?

I think the bullet just grazed Carl's eyeball, thus destroying it but leaving his brain intact.

Really glad grody teeth Wolfman died. If he had survived we would have had several episodes of the Alexandrites sitting around, discussing what to do with him. No thanks! Also glad Negan got blown up by an RPG-7 wielding Daryl. I don't need another biker gang group in my life and neither did the characters.

I wouldn't trust Father Gabriel with my car keys, let alone a baby, sheesh.

Lastly, during this episode, I realized that Carol should be the new Rick. As many have stated, Rick is kind of played out. Carol however is awesome. This is common knowledge. Carol should be the focus of the show.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:25 PM on February 18, 2016


Also glad Negan got blown up by an RPG-7 wielding Daryl.

Nope. Those were people who said they worked for Negan. We haven't met Negan... yet. But Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast in the role so he's coming.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:51 PM on February 18, 2016


Ah okay. I didn't pay close enough attention. Well I'm glad that group got blown up at least.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 6:49 AM on February 19, 2016


Man, I just can't keep reading these threads. They're really starting to diminish my enjoyment of the show. I get that there are flaws and holes and uneven quality and all that stuff, but I never expected it to be a perfect show and I guess I care enough about the characters and the moments that do really shine that I'm happy enough with it to keep going. Why on earth do so many of those who think it's such a terrible show keep on watching? Do you really enjoy going "oh heavens, the writing was just atrocious!" every single week?
posted by treepour at 8:23 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mean, for me, I only still watch because my partner insists on it. She's as frustrated as I am about a lot of this, but she just loves watching stuff with zombies in it. Had it been solely up to me, I'd have tapped out a long time ago.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:35 PM on February 23, 2016


This episode made me really wonder, how many zombies could Rick, Daryl, Carol, Michonne, Glenn, and Maggie take out at once? Skilled fighters working methodically...I think that group could probably take on a few hundred.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:41 PM on February 23, 2016


« Older Mad Men: Severance...   |  Book: Harry Potter And The Cha... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments