Monday, February 25, 2013

The Walking Dead: I Ain't No Judas

I don't have much to say about this episode, another one where it felt like the writers were stalling for time.

What happened to last week's big finale of dumping walkers into the prison? I didn't think a yard full of zombie was as big a problem as they were making it out to be last week, but I thought it would be at least a little bit of a problem. Rick, Daryl, and Merle getting back into the prison wouldn't be much of a challenge... but why not show it?

I actually think leaving the yard full of walkers is a good idea -- use the walkers as a defense. If nothing else, the Woodbury people (Woodburians?) will have to shoot at the zombies first.

We did get some nice scenes of Andrea and Milton -- aka Smithers (thanks Scott Adsit) making a pet zombie. But other than that, and Tyreese and crew making their way to Woodbury, nothing happened in this episode. Andrea is completely clueless and just runs around lecturing people. Michonne actually had some speaking lines for once, but came off as whiny and petty.

Merle had the line of the night, when he told Michonne he was "just following orders" when he tried to kill her.
Michonne: "Like the Gestapo?"
Merle: (brightly) "Yeah!"
Let's look at the big picture. The Woodburians are gearing up for war. They have more people. They have lots of powerful guns, thanks to killing those soldiers (and Rick's bag o' guns, which he took from Andrea). They have a strong, ruthless, and wacky leader. They have a competent #2 in Martinez, although he didn't exactly impress us with his marksmanship last week, and he seems like a bit of a hothead.

Meanwhile, Rick's merry band is confused, disorganized, and disheartened. They have much fewer people and they're low on ammunition. On the plus side, they're a lot more competent when it comes to killing -- quality, not quantity. Rick, Daryl, Merle, and Michonne are the best fighters on the field. (And when Hershel proved to be a crack shot when he finally picked up a gun during the last stand on the farm.) They also have a fortified position, but as Merle pointed out, the Governor could simply surround the prison and starve them out.

Then we have the wildcards of Andrea and Tyreese. What will they do in an all-out war against the prison? Will they side with the Governor, or with Rick?

Andrea is a mystery. The writers clearly don't know what to do with her. We've seen too much of The Governor's evil side -- and she has, too -- to simply write it off as her not knowing he's a monster.

I can understand her desire to broker a truce between the two sides. But if she's convinced The Governor is evil, why return to Woodbury? If she's not convinced, then why hover over him with a knife? I just don't get how we're supposed to read her.

Meanwhile, Rick's decision to freak out and boot Tyreese and his people went from being a dumb decision to a catastrophe when they showed up at Woodbury. The Governor knows not to kick people out when you're gearing up for war... especially people who have inside information about your opponent. 

Which makes me think -- who would you rather follow, Rick or The Governor? They're both crazy now, so put that aside.

Yeah, The Governor is a ruthless prick who wouldn't think twice about feeding you to the zombies... but Rick has done the same thing, either directly (Andrew) or indirectly (Tyreese's group). Let's face it, if you weren't around in Season 2, Rick isn't going to be your buddy. Judging from the Tyreese experience, if you were wandering the post-apocalyptic world, you'd be better off coming across The Governor instead of Rick.

But neither one is a great choice. I wonder if that Hispanic family would let me sit in the back.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bring back Alfonso Soriano?

Within minutes of getting the X-rays back, the buzz started that the Yankees would trade for Alfonso Soriano to be their new starting left fielder.

No, they will not.

Alfonso Soriano is making $18 million in 2013... and $18 million in 2014. Plus a $1 million bonus for each year.

If the Yankees were willing to pick up $38 million in salary, don't you think they could do better than Alfonso Soriano?

Soriano has a no-trade clause. Presumably he'd want some kind of compensation (as if $38 million isn't enough) for waiving it. After all, once Granderson gets back -- in just 10 weeks, remember -- Soriano will be reduced to a platoon role.

Speaking of which, Soriano is a right-handed hitter... which is all the Yankees have when it comes to in-house replacements: veterans Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz, already in camp; Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte, up-and-coming prospects; and Thomas Neal and Ronnier Mustelier, a couple of wildcards. All six are right-handed outfielders. They don't need another one.

Where do these rumors come from?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Walking Dead: Home

So, Walking Dead.

Eh. Again, lots of blah blah blah in the prison. Glenn is apparently the new boss, but I'm not quite sure who he is the boss of, since it doesn't appear that anyone is listening to him, or doing anything really. We see Glenn trying to figure out how to defend the prison with, I kid you not, Beth and Carl. That's the A-Team right now.

Andrea is off in Woodbury playing Vice Governor. Daryl is back to hunting squirrels with big brother Merle. Dale, Shane, and T-Dog are dead.

The only chance for replacements, Tyreese and his friends, are gone. There was a terrific scene as they grimly walked away with the prison behind them, Tyreese casting one last look over his shoulder... no, wait, that didn't happen, they just weren't in this episode. I guess they left after Rick freaked out last week... and who could blame them?

So who's left?
  • Rick, wandering around looking for Lori's ghost;
  • Michonne, standing outside glaring at weeds;
  • Hershel, who somehow got passed over as Vice Rick but seems to have settled into the consigliere role, though most of his advice seems to consist of saying, "are you sure you want to do that?" and then staring mournfully as that is indeed what they do;
  • Maggie, hiding in her bunk;
  • Carol, who is growing her hair out;
  • and Axel, who suddenly has lines this week. (Ut-oh...)
What I'm bitching about this week:
Where'd they go?... Where'd WHO go? Daryl and Merle are off in the woods playing redneck when they hear a baby crying. Which is kind of strange because the baby's crying during a zombie attack and the people are defending themselves by shooting guns. But again, they don't hear the gunshots... they hear the baby crying. All right. Daryl and Merle -- well, mostly Daryl -- helps kill off the zombies. Then, without so much as a vaya con dios, the two groups go their separate ways again. You know, if I lived in a post-apocalyptic zombie world and came across another group of survivors, I might want to ask a few questions, like... where did you come from? Where are you going? Why is your baby so freakishly loud? Nope.

What's on Daryl's back? Merle and Daryl have to argue about whether or not they should have robbed the other group, because you can't do anything on this show without getting into an argument about it. In the course of the argument Merle rips off Daryl's shirt to expose the big tattoos on his back. Actually, no, you weren't supposed to notice the huge tattoos, but rather the scars on his back, which Merle immediately recognizes as coming from getting beaten as a child, even though he'd apparently never seen them before. (I guess they didn't share a bedroom growing up?) I'm not sure what the tattoos are supposed to be -- they appear to be winged men of some sort. Angels? Demons? Hawkmen? I dunno.

The last 10 minutes... The first 50 minutes seemed like nothing was happening, but then those last 10 minutes -- woo! Guns! Swords! Zombies! The last 10 minutes were lots of fun. But also a little confusing. What exactly was the Governor's plan? You'd think if it was a full-out assault on the prison he'd bring more than a couple guys, but whatever... maybe this is just a scouting mission. Except it is a full-out assault! They even get a guy into one of the prison guard towers (how'd that happen?) and flank out Martinez to pin down the survivors. Victory! All they need to do is pick them off one by one and... er, well, not exactly. Because other than the guy who shot poor Axel, it appears that everyone on this show went to the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. In fact, a couple times The Governor just stands there firing his assault rifle into the air with a big grin on his face. What exactly are they doing? Then the Governor hears a truck coming, and, oh boy, here it comes! It's not an attack... it's a diversion! The big ol' truck crashes through the gates and dumps out a load of zombies. The driver jumps out of the truck in body armor and a motorcycle helmet with a tinted face shield, firing a pistol and running to... I'm not sure, they never show her again. (Yes, I said her, because it looked like a woman's body and also, when people on TV shows wear motorcycle helmets with tinted face shields, they always turn out to be women.) Ah, so that's the real attack -- send in the zombies while you remain outside and pick them off one by one and... nope, that's not it either. They unload the zombies and leave. Let's call it a day, fellas!

So I guess the plan is use the zombies to wipe out Rick's group, but that doesn't seem like a brilliant plan either -- the Governor knows these same people killed probably 10 times that many zombies in order to take over the prison in the first place. Hell, Michonne killed a half-dozen in about three seconds before the Governor even left. Even if there are, what, 20 zombies wandering around the yard, it's not like that's an insurmountable problem.

But I'm sure they'll spend a lot of time talking about it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Walking Dead is back!

How many eyes rolled in last night's "Season 3.5" premiere of The Walking Dead, "The Suicide King"?

I don't mean how many eyes popped out and rolled across the ground, although that would be fun to see. No, I mean how many times did something happen that made you roll your eyes. I really like this show, but it drives me crazy sometimes.

Last night's eye roll count, for me, was four. Spoilers ahead, of course.

1) Glenn replacing Lori as the "how dare you do exactly what I just told you to do" person in the group. He tells Rick that under no circumstances can Merle be allowed to return to the prison. Daryl says if Merle can't go, he's leaving too. Rick tries to convince Daryl to stay, but Daryl isn't having it. In the very next scene, Glenn is screaming at Rick... for letting Daryl leave. What?

2) Maggie not telling Glenn that she actually wasn't raped. Glenn obviously thinks she was -- why wouldn't she say she wasn't? I can understand a woman not wanting to tell her boyfriend that she was raped... but in this case she wasn't. The bad guy wanted to make her boyfriend think that she was. Why wouldn't she say she wasn't? Because he wouldn't believe her? OK, but... why wouldn't you try? This show has a long history of characters talking endlessly but not actually saying what needs to be said (paging Michonne...), and it really gets annoying.

3) Andrea staying with the Governor even after figuring out that he's evil and her friends are still alive. Granted, she doesn't know where her friends are. But you would think she would start making plans to leave, not stand around making speeches endorsing the Governor.
4) Rick freaking out at the new people even as he surely realizes that they need all the extra hands they can get. I especially love when the others bring up the fact that Oscar proved to be a worthwhile ally, Rick retorts: "Where's Oscar now?" He died fighting for you, dumb ass! Don't blame the Ghost of Lori, either -- he was saying no before she showed up. Speaking of which, I know a lot of people are annoyed with Rick's "I see dead people" moment, but I'm withholding judgment on that for another week. Could be interesting to see him go totally bonkers.

Again, I really like this show, but I hope they're not sliding back toward the Season 2 morass.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Trouble, trouble

Since my eldest daughter has evolved from princess songs to pop songs, I have to hear this song a lot:

Every time I hear it though, I think about this commercial:

Which is a much better song anyway.

In case you're wondering, it's called "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne. It might sound like it's from some old Mississippi bluesman in the 1930s, but he's from Maine and it was released in 2004.

Great song and I love his voice... so much raw emotion and angst. He really sounds like he's in trouble.

I hope he adopts that little dog and they make each other happy.