The Walking Dead delivered punch and side-winding punch in its March 18 finale, but the cast has no interest in slowing down. Viewers have to wait months until the October premiere is upon us, but the series' cast is already looking to the dire, dangerous future. It goes without saying that this article contains some Season Two spoilers.
In this featurette from AMC, Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) describes the tumult that is about to befall onscreen heroes Lori and Rick in the aftermath of Rick's decision to kill Shane. Also on hand to discuss their characters' Season Three journeys are Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Stephen Yueng (Glenn), Chandler Riggs (Carl) and more.
The video doesn't include any commentary from the newest cast member, Danai Gurira (Michonne), but from what everyone else has to say, Season Three is going to be a wonderland of darkness for the new character to make a mess of.
Of course, if you really can't wait until October, AMC has a social Facebook game to keep your blood pumping until it's pumpkin-carving time again.
After the shocking deaths during The Walking Dead's last two episodes, the biggest question on fans' minds is: where could the series possibly go from here?
Luckily, showrunner Glen Mazzara hopped on a call with reporters to shed a little light on the direction of the finale and where that may lead in Season 3. According to Mazzara, things are about to kick into major high gear. Be warned that this discussion included some major spoilers.
It's All About Rick
Now that two huge characters have passed, the controversies and relationships that hinged on their beliefs and actions are left in question. And while he didn't comment on how the writers will deal with those two gaping holes, he did share the series' direction moving forward. "I’m interested in focusing on Rick," said Mazzara. "All [these deaths] led to a very decisive act where Rick kills Shane. People talk about Shane being killed off, well Rick killed Shane, he’s evolving in a very real way."
The Finale: Blood, Answers and More Blood
Fans of The Walking Dead's bloody side will be happy to know that in reference to the March 18 finale, Mazzara assures us, "More bloodshed is coming." The showrunner expressed his pride in the upcoming episode and noted that the excitement will be at a serious high. "We’re on a killing spree here," he said. And of course, with Shane's demise and immediate resurrection as a walker without any bites to signal the transformation, a big question for fans is how that regeneration is even possible. Mazzara noted that the finale will, in fact, shed some light on the medical mystery. Of course, details aside, the most important factor is that the finale will leave us on the edge of our seats, and Mazzara is confident that will be the case: "Fans will be saying, 'I can wait for October.'"
Farewell Shane, You Had It Coming
While Shane's death was certainly a shock for viewers, fans of the comic source material know that for the character to have survived this long was a gift of sorts - he's killed off right away in the books. Mazzara explained that getting to this heartwrenching moment in which Rick finally makes the decision to end the life of his best friend has been on their minds since the series inception: "It was always the plan for Shane to die." And that assertion makes sense when we look back at the season as whole; from his split second decision to leave Otis behind, to his insistence that he belongs in the patriarchal role beside Lori and Carl, to his distrust of Rick's decisions, Shane has been on a path to surefire destruction since day one.
On Straying from the Comics and Making Gore Mean Something
Mazzara fielded many questions about diverting from the comic books' stories and his answer was enough to silence any critic: he insisted that the show is its own entity but at the end of the day, the goal to maintain "the spirit of the comic book." He added, "We take [the comic book] for inspiration, but we have to put our own twist on it." To that point, he offered that they're working to get closer to the comic's "visceral" nature in Season 3.
We Can't Wait Until October: What About Season 3?
The pacing of Season 2 has been a point of contention for many fans who tune in expecting nonstop danger and action. While critically, this season was received well, the fans who are desirous of something more are an undeniable voice. To that point, Mazzara offered a giant promise: "The pacing of Season Three will feel like a freight train." He couldn't divulge or hint at who was safe and who was doomed in Sunday's finale, but he assured us that whatever the result will be something no fan can resist. The Walking Dead's finale episode of Season 2 airs Sunday, March 18 at 8 p.m. on AMC. And for a run-down on last weeks episode, be sure to check out our recap.
S2E11: After 10 episodes chock full of philosophical discussions and the physical embodiment of those discussions errupting last week, one would think that The Walking Dead would put a little more money where its mouth is. That’s not to say that I have an issue with Rick’s final decision regarding Randall, the stowaway, during this first episode of March, “Jury, Jury, Executioner.” I don’t even have an issue with the inundation of discussions - the whole point of the episode is to discuss and decide whether or not to kill Randall to keep him from leading his group of blood-thirsty hooligans to the farm. Discussion is paramount. What I did take issue with is the quality of the conversation. We’ve spent all season in dress rehearsal for this insurmountable issue. All that moral ambiguity and constant questioning was preparing our group for this decision: kill or be killed. Yet, when they get here, the quality of the dialogue digresses.
The conversation simply becomes too overt. We find Dale reminding Andrea that she used to be a Civil Rights Lawyer as a sole argument. We’ve got Rick mentioning Lori’s former views on the death penalty. It sounds like a checklist of their former selves instead of getting at the heart of the matter: if they kill this man, their humanity is at stake. The episode finally gets there, but it lopes through this listy place for the first 30 minutes before honing in on emotional core. Of course, once we finally jump over to the mushy side of things, the episode drives that stake in as hard as it possibly can. The final moments are completely, mercilessly vicious.
“The world is gone, but keeping our humanity? That’s a choice.” -Dale
This quote is the nut of the argument that Dale needs to be working with. He’s only got an afternoon to convince the entire group that instead of killing stowaway Randall, they should find another solution. His desperation leads him into logical territory, which is where the dialogue also gets a little dry. Despite his best efforts, he has almost no luck. Even Hershel is in agreement with Rick because he wants to protect his daughters and he made a huge mistake with the walkers.
Daryl continues on his pathy of vicious apathy and accepts the role of torturer to Randall to find out whether the kid’s allegiances lie with Rick’s group or his original group. In the course of the beating, Randall says the group he was with raped a group of teenage girls in front of their father and swears he wasn’t a participant, but the damage is done. Daryl’s message to Rick is that the opposing group is 30 men strong and they’re fully armed. Everyone seems to be settled: the kid has to go for their own safety.
Andrea agrees to watch Randall while Dale tries to convince everyone to change their minds. Shane and Carl show up and he reiterates his concern that Hershel and Rick make the rules but they’re always wrong. His talk with Rick has clearly done nothing - even thought later in this episode Rick tells Lori it’s fixed. Shane all but confirms that his plan is to lock them and wrest control of the group. As he says this, Carl sneaks into the barn and talks to Randall. We’re supposed to be uncertain about Randall, but watching him look at Carl like the child-catcher makes it difficult to sympathize with the prisoner. Shane pulls Carl out and almost shoots Randall right there on the spot. Luckily, Andrea stops him. If Carl saw Shane shoot Randall, it would only speed up his sudden turn towards his apathetic view of death and murder.
“Carl, quit trying to get yourself killed, man.” -Shane
Carl continues his bad streak when he refutes Carol’s claim that Sophia is “in a better place” with “Heaven is just another lie and if you believe it, you’re an idiot.” When Rick confronts him about it, Carl first lies about it. Rick does the fatherly thing, tells Carl to think before he speaks and to make it right with Carol, but the Randall dilemma gives Carl and excuse to question his father’s morality. Is killing Randall doing the right thing? Rick says it can’t compare.
Frustrated with the double standards of his father’s realm, Carl wanders off alone, takes Dale’s gun and happens upon a walker trapped in the mud. He gets closer and closer, just like he tried to do with Randall and experiments with torturing the walker by hitting it repeatedly with stones. The walker eventually breaks one foot free as Carl is attempting to shoot it point blank in the head. It almost grabs him, he loses the gun and manages to escape without being bitten - and without killing the walker. It’s almost Carl’s micro version of what’s about to happen with Randall. First, Daryl tortured him, then Rick will attempt to shoot him.
“This is a young man’s life. It’s worth more than a five-minute conversation.” -Dale
Before they gather for the final vote, Hershel sort of joins the two groups when he tells Glenn that he approves of him dating (if we can even call it that) Maggie and hands him his father’s watch. Could this gesture be enough to get him to let the group sleep in the farm house as the winter rolls in? That’s a question for another episode, but this seems to change Glenn’s mind when it comes time to vote. When Maggie and Hershel stay on the side of putting Randall down, he sticks with them, saying that they have to protect their own over all else. He’s almost become the mouth for the family since Hershel decided he’d keep his mouth shut.
Dale finally gets emotional in his arguement - and I would have preferred skipping all the previous attempts in favor of this truer one. His final argument is the solid one. He makes his appeal: they can’t kill the kid to prevent a crime he might never even commit. If they do it, he says they’re completely relinquishing the world they once knew. All grip on their old reality is gone. He doesn’t want to live in world that’s determined by survival of the fittest, but he’s in that world.
Shane, Rick and Daryl take Randall out in the barn to shoot him. And Rick is about to shoot him when Carl comes in and says,“Do it, Dad.” Hearing his formerly innocent son say that almost kills Rick. In his son’s callousness, he sees that Dale is right. They need to hang onto their humanity, so he has Daryl take Randall back to the shed for the time being. Of course, it’s not a final decision, but an extention of the discussion about how to decide Randall’s fate.
And Dale gets his wish to not live in a “survival of the fittest” setting: he wanders off on his own and sees a cow split open, just as the walker from the forest takes him down and rips his stomach open. The whole group finds him bleeding out and suffering and they have to end his misery. Rick can’t do it, so Daryl takes the gun and does it for him. Just earlier that episode, Daryl was saying the group is broken - they no longer support eachother. Yet, when it comes time to do the hard thing and help Dale, Daryl knows Rick couldn’t live with it, she he takes the shot for him. Perhaps the group isn’t so broken after all. Dale told Daryl earlier in the episode that he’s “good like Rick” and Daryl expresses his dismay at Rick’s inability to see that of course Shane killed Otis to get away when they sought medical supplies at the high school. Daryl is almost a hybrid between Rick and Shane: he’s without Rose-colored glasses, so he can make the tough decisions (like shooting Dale), but he’s not as dark and demented as Shane apparently is. Where this dynamic will lead us is uncertain, but it’s sure as hell going to be messy. Do you think Daryl is ready to be part of the group again? What do you think will happen if they don’t kill Randall? How possible is it that Randall’s group of merciless men will find the farm without or without his help? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.