Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking Dead Follow Up: How Did Shane/Randy Become Walkers: 03-12-12

Looks like I was not alone. Last night's episode (Better Angels) of The Walking Dead raised many questions.

I blogged live during the show. You can read that here.

Things got crazy at the end of the show. When it ended I couldn't help getting worried. No I was not worried about all the killing. Or the fact that Carl is starting to creep me out. He's like some creature-kid from a Stephen King movie. But whatever.

No. What's bothering me is the fear that The Walking Dead is going to become like Lost. I don't think that is what's going to happen. But like I said. I worry. (And don't get me wrong. I dedicated years watching Lost. Week after week. Loved all the constant questions raised. Loved that everyone was assured answers were forthcoming. Bull-crap! Writers took a cheap, easy way out. Everyone was dead all along? Really? Dead all along?)

What everyone was dying to know--How in the hell did Randy and Shane become zombies?

Here's what I found. The TV show, as we all know, is based on the comics.

While I am an avid reader, I did not read The Walking Dead graphic novels.

In my own words, and in my best understanding, based on the comics -- the zombie virus is airborne. Everyone is infected.

If you are "Alive" and get bitten or scratched by a Walker, within a designated amount of time -- that person will become a Walker, as well. However, if a person dies of "natural" causes -- that person will come back as a Walker, too.

It all, now, comes down to destroying the brain/head of the person. Whether a zombie, or just someone who died.

I think back to the episode where Rick's group is holed up inside the C.D.C.  (The one where Andrea wants to stay, and explode with the building). The guy left alive, left to run the C.D.C. whispers something horrifying to Rick.

Could it have been that the disease is airborne? That everyone is actually infected?

That would, in fact, be horrifying. Hopeless. Wouldn't it?

Uh-huh. Sure as hell would ... meaning maybe Andrea had the right idea. Giving up. Surrendering to an exploding death?

Yes? No?

This is my two cents. Love to hear yours. Send me comments, emails, feedback!!

Phillip Tomasso

Author of Pigeon Drop, Johnny Blade, Adverse Impact, Convicted, Third Ring, Tenth House, Mind Play -- and as Thomas Phillips, The Molech Prophecy

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Live Blog: The Walking Dead: Better Angels 3-11-12

Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, is entitled: Better Angels. Time Warner's show summary states: "Someone dangerous may be loose near the farm; Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glenn keep the group safe ..."

Tune in tonight as I blog live during the show ... post questions, tweet questions, email questions ...

Quick re-cap from last week. Rick's group saved a young man. That young man was part of a larger group that posed a serious threat to everyone's safety. After saving the man, healing him, and a failed attempt at dumping him 18 miles away from the farm ... the group now faces a delicate crossroads. The fate of the young man. Treat him as a sort of prisoner around the farm. Or simply kill him.

Dale. Perhaps the voice of reason. The seasoned male of Rick's group, is appalled. The crossroads should never have come into play. Not in his opinion. The young man is a human being. Killing him makes them as bad as, if not worse, than the unknown people they fear (not talking about the zombies).

Dale storms out of the house, washing his hands of the plans to murder the young man.

Rick, Daryl and Shane escort the young man to the barn. Hands tied behind his back. Rick cocks his gun. Shane forces the crying man to his knees ... Rick asks if he has any final words ...

As the male begs for his life, as Rick raises the gun and aims at the center of the man's forehead --

It is Rick's son who shows up, telling his father, "do it, Dad. Do it..," that stops Rick from actually putting a bullet in the man's head.

Carl followed the men to the barn. Wanted to watch them take the life of the man from the other group ... the dangerous group ... Carl. He's a boy no longer.

And, unfortunately, Dale, who ventures off into the fields to investigate a downed cow, encounters a loose zombie --the one Carl freed from the mud--and is eaten. His stomach chewed open beyond repair.

There was no repair. Once bitten, even if his wounds could have been stitched, would have turned.

While Rick hesitates to put Dale out of his misery, Daryl steps up to the task and ends it ... Lights out, Dale. Lights out!


Dale says Rock's group is Broken. Best way to honor his death is to Un-Break it, and prove Dale wrong.

This -- during Dale's funeral. As Rick promises to do things the right way, Dale's way, Shane and "his team" mercilessly slaughter the walkers ...

T. Dog, Andrea, Shane ...

Gripping intro teaser!

Looks like Shane's already forgotten the talk between himself and Rick. He does not want to take orders. He does not agree with Rick -- and Andrea's in no mood to babysit Shane, despite Rick's pleasant request.

Carl confides in Shane he has a pistol. He's been talked to before about having guns. Like Shane, Carl has trouble following orders. Following directions.

It doesn't take a zombie expert to realize "his" zombie killed Dale.

Is there hope for Carl? Remorse, maybe? Or is he more like Luke Skywalker's father, destined for darkness?

Not exactly sure why Hershel's suddenly open-arms to the group. Not sure at all. I've seen every episode. Only thing I can figure, that night in the bar--where Rick killed two men saving Hershel--is what turned the old man around.

Lori? One week you are telling your husband that Shane is a threat. Dangerous. And now, now you mess with Shane's head -- apologizing, telling him you don't know who the father is of the unborn baby (Shane/Rick) ... why would you do that? Why now?

Because you know what? Shane is dangerous. She saw it. Rick saw it. And, hello, Dale saw it!

You made things worse Lori. Wow. You just made everything worse!

Just gotta point out. Are they driving a 4-door Hyndai Veloster? I only ask, because I drive a 3-door Veloster.

But I digress ...

Shane is up to something. Gee, wonder if Lori messing with his head and Carl choosing to confide in him, has anything to do with it??? Ah-yeah. I bet it does.

Glenn works on the RV. Andrea, what, suddenly, maybe regrets being a bitch towards Dale during his final days?

It's Glenn who feels he's let Dale down. Andrea too.

The three of them, after all, were something of the trio most of last season ...

Ok. As much as Dale grated my nerves, maybe I miss him some, too. Some. Not a whole lot. He was a bit of a whiner. No. A big whiner. I don't miss him. Not at all.

I think it's a little late to have the, I'm-going-to-die-your-mother-is-going-to-die-talk with Carl. Kid's been watching Walkers slaughtered, and non-infected devoured since day one of the outbreak. Despite Lori's issues with her son having a gun--a kid Carl's age should have been trained to use a weapon from day one!

But that's just me. But it's my blog!

I gotta figure out the young guy's name. I mean, he's about to be beat by Shane and I have no clue what his name is.

It isn't that Shane lost it, it's that the world has moved too far away for him to keep up. Change is too constant for him to keep his bearings. In a way, I do sympathize with him. (Oh, and thanks to T-Dog, I know now that the young guy's name is RANDY!!)

Shane wants to protect his group. To do so he needs to know where Randy's group is camped. For this, I do have respect for crazy-Shane. Crazy, crazy Shane.

Or is he acting? Switching sides. Double-agent. Shane, Shane, Shane, you crafty character!

Ok. Did not see that coming. Shane's Tree-Hugging -- gruesome! Love it!

I thought he was playing double-agent, all smart. But no. No. The plan is to simply attack and destroy the other group -- which Randy said, before being killed, that they were 5 miles down the road ...

Daryl won't be fooled. And we all know Andrea'll do whatever Shane suggests, whether she realizes it or not.

But Rick ain't buying Shane's shananagens ... Shane's all screwed up. He knows it. He better.

Oh yeah. Rick knows it, and now Shane knows that Rick knows. Did you see that look Shane gave Rick in the woods as they comb through leaves in search of Randy? Oh yeah -- Rick does not feel safe with Shane, and so Shane takes point.

Daryl -- the clever tracker -- can read the woods like a blind person with braille.

Shane has Rick go first. Deeper into woods. Further away from Daryl and Glenn (and the dead Randy Walker) ...

Daryl and Glenn learn that Randy was not bitten before becoming a zombie so much as his neck had been snapped.

But who snapped ... Wait ... Wait ... Shane! Shane snapped it! Shane is a stock-raving-mad-lunatic!

I don't like it. Rick with his back to Shane.

Could this be the end of the road for Shane?

It won't be Rick.

"At least have the balls to call this what it is. Murder!"

Shane thinks Lori and Carl will get over the death of Rick -- they did it once before.

Shane is melting down. "You've got a broken woman. A weak boy. Haven't got the first clue on how to fix it!"

Rick won't draw. He remains unarmed. He won't be suckered into a duel.

And, oh shit. I did not see it coming. I did not!

Rick plugs his blade to the hilt into Shane's chest!

Where the hell did Carl come from? Why is he holding a gun?

Carl! Carl! Don't point a gun at your father!

And how the hell did Shane become a zombie??

Had to do some research. Looks like Randy and Shane became zombies--not because they'd been bit, or scratched--but because the virus is airbourne. So when you die--for any reason--you will come back as a zombie. Bites and scratches from a zombie cause the living to become zombies. And now mere "natural" death may due it as well!

Remember the CDC episode where the Director whispers something horrific to Rick before the CDC building exploded? Could he have told Rick the virus is airbourne? Hmmmm...

It's been fun! Tune in next week when, you guessed it, I'll blog live for the Season Finale!!

Phillip Tomasso

Author of Pigeon Drop, Johnny Blade, Adverse Impact, Convicted, Third Ring, Tenth House, Mind Play -- and as Thomas Phillips, The Molech Prophecy

The Hunger Games Trilogy

I will admit, despite her being a best selling author, I have never heard of Suzanne Collins. My 19 year old son, who rarely, if ever, read anything started reading The Hunger Games as a download on his smart phone. In weeks he had read three novels. All by Collins, all part of this Hunger Games trilogy. He kept telling me, "Dad, you have got to read them."

I am not opposed to reading Young Adult novels. Quite the contrary. I read plenty of them. Both best selling series, and individual titles (which include, naturally, the Harry Potter saga, and Twilight epidemic). When I saw my boss at work reading them, I thought -- there's gotta be something here. I mean, I looked the book up. I read the synopsis. And while it sounded so-so, I wasn't compelled.

Online I read the first chapter of the first book. It did not move me, immediately. I had a general sense what the story was, or so I thought. I kept picturing the popular short story, The Lottery. And, well, for the most part, it is comparable.

However, there is a lot more depth and character enrichment. As there should be. One is a short story. The other, a trilogy.

What I did then was order all three books on-line. (While my own novels are now mostly available for Kindle, I do not own a Kindle or Nook. And do not prefer reading books that way. Even though I have Kindle and Nook software on my iPhone, I cannot even for a moment understand the desire or need to read an entire novel on my cell...but that's just me, I guess. Old fashioned).

I found I could not wait for the books to arrive.

I am not going to summarize any of the stories in this blog. Way I see it, if you haven't heard of this best-selling trilogy, or at the very least, seen trailers for The Hunger Games movie due out in theaters in a week, then my taking you through the stories in a blog is pointless.

In hours I devoured the first book. At Christmas, my three kids and I became archers. When I say archers, I mean I invested in bows for the four of us. Joined a range where we can shoot target practice up to 30 yards. A wonderful indoor facility. We are not hunters. At all. Not sure I could shoot a deer, or even a turkey--unless survival depended on it. But the game of archery, the skill behind it, is challenge enough! We love it. Ah, but I digress. Where was I . . .?

I devoured the first book in hours. I think I felt a connection to Katniss and Gale. If, at first, for the simple fact that they hunted using the stealth of bows and arrows. But quickly, and I mean quickly, cared about them as characters. Especially Katniss.

Katniss, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of Bella.

You know who Bella is, right?? Please, do not make me explain.

Bella is the polar opposite of Katniss. The opposite end of the rainbow. Thank God.

While I suffered through Bella's teenage angst filling chapters with endless whining, Katniss compelled me to continue reading because of the abundance of strength, despite natural fear.

The three books caught me by surprise. Each ending left me wanting more -- having not guessed the final direction the books would take.

While Suzanne Collins was someone I never heard of, I know her now. She writes in a simple fashion. Despite a complex plot filled with politics and levels of altered states, it is easy to follow. The picture she paints with her words is crisp and concise.

I have not seen the movie(s). But will. I only hope they are not destroyed the way I felt the Twilight movies desecrated the novels. Already, however, and sadly, some of the characters casted in the film are so far off from what my imagination imagined ... it is going to be difficulty for me to fully enjoy the movie. For example, Rue. The actress portraying Rue -- not what I pictured. At all.

Alas, the book is always better than the movie.

My recommendation -- at the very least, read The Hunger Games before seeing the movie :-) But, hey, that's just my humble opinion. A lot happens in the book. And I can't believe the movie will express it all or as eloquently as Suzanne Collins did in her novel1


Phillip Tomasso
Author of Pigeon Drop, Johnny Blade, Adverse Impact, Convicted, Third Ring, Tenth House, Mind Play -- and as Thomas Phillips, The Molech Prophecy