American Horror Story Asylum Recap S2E11: Spilt Milk

American Horror Story Asylum, S2E11: Spilt Milk

Original Airdate: January 9, 2013

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Dylan McDermott is back as Johnny Morgan, the son of Bloody Face.  We open this week in Dr. Oliver Thredson’s old house.  Morgan is smoking pot and relaxing when a knock comes at the door.  He welcomes Pandora and her “triple Ds” into the house.  Sounds like he was doing some online dating.  (Do you think he put “Son of Bloody Face” on his profile? Some people are into that….)  Interestingly, Pandora just gave birth three weeks prior, so her triple Ds are very full…and judging by the look on Johnny’s face, he’s a hungry boy.  Yes, as it turns out, the son of Bloody Face shares his father’s abandonment issues, but it would seem that he is getting his nurturing by drinking breast milk.  He asks if she leaks when she hears crying, and she tells him that she ends up with a soaked bra.  Pandora is playing with him.  She knows he wants her.  Oh, honey…if only you knew what he really wants….

Kit is on the floor of a cell in a straightjacket.  Thredson opens the door and announces that it’s time for some daddy-time with his baby.  Kit struggles to his knees, demanding to know what Thredson has done with him, and Thredson calmly informs the new father that the baby received his smallpox vaccine and is schedules for circumcision that afternoon.  That doesn’t pacify Kit, who really wants to know what Thredson’s end game is.  This is where we see that Thredson really does have a heart…but it’s a little twisted.  He genuinely cares for children and wants to make sure both Kit’s baby, and eventually his own child, receives the love they deserve.

Kit enters the day room to see the inmates crowding around Grace and the baby.  Pepper is doing her best to keep the gawkers away.  Grace beams when she sees Kit, and he returns her smile.  Behind him, Thredson has a smile on his face as well.  Once they greet each other, grace announces that she wants to name the baby Thomas, after her grandfather.  Thredson asks about Grace’s milk production; his voice wavers just enough to think that he’s getting turned on by the new mother.  Pepper speaks up and says she knows what Thredson is up to.  That earns Pepper a trip to the hydrotherapy room with the water turned up an extra ten degrees to help calm her nerves.  The rest of the inmates are cleared out to give the new parents some time alone.  Once everyone is gone, Kit studies the giggling baby and notes that he looks a lot like him.  Grace agrees.

There are a million questions floating around Kit’s brain but he doesn’t know where to start.  Grace tells him that her memories are like shards of glass.  She remembers being shot and praying for death, and then she was surrounded by a bright light.  But it wasn’t death.  She was in agonizing pain; she knows now that they were putting the baby inside of her.  Kit doesn’t understand how he grew so quickly, but she explains that time moves differently up there.  “They” are different than humans.  They’re not cruel.  When Kit asks about Alma, though, Grace’s face falls.  “They” aren’t perfect.  Alma didn’t make it.  As Kit appears deflated at the news, Grace hurries to explain that the baby is the lifeline.  Kit is special, and so is their baby.  Someday Thomas will change the way people think.  The couple shares a loving smile.  Kit’s main concern is being a good dad…but he wants to do right by his son.  He asks Grace to marry him.  She agrees, and they kiss.

Suddenly the day room doors open and Monsignor O’Hara enters, flanked by orderlies and nuns.  Grace wonders if the Monsignor can marry them.  But soon it becomes clear what’s going on.  He tells them that the nuns are from St. Ursula’s Home for Lost Children.  An asylum is no place to raise a child.  They can find a good home with loving parents for the child.  Grace protests—she is the baby’s mother.  The orderlies restrain the parents while the baby is taken.  When the nuns get to the door, Thredson walks in.  He observes Kit’s distress and comments that he might be able to help.

Lana is in the kitchen.  Mother Claudia approaches her and says she’s going to take her out of Briarcliff.  She explains that Jude told her the truth about Lana’s situation, and Mother Claudia wants to make it right.  She hands Lana her patient file.  This will give her irrefutable proof in her expose that she had been a patient at Briarcliff, because there will be people who won’t believe her story.  The realization dawns on Lana that Mother Claudia wants the asylum shut down.  Not just shut down, Mother Claudia says, but taken down brick by brick and the “land salted.”  Yep, she wants the place shut down.  The clothes that Lana came in with have been hidden in the bathroom, and a taxi is on the way to take her wherever she wants to go.  Lana hesitates before ripping into a bag of flour to fish out Thredson’s confession tapes.  Then she walks over to Jude, who is absently kneading dough.  She tells Jude that she will be back for her.  She won’t leave her there.  Okay, now she’s ready.

Down in the entry hall, Kit tells Thredson that he isn’t sure that he’ll be able to get the tapes, and besides that, how can Kit know that Thredson won’t betray him once he gets the tapes?  They’re at the base of the stairs.  Lana, in her street clothes, is at the top.  The screen splits and we see her walking down while Kit talks to Thredson.  Kit’s eyes meet hers and she shakes her head.  Message received—she’s getting out.  This could be a win-win for Kit.  If Lana gets out, she can help exonerate him and then he can get his son back.  When Thredson moves to go up the stairs, Kit pulls him back, asking how he can convince Lana.  Thredson knows that he’s the only one she’ll listen to.  Lana is able to pass by him and head for the door, unseen.

Or was she?  As Kit walks away, Thredson stares at the figure moving through the door.  Lana makes her descent down Briarcliff’s front steps, heading toward the waiting taxi.  She gets in and Mother Claudia closes the door as Thredson rushes outside.  Lana meets his gaze and holds the tape against the window, flipping him off as the car drives away.  She is free.

Thredson hurries into his house.  There’s a figure sitting in the dark.  It’s Lana.  She’s dressed impeccably in a blue suit, and she has a gun pointed at him.  He’s relieved to see her there.  It saves him the trouble of finding her.  She tells him that the police have the tape and they’re on their way to get him.  He looks troubled, then relieved.  He has always wondered what it would be like when he got caught.  It isn’t what he thought it would be, but it feels good to not be burdened by the secrets anymore.  She’s glad to be the one to put him in the electric chair for what he did to Wendy and the other women.  Thredson calmly moves to the bar, ignoring the gun she has pointed at his back.  “There is no alcohol where I’m going.  I’m not going to let you ruin my last chance to have a martini.”  He asks if she wants a drink, and she points out that she’s not the crazy one.  He is.  She knew that when he chained her up and called her “mommy”….

….Speaking of “mommy,” back in the present day, Pandora tells Johnny that he can call her mommy.  He finishes drinking, the milk dripping from his lips, and she comments that he either has a mommy fixation or a calcium deficiency, based on how fast he drained her triple Ds.  He lights a cigarette and admits that Pandora is right.  The “cold bitch” never loved him.  Pandora wants him to tell her all about it.

Johnny says that his mother never cared about his father, either.  We see Thredson preparing his drink.  There is a gun in the liquor cabinet.  Lana gets closer and asks about Wendy’s body.  She deserves a proper burial.  Thredson turns on the fireplace and asks if Lana is sure that she wants to know the details.  It turns out that Wendy’s is the only body that he ever kept intact.  Since his relationship with Lana was going so well, he thought he might need some practice…so we see her body on his bed.  He’s wearing a robe and describing how difficult it was for him at first, but as soon as he turned her over, he was successful at “practicing” on her.  Let’s add necrophilia to Thredson’s list, too.

Johnny is curled against Pandora’s chest as he tells the story.  She encourages him to let it all out, but soon he jumps from the couch and yells that it’s all her fault, and thinking about his mother makes him angry.  He kicks a table and then lunges at Pandora, wrapping his hand around her throat and asking if she knows what his mother did to him.

The camera pans away, and through the mirror we return to the same house in 1964.  Thredson wonders if he will end up with pint sized visitors in prison.  Lana tells him there’s no way she’s keeping the baby.  She just wants him to fry.  He points out that he’s clearly insane.  They won’t sentence him to death; rather he’ll live out his life in an institution, possibly leading therapy groups, considering how many crazy people are locked up.  He moves to get another drink as the sirens get closer.  But if she isn’t going to keep the baby, Lana is no use to him anymore.  She might as well be known as his last victim.  Thredson moves to grab the gun and Lana shoots him, sending blood spattering all over the walls.  “Prison’s too good for you,” she says.

Lana visits Wendy’s tomb at a mausoleum.  Her friends watch as she places white roses into the holder.  One friend comments that she can’t believe the police weren’t able to find any fragments of her, not even bones.  The other friend moves to silence her before Lana interrupts, noting that there were some ashes in the furnace, and even though they might not all be her ashes, at least she has a place to visit.  Now she wants to move to New York.  She can’t help but think that her quest to get the story is what caused all of this.  Speaking of stories, their moment of silence is interrupted by some reporters who tracked her down (this must mean that Lana’s story has gotten out to the public).  Lana calls them vultures, looking for fresh meat.  One friend makes sure Lana still has the phone number for the doctor who can help her with her “little problem.”  Then they both apologize for abandoning her.  They leave, and Lana turns and walks out, looking every bit a woman in mourning.

Reporters are waiting for her outside.  Is it true that Bloody Face tortured her while she was being held captive?  Did she receive electroshock therapy daily?  Did the therapy really cure her homosexuality?  She rolls the window down.  “All I can say is read my book.”

Jude is in the medicine line in the day room.  She watches the inmate ahead of her reach for his pills.  That’s when she takes it from him, telling him that it’s a horse tranquilizer.  The nuns admonish her, pointing out that she was the one who signed for the meds in the first place.  Jude knocks the tray from their hands, yelling that the medicine “turns their brains into mush.”

The Monsignor pours over a newspaper headline denouncing Briarcliff and the horrors within.  The paper is dated January 1965.  Father James comes in and reports that the reporters have been cleared from the front steps, but he can’t do anything about the ones camping outside of the gates.  Clearly, this troubles the dapper Monsignor, who is implicated in a lot of the articles.  He’s hoping the media frenzy will die down once the press realizes that Briarcliff is not issuing any statements.  Father James informs him that there is an incident in the day room that requires his attention.

Jude is listening to “Love Potion Number 9” on the juke box.  The Monsignor approaches and points out that it’s a good thing they’re friends, because otherwise she’d be locked in solitary confinement.  She tells him that Eunice got one thing right—the music has a healing quality.  That’s when he pulls the plug on the machine.   She wants to know if he plans to renounce his vows after losing his virtue to the devil, but clearly, he doesn’t have any plan to give up his new power.  Jude tells him that she would have done anything for him on his “magical carpet ride to Rome.”  Now it seems like that ride isn’t over.  He is still going after it.  Jude understands that he is lost, and that means that she is blessed with the gift of clarity. “I am more sane now as a mad woman than I was as the head of Briarcliff,” she says.  He says she’s as “mad as a hatter.”  Carl the orderly arrives and the Monsignor orders Jude to be taken to solitary confinement.  She tells him that her god will not let him prevail.

Kit has a visitor.  It’s Carl.  That makes sense, since everyone else who tends to visit Kit is dead.  He tells Kit to sign some papers.  He’s being released.  Kit asks if they caught Thredson.  Carl explains that Lana turned in the confession tapes, and then she did one better.  “The lezzie blew his head off.”  The story is all over the papers and reporters are all over Briarcliff trying to investigate the corruption.  He tosses a bundle of clothes on the mattress.  Kit’s a free man.  But there’s one more thing Kit needs.  He wants to see the Monsignor.

Monsignor O’Hara is happy that he played a small role in Kit’s release, and that justice has been served.  Kit doesn’t call it justice.  He wants his son back.  He and Grace plan to raise him as a family.  The Monsignor points out that it isn’t possible, given that Grace is still an inmate and Kit has been released.  The shadows play on the wall so that the Monsignor’s shadow looks like a demon.  Kit promises that if Grace isn’t released, he will share his stories with the reporters outside.  The Monsignor laughs at this, pointing out that he can’t simply release an “axe murderess” into the public.  This is where Kit has been formulating a plan.  He wants her “body” released.  Clearly the Monsignor wasn’t in on that game, but he listens as Kit explains that there is a death certificate in her file that was signed by Arden and Frank the Guard.  He doesn’t have to lie, and Kit doesn’t have to tell the truth.  If this happens, then all of the Monsignor’s problems will go away.

A taxi stops in a field.  Kit jumps out and gets the door for Grace and the baby.  They’re outside Kit’s house.  He tells her that she shouldn’t expect a castle when he opens the door.  She’s just happy it isn’t Briarcliff.  The house is still a mess from the night Alma was abducted.  The couple is willing the clean it up together.  They kiss, but the kiss is interrupted by a noise in the next room.  Kit grabs a bat and storms into the next room…only to find Alma sitting there with a baby in her arms.

Lana is in a nondescript room meeting with the lady who can take care of her “little problem.”  She wants to be sure if Lana is certain that this is what she wants, but Lana is resolute.  She knows that she can’t have a baby that was conceived with the man who kidnapped and raped her.  The woman tells her to get ready while she prepares her instruments.  She assures Lana that boiling water is the best way to go, since she can’t smuggle the big sterilization machines out of the hospital.  As Lana opens her legs and gets ready, she flashes back to the blood and the death she witness during her ordeal, and she stops the doctor before she does anything.  “No more death,” she says.

Lana tells the police that there have been many deaths and disappearances at Briarcliff that can’t be explained.  She can’t get access to the premises to investigate their whereabouts.  The police are reluctant to get involved, but when she says that Sister Jude could corroborate the story, they start to listen.  Mother Claudia can’t help because she was sent to Puerto Rico as soon as she started to make “noise.”  Clearly, there is something going on.  One of the detectives asks if the baby belonged to Bloody Face.  “This baby has no father,” she replies, puffing on her cigarette (oh, how the times have changed).  The police seem impressed with her toughness.  But Lana is no cookie.

The Monsignor’s door opens and the detectives walk in with a court order, Lana in tow.  They want access to Sister Jude.  The Monsignor sinks to his chair, shocked.  They can’t see her, he says, because she’s dead.  It was the saddest day he’s experienced, walking in to her room to see that she had hanged herself during the night.  Lana is outraged that her remains had been cremated.  But since she died without absolution, she couldn’t have a Christian burial.  If only Lana had arrived two weeks prior.  Perhaps she could have done something to save her.

It’s meal time at the asylum.  Things don’t seem much different as we follow a nun with a plate through the halls and into the kitchen.  A pile of slop and a piece of bread are dumped onto each plate, and then the plates are delivered to each cell.  In the last cell, a woman is mumbling to herself.  The food remains untouched.  The camera pans up and we see Jude sitting on the stone bench in a three by five foot cell. She’s praying for strength.

Lana wakes up at the sound of a baby crying.  She had asked not to see the baby at all, but the nurse decided to disobey in hopes that Lana would suckle him because the little guy has been crying for seven hours and won’t eat.  Hmm.  As the nurse moves to leave, Lana stops her.  She takes the baby and unbuttons her gown.  The baby stops crying as soon as he’s attached to his mother.  Lana looks up at the ceiling, then at the cross over her bed.  Her hand clenches and unclenches as she relives her abduction.  Then she holds the baby closer.

Well.  The season is almost over and we have tidied up quite a few storylines.  Who would have thought that Monsignor Timothy would be even more of a devil than the demon that resided in Sister Eunice?  I can only imagine what will happen next week as we bring this season to a close.  Personally, I think this episode raised more questions than it answered.  What’s going on with Alma and the baby?  Did Grace know that she was alive?  What will happen to that trio?  What will become of Jude?  What happened to Pepper?  Will Jude make it out alive?  What will become of Johnny Morgan and Pandora?  And will the Monsignor be brought to justice?

So many questions.  As always, I want to know your thoughts.  Please leave comments below, and I will see you for the finale next week!

CNN: Totally Irresponsible Media

This is the lead article on the CNN homepage at 12am on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning:

“Is It Time To Panic?”

What?  What the hell is the US media trying to do?  Incite panic by creating buzzworthy news items?  Yes, Ebola is in the US, but it was bound to happen.  Why is it that this is worth sensationalizing while a poor woman in Oklahoma was beheaded by a man because she didn’t share his beliefs.  Oh no, that’s not newsworthy at all.  Besides, we don’t want to offend anyone, right?  With Ebola, there are no parties that could be offended.

I’d love to know who the puppetmaster is at CNN.  Clearly, someone has an agenda.  Keep the news fresh and buzzy, but stay away from offending anyone who might come back at us.  If it’s a slow news day, make shit sound better by blowing it out of proportion.  And let’s not stop there.  Let’s try to control the masses by showing “documentaries” that support our agenda.  We want people to think what we want them to think.  Far be it for Americans to think for themselves.

In retrospect, I believe it is time to panic.  If the media isn’t reined in, we’re going to be shit out of luck very, very soon.

What Are You Watching?

The Fall TV Premiere season is underway.  The networks are vying for your eyes.  They want your viewership.  Nowadays, a new show can face peril after one bad night.

That said, what are you watching?

I’m hooked on Gotham already.  It’s gritty and dark.  It’s a police procedural set in a fictitious world where we know the main characters…or better yet, we know who the main characters will become.  There are Easter Eggs and double entendres aplenty if you pay close attention.  Technology exists, and yet the cars are from the 70s and 80s, though they look very new.  It’s an exciting concept, and I’m eager to see how it plays out.

What are you watching?

The Walking Dead Recap S3E6:

The Walking Dead S3E6: Hounded

Original Airdate: November 18, 2012

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Merle, Evil Glenn and some other citizens of Woodbury are out in the woods and the stumble across the cut up remains of a Biter.  Michonne has left them a “Biter-gram” that spells out “go back.”  Well, kind of.  The arms and legs spell “go” and the back is self-explanatory.  Clearly the Governor is correct—stopping Michonne is a public service.  But Neil isn’t so sure.  He expresses his concerns to Merle, who challenges his allegiance.  Poor Neil.  As soon as he swears fealty to the Governor, Michonne appears out of nowhere and stabs him.  She kills Evil Glenn and the other man before Merle can stop her.  Merle fires his gun and she uses a body as a shield, but not before he manages to graze her leg. That doesn’t slow her down as she retreats into the woods, Merle chasing behind her.  She manages to lose him, though, much to his chagrin.

Back at the prison, we learn the identity of the caller.  It’s a woman whose relief is evident when she hears Rick’s voice.  She has been calling that line since this mess started.  Rick wants to know where she is and whether or not she’s safe.  She is, she assures him.  They’re safe because they’re careful.  He tells her that he has a son, and after a pause he tells her about his newborn daughter.  Can they take on other people?  The voice hesitates and says she must confer with the other members of the group.  Despite his plea, she doesn’t allow him to make his case directly to the group and she instead tells him that she will call back in two hours (which is interesting…how do they know what time it is anymore??).  Rick begs her not to hang up.  I think Andrew Lincoln could submit this scene as consideration for an Emmy.  It has been a long time since viewers have been able to see Rick’s raw emotions, and now they’re pouring forth like a fountain.  He’s almost unrecognizable as he tells her that people in his group are dying.  She hangs up and he stares blankly.

The rest of the gang is eating breakfast when a freshly bathed Rick enters the cell block.  He acknowledges Carl with a hand on his son’s shoulder, but he forgoes pleasantries and tells everyone that he cleared out the boiler room and now he has to clear the bodies.  Glenn offers to help but Rick insists that he needs to do it.  Daryl and Oscar are seated on the stairs away from the group seated at the table.  They seem to be comfortable together.  Daryl reports that Axl is trying to get the generators going, just in case they end up needing them.  It looks like the group has been functioning quite well in Rick’s absence.  He asks about ammunition, and their supply is running low.  Glenn and Maggie were already planning to make a run; they found a phone book and were going to hit some stores.  (This is ironic in two ways—one, ammunition would be the second thing I’d grab in the event of a zombie apocalypse, so the odds of finding a well-stocked sporting goods store are slim.  Two, just as we don’t know what time it is anymore, we also can’t consult the internet for business locations, which makes it absolutely necessary for yellow pages to be printed out in the future.  The fate of humanity could very well rest on it.)  As Rick departs, we note that he not only fails to tell everyone about the phone call, but he also fails to inquire about his daughter.  This isn’t lost on the group.

In the woods, Neil cries over the bodies of his friends.  Merle appears and tells him to buck up and get on his feet.  He shot Michonne and she’s getting away.  Neil is completely in over his head despite Merle’s insistence that some “serious shit” is going down.  He tells Neil he needs to rise to the occasion, something that he emphasizes by explaining that Michonne isn’t running, she’s hunting, and that means that she’s going to be coming after them if they don’t get moving.  But before they can leave, Merle reminds him of their code, that they don’t allow their own people to turn into Biters.  He plunges his bayonet blade into Evil Glenn’s forehead, and then he wipes the blood on his pants.  Now it’s Neil’s turn.  There’s some reticence at first, but soon Neil stabs the other man’s head (which is lying neatly beside his body).  The act seems to give strength to Neil, who slowly rises to his feet to follow his leader.

Back at Woodbury, the Governor finds Andrea watching some children play games.  He can tell that the gladiator games really bothered her, and when she goes to ask a question of him, he declines until she explains what she thinks about their games.  Andrea doesn’t see them as games; rather she sees the whole thing as something brutal, which doesn’t make sense because they are surrounded by brutality.  So why have them?  The Governor takes this in and switches gears, asking what she wanted to know before he made her condemn their lifestyle.  Andrea wants to contribute to the community, and she tells him that she wants to work the wall.  She’s a good shot, she says, and she would like to keep her skills honed.  When he asks if she can shoot a bow, she says she’s willing to learn.  This makes the Governor very happy.  Little does he know, she is very apt to get into trouble…as we all know….

Rick sits and waits for his phone call.  The desperation is evident.  The phone rings and a man asks if he’s speaking to the man “she was talking to.”  The man tells Rick that his people are safe and they have been safe for a long while.  No one has been bitten.  He asks Rick if he has killed anyone.  Rick haltingly tells him about the four people that he has killed, leaving Shane for last.  In Shane’s case, he had to kill him or risk losing his own life.  The man wants to know how Rick lost his wife, and I think we all paused and wondered how the caller knew about Lori.  However, this was a little trick by the writers.  The man points out that Rick has a son and baby.  That means he had a wife.  Rick closes his eyes and the muscles in his jaw are tense.  He doesn’t want to talk about this.  He says this to the man on the phone, who abruptly hangs up.  Rick realizes how he just screwed up and screams, though he’s careful not to damage the phone.  Are we watching Rick’s descent into madness?  I wonder why he hasn’t told the group about the phone call.  Didn’t he learn anything from withholding the information about the zombie infection after their trip to the CDC?  You have to share information with the group or else they will question their leader.

Andrea chats with one of the women who is defending the wall.  This young woman is proud of the fact that she is such a great shot and she promises to teach Andrea how to use the bow and arrow.  Her father trained her to go hunting, and would have been thrilled for her to go to the Olympics.  She’s using his prize bow, which is worth more than her car was.  That’s when she admits that she had to kill him for it.  Andrea presses her—surely it wasn’t just about the bow.  She agrees, admitting that neither her father nor her brother were themselves anymore.  Andrea immediately feels a sense of camaraderie with her and shares that she had to kill her own sister.  They agree that it sucks.  Just then, a lone Biter approaches their location.  The girl immediately takes aim, but she misses with the first shot as well as the second shot.  That’s when Andrea springs into action, jumping down from the wall, which is against the rules, and she knocks the Biter down and stabs him in the head.  That’s how it’s done, she proudly proclaims.  The girl isn’t impressed or amused at all.  That’s not what they’re supposed to do.  I have a feeling the Governor is about to learn why a large number of fans believe that the show is better off without Andrea and her idiocy.  Frankly, I wanted to roll my eyes when she leapt down from the wall.  It’s her own brand of stupidity that led to Daryl being shot last season.

Rick paces the phone room when he hears someone approach.  It’s one-legged Hershel.  Uh-oh.  Rick’s busted.  Hershel asks for a chair, which Rick provides for him.  He tells Rick that he can still feel his missing leg (he’s wiggling his invisible toes right now).  Hershel reminds Rick that he saved his life and that he has carried this group through the toughest times.  But Hershel wants him to know that Lori felt bad about the way things were between them.  It’s important that he know this.  She was going to tell Rick but he wasn’t able to.  If Rick needs to take time to heal from his loss, so be it.  They’re safe.  Rick disagrees.  They’re not safe.  That’s when Rick admits that he got a phone call.  He relates the tale to Hershel, who listens with an expression on his face that shows that he’s not sure whether or not to believe him.  The woman on the phone said they were in a safe place, and if it sounds right, Rick wants to try to get their group where these other people are.  Hershel offers to stay and wait for the call.  Rick says no.  He also tells Hershel not to tell the others.  Not yet.

Merle and Neil are still out hunting for Michonne.  They come to a clearing in the trees and Merle spins around, gun drawn, listening.  Suddenly he hears a twig break, and he swings around and pushes Neil away just as Michonne takes a swipe at him with her sword.  She cuts him across his chest and he falls to the ground.  Merle battles with Michonne, who quickly kicks Merle in the crotch and in the face while she tries to recover.  As Merle’s head clears, three Walkers descend upon the group.  Merle is caught off guard and struggles initially with his Walker while Michonne manages to regain her sword.  Neil has a better opportunity and jumps in to save Merle, who immediately uses his bayonet to spear the other Walker through the jaw.  Now safe, the two men turn to see that Michonne has already escaped.

Daryl, Carl and Oscar wander through the cells.  They find a door that’s moving with some badly injured Walkers inside.  Daryl says they must have missed them the night before and pledges to get them on the way back.  Then, slowly, Daryl tells Carl about his mother.  She liked her wine and her Virginia Slims, and she liked them in bed.  One night little Daryl was out playing, which he could do because Merle wasn’t around.  All of the other kids had bikes and Daryl didn’t.  Then some fire trucks sped past them and he chased after them, hoping so see something worth looking at.  Everyone was looking at him as he approached.  It was his house that was burning, and his mother that was burned to a crisp.  Carl has been listening to Daryl’s tale with a stoic expression.  “I shot my mom,” he admits.  He had to do it before she turned.  He tells Daryl he’s sorry about his mom.  Daryl grabs his shoulder and gives him a reassuring squeeze before continuing through the cells.  Poor Carl has had to endure the loss of not one, but two of his parents while Rick toes the line between sanity and crazy town.  Thankfully, the group has been there to carry young Carl through the hard time.

The Governor is making tally marks in his book when Andrea comes in.  She knows he is going to admonish her for going over the wall.  When she says she wanted practice, he pulls her from wall duty.  That’s when she admits to him that she actually liked the fights, but it was the fact that she liked them that scared her.  He points out that she started to turn away, but then she stayed, just like she could have left his office but didn’t.  He takes that as a sign that he might be growing on her.

Merle praises Neil for reacting so quickly, promising to buy the young man a beer upon their return to Woodbury.  Neil wants to keep going after Michonne, but Merle wants to leave and return.  They’ll tell the Governor they killed her, which is practically true given that she’s wounded and will end up dead soon enough.  But Neil won’t have it.  He won’t lie to the Governor.  Merle seems to make a decision.  He praises how far Neil has come and asks him again how to pronounce his last name.  A bird chirps, and that’s when Merle shoots him in the head.  I have to admit I saw that one coming.  But it also looks like Merle isn’t exactly on the Governor’s leash.

Michonne grabs her supplies and then she stumbles upon a small group of Walkers.  She clearly isn’t in any condition to fight them off, but as she raises her sword, she notices that they walk right past her.  Once they’re gone, she realizes that she’s still covered in Walker intestines and blood, which makes her smell like one of them.  Thank goodness…I don’t think she could have fought them off in her weakened state.

The phone rings and Rick is quick to answer it.  The woman is back and she wants to know why he didn’t tell the man about how his wife died.  “You need to talk about it, Rick,” she says.  His eyes widen.  How did she know his name?  The interference on the line gets worse and the call is dropped, but not before Rick starts to wonder what the hell is going on.

Michonne wanders into a small town.  She’s limping badly.  A car approaches and she hides.  She watches Maggie and Glenn get out and explore the area.  They kiss each other before opening the door to the store.  Birds fly out, but so far that’s the worst of it.  Glenn goes in, and Maggie tells him to grab the little stuffed duck.  Can you imagine growing up in a prison without toys? She laughs.  Michonne watches all of this with interest.

Andrea sits in the Governor’s well-appointed private garden.  She teases him about being the kind of man who probably waxed his car every weekend.  He admits that he wasn’t proud of any of that, not his car, his house, or his dumb dog.  She finds this hard to believe.  He points out that he did have someone.  Then he shifts the conversation to the whiskey.  It’s been so long since she’s had a good drink, she tells him.  It’s after five, so she should call him Philip.  She laughs, telling him that using his name will make her feel “less like a lobbyist.”  He watches her closely for a long moment, finally telling her that it’s okay for her to like the fights.  There are many people like “them,” he continues.  People who are willing to fight.  “Eat, drink and be merry.  Tomorrow we die,” he says.  He pulls out all of the charm and seduces her, and she falls right into it, kissing him with passion equal to his own.  The only difference is that she has no idea what this man is capable of.

Maggie and Glenn hit the “powdered milk jackpot” at the store.  As they celebrate and talk about how different it is being outside the walls (Maggie even makes the mistake of saying that it’s a good day), Michonne watches these strangers.  Who are they?  Before she can decide whether or not to talk to them, Merle appears from the other side of the building.  He’s carrying a gun, which he immediately puts down as soon as he recognizes Glenn.  Glenn realizes that it’s Merle, but neither he nor Maggie put their guns down.  Merle asks about his brother, and Glenn confirms that Daryl is alive.  Michonne puts together that these people were part of Andrea’s group.  She also realizes that Merle has something  up his sleeve.  Or, more accurately, behind his back.  Glenn tells Merle to wait there while they go back and get Daryl.  But that’s not what Merle had in mind.  He pulls out his hidden gun and shoots out the car window, then he takes Maggie hostage and demands that Glenn drive them back.  No, not back to the prison.  Back to Woodbury.  Another uh-oh.  But wait…Michonne heard the whole thing!

Oscar finds a pair of slippers in one of the cells, perfect for relaxing at the end of the day.  They’re all three standing in the cell when a Walker approaches.  They all fire at him and he collapses.  That’s when Daryl notices the knife in the Walker’s neck.  It’s Carol’s knife.  A glint of hope shines in his eyes.

Rick is still pacing in the phone room.  The phone rings and he hears a voice, distorted as it may be.  He believes the voice to belong to Lori.  His expression is bleak as he talks to his dead wife.  He hunches over and cries over the deal he made to himself, the deal to keep her alive.  He was going to keep them all alive.  But he didn’t, or rather, he couldn’t.  But he loved her.  He hears her tell him to watch over Carl and the baby, to get to them.  He looks up as the line goes silent.   Was this whole thing a dream?

The Governor and Andrea don’t waste any time getting busy in the First Bedroom of Woodbury.  A knock at the door interrupts their interlude, which leads the Governor to joke about not being off the clock after all.  Andrea asks if she “should hide under the bed.”  Not this time, he tells her.  He dresses in a robe and goes to the door, where Merle is waiting.  They go into the hallway and Merle tells him that the others are dead.  Michonne ambushed them.  The Governor wants to know if Merle was able to secure her head and sword, but he wasn’t.  This displeases the Governor, but Merle has something better.  He explains that he caught up with one of his friends from Atlanta.  They know Andrea.  Merle promises to figure out where they’re holed up, given how healthy they look.  This definitely makes up for not having Michonne’s head for his little aquarium.  Merle leaves with a grin on his face, while the Governor returns to Andrea.  They get naked again and hit the bed.

In the prison kitchen, Beth and Carl cook while Hershel cares for the baby.  Rick walks in with eyes only for his little girl.  Hershel hands her off to her father and he stares at her almost in disbelief.  His fatherly instincts come back and he cradles her tenderly.

Daryl stabs angrily at the floor.  The door keeps rattling and he gets more and more agitated.  He clutches Carol’s knife in his hand.  Finally he can’t take any more and he pulls the dead Walker aside and opens the door.  There sits Carol, barely conscious but clearly alive.  A myriad of emotions cross his face as he leans down and picks her up.  He carries her through the hallway like she’s his most valued possession.

Rick takes his baby girl outside, followed by Hershel, Beth and Carl.  Rick says the baby looks like Carl.  He hands her off briefly and walks down to the fence.  In the distance he sees a woman standing at the fence, surrounded by Walkers.  But she’s different.  She’s carrying a red basket full of baby formula.

It’s Michonne.

Holy God, what an episode.  This episode covered so much and is clearly setting the stage for things to come.  One thing that struck me is how much more I like Carl and how little I like Andrea.  Sorry Andrea.  But you can’t wander through life with those rose-colored glasses.  Wake up and smell the crazy shit!!

Ugh.  Don’t get me started.  I want to hear your thoughts.  What do you think is coming up next?  Are you having fun, or is the slow buildup not working for you?  As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

American Horror Story Asylum Recap S2E10: The Name Game

American Horror Story Asylum, S2E10: The Name Game

Original Airdate: January 2, 2013

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Welcome to 2013, everyone.  I know that some people like to ease into a new year…and if you’re one of those people, you’re probably still reeling from tonight’s American Horror Story: Asylum.  Wow.  Oh wow.  I stared at the screen for a good five minutes wondering if I had been dreaming.  I did not see any of that coming at all.  For those of you in the “go big or go home” camp, I’m sure you’re reveling in the excitement.  In any case, let’s get to it, shall we?

The last time we saw Kit, he was dead.  Well, kind of.  Dr. Arden brought him to the brink of death to see if the aliens would return.  After a shot of adrenaline and a few blows to the chest, Kit sits bolt upright and asks Arden if it worked.  Did they come?  “No,” Arden replies.  His eyes, though, remain hooded as we see flashbacks of what really happened.  Lights filled every crevice of the surgical suite, and a very naked, very pregnant Grace is found in one of Arden’s rooms.  We see that he bends down to examine her, then he hooks her up to an IV and leaves her…while Pepper stands watch.  Kit listens in mute shock as Arden tells him their experiment didn’t work….

….except, as we all know, it did work.  Next we see Arden standing in his surgical suite with Grace on the table, draped in linens.  He’s planning an x-ray to see what’s inside of her.  But Pepper warns him that Grace is “protected.”  The x-ray would hurt the life growing inside of her, and so the rays will not be allowed to pass through her body.  Arden taunts Pepper, saying that even though she has now been granted the power to speak, she’s nothing more than a “parrot” for the aliens.  Pepper doesn’t flinch.  She seems to know that as Grace’s protector, she is safe, too.  Arden proposes a more invasive approach, but the scalpel is yanked away from him by some mysterious force.  He collapses in frightened shock against the stairs.  Pepper gets closer, telling him that it was easy for her sister’s brother to kill her nephew and cut off his ears and then blame her for the whole thing.  The judge took one look at her “micro cephalic” head and locked her away.  However, in this case, should something come to the public’s attention about Grace, the only person who will be blamed is Arden, and then he’ll end up as a resident of Briarcliff as well.  As she returns to Grace’s side, she suggests that he returns to his “whore-nun” so that she can lick his wounds.  Arden’s expression says it all—he’s terrified, and the worst part about it for him is that he doesn’t have any control of anything anymore.

Sister Eunice wheels Monsignor O’Hara into a private wing of the hospital.  He’s gaunt and his hands and feet have been bandaged, and he is filled with remorse that he fell for Lee Emerson’s tricks.  He’s clutching his rosary like a child with a security blanket.  Eunice kneels at his feet, reminiscent of Mary Magdalene, and removes his slippers.  She assures him there is a manhunt covering five states.  They’ll find him.  And don’t worry, she says, she’ll be sleeping in the bed next to his should he need anything during the night.  Yeah, like that’s comforting….  We see him while he’s still hanging from the cross, and the Back Winged Angel appears to him.  She isn’t there to take him, for he has work to do.  The Devil is in residence at Briarcliff, she says, inhabiting the body of his favorite nun.  He needs to cast the Devil out.  O’Hara worries that he’s too weak, that his thoughts are too transparent.  But the Black Winged Angel assures him that he will have help, and that he can use the rosary to keep God’s name on his lips, which will in turn keep the Devil from his mind.  Once he has been tucked into bed, he thanks Eunice while rubbing his beads.  She smiles sweetly at him, telling him that she’ll return after overseeing a delivery.  Exciting new things are happening at Briarcliff, she says.

Indeed, a bright new (well, used) juke box has been delivered to the day room.  Jude and Lana watch as Eunice blows the whistle to get everyone’s attention.  She’s doing this to spite me, Jude mutters.  Eunice declares that the juke box is meant to bring the ward into the modern age now that someone broke their recording of “Dominique.”  She stands beside Jude and talks about her without using her name, only referring to her by her patient number.  After nailing her with a few verbal jabs, she dedicates “I Put a Spell on You” to Judy Martin and then leaves the room.  Lana perks up with interest when she hears Sister Jude’s real name, but Jude reminds her that they’re all just a bunch of numbers.  Disgusted, Jude gets up and leaves, brushing past a dazed-and-confused looking Tate.

Lana rushes over to Kit and hugs him.   There’s so much that has happened since they last saw each other, but neither has had a chance to confess what they have been up to separately.  All that is about to change, however, as Dr. Thredson breezes into the day room like he owns the place.  And you’d never know that he’d previously been tied up in a storage room, either.  Lana and Kit are shocked as Thredson sits down.  Lana considers using the ashtray to bash his face in, but he moves it out of reach.  He compliments her pluck, hoping that she passes this trait on to their child.  Kit looks on in confusion.  Thredson tells him that her attempt to abort the child didn’t work.  In fact, the baby is the only thing keeping her safe, and obviously he’ll need to keep her around until she’s done breastfeeding.  At that point, all bets are off.  Kit is on thin ice, too, given that he’s a “wanted man.”  But turning him in for the reward simply won’t work.  Now we see why he hasn’t been turned in yet—until the taped confession is found, Kit will be housed at Briarcliff.  Thredson offers them a small smile.  They can continue this conversation later during their therapy sessions.  Sister Eunice has offered him a permanent job at the asylum.  “She’s a remarkably forward thinking administrator, for a nun,” he muses.  “And surprisingly adept at untying slipknots.”  With that little barb, Thredson meanders away, leaving Kit and Lana to ponder their newfound dilemma.

Jude is in her bed listening to the screams coming from the hallway.  Then the guards order everyone out into the hall as Sister Eunice struts into the corridor, cheerfully announcing a room check.  It keeps the inmates honest, she informs Jude, who accuses Eunice of mocking her.  But Eunice doesn’t have time to mock Jude, she laughs.  There is so much to be done.  Lana lunges at Eunice and forces her up against the wall, demanding to know why she set Thredson free.  Eunice calls for the guards, and then she calmly informs Lana that Thredson is a cutting edge doctor.  Lana tells her that Thredson will kill her, and then it will all be Eunice’s fault.  This makes Eunice even more gleeful.  Thredson’s only concern, she says, is for Lana’s welfare and the welfare of her baby.  With a pat on Lana’s belly, she tells the guards to boil Lana for twenty minutes in the hydrotherapy room.  Then Jude speaks up, which sparks a room search.  Eunice emerges with a cucumber and asks if she stole that idea from Shelley’s playbook.  As Eunice grasps the cucumber suggestively, she asks Jude if she thinks of the Monsignor when she’s using it.  And they just can’t allow her to keep “diddling herself,” Eunice muses.  “So punish me,” Jude replies.

Her wish, Eunice’s command.  Next we see Jude being strapped to the same exam table that Lana was strapped into upon her arrival at Briarcliff.  She’s exhibiting signs of manic depression, Dr. Arden explains, and therefore they must use the most common form of treatment: electroshock therapy.  After all, Eunice adds, that same treatment cured Lana of her “gynophilia.”  She sticks a gag into Jude’s mouth to keep her from appealing to whatever is left of the real Sister Mary Eunice, and then she asks Arden for permission to throw the switch.  He tells her that they need no more than 50% power…but Eunice cranks it well beyond that.  Jude screams and convulses.

Later, a very different Sister Eunice tends to Monsignor O’Hara’s wounds.  She laments the fact that his wounds are healing so fast, as his wounds make him all the more worthy of sainthood.  As she finishes her thought, O’Hara grabs her and presses his crucifix to her forehead, calling upon mighty forces to restrain her and cast the demon out.  She easily throws him off and recites a dirty limerick for him, which leads her to wonder if he is as well-endowed as the priest in the rhyme.  She straddles him and taunts him over the fact that his body is betraying him.  He’s aroused.  She pulls off her habit and removes her frock, revealing pink lingerie underneath.  Eunice takes his hand and places it over her breast, telling him that they’re like Adam and Eve, discovering each other for the first time.  “I gave my body to Christ,” he gasps.  “What has He given to you?” she retorts.  As she rides the Monsignor to his first orgasm, she turns and sees Dr. Arden standing in the doorway watching her.

Meanwhile, Jude staggers into the day room with the same confusion that poor Lana felt after her “therapy.”  The other inmates laugh at her condition while Lana and Kit watch her in something that resembles sympathy.  “Looks like the turned the juice up extra high,” Lana observes, then she wonders why she doesn’t feel better seeing Jude in a similar situation as she had been in (by Jude’s own hand).  When Jude starts beating the juke box, Lana rushes over and stops her, then she asks if Jude remembers who she is.  She calls herself “Lana Banana,” then asks if Jude knows her own name.  That’s when Jude focuses on the music selections and chooses Shirley Ellis’ “Name Game.”  The next thing you know, the Briarcliff day room has become the set of Glee, with Sister Jude as the lead singer.  Lana and Kit become her backup dancers as she sings the song using inmate names.  The whole thing is surreal…and so perfect.  When it’s over, Lana is still there asking if Jude remembers her name.  Jude stares at her.  She’s stuck inside her own head for now. (And, frankly, being inside her head is fun if it’s like that all the time…well, apart from the electroshock part)

Dr. Arden wheels a load of fresh meat out to his pets in the woods.  The poor guy has had a rough time lately.  First he realizes that his sweet innocent nun is possessed, then he is berated and threatened by Pepper, and then he discovers Eunice screwing the Monsignor.  Eunice catches up to him and picks up on his jealousy.  She assures him that the Monsignor didn’t mean anything to her, which he believes, and he refuses to entertain her notion of performing a lobotomy on Jude, citing the fact that it’s something she wants.  Then after he has fed the creatures, he shoots them, ending the experiment.  Eunice is shocked and then amused by his tantrum.  Arden is at his breaking point.  He points the gun at his head but doesn’t have the courage to pull the trigger.  He tells her that losing her was more difficult that she could ever imagine, and she laughs at him and tells him he’s pathetic.  When he reaches out for her and begs for mercy, she casts him aside and walks away, leaving him broken.

Jude is in the kitchen trying to mold the dough into something useful, but her motor skills are gone.  The Monsignor enters and orders everyone from the kitchen except for Jude.  Once they’re alone, he slowly approaches and tries at first to help her with her work, commenting on the high dosage of medications they gave her.  Then he starts pouring out his soul to her.  She has always been his moral compass, and now he needs advice.  He doesn’t know what to do, whether he should leave the Church or not.  Jude was right, Eunice is possessed, and she stole his virtue.  He’s a broken man, too, but in a vastly different way from Dr. Arden.  He reaches across the table and grabs Jude’s hand.  It’s hard to tell what this means to her because her face is expressionless.  But when he asks what he should do, her expression hardens.  “Kill her,” she tells him.  His face crumbles, as if he’s already considered that and is looking for another way.

Thredson asks a guard to bring Kit to his office.  He stops by Arden’s office, and when he finds that Arden isn’t in, he enters and starts searching for sodium pentothal.  That’s when he hears the moans coming from deep inside the office.  He ventures deeper into the surgical suite and comes across Grace, who is on the exam table and she’s bearing down with all her might.  Pepper pops up at the end of the table.  “She’s crowning,” she informs him.  Thredson’s face registers his confusion for a split second before the wheels start turning.

Back in the Monsignor’s room, the good priest is saying a prayer asking for the strength to carry out his plan.  Eunice appears in the doorway and taunts him.  She asks if he’s ready for another round in bed, but he refuses, stating firmly that there will be no more indiscretions.  He stumbles into the office and she follows on his heels, asking how he plans to kill her.  Letter opener?  Too messy.  “You could bludgeon me with the statue of Saint Francis.  That would be ironic,” she laughs.  Will he use his rosary, the way he did with Shelley?  That’s right, she knows everything about him, and she makes sure that he knows it.  However, the fact that he wants to kill her isn’t putting her off.  She wants to take him to the highest position in the Church; she has figured out that power is his weakness.  She can get him there, she says.  But that ship has sailed for the Monsignor.  He follows her from the room, saying that the demon isn’t strong enough to overpower the goodness inside of Sister Mary Eunice.  He’s toying with her now, and it’s really starting to piss the demon off.  But as she threatens him, she cracks.  The real Mary Eunice pulls through and apologizes to the Monsignor and tells him that she’s tired of fighting.  “Then let go of me, Sister,” he whispers.  She lets go, and he shoves her over the railing.  Their eyes lock gazes as she falls.  When she hits the floor, her eyes shift toward the Black Winged Angel, who slowly approaches her.  “Take me,” Eunice whispers.  “I’ll take both of you,” the angel replies, leaning in for a kiss.  And then she’s gone.  Probably.  With this show, you never really know.

But it looks like Sister Mary Eunice is in fact dead.  Next we see Monsignor O’Hara saying a prayer over her.  When Dr. Arden walks in, he informs the doctor that she has been released from Satan’s grasp.  Arden can’t resist getting in another barb with the Monsignor, pointing out that she fell from the third story balcony, so it looks like it was his grip that failed her.  When the Monsignor talks about preparing her for burial, Arden stops him and insists that she is cremated, given the fact that every cell had been corrupted by the devil.  Briarcliff’s crematorium is still fully functional.  He refuses the Monsignor’s help, opting to see to the whole thing himself.  As O’Hara turns to leave, he mentions the smell that is often noted when people die.  St. Teresa of Avila’s body gave off a fragrance of fresh flowers for days after her death.  Arden asks what the Monsignor smells.  O’Hara pauses and gives Arden a long look.  Nothing but “decay,” he says, walking away.  Once he’s gone. Arden approaches Eunice’s body and gently dabs her lip with a cloth.

Upstairs, seemingly oblivious to everything that has been going on, Thredson meets up with Kit for their 3pm appointment.  Kit’s bravado doesn’t faze the doctor in the least.  Underneath his martyr complex, Thredson explains, is his savior complex, which is particularly strong with women.  If that’s the case, Thredson reasons, then it’s probably stronger with children.  That’s when he opens the office door to reveal Grace and her baby, with Pepper standing protectively behind them.  It would seem that Arden’s diagnosis was way off base, and since Grace claims that the baby is Kit’s, it would seem that Dr. Arden has been up to something in that lab of his.  Kit asks if it’s true, and Grace nods.  Kit instantly becomes wary of Thredson, asking what he’s going to do.  We flash to Thredson in the hydrotherapy room, presumably searching for the tape of his confession.  He finds a parcel under the tub and opens it to find a copy of “See Spot Jump.”  “I don’t want to ruin it for you, but Spot jumps,” Lana drawls from the doorway.  Thredson moves to hit her when she pulls out her trump card.  He wouldn’t want to hit the mother of his child, would he?  Now she’s the only one who knows where the tape is, and should he do anything to hurt Kit, she’ll find a way to get that tape to the police.  She’s plucky like that, you know?

Mother Superior pays Jude a visit because the Monsignor told her that Jude has been calling for her.  Jude tells her that she and the Monsignor are getting married…in the Vatican.  Mother Superior’s expression is troubled as she sees how delusional Jude has become.  But there’s something that Jude needs.  She points at Lana.  Jude tells Mother Superior that she wronged her, and Mother Superior needs to help her.  She needs to get Lana out of Briarcliff.  “Help her get out!”

In the bowels of Briarcliff, Arden prepares the body of Sister Mary Eunice for cremation.  She has been dressed in a white gown and in death she looks every bit as angelic and innocent as she did in life before the demon took possession of her body.  He touches her face lightly, lovingly, and then he bends down almost as if to kiss her.  The furnace is ready for her.  As her body slowly moves toward the fire, Dr. Arthur Arden climbs on top of her and embraces her as she enters the crematorium.  The door slams shut, and we’re left with the sound of his screams as he burns with her.

Well.  I don’t know about you, but that was no way to ease into the New Year.  There were so many critical elements to this episode that I don’t know where to begin.  For starters, who would have thought that a show like American Horror Story: Asylum could work in a musical number.  And the thing is, it worked.  That moment was just as appropriate as Lana’s drug induced Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech.  As always, Jessica Lange played it spot on, with flair and pizazz.  Someone give this woman another Golden Globe!

The little détente between Lana and Dr. Thredson is very interesting.  She has most of the power so long as she carries Thredson’s baby, and she can use that power to keep Kit and Grace safe.  But without Arden, Sister Jude, or even Sister Eunice to watch over him, there’s nothing really keeping Thredson in check.

So much to consider.  So many possibilities.  I am eager to hear what you think.  This may have been the best episode yet.  Please leave your comments below!

The Walking Dead Recap S3E5: Say the Word

The Walking Dead S3E5: Say the Word

Original Airdate: November 11, 2012

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


OK, so before we start this week’s recap, I have to repent a little bit.  Last week I wrote that the inmate that Oscar killed was an unknown person.  As it turns out, this was not the case.  The man who opened the gates, thus leading to last week’s slaughter, was none other than Andrew, the inmate who had been locked in the cafeteria with Axl and Oscar.  And of course we don’t really know whether or not Carol is dead.  It just looks that way.  So we can consider her dead until she shows up later, or we can consider her alive until she comes back dead, or a walker.  Your choice.  Either way, please forgive my transgressions.

Down to business.  As the fall turns to winter in most parts of the United States these days, the good people of Woodbury are enjoying a festival in the sunny haven they call home.  Milton brings Andrea an ice cold drink, grumbling about the wasteful use of the generators to make the ice.  Andrea, still wearing her rose-colored glasses, tells him that it’s great that the Governor has done this for the enjoyment of the people.  But more importantly, she wants to know more about the event that’s scheduled to take place that evening.  Milton looks pained momentarily.  “Mere words cannot adequately describe the festivities ahead,” he tells her.  And while Andrea doesn’t ponder just how dark his words are, Michonne looks on at the scene before her.  For her, the writing is on the wall.

The Governor sits in his room, listening to peaceful classical music while brushing the hair of the girl who sits at his feet.  The moment is interrupted when the brush tears out a bit of her flesh, sending her into hysterics.  Those strange noises we heard were the sounds of the Walker sitting at his feet.  She struggles against him, and he gets her into a straightjacket and puts a hood over her head, reassuring her that “Daddy’s here,” and he loves her.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet Penny, the Governor’s daughter.  As he holds her, he sees Michonne standing outside watching him.

Back at the prison, Rick is catatonic.  Daryl tries to snap him out of it, but he’s too far gone.  Maggie hands the baby girl to Carl, who takes her over to Hershel.  He pronounces her healthy, but hungry.  Daryl takes over; obviously they need food for her.  When Hershel says that she won’t make it without food, Daryl shakes his head.  No way.  “Not her,” he says.  He’s going to make a run into town to see what they can find.  Maggie and Glenn offer to go with him.  Before he leaves, he tells Beth to watch out for Carl, who just lost his mom and whose dad seems to be gone as well.  He gathers Oscar and Axl to help patrol the fence in case Walkers pile up.  As the group heads out, Rick picks up an axe and runs back into cell block C.

As it turns out, Maggie has been scouting the stores they passed through on the way to the prison, looking for baby food.  The car can’t pass through the debris, so Maggie volunteers to go with him on his bike.  Glenn is hesitant to let her go after everything she’s been through, but he reluctantly allows her to go.  (Aside: Knowing that Lori was due to give birth, don’t you think someone would have picked up one can of formula along the way?  You know, just in case?)  They ride out of the prison on the bike, and Oscar quickly shuts the gates.

Inside, Rick tears through the remaining Walkers with vengeance.  Has he completely snapped or is he just blowing off steam?

The Governor stands on the steps of the makeshift Woodbury Town Hall to address the residents.  This all started with nine people and some cans of Spam.  Now they have a thriving community that is safe and secure.  This day is about celebrating their progress and reflecting on those they have lost along the way.  “To us!” he cries.  (Happy Veteran’s Day to all of you veterans out there, by the way.  Your hard work and great sacrifices have allowed us to live in this great country and enjoy the freedoms that we possess).

Michonne is on a mission.  While the crowd is gathered in the square, she goes into the Governor’s rooms and retrieves her swords.  She comes across a notebook on the desk with some notations scribbled on the first few pages, followed by a list of names.  At the end is the name Penny, which has been underlined.  From there, there are pages upon pages filled with tally marks.   But what do they all mean?  There’s a locked door across the room, but before she can get inside, she hears people coming and hides.  It’s the Governor, Merle and Milton.  Milton tells the Governor that he feels that the use of the generators is frivolous.  He has been running an experiment and needs the extra power.  He needs ten days.  The Governor laughs and tells him to enjoy the celebration tonight and start over in the morning.  After they leave, Michonne sneaks out the window, leading into a previously unseen part of town.  It’s a warehouse courtyard filled with cages full of Walkers.  She lets them out and takes them down with her patented efficiency.  But clearly she’s puzzled as to why anyone would  keep Walkers in cages.  Her answer comes as someone approaches her from behind with a bucket full of bloody body parts, presumably to feed them.

Now caught, Michonne sits in the Governor’s room, fuming.  He enters, carrying her swords.  Does she get off on that?  There’s nothing to hide in Woodbury, he says, but she points out that people who feel that way don’t normally need to say it out loud.  Of course they all have their secrets, he says.  “Like Penny?” she asks.  His face registers several emotions.  He asks if she knew about her, and wonders if she knows that he loved her.  Michonne misreads the situation and believes that Penny was a lover.  He relaxes slightly when he sees that his secret is still safe.  As it turns out, he says, he was just about to give her sword back.  But now she presents a problem for him.  They have only been hospitable toward her but she keeps trying to leave.  Normally, there would need to be consequences for her actions given the nature of her crime (i.e. breaking and entering, theft, etc.), but the Governor is willing to look past it if she doesn’t tell anyone about it.  Michonne isn’t being fooled by his act.  She spins in his seat and takes her sword back, pressing the tip into his neck.  They exchange heated looks for a few tense moments before she backs away and leaves.  Merle, who had been stationed outside, comes in and wants to know if they have a problem.  The Governor asks for Andrea.  Then he sits down and ponders the situation.  He looks more shaken than we’ve seen him before.

Glenn is digging a grave when Oscar and Axl approach him.  The perimeter is safe.  Now they’d like to know if he needs help.  When Glenn doesn’t reply, Axl offers that he’s sorry for his loss.  Oscar tells him that he had one friend like that his whole life, and Glenn has a group of people like that. They were family, Glenn replies.  He sees Hershel approach and tells the former inmates that he needs two more graves.  Axl and Oscar get to work.  It’s interesting to note that they are willing to do pretty much anything, including killing their own, to fit into the Grimes Gang.  Now they’re digging two more graves, when there is only one body.  That says something.

Hershel tells Glenn that Rick is still inside.  Glenn can’t believe they lost a third of their group in one day.  “Because of one asshole,” Hershel points out.  He says that Oscar and Axl seem like good guys.  Glenn reflects on the man that T-Dog was, when he went to gather up people from his church in a van in case they couldn’t get out.  Glenn admits that he wishes they’d killed all of the inmates when they had the chance, and that way this wouldn’t have happened.  He’d gladly trade any of the inmates’ lives for a member of their group, but Hershel reminds him that those inmates were the ones who helped close the gate, and Maggie could have died if that hadn’t happened.  This gives Glenn a lot to think about.  In the distance, Axl and Oscar continue their work.

Andrea rushes into the Governor’s home. He tells her that he has a problem with Michonne.  At first, when he talks about how she took the swords, Andrea points out that you can’t steal something that belongs to you.  He tells her that she went into a private place and slaughtered some Biters.  Andrea wisely asks why he would keep Biters around, but he evades her question and says that Michonne is making people uncomfortable.  He doesn’t want her to leave because it’s too dangerous, but this behavior can’t continue.  “We’re not barbarians,” he finally says.  Oh, really?

Michonne is contemplating her departure when Andrea comes into her room.  She tells her that she can’t do things like she has been doing.  Michonne replies that it’s dangerous there and they can’t stay.  There is no leaving Woodbury, she says.  No one leaves.  Of course, Andrea doesn’t believe her, and since Michonne isn’t able to really point to any evidence, she wants to stay.  Woodbury is a great place and they need to stick around.  Michonne tried it out but can’t stay anymore, despite Andrea’s argument that she hasn’t given it a fair chance and “breaking and entering” isn’t exactly the way to express gratitude for a place where the people are only trying to help.  “This place is not what they say it is,” Michonne says.

Glenn searches for Rick in the corridor.  The halls are lined with freshly killed Walkers.  He finds Rick standing against a bloody wall.  Glenn tries to talk sense into him, telling him that he doesn’t have to clear the place out by himself, but as soon as Glenn touches him, Rick shoves Glenn up against the wall and stares him down before walking away.  Looks like Rick is still out to lunch at this point.

Merle and his “research team” take an army vehicle out to what looks to be a weather and communication tower.  There’s also a giant pit nearby, and they use the winch on the truck to pull up a net full of Biters.  Milton looks completely out of his element as Merle circles the net and critiques their catch.  He tells Milton to get his hands dirty, but when they lower the net, one of the Biters tries to grab Milton, who is wearing a shirt that has duct-tape-covered sleeves for added protection.  Merle pulls the Biter off and continues his taunts.  He stabs one blonde Biter through the eye while he holds another one down and pulls out one of its teeth.  So now we know that they Governor not only keeps Biters locked up back at Woodbury, but he evidently has a system for capturing and selecting which ones go back to the holding cells.

Daryl and Maggie arrive at a daycare center in what looks to be the middle of the woods.  He parks his bike outside the gate and they creep onto the property.  It seems to be deserted, but we all know you can never be too careful, so they scout around and go inside.  Maggie goes in first, ending up in a nursery room filled with cribs.  The only thing that looks out of place is the trash on the floor.  She finds diapers in a cupboard and starts loading up her backpack.  Daryl seems affected by the children’s’ handprints on the wall.  He shakes it off and continues to search the place.  They go into the kitchen, where they find an opossum.  Daryl shoots it and calls it dinner, but Maggie says it’s not going on the bike.  She grabs the containers of formula and starts filling her bag.

Back at Woodbury, the townspeople continue their celebrations while Merle stands guard at the front gate.  He sees Michonne and Andrea approaching the gate.  They want to leave, but he points out that it’s almost curfew and they’d need an escort.  Andrea says that the Governor said that they were free to go, but Merle tells her that she needs to step back while he discusses something with the guard on duty.  Michonne points out that there’s always a reason for them not to leave yet.  Finally, Merle agrees to let them go.  Michonne tries to get Andrea to leave with her, telling her that this is all an act and they set this whole thing up to make it look like they are letting them go.  Andrea can’t take eight more months of being outside of the gates.  This place is a good place to be.  She begs Michonne not to give her an ultimatum.  Michonne turns and walks out the gates, telling Andrea that she’s just “slow her down” anyway.

Andrea is alone on a park bench when the Governor comes to cheer her up.  He’s sorry things didn’t work out with Michonne.  He says it’s weird to lose someone “by their own choice,” saying he thought those days were gone.  He’s probably referring to the early days of the zombie apocalypse when people left safe places because they didn’t know any better.  Now they have idyllic Woodbury, and it seems bizarre that anyone would want to leave.  He offers his company to Andrea, along with a good strong drink.

Glenn is keeping watch outside the prison when Daryl and Maggie come barreling down the road.  Axl creates a distraction while Oscar opens the gates.  Inside the secure cell block, Carl cuddles his fussy baby sister.  Maggie and Daryl come in and Daryl quickly takes the baby, holding her in one arm while he feeds her.  He coos at her and she finally quiets down and drinks her bottle.  He asks Carl if she has a name yet, and poor Carl goes down the list of the women they have lost, starting with Sophia and ending with Lori.  Daryl asks her if she likes that, calling her a “little ass kicker.”  The group, sans Rick, laughs at the tender moment.  Yes, this baby is probably the safest child in the world at this point.

Rick continues his Walker slaughter through the prison until he comes across the place where Lori died.  He even finds the bullet casing that came from Carl’s gun when he shot his mother to keep her from becoming a Walker.  There’s a trail of blood leading to a Walker who is sitting against the wall, panting.  Rick sticks the gun in its mouth and shoots it…but then he sees the hairs coming from its mouth.  His gaze goes down to the Walker’s engorged stomach, and he realizes that this fucker ate Lori!  In a rage, he stabs it over and over in the stomach.

The people of Woodbury gather in that warehouse area that Michonne came upon earlier in the day.  Now there are seats set up, and music is blaring from the speakers.  Six Biters are chained up in the makeshift ring, and a man runs into the ring, shadowboxing with the Biters.  Merle joins him, and then we realize that this isn’t a fight with the Biters.  This is a fight between Merle and this other man, and the Biters are there as an extra element of suspense.  It’s a postmodern day Bread and Circuses, courtesy of the Governor.  As they fight, the chains are let out so that the circle gets smaller.  Andrea demands to know what is going on.  The Governor says this is a “way to let off steam.”  Andrea counters that you can do that by jogging.  This is “barbaric,” she says, throwing his own word at him.  He lets her in on a secret: the Biters’ teeth have been removed, and this is a way to teach the people of Woodbury that they don’t need to be afraid of the Biters.  Do you believe him?  I certainly don’t.  At any rate, Merle wins the battle after knocking the other guy out.

Back at the prison, Daryl places a flower on Carol’s grave.  It’s the same flower he gave her when he was on Sophia’s trail back at the farm.

Rick is sitting in the room where Lori died.  The Walker is still there, dead and bloodied.  He hears a baby crying…and the sound morphs into the sound of a phone ringing.  He walks over to an old rotary-dial phone and answers it.

Who is on the line?  The show ends and we’re left hanging.  It’s hard to believe how much we have gone through tonight.  Rick is on a rampage.  Axl and Oscar seem to be on their way to being accepted as part of the group.  Michonne and Andrea part ways.  There’s a zombie fight club going on in Woodbury (thanks to Chris Hardwick for coining that term).  Daryl seems to be a great baby whisperer (how cute was that!?).  And the Governor has a Walker daughter named Penny.

So much going on tonight…leave your thoughts below and let me know what you think is coming next week.  As always, thanks for reading!

Sir Paul McCartney: The Man, The Beatle, The Legend

I am listening to Sir Paul McCartney playing live here in San Diego.  He sold out Petco Park.  There are not many artists who can do that these days. 

What’s fascinating is the different kinds of people who lined up to get in.  Young and old, rich and not so rich, kids with their parents and grandparents, people speaking every language out there.  Paul McCartney brings us all together.

His music has a universal appeal.  It will never get old.  It will continue to be covered by new artists (“Yesterday” is the most covered song ever) and with each new iteration his music and the music of the Beatles will breathe new life into new generations of fans.

This has been a huge event for San Diego.  Sir Paul hasn’t been here since 1974 with Wings (my mom and dad were there). The local radio station has been playing McCartney and Beatles music all day in preparation for the big event, rebranding for the day to PaulFM. 

Welcome back to San Diego, Sir Paul.  Please come back again soon.  And thank you for sharing your gift with us.